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Read This Before Buying Or Using Incense For Your Meditations

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Using Incense For Your Meditations Image

Since ancient times, incense has been used in the East, Egypt, Babylon and America for healing, meditation, cleansing houses, and temples. Recipes of their preparation were passed down from generation to generation. The scope of their application has not changed much to date: incense is used to treat various diseases, to disinfect the air, for meditation, as an offering, for ritual ceremonies, and also just for enjoying their pleasant fragrance. But do you know how to choose and use incenses properly? Let me share with you the guide for using and shopping for incense!

Different Kinds Of Incenses

Incenses can be different in their form:

  • mixtures,
  • briquettes,
  • sticks,
  • pyramids,
  • oils.

Moreover, they can be different in composition.

incense sticks Image

Oil Incenses

This kind of incense has two components in their composition:

  • the base, which perfectly absorbs essential oils and is capable of smoldering;
  • the oil itself or the composition of oils.

You can find oil incenses in the form of sticks, plasticine or lace.

Oil Mixture Incenses

The composition of oil mixture incenses is not only oil-treated coal-based but it can also include honey, melted butter, powder plants, and manure (if you’re vegan you don’t want to buy this kind).

Herbal And Floral Incense

Incenses of this kind are calm and closer to natural odors. They are good for aromatherapy as a soothing agent.

Honey And Dung Incense

The production of honey and dung incense goes back to antiquity. They were used during the time of Ramayana. The main difference between honey incense is that they have a barely noticeable sweet flavor that accompanies the main smell. Honey incense is used for aromatization of premises, aromatherapy, as well as for Pujas.

Most people feel weird about using dung incense. Indeed, for us, dung is considered to be bad-smelling and unclean. Our opinion about dung is very different from the meaning of the ancient scripts. And these scripts say that on the basis of cow manure not only incense can be produced (which, it should be noted, does not smell like manure itself) but also medicinal products. To distinguish manure incense is possible only by external rough appearance and the dense smoke emitted when it’s burning.

Camphor Cardamom Or Camphor Itself

The disadvantage of this kind of incense is that the quality of it slightly decreases, but the aromatic and medicinal properties remain longer. Camphor incense is good for body detox, as well as to cleanse space from spirits and negative energy. These incenses have immune-strengthening properties and contribute to the prevention of respiratory and epidemic diseases.

Cone-Shaped Incense

In the middle ages, cone-shaped (sandalwood) incense penetrated into Europe, where they were appreciated and were burned exclusively on major holidays. Cone-shaped incense is made by pressing a mixture of aromatic herbs, or with the addition of a small amount of fir resin, juniper, and other plants or without fastening additives. It is important to note that these incenses have the shape of a pyramid. This is a huge advantage, as the smoke released during combustion has more energy than the smoke from other incense. The method of application is similar to that of other incenses.

Lace Incense

It is another bizarre form of incense. It is a coil of slowly smoldering hemp rope impregnated with some essential oil. Here it should be noted that the aroma is very, very extraordinary: the duet of burnt hemp rope with a burnt sandal or red tree. In India, lace incense is in great demand among traders and, apparently, buyers too, in particular at vegetable markets. Street hairdressers and shoemakers are among the “gourmets” of this fragrance. To date, in majority other countries, the lace incense has not found a place of application.

Powdery Incense

Their composition is exclusively natural, the replacement of natural components with the chemical would be obvious. For the most part, powdery incense is made in Tibet, although in ancient times in Russia the same incense was used to fumigate patients. Also, shamans use herbal powders in their rites. But they are rarely used for Pujas. With the departure of the Egyptian, Babylonian and ancient Greek civilizations the tradition of burning loose incense in the temples have exhausted.

Chinese Incense

Chinese Incense Image

Chinese incense is characterized by a subtle mystical aroma with subtle transitions of one scent to another. This group is dominated by sandalwood and floral fragrances without a basis. Chinese incenses with bamboo sticks are less common. Ancient Chinese invention is the spiral – thin unbonded incense, swirling in a few circles. In China, it is believed that they should burn clockwise, creating an “energy column” so that through it the cosmic message descends down to man. There is a huge variety of colored Chinese spirals, which have a unique, wonderful and delicate aroma, used in various rites and for purification.

Tibetan Incense

Tibetan incenses image

Tibetan incense is a unique masterpiece of the ancient art of healing and worshipping Deities. It plays an important role in aromatherapy medicine. The secrets of making Tibetan sticks and powders have reached our civilization from the depths of centuries, and today these ancient recipes are passed down from generation to generation. In the fullness of time in the highlands of the Himalayas people collect manually all the necessary herbs. Further, these herbs are subjected to thorough ecological expertise and control over the observance of the quality. In ancient times, wise Tibetan monks collected these divine herbs in the mountains for meditation, worship, and treatment. Despite the fact that Tibet was captured by China and the Tibetans were destroyed by the masses, this sacred art lives to this day. The descendants of Tibetan monks moved to India and Nepal, continuing the ancient tradition in a foreign land.

To prepare their magical compositions, herb collectors had to climb the mountains on secret paths known only to them, and collect herbs, roots, and minerals there. As their land was occupied, they returned and the production of incense was carried out in India and Nepal. Unfortunately, most of the Tibetan incense is not carefully enough milled, which slightly complicates the process of burning and the intensity of the smoke. The composition of Tibetan sticks usually includes up to forty components. These fragrances do not have a bamboo base and gradually change their scent when burning, adding new notes to the original scent.

