Mantra Meditation: Myth or Magic?

“Aum Tat Sat”

— the Bhagvad Gita

Usually, the idea of repeating a word or a sound for a designated number of times does not appeal to many people. A prevalent misconception is that a word or a syllable, a line or even a poem, song, hymn, or prayer from sacred scripture can only be revered so much; really, how can its mere repetition leave the seeker with inner peace or calm? It could bolster one’s faith but repetition of a hymn or chant or a prayer from scripture cannot possibly guarantee inner tranquility.  This is exactly where mantra meditation is misunderstood. A mantra as it means in Sanskrit is a sound so potent in its very semantic and phoneme that it can create transformation. Literally, the word mantra in Sanskrit is a composite of “ma” as in manas which means one’s mind or soul or consciousness and “tra” as in trayate which means to set free. In other words, the word mantra refers to the sound or word or prayer that liberates the mind or consciousness of an individual. But how does this mysterious and grandiose process happen?

In the practice of Hindu scripture, entire chunks of sacred texts are collectively referred to as mantra. But I believe that any word or sound that is sacred to an individual has the potency to liberate him or her from their existing bound, material circumstances and catapult them into the realm of spiritual freedom, expansiveness and therefore spiritual empowerment.  That is because the sound or the word derives its transformational power from the spiritual energy that is embedded in it. Of course, such a reductive interpretation of a mantra seems to suggest that all sounds or words however commonplace can render inner calm. It is in fact just what ardent spiritual seekers need to remember. Sacred syllables like the “Om” or “Aum” in Hindu scripture and others from scriptures of other world religions carry with them the weight of historical, cultural, religious, and scriptural sanction. Yet that is not only why they “feel” and “sound” powerful. Scripture reminds us that our cultural consciousness has been mapped to revere its sounds and narratives from as early on as in the womb. So sounds from scriptures bear on them an indelible emblem of our inherent faith and deep-seated reverence. No matter how little one’s birth or upbringing has to do with a religious institution or organization, I firmly contend that reverence for religion is embedded somewhere in some manner within our cultural consciousness. Even though one may practice little religion or concern oneself with no religious artifact or literature, yet the sense of “awe” is always there. This sense of a mysterious “awe” might stem either from a total ignorance of one’s religious beliefs and moorings or from a complete intellectual immersion in one’s religion and its intricate connections to one’s identity, and community. Regardless, the deep sense of “awe”, whether it takes the form of reverence, or veneration, or worship, or even fear, is inextricably embossed into one’s cultural consciousness that its power might often come as a shock if left unexplored especially for a long time. It is this deep-seated, often unexplored reverence that mantra meditation draws its appeal and power from.

The potency of this form of meditation is grossly underestimated, even from a practical standpoint. Repeating a sound enables the mind to concentrate primarily on the sound and eventually what the sound means to the individual repeating it. For instance, the word “Om” is used in all Hindu ritualistic practice–is pronounced as “Aum”– is an intonation made up of three syllables and phonemes “A” called akar in Sanskrit; “U” called ukaar and “Ma” called “makaar”. The term “Akar” refers to the finite world of shapes such as planets, earth, plants, creatures and so on; the term ukar   refers to the world of the shapeless such as water, ether, space, fire, sky and so on; “makaar”  refers to the world of energy between that of the shapes and the shapeless that can only be experienced but not seen. All three syllables when combined together by their sounds and embedded meanings produce the primordial intonation of “Aum” which when chanted resonates so powerfully through the entire being of the individual that it marks its spot on his or her soul. As an ardent and proud believer of Hinduism, I can relate to the power of “Aum” meditation. But even non-believers can leverage the power of a mantra such as “Aum” or any such sacred chant connected to another religious practice-faith by simply willing and believing in its potential to liberate one from their existing circumstances and elevate them into a state of spiritual anchor, calm, and eventually power.  A poignant fact to note …this is the sort of power that never corrupts. 🙂

