Wednesday, May 4, 2022

30 seconds to midnight

 It's the time again when all at home have gone to sleep and I come to my desk to pen few thoughts. I switch the table lamp on, look for my favorite pen from the pen stand, pull my diary out from the pile of book and notepads kept on the left side of my table.


The day was a hectic run as usual. I open my diary, flip the pages to reach to the bookmarked section and the page opens with today's date written on the right side corner. I look at the date and I wonder to myself "oh the first quarter of the year has already gone by".

I rub my tired eyes with both my palms, give it a light massage in circular rounds and keep my hands over it for a minute to give my eyes the warmth of my palm. My body is tired and so is my mind but for some reason refusing to accept it. It seems like still it has the world of energy to go wandering every possible corner, as if hunting for that one answer that would make it happy and it would go happily to sleep after that.

With the page in my diary open and my pen kept between the pages, I push back on the chair, lean back for support, take both my hands folded back to my head to give it a little rest. As I close my eyes, the happenings of the day goes through a jet speed movie flash. I am sitting with all the material comfort that I need, the day also went perfect but why are the gaps of ending it as a "happy day"  so large and huge inside my head.

Inspite of having an all task accomplished day "why was I not happy" - was possibly the question that my mind was still on a case to find out. "After all what does the mind want to really announce loud and clear that "it is happy" ? Why is the mind always after a chase to perfection and idealism to prove myself better .

The other half of my inner self rises to a revolt -
- What would happen if I simply decide to not do anything till the time I wish to act.
- What would happen if I just accept myself with all my imperfections and stop all chase to perfectionism
- What would happen if I decide to stay in this non - idealistic world.
- What would happen if I decide to stop running after this illusionary world

Will the heavens fall really ? Will I really starve for food ? Will I actually burn down to ashes ?
And what will happen if I really "choose to just be" with all my perfections an imperfections, be in the state of "Being" and stay absorbed and soaked in the awareness of "Beingness".
Will that put my restless mind to rest a bit and smile with happiness.

I opened my eyes when I felt the sensation of two drops of tears started rolling down my cheeks from my eyes. I open my eyes to see the clock striking 12.

What an amazing 30 seconds I was. I brought myself to awareness. I pickup my pen and just wrote two words " Good night" and went to sleep peacefully with my restful mind ! 😊

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Twenty TwentyOne - A watershed

2020 and 2021 - the biggest nightmare to witness but a new bloom to a beautiful sunrise too ! 

2020 March, it started - the first wave. Somehow we managed and sailed through it with the belief that this too shall pass and we should be soon able to take control over the virus, little did we know what lay ahead. To everybody's surprise 2021 came even more violently with the second phase creating the panick in every house, theworld over. Never knew before and had never thought also what a Pandemic was like. It almost devastated the whole world attacking health, finance, livelihood. The virus spread across the globe at a speed faster than wind giving no time to even think what was happening. We were so unprepared - no vaccine, no medicine, no knowledge of the infection, no idea of the cures. All we knew was - "it was spreading like wild fire among humans".  In this state of helplessness and panic, came the only workable solution to be - restricted movements and stay indoors instructions. Everyone including the medical fraternity, scientists, government went clueless on the situation and the required actions to be taken for exercising over it. The death cases were only on the increasing high score world wide. To add to the messy state of affair all around was the economic slump. It was a state of utmost despair and pain - physically, mentally and emotionally for everyone to see how the entire human community was suffering. 

Ofcourse, the pandemic gave us the hard times, the pain, the fears but at the same time it came as a great teacher too. In the chaos, came the good part. It was like a watershed. It was during these times when the night seemed the darkest and the most unendingin the desperate desire of survival, we started looking life in so many ways beyond our long established ways of thinking and living so far.   

