Secret of Breathing – Deepen Your Stillness (2 minutes read)

I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.

Recently I had a secret plan to surprise a friend of mine who is an MBA grad by visiting him after a very long time. He is currently working in a well reputed corporate firm. I didn’t inform him about my visit and went to his place in South Bombay. After he came home from his work he saw me and smiled happily but he was very tired and was not as much excited to see much as he always used to be.

I asked him, “What a cold reaction you gave after seeing me, just a small smile?”

He replied, “Hey nothing like that! I’m very happy to see you. Just had a very hectic and tiring day at work. Yeah! So a lot of things are going on in my mind. Comfort and luxury is all good but the price for this is, a lot of stress and indeed, a lot of struggle to meet the deadlines!”

He asked me to teach him meditation and after practicing he told me how rejuvenated, refreshed and energised he felt. His tiredness vanished away! This was one situation which I witnessed.

Handling the Inner Demon:

The other day, as I was researching about some of the popular ailments, I was surprised to see the results. Anxiety disorders, clinical depression, mental conflicts, insomnia and stress had topped the chart and needless to say almost 97% of the population some or the other time faces these ailments.

But folks we don’t need to worry as every problem has a solution! Here the most helpful and reliable solution is Meditation. Well, wait! wait! I know some of you get scared even to hear about the word meditation but let me make it very simple for you today! You don’t need to rush to the Himalayas, seclude yourself or go to a meditation retreat to practice Meditation.

Meditation, as mystical as it may sound, is simply one of the best way to be closer to your own Self. Yes! Your True Self!
How often do we observe our body? Now you will say that when you wear your clothes, you always do glance yourself, you look into the mirror and that is how you look at your self all the time. But do you really observe yourself or just see how your clothes are beautifying your body? Yes! You do look great in that Cooper Jeans and Hilfiger Shirt no doubt! But we do this just to glorify our external self. Do you ever turn inward and observe your inner self, feelings and emotions?

The observation!

When you close your eyes and look inside, you actually feel your body in a subtler way, you also feel some minute movements and sometimes your body’s vibration. You can also feel the pain, the discomfort, the stiffness and if you are lucky enough even the bliss in certain parts of your body.

Initially by just focusing on your breath if you sit quietly for sometime simultaneously you start feeling the stillness and steadiness in the body. Breath is very directly connected to how the mental fluctuations happen. I don’t know whether science has explored this but practically speaking in our experience it is very much there!

If you sit still the breath becomes deep and slow, the more still your body becomes, the less you breath. If you bring your whole system to a certain level of stillness, not being in a hyper ventilated state, then your perception goes on increasing. You will naturally evolve into perceiving higher and better things.

Now you’ll say, “Prarthana all this sounds great! But it’s difficult, how will I achieve this?”

Many people have told me that feeling the touch of our breath is very difficult. I don’t think it’s difficult at all. This means you have not given enough importance to your breath. Observe and feel how the touch of the air you inhale is cooler and how the touch of the air you exhale is a bit warmer inside your nostrils. Once you focus on the incoming and outgoing breath you can witness a small miracle happening in yourself. You start feeling absolute calmness inside.

Inhalation and exhalation is the very Dharma of our body.

When you are absolutely still, you can feel that the conflicts in your mind are decreasing and your body becoming absolutely blissful.

Go more inward!

Your Belly expands and contracts with each incoming breath and outgoing breath. As you are aware of each in and out going breath the pace of your breath starts slowing down gradually. Here awareness is the key. Sometimes it may happen that your mind starts wondering in different directions and thoughts. But again you have to bring your awareness on the breath. Ask yourself a few times, “Am I Here?”

Then focus on each and every part of your body with every inhalation and exhalation. Relax it completely as you exhale. As your awareness is steady on breath you can experience that the mind starts getting quite peaceful and there is reduction in the intensity of your thoughts. You also start feeling lightness of limbs and you experience as if you are floating above.
When you withdraw your senses from the external, you are then tuned into the internal sound and can hear the breath. If the mind wanders, let it do so. Slowly and gradually bring it back. Treat it as if you are treating a baby.

