Our Body: A fantastic tool for the Journey towards Enlightenment

Enlightenment is something that everyone seeks. Or at least those who have risen above the basic needs such as Food, Shelter, Clothing, Money, Safety, Job & Position, Security, Social needs etc..

There are different ways towards enlightenment mentioned in ancient books such as 1. Bhakti Marg (Devotion and Surrender to Divine ), 2. Karma Marg ( Focusing on Doing or Action ) and 3. Yoga Marg (Achieving Unity ‘YoG’ using the Physical Body) and different people follow different paths according to their choice.

We must understand that all these paths lead to the same place. i.e. ‘Awakening’ or ‘Enlightenment’  where we can experience the Non Dual Spirit and energy that flows through each one of us, where the Illusion of physical reality ‘Maya’ no longer exists and we identify ourselves as Spiritual Beings on a Human Journey.  (And Not Human Beings on a Spiritual Journey) .

From whatever I have learnt and experienced over the years, I have understood that a very effective tool that is present with us all the time is our Body.  After my awakening experience through a grounding exercise years ago, (about which I have written in a separate post recently) , over the years, I realized that the key to awakening is Pure Awareness and that anything which can help us become deeply aware / conscious in the present moment can be a door to enlightenment.

Luckily our body is with us all the time and therefore is available for us to anchor on at our will, practically 24×7. Becoming deeply aware of our body just for a week’s duration can bring about a powerful shift in our consciousness. It is easier said than done, since holding our awareness to our body even for a minute at a time is very difficult, since the mind keeps jumping around from thought to thought and very soon the awareness is gone.

With several things around us to distract our minds these days, it becomes even more challenging to maintain body awareness for a long duration. If we can simply maintain our attention to our body, breath or any action that we are performing using our body, that is good enough to take us to a deep feeling of joy and eternal bliss (Sat-Chit-Anand)

As an action point, starting from this moment, try to maintain full body awareness as long as you can. Catch yourself losing awareness and pull yourself back even if you have to do this several times a day. For a while or few days, you might feel nothing different apart from a little bit of calmness and some joy. I have observed that there’s a particular threshold point or a tipping point  and once you cross that, then the change in your consciousness will become very strong evident and noticeable to you.

You might suddenly start feeling a deep calmness, stillness and unbound Joy coming from within. For no reason, you will be happy, and will have a smile on your face. Just by looking at you, people will realize that something within you has changed.

 

 

Meditation Method 3: Heart Rhythm Meditation

Heart Rhythm Meditation is a very powerful way of using our own heartbeat as a stimulus for us to anchor our attention on.

We have discussed earlier that meditation is all about developing our awareness and anchoring it on to the present moment. Our mind. like a ship tends to drift here and there as per the thought waves that touch it. One way of keeping it steady is to anchor it to the ocean bed which never moves.

In order to achieve this anchoring, we need to identify something what is always in the present moment and no where else. One such thing is our body. However, being aware of our body is a bit tricky since we tend to lose awareness quickly. Better than the body is breath since it is continuously happening …Best is the Heartbeat since this pulse is available to us continuously and once we become aware of our heart beat, it is easy to achieve full body awareness since the pulse is something that is felt all over our body. Apart from the Heart region i.e. Chest, we can strongly feel our pulse at following places :

  1. Neck i.e. Carotid Artery Pulse
  2.  Inner arm i.e. Below the bicep muscle: Called Brachial artery
  3.  Wrist : Radial Artery
  4. Groin : Femoral Artery
  5. Behind our Knee : Popliteal Artery
  6. Behind our Ankle: Tibial Artery
  7. Dorsum of our foot : Dorsal Pedis Artery.

Apart from these there are many other places where we can feel the heart pulse.  In fact, if you strongly press two of your fingers together, after a minute or so, you will start feeling pulsations there.

In Heart Rhythm Meditation, we become fully aware of our heart beat and maintain this awareness on the entire body along with the breath. In a short while, we start becoming aware of the pulsations happening all over the body and soon the feeling becomes fairly intense. My personal experience is that at this stage my body start feeling as if it is weightless and floating. There’s a deep sense of peace, calmness and stillness, despite being with the continuous pulsations of the heart. The mind feels completely silent – almost absent.

For catching the pulse, one could use the point at the wrist where it is easy to use fingers of one hand and hold the pulse of the other hand. I had once also purchased a very basic stethoscope to listen to the heart beat.  Listening to the heart beat using a stethoscope is an amazing experience.

With Heart Rhythm Meditation, I suggest that you breathe normally and calmly instead of following any particular breath count Such as Breathe In-Hold in-Breathe Our – Hold Out.  This often distracts me from the Heart Rhythm count, so I avoid it.

