Being special means you maintain your divine serenity amidst unpleasantness

Irene always felt she was special, forever guarded by providence. Until, one day, at a parking lot, a thief snatched her purse and disappeared into the darkness. Deeply shaken, Irene consulted psychiatrist Dr.Yalom. Contending she had a highly irrational sense of self-importance, Dr.Yalom, focused on helping her strip it away and face up to her ordinariness.        

 Psychiatry calls Irene’s mental state pronoia. Its symptoms: “Delusions of support and exaggerated attractiveness; delusion that others think well of one and that the products of one’s efforts are thought to be well-received.”

 Granted, self-grandiosity is undesirable. But, where psychiatry believes in stamping it out and bringing out a standardized individual, spirituality believes in refining it by stamping out its arrogance and bringing out the unique individual.

 Indeed, the starting point of spirituality is feeling you’re made in the image and identity of God. What can be more special than that? As children, we feel this subtle bonding. There’s the indrawn breath of delight  that the entire world conspires to make us happy – a feather floating mid-air, a butterfly perched on a flower, a tree dropping its plum, ripe fruit…

 Unfortunately, most don’t grow up in this specialness. We either grow out of it or just grow ordinarily arrogant. Clearly, we haven’t grasped the natural, divine ascension of being special. Some pointers:

*My specialness enables me to be calm, content, undefeated, at peace, humble in all circumstances.

*Whatever happens is for the best, for my benefit.

*A seemingly negative situation has something positive and precious waiting to reveal itself.

*I’m always in the right place at the right time.

*This moment is as it should be – perfect.

 The special child beholds the whole world as a support-system for its happiness, the special adult regards the entire universe as a support system for her well-being. Can this exalted feeling be considered pathological or ‘woolly mysticism’ as Stephen Hawking said, or be skirting on superstition? Not if the head and heart are balanced. Those who float in the woolliness of manic grandiosity also crash into depression punctuated with bouts of arrogance, whereas specialness is a subtle delicate feeling of heightened awareness. You’re intensely conscious and life seems exquisitely sweet. You do feel buffered from blows though you can be sometimes rudely shaken out of it like Irene was.

 While the Yaloms endeavor to make Irene come to terms with her ordinariness, the yogi endeavors to make Irene rise to her specialness. Specialness does not mean bad things get mysteriously deflected. Specialness means you maintain your divine serenity amidst unpleasantness.

 Then, the yogi says she was in the right place – the parking lot – at the right time. This defies ordinary logic, but defines humility. An egostic mind bristles at this contention as stupid. A humble mind opens and asks, “How so?” The answer: Be at ease, be patient. Even in this unpleasant situation is a hidden positive that will reveal itself.  

 The yogi now re-creates the magic of life by suggesting that everything happens for the best, for your benefit. Whoops! A tough one that! Yet, when the mind factors this, it grows hopeful, positive, philosophical instead of becoming paranoid – the other extreme of pronoid.  Intrigued, it remains suspended in this mystery. And in its open humbleness sees other positive signs winging in that prove that good things are still happening. This is a stabilizing, healing process.

 The advantage of the yogi’s method is that you use the experience you’ve gone through to understand the true measure of being special. Thus, Irene would realize that though she lost her purse, she gained a larger sense of specialness. She might even feel compassionate towards the thief.

 Is this rationalization? Only if it’s a pretence. But, if genuine, it’s a wider, wiser mind that finds it difficult to worry about bric-a-brac when it’s got so much grace and glory to dwell upon.  

 We have the choice to live by the principle of specialness that depends on simple needs and effortlessness , or to live by the principle of ordinariness that depends on complex wants and struggle. It takes just some self-vigilance to be open, humble, compassionate. Add to that a little self-discipline and attend to your physical, mental spiritual health. The principle of specialness  says, “Take care of your basics, radiate kindness, and the universe will support, co-operate and reciprocate to full measure by drawing good things to you.’ And when you’re quietly aware that these good things are coming your way, the occasional little hiccups cease to have any importance.

 As the poet Wu-Men says, “If your mind is not clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.” The spring of hope,  monsoon of abundance, summer of joy, autumn of reflection, winter of calmness. An all- season specialness.


Being free of anger is being free of inner ugliness (Thursday Teachings)

The Master says: “Life is adlibbed. There is no script. You create your own fate. Nothing is certain. Nothing is guaranteed.” What about karma? It’s only a chance given to make things right, that’s all. Most of us unconsciously carry some hurt with its reaction in us. Some of hold it as an unspoken resentment, some keep exploding with rage.

 To really rid ourselves of rage, we have to rise above our worldly self, the personal, ego-centric individual that each of us believes we are. Start with saying, “I am, by nature, not angry. Peace and love are my nature. Peace and love are my truth.” At first, they may feel like meaningless words. But, persist, until, one day, something in you yields, some hard crust softens. And you think, “Perhaps, it is true.” You should not allow any outburst to drag you away from the truth glimmering in you. The outburst of anger is temporary, the truth of your peaceful nature is permanent.

