Spirituality

Spirituality is often separated from religion, and has become more oriented on subjective experience and psychological growth. It may refer to almost any kind of meaningful activity or blissful experience.

The traditional meaning of spirituality is a process of re-formation which aims to recover the original shape of man, the image of God.

INDEX

The banana analogy

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Banana skin akin to religion and fruit akin to spirituality. Often we hold onto the skin and throw away the banana
PATHS
Four ways – marga or yoga – of spiritual practice.
The first way is Jnana yoga, the way of knowledge.
The second way is Bhakti yoga, the way of devotion.
The third way is Karma yoga, the way of works.
The fourth way is Raja yoga, the way of contemplation and meditation.

Schools and Spirituality

Different schools encourage different spiritual practices. In one school for example, the spiritual practice has been referred to as sadhana. It involves initiation into the school, undergoing rituals, and achieving moksha liberation by experiencing union of cosmic polarities. Another school emphasizes bhakti yoga as spiritual practice.

In Advaita Vedanta school, the spiritual practice emphasizes jana yoga in stages: samnyasa (cultivate virtues), sravana (hear, study), manana (reflect) and dhyana (nididhyasana, contemplate).

As I Experienced and follow: Dr.J P Singhvi,
In addition to being a neurologist I am also Faculty and Teacher at the Art Of Living foundation.
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Meet Guruji

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

  • He is a global humanitarian leader and peace activist.
  • He is someone very special, loving and wise.
  • He has encapsulated the essence of spirituality into a week long seminar i.e. the HAPPINESS PROGRAM.

Are you all feeling good?

Have you noticed how many times you feel good, happy and up like an inflated balloon and yet there are times when we feel like the balloon just bursts.

Why is this? If you observe all this, it is nothing but a rise and dip in the level of energy in our body.

SEVEN LEVELS OF EXISTENCE

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  • Memory (Chitta)
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  • Self or Being

Body-Breathe- Mind Complex

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Our body needs activity/exercise to remain healthy.

Yoga

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The Origin of Yoga practice dates back at least 6000 years to ancient India. Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning Union. Through tension, stress, illness and accident, the harmony of body, breath, mind and emotions get disturbed like the strings of a guitar, which have gone out of tune. The practice of Yoga enables us to retune ourselves to experience the innate harmony of being. The physical aspect of Yoga consists of asanas, which are physical postures held for a period of time, followed by Yoga Nidra. It gives deep relaxation that allows the effect of the postures to seep into the body giving a profound rest deeper than the sleep.

BENEFITS OF YOGA

  • Energy level increases with the influx of oxygen to the cells and prana (life force) to the subtle body.
  • Circulation is increased and toxins are eliminated.
  • Immunity is strengthened.
  • Glandular system is normalized.
  • Heart is strengthened and lung capacity increases.
  • Digestion and elimination are enhanced.
  • Posture improves; muscles and ligaments are stretched and toned.
  • Mind becomes calm and power of concentration increases.

FOUR SOURCES OF ENERGY

When our energy is low during the day, on days that you are tired, have you noticed the state of your mind, how you feel? How does your mind behave? So in general, when energy is low, we are not feeling good, mind is grumpy, not focused, irritable.

Has anyone heard of the term Prana? Or the term Chi? What does it mean? Prana is a Sanskrit word, which means the subtle life force energy. It is associated with the breath, but it is subtler than the breath. So when the prana or life force energy is low we feel sad, depressed, heavy and negative.

How about when your energy, or prana, is high during the day?
How do we feel? What does your mind do?
So when the prana level in the body is high we feel happy, light and positive. Our mind can let go of the negative more easily. So how you feel during the day is really up to you to control, just by changing the energy levels in the body.

Let’s look at the four best or most impactful sources of prana or life force energy.

Food

Food is an essential source of energy or prana. Have you noticed how you feel after you eat a big and heavy meal or overeat as compared to eating a light meal or salad? You feel dull and sleepy rather than feeling energetic and light, isnt it? The right type of food in the right amount is essential for the effective functioning of the body. A vegetarian diet is more life supporting and easier to digest than eating meat. The American Medical Association suggests we have five helpings of fresh fruits and vegetables per day, and whole grains with high fiber in our diet to stay healthy. By simply giving a little more attention to our diet we can raise the level of prana in our system.

Sleep

How do we feel if we have not had a good night’s rest? The next day we are not ourselves. We may feel irritable or dull, isn’t it so? When we oversleep, we sleep for 15 hours on the weekend, how do we feel? Again we tend to feel dull, sleepy. There needs to be a proper balance of rest and activity

Breath

The breath is our main source of prana. Just think, how long can you go on without sleep, without food and without breath?
Last main source of energy is more subtle

Calm, Happy and Meditative state of mind

Have you noticed when the mind is filled with negative thoughts such as worry or fear, we become drained and tired, isn’t it? The prana goes down.And when the mind is more positive, filled with thoughts of love, enthusiasm and happiness, prana goes up and we feel more energetic. Negative thinking drains us

The breath is the most important source of energy.

