However, this can happen only when one has an open mind. The process of opening up our mind to the vastness and diversity of the world is what I call spirituality. The openness to see and understand that the whole world belongs to us, and have a sense of ownership of that which is good and the willingness to take responsibility for correcting what’s not right.
Such an outlook makes one a global citizen, who can adopt and imbibe the best from every corner of the world and blossom into a complete personality. We should learn team work from Japan, value of time from Germany, etiquette from Britain, marketing from America and humanity from India.
Teamwork from Japanese:
Japan’s strong culture of teamwork or collectivism has helped the little island nation to become an industrial and business giant.
Precision and punctuality from Germans:
Germans place a high priority on structure, precision and punctuality in all spheres of life. The precision of engineering and design in German appliances is legendary.
Negotiation & marketing from Americans:
A couple of years ago, I asked a few volunteers to do something creative. Three months later, all came up with great projects and each started proving that their project is the best in the world. A fragile looking American lady presented a project of making handkerchiefs.
She explained 17 features that made it the best in the world. All points made by her were logical and convincing. One can learn the art of marketing from the Americans.
Etiquette from British:
Britain still retains its culture of friendliness and civility, which were famous in wartime.
Happiness from Bhutan:
Bhutan is a small country, but its happiness index is highest in the world. People may be living in a poor area, but they have smiles on their faces.
Human Values from Indians:
When you meet someone in an Indian village, they don’t ask you from where you have come, but first invite you to have tea, buttermilk or a meal. Village folks in India may not have much, but they are very friendly, hospitable and compassionate.
Human values of caring and sharing are integral to Indian culture. From a global perspective we find good qualities everywhere in the world. We already accept food and music from every part of the world. One doesn’t need to be Chinese in order to eat Chinese food nor a Danish to eat Danish cookies!
Similarly, we need to learn to accept knowledge and wisdom from every tradition. This globalization of wisdom is the need of the hour. It is with this vision that we started the Art of Living 35 years ago. Active participation from different cultures, races, religions and faith groups makes this movement very heterogeneous.
Here diversity is not tolerated! It is celebrated! I am glad that eminent people from around the world have come together to organize the World Culture Festival and show their solidarity and commitment to world peace and harmony.
The Festival will bring together 3.5 million from 155 countries and celebrate the rich culture and traditions of all parts of the globe. Such events give much hope to the strife-torn world, sending out the message that power of goodness prevails over darkness.
The writer is the founder of Art of Living Foundation and can be reached at www.artofliving.org