Where are we going?

Dear readers,

I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all yet another blog this week. Last week, I happened to be driving on the high way during a heavy downpour, and visibility was greatly reduced. In that moment of trying to maneuver cars, and maintain a good speed despite being unable to see, I had a few thoughts. Usually, this particular highway has cars going over the limit and driving on this route takes a little more caution.

On a regular day, I remember trying to keep it within the 65 mph limit and having other drivers honk at me as if I was violating some rule. However not on this rainy day, as everyone seemed to be a little more cautious and conscious of the fact that hydroplaning was going to occur if their speed passed a certain limit. The interesting thing about this is that at the moment I didn’t really attach any importance to this occurrence besides safety of course.  It was later on that day when I was reflecting on how my day went that I began to extrapolate the day’s events into life in general. Most of us just go through life like there is no accountability required of us and as such live every day with little or no concern. Life itself being a journey that takes so many years, also has its rainy days and I mean that both figuratively and literally.

As kids growing up, we were told to get a good education, get a degree and finally get a good job. As soon as we secured a job, we were told to save and plan for our retirement or rainy days. We start by keeping aside some small amount every month into a savings account and with time graduate into investments that could help us make more for our hay years. The thing with retirement plans and rainy days is that you need to have an exit strategy or at least a tentative one. So say we start saving and the plan is to retire at 55, then the strategy will be to save up as much as possible before that year arrives. The irony of all this is that we plan so elaborately for an exit strategy in life but fail to have one in place for our time of death. Truth be told, no one knows for sure when they will die and as such, we need to have an exit strategy that allows us to live our lives to the fullest and yet understand that we are on borrowed time. Just as we need to have a clear picture of when we want to retire, in order to put certain things in place to make it happen, we also need to know where we are going after this life.

Thus the big question is “Where are we going?” To those who adhere to some sort of faith or religion, the possible answer may range from Heaven to Paradise. For those who do not believe in the existence of a higher supernatural being, the answer may be different. Irrespective of what our answer is, we cannot have a solid exit strategy if we don’t have a destination. So just as when I was on the high way, and visibility was low and I could barely move due to the heavy rain, at that moment the thought crossed my mind; where am I even going right now? I had to look really closely at the signs in order not to miss my exit. The beautiful thing is that despite the harsh weather conditions, despite it been really difficult to drive fast, I was still able to make it to my destination because I knew my “exit”.  How can we expect a specific result from a situation that isn’t specific? How can we hope to find peace in the “world or life beyond”, if we don’t even know where that is? How can we hope to have a smooth transition from this life to whatever lies hereafter when we don’t even know what happens in the life beyond.

In order to fully appreciate the concept of afterlife or the world beyond, I implore you all to kindly read my blog on Reincarnation. Now I know there may be some division on the practicability of the subject of reincarnation, however, at the moment I’ll let you read it up yourself and draw your own conclusions while I focus on having an “exit strategy”. In order to know where we are going, we definitely need to know who we are, where we came from and how to get out of here. If we do not have answers to these questions, then it is almost impossible to have an exit strategy. The sum total of our activities in this life culminate at the time of our exit and our exit strategy will reflect the choices we made in life and how they have shaped us in preparation for an exit. Just as it is not possible to take an exit on a highway that you are not physically on, similarly it is not possible to have an exit strategy that doesn’t reflect our lives. For example, if my exit is Exit 250 on I-75, it would be physically impossible to be on I-85 and still expect to get off at Exit 250. This is because I am on a totally different highway and as such the destinations are different.

In essence what I am saying is that we may have some idea of where we may want to ‘exit” to after this life, but in order for us to get there, we must live a life that helps in actually getting there. The “exit strategy” or Exit point is literally after a long drive, so our exit plan to the world beyond is literally influenced by our daily lives and choices. I hope this gives us an idea as to how to prepare for a meaningful exit.

Till next week, do read, share and follow for more.

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Pain, Stress and holistic living

Dear readers,

I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all yet another blog this week. In the last couple weeks, I have been sharing with you all topics which I feel are dealt with in our everyday lives and I try as much as I can to shed light on these matters from different perspectives and also from a spiritual standpoint. As spiritual living entities on a spiritual quest, I feel it is pertinent to always remember that the experience we ought to have is one that helps us connect more to our real essence. Even though we live in times when things can be misconstrued due to poor fund of knowledge, yet with the right resources I think we can achieve a lot more.