Mantra meditation does not require the seeker to find a sacred spot like a prayer room or a space in a church, or mosque or synagogue or temple. We exist because of our consciousness; in fact an entire human life may be encompassed within a series of experiences that seem to come together as pixels to form a mosaic: the individual’s consciousness. So when the individual passes on, all that is left are “memories” of one’s interaction with him or her, which are byproducts of the individual’s consciousness. So as long as one can maintain a psyche that is clean, unsullied by worries, ego-struggles, fantasies of power, sexual fantasies, personal complexes of superiority or inferiority, even if for a few fleeting moments, one’s location is hardly of consequence. Interestingly, those few quiet moments are the only sacred moments one needs for a mantra chant. When the mind is quiet the individual may be considered prepped and predisposed for meditation! :)) In those few calm moments, one can choose a sound, a few verses or a hymn of sacred, or religious, or even cultural value relative to oneself, chant it, and gradually start to experience inner peace. The idea of chanting might allude to the practice of ritualistic engagement where sounds or hymns are repeated aloud to lure individuals to form a cult. It is in fact far from it. Chanting can be done by repeating a sacred prayer or hymn or sound quietly in one’s mind simultaneously focusing on what it “stands for” in the individual’s moral-spiritual universe.  By focusing, reflecting and finally attaching one’s consciousness to all that a sacred sound or prayer stands for the seeker begins to anchor his or her mind (manas) in the realm of spiritual reflection, then soul expansiveness, and eventually spiritual power. This kind of power is liberating because now all that one has to do when thwarted by impossible, seemingly self-defeating circumstances is to embrace a spiritual demeanor so profuse that it secures one in a  cloak of conviction… that one’s seemingly immutable circumstances can and will be surmounted. The conviction that one is not an ordinary, hapless being but the indestructible, Divine, Immortal Self that can achieve anything is reinforced.  Further, a feeling of detachment from one’s binding, overwhelming circumstances emerges. In other words, the awareness that I am Divine and not subject to the limitations of my body that experiences pain, pleasure, success, failure, glory or ignominy sets in. By chanting a mantra that is sacred to one in a sense, the mantra’s etymological, semantic, cultural, and religious sanctity are juxtaposed onto the individual’s consciousness. Thus over time, the individual accrues and experiences spiritual power, and tranquility.

So mantra meditation is not for the faint of heart; rather it is for the one with a robust faith in one’s own will to survive and thrive. It is for the one with a strong will that can lend itself to the power of sacred sounds, absorb them and renew itself from that experience. Consequently, mantra meditation may be practiced with a quiet mind anywhere and at any time the seeker is “ready” for a transformation so powerful that he or she will emerge feeling invincible. This feeling of invulnerability is completely antagonistic to the worldly sense of insuperability. The former empowers the individual making him or her a world citizen and a friend, well-wisher of everyone; the latter while emboldens yet weakens the individual sequestering him or her into an egotistical warp where everyone is to be used for one individual’s manifestation of a self-fulfilling prophecy:  victory, success, fame, wealth and so on…the list is usually endless.

In this context I am reminded of Samuel Beckett’s play, Waiting for Godot. The spiritual seeker need not wait for his or her Godot because mantra meditation promises to deliver one from such a daunting quest into a world of possibilities. When this state of realization is achieved, and the affirmation in one’s Divinity is embraced then every intent is suffused with Divine agency, manifestation and fulfillment. As a result, the idea of a wait is over.  Isn’t it then ironical that the moment we are enveloped by a divine sense of “possibility”, our hitherto ardent wait … for our Godot (desires, our success…) just evaporates?  Mantra meditation promises to dissolve this irony by reminding us that we are “That Divine Force” that can achieve anything, surmount any challenge and ultimately experience a universal belonging too powerful yet too subtle to be thwarted.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  (King James Version, John 1:1)

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Transcendental Meditation

“It is a denial of the divinity within us to doubt our potential and our possibilities.” James. E. Faust

I often browse through online and offline employment ads just to get a sense of the market in my career field and the economy in general.  Each time it never ceases to amaze me that almost every job-vocation requires a specific qualification or skill set, except one: that of being a motivational healer. There are several titles for this practice–life lessons coach, self-enrichment guide, self-help author, motivational speaker and so forth. Regardless, the only qualifications that all of these titles signal are a commitment to introspection and unswerving faith in the divinity of humanity. That in itself seems magical to me–one can share experiences that touch all of humanity and then offer precious advice based on that gamut of experiences to help a fellow human being better cruise through life’s calm and storm. What an amazing and humbling preoccupation!!

