Neeraj Rai is a new age spiritual author who takes up spirituality with modern outlook. By profession, he is in government service. He was born in a farmer family in a small village in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Since the early stage of his life, questions such as what is the purpose of life? Why he has come into this world? What is the deeper meaning of his life? etc started bothering him but he could not find any answer. He tried to search it in various theories of Science and Philosophy but all went in vain. His inner struggle and search for the truth ultimately led him to the spiritual path and at the age of 32, he started his pursuit of spirituality.
During his strive and struggle, one day he encountered a very strange experience. In the state of meditation, he lost his sense of “I”. He experienced that “I” was just a deep-rooted thought which was disappeared. He was observing his own thoughts and feelings as a distant and independent observer and there was no reference point as an individual “I”. That was a very liberating and insightful experience which transformed his life.
He realized that self-identity is just an illusion which enslaves and keeps human beings imprisoned in a false sense of fear and limitations. He discovered that there is an identity-free superhero hidden within every human being who has no fear and knows no limits. Neeraj Rai considers life as a precious gift of God and believes in exploring avenues of life, again and again, to live it to its full potential. Apart from his deep interests in spirituality and meditation, he also loves nature, adventure, photography and long drives.
His interest is in discovering how spirituality can help people in their endeavor to grow in outer world and in living a joyful and fulfilling life. He believes that spiritual growth gives clarity, inner empowerment and inner fullness which helps to grow in outer world as well as in living an empowered, purposeful and fulfilling life.
He is on a mission to help new generation to grow spiritually and discover their inner superhero.
TBE: Can you tell us a little about your new book, ‘The Power Of Awakened Mind’? What prompted you to write this? How did you get the idea for this book?
Neeraj Rai: The Power of Awakened Mind’ is about spirituality and higher dimensions of mind and shares direct techniques to discover our true spiritual Self which is heroic in nature. The inspiration to write this book originated from my own journey of struggle, quest and spiritual transformation mentioned above.
TBE: In the book, you talk a lot about “Higher Mind”. Please explain what you mean by this state of mind.
Neeraj Rai: From childhood various kinds of memories and identities start internalizing in our mind with certain interpretations influenced by family and society. So, by the time one grows up, mind accumulates and internalizes lots of external contents and becomes highly conditioned.
In order to not get trapped in our own mind and become master of it, we need to understand functioning of our own mind. I have explained three aspects of mind – Thinking Mind, Feeling Mind and Higher Mind. Thinking and Feeling Mind is result of various accumulations and interpretations and is worldly made while Higher Mind is pure intelligence and impersonal in nature.
Once you raise above your Thinking and Feeling Mind and tap in to dimensions of Higher Mind, you start getting access to many superior qualities such as inspiration and guidance from universe, resonance with cosmic mind, higher knowledge downloading, enhanced intuitions, manifestation of intentions, etc. Higher Mind gets developed through contemplation and self-reflection.
TBE: Let’s talk about the goal. If ‘awakened mind’ means recognizing being conscious as our inner purpose and living accordingly, does it encourage passivity by making specific life goals irrelevant at the most important level?
Neeraj Rai: At fundamental level, awakening results transformation in self-perception. Once, Self recognizes its true nature as complete and unaffected by any happening or non-happening in worldly, physical and psychological realm, and get stabilized in its true nature, it is difficult to predict how Self would respond to outer realities.
Many Self-realized beings choose seclusion while many becomes very active in the world to serve other people. This is something like being aware about dreaming while dreaming and having choice to create your dream. Then it is difficult to predict how someone would respond to that dreaming. Someone may choose to not respond to dreams at all while someone may choose to do adventure with dreams. None of the choice can be said right or wrong because ultimately none of those choices make any difference to the dreamer.
TBE: What changes for people in their day-to-day lives when they begin to walk on the route to enlightenment? What are the consequences of this realization?
Neeraj Rai: After awakening, you rise above social conditioning, your worldly identities, physicality and psychology. You become fearless from inside, gain 360° clarity on various dimensions of life, get access to many superior mental qualities, gain ability to experiment and play with life without being affected by their consequences. All these changes combined together, transform and enhance every dimension of your life.
TBE: For those who have no experience of inner awareness, or are confused by the notion of the present moment being the doorway to self-realization, is there a way in which they can glimpse this reality?
Neeraj Rai: As we wake up in the morning, various kinds of thoughts occupy our mind and keep occupied whole day until we sleep again. So, we hardly have experience of state our being without thoughts.
