The lake poets

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This is a group of English poets who all lived in the Lake District of England at the turn of the 19th century.

As a group, they followed no single school of thought.  They are considered part of the Romantic Movement.  The three main figures of, what has become known as the Lakes School, are WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE and ROBERT SOUTHEY.  They were associated with other poets and writers, including, DOROTHY WORDSWORTH, CHARLES LLOYD, HARTLEY COLERIDGE, JOHN WILSON and THOMAS DE QUINCEY.

The beauty of the Lake District inspired many other poets over the years, beyond the core—LAKE POETS.  These include JAMES PAYN BRYAN PROCTER, FELICIA HEMANS, WALTER SCOTT and NORMAN NICHOLSON.

William Wordsworth (7/4/1770 —(23/4/1850).  He was Britain’s Poet Laureate from 1843 till his death in1850.  His major works :

(1) I wandered lonely as a cloud (also known as—-Daffodils)

(2) My heart leaps up.

(3) The solitary reaper.

(4) She dwelt among the untrodden ways.

Samuel Coleridge (21/10/1772 —(25/7/1834).  He was an English poet, literary critic and philosopher.  His major works :—(1) The rime of the ancient mariner.

(2) Kubla Khan.

Robert Southey (12/8/1774—21/3/1843). He was Poet Laureate for 30 years from 1813 till his death in 1843.  He was also a prolific letter writer, literary scholar, essay writer, historian and biographer.  He was overshadowed by Wordsworth and Coleridge.  He was responsible for the biographies of John Bunyan, John Wesley, William Cowper, Oliver Cromwell and Horatio Nelson.  His major works :—

(1) The Inchcape Rock.

(2) The fall of Robespierre.

Make a difference

Dada_J_P_Vaswani

Service, it has been said, is the rent we have to pay for being tenants of this body.

Every morning, as we wake up, we must ask ourselves this question: What can I do to help ?  How can I make a difference ?  There are many things we can do to make a difference : The hungry have to be fed, the naked have to be clothed, elders have to be taken care of, children have to be taught.  Many people think : I cannot do this on my own.  You are mistaken if you think like that. Our aim should be high and not low.

Many people think that one has to be a millionaire in order to serve humanity.  The word ‘philanthropist’ is derived from two Greek words : philas = loving and ahthropos = man.  So, in other words, ‘philanthropist’ = a loving man.  A philanthropist is not a man who is a millionaire and so can donate large sums of money.  Besides, he always wants people to know that he has donated such and such an amount.  He feels very happy to be taken notice of.  He forgets the true meaning of charity.  It is said, “Let not your right hand know what your left hand does “.  The philanthropist gives from his plenty.  But it is better to give from our limited means and that too lovingly without grudging.

Money is not the only thing we can give others.  If you are well read, read to a blind student.  If you can write well, fill in a form for an illiterate person or write a letter for an old person who cannot hold a pen or pencil in his hand.  If you do not feel hungry and have food in front of you, do not waste it.  Give it to someone who is hungry and who will bless you for it.  If you are happy and contented, reach out to someone who has had some misfortune visit him.  Comfort him, see him smile.

We are like the Pharisee in the Parable of the ‘Pharisee and the publican’.  The Pharisee gloated over he fact that he was not like other men.  He was a responsible citizen.  He paid taxes and tithes on all his goods.  But he looked down on others, especially the publican, because he was not a law-abiding citizen.  But the Pharisee was lacking in Charity or love or compassion.  The Publican found favour in the sight of God, because of his humility and confession that he was not worthy to appear before God in the temple.  So, we too, should give and give till it hurts, whether of our time or love.  The opposite of love is not hatred, but indifference or apathy.  True service, according to The Gita, means looking after the welfare of others, without desiring any returns for it —-whether temporal or spiritual.  Some of us may even think that the little that we do is hardly worth a mention.  Do not forget—-Little drops of water make the mighty ocean—thus little acts of kindness can and will make a difference.  Thus, by serving others our lives, too, will become richer, more rewarding and more meaningful————-Dada J.P.Vaswani.

