At each moment, the entire universe is created (Tuesday Tao)

The days rush by on swift feet… We must, each of us, realize the higher qualities in our being, revel in a larger life-knowledge broadened from within, suffuse our daily thoughts with gentleness and let laughter, not worry, pass through our veins. It has been said by the Wise that: at each moment, the entire universe is created. And since we too are the stuff the universe is made of, we can re-create ourselves, our life every moment in step with the universe. If we bring the darker forces in us into the light, we’ll feel ourselves transform into better human beings.  

 What are the higher qualities in us that make life rich and fulfilling? Oh! so many! Let’s list out a few. For example:

~ When we live from the quality of acceptance… the peace, the utter peace! To accept another wholly is to bless Creation Itself. After all, it’s Creation that patiently made each form out of the formless.

~ When we live from faith that things always happen for the best…oh, sweet mercy! the calm fortitude within! To have faith is to be bathed in inner light.

~When we are sincere in all that we say and do…what a clear, transparent purity fills us! Sincerity is the branch on which the blossoms of trust burst forth.

~When we persevere even amidst resistance, inertia, negativity…the comforting tempo of continual rhythm, the cushion of positivity, the fullness of concentration that dissolves all despair…how beautifully it sustains us! Perseverance allows our boat to sail bravely in choppy waters and when the waves die down and we enter smooth waters, our relief, our delight, our thankfulness know no bounds.

~When we are continually open in our mind and heart…flash after flash after flash of inspiration seeks us as our thoughts do not bind it, our minds do not limit it, our consciousness expands to welcome it and… the whole world stands renewed, the colours more brilliant, the forms more etched…a miracle ever-unfolding in all its grandeur and glory…

 It’s a beautiful way to live. In Confucian times, it is said there was a monk called Hui who could, for three months, have no thought but that of goodness. No one could beat his record. But it’s a wonderful aspiration to have. That’s why many Masters recommend chanting a mantra 60,000 times a day, as replacement for our 60,000 thoughts, to attain mind-purification.

 Recently, I read about a wonderful woman called Mrs Jacobs who brought up six children, amidst financial and health problems, in the most beautiful way. Every night, she asked her six to tell her something good that happened that day. And the kids had a rollicking evening narrating the best and funniest anecdotes of the day. The energy in the house rang with optimism and laughter. What’s more, Mrs Jacobs sang as she cooked, narrated and even acted out children’s stories much to the delight of her brood of six! Unknown to them, they were being taught, nay shown that happiness is not dependent on circumstances.

 Two of the six, Bert and John founded a US $100 million Tee-shirt company with the tag line: “Life is not perfect. Life is not easy. Life is good.” In their meetings with their staff, Bert and John invite, “Tell me something good” and Mrs Jacob’s great legacy lives on…

 It’s truly a benediction to live and love and earn and act in a positively energised ambience. At the end of each day, please narrate an interesting, heart-warming or funny anecdote from your day to whoever you are with. Do it. It’s lovely to live on a smile.  

 

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Be like oxygen to this Earth

Keep the mind pure. The Masters say purity is our pillar. Why are we drawn to little children? Their purity touches our purity that we have pushed deep inside with our logic and analysis and opinions and all kinds of layers. And these layers build up so much, so much resistance, you understand? So purity really becomes like a buried vein of gold for which the poor miners are made to toil in inhuman conditions to unearth.

 So, how do we regain our purity, how do we keep our mind pure? How do we overcome our inner resistance? There’s a lovely lesson that a great master taught his stubborn disciple who refused to open his mind and accept his teachings. He simply gave him a bag filled with barley and told him to climb a mountain with it. The only condition was: he should never stop to rest, just climb continuously until he reached the top.