I recommend doing the Heart Rhythm meditation daily for 5-10 minutes or till the time you are comfortable. This has great benefits both at a physical level as well as an emotional level.

 

Meditation Method 2: Walking With Full body Awareness

Walking meditation is a less known but very effective way of achieving a meditative state. The advantage that we get in this method is that since the body is in a dynamic state, the level of awareness that we can achieve is higher as compared to when we are sitting or lying down.

Since this method is all about awareness of our connection with the earth, it is better if we avoid wearing any kind of footwear while doing this. Best would be to walk bare feet and have a surface that is different than normal. for example, it would be beneficial to walk on a slightly rough surface, or a lawn or sea shore. That way, being conscious of the feelings or sensations of our feet becomes easier.

In  walking meditation, we first relax ourselves, calm down if we are worked up  and then start by simply being mindful of our breath as we walk very slowly and gently. After doing this for a few minutes. we simply need to become aware of our feet as they touch the ground. Feel the sole touching the ground below and be aware of this feeling.

Now, while you are aware of your feet, be aware of your breath as well. No need to synchronize your breath with the walking rhythm. Just being aware is good enough. Initially try to walk as slowly as possible, being aware of every micro movement. Be aware of the pressure on your heel, toes and feet. Be aware as the pressure sifts from one leg to the other as you walk and be aware of your entire body as it moves to the next position.  Remember that this has to be done very very slowly.  Normally, your mind will be completely blank if you are fully aware of your feet and body. However, if you realize that suddenly, your mind has got engaged in a certain thought or emotion, then just stop for a while. be completely steady and pay careful attention to the thought till it subsides.  then continue with the walking meditation.

You can keep your hands to the sides and be aware as they sway back and forth as you walk. After a while, I normally start feeling some sensations in my hands, such as tingling or certain vibrations.  I keep myself aware of whatever is happening, which further takes me into deeper states of Mindful walking.

Within 5 minutes, you might feel a shift in consciousness. Continue for 5 minutes more.  Doing this for at least 10 minutes or more at a time is recommended.

Mindful walking can help us in bringing in a lot of peace and can get rid of negative emotions such as sorrow, anxiety, worries, anger, stress etc. Since, we are being grounded to the earth, it also helps in getting rid of any physical ailments by getting the negative energy that’s inside the body out by passing it down into the loving mother earth.

If done properly and regularly, you will possibly just walk your way to enlightenment !!

Not getting results: Change your Approach

During school days, we all were taught the importance of perseverance and the need to keep trying despite failure. We all have learnt that successful people are those who kept trying in spite of failing several times. Every time they would fail, they would get up and try again.

‘If you fail once, then keep trying’ is what we have been taught. However, what they probably forgot to emphasize on in school is the fact that while we certainly must try again, we must essentially do something different, or in a different direction.

Very often we fail, not because we do not have the ability to succeed or the effort is falling short, but just because some parameter in the equation for success is not right. Changing this parameter can get us to success. Often, either we need to change the inputs or else change the process.  In either case, a change is required.

A common mistake made by people is that they keep trying in exactly the same way as before and expect better results than before. This would not happen. Principles of science tell us that if we keep doing the same things as before, we will keep getting the same results as before. So if we want a different result, we need to do something different.

I was once visiting the office of a client and came across a lovely quote on a wall hanging behind the Manager’s chair. It was about the definition of insanity and it read.. “Insanity is the process of doing the same things over and over again but expecting a different result every time” . Unfortunately we have a lot of insane people around who keep doing same things as before and then keep wondering why they are unable to achieve success in life.

 

My Awakening Experience through a Grounding Exercise

Several years ago, (around the year 1997-98), I experienced a very powerful awakening experience while doing a particular grounding meditation exercise. In this post, I am sharing this experience, and my learning and observations from this.

I was trying out a ‘grounding’ exercises mentioned on a certain website. I was sitting in front of my PC, reading out the explanation displayed on screen and following the steps. Basically, it involved visualizing cosmic energy from the sun, coming down from the cosmos, getting into the body through my crown chakra, and then going down through my spine and my feet straight upto the bottom of the earth. Then the energy would come back up the same route and create a cycle / Loop.  The Heart chakra then opened and white light from the Heart Chakra (Anahata Chakra) formed a cover around my body. It was a detailed exercise and I was intensely doing it. Suddenly something magical happened, and it came as a shock.

