Whom will you hang out with today?

A couple of days ago, I chanced upon the video of Oprah talking to Adyashanti, on her Super Soul Sunday show. The way Adyashanti was talking about living life connected with me. The word ‘dignity’ popped into my head. I thought about GD and how he lives. I thought about a few more people I know on the path and how they live their lives.

Be it spiritual masters or students on the path, everyone has to participate in daily activities and experience situations that do not fit the ‘spiritual’ tag. But what struck me about them and what I have not yet managed to learn, is how I go about my life. I am still stuck between wanting to live a simpler, ‘less affected by social norms’ life vs having deep attachments to family, clothes, and dark chocolates! And so I am automatically critical about myself. Perfection is a virus that seems to have deeply infected my system and I am extremely critical about “where I assume I am on the path,” pull myself down for not doing enough, and beat myself up for still having desires and attachments.

As I thought about the journey of those who I now admire, I realized everyone has gone through this graph. But the difference between them and me seemed to be the dignity with which they went about their lives. They gave no importance to anything that has happened and did not categorize it as spiritual or un-spiritual. They simply kept learning, putting into practice what they were learning and letting go of anything that came between them and God. When I look at their lives, I see humility, acceptance and compassion towards everyone including themselves. The base of their existence seems to be a silence, an observation of what happens, and a pause before they respond. All this is based not just on their mind or intelligence, but on their connection with the silence, with the Divine.

I thought what my life lacked was dignity. But as I explore this, it is apparent to me that dignity is another ego goal; what I can see in them and what I believe is lacking is serenity. I yearn for serenity. That still space, unaffected by life around it. And this is where my learning lies. I realize not only am I tough on myself and others, but most often I am not even aware of what I am doing. Life seems to be based on judging myself, feeling afraid, rejecting my own thoughts, feeling small and silly, and reacting to all this. And yet I can see, this is normal for most minds. It is the space the mind keeps returning to. When GD reminded me on Sunday that I am obsessed with myself, this is what he had meant. A life spent listening to the mind results in a hurried, stressful life. From the kiddo’s school project to the husband busy at work, everything seems to be a conspiracy against you – a poor helpless soul.

But as a student on the path, I know this much. I have a choice. I know a life with the mind, minus the Divine, is a small, petty, un-glorious life. It seems to be a life spent in self-glorification, protection, defense, confusion or indulgence. On the other hand, a life with the Divine seems to be one of stillness, serenity and peace. And I have experienced many moments of this connection.

So I ask myself today, who do I want to hang out with? My mind ( so that I can beat myself up a bit more) or with God ( unexpected, unknown day but serene).

I know I will choose God. Who will you choose?

 

 

 

 

Discovering who I truly am

I have known for years that the spiritual path leads to the discovery of “Who I am.” Honestly, I had no clue what that really means. My mind has always assumed that the discovery of who-I-am would mean a series of mind-blowing, earth-shaking, soul uplifting experiences. Today as I sat transcribing one of my conversations with GD in which he helped me see how afraid I am of him, it came to me slowly… a tiny nudge on my shoulder, a tap-tapping on my brain, a gentle dawn… that as I acknowledge the games played by my mind, as I willingly let go of thoughts, beliefs, and a carefully constructed personality, I am moving closer towards discovering “who I truly am.”

Like most people the thought of “discover who you truly are” left me with esoteric goals of seeing light bodies and other dimensions. While those are probably part of the learning, I never realized how these conversations with GD were resulting in a deeper connect with my real self.

The ways of the mind are not pleasant to acknowledge and accept. Initially, every time I saw something that needs to be released, it would send me into a tizzy with even more stories so that I could avoid the truth that had just been revealed to me. But I can see now, that knowing “who I am” has to do with learning to consistently choose truth, honesty, clarity and integrity. However hard it may seem. I have realized that the sooner I accept and work on what is being revealed, the lighter I feel. Trying to escape only leads to chaos, guilt and pain. It is far more sensible, if you truly are a student on the path, to work on clearing these from your system.

Our beliefs, fears, thoughts and habits are not meant to be carried on and on for years. It is in their undoing, in the undoing of the mind, ego and personality, that lies the discovery of who we truly are.  If I remember this, then the time spent in being a victim throwing pity parties for myself, denial, anger and confusion, gets shorter and shorter as I progress on the path.

I have invested years in building my personality, intelligence and knowledge. It had left me with a void, with not knowing what I truly wanted, what made me happy or who I was. With GD, as I shed one thought, one belief, one fear after the other, I know I am walking closer to knowing the truth.

The less of the world there is on me, the more space I am opening up to God. The more I shed my mind, the lighter I feel. The more silence inside, the higher the possibility of hearing God. I am discovering that knowing “who-you-truly-are” is not really spiritual. It is not just another experience. It is not just another event. It really is the journey itself.

