Most frequently used Spiritual Practices that help me stay focussed on my spiritual path of Awareness
I write this with the intention of sharing with everyone(including myself) the Best Practices that I regularly follow for being on my spiritual path. These are an assortment of techniques, in no particular order, some new-age, some based on ancient rituals learnt from several Masters around the world that I have been incredibly blessed to have learnt from. I also shall mention the name of the Masters wherever possible.
1. Affirmations – from Louise Hay – The mind is a garden – whether you grow weeds in it or flowers depends totally upon you. Plus it needs daily maintenance. I learnt this much after I had done a lot of healing work on myself energetically through Past Life Regression therapy and Inner Child Work therapy. What I felt after these healing sessions was an experience “typical” of a mystic. But as I soon realised, that satori state simply vanished and I found myself catching new negative thoughts. That’s when I stumbled onto her book, You can Heal Your Life, and started applying Affirmations. At times I would “forget”. I realised my mind doesn’t like to be disciplined. So I had this phase of searching and thinking that maybe I need to attend spiritual workshops to get that high energy state back. But that didn’t work too! Lucky for me I didn’t have the money to do any more of these workshops because now I had to do the work of getting into the state by myself. Affirmations, writing them, chanting them, listening to them non-stop for so many weeks now, doing her Mirror Work has put me back in this “bling!” state of mind which I now maintain deliberately!
I remember Dr.Newton saying at one of our workshops, “The mind is Buddha”. I understand this now. 🙂
2. Gratitude – by Nithya Shanti…or…err…Buddha – The uninformed might wonder, “Is this a technique?!”. Well, yes it is! At Nithya Shanti’s life changing HADAYOLI(HAppiest DAY Of your LIfe!) workshops I learnt the power of Gratitude and the way Buddha taught Gratitude. (Btw, just a personal digression here – I think Buddha was a fantastic mind engineer!). There are 3 paths where you start applying Gratitude:
- Gratitude for your challenges for they help you discover the best of yourself.
- Gratitude for all that you have, material and non-material as if you have just recovered them from a loss.
- Gratitude for your dreams and visions affirmed in the present as if you have already achieved/manifested them.
The way Nithya makes us do in his workshops – he makes us write a Gratitude Letter to someone(including ourselves). Another way I love to practice this personally taking a cue from what he does in his workshops is by writing out Gratitude sentences as follows:
“Dear God/Universe <or whatever word for the Divine suits you>, I am deeply and incredibly Grateful for my disagreement with my boss because it means that I have a job that I find worth giving my best to and it gives me the opportunity to practice more acceptance. “
I love applying this to situations that daunt me and also to “register” it with the Universe when I receive something, especially my salary! 🙂
3. Switchwords – by Nithya Shanti – I have shared a full usage of how I apply Switchwords HERE.
4. Ho’oponopono technique – learnt from an article posted by a friend, Nikhil – You can read the miraculous story behind this technique HERE, which after reading got me very interested in applying it. Hearing it being mentioned from many of my friends I knew it was spreading like wildfire. After I heard about this technique again from Nithya Shanti at one of his workshops, I started applying it in conjunction with the Switchword technique(shared below). The way I apply this technique which has been working for me is whenever I encounter any negative situation, or negative emotion in me or with anyone in my surroundings, I immediately cancel the thought(Switchword technique – CANCEL CANCEL) and say to myself, “I heal that part of me which has created this reality. I love You, I heal You, I forgive You”. I keep repeating this and yes, my reality does change! It’s like magic! 🙂
5. Praying – from my mom, Jasmuheen and Doreen Virtue – Relearning this from Jasmuheen at the Global Congress of Spiritual Scientists was an eye-opener for me. Many times, it gets very confusing how to manifest that what you want, and sometimes frustration creeps in. When Jasmuheen in her Eightfold path to progress on the spiritual path without straying mentioned Praying, I was stunned because even though my mother had always taught us this, I had “forgotten”! As I was reading Doreen’s books, I again stumbled on this quote: “Praying is talking to God while Meditation is listening to God”. I also remembered my favorite saying from a long time ago, “More things are wrought by prayers than anything else”. After learning so many techniques of applying Law Of Attraction et al, I think the simplest is just ask! Recently I saw Doreen’s Hay House interview where she explains there are 2 types of prayers – Supplication Prayers where you beg and plead to God and Affirmative Prayers, where you thank God for what you want as if you already have it (very much the same as the Gratitude technique). I personally love simply getting down on my knees, like I was offering namaz and pray.
As Louise says, “God wants you to have it”.
6. Chanting – from mom and yet again, Nithya Shanti – Having spent hours in my childhood in Krishna’s temples chanting and singing bhajans I lost touch with this tradition as I grew up. Then when I attended the first HADAYOLI, it was “weird” for me to sit there and chant Nithya’s “All I need is within me now”. I found myself rebelling strongly against it which I later understood was my lack of faith in this ritual thanks to having to follow it ‘blindly’ in childhood. I learnt in the workshop then that chanting “fires” parts of your mind which helps improve concentration. Well my personal experience was that I started feeling very calm when I chanted and swayed to one tune continuously for a long, long time. Today, it doesn’t matter whether I chant the ancient syllable “Om” or Switchwords, the same sense of being “here” envelops me when I chant in my workshops. It fills me with a feeling of devotion….very indescribable.
7. Listening to inspiring music – from Jasmuheen – When Jasmuheen mentioned this at her workshop in Global Congress of Spiritual Scientists, I was startled. My mind went back to the endless hours I often spend searching for music that moves me. Coming from a musical lineage and having spent endless hours since childhood experimenting in Indian Classical music and rehearsing in school for choirs, music often feels like it is encoded in my DNA. So inadvertently after she had mentioned this at her workshop, I started consciously using music to lift up my spirits in various ways – listening to ancient classical Meera Bhajans to connect to Krishna Consciousness, listening to “Miracle” by Cèline Dion to connect with my Inner Child, listening to sounds of Reiki music by Deuter to meditate are some of the many ways to listen to music that can put you in a state of bliss in just a few minutes.
