Lose Weight, Quit Smoking, Lower Blood Pressure and Reduce Stress
Definition of Happiness:
First, we should analyze what happiness is. A dictionary defines it as freedom from strife, and a state of serenity, calmness and stillness. Inherent in this definition is the answer to why happiness is so difficult to achieve. Life and strife seem to go hand in hand. We have all experienced this. Any happiness we receive is often short-lived. We may suddenly find ourselves in states of sorrow. There are disturbances at each and every stage of our life. Existence in this world is turbulent.
If happiness means “freedom from strife,” then it is not easily attainable. Whether one is rich or poor, a king or a farmer, one’s life is beset with one problem or another.
Causes for Happiness Disturbance:
Even if our physical body is fairly healthy, few can lead their lives without strife. There are many occurrences that produce stress. If we have a family, we know that the illness, unhappiness, or misfortune of any member causes the others to be distressed. Whenever any two people live or work together, there are bound to be tensions due to differences of opinions or viewpoints. When we are not happy with whom we come in contact, we experience stress and apprehension in our day- to-day activities. And this tension prevents us from leading a life of happiness, joy, and bliss.
Transitory moments of Happiness:
If we search for happiness in our outer life, at best we can find transitory moments of tranquility. We certainly do have times in which we enjoy the warmth of being with our loved ones, or we have moments of happiness from some gain or achievement. But these moments are fleeting. Inevitably, life again presents us with another set of problems.
Whenever we experience any moments of bliss, life comes and offers another cup of sorrow. It seems as if lasting happiness in this life is virtually impossible. Life should be more than a pendulum in which we swing back and forth between moments of joy and moments of sorrow.
Shift in Thinking:
Despite the obstacles, we can attain true happiness in this lifetime. But to do so, we need to undergo a shift in our way of thinking. Our angle of vision needs to change. We tend to look for happiness in the outer world. We hope to find it in our possessions, and relation ships. But the loss of any of these causes us to become agitated and distressed. Our happiness of mind is disturbed. Every thing in this world is subject to change and eventual decay. So long as we look to the transitory world for happiness, we will be disappointed. We need to change the way we look at this problem.
An anecdote from the life of a king can help us in this regard. He had a number of advisors to help run his ministries. One day king wanted to test his advisors, so he presented them with a puzzle. He took a stick and drew a line in the sand. He asked the advisors to try to shorten the line without erasing any part of it. Each counselor took a turn but all were confused. They could not figure out how to make it shorter, Finally, a clever advisor came forward, took the stick, and carefully drew a line next to the one the emperor had drawn. But advisor made his line longer. By drawing the second line longer, it made the original one look shorter.
The solution to finding happiness requires us to look at the problem from a new perspective. We cannot change the nature of the world or its problems. But we can add a new dimension to life that will give us happiness. Lasting happiness can be found within us.
These are realms of joy and love which are within us. They are regions of eternal happiness and bliss beyond time and space. We cannot change the fundamental nature of the world, but we can become attuned to the worlds lying within us. In order to find happiness in the world, we must first find it within ourselves. We can do this only by changing our perspective in life.
Creation of Universe and Soul:
We learn from the scriptures that in the beginning the creative principle of the universe, which we call God, was all alone. It is said that He is an ocean of all-consciousness, all bliss, all joy. When He decided to become many from one, He created this universe. Besides bringing the various planes of creation into existence, God also sent into these worlds conscious particles of Himself, drops of Himself, which we call souls. They inhabited the various planes of creation. Soul is of the same essence of God. Soul is a true reflection of God. It is pure spirit and is all-consciousness, all bliss, all joy. When it took up residence on each plane it had to assume a covering or body corresponding to the material of the region. Thus, the soul was cloaked in a causal, astral, and physical body. The soul was also given the mind through which it receives impressions and communicates.
In the physical universe the soul is covered with the maximum layers or coverings. The result is that the soul forgets itself and becomes identified with the bodies which it inhabits. It forgets its true nature and its residence in spiritual realms within. This forgetfulness is the cause of unhappiness and ignorance of the mysteries of life. All knowledge of the creation, of who we are and of God, is within our soul. The soul is perpetually conscious. But the soul’s coverings are so thick that the divine Light cannot shine through any more. In order for the Light to again radiate, we have to remove the various coverings of the soul, one by one. Meditation is a process by which we can remove each veil until we shine forth as pure soul.
