Obstacles in meditation mentioned by Patanjali:
Meditation is not hard!we are treating it as a difficult process because ,we are constantly listening to other people but never tried it seriously .It is our imposition of what meditation must be that makes it seems so. Allow me to explain:
As humans, we are vexed with stress. We hear about the meditation and its promise of peace and we are naturally drawn to meditate.
We sit down on the couch and notice that the mind is a rumbling chattering of clashing thoughts, an expression of the stress we are trying to escape.
We notice that the rumbling goes on and on, and we want to quiet it down.
You see, meditation is the noticing, not the quieting.
It is just like a parent telling their kids that they are making too much noise. The kids cannot notice because they are being the noise. The adult can notice because they have enough calm spaciousness to tell. If you can tell that your mind is a rambling rumble of thoughts, you are being the parent…you are noticing…you are meditating successfully!before knowing obstacles I thing you must read about 10-things-to-know-before-you-start-meditating
But its time to face the truth, the reality is different.We will be having too much troubles here is first shit:
1) Wandering of the mind:
You might have observed that whenever we start meditation ,our mind keeps wandering no matter how good you are at meditation.One may find it very hard to meditate because the mind keeps wondering.This restless wandering of mind is called Vikshepa in Sanskrit. This obstacle appears when the mind has a preponderance of Rajas(know more about Rajas) nature of mind.
After a while the novelty of practicing meditation starts wearing off, and our minds become reluctant to meditate.such reluctance is caused by the natural tendency of the mind to get bored doing same thing over and over again.
we must exercise will power to overcome this obstacle. Whether our mind like it or not, we should forcibly persuade our minds to continue doing meditation.
3) Unwelcome thoughts start arising in the mind:
While meditation we often find it hard to concentrate on our breath (our object of meditation) because of unwanted thoughts arising in our minds.
For instance, if one had an unpleasant argument with another person, the thought of that unpleasant experience might arise in the mind and disturb the practice of meditation.such thoughts can be very frustrating.
This is the most common obstacle we always face, we often fall asleep while trying to meditate. This sleep, called Laya in Sanskrit.
Meditation is an intense concentration, and if the mind is not under control, it is hard to concentrate.
An uncontrolled mind naturally resents being controlled, and when one forcibly tries to concentrate the mind, one falls asleep.This is Laya. Laya is a very restful and refreshing sleep, and those not experienced in meditation may consider it some kind of spiritual experience. It is caused by a temporary preponderance of Tamas guna.
5) Reluctance to practice meditation:
During meditation we may suffer from a feeling of intense reluctance to practice meditation. At that time meditation appears to be extremely dry andtasteless. This obstacle is caused by past thoughts lying latent in the mind.
No thought is ever lost. All past thoughts are stored in the subconscious level of the mind. They lie there like a seed. Just as every seed retains the characteristics of its plant ,so also these seed thoughts retain the characteristics of their full-blown conscious state.
An ordinary person’s body and mind are closely intertwined. If anything happens to the body, the mind becomes affected. When the body becomes diseased, the mind also gets affected.
A disturbed mind can’t meditate. Most diseases can be prevented by a healthy life style- a life of moderation.Don’t meditate during illness.
7) Attachment :
Attachment to objects of sense pleasure is a great obstacle in meditation. Such attachment causes the tendency not to give up sense pleasure. We have to wean ourselves away from sensual pleasures to overcome this obstacle.
According to Patanjali , meditation on the pure heart of a holy person who has gone beyond attachment to the sense objects can help us to overcome this obstacle, because what we think with great concentration,that we eventually become.
8) clinging to life:
Instinctive and obsessive clinging to the body- the unrealistic yearning to perpetuate the existence of the body for long time,if not forever- is calledAbhinivesha. Such clinging is a great obstacle to experiencing the pure- perfect and ever-blissful nature of the soul or Divine self.We should realize the inevitability of death and be mentally prepared for it. We should meditate on it.
9) Irregular breathing:
When mind lacks control and concentration, it can be swayed by fluctuating moods, causing irregular breathing. The practice of rhythmic or regulated breathing under guidance of a component teacher enables us to overcome irregular breathing.
Despair is caused by disappointment at not having one’s expectations fulfilled. One should minimize expectations to prevent despair.
So guys these are the fundamental obstacles mentioned by Patanjali in our daily practices , have you encountered any strange obstacle please comment and let us know.
For many years, I believed that meditation was for hippies or people that practiced the Buddhist faith. I turned down multiple opportunities to understand just how powerful meditation was. It was only when apps such as “Calm” and “Headspace” came out that I truly understood the power of meditation.
For me, I chose to use the Calm app and have been a subscriber for a while now. Until I had someone guiding me, I never quite knew how to practice meditation even though I was able to read about it. The apps that taught meditation made it accessible to so many more people.
I then began to read blogs and listen to podcasts that all spoke so highly about meditation. It seemed that there wasn’t a lot of successful people who didn’t practice meditation. Then an even more bizarre thing happened to me; I added someone on LinkedIn who ran a business called “Mr. Meditate.”
He told me of his former job working closely with lawyers and how they were all suffering from the effects of anxiety and stress. He then asked me if I would give him a testimonial to talk about the benefits of meditation in my own life and to encourage large organisations to pay for staff meditation.
Before I knew it, I became a sort of pin-up boy for meditation, and I have now shared with lots of people why meditation is not for hippies, and how everyone should practice it.
Here are six benefits you will get from meditation:
1. You can deal with major fear
Fear can destroy our goals and hold us back from success. Whether it’s public speaking or flying on planes that have caused a degree of fear in me, I have always used meditation as a cure. Before you embark on a fearful task, you should try meditating beforehand.
What meditation does is calm your mind down and relax you. Meditation also teaches you how to breathe and just how powerful the breath can be. No matter how sick I feel, I know I can always calm myself down with long, slow, deep breaths.
