In the last couple of posts I have talked about a more inclusive definition of ahara so as to include the audio and visual inputs that we human beings are receiving. I may have painted a rather bleak picture of the outcomes of technological advancements on the human psyche. The phenomenon of neuroplasticity means however that new and productive samskaras can also be created. In this post I will try and talk about what I have tried to implement to actively counteract the impact of this external stimulus. I have left out the part on the influence of my Guruji on all this because that is something beyond the comprehension of my limited mind. More than anything however the grace of a realized master helps on this path.
Yogis are very practical people and they will recommend only what works. So all the unnecessary elements of yoga are generally removed over time through a process of trial and experimentation by some of the most advanced and dedicated Yogis. It also stands to reason that remedies have already been designed for all the possible pitfalls on this path. There is nothing new in what I am mentioning here. Although I may be able to add some flavour from my experience and the context of the 21st century.
It has been established by psychologists that creating new good habits is much easier than trying to repress old bad habits. Hence instead of trying to stop watching tv, starting something else may be better idea. Over time the mind starts enjoying the new activity and the habit of lazily surfing channels drops off. Meditation will help in enhancing the effectiveness and speed of this process.
While reading scriptures is not really necessary on my path, it did definitely help in orienting and aligning me with my quest for seeking the true nature of self. On days that I have a good meditation session, a verse from the upanishads, the bhagvad gita or the srimad bhagvatam can really move me very deeply. Pilgrimages to temples and religious shrines apart from the energy benefits of the kshetram create a new samskara of visiting religious places. Singing bhajans and doing kirtan is another practice which creates bhava which helps in melting the ego. I remember singing along with Pandit Jasraj on ‘Bharat Bhai Kapise Urin Hum Nahi‘ and the indescribable joy I felt.
An active attempt at becoming a producer rather than consumer of media can also help. For instance painting, music, writing are activities that help in flowering of one’s creative energies. Instead of sitting and consuming media, one becomes involved in the creative process which is far more rewarding. On this path of Kriya, there is a lot of excess energy that is generated and available for a sadhak for use. As the phrase from the movie Spiderman goes ‘With great power comes great responsibility’. Instead of frittering away the shakti generated through sadhana in useless pursuits, it should be used by us for activities which help us in coming closer to our true self and realizing God.