When one builds meditation into one’s lifestyle, life becomes very interesting. Yes, there is the world outside, family, studies, career, travel and so on, but there is also a world inside every person — the world of our thoughts, emotions, beliefs and preferences.
Most people give their attention more to their outer life and less to the inner life. I believe that due to this imbalance, we have situations in the world where we can do amazing things with technology, we can travel so far, we can communicate instantaneously, we have great advances in health care, yet we also find very high stress levels. We find problems in relationships, divorces and so on, and basically the lack of ability to manage one’s own emotions and one’s own mind. I believe this is really the important area in human life with regard to dealing with stress, frustration, anger, and indeed, any of those emotions, including fear, jealousy, and revenge. All of it is very much connected with how well my mind is in my control.
It is often said that sport is a ‘mind game’ and sports psychologists will, of course, work on that part of the athlete to train them to be mentally strong and tell them that if you can win in the mind, then you can win on the field. It’s also true that business is a mind game, politics is a mind game, and eventually the biggest mind game of all is life itself. Marcus Aurelius put it beautifully: “The quality of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” So, when it comes to dealing with anger and frustration, understanding the mind is a very big part of it.
Now, just think of any machine that you may buy. Along with that machine you also receive a user manual. That manual tells you how to take care of the machine, and how to look after it and use it properly. And so, the question arises, where is the user manual for the mind? How are you supposed to think? How are you supposed to best spend your thought energy? What kind of attitude is useful and healthy when you are facing criticism? How to deal with yourself when you keep making the same mistake over, and over, and over again? What to do when you are accused of something that has nothing to do with you?
Broadly speaking, people are generally illiterate in this area. The result of this is that we develop what I consider to be the worst of all human habits, and that is — overthinking. When we think too much, we are literally throwing away this precious fuel — thought power. Then the mind becomes tired, and when the mind is tired then the patience level goes down, tolerance level goes down, the ability to understand someone else suffers, and we have disproportionate responses to the situations around us.
We may make a small thing into a very huge issue, make a mustard seed into a mountain, and therefore further create difficult emotions to deal with. By building a practice of reflection or meditation into our day-to-day life, maybe just twice a day, in the mid-morning and then in the mid-afternoon, your mind is looked after better, is respected more. Then you will naturally have greater self-control as you pass through the day. Self-control leads to victory.
Yogesh Sharda is the National Coordinator of the Brahma Kumaris’ services in Turkey.
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One problem, one solution
Do you believe that the mountain-high pile of troubles that besets the world now, has one root cause, and even more, that there is one, simple solution—a solution that could reduce the whole mountain to the size of a molehill?
Something has gone missing in our man-made formulas for well-being. Something has slipped through the cracks, taking with it what is needed for the peaceful, happy existence we want for ourselves and the world. What is it that has gone missing? In my experience it is the loss of connection. Connection is what is missing. Disconnection is the problem; connection is the solution.
I am not talking about the connection between us. Although that has become problematic, it is not primary. Primary is the connection between myself and my inner world. Through the practice of Rajyoga meditation, as taught by the Brahma Kumaris, I discovered a ‘me’ that was permanently beyond all influences; a ‘me’ that danced in joy, peace, love, and power, always, whenever I connected with that ‘me’.
When we are disconnected from that part of ourselves — our spiritual identity—what is meaningful and important for life becomes less a practical experience and more an ideal, or an intellectual pursuit. When we remain disconnected in this way, we do not know, with the certainty of experience, the independent beauty that lies deep within. We research and talk a lot about such things, but it gets harder and harder to live accordingly. In this way we become careless and negligent of our own divinity. We disrespect our own goodness and godliness. So, it withers, like flowers in a garden that no one is tending to—eaten by the bugs of ego or parched through a drought of true self-love.
A recent sociological study says that our current state of social isolation – so damaging to the human spirit—did not begin with the pandemic. Being disconnected from our innermost selves and disrespecting the godliness within makes it very difficult to connect, or truly respect anyone else. It becomes a self-imposed isolation that is driving communities and even families further and further apart.
This internal negligence and disregard for the divinity of human nature has carried over to our relationships with Mother Nature as well. We act as if we are the only species on the planet and in our attempts to acquire, possess and control we have violated her basic laws. In return, we have the unprecedented state of environmental crises we are facing today.
