Mindfulness Meditation and Compassion Teachings of Sri Amit Ray

Mindfulness is being consciously aware of your thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness meditation enhances the functioning of brain and body. At the end of the day, it’s your kindness and generosity for which you’ll be remembered? Acting compassionately usually means putting others’ needs ahead of your own, prompting yourself to act with kindness often requires not only vigilance but a bit of willpower.

Sri Amit Ray is an inspiration for many and a claimant of compassion, love, positive vibration and simplicity. Dr Ray is an author and a great philanthropist. His words give inspiration to millions. His work has huge impact to improve the dignity and the worth of humanity. He is strong advocate of non-violence as the way for peace. He has the courage of his convictions.

He is famous across the world for peace, love, compassion, and positive vibrations. He is promoting peace not only in his country but across the world. By his words and efforts Amit Ray helped to make the world a better and safer place.

The life of Sri Amit Ray is full of lessons that inspire people across the world. Here are top 10 lessons to learn from his teachings. Once you learn the lessons, you can apply them in your life at any age and see the benefits to your happiness and well-being.

1. Mindfulness for Family Friends and Relationships

At the end of the day, what matters most are the people in our lives. Put them first every single day. Before work. Before the computer. Before your hobbies. Treat them like they are everything to you. Because they are. Friendships need time and attention. Nurture them like a prized garden. The payoff is so worth it. Mindfulness about our family and friends increases our compassion towards them and the world.

“Family, friends and relationships are the blessings of the God. They are the best way to access God.” – Amit Ray

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2. Kindness matters

Small expressions of kindness have an enormous positive impact on other people. It doesn’t take much to be kind. Practice it every day, in every situation, until it’s your natural way of being.

“Kindness has no religion. Religions are like narrow tracks but kindness is like an open sky.” – Amit Ray

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3. Passion upgrades life

When you find that thing you love to do with all your heart, every day feels like a gift. If you have a powerful purpose in life, you don’t have to be pushed. Your passion will move you there. The joy it brings spills over into all aspects of your life.

“If you haven’t found your passion, make it a goal to find it. Passion is the source of joy.” — Amit Ray

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4. Never give up be persistent

We should persistently pursue whatever goals we have set for ourselves until we reach our intended destination and achieve our dreams. Let go of the fantasy of being instantly successful, and choose instead to be reliably successful. With consistent and persistent effort.

“Success needs vision to see, passion to transcend, patience to withstand and the character to overcome failures.” – Amit Ray

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5. Ignite the divine sparks in you

Inner strength, often called “resilience,” is the ability to cope with the stressful situations that life throws at us. Building inner strength begins with simple actions or thoughts that your child practices, such as planning for what to do next and learning to accept change. Keep going, keep learning, keep making improvements, one effort at a time.

“Stand up for who you are. Respect your Self and ignite the divine sparks in you. Access your powers. Choose your rights and work together with others to bring blessings into the lives.” – Amit Ray

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6. Listen to our inner voice and find peace

We call it inner voice, inner guide, spiritual guide,a hunch, an impression or conscious mind. It is more about gut feeling than a voice or words. Normally, If you are superficial or too fast it could easily have turned out to be wrong. It needs training and patience. Don’t try to figure it out in the heat of the moment. It needs time. Becoming aware of your inner thoughts and it will free you of its power and improve the accuracy of your inner voice.

“Art of listening inner voice needs training, patience and time.” — Amit Ray

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7. Living in harmony with thoughts, words and actions

Some things which disturbs your harmony come from outside ourselves, and therefore outside of our control. However, while we cannot control these outside influences, we can control how we react to them. It’s true, you can control how you react. It might not be easy, but it can be done.

“Mindfulness helps us to live in harmony with our thoughts, words and actions.” — Amit Ray
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8. Inner strength is more important

Strength is choosing what is right despite the choice being difficult. There is always a subtle voice which stops you from making the wrong decision. But the problem is that in the big noise of thoughts roaming inside the mind, this subtle inner voice at times is not heard and at times people choose to ignore it.

“Every struggle is like mud – there are always some lotus seeds waiting to sprout.” — Amit Ray

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9. Accept and welcome the changes in life

Life is change. We shouldn’t resist it. Remaining stagnant is in opposition to the natural order of life. Flow with change. Embrace it and regard it as an adventure. To make positive change in your life, you often must take risk. You must tolerate some level of uncertainty. Taking thoughtful, calculated risk strengthens your change muscle and helps you grow.