Authenticity

authenticity

Authenticity is a sensitizing and blessed power.

When you are comfortable with being yourself, you are also at home in the universe.  The power to be yourself—–the greatest power in the world.  Striving for authenticity is not easy.  It is an endeavour of a lifetime, and nobody ever makes it all the way.  It is a becoming rather than an ending, something we learn day by day.

Here are a few ways to start :—-

(a) Pay attention to what is going on in your life—–inwardly and outwardly.  Keep a journal, if necessary, to see how you change over time and to discover what suppressed longings are being expressed. A few of us are so monolithic that we do not harbour conflicts within ourselves.  Admit them.  Listen to the dialogue within and record it in your journal.

(b) Accept the idea that nothing is wrong with being different from other people—– I would say, “DARE TO BE DIFFERENT”.  The HERD MENTALITY comes easy to al of us, but it takes a lot of guts to STAND APART.  The truth is, ALL OF US ARE DIFFERENT, AND WE ARE MEANT TO BE.  Paul Weiss, the philosopher, wrote, “Each one of us is a unique being confronting the rest of the world in a unique fashion.”  Seek out your own deep convictions and stand by them, no matter what happens.

(c) Spend time with yourself.—–Solitude is at the heart of self-knowledge, because it is only when we are alone that we can truly distinguish between what is right and what is wrong, between what is trivial and what is important.  “Solitude”‘ said Nietzsche,” make us tougher towards ourselves and tenderer towards others.”

Authenticity makes each person’s life count by restoring POWER to the individual.  To be oneself is a natural human and universal power, which brings with it a cornucopia of blessings:

george-lizos-metaphysical-me-authenticity1

(a) A sense of direction—–Authentic people recognise the direction in which their lives are meant to go.  When Albert Schweitzer, a great missionary doctor, was a boy, a friend proposed they go up in the hills and kill birds.  Albert was reluctant, but because he was afraid he would be laughed at, he went along.  When they arrived at a tree in which a flock of birds was singing, the two boys put stones in their catapults.  Suddenly, the Church bells started to ring.  For Albert, it was a voice from Heaven.  He shooed the birds away and went home.  From that day onwards, he realised that reverence for life was more important than being laughed at.  His priorities became clear.

(b) Self-generated energy—–Fatigue is a common symptom of people who have suppressed what is truly themselves.  They are not tired but TIRED OF.  They are so fatigued, that they can hardly drag one foot after the other.  One pschychotherapist, summing them up said, “The sense of loss of muscular power was really a sense of loss of power on the part of the soul”.  We, too, are tired from the effort of trying to impress others.  THAT IS HARD WORK.  In contrast, authentic people do not dissipate energy in contradictions.  He feels alive and exhilarated, because his self-honesty reduces internal conflicts.  He does what really matters.

(c) The power of example—–The authentic person also mobilises the energies of others, by inspiring them.  During the French Occupation of the Saar in the 1920s, the German feelings were running high against the excesses by black colonial troops.  Roland Hayes, the great black singer, faced a hostile audience in Berlin.  For almost ten minutes, he stood quietly by the piano, waiting for the noise to subside.  Then he began to sing Schubert’s “Du bist die Ruh (Thou art Peace ).  A silence fell over the unruly crowd.  His artistry transcended the hostility and ther was a profound communication between the singer and the audience.

(d) The power of self-love—–A person who respects and values himself is also likely to do the same for others.  When we are not sure about who we are, we are uneasy.  We try to find out what we should say or how we should act.  But an authentic person does not waste his energy in protecting a shaky ego.

