Our World

This has been playing on my mind for quite some time now. But it was not refined enough to help me make sense of it. A week later, today, it still does not let me rest, so I’ve decided to write it down, hoping that it makes more sense.

On my road trip last week, just at the end of the monsoon season, I was filled with happiness just to look at the wild greenery that surrounded me everywhere I went. There were pretty sights of nature wherever I was going, the weather was pleasant, and my mind was at complete peace. As I was passing through one long winding valley road, which stretched almost 10 miles or so, I was especially struck by the beauty of the mountain range in the distance, the shimmering blue waters of the lake, and the bright white clouds in the equally bright blue sky.

I first began to feel gratitude towards life for allowing me to take pleasure in such beauty. Once that contemplation was over, I started clicking pictures, so that I could share them with my friends, who I knew would not visit that place anytime soon. (I was also told on the way by a local shopkeeper that this road was less frequented by travelers, and most tourists frequented the city road. So the probability of my friends taking the same route was almost zero.)

At that moment, a unique thought entered my mind. This road, these sights, the bright clouds overseeing the entire expanse of that green land, everything at that unique moment, was meant for my eyes alone. No, I’m not saying it was something special, or I’m special. There are millions of such places all over the world; what I realized was that, it was a moment given to me to contemplate beauty and what I did in that moment was all that mattered. My mind was temporarily elevated; my whole self was filled with bliss. For a brief time, I was learning something profound that could not be expressed in material terms.

That moment was a part of my life’s journey. And it was meant for me alone. It was one of the millions of experiences we have in our life, which is meant to teach us something. The quality of our life depends on how deeply we learn from what is given to us. It does not matter where you are at the moment. How intimately you interact with your environment is all that matters.

As the 13th century Persian poet and mystic, Rumi, says, ‘wherever you stand, be the soul of that place’. Never before did I understand those words better! In that unique moment, I was not only enjoying the beauty, but I was also a part of that beauty, in fact, I was beauty.

Now let me tell you something interesting. Let’s assume that none of my friends or family ever visits this place. So, that place was exclusively created for me. It was a part of a mini-world that was created only for my pleasure, or growth. In the same way, I realized, the earth is created for humans. There may or may not be any other Planet in the Universe for our existence. But we need not bother about that. All that we need to grow is already here surrounding us…Our mini-world on this earth.

Use that wisely to become a wise soul.

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Power

In my mid thirties, I have finally understood what power is, and what I can do with it!

I’ve always been an assertive go-getter; had the good fortune to achieve a lot of material things in my life that boosted my self-esteem and have also attained the wisdom to be grateful for it. However, until recently, I was only concerned about my reflection that I could see in others’ eyes; it had nothing to do with what I really wanted. I pretended to be ambitious because I wanted to stand amongst successful people. I pretended to be friendly because I wanted to portray a good social image. I pretended to so many other things so that I could be valued, accepted, revered! And then I pretended to be powerful!

Do you think, any of this really defined my success? I did not have any freedom as long as I was pretending to do something that I wasn’t or wasn’t interested in. Of course it elevated my self-esteem, but then I sometimes think it was an ego trip. It is too difficult to decide actually, because ego is what keeps you evolving. You are dead without your ego. Ego is always there. But then, you can always stop feeding your ego!

It so happened, that I began contemplating and realized that I was not happy. Not happy with anything that I had in my life. Yes, I was grateful, for not being in a worse condition, which did not trap me in a depressive state. But still I was not happy and it made me miserable. I could foresee a long stretch of ennui spread before me, which told me achieving more and more is not going to be enough! I had to do something to bring the ‘real delight’ back.

The ‘eureka’ moment was long in coming. It took me more than a decade to struggle, defeat the recurring doubts and come to terms with myself. And this coming to terms with myself, is what I call my power. It took me a lot of solitary, soul-searching moments, and sometimes depression bordering on madness, till I realized what really mattered.

I decided to be honest. And at once, my inner being became completely aligned with my outer being. This I believe is power: Accepting yourself as you are.

Now, I do not worry what kind of an impression I make, where I stand in this crazy world, what I have achieved; there is no more obsessing about the things I have lost or want to attain. I feel free about expressing myself, not over-thinking if it sounds crazy or stupid. I speak honestly about the things that I really enjoy, even if it is as simple as building shapeless sand castles on the beach. I’m more delighted about my creative abilities, not worrying about chiseling it to perfection. I’m equally accepting of my inherent limitations, without feeling miserable about it.

But it is not a helpless resignation to the fact.

It is a complete acceptance of my capabilities—things which I can do and things that I cannot. You can say I’m completely true to myself without feeling the need to prove my worth or hide my imperfections.