I felt as if all my body weight was gone. It seemed as if I had dissolved in the surrounding ether. It is very difficult to describe the feeling that I experienced, since there was a paradox in it. I had become light just like a feather, but at the same time heavier than anything else. I was smaller than the smallest, at the same time bigger than anything around. I felt as if I did not finish anywhere.

There was a tremendous unbound love that I felt all around myself, and I suddenly realized that everything around me was “ME”. The feeling of boundaries did not exist. The PC in front was Me, the Chair below was Me, the Bed next to me was Me, and same was the state of everything in that room.

Miles below me there was nothing, and miles above me there was nothing. I was floating in the air, and I didn’t have any weight either. I realized that while I had completely lost myself,  it was just me and me all over  …everywhere. The feeling was amazingly wonderful, but the moment, I felt the loss of boundaries, the loss of my body limits, and then suddenly my insecure self probably felt that I had lost myself and I got pulled out of that state back into my earlier level of consciousness.

There again I was in front of my PC. However, now the PC seemed different from me, same was with the bed, the walls and everything around. I was now aware of my body. The unity had gone. There was a slight feeling of lightness, but not floating as before. I was reeling from the intense experience. Thinking nothing. Just sitting on the chair dumbfound as if struck by lightening.

The strongest realization of this experience, was the fact that ‘I’ was not my body, and that ‘I’ was also not my thoughts and feelings. I was certainly something much more and beyond these. I realized that in this universe there was indeed no Duality. Everything was one, and the feeling of being separate or duality was simply an illusion created by the mind.

I never thought that Spiritual grounding could be so amazing. This experience made me realize that ‘I’ was something beyond ‘my mind’ and ‘my thoughts’ and ‘my body’. Today I live my life with an understanding that everyone around me, including you and all those who are reading this blog are Me and Me itself. We all are made of the same divine spirit and consciousness that runs through the entire universe. There is nothing called Living and Non-Living. Everything around me is living and is united with my Spirit or Soul.

Meditation Method 1: Attentive Eating

In my earlier post, I have given an overview of my understanding of Meditation and  a list of 5 simple methods that one can use to mediate. In this post, I am giving details on the first method, called Attentive Eating.

Attentive Eating: An effective way to achieve a Meditative state:  In this, what we simply need to do is that whenever we eat, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, we completely immerse ourselves in the process of eating.

Giving attention to anything is said to change its nature and behavior. The Double Slit experiment gives us proof of this. When a quantum “observer” is watching, Quantum mechanics states that particles can also behave as waves. … In other words, when under observation, electrons are being “forced” to behave like particles and not like waves. Thus the mere act of observation affects the experimental findings. Therefore, the impact of Attention, Awareness and Observation is established beyond doubt.

Here’s what I do…..    While I eat, I become completely attentive, aware and observing the process. I am never engaged simultaneously in chatting, talking on the mobile, watching TV, nothing. The only thing that exists is the divine presence of my food and my self.  Then as I eat, I bring my awareness to the taste, touch and smell of food as I pick it, chew it and swallow. I chew food till the time it becomes liquid in my mouth and only then swallow it. I slow down the process of eating by 10-20% observing the entire process as it happens. I simultaneously maintain awareness of my entire body as I eat.

I do not engage in formal prayer at home, or in a temple, however, I consider the process of eating as a form of prayer and uniting with the divine.  While eating, my mind is completely silent. It is not judging the food, neither assessing whether the taste is good or bad. I’m just eating it with a smile, being grateful and thankful to the universe for making food available to me multiple times every day. I consume it knowing that the atoms and molecules in it are very soon going to be ‘me’ when they get into my cells and my bloodstream.

If we do this just for 3-4 days, for every meal that we have, we suddenly start  experiencing a shift happening deep inside us the moment we sit for eating food and then this state continues for hours even after we are done with our lunch or dinner.

The greatest benefit of this method is that unlike other methods, we do not need to spare time for this separately apart from our daily routine. We regularly eat at least 3 times a day, and therefore every day presents us with at least three opportunities for deeply engaging in this wonderful eating meditation.

A direct benefit of this meditation is that our digestion of food improves drastically, more saliva is secreted since our mind is involved in the food and the process of eating.  We must understand that saliva is not secreted due to chewing, it is secreted when the mind is involved with food, even if it is at a thought level. I’m sure you would have experienced salivation even when you think of certain foods, say a lemon, raw mango etc. while these are not even in front of you.

The brain also gets the feeling of satisfaction sooner and so we don’t keep eating more than what we require, thereby avoiding getting overweight. Also, we are able to eat lesser to get the same amount of energy and nutrition as before. One must understand that digestion is an extremely energy consuming process. if we eat more than what the body requires, then in effect, we are putting in extra energy to digest the extra food consumed which the body actually doesn’t need and will later just store it as extra fat which we will end up carrying around us all the time, thus requiring extra energy. One must avoid this situation for sure.