 The disciple was obedient and started to climb. The bag became heavier and heavier and though he was dying to stop and rest, he didn’t dare. He toiled up the slope and as soon as he reached the top, he just dropped the bag and fell on the ground, extremely exhausted yet, at the same time, utterly relaxed and deeply thankful he’d done what his master had commanded. His inner resistance had just melted away and he suddenly understood and accepted everything his master had been telling him for years.

 On hearing this story, you may realize, like I did, how life teaches us exactly the same way. The more inner egoistic resistance we have, the more we are hammered by people and circumstances! People and circumstances are the conduits for Consciousness to send you the message, “You are moving away from your purity…come back, come back!” It gets easier if you realize you too are a conduit for the Consciousness and it’s all for the good.

To regain our purity, we have to stop being selfish, that’s all. Have no personal agenda. Keep your thoughts pure – borrow abundantly from the masters until you regain your natural purity. Be like oxygen to this Earth. Purify it with your pure thoughts, words, acts, your very presence.

 Be a witness to your own ways. If you find your mind thinking in a certain negative way, ignore it and bless yourself and it gradually regains its natural quiet luminosity. Have no expectations from people or circumstances. It’s our expectations that make the circumstances or the people look awful. Bless everybody, including those troubling you. Worry less, bless more. Keep blessing. Take a second to invite peace into you. Take a second to bless everybody you come across.  Just these few seconds will transform your mind, your life. Your mind will be smiling, your heart will be soaring, your spirit will be singing.

 Be thankful for everything. Keep climbing the mountain, keep journeying through your life until you reach the top. The pure, unhindered view inside you is breathtakingly beautiful.  

Make the mind pay attention to you (Sunday Swahaas)

 If you decide in tough times, inconvenient situations, disturbing circumstances, you will not be miserable, you can do it. Sometimes, you see, the world gets into your mind with all its doings and demands, and you must remember that you are only an instrument and things happen through you, then you won’t be miserable.

 The mind races with lots of thoughts running around in circles and you feel overwhelmed. You need to be firm and say “I won’t allow you to overwhelm me. I want you to be peaceful.” So to show how serious you are, you start saying to yourself “Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti, Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti…”You say, “Shanti, Shanti, come into me, Shanti, Shanti, settle in me.”

 When other kind of thoughts try to come in, you say “Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.” You just keep repeating it. The mind begins to get your intention through your refrain. You are not listening to its nonsense, you are saying, “Be peaceful, be peaceful.” You are not paying attention to its thoughts. What you do not pay attention to cannot grow stronger.

 So the roles get reversed. The mind starts paying attention to you. It hears “Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti” and starts listening to it. You think “Om Shanti, Shanti” before eating, before drinking water, before sleeping, on waking, while brushing your teeth, while bathing, just before you start work on your project and so on.

 And you will feel a deep calmness and you will see how calm everything becomes. Oh, so calm, so serene, so beautiful! All the noises seem to recede. Ah! You are as magnificently smooth and still as an ocean!

 You can take a small nibble at peace to see how it feels like you take a tiny bite of a biscuit to see how it tastes, then you have the whole biscuit. So you start saying “Om Shanti” for just two minutes. Nothing elaborate, nothing complicated, just keep it simple and easy and effortless. Then you can absorb yourself in it without any analysis, without any effort. Analysis and effort means more noise in an already noisy mind. Be as simple as a child.

 Do you remember how you called your friends and they would come? So be a child with peace, be a child of peace, make peace your friend. Call out to peace by its name ‘Shanti’ as you would call out to a friend. Say “Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti” and peace will come and be with you.  

Construct a world full of grace and joy inside you… (Saturday Sutras)

Search inside yourself. If you do not compare yourself with others… if you can listen intently without feeling any twinges of jealousy when somebody else talks about their wealth, their brilliant children, their influential connections.., you are blessed, oh so blessed, dear reader. So much peace, so much calm, so much interest without attachment to anything is what you would be experiencing. I can never forget what a Yogini said: “You have to go beyond your shortcomings, you have to go beyond the shortcomings of others.”