This true or honest acceptance of your self is ‘power’ and the only thing you should use it for, is to enlighten others and help them appraise themselves honestly.

(Note: Take a journey within or without..)

Being Creative

I went out today. I traveled by a local train in the Mumbai city in the peak hours surrounded by a rush of ladies enthusiastically hoping in and out of the crowded train. Once I found myself a not so comfortable place to stand, holding one of the bench rods, my curious mind started observing the women around me. I hardly travel, because I work from home; so when I do get a chance to board a train, I’m always a little curious. Now, I’m not going to tell you about my observations; it’d be pretty boring…and people I assume are the same everywhere, except for the intensity of their emotions…

What I discovered was pretty amazing, so amazing that I decided to blog about it. If you have noticed, I usually write about spirituality and philosophy…So here I go again…what I discovered was so highly philosophical or spiritual, that it took my breath away; and in that crowded train where I was almost suffocated, perspiring profusely, as I traveled to my destination in the scorching month of May, I suddenly began to enjoy myself.

Let me tell you what I discovered!

Spirituality says that this world is an illusion, and our five senses are responsible for this delusion. In other words, it means that whatever we see is constructed by our mind, including our identity, and it does not exist at all. As humans, we know it’s very difficult to understand this because we are so caught by the fantastic sights that are presented to our sense organs. We can only call it real.

But then, let’s for a minute actually think that what we are experiencing is a delusion and a construct of our veiled mind. What would that make us? It would make us the supreme creator of this reality! How often do we think poorly of our creative skills? Because we have an ideal in our mind, to which we constantly compare it with. And we then pass a very poor judgment on our creative abilities to the point of saying we are not at all creative! How sad is that!

We are creative beings, and we create our delusions right since we are born. The way things and people make an impression on our mind, is so unique that it cannot be compared to someone else’s perception!

Right in front of me there were faces of all kinds of women, beautiful, strange, worried, sad, happy, greedy, wicked and so many more…wearing so many different shades of clothes, each different from the other!

Have you ever noticed two random people wearing a same dress…How creative our minds could be!

And as I traveled, I watched and watched and watched!

 

 

 

Love Your Neighbor

I am free today, and utilizing this freedom to pen my thoughts. I wish I could transmit my thoughts to a device the instant they occur in my head. If I have the capabilities to invent anything, it would be such a device…I know I can write at least one blog post each day, but then, I’m too busy making a living, and focus on these ‘non-material’ activities when, maybe, my subconscious takes over…

Before I forget and write something totally different than what I intend to, let me get to the point. I’ve suddenly realized how I could free myself from the web of illusions that have firmly gripped me. I wish the Bible could elucidate more on what it means by Love your Neighbour…

Some of us are atheists because most of the religious teachings are left to be understood intuitively. Interpretations by a religious leader are not enough, because the answer is only revealed or experienced in a flash, when lightning strikes down upon one of the darkest corners of our self. Lightning is dangerous; playing with it is self-immolation…Our religious leaders are in fact very kind, motherly, in their affection for us, to not allow us to play with the lightning…Why bother bringing the moon to the child, when its reflection is equally entertaining?

But then, some of us actually play with the lightning and burn ourselves in the process…some luckier ones remain alive dazed by the spectacular sight, and unable to express the experience in human terms… but having been touched by the divinity, become a mini-idol for others to be revered..but can anyone duplicate the lightning?

So why should we love the neighbor? Why don’t they tell us, it is not your neighbor, but only you? That you are going to love yourself? That your neighbor is not a neighbor but a reflection of your own self? That you are actually all alone…scary, isn’t it? The most amazing thing is that our mind is so well protected by defense mechanisms that it can convert any scary thing into totally absurd…! Then why not tell the truth? Because the result is not apparent…you give all your money to a beggar and then you are totally broke. But have you actually given all your money to a beggar? But how conveniently we believe that a neighbor is a neighbor and nothing else and he should be loved…but then you are so selfish that you cannot love him at all! You are so jealous of him, that you would kill him if you are not kept in check by the government…!

What a mess! So before I decide not to publish this, let me just hit the Publish button….

 

 

 

 

Problem

What philosophy we adopt to get by in life depends mainly on our personality, brain power, and our ability to detach ourselves from the event.

A person conditioned by materialistic values, on having come across a difficult ego-threatening issue for the first time, is not going to understand the ‘power of now’ immediately. The first challenge for this person would be to be aware that the inherent problem lies within him and not the external event. His ability to accept, understand and then work on this knowledge would determine the chances of weeding out the problem. On the other hand, the inability to recognize the root problem will provide solutions that will only tackle the problem superficially only to return after a short while. Moreover, if he is completely unaware of his intuitive abilities, or cannot access the spiritual recesses of his being, he may never be able to successfully resolve a problem and may even turn bitter towards life.

