October 18 in the frame of the Day of Spiritual Accord, at 14:00 (GMT + 6), Nur-Sultan (Kazakhstan) will host an International conference themed: "Strengthening interfaith and interethnic harmony as an answer to modern world challenges ".
B.K. BRIJ MOHAN ANAND, India Heal the Heart to Heal the World With the onset of globalisation, consumerism and mechanised lifestyle public health has become a major issue of concern. In a world that is increasingly affected by pollution, poverty, junk food, mechanised work and hectic work schedule, health has taken a hard blow and people are investing more time and money to preserve their health. A few decades ago globalisation was touted as the mantra of development and it was supposed to help people and businesses make better choices to improve the environment, health, economy and overall well-being of humans on a global level. What has happened over the decades in the name of development is a different story. It has been a skewed process that has created imbalance at multiple levels of human existence. Our development policies have been lop-sided – mainly centred on feeding the body and starving the soul.
The quality of life has improved only for a thin fraction of the society – the rich-poor divide has widened and though we have lots of material comforts it has taken a heavy toll on our health, environment and relationships. It’s a paradox – lot of people are ill today because of overindulgence whereas a lot of them are dying and sick because they have no food, water and shelter. Most people in urban areas are affected by stressful working conditions, unhealthy lifestyle, polluted air, water and food, traffic jams, lack of sleep and rest, emotional distress and discontentment.
It is more than evident that the meddling intellects of humans have pried too far and too long with Nature; so much so that today we have few answers for the catastrophe that is threatening our survival on earth. Our rampant and blind pursuit of so-called development that ignores the laws of nature and its fine balance is already hitting us hard. Global warming and ecological degradation all over the world are creating wide-spread conditions of famine, flood, food scarcity and natural calamities.
The universe is unlimited in its resources and the bountiful Nature has provided everything for the survival and happiness of human beings. There are variety seasons, flora and fauna, day and night cycle to work and rest - everything in Nature is balanced and healthy. But today humans have reversed all cycles of Nature. We have unseasonal fruits and vegetables, bottled water, vitamin pills, energy drinks, multiple working shifts,
superfluous luxuries and technologies that are harmful. Today most human activities have no reason and no season. No wonder that we have more health problems today.
With the current advances in technology, there has been unparalleled progress made in the fields of diagnosis and therapy. Undoubtedly, this progress has brought great benefits to mankind across the world. The western model of hospital-based disease and cure-oriented approach towards healthcare, has its pros and cons.
High emphasis on curative approach has led to the neglect of the preventive, holistic and rehabilitative aspects of healthcare. Instead of making people more aware and responsible for their health, the present system of healthcare has only increased dependency and undermined the community's role in enhancing health.
Health is connected to the total well-being of an individual. Health is not just absence of disease but it is a state of existence in which a person enjoys physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being. Apart from environmental and social factors, there are subtle factors that affect the health of a person. A clean and pure mind is a prerequisite for healthy life. A pure mind enables the use of time, energy and resources in the best way. Stress or negative thinking has been identified as a leading cause of quite a number of major illnesses.
A number of health problems which are related to stress in modern life could be handled by low cost alternative or complementary traditional systems like Meditation, Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Magnetotherapy and Naturopathy etc. A holistic approach in the field of medicine is being increasingly accepted.
Evidence from the interdisciplinary fields of clinical medicine, physiology, psychiatry, psychology, religion, philosophy and athletics have underscored the remarkable human capacity of achieving beneficial results by meditation. Meditation leads to the relaxation response and maximizing the potential of the mind. Meditation alters the physiological and psychological response of the body remarkably. Regular practise of meditation leads to reduction in heart and respiratory rate and a drop in blood pressure.
A number of studies have critically investigated meditation for treatment of hypertension, diabetes, asthma, migraine, pain, anxiety, depression and psychosomatic diseases. Meditation reduces the requirements of medication for pain and sleep etc. It is reported to be effective in de-addiction from drugs, alcohol and tobacco and can increase decision making skills, overcome irrational fears, phobias and expand spiritual life.
