Sharpen the Saw

Dear readers,

I hope you are all having a great time. It’s been a great privilege sharing all these insightful topics with you all and I can only aspire to share more as time goes on.

Today while I was in the Kitchen, by the way for those of you who do not know me personally, cooking is one of my biggest activities besides blogging, I had a thought flash through my mind. I had been working on some recipes and finally put it out for people to try and I got some really interesting and positive feedback. The highlight of my thinking process wasn’t just the nature of the type of feedback I got but the fact that my time and energy in researching those recipes were actually yielding results.

It dawned on me, that time and energy invested in self-development is never a waste, as long as we maintain the right attitude. To sharpen the saw, means to improve oneself in whatever field one has an interest. To sharpen the saw means to realize that if we must succeed then it is up to us to make it happen. To sharpen the saw means to realize that to the degree we keep reinventing and rebranding ourselves, to that degree do we keep our relevance.

As a chef I have noticed that the final outcome of a prep can be foretold often times in the manner in which the cook goes about preparing the ingredients and the actual mélange. The result that we desire in the final outcome of the finished prep comes in with the total combination of ingredients, technical know-how, finesse, feeling and the need to constantly better our self. A couple of years back I was to make a very delicate dessert and I was having some difficulty and I asked the Lady who was tutoring me at time “How do you do this stuff, it seems to just wanna mess you up each time.” She looked at me and said “This prep isn’t very kind even though it is very sweet”. Her words hit me and sank deep. She said to conquer it, you must try several times, you must fail several times, you must cry several times and finally when it sees that you are serious about making it, it would let you. Needless to say, that was what happened.

The process she described was sure to happen however I could dictate how much I wanted to try, how much I wanted to fail and how much I wanted to cry, by how much I was going to sharpen my saw. Similarly in other aspects of our lives we have to decide how much time we want to invest in an activity or endeavor by checking how “sharp our saw” is. The phrase “sharpen the saw” is actually coined from a short story of a wood cutter who goes to chop down trees but ends up having a bad day as his saw is blunt. AN old man walks by and tells him to take a break and sharpen his saw, to which he responds I don’t have time to do that. I have to cut down this tree. The old man replies “well that is correct however at the moment it is taking you so much time to do this, why not stop ,sharpen your saw and get back at it.”

Often times many of us complain about how difficult certain things are in our lives, and we give a million reasons why we do things the way we do. However what many of us fail to admit is that, we are constantly trying to hack down the tough trees of life with our blunt saws. We feel taking time out to sharpen our saws, or to master our craft is “too time consuming” yet we wonder why the next guy is doing so well. Truth be told there is no endeavor that gives itself easily without an additional effort. I have taken a close look at many successful people and there is a common denominator; they spend a lot of time sharpening their saws. Every hour others spend hacking at the trees of life with their dull saws, these men spend it in sharpening their saws, so that when they finally begin to cut through the forest of obstacles and life goals, they do so with such an effortless gets. What many of us fail to see is how much effort has been put in, prior to such an effortless gest.

One rough patch some people have in life is they are busy cutting other people’s trees. What does this mean? They have actually realized how important it is to sharpen the saw and have invested a great of energy in doing this, only to proceed in a wrong direction and begin cutting the wrong trees. Some people use their “sharp saws”; talents, effort, training, etc in cutting a tree because everyone is cutting this tree. For example, if I spend a good deal of my time creating a recipe and fine-tuning it according to my time, place, circumstance and materials and I abandon all of that at the last stage of execution to adopt a method from someone else who doesn’t have a similar scenario like mine then I may as well be welcoming trouble. If your saw is meant to cut trees of music, then go ahead, if it meant to cut the trees of show business then go ahead, however do not be confused. Now that been said, some of us are actually “people of many hats” being blessed by two or more talents.

Such talents come with the intelligence to be able to know the difference and thus learn to sharpen these saws differently. No matter how multi-talented one may be, the saws are always sharpened differently. Try to spend sufficient time on each saw and only then can such gift of multi talent be enhanced.

I hope this blog sheds some light on the subject, till next week do read, share, and follow for more.

 

Karma

Dear Readers,

It’s a pleasure to share with you all yet another interesting topic this week. Yesterday was father’s day and I’ll love to say happy belated Father’s day to all Father’s out there. Being a Father is more than just having the capacity to produce babies, it comes with a lot of responsibility and naturally all those who wear this crown are really special people.

In this light, I’ll like to speak about something which many of us may be familiar with already or perhaps might have heard of; Karma. Karma or the Law of retribution, as some call it. The word Karma simply means that we are accountable for every action we pose and these actions can have effects on our lives, either in the past, present or future. Even though many people find it hard to “believe” in the Laws of Karma, this doesn’t change the fact that the law is universal and always acting. The laws of Karma are like Newton’s third law, which state that to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

If we can accept Newton’s law as scientific, then we must also realize that the laws of Karma are similar and even more efficient. Contrary to some belief system, that the laws of karma are just “cold and heartless” because they hold us accountable for events which we may have committed in a life prior, the laws of Karma are actually needed to keep some balance in the universal system. A quick look at our modern day Justice system, we may have seen cases where by a criminal is investigated for years and a track record of all his misdeeds are documented and used against him in a court of law. The criminal doesn’t tell the judge; “O how can you judge me by those crimes I committed 5 years ago, I can’t even remember I did them”. Similarly some people find it difficult to accept the laws of Karma because it naturally brings to light a very crucial topic; Reincarnation.

