“The Spiritual controls the physical”. Ever heard that or wondered what it means? You might have.
The world today tries to hold on to something… A glimpse of hope, a belief, a ray of light, the supreme, the infinite, a communion, a connection, a relationship, peace…
Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, even atheists trying to gain victory over themselves and connecting with a force.
This is what Spirituality simply is!
Spirituality gives you the inner strength that you didn’t know you had to manage difficult situations and to keep pushing forward. Being established in the Self, your inner peace spreads outward to the people around you and your environment and makes you a more responsible human being full of caring, sharing and love.
Spirituality changes the perception you have of people and vice versa.
Spirituality is seeking a deep connection with a force greater than us. Or as David O. Mckay puts it, the consciousness of victory over self and communion with the infinite.
For me, spirituality is all about living a happier life ‘in the moment’, responding to situations rather than reacting, de-programming and connecting with my Self to come with a fresh response to situations that repeat. Yoga and meditation give me just that!”Sylaja Kannan
This is the story for some of us when we decide to do Yoga. Spirituality is a way of life, and meditating helps one go through that way of life.
The very life and existence of Spirituality is largely dependent on Meditation, and one very important key to Meditation is Yoga. Therefore, the synergy between the three is largely irrefutable.
In a world that is prevailed by depression, sufferings, diseases, stress and other physical and mental distress, one needs an anchor. And Yoga, Meditation and Spirituality have been proven to be just the right anchor for many.
What is Yoga? According to Indian philosophy, yoga is the union of body, mind, and energy to enhance the physical, mental and spiritual well being of a person. It aims at removing obstacles and suffering from the normal way of living. It is the practice of physical exercise, breath control, relaxation, diet control, and positive thinking.
Yoga cleanses your body and mind of accumulated stress and negative impressions. This shows that it goes beyond just physical exercises, but it is also a mental exercise.
Unlike Yoga, Meditation is like a spiritual practice that causes you to be aware of and focus on the energies within your body. It causes you to transcend beyond the physical. It is a skill that requires you to master and learn regularly. It is more of a spiritual exercise and not just exercising your body muscles.
Meditation involves no exercises or bodily movements. As a person, you have to just sit in one place and focus your energies towards a particular object, sound, breath, etc. The relation between yoga and meditation lies in the fact that meditation is an integral part of yoga.
This is why Yoga instructors advise their students to perform meditation after their daily yoga routine. The main reason being that after practising yoga your body is filled with vibrations that need to be stabilized. The perfect solution to achieve this stable condition for both the mind and the body is meditation.
The notable difference between yoga and meditation is that Yoga is a physical exercise that can affect the mental body, while Meditation is a mental exercise that can affect the Spiritual.
So when you think of Yoga, Meditation and Spirituality, think about the physical exercise which can affect the mental state, leading to a deeper connection with a higher force.
Spiritual Meditation is a mental practice of trying to connect with a stronger force, a higher realm, an infinite being. It is said to be the language of our Spirit, the tongue of our Soul or like James Allen puts it, “the secret of growth in spiritual life and knowledge”.
One of the highest forms of meditation is thinking of nothing; your mind goes blank and listens to your inner self, gradually connecting to a force beyond you.
Yoga is very deeply connected with Spirituality and Meditation. Although, most people engage in it for the mental, physical and health benefits without truly understanding its essence. Yoga is the centuries old physio-mental spiritual exercise that seeks to create a union between the mind, soul and body.
It involves breathing, meditation, physical movements and relaxation. One thing we can boldly tell you is that when you practice yoga and meditation together, it strengthens the connection between your mind and your body, which in turn improves the overall fitness and wellbeing of the body.
For thousands of years, man has always tried to win over himself and connect to a force higher than him. This indeed is what Spirituality, Meditation and Yoga promote.
Why then does man yearn for the unknown, reach out to the unseen, search for a being greater than him; why these?
