Aruna Ladva is the founder of Harmony House, Kuwait and travels extensively to share spiritual insights across the globe. Aruna specializes in Raja Yoga Meditation and is the author of five books – better known as the It’s Time series – in addition to a workbook on conflict resolution. It was very inspiring to ask Aruna how to be still in a world of movement.
Meditation is not practiced widely in Kuwait, but is slowly becoming integrated. Do you notice an increased interest from when you first began teaching at Harmony House?
Definitely. Earlier, people were a bit dubious about it; perhaps fear of the unknown. Now, as the idea is growing worldwide, we find that they are more at ease and can see the benefits. Also, I believe there is a need now, more than ever, to create a positive mindset to maintain inner calm despite outer turbulence.
Why do you think people fear stillness?
We all are so action-oriented. It’s as though we don’t feel purposeful unless we are doing something. Even when we enter our quiet homes, we turn on the TV, listen to music or open a window, just to feel connected with the world. ‘Being’ doesn’t seem enough. Stillness, though, is a gateway to the soul. As I still my body and mind, I come to know who I am. Silence can speak volumes if we stop and listen. There is a time for action and a time for stillness. Not sleep, but stillness. Sleep is still a form of action; it does not rejuvenate the soul, only the body. Meditation can rejuvenate the soul.
Are there tips you can give us to incorporate daily meditation?
For those who have no idea of meditation and can’t get to a center to take the meditation course, I would suggest beginning by sitting in a quiet room and creating positive self-talk, such as: “I am good. I have the power to get through the day, etc…”
Meditation is also about observing your thoughts. Begin by calming the self with only positive thoughts. If there are other thoughts, tell yourself that you will attend to them later. The mind is like a little kid; in order for it to give up one toy, you have to give it another. So, for example, instead of telling the mind not to get angry, say: “I am peaceful.” The first premise of Raja Yoga Meditation is that I am a Peaceful Soul. We are all this by nature, we have just forgotten.
Also, the practice of being an observer to the drama of your life helps. Take a few minutes to detach, as though you were watching a movie and sitting in the best seat! Enjoy everything that is happening around you; the drama will pass within a few minutes. We get so caught up in our world that we forget that everything is fleeting, and what is more important is the peace and happiness within the soul. At no cost should we lose or let go of these treasures.
You often use music to assist us in tapping into our inner selves. Tell us more.
It’s about applying sound to come closer to silence. Maybe slightly paradoxical, but gentle music or meditation commentaries are a springboard to that other realm – away from the hustle and bustle of the sounds around us.
Once we are there in our home of stillness and silence, we do not hear anything. We become dormant, like a seed. That is when the world stops for a few minutes and we can replenish ourselves.
Most people are afraid that they will become unproductive zombies if they practice mindfulness. Others find that tapping into our spiritual side seems to enhance creativity and give us energy. You are a testament to that. You have authored FIVE books, have a blog and travel around the world giving lectures and conducting workshops and retreats, among other activities. Do you agree that meditation increases vitality?
Totally! As we reduce waste thoughts, we conserve a lot of energy. We are able to prioritize better. When we actualize ourselves as souls and not bodies, we realise what is truly important and lasting. Also as we meditate, we get more connected with our higher purpose and there is more bliss. Life is no longer a struggle. That enthusiasm gives us a lot of energy.
It is an illusion to think that more is better. As our thoughts become more and more powerful, we can use the power of our mind to accomplish things and achieve success. In the past we used to travel by horse and cart, and then by car, train and now via airplane. In the same way, our thought energy is fully energized now and we are more enlightened than ever before in our history. Everyone has the key to this enlightenment and not just a few. So as we use thought – which would be the equivalent to an airplane – instead of speech and action (car and train, respectively), we can achieve more in life utilizing less energy.