The laws of Karma go hand in hand with reincarnation and thus anyone who is adverse to the principles of reincarnation cannot easily accept the laws of Karma. Often times the reason why people find it difficult to accept the principles of reincarnation is because it places a lot of responsibility on them; something many people do not like to have. The fact that we are responsible for everything we do, no matter when it happened, is a thought many people cringe at. So basically what Karma says is, not only are we responsible for the results of our actions but these results can be transferred to another life time if need be. Should this be difficult to comprehend, let’s take the example of retaking a course at the University. Sometimes when a student fails a course in a semester, he is asked to carry the course over to the next semester and retake the exam.

The idea behind is to make sure that whatever has to be learnt in that course is learnt and only then can the student be allowed to move on. Similarly Karma clapping back at us is not in any way “cold or heartless”, we all get what we sow. we cannot sow corn and somehow or the other expect to reap apples. Another interesting point is the fact that our karma is not all bad and gloomy. There are people who have good Karma in this life as a result of extra pious activities they have performed in a previous life. The presence of pious credits from a previous life accounts for the seemingly inexplicable blissful life some people have now, despite the fact that they do not have to work so hard. In the same vein, many people have to pay a lot of Karmic debt this life time due to mismanagement of certain privileges in a previous life time or due to gross misdemeanor.

On the brighter side, not all Karma is bad and not all is fixed. We have the power to change whatever Karmic pattern we have in our lives because our lives are defined by the choices we make. The proof to this is certain inspiring stories of people who come from very poor backgrounds but work and become financially successful. This is to show that we can change our karma in certain areas if we decide to put in the necessary work required. Of course there are certain people who feel that Karma is fixed and cannot be changed, however this is a misconception. If Karma was fixed then we wouldn’t have to do anything, because whatever has been pre-destined would happened. This conception would have left many rich people today still poor, if they had believed that they couldn’t change their poor background status by working diligently and legitimately.

Just like we have good and bad, we also have good and bad Karma, both are results of our activities. For those who engage in activities that are bad and nefarious, there is a resultant karma waiting for them to reap. Likewise those who perform pious activities also have good karma in store for them. There is an interesting twist to karma, which makes it sometimes difficult to comprehend and this is due to the intricate nature of the laws of action and inaction. In this light sometimes we have people act in a way we calculate to be “bad” but in the long run they actually are doing something pious, even without their own knowledge. When this occurs they get pious credits all the same, irrespective of whether they knew or not. This goal of life however is not to go about doing good deeds just because we want to acquire pious credits in this life and beyond. In actuality the aim of our activities should be to please the Supreme Lord, because by so doing we are free from the resultant actions of good and bad karma.

When we understand this point and endeavor to apply it then our lives become successful.  I hope this sheds some light on the matter. Till next week do read, share and follow for more.

SEXUAL ENERGY 2: EQUILIBRIUM

Dear readers,

I hope you all are faring well. It is a great pleasure to be able to share with you all this insightful topic yet another week.

With the events that have been unfolding in my life recently I wanted to share some deep thoughts on another subject matter however I felt I rather run through the second part of this blog before I do, lest we may forget and not return to it. If you haven’t seen  the first part please do try to read it here .This week I shall focus our discussion more on how to manage this powerful energy that we have and how we can attain some state of equilibrium when it comes to balancing our sexual energy.

Today there are many schools that teach various aspects of yoga and some of them try to teach people about how they can harness their sexual energy. In fairness to those that are legit, I will say not all of them meet the mark and a lot actually end up sinking people more into the very pit they promised to help them rise from. In attaining some state of equilibrium as regards sex, there are usually two ways to go about it; the path of total exhaustion of the desire and the path of intelligent redirect. The first path usually entails people having to engage in the act until they are totally disgusted with it, and end up tired of it. However as we all know, sex is something that doesn’t leave us even up to our death bed.

There is a story of a man who wanted to know how long the desire for sex stays in our mind, and so he went to a sage for an answer. The sage told him to return the next day but to bring his beautiful young daughter along. The next day, as scheduled the man showed up with his daughter and the sage took him to see a dying old man. As soon s they entered the room, the old man’s eyes lit up upon seeing the girl. The sage spoke with him for a while and then they all took leave of him. When they came out the sage asked the man who had come to inquire from him about the duration of sex desire in our hearts. He said “when we were inside the room with the dying man, did you notice anything?” The man replied “Yes I did, the moment he saw my daughter he had his eyes on her the entire time we were there and couldn’t stop staring at her”.

Very well, said the sage. That is your answer. Sex desire doesn’t leave up until death. So one may ask, if it so difficult to “rid” oneself of sex desire, then how can we be free from it. This brings us to the second path which is the path of intelligent redirect. There are two sub divisions under this path. The first is to actually utilize this energy in a setting where we are not promiscuous or frivolous, and where the end result of this energy is to be responsible for the act itself. That is to procreate and raise children of higher consciousness. The desired setting would be in a legal or spiritual union where the couple involved know that they have a sense of love and duty to one another. This would be the most followed for many as it allows one to gradually outgrow the desire by steady practice of detachment while still having a healthy access to it.

