The Key to a Joyful Life

We live in a world that is a veritable buffet of sensory delights. There are so many ways we can stimulate our mind and senses. If we like, we can keep ourselves busy our entire lives just experiencing all the different types of sensory stimulation. Filling our tongues, eyes, ears, mind, etc. with colorful sensations, thoughts, feelings – hi-tech, lo-tech, natural, artificial, and everything in between. Certainly there are more methods of material sense pleasure than any one person can experience in an entire lifetime.

If satisfying the senses were the key to a truly joyful and fulfilling life, we would all be ecstatically happy and fulfilled. But we are not. Why not?

Because all these activities that stimulate some kind of pleasure sensation in the mind and physical senses do not actually touch us, the non-material self within the material body.

According to the ancient yoga scriptures and other bonafide scriptures of the world, we are not the material body or the mind – we are eternal spiritual beings temporarily wearing the material mind and body. The gross physical body can be compared to outer clothes and the mind or subtle energy body can be compared to under clothes. Just as we are not the clothes we are wearing, we are not the material bodies we are wearing either.

When we feed our body and mind with a desirable taste, smell, sound, touch, sight or thought, whatever pleasure we experience stays on the level of the mind and body. It does not reach deep enough to nourish us, the spiritual self within the material mind and body. This is why we can experience so much sense gratification and still feel so empty deep inside. This is why when we stop filling our minds and bodies with material stimulation, we notice the emptiness more. It is not because we are actually missing the material stimulation – it is because we are noticing what is there beneath the coverings.

Only that which is of the same energy that we are – spiritual energy – can touch us and satisfy our longing for meaningful connection and happiness

In the ancient yoga system, the recommended method for consciously linking up with our spiritual source and cultivating the spiritual love and happiness that will completely fulfill & satisfy us is mantra meditation.
A true mantra is not something anyone makes up. It is the Absolute Truth in sound vibration. This spiritual sound vibration descends from the spiritual platform to the material world without losing any of its potency via bona fide spiritual teachers. In mantra meditation, a person hears and chants or sings this spiritual sound and thus is directly linking up with the Supreme.

Mantra meditation is so simple and easy that absolutely anyone can do it – even very young children can listen to beautiful mantras being sung or chanted and can sing along as they are able and feel moved to do so. Mantra meditation is so potent, that all we need to do is add it to our lives, and immediately our consciousness begins to shift. The more we drink from this well-spring of spiritual nourishment, the more we feel the emptiness deep within us being filled. As a natural result of this fullness, we are able to let go of attachments, activities, and behavior that do not serve our best interest.

Through mantra meditation, we begin to taste the sweetness of spiritual happiness, which revives our innermost health and vitality. With regular, sincere practice, our hearts and minds gradually become purified of material misgivings and we experience the deep and lasting joy and satisfaction that we have been searching for all our lives. In our heart of hearts, we feel naturally at peace, naturally at home, safe and completely loved, knowing we can rest in this connection and the joyful life that naturally blossoms from it.

Being Perfectly Happy With Seeing Our Imperfections

No matter how hard we try to be good or perfect at what we we are doing, it is inevitable that we will make mistakes. Completely avoiding them altogether is not an option, but we can cultivate a state of consciousness that enables us to experience the mistakes that we make as helpful to our mental, emotional, and spiritual growth.

When we make a mistake, having a positive or negative experience is determined by who we know ourselves to be.

If we believe we are the image of ourselves that we hold in our minds as good, right, intelligent, savvy, respectable, faultless, etc. then we will experience fear. This is because we have invested our sense of self-worth, happiness, and safety in this image. When we feel our source of happiness and safety is being threatened, then we will experience anxiety.

We will try to cover up our error or blame someone else or do whatever we can to try to free ourselves of the threat as soon as possible. In this state, our distress only worsens. We often think, say, and do even more hurtful or stupid things and the original anxiety only grows. Thus, we close ourselves off from the natural peace and joy in our hearts.

If however, we come to realize that we are not the material body, mind or anything contained within it and that our happiness need not depend on these things, then there is no need for us to defend anything. And there is no need for us to remain in this fearful state.

According to the ancient yoga scriptures and other bona fide scriptures of the world, we are not the material body or the mind – we are eternal spiritual beings temporarily wearing the material mind and body. The gross physical body can be compared to outer clothes and the mind or subtle energy body can be compared to under clothes. Just as we are not the clothes we are wearing, we are not the material bodies we are wearing either.