“In every change, in every falling leaf there is some pain, some beauty. And that’s the way new leaves grow.” — Amit Ray

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10. Honor the uniqueness of the people

We want people to think and behave as we do. We want them to accommodate us and live the way we think they should live. We want to change them. But with awareness, we realize we can’t and shouldn’t try to control others. Instead, embrace differences and honor the uniqueness of the people in your life.

“Every life has a unique story. Every path has its unique beauty.” — Amit Ray

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No matter where you are on life’s journey right now, you can claim your inner power and create the life you’ve always wanted. Mindfulness and compassion can give you the power, illumination, love, and wisdom to draw higher forms, thoughts, feelings, and situations into your life.

“Compassion is the signature of Higher Consciousness. Non-violence is the tool to evolve into the Higher Consciousness.” – Amit Ray
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I hope that my learning and explaining of Sri Amit Ray’s teachings about mindfulness and compassion might make it easier for you to figure similar things out for yourself. I’ve found that hearing about others experiences can often spark something in me that suddenly causes it to all make sense. Feel free to share your own experiences with mindfulness and compassion in the comments. I’d love to compare notes with you!

Meditation and Pain Management: Five Yoga Exercises

Our brain circuit is a very complex subject involving a great deal of biological, cognitive and social functioning. Brain produces different chemicals that causes the feelings of pleasure and pain. When certain part of the brain is “turned on” or “turned off” , we fell pleasure or pain.  We feel pleasure when we we enjoy something like eating good food or being in love.  Our brain has its own reward system. When we do certain things, the brain rewards us by making us feel good. Reward is a great way to encourage us to do something repetitively. Similarly, there is a pain circuit in the brain. When certain things happen in our body or mind, the brain punishes us by developing bad feelings, so that we should not repeat that next time. Yoga and meditation helps people consciously control the perception of pain and pleasure.  The new understanding and perceptions relieves pain.  During pain the blood vessels serve as a radiator to cool the brain, overheating can cause neuron death.

Five Yoga Exercises Pain Management:

#1: Observe your normal breathing patterns

Try to observe your normal breathing patterns.  Do not try to control, remove or diminish your negative sensations or the private events of your life.  Try to accept the unpleasant sensations or thoughts while still persisting with your chosen tasks.

#2: Breathing Exercises:

You can breathe into the area around the pain sensation or around the belly. Yoga literature proposed several breathing techniques to overcome pain. The easiest one is;  place one hand on the chest and another on the belly.  Take a slow and deep breath, take as much air as possible. You can press the belly a little bit, with one hand. After holding the breath for a few seconds, exhale slowly.

#3: Present Moment Awareness

Present moment awareness is the most efficient and the most ancient meditation technique for pain management. Yoga literature is flooded with present moment awareness meditation techniques for pain management.  You can just bring your awareness to the activities you are doing.  Khechari mudra is a great way for pain management.  If  the khechari mudra is perfect, one can withdraw the mind from the body.

#4: Yoga Nidra for Pain Management

Yoga nidra is a very ancient meditation technique for pain management. In modern literature there are various forms of muscle relaxation techniques. This technique involves slowly tensing, briefly holding, and then releasing each muscle group in a systematic fashion. It starts  with the muscles in the toes and moving upward. During this exercise, the person should notice the differences between tension and relaxation.

#5: Meditation and Visualization for Pain management

Visualization involves imagining a scene in which you feel at peace, free to let go of all tension and anxiety. You may meditate with eyes open or closed.  Select a simple geometrical shape or symbols, with  some specific color. Think of something which may be symbolically meaningful for you in some way.  For example, you can select some green circles. You can chant any mantra of your choice during visualization meditation.

Meditation and prayers are the great ways to overcome pain. Acceptance is very important in pain management. Mentally, you may say, “It is unpleasant but I can accept it”. Pain is always unpleasant but mediation changes the nature of pain before it is perceived.

Sources:

1. “Meditation: Insights and Inspirations”  By Amit Ray

2. “Handbook of Pain Management: A Clinical Companion to Textbook of Pain”  By Ronald Melzack

Kundalini Yoga: Dangers and Beauty

Kundalini is a spiritual potential energy or life force located at the base of the spine. The means and practices to awaken this spiritual energy are known as Kundalini Yoga. Kundalini yoga awakens the “Saraswati Nadi”, the hidden channel in the spinal column.