 We need to understand at a rational level that rage weakens our immune system. Rage makes our body and mind unhealthy. Also, rage does not solve problems, it only makes them appear worse than they are. ‘If I get so angry over them, they must be very serious,’ we convince ourselves. No, no, no! Rage needs no championing, peace does, health does. By rational thinking, through reasoning, you temper your volatility, you restrain your instant reactivity, you learn self-control and finally transform your emotion – from rage to peace… to peace…peace… Somewhere you realize you have reduced your suffering considerably…considerably…ah! what a relief to be so serene, so devoid of all that burning in the mind and palpitating in the heart!

 Some of us are fortunate enough to have an encounter that changes our life. When Paul was a child, he was quiet, shy, timid. And as he faced his father’s abuse and his mother’s suicide, he grew into an angry young man literally having fits of rage almost always. Then, one day, he met the Master. The Master held Paul’s hands gently in his own and looked deep into his eyes lovingly. In that instant, Paul felt all his fury drain out of him. For six months after that, Paul was peaceful. And after that, he flew into fits of rage much less frequently. Some deep-seated traumatic emotions cannot be reasoned out, only healed through love and compassion. May we all be fortunate enough to meet a beautiful person who heals us. May we be that beautiful person who heals others.  

 It’s very important to continually…continually…continually share anecdotes of love, healing, compassion, wisdom in our daily encounters with near ones, with friends. It heals the narrator, it heals something in the listener as well. Recently, I heard about a woman who was admitted to the ICU. Two days later, I heard she was shifted to a normal room. On the fourth day, I heard she was discharged. I don’t know this lady but something in me lightened, I felt a sense of ‘thank God’ relief, the dull day brightened. When you sense the fragility of life and suffering it leads to, your own negative, regrettable reflexes like rage are dampened or done away with completely. What you feel is simple and pure empathy – the connection to others that had been severed by anger.  

 Being freed of anger is being freed of inner ugliness into a realm of utter beauty, utter peace. If we have had or are having difficult lives, we must…must…must become highly vigilant so as not to fall prey to depression. Serotonin is a calming chemical in the brain. In a study, when baby monkeys were separated from their mothers and raised as ‘orphans’, they processed serotonin less efficiently. Researchers say it is so with humans too.

 And it’s important to know that what has been done, can be undone. Every day, keep your mind warm with gratitude as you keep your body warm with woolens. Think of all that you have today to be thankful for. However annoying an old friend may be, be grateful he or she still loves you and personifies the comforting continuity in your life. Be ever-grateful – not in sudden spurts and good-humored moods, but, as a continual flow like a full-bodied river ever on the move –for all the sweet and unselfish things done for you by friends.  

 It is important also to cultivate maturity and acknowledge that memories may have pictures, but not wisdom, thoughts may have words, but not grace. Often, those of us who feel they couldn’t control the past, deplete our mental energy in excessive thinking, planning, controlling the present. It’s not a comfortable way to live and it doesn’t work. It only tires the mind. And a tired mind is more prone to feeling frustrated and angry.  

 When we let things be, let people be, without our energy being used up in controlling, criticizing, complaining, a great inner relaxation takes place… It is unconditional acceptance. The body luxuriates in the letting go of tension. The mind luxuriates in the letting go of being an uptight controller. Ah! it is like lying on the beach, the sun on your skin, the sea-breeze dancing all around you, the ocean singing its rhythmic flow-and-ebb song for you, the brilliant blue sky smiling at you… This is you at your best.

 Appreciate everything. There is eternity and infinity where we are a presence. And there is this time-bound, limited-overs life where we are a person. The Master says softly, “The person cannot be without  the presence, but the presence can be without the person.” The presence is huge, far beyond the limits of our body. I have experienced presence on three occasions – it is very soft, very kind, extremely benign, it watches over the person, the body like a loving guardian.

 The Master says, “The presence is constant. Like you know you are not the headache that comes and goes, also know that you are not the feelings and emotions that come and go. You are the presence.” The Master adds, “As you become aware of the presence, you know it is not indifferent. The person observes and lives with self-interest, the presence observes and is without self-interest. The presence lacks nothing. The presence is complete.”  

 You lack nothing. You are complete. You are in time and timelessness. You are at a spot and in spaciousness. Why make your mind a graveyard of grievances? Empty the mind so that it can feel the spaciousness. Empty the mind so that it can experience the presence. Be at peace with all and the allness that you have. Keep working at what you feel passionate about. Keep being grateful and saying, “Thank you.” Then, you will find that you do everything not out of need, not out of want, but out of love, out of celebration…

Get out of the bodymind into light, love, laughter

You may have heard or read about the out-of-body experiences of people in meditation. “I felt a stream of liquid entering my brain through the spinal cord…then felt myself slipping out of my body, entirely enveloped in a halo of light,” describes Gopi Krishna.