So, what to do? We have to once again align ourselves with the great truths that go beyond what our physical senses can grasp. We need to understand these times of challenge as an invitation to connect to ourselves in new ways, a connection that can make blossom the seeds of divinity within each of us, as children of God.
We need to connect to God in new ways. God’s love, devoid of any neediness, is altruistic and the ultimate in respect and feelings of belonging, and is like water to the parched soul-garden. We need to experience God’s light of love, peace and joy, so that we can come back to our pure state of natural well-being.
Connecting is the first step. Second is the courage to come out of our comfort zones and transfer the beauty deep within into our everyday thinking, speaking and doing. We need to become givers, from the genuine abundance that is our Godly inheritance, and stop being takers. This will put a whole new vibration into the energy that keeps this planet spinning. This will move us all forward, out of humanity’s long night of winter, and into the dawn of its new day.
It is time to do something new; it is time to do something different. To realise the magic of love—love for ourselves, for God and then, for all our brothers and sisters—the whole world. This gives birth to hope. We truly are standing at a new beginning.
Sharona Stillerman coordinates the activities of the Brahma Kumaris in Israel.
LAW OF KARMA
I was walking on the way once. Someone from a behind me hit “Futt!! Futt!!” to my head. Looking back, he’s a maniac (mad).There by holding him, the people surrounding there suggested to me that, “you don’t let him go sir, hit him sir”. But I immediately let him free from them, and he simply left there.
I have never seen that mad man before. And I didn’t have any information about him. What is the relation between me and that mad person? Without any reason I was beaten by that unknown man! So this is the law of karma. In this birth he and I have may no introduction, acquaintance, no contact or may no relationship. Perhaps it is the calculation of the karma of our pre-birth, which had been completed on this day.
Many such accidental events one of the most common experiences in all of our lives.
The theory of karma or law of karma is very subtle. As well as the exact too. The role of everyone in the theatre of this world drama creation is precisely. But we must be have able to view it from a meaningful standpoint. This vast world is full of inequality. The poor, the rich, the deprived, the sick, the healthy, the homeless, the wealthy, the dull fanatics, the intelligent, the employed, the unemployed like this there are many inequalities in this vast world that which are commonly visible. Cause for all these inequalities mainly considered as only that creator supreme God. Who get always all the blaming, abuses, dispraise from all of us. That may be with or without reason. But virtually abusing the Holy Spirit god is futile and inappropriate. Because our present situations are the foundation of our past deeds. We are only responsible for the inequalities and conditions of our lives. In this, it is unreasonable to curse the Lord and to curse fate. We are only responsible for our current conditions.
Newton’s third law states “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. The reality is that our karma is not the only have reward or re-action. It is true that there is a response to our words, our every resolve or a thought and (vocation) emotion also. Sometimes our karmic account has also grown with animal, birds. For example, for any person when a dog accidentally bites on the way, it is necessary to know that the dog is being bitten by him. That is, he has tortured the animal ever before.
Some are born rich some others are born healthy. For some, literature, art, and singing have a tendency to be with birth. Some are virtuous with good attitude. Some are born blind. Some people have a disability from birth. Some people have good wealth but no health. Some are not have children at all. Some parents will have more trouble from their children itself. Some people just can’t get any kind of happy ness from any relation. For nine months mother faces so many difficulties and problems, then give a birth for child. But sometimes a child dies only in three days after giving birth. Every day we see many examples of such life.
Being born wealthy at birth is the result of his gift of past birth donation to people. If he was healthy, he would have built a hospital or a hospital for the benefit of the former or May treated the patients previously. If born blind or disabled as any other organ failure His eyesight or his organ failure should have caused others to suffer from that organ or should have been did evil act by that. If some birth with art, literature, sports, or other activities, it is the prerequisite sanskar of past deeds for their birth. That means, in the pre-birth period, there is much interested in particular field or may have don lot of efforts in that. If we do not get pleasure from any relatives, then that means we would not have given any pleasure to any relatives before. If we have money but do not have physical health, we would have donated money to needy but would not had don any good physical acts. If there is no child luck or if there are children but the children and parents are not happy, then we need to understand it is the karmic account between parents and children. If an infant was born in a very wealthy family and if not healthy. In the (ICU) intensive care unit, it live only four days and then died, even with billions of dollars will not able to keep baby alive. So it is a short-term karmic account of that infant, by taking a birth will get settled in four days and dies.