There are hundreds of practices. The practices are flexible. It is not a rigid path. As you practice and go forward, you need to adjust and add new flavors to it.  Rigidity is the only problem. If you are too rigid to the steps and practices, you can not progress much. It will be some mechanical exercises. Kundalini yoga is like good cooking, you have to learn it and modify it gradually to get the best out of it.

History of Kundalini Yoga

Kundalini Yoga was first described in the Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad, which is one of the 108 Hindu texts of meditation.  It is a part of Yajurveda. Most probably it was written around 1000 to 1400 years before the Birth of Christ. (BC).  The classical literature of Kashmir Saivism also discusses more about the nature of this kundalini energy. Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gherandha Samhita and Shiva Samhita are three famous books of kundalini yoga.

In the late 1800s John Woodroffe, an Oxford graduate, in his famous book “The Serpent Power: The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic” discussed this occult science of tantra and kundalini energy awakening practices. He translated some twenty original Sanskrit texts under the pseudonym Arthur Avalon and became a major contribution of the time to the appreciation of Hindu philosophy and spirituality.

In 1935 Sri Swami Sivananda wrote a detailed, but esoteric portrayal of some historically classic Kundalini Yoga practices in a treatise called Kundalini Yoga.

Obviously, there are many schools of thoughts about the nature of practices. Different cults, sects and gurus have their own methods. However, packaging may be different but the core teachings of the Kundalini yoga are same.  It is a journey of Divine energy from Muladhara Chakra (lower end of the spinal column) to the Sahasara Chakra at the top of the head.  Kundalini yoga is a science, it is not a static thing, new discovers, new experiences adds new dimensions to it.

Dangers of Kundalini Yoga:

Awakening of the kundalini energy brings joy, pure knowledge and love, but like all powerful scientific experiments, if you do it wrongly it may cause problems.  Hence, you must take necessary precautions before doing Kundalini Yoga. In yoga sutra (1.29), Sage Patanjali said “OM” chanting removes the obstacles of yoga.  This is valid for all yoga techniques, including Kundalini Yoga.

Precautions and safety practices of Kundalini Yoga:

Safety #1:

You are your own judge; do not rely too much on external teachers. They may have their own agendas. You have to apply your intelligence and commonsense in every moment.

Safety #2:

Do the practices one by one. Do not be in harry.  Give sufficient gap between two practices. Learn gradually.

Safety #3:

Learn the basic techniques first. Modify them according to your needs. As my teachers say “Kundalini yoga is not a static concept. You need to re-discover it in every moment. ”

Safety #4:

Forceful kundalini awakening is dangerous. It creates imbalances in the mind. So avoid these forceful techniques. Forcefulness comes from ego. Ego enjoys it. However, you have to go beyond the ego.

Safety #5:

Do the practices with patience and love for the Divine energy.

Beauty of Kundalini Yoga:

Benefit #1:

Brings balance in life.  It provides peace and stability of mind.

Benefit #2:

Releases accumulated emotions such as anger, fear and insecurity.

Benefit #3:

Re-establish our natural bio-rhythm.

Benefit #4:

It develops the feeling of joy and happiness along the spinal column.

Benefit #5

It provides more Strength and Energy.

Conclusion:

Kundalini yoga techniques are developed for greater physical and mental fitness, which prepares one for higher wisdom. It ignites the creative energy of our system. It guides the energy flow in the brain and it is best way for self healing.

Three Easy Pranayama for Relaxation

Pranayama (relax yoga breathing exercises) teaches us the appropriate way to breathe. However, often it is not possible for us to do regular pranayama in a systematic manner. Here, I am trying to give three very simple but effective pranayama techniques, which can be done at any place and almost at any time. It greatly reduces the stress, strain and anxiety. It requires no equipment. Although you can do these exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while doing the exercises.

Relax Breathe Counting:

If you are in stress and strain or in challenging work and wanted get out of that, try this simple technique.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position with the spine straight and head inclined slightly forward. Gently close your eyes and take a few slow-deep breaths. Then let the breath come naturally without trying to pressure it. Ideally it will be quiet and slow, but depth and rhythm may vary.
  2. To begin the exercise, count “one” to yourself as you exhale.
  3. The next time you exhale, count “two,” and so on up to “five.”
  4. Then begin a new cycle, counting “one” on the next exhalation.

Never count more than “five,” and count only when you exhale. After five, gain start from one. Try to do 3 minutes of this form of meditation.

