Besides the physical body, we have a subtle body that we can keep healthy. It is made up of subtle energy channels (nadis), energy centers (chakras), energy fields (the aura) and energy structures that contain thoughts and emotions. Whenever one of these parts is cleared of thoughts and emotions, we can feel the flow of sattvic energy (goodness) running through our being. If we tune in to this energy flow, we can drift into meditation. So to create a nice meditation, simply clear a subtle energy part, and it sends us into a nice state of awareness. The key is to place our attention on that energy shift, and it will take us on a ride like surfing a wave on the ocean. One by one, we clear the energy channels, centers, fields and structures until our whole subtle energy system is flowing with pure light and goodness. This state is a form of Enlightenment.
Since most of us are not aware of all the complexities of the subtle body, it is helpful to find a guide who is aware of it and who has a completely pure subtle body. That guide can direct the healing of our subtle body. At the same time, we can sink into negativity, and the subtle body becomes clogged again. To keep the subtle body clean, we must maintain positive emotions, thoughts, speech and actions. When the subtle body is clean, it naturally heals the subtle bodies of those around us. And if our subtle body is dirty, it can pollute the subtle body of another, depending how strong that other person's subtle body is. The energy of the subtle body can create a positive or negative environment, and it can program the object we touch with positivity or negativity. Therefore, since our subtle body affects the world around us, we have a great responsibility to keep our subtle body clean.
There are many ways to keep the subtle body clean. One can perform yoga asana (yoga postures), chant mantra (divine words), and practice mudra (divine gestures). These spiritual practices keep the subtle body clean and transform thoughts and emotions from negative to positive. We can also keep a gratitude journal. This writing will keep the mind and emotions aligned with a higher vibration. We can also keep a clearing journey in which we clarify the thoughts and emotions that are disturbing our mind. By writing out the negativity, we shine light upon it and release it from our subtle system.
May we continue to walk the path of purity and transform ourselves into instruments for the higher good.
Mantra is an ancient practice in many cultures used to transform one's vibration. By attuning to certain vocal sounds, we awaken healing within our body, mind and soul. Long ago, the sages of Vedic culture created a science of mantra, writing down the Sanskrit language. Every single word in the Sanskrit language is meant to be an invocation of divinity (infinite presence). Why? Because these sages were attuned to divinity and therefore, the words that issued from them were connected to the divine. Sanskrit is still used today, particularly in temples during holy ceremonies.
As it is said in the Bible, "In the beginning, there was the Word, and the Word was God." This suggests that all of creation comes from a vibration known as the "Word." In Christianity, the universal sound is called "Amen." In Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, the word Ameen is also used. In Vedic culture (ancient India), the primordial sound is "Om," pronounced "A-U-M" or AWW-OO-MM. Where does the word come from? Saints and great Yogis go into meditation and hear the universal sound deep within themselves. Of course, the sound may be spelled differently in different traditions, but it is there. Under the guidance of the great saints, we chant the sound of "Om" which brings us closer to the God Principle.
According to Sanskrit definition, the word mantra can be broken down into "man-" meaning thought and "-tra" meaning instrument. Therefore, mantra is an instrument of thought. We use it to focus our mind on something positive (although the mind can certainly focus on a negative thought/mantra). Ideally, the spiritual aspirant receives a mantra from the sage (an enlightened being) and chants it in order to connect with the wisdom and understanding of that sage. This "passing of the torch" is also called an initiation. It is like a flame has been lit inside the aspirant that can now grow by feeding the flame with the specific mantra. One common mantra passed down over the generations is the sound, "So Hum," which means "I am That." "That" is the place from whence all creation comes from." In other words, one chants this mantra to awaken the realization of one's essential nature. Some yogis will chant this single mantra their whole life, meditating upon the energy that arises from it.
There are many more mantras with specific energies built within them. They can heal the senses, specific body parts, and specific aspects of the mind. Whatever you are trying to heal, there is likely a mantra for that issue. One can chant it aloud or silently moving the lips and tongue or in the mind. If one chants it aloud, the vibration changes the physical atmosphere and internal landscape. Internal chanting transforms one's subtle body (mind, emotions). Sometime, we gather together to sing the mantras aloud. This is called kirtan, a method of empowering everyone's mantra practice through group alignment. Indeed, kirtan can make chanting fun and lively - more like a celebration.
It is a worthwhile endeavor to try mantra as the effects are often healing, soothing, and meditative.
Om Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Karma is action created by physical movement, speech and thought. Each of these "actions" is aligned with a particular energy or vibration - negative or positive, dark or light. The more positive actions we manifest, the higher vibration we create in our lives, and the more our future will unfold in a positive way. On the other hand, the more negative actions we create, the more negativity will unfold in our future. Positive actions are any movements, words or thoughts that come from a place of love, joy, and peace. Negative actions are any movements, words or thoughts that stem from anger, sorrow, or guilt. In Eastern philosophy, karma is carried from lifetime to lifetime. So in previous lifetimes, if we created a lot of negativity, that negativity would manifest in this lifetime. And the same for positivity. So indeed, we can say that our being is a composite of ALL our karma from this lifetime and the eons before.
Now as a man is like this or like that,
according as he acts and according as he behaves, so will he be;
a man of good acts will become good, a man of bad acts, bad;
he becomes pure by pure deeds, bad by bad deeds;
And here they say that a person consists of desires,
and as is his desire, so is his will;
and as is his will, so is his deed;
and whatever deed he does, that he will reap.
— Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 7th Century BCE
How can we improve our lives through this philosophy? Clearly we must consider how to transform all of our negative karma into positive karma, including our physical action, vocal action, and mental action. Then our entire life becomes an expression of goodness, also known in ancient Vedic tradition as "sattva." "Sattva" is the expression of pure love, peace, joy, and purity. Every deed, word, and thought stems from perfect goodness. In a "sattvic state," the human enters a realm of deep meditation in which the whole world is experienced to be perfect as it is; i.e. total acceptance.
Perhaps the most difficult karma to transform is thought or intention. What motivations do we act from? Even when we say good things or do good things, we often come from a place of selfish motivation. For instance, we might help someone out of guilt or we might represent a good cause out of anger. In other words, the action may be good, but the motivation is impure. Is it possible to act purely for the sake of goodness? Love for love's sake without any conditions? Spiritual practices such as mantra, mudra, and asana can be very helpful in purifying the mind's hidden agenda. When the mind is healed, we become more sattvic, and our negative karma becomes positive karma. Happiness dawns in the mind. We no longer feel the need to change the world because our inner world is radiant.