The caterpillar goes through an immense change and sits through, what must be stressful, the pupal stage before it bursts out of its shell into a riot of colours as it embraces the world.
Similarly, as we are swept away by the day to day activities of our lives, we are faced with more changes than ever before. There’s more work and less time. We feel that, truly, there’s no time to stand and stare. We wonder how to heal our hearts. We wonder how to calm our anxious minds. We wonder how to restore balance in our often-fractured lives.
Behind all these different questions, I have observed one common thread - most of us want to transform our lives in some way. This desire to change is important because it sets the stage for the first step in transformation: that of having an intention.
Over the past six decades, the practice of Heartfulness has helped me improve and refine my life. These are practices that have worked for me, and in sharing these, I hope that we can take the first steps to create a life of peace and inner transformation.
Having intention and focus
To achieve anything in life, we must first simplify our intentions. If we were to think of transforming our lives, we must focus on that goal of transformation. I will give you an analogy that you might immediately understand. If you leave all the apps on your smartphone running all the time, you might find that your phone’s battery is draining very fast! That’s like life too. If you have too many apps running in your life, you are just going to exhaust yourself quickly. The intention to transform oneself becomes more solid with focus. That’s why you need mindful attention. It roots us, gives us a surefootedness, which becomes the foundation for focusing on Heartfulness. It allows us to see what matters most to us in life, and we act with a certain strength that comes from deep within. Having focus is one simple principle that will help you in all aspects of life, be it a career, relationships, or transformation. It allows you to utilize that precious inner resource within all of us and more importantly, enables us to act keeping the people and things we love in mind. How do we focus? It is an ability that comes naturally from simple meditative practices. There are some practices we follow in the Heartfulness Way that can regulate our mind, refine our consciousness, and aid us on this path of transformation.
Having openness means that we have the desire to seek answers. The first practice that can sow the seeds of transformation in us is meditation. Meditation helps us to transform our thought process from scattered to focused. I started with my own practice of meditation when I was a third-year pharmacy student in college back in 1976, and my life has been changed forever since then. How? By opening my mind and heart. It taught me about impermanence, the illusion of control, and mindfulness.
One of the first prerequisites for meditation is to have an open mind and heart. Your heart is your laboratory here. So, whenever you start with the practice of meditation, sit with an open heart. You will receive a different experience. Begin meditating with a hypothesis that there is a source of light present within your heart. Like a scientist, we test this belief each time we close our eyes and attempt to connect within. When we experience answers for ourselves, knowledge truly becomes ours.
With regular meditative practice, we develop traits such as self-acceptance, self-discipline, and focus. Meditation is a process to create a meditative state within us that manifests our heart’s intrinsic goodness. This expression of goodness makes peace dynamic and life-affirming, and in its wake, brings unity and harmony to this world.
(To be continued…)
Kamlesh D Patel is the fourth spiritual guide in the Sahaj Marg system of Raja Yoga meditation. He travels extensively and is at home with people from all walks of life, giving special attention to the youth of today