Abdominal Pumping and Relax Breathing:

The steps are as follows:

  1. Sit, or stand in a relaxed position.
  2. Slowly inhale through your nose and count up to three.
  3. As you breathe in, your shoulders will rise. Increase your lung capacity by expanding your abdomen. When you breathe in, practice the expansion of your abdomen as a habit. It is actually the key to good breathing.
  4. When you exhale, push the stale air out by squeezing your stomach down in the pelvic area. This muscular action (abdomen pumping) has the beneficial effect of activating the organs in your stomach, improving their functioning. Repeated abdomen pumping also disperses any excess adrenaline, which may have been triggered by stresses.

Use abdomen pumping for three to five times, whenever you feel under any stress.

4-7-8 Relaxing Breathing:

  1. You may put the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
  2. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a “shuuoooo” sound.
  3. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.
  4. Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  5. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.
  6. This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.

Among these, you may practice ujjayi pranayama for establishing balance in life.

Best 5 yoga exercises to stay young

Staying Young:

Our body’s balancing systems are monitored through a series of chemical messengers called hormones.Hormones regulate the our aging process. Hormones are produced in our glands. Excessive stress, fatigue, pain, depression,nutritional deficiencies damage glands. HGH (human growth hormone) is the main hormone for staying young and long life. It improves breathing capacity and the skin glazes. This HGH hormone is largely generates during deep sleep. HGH repairs the tissues during the sleep.
In the neck area, the thyroid gland generates the thyroid hormones responsible for weight-loss and regulates the body’s metabolic speed.

Four Steps of yoga:

Step 1: Warming up: Do a few joint movements to warm up.
Step 2: Stretching to the limit: Do a not overdo anything, but stretch a little more than your usual ability.
Step 3: Correct Breathing. Do normal breathing in a relaxed manner.
Step 4: Closing: Rest for a few minutes in corpse pose before undertaking normal activities.

Proper yoga exercises regulates the growth hormones. Do stretching exercises before bed to relieve tension. It helps you to relax tension. Five most important yoga exercises are as follows:

Five Yoga exercises:

1. Twisted Chair Pose
Act as if you are sitting in an imaginary chair. Keep your heels in firm contact with the earth. Bend your knees and move your upper body forward at 45 degrees. Do this five times in the morning and six times in the evening, in empty stomach.
2. Upside-Down Relaxation
Lie down on your back and extend your legs up the wall.

Wall Yoga Pose

Wall Yoga Pose

3. Goddess Pose (Hip Opening Pose):
Stand in a position with the feet 2 feet apart.Turn the feet out 60 degree towards the wall. Bend the elbows at shoulder height and turn the palms facing each other and open the chest. Do this exercise in the morning 5 times daily.
4. Half-Moon Pose
Straightening the left leg towards the sky, then right leg one by one.
Do this exercise along with cobra pose in the morning three times.

5. Hanumanasana (Monkey Pose):
This is the king of all yoga poses for staying young and long life.
The yogi pushes one leg forward and one leg backwards until they are in the splits position. Once the yogi has moved the legs into position, there are several variations of arm and upper body position including various systematic kriya yoga
mudra.
If you can not do anything, you must do monkey pose once per day. If you can’t do it once per day do it at least once per month.

Along with yoga poses you may practice some kriya yoga pranayama.

Yoga beyond Stress Strain and Anxiety

Over the last two decades, the researchers studied the brain’s response to yoga in great detail. Yoga is an easy way for relaxation. Ten minutes Mindful meditation with yoga is a good combination for health benefits.
You can do daily kriya yoga pranayama.
The stress hormones cycles among these three glands, namely hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis works in a feedback loop. When you’re faced with a major stress, the cone-shaped hypothalamus at the base of your brain releases CRH (corticotrophin-releasing hormone), which then does a hula dance on your pituitary gland, stimulating it to release another hormone called ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) into your bloodstream.

ACTH signals your adrenal glands to release cortisol and facilitates production and then release of norepinephrine (also known as adrenaline, the fight-or-flight chemical). These four chemicals serve as your body’s SWAT team—they respond to emergencies.

Adrenaline increases your blood pressure and heart rate, while cortisol releases sugar in the form of glucose to fuel your muscles and your mind. Then, to close the loop, cortisol travels back to the hypothalamus to stop thgood production of CRH. Stress over, hormones released, body returns to normal.
Regular yoga exercise revitalize the feedback loop. Walking in the morning is a very good practice.
You can do Pelvic Tilts, Cat – Cow Stretches and Sun Salutation are good example for yoga. You can practice dance yoga, water kriya yoga are helpful.

