MAKING YOUR SPIRITUAL PRACTICE MORE FRUITFUL - The Daily Guardian
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MAKING YOUR SPIRITUAL PRACTICE MORE FRUITFUL

B.K. Dr Savita

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It is worthwhile for those aiming to live a fulfilling life through spiritual practices to check their inclinations: Do they like being surrounded by sounds or silence? In silence we can attain a powerful state that will serve many souls.

We need to see if we can make the mind silent in a moment or if it takes considerable time and effort to become stable in silence. The best way to end any upheaval in the mind is to go into silence.

It is easy to speak about meditation, but unless we practise and experiment with it, we will be unable to experience an elevated life. Without practice, we cannot acquire the power that comes from regular meditation, and we will find it difficult to deal with challenging situations.

We will also be bereft of courage, which is essential for a spiritual life. The main weakness of many who take to the spiritual path is that they do not practise what they have learnt, and are content to just speak about it.

Just as those doing serious research remain deeply engrossed in their work, one needs to be busy experimenting with and experiencing the truth of what one has learnt.

What is the power of tolerance? What do we attain from this power? How do we use this power? What kind of problems do we face when we are devoid of this power? Which situations test our power to tolerate?

When we reflect in this way, we become mentally prepared to face tests in real life, and will not fail. Cultivating a habit of such reflection also frees us from waste thoughts.

Yoga means connection with God. Remembering God is said to be easy, but do we find it easy or just say that it is so? Why is it easy? Do we know the answer to this? Applying spiritual knowledge in our life, and regular meditation, are what will bring clear understanding and power. One who has this power and deep love for God can easily face any problem.

When we just skim the surface of spiritual knowledge, virtues and powers, we feel happy and energised for a while, but to retain the vigour and joy all our life, we need deeper engagement. That will bring valuable insights and spiritual strength which will free us from self-made limitations and sorrows and enable us to live a life of bliss.

B.K. Dr Savita is a senior Rajyoga teacher at the Brahma Kumaris headquarters in Abu Road, Rajasthan.

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Spiritually Speaking

QUALITY THOUGHTS KEY TO SUCCESSFUL DECISION-MAKING

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The power to make decisions helps us to integrate our values and principles into a sustainable framework for living. Often it is asked, ‘what do I need to trust when making decisions?’ There are two elements to base decisions on. One is the facts, that is, the human state of affairs, and the other is our core instincts, or in other words the conscience. We need both to make a decision, but if one were to win, it would have to be the human conscience.

It is also important to understand that there is no such thing as a ‘right’ decision. A decision is an act. We have to keep performing small acts to reach the aim or destination we want. The aim opens up a pathway, so it is important.

For example, a satnav device will not give me any directions unless I key in the destination I am travelling to. If I take a wrong turn on the way, the satnav will recalculate the route and bring me back on track. It is alright if I go left instead of right, and then realise that I have gone the wrong way, because I can turn around and go back in the right direction.

Many people get paralysed about making the ‘right’ decision. This depletes our energy, and we end up doing nothing and avoid making the decisions we need to make, and we feel ‘stuck’.

We also need to remember that decision-making is not simply problem-solving. Problems may simply be predicaments. Using spirituality to make a decision means we look at what needs to be empowered and what needs to grow within the self and others in the situation.

For this we need to carefully check the quality of our thoughts before we make those decisions. There are four categories of thought.

1. Negative thoughts come fast and flood the mind, draining us of energy. They need a ‘No Entry’ sign in our minds.

2. Waste thoughts of unnecessary worry and doubt, letting our imagination wander. They become a burden and we lose focus.

3. Ordinary thoughts connected to our everyday role and duties. We know what we have to do, so just do it and not overthink it, otherwise balance is lost.

4. Good and positive thoughts come slowly, in ones or twos. When we have a good wish or a pure thought for someone or a situation, we feel enriched and content inside.

We can tell how powerful our decisions will be by checking the amount of time we spend in each category of thought. Ultimately, the key word in making a decision is benevolence. Decisions should be benevolent for the self and others, and this is only possible when we spend a great deal of time having good and positive thoughts for the self, others and the situations we find ourselves in.

Meditation helps decision-making at a very deep level. First of all, it heals the soul, and then it has access to the very core of peace and truth inside us. It also creates stillness for discernment to become clearer, which is the basis of making a decision. That is why thousands of people across the world meditate every day.

The image of weighing scales is a pertinent one when we talk about the power of making decisions. Scales do not work well because of what is being balanced, but by the still, correct setting of the centre point. Meditation helps us to return to the centre of who we are, and at the same time the healing quietens something inside the soul, and it becomes filled with peace and love, with God’s power, and each decision is powerful and takes us to our destination, step by step.