 The Master told her, to reach the bliss sheath, you need absolute purity in thought, mind, heart. She did. Everything in her was synchronized in purity. The wise say repeatedly, “What you put your attention on strengthens.” This Yogini put her entire attention on the Master and his divine ways and, ultimately, attained the bliss of enlightenment.

 When you meet a friend and she starts praising herself, her family, her connections, look at her with soft eyes, eyes that are slightly de-focussed as if you are looking at a hologram. This is how you glimpse the soul. When you are not focussed on the worldly form, you sense and ‘see’ and experience the formlessness in her and you. There is no self in you, no ego. This practice is a beginning to oneness.

 When there is no I, when you realize that in formlessness we are all the same and bear the same identity, then there is no space, no place, no opportunity for jealousy. You cannot be jealous of yourself. The love you now feel is a beautiful kind of love. There is no possessiveness in it. There is a lovely companionship, there is an easy acceptance and trust and unspoken understanding. Ah yes, it is far simpler, more ‘easeful’ than the complicated, burning feeling of jealousy and competitiveness.  

 Give a shot at thinking and living in these yogic ways and when you find them conducive, continue: *Consider anybody you interact with as a part of you that entered another body. You will be astonished at the difference you feel in yourself.   *The wise have left behind the qualities of our formless soul. Keep dwelling on these great qualities as present in all of us rather than ‘faults in others’. Examples: ~One who is immersed in bliss. ~One who is present in all. ~One who embodies beauty. ~One who glows radiantly. ~One who makes life easier. ~One who is always kind. ~One who has inner light.   One day, I sat down and wrote 255 such qualities. Ah! the mind grew so cool and hushed – like the earth after its first rains!

*Be in gratitude 24/7/365. When things don’t work out to your liking, be grateful they are not worse. When things work out beautifully for anybody you know, be thankful and joyful as if it has happened to you. It has, you know.

 Remember, jealousy is only a fragile, poorly built structure in you by the ego. De-construct it with kind, loving, happy-for-everybody thoughts. And, yes, create and construct a beautiful world full of grace and joy inside you. It won’t be perfect, it will be much more… it will be a complete world where everyone’s welfare is enmeshed in yours.

Life is a toy… (Friday Flowerings)

When you feel sad, understand why you feel sad. It is because something has happened that you didn’t want to happen. The mind is restless by nature – it wants this to happen, not that. So, when the ‘not that’ happens…ohhh! Sadness, dejection, gloom…

 Here’s the secret: eliminate all attraction, all repulsion. Eliminate all likes, all dislikes. Eliminate all ‘want to happen’, all ‘not want to happen’. In sum: eliminate all expectations, all desires.

 It is possible to do it. A Zen Master who had reached that beautiful point of equilibrium, when told anything ‘sad’, ‘bad’ or ‘good’, would say sweetly, “Is that so?” When you meet someone who has that unshaken calmness, you immediately feel at peace too, yes? The pure aura of such a person touches you, moves you, you feel blessed, you experience another sweeter reality.

 You have it in you to be calm too. When you stop wanting this to happen and not that, you feel the true core-nature of your mind – its utter, luminous stillness. Mental stillness is a quiet, deathless joy. You become at once like an adult and a child. You become like an adult in a toy shop. You have no desire to possess the toys, you just look at them curious about how they work, that’s all. You don’t desire them. Simultaneously, you become like a child in an empty room. You look around and there is nothing to play with, nothing to hold and touch, so you just lie down and fall asleep.

 When our desires are asleep, we are happy. When our desires are eliminated we are in joy. When you understand this deeply, sadness goes away. When desires dissolve, thoughts dissolve. When thoughts dissolve, there’s a great clarity in the mind.

