Healing Heart and Soul
by Dr Nirmala Kajaria, BK Director for Asia-Pacific and Australia, and also Director at the Academy for a Better World in Mount Abu Rajasthan India. Didi Nirmala as she is lovingly referred to, is an international speaker on meditation and various topics related to health. She is a frequent visitor to the Philippines.
Om shanti. Greetings of peace. We heard of prevention of chronic diseases through diet and lifestyle. One of the factors that we were told is that we have to change our way of thinking; also to remain relaxed and not allow stress. That’s where I’ll focus on because not only healing the body is important but healing our heart and soul.
Prevention of any diseases can be if we only we have healed the heart and soul. What is sickness of the heart and soul? Sickness of your heart does not mean physical sickness of heart. We have to treat the physical sickness of the heart but that’s treated by physical doctors, cardiologists etc. What we need is mainly to help ourselves. I have to see that I have control over my mind and emotions because this is a conflict society- everybody wants to control everybody else. Everyone wants to be the boss. The problem is, we are not able to control our thoughts and emotions. We can control the temperature of the room, people working under us, and ourselves.
When the heart and soul are sick - in pain, in sorrow and suffering - not only do we suffer, but naturally our loved ones suffer too. Physical sickness is very obvious and we receive sympathy from our friends. When we’re physically sick, friends and relatives will spend money, time and energy but if somebody is sick emotionally, mentally, then it’s a burden for friends and relatives. Sickness of the mind does not mean schizophrenia or paranoia or all sorts of mental sickness. If somebody is short-tempered, that’s not normal isn’t it? Anger is not normal. Nobody wants anger. What we need is peace and love. Nobody loves an egoistic person because all of these negative traits of personality are there, attachment to relatives, friends, possessions, position etc., creates sorrow and suffering for our selves as well as for others because. Loving and caring should be one thing for everybody. But when I suffer because somebody is suffering, I can’t help them. Doctors don’t suffer when patients are sick isn’t it? Caring and helping patient. Same thing in society, if somebody is having a hard time, I can’t help them by taking the sorrow. And that’s what we find when there is attachment- we suffer.
When we have a sensitive nature, we suffer. That I was not loved, I was not respected, wasn’t welcomed, not smiled at me - we find that our sensitive nature creates sorrow and suffering and pain in relationships. All these negative traits are, I would say, sickness of the mind which I think 98% of the population has. Individuals can have that variety percentage.
How to help myself because this is the thing which we would think is not abnormal. If people do not think they are abnormal, would they need any treatment? But it creates a lot of pain in the self and in others. The person who is angry suffers first and those around him also suffer. That’s not what we want. We want love and peace. When we talk of peace, people would think of the absence of war. That’s true but the war is going on in our mind; conflict between our ideas, desires, what we think is right and what we feel like doing; so war is created in our mind which is creating peacelessness.
Stress in our society is bad but not everybody is equally stressed in the same situation. And that’s what I have to learn. I can hope society will change, my circumstances will change, people around will be nice. Because that’s what we hope - for others to change - for the situation to change rather than me changing. That’s where I do not change my attitude and expectation. My attitude and expectation should be 'I have to change'. The world will change later on when we all change. What I have to change is that I have to look into myself. I can’t say 'that’s me, what can I do?' If somebody is short-tempered or worrying a lot or attached to friends and relatives and possessions they will say 'everybody is attached, everybody is angry, everybody gets worried, so I also get worried.' So what is it, because the situations are such? It’s not enough just to blame the circumstances or situations. Now I have to see how I am reacting to that. That’s what I have to start training myself- to think in a right way. I should not allow too many thoughts, waste thoughts, negative thoughts because our mind is very active, we are thinking all the time.
Even at night, when we are dreaming, our conscious thoughts and subconscious thoughts have an effect on our emotions. If I have positive thoughts, I’d be happy. But if I have negative thoughts, I’d be unhappy. We are so much used to think what I don’t have than what I have. It’s a comparative and competitive society. We start looking at how others are living, their cars, how many machines they have, what I have or I have not. That’s how we are living in the present society rather than thinking I’m better off than the people who are living on the streets. We’d say, 'oh no, but my friend has a ten million peso house and my house is only two million, it’s not god enough'. Or they have a new car, I don’t have car so I’m not good enough.