Breathing is literally the antidote to so many challenges in life, and it’s the reason why when you are nervous, people tell you to breathe. It’s an age old saying that we all say to each other but meditation will help show you just why breathing is so important.
2. You can return to now
Mental disorders like depression and anxiety are caused by a mind that either lives too much in the future or too much in the past. One of meditations benefits is that it can bring your mind back to now. The healthiest place for your mind to think from is the here and now. When you return to now your mind begins to settle down and focus on what you can change in the present.
When we begin to be present and return to the present, we maximise our chances of getting our mind into a state of flow. From a state of flow, we can achieve almost anything that our mind can conceive. In a state of flow, we can achieve the impossible and challenge conventional thinking.
3. You’ll increase your energy levels
As I began to write this blog post I started to feel a bit sleepy. As someone who doesn’t like to waste time and wants to spend as many hours on my passion as possible, I pulled out the iPhone Calm app. With only ten minutes of meditation, my energy levels were restored. Without meditation, you may not have got to read this post.
Meditation is proven to give you a much better rest than sleep. The beauty of meditation is that you don’t need to do long sessions. 10-15 minutes can often be enough to completely rejuvenate you.
All you need to do is bring your mind back to the present for even a few moments, and the effect can be game changing. I love to add a cup of green tea at the end of my meditation to truly recharge my brain so try doing the same and see if it helps you too.
4. You can have a break from self-talk
Self-talk can drive your mind crazy and take away a lot of your energy and time. Often my own self-talk is spent acting out how I would say something to someone or responding to a negative situation. When I get stuck in these thought patterns, I find that time passes really quickly.
Meditation will allow you to take a break from all the mind chatter and live with a head full of nothing for a bit. A head full of nothing can then begin to pull new ideas in because there is room for them without the self-talk.
Too much self-talk will not allow your positive thoughts to grow properly over time which will, in turn, limit your likelihood of success. Use meditation to change this paradigm and you will see just how beneficial a clear mind can be.
5. You’ll gain more control
It’s so easy for your life to become out of control. Control comes when you begin to be conscious of everything that is going on in your world. Meditation helps highlight all of your thoughts and just how out of control they can be.
It’s hilarious to me sometimes when I try and meditate, and I can’t focus for a minute without thoughts forcing their way into my head. This is normal when meditating and some days you will be in control, and other days your thoughts will dictate the entire session.
The more you practice meditation, the more in control you become of your life.
6. You’re calmer
I often associate the feeling of being calm with being in a tranquil spot of nature such as The Great Barrier Reef. What meditation does so well is calm you right now in the moment and bring you into a non-reactive state of thinking.
Many of us live our life just reacting to everything that is thrown in front of us and by meditating we can change this reality. When the mind is calm, our thoughts become more pure, and we can soak our thinking with an influx of positivity.
Living in a calm state of mind is a way of life for me now. If you have never got to live in a calm state, then I empower you to make this a must in your life. Meditating will start the process of being more calm, but it’s up to you to carry the feeling on through the way you choose to live your life.
Everything you do each day is a choice. Success is about making smarter choices and meditation is one of those choices. Try it, embrace it, and enjoy what it feels like to calm your mind / life right down.
***My meditation tips***
- Try to practice meditation every single day for no less than ten minutes. If you only do it once in a while, you won’t get the growth that regular meditation can give you.
- Use an app to guide you through the process. Apps often have good instructions and relaxing background sounds that help deepen the meditation experience.
- If you’re really hopeless at meditation, then try getting a coach or attending a meditation class. Sometimes it’s your environment that is stopping you from practicing meditation correctly.
- Sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor. Lying down while meditating can make you fall asleep and you won’t be truly present.
- As suggested before, drink a nice warm cup of green tea (or any tea) straight after your meditation session.
- If you fly a lot like me, use the time on the plane to meditate. For long flights, try a whole hour of meditation. A longer session is an entirely different experience.
- Share the benefits of meditation with other people you know and get the word out there.
Have you tried meditation? How has it helped you? Let me know in the comments section below
Source: Addicted To Success
As you sit quietly and immerse yourself in the peace and stillness of your own centred being, you will gradually begin to experience yourself in an undistorted manner. You will sink below or rise above your usual sense of self and instead come upon the undistorted, clear conscious experience of Being–your Being. You will experience yourself as the specific conscious expression of an infinitely expressive Consciousness, Mind, Presence, or God. You will thereby intuitively know that you are more than physical and human, that your spiritual existence is guaranteed, immortal, eternal, and true, and that your Original Nature is absolutely good. You’ll know that you are creative energy, Spirit, a unique expression of God’s infinite Self-Expression, and that at your core is Goodness. This is what you’ll experience because, in some mysterious and uncompromising way, this is what we are. We are all made of God Substance, Consciousness, Love.
As you sit in stillness, experiencing the energetic feeling-tone of “you” (Level One), you will invariably begin to feel exquisite inside. You will begin to feel at ease, deeply relaxed, natural, perhaps for the first time in a long time. And as you relax, and as you feel the energy you are made of, you will begin to feel loved. You’ll find yourself feeling this way, inevitably, eventually, as you relax inside and allow yourself to become increasingly in touch with the loving goodness that is already in you–and it is already in you because that is how you were built. Love is the all-constituting substance of Being. It’s what you are made of. And you did not create yourself.
When you sit quietly and let go of every false self-definition, of everything you think you know about who you are, and then be what’s left, what remains is the untarnished presence of who you’ve always been and still really are. This untarnished presence manifests–shines–as pure, clear awareness and unconditional love. When you experience your essence, you will feel this natural lovingness within yourself without having to do anything!
When you feel the loving goodness inside yourself as yourself–as who or what you really are, you will acquire new self-appreciation. You will realize there is no basis for being self-critical or self-condemnatory, or for harbouring guilt for some known or unknown transgression in the past, and that you have done this until now simply because you have accepted as true certain erroneous ideas about yourself. It’s obvious to you now that when you wipe the slate clean and take a look at yourself for yourself, when you experience yourself as you actually are, you encounter a very different you from the “you” you thought you were. It now makes sense to disbelieve what was never true and embrace the new self-appraisal. You are You; God’s specific Self-Expression.
