Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Natural Obligation Towards Cleanliness

I had just left the shop with my purchased goods and was on the road. Ahead of me, two teenage boys opened their chocolate bars they had just purchased. Popping the toffees into their mouths, they nonchalantly dropped the toffee wrappers where they belonged--on the road. There was not even a consideration if there were any dustbins around. Not that there were.

This is India. I doubt such behavior would be acceptable in any developed country. Singapore is said to impose a fine on anybody who litters or spits on the road-about $25 for the first offence. If that fine was instituted in India, it would be a major source of revenue to the government. We Indians feel obliged to present the bleakest, dirtiest picture of ourselves to the visitors from the outside world.

Jokes apart, we act as if we do not have an obligation towards cleanliness. I understand the citizens of the developed world may be sincere about keeping their surroundings clean, but I'm not sure if they show the same commitment towards a clean environment. If they had, they would have insisted on green vehicles, green energy, green construction-green everything. The research in solar power is limping along, mainly because there  is no serious demand in the market. The main obstacle they say, is the economy and fuel efficiency aspect. If it were possible to reduce the size of computers from one occupying an entire floor of 167.3 sq m (1800 sq. ft.) area (the ENIAC) and it could be scaled down to a laptop that you can hold in your lap, if you can successfully send men to the Moon and bring them back safely, why is it not possible to improve the efficiency of solar converters?

The human race has not realised its obligation to the environment, to nature. We do not realise that we are receiving from nature all the time-food, air, water, living space, and other basic resources.

And we want it clean-nobody wants food or water that is unclean. But it doesn't matter that we leave a clean environment, in return.

This is a paradox of human nature, of counting only our rights and not our obligations. I have to say our materialistic philosophy based exclusively on profit making is the culprit here.

We do not try to think of what consequences there can be. Man is a part of nature, if he destroys her, he destroys himself. Its like sawing off the tree branch on which one is sitting.

It is time for us to wake up to this reality that we cannot exist separate from nature, that nature is our own source and destination--one whom we can rightfully call our Mother.
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Sunday, February 26, 2012

When Someone Enters Samadhi...

Googling for this heading, I found this site:


"......... that stress that I recognized as myself was gone."

Isn't that beautiful? This man seems to know what he is talking about.
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Would You Like Some Happiness?

If you answered YES to this question, I hope you also know where to find it, for I only wanted to tell you that I cannot give you happiness. Not just me, nobody else can do that, for that matter. Not your spouse, your children, your pup,..parents..no.

Sorry, but this came out of the following paragraph from Michele Weiner Davis's ground breaking book "Divorce Busting":
People are shocked to discover that their difficulties continue to hound them in spite of their single status or their choice of a new partner. Some disillusioned divorced people tell me, "My spouse's habits really irritated me, but now I cant cope with this loneliness. The silence in the evenings is killing me.." Or " the new guy I married seemed so sensitive and open, the qualities I missed in my first marriage, but  as I've gotten to know him better he now seems more like a clone of my first husband." Or "I thought leaving my wife and all of her demands would make me happy, but oddly enough I am still unhappy."

Reminds you of something? Perhaps we too often forget to look in that oft neglected secret place: Within ourselves.

For more information about her book, see: Divorce :A Solution?
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

More Stories from the Other Side---Hope

 Mellen-Thomas Benedict, an artist in the U.S, was in a state of physical death for over an hour and a half. After his apparent physical death, he had extraordinary out of the body experiences that challenged established norms of knowledge and thinking. After returning to life, he was able to make scientific discoveries based on his NDE (Near Death Experience). Mr. Benedict is involved in research into the mechanics of cellular communication and is the holder of  six U.S. patents.

Excerpts from his account:
....From what I have seen, I would be happy to be an atom in this universe. An atom. So to be the human part of God ... this is the most fantastic blessing. It is a blessing beyond our wildest estimation....
.....It was not a near-death experience. I experienced death itself for an hour and a half........
This sentence is of particular interest:
.......My memory of the journey came back later. I could see nothing wrong with any human being I had ever seen. Before that I was really judgmental. I thought a lot of people were really screwed up, in fact I thought that everybody was screwed up but me.....

You can also read the article in the following link. It is one of the best known documented cases of out of body existence (NDE). It happened at the Harbor view hospital, Seattle: http://nowwithouthesitation.blogspot.in/2012/04/near-death-experiences-and-rationalism.html
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A Near Death Experience- Documented

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Why We Don't Experience God

If God or Truth is present everywhere, including us, why do we not see or experience this Truth? As it is within us, we only need to look within and we should see. The signs of a person who is experiencing God are: happiness in spite of any kind of outer circumstances, and not needing a crutch for happiness.

There are two main reasons:
  • Our attention is always turned outward. We hardly ever look within.
  • Our minds are constantly vibrating so that even when we look, our vision is blurred. Imagine a pool of muddy water in constant motion. To see through the water, first we need to allow the mud to settle down, by letting the water stand still for some time. Secondly, we should not keep disturbing the water.
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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Steve Jobs' Words of Inspiration

Of the 300 million Apple ipods sold (as on October 2011), I happen to use one. This had been my only connection with Steve Jobs so far. A video on Youtube changed my perception of Jobs.

Apart from being the game changer in the electronic entertainment industry, Steve Jobs also had a deep, uncanny philosophical outlook on life that combined ancient truths with personal observations and experiences. Experiences that were far from what one would expect for a top achiever like him.

Many of us may be unaware that his early life was full of hardships and uncertainties. Startlingly, here was a man who was given away by his biological mother to a childless couple, a man who had to drop out of college because he didn't want to study on his parents' hard earned money--but look at what he became, what he achieved. Stupendous!