Just a little awareness on the breath is all that is required to attain a peaceful and calm state of mind. The body, breath and mind are beautifully linked. Have you noticed, for every emotion there is a corresponding breath pattern? When we get angry the breath becomes faster and heavier and the body becomes hot. When we get nervous or frightened the breath becomes slow and shallow, and the body becomes cold. Normally, this is a one way street. In a week long seminar, “Happiness Program” we flip this around and make it a two way street. We learn to use the breath to manage the emotions.

Pranayama and Meditation

‘Prana’ means subtle life force energy. ‘Aayama’ means directing or controlling, so Pranayama means directing the life force energy. Pranayama is housing our awareness, our Self in the Prana.

Nadi Shodhan Pranayama / Alternate Nostril Breathing

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Sit easily and comfortably with eyes closed. Keep the spine erect, shoulders relaxed and a smile on the face. Take a deep breath in and let go. Again take a deep breath in and let go. Let us keep our left hand in Chin Mudra i.e., the tip of the thumb touching tip of index finger lightly. Keep the right thumb on the right nostril, index and middle finger lightly touching in between the eyebrows and ring finger on the left nostril. Start with the left nostril breathing out fully closing the right nostril with the thumb.Breathe in through the same left nostril, keeping the right nostril closed. Now, breathe out through the right nostril keeping the left nostril closed with the ring finger. Now, breathe in through the right nostril keeping the left nostril closed with the ring finger. Breathe out through the left nostril keeping the right nostril closed with the thumb. Continue, breathing in and out.Do it for about 5 minutes and relax.

Check yourself How do you feel? So, just by paying a little attention to breath we can change the quality of our life.

Mind

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Tendencies of the Mind

  • Agree/Disagree
  • Clings to the negative
  • Vacillates between the past and the future

The mind is always outward. So we need to take the mind inward.

Please watch the video by clicking the link : video

Meditation

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Meditation is not concentration but de-concentration, concentration is the result of meditation.With little guidance and training one can do meditation. Meditation improves all aspects of your being.

Please watch the video by clicking the link : Guided meditation by Sri Sri for the beginners

Have you observed, the human being has seven levels of existence. A clear understanding of these seven levels and of the four sources of energy can enrich the understanding of our lives. . If you notice, our entire life revolves around the breath. The breath has the ability to change the state of mind, and the ability to make the body feel healthier. The breath increases the energy level in the body, which increases the efficiency of the body and mind. It increases awareness, which helps us to see and make use of the opportunities that come to us. It can keep us happy and healthy. This and a lot more is what we deal with in the Art of Living Course.

Meditation as immunostimulant

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/meditation-as-immunostimulant/article6386647.ece

Application

Just knowledge is not enough. We need to experience. So, let us go deeper and experience the depth of the mind through the breath.
One can check the Happiness Program happening around you by visiting
www.artofliving.org

Benefits of the program

  • The Art of Living Course brings the mind into the present, not as a concept but as a conscious reality.
  • It allows the body to get rid of stress and strain, tension and toxins, thereby improving our health.
  • What is stress? It is that which takes the mind out of the present moment.
  • The Course brings more energy, enthusiasm, and dynamism in action.
  • It brings harmony in social relationships because we are more balanced and more aware of ourselves.
  • The Course is a journey from head to heart.
  • It brings a sense of inner calm, and gives you an inner smile.
  • It enables you to enjoy life more. It brings more happiness and freedom.
  • A deep spiritual dimension opens up for people on the Art of Living Course.

Sudarshan Kriya

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Definition. Su means proper. Darshan means vision. Kriya means purifying action. Sudarshan kriya is a purifying action that we take with our breath that gives us a proper vision of the Self. It is a rhythmic breathing technique. There are many rhythms in creation. There are rhythms in our body, thoughts, emotions and Being. During the Sudarshan Kriya every cell in our body gets enlivened with life energy. It removes physical, mental and emotional toxins. Afterwards we feel much lighter, more clear and joyful.

Breath links the inner world with the outer world

  • Breath links the inner world of silence and peace with the outer world of activity.
  • The Course uses the breath to touch upon the humanness of our existence.
  • The breath is intimately connected to the state of our mind and our emotions.

» Excerpts from Talk by Sri Sri

“In the world today we have to study our own mind, our own self. We spend so much time learning so many things in life, but very little about life itself. See, the first thing we did when we came to the world was take a deep breath in and the last thing we will do is breathe out. Between this inhalation and exhalation lies our whole life. Yet, we have never attended to our breath. For every emotion we breathe differently. In every instance our breath pattern changes. Breath is more tangible than mind. Mind is harder to control. Okay, you listen to all the talks, you read from all the books, but it does not make any impact. Through the breath you can really bring awareness into the mind. This is because breath is tangible. You can work with the breath. It is very beneficial, very useful.”

» Using the Breath to Manage Emotions

  • For every emotions there is a breath pattern. Normally, this relationship is a one-way street.

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On the Happiness Program, we will flip this relationship around and make it a two-way street. We use the breath to manage the emotions.

  • We learn to de-link emotions from people, events and situations.
  • We learn to experience people, events and situations fully, and maintain our peace of mind.
  • We still have emotions, but they are lighter and we come back to our center more quickly.
  • We are more natural.
  • The heart feels full.