You will then no longer think of yourself in self-deprecatory terms, and you will, as a natural consequence, loosen and release every remaining tendril of self-condemnation and self-hate. It will be reasonable to do this, though not always easy. It will no longer feel sane, however, or true or realistic, to be self-critical. And since your behaviour has always been a by-product of the way you feel about yourself, you’ll notice in yourself an effortless, behavioural change occurring in response to this new self-evaluation. You will become more loving, more understanding, and more truly compassionate naturally. This is a vital stage of personal maturation and is of utmost social value.
Difficulty arises, however, because we are afraid to let go of what we think we know and be what’s left. We’re reluctant to ease up on the tight sense of control we exercise over ourselves because life is hard enough as it is. We don’t want it any harder. “If I stop controlling myself to be one way rather than another, who knows what might happen! If I let go of every pretense and instead be genuine, things might get worse. Who knows what devil might be lurking in my depths?” But it’s also beginning to dawn on us that we have blindly believed false and inaccurate concepts about who we are, and have been ignorant of our true nature until now simply because we have been taught otherwise, and that maybe we’re different from how we’ve thought ourselves to be, and that it’s time, now, to experience what’s really true once and for all, come what may.
It requires tremendous courage willingly to release all of our firmly held beliefs and face ourselves directly. Courage is required because we don’t know what we’ll find. We’re afraid our worst suspicions will be confirmed, or that we’ll uncover aspects of ourselves we’d rather keep concealed. And we may! But underneath it all, or surrounding it all, embracing it all is the creative energy of Consciousness, Identity, or Presence that we really are grounded in love and goodness.
But at first we don’t know this. We don’t know that goodness is at our core. We don’t know that happiness is the natural state, that this is what we’ll find. So we feel trepidation. We’re suspicious. And we’re likely to think all this talk about love and goodness is nothing but, at best, pure fantasy. But, in actuality we’re not absolutely certain this isn’t what we’ll find. We don’t really know whether it’s true or false. We don’t really know whether goodness or evil is at our core, or if we are some blurry mixture of the two.
Therefore, we need to courageously desire to know the truth, and then we need to go within and experience ourselves directly. Therefore, want to know the truth, once and for all. Want to knowyour truth. Let go of everything you think you know about who you are, suspend every idea you now have about what’s true and what isn’t, and open your mind to what’s actually so–to the living truth of you.
This is the most logical, important, life-affirming thing you can do. You’ll be glad you risked experiencing yourself with clarity. But it can be frightening, unnerving, unsettling. However, if loving goodness is both at your core and is the surrounding all-pervading presence of Consciousness that you are–and this is something you will only ever know by experiencing it within yourself as your deepest truth–then the more clearly you experience yourself as you really are, free of any overlay of conditioning and in spite of your fears, the more love you will experience. If love is what’s in there, then love is what you’ll find when you go within. But you won’t be convinced of this until you go within. Therefore, take the chance. It’s worth the risk. And it’s inevitable. You’re bound to succeed. You will no longer be so afraid to know what else is true about you, which will further encourage you to relax deeper, trust more fully, and genuinely be yourself without inhibition or pretense.
You will discover and know that love, goodness, and creative consciousness are what constitute your being because you will experience these attributes within and as yourself. You will simultaneously realize that you did not put them there because you did not create yourself. You were created by the creative God Force. The inherent creative goodness within you is not a mental construct that you attempt to adopt, not pretense or self-deception, not something you conjure up. It’s something you discover. You go in empty-handed, not knowing, and this is what you find. And when you allow yourself wholeheartedly to experience the core feeling-tone of the love that you are, you will spontaneously feel happy. You won’t have to lift a finger or change yourself in any way. It’s the way you were built. It’s what you are. The emotional feeling-tone of love and goodness is happiness.
There will be an overwhelming sense of authenticity about this experience. You will have no doubt about its truth. You will be convinced. You will also realize that it is not egocentric to be appreciative of the creative energy that you are. Nor is it arrogant, presumptuous, or conceited to feel good inside about yourself, or to be happy for no apparent reason, or to acknowledge that you are a perfect creation of the God Force.
You understand instead that it is egotistical and arrogant to believe anything else, for you are not a self-created separate energy. It is not any more narcissistic (in the pejorative sense) to experience self-love or self-appreciation than it is to appreciate a lovely flower or a spectacular sunset. The wonder and beauty of you is not your doing, and appreciation will be the natural response of anyone who realizes this truth. What a relief! You are not who you thought you were. You are the infinite Oneness in specific Self-Expression. How wonderful to be affiliated with the great God Force.
In order to experience the natural joy of Being–in order to be happy!–we do not have to fulfill any conditions that are contrary to our original nature of loving goodness. We especially do not have to be other than the way we are. In fact, it has been the lifelong attempt to be some way other than our natural being that has made us frustrated and unhappy. You cannot be anything other than you. Therefore, let yourself be yourself–be you!–and live your truth without inhibition. Discover the truth by letting go of old concepts. Make space for the new. Release every idea you have about who you are, and then be the you that remains. Being you is not a substitute for what you can never be. It is the gracious acceptance of what you have always wanted and have never been without.
Think of it like this: The farther you are from knowing your truth and experiencing the love you are, the unhappier you will be; the closer you are, the happier. Keep it simple. It works like this because goodness is at your core and because happiness is the feeling-tone of your original nature. But, really, whether you are “close” or “far,” you are always only a thought away. Your original nature is not, in fact, far away from you. It is not elusive. It is not someplace other than where you are, nor is it something you evolve or transform into or earn. It’s right here, yours, already.
