Anandway: Blog

Roadmaps to joy!

Meditation practice can promote cortical plasticity in adults in areas important for cognitive and emotional processing and well-being

People who meditate grow bigger brains than those who don’t.

Researchers at Harvard, Yale, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found the first evidence that meditation can alter the physical structure of our brains. Brain scans they conducted reveal that experienced meditators boasted increased thickness in parts of the brain that deal with attention and processing sensory input.

In one area of gray matter, the thickening turns out to be more pronounced in older than in younger people. That’s intriguing because those sections of the human cortex, or thinking cap, normally get thinner as we age.

“Our data suggest that meditation practice can promote cortical plasticity in adults in areas important for cognitive and emotional processing and well-being,” says Sara Lazar, leader of the study and a psychologist at Harvard Medical School. “These findings are consistent with other studies that demonstrated increased thickness of music areas in the brains of musicians, and visual and motor areas in the brains of jugglers. In other words, the structure of an adult brain can change in response to repeated practice.”

More: Harvard Gazette

2012 New year’s message

Sri Sri Ravishankar’s New Year Message

Q:What should all Sadhak's focus on for the coming year?

Sri Sri: A better world, or seva focused on a world, a better society and in the personal life, conviction, strong faith that all is well, all good is going to happen to me.

You’ve heard that the Mayan's calendar this is the last year and the doomsday is going to come, something like that, there are lot of movies about it. I am telling you nothing like that is going to happen. The world is going to continue,

According to the Vedic calendar this year from March is called 'Nanda' means happiness, the year of happiness. First comes happiness and the year that follows is called 'Victory'. So you'll be happy and victorious so don't worry. And resolve to do some good work in he society, spread knowledge, you'll see by the end of next year, more and more people will turn into spirituality, into humanism. All those engaging in terrorism will be cornered, people in violence their strength will reduce, this will happen, and you are part of that happening

How can I achieve the ultimate bliss

Q: Dear Guruji, when and how can I achieve the ultimate bliss?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: No chance (laughter). No way. Forget about it. Are you ready to forget it? Then you got it NOW. Your mind is anxious for “ultimate happiness, ultimate bliss, one day I want to achieve...”

The first step toward the higher state of consciousness

Giving too much importance to sensory objects leads to greed; giving too much importance to the senses leads to lust; and giving too much importance to the mind and its desires leads to delusion.

We hold on to the concepts of the mind and want things to happen in a certain way. Thus, the concepts in our mind impede us from perceiving the infinite consciousness that is a part of us.

This is not to say that the senses or the mind are bad. But we must learn to discriminate between things and be aware of what is happening at all times; that is when clarity dawns on us. This is the first step toward the higher state of consciousness.

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

About being a Yogi and dispassion

Q: Guruji when I think about death, I feel dispassionate. How can one remain a karma yogi in that situation?


Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

Look, whatever you do with dispassion (vairaagya) that has a lot of power. We work not for ourselves, but for others. Okay. When we work for others we get a certain type of satisfaction. If our mind is empty, and we are in bliss then both these begin to manifest in life effortlessly, what we have not been able to get/achieve, that comes and what we have, remains preserved. You will feel that you don’t have to put much effort from your side.

This is the sign of a Yogi. A Yogi does not have to make any effort to fulfil his desire but one has to perform his duties. You know all that you want, your desires, intentions are being fulfilled right, before the desire or intention arises.

So that is why Yogi gets the best of enjoyments because a Yogi’s state of consciousness is such that before the desire arises the fruit is already there. He doesn’t have to struggle too hard. That doesn’t mean you have to be lazy, you have to do your work, not to fulfill your own desires but because you have to do certain things. You should just do it.

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