Holistic healing addresses the root cause of disease which is the feeling of dis-ease in the mind due to absence of pure feelings. The vision of a healthy society can be achieved when each person in the society makes a conscious choice to sustain physical, environmental, social, mental and spiritual health. By making little positive changes in the way we think, eat, sleep, work and treat each other we can gain a life full of health and happiness.
One of the most subtle but critical factors that affects health and environment is the quality of our thoughts and actions (karma). The law of karma is infallible – you reap what you sow. If we use our body to perform good and right actions then we will enjoy good health. If we treat our body well then it will perform well. The seed of good actions is pure feelings and thoughts; hence, we have to make a conscious choice to nurture only pure thoughts.
When humans are good, Nature is benevolent. Everything in the cosmos depends upon man and his heart. To enjoy good health we have to accumulate a stock of good wishes and pure feelings by sharing the qualities of peace, love and joy in every thought, word and action. In order to heal the world we have to heal our heart.
First of all we have to have a spiritual outlook towards everything and everyone. Our merciful and kind attitude, giving approach, living like a trustee, being above the consciousness of I and mine, humility and unconditional benevolence will go a long way to heal the bleeding hearts and bleeding earth.
Rajyoga meditation practised and taught at the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Organisation worldwide, is a powerful technique for developing the pure and positive values that are inherent in every human being. It is based on the awareness of the self as an eternal spiritual being – a soul – whose original nature comprises peace, joy, love, bliss and purity.
Rajyoga meditation is, in essence, focusing of the mind on one’s original nature while sitting in a relaxed posture in quiet surroundings. One’s thoughts pass passively by. By concentrating on one’s pristine qualities, the mind gets focused and divine qualities start flowing in. As souls, we are spiritual children of the Supreme Soul. When we remember the Supreme as our Spiritual Father, we experience His love, blessings and power. This has healing effect on our inner being and enables us to experience our true goodness.
Doing this practice daily and gradually increasing the time from 5 to 45 minutes would result in balancing the left and right sides of the brain. At this point, one’s thoughts are positive and the effect is powerful. These thoughts alter the physiological and psychological functions of the mind and body which would favourably reduce stress.
Meditation changes the internal response to external demands. Mental and physical relaxation can be achieved in a short period. Meditation permits one to understand and rectify factors causing personal stress. Meditation evokes relaxation response which stops the emotions that prod the brain into misbehaviour. Control over the mind to stop automated thinking helps to re-channel our thoughts into a positive and blissful direction and enables us to become tolerant, positive and creative even in stressful situations.
Brahma Kumaris believe in the intrinsic goodness of every human being and are imparting and practising the above said spiritual principles. Their lifestyle is a role model for holistic and healthy living that aims at empowering not only the self but other individuals of the society as well for creating a healthy and happy world.
I propose to conclude by sharing a few thoughts for meditation. Sit in a comfortable position with the back straight. Aim to experience and visualise the words in your mind so that you begin to feel what is being described.
I turn my attention inward, concentrating my thought energy on the centre of the forehead…
I feel a sense of detachment from my physical body and the physical surroundings…I become aware of the stillness around me and within me…
A feeling of natural peacefulness begins to fill my inner being...
Waves of peace gently wash over me; removing any restlessness and tension from my mind…I concentrate on this feeling of deep peace…just peace…
I …am…peace…Peace is my true state of being…
My mind becomes very calm and clear … I feel easy and content…
Having returned to my natural consciousness of peace…
I sit for a while, enjoying this feeling of calmness and serenity.
The author is Addl. Secretary-General of Brahma Kumaris Spiritual Organisation, Hqs. Mt. Abu, India. The institution presently has over 8500 branches in 137 countries spanning all continents of the globe. It is NGO of the United Nations with Consultative Status in ECOSOC and UNICEF.