Mindfulness Meditation in Daily Life

“Mindfulness Mediation” or Vipassana Meditation  is a capacity for heightened present-moment awareness that we all possess to a greater or lesser extent.  “Mindfulness” are particularly effective, because they aim at changing the underlying beliefs and patterns of negative thinking that create the anxiety.  Essentially, you learn how to focus mindfulness on the underlying core emotions and make them the primary object of your meditation.  Generally, it is what is not seen that has most power over you, and mindfulness meditation is directed at exploring the structure of our inner feelings in great detail.

Training this capacity seems to have a quieting effect on brain areas associated with our subjective appraisal of our self. By considering thoughts and feelings as transitory mental events that occur, but are separate from the self, people are able to lessen their hold on their worries and positive mental health outcomes follow. Mindfulness can be as simple as just watching the breathing.
Even the most basic tasks such as washing  the clothes can consume so much emotional energy that it simply becomes easier to give up. So much emotional energy is expended in this endless worrying that we are left feeling completely drained and fatigued, which makes us even less able to cope.
However, what is even more important than the thoughts or beliefs at the core of anxiety conditions are the emotions, the feeling energy that empowers those thoughts and beliefs. This is what we address in Mindfulness Meditation.
When you develop a mindfulness-based relationship with your inner emotions you set up a completely different inner environment that greatly facilitates transformation, resolution and healing of the emotional constructs of anxiety and fear. The simple fact is that reactivity inhibits change, while mindfulness promotes change and healing. You first learn to recognize the impulse to react with fear or panic as it arises, and to respond at a very early stage to the impulse with mindful-attention. This simple action stops the reactivity proliferating into worry and negative thinking, and opens up a brief moment of choice, a space before the reaction takes off. This is the beginning of the de-conditioning process. With practice you can develop and lengthen this space, especially in mindfulness meditation sessions, which become practice grounds for developing new ways of responding to your emotions and the associated external situations.
As you develop this space, what is called the “therapeutic space of mindfulness,” you create an opportunity in which the trapped emotional energy that powers the reactions can unfold, unwind and become much more malleable. This inner freedom allows emotions to change and transform, which eventually leads to their resolution. We all know the importance of “facing our feelings.” Well Mindfulness Meditation provides the method and details of how to do that, and in a way that leads to beneficial change, rather than simply re-experiencing the emotional reactivity. It is a well-established fact that Exposure Therapy, in which you deliberately make controlled contact with your fear or phobia, is an essential part of healing, but the whole point of such therapy is not to simply re-experience the trauma, but to experience it differently. Mindfulness allows you to do this very effectively, and with your mind will rapidly learn new perceptions and new pathways of experiencing that are not based on emotional reactivity but on balanced responsiveness. This in turn naturally leads to more functional and more positive thinking and more useful core beliefs that are empowered by positive emotional energy, rather than the previous negative energy.
How to Do Mindfulness Meditation:
1. The techniques of mindful meditation is not new. You  just find a quiet and cozy place. Sit in a chair or at the floor along with your head, neck and back straight but not stiff.
2. Try and set aside all thoughts of the past and the longer term and stay within the present.
3. Discover your breathing, targeting the feeling of air moving out and in of your body as you breathe. Feel your belly rise and fall, the air enter your nostrils and leave your mouth. Listen in on the way in which each breath changes and is different.
4. Watch every thought come and go, whether or not it’s a worry, fear, anxiety or hope. When thoughts arise to your mind, don’t ignore or suppress them but simply note them, remain calm and use your breathing as an anchor.
5. If you end up getting over excited to your thoughts, observe where your mind went off to, without judging, and easily return for your breathing. Remember to not be hard on yourself if this occurs.

Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation:
Mindfulness gives rise to insights which ripen into wisdom, because the more deeply and clearly we are able to observe the reality of our mind body and world, the more we will understand how and why things are as they are.

Here are 10 benefits to practice mindfulness meditation.

  1. Increases grey-matter density in the hippocampus (an area of the brain known to be important for learning and memory) and in structures associated with self-awareness, compassion and introspection.
  2. Reduces Anxiety Disorders, Including Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  3. Reduces Sleep Problems
  4. Improve focus, concentration, and precision.
  5. Improves Relationship Issues
  6. Enhance the quality of communications and relationships.
  7. Deepen peace of mind and sense of flow
  8. Deepen insight and intuitive wisdom.
  9. Awaken more authenticity, heart, soul, and caring in our lives and work.
  10. Increases strengthen faith and self-confidence.