Gopi Patel is a spiritual educator and senior Rajyogi meditator with the Brahma Kumaris, specialising in spiritual pragmatism in all areas of life.

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Spiritually Speaking

HOW WE CAN TURN FEAR INTO LIGHT AND LOVE

B.K. CHRISTINE MAHONEY

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How we deal with changing circumstances and challenges in life largely depends on how we look at them. It is a matter of our consciousness.

Negative feelings such as fear seem to bring us down. We may try to run away, or avoid the situations that give rise to the feelings. I say ‘seem’ because we need to understand that we have a choice. If we are truly aware, we can choose to convert any negativity into something more healing and positive.

It takes courage to do this, but — like many other qualities — courage can be developed with practice. One way to strengthen ourselves is to be resolute that nothing should make our lives shrink: As we get older, we are determined to expand and grow!

But first there is work to be done in understanding ourselves at a profound level. Through meditation — the deep exploration of our inner story — we come to find the essence of the self and what makes us who we are.

In part, this is a quest to rediscover our essential simplicity. Meditation is a wonderful tool to do this. An uncomplicated method to journey within, it brings a gradual understanding of the self, and a humble acceptance of what we do not know or understand. Fundamentally it is the means to help us reconnect with our inner essence, and with the Source of everything.

As a teenager, this began for me with a near death experience (NDE). Seriously ill after an operation, I had the extraordinary sensation of being at one with my own consciousness and light as I viewed the physical body that I called ‘me’ from a distance. I remember feeling completely at one with myself, and I had the thought: “Why do we complicate everything so much?”

Finding the light is central to the spiritual journey. I think the greatest loneliness is our separation from the self, and it is through meditation that we find this self again and connect with the Divine. Rather like my NDE, this is the way to find the light we are searching for. Connecting with the high frequency of the Divine, we fill with radiance and clarity.

This powerful light of love brings reassurance, security, and a feeling of being protected. Whenever I begin to feel fearful, I envisage the Divine presence holding my hand on one side, and my higher consciousness taking the other hand. This allows the small child within me to feel safe.

Even when faced with difficult situations, such as the current pandemic and the consequences of global warming, if we take time to sit and remember who we are, then we will find the power and strength within ourselves to rise to the challenges. We do this by reconnecting with our innate qualities of light, love, peace, and power. Far from being fearful, we choose to be capable and strong.

Christine Mahoney is an actor, mediator and conflict resolution professional based in Melbourne, Australia. She has been a student and teacher of meditation with the Brahma Kumaris for more than 35 years.

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Spiritually Speaking

GOD’S LOVE OPENS UP HEARTS

Dadi Janki

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People have experienced a lot of deception in their lives. There has been a lot of exchange of everything that is false, so feelings have been destroyed. This is why some people have stopped feeling altogether, and have rejected the world.

However, when a soul starts receiving something from God, the heart opens up.

So, let us take God’s love and have pure feelings. Let us experience what pure feelings are.

Let us have trust in each other and faith in ourselves. Let us learn to love ourselves. Let there be purity in our feelings, so that we can then experience love.

Let us take from God and give to others. When we have very powerful good wishes and feelings for others, those feelings reach them. We can help each other through the power of our good feelings.

Deep in my heart there is just this one feeling: just as I have received so much from God, may all God’s children receive the same from our One and only Father.

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Spiritually Speaking

Reflection, application of knowledge bring power

B.K. Sheilu

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Having a high aim in life improves the quality of our thoughts and actions. As is our awareness, so is our state of being. This is the easy method of self-improvement: keep an image of what you want to be like in front of you and that will remind you of what you need to do – how you should think, speak and act. Your elevated self-image will constantly guide and motivate you.

In addition, we need to reflect on what we learn. We may hear a lot of inspiring and informative things and even tell others about them, but in spite of that we find that we often do not practise what we preach. We just parrot information without having experienced the truth of it ourselves.

How much confidence or authority will we have when we are explaining concepts that we have heard or read about but never tested ourselves? On the other hand, if we reflect on those concepts and apply them in life to see whether or not they work, we will become wiser by the experience.

Without the understanding that comes from deep reflection, or the experience gained from practical application of principles, we do not realise the value of those principles and may find them too lofty or idealistic.

Just as it is essential for the body to digest food in order to draw strength from it, reflection on knowledge is necessary for the soul to become wiser and stronger. Reflection, and the insights it brings, turn theoretical information into a personal asset which can be used at the right time in the right manner.

Digestion assimilates food into the body in the form of blood and other tissue, and the food no longer remains something separate from the body. Similarly, reflecting on knowledge turns it into a source of strength.

For instance, we are told that we are souls, masters of our body. We will not acquire the mastery by just hearing this. But when we reflect on this repeatedly and grasp all the implications of this fact, we become increasingly aware, and accepting, of our spiritual identity, which ultimately leads to mastery over matter. This is spiritual might.