It reminded us all the teachings that our parents and grandparents had given us but sadly we had forgotten. It made us realize the value of relationships, value of money, value of good health, importance of savings, beauty of quality over quantity and the list is long. The best result of the lockdowns and stay at home orders was that we started looking at our homes again. We started dusting those remote corners of our houses to create more of spaces for me-time and family moments, We started taking decisions of quitting the high paying jobs and metro living and moving to our home towns with small assignments closer to family, we started puling out those books from the bookshelf which never got our time, those music records, old photo albums, old diaries which were left abandoned for years, we started de-cluttering and cleaning our wardrobes and cupboards by discarding unnecessary unwanted things and donating to the needy, we started to rise on our compassionate behavior and the best part was that we started cooking at home again, experimenting and trying old grandma recipes. 

But the most important learning that this period of utmost turbulence gave was learning the art of living at the present by choosing love & faith over fear & anxiety for who knows what is there tomorrow. 

Times are tough and will continue to be for some more time but Life rests on Hope and Hope for a beautiful tomorrow  is always a beautiful feeling ! ❤😊


Friday, December 31, 2021

Rising to my highest potential !

Its 31st December night ... the clock is all set to strike the last hour ... and another year to roll over. I am waiting to change the date, add a new year to my calendar as I sit here to pen this piece of blog ... 

Hmm ... so .... how do I start this blog ...
Should I start talking about my promises made to self exactly at this hour last year or Should I talk about the resolutions I had made with the promise to live them come-what-may haha or Should I start making a new list of promises with all the dos and dont's for the coming year or may be that I start with few questions to myself ... 
Did I fair well in the last 365 days ? 
Did I handle myself decently well ? 
Did I add value to my own life ? 
Did the past year experiences and learnings add to the maturity of my mind ? 
How different was my approach to life ?

Giving an answer to these questions is certainly not an easy thing. Its a self confiding confrontation.  But still to share, the answer that comes to all these questions to me is a YES and a NO. Mind has definitely matured more than compared to last few years but still definitely has a long way to go. The past few months have seen few horrifying roller coasters. From dealing with the pandemic to adjusting to a new normal, it was a year full of highs and lows for the world at large. For few things I have fallen flat on face and horribly surprised myself by getting torn into pieces and for few things I have pleasantly surprised myself in many ways. 

The idea behind these questions was certainly not to win any medals or awards or any title of being "Ms. Perfect" but to just put things in the right perspective and find a good understanding to the art of living a beautiful life. No matter how difficult people, situation and things on the outside have proven to be, it is perhaps just to find that unshakable space of solace within which the soul is always craving for. No matter how good bad ugly the world outside has been, the idea is to just ensure how intact that space within has remained. 

Life is certainly too short to live full to its charm. However, its our choices and decisions that can make our life beautiful and take our life from this point of existence to the other extreme of exuberance. And this does not need any promises to be sworn or any resolutions to be made or notes to be noted in the diary. All it needs is a clear choice to live every moment with a rise in human consciousness. Once we break the physical dimensions and tear apart to reach that higher dimension of no boundaries, our experiences become boundless and the possibility of all possibilities to happen also cross all boundaries and start to manifest. All baggages carried get dropped and joyfulness becomes our very own nature. 

I am glad that I have manged to come this long in my life journey and I consider myself fortunate that I am living with this beautiful awareness of all the possibilities that life can offer me. As I enter to the new year, I welcome all beautiful experiences from the bottom of my heart to come to me, fill me with joy, happiness and contentment. I bow my head down to the divine with utmost gratitude for everything it has bestowed on me and pray that the guiding universe takes me to my highest potential.

As I wish the world a year of success, peace and happiness 
I wish "my dear me" a very great year ahead to you - Love you the most my dear ! 😊

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Wearing the right lenses.

The clock strikes 12 midnight and a message beeps on my phone. “Happy 40th Birthday” with emoticons of a smiley and a cake and balloons. More than the noise of the clock striking 12 and the message beep on my phone, a loud noise struck inside my head – “Oh my God - 40th birthday, are you kidding ??? ”.

I used to think I had a lot of time in hand … but No … guess that was a big myth … I am already at mid-point, with the most positive assumption that I have a life of 80 approx, if not 100, considering today’s average human life span. Tears started rolling down my eyes at the thought of being at that age and seeing that I have reached nowhere really to claim credit for. I am still with wounds and scratches everywhere on my body and mind and I am far from getting healed.