According to me, this is the real reason why we do not resolve our problems. We fail to find the culprit.

Now suppose, we successfully analyze the problem and come up with a proper solution… how often do we have the courage to accept it, implement it, and get rid of our troubles once and for all?

Your job doesn’t make you happy? Why not quit it at once? You can’t because you have responsibilities…and you have been conditioned to consider sacrifice and responsibilities nobler than your individual desires.

Now let’s suppose, we even take that great step and get rid of the trouble… again, can we completely detach ourselves from it? How often does it keep playing on our mind? All the time!

We even wish in our desperation that we had not done that! We keep looking back all the time, and are unable to see the future. Now, adding fuel to the earlier responsibility factor is the new ‘fear of the future’ factor.

So in the end, you do not get rid of the problem at all; instead you create new situations in which you feel more lost than before.

On the other hand, if you understand that the problem lies within you, can be effected only with a change in your attitude, and you are able to detach yourselves from the ‘apparently’ embarrassing or humiliating events, then you have learned to overcome the problem. Again, doing it once will not ensure that you can do it again successfully. Every time it takes great determination to do the right thing, until practice makes it occur perfectly..!

 

 

Emotions

The quality of our life depends on how intensely or deeply we experience a certain emotion. This in turn determines the kind of person we turn out to be. Emotions, and not the physical experience, determine how we develop and evolve. That is, the stimulus becomes ‘the stimulus’, only if there is an emotional reaction to it. Moreover, the intensity of the reaction determines the worth of that stimulus.

To elucidate, what one may consider a great piece of art may well be a lifeless statue for another. The sculpture in itself does not have any value unless we respond to its art and beauty. Our ability to get inspired lies not outside, but within us. This also means that no matter where you live and what you do, if you do not connect deeply with your surroundings, you will be nothing more than a rolling stone, and you know the proverb…

Now why is it so important to gather all that moss? It is to learn more about ourselves.

As human beings we love being unique and have unique experiences. But, we can never have unique experiences because we do not have any unique emotions. The emotions are all the same, experienced in the same way all over the world. How can you be differently happy or sad from someone else? The intensity of the emotion and the occasion varies considerably, but then, we do not learn from the stimulus, unless there is something within us that helps us interact with that stimulus.

In other words, a book and a film can inspire a reader and an audience respectively in exactly the same way, if they have an identical response to the stimulus. The personal/spiritual/emotional growth in these two ‘subjects’ will be exactly the same if they experience the same level or intensity of inspiration and entertainment from two completely different sources. This also applies when these two ‘subjects’ belong to completely different sections of the society or parts of the world. A happy occasion makes you happy, and an unhappy one, sad.

Therefore it applies that, it does not matter where you are, what you do, and what you have or have not. It also does not matter what stimulus you choose.

This is because our growth or evolution is not dependent just on what we are exposed to. It depends on how deeply we can connect with someone or something. And the good news is that, we have all the tools at our disposal to make this deep connection. It’s just a matter of learning to make use of these tools.

Proving Yourself 

I’ll show you what I’m capable of..! As intelligent knowledgeable beings who have learned psychology, we know this feeling surfaces when our security is threatened.
The resentment, anger or the humiliation that we feel when someone keeps us away from our rightful ownership of something is expressed perfectly using these few words. However, what it also does, is, keeps us in an unresolved and burning state of ambition that fuels our dissatisfaction and insecurity further.
To avenge ourselves for an illusory injustice, we keep struggling against an invisible enemy. I’m not drifting towards my spiritual talk to highlight the illusory nature of our reality. Allow me to discuss the material and emotional aspects of our life…The feeling of proving yourself can be very acute and real in some cases. What helps in such cases is a change of attitude. What works best in such painful moments is a change in the direction of our thoughts.
As teens, how important it was for us to have our opinions accepted, to be considered as a valuable and intelligent member of a group, or simply considered different for our unique views on life and living…! We still feel the same and carry those same immature views with us, sometimes right to our graves…In short, we feel we need to prove ourselves because we never grow up!

No..this is not what you need to know.

Let’s still consider that our feelings are genuine and significant. What will act as an elixir here is to first understand that what others think about us is not important at all. This is called adapting to a threatening environment, usually effected by defence mechanisms.

Secondly, does it actually matter if you are considered something other than what you really are? “Okay, so you think I’m stupid. That’s okay as long as I know who I am.” This can be termed as self-confidence.

The third most important thing is to understand you can achieve anything as long as you believe you can..This may require intense power of your will and positive intention…a belief in the inherent beauty and goodness of life.

So, as you now have the power to become exactly what someone says you can’t be, the whole idea of proving yourself becomes redundant! It becomes a matter of choice and free will and the knowledge of this superiority makes it so easy to take the correct path..