Brief Inscence Guide

If you are a fan of agarbatti, you may find it useful to find a brief guide of fragrances, which contains the characteristics of scent and their psycho-emotional benefits, which will make it easier for you to choose the right incense.

Burning Incense Image

AMBER

This aroma is resinous, sweet, warm, joyful. It enhances the element of fire in the body, warms the heart, makes it kind and compassionate. It improves mutual understanding between people.

ORANGE

This aroma is gentle, light, sweet, cold. It relieves depression, fear, irritability; treats cramps, insomnia, frigidity, and impotence.

AFRODESIA

This aroma is light, exquisite, intoxicating. It gives confidence, strengthens the mind and body; awakes sensuality.

BERGAMOT

This aroma is cold, sweet and sour, tender, fresh. It has a strong tonic effect. It calms, gives strength, relieves fatigue, tension, improves memory and attention.

VANILLA

This aroma is sweet, sugary, and joyful. It gives joy, makes the heart kind and opens to communication.

GARDENIA

This aroma is light, cold, and sweet-tart. It promotes relaxation, calms the nerves, has an anti-stress effect, finds reserve strength in the body.

GERANIUM

This aroma is soft tart, cooling, fresh. It has a strong anti-inflammatory effect, relieves headaches, migraines, hypertension attacks.

HYACINTH

This aroma is fresh, cool, and light. It gives freshness to the body and feelings, strengthens the body’s protective power. It calls for self-reflection and self-analysis.

JASMINE

This aroma is exquisite, delicate, sweet-cold, weighted. This scent has an anti-stress and relaxing effect, eliminates fatigue, mobilizes the body’s reserve forces. It enhances sensuality and is considered a “female” aroma.

YLANG-YLANG

This aroma is light, elegant, fresh, invigorating. It is a good antidepressant, causes a sense of self-confidence. It relieves seizures and headaches. Ylang-ylang is a great aphrodisiac and is considered a “masculine” scent.

CAMPHOR

This aroma is clean, fresh, warm, and sharp. It has the property to remove inflammation and warm. It is able to exert a sobering effect and to calm sexual excitement.

CEDAR

This aroma is soft, velvet, resinous, and warm. It regulates the self-regulation of the body, treats respiratory diseases. Moreover, it enhances sensory perception, fills the body with energy, excites and warms.

COCONUT

This aroma is sweet, warm, and fragrant. It stimulates the appetite, increases metabolic processes in the body, relieves apathy and drowsiness.

CINNAMON

This scent is warm, spicy, sweet, and playful. It stimulates blood circulation, relieves the effects of intoxication, strengthens the nervous system, warms, cheers, and relieves depression.

LAVENDER

This aroma is cold, fresh, thin, and bitter. It has strong antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. Lavander is beneficial to use lavender incense for influenza, bronchitis, and pneumonia. It relieves fatigue, insomnia, strengthens the body’s immune system. Moreover, it stimulates blood circulation, eliminates mental lethargy, irritability, hysteria and the state of causeless fear.

FRANKINCENSE

This scent is smoky, sweet, tart, and buttery. It strengthens and brightens the aura, enhances the mind, inspires and awakens interest in life and optimism.

LEMON

This aroma is sour, cool, and light. It strengthens the human immune system, has antiviral and anti-infectious effects. It relieves headaches, dizziness, nausea.

LEMONGRASS

This aroma is sour and cool. It improves memory, helps to concentrate attention, increases concentration, eliminates the consequences of fatigue and lack of sleep.

LOTUS

This scent is light, elegant, fresh, and sweet. It gives freshness to the body and feelings, relieves fatigue. Moreover, it spiritualizes the thoughts and existence, and conducive to the spiritual development.

MAGNOLIA

This aroma is cool, sweet, refined, and delicate. It calms, promotes relaxation and rest, drives away fears and anxiety.

ALMOND

This scent is velvety, bitter, smoky, and soft. It helps to improve heat exchange in the body. It brings joy to the mind and heart, sharpens sensory perception.

MYRRH

This aroma is enveloping and sweet. It helps with insomnia, alleviates stress. It is favorable for strengthening the aura, improves meditation, and achievement in the spiritual search.

JUNIPER

This aroma is gentle, fresh, and velvet. It clarifies the mentality, removes the fear and inactivity, increases intuition.

MUSK

This aroma is warm, fragrant, spicy, and slightly tart. It helps with anxiety, mental fatigue, relieves stress.

NEROLI

This scent is gentle, cool, and light. It strengthens the heart, improves its performance, has a powerful sedative effect, helps with insomnia, stress, and depression.

OPIUM

This aroma is cold, resinous, astringent, and bitter. It tones, cheers, gives sharpness of mind and warms the heart.

PACIOLI

This aroma is tart, heady, and sweet. It is a powerful anti-virus tool. Pacioli nourishes, refreshes, gives strength and determination. It is also a strong erotic stimulant, it increases sensitivity, eliminates the frigidity and impotence.

