Thursday, August 31, 2017

Brahmam Okate - Sooryagayathri & Rahul Vellal

How To Stick With Your Personal Development Program And Make It Work


  • Your thoughts and actions are not yours, they arise from the Consciousness. It is Consciousness that performs those thoughts and actions through you. And Consciousness experiences the consequences of those thoughts and actions, through you. OR
  • It's just our accumulated tendencies playing out. There is nothing to do but witness it. If you can maintain awareness moment to moment, you have a freedom of choice.

There isn't a single individual who doesn't feel lacking in some way. People feel they would be better off if they were wealthier, healthier, weighed more, weighed less, possessed more mansions, vehicles, luxuries, fair complexion, dark complexion, more height, less height, ...

On the emotional plane, we look for love, friendships, better relationships, validation, ...

Those among us in the chains of compulsive addictions try to find happiness by trying to break free of them...the list of addictions is quite long...

If  we look at it, there'd be some part of ourselves or our lives that we'd like to change or have been trying to change.

To what degree have each of us succeeded is a subjective matter. You might say "I'm happy with my progress."

Let's discuss a simple change in perspective that can make change of any sort easier.

However, mind you,, this entails a change in our outlook towards life.

It involves accepting the temporal nature of human life.

Now, is that an unsettling thought? Scary perhaps?

It need not be, once you have confronted it.

Birth and death are happening all around us, all the time. Why is our birth and death so special?

It's a paradox--To really enjoy life and get all that you want, you must accept that life itself is temporary and fleeting.

Now you may be thinking, isn't this the world view of monks and nuns who have renounced the world?

I too thought so. I thought the way of the monks and nuns was one of negating the world and its manifold experiences.

However, interacting with experienced spiritual practitioners and perusing Zen and Yoga works have convinced me that it need not be.

Life is meant to be experienced..

If someone tries to find the ultimate reality by renouncing all experiences, it would be putting oneself to extreme stress and imbalance.

This does not mean that we should all be epicurean freaks, living a life of indulgence.

It means to fully engage with each experience that life presents to you--be it the tiniest like batting an eyelid or drinking a glass of water.

We normally dismiss the small mundane jobs as boring and try to get them out of the way as soon as possible, so that we can enjoy what we like to do best.

Allow me to ramble a little, as it is hard to crystallize these thoughts. I myself am on the path of discovery.

Here is a concept for you to ponder:

Everything is Consciousness.

(Saying God would be equally fine, instead of Consciousness, but some are allergic to that word).

This is a concept on which all religions agree. The definition of God includes Omnipresence. Infinite Consciousness is everywhere.

Everything is Infinite Consciousness.

That means you and I are also Infinite Consciousness.

So your thoughts and actions and feelings originate from the Infinite Consciousness.

Being attentive to whatever you're doing or experiencing God.

A zen master said: Your actions, emotions, thoughts....these are your treasures. Pay attention.

When  you start to look at it this way, and maintain your observation moment to moment, you'll feel confusion, doubt, uncertainty dissolve, giving way to clarity and assurance.

*                                               *                                              *
The truth seeks itself
*                                                *                                             *

Why we don't stick with our personal development program and what to do about it

  • Absurd though it sounds, it's because we take up the doer ship of our actions. As per the above discussion, it is consciousness (God) that impels us to anything and everything. So why think that you are the doer? Think that Consciousness is making you do everything.
  • What about mistakes/bad actions onyour part?
Well, foist them also on Consciousness. The explanation is that in this cosmic drama, Consciouness wanted to experience this through you. And also the consequences of that action.

When you think in this way, it can be a bit unnerving. Consider an example:

Say X is trying to recover from alcoholism. He fails repeatedly. He blames himself for each failure and carries the misery. His condition doesn't improve because his thinking is confused.

But if he thinks that Consciousness wanted this experience through him, he can just relax and go ahead. Yes he may continue to drink. Consciousness also wants to experience the consequence of alcoholism through him. Karma will work anyway.

So what are the consequences? He will probably damage his liver and other organs in the process, and it can lead to painful disease and death. Consciousness wants these experiences through him.