Simply put, Spirituality, Meditation and Yoga are very importantly linked to diverse aspects of human life.
I find the practice of Yoga very spiritual, and taking the time to just be and to reflect through meditation and chanting helps me to connect to a higher energyMiranda Kerr
Now, let’s talk about what connects these three concepts together and their benefits.
Firstly, Spirituality, Meditation and Yoga calms the mind and gives hope. People are faced with struggles, such as poverty, death, sickness, war, hunger, depression. But finding courage and meaning to life may come from a place of calm and belief, that there is a force that watches over us, cares for us and will make everything better in time.
It gives the strength to overcome challenges and pull through difficult times. Hope is an effective Spiritual practice, a beam of light, an expression of peace, the companion of patience and persistence. Hope is not the absence of challenges, rather it is maintaining positivity in times of negativity. As the saying goes, “Hope for the best, expect the worse”.
Also, Meditation and Yoga can induce feelings of calm and clear-headedness as well as improve concentration and attention. Mindful Meditation has been proven helpful for people with depression and anxiety, cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, and cardiovascular disease.
Yoga exercises are often practised to prepare both mind and body for meditation and concentration. The systematic practice of yoga has been found to reduce inflammation and stress, decrease depression and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and increase feelings of wellbeing.
This shows that for you to be spiritually sound, you have to be physically sound too. And that is what happens when you tune in to this connection.
In addition, beautiful relationships can be fostered in Spirituality. Like it or leave it, we all need people because no man is an island.
Spirituality contributes to that sense of oneness, togetherness, the ability to appreciate the uniqueness of others. According to Patanjali, “Undisturbed calmness is attained by cultivating friendliness towards the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous and indifference towards the wicked”.
That is why most Spiritual entities support, encourage and rely on communal practices – meditation groups, study groups, fellowships, ceremonies and many others to thrive. Here, you are taught to appreciate and value the relationships you have because of how important they are to your spiritual health.
Furthermore, It has been proven that strong relationships can be a bedrock of moral support, provide a feeling of belonging, a sense of well-being, as well as a footstool of encouragement.
Remember that a stick of broom can easily be broken, while sticks of broom bound together cannot easily be broken. The same goes for communal relationships in Spirituality.
Meditation arouses a true awakening of our inner self. It allows us to realize our unseen potential, act on it, thereby gaining a certain level of Spiritual fulfilment while making a positive impact in the world. Also, Spirituality promotes positive choices.
Each form of Spirituality is guided by its code of conduct, doctrines and rules. But notably, most of them agree on a moral code of what is right and wrong.
Kindness, Joy, Happiness, Faith are some of the values which are promoted. While theft, violence, insensitivity, killing, jealousy are some of the vices which are shunned.
Although, at the end of it all, we are the ones who make our choice. Ultimately, what most forms of Spirituality does is to show us the way.
Finally, according to Prabhu, the goal of meditation is to go beyond the intellect. And we do this by controlling our thoughts.
Normally our mind is restless thinking of many things. Through yoga and meditation, we train the mind to think fewer thoughts. This is done by focusing on a particular series of thoughts or just one thought.
In time, our mind rises to a higher level, and we see different worlds. Our consciousness goes beyond our body, and we can see and hear things happening in far off regions. We can read other people’s thoughts. We can feel the whole world in our body and all the thoughts in our minds.
After passing through different higher levels we lose all differentiation and become one with the soul, which is nothing but pure consciousness.
Meditation and Yoga break our limitations and increases our consciousness. Going towards the spirit, which is pure consciousness is spirituality. The goal is to become the spirit. Meditation and Yoga is a couple of methods to achieve Spirituality.
Please feel free to share some of your personal experiences and thoughts in the comments section below!
Melissa Mercedes – https://poweryoga.com/blog/benefits-and-differences-yoga-meditation/
Chad Cooper @ Medium – The importance of spirituality versus religion for living a Legendary Life