On the occasion of International Yoga Day, Swami Mukundananda says these uncertain times are a reminder that our well-being is connected to those around us and vice versa
Mother nature is a constant reminder of living in harmony. A forest, for instance, “has an amazing ability to communicate and behave like a single organism,” says Dr. Suzanne Simard, professor of Forest and Conservation Sciences at the University of British Columbia. Her research studies reveal how underground fungi networks of forests facilitate plants and trees to exchange water, nutrients, defense signals, and much more.
Along somewhat similar lines, the science of Yog has ventured deep and revealed to us that this whole creation is one system and that we are an integral part of one sublime energy. The spirit of yoga is the spirit of unity and union. We have a very subtle, yet deep and symbiotic relationship with one another at different levels. Hence, International Yoga Day not only emphasizes the sense of oneness and wholeness within an individual but also our intertwined wellness and existence in this universe.
We all are one
Now more than ever we need to help one another achieve all-around wellness while navigating through these formidable times. If we work in unison with one another, cooperate, and share vitality, we will eventually conquer the virus. We have succeeded in doing so before — our coordinated efforts eradicated smallpox, which once killed 35 per cent of its victims.
Developing a vaccine against COVID-19, although the most pressing challenges of our time, is a remarkable achievement of medical science. It is heartwarming to watch the global community donate vaccines to COVAX (COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access), a global initiative unlike any other. However, success depends upon the percentage of the global population that accepts vaccination. As they say, no one is safe, unless everyone is safe.
Enhancing the psychological immune system is equally important
The psychological immune system encompasses all our cognitive mechanisms, which fortify us from experiencing despondent or low-spirited emotions. Over the past 16 months, I have been witnessing several members of our spiritual congregation remaining strong and soldiering through the pandemic. It is the wealth of scriptural knowledge and practice of yoga that has been their paramount aid in riding out the pandemic. The science of yoga provides a holistic approach to develop not only physical resilience, but also mental, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual vigor.
Perils and arduous circumstances are an integral part of our journey in this world. While some hardships are predictable and preventable, others are inescapable. A degree of emotional maturity is necessary to develop an adequate reserve of mental energy to come up with creative solutions to the problems that arise in life. Empowering the mind through meditation brings stability to emotions. Most ailments have their roots in the mind. When one harbors anxiety, tension, fear et al, it disturbs the mental sheath (one of the five sheaths in the body). This disturbance is then passed on to the pranic sheath, which then manifests in the physical sheath of the body as disease. Meditation on God heals the various ailments of the mind, resulting in the enhancement of vital energy and the improvement of physical health.
Nurture positive inner ecology with yogic practices
Sage Patanjali has given us five niyma (observances) that help us live in peace: saucha (purity of thought), santosh (contentment), tapas (self-discipline), svadhyaya (contemplating on the self/self-reflection), isvarapranidhana (devotion and surrender to God). Engaging in these practices sincerely, especially devotion and surrender to the Supreme Lord will ignite the lamp of wisdom.
There is a tremendous organization manifesting around us in every aspect of God’s creation — from a tiny atom to our DNA. If we transcend our internal imperfections, we can then discern the perfect world. This world is perfectly designed in a manner to bring about the gradual flowering of the consciousness of the soul over the continuum of lifetimes. The entire universe prods us towards the evolution of consciousness. The challenges that we come across are a part of the process that enriches us internally.
A caterpillar takes on strong wings, transforming into a beautiful butterfly only after going through the struggle. Similarly, this creation hurls processes at us to bring about transformation. If we can perceive this aspect of God’s design, and align ourselves with it, we begin to understand his grand plan for us. When this dawns upon us, we not only take everything in our stride but also learn the art of dedicating our deeds to the Lord.
(The writer is an author, a yogi, world-renowned spiritual teacher, an authority on mind management, IIT & IIM alumnus and the founder of JKYog.)
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