A treat for those wanting to learn heartfulness
Meditation renews spiritual energy and is a means of building self-control and striking a balance between the spiritual and the mundane.
Spiritualism is having its big moment now. There is a mountain of literature on thousands of emerging techniques for attaining spiritual wellbeing. These methods guarantee us inner calm and stillness in this extremely fast-paced digital world. At no point in history has society offered seekers so many different ways to nirvana, so many different paths to spiritual epiphany as now.
Today, spiritual gurus are world heroes. Their followers and audiences comprise an enviable who's who of billionaires and global leaders in politics, business and bureaucracy.
One of the most powerful tools in the arsenal of all spiritualists - mystics, rabbis, godmen - is meditation that has been hailed as a way to boost internal spiritual dynamics. In recent years, there has been a new appreciation of meditation in reflective awareness. The aim of meditation in its traditional context - including and beyond Buddhism - has been the exploration of meaning and purpose in life and connecting with deeper existential awareness. Apart from contributing to physical alertness and mental and spiritual wellbeing, the real power of meditation is still unexplored. The Heartfulness Way: Heart-Based Meditations for Spiritual Transformation by Kamlesh D. Patel and Joshua Pollock, is a positive effort in that direction.
The book stands out for its unique approach. It is meant to be read and re-read if your thirst has to be quenched. Its real credential is that it revolutionises the way we think, live and conduct ourselves. More significantly, it applies to every single one of us, irrespective of creed, colour or class. It doesn't carry the baggage of any dogma, doctrine or ideology.
Authored by Kamlesh D. Patel, widely known as Daaji, and Joshua Pollock, a heartfulness trainer and practitioner, the book is a treat for those who are curious about what heartfulness is and how it can change our day-to-day lives.
This is a story of two men, embarking on a spiritual adventure, pursuing it with unceasing passion, running into crises but always solving the puzzle and, in the process, getting wiser. One is an acclaimed artist and other a successful businessman; they are both experimenting with their spiritual cravings without upsetting their normal family lives. The book is a sincere attempt to move beyond the constraints of belief and experience spiritual elevation through meditation.
It's a story with tremendous insights and absorbing experiences which serve as a roadmap and blueprint for the practitioners and guides us to experience the same ecstasy the authors experienced. The message of heartfulness is simple and direct: Experience is greater than knowledge. Rather, it is an ongoing process of discovery - that is the joy and wonder of heartfulness.
The struggle for internal balance and control of the self is as old as mankind. Meditation renews spiritual energy and is a means of building self-control and striking a balance between the spiritual and the mundane.
Meditation is a way of adapting one's life to subjugate evil instincts and vicious ambitions like lust, greed and hatred. Islam has a beautiful word to describe this war against man's carnal instinct. It is jihad bin nafs or the jihad through conscience. Prophet Muhammad called it the greater jihad, the inner struggle against egotism.
It is akin to Christians seeking the kingdom of heaven, Hindus pursuing liberation and the state of aham brahmasmi (I am brahman), Buddhists striving for nirvana and Sufis striving for baqua-e-baqua (life of life).
The authors emphasise that you need not give up your beliefs or rituals in order to emulate their path. We can harvest both spiritual and material dividends by integrating the heartfulness technique into our respective faith systems. Heartfulness is neither about leaving your religious traditions behind nor is it about discarding your beliefs.
It is merely the inclusion of meditation whilst retaining traditions which will help you go deeper into that tradition and discover its true essence. As it is said in the Rigveda, "The 'reality' is one; the learned speak of this in many ways." In meditation, we go within and discover the "reality".
The Heartfulness Way isn't only for those who experience heartfulness as part of their spiritual regimen. It's for the common man too who might not really understand what words like moksha mean. What are the problems that the practitioners of heartfulness initially face? Common problem among beginners is the overflow of thoughts and, after practicing heartfulness, they complain about the lack of it.
The West is so convinced about the scientific values of Indian spiritual practices that it has got us excited as well and, "something that was exported is being re-imported to us again". As a result, these two seekers set out on a spiritual search - to rediscover the ancient Indian wisdom.
The truth must always be realised practically, and meditation is an effective means for achieving it. When we lack practical and personal experiences, various religions appear to be vastly different from one another although their core values are almost identical.
The Heartfulness Way is written in three parts: the first two decode why and how to meditate. These parts are interspersed with lively anecdotes. They also talk about an accelerator called "Yogic Transmission in Heartfulness" that satiates the urgency of the digital age. The third part is about the role of a guru. The idea of a spiritual guru generally has been very obscure and doubtful. The authors demystify it and clear the air around guru-mentee relationship.
The Heartfulness Way encapsulates a seeker's journey while examining the nature of spiritual search within and around. It reflects the essence of yogic transmission and prayers and is aimed at demystifying and deconstructing spiritualism.
Reading this book will enable us to transcend our sensory limitations and discover unity within ourselves. To practice heartfulness is to seek the essence beyond the form, the reality behind the ritual. We need to focus inward and position ourselves at the core of the heart and find the true meaning and contentment there. True meditation generates divine radiance as the power of divinity permeates the heart. It gives a truly exhilarating inward joy. It is like a traveller climbing a mountain; the higher he goes, the farther he sees. It elevates the human mind to greater heights of ecstasy, comparable to what English poet John Keats experienced when he discovered Chapman's Homer:
Then felt I some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken,
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific - and all his men
Looked at each other with a wild surmise -
Silent upon a peak in Darien.
Moin Qazi is a well-known banker, author and Islamic researcher. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org