Sadhana – Uplifting the Mind – Part 2

Hari Om and Welcome back! 🙂 Thank you so much for all the love on the previous blog – Sadhana – Uplifting the Mind. It really means a lot when your audience reads and relates to what you write. 

I missed putting up a blog last Sunday due to other engagements. I hope not to do that again. 🙂 

The last blog had spoken about 4 Sadhanas that can help our mental and spiritual well-being – Japa, Yogasana, Meditation and Arpana Buddhi. Today I’ll be writing about 5 more of them to conclude this series. 

  1. Satsang – This is a practice at one level but from a higher standpoint – it is a blessing that gradually unfolds. Which allows us to unfold the layers covering our true nature. Satsang translates to company of the good and noble. In the beginning we associate ourselves with brilliant books that elevate our minds and with seekers who are determinedly walking this path of inner upliftment – this itself causes tremendous spiritual growth. At one point with grace alone, we are blessed with the company of spiritually elevated Masters – a sage or a Guru as we know them. In Sri Ramcharitamanas it is said, “Binu Satsang Vivek Na Hoyi” – Without Satsang, you will not be able to discriminate between the Real and the Unreal! 
  1. Svadhyaya – Translating to Study, this practice takes time and patience. Here, we reflect upon the scriptures of Sanatana Dharma – like the Bhagavad Gita for instance. By slowly absorbing what these manuals for right living are trying to convey – we bring their instructions into our lives, thereby enriching it. It requires guidance after a point – which in my own experience comes by itself if we are sincere in our efforts. One doesn’t need to start right from the top – for today we have tons of material online in different formats. Below is a list of 3 books you can begin with. In my humble opinion and experience – the Bhagavad Gita is a scripture all of us can begin our study with to know our own selves better. 
  1. Bhajana – In popular parlance, Bhajana or Bhajan is devotion expressing in the form of divine music and dance, which is a beautiful sadhana and experience by itself. Another interpretation is given by Shri Adi Sankaracharya in his famous composition, the Bhaja Govindam as whatever we do with an attitude of service to Bhagawan with our body, mind and intellect. That could be singing or any other action – what matters is the attitude of loving service. True Bhajana is therefore becoming an instrument of that Universal Consciousness – knowing, experiencing and living it! 
  1. Prasada Buddhi – After Arpana Buddhi which is offering of actions – we come to Prasada Buddhi – that is acceptance of actions. It is a Sadhana that applies to both the practical and emotional mindsets. It means accepting the fruits of our actions as Bhagawan’s Prasada or as the natural fruit of whatever we ourselves had sown. This mindset bestows peace and humility, for we do not dwell too much upon the should-haves and could-haves, the pain or failures then. Imagine the amount of stress we could reduce! 

I had thought of including Shravanam (Listening) but that will take another extensive blog. It also led me to Mananam (Reflection). It will only make sense if I give justice to both of them in the upcoming blogs.

I hope this piece adds value to your life and inspires you to keep working on connecting with your inner Self! For me, all these practices have been helping in fine-tuning my mind to be more receptive to the cosmic energy and make it relatively much more peaceful than it was say a few months ago. 

But my favourite is Satsang! People who know me would know why. 🙂 For associating with the good, is extremely powerful. 

Since we spoke about Bhajana, whenever you find time, do listen to this beautiful song on Shri Krishna as we approach Janmashtami. 

See You Next Sunday! 🙂

Love and Om,

Lakshmi. 

Sadhana – Uplifting the Mind

Hello! Welcome back to the voyage inward. 🙂 Thank You so much for the wonderful response on Towards True Mental Well-Being! It truly means a lot. 😀

Last Sunday, I had blogged about how the mental health of every individual needs to be addressed with a holistic understanding. 

By Sadhana we give the mind healthy and favourable surroundings, enough nutrition, restful repose, a direction etc. It must revive and grow by itself

Swami Chinmayananda

Today I will be writing about the practices – which we call Sadhanas on the spiritual path – that have helped my mind tremendously. Spirituality is a science that addresses life as a whole – the mental, physical and subtler aspects that we may not be aware of now. Thus, its practices has a deeper, profound healing effect on the mind and body. 

I am breaking this blog into two parts, the second one will be posted next Sunday. What I will be writing about is a very basic introduction because each of these Sadhanas need in-depth examining and experiential understanding too. 

  1. Japa – A powerful practice probably found in all major world religions – Japa is traditionally performed in the beginning with the help of Tulsi mala/Rudraksha mala of 108 beads. You begin by chanting out aloud the sacred mantras of your favourite deity (Ishta Devata – for example Om Namah Shivaya) or the Savitur Gayatri Mantra preferably in the morning hours. As your mind becomes more and more silent – this chanting will become a mere murmur within. It is a sadhana which builds our concentration and gain access to greater potential buried in the mind.