Now does that sounds difficult? I don’t think so. We all can easily do it. We just have to become aware and become a witness of our thoughts, our feelings and our emotions. And this is how you feel calm and peaceful inside.
Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

It takes minimum 20 minutes to go in this relaxed state. I think we all deserve at least this much time for ourselves and to work on our well being, don’t we? Once you start practicing this regularly, you will automatically concentrate on the breath every moment of your life, all the time and without putting any extra effort!

You can make the body so pleasurable that just sitting here and Breathing is a million time more than anything than you have known – just to sit here and Breath

Yes! You are Breathing! Click here to read another short article on Breathing by me.

With lots of love,
-Prarthana Khot
Special thanks to Kushal Pagare and Anushka Pawar for editing this article.

Picture credits: BoodhaDoodles.com

The road less travelled

Robert Frost is my favorite poet. Although I love many of his poems, my favorite is “The Road Not Taken.” I use its lesson almost daily.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads onto way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence;

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

And that has made all the difference.

Divine Love

The greatest fortune in human life is to be able to say, “I want nothing and I am here for you.”

Three kinds of love

There are three kinds of Love.
1. The Love that comes out of Charm
2. That which comes out of comfort, and
3. Divine Love

Do you see what I am saying?
The love that comes out of charm does not last long. It comes out of unfamiliarity or out of attraction. In this, you lose the attraction fast, and boredom sets in, like most love marriages. This love may diminish and bring along with it fear, uncertainty, insecurity, and sadness.

The Love that comes out of comfort and familiarity grows. But this Love has no thrill, no enthusiasm, joy, or fire to it.
For example, you are more comfortable with an old friend who is a familiar person, rather than with a new person.

Divine Love supersedes both the above. Divine Love has ever newness. The closer you go, there is more charm and depth.
Divine Love has comfort, enthusiasm, and familiarity. There is never boredom, and it keeps everyone on their toes.

Worldly love can be like an ocean, yet an ocean has a bottom. But Divine Love is like the sky which is limitless, infinite. From the bottom of the Ocean, soar into the vast sky.

Reference: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Desire set ablaze!

Buddha said that desire is the cause of all misery. If your desire does not get fulfilled, it leads to frustration and causes misery. Even if it does get fulfilled, it leaves you empty.

Vashishtha said that desire is the cause of pleasure. You get pleasure from an object or a person only when you desire them. When you do not desire an object, you do not get pleasure from it. For example, when a person is hot and thirsty, a sip of cold water gives him pleasure; but not if he is not thirsty. Whatever gives you pleasure binds you and bondage is misery.

I tried experimenting with both and here I arrive..

When you desire for truth, all other desires drop off. Very often you always desire for something that is not there. But, truth is always there! Desire for truth removes all other desires and it itself dissolves. And what remains is complete bliss.

Knowing the truth accurately, I stand exactly as I am!

While contemplating the Inconceivable, it is only thoughts that we contemplate. Therefore, abandoning that state of mind, I stand exactly as I am!

One who acts like this is truly contented. One whose nature is like this is truly contented.

Drop Your Intentions

A strong tendency to keep doing something, whether important or unimportant, becomes an impediment to meditation. Doing starts first with an intention and then translates into action. Though intention springs from the Being, when it becomes doing it doesn’t let you settle down. All intentions, good or bad, trivial or important, need to be dropped for meditation to happen.

Vijay: But isn’t dropping all intentions itself an intention?

Sri Sri: Yes, but that intention is the last and necessary intention. Dropping the intentions is not an act – just the intention to drop the intentions itself serves the purpose. Dropping all intentions even for a moment brings you in touch with your Self – that instant meditation happens.

While you sit for meditation you have to let the world be the way it is. The repetition of meditation is to habituate our system to be able to stop and start activity at will. The ability to do this consciously is a very precious skill.

By Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

How do I earn?

Hey. Hope you’re wonderful today. Full of creativity, energy and focus.

You and I work for the world you know!

Hard work or Smart work?

Working smart means having fun with your work!