Thus the law of karma is very subtle, exact, deep and very intense. Seeing many such examples will definitely make us to belief in rebirth or in past births. When a newborn child who has not yet opened his eyes and is diagnosed with any serious sufferings, it can be said to be the result of his past birth act only. Here this does not mean that we only reap the fruits of pre-natal karma or pre births, even in this birth and for each and every karma will have its fruit.
Our karmic account does not only grow solely from physical organs performed by these bodies’ activities. The words we talk and the (vocation) emotion, the resolutions (thoughts) which generated through our mind is also grew. If the word is spoken inappropriately, and to others are hurtfully spoken, there is certainly will become karmic account. Likewise, every bad thought about someone in mind is also grows karmic account. If these are excessive, they can become dumb and suffer from mental illness.
First of all, we should have knowledge of Karm, Vikarm, Sukarm. Karma is a simple, essential work. Vikarm is the work done by the five Vices – (kam, krodh, lobh, moh, ahankar). Such as the Lust, Angry, Greed, Attachment, Ego-based thoughts, speech, action, vision and vocation (emotion). Sukarm is a noble karma, a work based on virtues. It is good to self and for others too. And Godly knowledge based unselfish thoughts, speech, act, emotions will be considered as divine work. our resolve, speech and karma Influencing environment also. Thousands of victims were killed from the tidal wave of tsunami. To say this is the calculation (karmic account) of that nature and those people who died, of course is not a wrong.
We do wrong and right with or without reason. If we are happy and it is inappropriate, condemn and reprehensible to look down on others when they are in distress. When in a bus stop when someone sees two legged disable person, of course everyone feel merciful to him. This will grieve the mind of any kind of butcher. It is inhumane to lash out that he is paying for his karma. We are all brothers and sisters to each other as we are the children of the Universal Sovereign supreme God. It is humanity and our primary duty to extend our help to our brothers and sisters.
Dear all, we are not able to fix any past time or past karma. Presently we have only our present time and our future in our hand. Doing good in the present, we will reap the rewards. We should be willing to do good deeds, and need to repentance for our sins and bad deeds.
So let our mind be pure, the vision be holy, karma be great. Let’s wish the best for everyone, good feeling and good wishes from the mind, talk sweetly through words, and let karma excellence in karma. Let us comes only in Karma relation not in Detention (attachment) of karma. If we want good things for everyone, it happens goodness. If evil is desired, it will be bad. So law of karma says, “how the seed, so the tree” and “how the karma, so the fruit”.
ABSOLUTE TRUTH IS A PERSON
The impersonal realisation of the Brahman effulgence is the indirect process of understanding the Absolute Truth and is considered a difficult path according to Srimad Bhagavad Gita.
The Vedic literature points out that God is both personal and impersonal. God’s impersonal aspect is called different names by different people. Generally, the impersonal aspect is known as the Brahman effulgence or brahmajyoti. A description of the Brahman can be found in various portions of the Vedic literature, including the Mundaka Upanishad (2.2.10-12) where it says: “In the spiritual realm, beyond the material covering, is the unlimited Brahman effulgence, which is free from material contamination. That effulgent white light is understood by transcendentalists to be the light of all lights. In that realm there is no need of sunshine, moonshine, fire or electricity for illumination. Indeed, whatever illumination appears in the material world is only a reflection of that supreme illumination. That Brahman is in front and in back, in the north, south, east and west, and also overhead and below. In other words, that supreme Brahman effulgence spreads throughout both the material and spiritual skies.”
To realize or attain entrance into the impersonal Brahman, one must practice yoga for many years without falling down from such strict practice. One must be celibate, chant the om mantra correctly, raise the life airs within the body to the top of the head, and leave the body while meditating on the Brahman. If one cannot void his mind of all sensual engagement and concentrate on the Brahman for hours at a time without agitation, one will not be successful. If one is successful, one can be liberated from material existence by merging into the Brahman, where there is eternity and knowledge. However, there is no real ananda or bliss there. The only pleasure in the brahmajyoti is the freedom from all material suffering. Some yogis think such pleasure, which may be felt on elementary levels of meditation, is a sign of reaching the final goal. But real ananda is found only in spiritual engagement. Without understanding this, one’s spiritual knowledge is incomplete.