This is pure knowledge or enlightenment..

We always carry the seed of possibilities within ourselves. We just do not water it enough, neither do we give it enough light. That, I believe, is the reason we ‘think’ we fail. And…to mask our apparent failure, we engage in more psychologically destructive activities like proving ourselves.

Restless

I did nothing this weekend, by which I mean, I did nothing productive this weekend (other than writing this post), and it has left me with an overpowering sense of uselessness and thoughts of an aimless existence. But on the other hand, I needed a break because I have been working really very hard the past week almost to the point of exhaustion. This has made me wonder how do I achieve a balance between these two states of being.

And then I realized I would never be able to feel really comfortable with what I’m doing. By being comfortable I do not mean happy nor do I want to derive a purpose from my activity or feel proud of it. Being comfortable simply means to want to attain the mechanical state of doing without any emotional attachment to the actions.

As I was absorbed thinking along these lines, I made an amazing discovery. Let me share it with you..

We will never feel comfortable with what we are doing because at the subtlest level, the idea of work is related to matter and to achieve any kind of sense from it is the work of the ego. The main reason we feel uncomfortable is because matter changes constantly and the ego derives meaning from matter. This means that if we align more with the ego, we are going to derive meaning, aim, purpose, everything from the matter that is constantly shape shifting. This is bound to keep us in a restless state of existence, which may be perceived as unstable and not something to look forward to (the best example is how we tend to find stability and security in every damned thing on this planet!).

But if we align ourselves with the soul which is eternal and unchanging, we may not feel ‘uncomfortable’. The real difficulty is to make this journey from matter to soul, and it happens when you start living in the present and become an observer, not only of everything around you, but also of yourself, of the matter that you are made of!

 

Three Sides

Image result for we make life complicated quotes

You are going to enjoy this blog post I’m sure. I’ve made a discovery that has made me take a look at my life in a positive way!

Let me get straight to the point.

There are three areas of our life that need careful understanding.

We love something.

We obsess about something.

We are emotionally attached to something.

If we come to an honest understanding of these three ‘sides’ of our personality, we will, in an instant, simplify our lives.

(Even the kindest and most pure soul on this Earth will display these traits as long as he lives inside a body!)

Each one of us, in varying degrees, loves, obsesses and is emotionally attached to different material objects of this world. The idea is to find out what they are, and then go after them passionately.

As we headlong dash towards those objects, we can ensure that others feel the least amount of discomfort. (It may not be possible if your obsession works against someone’s welfare..but then, after all, we are pieces of jigsaw in the universal puzzle!)

Keeping it short, to give you some food for thought!

 

 

Role Models

If you have had a good childhood, your role models would have first been glamorous dolls and later as you grew up, hard-working, self-made personalities.

What exactly are role models? They are a projection of our fulfilled expectations. We adore them because they define success for us. They resonate with our deepest desires. Sometimes they give purpose to our lives. (Otherwise most people wouldn’t know what to do with their lives!)

Well, I believe that we need not have any role models in life. Although I always appreciate and am awed by anyone who shows a religious attitude towards his work or vocation, I do not think I need to design my life according to those standards, only because they are highly valued and are very successful. I’ll tell you why.

We are all unique personalities, making this world a colorful place, giving a bit of our color to everyone we come across. Though I do not accept everything that Osho says, one of his lectures did make me look at our life from another perspective. He said just like a mango seed that has a blueprint of the entire tree hidden in itself, an infant is born with a blueprint according to which his life unfolds as he grows.

In other words, we need not seek affirmation for our actions by following a role model. We do not need any role models. We are complete in ourselves. What we lack is a faith to believe in ourselves. We cannot see our worth unless it promises some material benefit. That is the whole idea of looking up to a role model. It is an assurance that we will never fail. As teens we want to become a rockstar and as an adult we want to become a millionaire.

What this attitude does is that, you keep hopping from one ambition to another, without ever stopping to think about your real worth. You worth becomes directly proportional to your ability to be like your role model.

Now, a valid argument to this idea is that, children need to live by example and so, it is important to have good role models. However, how many times the role models we look up to, turn out to be defective; their life based on a faulty, groundless material ambition. (As humans, we are always going to be enmeshed in our vague insecurities and carry our shadow sides with us!)  Doesn’t that leave us incomplete and broken, rendering our life aimless in an instant?

The solution put forth to this by many is to have a better role model, the definition of which evades them completely.

That is because, there is no better or worse role model. Each individual is learning to grow on his own path in his own way. Sure enough the seed that he carries within himself is one day going to bloom. In the process he may become a source of light to others; however in no way does it mean that others do not have the ability to shine on their own!