This is very very easy if you understand it deeply.

Create a system or a passive income source which will give you a lot of freedom, independence and money just by doing something that you love doing the most. How?

Start a microbusiness.

You don’t need a lot of money, resources and place to start your own business. Break such beliefs. You just need a strong purpose and willpower.

I’m 19 and I earn in thousands per month by doing things which interests me ie. teaching Yoga and spending time with kids. Earlier, 2 years back I had only 2 student and now their are more than 100. (I did this without marketing it transfered with the word of mouth). Focus on giving more. Know that customer is God and be totally honest and transparent with them. In business honesty has the most power than you can ever imagine.

Start with whatever you have right now. Don’t wait to learn you’ll eventually learn on the way but only if you start somewhere and stick to it.

Follow these simple steps.

  1. Find out your passion. Find out what you love doing the most.
  2. How can your passion create value in the lives of the people? Think consciously.
  3. Find out a product, service or a skill which you can sell. It should have utility.
  4. Search customers who are willing to buy your product.
  5. You need a source from where you can transfer money easily. Example: PayPal and Paytm.

Earlier this was way too hard, time consuming and modes of payments were also very less but with the advancement of technology you can easily find customers and market your product at a very low cost. You can earn money just by sitting at home or travelling across the world by using social networking platforms like YouTube and Blogging platforms such as WordPress and Blogger. (I’m not sponsoring these tools. I personally use them and want you to use them wisely too).

Find a suitable area of convergence.

It’s not enough to just find your passion. Your passion could be anything like sleeping or eating pizza/burgers. If such things don’t provide value to what people really want they are useless. They don’t need or care about what you want to proved them, provide what they need. Or else your business will never grow. It won’t even provide enough returns let alone growing. So you need to create value out of your passion.

Intersect your passion and what people need the most.

Earn from the Internet:

Selling handmade cards and bouquets.

Blogging by creating useful content. (I do this and trust me it has a lot of scope.) Once you create useful content your stats will grow and you can monitize your blog later. Here investments are low and the returns are high but it all depends on your skills and writing. I don’t want to monitize my blog just want to share whatever I’ve learnt. So even if you fail you’ll have a lot of knowledge and experience about such platforms which will definitely prove beneficial.

Making use of affiliate links.

Selling products on Amazon.

Starting a YouTube channel.

Writings and selling E books.

Buying and selling books.

Marketing on social networking sites.

Handling social media accounts.

The list can go on and on and on. (More about them in other posts).

Conclusion :

  1. Transfer your skill. Understand what problems people are facing and sell a solution.
  2. Add value get freedom. Most important thing is how much value you are adding with your product or service.

More value = More success

Passion + skill + usefulness = Success

Growth is important. Even if you fail you’ll have a lot of experience to look at. Get up again. The bigger the problem the greater will be your growth. You’ll definitely succeed if you stick to your aim and find every possible way to achieve it. Don’t stop here. Learn and take your business to a Macro level.

Thanks for reading till here. Here’s something more:

Insider secret: If you just run behind money you’ll never be able to chase it. Learn what to love to do and give your 100% to be a pro in it and money will run behind you. There are no limits. Just keep improving your product and skills to the best possibility. Is there any end line for this? And yes you don’t need a college degree or a lot of money to do what you want, there are many sources you can learn from. All that you have is enough, in fact more than enough. Just go for it. Get out of your comfort zone. More than passion well all need a strong will power and patience. Do with an amazing purpose in your heart and success will follow.

Inspiration works 100 times better than motivation

Mark Zuckerberg did not think about how much he’ll earn while creating Facebook and I guess nor did Jeff Bezos think about money while making Amazon. They just wanted to find solution to the problems they where facing.

So the goal should not be money. Goal should not be fame. Goal should not be power and luxury. Goal should be learning as much as we can and becoming a pro of our field. Then everything follows.

Thank you for reading! Hope to serve you’ll more.

I so wish the best for you.

Copyrights are with Aarya Life, Prarthana Khot

Dylan Warner on Meditation

One of my biggest yoga inspiration – Dylan Werner

Do you have a meditation practice?

