The Hidden Splendour

A person who meditates sincerely generates tremendous energy within and around him.  Existence blesses him with healing powers that are also felt by others.  The same could happen to a devotee whose prayers originate from his heart and is not a mechanical ritual taught by priests.  Authenticity is needed in both the cases.  The healing with the meditator or the devotee is not something of his own, but a blessing from the divine or God’s grace.  When the flower blooms it has the fragrance that spreads around.
The flower does not go into an ego trip.  In one of his discourses on THE HIDDEMeditation dhyanaN SPLENDOUR, Osho makes this point with a Sufi story :  A Sufi mystic was so full of love and joy  —- his life was filled with laughter, music and dancing.  So God became very interested in because he never asked for anything, he never prayed.  He never went to the mosque, he never even uttered the name of God.
God became intrigued with the mystic and came to the Sufi and said, “I am immensely happy because that is how I want people to be.  I don’t want them to pray for an hour and do the opposite in the remaining 23 hours.  I don’t want them to become pious once they enter the mosque, and when they go back, they leave their piety in the mosque and are just their own selves : angry, jealous, full of anxiety and violence.  I have watched you and I have loved you.  That is why you have become the prayer.  You are, right now, my only argument in the world that something more than man exists —– although you have never argued, you have not even uttered my name, but you live, you love, you are so full of joy that there is no need for any language, your very presence becomes the argument for my existence.  I want to give you a blessing.  You can ask for anything.”
The Sufi said, “But I don’t need anything.  Forgive me, I cannot ask, because I really don’t need anything.  You are generous, you are loving, you are compassionate, but I am so full, there is no space within me for anything else.”  God said, “I knew you would not ask for anything.  Don’t ask for yourself, but you can ask for others, because there are millions of people who are miserable and sick, and have never known anything for which they can be grateful.  I can give you powers to do miracles, and you can change the lives of all these people.”
Yoga meditationThe Sufi said, “If you insist, then I can accept your gift under one condition.”  God said, “Condition ? You are really strange.  What is the condition ?”  The Sufi said, ” My condition is that I should not become aware of what is happening through me, by you.  It should happen behind my back.  It should happen through my shadow.  I may be passing and my shadow may fall on a dead tree, and the tree may become alive again, but I should not know it, because I don’t want to fall back.  If I know it —– that I have done it, or even that God has chosen me as the instrument to do it —– it is dangerous.  So my condition is : a blind man might start seeing, but neither should he know that it is because of me, nor should I know that it is because of me.  My shadow behind my back will do all the miracles.”
And it is said that God said to him, ” You are not only strange, you are unique and rare.  And this will be so : You will never know what things are happening around you.  Miracles will happen.  And I will remember your condition.”
————- Swami Chaitanya Keerti.
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The enemy within

introspection


There is a very meaningful Sufi story : A man was very worried because every night someone would enter his garden and destroy all his plants.  He did everything that could be done to protect it.  He posted guards along the boundary, bur never was anybody seen entering the garden at night.  Yet, every morning, the garden would be trashed.  He then went to a Sufi Master, in the hope that the Master would be able to see things he and the guards could not.  The Master closed his eyes and said, “Do one thing, fix the alarm on your clock for two o’clock in the night.”  “How is this going to help ?  My guards are continuously watching and patrolling around the house.”  The Master said, “There is no need to argue.  Just do what I say.  Fix the alarm for two o’clock.  Then come the next day and tell me what happened.”

