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A rather long ramble

4 Jul

I had a short conversation with my Guide today morning. We were talking (and laughing!) about how my first drafts have looked SO different from my final drafts. He made the observation that my first drafts are intensely personal and that I achieve the level of detachment and distance that is required in academic writing in consequent drafts. Don’t ever turn in first drafts! said he. Lol.

It was a very profound observation, not just on my writing, but also on myself. (Ofcourse, as I have discovered during the dissertation process, I cannot draw neat lines between where my self ends and where my ability to write begins. When I struggle mentally with something, my writing is impacted.) My mind, in its natural state, is an unrestful place. It is extra-responsive to my environment, to my past, and it simply HAS to work through every thought that comes to mind. Put another way, there are endless triggers that I encounter in day-to-day living, which, if not managed, can send me into a spiral of unhealthy responses like worry, anxiety, anger, grief. My mind in its ‘natural’ state teaches me to identify with my lower self and take it too seriously. And I am very glad for this, because I have often wondered if I was easily satisfied with my life, would I have sought God? Would I have realised that there is no lasting peace and joy in anything but God? Would I have made loving and realising God my goal and sole ambition? Somehow I don’t think so. Had I not been made the way I have been made, my journey in God would have looked very different.

Managing my triggers has been a big part of the journey I have made in the past two years. Around November 2012, I had written:

So when I think of work, I think I need to re-orient my conception of it. Working on MYSELF is my primary job for now, because as they say on airplanes: put the mask on yourself before you help children and the elderly. I’m no good at giving myself, till this myself learns to behave and be in God at all times.  

I am learning to become aware of and distance and detach myself from my lower self. I am learning to observe inharmonious movements of thoughts and feelings inside me and realise that these do not have to keep me from practicing the presence of God. There is a very definite parallel between the journey I have made during my MPhil programme and the jouney I have made in God. I believe very strongly that the only reason the Lord blessed me with these two years of MPhil in Calcutta is so I could learn to move further in my spiritual practice. There was no reason for me to have been admitted to this institution; the application procedure required a research proposal. EVERYBODY had a research proposal…except me. All I gave them were a few paragraphs of what I was interested in. As far as I am concerned, the MPhil wasn’t my move, it was God’s 🙂

I have not made the journey on my own; nothing is my own, not even my effort. It’s all God. And oh yes, moving my self from the first draft version of myself to my second, third, fourth versions of myself have only been possible through meditation. I have gone from ‘freestyle’ meditation to a specific technique. This is in preparation of my mind and body to receive Kriya Yoga initiation some day, if it is so willed. Nothing has taught me to activily still the mind like meditation, and without stillness one can’t receive God.

There is another long post that I will need to get out some day soon. Thoughts about the terrible tragedy in Uttarakhand. We will never know how many are dead. They are saying it might be 100,000-300,000. Most of us have never seen or heard anything like it. It’s like the doomsday movies. Assam has floods now. Canada has floods. Parts of Europe had (has) floods. Kids are dying in Kerala. A bigoted man might be the prime ministerial canditate for one of the main political parties in 2014’s elections. There is a lot of unprecedented crazy in the world right now. It is hard to feel secure in the midst of all this, but maybe this worldy insecurity will lead more and more of us to search for a more permanent, inviolate security. But, all that for another post. Back to work now.

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Learning to Breathe

3 Aug

Lately I’m realising just how much natural knowledge we lose as we move towards adulthood without an iota of realisation that there has indeed been a loss. Such as how to breathe properly.

Breathing is something that I can remember taking for granted as far back as conscious memory goes. When I think ‘health’ I think yoga, excercise, water, even meditation, but not proper breathing. It wasn’t until I starting learning Pranic Healing earlier this year that I realised how tight my breathing was. The balloon system of breathing, where your stomach and not chest inflates with inhalation and deflated with exhalation, no longer comes naturally to me. I have to consciously work my diaphragm. And I know the difference when suddenly one day, while lying down, I feel my body slip into that mode automatically and the deep sense of wellness and peace that pervades my being with it. We emphasise the importance of infants losing their ignorance and learning ‘grown up’ skills such as walking. It would be awesome if we could all emphasise the much more important skill, in my opinion, of breathing like we were meant to. Like insert it into the school curriculum or something (hey, if Chemistry and Hindi are fair game, so is breathing!).

The human breath is probably the most central aspect of our physical and spiritual selves. Yoga teaches you that, Kriya Yoga is probably based on breath control techniques, Pranic Healing teaches you that. It’s the cheapest doctor: try any of the yogic breathing excercises the next time you have a headache instead of disprin.

Suckers and Givers

On a related note: there is something about the TV and the internet that deflates me. It literally saps me of energy and the wellbeing quotient and I’m not sure why this happens. I began to suspect this earlier this year when I was watching waay too many sitcoms and serials off the internet. I experimented: I began turning on the computer to check my email and then shutting it down for the day, as opposed to leaving it open for downloads (shh!) and to ‘study’ off the net. I found that I started accomplishing more and that I had waay more energy than usual for things I used to do before the invasion of mass media in the 1990s.Such as having time.

I’ve been watching a lot of M*A*S*H lately. It’s a fairly well made serial, although it’s the most misogynistic thing I’ve ever seen, the humour is intelligent. But despite the humour, I come out of MASH sessions feeling drained and sometimes, even low. Proof is had- TV IS EVIL!