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Archive for the ‘Non Fiction’ Category

When I embarked on my journey to my soul the word meditation was a beacon. I truly felt that mastery over my mind would lead to this wonderful state of bliss and contentment.

As I trudged along this path, I realised that any mastery either over your mind or over your breath to reach a blissful contentment was impossible. Firstly true mastery was virtually impossible in the environs of a daily human life. I could hardly go and live in isolation amongst the mighty Himalayas or take sanyas. Secondly, any mastery necessarily meant control and control without deep knowledge was a sure fire way to reach a state of agitation. As I desperately tried to gain control over my mind and over my breath I moved farther and farther away from the feeling of contentment.

There is a mysticism attached to the word meditation. It looks and feels simple enough. All one has to do is breathe, focus on your breath and perhaps reach nirvana? “Concentrate” tell us most master’s books. On what would I concentrate? I would ask myself. Many random thoughts ran through my mind. There was no let up at all. Then I read “focus” on your breath. Yes, I did and watched it go in and out of my system. It would certainly relax me, but then so does counting sheep!!

This was not the way. I was sure there was much more to meditation and concentration. It was a form of deep inner knowledge. This is where meditation needs to take us. Understanding our deepest thoughts and where the direction of these thoughts and feelings are headed is the true key.

Any ‘action’ we contemplate always has a ‘thought’ behind it. This thought has a reason and more importantly a ‘feeling’ attached to it. We can ‘feel’ what another being ‘feels’, this is our ‘empathy’. A human being has a Spiritual Dimension. For an animal the feeling turns to reason and invites action instantly. Let me state an example: Like a lioness hunting for a ‘kill’. She hunts the weakest prey has no feeling of ‘guilt’ attached to it. The lioness feeds her cubs and has only hunger attached to her action which is her ‘reason’. Yet she feels pure love for her cubs and none for the prey or the mother of the prey she killed?

This led me thinking as to what is our difference? My intellectual understanding of being able to identify with other beings’ thoughts was an electrifying revelation to me. Perhaps this is what the masters’ meant by control over the mind. It was actually a mastery over ‘understanding’ that our mind’s thought reaches another being constantly. So acting in full awareness of our senses is a state of contemplation/meditation.

This is what I feel Osho refers to as ‘no mind’ or some others refer to as ‘mindfulness’ both terms are a deep understanding of the thoughts generated from the mind.

To put it another way; I gossip about someone who wears pretty but revealing clothes to attract men. This might have started as a thought in my mind which changed to reason, “she deserves it” or “let me warn others of what she does” and the action is the gossip.

Let us examine the feelings associated with the thought. We don’t wish evil on the object of our gossip but we simply want to warn others so we gossip. At this stage the thought feels pure.

Let’s examine this more closely. If I get to the real base of this thought then I can admit reluctantly to myself that I also want to harm the object of my gossip because ‘she deserves it’.

Let’s get even closer. I am actually envious of the attention the woman draws . This is much more difficult for me to accept.

Let’s get even closer. The woman in question has the same feelings that I do. This is virtually impossible for me to accept even with heightened awareness. Because I feel ‘she’ is different from ‘me’.

Even further is acknowledgment that her feelings are my feelings and if I hurt her I hurt myself.

In a state of mindfulness ‘I’ will automatically empathize with ‘her’ since the realization that ‘she’ has ‘feelings’ as much as ‘I’ do.

So if my thoughts hurt her they will also hurt me. This cycle happens to us many times over and over in a day, and in our subconscious  we carry that feeling of guilt or fear or anger or hurt that the other has felt.  Then to relieve ourselves of the burden of our thoughts we act and get caught in another cycle and another. Hindu mysticism calls this the law of Karma.

That which we have unknowingly thrust upon another being and in effect thrust upon ourselves is the true realization of mindfulness and deep self inquiry. This is where contemplation and meditation leads us.

