By Sri Chinmoy Centre students
“When the heart center is open you will feel boundless joy, boundless love, and boundless purity.”
– Sri Chinmoy, Kundalini: the Mother-Power, Aum Press, 1973
Through yoga we learn to calm, relax and strengthen our bodies and acquire a deeper understanding of the relationship between the body and the mind. We learn how the energies of body and mind influence our inner life and ultimately our happiness. For yogis it is very important not to overlook the central role concentration plays in this relationship and our quest for happiness. Excellent concentration will enable us to better manage bodily energies and emotions and the mind’s thought processes. No single skill is as vital to human happiness as the ability to concentrate. Concentration turned inward leads to self-knowledge and increased empowerment. This is foundation for human happiness.
Once we’ve developed our ability to concentrate and have acquired a degree of self-knowledge, we must decide what to concentrate on. There is a famous saying from the ‘60s that perhaps you’ve heard – “You are what you eat.” True enough, but it is even truer that we are what we concentrate upon. We become exactly what we give our thoughts and our life energies to. Concentration is more than ‘thought.’ If we want to accomplish our life goals, we will have to do more than just think about them. We’ll have to work hard for the happiness we want, that means concentrating not only our thoughts, but our emotions and life energy as well. To achieve significant goals – and happiness is the most significant goal – out concentration must be a focus of all our life energies, mental, physical and psychic. This is yogic concentration and it, or the lack of it, will directly affect what happens in your life.
Meditation and the Spiritual Heart
One may seek after any number of goals in life: name, fame, money and so forth, but the acquisition of these things in themselves will not make you happy. Happiness comes from within. Outwardly, you may seek whatever goals you wish, but inwardly I suggest you make the spiritual heart the focus of a life-long concentration. Meditate upon the heart chakra. If you are new to yoga or meditation, you may not realize that there are seven chakras, or focal points of conscious energy in the body. When we meditate, we turn our concentration within and focus on one of the chakras. This ‘turning within’ develops our ability to concentrate and brings self-knowledge. The heart chakra is the chakra most closely associated with human happiness.
The importance of establishing our consciousness in the heart can be seen in the instability of the mind and the volatility of our lower emotions. The mind is unpredictable. It can act for good on minute and for evil the next. It vacillates between reason and unreason. Human beings can achieve great things but to do so is rare, because the mind typically cannot hold its focus. Day and night, it roams about like a distracted monkey. There is no stable ground, no root for our being, in the mind. The lower chakras also tend to be volatile. They often harbor much negative and disruptive energy; so if you wish to be happy, make the spiritual heart the seat of your consciousness. Just meditate regularly and offer your heart’s light to others. If you live from your heart, you will find it easier to make friends, work with others and to accept and love the world and yourself despite all flaws. You will be genuinely happy and your happiness will not be sabotaged by a restless mind or a dissatisfied vital.
“Now you are crying for joy but a day will come when this heart center is open and you will get spontaneous joy from everything. You will look at a flower and get joy. You will look at a child and get joy. You will look at the world and get joy. You will also get peace and the feeling of oneness, universal oneness.” ~ Sri Chinmoy
When you discover that peace and happiness are to be found within yourself, and you are well established within that peace and happiness, the experience of life itself is amplified and it become a real joy just to be alive.