ROSE

This scent is smoky, sweet, warm, and intoxicating. It transforms the unproductive energy of anger, frustration, and sorrow into the energy of self-improvement. People who inhale the aroma of roses, cause sympathy for others, have a light even aura, friendly and unobtrusive. Rose scent heals depression, insomnia, stress and nervous tension. It also relieves anxiety, nightmares, heals arrhythmia, and improves blood circulation.

ROSEMARY

It is a light, soft, fresh, and sweet aroma. Rosemary has a strong antimicrobial effect. It is the aroma of the heart. It improves blood supply to the heart muscle.

RHODODENDRON

This aroma is moist, light, slightly astringent. It is a powerful tool for cleansing and concentration of the mind. It sharpens the perception and improves memory.

SANDALWOOD

This aroma is exquisite, delicate, hazy, and tart. It promotes relaxation and meditation. Sandalwood calms the nerves, opens energy, springs creativity and talent. It compacts the energy layer, allows you to quickly and smoothly restore the thinned aura. Moreover, it helps with depression, insomnia, hiccups on the nervous soil, irritation of the throat, runny nose, nausea, heartburn. It is a mild aphrodisiac – increases sensuality, treats frigidity and impotence.

PINE

This scent is fresh, cold, and light. Pine activates the breath, which potentiates the pulmonary circulation. It has a strong anti-inflammatory effect, accelerates the process of rehabilitation after long-term, serious diseases.

TULASI

This aroma is gentle, silky, warm, and exciting. It relieves dizziness, headaches, and irritability. Tulasi scent helps with insomnia, depression and melancholy attacks.

THUJA

This aroma is tart, resinous, and cool. It refreshes and restores strength. Thuja scent is a great erotic stimulator. It enhances sensuality, eliminates frigidity and impotence.

VIOLET

This scent is light, delicate, and silky. It promotes relaxation, calms the nervous system, has an anti-stress effect.

CHAMPA

This aroma is soft, sweet, moist, and mysterious. It is favorable for compaction and clarification of aura. Champa promotes the concentration of the mind, relieves nervous tension and fatigue.

EUCALYPTUS

This aroma is tart, astringent, and pungent. It purifies the air and kills bacteria. Eucalyptus is a powerful anti-virus and anti-inflammatory agent.

How To Choose Incense Depending On the Season?

Did you know that you can choose incense depending on the season and the weather? Let me share with you a brief guide on how to do it.

seasons image

For winter (cold, dry weather) suitable scents such as eucalyptus, rose, cinnamon, geranium, heather, basil, winter cherry, citronella.

For early spring (cool dry weather) will fit warm, slightly moist flavors such as vanilla, myrrh, pine, cedar, lotus, orange, parijat.

For late spring (warm and dry weather) is good to use neroli, rosemary, jasmine, ylang-ylang, opium, tea tree incenses.

For summer (hot wet weather) suitable scents such as saffron, sandal, lavender, incense, bergamot, magnolia, lemon, sorghum.

For autumn (cool wet weather) suitable scents such as amber, patchouli, geranium, Champa, tuberose, cedar.

How To Choose Incents Depending On the Zodiac Sign?

You can also choose incense according to your Zodiac sign. Let me share with you the scents that are suitable for different zodiac signs the most.

zodiac signs image

Aries (March 21 – April 20):

Pine, patchouli, geranium, rose, lemon, musk, frankincense, rosemary, sandalwood, vanilla, coriander, juniper, sage, vetiver.

These aromas harmonize the stormy temperament of Aries and turn his (her) stubbornness in the right direction.

Taurus (April 21 – May 20):

Bergamot, mint, cedar, chamomile, lemon, myrrh, neroli, patchouli, frankincense, rosemary, vanilla, jasmine, sage, lotus, magnolia.

These flavors deliver happiness and joy!

Gemini (May 21 – June 21):

Sandal, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, orange, musk, neroli, rose, frankincense, rosemary, vanilla, cinnamon, lemongrass, ylang-ylang, jasmine.

These scents balance the light, airy nature of Gemini, help them stand firmly on the ground.

Cancer (June 22 – July 22):

Jasmine, amber, bergamot, pine, lavender, lemon, lemon sorghum, myrrh, neroli, orange, herb aroma, tuberose, Champa.

These aromas help Cancer to keep a good mood and not to plunge into depression.

Leo (July 23 – August 23):

Frankincense, coconut, lemon, orange, patchouli, myrrh, rose, sandalwood, rosemary, juniper, mogra.

These scents emphasize the “royalty” of Leo and help to maintain good health.

Virgo (August 24 – September 23):

Myrrh, sandalwood, cedar, eucalyptus, geranium, orange, musk, neroli, frankincense, cinnamon, ylang-ylang, citronella, saffron, lemon sorghum.

These scents help Virgo to relax and enjoy life!

Libra (September 24 – October 24):

Pine, rose, lavender, incense, cedar, mint, cinnamon, ylang-ylang, geranium, eucalyptus.

These scents help Libra to feel good at any period of life and not overwork.

Scorpio (24 October – 22 November):

Patchouli, jasmine, pine, lemon, rosemary, sandalwood, cinnamon, magnolia, sedge, amber, basil, vetiver.

These scents will help Scorpio cope with his (her) feelings and not suffer from stress.

Sagittarius (November 23 – December 21):

Lavender, musk, lemon, lemon sorghum, myrrh, neroli, patchouli, frankincense, rose, rosemary, cinnamon, vanilla.

