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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

How to celebrate life

Q: Guruji, you have often said that celebrate life. But, in this hectic schedule I barely remember that there is something known as life. Then how do I celebrate it?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, celebration does not have to be outside work. Celebration is an attitude.

Anything you do, do with an attitude of celebration. It’s much less tiring, less draining on your system and more elevating.

How to control emotions

You can’t control emotions by thought; you can invoke emotions by thought. Only by being more aware emotions settle down. Pranayama, meditation, listening to knowledge all of this indirectly helps,

~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Surya Namaskar

Q: Guruji, it takes effort to start sun salutation but then I start finding intoxication in it. Will you please describe the phenomenon behind?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Yes, you should do sun salutation. A little effort is needed for a beginner and a little effort is essential to begin with. What is happening with effort? The 'rajogun' or the restlessness in body is getting channelized. The tendencies to act get fulfilled and then what you are left with is simple harmony and that is sattva. So rajogun (restlessness) gets exhausted by your exercise and sattva brings you into meditation. So it's good to put some effort in the beginning and in the end you let go and relax, there lies the reality.

How to be free of lust

Q: I feel lustful at times. What to do and how to get rid of that?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: When there is no joy in life then lust increases in you because then you get joy in that only. But when you find joy in life otherwise also, then the frequency of such desires starts reducing.

When you start finding joy in sadhna (spiritual practices), joy in service, joy in satsang, joy in devotion, joy in surrender - that is the only way to come out of lust. No other way exists.

When all are done together slowly, you come out of lust. Otherwise, you will have to wait for age. May be then you will be out of it. You won't be capable physically to do it but you get rid of it from the mind or not, that is not sure.No guarantee is there. Usually very old people see all obscene stuff and try to get satisfaction from it.

How to be free of lust? Question answered by His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

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