Meditation - An inside-out revolution
by Poornima Yogi
How many light bulbs do you need to light up the world? Just one. You.
Whether it is mighty nations or a teacher enforcing discipline in her class – all are control freaks battling to control the physical world through force. Western society, especially, has traditionally looked to conquer the outside world, as a way of getting what they want. In conquering man or nature, society or nations, the emphasis has always been on changing the other in order to be comfortable. Even technology is focussed on changing the external, in order to make life easy, comfortable, and convenient for us. Extraordinary innovations have come about because of this obsession – a good thing of course, else man would still be exercising his canines trying to eat animals raw in his unlit cave! However, the question is, when will nature and man rebel against this extreme external intervention? You can have a thousand rules on paper, but until man chooses to follow them voluntarily, can real change occur? How many times have we ourselves jumped a traffic light, because the cop was not looking? Is external control and force, the answer to affecting everlasting change? Why don’t children listen to their parents all the time – maybe the parents lack the conviction required to affect a change?
Once, a harassed mother came to Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, dragging her little son along. “Please advise him to stop eating sweets, Maharaj,” she implored, “He has a terrible craving for sweets and at the rate he eats sweets, all his teeth will rot and fall soon. He simply doesn’t listen to me.” Ramakrishna asked the woman to bring the chil d to him after a month. A month later, the great sage admonished the child, and asked him to listen to his mother, who had only his welfare at heart. Happy, the woman thanked Ramakrishna, and enquired curiously, why he took one month just to say these few words of advice. Ramakrishna told her that he himself was fond of sweets, so he had no authority to advise the child to stop eating sweets. Thus, he stopped consuming sweets for one month himself, and then felt he was in a better position to advise another. When he did, his words had the ring of truth, which went straight to the boy’s heart.
Mahatma Gandhi was another great sage who practised what he preached. ‘Be the change, you want to see,’ he said. A simple mantra, which can be extrapolated to affect almost any change, we want to see around us, and in the world. To change another’s behaviour, change your own. The Hindi movie Lage Raho Munnabhai advocates this ‘Gandhigiri’ through numerous examples – a don who breaks bones for a living changes the society around him by adapting the ways of Gandhiji – with patience, tolerance and non-violence. He changes his own external behaviour by changing himself internally, and thus changes the world too. Internal change thus becomes a transformation, which is complete and lasting.
Internal change can be brought about not just by a conscious change in attitude, but also at a subtler level, which is everlasting because the change will occur at a higher level of consciousness. Meditation is the most fundamental way to control the body and mind, and let the spirit take over. For example, Tibetan monks have to pass rigorous tests, before they attain a certain level, and go to the next. One test entails meditating outdoors, in icy terrain in nothing other than their simple robes, while keeping warm only by raising body heat through meditation. No woollies or room heaters are required by these spiritual adepts to survive the sub-zero temperatures!
A 40-year-old man admits on the site www.meditationexpert.co.uk that he used meditation to combat a drug problem of 15 years, which had left him a mental and physical wreck. “I decided to use meditation to help restore my levels of concentration, which were non-existent after so many years of gradual damage to my brain,” he writes. “Little by little my awareness of things around me is improving, my memory is returning, and I am generally functioning a lot more efficiently in my daily life. I am treating my brain like a muscle neglected for years, and I know that with training it will become stronger.”
Going inward helps not just at the individual level, but also raises the energy levels of the immediate environment like the family. If more and more people meditate, they are able to increase the sense of well-being of a larger group despite adverse physical conditions. It has been recorded, for instance, that when Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of Transcendental Meditation, had a mass meditation meet, crime rate in the vicinity dropped markedly. A 21 per cent reduction in the most violent crime categories was reported when over 4,000 people from 62 countries gathered in July 1993 in Washington, DC to practise the Transcendental Meditation and Yogic Flying programmes.
An army of meditators can affect changes at the planetary and cosmic level as well! In fact, that is exactly what hundreds of Himalayan yogis, for example, are doing this very moment. These ‘spiritual scavengers’ absorb all the negativity released into the universe, and breathe back positive energy into it. All ritualistic worship across cultures does the same.
Swami Rama’s biography, At the Eleventh Hour, quotes one such amazing example of a Himalayan yogi. Sombari Baba was a spiritual adept, who regularly undertook yagna (ritualistic offering of oblations into the sacrificial fire), for nurturing the forces of nature. Everything in this web of life is interconnected, says Baba. Our inner strength and spiritual wisdom affect the world outside us, and vice versa. Humanity is dependent on the forces of nature, and if this collective pool of nourishment is undernourished, then our individual intelligence will become confused and disoriented. It is impossible to convince the whole world not to pollute the air and the clouds with chemical and mental toxins, says Baba. Therefore, the ancient sages devised a system to detoxify and revitalise the forces of nature – soil, water, fire, air and space – they called it yagna.
In a yagna, ingredients that are detoxifying and nourishing are offered into the fire. Fire transforms them into subtle energy, and the power of the mantras carries the subtle energy into the intended realm. The action of the fire, the wilful determination of the sages, the intelligent energy generated by the mantra, and the noble intentions of the person performing the yagna – all generate fresh energy in nature. Fire is the link between earth and heaven, says Sombari Baba. One should burn psychological trash in the fire of knowledge, and tangible, physical trash, in a living, blazing fire. Lord Shiva is doing both on behalf of humanity – by meditating on Mount Kailash and as Indra, offering fire oblations in the three worlds – earth, heaven and in-between. Indra is the collective consciousness of all the forces, which nourish earth, according to mythology.
Rupert Sheldrake, a plant physiologist, attributes this influence at the level of collective consciousness to morphogenic fields. “The idea is that there is a kind of memory in nature,” he says. “Each kind of thing has a collective memory. So, a squirrel living in New York is being influenced by all past squirrels. And how that influence moves across time, is the theory of collective memory throughout nature.” Further, the action of one little squirrel in a corner of the world will affect the behaviour patterns of all the squirrels across the world! That is exactly how prayers, ritualistic worship, good intentions and positive affirmations work – the vibrations are released into the morphogenic field, and received by individuals across time and space, just as a radio tuned to a certain frequency.
If enough number of people consistently and sincerely undertake spiritual practices, then a paradigm shift in the consciousness of entire humanity will occur. This is predicted in the year 2012 by spiritual movements like Oneness Univercity. The year will see a critical mass of meditators, and spiritual practitioners required to do so, being generated. And the best way to manifest this grand cosmic event is to, well, meditate collectively!
Purnima is a follower of Guru Shri Shri Nimishananda Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
See more articles on Meditation at http://www.lifepositive.com/articles/Meditation
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