“śhrī bhagavān uvācha asanśhayaṁ mahā-bāho mano durnigrahaṁ chalam abhyāsena tu kaunteya vairāgyeṇa cha gṛihyate” ~ Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, Verse 35
(Lord Krishna said: O mighty-armed son of Kunti, what you say is correct; the mind is indeed very difficult to restrain. But by practice and detachment, it can be controlled.)
The unconscious, subconscious, and conscious mind, as well as emotions, thoughts, feelings, behavior, cognition, perception, and other mental processes, find in-depth explanations and understanding in spiritual texts. Sankhya, Vedanta, and Yoga have robust psychological foundations, with various schools of thought, each with its own philosophy. While the ultimate goal remains the same, the path taken towards it depends on the chosen school of thought.
People who engage in spiritual practices for a certain period of time begin to develop qualities that significantly contribute to their everyday lives. Their perspective on situations, state of mind, emotional regulation, efficiency in tasks, aura, energy, and even their breathing align with their inner nature. Their inclination towards serving others increases, making them more compassionate and empathetic, as their consciousness expands beyond the limitations of the ego.
Eating according to our desires and indulging in taste-based food choices (unhealthy eating patterns) increases the likelihood of future diseases due to the accumulation of toxins in the body. Similarly, our thoughts, emotions, and actions in our daily lives determine and shape our strongest tendencies to cope with various circumstances. For example, repeatedly engaging in self-critical thoughts can eventually lead to feelings of worthlessness and depression. Recognizing such patterns is the first step, which can be achieved through conscious self-reflection and mindful observation of our self-talk and the way we perceive external events.
Forming a strong foundation is essential to constructing a structure that can sustain itself during times of crisis.
In our school curriculum, we were taught the basics of science and math, but no one taught us the study of the 'self,' which is essential for living a fulfilled life. Spiritual practices unlock holistic health and well-being. Essentially, all psychological practices aim to address mental health issues. When we learn to be conscious and mindful of our actions, we gain a broader perspective on everyday stressors, leading to a gradual decline in overthinking and stress. Spiritual practices naturally foster such an inner environment.
Easy ways to Spiritualise our everyday life!
Some practical steps that can be taken in our everyday routine to understand our inner nature:
1. Guided Meditations
To begin, guided meditations can work wonders. Reducing the flow of restless thoughts is essential when starting a meditation practice. Having an audio or voice guiding us can help minimize distractions because our focus is on following the instructions. In the beginning, you can experiment with a few apps or guided meditation videos on YouTube. Eventually, choose the one that you can connect with and that resonates with you. To name a few apps like Balance and Waking Up apart from a lot of content which might be available on YouTube by Thich Nhat Hanh or Tara Brach.
2. Monitoring the breath
Try to cultivate a long and deep breathing pattern, especially when you feel overwhelmed with emotions. Take a moment during work or routine activities to pause, observe your breath, and consciously adjust it. Inhale deeply, allowing your belly to expand as if you are filling a balloon both inside and outside.
3. Conscious check on our thought patterns
As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he ~ Proverb 23.7
Throughout the day, we often find ourselves dwelling on thoughts related to anticipating negative future events, self-criticism, comparison, gossiping, negative evaluations of events and people, ruminating about the past, and excessively analyzing our behaviors in certain situations. These thought processes become deeply ingrained in our minds and form habitual ways of communicating with ourselves.
This habitual communication shapes our consciousness and influences our self-identification. By excessively focusing on limited aspects of ourselves, we unintentionally manifest the very things we fear. To address this habitual pattern, you can select brief affirmations and repeat them several times when your thought process becomes chaotic or negative.
In being spiritual, mental, and material service to others, you will find your own needs fulfilled. As you forget self in service to others, you will find that, without seeking it, your own cup of happiness will be full ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Extending compassion through action is known as service. It involves going beyond our personal boundaries and contributing to the greater good. Small acts of kindness, empathy, and compassion have the power to fill both the giver and receiver with love and joy in their souls.
Practicing gratitude helps shift our perception of events, allowing us to adopt healthier and more positive perspectives that differ from our anxiety-ridden minds. Being born is a blessing, having a safe shelter to live in is a blessing, having a loving family or a supportive social circle is a blessing, receiving food every day is a blessing, educating oneself and having the opportunity to work is a blessing, and having the chance to help and serve others is a blessing, among many others. By practicing gratitude, we can find something to be thankful for each day. Starting with just 'one thing' to be grateful for is enough to begin.
There is a strong connection between spiritual activities and our mental well-being. Engaging in these activities enables us to understand the true nature of the self. To experience the positive impact, you can gradually incorporate the simple daily tasks mentioned earlier. By putting these skills into practice, you will gain firsthand experience that goes beyond reading and studying about them. No matter how much we read or listen to literature, teachings from saints, or religious figures, true understanding only comes through practical application in our daily lives. Without practice, no skill can be honed, and the same applies to these spiritual practices. So, let us embark on this journey together! By embracing these practices in your everyday life, you will not only deepen your understanding of yourself but also witness the significant impact they can have on your life.