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.

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.

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.

The mind is a monkey

I have heard people refer to the mind as a monkey in many a spiritual discourse. And there is no disputing that! I have a monkey for a head most of the times. But while watching the cartoon ‘The new adventures of Hanuman’ with Pranav with the other day, I had yet another epiphany. (Seem to be having quite a few of these off-late).

Culture/Mythology has depicted Hanuman, the Monkey God (a devotee of Lord Rama) as a super-strong one.  He is said to have powers to destroy all evil and protect a believer from harm. Watching the cartoon, explaining to Pranav what Hanuman was doing, I realized that if the mind is a monkey, it needs to be a Hanuman. I strongly believe that it is not our ensuing physical emotions but our mind, as in thought process and responses, which is the root cause of all fears, sorrows and illness. If we can make our mind super-strong (Hanuman-like) then we can destroy all negative forces that drag us down. We all need a Hanuman in our head and it is completely in our hands if we choose to succumb to the monkey’s craziness or tame the monkey successfully.

This enlightened thought later, every-time I catch myself succumbing to a thought or emotion that begins to drag me down, I remind myself that its time to bring out the mace and whack it away. And wonders of wonders, it seems to be working most of the time too! Three Cheers for Hanuman, the cartoon and the deity!

Building our own pyramids

I wrote this sometime in August, saved it as a draft and forgot about it. Then in the ensuing three months, I went on to bury myself inside a pyramid and let myself suffocate. Today reading this, I realized that most of us are wise to our weaknesses and yet, we choose to indulge it, forgetting out strengths in the process.

…..

It begins in the childhood. A slight by someone, when parents unintentionally compare you to someone else, when a success is ignored, when you are berated by your own family, an eve-teasing incident, a friend who turns foe, wrong choices that are rubbed in your face constantly, a dream you weren’t given the chance to chase, when people form cliques you are not included in, when your goodness is thought of as a front- you begin to build your pyramid. Stacking high all the disappointments, rejections, unfulfilled expectations, unheard requests, pain, shame, sorrow, dejection, fear one by one into a pyramid.

After some years you end up building one so high that inside love suffocates. In the airless room with no outlet to soar high, the mind becomes delusional and the heart irrational. Soon everything seems like an event to make you feel more worthless than you are, every word seems like a bullet that is out to wound you, every person seems like the missionary sent to convert you from a joyous soul into an inverted maniac.

Inadvertently many of us end up building our own mausoleum even as we are still alive. We set a trap for ourselves and then spend our lifetime wondering how to escape this place.