Sunday, January 8, 2017

Balance using Heartfulness Meditation

Balance using Heartfulness Meditation

We have all heard many times and we also understand how Meditation can help in improving concentration, increase my memory capacity, help in more clarity and focus in thinking, help me get better sleep, help manage stress and things along these lines. However, do we think that meditation can actually bring about balance in our lives, is there a confusion in us that there is a need for balancing the outer and the inner approach. As a matter of fact, what is balance, is there a need for balance and how to handle this key issue.

If you look at this topic of balance, balance is actually inherent in all of us. If you look at the human body as a whole, there is definitely a balance or a symmetry between the right and the left. This symmetry of two hands, two legs, etc. is nothing but the mechanism of Nature to give balance for that individual. This balance is essential in just the normal functioning of the human system at the physical level. This is given to us by Nature.

If you take the case of birds, it is even more evident. Birds have two wings to fly. As they flap the wings and use it to balance, they are able to move forward. Imagine a bird with only one wing, it will simply go in circles and cannot go forward. This ability to move forward in life is exemplified in this idea of the bird with two wings.

This same balance is observed in our buildings, constructions, vehicles, human creation, where balance is one of the key element for stability and efficiency. Humans riding a bicycle is another perfect example of the need for balance, which we all can understand quite easily. Having seen these examples at the physical level, it is evident that whether it is Nature intended or man-made, balance is a key element of all entities, whether at the cosmic levels, human levels, or quantum levels.

Now, coming to the mental and emotional aspect of a human being, this element of balance is again needed. The cognitive and creative aspects of the human mind needs to be balanced, the intellectual and the emotional being in the human need to be balanced and so on. If this imbalance exists, the student or adult may be very good in education but unable to fit into society, or very intelligent but unable to communicate, and we have many such examples in our society today.

At the spiritual level, the inner being, again, there is a tremendous need for balance. This is an overall balance of the desires of a human individual to achieve things outside of himself or herself, versus the aspirations of that individual to strive for inner excellence. That is, balancing the inner versus the outer, the inner life with the outer life, the material life with the spiritual life, is paramount in one’s overall life. If this balance is not there, it gets very harmful to the individual as well as to the society. Imagine a very rich, powerful, intellectual person without any values, a person with enormous drive for material possessions without moral or spiritual values. It leads to corruption, decadence and damage not only to himself but to all around him.

Now, can meditation bring about a state where all these imbalances can be cured and bring about a state of balance at all levels? Or, do we feel that us ending up spending time for doing meditation can cause an imbalance because we are just sitting with our eyes closed doing nothing, whereas we should be doing something? What do we all think?

I think we can safely say that meditation is our “gateway” to inner life. Without meditation and introspection, there is no inner life, there can be no aspiration for pursuing a life of inner excellence. The potential for the possibility of an inner life lies within us, which must be tapped into, just like how we dig a well, go down to the depths to get water. This “digging” into ourselves is meditation. This gives us all a new sense of purpose, a purpose that is aspiration driven, which will inevitably balance out with our desires and drive for success in our material life. We are not saying that such a drive for success is bad per se. We all should have this drive, but balance it out with this inner approach, and this way, like a bird that flies on two wings, we can move ahead, forward, in our lives, balancing our body and mind, our mental and emotional states, our inner and outer being, and thus all aspects of a balanced existence can be achieved.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Spirituality as a Tool for Success: Radheshyam Miryala MD

Heartfulness Meditation: Spirituality as a Tool for Success

Clarity and balance are essential to making successful decisions in our personal, professional, and business dealings.  Finding clarity eludes many of us in today’s over-stimulated environment.  Our senses are constantly bombarded by sights and sounds trying to grab our attention.  In fact, our attention has become prime real estate for advertisers trying to make their way into our mind space.  This relentless assault through social media, tv, radio, advertisements is diminishing our attention span.  We are constantly told what to think by the world around us.  Along with the overstimulation, the frenetic pace of our modern life leaves us no time for reflection on our decisions.  With an ever expanding email inbox, looming deadlines, social calendars, family responsibilities, we feel pulled in many directions.  How can we regain a sense of balance and clarity?

