Due to stress, many of us have endless conversations that go on in our heads and keep up us at night:
"Should I do this or that?"
"I wish I had not said that"
"How do I deal with this difficult person?"
"If only... "
And on and on and on...
Excessive internal dialogue can drive us crazy and become our own worst enemy.
I am sure you have heard many times that even if we don't have control over where we are born, who our family is, and many outside circumstances, we still have power over our thoughts and how we play the deck of cards we have been dealt. Easier said than done!
We all want to be kind, loving, diplomatic and harmonious, but when faced with stressful situations, anger or frustration can flare up inside and the internal dialogue goes into full gear.
Your Self: Friend or Foe?
Two of my favorite verses in the Bhagavad-Gita are:
Let a man raise his self by his Self, let him not debase his Self; he alone, indeed, is his own friend, he alone his own enemy. (6:5)
He who has conquered his self by his Self alone is himself his own friend; but the self of him who has not conquered his self will behave with enmity like a foe. (6:6)
There are different levels of our self -- the active, surface thinking level of our mind, the deeper level of our feelings, and then the most peaceful level of our being. We can experience this most silent level of our being by transcending through meditation.
The Self Reveals Itself By Itself to Itself
Research on Transcendental Meditation shows that when the mind settles down and experiences its own quietest level, the body also gets a very deep state of rest, because the mind and body are interconnected. This deep rest allows stress to be released from the physiology. Your own stress is the unseen enemy that creates disease and also prevents you from being who you really are. When knots or tensions in the physiology start to dissolve, the silent peaceful nature at the basis of our self is revealed in daily life and overshadowing internal dialogues begin to recede more and more. In activity, we become clearer and more precise in our thinking, and are able to achieve what we want more easily. Life takes on a more effortless flow and as a result we feel happier.
How Do We Become Our Own Best Friend?
By transcending regularly, we spontaneously conquer our self and become our own best friend. Conquer here means gaining mastery of your own thoughts and actions -- not being caught up and disturbed by agitating or useless thoughts.
This is how we raise our self by our self. Once we've learned the technique of turning our attention within to the field of pure Being, nothing else from the outside world is needed. Inside is everything we need to capture the peaceful qualities latent within the silence of our being. The silent level of our self supports all our activities, regenerates us, gives us energy, nourishes us, soothes us. It is also a field of unconditional love. What could be a better friend?
The World Is As We Are
It is important to understand that meditation does not unfold the self but rather serves as a tool to remove the stress covering our essential nature -- in the same way that the wind does nothing to the sun, it only clears away the clouds and allows the sun to shine forth in its own light. When the inner light of our being begins to shine forth, the world around us also begins to glow.
Arianna Huffington is an advocate of the importance of a good night's rest and has sleep/meditation rooms in her company because as she says, sleep is "a performance enhancement tool." Transcendental Meditation provides even deeper rest than sleep, although a good night's sleep is still necessary. Rest is the basis of good health, effectiveness at work, and even the growth of enlightenment. Enlightenment is the state where we have fully conquered, or realized as a daily reality, the inner light ever present in the transcendental silent level of our self. It is so nice to have a best friend whom you can always rely upon. Look no further than your self.
Here is a great video from a recent event "Women. Meditation. Stress" held October 8, 2013, at the Paley Center in New York City. It features many successful women speaking about how Transcendental Meditation allows them to reduce stress, enjoy mental clarity, and "shred" their to-do lists in an effortless way.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on the Bhagavad-Gita: A New Translation and Commentary, Chapters 1-6 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
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