These scents help Sagittarius to remain calm and to be in good mood.

Capricorn (December 23 – January 20):

Amber, sandalwood, bergamot, sedge, lavender, eucalyptus, juniper, frankincense, Himalayan gold leaf, rose.

These scents help Capricorn to feel the joy of life and give him (her) creative energy.

Aquarius (January 21 – February 20):

Cedar, bergamot, pine, lemon, citronella, eucalyptus, ylang-ylang, tuberose, agar.

These scents help Aquarius to keep vital energy and sexual appeal.

Pisces (21 February – 20 March):

Cedar, orange, bergamot, lavender, eucalyptus, musk, myrrh, neroli, frankincense, rosemary, vanilla, jasmine, juniper, opium, tea tree.

These scents help the Pisces to concentrate and “swim” with the flow of life to success and prosperity.

The Bottom Line

incense burning image

Despite all the benefits that incense can provide you should be aware that they can also harm your health. As you know, incenses are made from different parts of odorous plants – bark, roots, flowers, resin and essential oils. The base of incense is usually a thin bamboo stick. When burning, all this releases carcinogenic substances (such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons, carbonyl compounds, and benzene), which contribute to the development of cancer. People know about the destructive properties of carcinogens for quite a long time. That’s why you need to be cautious about using the incenses all the time.

You should be aware that it’s not a good idea to use incenses every day. You may use them for your meditations or cleanse the energy of your house or aura. But make sure that the windows are open and air circulating in the room while you’re burning the incense. It is very important to keep the windows open! Otherwise, you may experience all the side effects of inhaling the carcinogens.

Katya Ki is the Founder of SOLANCHA Magazine, a Metaphysical Expert, a Reiki Master, and Human Rights Attorney. She has been studying Eastern metaphysics, cosmology, and esotericism for almost 20 years now. And she's still discovering new knowledge, which is hidden in ancient teachings. During her pilgrimage to the monastery of Saint Catherine in Egypt, she discovered the SOLANCHA System. This is how the SOLANCHA journey started!

Spirituality

Ishvara Pranidhana: The Art Of Living For a Higher Purpose

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Spiritual Bypassing Image

Are you one of those who sincerely turn to the path of knowledge of spiritual truths, the search for the meaning of life, the comprehension of the essence of being? Do you seek to understand the nature of your Soul and your true purpose? Then you are one of those spiritual wonderers who is able to see the world beyond the material limitations of the physical world and strive to live your life for a higher purpose. In this article, I want to introduce you to Ishvara Pranidhana which means attunement to the supreme consciousness. The practice of this Divine principle will help you to plant in your heart the highest degree of piety through which the mind comes to Samadhi.

Yoga Sutras Of Patanjali

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are a collection of 196 Sanskrit sutras on the theory and practice of yoga. It describes the goals of yoga and the principles of techniques needed to achieve them.

The two first stages that the Sutras describe are the principles of Yama and Niyama.

Yama is a set of ethical norms that teach us to communicate with others in the right way.

There are five Yamas:

  1. Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): Nonviolence, non-harming other living beings.
  2. Satya (सत्य): truthfulness, non-falsehood.
  3. Asteya (अस्तेय): non-stealing.
  4. Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): chastity, marital fidelity, or sexual restraint.
  5. Aparigraha (अपरिग्रहः): non-avarice, non-possessiveness.

Niyama is the step of forming self-discipline and uplifting spirituality.

Five Niyamas are:

  1. Saucha (शौच): purity, clearness of mind, speech, and body.
  2. Santosha (सन्तोष): contentment, acceptance of others, and of one’s circumstances as they are, optimism for self.
  3. Tapas (तपस): austerity, self-discipline, persistent meditation, perseverance.
  4. Svadhyaya (स्वाध्याय): the study of self, self-reflection, introspection of self’s thoughts, speeches, and actions.
  5. Ishvara Pranidhana (ईश्वरप्रणिधान): contemplation of the Ishvara (God/Supreme Being, Brahman, True Self, Unchanging Reality), attunement to the supreme consciousness.

All these principles are interdependent. If you break one of the Yamas or Niyamas, you are bound to break the others. And if you improve in the practice of one principle, then the practice of other yamas and niyamas will also be improved.

For example, if you violate Satya by allowing yourself to lie, you will not be able to practice Ahimsa. Or, if you do not observe the principle of Saucha and pollute your body and mind, it will be difficult for you to practice Brahmacharya.

What Is Ishvara Pranidhana?

What Is Ishvara Pranidhana Image

Ishvara Pranidhana is the fifth niyama described Patanjali which means the contemplation of the Ishvara (God/Supreme Being, Brahman, True Self, Unchanging Reality), or attunement to the supreme consciousness.

Ishvara is a Sanskrit word that can be translated as “supreme, God, the Absolute Brahman, True Self, or Unchanging Reality”. Pranidhana means “dedication, devotion, or surrender”.

In the Upanishads, the word Isvara means “a state of collective consciousness”. In this sense, there isn’t a Godlike figure we are supposed to worship or devote our actions to, rather ‘God’ represents a state of collective consciousness, and therefore represents all of us too.

Thus, the fifth niyama teaches us to surrender to God or Higher self, meaning, cultivating a deep and trusting relationship with the universe and making each action an offering to something bigger than us.