If we understand this, then we will not base our happiness, safety, and sense of self on the contents of our mind or the condition of our body. Instead, we will look to the spiritual level for help in understanding who we really are and how we can find real happiness and shelter. Through connecting with our spiritual Source, happiness and a resting place that is transcendental to material circumstances can be found.

In the ancient yoga system, the recommended method for consciously linking up with our Spiritual Source is mantra or sacred sound meditation. A true mantra is not something anyone makes up. It is the Absolute Truth in sound vibration. This spiritual sound vibration descends from the spiritual platform to the material world without losing any of its potency. In mantra meditation, a person hears and chants or sings this spiritual sound and thus is directly relating with the Supreme.

Through the daily practice of mantra meditation, our hearts and minds gradually become purified of material misunderstandings and misgivings. We eventually come to truly know ourselves as we are and so no longer seek to be anything we are not. In this condition of clarity, we see that there is no reason for us to seek the false happiness of material prestige and power because we are able to experience a divine sweetness and incredible deep joy that far surpasses any superficial, material brand of happiness.

When we are happy and fulfilled in our true identity and loving connection with the Supreme, we do not feel the need for our material body, mind or image of ourselves to be perfect or beautiful. Nor do we feel that we need to convince others of our perfections, beauty, or goodness. We can relax and simply do the best we can with whatever we have.

If we make a mistake or something we do is hurtful to another person, we do not feel the need to defend ourselves. Rather, the love in our heart that has blossomed through our connection with Supreme, motivates us to honestly examine our actions and attitudes – to see our own imperfections and be forgiving about the imperfections of others. Because we are at peace, motivated by genuine compassion and concern for others, we will be able to sincerely apologize and do what we can to ease the pain and rectify our errors accordingly.

When we are in the consciousness of our true spiritual nature, we are able to see all of our life circumstances – including our mistakes – as opportunities for reflection, growth, and loving action. Thus, we can realize that our imperfections do not keep us from happiness, peace, or love. On the contrary, when we are openly willing to see them, we are able to walk a path which leads us to know happiness, to know peace, to know love more perfectly.

Climate Change or Consciousness Change?

The issue of climate change is a perplexing one, whether one is a diehard fearer of the doom it portends or a stubborn skeptic. There is a lot of debate about whether the climate will change catastrophically (some say it is already the cause of increased natural disaster) or if other natural factors will intervene to make the phenomena a whole lot milder. However, there is no doubt that measures can be made to minimize humanity’s effect on the climate and environment.

According to the European Commission on Climate Action, Humans are increasingly influencing the climate and the earth’s temperature by

rainforests cutting down

All of these factors influencing climate change and environmental degradation can be directly linked to the problem of endless consumerism. The problem is that no matter how much we have, we always want more. As Mahatma Gandhi famously wrote, “Earth produces enough for everyone’s needs but not enough for our greed.” Whether it is the industrialist billionaire looking for his next billion or the hipster upgrading to the latest smart phone as soon as it gets released, all of us are guilty of taking more than we need. In fact, we are almost pressured by our society into earning as much as we can throughout our working life and collecting as many “goodies” as we can before we die.

There is often a great sense of fear among those who focus perpetually on the problem: the doomsayers, the protesters, the motivators, researchers, and ‘greenies’. In spite of this great fear in a certain sector of society, there is a greater sense of nonchalance among the wider public who would rather sit on the fence, not be bothered and go about their business, ignoring the foretelling of impending doom. But I’ve noticed that even those in the first group are not always ‘doing their bit’ personally, to make changes to how they live. Instead, many tend to rely on lobbying governments to make changes. I know a whole bunch of folk who ride to work, refuse imported goods where possible, vote ‘green’ but are afraid to give up the one thing that could be causing the greatest damage – eating animal meat. (some of the statistics on this are outlined below) They, like so many others who ‘do nothing’ (apart from worry), are not prepared to give up something they ‘enjoy’ for the sake of future generations and for maintaining the status quo. And the reason is deep-seated. The attachment of the senses to the things they enjoy is so strong that one’s ‘better judgment’ (even coupled with the fear of doomsday) is not enough to turn the tables and change habits and put a stop to the endless consumption that is driving the changes in our climate.

