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Inner Beauty

Inner beauty always reflects on the outside. This is something we have all heard time and again. But then, we have not cut down, for the most part, the time spent in front of the mirror or generally paying more attention to the outward appearances and drawing a lot of conclusions based on those. We have not stopped making external appearances as a topic of conversation and discussion at most social gatherings – business or otherwise. No wonder, one spends a lot of time getting ready for an event, office, function or a party – normally.

Roald Dahl,  wrote – “You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” Makes me wonder what it would be like if the way you lived reflected on your looks. Perhaps we would all try harder to be better people.

What if one day, our inner self and physical self were turned inside out? How would that impact our looks and confidence? Will most of us be able to come to terms with what we see? If for every ill intention or thought, we have a scar on our skin, visible for everyone to see as a reflection of our “beauty or looks”. Would we continue to harness and seed ill intentions and thoughts? If for every time we are hurtful, our hairline would recede or hair turn grey, would it stop us?  If for every time we hurt someone intentionally, it added a few pounds to our weight, would we still do it? Per contra, what if we take time to teach a child, or feed the needy, or show kindness we would drop some weight around our waist or grow back some hair or lose a wrinkle, would we humans be more willing?If taking the time to answer questions of innocent children or senior citizens needing assistance could reduce signs of ageing, maybe we all would develop patience and kindness?

I realize that looking good has become so important to us, it could drive us to go out of the way and inspire us to take steps that we usually would not un-inspired. Maybe if we lived our lives the way Dahl suggested, we would be very different people.

I wonder how radically different our priorities, decisions and personalities would be in a world where doing good was rewarded so visibly and tangibly. So much that it becomes second nature and never looks like an incentive for doing it.

Heartfulness, in my mind is possibly a good first step to attempting to become citizens of such a Utopia of kindness, compassion and love. A very potent method to change inside out by becoming more Human.

When several people around us take to this approach, focusing more on their inner beauty through inner peace, inner joy, inner kindness, inner compassion and developing their inner SELF – and just let it radiate on the outside an true beauty, what a wonderful world we would be able to create.

Often times, I look into a mirror and wonder if I could confidently say my inner self is better than my reflection. Almost to a point that I do not have to look into it as often to check myself for anything more than the necessary daily activities like shaving, flossing and combing probably.

There is a short story that could lend its moral to nature’s way of working when we are able to see good thoughts and share good thoughts for others also to seed.

There was a farmer who grew excellent quality corn. Every year he won the award for the best grown corn. One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors. “How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.

“Why sir,” said the farmer, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”

So is with our lives… Those who want to live meaningfully and well must help enrich the lives of others, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. The quality of response and joy depends on the quality of thoughts and love we share and spread.

20160505_222656.jpgAnd those who choose to be joyful must help others find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all…may the ripples of love, peace and joy spread and grow exponentially.

 

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The 12″ Shift

The heart has a multifaceted role in the human system. It is regarded as a source of wisdom, of spiritual insight, thought and feeling in most cultures and traditions of the world. Nowadays, science is also beginning to acknowledge, invest in and expand its understanding of this amazing organ and its role.

We now understand that the heart not only responds to emotions, but that the signals generated by its rhythmic activity actually play a major part in determining the quality of our emotional experience from moment to moment. While the brain analyzes and generates thought, it is the shift from thinking to feeling that can apparently deliver the desired results. Connecting with the heart is proven to deliver experiences that are genuine, potent and transformational. Heart signals also profoundly impact perception and cognitive function by virtue of the heart’s extensive communication network with the brain.

There is a lot more waiting to be discovered, and the greatest exploration is this twelve- inch shift from the brain to the heart. During recent CME conferences conducted by the Heartfulness Institute, medical professionals displayed a strong desire to develop more empathy, compassion, and a stress-free execution of their roles at hospitals and wellness centers. While almost everyone in the audience acknowledged the need for a simple tool like meditation to do this, none of them could recall an introduction or even an elective class on meditative practices during their college days. Several attendees approached the organizers for such sessions in colleges lest the next generation of doctors and medical professionals also experience the same regret and burnout that is currently being experienced in healthcare.heartflywheel

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Tender Moments

 

HEARTFUL PARENTING:

Let us start with an all familiar story…often heard not so often applied.

Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it.

The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.

One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.

The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.