Once we start thinking on a positive level, and change my attitude to positive, then naturally, I’ll be content and happy wherever I am, whatever I’m doing. Whereas, at the moment, our happiness is based on external attainment and pleasure and possessions - if somebody has lots of possessions, he will say 'oh I’m happy, I got everything'. But those possessions are not going to last forever. The new things are going to become old. If my happiness is based on buying a new car or a new house or a new dress, when it becomes old, all my happiness will disappear. And that’s where I now have to now change my way of dependency because I am dependent. If I have a nice environment, I’ll be happy so I’m dependent on environment and friends and entertainment and possessions. In a society where we want to be independent, how much dependency do we have on possessions, friends, relations, and positions? Material possessions are good but they are not everything. Are billionaires happy? Those who have lots of money, they may not have time for their family; not even enough time to eat food. There may have cellphone in their hand, eating food they like, driving a car, they don’t have time to eat silently, peacefully with their family or be in a loving environment.
So we have to change our way of dependence and value our time, our thoughts and our emotions. If you see somebody who is content and smiling, it will help people to smile. Many of the places, towns, countries we find everybody greeting on the street like when I was in New Zealand, I maybe walking on the street and somebody will say “Good Morning”. Whereas in a busy society, nobody has the time to greet other people. Running always with a big face and mind somewhere even whilst walking on the streets. Love is very important and especially when somebody is going through a hard time, they may not be able to do much but if there is sympathy, that helps a lot to other people.
So now, what I need to do is see how far I have control over my thoughts and emotions. If I don’t want to worry about something, can I stop worrying? I know that worrying is not going to help me. Just by sitting and worrying I won't get my job done, it’s not going to help. So, can I stop those unnecessary thoughts? Planning is good but worrying is not good. I have to see my thoughts and create thoughts that I want, when I want. Sometimes we want to be creative and do something - writing a poem or something. We want to do it but people say, I can’t get inspiration which means I don’t have control over my thoughts. I want to create but I can’t create.
So that means I don’t have control over my emotions or we know which diet is good and quite a few must have known whatever was shown now in the slides, that raw foods are good, fatty food are not good. We know that, but out taste buds are so much used to certain types of things that we are not able to control that. A diabetic person, when they see nice, sweet cakes, they say I’ll have it now and take tablets to control my sugar. Or those who are told not to eat fatty foods or something will say, Oh it’s so nice. Or sometimes it is a social status to go out and eat and we are tempted to do all these things because of either our desire or social expectation. So what we need now to do is really see that I have that control over my thoughts, desires, emotions and I do what I feel, not what I feel but what I think is right because logically, we know what is right and wrong. Or sometimes, emotionally, we are not able to control it because I feel like eating. So how to now control my thoughts and emotions?
And how to meditate because it has been mentioned how meditation can help us on our health, how it can help on prevention level as well as cure level because it’s not only helping at prevention level because too much stress will create sickness. The negative thoughts of depression and nervousness, all of these will have an effect on my health. So if I really want to be physically healthy, I have to heal my heart and soul. Doctors can prescribe the drugs or diet. Patients will have to follow it, isn’t it? The doctors can tell us everything, but who has to do it? I have to do if I want to cure myself.
So I would say, to heal my heart and soul, first initiative has to be taken by myself- that I want to heal myself. And second thing is who will be able to heal my heart and soul? Because if I am dependent on somebody else to calm me down or tell me 'please don’t worry, we will help you, come on, go ahead'. I won’t have that someone all the time with me. Someone can't guarantee me - purity or my emotions. What I need to do is 'I have to do it myself' and I will need the guidance, help and support from a surgeon or a doctor. And who is doctor of heart and soul? Medical doctors help physically whereas to heal heart and soul, the doctor is Almighty God. And all of you must have experienced how much prayer can help us. When we are not able to do anything on a physical level, our last resort is God isn’t it?
The first thing we do when we get sick is we go to the doctor for help. If medicine is not available in the Philippines, we say “ok, let's get it from the States or UK but get medicine that will help my friend or relative”. For physical health, we get all variety of medicines. We have allopathy, naturopathy, homeopathy, all alternative medicines. Now we have hundreds of types of that. But for spiritual healing, the healing of heart and soul, there isn't a lot. The Supreme Being or Almighty or God is the real Healer and what we need to do is remember Him. As much as we remember the Almighty, we are able to get that strength. So, meditation is nothing but remembrance of God. We had been praying hard but I don’t’ know how much real love we have for God . Or while praying, sometimes, people do pray or go to Church as a routine. Like going to church every Sunday as a routine. Or sometimes it is done for a need like when there is a lot of problems, we say 'God, please help me'. Human beings basically are selfish. When they are rich, they think about shopping here and there; going to this party and that party but when they are in need and going through a hard time, they say 'Oh God please help me'. Otherwise, they don’t have time to pray to God every day. Once a week is enough.
