Any practice that brings you joy and feels light and uplifting is the Holy Grail for your daily peace of mind. As a yogi the most important tool is the attitude with which you approach the practice and not the practice itself that promises a consistent positive experience. There is a well known Zen Buddhist saying which in it’s profound simplicity holds the key to a life of true happiness, "Before enlightenment chop wood carry water, after enlightenment, chop wood carry water." I would like to modify this quote a little to emphasize the underlying message and also to contemplate a possible practical way of daily enlightened living. “Regardless of enlightenment chop wood with cheer, carry water and whistle”
This way of being in even the most mundane moments is known as the Divine Bhav (attitude or outlook). This attitude, which means that we hold everything we do as beautiful, sacred and worthwhile, becomes our practice in itself. It is positive thinking with a spiritual component as we offer all our efforts to a higher path of consciousness-to the Divine.
The 5 Bhavas
There are 5 Bhavas ***** (attitudes) **** in the *Bhakti Yoga path of devotion; this means that there are five different types of attitudes, which we can cultivate in our practice as well as in our daily activities.
Shanta Bhava – an attitude of Peace
Dasya Bhava – an attitude of Humility
Sakhya Bhava – an attitude of Friendship
Vatsalya Bhava – an attitude of Maternal Love
Madhurya Bhava – an attitude of Lover
These consciously developed attitudes applied in our every day life and relationships smooth out the rough edges of our existence and bring over time an environment of grace. We can choose this. Despite all our obstacles we can strengthen our character and our will as we would in our yoga practice so refining our experience of life.
This all sounds easier said than done especially when we face certain disappointments, challenges or dislikes. In my personal practice I have learned and applied several techniques to elevate my mood, relieve depression, shift my focus from the grumpy disgruntled stance to the acceptance and appreciation of what is. One of my biggest challenges seems to be behind the wheel of my car. It seems that all good intentions and divine attitudes fly out the window as I grit my teeth and utter profanities at the slow driver in front of me or the selfish driver who won’t let me in or the unenlightened driver who seems not to have indicator lights. So I acquired a carnelian heart crystal that now hangs on my rearview mirror to hold onto whenever I feel a bad attitude coming on. I can honestly say I am grabbing that dangly charm less and less. Something is shifting.
Whatever you engage in with the Divine Bhav it becomes an act of awareness with potential for magnificence and growth.
4 Ways to Engage With the Divine Bhav
Here are some simple ideas and tools for an attitude adjustment when you need one.
- Create an affirmation of gratitude each morning that will start your day in a loving frame of mind and expand your awareness beyond yourself.
- Essential oils of geranium, clary sage, lavender, bergamot, rose, frankincense, neroli, orange, peppermint, rosemary are powerful plant medicine for elevating the mood and shaking off the blues. All of these oils can be used in a nebulizer (diffuser) to infuse the surroundings with goodness or dropped into your bath or blended with base oils like almond or apricot and dabbed onto your pulse points. I carry my essential oil blends with me in an aromatic mala pendant around my neck so I can benefit from the aromatherapy all day. You could choose one or two essential oils and make a blend or pick one that really resonates with you. Geranium is a powerful mood enhancer, used to relieve symptoms of depression and fatigue and also balances the hormones and calms the central nervous system.
- Chocolate. One square of good quality pure dark chocolate can enhance your mood and also has several other health benefits. Try adding cacao powder or nibs to your morning smoothie or cereal as a way to increase the feel good endorphins in your brain. Reduce heavy foods that have preservatives, refined sugars and are overly processed. These clog the system and contribute to feeling bad both physically and mentally.
- Commitment to your daily practice. This may be the most powerful and effective way of strengthening your will and feeling calm, grounded, balanced and contented and over time will fortify you in the face of all adversity.
These simple steps are offered as a reminder, a catalyst towards a jolly outlook on life so you can choose to bring joy and mindfulness into every single activity you do.
Glynnis Osher, BA, CAP (Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner) is a passionate teacher and Ayurvedic practitioner specializing in lifestyle practices, aromatherapy, nutrition and Indian head massage. Glynnis is founder of The Mystic Masala Ayurvedic Aromatherapy and Thousand Petal Lotus Indian Head Massage in Vancouver, BC. Glynnis inspires her students and clients to discover their own unique healing path through the sensual wisdom and beauty of aromatic Ayurveda.
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