Lessons learned in life

Recently, I have decided to write from a space where my mind, interferes as little as possible in the process. The intention is to be open to receiving whatever lessons the universe chooses for me to receive. After a long time of struggling and operating from the ego, I can finally feel the presence of grace sometimes. It all started with a sudden feeling of immense gratitude the day I felt sickest. But I am digressing here. Here are six important lessons, I have felt the universe impress hard on my heart and soul, these past few months. While each of them deserve a longer post in themselves, here is a cliff-notes version of them. As I write this, I feel immense gratitude to my teacher GD, all teachers on the path whose lessons came as timely reminders, the angels who made this happen and consciousness which guides me on.

  1. Living inward-out : Let life not be directed by outward influences but by what I truly feel inside. Listen to the self, the intuition and instincts. All everyone wants is to be truly loved unconditionally. So live with this feeling inside and remember this in all interactions. What energy emerges from you ? Love or fear? Anita Moorjani’s book ‘Dying to be Me’ is a brilliant book which emphasizes this.
  2. Devotion: In ways that I can’t describe, devotion is the one single thing that has always rescued me from my so-called-troubles. Be it something to do with work or life, what is devotion and how does it truly impact you? Some are devoted to work, some to money, some to family, some to life itself. If you examine devotion, it entails some form of surrender, to what you are doing and a trust that it will work out. And it did for me. Devotion reconnects you to what truly matters; in my case to GD, Sai Baba, Krishna, God/Consicousness/Universe. In fact there was a wonderful conversation around this that we had during a sunday session. It is available here. It is called the path to devotion.
  3. Drop to the heart: GD reminded us to do this recently and it has been helping so much! We live our lives dominated by what thoughts run in our heads.Everything we do is mental. But consciously moving our attention to our heart and shifting our energy there ( from the head), brings with it a big shift in how we relate to things around us. Things are seen as softer , there is lesser ego and judgement when we move our energy to the heart.
  4.  Be honest: The only people we are responsible for is ourselves. What I value is my truth and I have to acknowledge it. That quest will not always be spiritual (nothing spiritual about lusting after chocolate). But since we experience all through are senses, be honest about it being just that. Be honest about everything in your life, period.
  5. Learn to say NO: This should probably be first on the list for women. Since most of my life was about pleasing people, this has been hard. But seeing that most of my time is spent wanting family and friends to think, I am good is a colossal waste of my time on earth. So I listen inside and say no, when I want to. And there is nothing wrong with saying yes out of fear and then being honest with your no. Experience will make me better at this.
  6. Struggle is time for growth: Sigh, even after years I still forget this. But this time there has been a new insight! I always believed I had a pattern for anxiety. Now I know there is no pattern! If I believe in rest, I will believe in struggle and keep manifesting the two. So if I do manifest struggle, the deeper lesson is a movement onwards. It is a chance to see what weakness is being exposed and work on it.

 

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Laws of 20 minutes

Is it possible to move beyond the mind? I look around me at my family and friends, and feel no. How earth do ‘I’ ever do it? Then I look at my teacher GD, my god Sai Baba, all the spiritual teachers across the earth, and I feel this peace, this possibility emerge inside. ‘Of course it is possible’, says something inside. ‘You are just too scared to try’. And then I choose, because all our choices, GD says, are either based on love or fear. So I choose from love. I want silence.

GD recently warned us about the dangers of being too dependent on healing, clearing and other techniques. Turns out, he reminded our spiritual circle about it in 2009 as well, when I wasn’t in the group. Hearing a talk on the Value of Silence by him back then, I discovered a real treasure. Excerpts from that conversation as he says and I understood it, follow:-

Most of the silence in our life is replaced with words. But how much information do you really want to be able to stay silent for 20 minutes a day. The ego loves knowledge and so that is why we need even information on how to stay silent. So here are some laws of 20 minutes:-

  • Don’t aim to reach anywhere.
  • No desire to understand anything.
  • No desire to silence the mind
  • No desire to relax the body. They are but sensations that arise.
  • No desire to control the environment
  • No war with the world or yourself.
  • No desire to improve self-

Self-improvement is an outside goal; silence tells you everything is inside, it is here. There is a simple allowing that exists during those 20 mins. You as ego don’t interfere. There should be no you. Doing, fixing, improving is a continuous process and all doing implies a future. Choose to rest in the now.  A Course in Miracles says, “God is so kind he has given you fulfillment from the time before you are born.” But we never notice it.

So don’t insist on mental silence. If you find silence difficult, use music or a discourse because this involves pure listening. Pure listening doesn’t involve the thought or mind. Don’t insist on anything, because that is what you are doing the rest of the day. Just stay awake, stay dead.