Attentive eating, according to me is the easiest form of meditation. I highly recommend this method to everyone and especially those who find other forms of meditation difficult.

Meditation

A lot of people misunderstand Meditation and consider it to be something where one needs to follow certain postures, methods, rituals, visualizing, etc. Several books on Meditation have further complicated it too much.

I have found meditation to be very simple and straightforward. For me, meditation is the state of being aware and in the present moment. It is about immersing myself in a state where my mind ceases to exist and my ‘being’ comes into existence. I have been easily able to achieve a meditative state while traveling, walking, driving, having a bath, attending nature’s call and even right now as I write this blog.

Over the last several years, I have tried more than 10-12 different methods for meditation. However I have found that only about 6-7 of these have given me expected results and I believe that for a layman these are good ways to engage in meditation on a daily basis. Most books on Meditation have tried to complicate the process and make it look difficult, so people tend to try and drop these after failing to get results.

I have commonly used the following methods to achieve a meditative state:

  1. Attentive Eating
  2. Walking with full body awareness
  3. Heart Rhythm Meditation
  4. Being in the ‘GAP’ Meditation
  5. Breath focus meditation

I will be giving some details of each, and I am starting today with the next post on Attentive eating meditation titled ‘Meditation -1:  Attentive Eating. Subsequently as a set of 4 more separate posts, I will write about the others too.

Intention to Reality @ the Zero Point

It is said that we all are born with the ability to have our intentions instantly manifest into reality. The prerequisite is that certain conditions and a particular environment is required for for our intention to instantly transform from a Seed of Desire to a Fruit laden Tree in Reality.

However, very often, since the fundamental principles of this process are not known to most of us, the environment that is essentially required  for this instant manifestation is not available and then manifestation does not happen.

In this post, I am trying to share my understanding of what this environment is all about, and how do we create this environment to enable effortless manifestation of our desires.

We must understand that in order to create something, we must first access the field of the ‘Nothing’ . From the field of Nothingness, Something will emerge after a relevant stimulus strikes it. For example,  if I want to create  ripples, then I need to throw a pebble into a still water body. Then, the intensity with which the pebble transfers its energy (Potential Energy+ Kinetic energy) will decide how the wave or the ripple gets created.

One thing that is important to understand is that in the process of creating a ripple, the environment (i.e. the state of water) is what plays a critical role.  I have a question for you. Think about this. If I drop a huge big rock into the extremely turbulent Atlantic ocean, do you think it will create ripples?  Well the chances are low. However in contrast to this, what do you think will happen if I drop a tiny grain of sand in a completely still bucket of water.  Don’t you think ripples will definitely get created.

In an absolutely still pond, if I drop a pebble, then I will get ripples instantly. There will be nothing to disturb my creation, and the entire force that I have applied will be used in the creation. similarly, when we intend to insert an intention into the universe, the first thing that we muse ensure is a silent still state of our mind and being.

For most people, their minds are in an incessant chatter mode. Their mind keeps  jumping around from thought to thought like a monkey jumping form one branch to another on a tree. Stillness is completely absent. Very often, half of the thought waves are in a direction opposite to the goal or outcome that we desire. Thoughts of Failure, Fear, uncertainty, doubt etc keep creating turbulence in the mind. We all know how at times the mind works more in the negative then the positive. Now, in such an environment, if we insert an intention in the field, do you really think our goals will manifest?

In order to create the perfect environment for manifestation, first create a perfectly still state of your being. Then a simple thought will manifest into reality. During the healing treatments that I do, very often, while I am at the Zero point State of stillness, simply looking at an ailing person or body part, triggers a healing reaction almost instantly. The desire to heal manifests itself in the field of the stillness of my being.

The simplest way of creating this still state is to anchor ourselves in the present moment. This is because, in the present moment, the mind has no existence. It can only exist in the Past and Future, and therefore keeps pulling us in these two zones, to keep itself active. However, in the present moment, it simply disappears, and then what remains in the background is the default stillness and silence which is the eternal nature of our being. Once the ship of our being is anchored in the present, it can move nowhere even if a storm comes in.

I normally simply bring my awareness to anything that’s happening in the present moment and anchor my awareness to that. It could be my body, breath, or even any action that I am performing. Even right now as I write, I am experiencing a very deep level of stillness, I have a feeling as if I have got united and one with the universe, and an integral part of the creative field.

