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Thinking -> Feeling -> Habit -> Attitude -> Environment

We all complain that we are fine but the environment we live in is very bad for us to do desired things. The above is another piece of 'Plan of Action' for ordinary man, willing to do sadhana (as seen by me when I was contemplating in the Himalayas on what an ordinary man should do to lift himself up from the mess that he is in.)

Friends, everything develops at the thought-level. It may include what do we think, how do we think, the product of it, the subject of our thinking. If I am hurt, then my thinking will be on hurt only. Every thought is produced from the deep reservoir of your hurt. If you have a hatred feeling, then every thought springs from that hatred. It is desirable to find out what kind of 'thinking being' you are. Based on thinking, the feeling will emerge. If the thinking is on hurt, then the feelings related to hurt will come out. The feeling of self-pity, guilt, anger, venomous, animosity, etc, would spring up like ripples in a pond. The pattern of thinking has incited this feeling. Don't blame God or someone for this.

The feeling pattern creates habit patterns. Please watch carefully. Whatever you think and whatever feeling comes out of that thinking—the two are mixed up, and the product is a habit. Then the habit creates an attitude, because this habit has to relate to the external world. Your thinking is not relating, your feeling is not relating, your habit is not relating but the attitudes; attitude is an extension of a thought and then that becomes the vehicle through which one operates. When X comes, the attitude is different, when Y comes, the attitude is different and the man has become a puppet in the hands of these attitudes.

The attitude creates an environment or energy field and you are slowly surrounded by that environment and the environment slowly becomes very strong, very thick like a fog in winters. In winter mornings in North India, there will be a thick fog and you cannot see beyond 10 feet. Fog is there but it is not impossible to move in fog. If you continue to move on with alert mind and wide opened eyes, after some time, the vision becomes very clear and you can move further at a greater speed.

Friends, take stock of your environment; watch the way of your actions—by the tongue, by the body, by the mind. Become aware and move on, having faith in your sadhana. May the Lord bless you.

With yogic fragrance
Sri Pattabhiram

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Many students who meditate think that prayer is not needed, because they don't understand what prayer is. Why do you want to pray?

From Morning until evening you pray, “Lord, give me this; Lord, give me that.” What are you actually doing? You are feeding your ego, which is a bad habit. This is called ego-centric prayer. Human beings, tossed by desire and wants, have become victims of ego-centric prayer, which really makes them beggars. It is still prayer, and so it is better than not doing anything at all.

Pray in your own language to the Lord of Life, who is seated in the inner chamber of your being. He knows you better than anyone else. He guides you, protects you, and helps you.

Pray to the Lord of Life in your heart to give you strength and wisdom, so that you can understand life from all perspectives.

It is essential to pray twice a day, morning and evening. Prayer is a petition for extra energy for our success. To whom to pray? God is the source of all energies, the centre, the powerhouse of light, life and love. Through prayer, we can reach to that power-house and draw the energy for expanding the field of our mind and the horizon of our consciousness.

You are praying to someone who is not body, breath, and mind. He is seated beyond and behind this mortal frame, whose nucleus is within you and his expansion is the universe. There is only one absolute Reality that exists, and the same exists within you.

You want to reach and touch some higher force whom you call God. You make your mind one-pointed with a desire that motivates you to pray. Absorbed in your desire for prayer, the mind becomes calm, when the mind is calm, the Great Majesty reveals itself to the mind, and the purpose of prayer is accomplished.

There are many steps of prayer, and the first is to say a few mantras and then to mentally remember those mantras; then wait for the answer to be received. Every prayer is answered.

When you learn to meditate, making the body steady and still, the breath serene, and the mind free from turmoil, this will lead you to a state of inner experience. You come in touch with something higher and receive the knowledge that is not from the mind, but from beyond-from deep within.