Become your already-existing naturally happy truth by spending quiet time alone every day to meditate. At least once a day sit down for a few minutes by yourself, stop moving, stop thinking, and just be. Deliberately be still. Close your eyes, relax, breathe, be aware, and consciously experience your present moment of conscious awareness. Immerse yourself in your own unique feeling-tone. Feel you. Bask in the exquisite experience of being alive, of conflict-free high-energy peace, and become thoroughly familiar with the core tone of who you are.
This is like dipping cloth into dye. Each dip of the cloth strengthens the cast of the dye and enhances the color. Here, however, you are dipping yourself into you. You are experiencing you. Each time you do so, you become more you; that is, your sense of the authentic you is enriched. Each dip into the silent experience of you washes away more false ideas, which enables the real you to shine forth more clearly to yourself and others. As you do this, something new and very interesting will gradually begin to happen. You’ll find yourself becoming more intuitive. Your mind will seem to expand, and your inner voice will start talking to you more clearly, guiding you, telling you what to say, what to think, where to go, what to do with your life. As you will discover, this is the source of right action. I will say more about this later.
Therefore, as you directly experience the living truth of who you are, two wonderful aspects of being become apparent. First, you come upon the core of goodness. This will promote a new, expanded, and truer sense of self. It will give your life new meaning, and you’ll find yourself feeling happy for no apparent reason. Of course, there is a reason. Happiness and love is the stuff of which you are made. You can obscure your awareness of it, but you cannot get away from it. You cannot actually change it.
Second, the inner feeling–or inner voice–starts speaking to you with more clarity. Or rather, it’s not that the inner voice now speaks with more clarity, but you’ll start hearing it more clearly. It will become more obvious to you, and harder to ignore. This internal communication from the deeper regions of Being can become, if you are willing, your new guide to appropriate action in daily life. You will feel good inside about who you are and be increasingly effective in all your actions.
Let’s move now into a practice mode with regard to all that has been said so far. We’ll continue with three more exercises. These have been specifically designed to help you experience the loving goodness truth inside you.
One of the first things you may notice as you sit in stillness is that your body vibrates or hums. The center of this hum is in the area of your heart and throughout the length of your spine, your core. This is where love vibrates most obviously. The purpose of the next two breathing exercises, then, is to direct your conscious feeling-awareness into the area of your heart and core and thereby increase your sensitivity to the vibratory hum. You’ll feel the love vibration inside yourself that will cause you to feel profoundly loved and profoundly safe, and you will thereby spontaneously become more loving–more of a pleasure to be around. This is good for you, and it’s good for others! These exercises are worth a few minutes of your undivided attention. Enjoy them.
Lie on your back with your eyes closed and palms flat on your chest. Begin by gently breathing in and out, aiming the breath into the chest so that you feel the wishbone at the base of your sternum expanding with each breath. Do this for a minute or two.
Then allow your breathing to flow in and out naturally, effortlessly, without any intervention on your part, and simply station your awareness in the center of your chest at the base of the sternum–where your hands are–and feel what you feel. Feel yourself breathing. As attentively as you can, note the changing sensations in the area of your heart that accompany each breath as it flows in and out.
Breathe in and out of your heart, lie absolutely still, be relaxed, and allow your breathing to flow freely and easily. Make no attempt to regulate your breathing or control it in any way. Some breaths will be deep, others shallow. Every breath will be different. All you do is remain aware of the ever-changing sensations that accompany breathing in the area of your heart.
As you practice this technique, let each breath remind you to stay centred and present in the now. When your attention strays, notice it has done so and then bring it back to the feeling-awareness of the ever-changing sensations in your chest. Do not think about the breath, nor about the meaning of love. Simply experience what’s actually there to be experienced. Stay with what’s happening. Shift from thinking mode to feeling mode, and experience your unique feeling-tone emanating from your heart center. Be especially on the look out for pleasurable sensations of warmth, expansion, or spaciousness, and notice how the movement of breath seems to fan and increase these sensations. Willingly give your undivided attention to this exercise for ten minutes.
Expanded heart breathing
Sit on the floor with your spine straight and eyes closed. If you are unable to sit on the floor, use a chair. Be comfortable. Take a moment to become quiet and prepare yourself.
When you are ready, begin with ten or twenty fairly deep, gentle, continuous breaths, endeavouring to achieve full expansion of your chest and rib cage. Allow the sternum to rise and swell forward as you breathe. Go ahead and exaggerate it, but be very, very gentle.
Then inhale fully, again lifting upward with the sternum and expanding your chest. Hold the breath for a comfortable length of time, somewhere between five and twenty seconds, and as you hold your chest gently open at full expansion, feel the sensations in the area of your heart.
Feel the obvious sensations–the physical sensations of stretch and fullness accompanying chest expansion, the feeling of satisfaction, of air-hunger being satiated, and of air-hunger arising again as the seconds go by, your heart beating, your desire to exhale–but feel the deeper, subtler energy as well. Feel the energy of love in the area of your heart as you hold your chest open. Then exhale quietly, releasing the breath at a comfortable pace and relaxing deeply. Do this twelve times.
With this technique you are increasing your sensitivity to the vibratory feeling-tone in the area of your heart. Think of this as a vortex of energy in the vicinity of your physical heart but not your actual physical heart. You will be able to feel this vortex of energy with increasing clarity with practice. Do not attempt to hold the breath as long as you can. Hold the breath only as long as is comfortable. You should still be able to exhale smoothly, quietly, without panic. There should be no strain whatsoever. Exhale when you receive the inner cue to do so and keep the breath soft, strain-free, and peaceful. This is not a contest. It does not matter how long you hold the breath. Use the technique to increase your sensitivity to the inner feeling.
When you have completed the twelve breaths, sit absolutely still for another minute or two and simply be aware of how you feel. Station your awareness in the area of your heart and core and feel what you feel. Stay aware of the changing sensations that accompany breathing in the area of your heart, the sensations throughout your core and body, the space around your body, and especially the overall energetic feeling-tone of you. Willingly let go of everything you think you know about who you are, and allow yourself to experience you with clarity.
