Just rewind your life a bit, remember the dreadful Monday morning you had to go through because you felt stuck in a rat race. The only thing that you could wish was a break from the 9 to 5 cycle. You wanted to sit at home, relax and chill.
Boom! Here you go.. Today, You have it.. Your boss is not screaming at you.. You are not floating in paperwork.. You are not stuck in traffic..
The coronavirus or COVID 19 has just forced us to shut and lock ourselves down in our homes. Till today we always had an excuse and something to blame for the agitation within us. However, if we sit today just by ourselves, we can very easily realise that the source of all our agitation is not outside us. We are agitated by our own nature.
Without any doubt, we are the most comfortable generation on the planet. If we look around, we have comfort food, comfy sofas, hi-tech phones, internet connection and so much more. The list is endless. But they somehow are not fulfilling anymore as we want something more. The reason we are not blissed out at the moment is not because something is missing on the outside. It is simply because we have not learned to conduct ourselves gracefully. We just don’t know how to handle the inner dimensions of our being.
Have you ever seen those people who are always trying to enjoy? In order to fill the void, they create all kinds of nuisance within themselves and within the society. People across the globe are indulging in drinking alcohol, eating junk, showing off new acquisitions, watching pornography and don’t know what else just to feel good about and within themselves. Even in their sixties, they are trying to extract juice out of external life. Strangely, after so much of juice consumption, they are still not fulfilled. Their thirst and agitation have actually increased. Such people always leave me wondering why can’t everybody see that the external joys are like tickling, and are not a permanent solution. They give us a good high for some time. But, the more we depend on them, the higher the dosage we need next time in order to feel the same level of fulfillment. Soon we come to a point where nothing in the world fulfills us anymore.
There is a way to feel fulfilled within ourselves irrespective of what is happening on the outside. Indians yogis seem to have mastered it. For most people, becoming a monk is a kind of extreme when it comes to turning inwards. It is obviously not for everybody. But, completely turning our eyes away and not taking advantage of the methods they have figured out to remain blissful or at least peaceful within them is simply ignorant foolishness. If we look at it carefully, in reality, there are only three things that we need to manage: body, mind, and breath. If we can learn to manage these basic three dimensions of our being, suddenly everything seems great. We are hardly present in our body, rarely disassociate ourselves from the reactive thinking process and very occasionally become conscious of our breath. This is a clear indication that all our inner dimensions are happening accidentally. Here are a few things that can be done to initiate an inward spiritual process:
- Practise Stillness: One of the most famous quotes from the Patanjali Yoga Sutras is – “Sukham Sthiram Asanam”. It means that one should learn to simply sit in a comfortable posture. Only once we can sit in a comfortable posture for longer durations without having aches, we can actually start working with the mind and breath. A calm body leads to a calmer mind and conscious breath automatically. Learn how to sit in sidhasana or ardh-sidhasana. It might take a while (around 3 months) but, it is something that everyone needs to have – A Comfortable Posture.
- Practise Mindfulness: When was the last time you closed your eyes and observed the plays of your mind? Do you even know that there is a certain space within you that just observes and doesn’t react to the content of your mind? What will happen when you start being in that space more often? Once you start operating from the non-reactive part of your mind, peace is 100% guaranteed. Simply sit and observe your thoughts. Realise that all the thoughts and feelings are temporary. Just let them come and go and don’t engage with them. Become an observer not a reactor.
- Practise Breathfulness: By simply inhaling and exhaling a little more deeply and consciously, we immediately start to feel better. Mind and breath are twin laws of life. They go hand in hand. When the breath is serene, the mind automatically is calm. It is even said that all the secrets of enlightenment are hidden in our breath as it carries our pranas (life force) with it. Just 6 alternate nostril breathing stimulates our vagus nerve which leads to more conscious states of being. Once we master our breathing process, handling mind related issues become a child’s play. There are a whole lot of yogic practises that include working with the agencies of our breath. It is called pranayama.
In the yogic understanding of life, a human being has many koshas (sheaths) like an onion. They have elaborately explained 5: Anmaya (physical/food) Kosha, Manomaya (mental space/mind) Kosha, Pranamaya (prana/life force) Kosha, Vijnanmaya (Intuitive Wisdom) Kosha & Anandamaya (Bliss) Kosha. Once we have little mastery over the basic three sheaths, a whole new inner world starts opening up. We become more calm, intuitive and wise; and eventually start experiencing bliss. Our well-being is directly related to the amount of charge we have taken of our sheaths. Once we are existing consciously on all levels, suddenly life within us becomes beautiful. Then, irrespective of what is happening on the outside, we can simply sit and enjoy the sweetness within.