The second path is seen to be taken by many religious men who have dedicated their lives to the work of God, and this is celibacy. Being celibate is a huge responsibility and many who delve into it, unprepared usually fall out faster than they went in. Celibacy is actually more than just the physical avoidance of sex, it also involves the subtle abstinence of sex. That is in the mind, which is the sitting place of our thoughts. Those who choose to attain a balance by going through celibacy need to train themselves to maintain high mental power to be able to deal with the constant influx of thoughts that plague our minds. Thus it is not uncommon to see that many celibates who have a deeper understanding of celibacy, practice some sort of meditation, usually sound or mantra meditation to help deal with the mind.

One thing that is certain is; irrespective of which path we choose to follow, we must realize that attaining equilibrium in our sexual energy takes a lot of work, dedication and practice. We have to be true to ourselves by keeping away from those objects/association/environment that stimulate our desires. We must be conscious of our diet, as this plays a vital role in stabilizing our sexual energy. If we have our food infused with so much passion, then chances are that we would definitely become filled with passion and ultimately search an outlet. We must also learn how to regulate our eating and sleeping habits, as these two have a lot of direct influence on how we can control our sex lives.

One would notice or remark that when we are observing some sort of fast be it religious or even just as a matter of diet/ detox, we usually have less inclination to sexual activity. This is because for a body to be fully stimulated the tongue, and stomach have to be satiated. When we have a stomach that is heavy, all that energy bears down on our lower regions and naturally we stimulate the sexual energy. It is difficult to be fully engrossed in sexual thoughts or activity when we are starving. This is not to say starving is a solution but to draw insight from it as a pointer in helping us maintain a healthy eating habit that doesn’t stimulate or agitate our senses.

I’ll like you to reflect on these few points for now and subsequently if there are more questions on the matter I shall try to clarify further. Till next week, do read, internalize and share. Follow for more

SEXUAL ENERGY: REPRESSION vs SELF CONTROL

Dear readers,

I am glad to be able to share with you all yet another interesting topic this week. I hope you all are faring well. Today I intend to take on a topic which is very delicate and yet probably less spoken about.

For some reason or the other, the word “sex” draws a varied range of reactions when mentioned, that most people just naturally shy away from the subject matter. In as much as I shall try to divulge as much as possible on the metaphysical aspects of sex, I do hope that my readers find this dissertation worthy of their perusal. Sex is one very powerful force in this material world that we live in, so much so that almost everything we do revolves directly or indirectly around it. Many people may beg to differ on this point however when we take a closer look, we can see that the truth isn’t farfetched.

On the physical level, sex involves two people coming together in physical union usually to gratify the senses, to give and receive pleasure. This is however the lowest form of the sexual energy, because its motive is purely self-centered and there is usually no code of conduct. When we transcend the physical and move to the subtle level then we begin to see that there is more to sex than just the rubbing together of two bodies. It is very subtle and can have life changing effects on those who seek to misuse it or engage in it for frivolity. We have to agree that in this world the highest form of pleasure is linked to matters relating to the sexual energy, and thus it is often difficult for many people to curtail the excesses that come with it.

When two people come together in sexual union there is a lot more happening than just the exchange of pleasure or body fluids. There is a very high energy exchange that occurs, so much so that people find it had to break off a sexual partner who may be abusive because they have been deeply connected to each other through sex. Not only is the physical pleasure addictive in itself, but the impressions this exchange leaves on the mind of those involved can be lifelong. As a simple example, it is no news that many women find it difficult to completely forget the man they had their first encounter with, no matter how long it may have happened. This is not because he was so special but because the act in itself is special and thus the impressions on the mind are heavy. In as much as I want to give my readers a good preamble, I fear that I may make this dissertation too lengthy, as sex as a topic is so vast that I cannot possibly cover everything here.

Nonetheless, if we are to speak of repression and self-control, then we must try to understand the subject matter a little more in Toto. So one may ask why repress the sexual energy in the first place? Why not experience or enjoy it? Well we have to understand that everything done in abuse has a negative effect no matter how good it is. Thus we must understand that there is a way and direction for employing our sexual energy, so that we do not abuse it, or become enslaved by it. When people lack the ability to rise above the impulse of the sex drive then there is an artificial need to “stop” it or repress it, science shows that this is bad. Often times when we speak of self-control on the matter of sexual energy, many people confuse it with repression. However there is a vast difference between the two; while repression is the person trying to avoid the subject while the mind still lingers on it, self-control on the other hand is the use of the intelligence in subduing the mind while simultaneously keeping off from it physically. Repression has a negative after effect while self-control has a positive on going effect on the practitioner. There is no gain saying that one who is apt in controlling his sexual energy, is less susceptible to Sexually transmitted diseases, and he is a master of his mind. He knows that there is more to sex than just the physical aspect and as such if he has to engage in it, he has to play by the codes of conduct to ensure that he is less entangled in it. The person who has learnt to apply self-control when it comes to matters of sex, has his mind under control and his passions tamed. He is to be seen as a person of intelligence, as it takes a high level of intelligence to constantly subdue the mind. The intelligence I speak of here is not “book intelligence” but intelligence gained from acquiring knowledge that is absolute in nature.