A person who practices Ishvara Pranidhana, dedicates the merits of his actions to the Supreme, and coordinates every step he takes (all actions, thoughts, words) with the expediency for the benefit of spiritual development. He is not looking for personal gain, his actions are pure and sincere.

Thus, when we are talking about the practice of Ishvara Pranidhana, we mean our complete surrender to God (our own higher self). If we can dedicate our lives to serving the God that dwells within everything and everyone, we will move beyond all feelings of separateness and free ourselves from the dualistic mindset. If we can say without reservation, “I give You myself: my body, my mind, and my heart, to serve the Highest Good of all,” then we will be freed from the stress, anxiety, self-doubt, as well as from negative karma.

The Idea Of Surrendering

Dopamine happiness hormone image

In our modern society, the feelings of separateness and disconnection prevail. Ego and pride are people’s main motivators, and being strong and domineering over others are the main qualities of successful people. Most of us silently accepted that this is how life goes and there is nothing we can do about it. Our egos made us believe that we, human beings, are somehow in control of the universe. Therefore, the very idea of surrendering seems like something negative, as it implies a sort of weakness or defeat.

Our minds were programmed since ancient times that surrender means losing. This belief comes from military terminology where surrender means the opposition to the victory. And it makes sense since the very nature of any war or competition is built on duality. For us, human beings, it’s normal to see surrender as something bad because our minds are stuck in the duality and it’s hard to see something beyond these limited paradigms.

In spirituality, however, we don’t limit our beliefs with “right or wrong” labels. Instead, we are learning to see the hidden meanings of everything by overcoming the dualistic mindset. Thus, victory is attained as we willingly surrender our limited idea of who we are (i.e. our name, our jobs, our problems, etc.) and create the space needed to feel our true Self, our Divine Spark which is limitless.

Surrender requires self-discipline, trust, and faith. Ultimately it will take far more effort to cling to the smallness of the ego than it will surrender the Higher self.

Applying the Practice of Isvara Pranidhana to Life

#1: Examine your path

Isvara Pranidhana Definition Image

Start with introspection. Ask yourself what you are guided by in your life when you choose the path that you follow throughout your earthly incarnation. After all, intentions are the main criterion that reflects the sincerity of your actions, words, and thoughts.

Examine your path, the purpose you live for. Are your intentions dictated by ego, prestige, greed, or pride?

Think about your strongest motivation in life. Are you motivated by selfish motives? Or, is every action you do aim at improving this world, creating good, bringing light and love, joy and warmth to this world? Answer these questions honestly. What do you live for? A sincere answer to this question will clarify for you the meaning of your existence and direct you to the true path of life.

#2: Practice letting go and non-attachment

Letting go of the fruits of our actions and non-attachment are a focal point of the Bhagavad Gita

If we’ve put a lot of effort into something, we often get attached to a result of our actions. Questions like: “Will they like me?”, “What if I’m not good enough?”, “Will my project be successful?” are perfect examples of attachments to a result. All this worrying about things we have no control over is the main cause of our suffering.

Instead of worrying and focusing on the result, concentrate on the process and the idea of service – meaning, dedication of the process of doing to God. In this case, you’ll be fully engaged in the action without thinking about what might or might not happen.

The practice of surrendering requires us to acknowledge that we can do our very best in each situation, but we can’t really do any more than that. Realizing this simple truth essentially allows us to fully engage and be present in what we’re doing, bringing all our energy to the present moment and experiencing it fully just for what it is.

Such attitude to the process helps us to develop trust and faith that are essential for our spiritual development.

You can do the same action with or without God. However, when you’re doing it without God (guided by ego) you’re facing all kinds of challenges, obstacles, worries, and suffering. But when you’re acting with God (focusing on offering your action to the Divine), you know that any outcome is beneficial because this is what God wants. This approach gives you satisfaction with any result – because you have your trust and faith that whatever happens as a result of your actions is for the highest good for all.

#3: Stay open

Awakening during Brahma Muhurta hour image

In our daily life, Isvara Pranishana can be also seen as an opening up to what isThat is, instead of fighting against life’s twists and turns, you are remaining open to experiencing life as it unfolds.  

When we are remaining fixed and rigid in our conditioned patterns, habits, and limitations, we are doomed to a limited life. Whereas surrendering has an expansive nature that boosts your development. Surrendering is hugely challenging because it means transcending the ego, and the ego will do everything it can to stay in control over your mind.

Worries, conditioning, judgments, and perceptions are the “hooks” that the ego pulls us by. Without those “hooks” the ego would not exist. Therefore, it tries desperately to cling on when we work on quietening it.

Surrendering requires trust in the Universe and the courage to express ourselves for who we are, as we are. Each time we choose to surrender, we move closer to freedom. 

Conclusion

When we see ourselves as a part of one whole, we are no longer in the illusion of separation (duality). This leads to the emergence of healthy altruism towards all living beings and a sincere desire to share the divine light of our hearts, which becomes possible due to the disclosure of this light in our souls. When we observe the principle of Ishvara Pranidhana we become free from egoistic motivations in our behavior and in our activities.