2. Yogasana – I mention Yogasana – because Yoga by itself has a multitude of definitions in different contexts. But here it would mean integrating the body and the mind with breath awareness and a set of practises called Asanas. Each Asana works on parts of the body, enhances one’s awareness and alertness and helps quieten the mind – thereby preparing it for higher flights into meditation. You may check out my trainer’s profile here (she is AMAZING!) and contact her if you have queries. 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Health—Wellness-Website/Yogatainment-612506432515155/ 

3. Meditation – One point that I have come to realise is that meditation begins as a practise we perform with closed eyes and slowly becomes a state of being. From 5 minutes of sitting straight, fidgeting and watching our thoughts to going deeper and deeper – we finally reach a calm state that penetrates into what we do with our eyes open too. 

While there are guided meditations on YouTube and Apps that you can check out – what has worked best for me so far is a slow chanting of Om.

4. Arpana Buddhi – This translates to maintaining a mindset of offering all that you do at a Higher Altar. This altar could be Bhagawan, Guru, the nation, your parents, your goals, etc. In the Bhagavad Gita, Shri Krishna asks Arjuna to surrender all his actions and thoughts at His Feet. When we bring this sadhana in our day to day life – the mind stops pondering over the fruits of its actions and loses all attachment with it. While performing the action itself, there is no anxiety for we are completely immersed in the present while being detached from the outcome. The mind is gradually lifted up into serene channels of inspiration. 

Even though something as simple as a walk, an affirmation or even music can help our mind – I wanted to blog about these Sadhanas which have helped me at levels – more profound than I can fathom. I believe they are long-term practises which while requiring tremendous patience and consistency – transform us from within and lift our minds to quieter channels. 

Next week, we’ll look at 5 more practises – and in the future examine these in-depth too.

Until then, please feel free to connect with me if you have questions on lakshstar97@gmail.com. I am a novice too – trying to blog, express and share so that all of us can grow together! 🙂

From now on, I’ll try to ensure that every blog leaves you with a simple resource you can use to uplift yourselves.

As we are in the Shravan month which is dedicated to worship of Lord Shiva – click here for a super-calming Mantra that will leave you feeling refreshed at any point in the day. 😀

See you Next Sunday! 😀

Love and Om,

Lakshmi. 

Towards True Mental Well-Being

Hellooo! 🙂 Now this marks a humble new beginning in the journey of creating content from the heart with two goals – to share and to enhance our growth. Do join me on this quest, I promise we will shine together! 🙂

Today as I woke up in the morning – a thought struck me. What is mental health? Do we actually understand what it means? 

We watch awareness campaigns rise for depression and mental well-being when someone close to us struggles or someone who has achieved a considerable amount of what is regarded as success also fights hard battles inside his/her mind. 

But, is mental health only about creating awareness around Depression, Anxiety or Suicide? No doubt, it is an extremely vital part. Tell me, do we understand physical health merely as being aware of various illnesses and the absence of those? Or is it much more holistic? 

The World Health Organisation defines mental health as, “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively or fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” 

Mental health is more than mental disorders. Treatment is only a part of the whole. The focal point is enabling a person to function at his optimum mental capacity and help him discover that mental fortitude which can stand by him in times of challenges. Mental health is as much about being at peace as it is about having the strength to face life’s struggles. 

We often notice that maintaining physical fitness comes quite naturally to us. While the mind does benefit in this process – why do we not recognize that the mind is far subtler and needs more care and understanding? The mind and body go hand in hand. What affects the mind, affects the body and vice versa. You can’t neglect either – for they are sacred vehicles we are blessed with. 

mental health - as your mind so your vision

In his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda says, “Mind is man. As the mind, so is the individual. If the mind is disturbed, the individual is disturbed. If the mind is good, the individual is good.” 

He explains the working of the Objective Mind (the Manas in Sanskrit) as that which faces the world outside and the Subjective Mind (the Buddhi in Sanskrit) as that which faces within and reacts to this stimuli received from outside. 

“That individual is whole and healthy in whom the objective and subjective aspects of the mind work in unison, and in moments of doubt, the Objective Mind readily comes under the disciplining influence of the Subjective Mind.” he elaborates. 

However, in the majority of us this is split and does not work in unison many times – due to our own delusory attachments and desires – which leads to inner confusion. 

To do each day what it takes to bring these two aspects together and minimize that layer of false notions will bring in mental health into our daily lives. 

I’ll talk in my next blog on 26th July 2020, about those practises which have been working well for me, in my quest. 

Until then, Keep Smiling and Shining!

Do click Like, Follow and leave your comments – cherish this dream with me! 😀

Love and Om,

Lakshmi.