“Real yoga practise entails meeting the Lord in the heart and then following His dictation.”
– Srila Prabhupada (Purport, Bhagavad Gita 6.6)
The logic is simple: When you stretch your body and perform herculean physical exercises, you also relax your muscles and rest your body sufficiently. This ensures you get the six pack you seek. And you don’t burn out. Similarly, when you exert your mind throughout the day, you are brain tired. You need to relax your mind with breathing, praying or journaling – basically just chill! The gentle switching from a relaxed to an active brain state would ensure you get the ‘six pack’ brain that you want – a mind that is strong to battle shocks and navigate the bizarre twists and turns of life.
How does B-J-P (Breathing-Journal-Prayer) help?
Conscious breathing helps us slowly move from the world outside of us, to our inner world. As we learn to focus our attention on the soft incoming and outgoing breath, the muddle of thoughts clear up. After ten minutes of slow breathing, if you still find peace elusive, you can pick up a paper and pen, and just write the proposals of the mind. Do it in the second person – as if a different person (the mind) is talking to you. For example, as I am writing this piece, I am feeling thirsty. My journal would appear as follows: “……..Cancal (the name I have given my mind) is asking me to stop writing now, and pick up a glass of water. …….”
You will soon notice that even before you complete the sentence, the mind has jumped to yet another demand. After completing the sentence where you acknowledge the mind’s need for water, you then write the next sentence, simply noting down the next demand of Cancal. Soon you’ll realize that you’ve forgotten what the mind asked for, because by the time you completed the sentence, your mind has given over a dozen proposals. As you try to keep pace of simply noting down what the mind is saying – or what you are feeling or thinking right now- all in a second person’s language, you’d have successfully separated yourself from your mind.
Journaling thus helps improve awareness – we learn to see the many noises in our head, as separate from ‘me’. You may wonder if these thoughts is not me, who really am I? Regular practise of journal and breathing helps you discover the answer: ‘I am the one who sees that these noises is not me!’
This beautiful self, the real you, needs a voice – that’s prayer. When you softly utter the Holy Names of Krishna or any transcendental sound, in the sacred space of the temple or altar, or in a silent setting, that’s when you feel safe – you know you’ve reached Home – your Home state – or the Heart space. That’s when you see Krishna; that’s when you are with Krishna. “For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me.” (Bhagavad Gita 6.30)
The combination of Breathing- Journal- Prayer thus helps us slowly move from the madness of a speed induced life, to the serenity of graceful connection with Krishna.
The ancient Roman philosopher Atticus said it beautifully, “It always pays to dwell slowly on the beautiful things – the more beautiful the more slowly.”