  

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Personal Development

How To Stop Overthinking: 6 Effective Strategies

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how to stop overthinking image

Overthinking is a habit that if not taken under control can cause tremendous distress and suffering. When overthinking, our brain tries to convince us that all those worries and ruminations could be helpful. Many overthinkers have a firm belief that they can come up with a better solution or prevent themselves from making the same mistake if they spend more time thinking and analyzing. All these can lead to analysis paralysis which becomes a real problem. The more you think, the worse you feel. Overthinking often leads to anxiety, anger, frustration, fear, and other negative emotions that may cloud your judgment and prevent you from seeing the situation clearly. In this article, I want to share with you 6 effective tips on how to stop overthinking and take control of your mind.

What Is Overthinking?

Overthinking is basically what its name suggests – thinking too much. When you are going over the same thought, again and again, so that your brain becomes incapable of translating this thought into actions or positive outcomes. When you think about something too much or for too long, that you can’t get it out of your head and feel worried or stressed about it – this is overthinking.

Do you often worry about the future, catastrophic predictions about events that haven’t happened yet? Do you think with regret about your past, “should haves” and “could haves.” Do you fret over what others might think of you or let negative self-talk build up in your mind? These are examples of overthinking.

If you are one of those who tend to overthink an important decision, replaying all the options in your head, you may experience “paralysis by analysis”. You are so afraid of taking the wrong action, so you take no action at all.

Overthinking often leads to sleepless nights when your brain just won’t turn off, increased symptoms of depression, elevate your stress levels, and cloud your judgment. 

Common Types Of Overthinking

Common Types Of Overthinking Image

Nick Wignall, a clinical psychologist, suggests four common types of overthinking:

#1: Worry

This is one of the most common types of overthinking where we imagine possible problems or dangers in the future.

“Of course, anticipating problems or threats in the future is often a good thing to do! But helpful planning is different from unhelpful worry in that worry doesn’t actually lead to new information or insights that can be helpful. For example, your spouse is on a plane flight and you start worrying about different ways the plane could crash and kill your spouse. This kind of thinking doesn’t actually keep your spouse safe, plus it adds a lot of stress and anxiety to you.” – Nick Wignall

#2: Depressive Rumination

This type of overthinking is about replaying events from the past in an unhelpful way. A depressive rumination is a specific form of overthinking our own past mistakes or failures.

“As opposed to helpful reflection, depressive rumination is unproductive and doesn’t lead to anything but shame, guilt, and sadness at oneself. Depressive rumination is one of the key drivers of not only depression but also self-criticalness and low self-esteem.” – Nick Wignall

#3: Angry Rumination

This type of overthinking is similar to depressive rumination except the object of the overthinking is other people and their mistakes rather than yourself.

“For example, after a fight with your spouse, you find yourself replaying arguments you’ve had with them in the past and going over evidence of why you were right and they were wrong. Although it often feels good in the moment, angry rumination tends to lead to aggression, resentment, and distorted beliefs about other people in our lives.” – Nick Wignall

#4: Fix-It Mode

This type of overthinking happens when someone is sharing a painful or difficult experience with you and you have a hard time tolerating the anxiety that comes from hearing it. It affects you in a way that you begin thinking about best ways to fix the problem or do things differently.

“Fix-It Mode is a form of overthinking because you’re applying problem-solving-style thinking when what would be more helpful is to simply listen empathetically and validate the person’s difficulty rather than trying to fix it (and make yourself feel better in the process).” – Nick Wignall

Of course, there are many other types of overthinking. But the four listed tend to be the most common and often produce the most suffering.

Why Do We Overthink?

what is overthinking definition image

Often, the tendency to overthink roots in unhealed trauma or deep emotional issue. Here are the most common reasons why we overthink:

  • childhood trauma
  • obsessive desire to control the situation
  • intolerance of uncertainty and tendency to pretend that things are more predictable than they are
  • perfectionism (as intolerance of feeling less than perfect)
  • an excuse for procrastinating or avoiding decisions
  • you see everything as a problem to be solved with lots of thinking
  • excessive fear of conflict

Of course, there are many more reasons of overthinking. But the listed seven are some of the most common. The above causes are a good place to start if you want to stop overthinking.

How To Stop Overthinking?

Now let’s talk about how to stop overthinking. Here are six strategies that I find most effective.

#1: Identify the Emotions Behind Overthinking

First, try to identify what emotion is hiding behind your overthinking. For example, when you start overthinking by worrying about future events, it might be the case that overthinking is functioning to relieve or alleviate some anxiety you have about your future. Overthinking may temporarily distract you from your anxiety temporarily and give you the illusion of control in a short term. However, it’s not solving the problem but only makes it worse. Therefore, it’s essential to look for the emotions behind overthinking and ask yourself if there’s a better way to deal with them.

When you take time to identify your emotions and validate them, it helps you to become more productive in the long run.

#2: Challenge Negative Thoughts

Overthinking is often a response to feeling bad emotionally. But if you allow your negative thoughts to take control of your mind, you end up feeling even worse. It’s easy to get carried away with negative thoughts. The most effective way to switch the frequency of your thought patterns is to practice positive self-talk.

Next time when you start overthinking, pause for a moment and point out that your thinking is not entirely accurate. This simple technique will help you to achieve a more balanced and emotionally neutral way of thinking. With practice, you’ll learn to recognize and replace negative thinking patterns, before they work you up into complete insanity.