Problems on the way to Meditation:
The soul, unaware of its true nature, has identified itself with the body and mind. Instead of the soul controlling the mind and the mind controlling the senses, the situation has become reversed. The soul is dragged by the mind, and the mind is pulled by the senses into the outer world. Our attention is lost in outer enjoyments and tempted by the world’s attractions. Most of us are attracted to sights that we consider pleasant and beautiful. To someone, scenery might be lovely. To another person, an architectural building might be appealing. To yet another, machinery might look beautiful. We enjoy listening to lovely sounds. Some of us like to hear classical music, whereas others may like to listen to rock ‘n’ roll. We are attracted to those sounds that we find enjoyable. We are attracted to food which is delicious. And we are enticed by sweet-smelling fragrances and by the sense of touch. Because of these outer attractions, it is hard for us to withdraw our attention from the outer world. So long as our attention is identified with the world outside, we are faced with the problems and miseries that are inherent in physical existence. We spend our time seeking worldly enjoyments, but they last for only short periods of time.
We can perform a small experiment ourselves. If we close our eyes and try to sit still, concentrating our attention, we will find that our mind will start to bombard us with thoughts. Within seconds we will become restless and will want to move and open our eyes. We find we can hardly sit still. Then, the mind will start thinking of one thing or another. So many distractions will keep us from concentrating. Although wonderful regions lie within us, we have not been able to enter them. We need to learn a technique by which we can still the body and mind, and find happiness, love, and bliss within.
Power of thoughts determine our action, our mood, they determine our destiny. It is therefore important to learn as how to think thoughts. If you have negative thoughts, you cannot expect good things. If your thoughts lead you towards hopelessness, you can never lead a life full of hope and vigor. Don’t dwell on negative thoughts. You cannot control your thoughts if you don’t know where they are coming from. Let us therefore understand as how the thoughts are formed.
Understanding of Meditation:
The process of thinking starts from the deepest, most refined level of consciousness and becomes grosser as it develops. Eventually it becomes gross enough to be perceived on the surface level of consciousness, the ordinary level of thinking. An analogy will clarify this principle.
A thought starts from the deepest level of consciousness, from the deepest level of the ocean of mind, as a bubble starts at the bottom of the sea. As the bubble rises, it gradually becomes bigger. When it comes to the surface of the water it is perceived as a bubble.
Mind is like an ocean. The surface layers of the mind function actively while the deeper levels remain silent. The functioning level of the ocean of mind is called the conscious mind. Any thought at the surface level is consciously cognized, and it is at this level that thoughts are appreciated as thoughts.
A thought starts from the deepest level of consciousness and rises through the whole depth of the ocean of mind until it finally appears as a conscious thought at the surface. Thus we find that every thought stirs the whole range of the depth of consciousness but is consciously appreciated only when it reaches the conscious level; all its earlier stages of development are not appreciated. That is why we say that, for all practical purposes, the deeper levels of the ocean of consciousness are as though silent.
Meditation is the process through which we engage the subconscious level of mind with the conscious level of mind. This way the power of mind would be increased tremendously as the subconscious level of mind is million times more power powerful than the conscious level of mind.
Advantages of Meditation:
Let me sum up some of the advantages of meditation:
- Meditation helps us to explore our inner treasures and develop consciousness to inner happiness. It develops inner strength, energy and realization that soul is the master of the body. Soul develops the connection with its creator.
- Through meditation our mind becomes positive and by that virtue our body starts healing rapidly. Negative thoughts which are a cause of greater pain and suffering start going away.
- Through meditation, we start the realization of our bones, muscles, tissues and organs. It penetrates every cell of body and make positive changes in our cells which change every 3 months. Meditation starts developing cells to cure even the terminal illnesses and as proven by 600 scientific studies over 30 years, meditation lowers blood pressure, reduces stress and stress related deceases such as heart attack and stroke. It also helps to reduce use of hypertensive drugs.
- Through meditation , we discover the fountain of love within us which is child like innocent and untouched. It is possible to experience the love which is absolute and unconditional love. The feelings of pain and sorrow subside and totally disappear with this power of love. It heals painful memories of the past and develops a spirit of forgiveness. Sorrows of life become like hick ups in the journey of life.
- Meditation helps to channelize quality and quantity of thoughts. We don’t feel lonely and don’t have a feeling of emptiness any more. We also don’t feel over crowded with thoughts either. Our mind does not wander around 1000 different directions.
- Meditation creates the vibration of love, happiness, harmony. Our eyes and ears focus inwards rather than catching the signals of outside world. One becomes the lighthouse not only for oneself but also for the rest of the world.
- Finally the relief of stress, pain and worldly sufferings helps us to unfold the creativity and intelligence. Our creativity helps us progress in financial matters and our intelligence knows where to put a stop point so we don’t get lost in temporary pleasures and forget about permanent pleasures of life.