 Jiddu Krishnamurti saw himself go through the act of sitting under the pepper tree. Hovering near his own body, he felt happy and peaceful. “I have drunk at the fountain of joy. I am God-intoxicated,” he writes.

 “I could see my spiritual self gradually rise higher and leave my body through the top of my head to be restored in heaven. My entire spiritual existence became totally immersed within an extraordinary calmness,” Dr.Hiroshi Motoyana reports.

 Blogger B of Savurfaire found himself walking in a river of light. Then, a year later, felt unusually weightless, looked down at his body and saw “it was all light in a world of light with the same light streaming through my forehead.” Essentially, the out-of-body experience takes you to a fine-conscious dimension – one of light, lightness, love and laughter. It gives a taste of how it feels to be without a body – weightless, free, floatingly easy. It gives the unforgettable experience of how it feels to be pure spirit.

 Blogger S of Savurfaire had a different experience. For days, she’s seen everything in a golden hue – the furniture, the entire room. And even looked over her shoulder, explaining, “I felt that the source was behind me, as if there were a lamp that radiated this glow,” and found nothing but the same glow. On such days, when passing a mirror, she’s had the impression of a sylph-like spirit flitting by and felt the refection in herself.

 This non-physical dimension belongs to everybody. In its fineness, it’s as pure as the air of the Himalayas. Its crystal clarity is beyond the sharpest vision. Its light though bright does not blind. Above all, there’s a vast feeling of comfort, of a loving universe silently supporting you as a swimmer is supported by water. There’s living, loving peace – a lush vibrant hush. From here, the world appears a busy hive, a sweet existential place always there for you to participate in. People appear blessedly, belovedly earnest going about their business. Though you know you are physically six feet from the activity, mentally you feel 600 feet away. Near, yet distant, with every sight and sound filling you with gratitude and love. What’s special about this experience is that there is more spirit than body or mind shining in you. It is a biological process in that, in those moments, the body-energies are in peak balance. It is a mental process too – your mind, not tugged by emotional perceptions, is in perfect stability.

 And when body-mind are in this suspended stillness, you see and experience everything from the clear, loving dimension of the spirit. An ethereal eternal light of love, the spirit wants nothing, wills nothing, gives all. You feel its magical presence in the Dalai Lama. Like a child, he welcomes you delightedly, lovingly into a vast mental embrace. He remains in this dimension, endures the selfishness, dominance of troubled psyches because he strongly believes that every person belongs to this dimension of the spirit and has this boundless capacity to love, to want nothing, to will nothing, to give all.

 How can the rest of us be like the Dalai Lama? By erasing what J.Krishnamurti called our ‘psychological memory.’ The psyche’s memory built over time whispers, “Being selfish pays, dominating get us our way.” As more time passes, we reinforce the psyche’s memory – the boundary that blocks out the dimension of love. That’s why, Deepak Chopra says, “Time is our psychological enemy.” And that’s why the philosopher-poet Rumi wrote, “Come out of the circle of time and into the circle of love.”  

 To our psyche, the body is time-bound, the mind is memory-bound. By getting out of the time-bound, memory-bound trap, we experience the eternity of timelessness, of a weightless mind, the sunlit breakthrough of love. From this magnificent experience, if we hold on to the truth that everybody is a citizen of this dimension, we’ll witness this truth emerging from all in bursts of goodness even amidst displays of selfishness. And as we let go the fear of ‘being taken advantage of’, we gain the larger advantage of joyous living and being.

Let your everyday mind meet and merge with the larger mind

Who’d think that low self-confidence causes high stress? It does. When not confident, you feel you’re not in control of your environment. Disconnected, restless thoughts scurry in your brain and…boom! you’re a picture of stress – a pinched expression, irrational irritation, rushes of resentment, vague uneasiness. And note this surprising twist – all this stress can happen even when things are on the up! Executives just promoted in their organization experience a Damocles’ doom instead of a euphoric high. Unexpected legacies create havoc in heirs. Teachers grow jittery when a fresh term begins. Landladies fret when a new tenant moves in. Gripping headaches, crippling backaches, wanting to run away, hypertension, numbness, stomach cramps…Phew!

 Yes, low self-confidence makes you edgy because you lose that sense of support from the familiar and are wary of the new. Fear flings thoughts out of focus. The solution? Focus to regain confidence. Focus on that which holds your whole attention to the exclusivity of everything else. Focus on creating that in which your mind-body-spirit get wholly absorbed.