Who am I?
Sit with your spine straight or lie flat on the floor on your back. Close your eyes and take a few moments to become quiet and still. Relax your body and allow yourself to become intimately aware of your breathing. Observe the natural flow of breath in and out of your body.
Then put aside everything you think you know about who you are and ask yourself the question, “Who am I?” Ask the question but do not answer it. Instead, feel the answer. Feel who you are. Feel the energy of you. Answer not in words but in the direct experience of the energy that you are. When your attention wanders from this very personal self-experiencing and you notice yourself thinking other thoughts, ask yourself, “Who is thinking this? Who is having this thought?” The answer will always be “I am.” Then ask yourself again, “But who am I?” Then again immerse yourself in the feeling-tone truth of you.
When you notice yourself suddenly aware of a particular sound or sensation, your attention pulled away from the feeling, ask yourself “Who is hearing this sound? Who is experiencing this sensation?” The answer will always be, “I am.” Then again ask, “But who am I?” And again blend with the feeling-tone truth of you. Find out who you are through direct experience. Keep bringing your conscious awareness back into the conscious experience of you in the now.
There is no adequate mental answer to the question. The vibrant silence is the answer. And so, be still and know.
We live most of our life through three states of consciousness: waking, dreaming and sleeping.
In the waking state of consciousness, we experience the world through the five senses. We seek elevation and joy from these senses. If any one of the senses is missing, the entire dimension of that sense is lost. One who cannot hear is bereft of the whole arena of sound. Similarly, he who cannot see is deprived of all the beautiful sights and colors. So, the sense is more important and much bigger than the object of the sense.
The mind is higher than the senses. The mind is infinite, its desires are many, but the capacity of the senses to enjoy is limited. Greed is wanting more and more of sensory objects. Even though one can only enjoy a limited amount during a lifetime, one wants all the wealth in the world.
Giving too much importance to sensory objects leads to greed; giving too much importance to the senses leads to lust; and giving too much importance to the mind and its desires leads to delusion.
We hold on to the concepts of the mind and want things to happen in a certain way. Thus, the concepts in our mind impede us from perceiving the infinite consciousness that is a part of us. This is not to say that the senses or the mind are bad. But we must learn to discriminate between things and be aware of what is happening at all times; that is when clarity dawns on us. This is the first step toward the higher state of consciousness.
In the waking state, one is constantly engaged in looking, eating, working, etc. The other extreme is the sleeping state where one is completely cut off and dull. The dullness and heaviness linger even after waking. The more one sleeps, the duller one feels since a lot of energy is expended in sleep. Then there is the dreaming state where one is neither asleep nor awake. Here, you neither feel at rest nor are aware of your surroundings.
The higher state of consciousness is somewhere in between the waking, sleeping and dreaming states. Here, we know we “are” but we don’t know “where” we are. This knowledge that I “am,” but I don’t know “where” I am or “what” I am, is called Shiva. This state gives the deepest possible rest that one can experience. And one can achieve this through meditation.
Meditation helps in two ways — it prevents stress from entering the system and simultaneously releases accumulated stress. With the assimilation of meditation into daily life, a higher state of consciousness called cosmic consciousness dawns within us. Cosmic consciousness perceives the whole universe as part of oneself. When we perceive the world as a part of us, love flows strongly between the world and us. This love empowers us to overcome the opposing forces and the disturbances in life. Anger and disappointments become fleeting emotions that occur momentarily and then vanish.
A higher state of consciousness will not simply happen one fine morning. The sapling of consciousness is within you — it needs to be nurtured through spiritual practices like meditation. Some coconut trees yield in three years, and some in 10 years. And those that are not nurtured never yield, they simply exist.
Attaining higher states of consciousness does not require any complicated strategy; one just needs to learn the art of letting go. The confluence of knowledge, understanding and practice makes life complete. When you grow into higher states of consciousness, you find that you are no longer thrown off-balance by different situations and disturbances. You become strong yet soft — a delicate and beautiful individual capable of accommodating different values in life without any conditions. As your consciousness opens and the whole system gets physically, mentally and spiritually elevated, your life truly becomes worth living.
Author. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
By Deepak Chopra, MD
“Enlightenment” is a word that has gotten so entangled with vague confusion that many people have given up on it. I don’t mean the classic seeker who hungers for God, Nirvana, or higher states of consciousness. There isn’t an accepted definition of enlightenment that allows for a general discussion where everyone knows what the topic is. Behind this apparent fuzziness, however, the concept of enlightenment has evolved tremendously over the past few decades, and in that time the possibility of being enlightened has come closer and closer to everyday experience.
Forty years ago enlightenment was inevitably associated with “Eastern mysticism,” a phrase that appears in the subtitle of Fritjof Capra’s famous book, The Tao of Physics. Meditation was associated with religions like Buddhism and Hinduism. Enlightenment was a spiritual attainment for Indian gurus or monks sitting in Himalayan caves. The fact that meditation is now a common practice in the West, with many research studies proving its benefits in terms of mind and body, shows how much the landscape has changed.
The next major change, which could bring a seismic shift in our worldview, would bring enlightenment into daily life the way that meditation is comfortably established in daily life. I’ll devote the next few posts to exploring how enlightenment affects everyone, not just a select few living under exotic circumstances. We can begin with the most obvious question you can ask yourself. Are you enlightened already?” This may seem at first like an almost absurd question. If there are ancient traditions for reaching enlightenment, a project that can take a lifetime’s effort and discipline, it must be impossible that a normal person going about his everyday life could already be enlightened.
But there’s a reason why the question isn’t absurd. Enlightenment is a state of consciousness–everyone seems to agree upon that, at least. Each of us already experiences three distinct states of consciousness every day: waking, sleeping, and dreaming. These states come naturally. We didn’t seek them out or do anything special to be in them. So why would so-called higher states of consciousness be set apart as privileged or difficult or far distant from daily experience? In fact, all the ingredients of enlightenment are already in place. These consist of:
Knowing that you exist.