It is not at all easy to understand. This process too requires time and time alone with oneself. It can start as simply as an extra breather before coming back home, perhaps a walk in the park. A long session with oneself at a park bench, even a crowded railway station will do. Here is where a guru comes in. A Guru is one who helps us to explore our deepest thoughts, and who is a sounding board for our actions without an obvious guidance. I say this because guidance trains us to ‘think’ and not ‘feel’. A true ‘feeling’ is worth millions to a ‘thought’.  A ‘feeling’ frees us whereas a ‘thought’ binds us.

Let me also talk about ‘time’ here. I realised that time too binds us in the human context. Time is actually an infinite concept yet we try to harness it. True, one needs time and energy to be harnessed to live in the world reality that exists around us. But when one is deeply contemplating then time becomes an open infinite concept and there really is no need to rush through thoughts and feelings. Just letting thoughts and feelings ‘be’ where they are is an enormously freeing concept. It means I stopped trying to figure out when all this is going to lead to ‘contentment’.

This is not a fatalistic concept. It is a combination of mindlessness and mindfulness that can happen in deep contemplation. It’s possible to live in a state of world reality and yet operate from the state of contentment and that to me is dynamic contentment.

We live at all levels of this journey simultaneously. Uncovering feelings slowly becomes a natural part of your soul and is endless. This is the dynamism. There is mystic TRUTH AND JOY here as we connect equally with feelings of other beings. This is the contentment.

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Anger…….

What does the word ‘anger’ conjure up? To most it is a wild dark and uncontrollable picture.

We do not like to face this picture for ‘fear’ of what it will unearth.

So are the words ‘anger’ and ‘fear’ both negative words which we do not want to face?

Anger and fear are both primary emotions like love and joy. We are made up of these primary emotions just as surely as we have physical features. Unfortunately for many years we have been subconsciously trained not to accept either emotion. Since these are primary emotions they are not emotions with which we can reason.

When we experience ‘fear’ our instinctive response is ‘flight’ or ‘fight’. These defense mechanisms help us to survive.

When we experience ‘anger’ we also feel pain. It is a pain which is felt at a very very deep subconscious level and it remains within us because we do not know how to express our anger and exhaust it.

Most of us respond to anger with a ‘fight’ response. If we dig deeper into this response, we realize what has really happened is that our true response to anger has been sidelined. We begin to ‘fear’ our own anger because society has conditioned us to do so. The instinctive response to fear is also the ‘fight’ response. By lashing out at someone or ‘revenge thoughts’ all we do is acknowledge our fear of anger. This leads to further frustration within ourselves and we get caught in the same vicious cycle of anger without really dealing with it.

How does one deal with anger? Anger is a sort of an unadulterated rage at our helplessness at being unable to deal with a situation. Many of us are in a state of ‘passive anger’ where the feeling of anger is masked by an unseemly calmness at dealing with life. Underneath that calmness is a burning fury of anger.

The first step to dealing with anger is to acknowledge it. The source of that anger is what is of primary importance. The source might be very trivial and may seem unjustified from a societal point of view. What we need to correct within ourselves is that anger is right and anger leads to pain. It is the Pain that we have to deal with ourselves. Anger does not mean giving pain to somebody else.

How does one acknowledge anger? This is a difficult question because anger surfaces at the smallest of pretext. Sometimes there is no pretext and there is just anger. Once we start recognizing that anger exists within us and is part and parcel of us, our mental make-up and all that we stand for then it becomes easier for us to acknowledge anger. The more we push anger away the more it turns to fear and the more is our ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ (passive aggressive) response.

Let’s look at anger visually from the moment of birth. A baby is born and cries. The primary emotion is ‘fear’ and ‘anger’ at being thrust out of the warm womb, though this is an act of nature. The baby acknowledges fear by flaying its arms and legs wildly but it doesn’t get anywhere. Then the baby acknowledges the anger by crying loudly. Why does the baby cry? The baby understands the pain coming from the anger and reacts with grief. The baby feels the helplessness of being thrust from its cosy womb by an act of nature. The baby instinctively understands that anger comes from its helplessness. The baby is in touch with both these emotions. Later the baby is held and fed. It feels joy and contentment when it is fed and love and happiness when it is held. As we grow up all these emotions mature and evolve just like our physical features do.