So whether one’s attachment is to eating meat, driving a gas guzzling, outrageously polluting V8 (its mind boggling how many Hummers have been produced and sold since the news of impending catastrophe due to global warming became apparent) or to the profits of the mining and other ‘industrial age’ companies, there is no doubt that it is hard to change our ways.

Perhaps this is what the PM of India, Narendra Modi, was suggesting when he made a recommendation that people embrace yoga as a means to tackle global warming. “What?!” I hear you say (or at least I’ve heard the critics scoff): “He reckons a couple of yoga poses are going to stop global warming!?” Indeed THAT is an absurd suggestion. But the president of India’s understanding of yoga is a little deeper than the average Joe’s.

narendra modi

“We can achieve the same level of development, prosperity and well-being without necessarily going down the path of reckless consumption. It doesn’t mean that economies will suffer; it will mean that our economies will take on a different character. For us in India, respect for nature is an integral part of spiritualism. We treat nature’s bounties as sacred. Yoga is an invaluable gift of our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”

international day of yoga

Narendra Modi is obviously not suggesting we just start doing a few random yoga poses and hope for the best. He is suggesting a change in consciousness and lifestyle (the two go hand in hand, each inspiring – or degrading – the other). By changing our consciousness and therefore our lifestyle, this situation of environmental degradation that is essentially caused by excess consumption would be helped. The practices of yoga, including introspection, meditation, and a vegetarian diet will help a person’s consciousness change to one that is less needy, no longer hankering for the things that ‘cost the earth’ but rather, a yogi will be satisfied within himself.

The yoga poses or asanas are not actually necessary for the change to occur but they do help. It is said that yoga asanas and pranayama (breath-work) bring a person more into the mode of goodness (and out of the modes of ignorance and passion). In the mode of goodness one feels less need for acquiring many things or dependence on material things to bring inner satisfaction and feels more compassion towards others, including animals. This cultivation of the mode of goodness would certainly reduce the levels of energy and meat consumption that currently add to the energy and climate crisis. Also the asanas, pranayama (breathing) and mindfulness of yoga help a person to know they are not their body or their mind, but rather, they are the spirit soul within the body who witnesses and deals with the world through the agency of the senses and mind. Once a person identifies themselves as spirit not matter, he is naturally able to give up the things that are unnecessary, feeling satisfied within.

And so Narendra Modi suggests we adopt an international day of yoga. This would raise awareness of the possibilities that yoga has to offer, and inspire more and more ‘average Joes’ to take up its practice, regardless of one’s cultural background or spiritual persuasion. He also points out that economies do not need to suffer. Sustainable economies based on peoples’ needs and not on greed do exist on this planet and many people are already moving more into what have been labeled LOHAS industries – lifestyles of health and sustainability.

So how does would such a lifestyle really affect the climate?

The official handbook for Live Earth, the anti–climate change concerts that Al Gore helped organize says that eating your veggies and plant-based proteins instead of animal-based proteins is about the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon foot print/climate change impact. It may be a surprise to know that livestock produce 18% of total emissions.

And the gases produced by the cow’s digestive process (methane from flatulence and nitrous oxide from manure) are worse for greenhouse warming than CO2. Added to that are the emissions from the clearing of forests to grow pasture, fertilizers for growing feed crops and energy to power meat processing plants. A 2006 UN report states that the livestock sector is the 2nd or 3rd biggest contributor to warming, and if we all gradually weaned ourselves from meat there would be a just as significant cooling effect.

In 2012, there were roughly 70bn animals raised as livestock for 7.1bn people. And a study published in July by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that livestock production is among the most destructive forces driving climate change: it degrades air quality, pollutes waterways, and is the single-largest use of land.

Here are some more astounding statistics:

  • On average, only a third of a person’s protein requirement is taken from meat, yet it uses a third of the planet’s land and power to produce.
  • 1kg of meat requires 10 to 20 times as much energy to produce as 1kg of vegetable protein such as tofu or tempeh.
  • 32,900 calories are used to produce the 940 calories of one porterhouse steak.