The goal of the impersonalists is to merge into the Brahman effulgence, where they lose all of their individual characteristics. If they succeed, they remain there as an inactive spiritual spark, floating in the rays of the brahmajyoti. They do not develop a spiritual body that would give them the opportunity to engage in various spiritual activities because they do not know about such engagement that can be found on the spiritual Vaikuntha planets that exist within the Brahman effulgence. So, if they again have any yearning for engaging in activities, they cannot go upward to the spiritual planets because they are not qualified to do so. Thus, they are forced to seek shelter in the material world, where they start over again.
The problem is that it is our natural inclination to be active, always doing something. So if the soul is so active while within the material body, how can the impersonalist philosophers suggest that once we are liberated we will be completely inactive? This is not very logical. The Vedic literature states that once one has attained liberation and reaches the brahmajyoti, he will not stay there, but at some point he will again desire to return to the material world for engagement. Therefore, the brahmajyoti is not considered the highest form of spiritual liberation, although some so-called sages today speak of it as if it is.
Such impersonalist yogis or philosophers either do not know or simply reject the fact that beyond nirvana and the outskirts of the Brahman effulgence are the Vaikuntha planets of the spiritual sky. Thus, due to their ignorance, or even rebelliousness against God, they concentrate only on the impersonal Brahman. One can enter that region by the difficult, mechanical yoga process for controlling the mind, but cannot go any higher. Just as a person cannot escape the material world if he still has material desires, he cannot enter the spiritual planets if he is still absorbed in thinking of the void. In this way, such people are unable to enter into the spiritual life of complete eternity, knowledge, and bliss. Therefore, the idea of achieving spiritual liberation by merging into the Brahman effulgence is considered the process of a cheating religion. Why it is considered this is that it destroys the opportunity for people to reestablish their loving relationship with the Supreme. This is confirmed in the Caitanya-caritamrita (Adi.1.92): “The foremost process of cheating is to desire to achieve liberation by merging in the Supreme, for this causes the permanent disappearance of loving service to Krishna.” Therefore, those who have reached mature spiritual realization look upon merging into the Brahman effulgence as a great mistake.
The impersonal realization of the Brahman effulgence is the indirect process of understanding the Absolute Truth and is considered a difficult path according to Bhagavad-gita. “But those who fully worship the unmanifested, that which lies beyond the perception of the senses, the all-pervading, inconceivable, fixed and immovable–the impersonal conception of the Absolute Truth–by controlling the various senses and being equally disposed toward everyone, such persons, engaged in the welfare of all, at last achieve Me. For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the supreme advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied.” (Bg.12.3-5)
By realizing this impersonal Brahman, one only realizes the bodily effulgence of the Absolute. In other words, the all-pervading spiritual force has a source. This is clearly described in the Caitanya-caritamrita, (Adi.2, 5 & 15):
“What the Upanishads describe as the impersonal Brahman is but the effulgence of His body, and the Lord known as the Supersoul is but His localized plenary portion. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna Himself, full with six opulences. He is the Absolute Truth, and no other truth is greater than or equal to Him. The opulence’s of the impersonal Brahman spread throughout the millions and millions of universes. That Brahman is but the bodily effulgence of Govinda [another name of Krishna].”
The fifteenth and sixteenth mantras of the Isa Upanishad also acknowledge that from the personal body of God comes the rays of the Brahman effulgence: “O my Lord, sustainer of all that lives, Your real face is covered by Your dazzling effulgence. Please remove that covering and exhibit yourself to your pure devotee. O my Lord, O primeval philosopher, maintainer of the universe, O regulating principle, destination of the pure devotees, well-wisher of the progenitors of mankind–please remove the effulgence of Your transcendental rays so that I can see Your form of bliss. You are the eternal Supreme Personality of Godhead, like unto the sun, as am I.”
