Healthy habits for mindful living

Guru Sri Subramanium shares some examples of good habits to promote healthy, mindful living.
Sister and Guru in the Swiss Alps

Talk given by Guru Sri Subramanium. Meditation Week, Easter 1993.

Guru: Divine friends, if you want to advance spiritually, you must become mindful.

When you wake up in the morning, don’t wake up feeling rotten. Wake up in the consciousness that you want to be aware of all the causes and effects you set in motion. Mindful even when you pick up your toothbrush! Don’t pick it up thinking something else. It’s bad training.

Be where you are! Pick your toothbrush! Put the toothpaste on. Brush your teeth, consciously. Wash your mouth. Then wash the toothbrush. Put it back. Now I know what you’re going to say: “It’s going to drive me mad! I’m not used to doing that!”

But that’s exactly what you’re going to do, and slowly as you do it, it accelerates because your mind goes, “zip, zoom, I can do that very quickly” and then you can accelerate, and go where you want.

But first of all, be where you are. When you are dressing, be mindful of how you dress, and how articulate you are going to be in every field of activity.

Mindfulness in our approach to food

You must realise these are vibrations you’re setting in motion in your whole life. And from the moment you wake up, and then the food you eat – understand what sort of food you want in the morning. Don’t just eat it as quickly as possible. See what you want to eat. Measure what you want to eat. Whether your body needs it. What is required of it?

You might well ask me, “What has this got to do with meditation?” My goodness, it is vital for your meditation! Because if you don’t do this, ultimately what will happen is all these things will have a bearing on you and you won’t be able to meditate. That is what you call an undigested thought.

Without your knowing, you are putting into your brain vibrations that are going to register, stay there dormant, until you want to sit down to meditate, and they become completely displayed for you to see.

And then what you will be doing is pushing all this, saying “Oh go away, I’m meditating!” You won’t be meditating! You will be having a battle with your mindlessness. All the time the undigested thoughts in your brain will be presenting themselves to you saying “I want this, and you promised to write that letter, you haven’t done that, you promised to do that, the job you’ve done is half-baked, and now you have to return back…”

Ah, that is what perfection means! That is what mastery of your senses means! Mastery of yourself. There is nothing that should pass you by without your proper realising what cause and effects you set in motion.

Divine friends, if you begin to do that from the moment you wake up – you come to the breakfast table, and you know you have a partner or a friend who’s made breakfast and is waiting for you and is sharing that breakfast, don’t arrive, pick the first newspaper up and go like that.

There is a human being who has made breakfast for you! There is foodstuff! That is prana! Prana means the life force that God is in! You’re going to eat this, and not shove it down your throat like a pig! Even a pig will snort after it’s eaten!

Every action has a cycle of reaction. You must make sure it is going into your stomach as maha-prasadam and not a load of rubbish! You are going to eat it and consume it with the love and grace I enjoy.

In Kiental, after seven days of discussion and answers, I came down, I had just about 10 minutes before I got into the car to go to Geneva, and I went to the breakfast table and all the girls came around me and said “Can we ask questions?”

And I said “No way! Not that I don’t want to answer the questions. I gave you seven days of my time, and now I’m going to eat. And I’m going to eat to teach you I practice what I preach. So you wait till I finish. If I finish in time you can ask me questions. Then after that, I will go!”

Get used to good habits. It is very important because that's a vibration. If you become eccentric in your lifestyle, if you become agitated in your lifestyle, it affects your brain. It affects your personality. You cannot take control of yourself.

Being conscious of cause and effect

Don’t scream that it’s somebody else who set a pattern in motion for you. It is you who has set in motion the pattern. Say “Hey, one minute – let me finish this job before I come to you. I’ll deal with you properly.” That is what concentration is about. Give time. Give time for yourself to make adjustments. Nobody is pushing you, except you are pushing yourself to do things in a disorderly manner.

Take control of your ship! You are the master of your ship. Be a good master. If you are not a master your ship will go to the rocks. Then you’ll need a tug like myself to pull it out! So my job is like a tug, pulling all the time the ships that have gone to ground, and refloating them. Refloating them is my job, but whether they stay afloat is another problem. Because before long I’ll be called again to refloat these ships.

Life is a challenge. Meet it! The worst part of that challenge is for me to see young people deliberately putting things into their system that is going to be harmful.

Smoking. Please don’t smoke, because you cannot understand or remotely understand what injury it is doing to your body. And once it has caused a cancerous body in your system, to change it is a very big problem.

I try, I try as much as I can, but then the damage is done. The problems have been created. There are different types of foodstuffs and material you can put in your system that can create different cancerous conditions. Please be mindful. Not only foodstuffs, not only smoking – the environment you live in.

People talk of peace of mind. You get pieces of mind if you live in turmoil and stress. You will never have peace of mind because the inner being is being stirred by different vibrations you are absorbing into yourself.

Food – we call different types of it rajasic, tamasic. Rajasic means all that stimulates your appetite to heighten your senses. Okay! If you want a lifestyle where you want to enjoy what people call enjoy, and not worried about the consequences except a heightened sexual relationship – okay, rajasic it must be.

Rajasic means in-out, in-out, just like a machine, feeding your senses. But if you want a moderate life move away from rajasic – and I’ll give you a list of food that is sattvic and tamasic.

Slowly they are degrees of consciousness. And this degree of consciousness slowly you must find yourself. You must to yourself say “Now I ate that – that created wind in my system. That gave me a migraine, that disturbed my mind. I was so full of energy, I did not know what to do with it.”

So slowly you must learn what effects you set in motion for your life. And you must change it, not me. I can only sit back and tell you that is going to cause turbulence in your body and mind. So you can slowly experiment for yourself.

One man’s meat is another man’s poison. And one man’s concept of life can be a disturbance to another person. But you must find the level. It is your job to find that level. That which will give you peace and tranquillity in your life.

You’re not going to be monks and nuns. You have a partnership in living and spirituality. You have to learn to work with that, and if you work with that, you can have a very joyful life.

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