“I realize now, more than ever, that the future of our world rests entirely on our children. On their tender shoulders rests a great nation, a baffling world, and a beautiful planet.”

~ Om Swami

The capacity of children to look at life with marvel, exuberance, and purity is often lost somewhere between childhood and adulthood, as we form responses to conflict and challenging situations, that range from anger to despair. Sadhvi Vrinda Om, in one of her books says that to experience and see God, we need a child’s faith and innocence.

What if we learned the right way to respond to difficulty in our childhood?
What if we knew how to balance our emotions while keeping intact our love for life?
Wouldn’t this be a sure-fire method to attain and retain a state of constant happiness?

Zenrich, (Zen + Enrich), is a workshop for Gen Z led by Sadhvi Vrinda Om, Sushree Nishtha Om, and Ambika Om that seeks to do precisely this. The first series of the Zenrich workshops, at ‘The Virtual Gurukul’ were conducted every Sunday, from May 16th to July 19th, 2020, delved deep into every aspect of a child’s life, discussing the skills required to become balanced, emotionally sound and self-reliant adults.

Sadhvi Vrinda’s sessions revolved around ‘How to be cool in school’. In one, she spoke about the definition of cool, and how we often think that the kid with the funky haircut or flashy car is really cool. But the real meaning is far from this: a cool person is someone who knows how to be responsible. According to Swamiji, “The degree of freedom you enjoy in life is directly proportional to your sense of responsibility.” Cool people take charge of their lives and plan to make it meaningful, both in conduct and communication. Their mantra is self-reliance.

In Sushree Nishtha’s sessions, she spoke about two big secrets regarding ‘Happiness’: it is a skill that can be learned and can become an attitude in your daily life. Happiness needs to be worked upon, just as we work on building skills like dancing or math. With the help of consistent actions and by tracking one’s feelings, she described how we have the choice to be kind and create possibilities for constant happiness within us. As Swamiji says, “Your actions can either lead you towards happiness or away from it. You choose.”

Ambika Om’s sessions focused on the importance of ‘Self-Reflection’ and how it is the key to taking control of one’s life. One of the critical aspects of self-awareness is understanding our emotions and accepting them for what they are – a normal part of living. It is ok to be sad, and it’s ok to be angry sometimes. How we express these emotions though, is our choice alone. When we choose our responses, we take charge of our life. When these responses reflect kindness and compassion, negative emotions melt away. In Swamiji’s words, “If you are patient enough to analyze yourself, you are potent enough to elevate yourself.”

Every session saw some creative and exciting assignments to be completed by the kids. To name a few, they were asked to create an ‘Anger Thermometer’, watch the movie ‘Madagascar’, write down negative emotions on balloons and burst them, and log acts of kindness..

The concluding session had a huge surprise for everyone – Swamiji made a brief appearance and spoke about the importance of guidance. The way it’s put to use makes the difference between a successful and unsuccessful life.

Summarising the essence of his message, “Specialisation is critical for success in this day and age. This requires hard work and the right mentor. We all face bad days in the quest for our dream. The only question we need to ask ourselves at the end of a bad day is – what can I do differently tomorrow? Despite setbacks, one must keep moving and working towards one’s dream as that is a right nobody can take away. The only thing separating one from success is the mind. One must be mentally tough and never give up on one’s goal.”

The Final Spotlight was the announcement of the winners of the competition. The excitement was palpable even on the zoom call. Based on the ‘Children of Tomorrow’, the participants were to formulate a 50-word writeup on their reading of the book along with a drawing or poem. Cash prizes were awarded to Nihaal Singh Bajwa, Taneesha Sood, and Madhav Satija. Appreciation certificates were given to Daivik Narang, Arya Shree Harsha, and Aarnav Verma. All certificates were signed by Swamiji himself.

The session drew to an end with the launch of The Rising Stars, a community for Gen Z. This special, by-invite annual membership, was for children interested in receiving specialized mentorship and learning opportunities other than academics.

Keeping up with today’s fast-paced digitally driven life can be daunting for a person of any age. Instead, when we choose to look at the beautiful planet and all that we have to be grateful for, our perspective begins to change.

In their unique styles, each facilitator offered exactly that – the chance to grow, learn, observe and, at the same time, in Swamiji’s trademark style, ‘take it easy!’