Normal homes encourage the ‘love’ and ‘joy’ process of evolution but deny the ‘anger’ fear’ process of evolution. We have left evolving and maturing these emotions far far behind. Suddenly one day we wake up and find that many things in life cannot be handled. That is because 50% of our emotional makeup has been left at the baby stage!!

How do we start acknowledging the 50% of ourselves that we have left behind?

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Meditation is a sure way to reach that sublime state but what is meditation? Meditation has different processes just as cooking has. Like cooking leads to making food  palatable and satisfies our hunger, meditation leads to stilling the mind which leads to satisfaction of our spiritual hunger. Just like we need to cook and eat food every day we need to meditate everyday too.

Meditation can simply mean intense concentration. Meditation can also mean reflection. Concentration on the divine to the exclusion of all else is naturally the path of “bhakti yoga” and this is the path that most religions of the world uphold and beckon us to follow. Perhaps it is easy for some and not so easy for others. Concentration on the path ahead, that which You have chosen to the exclusion of all else is “karma yoga” and this is the path many people follow too. “Jyana Yoga” is reflection and understanding of the knowledge that is inherent in this Universe.

Whichever path we choose in this journey, which is our life, all meditation comes to naught when we meditate with  the expectation of an outcome. If we consider the ideals of “bhakti yoga” the great saint Meera Bai comes first to mind. She steadfastly carried on in her bhakti to Lord Krishna (the divine, if you don’t like iconography) unminding of the consequences and neither expecting any fruit from that bhakti. Many great scientists follow the path of “karma yoga” they just carry on in their chosen field completely trusting the intuition they carry within. Neither do they expect success will come to them, neither do they get dettered by the obstacles that come their way. The theories they have finally propounded have changed the Universe as we know it literally. Finally a “jyana yogi” is one who reflects the universe in his own mind. Many “Jyana Yogis” abound in the world. Jesus was one of them and in India in living memory is Parmahansa Raman Maharshi. Tantra is definitely a path of “jyana yoga”.

Jyana Yoga is the process of self-inquiry that leads to the divine.  When ‘I’ go into the daily process of experiential meditation and catch my thoughts, then an automatic cleansing begins, because every thought is identified with an action. I understand this and then the thought changes into knowledge, this is a process of self-inquiry.

This process diffuses the ‘feeling’ connected to the thought and my action which otherwise might have been enacted stalls. The ‘feelings’ “I” experience might be pain, hurt, anger, fear, resentment, desire, covetous feelings, jealousy; whatever. Many feelings are very covered with reasoning and many times feel righteous and sanctimonious. My action will be hurtful talk, sarcasm shown, and impulsive action like shopping or over eating. My action is a defence mechanism to the “pain” “I” feel while experiencing these feelings; because deep inside the feeling lingers even after the action to quell the pain of that expereince has been enacted.

Once my identification with the thought is understood the ‘feeling’ disconnects and knowledge or ‘truth’ connects. This leads to a feeling of “let go” and later contentment, sometimes even though “I” have not been able to stop that action earlier. But reflecting about that “thought” and action is an experience that automatically humbles me and this leads to my connection with the divine.  Very often the reflection of my action and the thought behind it brings a powerful surge of “oneness” with the “other” on whom my action was projected. This means we can feel the other person without judging him or her and expereince what they are feeling. This is what humbles me and without a self righteous morality I can continue with my life feeling deeply connected with the other.

“Jana yoga” stills the mind by refelecting my own thoughts continously, how can a mind, full of chatter and movement reflect anything? So the mind stills to reflect.

