Every year, I go to the doctor and get a checkup. It’s simple; we discuss what I’ve been up to the past year, whether there had been any changes in my life style or normal routine. And I get my blood tested. It’s a good way to evaluate the health of my physical body. If I’m in good health, then I know my daily regimen is adequate; if not, then I know that I need to make some changes.
Similarly, we need to check our spiritual health. We can do this by evaluating how we’re doing with our japa meditation and/or Gauranga breathing. Are we regularly finding time to do these activities daily? Is the quality of our meditation increasing, decreasing, or staying the same? It’s understandable that sometimes work, family life or other personal stresses may take up more of our time now and then. However, japa meditation and Gauranga breathing are important, because they are transcendental activities which bring true happiness to you, the spirit soul, which can make dealing with unforeseen stresses or problems much easier. If you’re like me and find yourself struggling now and then, I have a couple of suggestions that may help get you back on track.
This above video from science of identity foundation helps you to practice your daily meditation.
First, have you ever heard it said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? It makes sense: you’re breaking an overnight fast and preparing your body for 4-6 hours of activity before its next meal at lunchtime. Therefore, you try and fuel your body with healthy food items that will provide long lasting energy. Similarly, by doing japa mediation first thing in the morning, you are providing nourishment to the soul that will provide the foundation for the rest of your day. Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda recommends doing japa mediation first thing in the morning because there are less interruptions and distractions for your mind. This makes a lot of sense because the longer you put off doing your japa, the more likely things will come up that will prevent you from completing your mantras.
Something I find helpful when my japa meditation isn’t going as well as I’d like is to take a japa walk. You can do this on a lunch or work break, or in the evening after dinner. Just grab your beads and start walking. Giving yourself a little time with God’s Holy Names can be the perfect way to recharge yourself and get you ready to finish a project, or just to feel happier.
Maybe you’re feeling good about your meditations—well there’s always ways to challenge yourself and keep growing spiritually. For instance, Jagad Guru recommends doing morning japa meditation in solitude. This should be done first thing in the morning after bathing. One should put away all electronic devices and other distractions and find a quiet place to be alone to focus on your mantras. Jagad Guru suggests starting with 10-15 minutes of focused japa chanting, paying close attention to the sound of the mantra. Here, quality is more important that quantity. Then, gradually increase your solitude japa meditation until you’re doing one solid hour each morning.
Morning solitude is challenging; I find myself constantly struggling to control my restless mind and fight off worldly distractions. But I’m committed to this daily task, no matter how difficult it is. Whenever I think about giving up, I remember something Jagad Guru once said. He compared one’s spiritual growth to lifting weights. If you use a 1-pound dumbbell, the exercises will be easy, and you will be able to do a lot of reps. However, your muscles will not grow very much. Your muscles will only begin to grow when you challenge them with a heavier weight. Similarly, morning solitude is the challenge your soul needs to help develop spiritual muscles, and to grow stronger transcendentally and this will help to cope up with any kind of suffering (for example, losing loved ones, death, diseases, physical problems) and natural misery. I hope each of you will give morning solitude a chance and keep doing japa and Gauranga meditation.
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