The quest for perfection

For a few days now, I have been restless about judging my dad for something. Spirituality brings with it the awareness that judgements we have about others is usually something we judge ourselves for. But it is never easy to look at the things that make you uncomfortable, and so, for a few days now I have been avoiding doing some clearing work on this.

But as I prayed today morning, I felt ready to release this judgement. I am learning to honour guidance and started tapping. I usually use a combination of EFT, Clearing questions and forgiveness when I work on something. I find it works really well for me.

Aware that I needed to be honest and non-judgemental, I acknowledged all the judgements I had about my dad. It was tough to vocalize or say what I really feel, but as I tapped, I was able to release all these judgements. Remembering that these were just thoughts in the head and to not engage in guilt, made it easier to be honest.

As I tapped it the thoughts turned from the judgements about dad to judgements about other family members. Events and incidents of the past came up and led to memories of feeling judged when I was younger. As I tapped, I was also able to acknowledge hidden anger at him and others.

Interestingly, as it was ending it led to the quest for perfection, competing with God (who I believe is perfect), guilt for choosing separation from God and living as a “I”, and mostly about never really feeling perfect, good enough, or worthy. I ended it by doing forgiveness. Forgiving my dad, forgiving family, asking for forgiveness for judging them, forgiveness for indulging in this useless quest for perfection, and for believing in something called perfection.

All my life I have seen people around me struggle with their thoughts and beliefs about perfection. I have seen my mom live a life which would receive the approval of all and I in turn grew up believing that I had to be perfect too. I had to cook perfectly, be the perfect mom, daughter, wife, daughter-in-law, friend, acquaintance. As I tapped today, I experienced immense anger at how I have been believing in the wrong word and its wrong meaning all my life.

I want my dad to be a perfect dad, family wanted me to behave in a way they felt perfect, others in turn had the same expectation from those family members. It turns out the whole world is trying to live up to either their notion or someone’s notion of being perfect! This led me to question – if everyone wanted perfection, then is the meaning of perfect the same for everyone? No! For someone being perfect could mean giving more importance to helping others than cleaning their home, for others being perfect could mean choosing family over helping neighbours… And yet, we spend lifetimes in this quest for perfection.

As I tapped, it became clear to me that in my eyes God is perfect. That it is only God whom I can associate the word perfect with. But that didn’t meant that God had a standardized behavior. Because each of us has our own unique relationship with God. Then what does perfect mean!

If God meant perfection, it means perfection is allowance. Perfection is being accepting of differences, perfection is being flexible, perfection is being forgiving. Perfection means allowing others to be fragile, foolish, fearful. But most of all perfection is forgiving.

As I ended the clearing, I felt lighter because I had my own flexible definition of perfection. We all need to find our own definitions sometimes, because when we attribute inflexible meanings to words, we are limiting ourselves and others. And what I still need to remember is this is still not about finding the right meaning. There is no right and no wrong. Just remembering that allows me to be human as I look for the Divine.

Water as an entity

A few days ago, a river in New Zealand was granted the status of a person. Soon, Ganga and Yamuna were granted the status of people. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/21/ganges-and-yamuna-rivers-granted-same-legal-rights-as-human-beings

While it remains to be seen what this decision will mean in terms of protecting the rivers, it feels like a step in the right direction. But what I am going to say here, is completely against so called social thought.

A few days ago, while I was washing dishes and felt guilty about the running tap, I felt the water ask me what I was guilty about. What it told me was not what I was ready to hear. Since forever the relationship between water and human beings has been an existential one. Human beings simply cannot survive without water. But we have evolved in a way that rather than treating water , air and everything that we need for our survival , as a sacred and precious resource, we use everything as though it has been created just for us.

While there are fabulous people, conscious of how indebted we are to nature, working to save, protect it from destruction, there is something we have all overlooked. As I washed the dishes that day, I felt the water ask me why it was dammed. Why was it wrong for it to flow to the ocean? That it was as necessary for the birds and animals in the oceans and earth to have this fresh influx of water every year and that water belong to all and not just humans. I felt the water ask me to speak about this and write about this. I didn’t. Not till now, a year later.

I was disturbed by what I heard. For much part of my life, I have been saving water, protecting water, conserving water, talking to family and others about using less water. Use buckets, don’t shower, don’t waste water, soon we won’t have water. Everything that was used in popular environmental discourse was part of my vocabulary. Till I realized that there were things I didn’t understand. When I looked it was all scientific and confusing. But from the little I understood, it is as intricate as the connection between life and water. Increasing salinity in ocean water, global warming and meting icecaps which reduce salinity in some parts of the ocean, climate change, temperature, … there are so many facets to this. What really happens when there is an increase or decrease of fresh water into the oceans? Have you thought about that?

Humans need water to survive. But rivers and rain don’t exist solely for mankind. The creation of large dams is not just about displacing humans, it is about believing that water is just a resource for humans, and not meant for earth and all its inhabitants. We can drink water and store it but we can’t damm water, one way or the other. The issue of conserve water because we humans need it is not the right mindset.