 A mathematician focuses on arranging numerals to form an equation that reveals a hidden formation of the universe. A poet focuses on arranging words to form verses that reveal a humming rhythm hidden in the seasons of the world. A photographer focuses on capturing the form of leaves floating in water that reveals a stunning stillness amidst the whirls of motion. A homemaker focuses on cleaning windows to form a frame that reveals a spectacular view of order and chaos co-existing exquisitely in the environment. A worshipper focuses on evoking the name of God to form the formless that reveals a powerful supportive peace beyond all forms. A child focuses on following the doings of the earthworm to form his own yogic attention-span to reveal the hidden design of nature. Focusing stills an over-stimulated mind. Even in the familiar, it’s your focus that knits together fragments of information. So should it in the new, except that new information – a promotion, legacy, etc – remains fragmented in an excited mind, resulting tin uneasiness, doubts, fears that sap confidence.

 Chaos reigns because we use our mind 24 hours of the day for various things that may not absorb us entirely. But, when we devote some time to the mind daily, give it its dose of deep meditative interest and anchor it in its chosen environment, it regains control and tackles everything else with confidence. When its unique hunger has been sated, when it’s charged with its own doings, it welcomes a new activity. It’s important to know the dual design of your mind. Your larger mind is all-powerful, your everyday mind, a small piece. But, the everyday mind is not a broken fragment, it is a part of the larger mind as a ray of sunlight is a part of the sun.  

 Your larger mind is like a strong elastic band. Pulled, it stretches but never breaks. Try and tear it with anger, it never tears. Shred it with sadness, it never shreds. Saw it with excitement, it never crumbles. Stretched in all these directions of your emotions, it remains strong, unbroken, unperturbed. The everyday mind gets emotionally scattered and het up and feels isolated, dithery, desolate. But, when you focus on one favorite, meditative activity, the everyday mind meets and merges with the larger mind at this focal point and feels in control of its everyday environment in the eternal strength and confidence emanating from the larger mind.

 Story-time: An arrow was convinced that it had lost its sense of direction. “Not at all,” said the bow. It settled the arrow on its arc, aimed, pulled back and… the released arrow zipped unerringly to its target. Said the bow: “It’s a matter of focus.”

When you experience an inner daybreak…

What is insight? An inner daybreak. Moments when an honest personal flash overcomes the mind’s distorted prejudices. A spark of self-enlightenment that sends a healing sensory vibration through the mind and body. A ray that reveals a personal truth and quietens, humbles, relieves, uplifts. The moment of insight is the birth of Buddha. The sunglow of the insight is the dawn of love.

 Two friends, Bhaskar and Dhanesh walk down the corridor. Dhanesh grumbles about his boss, Reddy.  After listening to Dhanesh’s grouse, Bhaskar tells Dhanesh, “You take everything too personally. Forget it. Reddy is a shmuck,” and he proceeds to describe him in unflattering prose woven with gossip that includes their colleagues.

 Suddenly, Dhanesh snaps, “Stop imposing your views about everybody on me. You’re known as Mr.Hostile in the office. Work on your attitude before you hand out advice.” And Dhanesh strides off.

 Bhaskar is stunned. As Dhanesh’s buddy, he feels betrayed. Obviously, Dhanesh is no pal but a Reddy-sycophant, sniggering with the others at Bhaskar… Shaking with deep rage, Bhaskar wants to resign from his job, run away from Dhanesh’s treachery…

 An hour later, his irrational ego calmer, a rational part wonders curiously whether there was some truth in Dhanesh’s utterances. Was he hostile? And did he impose his views on Dhanesh and others? Maybe you do, says the rational part quietly. When the mind stops denying, it experiences the wonderful freedom of opening up. Mixed with this liberated feeling is a sense of being chastened. This is when we touch greatness though we rarely see it that way.  

 Now, Bhaskar wonders what makes him so disproportionately angry that he wants to quit his job and cut the source of his livelihood over a spat. The triggers often lie in childhood. In an almost Biblical twist to his tale, Bhaskar was brought up by three unwise men. A dominating father who pushed to make an accountant of his romantic, artistic son. An army-uncle who rode roughshod over his budding sensitivity with his ideas and practices of toughness – for example, driving the car like a missile. A suave executive-uncle who let Bhaskar know at every opportunity that only those who went for higher studies and citizenship in the USA were intelligent and successful.

 Despite the pressures, Bhaskar emerged as his own person. A gentle musician, an idealist, he stayed in India and even drives his car with skilled smoothness. But, his old helplessness to win the three unwise men’s approval surfaces in his relationships with his male friends, male cousins, male colleagues – a feeling of inadequacy quickly defended by arrogance, hostile tones, a barbed wit. Quick to side the one he sees as himself, the underdog, he is often shocked when the ‘underdog’ snarls and bites him. The fact: for Dhanesh, it was just a one-time grumble; for Bhaskar, it was a personal mission.  

 Truth coming from another hurts as it hurtles unexpectedly, speedily and holds nothing beyond disgust and criticism in its tone. But, truth emerging from oneself, a slower process, invited, expected, delicately pokes its head out like a chick emerging from an egg only when it is sure that the fragile ego-shell cracks but does not shatter hurtfully. It’s not a painful invasive surgery, but a painless excavative rebirth. That’s why home-truths hurt, insights heal.

