Ananda is the Sanskrit word for bliss – the highest level of inner peace. According to Hindu philosophy, Ananda is the state of blissful delight when the yogi becomes free from all doubts, desires, pains, sufferings and also from all physical and mental ordinary pleasures. In the spiritual world Ananda is the pure and unqualified bliss reached through union with the highest Self, our truest intention. Ananda refers to the deeper dimension of contentment, not just a higher degree of the joys that we normally experience in life. Those who have that inner Ananda cannot be disturbed by sorrow or pain of the body nor the mind.
Ananda in this true higher sense is not an experience of the mind. Ananda is only possible when we go beyond the mind which is often full of turbulence and sorrow. A focus on controlling our thoughts and propping up our own egos never brings us long lasting happiness. The mind may try to pursue happiness like when we buy things on Black Friday or when posting how great we are on social media, but Ananda extends far past these shallow intentions. Only disconnection from these everyday attempts at happiness and finding thought free awareness can bring us true peace.
Ananda is achieved through meditation which quiets the body and the restless mind. Ananda practice is more beneficial after a person has established a deep, regular meditation practice which can enhance one’s spiritual healing journey. The practice of Ananda can increase our spirituality as we take time to reflect on what is truly important to us and all we have to be grateful for. As we open our minds and hearts to spirituality, we can tap into the healing power that comes with it. Ananda yoga in particular gives the gift of a calm mind, even in the midst of chaos, by teaching us to let go and bring awareness to every moment. Regular practice of Ananda allows us to understand our essential spiritual nature which results in our lives becoming more joyful, meaningful, and carefree.
Joslyn Shehab, M.D., RYT-200