Repression on the other hand is like a pressure cook/pot. On the outside we may feel “wow, what a reserved and composed look” however the internal “temperatures” are a lot higher than we can ever imagine. Just as the pressure pot sits on fire and cooks faster in less time, similarly those who physically avoid sex but have their minds 24 hrs. on it, are like such pots because they are constantly feeding the mind with these desires while shutting the “valve”. There will be an eruption sooner or later. Repression is not only bad for those involved but also for those around such a person. When there is repression of sexual energy, we see the “outburst” in various ways such as unnecessary negative attitudes, anger, intolerance etc. These sentiments do not only affect the person who is repressing this energy but also triggers a ripple effect on those who are close to them and the society in which they live.

So in a summary, repression is not a healthy path to controlling the sexual energy, however self-control is. In my next blog, I shall speak more on some useful tips on practicing self-control. Till then, do read, internalize, share and subscribe

INCOGNITO

Dear readers,

It is great to be here with you all again this week and above all most exciting to be able to share with you more insightful topics. I hope you all are faring well.

Last week we took a look at a topic called the “internal dialogue” and basically I tried to shed some light on what happens when we have the wrong kind of internal dialogue. That is to say, when we allow our minds to take over and continue to feed us with very negative thought processes. We also saw that these thought process wasn’t something that magically happened over night but as a result of our habits and choices.

Today we aren’t necessarily going to go in the same direction but we shall rather look at how the mind puts us in a mode where we have an altered identity, or one that isn’t our real identity; incognito. Incognito as a word means to have one’s identity concealed, this is a state we are all going through due to the fact that we have material bodies that are not cognizant and eternal. Thus when we are at such a disadvantage it is best not to indulge in anything that further makes us incognito. By virtue of having a material body we are already at a disadvantage as to what our original constitutional position or identity is, and thus we have to do things that enhance the remembrance of our identity and not those that make us forget. One easy way to forget is to indulge ourselves in internal dialogues that distract us from our real goal.

The truth is, as part and parcel of a Supreme Being who is all pervading, it is almost impossible to try to be incognito, as this is not natural. However, we can become incognito if we fail to realize who we really are, and one way to do that is to do all those things that are not conducive for our spiritual growth. Internal dialogue isn’t just about overcoming negativity, but also about breaking free from captivity; the captivity of the mind. The mind tells us we are the body and we act on the bodily platform and ignore all those things which help us attain a higher state of consciousness and realization. The mind tells us that we are better off doing things that promote bodily identification, because by so doing we forget our real nature more and more. Thus it is as if we are consciously going deeper into the incognito mode. One interesting thing about “being incognito” is that we for a moment think that we actually aren’t there, and for one who isn’t “there” the question of responsibility is out of question.

What does that mean? When we indulge in destructive internal dialogue we are actually helping our minds to feed us the idea that we are nothing more than “bodies”. If and when we buy into this idea, we take a step further into being incognito because we begin to actually negate the existence of anything superior to the body. By refusing to accept that there is a force higher than the body, we are free to act as we please because there is no accountability for the soul. The main reason why people feel “comfortable” with being “incognito” as regards their true spiritual identity is that; they do not want to be bothered with the reality of being more than just a body. So you might hear stuff like “well we are all just light and thus we should all just be living lights that shine in the world”. As “sweet” as this may sound, we can immediately see that with being “light” we are not accountable for anything. Everything is more or less laisse faire. However, when we refine our internal dialogue to the point where we see and accept that we are more than just the body then we begin to ask questions like; “how can I know more about the real self? What is the duty of the real self? These questions will lead to a genuine search and that search will yield results that will hopefully spur one into action, and when there is action there is definitely reaction and consequences.

One may wonder, if our real nature offers more than just the incognito mode that we are currently in due to our choices and negative internal dialogue, then why aren’t we opting for the better plan?

Well the simple answer is Ignorance or lack of realized knowledge. When we do not have the knowledge we need about the real self, then we think it is best to be unknown or incognito. Let us imagine you have a large inheritance, worth millions of dollars, left for you by a distant relative who didn’t have any family members, then it is easier for you to live in whatever circumstances that you are currently in now. However the moment you know that you have that inheritance that is rightfully yours, everything changes. You immediately gear into action, you begin to find a lawyer to know about the technicality of claiming the inheritance, then you also make inquiries as to what exactly the inheritance entails, and then you also begin to plan what you will do with it. Thus the knowledge about the real state or identity is the key to this sad state of being incognito.

The knowledge needed to step out of this state of being incognito is vast and yet simple for those who are simple minded. If we sincerely start by watching our internal dialogues then we can hope to actually begin to ask ourselves questions that are necessary for our real identity. I hope this sheds some light on the matter. Till next week do read, internalize, share and follow for more.

INTERNAL DIALOGUE

Dear readers,

It’s a pleasure to be able share with you all yet another interesting topic this week, I do hope you all are faring well. Last week we celebrated Mother’s day and I didn’t have a blog up until after the day, so I guess Happy Belated Mother’s day are in order.