From these verses it is clear that without going beyond the Brahman effulgence, one cannot see the real form of the Supreme. If one reaches the stage of realizing the Brahman and becomes convinced that he has attained the Ultimate, then he does not have complete understanding or full realization. He still must go further until he has reached the source of the Brahman, which, according to the Isa Upanishad, is the Supreme Personality.
Since the Brahman effulgence is considered to be but one of the opulences of the Supreme, it should be understood that whenever the Vedic texts speak of Brahman, they are indicating the Supreme Personality of God. In fact, it is stated that in the Vedic literature the word Brahman means, “in whom all the attributes reach to the infinity.” In this way, it is clear that Brahman primarily means the Supreme Person, of whom the Vedic literature is full of descriptions of various aspects of His infinite qualities and characteristics. The Caitanya-caritamrita clearly states: “The word ‘Brahman’ indicates the complete Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is Sri Krishna. That is the verdict of all Vedic literature.” (Cc.Madhya-lila, 6.147)
The Caitanya-caritamrita (Adi.7.112) also explains that, “Everything about the Supreme Personality of Godhead is spiritual, including His body, opulence and paraphernalia.
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says, purnam idam purnat purnam udacyate: “Although He expands in many ways, He keeps His original personality. His original spiritual body remains as it is.” Thus, we can understand that God can expand His energies in many ways, but is not affected or diminished in His potency.
The Svetasvatara Upanishad (6.6) also states: “The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the original person, has multifarious energies. He is the origin of material creation, and it is due to Him only that everything changes. He is the protector of religion and annihilator of all sinful activities. He is the master of all opulences.” This verse specifically points out that only due to God’s multi-potencies does the world continue to change and be maintained. He also protects religion, which could not be done if He were impersonal. This is only logical since it takes a person to watch over, protect, or maintain anything.
In the Katha Upanishad (2.2.13), there is the important verse nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman: “He is the supreme eternally conscious person who maintains all other living entities.” From these descriptions in the Vedic texts, we can clearly understand that God is the Supreme Person who is the source of everything and controller of all. This Supreme Person is the Absolute Truth, as confirmed in the Caitanya-caritamrita (Adi.7.111): “According to direct understanding, the Absolute Truth is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has all spiritual opulences. No one can be equal to or greater than Him.”
Since it is established in the Vedic texts that the Absolute is a person, then meditating on the personal form of God rather than the impersonal feature is the highest form of meditation. This is verified in Bhagavad-gita (12.2): “The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: ‘He whose mind is fixed on my personal form, always engaged in worshiping me with great and transcendental faith, is considered by me to be the most perfect.’”
Herein, we can understand that realizing the absolute truth in the form of the Supreme Person is much easier and much more attractive than struggling to merge into the great white light of the brahmajyoti. By understanding the Supreme Personality, all other aspects of the Absolute, such as the Brahman effulgence and Paramatma or Supersoul, are also understood. In fact, those who are absorbed in Brahman realization can easily become attracted to understanding the Supreme personality as did such sages as Sukadeva Gosvami and the Kumaras as noted in Srimad-Bhagavatam
Gaurangasundar das is IskconInc Communication Director and SM IT head
CONTENTMENT BRINGS MANY REWARDS
We see a lot of people who have everything they need or want. However, contentment eludes them!
Contentment is a virtue that is often misunderstood. It is erroneously assumed to be passivity, laziness or something meant for spiritual people or those with low levels of motivation or few skills to succeed in life. In reality, contentment is not passivity, complacency or a false sense of peace.
Contentment is being mentally or emotionally satisfied, both within and without, with circumstances as they are. It is a willingness to accept circumstances, whatever they might be.
This attitude creates positive feelings of peace, calm, and happiness. In everyday life, a contented person is focused on the work at hand, and is relaxed. A contented state of mind produces faith in the self and self-respect, and gives us the conviction that all will be well, no matter what. As a result, our efficiency improves. A discontented person tends to fret over trifles. They may reach their goals; however, given their unsettled state of mind, they end up expending more energy to achieve their results.
Developing contentment takes practice. There might be aspects of my life that are wanting. Instead of brooding on the perceived lacunae, I can reflect on, appreciate, and further develop what I have. In this way I can create and sustain feelings of contentment and joy. This will enhance the quality of my thoughts, relationships, and work, and help me recognise that contentment is independent of my circumstances.