The ability to reflect on knowledge is a special power of the soul. It is the most important tool for turning knowledge into experience, which brings strength in the form of confidence and authority.

Those who are experienced have the authority of experience. They are neither easily deceived nor shaken by adversity or upset by hearsay. One word from an experienced person counts for more than a commentary from someone else.

Lack of reflection and experience leaves the soul weak, just as a lack of vitamins can lead to physical ailments. To restore physical health, we first check which vitamin the body is lacking. Similarly, we need to check what experience we need to gain to become powerful. Is it the experience of being a soul, or of connecting with the Divine, or of the intricacies of the law of karma, or the subtle understanding needed for harmonious relationships?

We do not become powerful by listening to or giving lectures. To become an embodiment of knowledge one has to apply it and experience the results. Reflecting deeply helps in this, as it increases our understanding of the subject. Once we develop a habit of immersing ourselves in such reflection, the insights we acquire make us unshakeably strong.

B.K. Sheilu is a senior Rajyoga teacher at the Brahma Kumaris headquarters in Mount Abu, Rajasthan.

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Spiritually Speaking

ANALYSING LOVE AND ITS ETERNAL NATURE

Are there eternal lovers or soul mates with whom we have relationships that span across many lifetimes? The answer is yes. Love can and does extend across multiple lifetimes.

Prashant Solomon

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D o you believe in “love at first sight”? Why is it that sometimes you meet someone and there is an instant feeling of familiarity and attraction towards that person? Love is something that is difficult to define.

Love is a feeling of belonging, acceptance and wellbeing. When two people are in love there is a feeling that transcends description. There is something about love that seems eternal. If somebody loses the one they love there is always a feeling, even if buried deep within, that longs to be with that someone again. Is that possible? If somebody loses their loved ones, it is possible to be with them again in a future life or even the life between lives in the spiritual realm.

 Love itself never dies. It is one of the few things that we take with us when we leave this world and move into the next. Along with love, we take our karmas and our thoughts, feelings and emotions.

There are many ways to define love. One of these is that love is a positive energy associated with a wish of unification and well being. The aspect of unification transcends physicality. It is equally a meeting of minds, hearts and spirit, as it is a desire to be physically one.

We all like to talk about, think about and dream about love. It is an essential part of our humanity. No matter how many times we “fall” in or out of love, we still feel a powerful urge towards it. Our desire to love and be loved is deep rooted in our consciousness.

The positive perception that we have about someone or something is a form of energy which is called love energy. This love energy works differently between different people. You may be in a room full of strangers and someone walks in and there is an instant feeling of attraction, recognition and familiarity that transcends physical attraction or interest. There is an instant desire to become one with that person. Not everyone will feel this way about that person. The love energy that exists between two people reacts differently than it would between someone else.

One would feel love with a positive perception whereas others may feel neutral or even negative and regard that person with disdain. The point is that the person exuding that energy has a subconscious choice about the positivity or negativity of the energy they emit. We can give love energy and receive it as well. So, different people will feel different types of “vibes” from the same person. It is literally a form of energy chemistry. Different energy sources and types react with others differently and each human being exudes different types of energies that react with other people’s energies differently.

 So coming back to the original question—does love transcend death? Can you be reunited with soul mates after death?

Are there eternal lovers or soul mates with whom we have relationships that span across many lifetimes? The answer is yes. Love can and does extend across multiple lifetimes.

 Energetically we are all seeking a soul mate. But these soul mates are part of a larger group called our Soul Group or also referred to as Soul Families.

There are certain souls that have been with us throughout many incarnations and therefore there is a lot of karmic history between us. This karmic interaction creates a karmically magnetic effect. You will feel an instant recognition, attraction or a feeling of longing for a person. It can be in the form of physical attraction, but that is not necessary. It can also be a feeling of deep love or interest in someone without a physical attraction.

Many of the souls that we are interacting with today were with us in a past life but in a different relationship. For example, our spouse today may have been our child in a previous life, our parent may have been a sibling, a sibling may have been a lover in a previous life and so on. There is no limit to the various dramatic roles our souls play together in this eternal earthly drama that we are partaking in.

What role will be played by whom is decided by our souls in the ‘life between life’ phases between physical incarnations during the life we live in the spirit realms.

You meet the soul mate that you are meant to meet, when, where and how you are destined to meet, for a divine purpose that involves our spiritual growth and development.

When you have spent many lifetimes loving another person, you will have a powerful connection that is recognised immediately as and when it happens. Also, because your love never dies, it is possible to pick up where you have left off in a previous life. Even though you will have some catching up to do concerning your comings and goings the last few hundred years, your soul mate relationship has a story to it, and you have a history together. So, maybe what we call “love at first sight” is really just a love reunion.

