We live in a busy world.
There goes my phone trying to get my attention, again.
What this time? … A work email or calendar reminder? Notification that an old school friend has updated her profile pic? Or maybe it’s a Mom Blog telling me that there are 108 Creative Activities I Must Do With My Kids This Summer?
Wow, this information age can be exhausting.
The good news is that our Western society is gradually wising up. There is growing acknowledgment that our wellness isn’t improved by having more devices or greater connection speeds. On the contrary, the rise of mindfulness and yoga suggest more of us want to slow down and reconnect, in a more authentic way, with ourselves and each other.
Ancient Eastern Wisdom Traditions: Relevant Today
In the early seventies, my husband’s parents met an Indian guru. His blissful energy and transcendental charisma inspired them to transform their lives. They became “Krishna Monks” along with other alumni such as the Beatle, George Harrison.
Their guru, Srila Prabhupada, taught timeless spiritual wisdom from the Bhagavad Gita (the most cherished of India’s spiritual masterpieces.) Its timeless wisdom provides an antidote to our hectic and busy modern lives.
5 Ways Of Thinking That Will Increase Calm & Compassion
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1. We Are Not This Body
The Bhagavad Gita beautifully describes how we are not the body. We are sparks of pure consciousness, temporarily inhabiting it during our journey of self-discovery.
This paradigm shifts our sense of self and personal identity away from our physical body toward our inner being.
Being tall or short doesn’t define us. Neither do our looks nor the speed at which we run. Gender and ethnicity become no more part of us than the car we drive. Beneath the temporary, material body, we are all the same.
I have found this a wonderful idea to discuss with my children. It nurtures a healthy detachment from the external and directs our focus to what lies within. It promotes respect for others and equality.
2. We Are Eternal, Blissful & Full Of Knowledge
The Gita says we are spiritual beings having a human experience. This experience can often be confusing and uncomfortable. Deep down, however, we are sat, cit, ananda which means eternal, blissful and full of knowledge.
I enjoy sharing this with my kids. We reflect on the things that help them to connect with joy and clarity? For example, how do they feel when they are caring and compassionate towards others?
3. Non-Violence & Kindness Toward Everyone
Ahimsa is the principle of nonviolence toward all living things. We may inhabit bodies of a different race, gender or species, yet underneath we are all the same. It’s a way of living that rejects meanness and embraces kindness.
My 4-year-old daughter now gently removes snails from our garden path so no-one steps on them. I trust that this care and sensitivity will grow and extend to all the people in her life.
4. We Are Part Of A Greater Whole
The Bhagavad Gita says that we are tiny sparks of consciousness emanating from a Supreme Consciousness. One name for the Supreme Consciousness is Krishna. It means all attractive.
Sparks that leap from a fire share its qualities, such as heat and light. In the same way, we share godly qualities with Krishna, and because we all come from the same spiritual source, we are all connected.
Whether or not you believe in a god, I think it’s healthy to reflect on whether there is something greater than ourselves – something beyond the material, individualistic world we are influenced by today.
5. Chant & Be Happy
George Harrison once wrote: “All you need is love – Krishna.”
The Gita teaches us that our life’s goal is to connect with love: for ourselves, each other and Krishna.
The easiest and sweetest way to achieve this is through mantra meditation. This involves chanting or singing simple songs which express divine love and gratitude.
George produced a track of mantra chanting with a group of young Krishna devotees in 1969. It was released on the Beatles Apple Records and reached 12 in the charts. You can listen to it here.
This particular mantra is known as the Maha Mantra. I enjoy singing and chanting this with my kids. It’s joyful and according to the ancient wisdom of the Gita, it opens our hearts, expanding our capacity for love and devotion.
Ancient Eastern wisdom traditions provide wonderful lessons for slowing down and transcending the manic pressures of our modern lives. They require a gentle shift in thinking, but it’s well worth it for the added calm and compassion they bring.
Neve and hubby, Keane, both blog at WeTheParents. She empowers mums and forms strong opinions about menstrual cups. He does dad humour and gets geeky reviewing things like three wheel scooters for kids.