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Guide to practicing heartfulness
Modern-day Heartfulness simplifies and expedites the old path of Yoga. There is no longer any need to take up the different steps of Ashtanga Yoga separately, one at a time.
Instead, Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are all taken up simultaneously. How does this work with respect to Pratyahara?
First, Heartfulness Meditation is aided by Transmission, which facilitates effortless inward focus. How? Transmission is from the Source, from the centre, so it calibrates us from the inside-out to be in osmosis with the most sublime Samadhi from the very beginning. During Heartfulness meditation with Transmission, transformation happens from the inside-out, from Samadhi to Yama, from limb number eight to one. At the same time, we mold our lifestyle from the outside-in, going from limb number one to eight. This two-way approach is revolutionary, because it allows us to experience the eight yogic attributes simultaneously, without such a severe struggle. We are given a cane with which to walk, and sometimes we are also carried like a joey in the mother kangaroo’s pouch, so that the journey is one of effortless effort. When we emerge from meditation, we allow a few minutes for the condition we have acquired to be enlivened and imbibed, so that we are one with it, in complete union (A-E-I-O-U). When we are able to hold this state of Samadhi after we open our eyes, Pratyahara happens naturally.
Second, Heartfulness cleaning removes those impressions from our subtle bodies that fuel our desires and activate the senses. In previous articles, we have spoken about all the emotional pulls that we feel due to the impressions we accumulate from our past. Until they are removed, how can inward focus be natural? That is why cleaning is so important. Through these two Heartfulness practices, Pratyahara is facilitated, as both the deepening inward focus and the removal of obstacles are speeded up. While we still witness the vagaries of the mind during meditation, we simply ignore the thoughts that surface as they are being removed. Third, the Heartfulness Prayer is a direct practice of Pratyahara. It contains an acknowledgment, “We are yet but slaves of wishes putting bar to our advancement,” and then gives us the solution to take us beyond that limitation, by focusing on a stage of existence beyond the senses. Prayer naturally takes us to the center of ourselves where the senses are not needed in our witnessing. Instead, we are in osmosis with a higher dimension of existence through the heart.
There are also other Heartfulness practices that support Pratyahara, including a scientific technique that was developed by Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur. While observing the flow of thought energy, he discovered how it descends from the ‘lake of consciousness’–known in Yoga as the chit lake–which is associated with the prefrontal cortex of the brain and the Brahmanda Mandal or the Cosmic Region in spiritual anatomy. Thought energy descends from the chit lake towards the chest area and in most people it diverts to the left side, to the first chakra of the heart. From there it flows outwards into worldly thoughts and activities. Then he observed that if the chit lake is first cleaned and a portion of the flow of thought energy is gently diverted towards the right side of the chest, to point two, the point of the soul, then the seeker will be relieved from disturbing thoughts. By bringing the attention to the soul rather than to desires, the senses are naturally drawn inward. Pratyahara and Vairagya go hand-in-hand, and a great hurdle is overcome in such a simple way.
Kamlesh D Patel is the fourth spiritual guide in the Sahaj Marg system of Raja Yoga meditation. He is a role model for students of spirituality who seek that perfect blend of eastern heart and western mind. He travels extensively and is at home with people from all backgrounds and walks of life, giving special attention to the youth of today.
To be continued
— Kamlesh D Patel is the fourth spiritual Guide in the Sahaj Marg system of Raja Yoga meditation. He is a role model for students of spirituality who seek that perfect blend of eastern heart and western mind. He travels extensively and is at home with people from all backgrounds and walks of life, giving special attention to the youth of today