Our breath is our life force. When it is burnt down, overwrought, or weak, that feeling extends to both our bodies and our minds. We recently spoke with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar about the movement of our breath, or Prana, and how the meditation techniques learned in our Silent Retreats can help rejuvenate you, body and soul.
A Strong, Healthy Prana
Sit and watch the breath; there are so many things to notice about it. What we do on the Silent Retreat is already very useful, very helpful—the Hollow and Empty Meditations are all about polishing and observing the breath.
The breath has been burnt down due to excessive usage of our external body; too much food, sex, sleep (or lack thereof), too much watching, too much of anything burns down the Prana. And when the Prana is burnt, you can’t find yourself; it’s as though there is a crowd inside, and you feel you don’t exist there.
The purpose of all of these different meditations that you are doing is to help your Prana become healthier, stronger, and more tangible. When you do a little bit of meditation, you can find your prana flowing in one line. Otherwise it is all broken, and you can’t find it at all.
Sometimes, time can also do this. At specific times, celestially, suddenly you feel a cloud of negative energy getting into you. You feel a sense of heaviness, dullness, and the brain doesn’t seem to function. That heaviness, restriction, contraction, and feelings of getting solidified and constrained are associated with such energy. Sometimes, one would feel like getting it out, but you don’t know how to do it!
A Connection to the Master
A few minutes of chanting, pranayama, and especially the Sudarshan Kriya can help you get it out. Sudarshan Kriya can quickly put you back on track. Ujjayi breathing, meditation, and chanting also helps. And your connection to the Master helps; whomsoever you think of, that’s what your brain immediately catches on. You can think of a very negative person, and immediately your whole psychology and brain cells start behaving like them. Hasn’t this happened to you?
This is why enlightened masters are called pratah smarami in Sanskrit, which means they have to be remembered in the morning as soon as you wake up, so that your whole day, your whole system is tuned to them. Good or wise people are called pratah smarami, worth remembering in the morning. The reason one remembers them first thing in the morning is because the whole day goes with what you start with.