You should learn to meditate with the feeling that the body is a shrine and the inner dweller, the Lord of Life, is God. Mind is a sadhaka and learns to surrender its manner, moods and weapons by saying, “I have no capacity. My abilities are limited. Help me Lord, give me power, so that I can solve all the problems boldly without getting flattened like a ball of clay, or crumble as a house of cards is crumbled by the touch of a finger.”

In this way the mind forms a habit of depending on the Lord of Life, instead of leaning on the 'mere I'. The 'mere I' is the ego, and the 'real I' is God within. This inward process is meditation-cum-prayer. All other prayers are futile, enveloped by wants and desires, fully colored by selfishness, and are just for the sake of pleasing the ego.

Never pray for anything selfish. Pray to the Lord so that your mind receives energy and the Lord motivates you to do what is right for you and for others. That which can‟t be accomplished through any other means can be accomplished through prayer. There is a beautiful verse in the Bible, “Knock and it shall be opened unto you.” It is not written how many times one has to knock!

Prayer and repentance are the greatest purifiers that purify the way of life and lead us to Self-realization. Prayer without repentance does not help much.

Prayers are always answered; therefore, pray with your mind and heart.

-Swami Rama
(Excerpt from the book 'Sadhana')

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Can a child do yoga? (Part 1)


By virtue of my experience as yoga teacher, I can confidently say that yoga can be taught to the children of any age. Svaathma rama the great exponent of yoga, in this text Hata Yoga Pradipika proclaims that yoga can be practiced by Bala-Yuva-Vrudha-Ativrudha i.e. children, youth. Even old people can do yoga.

If you watch consciously the development of a child into an adult, you realize that man, even as a child, is not unfamiliar to yogic practices. The child begins to be aware of its bodily movements by lying on its back, lifting the legs up and playing with it very naturally. It very much resembles Eka-padottanasana and Dwi-padottanasana. After some days, the child turns on its stomach and starts lifting the head, (Bhujangasana), legs (Shalabhasana) etc. This way, the child naturally does all spinal movements, simple stretches and some pressure variation principles.

Thus, a child's body has a natural flexibility with a good range of movements at the joints, soft muscles, very active organs and very sensitive nerves. The child's endocrine glands are actively developing. The spine which carries the network of nerves to the parts of the body is very flexible.

The child's mind is naturally attentive to the things that interest him. Yoga as an art of human integral science can play a very vital roles in developing these qualities and in ensuring that they do not decline with age.

Children of standards I and II belonging the age group of 5 + 6 are full of energy and tend to express their energy through brisk activities. They will never appreciate the static aspects of Yogasanas. So it is not desirable to introduce any static yogic postures to that age group. They can be prepared for yogic practices by introducing various activities which help them develop:

- Natural flexibility which is already there in them

- Various bodily co-ordination,

- Their capacity to visualize things; and

- Their capacity to experience various movements.

Here, I would like to explain how, for example, Vrikasana can be taught to the kids, in a creative way.

Example: Visualizing a tree. Tell the child to imagine that the child is a tree standing erect on the ground. Then start spreading out the hands on either side and imagine them as branches and fingers as leaves.

- The tree is standing very erect with its roots very firmly fixed deep into the earth. Nothing can shake it or uproot it. It is very stable.

- Again imagine that a strong wind is blowing. The tree cannot face the wind so it is slowly bending with its branches and leaves.

- Gradually the wind ceases to blow hard. Then the tree is once again coming back to its normal posture. The branches do not bend any longer.

- The wind is blowing in an irregular way, the tree is moving in all directions unsteadily and violently. Oh it is the height of unsteadiness yet, the roots are holding the tree, etc.

This way, we can help a child to experience:

- Balance

- Stability

- Unsteadiness

- Absolute stillness

- Musical movements of various parts of the body.

Thus, many yogic practices can be modified as joyful play, and can be taught to derive the desirable effects without directly introducing static yogic practices or the related principles.

Children in standards III to V are a bit grown up, both physically and psychologically. We will see how to approach them in next issue.

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