It is a privilege to just sit and gaze silently at a tall building which, now, is a toy building, at a nice blue toy-sky with toy birds flying across your vision. Even over and under the drone of the toy traffic you can feel the peace of the spacious consciousness behind your mind. We are each a piece of walking consciousness – the toy-maker. When you are conscious of this presence – your Higher, Silent Consciousness that knows no sadness – you begin to live in a whole new beautiful way. Whatever you do, you do with love, wisdom, a sense of proportion and with no regrets because there are no expectations. As Alice Walker puts it so beautifully, “Expect nothing. Live frugally, on surprise.”  

Stress says ‘Be more aware’

How can I be sick less often? By adopting a more relaxed approach. Remember that a stressed mind makes a mental issue of everything; a relaxed mind introduces mental healing into everything. Whenever you feel stressed, lie down. Press and move your palm in circles over your chest and around your navel to spread waves of well-being. Stress, a meaningful process, is an inner plea to be more open, honest, true and even more aware.

 What do I mean by ‘more aware’? R W Trine in his book In Tune With The Infinite, says, “Your current of thought connects you with a similar order of thought from another.” Meaning, if your thought is stressful, you connect with stress from another. So, not only should you avoid stressful people, you must ensure that others don’t avoid you because they find you stressful! With awareness, gradually step into a more relaxing, yet productive lifestyle. Learn to discern what truly gladdens you as against what you do mechanically. Five tips:

*Choose thoughtful actions, not tiresome rituals.  *Aim for godliness, not God.  *Enhance your self-worth, not net-worth.  *Exercise twice a day, if once neither relaxes nor cheers you.  *Consciously swerve away from negativity. The more often you swerve, the nimbler your spirit and brighter your mood.

 Finally, some mind-strengtheners: *It doesn’t matter if the odds are against me today, because I know the evens are all with me on most days.  *When everything fails, it means I should relax and start a fresh new trail to success.  *When everything turns to ashes, be practical – empty the ashtray first.  

 Simultaneously, follow some purifying practices for three days: *Drink 10-12 glasses of water. *Sprinkle lavender oil on your pillowcase for a deep sleep.  *Soak your feet in salt and mint water to relax. *Eat light: Add cumin seed, turmeric, asofoetida, salt, two cups of water to a half a cup of moong dal and rice, and boil. Have the khichdi with a vegetable-fruit salad for all meals.  *Exercise to a point where you get a stretched ‘aah’ feeling in muscle and mind. *Go on a mental fast – no negative thoughts. When you find yourself going effortlessly with the flow of everyday  life, you will know you have turned stress into gold.

 

Why am I stressed?

If you don’t act on stress, stress acts on you. So, ask ‘Why am I stressed?’ Stress can be an ally – an indication of useful discomfort. It tells you that you are not being true to yourself, your values, and what’s important to you. And by allowing this, you are nibbling away at your natural strength. That’s why you feel exhausted, weak, dispirited and, well… stressed! So how do you handle it?

 Turn stress into gold, say new-age alchemists. It’s based on the ancient alchemy tenet: Use anything and everything as a means to become your healthiest, highest self. In practice, it means: “Talk and listen to yourself with lion-hearted honesty and solid well-meaning intentions.” Ask and answer these nine questions with unflinching courage.

What fear keeps me from being true to myself? The fear of rejection. Dr T J Rubin advises pragmatism. “Embrace rejection. Say ‘Sometimes I’ll be accepted and sometimes I’ll be rejected.’”

In which situations am I false? When you’re trying to please somebody or everybody. Anthropologist Ashley Montagu simplifies it. “Why not just be a warm, loving human being who lives as if to live and love were one?” You don’t have to stray from your values for that – rather, you add value to your relationships and create a beautiful stress-free environment.

Who am I avoiding instead of communicating with? A problem postponed is a burden shouldered. Speak up…write a letter…have your say.

Am I holding back where I should be more giving? Vedic sages call this ‘mental constipation.’ Justifying ‘not giving’ as good for the other does not lighten you.