So it’s clear, changing to or even leaning towards a vegetarian or vegan diet would make a difference. As we discussed earlier, despite the information being there and being so clear, it still seems monumentally difficult or even impossible for people to give it up, and so we suggest little by little, and with the addition of some of the deeply satisfying practices of yoga, like yoga asanas to help the body feel light and free from energy blocks and meditation upon transcendental sound which provides a higher taste, a deeper sense of fulfillment, than that which we get from anything else.

Discovering Our Life Purpose

Knowing the purpose for our life is essential to living joyfully and meaningfully. Purpose is what drives us to make the choices that we make. We always have some purpose that motivates us to choose this over that, but are not always consciously aware of what it is.

If we do not take the time to carefully consider what our purpose is, most likely we will end up simply following the constantly changing directives of our mind and senses – being pulled this way and that. We would be like sailors adrift on a vast and tumultuous sea with no navigation system to guide us. Haphazardly wandering through life results in misery, disappointment, frustration.

finding happiness

However, if we are clear on what our purpose is, we can steer through rough seas. We can consciously align our activities with our purpose and thus find the happiness and fulfillment that we seek.

So how do we discover what our purpose is?

There are so many methods, metaphysical sciences, personality questionnaires, books and websites that put forward a formula for determining what our purpose is. However, if we look at what they are basing their methods on, we will see that these formulas are based upon the material mind and body.

This would be fine if we were the material mind and body. But we are not.

According to the ancient yoga scriptures and other bona-fide scriptures of the world, we are eternal spiritual beings that are temporarily wearing the material mind and body. The gross physical body can be compared to outer clothes and the mind or subtle energy body can be compared to under clothes. Just as we are not the clothes we are wearing, we are not the material bodies we are wearing either.

If we were to consider the purpose of our life only based upon the temporary material “clothes” that we are wearing, then we may experience some temporary, superficial brand of material happiness and material success, but this kind of happiness never actually satisfies us. Rather, it leaves us still feeling emptiness in the core of our being and thus always hungry for something more. Material happiness and success may stimulate the mind and body, but it does not actually touch us – the non-material self within the body.

This is why we see countless people with great material success and material opulence – fame, wealth, beauty, power, intelligence, renunciation – who are so depressed, lonely, anxious, and empty inside that they turn to drugs and even suicide to try to escape their suffering condition. Material success simply does not fulfill us. It does not bring us the deep level of meaningful connection and lasting happiness that we need and long for. For this, we need to be engaged in ways that satisfy our eternal nature – and so we need to be aware of what our eternal purpose is.

Our eternal purpose is an inseparable aspect of who we are. It does not change from lifetime to lifetime, body to body. Our external details change, but our eternal details do not. They simply become covered.

In order to know our purpose – the purpose that is eternally inseparable from us – we must realize who we are beneath the material “clothes.” We must know our nature as eternal spiritual beings. When who we are becomes completely clear to us, what to do is obvious. Our purpose becomes naturally evident in our understanding of our eternal identity. To fully know ourselves as we are, we must engage in a process of purification which can reveal this to us.

In the yoga scriptures, the recommended method of purification for this day and age is mantra meditation. A true mantra is not something anyone makes up. It is the Absolute Truth in sound vibration. This transcendental sacred sound descends from the spiritual platform to the material world without losing any of its potency. In mantra meditation, a person hears and chants or sings this spiritual sound and thus puts themselves in the direct presence of the Supreme. This has a profound purifying effect on our consciousness.

Through sincere, daily practice of mantra meditation, the false ideas about ourselves are able to gradually fall away and our true nature is revealed. Thus, we are able to discover our innermost purpose and everything else about ourselves that we need to know to actually become deeply happy and fulfilled.

Real-happiness

Once we are clear about who we are and therefore clear about our purpose, we can make life choices that are truly in accordance with our highest good and highest happiness. Our life takes on a natural harmony when our innermost purpose guides our actions because our innermost nature is one of harmony. We naturally seek to be in harmony within ourselves, with the Supreme, and with all living beings. The more we are successful in this, the happier we are.

Through the priceless gift of mantra meditation we immediately begin harmonizing our consciousness with the Supreme consciousness – and as we do this, everything falls into place. Thus, we can begin living our highest purpose even as we are still becoming fully cognizant of what it is because the Supreme purpose and our purpose are one and the same.

