It's been said that meditation raises our vibration. While we are meditating, things are happening on a physiological level that impacts us on numerous levels within our bodies, minds, and souls. We can feel this when we are meditating and feel that deep peace during our practice. As we practice more and more, we can rather quickly start to notice benefits outside of meditation as well. For instance, we find we have more space between a trigger and our reaction, and with that space we can more easily find the grace to not react in a way we will regret. We sleep better. Our digestion can improve. We can remember things more easily. We are more creative.
These benefits outside of meditation can make one wonder: are there choices I can make outside of meditation that can augment my meditation practice? Are there things I can do to better align my life outside of meditation with the great benefit I am doing for myself during meditation?
In fact, there are! Allow me for a moment to nerd out a little on yogic philosophy. The ancient yogic masters identified three gunas, or gradations of elements from elevating to downward-pulling. The highest, most elevating quality is sattwa. The next quality is the most neutral, rajas. The quality associated with a downward pull of energy is called tamas.
The universe is made up of a mixture of these qualities. These qualities are found throughout the universe. Foods, for instance, are sattwic, rajasic, or tamasic. Pungent foods such as horseradish have a tamasic influence; meats and grains have a rajasic, or activating, impact on the body; and fruits have the highest, spiritualizing sattwic effect on the body.
With respect to the gunas, we are aided outside of meditation by keeping our choices sattwic to the degree we are able. This is especially true about the relationships we keep. "Environment is greater than willpower," said my guru, Paramhansa Yogananda. If we are spending a great deal of energy in meditation elevating our consciousness, raising our vibrations, and we spend the rest of our waking hours amongst people who love to complain, gossip, argue, and bring people down, it is really hard to progress in our outward engagements from the growth we are getting from our meditation time. Take a look at who you are spending time with and assess if they are lifting you up or dragging you down, and do what you can to maximize the time spent with those in the former group. Likewise, assess the media you are watching and books you are reading. Spending leisure time being idly absorbed in violent or depressing movies, tv shows, or books is time spent in a tamasic headspace.
Make a point to spend as much of your daily life outside of meditation in sattwic activities to align yourself fully with the consciousness-elevating you are doing during your meditation, and watch the seeds you are planting germinate and bloom ever faster.
Aum, shanti, shanti, shanti.
I am an Ananda® certified meditation teacher. I am passionate about meditation and embrace a yogic lifestyle for greater wellness physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
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