I sat on my desk and started to pen my journal, a habit which I picked up few months back. That seemed enough so I started a post series titled “Wisdom@40” on Facebook. My friends and cousins and friends all used to tease me a lot on the newly gained wisdom but no one had any point to object or rule it over. Ofcourse the list of learnings is endless and it is always one to his own but sharing few pointers down here that the test of time over these years has taught me, personally.  And in all honesty, right now I am decently okay with this.

  1. A basic daily discipline helps maintain the balance in life and keeps us away from many health hazards – physical and emotional, to a large extent.
  2. Starting the day with a note of “Gratitude” absorbs stress miraculously. No matter how hard life has treated you in the past, it still has something to offer you new every day. So getting up each day to thank the supreme energy for what you are left with “still” is a good start and end to the day. It is perhaps the only answer to deal all life problems. It takes our focus off from the complains for what we don’t have onto what we do have. 
  3. Having our own money. Money gives a different kind of self-confidence. It is a necessary evil. 
  4. Attachment to anything or anyone can be the most painful experience. Maintaining a one hand distance with all can be a beautiful exercise to maintain a good and balanced relationship with everyone and everything. 
  5. Learn the “Let-go” formula. It is extremely tough but that’s how it works the best, I am sure.
  6. Be your own best friend. Nothing can be a bigger bliss than this. There may come many moments in life when we realize we have everyone around but we have no one really at the same time. 
  7. Learning to accept life as it comes is a great ability. This comes only with surrender. By cultivating this a little more everyday will only make us stronger and stronger day by day.
  8. The only communication that has a magical effect is our communication with the universe. No one else is there really to listen. 
  9. Understand your own limits. No point in stressing ourselves with more than we can take. No one will share the stress on our shoulder. After all our shoulder is only ours. 
  10. Try keeping your expectations to the bare minimum. Expectations can be suicidal.
  11. Nothing happens as and when we wish and want. Learning the open secret – “patience”, always helps. That’s how nature operates.
  12. The hill is hard to climb but you will eventually get to the top by taking baby steps. Being persistent in our efforts definitely shows results.
  13. No matter what, never look back with regret. Treat by-gones to be by-gones and keep looking forward. It would always help to weave a new dream for a beautiful tomorrow and that builds hope.
  14. Invest less on PEOPLE. No one gives a life time guarantee. It is important to find our passion in which we can get completely lost. Discovering something we love to do has an amazing effect on our entire life. Essentially, it is what will keep us going when times are rough.
  15. Whenever fear comes to us, we need to remember that someone is up there to protect us. Placing our trust on it unconditionally with the firm belief that sooner or later it will definitely listen to us, always builds courage. 
  16. Forgiveness is the key to our own mental peace. Holding grudges against anyone only hollows us from within. If a feeling comes that anyone has done wrong to us, it works wonders to just surrender to our own fate with folded hands, head bowed down, no matter how much of tears roll down, handing over the person to life and moving on with our head high that we did not do anything wrong and we gave your best, wipes tears away. 
  17. People can really test your patience. Take 3 attempts to make them understand and then leave them. First we are only responsible for ourselves and second we are all different individuals - unique in our own way – respecting the uniqueness is important.
  18. Always maintain a journal. Journaling one’s own reflections at the end of the day is a great way to end the day. It helps you introspect and heal yourself from within.
  19. Loving oneself and always keep yourself as our priority is not being selfish. Ignoring self never helps. You have to love yourself, before you can love others. When you look into the mirror, smile at yourself and be proud of yourself.  
  20. Last but not the least, always be positive and open to receiving Grace. It is the biggest magic that can happen in anyone’s life.  

Life is always full of learnings. It teaches us at every step. Looking back at my own life, today I realize, though a bit late in life and I learnt it the hard way without doubts, today I am grateful for everything that led me to this. All the challenges I faced were all worth it for the story of my life and making me who I am today.  Moving forward, I know I have to keep reminding myself all these points at regular time intervals, for I know that if I fail to remember these then I would fall flat again. Universe has certainly given me the basic education to deal with life in future and I am supremely grateful.

