April 15, 2013
A violence-free society, disease-free body, confusion-free mind, inhibition-free intellect, trauma-free memory and sorrow-free soul is the birthright of every individual. This is what The Art of Living Foundation is all about; creating a sense of togetherness. We all belong to one human family.
The way we worship may be different, the way we celebrate in life may be different, our language and our ways may be different, but we all belong to one human family. When we forget this, mankind moves towards disaster.
We have these problems all over the world; depression, domestic violence, and societal violence. This is because we have forgotten to connect with ourselves, and connect with everybody around us. This is the only thing which makes our life worth living.
We should not lose our sense of wisdom and discrimination in any situation.
How can we do that?
We have designed a number of breathing techniques and exercises by which the mind can be rid of stress, and live in the present moment.
The breath is an important tool to achieve this. For every emotion, there is a particular rhythm in breath.
In the ancient days, this knowledge was kept as a highly guarded secret. It was given only to royalty and some special people. I thought this should be made available to the entire population, just like cell phones. We need to educate everyone on how to handle their mind; this is needed. And we have been doing this for 32 years.
We need to integrate this knowledge of non-violence in our culture, sports, business, and in our faith based programs. They all need to have this. We all need to learn how to calm our minds when we are agitated.
Now you might say, ‘Yes, I know this in my head, but how to bring it practically into my day to day life. I know it is bad to get upset, annoyed or depressed. How should I not do it?’ This is where meditation and breathing techniques come in handy. They are the tools that help you calm your mind, and you feel happy from within. When you are happy, you can only do what is good for everybody.
Those who are unhappy, can only do something which is bad for themselves, and for everybody. This is what happens. Whether they have the intention or not, if someone is unhappy, they are bound to do things that are not life supporting. This is my observation. Happiness is our true nature. We need to create waves of happiness. It doesn’t come just by affluence.
So, either you increase your energy, or reduce your work load. You obviously can’t reduce your work load, or increase the time, but you can increase your energy levels. If your energy level is higher, then you can do the job easily.
All these breathing techniques help to increase the energy levels. Just do ten minutes of pranayama breathing in the morning, and then you can go and do any work. When you come back from work, do another ten minutes.
Have you noticed, people all over the world tend to hide their thumb in the armpits or pockets when it is cold? It is a natural tendency. Your body feels warmer when you keep your thumbs warm; not totally, about 60 per cent.
Children are born with Aadi Mudra (thumb folded in, touching the bottom of the little finger and four fingers folded above, in a fist position). If you observe a baby from the time it is born to the age of three, it does all the yoga asanas. You don’t need a yoga instructor; you simply have to watch a child.
Have you seen how a new born baby sleeps? It sleeps in Chin Mudra (forefinger gently touching the thumb and three fingers perpendicular to the thumb). In this mudra, the consciousness is alert and the prana, the life-force, moves to the heart region. Children sleep in Chin Mudra or Chinmayee Mudra (forefinger gently touching the thumb and three fingers curled in to touch the palm).
The Aadi Mudra would help you when you are very cold. Do some breathing in this position.
The cold weather is very good for meditation too. The mind becomes very still since nature is also still.
People used to go to the Himalayas for meditation because nature is silent and calm. The entropy is coming down, mistakes don’t happen. The mind becomes very calm, it feels very good from inside.
This very question sets you on the real journey of life. Before that, you only exist, whereas this question puts you on the spiritual track.
So, children should not spend too much time in front of the TV, maybe a maximum of an hour per day. Right now, the moment they wake up, the TV is switched on, they sit and watch cartoons. They go to school, come back, again they sit in front of cartoons. They have dinner in front of cartoons. Am I right?
We should avoid this for our children. This is my opinion, and many child physiologists also agree.
There are many brain teaser games that children should play. I would suggest we avoid the violent video games.Their little mind does not know the difference between the virtual world and the real world. In the virtual world when they keep shooting, people get up again. So, they think people will get up again if they shoot in the real world, like in the virtual world.
Many crimes happen because their thought process becomes blurred between the virtual and real world.
I am all for games. Children should learn games. I am not against children playing video games or watching TV, but not for too long periods; only for an hour per day.