We seek happiness and fulfilment but we look for it in the wrong places and in the process, misinterpret what true happiness is. The mind that we rely so much on, plays an active role in sabotaging our efforts in finding true happiness. The mind makes us desire and crave. We search for happiness outside. We become miserable and disappointed when our desires are not fulfilled. But the truth is that we are not the mind, the body and the ego. We may have a mind, but we are not the mind. We know that the body dies but the one alive inside the body doesn’t die. We are the life energy that gives life to this body-mind complex and appears as a part of it as long as it is alive. Our mind is our biggest enemy. It is a rascal and it tries to indulge in every desire that our senses percieve. It is the mind that makes us believe that we are this entity, when in reality, we are not. If we truly want to control the mind, we can do it through simple meditation. Real meditation is reducing the MTR — Mental Thought Rate, which is the rate at which the mind produces thoughts. When the mind concentrates on one particular thought, it stops jumping like a monkey and becomes a monk. A part of the solution lies in the Vedic concept of Yoga.
The world thinks of Yoga to be a physical exercise, popularly known as Yogasana. Those that go beyond physical exercises have turned Yoga into a set of breathing techniques, popularly known as Pranayama. Pranayama is used to regulate the Prana or vital energy of life which is within. If we can regulate it, we will be blessed with peace and tranquility. While these body postures and breathing techniques are indeed good for health, they are not what True Yoga is all about. Yoga is being in union with the Divine. It is a way of establishing and maintaining a strong connection to the source of life. Any human being can be in Yoga. All they have to do is to disconnect from the illusory world and connect with the Creator. This is not a very easy thing to do. Yoga is considered to be a challenging practice.
There are four ways to live a Yogic Life. They are often referred to as Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Gyana Yoga or Dhyana Yoga. These terms mean that the four ways to live in Yoga are through action, devotion, education, and meditation. Yoga, for the true lover of God (Mumukshu), is all about living with devotion and prayer, being connected with the Divine. Yoga for some may be seeing God in the poor and the unfortunate. For some, it may be seeing God in animals and being compassionate, loving, and kind. Still, others do Yoga through meditation and contemplation. Whatever be the method of Yoga, as long as it builds a connection and unites us with the Divine, it is Yoga.
Dhyana, literally means concentration, focus, attention, and contemplation. It starts with silence. It calls for shutting off all our body senses. To do this, some people meditate. This helps in taming the rascal mind that has a tendency to indulge in desires and thoughts. To meditate is just like pressing the brakes in a vehicle to slow down its speed. Meditation is possible through various methods. It may be focusing our attention on breathing or at the flame of a candle.
Shutting off the body and mind from creating perceptions and thoughts and concentrating on a simple question with one’s intellect does the job. Ask, “Who am I? Am I this body? Am I the mind?” In this method, the body and mind are both still as if asleep. Only the intellect meditates and contemplates one point, “If I am the body, then which body am I — the body that I was born as or the body that I inhabit today or the body that will grow old and die?” The body is constantly changing. So, what am I? The mind stops wandering and focuses on the truth that helps us understand that we have a body, but we are not the body. This method of continuously probing “Who am I?” with deep concentration can lead us to the realization that “I am not this body nor this mind but the energy that gives power to the body.” Such contemplation may lead us to Realization. When we start seeing beyond the body, mind and ego, we start seeing Divinity in all the things around us. We realize that every living being is the manifestation of God and we start loving one and all as God. This is the path to peace, bliss and liberation from this world of misery and suffering.