These are just few very basic pointers to life that I have personally learnt from my own experiences.

Life can be actually a beautiful roller coaster ride if we know the tricks of how to live it and wear the right lenses.

 


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Life is all about choices!

“This way” or “That way” are always the two options served to us in our lives and we have to pick any one. Like the famous dialogue of King Khan in the movie DDLJ, “Zindagi mein hamesh aapko do raaste milenge, ek sahi ek galat, aur aapko kisi ek ko chunna hoga” haha. A fair point without doubts, dear Raj or ‘Simran ka Raj’ to be more accurate.

Is really life is a matter of choice or there is a force ruling us and we are just acting puppets in its hands? Ask and wonder many. Are our thoughts and actions completely determined by forces over which we have no control? Or, are we free to decide for ourselves, to be the captains of our fate? The question of fate versus free will is an old one and eventually ends up on a philosophical note because science is still not ready with its answer. Some argue, debate and some even reject the idea out rightly and bring the all-powerful “Destiny/Fate/Kismat ka Likha (Favorite of us Indians, haha)”and some go double in their confidence saying “It’s all in our hands and its our choices only which make our lives”. Everytime I get trapped in the discussion, smilingly I say, “OK” because who knows what it is really.

Life starts with the choice that we have to make from the first day we are born and then of course there is a choice that life offers you to take at every step. Infact, if we go back a little with time, we are expected to take few choices even before our birth like which womb to choose and which family to go. Perhaps that’s what we call as “Free Will”. There is an interesting catch here, if you notice. While there is a belief that we have everything destined, there is a choice in the choices. Like for eg: For once the soul gets the relief that it has taken a choice between taking a birth or not taking a birth. The moment it takes a sigh of relief, then immediately the next choice comes up as birth in which form of life – animal/bird/insect/reptile/worm or what. Then again let’s say with great difficulty the poor soul again gets up to take a decision and take a sigh of relief then again the question arises which animal/bird/insect/reptile/worm and so on and so forth.

For hundreds of years, this debate went in favor of this view that God, whom we have never seen, being all-powerful and all-knowing, was considered to have predetermined all that would happen in the future. Everything, therefore, must have been predetermined by “HIS” prior knowledge and prior decisions. The second point of view comes with the argument served on table that if we are merely puppets in the hands of a predetermined life, how can there be any punishment for doing what we couldn’t possibly have avoided ? Further, if we say, “Well, punishment is also predetermined,” then punishment loses all moral significance, claiming the point that punishment is useful because it can bring in discipline in the society and can bring in a change in the factors that determine a criminal’s behavior. Then we see judiciary with the assumption that the judges are just acting mediums to announce the decision of the supreme power. So right or wrong comes later, but yes the free-will is definitely there because of which we clearly take a choice.

The free-will brings in another concept in view for consideration, which is very much supported by science is “Determinism”. In today’s day and age of scientific advancement, we are constantly at the study of “Self”. Discoveries in the fields of psychology, physiology, neurology, and pharmacology indicate that the determinant's dream of being able to predict all facets of human behavior may soon come true. Behavioral scientists anticipate a time when an examination of the biological and psychological characteristics of an infant will enable them to write his life’s story before he lives it. In short, the evidence available today regarding human motivation and how human attitudes are affected makes a strong case for determinism. But again an interesting point here that is sometimes made in favor of free will is that if determinism is true, those who believe in free will are determined to be that way. So it’s a nice jigsaw puzzle for the human mind to remain occupied solving it, haha.

But in such a situation, the spiritual science comes helpful a great way. We get our understanding of the reconciliation between fate and free will from the Bhagavad-Gita, well supported by other schools of thoughts in the same field. The first relevant bit of information is that we are neither our material bodies and nor the ever notorious mind; we are eternal souls with acquired body and mind. If we agree to this theory atleast then we can go on to understand the extent to which we are determined and the extent to which we have free will or we have a predetermined and ordained life.

