Nature has given you a tool to manage your mind, eliminate stress and be happy. You just need skill in how to use it.
When you feel upset you usually blame people or situations, but the only thing that ever really bothers you is your own mind. The mind is abstract and difficult to control. Too often, your peace and happiness is overshadowed by a distracted or upset mind. How can you handle the mind? One place we can find an answer is in ancient mythology.
An ancient story in the Indian Ramayana involves the kidnapping of Sita, Rama’s wife, by the evil Ravan. In this tale, Rama represents the soul and Sita is the mind. Ravan represents the negative forces. In order to save Sita, Rama seeks help from Hanuman to find where Sita was imprisoned. Hanuman represents the breath, a key component needed to free the mind. When freed from negative forces, Sita, (the mind), reunites with Rama, (the soul). The soul is blissful and when the mind is no longer captured by negativity the mind can feel the bliss of the soul.
Other ancient stories symbolize the breath as a weapon used against demons. The demons represent the ego. The ego is the cause of many negative emotions such as outrage, jealousy, guilt or self-blame. The breath is the weapon to calm those negative emotions.
What Do These Mythologies Tell Us?
These stories have been passed down for thousands of years and are still relevant today because people have the same struggles. Everyone has to deal with stressful, negative emotions that cause anxiety or depressed moods. Often you’re angry about the past or worried about the future. These emotions reduce the joy in life and create conflicts. Sometimes intense emotions completely take over the mind and you end up regretting what you said or did.
Try telling the mind to stop thinking or feeling something – how successful is it?
The mind won’t obey what your intellect tells it to do.
Free the Mind Using the Breath
The mind is directly connected to the breath. You notice when your mood changes, the breath changes with it. This connection works in both directions, you can also use the breath to calm the mind. The first thing an upset person is told to do to calm down is, “take a deep breath”. There are many types of breathing practices taught today that will help calm the mind.
In the Yoga tradition there is an ancient science of using the breath in skillful ways to purify negative emotions and calm the mind. SKY Breathing Meditation is an advanced practice that brings profound changes to the mind and emotions immediately. (SKY stands for Sudarshan Kriya Yoga). SKY is unique in the way it triggers a cleansing of negative emotions while also settling the mind into deep meditation at the same time.
Enhance Any Meditation Practice
The modern mind is very busy and resists quieting down. SKY Breathing Meditation is ideally suited for the modern age because it brings you into a deep meditative state automatically without having to think about it. SKY cuts-through restless thoughts and leads you into the silent depth of consciousness, which is deep meditation. You don’t have to watch the breath, observe the mind, concentrate, contemplate or use any physical or mental effort at all. Even beginners see results immediately.
Any meditation practice will be enhanced by practicing SKY first. SKY brings results with just 10 minutes of practice but you would ideally follow it with a period of silence or an existing meditation you already practice. Lingering in the quiet space of deep meditation everyday allows peacefulness and mindfulness to grow in your mind spontaneously.
Published Research on SKY
SKY practice is very specific and can’t be compared with other types of breathing practices. Other breathing practices do not bring such dramatic results so quickly. There are 60 published studies on SKY that have shown benefits such as:
- Enhanced hormone, immune and cardiovascular system function
- Improved brain functioning associated with memory, attention, and focus, and increased capacity to multitask and retain information
- Reduces stress hormones and increases well-being hormones from the very first session
- Significantly reduced depression, anxiety and PTSD
- Increased well-being both mentally and physically
- The affects of SKY reach all the way to the molecular level, causing a change in the genetic expression in your DNA
Support for Your Meditation
Guidance from an experienced teacher, trained in a longstanding tradition produces better results.Your practice at home will also be supported when you regularly meditate with groups. When people meditate together there is a group energy that pulls everyone along.
Periodic retreats for a few days of more intensive practice in a group setting will give you a tremendous boost. Weekly group meditations available in most cities will give you deeper experiences and inspire you. Studies have been conducted on how group meditation is socially powerful and has a measurable effect on the greater population.
The largest group meditation in the world will take place this March in New Delhi, India where 3.5 million people will meditate together. The ripples of energy from millions meditating together will be like gravitational waves moving through the whole planet bringing a calming energy to the entire world.
Jim Larsen M.Ed. has taught meditation for 40 years. In 1990 Jim learned SKY Breathing Meditation and added this to his existing meditation practices. The results prompted him to travel to India to study with the founder of SKY. Jim currently teaches SKY and other meditation practices full-time with the nonprofit International Association for Human Values. Jim’s courses include special free programs for military veterans (www.PWHT.org) and advanced meditation retreats for everyone. Jim has also taught prison inmates, trauma survivors in Haiti and patient-centered wellness programs. His website is www.SKYbreath.org.