At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!

The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors, and then walked back (because he had learned not to run with scissors…). He snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!

As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand.

But neither happened!

The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

It never was able to fly…

As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong his mother took him to talk to a scientist from a local college. He learned that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions hurt the butterfly.

There will always be a search for the most ideal playbook to parenting and will probably never end. However, some fundamentals will always be at the core of any playbook as the spiritual Master Chariji often said, best way of parenting is to be the example for your kids.

  1. Be the example. Children watch, observe and learn – what starts off as a imitation soon turns into habits. So, if we expect our children to imbibe certain core values, we better practice it and be good examples. One of the best practices to have at home and let children observe and learn is to make them aware of tools like relaxation and meditation to seek and use when they feel a need for them.
  2. Judge not any situation or person for, very soon it will be considered a norm and slowly prejudice becomes a part of their subconscious mind. It will be the hardest to overcome with age and time. A guaranteed approach to overcome prejudice and develop love is Meditation. If children are taught to seek forgiveness and resolve not to commit it again, tendencies will slowly dissolve.
  3. Refer to the heart. From the very early stages of childhood, if they are taught the significance of developing universal love for all creation and use their hearts to take a decision, a lot of other conflicts will gradually disappear. A pause in the middle of a hectic schedule and a conscious effort to seek within are definite ways to train a young heart.
  4. Avoid stress in a family situation. When a child experiences chronic or particularly intensely stressful events, the brain moves to protect the child from overwhelming vulnerability so that the child can continue to function (although in a more limited way). In this way, chronic stress or traumatic experiences can contribute to a hardening of the heart. Regularly encouraging the child to practice relaxation and eventually Meditation will help overcome occasional uncontrollable stress that is a normal part of life. Most importantly, maintaining a calm and less conflicting environment at home will evoke interaction, mutual love and respect thus avoiding stress.
  5. Sensitivity: Supporting a child’s capacity for feeling vulnerable is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. Knowing the reasons a child’s brain may opt for defensiveness in place of feeling the vulnerable zone of the heart, you become better positioned to help them grow into open-hearted, emotionally intelligent, and resilient beings. Parents that meditate tend to learn about these zones and become more sensitive and alert to these situations.

As you go through school, and life, keep in mind that struggling is an important part of any growth experience. In fact, it is the struggle that causes you to develop your ability to fly. Deep roots in values that are strengthened by meditation and strong wings that are strengthened by confidence to seek, discover and explore will eventually let many hearts soar. Happy parenting.

 

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When one speaks of inner peace, in the context of the ancient sources of spiritual knowledge, it seems like a journey from “Aham” to “Atman”. In the process, we surmount the ego and find our inner SELF. Let us examine this premise and understand.

Most often during the outer journey of life we seek meaning: Who are we? What are we doing? Thus leading us to put a correlation, context, meaning and thus a sense of being incomplete – rather a fear of not knowing answers to many questions. This fear or lack of confidence, congests our mind, analyses every situation and leaves impressions thus creating deep imprints or “samskaras”. Add the ability of imagination to the mind and now we have a deeply congested mind with its own imagination of supremacy or “Aham”.

The process of decongesting the mind and connecting it with the source of light in the heart enables the journey from “Aham” to “Atman”.

A few key “carry-ons” will make this journey a smooth one.

Selfless service is equal to the proverbial renunciation or detachment. The very act of getting involved in serving others without being very conscious of doing so is a very simple and first step towards Atman.

Exercise willpower is considered to be the only friend of the inner Self. By exercising one’s willpower, one learns to ignore the onslaught of external stimuli, liberate themselves from fear, desire, anger, praise and blame.

Self Observation: When meditation is practiced with discipline and consistency, the practitioner is able to look within and appreciate the mind that occupies the body, the thoughts that occupy the mind, the realm/field that occupy the thoughts and the opportunities and threats that occupy those realms.

Thus MEDITATION brings awareness and attention to ones heart where the reality of his own fears and courage resides and the practitioner is able to appreciate the same in the individuals around him. Thus showing compassion and encouragement. This gives birth to empathy and ability to let go.

Avoid Prejudice: When an individual carries impressions of fear and survival, there is a propensity to judge. Everyone here is tying to compare and contrast and set their own versions of excellence, success, valor and victory. The observing self wants to figure out the best and optimal way to get answers to every situation – in a victorious fashion with recognition and accolades.