This is not to say that great thinkers and self-help authors like Louise Hay, Dr. Dyer are common place in our society. In fact they have left all of humanity such a precious legacy that generations to come are likely to be uplifted.  Yet isn’t it extraordinary that it is not the acute academic inquiries, the daunting research, or even the fancy degrees that provoke us to look within, seek answers to profound questions concerning the human experience?  A simple child-like faith in the divinity of the human experience or in the triumph of the human will can in itself suffuse one with profound wisdom and knowledge. This humbling thought validates the practice of meditation because anyone willing to look within is on the threshold of a miraculous journey into their subconscious to discover their vast strength, infinite potential and eventually their divine origin.

As a young, copy editor of a tech publication in the late nineties, I was so driven and career-oriented, that I hardly stopped to think about how stressful my work was. I was already practicing jyothi meditation and felt rejuvenated every single day; so my enthusiasm for my job was 100% and its high pressure or continuous stress were, to me, just another facet. When the corporate headquarters of my company sent us on an enrichment retreat in which a new form of meditation called “Transcendental Meditation”, or “TM” was introduced, I did not take it seriously. I actually thought it was a waste of time and resources. Little did I know that I was about to stumble upon a sweeping realization—meditation is the sole key to unlocking our infinite energy. Our ability to think and look within is alone enough to maintain, sustain, nourish, nurture and expand our energy. From ancient times, the ingenuity of the human will, agency and the fertility of human energy have manifested in several edifices of genius. No matter how meditation is practiced, it alone can unravel the ultimate truth of our existence: every life is meant to succeed.  His Holiness, Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baba declared, “No Life is a Failure; it is simply not in the Divine plan for any life to be a failure.”.

At the employee enrichment retreat, TM was presented as an amazing stress buster and a new phenomenon sweeping the business world allowing corporations to maximize their employees’ potential and quality of work. However, it was only after many years that I began seriously considering the place and value of TM and began its practice. It is a lucid form of meditation that comforts and invigorates by encouraging the individual to let go of their thoughts and let their mind roam free to gradually experience the peace within. While meditation as a practice is fundamentally a spiritual practice not a religious one, the believer in many of us will easily marry spiritual awareness with profound religiosity. This partnership is crucial for so many of us because at the deepest level, it validates our agency and experience as a member of our community, society, country and ultimately the human race. TM is increasingly popular because both believers and non-believers can practice this without ever engaging with any religious faith or custom or tradition or ritual or artifact. TM is moored in the premise that the human experience is a rich, profound one that offers precious wisdom and peace in the very manner it unfolds through one’s life. In this subliminal sense TM is often divorced, if you will, from any religious faith or practice.

TM only requires that we spend a few minutes each day –ten to twenty minutes at the start of the day closing our eyes, comporting our physical posture as well as mental disposition into a state of ease. Whether we are seated at a study table, dining table, living room couch or a yoga-meditation mat, TM only requires our ability to let go, of our mind, and as a result, of our thoughts, and the long train of things that our thoughts carry: fear, anxiety, worry, happiness, sorrow et al.

In other words, TM asks for an unconditional surrender of our mind letting it unbuckle itself from our immediate or long-term preoccupations and hover freely. Of course, initially, we will find that often our mind travels to a past moment or situation of intense worry or anxiety or even an upcoming experience of enormous significance to us; next it will likely travel to the less worrisome situations, then to comfortable realms of our subconscious, and lastly or seldom to happy realms. The path that our mind takes during this process is directly proportional to the amount of stress we are exposed to in our daily lives. But beyond the realm of happy thoughts is another realm of our subconscious which is filled with “nothingness”. Upon reaching this realm, our mind becomes increasingly conscious of our Self, realizing that firstly, we are not the body we inhabit, we are not the mind we identify with, but we are the Spirit—eternal and free to travel anywhere, and remain anywhere. We increasingly become conscious of and identify with the Spirit that lives within our physical body, but need not be subject to its limitations. TM offers this gift of epochal and eternal realization through one simple step: letting our mind “go”.