He was not convinced but he tried.  At two o’clock, when the alarm went off, he woke up.  He was standing in his own garden, wrecking havoc on his plants.  He was a “somnambulist”  ——- a sleepwalker.
 If we look deep within ourselves, we will see that in some way or the other, we are all sleepwalkers.  We sow the seeds of our misdeeds in the deep sleep of unconsciousness, and then wonder why our lives are so miserable.  When we love another person, we often end up taking things for granted in the name of love.  
Osho suggests : Remain a “watcher”, remain a “witness”.  Remind yourself continuously.  Sadness has come.  It has happened to you ——- it is not you.  The moment you remember this, suddenly you will see a distance arising between you and the sadness.  It does not affect you any longer.  When you lose awareness, there is a distance.  The more your awareness rises, the more the distance increases.  A moment comes when you see so far away from your sadness, that it is as if it is not there at all.  The same has to be done with happiness too.  It will be difficult, because one wants to cling to happiness.  But, by clinging to happiness, you are sowing the seeds of your sorrow.  That is how this parable is of tremendous importance.
The master himself —- in his sleep, in his unawareness —- came to the field, the wheat field and sowed the seeds of weeds.  In deep sleep, he was a sleepwalker.  In the morning, he started asking, “Who has done this ?”  You are responsible for the wrongs in your life.  You have brought them upon yourself.  But, in the morning, when you wake up, you ask, “Who has done this ?” and start searching for the wrongdoer.  THE ENEMY IS WITHIN.  The enemy is hidden deep within your consciousness.
————– Swami Chaitanya Keerti. 

You are the masterpiece

Here is a poem aspiring to be something what it is not :
“Looking to the future is something that is often done
What will the coming years bring except for great fun ?
How will the times change, what kind of person will I become ?
This is a question often asked, I’ve contemplated it some.
To be respected, live happily, and be an example to all,
I want to bring a smile to everyone, the big or the small.”  
The aspiration expressed in this poem is the aspiration that often springs in our hearts.  While most of us try our best to fulfil our ambitions, often we don’t succeed.  Many of us feel miserable and then the failure becomes a suffering.  We start finding fault with ourselves, we feel incomplete.
zen gardenThe constant feeling of being incomplete is the root cause of all misery.  We spend our entire lives trying to become something we are not.  We do all kinds of thins to reach somewhere ——– what we assume is our goal.  This goal has nothing to do with our inner reality, because this goal does not originate out of our understanding of reality but from confusion and tension.
In reality, we are the seed that needs to flower.  We are supposed to become what we are in our essence or potentiality.  In that sense, WE ARE PERFECT AS WE ARE, because we originate from the whole.  the Upanishads declare : This is the whole.  That is the whole.  From the whole springs the whole.  Take the whole from the whole and only the whole remains.
Meditation on this SUTRA can liberate us from all our anguish and misery.  This ‘wholeness’ is not something that will happen in future, nor is it something to be achieved.  This wholeness is pulsating within us right now, in the present moment. ——– The future never really comes.  It is only a mental imagination functioning as conditioning.  Meditation helps us become aware upanishad1of this ‘conditioning’, and is also the key and witnessing our being without any divisions is the ‘realisation’.
In one of his discourses on Zen, Osho says : You are carrying a masterpiece hidden within you, but you are standing in the way.  Just move aside, then the masterpiece will be revealed.  EVERYONE IS A MASTERPIECE, because God never gives birth to anything less than that.  Everyone carries that masterpiece hidden for many lives, not knowing who they are.  Often, they keep trying to become someone.  Drop the idea of becoming someone, because you are already a masterpiece.  You cannot be improved.  You have only to come to it, to know it, to realise it.  God Himself has created you —— YOU CANNOT BE IMPROVED.”
All we need to do is to settle in our witnessing consciousness and let the flower of Godliness bloom.  It happens by itself, as the Zen Mystics declare :
“Sitting silently
Doing nothing
The spring comes
And the grass grows by itself.”  
——- Swami Chaitanya Keerti.