 Insights do not always last, but the ‘ah’ of awareness, the relief of understanding evoke humility without humiliation – the point of greatness we talked about earlier. If we stay on in this humbler realm without making excuses, without fearing our opening out, the residual emotion is one of gratitude and love. That’s exactly what Bhaskar felt at the end of his self-exploration.  

 When his colleagues converged in the canteen at lunch-hour, greeting him jovially as usual, he felt a great wave of gratitude and affection towards them. As he listened without commenting and laughed with them, he felt light, connected to them by the fine wavelengths of unconditional fellowship. What was the condition that was missing? He wasn’t imposing his hostility on them anymore. More important, he wasn’t imposing his hostility on himself anymore.

 “When I got out of my way, the world looked bigger yet cosier and more intimate,” he says. When the hostile I vanishes, the awareness becomes a wider window to look out from with enjoyment. When Buddha asked a passing sage his age, “I’m four,” replied the elderly traveler. And Buddha nodded understandingly. The day we stop defending our fears is our first, true, insightful birthday – born to our greatness, our ability to live in love.

May this vision of wellness come true…

Imagine…one day, every person remaining young and strong; the few ‘terminally ill’ experiencing a spontaneous healing; and that wonderful day, the word ‘terminal’ being expunged from medicalese. This is our vision.

 Already, physical exercise, low-fat foods, de-stressing are showing that hypertension, heart disease, strokes need not be the norm. Already, there is a growing awareness that after age three, a sensible diet is a must. And that seniority does not lead to senility, but creates new tissue with mental activity. Already, this vigorous writing on the health-wall is stirring our collective consciousness, causing us to think on evolutionary lines – that there are strong positive forces inside us that could bring about spontaneous self-healing.

 The Menninger Clinic has collected four hundred fascinating reports of people who underwent spontaneous remission of cancer. Some occurred without any therapy, some with deliberate holistic practices, some with conventional treatment. Further, the self-healing forces did not differentiate between tiny tumors or malignant masses – both vanished overnight.

 What every spontaneous self-healer did have in common before the actual event was: a dramatic change in attitude, a sudden flash of ‘I know I’m well”, a vast dawning awareness of being larger, freer, of moving beyond body and mind and being part of a greater existence, a wondrous realization of ‘I’ve never felt like this before – not even in my pre-cancer days.’

 What each healer did wittingly or unwittingly was to break out of the mental walls of negative indoctrination, then step into and reconnect with another dimension of consciousness teeming with wellness-intelligence. This inner intelligent radiation painlessly and instantly dissolved the cancer cells leaving the person in a Buddha-like vibrantly joyous state. A deep sense of knowing.

 If spontaneous self-healing occurrences are rare today, it is because of our mixed indoctrination. We do know and realize that injured muscles and broken bones heal themselves – this is a positive indoctrination. But because it is so commonplace, we do not ascribe this spontaneous self-healing to the wellness-intelligence in our consciousness.

 But, if we see that the same consciousness that heals muscles and bones can also heal cancer, AIDS, etc., the walls of negative indoctrination will crumble and we shall breathe in the full free-flowing force of our wellness-intelligence. What presently divides us from this field of wellness-intelligence is the bulwark of our own commonly held assumptions, ideas, thoughts, beliefs, mindsets. This bulwark restricts us from seeing Consciousness as Healer, this also restricts the consciousness to mending muscle and bone.

 When the consciousness is freed from our current assumptions, we’ll start a conscious inflow of intent and knowingness that will enrich and strengthen our DNA and make it work to its fullest potential. This is health management at its best.

 When Martin was diagnosed as having ‘Parkinson’s Disease’, his mindset indoctrinated in its belief of this disorder’s ‘progressive paralyzing disability’ affected everything including his favorite activity – swimming. Then he came across a book: A Course in Miracles. Its scathing criticism of egoistic self-limitations keeping the human race in its own death-grip and refusing to let go had a profound effect on Martin. Was his indoctrinated ego indeed protecting its false beliefs by continuing to cling to the disease’s ‘menacing power’ and blinding him to his own consciousness’ healing intelligence?

 Perhaps, just the questioning of the disease’s incurability, the glimmering possibility of a cure created a strong stir in his consciousness. Perhaps, this immense vibration shattered his linear, conditioned mental structure and zipped through his body’s sense organs into the nervous system, burning the dross of limiting patterns. Perhaps, in these cleared and broadened pathways of new awareness, flowed the energy of his wellness-intelligence.