#3: Focus On Problem Solving

Overthinking your problems isn’t helpful – but looking for solutions is. If it’s something you have some control over, think about how you can prevent the problem or challenge yourself to identify a couple of potential solutions. If it’s something you have no control over – think about the strategies you can use to cope with it. Instead of overthinking your problems, focus on the things you can control, like your attitude and your effort.

#4: Schedule Time For Reflection

Instead of dwelling on your problems for long periods of time, try to take a brief reflection on them. Constructive reflection can help you to see more clearly how you could do things differently, recognize potential pitfalls to your plan, and perform better in the future.

For example, you could schedule 10 minutes of “thinking time”. During that time period let yourself think, analyze, or mull over whatever you want. But when your time is up, move onto something else. And when you start overthinking things outside of your scheduled thinking time, simply remind yourself that you’ll need to wait until your next “thinking time” session to address those issues in your mind.

You can’t simply make yourself stop worrying. But this simple strategy will train your mind to do it at the right time.

#5: Change Your Activity

If you can’t make yourself stop thinking about something, try to change your activity. Things like exercising, engaging in conversation on a completely different subject, or working on a project can help you to switch the focus of your attention and stop overthinking. Doing something different will put an end to the negative internal dialogue.

#6: Practice Mindfulness

mindfulness practice image

The mindfulness practice will help you to train yourself to be aware of things without thinking about them. By practicing mindfulness we become able to notice when negative thought patterns arise and shift our attention out of thinking mode and into awareness mode.

You can start practicing mindfulness by simply paying attention to the experience of every activity during daily life rather than thinking about it. Or, you can practice mindfulness meditation. For doing it, simply sit down, close your eyes, and focus on your breath for 20 minutes.

The Bottom Line

Overthinking takes a lot of energy. It takes away your inner peace and harmony. But the good news is that overthinking is a habit and habits can be broken with the right approach and enough patience. If you want to stop overthinking, the key is to understand why you do it and then implement the strategies to eliminate it.

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Inspirational quotes

30 Old Soul Quotes To Better Understand Your Spiritual Nature

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Old Soul Quotes Image

Being an old soul refers to how you view and approach life. Usually, old souls look at life through a vignette of experiences they may not have lived during this lifetime, yet, but somehow, just seem to know. If you feel like you’ve lived before, and you have wisdom you can’t explain, you could be an old soul. Whether you’re an old soul or not, our collection of 30 old soul quotes could be relatable to you or some of your friends and family. When reading through these old soul quotes you may start recognizing yourself (or someone you know) and understand your (or someone’s) spiritual nature better.

Here they are 30 insightful old soul quotes!

30 Old Soul Quotes

#1

old soul quote image

“There is a beautiful thing inside you that is thousands of years old. Too old to be captured in poems. Too old to be loved by everyone but loved so very deeply by a chosen few.” ~ Nikita Gill

#2

“The Old Soul is more inclined to be a lifelong learner, constantly feeding his thirst for insight through his own persistent efforts. His learning has not been forced into him through education or learned out of obligation, but has been absorbed out of curiosity and personal choice.” ~ Aletheia Luna

#3

“She’s an old soul with young eyes, a vintage heart, and a beautiful mind.” ~ Nicole Lyons

#4

“Old souls are humble enough to acknowledge that life is random and surprising, but are comforted by the fact that they can always choose how to react from what happens. And the ability to reflect on one’s life is an absolute must. As an old soul, you know that it’s up to you to make it through this life in one piece. And you ensure that you take time everyday to reflect on what has transpired in order to learn about how you can move forward in life.” ~ Lachlan Brown

#5

“My heart is a thousand years old. I am not like other people.” ~ Charles Bukowski

#6

“Old souls come into this life with an agenda to experience and complete karma, while new souls want to make form out of light, and experience what it’s like to be a being in a body. As such, the new souls’ experience is a bit more lighthearted, where being an old soul can feel heavy. But in addition to that, because the old soul comes to this life with more experience and understanding, they’re able to handle obstacles and challenges with greater clarity.” ~ Randi Merzon

#7

“As an old soul, you get tired out around people quite easily. Some old souls would identify as introverts, but it’s more than that: if you are an old soul, you feel like both your body, mind, and soul need rest. This is probably why you love taking breaks from everything and everyone. From time to time, you like going somewhere different, where no one knows you, and you like to rejuvenate your energy with the unknown or with nature.” ~ Lachlan Brown

#8

starseeds quotes image

“I don’t belong on earth, my soul is from the stars. I’m visiting this planet for a while so I can help people listen to their hearts.” ~ Nikki Rowe

#9

“There is a special kind of person in our world who finds himself alone and isolated, almost since birth. His solitary existence isn’t from a preference or antisocial temperament– he is simply old. Old in heart, old in mind, and old in soul, this person who finds his outlook on life vastly different and more matured than those around him.” ~ Alethia Luna

#10

“No one enjoys being a newbie, but in fact, the benefit of being a new soul is that they carry around a lot less karma.” ~ Randi Merzon

#11

“Some people say an old soul is simply more mature than those around them. But that doesn’t tell the full story. An old soul creates their own path while the rest of society follow each other like sheep. Banality and toxic energy are non-existent in an old soul’s life. Instead, an old soul questions conventional wisdom and critically thinks for themselves. They’re not concerned with gossiping or making money. They want to understand more about life and what makes the universe tick. ~ Lachlan Brown