Crush Injuries

Some months ago I attended a friend’s yoga class and helped sign in his students.  One was a friendly and fit looking male, maybe in his late 30’s, with a raised multi textured wide scar running down each side of his right calf.  Being naturally curious, extroverted, and a little lacking in social restraint, I asked what had caused such extreme scarring.  He wanted me to guess.  My initial thought was a car or motor bike accident.  But, “No,” he said, “This was the treatment for a crush injury.  The doctors had to cut the fascia to relieve the pressure…”  I recalled the life threatening nature of a crush injury.  My head was buzzing with, “Wow, like, that’s life or death treatment then!  Well worth the scarring.”  I would have liked to have had the chance to ask what had crushed his leg but the class was under way by now and I waved him in.

stapled-scar-results

My natural curiosity later send me to google.  I knew a little of crush syndrome, but had never heard of this treatment.  What I did know was that if large muscles are crushed under a heavy weight for some hours or more, muscle breakdown causes build-up of life threatening toxins.  When the crushing object is released these toxins pour into the blood stream and cause a range of issues including kidney failure or cardiac arrest.   This is a huge danger during rescue efforts at the site of earthquakes, or other such disasters.  People may be found seemingly miraculously, days later, still alive and conscious, just to die soon after being released from the weight pinning them down.  It is sometimes called the smiling death due to the demeanor of those who think that, at last, they have been saved.  But I couldn’t see how this flesh cutting technique, graphically illustrated in Joe’s gaping scars, would prevent such deaths.

My instinct was correct.   In Joe’s case, his immediate risk was amputation, not death.  He had suffered compartment syndrome.  This is excessive pressure from swelling or internal bleeding, whether from fractures, crush injuries or other causes.  Eventually blood circulation is blocked and lack of blood supply then kills off cells.  It is a medical emergency and if not successfully dealt with can lead to amputation, and a standard treatment is fasciotomy, a gory practice where huge cuts are made up and down the area affected, then stitched loosely back together with the flesh gaping apart between stitches, like a latter day Frankenstein.  I dare you to google image it.  Pressure is released by this cutting of the fascia, that tough glad wrap like material encasing every body part, from the smallest muscle fiber, to the largest organ, and which ties each to the other, holding the body together.

I never did get a chance to check my conclusions with Joe, who as it turns out would have been well placed to answer me.  He was not just the patient, but one of the doctors on his case, although strictly speaking doctors don’t treat themselves.  As you may note, I am writing in the past tense here, and this is because I have just had a phone call from my friend the yoga teacher.

We chatted a little and he asked me if I remembered meeting Joe* that day at his class.  I immediately guessed the reason… “Good Lord, you’re going to tell me he’s dead?  I can’t believe it!  I can’t believe it!”   But as my friend pointed out, it’s not so strange.  Everyone dies eventually, and someone dies every day.  None the less, we both agreed it was shocking, on account of his youth and apparent fitness.   He had had a heart attack while kite surfing.  My friend’s main thought was, “The waste, the waste!”  Here was an intelligent man, who had spent his life, his relatively short life, striving for a high level education, gotten a PhD, then a medical degree, and all that work just disappeared in the click of finger.  One doesn’t retain academic knowledge beyond the grave.

_87515162_062a5df2-4704-4a54-ab47-7ded81028aef

This is not to denigrate education.  One must make one’s way through this impermanent, transitory life in whatever way one can, to paraphrase the instructions of a great teacher, and for some people, working as a doctor is that way.  But the second part of that instruction is to keep the ultimate goal of spiritual life foremost in your mind.  This should be foremost because spiritual development can be taken beyond the grave.  It is an eternal asset and you get to take off again in your next life wherever you left off in your last.  This does  not mean you remember your activities from the previous life, but you will find at some point a natural interest in the journey is reignited, and there is a the blooming of an ability to almost instinctively recognize and understand the truths of spiritual life, up to the point you had advanced previously.

We made the point that Joe had begun on a spiritual journey, so all was not lost, only the effort for his material education was top heavy, and useless at death.