Once we open our eyes, we are bound to feel rejuvenated and abundant with a “can-do” sensibility because we have traveled the farthest limits of our being to discover our true identity. This awareness transforms our outlook on all aspects of life thereby empowering us with knowledge that is devoid of ego. In the Bhagwad Gita—a canonical Hindu holy text—Lord Krishna declared that Knowledge without ego is the most powerful kind because it can render the individual invincible. Why? That’s because when the ego is removed, the attachment to the consequences of action is also removed. All that remains is Pure Action that is potent, powerful and always successful.

Through the daily practice of TM, we will notice that our mind becomes increasingly accustomed to free travel, reduces its hovering between anxious and happy realms of our subconscious and simply reaches the state of pure nothingness where our unsullied, beautiful, sacred and eternal spirit resides. Initially, this may sound too easy and lucid to be true, even impossible. Unfortunately, we are conditioned daily through popular media to think that successful people grapple with stress head-on and thwart it out of their routine, using their ego. Individuals who often escape from stressful situations or experiences to think “happy” thoughts and indulge in harmless, healthful pleasure-rendering pursuits like listening to music, enrolling in a physical fitness program, or visiting a spa are stereotyped to be weaklings. It is actually the contrary. While handling stress in our work or in life head-on is admirable, doing so smartly often guarantees more success than simply bulldozing it using our ego. This realization has dawned in a big way only in the last decade, what with yoga centers and meditation retreats sprouting around every major city’s downtown and other heavily populated, often “hip” suburban neighborhoods.

So whether TM is sought for spiritual enrichment, professional success, or therapeutic purposes, it is a lucid practice that promises enormous well being. As the name alludes, it enables one to transcend one’s place in life by simply consenting to surrender control and setting one’s mind free so it can return to its omnipotent source, namely, the Spirit.

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” – Jalal ad-Din Rumi, 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic.

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Jyothi Meditation

 

jyothi

“Asatoma Sadgamaya
Thamaso Maa Jyothir Gamaya
Mrithyor Maa Amrutham Gamaya
Aum Shanti Shanti Shantihi”

– BrihadaranyakaUpanishad (1.3.28)

Meaning: Lead me from the unreal to the real.
Lead me from darkness to light.
Lead me from death to immortality.
May there be peace everywhere.

In the last few decades it has become amply clear that there is an energy field associated with the human body and it is referred to in scientific and medical research as biomagnetism. Many experiments and innovations have been based off of this concept and today, the biomagnetic field associated with an individual can be precisely measured. Undoubtedly, a human body is able to generate this field or aura around it due to the presence of a spirit within it. Further, it is this energy field that holistic healers and spiritual leaders often focus on to remind us that each of us is primarily a spiritual being. Renowned scholar, holistic healer and in my opinion, one of the kind and compassionate thinkers of our time, Dr. Wayne Dyer also affirms this fact in many of his writings; to quote Dr. Dyer, “We are not human beings in search of a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings immersed in a human experience.”

Meditation amplifies this fact exponentially. Every time we focus on our spirit, we focus on our energy source. Since we are primarily an energy field with which light can and is associated, we find it easy to focus an external energy form such as a ray of light from a candle or a lamp. Most psychics believe that each individual emanates light energy that they refer to as the aura around a person. In many ways, when we focus on a light source outside of us, we are simply reminding ourselves of our original identity—an energy field emitting light waves of a higher frequency which cannot be detected by the human eye—and extending it to the external light source. That is the “jyothi” or light from the candle or a lamp. This is the founding principle of Jyothi meditation.  As perfect packets of spiritual energy, we can easily trace our true affiliation to light in and through this form of meditation. All it requires is our unwavering faith in its potential to transform and meticulous practice of its technique.

The first step in jyothi meditation is to focus on the flame from a candle or lamp. The next step is to pay close attention to the exact moment when our eyes flicker, even if for a nano second. When that happens, then it is time to close our eyes and imbibe the image of the flame in our mind’s eye and embark on this beautiful journey. As we focus on this image of the flame more and more, we can begin feeling its warmth. At this point, believers are welcome to imagine this flame as the light from God (however one addresses this Spiritual Power) or that of God or both. It has been my experience that at this point, one is suffused with an expansive sense of warmth, weightlessness, and pure joy. This feeling is so powerful that the question of whether one is a believer or not ceases to matter—all that remains is an overpowering sense of being a source of that same light that we first looked at with our human eye and then imagined-experienced in our mind’s eye. This image of the beam of light in our consciousness now becomes a conduit to radiate our positive, good, noble, and happy thoughts-vibrations out into our world.