Let me explain more easily; for instance, just plain gossip.  You think nothing of this action and slowly it becomes part of your life. You begin to ‘judge’ people unknowingly. But somewhere within you, you are carrying a burden that leads to  the compulsive action of speaking ill about another one again and again. Every time you do this you build up more anger. You also carry the hurt the other is carrying due to your unknowing action of gossip.
When ‘I’ can realise that the gossip is a projection of my anger it’s an understanding. Then ‘I’ can also realise that my ‘I’ carries a hurt inside ‘me’ for the projection of the anger to happen. Later when the hurt is questioned then ‘I’ realises its own contribution to the hurt and by this time the thought has turned to knowledge and the hurt feeling inside ‘me’ has disappeared and the action of speaking ill never happens.
This I feel is the process of self inquiry (jyana yoga) which is like a sword for me. It cuts through my thoughts and feelings and brings forth only knowledge, or truth. It opens my ‘self’ without any vulnerability because through the truth I have already accepted my ‘self’ just as it is.

This is the best I can put words to what I am experiencing through ‘self’ and many a times powerful surges of love.

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Inner Child

Today I’m penning down my thoughts. I also want to share the really beautiful experience I recently had. How I reached this state with self awareness and self enquiry.

In an experiential session with myself  I was able to visit and feel my ‘inner child’. I have this normally vulnerable time with myself following a bath. I tend to lie down and do some experiential meditation ( where the body relaxes and the senses come alive to just ‘be). Then I speak and experience within myself  all the facets of the good and evil( emotions and thoughts and actions) within me.

This is especially relevant to the constant demons within me. I experience all my weakest and most vulnerable moments and re live them. I constantly find the so called good thoughts are actually quite evil below the surface and that’s why our demons. Once I started doing this, in a way I experienced the calcinatio of the alchemical opus and it took me a long time to let the dross burn away.

Later I reversed these feelings and lead myself to experience the pure goodness within, the one that is healing and simply believes and “lets go”. Its really got nothing to do with thoughts I realised. Its not about wanting anything good to happen to another person, its not about being good with another person, its not about good  thoughts, its not about anything except pure belief in your “self” and your “soul” and that which is tied to  implicit faith….its not about wanting to do good to society and any such great and noble thoughts, these are just figments of our human existence…its about something deep within, that which is not human which has no relation to this real world which  is ONLY REAL (TRUTH) when you reach that point.

‘She’ or ‘me’ or my ‘inner child’ was sitting there, vulnerable as ever and when I reached out and touched her and re assured her, it was the most incredible experience of my life. “I” became the observer of “me”. Its not my heart, its not my soul, its something beyond.

Now that I am back to living an every day life, I wonder who touched her, the ‘me’ inside… all along I felt bound by Eric Berne’s theory of the transactional analysis and the parent child adult specs… so I kept telling myself that it was the parent, specially the critical parent that drives the demons within us and it was my parent that reached out and touched her, my inner child. Also many other forms of logical analysis assailed my senses, as I could not quite accept this.

As I went in deeper I finally realised that it was Grace that touched her, my inner child, it was only Grace that could give my inner child the love it needed, the faith it needed, the re assurance that it felt and the exhilaration. Somewhere my fear seems to have vanished! It is truly wonderful feeling loved like this.

The fear I feel now is much more rational, just on the surface and very practical… like how much money I have in the bank, how much is required for any task set up. How much work is required for any incomplete taks, will I finish it? .Etc etc…. the unknown fears which manifest to us in various other ways constantly, especially through our body mind combination seem to have been off-loaded from ‘me’ my inner child.

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I have lived in a cage all my life.

The cage is my mind. It is like fishing net. It drops on me and binds me unexpectedly. I feel like the fish caught in the fisherman’s net. I struggle against the many fine threads (thoughts) that bind me, knowing that there is no form of escape. Yet just like all other fish I struggle until my last breath to escape to freedom.