Instinctive empathy

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When a natural disaster strikes, like the recent earthquake in Nepal, news and images are immediately beamed out to the world thanks to technology.  From shaky photographs taken on mobile phone cameras to live coverage, the vast human tragedy quickly reached television and computer screens around the world.  As it unfolded, many watched and prayed, many watched and were driven to help.  There were few who saw the images and remained unaffected.
When we see suffering human beings, even with whom we have no personal connection, isn’t empathy our first instinct ?  For many of us this INSTINCTIVE EMPATHY rises for animals and birds, as well as the earth and ecosphere.
Feeling empathy is the first step towards the mental and emotional processes that lead to actual action, like compassionate giving and altruism.  Why do we need to think about this? Because ever since Charles Darwin propounded the theory of evolution in the 19th century, where natural selection was considered to function on “survival of the fittest”, there has developed a view that selfishness is the basis of all nature.  Theories of “social Darwinism” trace the rise of laissez faire capitalism, racism and, to some extent, imperialism, to an innate selfish and “me first” view of what it meant to be human that arose from the “survival of the fittest” mind-set.
painted-hands-clasping-empathyThis 19th century notion that human beings are somehow “hardwired to be selfish” lingers on in popular culture.  Biology itself has moved far beyond simplistic explanations of Darwinian thought, and in fact the discovery of “mirror neurons” in the 1980s and 1990s holds out the possibility that we might be actually be “hardwired towards empathy and altruism”.
Here is how “mirror neurons” work.  If a ball hits me on the head, signals are sent to my brain that enable me to feel pain.  If I watch a ball hit another human being on the head, something happens in my brain that is not a direct sensation of pain, but is an experience of pain nevertheless.  It could be called “empathetic pain”.  A certain type of neuron in my brain “mirrors” the pain of another, so that I can feel what the other is feeling.  THIS IS THE SEED OF EMPATHY.
Neuroscientist V. S. Ramchandran, who has extensively researched “mirror neurons” and their implications, credits them with enabling human beings to develop an “allocentric” view, which means being focussed on others, as opposed to the “egocentric” one, which means being focussed on oneself.  According to him, “At some point in evolution, this system (mirror neurons) ……. allowed you to create an “allocentric” view of yourself.  This is, I claim, the DAWN OF SELF AWARENESS.”
So, not only are we “hardwired” to be kind, we actually benefit from it.
——- Swati Chopra

Let go of ego

It is a well-established fact that the biggest impediment in the way of one’s peace, happiness and enlightenment is “EGO”.
buddha_and_mara_bj49A person’s ego causes him/her to be regretful in life, distances friendship and attracts enmity, puts  person into depression, causes unnecessary grief, does not let the person progress easily in any field.  Moreover, ego becomes a serious obstacle in one’s spiritual progress.
Hence it is of utmost importance that we consciously try and get rid of any ego that we might possess, so that we can progress spiritually.  Complete reduction of ego, of all forms, will eventually lead to enlightenment —– which I the single-most purpose of our existence.
First, we need to understand what is “ego” and then reduce it so as to achieve eternal peace, happiness and enlightenment.
“EGO” can be broadly classified into 3 categories : ** Sthool Ahankaara or “gross ego” :  People who are egoistic of material things like wealth, beauty, status, fame and progress  possess this kind of ego.  **  Sukshma Ahankaara or “subtle ego” :  shivaPeople who are egoistic of ‘subtle things like experience, age,  devotion and knowledge possess this type of ego. It is astonishing to see that some people are egoistic about their “bhakti” towards God too.  ** Shudh Ahankaara or “pure ego” :  This is the state of enlightenment, because we establish ourselves in the pure consciousness, which possesses a pure ego of its existence.  And we become one with this pure ego and relieve ourselves from the “birth cycle”.
The next step is to realise whether we are being egoistic or not.  Few indications that help us realise whether we possess any ego are : ** Whether we judge people or look down upon them for no fault of theirs.  For example, we look at a beggar and laugh at his hardship or we think other people are stupid.  ** Whether we start getting irritated at small things and make an issue out of it.  For example, if something is not done as per our idea or we try and find fault with others.
Once we are aware of the above two steps, we should consciously try and reduce the level of our ego.  One of the ways to do so, is slowly establish oneself in the third and the most important form of ego — PURE EGO.  Slowly, you should associate everything, everyone as an extension of your existence.  By doing this you will, eventually, stop looking down on anyone because, indirectly, you will be looking down upon yourself.  The “PURE EGO” stage is nothing but the “ultimate stage of enlightenment.”
——- Sadguru Rameshji 