Take a few minutes to perform this thought exercise:  

1) Sit in a quiet place with a pen, paper, and timer nearby.  You will need to be unplugged from all distractions (no tv, no social contacts, no cell phone, etc).
2) Set your timer for 5 minutes.
3) Close your eyes and notice the thoughts that are coming up.
4) Open your eyes after the timer goes off.
5) Journal with total honesty all the thoughts that you recall in this 5 minute time frame.  

Now carefully review all the thoughts that you had.  How many of the thoughts you had were original to you?  How many were a byproduct of what you were influenced to think?  How many of your thoughts were productive, and how many were incessant ruminations?  How many of your thoughts were emotionally toxic?  How many of the thoughts did you intentionally think of in the 5 minutes?  How much of the mental chatter did you enjoy?  How many of the thoughts were just random?

What if there was a way to regulate your mind better?  What if you tamed your mind to think thoughts that you willed?  How much more efficient would you be?  How much more clarity would you have in your personal, professional, and business dealings?  How do we take over the reins of our minds and control what we think?

Meditation is a tool that can help clear the mental chatter in our brain.  Meditation can help us get closer to this clarity.  Meditation can help us on our spiritual journey, a journey that can guide us to our higher selves.  People may have a fear about starting meditation and taking a spiritual journey, as they may be afraid of the changes that it brings along.  Spirituality does not have to entail renouncing your material life to wander the earth like a hermit in robes.  You do not have to seek refuge in a monastery to devote yourself to your spiritual endeavours.  You do not have to commit to a life of asceticism.  A meditation practice can be seamlessly integrated into your life, allowing you to live a balanced material and spiritual life.  

In my personal experience, a heartfulness based meditation practice offered through the Sahaj Marg (NaturalPath) system offered by SRCM (Shri Ram Chandra Mission) is a very efficient way of integrating meditation into our busy modern lives.  After experimenting with some other systems, I was overjoyed to find the Sahaj Marg system which I felt was a genuine grass roots movement offering their training for free through a network of dedicated volunteers.  I found this system to be very effective method of training in meditation and spirituality, which enables us to attain the highest spiritual achievements possible in our lifetime.  It allows for a balanced existence of both our spiritual and material lives, without calling for any renunciation or asceticism!

The training in heartfulness meditation takes the focus and attention from our minds to our hearts.  It increases our capacity for empathy, joy, and love.  It opens up the portal to experience the mystical splendour that is latent in the stillness of our hearts.  We start to live life through the serenity of our hearts rather than the mental clutter of our minds.  As we delve deeper into our hearts, we develop an extraordinary intuition that gives us the clarity to make more efficient decisions in life.  A heartfulness based meditation practice can help us find the clarity and balance that we seek in our lives.

Radheshyam Miryala MD

Friday, January 8, 2016

Meditation is good medicine: Submitted by Cathryn Smith, Program Leader, Workplace Health

Originally published in Fraser Health at:

Anthropologists suggest that on the inside we are made up of the same stuff as our hunter/gatherer ancestors. What has changed is our outside world. We live in a 24/7, always accessible, lights on, doing, scheduled, stuck-in-trafiic society, and this lifestyle impacts us on a physiological level.

Research supports that excess, unmanaged stress is linked to many chronic diseases and inflammatory conditions. If we hold that to be true, does it not makes sense that shifting to strategies to manage our outer world is good medicine? One of those strategies was the subject of my recent conversation on mindfulness with Fraser Health’s Dr. Aravindhan Ravindran, Diagnostic and Interventional Radiologist at Langley Memorial Hospital and Abbotsford Regional Hospital.

Mindfulness is derived from Buddhist spiritual practices, but has been adapted for many uses in our modern world. Simply put, it is a particular way of paying attention, cultivated through regular practice of observing the moment with curiosity, accepting the moment as is and bringing kindness and compassion to one’s experience.