Our thoughts were in alignment, as we both then also remembered another acquaintance, busy studying medicine at an even more rarefied level.  This person has been questioning the worth of his studies.  He asks why he should put all this effort into gaining his long term dream when he can see that that alone will not lead to ultimate happiness.  He wonders if he should give it all up and live a “yogic lifestyle”.  See some profound answers to most of the important questions of life and our ultimate goal given by Chris Butler here.  And the answer he is given is that spiritual life is a bit like homeopathic theory, in that the very same thing that can cause the pain and upset of a disease state, can also be used as the cure.  A traditional cure for diarrhea caused by overindulgence in dairy products is yogurt mixed with rice.  Similarly, action, often seen by neophyte spiritualists as bad, can be used to release one from the bindings of material life.

Understanding Karma Yoga

This is the meaning of karma yoga.  Karma means action.  The popular western idea that karma is that which comes to you, the good or bad reactions to your previous actions is slightly skewed.  Rather, karma, or action, is what you do.  You act and that causes karmic reaction, an automatic reaction, whether immediate or delayed: as you sow so shall you reap.  So in karma yoga one learns to dovetail one’s activities with one’s spiritual pursuits, rather than running away and living in cave, or whatever might be considered a yogic lifestyle.

Joe had not gotten to the point of asking this question, or having it answered, but he had, almost inadvertently, begun the process of meditation.  Because of his interest in health and his active nature, he had taken up yoga asana practice, and the classes he went to included mantra yoga, the taking of a transcendental sound and the absorption of one’s mind and heart in that sound.

This is an unbelievably powerful spiritual process and propels one forward like a rocket blast, even if the progress, being an inward journey, is not clearly apparent.  So Joe, who we began by considering to be “poor” Joe, is actually most fortunate Joe.  May the whole world be so lucky?

(*Joe is not his real name).

Now it’s Time to Break Free from the Fear of Aging

In this world, there is enough stuff to bewilder and confuse us. Say signboards in airport, metro stations, global news, people, and personal situations like finance, relationships etc. Further looking at tragic events like calamities, accidents, death of loved ones, cancer infected kids, addiction to drugs, relationship woes and the list continues…. Sometimes it’s easy to digest and sometimes not? In fact we ignore and conceal those thoughts deep inside.

Even if we are drowned in these subtle doubts, still we continue to live our life, go to work, come back, cook food, take care of our kids, see television, spend time in Facebook, go pubs, work hard and so on. Still the doubts and confusions are not gone. We may temporarily forget and don’t talk about the situation, still they are present inside.

We may ask within ourselves why did market crash? Why the bill was passed in the House? Why the terrorist killed the innocent ones? Why only he was affected by a rare type of cancer? Lot of why’s? So this is the point where we are drowned with lot of questions? We are bombarded with information via news and media. But we don’t have the wisdom to figure out the real cause – WHY IT IS HAPPENING?

We always seek the answer but as we do not know whom to ask, we ignore it. It’s very natural to ignore as we have to again wake up in the morning and go office and follow the routine life.

In all these circumstances we continue to live and build dreams of living a good life, but life do not go smooth as expected, we are affected with disease, old age and so on. Even the medical science is advancing; it can’t make us live a very long life. It can’t stop us from aging. So we suffer from anxiety and think what will happen to our dreams and what will happen to me. They ask themselves can’t we stay alive forever?

Yes, you can stay alive forever.

If we want the most bonafide answer to all those situations described above, we should go to the revealed scriptures of the world.

So in this post we will focus on the most fearful event of our life i.e. death.

The teachings of Vedas confirm that we can be alive forever. But before that we have to know who we are? Yes it’s a good question to start. Let us ask this question to ourselves…

Who are we? We immediately look into our pockets, Office Id card, passports, door name plates and so on, they speak like these – Robert Frank, 36 years old, veteran, Managing director, CEO, American, African, doctors, lawyers, mother, father, brother and so on. We acquire a good number of identity labels since our birth. The first one we get is female or male and new labels continue to join our “identity” bucket.

And it’s very simple to figure out that these identities or labels change by time. In fact these are temporary.

In this lifetime we pursue different identities. It is all material and temporary, but the teachings of yoga scriptures describes our eternal and unchanging identity. The Yoga teachings known as Aham Brahmasmi help us to understand this eternity. We are spiritual eternal beings. We are not subjected to death. We can be alive forever. So once we realize and understand this meaning of these yoga teachings. We can simply start to have faith that we can be alive forever and it will remove our fear of death and aging.  We can live in peace, satisfaction, calmness, happiness and true love.