Ref to the arguments made above, if we have a free will then we would always choose what makes you happy and our enjoyment. But that always doesn’t work for us. So many times our decisions are against out temptations and we go with decisions that are best for us. So clearly there is somebody inside who is continuously guiding us in that whispering voice “don’t do this do that”. When we listen to that and act in accordance we will always benefit.

As spiritual beings, we are all part and parcel of the original and supreme power which is omnipresent and omniscient, the “nirakar roopa”, as we say. This means that we are reflections of the “Self”. Since we are a part of this supreme energy, even we are divine but this divinity is veiled. It is camouflaged. Divinity is our true nature always but we remain ignorant of that and precisely because of this that our mind plays with us all its games. It is the mind which comes up with its desires according to its conceptions and informations of the material enjoyment and its attachment to it. Then
on top of it is its egoistic nature because of which comes the thought of our independent existence. It is because of this ego, we foolishly think ourselves the doers of activities in this world.

Existence is One. Whatever multiplicity is seen as existing is because of the One: I am. Nothing other than the One can exist independent of the One and this includes the mind.

Supposing there was no mind. In that case, there would be no one to think, see, perceive or judge. There would be absolute order or perfection with no confusion of any kind. The existence of the mind is created out of attachment to that one thought: “I AM”. The unmanifested became manifested after which the first knowledge came as: “I AM”. This particular thought “I am” gets created as a sense of presence: “I exist”. When this “I am” becomes "I am this"; or "I am that", then that becomes the beginning of the false entity: “the ego”.

Hence to conclude, If we consider ourselves different than the source only then that there would come the concepts of Divine Will vs Free will or Determinism.

So let’s live life to the fullest even if we believe it's by compulsion (i.e as ordained) or by choice. 

Cheers to a happy contended blessed Life ahead for all ! 👍

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Fake it till you make it

Ha ha Aristotle started it all. He had said to be a virtuous man, you must first act like a virtuous man, and he was an intelligent man .. must say. 

I had heard people say it but I never believed in it and so never gave it the right weightage. My face was an exact reflection of my mental state. If I was upset my face would say it. If I tensed and worried my face would say. If I was happy my face would say until one day I realised I was becoming such an obvious factor. In addition I also realized I hardly smiled because 90% of the times I would either remain sad or tensed or worried or irritated or upset about something or the other. All started noticing this and commenting on it. I kind of not liked it. I thought to myself why should the world know my state of mind. So, in order to hide my state of mind, I started faking a funny smile at others so much so that I faked a smile at times when smile had no business in my life. With this, one good thing started happening, I started getting compliments for my smiles and started getting replaced to the comments. I started looking happy and joyful. The outer expression started impacting my inner world and I actually started remaining happy and joyful. Then I realized oh wow it seemed to be working ;). I started faking more smiling faces and more happy looks. 

Then slowly and gradually, just for the fun of it, I started faking on many other things. The more I faked the more I was getting convinced that it was working on me. For eg: I had fallen in to the practice of thinking negative. But I knew that if somebody would know my thoughts they would comment and so to hide my negative thoughts, I started faking positive thoughts. Two things started happening - One, my folks started complimenting on my thoughts and citing me as an example for positive thinking and second, my thoughts actually started bringing in positive results because as they say Universe always takes things on face value only. 

My ability of faking started becoming more frequent. I started faking almost on everything that I wanted to do but I was not being able to do it in real life for some reason, like building that inner confidence, living the happy state of mind within, taking everything in positive stride so on and so forth. I had my own reactions and secret confessions to that. 

Then one day I realized faking was not helping in the long run and perhaps it was wrong to fake a false thing and I should not be doing it. So I stopped faking. I was sure people would get to know my real nature and they would again start passing comments and judging me. But to my surprise came in no comments but all complimentary things. On introspection I realised, I actually was doing a lot of things which I wasn't doing earlier. In the process of faking, the subconscious mind had started picking it up as its own nature and now by default it was no more a fake .. I could actually make it. 

