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Letting Go Of The Strings (Meditation)
I sit down comfortably and I begin to relax my body taking advantage of the relaxed rhythm of my breathing… I feel my calmed breathing…
I listen to the sounds of the space and objects that surround me… In this moment I decide to separate (detach) my attention from them… The world follows its rhythm, its movement, but I do not need to involve myself in it…
I let go of the strings that pull my mind, the strings that pull my intellect… I let go of the strings of my responsibilities… I let go of the strings of my relationships… I let go of the strings of the different roles that I play throughout the day… This moment is only for me, to be in my own company…
I concentrate all my attention, all my energy, gently, without forcing, on a point at the center of my forehead… The energy concentrates itself. I have let go of the strings that tie me down… From that place I can experience true freedom…
I free myself of any limited awareness of myself… I free myself of any label of myself… I go beyond my limited roles, beyond this physical world…
I am a spiritual being; I am a point of light, a spark of spiritual energy; aware, calm and loving… I feel the true freedom of experiencing my authentic identity and genuine… I don’t have to prove anything; simply be what I am in a natural way… A peaceful and living being…
From this state of being I prepare myself to enter into action. I listen again to the sounds of my surroundings, aware that I choose at each moment what it is that is going to influence me and how I am going to respond…
The Power To Transform Emotions
As with feelings, when emotions are aroused, there are physical changes inside the body in the form of chemical and electrical activity. In fact, strong emotions don’t just affect the body; they also have an impact on the soul. When the soul suffers emotional trauma, from which there is lasting impact, the emotional trauma brings about an immense strain on the brain and body. Brain chemical production is likely to be affected, and there may also be feelings of depression and tiredness. But the real trauma at the root of these physical effects is at a deeper level within the soul itself, and the resulting emotional sensitivity will also arise from the soul.
e.g. I suffer a series of losses or setbacks in my business that causes a lack of confidence and self-respect inside me. A sanskara of low self-esteem is created inside. As a result I become emotionally unstable and sensitive. I’ll show a tendency to react emotionally with extreme sorrow (may be in the form of depression) or extreme anger (sometimes in the form of an outburst) whenever there is a similar setback that touches this sensitivity. A person who has not suffered similarly in the past and does not have a sanskara of low self esteem, and as a result does not have this tendency, will not react in a similar fashion under similar circumstances.
Thoughts may be temporary. Feelings (either positive or negative), accompanying repeated thought-patterns, stay a bit longer inside us. But when a soul suffers a major setback, loss or failure in life that it is not able to deal with, it becomes emotionally damaged and the results of that can be extreme.
Suppose I lose a loved one all of a sudden. If the feelings that come to me because of this loss can be taken care of at that time, through any means like the remembrance of God, meditation, developing a positive hobby to divert my mind, spending more time in the positive company of other family members, etc.; I will deal with the feelings and move on. If however, I am unable to deal with my feelings through any of the means mentioned, the experience of loss I feel is going to cause a lot of deep damage on the emotional level. Then it will not just be a feeling of loss, but it will actually have wounded the soul emotionally. Until that wound has healed, I’ll carry it with me long after the loss has suffered. The emotions linked to it will come to the surface repeatedly, though I may have no idea where my sorrow is coming from. Due to the emotional wound, I’ll be unable to stay happy, no matter how positive my circumstances may be today.
Meditation does not require me to go into the subconscious roots of my pain. Instead, through thought, meditation enables me to take conscious control of my feelings and emotions, so as to displace the negative, which brings sorrow; with positive, which brings happiness. It helps me experience pure, powerful emotions and loveful feelings to such an extent that the wounds left by past experiences are healed. Raja Yoga means royal union – it means having a loveful relationship with God. The experience of God’s love is a soothing balm for my emotions, and a remedy for the emotional pain the soul feels.
One aspect of meditation is that it teaches us to face life from the inside.
It takes us to that point of stillness where we find the strength to change and heal the inner self. In that silence, we are able to find perspective and insight. In a deep state of introspection, we clearly observe our thoughts, seeing our true motives and intentions behind our words and actions; when we understand that our intentions are perhaps not quite right, then we are in a position to say to ourselves, ‘Hold on a minute!’ When we use silence to check our thoughts at that level, then we begin to realize that many of the things we are thinking about are not really worth thinking about. At this point, we become spiritually economical, which in fact leads us to becoming very generous. A lot of precious energy is lost, both mentally and emotionally, on wasteful and negative thinking. Ninety-five percent of our time is wasted on thinking about others; we go on and on with a string of expectations from others, which becomes like a hammer of demand on other people’s heads. Take a combination of expectations and demand, and what does it equal? Conflict!
When we learn to become silent and to reflect on our inner self, we start feeling satisfied with what we find inside, expectations from others gradually come down and there is a deep sense of contentment.
When we learn to become silent we become more compassionate (generous) in our outlook and start accepting others for who they are.
The more we are able to accept, the sooner we find that there is harmony (peacefulness) in our relationships. We start saving energy, sparing or reducing our thoughts and our words. This is accompanied by more patience, tolerance, flexibility, easiness and lightness. Silence teaches us the art of living. Silence can be misused to isolate oneself and go into loneliness, but true, positive silence gives us a balance between our inner and outer worlds. Having explored our inner self we collect our positive energy, become aware of our qualities, and then very naturally these are expressed externally. We move our concentration to the inner self and then to the external world. Then we go inwards again. It is a circular movement. As we go into silence, we recharge our inner energies, become one with the self, heal our self, relax and release our self from negativity. There are so many benefits by simply stepping inside to meet our true self. As we draw out our internal riches and resources, what do we do with them? We share them and give them out and in doing this we receive and we learn.
Many people who meditate regularly have better focus and control over their emotions, reduced levels of stress, and bolstered immune systems, but does meditation do anything to the brain structure itself?
Eileen Luders and colleagues at UCLA used MRI to scan the brains of people who meditate to find out. They examined 44 people (22 control subjects and 22 who had practiced various forms of meditation) who had practiced an average of 24 years. Meditators showed significantly larger volumes in regions known for regulating emotions.