Experiencing the world through your mind.
Experiencing that thoughts come and go in the mind.
Maintaining a self even as thoughts come and go.
At first glance none of these ingredients seems exotic, because they aren’t. Yet a list of ingredients isn’t the same as a recipe. You could line up eggs, milk, flour, and cocoa powder on your kitchen counter and still be far away from knowing how to bake a chocolate soufflé. So the entire tradition of enlightenment consists of finding the recipe for it–and this need for a process, practice, teaching, or discipline created many problems. It became unfortunate but true that every spiritual and religious tradition argued that its recipe was the right one–sometimes the only right one–and no one could settle the matter.
Unlike chocolate soufflé, which you can test by eating, the recipe for enlightenment was handed down second-hand as a kind of map or description understood by the enlightened few. Even though every person naturally experiences all the ingredients of enlightenment, taking the leap into the actual state of enlightenment proved to be very tricky. The world’s wisdom traditions have never wavered about the reality of higher consciousness, and yet daily life has remained unaffected by it.
If we take the list of ingredients, each exists on a spectrum or sliding scale. At one end are people who have no interest or knowledge about higher states; they use their minds in everyday “normal” ways. At the other end are people who approach the mind in an enlightened way. Let’s look at the difference, leaving aside all other questions, such as how to define enlightenment. We’ll label the two extremes on the spectrum in neutral terms: the starting point and the goal.
Here’s how the ingredients of enlightenment look now:
Starting point: Being conscious is a given, and you pay no attention to it, the way a fish wouldn’t pay attention to water.
Goal: Being conscious is the ground state of reality, the very womb of creation. All things exist in consciousness alone. There is no reality outside consciousness.
Knowing that you exist.
Starting point: Existence is taken for granted. To be is simply to be.
Goal: Existence is the same as consciousness. Being contains every possible outcome or every possible event. As consciousness changes from one state to another, so does a person’s existence.
Experiencing the world through your mind.
Starting point: If asked about it, you will agree that experience depends upon mind and brain. This fact seems obvious, but nothing important or earthshaking is implied.
Goal: Experiencing the world through the mind, far from being passive and unremarkable, is the key to reality. The only things we know about reality are shaped, conditioned, and dependent upon consciousness. Therefore, the key to the entire cosmos is found “in here,” where consciousness serves as the maker of reality.
Starting point: Being self-aware comes and goes. Sometimes a person sees clearly just what he’s doing, while at other times an experience takes the mind away from self-awareness. We become absorbed in the world “out there.”
Experiencing that thoughts come and go in the mind.
Starting point: It’s obvious that thoughts come and go. This fact, like so many others about the mind, is taken as a given.
Goal: A person realizes that thoughts may come and go, but the place they come from and to which they return is permanent and unchanging. Therefore, the so-called “higher self” identifies with the unchanging part of the mind, not the stream of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and images that flow through it.
Maintaining a self even as thoughts come and go.
Starting point: There is no issue about having a self — it’s a given, even though the origins of this self are murky and hidden.
Goal: The self has switched its allegiance to pure self-awareness, away from the ego-based “I.” The limited, insecure, shifting ego loses its dominance as the driver of daily experiences.
I’ve given only a brief sketch of these differences; we must keep in mind that they range across a spectrum. The essential point is that all the ingredients for being enlightened here and now are present in everyone’s life. There is no magic recipe that is known only to the few who are wise, holy, or blessed beyond the ordinary. Enlightenment is paradoxical, because in one sense you are already enlightened–the word “goal” is a bit misleading, because you don’t actually travel or go anywhere to find out what you have always been. On the other hand, there are many distractions that keep all of us from knowing who we really are.
As the saying goes, it is always mind over matter. The quality of one’s life is determined by the state of the mind. If the mind is at ease, one is able to manage all activities whether household, professional or social with ease.
If the mind is disturbed conflict arises even between spouses who have married after years of intense romance and courtship! And if the mind is calm, one can even smile to an enemy.
The mind is the most powerful instrument in the universe. It can transcend space and time and go the farthest reaches of the Universe.
Management begins in the mind. When the mind manages itself better, it can manage anything.
Management is about managing minds, diverse thoughts, tendencies, diverse perception. Both positive and negative thoughts emanate from the very same brain. But when we do not know the mechanics of mind and its influence on life, it becomes hard to manage. Being better aware of our own mind helps us to understand life and its dynamics better. It makes management easy.
Human life is structured just like an atom. At the center of the atom is the nucleus, with the neutrons and protons, and a field of negative charges orbits it. Similarly, we too have virtues at the center of our being. However, if we have not reached the core, we roam the outer orbits.
Spiritual techniques like meditation help one reach there. It gathers the chattering mind into a focused stream of energy. A torch sheds dim light, and does nothing more. If the same light is concentrated to a very high degree, it becomes a laser beam, which can cut the hardest metal. A dissipated and unfocussed mind cannot achieve anything. A focused mind can move the world.
The question is how do we keep the mind focused when it keeps flitting between the past and the future. There is a built-in mechanism to calm the mind in each person, but seldom one is taught how to use it. Attending to it is spirituality. The key to managing the mind is meditation and silent contemplation. If we invest a few minutes in meditation and silence every day, a whole new dimension of life opens up.
Author: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
“Know thyself.” – Ancient Greek aphorism inscribed in the Temple of Delphi
Only with self-knowledge can you be the best version of you. The more consistent you are in your meditation practice, the more you come to understand about yourself, which is the source of freedom and fulfillment in life.
When you challenge yourself in a safe space, you’re more equipped to face the difficulties in your life. In self-reflection you learn the skills necessary for ultimate strength, happiness, and well-being.