Every day we arrive at the mirror to have a look, whether we are looking perfect to go out to office or party or to a convention? We can find that we are dressed well, we are confident, healthy and strong, then we move on happily. Spending the kids phase and the young age is really cool and easy, we have a strong body, we move freely, we can travel a lot, we can enjoy as we want and we can eat anything.

Everything is cool and perfect till the day, we figure out those strands of gray hair – which attracts our immediate attention and signals the starting of old age. The anxiety of the possible death in some years grips us softly, suddenly the scenes of old bodies of the neighborhood occupies our mind and heart. All such worrying thoughts start coming up.

In a true sense, we need not be worry. Growing old is just another phase of your life; the teachings of Aham Brahmasmi confirm this. No matter what happens, we have a material body and this gross body undergoes aging. We, the actual spiritual self is ever youthful, everlasting and undying.

The same thing is also confirmed in scriptures of Bhagavad Gita

“For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.”

[Bhagavad Gita 2:20]

The same concept of life is also put forward by teachings of yoga i.e. Aham Brahmasmi, This is very well presented by the world’s most popular Yoga teacher, Wai Lana in her latest release of musical video named “Alive Forever”.

I can’t just stop sharing this enlightening video. The whole thing I described above is beautifully described in this video.

Esteemed Yoga Icon Wai Lana has done a tremendous job to establish a feeling of faith and fearlessness in the hearts of all the people around the world. For those who are immersed in fear and have lost peace can now be relieved after watching this lovely video about life and identity. This very idea to introduce the most essential teachings of Aham Brahmasmi comes as a blessing for all of us. She indeed has a real concern for the well being of the global population.

Talking more about this “Alive forever” video makes me very happy as it’s a complete package for someone in fear and anxiety due to aging and death of loved ones or bitten by fear of his/her own death. We should understand the primal reason of anxiety is ignorance only. Ignorance means that we are not aware that we are not the physical body and in fact, we are eternal. We stay alive forever, irrespective of this ceasing of the physical body. This wisdom of our real identity brings us relief and happiness i.e. when we know that we are not the physical body.

When we grow old, we figure out a lot of wrinkles that line up on our face; we go through emotional stress and physical complications also grow. We find difficult to walk without support. However, these are the things that are related to our body, not to our real self which is eternal.

You will be really happy when you remember that you are not the physical body. The spirit or the self is eternal. The most beautiful thing about this video is that it enlightens us that the eternal self do not grow old. There is a life force within the body. And this is the most important thing you can understand in your life.

See some of the snippets of the efforts made by the whole team of Alive Forever. These are some of the behind the scene shots and the beautiful outtakes. These are very short videos and I hope you will enjoy all of them:

Wai Lana is extremely motivated to bring back the lost happiness among the population. By means of yoga teachings and gifting the real wisdom, Wai Lana is making outstanding efforts to reach people in a global scale.

Last year in June also Wai Lana made her incomparable contribution on the 1st International Yoga day releasing a musical video named “Namaste”. This was a big hit, in fact it was so popular, it went viral and earned millions of views in a very short period of time. Many celebrities have liked this video and gave their valuable comments. This “Namaste” by Wai Lana spoke of showing humility and respect to others. It also demonstrated how we all are brothers and sisters and can live in peace and harmony. This wonderful video by Wai Lana help us to create a respectful and peaceful society as a whole.

See this inspiring video message from Wai Lana on the special occasion of international day of Yoga.

Wai Lana’s whole life is completely dedicated for introducing people about the ancient art of yoga and makes their life meaningful. Her contribution in yoga in unmatched and millions are benefited from Wai Lana video shows, Wai Lana PBS series and Wai Lana Yoga video channels.

This yoga gift by Wai Lana influences the whole society positively. And she considers this service for the well being of the global community. Wai Lana also promotes “healthy living by natural means”. Wai Lana’s website is a treasure house of real health and well being. You can’t just stop browsing through her healthy living articles, gems of wisdom, recipes, stories, meditation and the Wai Lana Shop.

The shop features all yoga products like yoga DVDs, yoga gears, Yoga for everyone DVD series, Wai Lana kids DVD cartoon series, natural healthy snacks, easy meditation kit, delicious recipe books and juice recipe collections. You can also find more in her blog.