Physical food we take three times a day even sometimes more snacks and in between tea and something to eat. Whereas for prayers, we devote only one day a week and in that too - how much concentration is there on God? Sometimes, we are in the Church and thinking of our problems; thinking at how other people are dressed; and just waiting - as soon as we get out, meet friends, socialize with them; get the news of what’s going on in society, their family and everywhere. Some people just go there for socializing. Some go to please their friends and relative. Even children, sometimes they go to please their parents because if they don’t go, their parents become unhappy.
When God is remembered with love, naturally, that connection, love connection is deep or that remembrance is focused. Otherwise, the mind wanders here and there - to my problem, family problem, what am I going to do next. So you might be sitting in prayer but thinking 'what am I going to do next'. On the way back home 'what am I going to do?', cooking etc, we might be thinking about that. We now need understand God, the love for God. And if that connection is right, we will definitely receive that strength. But for that, we need to have the right connection. If all this bulbs and lighting were here but connection with the main powerhouse is not, what will happen? You can’t get light. The same thing, unless I have a connection with Almighty, I will not get strength.
So I need to know who God is, where He is, what He does. Whenever we meet, usually the first question we ask is 'what’s your name, what do you do?' We try to understand the person by asking a few questions. Same thing with God. What am I going to get from Him? Once I understand and I have that love, relationship, knowledge etc. it becomes easy.
Two things are very important in our education - knowing myself - my physical identity as I know, that I was born here, my parents are these, my education here, I am now doing this job. We’re quite aware about the physical identity but which is the real identity. The name of this body is so and so. The country where I was born is so and so. I finished my education on this year, I practiced for so many years, all that I know. But who am I? My real identity of being, because we say, “I’m a human being”. Human is the body, and the being within it is a soul. At the back is your own identity, the point of light. Similarly, God is also a point of light - incorporeal, invisible. That is why there is all this confusion. Although we all say God is One, God is light, God is Truth, God is Knowledge, we don’t have the knowledge of God. So when He gives His own identity or introduction it becomes easy. Some of the BKs who have had visions of God, they realize God is a point of light and some of the people who have near death experience, they have experienced themselves as going through dark tunnel as a point of light and visualizing another point of light or star. And they have that experience of tremendous peace and love in that environment.
As we focus our thoughts on that Almighty, Ocean of Peace, Love, Happiness, Mercy, we receive that strength. And that strength helps us be what we want to be. My weakness is 'I can't think what I want to think, I can't stop thinking when I want to, I can’t be loving when I want to be, I can't stop my anger when I don’t want to get angry.' If I realize our weakness rather that say 'you did like this that’s why I got angry' - we blame somebody else for our anger. By not realizing that I lack of tolerance, I get angry. Once I’ve realized this, it becomes easy to receive that strength from the Almighty. I have to spend time to receive that strength. And as it is essential to have food daily - even three times daily - it is essential to pray to God or meditate on God at least three times a day.
For physical needs we spend so much time, isn’t it? Eight hours for our job, how many for chopping, cooking, shopping, cleaning? All this time we spend for our body. And what about spending time for our heart and soul? How much time do we spend? We don’t have time to pray. When I realize the importance of my spiritual endeavor or meditation or prayer, naturally I will spend time and receive that strength. This is what will help me be what I want to be, and not continue to be influenced by my circumstances, situation and other people. My weakness comes when I am influenced by those things. When I receive God's strength, naturally, I can be what I want.
Once I have that strength I can overcome my ego by developing humility, conquer my anger by being calm, peaceful, loving and understanding. When we don’t understand somebody, we get angry. We say they should be doing like this - these are my expectations. My ego as a mother or boss - 'you should be doing like this, and if not I get angry'. Or the lack of humility, and having expectations - 'I’m efficient, you should be efficient. I am good, you have to be like this'. Anger is a lack of tolerance, patience, love and understanding. And discontentment is due to having so much greed that I am not content. I have to conquer my greed to be content and happy. If I have desires, I won't be happy until I fulfill those desires. And once I spend the time to overcome my weakness, naturally I will be internally strong. I will not be influenced by the stress and demands of society, family, job or whatever it is. I have to fulfill my responsibility but I should not be stressed by demands.
So that’s where I have seen meditation helping many in sicknesses on the preventive level, as well as the curative level. Many patients with fractures healed fast when meditating because of positive thinking and not worrying about things. And that has helped them have total control over the mind, over desires and the physical body too.