We can never really fathom how much Mother’s go through to raise and take care of us as kids, until we have to actually take care of a child and then we begin to mentally imagine what our Mother’s went through. So I suppose everyone at least took some time out to show some appreciation for the thankless service that their Mothers have rendered for years. That been said, I have something really interesting I would like to harp on this week and it is about our internal dialogue. Believe it or not most of us spend a lot of time talking to or with ourselves for the most part of the day and many would like to term this “dialogue” as “thinking, reflection, strategizing, etc.” or maybe even mere soliloquizing. Well, hopefully this dialogue remains internal and not external, lest people may begin to wonder about the state of our mental health.

So how much internal dialogue do we really have daily? What do we really talk to ourselves about? How does our internal dialogue affect or influence our daily activities? Does negative internal dialogue affect us physically, mentally or even spiritually?

These are but a few questions I would like to answer here in this blog, to help my readers have a better feel of what this internal dialogue is all about. Without much ado, internal dialogues are those conversations we have in our “heads or mind” for which most of the part are known to us alone. These conversations may vary from our look on a particular day, to how someone spoke to us, to what our next lie of action will be at work, to our relationships, and so on and so forth. There is just one sticky part to this and that is the fact that whatever it is we are dialoguing about tends to generate a certain wave in ether and also affect us with a boomerang effect. Let’s say for example there is an employee at work that you do not like for some reason whatsoever and every day you see him/her, your internal dialogue is about hate speech, sooner or later these dialogues will manifest in your physical conversations with this co-worker. As the mind thinketh, so thus the mouth speak. The example above is very gross and easy to see and thus it might be somewhat easier to rectify, if we make conscious efforts to address our feelings towards the co-worker.

There are however internal dialogues that do not have an immediate reflection or boomerang effect on us like the above mentioned one, and those are problematic. A quick example will be an internal dialogue about our self-esteem. Let us imagine every day we have hours on end of internal dialogue about how we are not very sociable and how we lack interpersonal relationships, these dialogues come out in the cosmos and then we have the daily boomerang effect that we have low self-esteem, coming back at us in huge impact. Our internal dialogues do not remain in our heads as we wrongly think, they come out as subtle projections and then affects us on a deeper level. Many Positivity speakers and motivational gurus talk a lot about the power of being positive and being careful about the things we say, however the bottom line that many may forget to tell you is that positive thinking as the name implies comes from positive internal dialogues. This is why many people wonder as to why they seem to make a week’s progress after such workshops and seminars but before they realize they are back in their negative thought pattern. The answer to this mystery is because, even though they have learnt about the power of positive thinking at such seminars, they haven’t totally given up their “daily internal dialogue”, which most of the time is negative. Thus hey experience a little change during the short time they practice positive thinking then they have a relapse.

It may come as a surprise to some of you that our internal dialogue comes a lot from things we process physically. That is, if we are open to negative or low vibe externals, then we subconsciously transfer this to our internal dialogue. Have you ever caught yourself thinking about something you shouldn’t be thinking about and suddenly snap out of it with the feeling “where did that come from?” Usually many of us try to refocus the mind on something else, however a few may try to see where the thought process came from and often times if we track it far enough we see it was from an experience we had.

This is to say that if we are not fully conscious of our external choices then we hardly hope to have full control over our internal dialogue. The sad part about internal dialogue is that we have been conditioned for years, in a particular dialogue pattern and over the years we either solidify this patterns or re-create new patterns in our dialogue system. Thus breaking away from these dialogue patterns comes with a conscious and dedicated effort. It is not something we try for a week and hope it is fixed. We have to literarily be conscious of our internal dialogue day in day out, and we must choose to refuse any conversation that goes on in there. Now we may wonder whom do we actually talk to when we have these internal dialogues, at dialogues involve two people at least. When it is a dialogue we can hope that it is better because we are at least subconsciously participating, however when it is a monologue then it is a deeper system a lot more difficult to overcome. Why? The Mind is our dialogue partner and when it is a dialogue we can actually help it, but when it is a monologue, usually it has taken over and is just giving us instructions.

I would take a pause here so that we can digest these words and next week we can continue to deliberate on the subject on a deeper level. Till then, read, share and follow for more.

YES, NO, VERY GOOD

Dear readers,
Welcome to another week of interesting blogs. It is a pleasure to share these topics with you all on this platform.
This week I will be presenting a short story told and commented on by a guadiya Vaisnava mentor, he had a style of telling short stories and then deciphering moral lessons from them especially as regards spirituality. So once, there was a simple villager who had picked up some English through listening. He memorized a few words such as ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and ‘Very good”, however he never attempted to actually understand the application of these words in the proper context.

The only thing he knew was that a sort of respect was accorded to those who could speak the English language in front of others.
Once some bandits committed a murder and then while escaping made it look as if the so-called English speaking villager had been the culprit. When the villager was brought to the law court, the judge asked him in Bengali, “Did you commit the murder?” The villager felt if he spoke some English in front of the Judge then the judge might accord him some respect, considering him to be a follower of the western culture and thus may be relieved of the allegation of murder.