Next we imagine and project into our consciousness this warm, beam of light spreading and covering our entire body, then spreading all across the physical space around us, then to the neighboring physical spaces such as adjacent rooms, corridors, flights of stairs, and gradually the entire building within which we first began this journey. From this point, our role burgeons to that of a lamp, if you will, that  illuminates, every corner, turnstile, passageway, room, building, street, neighborhood, city, state, country, continent, planet…that we can bring to memory and embrace in and through our consciousness. In other words, we spread this beam of jyothi or light from within our being through our imagination and consciousness into the world around us as a cleansing, comforting, nurturing, and empowering force. We send out our positive, noble vibrations into our universe and become One with it. Suffice to say that our physical being or its appearance is no longer significant. We are a Universal Spirit sending out beams of positive consciousness, inherent goodness and divine energy through our jyothi out into our world to envelop and embrace every single thing, both animate and inanimate.

At this point, we are suffused with an inexplicable sense of contentment, joy and selflessness. When we reach this point, it is time to make the journey back into our physical state. So very gently, we focus our consciousness to retreat the beam of light illuminating our universe toward ourselves by retracing our journey’s path, object by object. So if we projected into our consciousness our entire planet being illuminated by this warm, beautiful jyothi from us, then we begin retreating from there: planet earth, to the country we live in, to the state we live in, to the city we live in, to our neighborhood, to our street, to our home, to our room and finally to the exact spot where we are seated in meditation. I have always found popular media and technology very useful in this context—whenever I have trouble projecting a particular place or geographical region as a point of illumination into my consciousness, I recall images of it I have seen in the past on TV, on the Internet, read in newspapers, magazines and so on.

Just as the ocean is contained in every drop of water and each drop diligently joins with the next to ultimately form it, so does every glimmer, ray of light contain the power to brighten the entire universe. Each time we practice jyothi meditation, we exponentially increase our spiritual energy that will manifest into strong, powerful beams of light energy we can radiate into our universe. I was first introduced to this form of meditation at a “Spiritual Awareness for Today’s Youth and Tomorrow’s Leaders” camp that I attended when I was fifteen years old. I am filled with gratitude, to my Spiritual Teacher–His Holiness Bhagavan Sathya Sai Baba for having taught and spread this precious message, to my parents who let me attend this camp (because the camp site was far away from home), and to all the elders-volunteers who worked hard to make this camp possible for us. I cannot begin to narrate the benefits from this form of meditation, that made my teen years and early youth periods of academic, personal and eventually professional success. When I talk to friends, most people recall their high school years as a time of confusion or a time of ardent search for their talent, their niche, and for social, filial, personal and professional cohesion. I can say without doubt and with immense gratitude that I cruised my teen years with a strong sense of purpose, self, and direction. I am forever humbled by this experience and continue to experience the healing, empowering and transforming effects of this form of meditation.

I have wanted to and hope have portrayed at least a glimpse of the spiritual wealth I accrue through this form  of meditation and urge you to try it. The sense of calm, peace and joy that you will be left with can and will transform your lives! 🙂 So this holiday season whether we light up our menorrah, or our candles or our diyas, let us remember that we are One with that beam of light and illuminate our hearts and our worlds with abundant spiritual wealth.

“And God said, “Let there be light.” and there was light.” (King James Version, Book of Genesis 1:3)

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In Memoriam: No Ripples on Still Water

For Vini (1970-2011)

Have you ever tried to define “calm” or tried to explain sufficiently what “being calm” is all about? I have often found this very difficult and no matter how much I try, I cannot seem to do it without animating my definition-explanation with hand gestures and facial expressions. That got me thinking because each time I did, I noticed how it almost always related to or at least alluded to taking deep breaths, closing one’s eyes and becoming acutely aware of one’s inner state—that is exactly what meditation is all about. I have been circling this deep connection between being calm and meditating for so long now, that it not only delayed posting this blog, but jolted me into a grand light-bulb moment: being calm is  meditating!