 The fact is: one day, when he was swimming, a girl perched on the pool-edge asked him with the frank innocence of youth why he never turned his head. Prompted by her curiosity and his own inner vibes, he suddenly found he could kick and, with every stroke, turn his head! He did it again…and again…and again… It was marvelous! What Martin had discovered was remarkable – the spontaneous medicine of the consciousness.  Over the years, we’ve grown used to viewing food, exercise and attitude as medicine. Now, seeing our very beliefs as powerful, spontaneous medicine may give us the cutting edge to finally cross over to eternal health-promoting dimensions.

 It is a dream that has already sharpened into a vision. Next stop: realization of that vision for all.

There is nobody to blame, nothing to criticize (Saturday Sutras)

We love mountains, we love oceans – two opposites – one towering in all its majestic splendor, another spread out endlessly shimmering in its beautiful depths. Now, all we need to do is love ourselves – our heights, our depths and everything in between. When we love ourself, we are at peace. When at peace with ourself, we see beauty all around. When upset with ourself, we see drabness everywhere. It’s like the ocean – it is serenely blue when the sky is a pristine clear blue. The same ocean is grey and restless when the sky frowns with clouds. It’s a projection. It’s a reflection. Similarly, we only see our own projections, we only see our own reflections. We see only ourselves, say the Wise Ones.  

 Once we understand that this is how we function, it becomes much simpler. When I don’t like somebody, I don’t say, “He is a so and so,”, I simply look into myself and ask, “What projection of mine am I seeing? What reflection of mine am I seeing?” It becomes a game, a sport, a lark. There is nobody to blame, nothing to criticize. We are simply being curious. We are accepting. We are experiencing life. We are widening our understanding through the experience.

 We are actually collecting experiences from all over our life like a philatelist collects stamps from all over the world! Some experiences make us laugh, some make us cry. And because we have laughed, we are able to bear with fortitude the circumstances that make us cry. When we discover laughter in us, we can cry without feeling embittered, face hardships without hardening, face heartbreak without being shattered…And when we cry, we appreciate the times we laughed – it’s all mountains and oceans and oceans and mountains. In between is our strength, our fortitude, our ballast, our core.

Laughter makes us joyous. Crying makes us empathetic. Empathy is sympathetic joy and sympathetic sorrow for another, with another. Empathy banishes envy. When envy is erased, we feel more stable, more sure of ourself, more at ease. When you do not envy, you do not compare, calculate, compete, measure, you just enjoy all that you see, you feel the joy of the other as your own. In fact, empathy is so strong in certain African villages, they greet each other with a warm, “How are we?” It’s simply marvelous.  

 When somebody greets you with a warm “How are we today?” you feel the wave of affection, the instant belonging. This is when when we are at our best, when we don’t cut others to a smaller-perceived size but carry all of us in an expansively-perceived vastness. We are at our most beautiful, our sweetest when we love, when we care, when we display through our eyes, words, tones, gestures a wonderful, all-encompassing embrace.

 The Wise Ones say we each have an energy body that connects us to stillness and silence which is our origin – the Consciousness. This Consciousness enters our forms, our bodies. We appear to be individuals but are actually one Consciousness, one Spirit. The mountains and oceans that we love so much are Consciousness. In sum, everything but everything is Consciousness. Krishna Consciousness and Christ Consciousness are Consciousness – that which is still, vast, eternal, infinite… Ever alive…ever alive…ever alive… Ever loving. Ever blessing. Children catch on fast. When little Emma was told that we are Consciousness, she piped up, “It means we are all walkie talkie Consciness!” Quite.

To feel and understand the delegated workings, the synchronized workings of the Consciousness, do this exercise: Write down one worthwhile, useful or thoughtful activity that you’ve done and are proud of. Next, write down all the people who helped you directly or indirectly to complete this task so well. Now, see the Consciousness in you as well as in each helpful person… You’ll begin to get the idea of how the Consciousness conducts Itself, how It helps Itself through different forms! It gives, It shares, It takes, It loves, It is loved – all through Its own doings! Your body and my body and everybody’s body and everything’s form are Its conduits!

 One day, when each of us realizes that we are all Consciousness and nothing but Consciousness, it will be a special day. No heartaches, no conflicts, no terrorism. As Eve Merriam puts it so poignantly, “I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, ‘Mother, what was war?’”

I am spirit who only needs space for its joy

There is a sweet, soft, logical path to spiritual fitness and personal prosperity. First, realize all the things you are not: I am neither breath, body, mind, thought nor feeling. I am neither the money, house, car, clothes nor gadgets. I am neither sister, brother, spouse, parent, boss, teacher, colleague, nor neighbor. Follows the next question: Then who am I? Answered: I am That behind the body, mind, thought, feeling. I am That which is not moved by material things. I am That with no expectations from anybody but am one with everybody.

 What characterizes That? I am spirit who only needs space for it joy.

   In joyfulness, I am beyond everything material, limited, finite. I am the joy expressed by nature – the light in the sun and stars, the movement in the wind and waves, the laughter flowering in all hearts. All the joy in the universe am I – unlimited, unbound, infinite.