Soon, if you are lucky, you will find you will spend your entire day in surrender. Everything just happens. How will you know? Because there won’t be a struggle. Ego only knows struggle and fight. But don’t try and be clever. Don’t convert negative thoughts to positive in these 20 minutes. Everything is allowed. During this journey, if you get even a whiff, for even a second… this bliss of surrender is so beautiful that then, nothing else matters.

Enlightened Activism

This came just as I was redoing this website, creating Conscious Child Project , and as I was trying to re-define what exactly is it that I do. What is the role of an individual on a spiritual path when it comes to the world. I love this article on Enlightened Activism by Byron Katie, a truly awesome spiritual teacher.

Some of the parts I connected with strongly are:-

  • The desperate, the hopeless, are unenlightened cells of my own body. It’s my own body I’m talking about — the body of the world is my body. Would I let myself drown in water that doesn’t exist? Would I let myself die in an imagined torture chamber?

This probably describes what I feel best and why I love to do personal sessions for people and started Conscious Child Project.

  • People are perfect just the way they are, however deeply they’re suffering, but they don’t realize that yet. So when I meet someone who’s suffering, I don’t say, “Oh, there’s no problem; everything is perfect.” Though I can see that there’s never a problem, and I’m available to help him see that, telling him what I see would be unkind.

A very important reminder for healers.

  • If you have a problem with people or with the state of the world, I invite you to put your stressful thoughts on paper and question them, and to do it for the love of truth, not in order to save the world. Turn it around: save your own world. Isn’t that why you want to save the world in the first place? So that you can be happy?

This is the truth as simply told. A need to change the world, is simply a reflection of what you think is right or wrong, nice or not. Any change in that external situation brings one so-called-peace and that is why there is a desire to change things.

  • I don’t try to change the world — not ever. The world changes by itself, and I’m a part of that change. I’m absolutely, totally, a lover of what is. When people ask me for help, I say yes.

This is one of the toughest thing for anyone. To desist being the “I knower” and to operate from a space of pure love without trying to alter anything. Focusing on you and not the “wrong” in someone.  But this is perhaps the best message in it. Be a lover of what is…

Stepping out of the dream

In the past three weeks, our spiritual circle has been having fantastic sessions with GD and each session is taking us further and further into the truth. A few days back, I re-posted Aalif’s blog about the story of me. GD then lead us to examine this story of me deeper, to see everything that occurred as a dream  and to question the very dream, this very story of me.

One of the ways in which GD suggested we do this was by making a list of all the things we have made important.  “Which part of the world are you making real, including making the you character perfect,” he asked us to check. Some very other important reminders for me included –

  •  The dreamland is the sum total of the past. The more we live in it, the more distorted life is. The more we step out of it, the more simple life is.
  • Choices are real only in the dream. Polarities exist only in the dream. For the ego there are thousands of choices; every day or every moment is a choosing. But in truth there is only one choice- in the dream or out.
  • In this life, all choices are the same, what are you going to think about?
  • Solving, fixing, getting out of the problem is how the dream works. Frantic search for solutions is how it works. But what if the dream can’t be fixed, doesn’t need to be fixed. What if you could take a deep breath and let the dream go. What if we could say, it doesn’t matter how it unfolds.
  • Observe, how does your mind keep the dream? It needs speed, to do that it needs some subjects to chew upon. the more it chews, the more the subject stays alive. if the mind slows down, how will it keep the dream alive?
  • As long as one runs with the dream, peace and consciousness is not possible. When the running stops internally there is no dream, no you.

I have been meditating over this since Sunday. One of the thought that arose was that there is only one single thing which keeps the dream alive – fear. All stories of money, health, love, and even happiness, are about not experiencing discomfort. So while awareness brings us back to the I, it is complete and total trust and surrender that lead us from the dream to consciousness.

I have this habit of reading random parts from some spiritual books. Nisargadatta Maharaj’s  ‘I am That’ happens to be a favourite. Last night, mulling about this, I opened a page. Here is what Maharaj said , ” There is no need for a link between a real world and an imaginary one, for there cannot be any. Investigate your world, apply your mind to it, examine it critically and scrutinize every detail. My experience is that everything is bliss. But the desire for bliss creates pain. Thus bliss becomes the seed for pain. The entire universe of pain is born of desire. Give up the desire for pleasure and you will not know what is pain. Your mistake likes in the belief that you were born. You were never born and you never die.”

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To download the entire 60 minute talk which includes further insights and a deeply meditative space – as well as other Q&A and clearings from GD’s group telephonic sessions – go to the Core Healing India Archives.

Conscious Child Project

This is something I have been intending to do for days. Something I felt called to do at the end of the last year. Conscious Child Project is a blog on making spirituality, mindfulness and social sensitivity a part of our children’s daily lives. Do check it out. If you are someone with kids, do consider making spirituality a part of your child’s life too.