8. Writing letters to your Inner Child or spending time exclusively with your Inner Child in some way or spending time singing “I Love You” to it – from Dr.Newton’s Inner Child Work Workshop/Training – Inner Child work is truly the therapy which helped me experience “death” and triggered the “dark night of the soul” in my life in a spiritually intense way that I can write a book about! Writing to my Inner Child regularly has helped me release a lot of self-destructive patterns of thinking and boost self-esteem. Sometimes I consciously step into being the Inner Child which puts me in a state of wonderment where the whole world transforms from being “real” to being an experiment of Grandeur. Additionally, all relationship difficulties are related to your Inner Child – so talking to my Inner Child every now and then has helped me “ease” into situations for which I used to have defense systems. Facing fear becomes easy when you mentally imagine your 2-year old Self’s hand in your Loving Parent Self’s hand.
Personally, dancing, jumping for no reason at all, eating icecream, taking a bath (in warm water) and traveling are just some of the many ways where I spend time with my Inner Child, exclusively telling it that I am here, now and give you my full-blast loving attention. Try it! It just boosts your happiness levels like anything! 🙂
9. Keeping Thoughts, Words and Actions in alignment – from Dr.Newton – While this gets easier with practice, nonetheless, it is worth aligning your thoughts and words. I remember it becomes tough from time to time giving me a clear sign of the areas that my ego identifies “me” with. It does take (spiritual) practice to detach yourself to the point where you either don’t need to lie anymore, or understand that relative truths don’t matter. As Dr.Newton once told us, “It doesn’t matter what is being spoken. It matters who is speaking”. It takes great wisdom to understand this statement – not mental knowledge, but a great deal of contemplation.
10. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz – I heard about these agreements at the first HADAYOLI. And well, cannot say anything more than practice, practice, practice until you transition from effortfulness to effortlessness.
11. EFT(Emotional Freedom Technique) – from Swapnamayee and Nithya Shanti – When I went one day feeling tortured to my Master-cum-Friend Swapnamayee’s house, she taught me this technique. Within minutes I was feeling more at peace with my reality. I could accept my state of mind and my state of affairs. I kept doing it everytime the same situation came up and instead of weeping, I was tapping! Soon I started doing it quite obsessively and within days though the situation did not change, my mental tolerance to it improved a great deal. Soon I started “doing it” to the other person who participated in that situation by visualising that I was tapping the points on that person(known as Virtual EFT). The miracle was that I was moved to another location and the situation never came back! 🙂 Later I re-learnt this from Nithya and would do it in office regularly.
12. Writing down the day’s thoughts in a journal – Writing is therapeutic. It is almost, if not equally, as good as meditation. Writing down thoughts for so many people results in thoughts disappearing, and for some, like me, in thoughts getting “emptied”. Writing down your predominant thoughts during that have transpired during the day has always helped me focus my awareness on during meditation. Moreover, it helps to “untangle” emotions from your thoughts. After that deweeding the mind becomes a much simpler process by applying “The Work” to thoughts which don’t serve you for the best.
13. The Work – by Byron Katie – from Dr.Newton – Going through the “dark night of the soul” days and coming out stronger was possible mainly because of doing “The Work“. While I was simply walking through a bookstore looking for “guidance” to help me get through, I was magnetized by Byron Katie’s book, “Question Your Thinking, Change Your World“. While sitting in Crossword, I singled out my most dire thoughts and started applying the 4 Questions to each of them:
- Is it true?
- Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
- How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
- Who would you be without the thought?
Then doing the Turnaround of that thought in various permutations and finding atleast 3 genuine and specific examples of each of these permutated statements.
Thought: “I feel cheated by my husband”.
Step 1: Ask yourself the 4 questions. Psst: Observe your feelings when you are visualizing yourself while answering the last Question.
Step 2: Turn around that thought – various ways could be –
“My husband feels cheated by me”
“I feel cheated by me”
“My husband feels cheated by his own self”
“My family feels cheated by me”
“I feel cheated by my family”
Step 3: Find as many situations that have occurred embodying each of the above turnaround-thoughts. This definitely puts you in a state of Awareness and next time the original thought occurs, you know better.
Please read her book for better clarity and application.
14. Visualization – by Swapnamayee and Dr.Newton – Books are written about this and I’m sure more books can be written about it, for it makes use of a power given exclusively to human beings on Earth – the power of imagination. Visualization, or gazing at yourself from an observer’s perspective, can break through the “toughest” of your beliefs. My favorite way is to open doors – if I have to break through my limitations, I often visualise myself opening a door and allowing the light from the other side or sometimes another more powerful version of me(with respect to that situation) to come in and step into me. Visualising myself between solid, stone walls representing that limitation and then as I “touch” it, watching the walls fall or disappear or turn into another object that I can easily clear or move out has often helped me to step into an energy zone of the creator from that of a victim. Many times I actively engage my mind in visualization which I hold in my mind for several minutes an image of myself in that state of having what I want, building my surroundings, putting in color in the various objects of that situation, very Inception(the movie)-like! Nithya himself conducts a very good Five Minute Visualization Exercise.
It has always helped me to keep reminding myself the quote I read in Deepak Chopra’s “Power, Freedom and Grace” which says,
“Do not confuse the instrument with the user of the instrument. The mind is the instrument and you are the user”.
More techniques to find themselves here soon.