Women and Spirituality: An Interview with Dr. Elizabeth Denley of #Heartfulness (Part – 2)
“Please join us in the 2016 #Heartfulness Meditation Conference in the USA. If you are a World Moms Blog contributor, or reader, or fan, please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a free pass.”
Part – 1 of Dr. Elizabeth Denley’s (Trainer, Heartfulness Institute) interview is published here. Part – 2 is below.
Our Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan in India recently interviewed Dr. Denley for World Moms Blog.
Purnima Ramakrishnan: Generally women are very emotional people, how to ignore that, when trying to become more spiritual, or tuned within into the heart?
Dr. Elizabeth Denley: You are right. I noticed a huge change in myself. I think the practice itself is the solution for this. It is in our nature to easily get hurt by what other people do. We easily feel the pains of our children; we worry about them, when they are struggling as teenagers, when they are facing peer pressure. If our husbands have problems at work, we carry them, just like we do for ours. We have hormonal cycles. Our monthly cycles affect our emotions. All these things are there.
In Heartfulness Meditation, we have this process called “cleaning”, I read this article written by one of your writers, Sophia from USA about the benefits of Heartfulness Guided Cleaning process. This cleaning process can be at the end of the day. I became an ace cleaner. And I am glad.
We also clean out emotional responses. If one hangs on to self pity, worry, hurt, it eats her up. What we do is, we recognise our emotional responses, and we let them pass. Worry, anxiety, hormonal changes you cannot switch it off. So, observe it. Clean it. Relax, breathe. Just take a pause.
A point comes in the spiritual journey of a human being, where work is done on the spiritual anatomy of the heart. At that time, these things do not have the same impact. One has more poise, and a more balanced way of responding to the world.
I do get angry, but the intensity is lesser these days. I am able to manage it better. All this has happened as a result of the practice of meditation and the cleaning process.
PR: How does spirituality empower women?
ED: I was part of the feminist movement in the 70s in Australia. When I came back to Australia, I was active in the government funded women’s health centres and extremely involved in women and their roles in modern western society. A similar wave is happening in India, right now, as I can see. Young women are getting educated; they are having careers, balancing family, and trying to live a fulfilled life.
What is feminism?
I think it is the ability to love, ability to create harmony, in the family, and country. Masculine roles are much more assertive. Getting ‘there’ and achieving in an ego driven way, whereas female role in any organization is a harmonizing role.
I don’t mean women can’t or should not do. I mean that they can do much more effectively. The feminine way of coordinating, harmonizing, unifying, of loving, that is one of the important roles of feminine, I think so. Women have a huge role to play in society.
Once we start valuing these important qualities in ourselves as women, the society starts valuing us. Mother is the glue in a family. Behind a man is a successful woman. A CEO in an organization, or a school, org, or an Institute – everywhere there are these Hidden roles! They may not necessarily be at the top or forefront. A woman has to value this unique quality in her. When she starts valuing herself, everyone around her starts valuing her too.
Society functions most effectively when man and woman harmonize and support each other, when they complement each other, rather than see each other as competitors, as more empowered or less empowered comparatively.
A work place has to have a nice balance between men and women. Men and women need to be there for each other. The education system has many teachers as women. They support each other. A school system is always a strong unit. The corporate sector is slowly catching up with this. So these are some examples of the importance of female role.
Now this word “empowering” is to allow a woman to feel good about the feminine, instead of making her feel bad about being born as a woman. But if it is sense of power, then we are barking up a wrong tree. This sense of “empowerment” is wrong for men too.
According to me, to have “power”, that is to control or influence others is not the way forward to humanity. To do that would be a destructive way forward. The masculine way forward was like that, and the feminist movement happened because of that.
So, I think empowering women is to bring back the balance, to value, to cherish, to support and complement the female roles in all cultures, society.
For example, somebody should not be embarrassed to say she is a housewife. That is a sad thing to happen. Women raising children and supporting her husband is as important a role, to being a CEO of an organization. Raising kids is the future of humanity.
Until we start to change our viewpoints, we are not empowering women.
PR: What is the role of women in spirituality with regards to her family, community and society? And how to fulfil that?
ED: Spirituality is nothing but giving. Creating unity, harmony and love are associated with spirituality. As a mother, we always give. It is our function. How can u have children and not give? Even to bear a child, you give up your individuality. You wake up in the middle of the night, EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT, to feed your baby. You don’t sacrifice. It is a natural part of giving. We do everything to support the child.
This is spirituality. We are in a better place than our brothers to embrace spirituality – to give unconditionally, and with love.
PR: How to strike a balance between being confident and feeling serene and content within?
ED: In spirituality we are interested in excelling. We do everything we would like to do. We don’t want overconfidence. We don’t want egotism. Humility is important for spiritual growth. Humility is not feeling bad about oneself. What I mean is, “I see my place in the world. There are other people who are greater. Everyone has their place.” A garden has many flowers, not just one.
Humility is that little plant or flower knowing that there are other beautiful things too, but nevertheless its presence also makes the garden beautiful. So humility brings its own confidence. With an attitude to wonder, a willingness to grow and change, one gets a joyous confidence that the universe will teach me what I have to learn.When I integrate confidence and humility, I can do the best I can, at all times.
PR: If there is one message you would like to share with women who have started practising Heartfulness Meditation, what would that be?
ED: Take interest! That is the most important thing. You can find solutions for anything when you are interested. Evolve to become a better mother, a wife, a human being. You, as a group of women are taking so much interest in maintaining this blog, and unifying women across the world, and you contribute with your interest and energy. It is so popular, and there are so many women looking up to it, learning through it, and it is changing lives of women across the world. So, interest is the most important thing.
Take interest in Heartfulness Meditation, and observe it changing your lives.
If you would like to meet Dr. Denley, you can connect with her through social media, email her or meet her in person at any of the US Heartfulness conferences coming up in June! She is chairing one of the breakout sessions in Detroit and will speak about “Heartfulness Education for Creating a Resilient, Well-Grounded Student.” She will interact with the audience and outline the educational initiatives of the Heartfulness Movement, such as the Conscious Living Program, U-Connect etc., and their impact so far.
A limited number of free seats to the Heartfulness conferences are available to contributors and fans of World Moms Blog. You can register here! http://conference.heartfulnessinstitute.org/register
Please contact us (email@example.com) for a free pass.
This is an original interview of Dr. Elizabeth Denley to World Moms Blog by Senior Editor, Purnima Ramakrishnan.
Photo Credit: Heartfulness Institute