A Review by – John D. Carter PhD,
Kamlesh D. Patel’s work, The Heartfulness Way, will be of interest to anyone wanting to live their life focused upon, “What really matters”. While acknowledging that everything matters Kamlesh, affectionately addressed as
‘Daaji’, identifies what he believes matters most to seekers interested in their spiritual development and in living life to the fullest.
Through a process of question and answer with seeker Joshua Pollock, Daaji brilliantly addresses the tension that exists between our internal operating system that is ego driven and our internal operating system that is a manifestation of Divine Energy. These two orientations are presented as needing to be in balance rather than seen as a binary choice. The implicit and underlying message of the book is that Harmony is possible. The peace and union we seek is within us and accessible with correct practice.
The Heartfulness Way assumes that we all practice and we all meditate. Using simple and easy to understand examples, Daaji illustrates movement through the typical stages of human development and what matters in each stage. He addresses how to orient oneself and how orientation impacts awareness. He speaks to the importance of addressing with awareness and choice what appear as conflicts in our everyday lives. Union, cohesion, harmony and peace emerge from healthy orientation and resolution of choices. The body, mind and spirit, according to Daaji, is self-correcting when there is balance and connection to the Source.
This book is a must read for individuals interested in enriching their meditation practice and their experience of living life.
(John D. Carter PhD, is the author of Making A Difference with Your Presence, president of the Gestalt OSD Center, and recipient of two Lifetime Achievement Awards for contributions to the field of applied behavioral sciences.)
A Review by – Jens Gnaur
The long-awaited publication of the book “The Heartfulness Way” by Kamlesh D. Patel and Joshua Pollock fills a gap in the vast body of world literature on meditation, yoga, spirituality, human well-being, lifestyle, etc., as one of the first books in the book-market which deals explicitly with the subject of heartfulness aimed at 21st century readers.
Heartfulness is intrinsically associated with the growing contemporary interest in spirituality throughout the world; but it has ancient origins in the spiritual traditions of East and West.
In the ancient Upanishads (800-400 BC.), the earliest existing corpus of spiritual literature in the world, the heart is associated with our innermost essence, the human Soul. In the classical work on Yoga, the Yoga Sutras, the author, Patanjali, recommends meditation on light in the heart. The Christian contemplatives in their love for God and humanity epitomized a “way of the heart.” The poetry of the great Sufi Master, Rumi, abounds in references to the heart.
In our own time the heart holds a unique position in the teachings of the great Master of Raja Yoga (meditation-based Yoga), Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur, who, inspired by his own Master, first introduced a systematic heartfulness way, or, as he called it, natural way, based on meditation on the heart and a heartful approach to life and inner transformation.
A heartful approach to life with its emphasis on selflessness, generosity, love and wisdom is much needed in all of life’s spheres. The heartfulness way as it is presented in this inspiring book is particularly tuned to modern life, because it is natural, forceless and intuitive. It can be followed while working, socializing, relaxing, and even sleeping, on the basis of a simple practice of meditation, cleaning of the mind, prayer and remembrance.
The Heartfulness Way elucidates how by meditation we shall be able effortlessly and naturally to still the mind and discover the unchangeable eternal source of existence within our own hearts. The inner transformation resulting from heartfulness practice can lead us to a more balanced existence, not only benefitting ourselves, but also people around us.
Although aimed at a modern audience the “The Heartfulness Way” adopts the ancient form of dialogue between spiritual teacher and disciple to convey its exploration into the subject of heartfulness.
The book demonstrates how dialogue enables an informal and accessible approach to the topic of spirituality by using language which is adapted to the questioner’s perceptions and understanding. The inquirer represents all of us, the readers. The style is an invitation to participate. From the outset, when we begin to read The Heartfulness Way, we feel comfortable and welcome, almost as if we are in the same room in which the dialogue unfolds.
Kamlesh D. Patel, who is the fourth in the now century-old lineage of heartfulness masters, throughout the book uses beautiful imagery, parables and evocative stories to explain the profound wisdom of heartfulness, just like the sages of the Upanishads did. But it is imagery, parables and stories with which the modern reader can immediately identify. In this way the authors succeed in positioning heartfulness within the context of our daily lives.
The Heartfulness Way is divided into three parts and six chapters plus the conclusion. The Conclusion with a personal touch beautifully sums up the essence of heartfulness and of the book. And the present reviewer is tempted to recommend that the reader starts by reading the Conclusion, reverting to it again at the end.
The first part of the book explores the subject of meditation in a general way, emphasizing that meditation is effortless focus rather than concentration. It explains how in life we are often caught in a “cycle of desire and fulfilment” and are trapped in “loops of thought that are not useful.” Meditation works in us on a deeper level, removes our resistance to change and makes the heart peaceful and compassionate. It regulates the mind by orienting it towards the ultimate Source.
Kamlesh Patel in a refreshing and insightful way examines each of the traditional eight steps of classical Yoga. His interpretation of the state of Samadhi as “original balance” is noteworthy, as is his emphasis on attitudes and feeling, his explanation of the complementariness of Bhakti-, Karma-, and Jnana Yoga, and his elucidation of yogic transmission and its profound importance for spiritual development.
The second part of the book is about the fundamentals of heartfulness practice, i.e. the relaxation exercise, meditation, cleaning, and prayer. It provides the rationale behind each practice, explains difficult or controversial points, and gives detailed directions for how to practice. It emphasizes throughout the subtleness of the transformational process and the effectiveness of light suggestion rather than force.
The third and final part of the book clarifies the role of the Guru, or spiritual teacher, in a quite unconventional way, as someone who, almost insignificant, without showing off, in response to our own endeavour, works in subtle ways for our transformation.
The special quality of The Heartfulness Way is in its lucid, down to earth, sometimes poetic and always relevant and inspiring way of explaining the subtle points of spirituality from the point of view of the reader’s reality and contemporary context.
The book is a “must read” for all seekers of Reality and inner transformation.
(Jens Gnaur, a development consultant by profession, has practised heartfulness meditation since 1972, initially under the guidance of Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur. Spiritual philosophy is a major preoccupation of his and he regularly conducts workshops on spiritual topics associated with heartfulness practise. Jens has degrees from Copenhagen University in comparative religion and Indian culture and is the author of the recently published book: “Being One: the vision and way of the Bhagavad Gita.”)