This is a spiritual exercise – a workout for the soul, just as physical exercise is a workout for the body. It is a simple exercise which needs neither idols nor rituals. Only words vibrating their meaning through the mind, cleansing it of the worldly grit it has gathered just as angioplasty cleanses the heart’s arteries of cholesterol. Vibrations that bring to our consciousness the pure joy of the soul, just as aerobics bring rich oxygen to the body.

 How does this spiritual exercise help in day-to-day life? When you realize and remember you are That, the joyful spirit in everything and everybody, you meet and interact with all in sweetness.

 You neither aspire to be like nor compare yourself with another because you already know who you really are. You stop grudging giving material things and stop envying others’ success as all these are your joy.

 You stop wanting, stop grasping because of the wealth of joy you spontaneously feel like giving and communicating. Plugged into That, your joyful spirit, you receive a constant, endless current of joy from your inner spiritual power-station instead of being shaped, manipulated or influenced by what others think, do or stand for.

 Now, here is how it works in all aspects of life. The That, the inner spirit is the catalyst that determines your physical world experiences. It can repel or attract as required. There is nothing esoteric about it. In 1939, a sensitive radio-frequency spectroscope picked up visible energy rays emitted by humans and other beings.

“ The wavelengths of these rays range from the shortest to the longest kind of broadcasting radio waves,” reported the Associated Press. Unlike broadcasting or light rays, these are said to be continual, and last a lifetime and beyond. Pranic healers call these rays auras, others call them lifetrons or rays of self-conscious intelligence.   

 When you form a mental picture of thought, these rays broadcast this desire and attract into their magnetic field and back to you a series of substances to fulfill it. The magnetic point is your will to direct and use these substances.

 You see and recognize these magnetized events when your mind is calm and undisturbed – that is, free of the static of restlessness, hostility, comparisons, envy, anger, cynicism. And this static repels that which has been attracted. That’s why when things don’t work out, it is best to step back and reflect humbly rather than intensify the static with blame and rage.

 Reflecting humbly re-tunes your intelligence where it cooperates with the intelligence of other wavelengths and returns. Now, when you calmly act, you attain the desired result.

 Why reflect humbly? If we don’t, the ego tries to force or rush things when we feel we aren’t getting our due. It’s like pulling up tender shoots when the saplings should grow and flourish at their pace.

 Rough handling smothers the natural joy springing freshly in the vulnerable sapling. Similarly, we are vulnerable at this stage and feel even more so when our ego plays up. The best thing to do is retreat, relax, reflect, to remember and know who we are – a joyful spirit.  

 Finally, why should we undertake this spiritual exercise? Mental attachment to anything or anybody sucks us in where we become dependent on the relative value of our surroundings and associations and set false values on them and ourself. This falsity creates enormous stress and personal impoverishment. A loss of spirit and will. No, no, no! Let the mind encounter That where there is love, space, stability, creativity…When the mind grows luminous, the whole world is luminous. Each one of us owes ourself that beauty, that bliss, that wonder.

Make sweet ripples wherever you go (Thursday Teachings)

Whenever you feel overwhelmed, it means your brain and mind need a respite. Maybe you’ve been working too long at something that is not fulfilling. Or listening to too many complaints. Or even if you don’t say it in words, maybe your attitude is one huge sigh.

 Well, the fact is when somebody else gets you down, you can walk away from him, but, when you are the downer, you can’t get away from your morose self, yes? What you’ve got to understand is this simple fact: It’s all in my head. I have the inner resources to be happy and to make others happy.

 To establish this thought as an attitude, get up and do something for another person. Go to the local shop, buy a slab of chocolate and make the shopkeeper happy. Then, gift the chocolate to a child and make the child happy. When you act out something sweet, you put a little sweetness into the world. When you do something kind, you are acting out an inner value.

 And you can do this a thousand times and feel good all thousand  times. Giving never stales. Giving thoughts nourish and sustain the mind. Giving gladdens the heart.

 We become a sad sourpuss when we have this thought, this attitude of How can I be happy? If it comes from an overblown sense of entitlement, we can never be happy. It’s like a flower turning in itself and unable to blossom. But, when you shift your focus to How can I make others happy? How can I spread sweetness and see people smile? with your kind thought, you become a flower and open out and blossom.

 So, whenever you feel overwhelmed, it’s a sign that you’ve become too self-centered. It means you need to look out for others. See their kindness. See their suffering. Think about what you could do for them. How you can bring a smile to their face, a light to their eyes.

 There is in each of us a natural impulse to give. The more often we give in to this impulse, the happier we are. One of our inner resources is the ability to give. The Master says, “Be a reservoir of joy, an oasis of peace, a pool of serenity that can ripple out to all those around you.” Giving is that beautiful ripple.