Thinking in these lines generates a genuine concern and will make us seriously reconsider our ways. Ultimately, confronting ourselves is the most effective way that forces us to change.

And who wants to sacrifice his or her life just because Consciousness wants that experience? Let the unaware ones play the sheep.

Modern saints who have expressed similar ideas:
Ramana Maharishi: When you have boarded a train, why continue to hold your luggage on your head? Just put it down and relax. The train will take you and your luggage to the destination.

Mata Amritanandamayi: Whatever you do, think that you are performing that action with the energy of God.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Only Way To Control The Mind (Probably)

Most religions (and now psychology also) agree that it is essential to regulate one's thoughts and emotions in order to live harmoniously. We are surrounded by umpteen stimuli and media which exhort us to unbridled enjoyment.

The result of such enjoyment is always negative--disease, unhappiness and/or premature death. It also brings along loss of personal freedom, dishonour, and poverty.

We can see this demonstrated every day in the lives of successful people who after achieving their goals, descend into a life of depraved indulgence, giving up all their previous discipline. The newspapers celebrate stories of celebrities' fall from grace.

It is an inevitable tradeoff- one can't have both.

This establishes the ancient's wise saying:

Master yourself, and you can master your destiny.

But how?

One needs to realize that its almost impossible to control the mind. We do not know where it is, and its complete nature. Often we are so caught up in the unfolding events of life that we fail to observe the mind diligently. This gives it more than enough opportunities to go one up on us. Whether we acknowledge it or not, it is there, inciting us to do actions and to bear their consequences.

So it is essential to control the mind, and yet, we do not have a means of doing this.

The ancient philosophical treatises on Yoga have dwelt extensively on the subject of mind control (self mastery). However, man almost always misunderstands their purpose. It's for winning freedom, not for grovelling further into worldly enjoyments.

Secret of mind control (self mastery)

The ancient texts reveal desire to be the root of actions. With each desire, humans think that it will bring the final beatitude, that they will be happy and at peace. But of course it is not so. Just as addicts try to rationalise 'just this one more time' , the pursuit of happiness through fulfilling desires is never ending.The ancients have several analogies for this pursuit: the mirage of water in the desert for the thirsty traveller; the musk deer that searches everywhere for the origin of the fragrance, without looking in its own body which is the actual source,...

If you observe long enough you will find that every desire starts with a thought. When you repeat it, this thought creates a tension in your entire system. And when this tension possesses you, you must find a way to relieve it. At this stage of development, there is only one way to do that---fulfill that desire.

This pattern has been engraved in our DNA over countless repetitions.

Hans Selye, the authority on Stress, observed: Stress is the result of involuntary thoughts.

This tallies perfectly with our previous theory.

Which means that a mind which has thoughts running through it all the time, will develop stress (tension). It is easy to see how the mind picks pleasures as stress-relievers. Thus various desires take birth.

Constant Engagement-the only way to control the mind

So involuntary thoughts lead to stress or tension, and the mind adopts desire fulfillment to defuse that tension and restore the equilibrium. Advertising operates on the same principles. Ads are strategically designed to sow the seeds of desire in our minds, sufficient number of times to create the tension, forcing us to relieve it.

So how to master the mind? Avoid letting the mind get tensed up.

How to avoid tension in the mind? Traditionally, various meditation techniques address this very issue.

However, we face a tricky problem. The vulnerability to tension is present 24 hours. And it is not possible for most of us to sit and meditate all the time. Our minds are too restless.

The mind is like a cat. However much we feed and stroke a cat, the moment we divert our attention, it will steal food...----Mata Amritanandamayi

The simplest strategy has been coded into this very familiar proverb from days of yore:

The idle mind is the devil's workshop. If you rest, you rust.

Which means occupying oneself all the time is the easiest way to control the mind.

When one has made constant engagement a habit, he/she can incorporate further practices like moment-to-moment awareness. 

Further thoughts

Do we need to control our minds?