#12

“Anyone who takes the time to attentively listen is either an old soul or a romantic one.” ~ Richelle E. Goodrich

#13

“Be grateful if you look younger than your age while also being wiser than many of your contemporaries. It means the fire of your Old Soul is alive and well. Embrace it. Surround yourself with those who celebrate this fiery Light shining bright out of your soul; those who are summoned to fan your glimmering flames and dance within them. Embrace them.” ~ Omar Cherif

#14

“Old souls are misunderstood for several things. For possibly appearing standoffish. For their desire to be alone — read, introvert. For acting withdrawn. They are deep thinkers. They could be considered daydreamers. And more often than not, when they speak, the attention quickly and quietly moves to them because you know they’ve been waiting for just the right time to say just the right, meaningful thing.” ~ Kym Klass

Old Soul Quotes

#15

quotes about old soul image

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” ~ Satchel Paige

#16

“If you are an old soul, it’s likely that you have been referred to as more mature than your friends, even from a young age. You might have always felt like you were a bit older, not just physically, but mentally. Perhaps you didn’t always get along with people your own age because you were seeing things from a different perspective. And how they see things seem short-sighted to you. It can even put you off when people can’t look at the bigger picture. It can be difficult when you are young and don’t understand why you are different, but as you age, it becomes more clear that you meant to be this way. Being an old soul is a gift, not a curse.” ~ Lachlan Brown

#17

“Innately, the Old Soul carries a sense of world-wariness as he stands on the outside, looking in. As an observer, the Old Soul like the Steppenwolf feels an all-pervading sense of alienation. He is the ultimate Outsider who is both in the world, but not quite of the world at the same time.” ~ Aletheia Luna

#18

“Old souls are givers — but they don’t do this for attention. Rather, it is something that has been ingrained in them from the beginning. They’ve just always known it is better to give. And they do that with passion.” ~ Kym Klass

#19

“Many people are drawn to old souls, for they radiate a sense of peacefulness and inner strength that is captivating and reassuring.” ~ Carla Marie Manly

#20

“People who have old souls don’t require outside validation of their worth or value. A lot of people turn to others, the internet, their jobs, or another outside source of validation to make meaning in their lives, but as an old soul, you see the value of your experiences and what you bring to the table so there’s no need to exhaust your efforts in those areas.” ~ Lachlan Brown

#21

“The concept of the old soul is inspired by the idea that our bodies are containers for spirit, and an old soul is someone who continues to reincarnate in order to heal or complete karmic agreements.” ~ Randi Merzon

#22

soul quotes

“The reason old souls enjoy spending time alone is because they never really are.” ~ Unknown

#23

“A new soul wants to be fresh and new and maybe have a more hedonistic lifestyle, while an old soul wants to go into the depths and learn. Old souls may also feel somewhat isolated, as they can see through much of the illusion and separation in modern culture.” ~ Karen Brailsford

#24

“In a world of sensationalized automated newsfeeds and fake news, old souls are now more needed than ever.”

#25

“People who have old souls are often found at home. It is where they feel safe and secure. It’s where they are happiest. People who have old souls don’t have to look far outside themselves to find what really makes them happy. And if you find yourself bound to home as much as possible, then you’re definitely an old soul. There is nothing more restful than being in your favorite couch, tucked under a blanket, and simply enjoying the comforts of the place you made for yourself.” ~ Lachlan Brown

#26

“When we talk about ‘old souls’ in the realm of psychology, we are often referring to those individuals who seem to have inherent wisdom and a grounded sense of being in the world—often far more than would be expected for someone their age.” ~ Carla Marie Manly

#27

“Old souls are certainly introspective, but they don’t only think about themselves; they’re known to be thoughtful in a broader way, and they enjoy collecting, connecting, appreciating, and learning. Despite perhaps coming across as all-knowing, an old soul is keenly aware that they’re a student of the universe, not a teacher. Given this truth, it’s clear that old souls are more interested in the depth of a story than the superficial details.” ~ Mary Grace Garis

#28

“Old souls know that there’s always more than one way to look at something, and they can put themselves in someone else’s shoes. That doesn’t mean you always agree with the person you’re talking to – but you do find it easy to understand their perspective. This ability to see both sides of an issue makes old souls fair-minded – rather than just going with their gut, they make decisions based on carefully accumulated facts and opinions. The downside? Old souls often appear uncommitted to their own point of view. If people accuse you of being changeable, just keep in mind that what you are is rare. Not everyone will see what you offer, but your ability to see others’ perspectives benefits everyone.” ~ Jen Hubley Luckwaldt

Old Soul Quotes & Sayings

#29

deep sayings about introverts image

“Old souls are picky with people they choose to spend time with. They don’t like superficial relationships. So they would rather be alone than to be with people they don’t relate with. As a result, they are often seen alone.” ~ Lachlan Brown

#30

“Old souls serve a wonderful purpose here on Earth. We use our wisdom that we have attained through many lifetimes to pass down to others, so that we may have a peaceful, happier world. We see life differently than most people and have a unique sense of how to approach the world with an open mind, and a strong will that keeps us grounded in our convictions. An old soul sees through ancient eyes and understands with an ancient heart.” ~ Aurora Eliam

Please feel free to share our collection of old soul quotes on your Social media to inspire others!

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