Am I refusing to receive? Your pride fends off timely support, inspiration and warm companionship. The ancient Chinese said, “He who asks may be a fool for five minutes. He who doesn’t is a fool for a lifetime.” Learn to receive gracefully.

Why am I not listening to me? Your own instinct is your greatest guide. Listen to yourself, it’s liberating.

What is this (negative) situation or person teaching me? When you stop condemning and start commending you lead a bigger, more harmonious life.

Can I be more alert? Yes. You could be fogged because you’re trying too hard. Make ‘Work smarter, not harder’ your motto. Less effort often unfolds more wisdom. Get quality sleep and adequate exercise – they expand your alertness time-span.

(Tomorrow: Stress says ‘Be more aware’ )

The fly and the butterfly (Tuesday Tao)

I was a fly on the wall. And I learnt much from observing and listening. I learnt that hygiene matters, so I didn’t sit on dirty stuff anymore. I tried telling my fellow flies about the delights of cleanliness and feeling pure, but they looked at me uncomprehendingly, sometimes even hostilely. I backed off, realizing I still had loads to learn.

 I learnt that by shutting my mouth, I could open my mind. It’s amazing how much beauty and wisdom a quiet mind takes in. When the wall-owners started scraping this wall to prepare it for painting, I flew out into the sun peacefully. The ‘old’ noisy mind would have grumbled and groaned. But the new, quiet mind just saw the open window and out I flew! And I’m so glad I did because I discovered the soothing warmth of the sun and the bright healing colours of the trees and plants and flowers – Nature’s rangoli. Often, we are shaken when things change, but they only mean we have to look in another direction to discover something more pleasant, more conducive, something healthier.

 Earlier, when I fell sick, I’d just cling to the wall and shiver and shake until the fever passed. Slowly I’d gain my strength back. But now I know that all I have to do is fly around in the sunlight, sit on a tender green blade of grass and I’m as good as new.

 Outdoors, my jaw dropped when I saw this beautiful, ethereal, myriad-coloured being flying gracefully and alighting daintily on a flower. She said she was a butterfly. When I asked her if we are related, you know…fly and butterfly… she laughed a lovely, breathy laugh and said we all are. She taught me to sip pollen from flowers. Ooh, it’ so sweet, cool and fulfilling! No more junk food, I decided, and made it my staple diet. I was already feeling stronger and healthier.  

 From the butterfly, I learned to float in the air, allowing the breeze to push me gently in whichever direction it chose. It’s wonderful to just float along with life. I feel whee! as in free, so light and…yes!…so beautiful! When I told this to the butterfly, she said in astonished tones, “But, you were always beautiful! When I first saw you, I was struck by how delicate and tiny you are and how lovely and transparent your wings…!” Swat me if you will, but never ever in my life had I felt so good, so appreciated and loved!  

 And suddenly, I knew why we are all here – just to love one another. That’s it! That day on, I hovered mid-air in a trance. Why! I thought, hit by a joyful revelation, I don’t even need a wall to cling to! It’s not the only thing I understood in my blissed out state. Now, I know: *Life is rich, don’t live it in mental poverty. *Change exists so that life can take you to places that are best for you. *When we cling to concepts, they become our prisons. *You can’t stop troubles from coming but you can lend them your wings to fly away. *You can’t see your beauty if you judge yourself.  *And, yes, be grateful, very grateful to the butterflies in your life, the ones who make you happy – they are beautiful seed-sowers who make your spirit burst into a thousand colourful, fragrant blossoms.

(An excerpt from When you give up your wall, you become airborne by Fly Hy.)

                                                                                                                                                                                 

Look at life’s situations with wise and clear eyes

Be hardy. Don’t allow adversities steal the zeal from your spirit. Depression, lethargy, lack of hope, passive and resigned acceptance all contribute to weakening our immune system. Think hardy, act hardy. It’s not that the hardy never fall ill, but they optimally use healing resources such as emotional support, medicines, exercise, rest and therapies to recover quicker. Hardy positivity stimulates and strengthens the immune system. So, don’t get stressed.

