The Exercises of Love and Happiness

Ashok Ojha

The importance and usefulness of keeping the mind, body and soul healthy have been emphasized by physicians and spiritual gurus alike. Yoga and meditation are widely used to improve the physical and mental health. It is no secret that positive thoughts bring a smile to our faces and keep us free from depression. In order to improve our physical and spiritual well-being, these two books illustrate how to use breathing exercises and experience bliss by practicing love in our daily lives.

Let love be the guiding force of your life

David Simon, the author of Free to Love, Free to Heal: Heal Your Body by Healing Your Emotions, reminds us of the power of love. He focuses on the importance of living a life full of love and free from negative thoughts. He quotes his guru, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, who had said, “Every moment of life is precious. Don’t think of yourself as weak and fallen. Apply yourself to action fit for human.”

Simon emphasizes that ill feelings for others are detrimental to our physical and emotional well-being. The book explores the spiritual meaning of love and tries to convince the reader that love can be the source of happiness. To start with, the author asks the readers to first believe in happiness and then choose the path of love.

“The anger, hostility and resentment you believe you are directing to another, only hurts your own heart. When we move from a state of constriction to expansion, we begin to see love not as a sentiment or emotion but as a practice that benefits both the lover and the beloved,” David Simon advises.

Simon quotes the wise sages: “The world is in need of love. Radiate the light of love to all those around you. No impulse of love is wasted. Rejoice in your state of lovingness. No matter what happened in your past, you have an infinite capacity for love. Use it, for your own sake and for the sake of this precious world.” The author encourages readers to practice yogic postures. He advises that we honor the wisdom of the body by listening to its signals of comfort and discomfort.

Connecting with the inner self through breathing

Breathing is referred to as “Prana,” the notion of vital, life-sustaining force of living beings in the Vedic philosophy. For centuries, many spiritual paths explored the truth of life that flowed through breathing. Many Eastern traditions were founded to discover the truth of life. In Indian tradition, the use of breath in controlled ways has been the source of yogic practices that helps one to connect with the deeper consciousness of the body.

Dennis Lewis, in his book, Breathe into Being: Awakening to Who You Really Are, uses this age old concept to touch the body’s parts and organs through various poses and silence. The book teaches transformative power of presence through authentic breathing, Qigong, meditation, and self-inquiry. Each chapter of the book contains a specific practice –whether it is a practice of pondering or experimenting with your breath. He discusses the techniques of meditation. The author leads readers to experience dimensions of awareness. “Breathing can create conditions in which awareness of comfort and openness is experienced. In this process, the practitioner’s own consciousness and inner sincerity is used as a guide,” he says.

Taoism, Advaita and Gurdjieff ’s work are a few such traditions in which Dennis Lewis seems to be immersed in. As a result of his engagement with a variety of schools of thought, Lewis has reproduced his experience in this book, which he claims can “awaken a larger mental perspective of the reader to receive new, direct impressions of the truth of life.”

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