Anybody who wants to achieve a positive goal would want to devote more time and energy for it. Controlling/regulating our other desires is key to free up this time and energy. Also those who are trying to recover from crippling addictions of any kind would need these techniques of mind control.

Further ways to do it

Most of us try to overcome the mind by battling it head on. This is a mistake most neophytes on the spiritual path make. They are horrified at the kind of thoughts arising and think: I shouldn't be thinking like this and struggle against the thought. Those trying to recover from addictions also struggle in this way.

Unfortunately, energy goes where attention goes (As The Secret told us). So the end result of your struggle would be to reinforce that which you wanted to get rid of. There is the story of the monkey demon Bali in the Ramayana. Bali could not be overcome by normal battle because he was able to appropriate half of the energy of his opponent. He had a boon to that  effect. So Sri Ram shot him stealthily from a hiding place. Bali is symbolic of our lower mind that holds us back.

Instead of directly fighting with the mind and its thoughts, why not address the stress in the mind? As we discussed above, desires result from tension in the mind. If we maintain awareness of our actions, thoughts, and feelings, the tension cannot sustain. Our focus shifts away from the undesirable thoughts.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Synchronize Instantly With The World With This Simple Statement

Life is enjoyable when you are in tune with yourself and the world, when you're able to function optimally, letting the work flow through you in a state of grace.

However, all too often, unpleasant interactions with discontented people and often our own gripes from the past can throw a monkey wrench into the smoothly running gears of our life, and in no time the rhythm of harmony will turn into a jarring cacophony. We would begin to wish that we were not here at all.

The more demonstrative among us would react violently and life soon becomes a hell of chaos.

I have fallen into this trap all too often.

Things would be running smoothly when an unpleasant incident occurs and my mental peace is shattered; it takes quite a while to get back into that state of harmony.

I tried many techniques to preserve my mental equipoise such as breath observation, self talk, etc. However, in the heat of the moment, I forgot all these and reacted. These methods do have a calming effect when practised consistently.

However, recently, a thought hit me and using that seems to have a more lasting effect. It is actually based on the law of karma--What goes around, comes around.

This is the statement that can get us out of the rut of negativity; it synchronizes us into harmony with life and the rest of creation.

"I alone am responsible for everything I am going through"
"I created all my experiences, no one else"

There are many ways of putting it, but this is the point: realising our accountability to ourselves.

But then a question:
How can starkly unfair turns be my doing?

For example, companies fire people without warning. The employees come in the morning, swipe their IDs and find it's been deactivated. They've been fired.

There is no possible reason coming from observed facts and logic. The company can have its own reasons, it may even be whimsical or unabashed selfishness (Gordon Gekko in Wall Street movie).

In such circumstances, we may withdraw into negativity and spiralling gloom.

If for no other reason, then perhaps being born is one reason that experiences occur.

The above thought puts the incident behind us without grudge or hard feelings towards anybody or ourselves, and helps us make a new beginning.

If I created this experience, then I can undo it.
If I wrote the script of my life so far, then I definitely can rewrite my life script in a better way!

Perhaps this is even more important than mantras and spiritual practices, more fundamental. Doing spiritual practices without attuning to life and the Universe is wasting a lot of effort and creating a warped personality.

I have been thinking more often that I need to keep this statement in my mind at all times, like a mantra:  I am responsible for all my experiences.

This does reduce conflict with the outside world and attunes me into harmony with life. I regain my composure and efficiency.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Healing Grief Through The Breath

Some doors open only from the inside. Breath is a way of accessing that door. Watch this to find out.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

What The Saint Sees

We here,
that man, this man, and
that other in-between,

that woman, this woman,
that other, whoever,
those people, and these,
these others in-between,

this thing, that thing,
this other in-between, whichever
all things dying,

these things, those things,
those others in-between,
good things, bad things,
things that were, that will be,
being all of them,
He stands there.

Tamil poem by Nammalvar [trans. A. K. Ramanujan, *Poems of Love and War*]

(This is on the the god of thresholds). Nammalvar was a Sangam poet: Nammalvar is one of the twelve alwar saints of Tamil Nadu, India, who are known for their affiliation to the Vaishnava tradition of Hinduism.

