Heartfulness eMagazine|Simple Heartfulness Practices
What is Heartfulness?
It is to live naturally, in tune with the noble qualities of a heart, enlightened and refined through spiritual practice. These qualities include compassion, sincerity, contentment, truthfulness, and forgiveness; attitudes such as generosity and acceptance; and the heart’s fundamental nature, which is love. The Heartfulness approach to life is supported by the four basic practices of Sahaj Marg (meaning ‘natural path’). From the very first day, the practices of Sahaj Marg start revealing these qualities in us.
Our heart is our very conscience. It leads us to the good, the unselfish, and the noble. By referring to the heart over and over again, we grant it a prominent position in our lives. It is there to guide us at every moment.
Often, people associate the heart with emotion and sometimes they wonder if a heartful approach to life can give true clarity. Consider this: the roots of our thoughts and emotions lie in the heart, and likewise, the condition of our heart determines our mental, emotional, and spiritual states. When the heart is clear, so is the mind. When the heart is at peace, the mind is at rest. Therefore, we start with the heart.
Heartfulness, in general, inspires us to live by the heart. More specifically, the Sahaj Marg practices of Heartfulness are unique, including pranahuti or yogic Transmission, helping us to elevate our approach in a very lively, dynamic and joyful way.
What is the role of science in Heartfulness?
Scientists have been studying meditation empirically for the last 60 years, and the impact of meditation on neuroplasticity, brain health and overall well-being has been established. We have sufficient proof that meditation improves stress management, sleep management, decision-making, emotional intelligence and relationship-building. Meditation has been shown to improve individual well-being, and this in turn positively impacts communities and society in general. With the help of Transmission, Heartfulness accelerates this process of transformation by positively altering various brainwave frequencies associated with individual consciousness.
These states of consciousness are experienced every day by all of us, and can also be measured with an encephalogram (EEG), which is a test that detects electrical activity in the brain. Our brain cells communicate via electrical impulses and are active all the time, even when we are asleep. An EEG detects changes in brain activity. Brainwaves keep changing all the time based on how fast we are thinking. The faster the thinking, the more activity in the mind, and the higher the frequency of brainwaves. For example, when children have never-ending questions, the frequency can be very high. Here is a common categorization of the different types of brainwaves:
1. The alert, wakeful states are characterized by brainwaves of higher frequencies:
Gamma waves, 31-120 Hertz, occur with hyper brain activity such as learning and problem solving.
Beta waves, 13-30 Hertz, occur when we are active in conversation and other activities.
Alpha waves, 8-12 Hertz, occur when we are relaxed, contemplative, absorbed in a beautiful piece of music or when we are starting to meditate.
2. The dream state is characterized by Theta waves, 4-7 Hertz, and occurs when we are drowsy and drifting into sleep and dreams, as well as in deep subconscious states of meditation.
3. The deep sleep state is characterized by Delta waves, 0.5-3 Hertz and also in the deepest states of meditation.
In the waking states, consciousness moves outward in search of knowledge, whereas when the brainwave frequencies slow down, it indicates that we are turning inwards and moving into deeper states of consciousness. The consciousness of the dream state is between the waking and deep sleep state. It is related to the inner world, the inner realms of the mind. In the deep sleep state, consciousness gravitates towards its Source, the soul.
In research studies, meditators experience Delta frequencies, normally found during deep sleep, the dream-like Theta frequencies, the relaxed Alpha states, and high-frequency Gamma brainwaves, in patterns not normally associated with wakeful states. In fact, for yogis who meditate regularly, Gamma oscillations are found to be much more common and significantly greater in amplitude than those who do not. So the spectrum of brainwave frequencies expands in both directions as a result of meditation.
TerraBlue XT has been studying the effects of Heartfulness practices on the Autonomic Nervous System of trained practitioners, as well as on newcomers to the practices, for the last few years, using the company’s wearable medical detection device. Here are some of the findings:
“Heartfulness Meditation has a balancing effect on the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). Our studies on experienced practitioners have shown that Heartfulness practices enable them to exert great control over their ANS, leading to a better ability to manage stress and maintain homeostasis, that is, the state of balance, for greater lengths of time.
“The ANS is ‘a component of the peripheral nervous system that regulates involuntary physiologic processes including heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, digestion, and sexual arousal. It contains three anatomically distinct divisions: sympathetic, parasympathetic and enteric.’1
You can read up to 3 premium stories before you subscribe to Magzter GOLD
Log in, if you are already a subscriber
Get unlimited access to thousands of curated premium stories and 5,000+ magazines
READ THE ENTIRE ISSUE
Simple Heartfulness Practices