Without any debate I admitted there is a great benefit in faking and yes Aristotle was right - to be a virtuous man, you must first act like a virtuous man. Today modern science admits it and the notion is used in cognitive behavioural therapy (changing behaviour patterns). So yes Fake it till you Make it ... ha ha :) 

Monday, February 24, 2020

Mind - My enemy, My friend

Mind can be the enemy and mind can also be the friend. It is the mind that binds and it is the mind that liberates. When the mind is attached to objects, which are transitory and impermanent, is the mind that is your enemy. This is the mind that binds. But a mind that does not abide anywhere, on any object, is a mind that is your friend. This is the mind that liberates. 

Knowingly or Unknowingly, all of us are struggling to deal with it. One second the mind remains here then the other second it is somewhere else breaking our mind into pieces. Till the time it is in pieces and the pieces are in continuous mutual conflict, peace remains far from us and we are always in a state of chaos, leading to nothing but unhappiness. It is only when we learn to put these pieces together so as to make the mind whole and integrated, that we gain the gift of liberation.

Be it the sages and rishis and enlightened masters like Buddha, Vivekanand, Ramana Mahrishi, Nisargadutta Maharaj to name a few, they all have to say the same. But there is also no surprises to the fact that Mind is the most notorious thing to handle. Having said so, the rishis have also said that it is difficult but not impossible to control the mind. 

However, Patanjali, the great master of the Yoga-system, calls these pieces of the mind as vrittis, modifications, which are ever arising and never subsiding. Only when these vritis are controlled, suppressed and eliminated through the science of Yoga ie the right kind of discipline and training, can the liberated state of mind be achieved. When we set into the practice of YOGA, the mind plays a role there too. Patanjali, has divided these hindering factors as "antarayas"(intruders in the path of yoga) and "viksepasahabhuvah"(co-existing with mental distraction). The antarayas are nine: Vyadhi(disease), styana(mental laziness), samsaya(doubt), pramada (heedlessness), alasya(physical laziness), avirati(absence of dispassion), bhrantidar-sana(false perception), alabdha-bhumi-katva(non-attainment of yogic states) and anavasthitatva (falling away from yogic states when obtained). To these nine obstacles, Patanjali adds further five more, classifying them separately as a second group -"viksepasahabhuvah". If these exist they are immediately and invariably followed by mental distraction. They are namely : duhkha(sorrow), daurmanasya (despondency), angamejayatva (restlessness of limbs), svasa(forcible inhalation), prasvasa(forcible exhalation). 


In addition to this, Patanjali has also further explained the 5 Kleshas that are considered as the root cause of all of our pain and suffering in this human experience. According to Patanajali’s Yoga Sutras, there are 5 main afflictions or kleshas and these are Avidya(Ignorance), Asmita (Egoism), Raga(Attachment), Dwesha(Aversion) & Abhidvesa (Fear of any change specially death).


However, inspite of all the obstacles and hinderances and problems of the mind, Patanjali suggests one clear way to remove all these is Meditation and Devotion to the supreme power under the path of Bhakti as also mentioned in Bhagwad Geeta under the Bhakti Yog where in he says to surrender to him our every thought, word and deed. While practicing meditation, one important step is "Pratyahara" which is withdrawal of senses from the world outside and keeping them under the control of the mind. At this stage "Dharana" which means fixing your attention on a particular object (middle of the eyebrows, tip of the nose or external objects like light or any image of the lord etc). At thisstate however, there is still the consciousness of the trio - The ego sense, the object of meditation and the process of meditation. When Dharna ripens, the flow of the thought becomes unbroken and it becomes "Dhyana". When dhyana again goes into deep state, the mind gets so absorbed in the object of meditation that it looses its own identity and awareness and this state is know as "Samadhi". In this state, the mind is so deeply absorbed that even the ego-sense is completely subjugated. This state is such an intuitive and super-conscious experience that the yogi starts getting revealed of the cosmic secrets and gaining the knowledge of the "Self"  as the means of liberation.