Before someone gets this wrong, this is not about leaving taps open and letting water run. This is about looking at water pollution, this is about looking at water conservation in a way that begins to understand that every river is an entity, with her right to go where she wants and help whom she wants, without us dumping our crap on her, without us damming her. And, we shouldn’t have had to wait for courts to tell us that.

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For those interested in deepening their connection to water, a simple thing would be to say the H’o’ ponopono . You simply say, ” I am sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. I thank you. ” Do this before you drink water. Before you bathe. While you do dishes. When you water plants.

For work on how water affects our internal energies look up Masaru Emoto’s work.

The ways of grace

In what has been a tough year, the shower of grace has been both unexpected and welcome. The body has been battered and yet there has been enough grace to see that even in the lowest moments, there has been the support of some remarkable individuals I am privileged to know. What I thought was gone, returned with the fresh promise of newness; what is painful struck like a tornado, but is taking away lifetimes of debris in its wake.

Isn’t it grace that gifts you a live master who is ever so patient and compassionate. There is nothing that GD has not taught me, because at the core of it the most important lessons are the simplest ones. And yet he devotes the time and energy to keep re-explaining and reminding me of the same things. He patiently guides me back again and again to remembering the our true nature, even as I whine about people, health and God.

And then there is my Sai, our Sai Baba. Kind, compassionate and patient. He has been guiding me since childhood, watching over me, protecting me all the time. Even as I have walked past him without a glance on my good days, even as I chose to sob in front of his picture while I was in pain. And yet he smiles, frowns, scolds and laughs as I fumble on and feel overwhelmed with my new-found connection with him. He has everything to give, I am trying my hardest to make sure I receive.

So what is grace? Is it the ability to have miracles in your life? No. It is the blessing to stay courageous and believe, no matter what. GD reminded me even a couple of days ago, life is hard and it foolish to hope otherwise. Grace, I have learnt, is to allow what is happening to happen, resist nothing and know you are taken care of. And in that trust, peace arrives. Grace is not a guarantee for everlasting joy, happiness and prosperity. Grace is a movement to understanding that nothing matters but the presence of God in your heart. Grace is life allowing you to pray for others, asking for God to take care of your loved ones and watch him do it. Grace is being open to the lessons that arrive when you need them and recognizing them when they come. Grace is staying humble in the knowledge that you are not special, but you are special to God ( a valuable reminder to me from Baba).

My wish is for everyone to recognize this grace when it arrives in your life. Being open to the little moments of tranquility and stillness that are present between the chaos. I once that we could also lose Grace. Now, I believe that the only thing we lose is our ability to witness it. Because Grace is ever present, every ready to shower you with its gifts. The question is are you ready to receive it. If yes, be aware of its presence.

Be true each moment- Sai Baba

I have been urged since a little while now to share what Sai Baba is teaching me. He asks me to write, sees me while away my time in doubt, fear, confusion and waits patiently for me to pick up the pen. Thanks to grace, I have been writing often and I know it is time to share what he says. I will be posting excerpts of what he is telling me or the whole bits, depending on what he guides me to. Here is what he said today.

” The path to greater truth is to be true each moment. To yourself and those around you. Be honest about your fears, about your greed, about your desires. When you wander off come back and see the root of it.When the ego-mind is thus addressed, it begins to get bad at its game and you better at yours. This allows the greater truth to then make its presence felt and known.”

 

Living in Guidance

This morning, I heard one of GD’s sessions that took place a couple of weeks ago. I missed that call – Living in Guidance. But the moment I heard it, I knew I couldn’t have heard it sooner or later. It had to be heard at the right time. It had to hear when I was ready. It is much like what has been occurring in my life the past few months. Health-wise since Feb, I have hard time. Anxiety, fear, panic, weight-loss, a sensitive para-sympathic nervous system, IBS- the mind threw it whatever it could, even convinced at one point that it was the end. What made it worse was the awareness that I was creating it. And then despite the fear, I began to move towards the one thing that has always changed the way I feel; I began to move towards trust, move towards my god, Sai Baba. GD and so many others, worked their hardest with me and behind the scenes. While I was absorbing all they said, ‘I’ was still trying to change things. It was only when the ‘I’ receded and I said “Baba, you take care” that things began to shift.

While I was meditating one day, Sai Baba took over the meditation and soon he began guiding me. But I was unwilling to listen and the days since have been alternating between trust and the ego saying, ‘no you cannot do this’. My faith though is so strong, that I return to Baba multiple times a day, asking him to guide me, asking him for his help in even understanding what is happening. And today when I heard GD speak about living with guidance, I was able to understand and process what is happening with me a lot better. Everyday is a way on, towards god, towards trust, towards simplicity. And anyone can do this by listening to the guidance we receive all the time. Some call it intuition, some call it the voice, some call it a thought.This talk by GD can help you understand and hone your guidance. Stay blessed.