Yoga & Activism from Within
Have you ever been moved to reach out to someone simply by seeing one photo? In our social media driven online world, I find that's a POSITIVE example of the power of our ability to connect in a more mindful way. I urge your to trust your intuition and reach out to someone today.
I'm thrilled to share my discovery with you.
I heard about the International Day of Peace and reached out to Mukta Ranpura, with the Heartfulness Institute, to see how I could help. I knew I would sign up for this powerful online gathering, but felt there was more that I could do. As a global citizen, remember that we're all in this together.
Stephanie Spence: Mukta, Tell me a little about the mission of Heartfulness.
Mukta Ghookal: Heartfulness is a global non-profit organization, associated with the United Nations in spreading peace, love and harmony through self-development, stress management and the evolution of consciousness. This is done through a suite of relaxation, meditation, rejuvenation & contemplative practices that are simple & practical to integrate with a modern lifestyle.
SS: Tell me about you and how you became involved.
MG: I was born and raised in South Africa and began this practice when I was 16 years old. What I loved then which is still relative today, is that there aren’t any behavioral mandates or long to do lists in Heartfulness. Once you learn the basic set of practices and follow them, changes occur naturally. As a teen, revered up to test this practice to it’s fullest, I shifted from being a shy, reserved teenager to a more confident, outgoing and gregarious person, within 6 months. The whole experience felt natural, heartfelt and dynamic and was catalyzed by my association with the 3rd Heartfulness Guide at the time. That was 27 years ago and I haven’t looked back. Moved by gratitude and joy, I began travelling to gatherings and seminars to learn more and volunteer my time, where needed. Over the years I’ve shared my experiences informally through talks, written articles, mentored individuals, supported development and training workshops, helped at events and offered strategy.
SS: I love the quotes on your site from Bruce Lipton (who I've met and love) and Daaji (who I have not met) that both share that we have free will - that if we place our intention TOWARD peace then we can ACTIVELY create that. I'm an activist around the idea that we have agency in our lives - and yoga helped me develop that self-awareness that I am manifesting my life - so I love this theme. Can you expound on that for me?
MG: Absolutely, it’s true. Here’s a page from my life. South Africa has a history of being stuck in the Apartheid regime till the ‘90s and we were all separated by race due to the political structure. All infrastructure and systems operated and were built around this regime. When I began meditating the very first change I noticed was that my heart began to blossom and open up to looking beyond these socio-cultural, religious-political – racial challenges. It is also one reason I did not marry in my own caste and perpetuate the social-cultural norms.
So, intenion is a starting point for change and growth. You also need a strong will and a pathway to continue to change and evolve, both personally and as a collective. Heartfulness is that pathway. It is open to ALL of humanity, irrespective of what your beliefs are. The practice elements help regulate your mind to reach a balanced state of peace and poise. As you practice, you will begin to feel freed of all excessive mental / emotional or environmental conditioning (cultural, social, political, religious). Subconscious patterns of behavior (likes / dislikes, anger, lust, fear, prejudice, selfishness, greed) begin to lose their grip and you begin to finally access objectivity, presence and oneness.
SS: What do you think is the greatest challenge you have to achieving your goals? and/or Do you REALLY think peace is possible? I've been talking about that since the 60's.... I'm a Buddhist.... I believe.... but right now we're seeing so much anger, so much fear, so much negative energy in the US.... Any thoughts around this?
MG: Answering the second question first.
Daaji often says,” When the mind is at rest, the heart is at peace.” We are all faced with extraordinary challenges right now on a global level, all of which highlight the need for inner integration and unity. We cannot possibly bring about change or expect change, if we are not working towards it. A peaceful world is possible, but for this we need to give due attention to given to our inner world, as we do to the outer. With Heartfulness, we learn to let go of the non-essentials and make room for what’s better, in a natural, non-dogmatic manner, led by our own hearts.
There are a myriad of meditation methods and organizations in the world. Heartfulness is one of them. Our biggest challenge is that we are volunteer run and volunteer funded, because we do not believe in charging people to connect with the higher self within. This means, that we are not a fancy outlet and the simplicity of our approach and value of our methodology is often missed by those who are judging us only from the outside. The “proof is in the pudding” as they say, so you have to give Heartfulness a try, just like you would with any other skill you try and acquire, with patience and sincerity.
We are currently hosting a free online event for the 21st Sep for International Peace Day.
Register at heartfulness.org/peace to join. Here’s the promo video