 Please set out to make sweet little ripples wherever you go. Start the day with a lovely thank you to all who are there with you, for you. Wish only good things happen to all people. Wish that all illnesses heal, all suffering ends. Remember that everything is interrelated, all of us are interdependent. Set the kind, sweet tone for the day that this day be positive, happy, meaningful for all.

 The Master says: the mind does not think anything without our tacit permission. Once we understand this deeply, we will quietly bring on the required changes in our thinking. We will invite clean, sweet , beautiful thoughts.

 Bless your work, your loved ones, your colleagues, your surroundings with love: “I love my work.” “I have wonderful relationships.” “I have the best of jobs.” “Work is easy for me.” “Everything in life comes easy to me with Grace.” As the Master says, “Speak your word and then let the Universe do the needful.” Life isn’t all that hard. We can soften it with our thoughts. When we get used to loving, we will get used to living in ease and joy. And there will be nothing to be overwhelmed about.  

Happiness is an ever-present, gentle niceness…

Psychiatrist Dr. Theodore Isaac Rubin reveals a startling truth. “Many people are happy, but since they don’t know that they’re happy, they’re not happy,” he says. Quite. Too often, the question, “Are you happy?” elicits a doubtful “Well…I  suppose I am” answer. Why? Due to our complex human psychology “Are you happy?” triggers dissatisfaction. Immediately, the ‘Life has not been perfect” thought swamps the mind. Yet, it’s so amorphous that it cannot be pinned down. Hence, we hesitate.

 The mind vaguely compares ‘what life is” to ‘what life should be”, then averages it out to a qualified “I guess I am happy.” For sure, imagination robs reality of its luster!

 Not that reality is always beautiful. For example, Darshana who looks after three difficult elderly invalids has a tough time. It’s unpleasant to be ordered around and cursed every day.

 More often than not, however, the imagination abides in a ‘glorious’ past that makes the present reality appear drab. Today, Sahila has a three-bedroom apartment, a chauffeur-driven car, a cook, a maid, at least one annual out-of-town vacation. What would be luxuries to others are come-downs to Sahila who once obviously lived in super-luxury. So, is she happy? “Not really,” she sighs. “Why is God testing my family?”  

 Or take Maithili’s imagination that has painted an idealized present version. To match it, she has bought everything from a car to a microwave oven to a robotized bread-maker on credit. Now, despite living out her imagined lifestyle, she moans about the reality of paying back the loans!

 Thus, a lively, wonderful imagination is too often misused to create misery instead of happiness. And the problem of living in a tricky imagination is: you miss out on the happiness of reality.

 What is happiness of reality? Unclouded by the ‘if only’ wants, ambitions, greed of the imagination, happiness is an easy, nice, gentle, unobtrusive, non-dramatic experience. It is not a euphoric high, not a mind-blowing exhilaration. That’s why you take it for granted, just as you take for granted a quiet worker in your home or office who makes your life unobtrusively easy.

 According to the late Norman Cousins, journalist,  author of the book The Celebration of Life, happiness is: “Nothing more complicated than the absence of pain; enough money to cover bills; babies who have stopped crying in the middle of the night, having your bag come off first on the airport carousel, sinking a 30-foot putt on the first hole; meeting your grown children on the basis of mutual respect, a spouse willing to put up with you; or being able to get words down on paper that say precisely what you want them to say…”

 Actress Pat Carroll describes her moments of happiness: “We walked out of the Elizabethan theatre one night. The costuming, lighting, acting had been wonderful. I suddenly became very aware of something. There was no shoving, pushing, high-pitched voices, no policemen. People were talking. We were walking out like human beings who respected each other, were acting civilized, not pushing our bodies, not offending our sense of hearing, not taking advantage of one another’s space. Very pleasant. It was that marvelous thing of being nice…”

 Happiness is your natural state, an ever-present, gentle niceness that surges when you become aware of it, and gets obscured when you are troubled, shocked, angry, grieving. You’re happy when you’re feeling fairly good, relatively free of anxiety, neither restless nor bored. “A relative state of equilibrium,” sums up Doc Rubin. Yes, the mind on an even keel. This ease of happiness when fully acknowledged and appreciated daily, becomes a humming workplace for the will, a dancing floor for the mood and a magnetic field for the imagination to focus its creative energies in sustained rays of inspiration. And happiness expands to joy.

 Analyze and you’ll see: when stimulated by external factors – material wants – the imagination becomes a bull in a China shop, pawing up dust that clouds happiness, rushing frenetically to get what it sees, wrecking and fragmenting the mood to create chaos and anxiety in the mind. When the adrenaline subsides, the resulting mess invokes depression.

 But, when the imagination itself becomes a stimulant in Happy Land, and participates in the hum of the will and the jaunty step of the mood, it becomes a partner – not an adversary – in the process of daily working, living, being.

 In sum: don’t starve your happiness with your imagination; rather, feed your imagination with happiness. And dance in that difference.