If somehow one can halt thinking process for few moments and can observe the remaining state of being, one can have glimpse of the state of pure being. But for beginner, it would seem useless state because as thinking process stops, everything disappears and only a blank awareness remains.
Since, due to deep conditioning, one’s sense of Self remains deeply identifies with thinking and psychological process so when thinking process halts, one feels loss of sense of Self and it makes uncomfortable. But, if one can flip one’s understanding that everything is happening just in thoughts and is not a solid reality.
And if one can see that beyond thoughts there is a self-fulfilled pure awareness which is there all the time and is unaffected by anything happening in thoughts, then one can understand the point. But, glimpse of real Self-realization is not possible until it actually happens. Because upon Self-realization, the sense of Self itself flips from thinking and psychological process to pure awareness.
After such transformation in the sense of Self, pure awareness becomes natural state of Self and thinking and psychological activities happens as per external needs with choice.
TBE: In modern times, people often are given medications to calm and quiet their racing minds. The medications almost force people into the present moment, albeit a dulled present moment. I wonder what the impact of such medicine is on the spiritual dimension of people’s lives. Is it positive or negative, what do you think?
Neeraj Rai: Having a well-developed thinking mind is a privilege which makes human race distinguished from other life forms on this planet. Due to developed thinking faculty we can better solve many problems than other life forms.
So, making thinking process dull is not a good idea. It becomes problematic only when we have no control over our thinking process. Making one’s mind dull through medication may be a temporary relief from the suffering of racing mind but it is not of any use for spiritual growth.
Self is very abstract and subtle reality which can be recognized and grasped only by a well-developed and fully conscious mind which can contemplation, self-reflect and can make reason which is not possible when mind is in dull state. This is the reason why children do not become self-realized although they remain in the present moment.
TBE: Most people define happiness as depending on certain external circumstances or conditions. How do you define happiness?
Neeraj Rai: The root cause of dependence of happiness on external circumstances or conditions is false self-perception. If someone feels that external circumstances or conditions will add something or will damage something of him, one is bound to be happy and sad as per external circumstances or conditions. This is how most of the people live their life. But this is very tiresome task because no one can make all the conditions of life in one’s favor.
Even if one become successful to create some favorable conditions, one will fear to lose them. Moreover, it is impossible to keep them in favor forever because they are bound to change sooner or later. So, ordinary people live happiness in bit and pieces.
While profound joy is our own nature which is unaffected by any external circumstance or condition but such everlasting joy become available to only those people who discover their true Self. This is the reason why only Self-realized people enjoy such unconditional joy.
TBE: Why is stress so common, and what are the consequences of people living stress-based lives?
Neeraj Rai: I distinguish mental tiredness and stress. As our work has shifted from manual to mental and our working activities have also increased to fulfill our increasing financial needs, mental tiredness is very natural. It is just like our body getting tired when we do more physical work. But mental tiredness is not a big problem. Tired mind would become fresh once one takes proper rest and sleep.
While mental stress arises due to some inner conflict. The cause of such inner conflict may be internal or external. One very common cause of increasing stress is increasing pressure. Nowadays, due to substantial increase in business and professional activities people are facing various kinds of pressure – the pressure to yield results, the pressure to fulfill various commitments, the pressure to survive in competition, the pressure of financial losses, etc. There are many consequences of living stress-based life – adversely affects physical health, emotional well-being, family and social relationships, spiritual growth.
I do not advocate to go back because as human race we always evolve. So, I advocate to manage this challenge by rejuvenating one’s mind through integrating 10-15 minutes meditation and solitude in daily routine in short term and growing spiritually in long term.
TBE: What would be the number one piece of advice you’d give to someone who is currently struggling with life?
Neeraj Rai: I would like to remind such people that your struggle is an opportunity to learn few lessons. Sit down comfortably for some time with closed eyes. Take deep breath and let your mind relax. Then ask a question from yourself internally – what lesson I need to learn from my struggle? And keep quiet.
You will find your way. If you do not find anything in one attempt, repeat this process in few more sittings. The moment you will find your way, the challenge may remain there but you would not be struggling. Always remember that many unseen powers are trying to make you look forward and move further. The day you will decide to look forward and move ahead, you will also start getting unpredictable helps and support.
TBE: Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?
Neeraj Rai: Yes. Presently, I am working on my second book. This book is about how ‘awareness of impermanence of life’ helps to be a better person and live a more meaningful and fulfilling life. I hope this would be an engaging and transformative book for many readers.