Dylan: Well is meditation only sitting in one spot with the eyes closed? That’s what people think meditation is. How do you define meditation?

Me: Being still in both body and mind.

Dylan: How do you create stillness?
Me: Through breath.

Dylan: Which is movement.

Me: That’s true.

Dylan: How do you calm the mind?
Me: With the breath.
Dylan: Which is movement. We use the breath to slow down. But anybody who tries to meditate realizes you can’t control the mind.

Me: But I don’t think that’s the point.

Dylan: I’ve been studying “yogás citta-vrtti-nirodhah” (the second verse of the yoga sutra) and trying to understand all the different translations of what it means. The common translations of this sutra basically read: “Yoga is the stopping of the fluctuations of the mind.” Generally something that has to do with ceasing, stopping, controlling the way that the mind vibrates and fluctuates. Vrttis – one of the translations is “modification”. What modifies the mind are emotions, thoughts, anger, happiness, these are the vrttis. Who you are… If it can be taken away from you then it’s not apart of who you are. If it can be taken away, how is that you? What is constantly making the mind move is not necessarily you, they are just things like emotions that come and go. And nirodhah, “cessation” or “removal”… Well the mind or mind stuff (citta) is something that is always thinking. That’s the purpose of the mind. To stop the purpose of the mind is impossibility. Even if you say, “I’m not thinking” you are still thinking. There is a saying: Trying to meditate is like trying to smooth water with your hands. The more that you try the worse that it gets.

Joseph Campbell talks about the mind being a body of water, like a lake. And “reality” is everything that happens above the water while our mind is the surface of the water. The vrttis would be any of the distractions, a lot of it is ego, these things that cause the ripples on the water like leaves and wind, it’s our ego, our emotions, all these things that distract us or change us. So when you look into the water, what you see is a reflection but it is a distorted reflection of reality. And this is where we live.

Meditation is finding stillness, not for the sake of just being still. If you do anything you have to understand what the point is. Why do we want to be still? Why do we want to let the thoughts come to rest? When all the things stop, the water becomes smooth, no fluctuations, it’s completely still and clear. So when you look into the water all you see is the reflection of the truth. Meditation is basically coming to this point of understanding of living in truth. One effective way to do that is to sit there, close the eyes, breath and allow you to come to rest. Another way is to challenge yourself in the most physical manner to bring yourself to the presence so the only thing you could experience is what is happening right now.

Before I started yoga I was a skydiver and I was looking to be present. I found my meditation in jumping out of planes. But once that became routine, my mind went to other places. When I found yoga I was still skydiving, but all of a sudden I had an intention behind what I was doing. To be present, to allow this laying to rest, or allowing to be or in the flow. Everything in nature moves in flow, moves in harmony. The stillness is moving. The stillness is constantly changing. Even if there is no movement at all.

Original yogis who started to meditate, I don’t think they all meditated with their eyes closed. This is what I did when I was on my vision quest: When you sit there in nature, you look out and lose the separation of what separates you from nature and you look to see how the outer nature of your surroundings reflect your inner nature. And then you understand what it means to be in that flow, what it means to settle in, to surrender to that. Meditation is a practice of surrendering to the now, that’s all it is. It can look like anything, but you are surrendering to the now. So however you do that becomes your meditation practice.

Why do we touch feet of our parents and elders?

Indians touch feet and bow down before their parents, elders, teachers and noble souls by touching their feet. The elder in turn blesses us by placing his or her hand on or over our heads. Such respectful salutations are done daily, when we meet elders and particularly on important occasions like the beginning of a new task, birthdays, festivals etc. In certain traditional circles, sashtanga namaskar is accompanied by abhivaadana, which serves to introduce one-self, announce one as family and social stature.

Man stands on his feet. Touching the feet is a sign of respect for the age, maturity, nobility and divinity that our elders personify. It symbolizes our recognition of their selfless love for us and the sacrifices they have done for our welfare. It is a way of humbly acknowledging the greatness of another. This tradition reflects the strong family ties, which has been one of India’s enduring strengths.

