Have we noticed how deeply engrossed we can be in an interesting movie? We identify ourselves with the characters on screen to the extent that we get angry at their follies and cry at their losses! We enjoy the movie thoroughly, yet there is an awareness (read mindfulness) that we are just spectators and can walk out and back to our regular lives any moment.
Our life is also a complex and unique combination of a multitude of events - some pleasant, some not so. If only our happiness could be untouched by these passing events! How does one achieve this refined quality of the consciousness? Meditation is the answer. It develops a mindfulness that all that happens around us is ever-changing and that we are a witness to this play of events.
Let us look at a few experiences shared by meditators of many years on how regular practice has helped bring more mindfulness in their lives.
#Deepti Sachdev, Delhi, meditator for 14 years - My husband and I were once on a scooter and we met with an accident. We fell down on the road and at that time, a bus was nearing us from behind, just about a few meters away! Yet, I did not panic or get scared. I just felt that it was an event that happened and was gone – this was the first thought that came to my mind then. This shift from ‘what has happened’ to ‘what can I do about it now’, this mindfulness, has come with daily meditation practice.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar - Mindfulness is meditative awareness. When you are mindful, there is a sudden shift within you. From the scenery, you are going towards the seer. Now you are the seer.
The scenery, you are looking at me, trying to understand what I am saying. Take your attention back to yourself.
#Priyadarshini Hariram, Bangalore, meditator for 15 years - My level of mindfulness has increased with meditation. I don't feel lost and I’m more in the present moment. Even if I feel disappointed sometimes when the bus is too crowded or there is traffic jam, I am aware of these emotions rising in me, like a witness. If people say something which is not to my liking, even then I'm so mindful of it that I don't react. I don't allow myself to be carried away and I’m more in control of my emotions. I feel it's a nice inner freedom I'm experiencing that I can choose to respond instead of reacting to incidents.
Sri Sri - Observe your breath. In your mind, understand something. All the time you are saying 'yes' or 'no' or having a private dialogue in your mind. The shift from scenery to the seer happens with yoga, meditation and ujjai breath.
#Monica Patel, Bangalore, meditator for 6 years - Once a debate in college turned into a heated argument. I noticed something very special that day. Even though I was a part of the class activity, I experienced that my senses were just observing everything! It was a moment where, in spite of my participation, I was aloof from it. After the lecture, there were evident fumes over everyone's face but I was very natural and spoke to everyone and I forgot who spoke what against me. It was magical! It is a state of mind that I cherish the most. And With regular yoga practice, it is easy to be in that state of mindfulness always!
Sri Sri – The practice of yoga brings up an ocean of compassion within you. It makes the intellect sharp and attentive. You become more intuitive and aware. You become friendlier and more confident.
- Meditation is just a happening. Don't make it happen. It will come to you automatically when you pray, chant, or sing devotional songs.
- Definitely meditate when you are feeling great but on times you don't, even make sure more that you meditate! It can work like an instant mood changer.
- Sit comfortably in a quiet place. Meditation can't be done in hurry-furry!
- Keep aside 20 minutes everyday for meditating. If you do it before meals, even better.
- Two is company, three is crowd but crowd is good for meditating! The more number of people meditating together, the more positive the energy around you.
Inspired by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's wisdom talks
By Pritika Nair
Based on inputs by Bharathy Harish, Sahaj Samadhi Meditation Teacher