 Look at a situation with wise and clear eyes, and say, “Hey, I’m not going to sweat on this small stuff.” Resist being even slightly inactive or long-faced due to an illness. Say, “I’m darned if I let anything get me down!” I’m not talking of a sudden rush of adrenaline to the head, but of a steady flowing current of strength, determination and purpose from the heart.

 Everybody can become hardy…or hardier. First of all, never believe that you are vulnerable and weak in the face of problems. Nobody is. You have human resilience, initiative, creativity, vigour, power and genius. As Rev Normal Vincent Peale wrote in his book, Staying Alive, “Remember, God experimented on mountains and oceans before he made you.”  Second, commit yourself wholly to being fitter, healthier, happier and yes, hardier. Commit yourself to not trouble your near and dear ones with your infirmities. Commit yourself to being there like a rock for your loved ones. When you commit with such lucid clarity and responsibility, laying the foundation stone for a holistic life becomes your mission. The four foundations stones are:

*Nourishing:~Eat fresh fruit, salad, whole grains and sprouted pulses for lunch and dinner. ~Eat dinner by 7 pm for optimum digestion. ~Drink one-and-half litres of water. ~Take vitamins like A to Z. Simultaneously, cut out fats. ~Nourish your mind by reading inspirational books, listening to beautiful music and interacting with positive, wise people.  

*Exercising: ~Do cardio-workouts, light weight-training and stretching exercises to strengthen your heart, lungs and bones, increase your stamina and flexibility and prime up your brain’s happy hormones. ~Do deep breathing, particularly long exhalations to rid your body of toxins. ~Solve crossword puzzles, learn beautiful poems, paint pictures, write a diary and sing. In sum, do any activity that focuses your brain and sharpens its alertness.

*Resting: ~Sleep by 9 pm and rise at 5 am. When you are in tune with nature’s timings, not only are you healthier and happier, you gain a clearer, wider perspective on life. ~Ensure you sleep well for six to eight hours every night. ~When awake, feel completely, profoundly at peace with yourself and your life. The other side, the rhythmic counterpart of the dynamic aspect of life, is rest. Rest renews, rejuvenates, re-empowers, it also rekindles hardiness.

*Nurturing: ~To enjoy what you do, do what you enjoy. Find your calling. When you’re focused on and committed to a personal mission, no adversity can hold you back, no illness can get its tentacles into you.

 Being fit, toned, stimulated and rested configures hardiness in your being. Then, even an illness becomes a process of learning or a curious challenge to be studied, worked around and dissolved. You tend to ask, “How did this happen?” You are ready to further fine-tune your lifestyle to make this affliction go away. This readiness is the best psychological position to be in. It’s a readiness for not just getting better, but living better than before you fell ill.

 Hardiness is further fostered by taking care of three fronts: ~Learning how to handle anger. The secret is neither to get too volatile nor to suppress your anger. Rather, sit down and write out your feelings. Spend time re-wording, editing and checking out spellings. This – steering your anger – is part of hardiness.  ~Making a passionate commitment to taking time to live and drink in the happiness that life’s smallest simplest situations offer. Say, you’re strolling on the beach one evening. The sky turns a beautiful orange. A flock of birds sweep with breathtaking precision across the horizon. Caught in the beauty of the moment, you pause. Skin tinging, mind aglow, you want to forever stand and savour this soul-stirring scenario. Breathing in the fullness of life’s offering is breathing healthfulness into the body.  ~Focussing on your strengths. When life feels shakily out of control, regain your balance by taking on tasks you excel at – teaching English, managing somebody’s investment portofolio, and so on. Make every setback a beautiful comeback.