Born: 3102 BC, Alwarthirunagiri
Books: Hymns for the drowning, Sahasra-gitih of Sri Sathakopasurih

Sources for this article:

Thursday, August 10, 2017

How Broking Houses Can Enable Instantaneous Fund Transfer (Almost) Between Accounts

If you are a trader, trading in both equity and commodity with a broker, you'd have experienced the difficulty in transferring funds between these accounts. Existing rules require traders to have separate accounts for these two divisions. This is especially relevant in India. where SEBI stipulates having separate accounts for equity/currency and commodity trading.

So if you found a trading opportunity in commodity, but needed to transfer your funds from equity, you'll first need to withdraw them to your bank and then transfer them to your commodity account, though they are with the same broker.

This creates a time delay of up to 24 hours. The expenses of NEFT/IMPS transfer also come in. Also you need to log in to the bank account, and provide the security details etc, which is a hassle.

Currently time required to transfer money between these accounts through this circuitous route is a minimum of 3 hours for premium brokers like Sharekhan. Discount brokers may take up to 26 hours.

By the time the funds arrive, your trading opportunity would have vanished.

How to reduce the cash transfer time by more than 75%

I propose an alternative using existing technology. E-wallets can be used for this purpose.

  • Either the broker can provide an e-wallet expressly for this purpose to its clients or 
  • it can collaborate with existing E-wallets like PAYTM.
The route of the transaction must be:


Routing this way will reduce the transaction time to almost zero, as the separate e-wallet is solely for satisfying the legal requirements of SEBI.

Advantages of routing transfer through an e-wallet

  • Reduces time of transfer between equity and commodity accounts by more than 75%.  This increases trade volume as funds are readily available to the client.
  • The transfer can be instantaneous if the e-wallet is maintained by the broker.
  • Eliminates the hassle of logging into the bank account and providing security details. Actually the client could activate the transfer with just an SMS from the authorised mobile.
  • Reduces the load on bank servers
  • Reduces online security risks to clients because there is no need to log in to bank a/c

Friday, August 04, 2017

KnowherStory: The Award Winning Project

KnowherStory: The Award Winning Project: A blog that narrates personal unique stories of grassroots women leaders.

This is the blog of Regina Zoneziwoh Mbondguloa, Cameroonian scholar and activist who  holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences and a master of arts in Conflict, Security and Development from King’s College in London. Upon completion of the Washington Fellowship, she plans to use her civic leadership and advocacy skills to train and empower young people, particularly women and girls to get involved in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programs that impact their lives. (Source: )

What amazes me is that there are people who get qualified from top institutions and yet, instead of using their education for their own material benefit, dedicate themselves to the welfare of the less fortunate, marginalized among us.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

A Step Towards Yourself

Nearly two decades ago, I got  a chance to play the DOS game called Budo. It was a transforming experience. Not that the game was extremely brilliant, even though good it was.

What fascinated me was that at unexpected moments a brilliant quote would flash on the screen.

Two of those quotes from that game entered my life forever, I still contemplate their meaning. Let me share them with you:

The first one:

Center yourself by accepting whatever you're doing now.

We generally rush through life, focusing only on our so called 'important' moments and activities.

We are here to enjoy life, not to run through it in a frenzied rush. After all, we can only do one thing at a time; that done well leads to the next.

Think on the above quote, and you will find that not a moment of your life will ever go to waste again. All your frustrations will dissolve, when you accept whatever you're doing NOW. You really enter into that activity. It may be the most mundane, boring task, like drinking a glass of water.

When you accept that act, it becomes the most important act of your life, and your mind settles down. A hitherto unknown kind of contentment enters your heart as you take each sip, savoring the sensation of coolness as it travels down your throat.

You realize there is no hurry, that this ordinary task is also an important moment in my life, in fact this is the most important moment now, and I can't do anything else now.

Isn't that a step towards yourself?

The original quote:

“Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free: Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate.”- Chuang-tzu

Contact Me


Email *

Message *