Contemplating thus, the Villager replied to the judge, “Yes!”. The judge asked “was there anyone else with you?” Promptly the villager replied “No!”. Then the Judge said, “Do you realize that you will have to go to Jail? Now the villager thought that in order to really prove he was a gentleman he needed to put forward his best protest. He replied “Very good”. From this story one can deduce certain salient points about spirituality, and the first is on the issue of giving scriptural quotes in a parrot-like fashion, without proper understanding of the instructions, religious terminologies or injunctions. In a bid to draw respect and admiration from people, and those who listen to them these pseudo spiritualist are quick to quote various verses from scripture without actually having a realized perspective of whatever they are quoting.
The general mood is to portray erudition or spirituality by making a show of been well versed in the scriptures. However if these pseudo spiritualists are not put to test like the villager in our short story then no one knows for sure what they are made of. It is one thing to quote references from religious texts backing whatever we profess but it is another to actually have realized these words in our daily lives. That is, be a living testimony to these words from the scriptures by actually internalizing the message, living it and being an example to others who seek to build faith in such words. The position of the preacher or the cleric is to be one of realized knowledge and not mere parrot-erudition.

Anyone with a good memory can also regurgitate verses from any scripture but it takes one who has tried and tested these words to have implicit faith in them. This faith doesn’t only come from having seen physical proves to what he reads but from having the grace of a spiritual mentor who guides him on the path of real spirituality. Often times we see men who are so-called “lettered” with big degrees try to give commentaries on scriptural matters or even give delineations on esoteric and spiritual subjects on the mere basis of their degrees. Those who are true spiritual practitioners see these delineations as words like those of the villager; ludicrous verbosity. They pay no heed to them because they know that the inner imports of the sacred texts are only revealed to those who have the mercy of a genuine and bonafide spiritual mentor, who is also part of an unbroken line of spiritual mentors.
Thus it is imperative that we do not become like our villager here who is ignorant and doesn’t even try to dispel this ignorance by seeking out a true teacher. We all know for certain that picking up a Medical text book and memorizing a few medical jargon doesn’t make one a medical Doctor. Sooner or later when we are put to test in a real life situation then we would have to prove our competence. The only way to get true realizations about spiritual topics and sacred texts is to learn from those who have actually realized their meaning from deep study, sacrifice, prayers and total surrender to a mentor or guide.

Another interesting point is that just like the Villager many pseudo lettered Men do not even know that they are not literate in matters of spirituality, they feel that by conjuring up a few big words to impress their audience they can get past the details of real spirituality. They also feel that whatever they lack in spirituality they can make up for it in their educational accomplishments and thus see no need to surrender to a real guide The topic of surrendering to a guide becomes imperative to anyone who has a real desire to advance in spirituality The problem most of the so-called scholars have is that they find it difficult to have to submit to the tutelage of someone who maybe materially less educated but spiritually very advanced. Not only is humility a requirement for approaching a guide it is also a very important aspect of spirituality.
I hope this short story and delineation sheds some light on this subject, till next week keep reading and sharing. Do follow for more.

Dharma: Prescribed Duty

Dear readers,

I hope you all are faring well. Today I have a very interesting topic to share with you all, and I hope it sheds some light on very crucial matters.

The word Dharma is a Sanskrit word which when translated into English the closest word we can get is Duty. Due to the limited nature of expression in the English Language it is sometimes difficult to convey the real meanings of words from ancient languages such as Sanskrit. To the uninitiated, Sanskrit is an ancient languages used in the Vedas; a scriptural text dating over 5000 years. Some define Dharma as codes and conduct according to scriptural injunction however if seen solely from this light, we risk having a situation where the word becomes like a “weight” on people. However when seen from the perspective of duty, then it brings out a natural sense of responsibility in people.

So the big question is what is our real Dharma or duty? We have a duty to perform as living entities, humans to be precise and we also have duties to perform according to our various socio-spiritual status. As Human Beings our first duty is to understand that we are part and parcel of a Supreme whole and our duty is to serve the Supreme whole. This Supreme Whole is referred to many as God, Jehovah, Allah, Krishna etc. Irrespective of the name the objective is the same; service. When we fail to realize that our original duty is that of service to God, we find it difficult to even make reasonable headway in other duties that we have. When I speak of making “headway” I mean having an all round success; materially, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, etc in our various duties. When we realize that we are spiritual sparks who are part and parcel of a spiritual world beyond this realm then we also begin to appreciate our original Dharma or duty.

The duty of an Ambassador is to maintain diplomatic relations between his home country and his residence country. He must always remember from whence he came and as such act accordingly. His dealing with the people in the country where he serves is cordial and must never jeopardize his relationship with his home country. Similarly we as spiritual beings must realize that whatever dealing we have here must be subservient to our original relationship with the Lord and our original home; the spiritual world. The second type of duty comes from our socio-spiritual circle and they differ according to people. The social circle consists of mainly four divisions; Administrators, Teachers, Merchants and Labourers. The duty of an administrator is different from that of a Teacher and from that of a merchant and likewise that of a labourer. In the spiritual circle we have the Celibate student, the Householder or family Men, the Retiree and the Ascetic; all four with various and distinct Dharma or duty.

