YouTube has been providing me a world of information lately. #ILoveYouTube. It feels like I’m constantly lead from one thing to another, all tied to the same elements – higher vibrations, higher consciousness and growth. Recently I found a video with Dandapani which later lead to a full interview I saw on London Real by Brian Rose. There was so much shared in the interview but the one thing I walked away with was “Meditation doesn’t help focus. Focus helps meditation.” Now, that’s an interesting take on “how to meditate.”
Dandapani is a Hindu priest who left his entire life behind at the age of 24 or so to join a monastery in Hawaii to follow his guru Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001) , affectionately known as Gurudeva. Joining the monastery meant giving away all one’s worldly possessions and cutting off all ties to friends and family. Danda would become a monk for the next ten years, talking to his family once or twice a year.
MacBook Pro for a Monk
Life in the monastery was rigid in terms of scheduling and focus but they all had a MacBook Pro which is a great incentive for anyone to join a monastery, don’t you think?
I mean HELLO!
It’s a MACBOOK PRO.
“Normal” boys want to be firemen. Dandapani wanted to be like his guru.
Danda knew from a very early age that he wanted to be a monk, describing his affinity for this lifestyle the same way “normal” boys saw firemen. Meeting his guru was love at first sight – that instant connection you feel to people that has no explanation. He finished his Electrical Engineering degree and quickly gave up life as he knew it to join his guru. It was the simple life. He lived in a 10 x 10 x 10 structure, meditated, ate only three meals per day and worked in his respective department inside the monastery. One option included their web department. That would have been my preferred choice.
Every two years your contract is up for renewal or you can opt out completely. Three years after joining, Danda’s beloved Gurudeva passed away. It was the hardest thing Danda has experienced to date. 7 years later, he decided not to renew his contract. Given $1,000, 2 sets of robes, a set of beads (for completing 10 years) and a one way ticket to wherever he wanted to go, his life back in the mainstream began again. This lead him to his desire to teach people some of the tools he learned that can be applied to enjoy a more meaningful life for “householders” – regular folk, like you and me.
The interview was thoroughly enjoyable to say the least and the above is a synopsis of the most memorable parts of his story. I wanted to share my take away with you in hopes that it will add value to your life also.
Here are some key points that stuck out to me, so much so that I ran to get a pen and take notes…
The Meaning of Meditation
Danda describes meditation as a prolonged state of concentration. Their set schedules taught them to concentrate on one thing at a time, preparing them for meditation at the end of the day.
Here’s something interesting to note:
Meditation didn’t help them to focus. Focusing helped them to meditate. This sounds like such a simple advice on how to meditate.
How to Teach Yourself Focus
– Do one thing at a time.
– Finish what you begin.
This starts with something as simple as making your bed. You slept in it, wake up and make up the bed for the next night’s rest. You made breakfast and ate it? Now clear the table and wash the dishes. You wouldn’t imagine that these simple acts of completion train your mind to do one thing at a time AND to start and end things. If you are talking with someone, put your phone down. Make eye contact. Engage.
If you’re writing a blog post about Dandapani, stop looking at your phone lol #NoteToSelf. DO ONE THING AT A TIME. Multitasking does not exist.
Molding Your Subconscious Mind
Danda talks about how we can mold our subconscious minds by using mantras or affirmations. These affirmations start to create a new vibration and pattern that will in turn attract things, people, places etc that vibrate at the same frequency. You’re basically reprogramming the neurons or simply put, rewiring your brain. Attach a feeling to that (the energy of emotion) is like adding steroids to your wants or desires. Feeling is the impetus to shifting your vibration.
How to write a mantra/affirmation:
– Use a concise choice of positive words
– Have a clear visual in your mind
– Tie both the above ingredients to a corresponding feeing
The clearer you are about what you want, the more energy you can give it and bring it in to your life.
Danda uses the example of wanting an apple. “I love apples” would be your mantra, for example. This is great as he suggests but you have to tie it to the exact kind of apple you want. So you’d need to visualize it. Red apples? Green apples? What kind of apples? How do you feel when you get the apple you want?
Be mindful of your thoughts
Your subconscious vibrates at the frequency of your thoughts, whether they are good or bad. This is why we have to be mindful of our thoughts and words because our subconscious is always listening and transferring information. It’s a similar concept to The Secret which I’ve written about my other post about getting into the feeling of what it is you say you want.
Danda has one mantra per day for three different areas of his life.
He programs his brain one mantra at a time.
Energy is Finite
The energy we are given each day is finite and like money, it’s best to invest it wisely. Simplify your life and align it with your purpose so that you can make wise decisions about how you will spend the energy you are given everyday. Before you sleep, disconnect. When you wake up, connect. BUT with yourself first.
Don’t grab your smart phone.
Don’t grab the remote.
Pay attention to the first things you allow into your mental space because it sets the tone for your day and how you will spend your greatest asset – your energy, your life force.
How to Find Your Purpose
Take 5 minutes to spend with yourself each day. Sit, align your spine, breathe deeply and ask questions. Danda describes this ritual as something that may seem pretty superficial at first but over time, your connection with yourself will grow deeper. It’s the same as any other relationship he says. As time goes by, you get a lot more personal, you trust more and you share more. Soon enough, you’ll receive all the answers you seek. Go within, not without.
We Are Human
I think the part of the interview I most enjoyed was knowing that Danda, even with his 10 years of being in a monastery, is perfectly imperfect. He is human. I felt comforted learning that traveling threw off his rituals, that he got tired sometimes, that he also needed words of wisdom from his guru to get him through his day sometimes and that he too was affected by other peoples’ energies. It just brought a sense of relief to me because as much as I can talk and write about this stuff, help family and friends through their moments, I tend to have 50 mental breakdowns per day when I come across a rough patch.
He was just being his authentic self. I love it.
These were based on the last questions asked by his interviewer, Brian Rose.
1. What Would He Tell His 20 Year Old Self:
Go to the monastery quicker. Danda’s guru instructed him to get his engineering degree before joining the Monastery. Danda didn’t wait for graduation day. Once he passed his classes he was on a flight to join his guru who died 3 years later.
2. Best Advice Ever Received:
There’s nothing more important in life than knowing who you are, the path your’e on and its final end. This advice was given to Danda by his Gurudeva.
What I Wanted To Know
Sooooo what’s up with the three stripes on your forehead homie?
Answer: It is a symbol of Saivism and it represents anava (ego), karma (law of cause and affect) and maya (illusion).
So, tell me guys, does this help you?
Are you signed up and on your way to owning a MacBook Pro?
No. Seriously, are you? Can you get me a couple?