Call on your light force… (Sunday Swahaas)

 If you are not sleeping well, please look at the quality of thoughts prevailing in your mind as you fall asleep. If they are angry thoughts, your sleep will be ‘angry’, disturbed, restless. And if you do fall into an uneasy sleep, you may have uneasy dreams.

 Be aware that all negativism is anger-linked. Guilt is anger directed at oneself as is inadequacy. Self-pity is passive anger, a constant feeling of being thwarted of love and care from a parent. Jealousy comes from the same place. Feeling resentful or vengeful is a mix of hatred and anger. Depression comes from the same emotions with helplessness added to it. Worrying is the hangover of processing everything in life – including the positive – negatively.

 Most people believe erroneously that it helps to talk it out. It doesn’t except in a few situations – say you are scared and you talk it over and the listener reassures you and you realize there is nothing to fear. Otherwise, generally, talking constantly only reinforces your negativism and affects the listener as well.

Instead, remember this simple rule: every negativity has a powerful antidote called positivity. Now make it work for you. We all have light and dark forces in us. Have faith in your light force, in your goodness, your good humour, your ability to love. The Masters say, “The powers of the Divine are present in each of us. Be willing to nurture them.” A thousand times, yes! Have a readiness to nurture your innate lovingness. Watch yourself. When you speak tenderly about a baby, don’t dilute it with anything negative about the parent, for example. Let positivity pour out…pour out…pour out… unhindered in its purest, concentrated form. When you make a dedicated effort, the readiness turns into an intense aspiration to think and talk only with love. Love has a way of helping us rise above and even heal our deficiencies, dysfunctions, diseases. Make talking lovingly a habit.

 Don’t lose hope, don’t feel you are a bad person. Call on your light force continually. Call with faith, with confidence that it is there. When you call…call…call…you begin to perceive grace all around you, in you… And…wow! when you begin to perceive grace everywhere, you are suddenly, unexpectedly, magically okay with all ‘imperfections’ in yourself, in people, in places, in situations, in life….

 There are, thankfully, various wonderful ways to call on your light forces.  *If your mind and body are all tensed up, sit on your armchair and pedal on your mini-cycle (it’s worth getting one.) The rhythmic movement of your legs reaches out and loosens all the knots in your muscles and mind in 32 minutes.  *If you are exhausted, sag into your chair like a limp pillow case. Stretch your legs, flex your ankles, curl your toes, then let them relax. Roll your head one way, then another, then let it relax on a back-support. (It’s wise to have a chair placed against a wall with a pillow perched on its back resting against the wall. Resting your head on it is wonderfully comforting.) Arch your eyebrows, lower them and finally close your eyes gently. Raise your hand and gently smooth away tension from your face and shoulders. Feel all the tension, the exhaustion draining out of you, leaving you relaxed, peaceful, calm…

 *When your mind is beset with dark, malevolent thoughts full of resentment and hatred and anger, listen to hymns, psalms, bhajans. Start humming and singing them. Words of love, uplifting words sung softly to melodious music really soothe the savage mind. The feelings of anger are, metaphorically speaking, replaced by images of angels singing sweetly, softly, soothingly.  You can also allow the music, the words to invoke mental images of blue-tinged hills and lush green meadows below a tranquil blue sky with white puffs of clouds. A river flowing peacefully with gentle ripples on its surface from a friendly breeze. The sun sending kindly warmth to your face and shoulders. Trees shedding flowers and leaves falling around like blessings.

When you see the light force in you, you can perceive the light in force in others. Nobody is all dark, everybody is filled with light. Some may speak harsh words to express the agony of their inner trauma. Some may appear selfish, because they are fearful inside. Rather than focus on their darkness which can bring to the surface your dark force, focus on their light, their goodness, generosity, courageous stance. This way, you are freed of dark thoughts, uneasy feelings, and are, instead, filled with joyfulness, lovingness, peace…peace…peace… These make a beautiful soft, serene, soothing pillow to fall deeply, trustingly, tranquilly asleep on.