When you meditate, you become aware of the quantitative diversity of your thoughts. With the use of a mantra, you learn to release those thoughts and continually return to your tranquil mind. This process allows you to be more aware of your thoughts both in and out of meditation. This awareness is the base of your happiness because it’s where you live in the present moment. When your thoughts take you away from the synchronized beauty of the present moment, the practice of this awareness helps to bring you back to the here and now.
By consistently returning to your mantra in meditation, you’re practicing the act of letting go. You let go of judgment and analysis, which helps you to remain calm, alert, and in the now. When you face unexpected thoughts that come up in meditation and let them go, you become more skilled at dealing with unexpected situations that come up in your life. This meditation technique helps to limit your quick reactions to everyday circumstances. You learn to observe the flow of your thoughts, pleasant or painful, without getting caught up in them.
In your practice you need to be gentle with yourself. If you’re harsh and judgmental every time you have a thought, you’ll lose yourself in criticism and aggravation. By scheduling consistent “me time,” you mark yourself as important without needing the approval of others. During this time you can let go of the mind chatter from your roles and responsibilities and just be with yourself. By taking the time to sit and be with yourself in silence, you practice kindness, compassion, love, patience, flexibility, and acceptance.
During meditation, you surrender your thoughts with faith and let go of the need to make sense of what goes on in your mind. This faith develops in your life as well. You become more comfortable with not understanding certain things or not having all the answers. You allow yourself to be a little more vulnerable to the natural unfolding of life, which makes way for healing. This creates resilience to help you bounce back when challenges in life become overwhelming, and this ultimately helps you to evolve into your best self.
When you let go of your thoughts in meditation, you’re not suppressing them; you’re witnessing them and then letting them go so that you may choose what is most nourishing for your practice. You remove obstacles in your meditation, which also helps you to recognize and remove them from your life. You’re not running from your thoughts, you’re simple choosing which direction is most wholesome.
In meditation, each time you return to your mantra, you practice single pointedness. You focus your awareness where you want it to go, developing your inner experience of being centered. Outside your practice, you become more skilled at focusing your energy on those thoughts and actions that honor your true nature. Your inner guidance strengthens and evolves as you face opposition but peace comes from knowing yourself and returning to the present where gratitude lives.
6 Foolproof Tips for Finding Focus.
Every single second, our brains take in an incredible amount of information — 11 million bits of information per second to be exact, Joseph Cardillo, Ph.D, writes in his book, Can I Have Your Attention?
How to Think Fast, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Concentration? But we actually pay attention to about 40 bits.
Which is still a lot — particularly if you’re trying to complete or even start a task.
So finding focus can seem like a farfetched feat.
Focus is a skill that we can cultivate. It’s not something that we have or we don’t have. And practice makes perfect (or at least good enough). Below are few tips on attention and focus for finding focus in our distraction laden day and age.
1. Do Creative Work First
The biggest mistake we do is, we do mindless work first and build up to the toughest tasks and this drains your energy and lowers your focus. Initially when we start something or say we sit to study our brain tends to be fresh, this is we can use in most effective way by engaging our brain into things which develop interest and all the tough tasks should be handled in this very initial phase.
“As you move down the track you are left with less energy, irrespective of the work you do”. Remember, every decision we make tires the brain.” So it’s always better to utilize accordingly. Check off the tasks that require creativity or concentration first thing in the morning, and then move on to easier work, start studying in this early phase of the day, Facebook, Wats-app and Instagram etc. can wait.
2. Allocate your time deliberately.
Attention span is the amount of concentrated time on a task without becoming distracted. Most educators and psychologists agree that the ability to focus attention on a task is crucial for the achievement of one’s goals.
With all what I have studies and learned from my experience, studying n number of people personally or through various sources I have found that human’s concentration drastically drops after 45 minutes. This means our brain can work effectively in those 45 minutes, as a result most of you must have faced problems like getting distracted by anything and almost everything after these 45 minutes.
A study has also proved this fact to be true, our brain is at its best for the first 45 minutes, but this doesn’t mean that it cannot work beyond that. This 45 minutes time is an Interval based time, which means we can utilize the best of our brain again after a small break. Remember a lecture in school or college lasts to 40-45 minutes and then comes a break.
Therefore there comes a demand for Time Allocation and that’s why this phase plays a very important role in our life, from the childhood itself we keep on listening the same thing “allocate your time, make a time table” etc
“Don’t try to work for 10 hours straight. Schedule 45 minute blocks with 15 minute breaks. Decide what you are going to accomplish during those 45 minutes, and record what you have done.”
Most people focus best in the morning or late at night, few are best at early mornings whereas many are late night readers.
Therefore the next step for you is to notice where and when you focus best, then allocate your toughest tasks for those moments and clear your head of all thoughts that are not associated with whatever you want to focus on. For example, once you are your study table, forget about everything else, no phone call no messages nothing, these will not fetch you marks.
3. Set Reminders, make them work as Trigger.
According to one study, “concentration improved when people silently repeated the names of loved ones who believed in them immediately before starting a task,” said Palladino.
Therefore, I suggest you to have a memory of past success, anything you achieved in recent past. This will feed your brain regularly with the feeling of success, the happiness you will get the moment you will succeed.
“Remind yourself specifically why it’s worth the effort you are putting in, ask yourself what if you will not achieve what you are trying so hard, why you want it. ” You might envision “your name on a mark-sheet with the marks you want to get, feeling as if you have achieved it or a football hit well enough to score a goal.” Imagine it or draw a picture to get yourself triggered every-time you see this.
4. Use motivating self-talk.
At times you may feel tired doing the same thing again and again, specially studying at a regular interval, most people tends to give up at this point. But, you need to stay determined because you want it so badly; you want to make it happen. A Ninety plus score will make all your efforts fruitful and make you forget the entire struggle you made, the problems you faced.
Tell yourself that yes you can do it, you are capable of achieving this, talk to self. You have come so far for this and now you cannot let it go. I request you all not to ask for suggestions with all those who want you to fail, and trust me you will hardly find someone who want to see you succeed. So, analyze yourself. Only you know yourself better and no one else.