We see a lot of people who have everything they need or want. However, contentment eludes them; they lack inner peace and happiness. Some of the factors that stop us from being content are:
Comparing myself with others: No matter how successful I am, there will always be someone who has more than me. It could be more wealth, a better personality, more friends, or a vibrant social life. Forgetting that there will always be someone better off than me in some respect gives rise to envy. Constant thoughts of ‘why does he have more’ or other versions of this generate subtle, negative feelings of jealousy, resentment or dislike. In some cases, lack of contentment can make me submissive to others, which can be quite damaging to my self-respect. Parents never experience discomfort over the successes and good fortune of their children. Why? Because of love. The more I appreciate others, the easier it is for me to avoid envy.
Complaining about the self: Pessimism about the self will not let me grow. We do not need to look far to find someone worse off than us. But we seldom give much thought to all that we are blessed with. Having gratitude for all the things I have, helps to foster within me love for God and the recognition that I need to be more considerate towards those who are less fortunate than me.
It is said that the poorest man in the world is the one who has more than he needs, but feels that it is not enough. Material attainments do not bring lasting satisfaction. As soon as one desire is fulfilled, another is on its way. Learning to be happy with my circumstances even, as I work towards something better, ensures that no matter how long it takes to reach my goals, I enjoy who I am and what I have. It also saves me from greed, which can tempt me to use the wrong means to get what I want.
Practising contentment brings many other virtues. I become more patient, tolerant, sweet, and graceful. I am also able to face challenges with fortitude, adjust to different kinds of people and situations, and accept failures.
Contented souls are also a source of subtle support for others. Such are their vibrations that they can lift the spirits of a gloomy person just by their presence.
Regular practice of meditation, wherein I look within and recognise what I, the soul, really need, enables me to find and hold my contentment as a precious possession.
B.K. Geeta is a Rajyoga teacher at the Brahma Kumaris headquarters in Abu Road, Rajasthan.
KEEPING THE INNER LIGHT BRIGHT
We have to think about how we can focus on and be instrumental for our own transformation. To think about the transformation of others is a waste of time. Remember, “When I change, the world changes.”
Transformation comes from keeping God’s company. He is not only the Supreme Soul; He is my Father, Teacher, Friend, Guide. Keeping His company brings transformation in the self. I must not waste my time getting caught up in concerns about the body, other people or anything of the world. Let me be free from any kind of tension and pay attention to staying connected to God’s light. The inner strength and power I receive brings transformation within. Seeing my transformation, others will have love for me.
Well-being is a skill. It needs cultivating. Get into the habit of exercising your mind in order to keep it healthy. Everything, which means everything, in our life begins with our thoughts. Every thought creates vibrations. Vibrations are like sound waves; no obstacles can stop their radiation. To exercise the mind means creating a pure, positive thought and holding stable that feeling and thought. This means if I need peace, I can emerge and concentrate on that thought and feel the light of peace within for however long I want. This daily practice prepares one to deal with difficult times.
Get into the intermittent daily habit of simply closing your eyes and taking 10 deep breaths. Look within and increase your awareness the capacity to know what your mind is doing. Stop now and then for a moment to practise and become aware of the quality of your thoughts. Check and change them when necessary. Daily, consciously choose the quality of your thoughts accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative and throw away the waste. As is my thinking, so are my actions and experiences in life. Value what you have regardless of how little it may seem to you. Count your blessings. Who knows how long you will have them!
Each day, create and nurture good vibrations within and silently touch everyone with your bright inner light. We have received a very clear path. I simply have to walk on this path I see in my mind and show it to others. When we do this, like the sun shining and diminishing the fog, the darkness of ignorance in the world will be dispelled.
Chirya Yvonne Risely is a Rajyoga meditation teacher based at the Brahma Kumaris Peace Village Retreat Center, USA.
Meditation that can transform the self and the world
Regular practice of meditation has been shown to have several health benefits, including a healthier heart rate, improved blood pressure, drop in cholesterol levels, and stronger immunity.
Meditation is practised by many people as a means of relaxation, an aid to developing mental focus, for experiencing peace of mind or getting relief from stress or pain.