There is no overstating the profoundness of being calm—of course when stuck in traffic with bad drivers or in situations with unreasonable people, being calm seems anything but possible. But the critical difference that meditation makes to your disposition is it persuades you to denounce fretting, asking the “why-me”, “why-now” questions, or succumbing to any form of anger. As intimidating as life can be many a time, one can choose not to succumb to that critical moment, transcend the vulnerability it provokes with a positive attitude. An individual with such an attitude might usually, respond to stressful, daunting situations by asserting mentally, “I have the choice to calmly separate the necessary emotions from the unnecessary ones in this situation and focus only on what is important—my choice to act or respond in a rational way”.

There is a pretty fancy term for the control one wields over one’s emotions: Emotion Quotient or EQ. It is simply the shrewd management of one’s emotions in any given situation, often to offer productive solutions. An individual with a high EQ usually becomes more a part of the solution to a crisis than that of the crisis itself. Whether we refer to the deft management of emotions as EQ or not, the ability to do it stems from a calm inner disposition which can only be acquired by meditating.

In fact the benefits that accrue from daily meditation permeate myriad areas of one’s life: physiological, emotional, moral, psychological, spiritual, social, professional, and so on…; the list is long and endless. In my next post, I will discuss the technique and effects of a form of meditation that I was introduced to when I was 15 years old. It is called  Jyothi  Meditation.  Until then, do continue with whatever form of meditation  or calmness you practise. At the heart of it, all that meditation requires is you remain in fellowship with your true self: a divine entity.

An Excerpt from the Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference….

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The Mirror Within

“Mirror, mirror in my heart, who is the happiest of them all…?”

A doggedly persistent allergy-infection knocked me out for the better part of the last three weeks. That put everything, including publishing this post, on the back burner. However the miraculous shift that I’ve seen during this time period is how I dealt with all of it. Additionally, I received unsettling news of my mother’s illness. I had spoken to her not less than a week ago when everything was fine; she is in fact one of the more healthy people in the family. Being what I call a “native worrier”, I would have completely lost my marbles, in my pre-meditation days, that is. Especially the fact that I live 23 hours away from my parents (half way around the world) could not help the situation, much. But thanks to a form of meditation I now practice called Alpha Meditation, not only was I calm internally, but for the first time did not worry. I simply let go and prayed. I have always prayed and continued to even during this time while telling myself that everything would be fine; I would receive Grace and Guidance from above to deal with the situation, should anything happen. More importantly, mother is now on the path to recovery and I know I will have a chance to go see her, spend time with her, my father and they will enjoy all the cute and profound moments with their grandchildren. I have never felt this degree of calmness,  or acceptance, or hope, or conviction in my beliefs ever before.

We live in a culture where taking charge is celebrated, without realizing that it is narrow and debilitating. Taking charge is also seen as a source of immense joy and pride. Solving problems, resolving crises, bringing closure to difficult experiences and finding answers will all surely offer happiness, but just for a brief juncture. How many of us stop to think and notice that this kind of happiness is fleeting? All it will take is for the next difficult question to pop, or challenge to lurk around the corner to send us worrying and stressing back to the batting cage. Getting the ball out of the park seems to be a regularly demanded and celebrated skill. For most of us, the core of our agency revolves around wondering if we have “it” in us to get the ball out of the park, every single time. Are there second chances? And of course, asking the million-dollar question—is it okay to fail to do it? Needless to say, there is way too much emphasis on succeeding; it is also synonymous with being happy. The alternative is an abysmal depression fueled by a sense of failure.

Meditation helps us escape this paradox completely by teaching us to accept, and thereby transcend our debacles—what so many spiritual thinkers and writers of our time have called as “letting go and letting God”. For the nonbelievers amongst us, meditation has an even more slick solution: let go of the situation; take charge of your attitude toward it by remembering that all experiences of life are transient. While there may be many theories on the afterlife, meditation reminds that only the “now” matters—while one is “here” one may celebrate life by calmly welcoming all of its colors. Accepting a challenge and focusing only on the present moment enables us to take charge of everything, spiritually. Immediately, we are embraced by a sense of calm. A calm mind can produce more solutions or methods to cope with a challenge than a stressed one driven by pure ego. The second we surrender our inner urge to control everything, we begin to attract ways to solve, succeed and surmount our difficulties. That is the priceless outcome of steady meditation. Of course, for believers there is no greater joy than letting God take the reins—all it takes is a steady practice of faith in a Higher Wisdom and Power.