 This type of a soul mate with whom you have loved and lost over many centuries will feature an eerie sense of familiarity, like you have known each other before, and sometimes even an uncanny innate understanding of each other. And, this connection will become more and more intense with each lifetime that a couple spends together.

Though we have had many lifetimes and many loving soul mates there are always the loves that lie ahead, yet to come into the path of our lives. These lost loves have dreamed of you, searched for you, and have waited centuries for destiny to allow your paths to cross once more.

When these soul mates once again cross our path we need to be ready for them. This can happen by working on giving and receiving love. When two ready soul mates are reunited, the love energy of this union is unparalleled. Because they didn’t fall in love, they simply remembered that they loved each other already.

Prashant Solomon is a Delhibased author and businessman.

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Spiritually Speaking

HOW YOU CAN BE AWARE OF YOUR MIRROR-LIKE MIND

Arun Malhotra

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Do I know who I am? Am I what the mind thinks I am? The mind is like a robot. It talks of only that which it knows. The mind is like a mirror—it can absorb everything about the world to reflect it. But the mirror can neither see itself nor reflect itself. In the same way, our mind works—it can collect information about everything in the world from history to the future, it can invent faculties, disciplines, breed cultures and religions, and can store technical and scientific data, but it cannot be aware about itself as a mind. The mind cannot reflect on itself, nor can it reflect the being. But the being may be aware of the mind.

Understand it like this: my being is exactly like I am. My not being is like being unaware of my mind. So my not being breeds a mind which reflects all the information of the world. The mind which wants to collect treasures, money, and all other kinds of possessions is, in fact, my absence in the being. When I am not in the being, I keep chasing the mind, but when I am in the being, aware and present, the mind disappears. Ask yourself once: who am I? Then answer it too: yes, I am. A miracle will happen.

A small stone thrown into a placid lake creates ripples. When it is still, the lake is a mere reflection of its surroundings, but it begins to tremble when a small stone is thrown at it. Your mind is exactly like that. It keeps on trembling and making you think. But what you are cannot be observed by the mind. The mirror can reflect the whole world, but what the eyes cannot see is you in the being. You need a mirror to look at the reflection of your body. But that which you are cannot be seen by your eyes or mind. Neither can your eyes see you nor can your mind know you. Whatever your mind knows, it is about the world outside. But when you are in the being, it makes the mind disappear. The mind cannot stay there because it is like darkness, and the moment your consciousness shines like a light, that darkness disappears.

The mind cannot be when you are there. And when you declare yourself as the owner of your being, you will say “I am”. That will remain there as your “am-ness”, as your being. You are simply the being, which abounds with the pure consciousness that you have. But your mind breeds unconsciousness and you spend your life rushing after your mind, which keeps jumping from one desire to another, filling you with unfulfilled desires. So stop, look at yourself. Know that you are not the mind—you are you. Declare it. Say, “Yes, I am”. And you will have a rare sense which is like being in the wholeness of existence. And you will be there, always.

Life exists and expands from one moment to another. There are two ways that man can live from moment to moment. One is when you look outside at the world with your eyes, and look at God who is blooming radiantly in every moment, singing and dancing, in joyous celebration and a state of playfulness. In that moment, you are also in a state of playfulness, lending your colours to the wholeness of existence. When you look at the world outside, it takes your being outside you: you travel far, your being in the depths of valleys and the tops of hills. Your eyes reach your being, far into the horizon, where God is. You look at that from a distance, but you are also there where your eyes have landed your being.

The second way of living is what happens when you close your eyes. The moment you close your eyes, a smile appears on your face, coming from deep within. It is the key to being blissful. Dive into it deeper. Either way you look, you find That Which Is. Hindus call it tatvamasi (you are that). You are That as You are.

Life is in the being. Death is always lurking around. Death will find you one day and cut your story short. But in the acceptance of death, the fear of death disappears. I am the one who cannot appear as a reflection of my mind because I am the watcher of my mind. And in pure consciousness I am in the being. I am the watcher of life and death too.

Things are exactly like they should have been. That Which Is is exactly as That Which Is should have been. Accepting that fact is being in the being. Life is as it ought to be. You are as you ought to be. You are where you ought to be, not anywhere else. This is being in life. You are fully attuned to this moment and you do not go out of this moment. When you are not trembling in your thoughts, you are here. In the present, you don’t tremble, but in thoughts of the past and future which are bred by your mind, ripples appear on your lake-like mirror-mind. You are the watcher who watches this truth in pure wakefulness and blissfulness. That is like being in the sat-chitta-anand (truth-consciousness-bliss).

The author is a spiritual teacher and an independent advisor on policy, governance and leadership. He can be contacted at arunavlokitta@gmail.com.

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