Regular practice of meditation has been shown to have several health benefits, including a healthier heart rate, improved blood pressure, a drop in cholesterol levels, stronger immunity and a slowdown in the ageing process.
Scientists have not yet clearly understood how exactly meditation leads to better health, but stress reduction appears to be the key to this, since stress contributes to most of the modern killer diseases.
Apart from reducing anxiety and stress, meditation has been observed to have other psychological benefits. These include lower irritability and moodiness, better memory and learning ability, and greater emotional stability.
The above are the better-known effects of meditation. But its practice can bring greater rewards in the form of freedom from harmful habits and tendencies and spiritual empowerment that enables one to lead a happy life.
Many people inflict suffering on themselves, knowingly or otherwise, because of their shortcomings, peculiar ways of thinking, and behaviour. While some do not even realise that their habits are doing them harm, others, who are aware of their weaknesses, struggle to remove them.
The reason some negative traits seem difficult at times impossible to remove is that they are deeply entrenched in the soul.
The soul contains a complete record of all its experiences thoughts, feelings, actions and interactions. Experiences from past lives, stored in the unconscious mind, are often manifested in the form of dreams, feelings, phobias, desires or habits. These influence our thinking and behaviour without our knowing it.
When introspection reveals that the fault lies within, we start making effort to change. The change has to be very deep, within the soul, for it to be complete and lasting. If anger is deep-rooted in us, merely trying to be pleasant is not going to work. We may be able to camouflage anger and put on a smile, but inside we will not feel good. Anger suppressed for an extended period puts pressure on the mind and will force its way out in unexpected and unpleasant ways.
To be free from anger we have to remove its roots in the soul. The only way to do this is meditation, particularly Rajyoga meditation.
In Rajyoga, we first remember our true identity that we are an originally pure, peaceful, powerful soul and then connect with the Supreme Soul. The process of going within and experiencing oneself as a spiritual being or soul helps us rediscover and use our innate qualities of love, peace, purity and truth. The mental link with the Supreme Source of energy empowers us, as virtues and powers flow into the soul, making it richer and stronger.
Meditating in this way is akin to lighting a fire in the soul that gradually burns away the unwanted things that have accumulated there unhappy memories, bad feelings, and damaging habits. Some of these are strongly bonded to the soul, like alloy in gold. Just as one needs to put gold in fire to purify it, intense meditation is needed to remove deep-seated impurities from the soul.
Such meditation is often called volcanic meditation, in reference to volcanoes, whose heat and power can melt rocks. The power of a volcano lies within it. Similarly, volcanic meditation is all about internal awareness.
For practising volcanic yoga, we first need to become introspective and free the mind from negative and unnecessary thoughts. Being habitually critical of others, having an inflated ego, being oversensitive, inability to accept one’s weaknesses – all these lead to wasteful and negative thinking, which consume our time and mental energy.
Introspection and the practice of seeing oneself as a soul makes us focused. When we focus the mind on the positive qualities of the soul or on the Supreme Soul and immerse ourselves in experiencing that quality, be it peace, love, purity or power, the soul begins to fill with it. The intensity of the experience is often described as a fire. When the fire of love for God is ignited in the soul, it destroys all its weaknesses. This is how volcanic meditation brings about lasting self-transformation.
Practice of powerful meditation can be made easier by cultivating good thoughts. This makes the mind calmer, lighter, and stronger. The company of those who have a positive outlook also helps. It provides us support and shields us from negative influences that trigger thoughts and feelings which prevent us from having any deep, powerful and transformative experiences in meditation. Such company is needed until we become powerful enough to be unaffected by negativity.
Volcanic yoga brings power in many forms, such as purity, love, peace, and tolerance. Some souls are rich in a virtue or power but are unaware of it and therefore do not use it for their own good or to benefit others. They are like dormant volcanoes that do not show any sign of activity.
The really strong souls are like an active volcano that can transform its surroundings. These yogis uplift not only themselves but also those who come in contact with them. Peace, truth, purity, and love radiate from them, leaving a deep impression on others. They become instrumental in changing the lives of many. We can do the same by becoming embodiments of power and virtues through volcanic meditation.
B.K. Brijmohan is Additional Secretary General of the Brahma Kumaris.
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