24 Mar Top 3 self-care tips for the soul
A spiritual teacher was asked, `Is there any proof that there is such a thing as a soul which, you say, reincarnates?’ The teacher’s reply was quick and also very amusing. `Just go to Youtube and see all the films on reincarnation,’ he said. There are a great number of films on the subject on Youtube and it would take a hard-core skeptic to disbelieve all of them.
The modern person finds it difficult to believe in concepts like soul, reincarnation, etc. S/he believes only in that which can be seen, heard, touched, observed, and is of the view that matter is all there is. The debate between materialists and spiritualists has been raging since decades. The materialist says, `Give me proof and I’ll believe you’, the spiritualist says `Believe me and I’ll give you proof.’ The spiritualist believes in `Pahlay maano, phir jaano’ (Believe first and then you will know.)
So are we just bodies? Or bodies with souls? Or, as some say, souls with bodies? Spiritual leaders, our scriptures, holy books of all religions believe in the existence of the soul. The nature of the soul, according to the scriptures, is sadchidananda –truth, consciousness, bliss, and people who fail to nourish their souls find it difficult to be happy.
Three ways to connect with the soul are:
1. Meditation: According to a saying, `When you pray you talk to God, when you meditate God talks to you.’ Meditation helps us plumb the deepest depths of our own selves and leads us to a silence and `the peace that passeth understanding’. People who meditate regularly claim to have had interesting experiences, but even if you leave those aside, there is no doubt that meditation helps one to quieten down, to become more peaceful, to not be swayed easily by unpleasant experiences. Like a muddy glass of water that becomes clear when the mud is allowed to settle, the meditator’s mind gains clarity and s/he is able to connect with his/her real self which is the soul. Words fail to communicate this connection with the self, it has to be experienced. For this, the person has to take the first step towards meditation by meditating instead of debating about it.
2. Giving: Most of us feel happy when we receive something. But the act of giving—money or time– actually makes us happier. According to a study carried out in 2006, the National Institute of Health in America discovered that giving to charities triggered regions of the brain connected with happiness, social engagement, and trust. Scientists are of the view that `giving’ releases endorphins in the brain, producing the feel-good emotion known as the `helper’s high’. According to another study at the University of California, Berkeley, senior citizens who did voluntary work lived longer than the non-volunteers even though their health was as good as those who volunteered.
3. Laughter: That laughter has great health benefits is no secret. Norman Cousins, the author of `Anatomy of an Illness’, was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylosis and the doctors had given up on him. Cousins took charge of the situation, took up a healthier diet and started watching comedy films. His health did a positive turnaround. Cousins calls laughter `inner jogging’, because a good belly-laugh gives a good workout to all the organs of the body. A lot has been written about the positive effects of laughter on the body, but what it does is connect us to our deepest selves; it makes us lighter, joyful, free, and happy, it takes us to a state of ananda, which according to spirituality is our true nature.
Little surprise then that the `laughter club’ which started in a small corner in Mumbai caught the imagination of the world, and now millions all over the world attend `laughter clubs’ and laugh to their hearts’ and souls’ content for no reason at all.
So meditate, give, and laugh, and keep your soul in great shape.