Here's Steve Jobs' Stanford 2005 commencement address:

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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Motivation to Change

Pain is the motivator that forces instant change.

At some point in our lives, we might have endured immense pain-physical or psychological-which left us desperately seeking a remedy: Oh God, I'd do anything to get rid of this, to be out of this terrible experience.

What about those who commit major offences?

Students who get caught cheating in exams, cheating partners, corrupt officials and ministers who get caught, all have their fall from grace, their moments of ignominy. Recently, three ministers in the state of Karnataka (India) were caught on camera viewing porn in the state legislative assembly. They were forced to resign, and their political career and stature would be difficult to redeem.

We read of many officials and ministers around the world getting retribution for their shameful acts. Some of them pay with their lives-like Gaddafi. Others are subjected to disgrace-public inquiries, trials, impeachments, which are worse than death. Lets not make a list of those people here.

If even after such painful experiences, such people do not reform, greater and greater tragedies await them.

Mata Amritanandamayi, modern day renowned mystic and spiritual teacher, relates this story to stress the importance of commitment to duties-worldly and spiritual:

"A corrupt businessman was not willing to pay taxes. According the law of his land, the punishment for not paying taxes was either to drink 10 glasses of salt water or to receive 30 whip lashes. "I'll take the punishment," he said, thinking he could easily drink salt water.

The day of punishment arrived. The officials took him to the public square and put the glasses of salt water before him. He took a sip, and reeled back, nauseated. He was used to dainty dishes and wines, and the taste of the intensely salty water was too much to stomach. "OK, I'll take the whiplashes", he said, still not wanting to part with his money.

As the first blow landed on his back, he cried out, wincing in pain." Oh, I'm going to die", he thought. Never having had done any sort of physical work, his body was like butter.

When the guard raised the whip again, he fell on his knees and begged,"Enough, enough, pleeease! Let me go, I'll pay all my taxes with interest".

He not only drank salt water, but also had to endure blows, and in the end, paid the taxes as well.

If man does not evolve, nature will force him to evolve, even at the point of the bayonet, said Swami Vivekananda, a saint and social reformer of the early 20th century.

So whenever a small inner voice from inside whispers to us: "Don't do that......do this...it is the right thing to do", we better heed it.

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Sunday, February 05, 2012

Lessons From an Animal

We humans are impatient with everything. We want instant solutions to everything- jobs, money, career skills, marriage, health…When something goes wrong, or doesn't work out well, we are frustrated, have a bout of depression, trauma, and what not.

Recently, I learnt a lesson in patience from a neighbor. It was an animal, a female dog. Every year, she gets pregnant and gives birth. The births occur during the winter, and sadly, few pups survive the intense Delhi cold which dips down to 3 degrees Celsius.

Last year, I had seen her with a fresh litter, cuddled under the staircase of a building. People did provide blankets and food, but only one survived. It was too sad to see the tiny pups lying dead, the lone survivor moving over their bodies. The mother was unusually silent, weeping out her sorrow in a corner. She didn't usually allow anyone to pass that way, but that day, she didn't even lift up her head. Perhaps she was angry with us humans for not providing a shelter, for not protecting her pups from the chilling winds.

This year, to atone for that, we did not drive her out when she came for shelter inside our compound. We let her have a portion of the portico, and there were blinds to keep out the wind. Tonight I heard sounds of licking tongues, and moments later low pitched squeals. She was in labor! We watched as she patiently tugged the pups out of her abdomen, one by one. It went on for hours.

She had every reason to give up when her pups died last year, but the instinct of life innate in her made her go on. We humans could take a cue from this when faced with setbacks: Keep on keeping on, there's light at the end of the tunnel.
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For a Change..Laugh, Seriously!

Oh my God! Laughing Buddhas!

Inspired? Why not try it out ? See this video below:

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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Self-belief For Better Personal Relations

He didn't look at me, she did not greet me, these people don't smile...these are pet peeves of people at social gatherings:  How often have you gone to social functions and felt that people don't show warmth or consideration? This is more true in big cities. If you are a teacher or a public speaker, you must've felt exasperated sometimes by the expressions of people in the audience-blank stares, angry glares,...never acknowledging your best efforts.

I believe it is possible to have a nice time even if you go to a place where you know no one. You need to be happy with yourself. Somebody said: You've to be comfortable with yourself if you're to be comfortable with others. You've to like that person whom you see in the mirror. Only if you accept yourself unconditionally, as you are now, will you get that self love-not regarding your past, your failures, your errors and omissions-not withstanding. It doesn't matter at all who you are or what you have achieved.

All that matters is -to ACCEPT YOURSELF AS YOU ARE NOW. You'll feel instant relief, a lightening of the heart, a relaxed, lighter state of being. You have acknowledged your divinity, you're at peace with yourself.

You might need to work on this, contemplate this fact, meditate on this-and be convinced. Then it will form the solid bedrock of self-belief on which you can have fun developing your skills in whatever way you want.

ACCEPT THIS: No matter what I have been in the past, no matter what I have done, I AM GOOD. I ACCEPT MYSELF UNCONDITIONALLY. I APPROVE OF MYSELF. I LOVE MYSELF.

There is no limit to reinforcing this belief-one may do it all the time till it becomes second nature. You'll feel gradual transformation, you'll forgive yourself when you make mistakes.You'll be more open to others, to observe evolving life situations from a neutral vantage point and respond in a balanced way. You wont get caught up and give off knee-jerk reactions which complicate matters. You will learn to free yourself from the grip of circumstances.

And when you have that freedom, you'll be able to view others' shortcomings with compassion. Instead of attacking them and deepening their wounds, you'll be able to let go of your hurts, and accommodate others.

Everybody is the result of their circumstances, and people are doing the best they can.
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