Welcome aboard the ship of Heartfulness guys, today we are sailing into the open seas to try and figure out some of the deeper meanings of life. Then we shall have the power to control and align the universe along with everything that exists! Just kidding. We will be trying something far more practical and feasible - 10 minute meditation which forms the elixir of our inspiration. Say goodbye to your daily toxins of stress, depression and anxiety. We at BhaiFi have strived to nurture a culture of Heartfulness, by practicing 10 minute meditation daily, and regardless of mine having to say this, the harvests have been bountiful.
Coming back to the true course of the ship, I do hope you are aware and have generally avoided inquisitive thoughts suggestive of:
What exactly is existence all about?
What is the purpose of the Universe?
Why does everything happen the way it does?
And endless other questions that have been occupying the minds of great philosophers, thinkers and theorists since the very advent of humanity.
“A Human being is undoubtedly nature at its best.”
What differentiates us from the rest of the animals, is the ability to control ourselves and commit ourselves to a form. We have been curious, we have researched and we have made our lives much more comfortable than that of our ancestors. With the streamlining of relative comfort, things started to settle down- as in when the acute hand to tooth to nail fight to survive was over, the human started to look at deeper perspectives of existence, both for self and for others. It was only then that we were able to hop upon the concepts of Mindfulness and Heartfulness.
“How did the rose ever open its heart and give to this world all its beauty? It felt the encouragement of light against its being otherwise; we all remain too frightened.”
So the question is, what is Heartfulness and What is Mindfulness ? We shall be attempting to define either here itself.
One possible definition is that heartfulness is a state of being where the center or locus of control (your existence) is the heart; not the physical heart as a pumping station of blood; but the ‘spiritual’ heart as the guiding principle in one’s life. So often, the intellect is less of the determining force in our personal interactions and decision-making. We ‘refer to the heart’ when deciding matters of a more “romantic nature” – including matters that are moral or spiritual - rather than the mind. Heartfulness can be achieved through the following four daily practices- Relaxation, Meditation, Cleansing and Inner Connect.
“In current mainstream society the troubles, distractions and hindrances are not just seen as temporary obstacles to be dissolved and transcended; they have themselves become the focus of our attention.”
Pick up any newspaper, popular magazine or any other source of Information and you will find articles on stress, depression, anxiety, suicide, addiction, pain management, anger management or panic attacks.
“We are focusing our attention on these modern maladies with such intensity that we are going deeper and deeper into them, and it doesn’t seem to be helping.”
It is like watering the weed that chokes a garden instead of rooting them out. It is our choice where we focus our attention- energy flows where attention goes.
Meditation, which is a subset of Yoga, aims to tackle the issue by reinforcing the mind against these ailments. By reinforcing the chassis that forms the framework of our mental structure by removing rust, oiling and polishing the functional components. The best thing about yogic approach to resolving mental knots is that yoga, instead of forcefully stopping the flow of negative energy allows for it to be channelized via drains and pass through your body. Whatever then remains is cleansed and evicted.
“In Yoga it has always been considered very normal for distractions and hindrances to come to most people from time to time along the journey.”
The Science Behind Yoga
The most important scientific principles on which the philosophy of yoga rests are 'prana' and 'yama'. Prana means 'life' and yama means 'space'. There is this very common phrase you must have often heard:
“Give me some space!”
So, that Space cannot be given, it has to be created. We need to create that space in the body and in the mind. When the mind is clogged with thoughts, we need to flush them out- remove them; and that is what meditation is all about- regulating the thoughts that strike your mind.
“Our general experience of life is governed by our thoughts. Heartful Meditation is a process through which we shift from thinking to feeling.”
Embracing the positive and better thoughts and shunning the negative ones that drain you. The Asanas or the physical postures provide the much needed relaxation- stretching out the body, creates the much needed spaces between our cells.
“When there is ample space, life-energy (prana) flows.”
We can call it the method of establishing connections in the body through the channels also known as 'naaris'. All our energy and information moves through them. Physically they are the blood vessels, nerves, lymphatic vessels, etc whereas Prana is the life bestowing energy in the form of heat, electromagnetic waves, glucose molecules, ATP etc.
Experiments and Astonishing Results
In order to back our observations with reasonable proofs, extensive research was conducted on yoga by researchers at Harvard Medical School. The aim was to aid ongoing research in the field of Depression Anxiety Disorders and the results were shocking!
The most significant results that were obtained were acute reductions in measures of depression.
Group experiments were conducted on people who regularly practiced yoga and another group of people who didn't (control group). A significant 33% reduction in levels of anxiety, overall psychological distress, depression and a 29-44% increase in resilience was observed in addition to a straight 14% increase in the frequency of positive experiences.
Summing Things Up
From what all i have gathered, I think there are 4 components that make yoga what it is:
- The Physical Postures: The exercises, the movements, the breathing & relaxation techniques which work the body to affect our global functioning.
- Psychological Self Efficacy: Another critical area is the Idea of self-regulation- The ability to control our internal stress response, our emotional response, etc. which is reflected as increased resilience to stress and equanimity.
- Cultivation of Mind-Body Awareness: Sense of being able to feel and experience what is going on in the body and in mind. With ample practice, you can literally observe the flow of thoughts. This leads to increased mindfulness which can change behaviors in a very positive way.
- Deeper States: States of transcendence that you get in deep meditation are highly positively transformational. This can improve and enhance your life's meaning and purpose.
So, why and how was yoga born? We should ask ourselves before finally committing to it. The answer lies in the urban lifestyle that became increasingly common some thousand years ago. As it came along with its own set of challenges and effects on the human body- the prime among them being the quest to Control Nature and its forces, the yogis broke loose from the mainstream.
“The difference was, they didn't want to control Nature, but live in harmony with it.”
As the urban society began to sprawl, they retreated to the suburbs and the forests to continue in harmony with nature.
Today, the urban society has evolved much faster than it did in those days and so have the negative impacts that come along. If that time was a good time to retreat to a yogic meditative life, then today is ten times a good time to that. A good way to start is to begin with 10 minutes of Heartfulness meditation. Heartfulness is a journey from the complexity of the mind to simplicity of the heart. While meditation may seem challenging, heartfulness believes it is something that comes naturally to us all.
“Just close your eyes, turn your attention inwards and relax. Suppose that the source of divine light is coming from within your heart and is attracting you.”
If you find your mind drifting, don't fight the thought, and don't embrace it either. Just let it be! Such is the Heartfulness way!
Encourage your colleagues, employers and other co workers to engage in 10 minutes of group meditation carried out routinely every day. I Repeat, don't force yourself, Heartful Meditation has to be passive; but try and neutralize your thoughts onto something, or rather everything in order to get your heart and mind into the circuit. Like everything else worthwhile, it will take time, but it will be worth your effort.
“10 minutes a day, that can change your life for the better!”
Cheers and Happy Reading!