Yoga is now very popular in United States and in most other continents like North and South America, Asia, Europe, Australia and the Middle East. The credit goes to the most dedicated Wai Lana. As her official bio describes, she has aired almost two hundred half hour episodes. She has been broadcasting her Wai Lana yoga PBS series on  fitness since a couple of decades. This amazing Yoga PBS series by Wai Lana has been appreciated by millions and they are benefited very much.

Her genuine efforts result in improving the physical, emotional and spiritual well being. This is just a boon in disguise for the whole community. Whoever has come in contact with Wai Lana’s insights and lifestyle, he can realize the true goal of life. She is not only popular among a small section, but she is very well appreciated by viewers of all ages – from preschoolers to great-grandparents.

So watch out for more videos on yoga and essential teachings related to yoga from Wai Lana and stay tuned.

Thank you!

Does Yoga Make Us A Better Person?

Occasionally people come to my asana classes and they have zilch body awareness. Apart from not being able to distinguish left from right, which is a common theme amongst even the bodily aware population, these people have problems with instructions like step your right foot forward. Many of these people have also never considered that things they do or food they eat might have an effect on their health. However, somehow or other, if they stumble along to yoga asana classes and stick at it for a while, gradually they will develop more body awareness, more awareness in general of the effects certain things have on them and then they are on the way to self improvement.

Yoga asanas (which include pranayama or yoga breathing) are a great way to start our path towards upliftment, whether it’s simply an upliftment to better health and awareness or whether it is more of a spiritual journey, the transformation will gradually take place. Let’s look at the yogic understanding behind this upliftment.

According to the teachings of yoga everyone is governed by varying mixtures of what is known as ‘tri-guna’ or the three modes of material existence. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas or goodness, passion and ignorance. The example of the person above with very little bodily awareness is governed in this part of his awareness by the mode of ignorance. He might also have a great deal of passion or goodness, everyone is different with varying mixtures of the three modes. Therefore the example is not perfect, but in general those governed mostly by the mode of ignorance have very little bodily awareness apart from overt pleasure and pain and they usually find their happiness and relief from pain in self destructive types of habits like drugs and alcohol. Typical of the mode of ignorance, they don’t pay much attention to cleanliness and can be depressive and sleep a lot.

If these people were to come along to yoga classes, gradually, gradually they would start becoming more bodily aware, they might start taking a bit more care of their life, eating better, feeling more energetic and a little happier. They might develop other less destructive interests and the old habits might fall away.  Yoga asanas coupled with yoga breathing are physically cleansing. They gradually loosen up all the tight areas in our body which helps the energy to flow a little more freely, delivering nutrients and carrying away wastes. Some people even notice that over time their brain has become a little less foggy.  We have been elevated to the mode of passion.

Actually, the mode of passion is probably where most new comers start from. We have a vibrant interest in the world around us and there are many things we enjoy or would like to try. We may come to yoga to find some balance in our life, maybe to find a little peace and to release our tight muscles. Through yoga our awareness may slowly become a little more refined. We learn how to watch the breath, to quieten the mind and learn how to move with more grace and ease. Whereas in the past our body and mind might have felt a little depleted, a little spent, through yoga we may find more clarity, our energy levels may pick up and our life may calm down a bit. Yoga gives us a feeling of exhilaration. We have a feeling of empowerment over our body and mind.

Many will stay on this level using their new found energy and enthusiasm to pursue their goals in life. This is one reason that we find articles written on how yoga can make us wealthy or more productive. Some goals may even be altruistic if the person has a good smattering of the mode of goodness as well, but there are many yogis who will move on to the next stage.  These practitioners appreciate the calmness and peace of meditation, they develop a taste for simple plant based food, they find themselves more caring and compassionate towards others, and they may even lose interest in accumulating all the things that previously they thought would bring them satisfaction. Some may even start their spiritual journey from this platform and grow to embrace the deeper meanings of the yoga system, union with the Supreme.



Whichever platform we start from, once we start coming along to yoga classes regularly and maybe even applying some of those wonderful yoga principles to our life — like compassion for all living creatures, non-stealing, introspection and many others — little by little our inner light starts glowing a little brighter. This means that me, the pure person within who is covered by varying degrees of goodness, passion and ignorance is gradually being uncovered by the purificatory processes of yoga. So yoga is not making us a better person, it’s just uncovering the sweet person that we already are deep within!

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