Namaste- a phrase formed by combining two Sanskrit words, "Nama" and "te" that literally means 'I bow to you'. Figuratively this phrase implies there is a spark of the Divine in each of us, or 'the God in me acknowledges the God in you'.
Namaste. Life is a journey from foolishness to fulfillment as each one of us is born into this world, a tiny ego crying for our needs to be met. As children, we test boundaries on a quest for independence until we wake to the realization that there are others existing in this world with us. It is then we begin to understand that our actions, our every exchange and experience, affect and precipitate change in our community and we begin to grow and evolve. It is through this awareness that we are able to interact with and understand the Divine.
We are all born multidimensional beings, all of us having a body, mind and spirit. The body is complex array of systems working in harmony to create a miraculous universe which houses the mind and spirit. Within the mind lives the ego with its agenda focused on personal survival and reproduction. While the spirit houses our higherself or our own glowing spark of the Divine. By waking to our higherself we nurturing the Divine inside us and develop a deeper connection to all that is sacred in the world as we cultivate within ourselves: gratitude, empathy, understanding and confidence, traits that allow our consciousness to evolve and advance from an ego-centered existence to a spirit-centered one and as a result we become more godlike.
Gaining Control of your Mind
The first step toward this evolution is learning to quiet the monkey mind within so that the still quiet voice of the higherself may be heard. The practice of focusing and quieting the mind to achieve a heightened awareness of the inner spirit is called meditation. Most of us have active minds that are prone to worry. Learning to shut off the stream of worry and connect with one’s own inner voice allows for the cultivation of rejuvenating peace and inspiration. It is this act of shifting ones attention to each breath slowly and deeply drawn and released that allows the mind to shift into a quiet mode and release the mind clutter. This is meditation in its simplest form. The practice of which provides an avenue to slip the bonds of our body and communicate with the spirit within. When we begin a daily practice, we give voice to spirit and this conscious intention is the first step of our evolution to becoming the person we were meant to be.
New to meditation? You can begin by finding a comfortable spot where you will not be disturbed. Sit down and close your eyes. Now get comfortable and focus on your breath as it enters and leaves your body. Keep your mind only on your breath. If a thought intrudes, notice it and let it go as you move your attention back to your breath. Soon you will notice a deep sense of relaxation that fills your limbs as your awareness begins to increase. The more you practice, the more in control of your thoughts you will become until you will be able to silence the chattering of your monkey mind at will and slip into the meditative state more easily.
The benefits of a daily practice are so beneficial, doctors across the country are using it to treat pain, addiction, anxiety disorders, and depression. Assistant professor of psychiatry, Dr. Judson Brewer, M.D., Ph.D., was so moved by his own practice, he published in the Yale Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic, a study stating that meditation appears to even change the way the brain works and could give meditators a leg up not only on handling stress and finding happiness but also with dealing with mental disorders.
Shifting your Perspective
There are two types of people: happy people and unhappy people. Happiness is not a product of fame, fortune, achievement or material possessions but is a product of one’s own perception. That’s right, happy people are happy because they keep and maintain a positive outlook. Greek philosopher, Epictetus wrote “As you think, so you become... There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.” He was one of the first to theorize that each of us have the power to create our own reality. Indeed your life is a projection of your thoughts and beliefs as it is through this perception that determines the way you experience your reality. So if you perceive things to be a certain way, then to you, they in fact become how you perceive them to be. If you perceive that your reality is tragic and that there is no hope for change, then for you, things truly become hopeless. If you perceive your life to be blessed and that each day brings abundance, then your life will be a positive one. When one resolves to meditate on the good aspects of life, reality seems to shift and life becomes happy.
Sure there are many external influences that one has no control over. There will always be trials to go through and sorrows to face. The trick here is that when an unkindness or an obstacle present, don’t let it disconnect you from the Divine. Instead have the fortitude to perceive it and deal with it but not get stuck on it. Staying tuned into the Divine acts as a grounding force allowing one to let go of worry as they lift their thoughts to the beauty that is always around us, allowing for the escape of trouble as the mind finds peace. So don’t get mired down in the negative but lift your thoughts to higher things and smile!
Lao Tzu wrote, “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” The Dalai Lama declared that kindness was his religion. Indeed studies have shown that practicing kindness not only promotes a sense of connection and community with others, it boosts happiness in everyone involved. Your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits every time you perform a selfless act. That’s right being kind actually has measurable health benefits for both the giver, the receiver. “People naturally feel good when they give, help or serve others because they experience something called “helper’s high,” writes Allan Luks and Peggy Payne in their book, The Healing Power of Doing Good. ‘Being kind produces a feeling of exhilaration and burst of energy similar to the endorphin-based euphoria experienced after intense exercise … followed by a period of calmness and serenity.’ A Harvard study reported that even those who merely witness an act of kindness also reap heath benefits, a phenomenon termed the “Mother Teresa Effect”. They observed that students who watched videos of Mother Teresa working with the poor of Calcutta were found to have an increase of the Immunoglobin A, an antibody that enhances immune function. So be kind. It’s good for everyone involved.
Honor your Temple
Does your day begin with a cup of coffee and end with a cold beer? Cleaning up your diet can make you feel like a whole new you. By improving your diet you can maximize your abilities, improve the way you feel and add years to your life. Your body is a vehicle and like any vehicle it works better if properly maintained. By refining your diet, having good sleeping habits and incorporating exercise into your routine you will slough off the mire holding your spirit down, and instead, allow it to sing. This doesn't mean stop eating and join a gym. Start small, don't make it hard. Take out one unproductive thing and add one positive thing and by the end of the month you will be a new you. So ditch the chemicals for nutrients. Substitute water for soda. Eliminate fast food and processed snacks, and instead eat fresh fruits and lots of leafy vegetables. By changing the small things, you will change the big things and suddenly have a whole new lifestyle. Remember a small step today will result in big changes in your future.
Next, get out and move those muscles. Exercise is a great way to squeezed out the stress from a long, intense work day. Through the act of exercise the body can heighten its functions as the mind releases the residual negativities left from a stressful environment. One great way to exercise is by simply walking. Trade an hour in front of the television for an hour walk. By getting off the couch and going out into the world for an evening walk not only are we working our muscles, we are allowing for Spirit to commune with nature. So go outside and open your heart and give thanks for the beauty you encounter. The natural world is an amazing place.
Remember the saying, Cleanliness is next to godliness? This not only refers to good personal hygiene but also to the place in which we reside. If our body is a vehicle for the Divine then surly our home is a temple, so throw out that clutter and clean. Start by choosing a room you like to spend most of your time in. Then look around. Look at the clutter. Do you really need all this junk? Sort it into piles to be recycled, donated and stored then process it. Next clean. Keep in mind you are transforming the space into a personal sanctuary, a place to recharge and renew. Through intentionally transforming your home into a sacred space, you are inviting the sacred into your everyday life.
French philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.” Indeed we are here on this plane of existence, on a human journey, all of us caught up in different cycles of our lives as we work through life lessons until the lesson is learned and a new cycle begins recreating us into the person we were meant to become. The speed of your evolution is up to you. Don’t be that impatient customer heckling the clerk. Don’t be the driver honking their horn. Take one day at a time and live consciously, kindly treating those who cross your path. Start small. Take on a new practice. Empower yourself. Transform your routine into a fulfilling, sacred life.