This animal tendency to identify the other as the opponent or competitor or prey is innate in every human. However, when the journey from ‘Aham’ to ‘Atman’ happens, there is an inside-out transformation from animal-human to human-human (Vanara to Nara) to divinized-human (Narayana). This process is achieved by learning to regulate the mind, decongest the mind and eventual discovery of the ‘Atman”. In other words from self- realization to mergence…with the source.

“He who does not hate anyone, is always friendly and compassionate, not possessive and self indulgent, stable in pleasure and pain, forgiving, contained, controlled and firm in his love for the ultimate, in heart and head, is the ONE” . –Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 12, verses 13 & 14 (paraphrased).

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MAKE YOUR HEART A LOVE GENERATOR.

heartflywheel

 

What is a flywheel? A flywheel is essentially a very heavy wheel that takes a lot of force to spin around. As a result, when it’s spinning at high speed, it tends to want to keep on spinning (we say it has a lot of angular momentum), which means it can store a great deal of kinetic energy.

You can think of it as a kind of “mechanical battery,” but it’s storing energy in the form of movement (kinetic energy, in other words) rather than the energy stored in chemical form inside a traditional, electrical battery.

Let us build a correlation between this concept and the concept of Heartfulness Meditation.

For the purpose of this exercise, l

Flywheels = Human hearts

Angular Momentum = Intensity of Meditation

Kinetic Energy = Love/Positive energy

I is the Moment of Inertia.

Moment of inertia” sounds horribly abstract and confusing, but it’s much easier to understand than you might think. What it really means is that, the effective mass of a spinning object depends not just on how much actual mass it has but on where that mass is located in relation to the point it’s spinning around.

In essence, when we go thru our day at work, we have several distractions/resistance/negative energies that tend to play on our heart and mind. If we are aware of this reservoir of positive energy (Love), we could use it to overcome loss or depletion of positivity at work.

The most sophisticated flywheels float on superconducting magnets (so they spin almost entirely without friction) and are sealed inside vacuum chambers (so there are no losses to air resistance).

When we create vaccum in the chambers of our hearts so as to attract, store, generate and expand more of this positive love energy, we essentially become a mobile love generator with unlimited reservoir of positive energy.

Let us look at some analogous application of flywheels and apply it to our scenario.

Creating balanced existence by getting the mind to refer to the heart: The flywheel helps to smooth out the power the wheels receive. So while the engine’s cylinder might add power to the flywheel every thirty seconds the wheels could take power from the flywheel at steady, continual rate—and the engine would roll smoothly instead of jerking along in fits and starts.

Using conscious pauses to prevent domination of the mind over the heart: The flywheel can be used to slow down the vehicle, like a brake. As it did so, energy would be transferred from the vehicle to the flywheel, which would pick up speed and keep spinning. You could then disengage the flywheel to make the vehicle stop completely.

Love energy generator: A flywheel can be used to provide temporary extra power when the engine can’t produce enough. Suppose you want to overtake a slow-moving horse and cart. Let’s say the flywheel has been spinning for some time but isn’t currently connected to either the engine or the wheels. When you reconnect it to the wheels, it’s like a second engine that provides extra power.

But if you take the flywheel (heart) and spin it twice as fast (double its angular velocity or intensity of meditation), you’ll quadruple how much energy (love) it stores.

That’s why flywheel designers (meditators) typically try to use high-speed wheels (regular practice) rather than few long sessions. Alternately, surrender to the Inner Self and let the spinning happen nonstop to constantly generate love energy.

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Images of Africa.

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I often contemplate my childhood, Mom.
I am a father now, and so I know
Hard work and fun go hand in hand for us;
In your actions were the lessons of Love above all and all along.
I reflect on all that your did for us and gave to us:
Sacrifice, tolerance, patience, devotion, love and tears,
Your heart, your mind, and your soul–
All these you spent on us throughout the years.
You loved us with a never-failing love
With your blanket of Love and guidance you gave us strength and confidence
And then you did the hardest thing of all:
You let us find the roads less travelled and set us free.
Every day, I try my best to be
A father, guide and beacon for our children
Like the mom you were to us.
And, amidst all the effort, we still cannot do much
Without the shower of blessings from you
Now and for ever.

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