5. Mind your multitasking.
Multitasking can be a brain booster while working on Boring tasks and the same can prove to have a negative effect because of brain plasticity, the ability of the brain to change physically, functionally and chemically throughout life. Brain changes with experiences.
When you’re multitasking, your brain is changing itself to favor divided attention and fragmented thought, rather than concentration and this resists distraction and rebounds from interruption.
I came across many people who claim to be a multi-tasker, they studies along with their chat on and its manageable for them as they say. But somewhere it’s scientifically not good as this distracts the brain as the attention gets divided. This results in failure of not completing any of the tasks or completion with frustration.
While multitasking is an important skill, it also has a downside. “It reduces our
Intelligence, literally dropping our IQ.
So, I want you all to give undivided attention to whatever you do because it’s all what you want and this needs your attention, undivided attention.
6. Assess yourself.
Assessment always proves to be a tool to improve something we really need to.
It’s important for us to assess and evaluate whatever we do on a regular basis, say daily basis. Many people practice this on task basis or weekly basis; it depends on person to person. I myself have suggested people to assess on a daily basis initially as this will help you evaluate better and you will be able to observe your strengths and weak points.
It involves asking yourself a series of questions that will help you in a self-scan. You need to ask these on a frequent basis depending upon the field you are involved in. Below are the questions, taken from Cardillo’s book:
- Where am I at present? (e.g., I’m at an office meeting.)
- What do I want to gain from this situation? Identify your goals in order of importance.
- What should I gain from this situation? Consider what you feel you should gain from the situation. Then examine whether this is different from your desires and how these work to modify your behaviors.
- What have I done in similar situations in the past? Identify your past actions.
- Do I want to change that? Identify any behaviors that you don’t want to repeat.
- If so, how? Identify how you can avoid these actions. Note: Any procedures you create here will, through repetition, become habit, and from there become automatic for future experiences.
- What do others expect to gain from the situation? Identify and prioritize these details.
- What attention does my environment demand from the situation? For example, I can only speak when it is my turn. I have to use professional language.
- What information that is entering my attention should be activated? For example, it may be best if I am calm at this point of a phone call or meeting and if I don’t ask questions.
- What information should be restrained? You can, for instance, hold back frustrations and irrelevant information. For example: teachers and business people may have to convey an emotion that is inconsistent to how they feel (say they are angry or on edge).
Remember that focus is a skill you foster. Try out these techniques, keep what works and keep practicing!
Even with the best intentions, many of us believe that our emotions are out of our control, that they happen spontaneously, and that we handle them in a multitude of ways. But in fact, there are four basic ways in which people deal with emotion. Do you recognize any of these? Once you identify your primary strategy for dealing with emotions, you can shift to an approach that truly works for you.
The first defense against negative emotions is avoidance. We all want to avoid difficult or painful emotions. As a result, we tend to avoid any situation that could lead to the emotions we fear, or worse, try not to feel any emotions at all. While avoiding negative situations may protect us in the short term, it also keeps us from feeling the very emotions — connection, energy, excitement — that we desire most.
The second defense against stress is outright denial. When you experience an emotion and try to deny what you’re feeling, your emotions will simply intensify. The pressure will build and what you are trying to ignore will resurface – potentially at an inconvenient time.
The worst addiction facing people today is not drugs, it’s not alcohol, it’s problems. Often, after moving past avoidance and denial, we decide to stop fighting our painful emotions and decide to fully indulge in them. Rather than learn what our feelings are trying to tell us, we get our fix of significance by making our problem worse that everyone else’s. It becomes a “badge of courage,” and we begin to compete with others, saying, “You think you’ve got it bad? Let me tell you how bad I’ve got it!” Do yourself a favor and get your need for significance met for doing something positive rather than for your problems.
Learning and Using
Truth: Problems are gifts. Our biggest problem is we think we shouldn’t have problems. Albert Einstein put it this way, “Crisis is the greatest blessing for people and nations, because crisis brings on progress…He who blames his own failures and difficulties to crisis, rapes his own talent and gives more importance to problems than to solutions.” Leaders use their pain. Find a way to use stress and pain to serve you.
Adapted from- Team Tony.
Surround yourself with positive people!
If you are ever going to live a satisfying, meaningful and successful life, the kind of people you surround yourself with plays an important role. It is being said that you are who you surround yourself with. If you hang out with positive people, you’ll be a positive person and if you hang out with negative people, you’ll definitely see life from a negative angle.
Try to answer these questions;
Who is on your team?
Who do you hang out with?
Who are those you spend most of your time with?
Are they people that build you up or the ones that pull you down?
Are they feeding the positive side of you or the ones that feeds the negativity?
Birds of a feather flock together. Many friends don’t have anything good to offer. They are with you to only impact you negatively.
If you keep friends that don’t add to you in any way, I bet they are not worthy to be called your friends. Don’t not worry about what they think of you. There will always be those who want to see you fail simply because they can’t succeed.
Beware of toxic and negative relatives, friends or colleagues. Flee from them as fast as you can because they don’t deserve you. It is impossible for negative people to bring forth anything positive out of you. Negative people possess negative mindset.
They see no reason to pursue their dreams because they already saw it as an impossible task even right before they started it. They might not have ever imagined what you must be willing to achieve. They can never let you succeed in such a situation.
Possibility doesn’t exist in their dictionary. When you tell negative people about your dreams, they tell you only about the challenges in order to make you lose focus. They hardly see the goals. For you to achieve success, you need to first imbibe a positive mindset yourself. You need to see possibilities in your dreams. Then surround yourself with positive people that believe in your dreams. People that build you up mentally, physically and spiritually. People that are ready to influence you positively. People that you learn from always. People that their advices you can’t joke with. People that make you believe success is achievable! Because that is why you are here. You deserve success.
You must pursue the greatness you have, you are born with huge potential and you have no right to limit yourself. You have to and you MUST succeed.