Dr. Ravindran has been practicing meditation for over 20 years and teaching since 2000. He started meditation when he had just graduated from medical school and was studying for his exam while looking for work. He was in India at the time and, encouraged by his parents, gave it a try. Although he liked the principles of guided meditation, he did not see benefits immediately. But he kept with the practice and by the time he went to the UK to write his exams, his friends noticed a new calmness -- often others notice a change in you before you notice it yourself. He found he wasn’t stressed about his exam, felt he did better than he would have otherwise and soon his practice became more regular.

In 2000, Dr. Ravindran became a trainer of meditation which deepened his practice. According to Dr. Ravindran, some benefits of meditation include managing stress and changing the way we look at things. Wayne Dyer once said “when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change,” which allows us to start building on something new. When we are not at our best, a positive belief can influence our outcome -- a bit like the placebo effect. Although there is much research to support this idea and society realizes the benefits of meditation as a preventative strategy, it is not generally used as a first line of treatment, or even in treatment at all.

I asked Dr. Ravindran how he responds when people say they “don’t know how to meditate.” He advises to start with a guided body relaxation practice first, which will also bring calmness to the mind as well as the body. Starting with an experienced trainer to walk through the steps helps -- it should not feel like a struggle. Dr. Ravindran also says that he doesn’t call what he does mindfulness. Instead he refers to the practice as “heartfulness.” After all, the idea is to still the mind, not fill it. And when you still the mind, you bring focus to your heart, from where we are guided make the best choices for ourselves. I guess that’s why they always say “follow your heart.”

Dr. Ravindran is bringing his teaching and experience to Fraser Health employees. He will be providing a guided teaching at Langley Memorial in November and hopes to be able to provide opportunities at other workplaces within Fraser Health at no cost. Now that’s being “heart-full."

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Sahaj Marg is the way of the heart.... Heartfulness is a process of discovering meditation first, and then exploring the rest of Sahaj Marg practice in stages. This process of discovery is like that of a child learning through wonder and direct observation.
Sahaj Marg is the way of the heart. By daily practice, we gradually experience more and more of the heart’s true nature. This is based on direct experience, and does not require intellectual theories or complicated techniques.
Heartfulness is a very simple way to discover Sahaj Marg. The word itself is easier to understand than ‘Sahaj Marg’ for many people around the world. Heartfulness is a process of discovering meditation first, and then exploring the rest of the Sahaj Marg practice in stages. This process of discovery is like that of a child learning through wonder and direct observation.
Seekers are first invited to experience the benefits of relaxation and meditation, before being introduced to the practice. They can do this on their own, with the help of a trainer, or through a Heartfulness workshop.
The first step is the Heartfulness Guided Relaxation. This relaxes the body, which allows for effective meditation. It releases tension, fosters physical well- being and is a preparation for deeper meditation.
The second step is Heartfulness Meditation on the Source of Light that is present in the heart. It can be practised alongside any other form of yoga, meditation, religious or spiritual practice, and gives a taste of the experience of meditation on the heart.
How do we go deeper and move forward? With the unique element of yogic transmission – the gentle, subtle yet dynamic ‘forceless force’ that nourishes and transforms our meditation practice. Just as fresh air clears smoke from a room, meditating with an experienced practitioner cleans away the impressions and heaviness created from thought and action, and nourishes our journey of transformation.
After a few Heartfulness Meditation sessions with 
a trainer, the seeker is able to feel the effects of the cleaning and yogic transmission and experience their benefits.
Seekers are invited to experience Heartfulness Meditation with yogic transmission whenever
they are ready, through a series of consecutive introductory meditation sessions with a trainer. These sessions may be done in person or remotely, as mutually convenient.
Encourage others to experience Heartfulness! Also, please try the Heartfulness Guided Relaxation
 for yourself to see how it improves your ability to meditate effectively.

For more information, please visit