When there is unrest and disorganization in the society we can easily see that there is an imbalance in the system that defines the duty of people. For example, if soldiers were to suddenly abandon their guns and take to the pulpit to preach, we won’t be sure what to expect. Likewise if we were to send businessmen in warplanes armed with guns, the security of the nation will be jeopardized. The system mentioned above thus in no way creates any disparity or tries to minimize the importance of anyone; rather it helps people to serve the society better. In a student-teacher relationship, the teacher instructs and the students follow, in a husband and wife relationship the man is to protect while the woman is to nurture, etc thus when people know their respective duties there is balance and tranquility in the society. The way to know one’s duty is to access and evaluate what socio-spiritual circle one belongs to. This is done by proper understanding of quality and action, or better put one’s nature and one’s activities.

Nowadays, people who want to choose a career often speak with experts and counselors who give advice based on what they deduce are one’s inclination and one’s abilities. People who have a flair for the arts and have the required talents for it are advised to venture into the world or Arts. This way their natural inclinations and abilities are put to use in the best way possible. Often times I say imagine if Bill Gates had gone into real estate instead of Computers and Programming? It would have been a case of lost talent and improper orientation.

Similarly if we fail to understand what our original Dharma or duty is then we are prone to be misled. Knowledge of our original duty is the key to understanding our second dharma or duty that stems from our socio-religious status. One interesting point about our original dharma is that it shouldn’t be done just due to obligation but out of love. The key factor in our original duty as part and parcel servants of the Supreme Lord is Love. When love is removed from the equation, then we have people who see the entire process as a disturbance rather than an opportunity to re-connect with the Lord. There is a deeper understanding of the subject of our original duty and this is nicely described by Gaudiya Vaisnava’s. However there is also a gradual way to access this knowledge for those who may find it all “new”, and that is to follow one’s duty in his socio-spiritual circle.

The simultaneous execution of our original duty and our second duty will bring about a gradual and sure rise to the platform of realized knowledge and understanding of the nature of the Supreme Lord. The spiritual practitioner then has a chance to access a relationship with the Supreme which he has long forgotten and thus rekindle this through service.

I hope this helps us get a little insight into the topic of Dharma or duty, those who are interested in knowing more can leave me a message and I will reply as soon as possible. Till then read, internalize and share. Follow for more

 

 

 

 

 

IT’S MORE ABOUT PROGRESS

Dear readers,

I hope you all are having a great week. It is a pleasure to be able to share yet another interesting topic this week.

Personally I have been very busy in the last few weeks and amidst my schedule I took out some time to get some fresh air. In my little leisure time I came across a footage from a movie where the hero tells a young lady who was trying to get her life together; that the journey to recovery from delinquency wasn’t about perfection but about progress. It struck me and I felt I had to do a blog on the phrase, especially since many people encounter this as an issue in their day to day life and in their spiritual circle.

This same phrase has been said in many different ways such as; success isn’t about the destination but about the journey. I have heard many financially successful people say the same thing in interviews that their path to success wasn’t just about getting rich. Those who focus too much on the destination usually miss the journey, and often times the lessons we need are hidden in the journey. To this point, there is a story of a young Man who goes to his spiritual mentor and asks that he be shown how to become enlightened. The mentor said he should meet him the following day so they could go for a walk to the mountains. The young student thought the journey to the mountains was supposed to be a “secret journey” where he was going to get some secret and then finally attain enlightenment.

As they walked towards the mountain, the student or disciple would ask if they had arrived yet and the Mentor would tell him that it was just a little bit further. This went on until they got to the summit of the mountain and there the disciple asked again if they had gotten to the point where he would be enlightened. At this point the Spiritual mentor said yes. The disciple looked blank as he was expecting his mentor to give him some special prayers or techniques or show him something miraculous. Rather his mentor asked him: “On our way here what did you notice?” The disciple said he noticed the trees and the animals etc. The mentor asked if that was all and he replied affirmative. It was at this point the mentor began to speak to him with a little more detail. He said “You haven’t noticed much on our way here because you have been too engrossed with your obsession of getting enlightened. This obsession in itself is not the problem but actually your obsession is with the things you think you can do when you achieve enlightenment. Thus you have missed out on all the things that were supposed to teach you about enlightenment.”

He continued “On the path of spirituality we should always have an objective just as you have chosen enlightenment as yours, however we should always remember that we are meant to learn from the journey towards our goal and the goal without the journey is not of the same value.” A parallel example is of someone who wants to become rich so badly that all he does is work, work, and work. Finally he gets the riches he always desired and then suddenly begins to see that he has nothing else to live for and then there is a vacuum in his life. To this day we see some very rich and materially successful people who just hit a downward swirl and fall into different types of addiction and substance abuse. One may wonder how with so much money someone can fall into such a state. On the other hand if someone has the same desire to become rich but instead of making that desire and obsession and about himself, decides to use that desire as an opportunity to improve the lives of others then not only does he get the destination which is money in this case but also gets the satisfaction of helping to improve the lives of others; which is the journey.

Similarly when we as spiritual practitioners embark on the journey of self realization we should not neglect the “little things we come across on the path” taking them to be irrelevant or not in direct connection with the “destination”. If the destination is to attain pure love of God and to serve the Lord eternally in His abode, we must imbibe the process of serving Him in our chosen disposition during the journey to this chosen destination. We can actually get to understand the destination better when we have lived through the journey with the right consciousness.