Freedom from what I wonder? From the thoughts that cage me? Freedom which leads me where?

Freedom leads towards our instincts, into the vast unacknowledged ocean of feelings and emotions. But the ocean is vast much more than I ever imagined and I long again for the security of my thoughts my cage, my mind.

Why is the human being so lost? Because we have forgotten our instincts we have forgotten to commune with nature. Nature is the great mother Goddess; she has created us and our destiny.

Pagan civilizations have worshiped every facet of nature and all emotion in every form. Simplistically they had a deity or God also representing it, a deity that had to be worshiped.

What is worship to me? Worship is an acknowledgment. Not a devotional prayer.

Worship is an acknowledgment of every emotion and feeling that I carry within myself. Recognizing it is the first step to self awareness. Denying a feeling is like denying the God within.

Our emotions allow us to feel love as well as anger but our thoughts cage us in guilt and fear. This is a paralyzing situation and it leads us to a stressful existence.

The human instinct is lost in a sea of a monetized civilization that enslaves our mind. Our instinct has changed from being guided by nature to being guided by money leading to “greed” “envy” and “lust”.

Think about it, our entire mental universe is all about “money” and “power” and “fame”. Yet our emotional universe is about “love and joy” and also about “anger and fear”.

To me denying my anger and my fear is like denying my love and my joy. I can’t feel one without the other.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs when our basic needs of ‘hunger, thirst, sex and recognition’ are fulfilled we embark on the path to self realization which is the inward journey towards our natural self.

Hunger and thirst have been replaced with money. Sex has been replaced with lust and power.

Recognition which is actually recognition of the “self within” is replaced by fame.

Is it any wonder then that these never get fulfilled? We always seek more since it is not our natural need and we always envy others who have more, this is our trap.

So how do we free ourselves from this trap?

The place to start would be the understanding that this is a trap we create ourselves. It is not circumstances that create the trap. We create the circumstances by continuously living our life out of tune with our natural path.

Our natural path is our “karma”. It is the acceptance that the master puppeteer is ME; MYSELF; acting out the play on the stage of life already set by my “karma”. We instinctively know when we are out of tune with our “karma”, it’s the inner voice.

One may wonder: Where is the human spirit? Where is the free will?

It is there within us. The human spirit is the self within, the spirit is that which acknowledges or worships every facet of nature and is actually always alive whether in this physical body or not.

The free will is the action that we take to act out our emotions and fulfill our needs in tune with our natural self. It means exercising our right to act out according to what “karma” has planned for us. If we fight this natural path laid out for us then we create a set of stressful circumstances and keep creating them until we finally come to the realization that we are against our natural path.

Following a path with the knowledge that one is in tune with one’s own nature is a powerfully releasing emotion.

This is where we use our mind creatively. This is where we become truly ourselves.

This is where the mind ceases to be a cage.

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As a child I build my sand castle lovingly, every stroke, every gentle pat reinforces my own belief.

My belief in myself, my strength, my creativity and my capabilities. These are mine to prove.

Then the tide comes in and washes my castle away, I cry unending in the warm arms of my mother.

She re-assures me, it was beautiful and I only have to build it again. How difficult is that?

Choose another place; one that is further away from the tide line and you will enjoy it longer is the wise diktat.

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So I start building my sand castle again.

My enthusiasm, my youth, my optimism and once again its all about a reinforcement of myself:

My strength, my creativity and capabilities are once more mine to prove.

I move ahead with full plans.

This time as I build my castle I know more and I am more careful, I have studied the tide line. I have taken into account different probabilities and I feel invincible.

But…

Seasons change and the tide line changes. My sand castle is washed away once again.

This time there is only (myself) I to rely on, no place to cry and no arms for re-assurance.

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Now my maturity is only tinged with enthusiasm.

My creativity, my strength and capabilities are floundering. The weight of “what if” is slowing my progress.