(e) The power of the spirit—–Spiritual power comes to those who are most centred on the deep self where discovery begins.  Few of us can be great leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr, who marched between the swinging police clubs and the baying dogs to Selma, Alabama, and electrified a huge audience in Washington.  A person, who is true to himself, enhances his access to this power of the spirit.  So be authentic and true to your own self and values.

Happiness

responsible for my own happiness

Abdulla, a Sufi Mystic, was a very happy man.

He always smiled, and it looked as if he had no worries, no sorrow.  His followers envied his happy nature.  His laughter was infectious.  Towards the end of his life, when he knew he was going to die, he smiled.  His followers were saddened to know that he would soon leave them and wanted to know why he was not sad.

He said to them, “If you know how to remain happy in life, you will not have to worry when you come to die.  I was a sad and miserable man when I was younger.  Then I met my master, who was an enlightened man.  He told me that I was sad and miserable because I chose to be so.  He said CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY as whatever happens in your life is your own choice.  He asked me to wake up each morning and ask myself, WHAT DO YOU WANT ?—-HAPPINESS or MISERY ?”  That changed my view of life and I decided to choose happiness each morning and thus I became a happier being.”

Osho asks us to take hold of our own life.  Nature is always celebrating, it does not wait for any special occasion.  Everyday is a celebration.  Watch existence, listen to existence and become a part of it.  Often say to yourself, I’M A HAPPY BEING.  I have to express this happiness, which is in me, in my relationships today.  That is why SELF-AWARENESS, MEDITATION or MINDFULNESS is the first thing you should turn to, first thing in the morning.  You do not need a lot of time to do that.

As soon as you arise, just lift up your thoughts to the Maker and thank him for a new day and ask His help.  All around, Nature is awake and you can hear the birds chirping, I’m sure they are thanking their Creator.  If, in the morning, you become aware about your surroundings, you will become more alert, more confident and thus you put yourself in a happy state.  The control switch is in your hands.  CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY EACH DAY.

Fun facts about the world’s smartest dogs!

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(1) THE BORDER COLLIE :—-( A brilliant mind and a big heart)—-OXFORD or CAMBRIDGE dog ?  It is believed to be the WORLD’S SMARTEST POOCH, yet it did not originate from either the University of Oxford or Cambridge.  Rather, it originated from the borders of England, Scotland and Wales——hence the name.

(2) WORKS HARD FOR THE MONEY.  It is bred for farming—Best sheep-herding dog in the world.  It is known for loving hard work, and is extremely hard-working.  Not suitable for tiny NYC apartments.

(3) CIRCUS STAR——Not quite, but it needs careful training with lots of mental and physical exercise.  Definitely not a couch-potato.  If it had thumbs, it would probably help with the New York Times Crosswords puzzles.

(4) IS THAT LASSIE ?–No, but since it is a working dog, he’s at his happiest doing work.  you will never find him in the UNEMPLOYMENT LINE.  He will step upto HERDING, DANCING, FLYING DISCS SPORTS even SEARCH and RESCUE.  Don’t be surprised if he herds the kids, other animals and even you to keep a sense of order in the house.

(5) CONTROL FREAK—-Lassie, the world’s most famous dog, is a member of the Collie family ; she is not a Border Collie.  There are many types of Collies—BEARDED, SCOTCH or BORDER COLLIE.

Gut Instinct- the Manipura chakra

manipura

V.N.Mittal sent this article to the TOI on Thursday the 21st of November, 2013.

Many of our emotions are known to originate in the belly.  I remember a phrase that was used during the French Revolution—“Hungry stomachs breed revolution” when the people had no bread and Marie Antoinette, very haughtily said, “If they have no bread, LET THEM EAT CAKES”.  We very well know how she ended up on the guillotine.

So, emotions seem to come from the gut.  We often hear people say,”He/she has guts”.  There are more neurons in the gut than anywhere else, except the brain says Greenblatt, an American psychiatrist.  The gut’s brain known as enteric nervous system is located in sheaths of tissue lining the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon.  Research has shown that there is a connection between the brain and the gut , and a prolonged dysfunction in the gut can affect your immune system adversely.  Unexpressed emotions such as anger when repressed may stick in your gut creating an energy-block and often a serious health hazard.