The economic worth of I

One of the constant questions that arises in people’s mind when it comes to healing or therapy or even investing in spiritual courses/activities is, how will we benefit from it (or the unsaid, is this worth the expense). This often makes me sad in more ways than I let on. But I see this as a societal issue and not as someone’s personal issue.

As a society, all of us grow up associating some economic worth to every activity. Most of what we do has to do with money. The education system itself raises us to be productive clogs who perform certain activities to contribute to the smooth functioning of the economy. And so by the time we have completed our graduation, all we can think of ourselves is in terms of our economic worth. What we can earn is how we measure our worth. All I need, to be sure of this is to look around at ourselves and the people around us. What is the most common question we ask a stranger- “what do you do?” I have written more about this in the wasting my day blog post.

The thing is because of this economic association with personal worth, most people end up only spending on activities that enhance their professional skills and look good on a resume ( which results in economic benefits) or on things that bring us instant gratification like eating out, clothes, etc. But in the end, aren’t both only about how the world looks at you? Will they truly bring you lasting joy? If you had to measure your worth, would you do it with money or with the attributes of love, goodness, compassion, etc. that you possess? Our children give us no monetary benefits. It is a hug from them that fills our heart. What brings more peace, money in the bank and a lonely child or maybe a few thousands lesser but time with your child in the park? I really wish sometimes that I could shake people out of this strange self-absorbed existence and make them address the impermanence of it all.

I am not saying money is bad, it is simply a means, a product itself. Why should we spend on healing, therapy and spiritual pursuits? Simply because they are not an expense, they are probably the best investment you can make. Even better than life insurance because what you learn is something you can carry beyond this body. Nothing else on earth can allow you that. The more we invest in this personality, chase it, the more we lose out on the larger picture of our place in the universe- the real reason why we are on this earth.

The power of knowledge is limited but the power of awareness, inquiry and expansion is limitless. Knowing how to control your own mind, manage your own health and bring in your happiness is invaluable. If we keep looking at ourselves as simply money-generating and consuming creatures, we will never live up to our true human or soul potential.

The gift of discomfort

A couple of weeks ago, I experienced a mini anxiety-attack. It came after a long gap of two years. I thought I had broken all ties with anxiety, tapped all remnants of it out of my system, and bid it a grand goodbye. And so when it knocked on my door again, I was flabbergasted and very uncomfortable. Here I was teaching others how to cope with anxiety and get rid of it, and it had the audacity to visit me again!

Since I started this spiritual journey, life has been interesting. So instead of the usual panic, I actually sat back and looked at it. The first visitor was the why. “Why did I get it again? Why is it still part of my life? Why did I have to always endure this?” “It is because you are unwell with a stomach bug and are weak,” chimed in another thought. “Why?” whined the third. Get the picture?

And then, in marched my spiritual training. “Its all in the mind,” said the mind. Instead of crying or panicking like I usually do, I found myself with a body which had all the necessary spiritual knowledge but was struggling with awareness. I turned to a friend and meditation. It was only then that the answers started rolling in and with it GD’s lesson – “Whatever you choose is for the moment. This moment is the only truth. Stay ‘now’ with what you feel, tomorrow if you feel different or after 5 mins if you feel different, it is OK. Just look deeply at what this moment is and honour that.”And then, just like that, I was comfortable.

You see the thing about discomfort, physical or emotional, is that it is a signal to look deeper. The moment you stay with your discomfort, allow your body to feel it, and explore it, you usher in great clarity, which is followed by peace. Invariably all spiritual inquiry leads you to guilt, fear or shame. These are the primary three emotions that cause us discomfort. But to keep you trapped the mind will never look at what caused these emotions, it shuns and rejects anything that frees us from its trap and moves us towards freedom. And that is why we feel being comfortable is normal and uncomfortable is something to fear.

This precisely why it is necessary to re-train the mind and body. It is necessary to know and believe that this discomfort is part of a larger process of learning. Discomfort means there is a lesson in there somewhere, a movement from where you are to where you can be. It turns a nuisance only if you fight it and refuse to let it leave you with the message it carries. Discomfort is really not bad because time and again we have seen that great literature or inventions are often the product of discomfort and strife. Yes, discomfort can fuel you, but it is your choice if you burn or glow.  Use it mentally and you burn, use it spiritually and you glow.

One of the simplest lessons I have learned from GD is to resist nothing. Everything is just an experience in the end and so is this one. A beautiful quote I read yesterday spoke about how a seed must crack, break. lose parts of it so that it can grow. How true is that! We have to break ourselves, endure the cracks, and the falling of bits of us to be able to bloom. Discomfort can really be a gift. But only if we allow it to be.