For example, those who are gaudiya vaisnava’s, it comes as no surprise that the focus is not so much in the final elaborate offering or the number of items but the consciousness of the devotee from the initial phase of acquiring the items for the final offering.  The second and main part about paying attention to the progress and not the destination is that it is easy to get discouraged if we focus too much on the heights we set for ourselves or those that we are supposed to attain. There is a big gap between elementary school and a Doctorate degree. If a child begins to worry too much about how he is not doing his PhD yet, he may even get discouraged about going through the entire process. However if he is taught to take one class at a time and appreciate the beauty of the progress soon enough he will attain his desired destination while learning all that the journey of education has to offer.

In a nut shell, as I contemplated the words of this hero from the movie footage deep realizations began to unfold in my mind and I felt it was worth deliberating a little more on the subject. We need to focus on the goal while appreciating our progress. I hope this helps someone in need of guidance. Till next week, read, internalize and share. Follow for more.

 

Tough love: a prerequisite for purification

Dear readers,

It is yet another week and I am glad to be able to share with you all yet another inspiring topic. I hope you all are faring well.

Today we embark on a topic that I can say is more of a bitter pill for many spiritualists and needless to say, not very much desired. The topic of tough love, unlike Love is one that many spiritualists fear a lot for many reasons. However before we delve into the topic proper, let’s see exactly what we mean by tough love.

Tough love is an expression of love which though difficult to accept is very beneficial for the advancement of whomever it is shown. For aspiring spiritualists or even practicing spiritualists on our various paths of faiths, we all know that purification is a very fundamental part of raising our consciousness.  There are many methods by which one can purify one’s self, either internally and externally or even by both. External purification includes having a bath and putting on clean clothes while internal purification includes praying. There is however another method of purification that comes either as a result of very high mercy from the Supreme Lord or as a result of our deviations.

When we deviate from our spiritual vows and are lackadaisical in our spiritual practices, then sometimes we get chastised either by our spiritual mentors or by higher forces. This chastisement which may seem harsh a times is what we describe as tough love, as it is meant to bring us back to our spiritual practices and help us keep focus. One may liken this to a citizen who is fined for parking wrongly on the street. The idea is not just to get the fine out of him but to help him remember that he is responsible not only for his life but that of others while he is driving. Similarly the objective of tough love from say a spiritual mentor, after our deviation, is not to minimize us but to help us raise our consciousness to what we actually are.

This first aspect of tough love even though hard to accept is somewhat easier than the second aspect, which is as a result of very high mercy from the Supreme Lord. There are times when the Supreme Lord out of his causeless mercy decides to help a soul here to reunite with him faster in his abode. In order to bring about a quicker reunion between the soul and the Lord, the Lord makes certain arrangements which although seemingly tough are meant to purify the soul here quicker and help him return to the Lord’s abode. This type or category of tough love is quite difficult to accept because many spiritual practitioners have a difficulty recognizing it on time and even when they do; it is difficult to accept that the Lord is allowing them go through such intense purification.

A good example from the Bible is the story of Job, who went through so much tough love but became exalted afterwards because he allowed the tough love to purify him and bring him closer to the Supreme Lord. In the Vedas we have the story of Sudama Vipra, a dear friend of the Lord who was so impoverished that he could barely even feed his family. In such a tough state of intense poverty his wife asked him to go see the Supreme Lord. Sudama refused initially as he didn’t want to ask the Lord for anything, however reluctantly due to his wife’s pleading he went. The Lord met him and upon his return back home he was immensely blessed and very opulent.

In the story of Sudama, we can see that for seasoned spiritual practitioners even when the Lord puts them in a very difficult situation in order to purify them, they do not complain or try to fight the situation. They accept the situation seeing it as the Supreme Lord’s will and as a means to further purify themselves. The Supreme Lord on the other hand doesn’t give this tough love to just anyone, because it is very special and considered like a fast track to returning to his abode, and thus only those very dear to him get such special mercy.

One may wonder but why put someone in such a tough situation just to purify him? If one has ever seen an Olympic Gold medalist or a world champion train, then you may have an idea as to why the “push” is necessary. At the end of the day, it is the practitioner who is glorified and not the Supreme Lord, and this is what the Lord wants; that his devotees are glorified. Gold is rid of impurities only when subjected to high temperatures and when the process is over, Gold comes out pure and free from impurities. In the same vein, because the devotees of the Lord are like unrefined Gold, the quickest way to rid them of all impurities is to subject them to the Lord’s tough love.

The Lord does this because he knows his true devotees will pass the test and come out even more glorious than before. There have been times in my life when I have felt the “squeeze” and even felt like it was too much to bear but at every step in the process there was some reciprocation and because I had accepted the events in my life, I knew that the Lord would always be there. Whenever the tough love phase passed, there were many realizations and considerable spiritual growth.

This is not in any way to blow my horns or to sound holier than thou, but to reassure all spiritual practitioners that; blessed are those who receive the Lord’s tough love, for pure love of God awaits them soon”. In order not to create any ambiguity, we must be able to discern when we are going through trials as a result of reactions to improper actions and when the Supreme Lord is actually trying to use us on a higher dimension. The intelligence to discern the difference comes with solid practice and understanding of the revealed scriptures.

I shall pause at this point to allow you reflect and share this with others. Till next week when we meet again, do follow for more.