Yet an inner voice tells me, ” Build, there’s no better time than now.”

I build, pulling every last ounce of reserves together.

Finally I am the queen of my castle  which stands magnificently by the shore.

But….

I do not enjoy the sunset any more. I do not wait for the sunrise either, all I do is watch the horizon for changes in the tide.

I am the prisoner of my castle now.

Alas there comes an unprecedented storm, the tsunami and my castle is blown to smithereens.

I break down. An empty shell with no tears left.

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I recover slowly feeling healed as I lick my wounds.

I come back with renewed strength. My sand castle has to built away from the sea. That’s all there is to it.

Maybe my enthusiasm is less, maybe the time is not right but the sand just keeps slipping.

It will not build, not as I want it, I need the wet sand for its magnificent completion.

Unknowing I sink into that sand by the beach; I let the sea wash my feet.

I cannot predict the tide line or the changes of seasons. They all have their nuances and nature’s quirks.

The horizon looks different with every sunrise and every sunset. I begin to revel in daily changes.

Sometimes the castle stands, sometimes it is washed away.I build and re-build with an unending enthusiasm.

I feel re-assured by nature itself; that the tide will wash it away to leave me another clean bank to create on.

It’s a mid-life awakening.

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My Reality:

Yes, I do realise that this jargon applied to the mechanics of a real life is perhaps too stark.

Does it really help me to earn that coveted lifestyle?

No it doesn’t.  My reality is not that coveted lifestyle but it certainly is the action of getting there.

My happiness and joy are several notches higher since I stopped trying to keep the castle intact or in reality terms trying to predict the outcome of every action or project that I undertake.

In a way I am exactly where I want to be without the pain of trying to be there!

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I am re-reading AGHORA III [trilogy].
It is basically about the law of Karma.
The law of Karma is most profound and one of the most fiendishly perplexing of all reality’s axioms!!
Simply put, it means a “cause and effect” or “action and reaction”. Our reaction / effect  even a  thought wh is an experience. (every action brings about an equal reaction)

(Here are some relevant points, and I would love feed back and discussions from all regarding this.)

What is an experience?
Every individual has unique individual experience every nano second ( a breath for instance) of the limited sphere in the “time ” which we live here on earth.
This creates for each one of us, INDIVIDUAL UNIVERSES OF EXPERIENCE.
There are as many universes as there are people ……..
Since limitations of time and space prevent everything from happening in our world all at one… THE LAW OF KARMA schedules its events or reactions or effects to occur in each cosmos just in time, every time….

What does this mean?
“you have all created your own personal universe with your karmas and now you must live in it.”
Most people try to ride out their karmic storms by barricading themselves inside psychological houses.
However, each one us eventually find ourselves existentially homeless, one day or another…
Religions make good ideational road-houses where we take shelter, until another karmic tempest blows in and even causes that shelter to collapse. !!

What is a karmic storm?
We are all in the river of KARMA.. it has fixed karma, fixed/unfixed karma and unfixed karma.  3 currents of varying intensity. ( how this comes about is explained in detail in the book)
Our present life is a swim in this river… full of the 3 currents mentioned above.
Free will operates here, as elsewhere with all of our decisions: where and when to enter this river, how fast to set your pace, what stroke to use. Basically choosing how we get across.
This is where we meet our karmic storm when we take on too strong a current (fixed karma) or simply flow with the current, or fight it when unnecessary  or correctly gauging our strength….endless permutations and combinations.
Finally we get across the river…. but while the crossing has taken place…..we have created another set of Karmas.
Probably the most important of karmic intensity factors is SELF AWARENESS, the force that allows us to self identify with our actions( take responsibility)…. this allows us to sow and reap more than other sentient beings can.

The unimaginably complexity of this law of Karma, is something that I would love to hear views on….I’ve been mulling on it, and it seems to me as if the only way is path is what has always been espoused….SURRENDER and FLOW WITH IT !!

( more on surrender next time )

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