The second brain is an INTUITIVE BRAIN , says Alexander.  But we tend to let rational thinking overrule intuition emanating from gut instinct——-while animals often heed to this sixth sense.  Many a time a life has been saved by those following their gut instinct in time.  This gut instinct , is not only important from physical and emotional perspectives, but also from a spiritual perspective. Thus, we learn to accept our true place in the journey in life and accept others for what they are.  We are all powerful radiant beings—-Physically, energetically, emotionally and mentally, but we do not radiate our own power.

Because of a weak gut, we accept much less than our true worth. In doing so, we show symptoms of an under-active MANIPURA chakra—-the home of gut instinct, self-esteem and determination.  This chakra is situated between the navel and the base of the sternum.  When this chakra is activated, the whole system becomes energised, which in turn fires up your power, drive and sense of purpose.  Its deficiency leads to low self-esteem, fear of rejection, over-sensitivity to criticism and loss of self-image.

The Manipura chakra, like all the other chakras can be activated by physical manipulation, visualisation, martial arts and meditation.  When we bring a balance to this chakra, we experience a true inner strength and power and we move away from the desire to gain power over others.  Learn to trust your gut instinct.  But your innate wisdom should strike a balance between gut instinct and rational thinking.

Did you know?

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(1) Ravi Fernando can juggle and solve Rubik’s Cube (at the same time )  He did so in 7.65secs.  He is a Stanford University undergraduate and a Putnam Scholar.

(2) Jeffrey Archer’s book BEST KEPT SECRET ( The Harry Clifton Chronicles ) was originally intended to be a 5-part series (each book to chronicle 20 years of Clifton’s life).  It will now extend to a 6th or 7th part.  Jeffrey Archer makes 14 drafts of every book he writes.

(3) Arnav Dasyam (3years old) got into Mensa with an IQ of 132.  His parents, Anil and Navya, are both doctors.

(4) If you keep your brains sharp, by a lifetime of mentally-stimulation, you cut your risk of Alzheimer by nearly a third.

(5) Colours affect mood and purchase.  YELLOW evokes ENERGY and INCREASES APPETITE.  BLACK is the colour of SOPHISTICATION.  BURGUNDY spells ALL THINGS RICH.  ORANGE is associated with FAIRNESS.  PURPLE reminds one of ROYALTY.  GREEN stands for ECO-FRIENDLY.

(6) A sport that combines MAN, HORSE and SKIS is known as SKIKJORING.

(7) A golden retriever in Australia has entered the Guiness World Record for the loudest bark (113.1 decibles), as loud as a ROCK CONCERT or a STEEL MILL.  His name is CHARLIE and he is 6 years old.  The previous record was held by a German Shepherd (London) in 2009 (a mere 108 decibles)  Charlie’s owner–Belinda Freebairn–says the dog developed his bellowing and deep bark when he was only a year old.  But there are no complaints from neighbours as HE ONLY BARKS ON COMMAND.

(8) A British man has achieved his goal of summarizing the entire Bible into 1,189 tweets.  It took Chris Juby, director of worship at King’s Church in Durham, England, exactly 3 years and 3 months to complete his mission of reducing every single chapter of the Bible to 140 characters., the NEW YORK DAILY reported.

(9) Music helps boost your immune system (Remember, MUSIC HATH CHARMS FOR THE SAVAGE BREAST).  It is said that intangible plinking noises can create a noticeable increase in recovery from conditions including heart disease, lung ailments and even the common cold.

(10) RAPUNZEL SYNDROME–a condition in which a patient has a tendency to pluck off his/her own hair and swallow it.  This can result in a the formation of a giant hair-ball in the gut, leading to severe pain and other complications.