Once this silent state is created, then I simply bring in my awareness to the desired goal as it has already happened, (not as it will happen – remember that the universe does not understand future tense. it only understands present tense) and then I thank the universe for already having done whatever was required and then just release this reality creation pebble in that amazing potential field of creation, thereby allowing the universe to take over and use its infinite organizing ability to create what is desired.

If your being is anchored in the NOW during this process, trust me, not a single negative thought will cross your mind  and therefore, there will be nothing to disturb the universe in its creation process.

 

 

Sensory Acuity

A very important ability for any human to succeed in life is the ability to sense the environment while on the journey towards achieving his/her desired goals. This ability is called as Sensory Acuity. This ability is important for the following reasons:

  1. It helps us in knowing whether we are getting closer towards our goals. i.e. to serve as a feedback mechanism for us.
  2. It helps us to spot problems in advance, before they hit us. If we know what’s coming our way, we can change our approach.
  3. It helps us to predict the behavior of people based on their body language. Remember that people can lie and manipulate us, however the human body is not designed to lie. It usually reveals the truth, provided one is able to read body language.

At a very young age, humans are known to have very strong sensory acuity. Children scan the environment completely and can read the body language of a parent and know in advance what their response is going to be. Also, at a young age, most of the sensory organs are very sensitive to various stimuli. Our sensory inputs come in through our eyes, ears, nose, skin, i.e. touch and taste. It is said that we also have a pineal gland that acts as an alternate sensory organ.

 

As we grow up, our sensory organs lose their ability to sense and very often that is because we do not use these.

For example, we humans lose our peripheral vision as we become adults. You’d remember that in school we were taught that our eyes have ‘Rod cells’ and ‘Cone cells’ (One type gives us Focal vision and the other Peripheral vision) . However, over the years, we get conditioned to just focus, focus and focus, thereby losing our peripheral vision to a large extent. I have read somewhere that focal vision is just 10-20% and remaining 80% is peripheral vision.

So, this means that as adults, we are probably using only 20% of our vision and sensory ability. In fact, we lose a lot of other sensory abilities. for example, do you know that humans have the ability to see without using eyes. We are able to get visual input even from our skin and other sensory organs. A course offered these days, called Mid Brain Activation, can help children (in the age bracket 5-15 Years) to develop this vision. My daughter who has attended this course can see with her feet. if she is completely blindfolded and you place a document under her feet, she is able to read it perfectly.

What I’m trying to tell you is that  with damaged sensory acuity, we are unable to read our environment properly and that reduces our prospects of achieving our goals. We have actually become so distracted that we end up losing 80% of what’s happening around us and again out of what all goes inside, how much we are able to decode and process is probably another aspects that we need to consider.

I suggest that henceforth, whenever you are doing anything, immerse yourself completely in any task. Do not engage in Multi-tasking . Actually, we have a completely incorrect understanding of Multitasking and what we end up doing is Multiple tasks together, which simply divides our attention thereby reducing sensory inputs. When listening to people look at them, and observe their body using your peripheral vision. observe their eyes, posture, gestures and Skin.

 

You will receive valuable inputs that will guide you towards working out your approach and thereby lead you towards success.

Activating the R.A.S

The Reticular Activation System or the R.A.S in the human brain is what helps us find what we are seeking. It helps in spotting that particular thing or highlights those paths in the environment around us that can lead us towards what we are seeking.

To give an example, It works similar to an operator in a Telephone exchange who would connect an incoming caller to someone within a region or organization that he/she wants to connect with.

To activate the R.A.S, we must essentially be seeking something. Then the R.A.S. gets activated and starts hunting for ways, means and paths towards that what we are looking for.

Let me give you an example of how this works.  Let’s say that one fine day, you a desire to buy a red colored compact car. Once once this goal is set, in the next 7-10 days you would suddenly start spotting red colored compact cars everywhere around you. You’ll find them in parking lots, on the highways, at the Toll Plaza and probably a few in your neighborhood.

Note that you weren’t spotting these cars earlier. The cars were always there but now because the R.A.S is activated, it is bringing those into your conscious observation through the sensory route. You might suddenly spot a seller of a Red compact car or probably find a car dealership nearby or spot a scheme for Car finance in the newspaper next day.

Activating the R.A.S is done by means of Goal setting. We need to set clear goals and then also become passionate about achieving each of that goal. Then the ways and means to achieve those goals simply open up in front of us.

It is said that whatever you are seeking in life is also seeking you. However, the meeting point of you and what you are seeking happens when your mind is open to possibilities and is eagerly and passionately looking for that thing. Then the entire universe then conspires with you to convert that goal into a reality.

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