The good wishes (Sankalpa) and blessings (Aashirvaada) of elders are highly valued in India. We touch their feet and do namaskar to seek them. Good thoughts create positive vibrations. Good wishes springing from a heart full of love, divinity and nobility have a tremendous strength. When we touch their feet or bow down with humility and respect, we invoke the good wishes and blessings of elders, which flow in the form of positive energy to envelop us. This is why the posture assumed whether it is in the standing or prone position, enables the entire body to receive the energy thus received.

The different forms of showing respect are :

Pratuthana – rising to welcome a person.
Namaskaara – paying homage in the form of namaste
Upasangrahan – touching the feet of elders or teachers.
Shaashtaanga – prostrating fully with the feet, knees, stomach, chest, forehead and arms touching the ground in front of the elder.
Pratyabivaadana – returning a greeting.

Rules are prescribed in our scriptures as to who should prostrate to whom. Wealth, family name, age, moral strength and spiritual knowledge in ascending order of importance qualified men to receive respect. This is why a king though the ruler of the land, would prostrate before a spiritual master. Epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata have many stories highlighting this aspect.

Reference : Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Chinmaya Mission UK, www.chinmayauk.org (for awareness purpose only)
Images : PhotoTantra

Why do we light a lamp?

“In Indian Culture, Why Do We…” under the guidance of Swamini Vimalananda Radhika Krishna Kumar

In almost every Indian home a lamp is lit daily before the altar of the Lord. In some houses it is lit at dawn, in some, twice a day – at dawn and dusk – and in a few it is maintained continuously (Akhanda Deepa). All auspicious functions commence with the lighting of the lamp, which is often maintained right through the occasion.

Light symbolizes knowledge, and darkness, ignorance. The Lord is the “Knowledge Principle” (Chaitanya) who is the source, the enlivener and the illuminator of all knowledge. Hence light is worshiped as the Lord himself.

Knowledge removes ignorance just as light removes darkness. Also knowledge is a lasting inner wealth by which all outer achievement can be accomplished. Hence we light the lamp to bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth.

Why not light a bulb or tube light? That too would remove darkness. But the traditional oil lamp has a further spiritual significance. The oil or ghee in the lamp symbolizes our vaasanas or negative tendencies and the wick, the ego. When lit by spiritual knowledge, the vaasanas get slowly exhausted and the ego too finally perishes. The flame of a lamp always burns upwards. Similarly we should acquire such knowledge as to take us towards higher ideals.

Whilst lighting the lamp we thus pray:
Deepajyothi parabrahma
Deepa sarva tamopahaha
Deepena saadhyate saram
Sandhyaa deepo namostute

I prostrate to the dawn/dusk lamp; whose light is the Knowledge Principle (the Supreme Lord), which removes the darkness of ignorance and by which all can be achieved in life.

Copyright: Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Chinmaya Mission UK, www.chinmayauk.org
Photos copyrights with Aarya Life, Prarthana Khot

Conscious Immortality

I thank my Guruji, Rajesh Narayan for sending such beautiful wisdom in my inbox. I keenly wait for this beautiful knowledge every morning

Q. Yoga means union. But the union of what with which?

A. Exactly. Yoga implies division – union of one with another. Who is to be united with whom? You are the seeker seeking union with something. That something is apart from you. Your self is intimate to you. You are aware of the Self. Seek it and be it. That will expand as Infinity. Then there will be no question of yoga etc. Whose is viyoga (apart from yoga)? Find it. [Talk 211] ‘Stoppage of mental activities’ is applicable to all systems of yoga. The methods differ. So long as there is an effort made towards that goal, it is called yoga. The effort is the yoga. The cessation can be brought about in so many ways:

(i) By questing the mind itself. When the mind is sought, its activities cease automatically. This is the method of jnana. The pure mind is the Self.

(ii) Looking for the source of the mind is another method. The source may be said to be God or Self or Consciousness. 

(iii) Concentrating upon one thought, makes all other thoughts to disappear. Finally, that thought also disappears. [Talk 191] – Conscious Immortality