By simply introspecting for a few minutes each day, we clear our mind, let go of the wheel and accept the rest of the ride called “our life” no matter how smooth or bumpy. Meditation teaches us to enjoy the moment, and exude happiness of a quality and magnitude unparalleled. We might rise and shine without the slightest cynicism about it or the reservation about how the day may unfold. Every day can be a blessing, and every moment a celebration: a celebration of who we are, where we are in our lives and how we may be a source of strength and joy to all around us. We are constantly reminded of our inherent divinity and that by  merely accepting, tolerating we can transcend and transform our lives. We learn that we are not an organic sum of our achievements. We are a stream of divine consciousness, divine energy and so we are all the same internally, spiritually. We belong to a divine creative force, are its embodiments and ultimately return to it. We are not this body, but the eternal spirit. That is also why meditation leaves us with inexplicable joy—we focus on our spirit when we meditate and are reminded of our divine origin which is an abode of ineffable peace, calm and happiness.

“Out of bliss these beings are born, in bliss they are sustained, and to bliss they go and merge again.”
— Taittirya Upanishad, 3.6.1

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The Mirror Within

“Meditation is not a search, it’s not a seeking, a probing, an exploration. It is an explosion and discovery….” —J. Krishnamurti, The Only Revolution, Victor Gollancz: London, 1970, p. 40

Most people think that meditation should only be taken up when thwarted by life’s curve balls, and steeped in depression. While that is true, it is not the entire truth. Meditation is the richest and most potent therapeutic solution there is. Sure enough, when overwhelmed by disappointments and stress, meditation offers the most healthy and rewarding recourse. However, there is a more urgent need to consider meditation even when everything in our life seems smooth and normal. It is to live each day wrapped in complete happiness and contentment.

Meditation is as much for the successful, happy, healthy, vibrant, vivacious and accomplished individual as it is for the despondent one. I have to come find that this is a lesser known idea or at least a less accepted one.

In social circles, whenever I bring up the subject I get looks of genuine sympathy. It becomes hard to get a word in edgewise and convince my well-meaning friends, that “everything is okay; I am fine”. In fact I yearn to tell them how things are 200% better when I meditate.

That yearning to share the enormous spiritual wealth I reap each passing day and will continue to as long as I have a few quiet minutes to look within… spurred this blog.

As a busy mum and homemaker, my happiness is often measured in compartments and life itself divided into many little segments. I can feel so many of you moms reading this and nodding, chuckling in agreement! Whenever my kindergartner does well in a class or learns a new, or a difficult word, or my toddler recognizes a new color or shape that makes me as happy as does trying out a new recipe for dinner, being wowed for it or celebrating a milestone in marriage! 🙂 For so many of us happiness stems from both the little and big moments of life. But continuous practice of meditation promises a different kind and level of happiness–one that transcends all the moments of life. The simple act of waking up in the morning to smell the coffee (even if you’re the one making it) can be an act of joy!

Meditation awakens our conscience mirroring our thoughts, conduct, and personality for our own review. We reach such a high level of alertness that the “here” and “now” of life are the only moments that matter. That is in itself empowering because worries of tomorrow that consume and debilitate so much of our potential just evaporate into thin air!

Demystifying our muddled minds after a typical day of wading through stress, only to evaluate our thoughts and groom our minds can be a daunting process. By spending a few minutes in solemn contemplation and traveling the far corners of our mind, we can easily preserve the valuable thoughts and memories while weeding out the wasteful worries. What we’re left with at the end of this exercise is a profound sense, of clarity, of achievement and, of being in control.

At the same time, meditation is so much more than just gaining control of our thoughts, our persona or our life. In the coming weeks, I will discuss the many advantages one is privileged to enjoy, chief among which is unparalleled happiness. So go ahead, take a few minutes to quieten down and simply listen to the sound of your breath. You’ll be surprised to discover the beautiful symphony inside you that you’ve been missing all along!!

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