Neerja Birla and Daaji look into the heart of Mental Well-being through Meditation
New Delhi: Mrs. Neerja Birla, Founder and Chairperson, Mpower along with Daaji, Guide of Heartfulness, today conversed on the topic ‘The Heart of Mental Well-being. Mrs. Birla and Daaji shared their thoughts on mental health and discussed ways in which people can alleviate their mental state to a joyful existence. The discussion was aimed as a deep dive into the world of yoga and meditation and discover how mediation and yoga can help people achieve emotional, spiritual, and mental wellness.
During the discussion, Daaji spoke about the importance of experience. One should experience the power of a meditation practice before believing in it and adopting it as a process. Daaji also explained that prior to starting the meditation process, one should prepare the field of consciousness and getting rid of the conditioning of the mind. Over the years, our mind has been conditioned with past beliefs, experiences, and biases. These prejudices and biases don’t allow us to get into a state of liberation. During the conversation, Daaji and Mrs. Birla meditated for 15 minutes, Daaji demonstrated the Heartfulness way of giving and receiving Pranahuti. The discussion revolved around various aspects of mental well-being such as dealing with grief, trauma, anxiety, and depression.
Speaking about her own journey into mental wellbeing, Mrs. Birla said, “Mental health is stigmatized in our society. It leads to a loss of expression as one cannot talk freely about their mental health concerns. Meditation and helping others heal through my work have in turn helped me as well. It also allowed me to pursue my own spiritual journey of healing. I am happy that over the last five years, there is a growing awareness among people regarding mental health issues”.
While addressing the questions, Daaji, Guide of Heartfulness, said, “The root of mental concerns is how one reacts to situations. Everyone carries a baggage from the past that influences our present. Mental stress is triggered by pain within oneself. Family, friends, can help in such situations. Just like physical illnesses, mental ailments can be treated. When we are physically weak, we exercise to strengthen our body. When the mind cannot handle the stress, we can train our mind to become stronger. We can also train the feelings in our heart. When we train both our minds, and hearts, we can achieve a healthy mental state. A healthy mind is not impulsive and allows the heart to decide.”
Beginning to meditate
Daaji also explained how beginners can start meditating. Half an hour of meditation is ideal for beginners, but each meditation session will let you know when the meditation is over, he said. The duration changes each day depending on the state-of-our-mind. It is best to have a separate time for meditation. While it is certainly possible to meditate while pursuing other things such as cooking, working, carrying out your daily activities; but that ability is achieved at a later stage through constant practice.
Training our minds to not be impulsive
During the conversation, Daaji explained that a post meditative state of mind is balanced and not impulsive. One can maintain this state of mind throughout the day through consistent practice. One should also have an open mind to allow this post-meditative state to be retained and intensified within us. When we meditate, nature gives us the seeds of different conditions such as joyous conditions, sense of contentment, bliss, fearlessness, etc. We must allow these conditions to expand within us. Also, after each meditation, one should savor the condition and absorb it at least for 5 minutes, and not be in a hurry to resume our activities. As a beginner, your mental condition is not so refined to hold that joyful state of mind for longer. With each meditation session, one should aim to hold it, and enhance this peaceful state.
Tips to manage grief
Many have experienced life-changing circumstances including personal, financial, and professional losses during the pandemic. Mrs. Birla asked Daaji to share his thoughts on how can one manage their grief better and what should we do when we come across people experiencing grief. Daaji said that it is important to know that everyone experiences grief at some point in their lives. Time is the greatest healer. If we come across someone experiencing grief, our first action should be towards helping them in whatever way we can. Prayer alone is not enough; prayer should be our last resort. It is extremely difficult to console someone who has experienced the loss of their loved ones. In Heartfulness, we have a tradition. Whenever we experience a loss in our families, we call all our brothers and sisters of the Heartfulness family and have a Satsang for the next 13 days. We pray and collectively meditate with the person who is grieving and there is a state of peace all around us. Grieving happens simultaneously, but the collective positive energy created by all of us meditating allows the person to heal emotionally and mentally, he added.
Ever since the pandemic struck, Neerja Birla’s Mpower, which is India’s pioneer in mental healthcare has intensified its efforts to alleviate the stigma around mental health, through various initiatives such as Mpower 1on1 toll-free mental health helpline (24×7), Mpower eClinic for tier two towns, ‘Minds Matter’ – mental health literacy curriculum for schools, and Mental Health Counselling and structured therapy to the frontline heroes such as Mumbai Police and Healthcare Workers and their families. In this period, Mpower has been committed to offer uninterrupted clinical intervention using teleconsultation services. Earlier this year, Mpower inaugurated a new Cell at B K Birla College, Kalyan, and a brand new Centre in Kolkata. In the second wave, Mpower and Ananya Birla Foundation collaborated to launch virtual support groups to provide a safe space for sufferers to open up about their experiences related to bereavement, grief, and anxiety. Mrs. Birla recently donned the RJ hat in a radio show for the first time to create awareness about new-age parenting and mental health.
The entire freewheeling conversation between Mrs. Birla and Daaji can be watched free on the below links: