Q: There are many ways to meditate, how do you describe the Heartfulness Way?
A: Everything starts with the heart. When we describe a person, do we define them as soft-hearted or soft-minded? Kind-hearted or kind-minded? Stone-hearted or stone-minded? Our language shows us what we already know; that feelings and character emanate from the heart. Most of the qualities we value as humans are heart-based, qualities like love, compassion, empathy, courage and willpower. When the heart is at peace, the mind is at rest. When the heart is content, the mind gains insight, clarity, and wisdom.
Often, we get bogged down in emotional issues and concerns, and we don’t know how to manage these and rise above them. It could be that someone hurts us, or we are angry, worried, or fearful. By working with the feeling level of the heart, through Heartfulness meditation, and learning to let go of emotional reactions that are the cause of our suffering, we can more easily rise above hardship and suffering, and learn to accept and move on. This helps in developing healthy relationships as well as in personal growth.
The heart is also the field of action for the mind. Consciousness, thinking, intellect and ego are essential for existence. But on their own they are only instruments of the mind. They need the guidance and direction of the heart if they are to be used for good or for bad. Just as a sharp knife can be used to cut vegetables for dinner or to hurt another person, the functions of the mind are also dependent on the heart’s purpose. For example, intellect can be used just as effectively by a criminal mind to rob a bank as it can be used by a noble person to help others.
With the Heartfulness Way, we provide the tools to connect the heart and the mind and live with love, acceptance, humility, service, compassion, empathy and a higher purpose to existence.
Q: In Heartfulness meditation, how do you connect the mind with the heart?
A: By meditating on the heart. In fact, the heritage of teachers of Heartfulness do not separate heart and mind. In his Yoga Sutras, Patanjali says: “Hirdaye chitta samvit,” which can be translated to mean that by practicing meditation on the heart, knowledge of the mind is attained.
It is we who create the separation between heart and mind by allowing our mental faculties to be pulled in all sorts of directions and cluttering the heart with so much emotional baggage that it is difficult to have a clear flow between the two. In Heartfulness, we first remove all this clutter, easing our connection into the heart. We then learn to experience and understand the role of consciousness, which is like a canvas, a field of action grounded in the heart, upon which the other functions of the mind play out – things like intellect, thinking capacity and ego.
In Heartfulness, we use the heart to regulate the mind, and they integrate naturally, with every part fulfilling its natural function.
Q: What are some of the unique aspects of Heartfulness meditation that you won’t find with other meditation approaches?
A: There are two: yogic transmission and cleaning.
Q: What is yogic transmission?
A: Yogic transmission can be thought of like lighting the way to deeper consciousness and basic essence. We have trained thousands of Heartfulness teachers around the world to provide this transmission and jumpstart a student’s deeper connection with their essential natures. They can do this in person, or through the course of an online meditation experience. In a single meditation, a practitioner will be amazed at how quickly they can deepen their meditation practice with one of our teachers.
Q: What is meant by “cleaning?”
A: Heartfulness teachers will also help you get rid of ingrained emotional habits and tendencies: fears, greed, jealousy, guilt, desires and prejudices that plague all of us as humans. We call the process “cleaning” and essentially what we are doing is seeking out and removing the root cause of these behaviors. In Sanskrit, these are called the samskaras.
Q: What are samskaras and how can one clean them?
A: Everything we feel, think or do can impact our consciousness. When our feelings harden into patterns they are known as samskaras. For example, if you drive through heavy traffic to get somewhere, it can color your mood. You may be irritable and less friendly because of the stress of the experience. If you have to deal with that stress every day, you may become someone who is constantly irritable. The more you are irritable, the more others around you will be defensive and irritable with you and the vicious cycle is perpetuated. The behavior becomes more and more fixed.
In Heartfulness, we do a process of ‘cleaning’ every evening, to eliminate the patterns that bind our thinking, just like we might take a bath to get rid of the dirt on our physical body. We eliminate the attachments to our patterns and wipe the slate clean, so as not to carry over the day’s complexities into tomorrow. This process is very liberating. Over time the heart and mind become more connected to our authentic selves and a higher purpose to existence.
Q: Why is right now the time to choose the Heartfulness Way?
A: As we emerge from this pandemic, we need heart. People say they feel like mice on a training wheel, going round and round in circles in their day-to-day activities, but without any understanding of why they are here and how they can work with their destiny. To bring a sense of purpose and fulfillment to life, it is important to nourish all aspects of our humanity – not only the physical body, but also the mind, the heart and the soul.
Our human species has also reached a tipping point in its evolution because we have treated our planet Earth as something to be pillaged. We have effectively destroyed our own environment through greed and thoughtlessness. The pandemic has flourished because fellow citizens weren’t willing to wear masks to protect one another from spreading the COVID-19 virus. We have hurt and destroyed our fellow human beings through prejudice, leading to war and subjugation. Only when enough people let the heart rule will this situation be remedied. It is time.
Q: What can you tell people about meditation that will convince them to start practicing it and incorporating it into daily life?
A: Meditation is something we do most days without knowing it. It simply means to focus on one thing continuously. For example, if a child wants a particular toy, he or she will meditate on it night and day, sometimes even dreaming about it until his or her parents give it to him or her as a gift on a birthday on some other special occasion. When a young couple is in love, they will meditate upon each other even while they are at work or with other people. People can meditate on money or power, on positive suggestions or on the heart. You can think of meditation in terms of the questions, how do you want to focus your thoughts and what do you want to become?
You can choose to be in life without a purpose or goal, but for anyone who wants a life of purpose and fulfilment, meditation is the most practical tool to direct your mind towards a purpose. It keeps your mind flexible, clear and sharp; your heart open and loving; your ego under control; and your intellect open to wisdom and conscience. We all know the benefits of physical training for the body. Meditation is mental training for the mind.
Q: How can I go about Heartfulness meditation?
A: Like any other skill, it takes practice. It requires interest and willingness to allocate the time, at least a few minutes every day. And our certified Heartfulness trainers guide you through the practices until you are comfortable enough to do them on your own. We also provide support through a community of like-minded people at our Heartfulness Centers. You can find out more here: Heartfulness.org
Kamlesh Patel, also known as Daaji, is the fourth Heartfulness Guide. He offers a practical, experiential approach to the evolution of consciousness that is simple, easy to follow, and available to people of all ages and walks of life.
AUTHOR: Kamlesh Patel
*Parts of this interview were republished with permission.