Mood lifters

A large section of society, in the West as well as in India, suffers from depression.  While a very small percentage of Indians acknowledge that they have a problem and seek professional help, there are some home remedies for depression that have proved to be as good as anti-depressant therapies. Here are a few of them :

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**Meditation : A strong mind-body connection  may help us feel calmer and happier.  There’s no right or wrong way to meditate —- it requires nothing more than a quiet location, a comfortable position, relaxed breathing and focussing your attention on something specific (your breath or an object).  Practising meditation for just 15 minutes a day can help relieve symptoms of depression.
** Vitamin C : Vitamin C is an antioxidant that many of us associate with curing the common cold.  It also protects us from stroke, and it is beneficial to our eye health and boosts our immunity system.  Vitamin C may also alleviate symptoms of depression —— it plays a role in how our body synthesises the neuro-transmitter (norepinephrine), a brain chemical that affects our mood.  So, add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, including citrus fruits, strawberry, melons, pineapple, berries, bell peppers, tomatoes and dark leafy greens or have Vitamin C supplements.
**Exercise : While the link between exercise and alleviating symptoms of depression isn’t clear, researchers have found that regular exercise —— 30 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week —– can lift mood, reduce stress and boost self-esteem as well as protect against heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.  When we exercise, the body temperature rises and our body releases chemicals that make us feel good — endorphins.
** Mediterranean Diet : This diet could help reduce your risk for depression.  The Mediterranean diet emphasises eating mono-unsaturated fatty acids (for example choose olive oil over butter), lots of Omega-3 fatty acids from fish, nuts, legumes, and B vitamins from fruits, veggies and whole grains.  Meat, dairy and alcohol are not forbidden, but they are not the focus.
yoga painting** Magnesium : Symptoms of depression —– from mild apathy to psychosis, may be related to  a deficiency of magnesium.  Choose foods such as seeds and nuts (pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds, almonds and cashews) beans and legumes soybeans, spinach and whole grains.
** Vitamin B : Doctors prescribe folic acid to relieve depression.  B vitamins help our bodies make brain chemicals that help regulate our moods and transmit messages through our brain.  All B vitamins play an important role in this, but folic acid, B6 and B12 deficiencies, specifically can affect the production of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), serotonin and dopamine —— low levels of these 3 are linked to depression and other mood disorders.
** Yoga : A study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Neuroscience in India found that upto 73% of people who practised a form of yoga called Sudarshan Kriya, where the emphasis is  on breathing naturally through the nose with the mouth closed in three distinct rhythms, found relief from depression.

Dale Breckenridge Carnegie

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Dale Breckenridge Carnegie (24/11/1888 — 1/11/1955) was an American writer and lecturer and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesman, corporate training, public speaking and inter personal skills.
Born in poverty, on a farm in Missouri, he was the author of HOW TO WIN FRIENDS & INFLUENCE PEOPLE (1936) , a massive best-seller, that remains popular even today.  He also wrote HOW TO STOP WORRYING & START LIVING (1948).
Here are some Dale Carnegie’s Quotes:
(1) The ideas I stand for are not mine, I borrowed them from Socrates.  I swiped them from Chesterfield.  I stole them from Jesus,  them in a book.
(2) The essence of all art, is to take pleasure in giving pleasure.
(3) People rarely succeed, unless they have fun in what they are doing.
(4) Develop success from failures.  Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.
(5) Are you bored with life ? Then, throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours.
(6) Inaction breeds doubt and fear.  Action breeds confidence and courage.  If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it.  GO OUT AND GET BUSY.