Some of us may be familiar with the phrase; pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. This may have left us wondering in many ways what was actually meant. In a previous blog, I did shed some light on the subject of Pain and how to deal with it. Hence this blog won’t deliberate so much on how to deal with pain but on identifying our real pain and trying to reach the source. In today’s fast-paced society, we are constantly being bombarded with a lot of things and the degree to which we can juggle all of these things without losing our sanity is actually a measure of our threshold for pain. There is no gainsaying that some of us do have a higher threshold for pain than others, and this can be due to a myriad of reasons. In this exposé, I’ll also like to show the interconnectivity between stress and pain. Usually, they are dealt with as two separate things and stress seems to have an upper hand in the rankings in our lives.

More-so, if we take a critical look at the things in our lives which cause us pain, we can invariably see an interconnection with other things which raise the stress levels in our lives. Just like I mentioned earlier that due to the fact that we are living entities living in this material world we are bound to experience different levels of pain. This is a certainty we cannot avoid. Just as it is advised to deal with pain and minimize our suffering, we can also apply a similar technique to stress-related pain. Let’s look at a quick example to give us a better idea about what I am trying to pass across. Say we have a car that keeps breaking down due to either mechanical problems or just sheer old age. The time and energy it takes us to repair it each time is directly proportional to the amount of pain and stress we go through trying to get it to function.

We can decide to spend a lot of money to keep fixing and trying to salvage a worn out car, or we can sell it off, save up some more money and then make a better purchase. I know some people may feel that this idea requires some financial means to give it a try, however, a closer look at the cost of repairing and fixing the old car will prove that it is penny wise, pound foolish. This analogy can be juxtaposed to our living situation in this material world. The real source of our pain is our identification with the body. As simple as this may sound it is actually deeper than it appears. When we identify with the Male body, we have the problems of a Male person and as such we have to deal with all that is associated with that territory. When we also identify with the body as our primary source of joy, happiness, inspiration, sustenance, etc, we are knowingly or unknowingly, subjecting ourselves to pain and ultimately stress.

I spoke with a buddy from my University days recently and he was telling me how a few friends of his were dealing with high blood pressure due to being subjected to situations that were beyond their control. The sad part is that these guys are in the prime of their youth. In essence what I am trying to pass across is that when we see things, people, and our environment in relation to our bodies and try to use them for our enjoyment then it sure and certain that we will end up in pain and stress. There are different types of pain, and the easiest to deal with is physical pain. For physical pain, we can always get a painkiller, medication etc to assuage the pain, but when it is an emotional or psychological pain, no amount of pain-killers can help us alleviate the suffering. When this suffering builds up then we naturally become stressed. This is where holistic living and alternative lifestyles come into play.

When we see things as they truly are and know who we really are then our interaction with people and the things around us begin to reflect our deeper understanding of higher philosophy and conscious living. For example, when a Man sees a Woman or vice-versa as an object for hi/her sense gratification then there is bound to be pain and suffering because independently of our real source we don’t possess the ability to give the type of pleasure or satisfaction that we all seek. On the other hand, if they both see each other as instruments given by the Lord to help them advance and progress in their psycho-physical, spiritual and all-around well-being then only at that point can pain be mitigated properly. A holistic lifestyle is not just about being Vegan/Vegetarian, it is not just about being Eco-friendly, it is not just about growing your own food, it is not just about be waste conscious, it is not just about being an advocate for animal rights, its not just about taking yoga or meditation classes, there is more to it always.

It is about being loving, compassionate, and peaceful because we know and understand what our true identity is and as such we see other living entities in the same light. This is the real holistic lifestyle. Till next week, do read, share and follow for more.

Repeat Lessons and Premonitions

Dear readers,
It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all yet another blog this week. I hope you all are faring well.
In this blog, I’ll like to share with you all a few ideas I have been deliberating for a while. I have shared a blog on something similar in the past, however, I feel this is like a development on the previous blog. A few days ago I was speaking with my Dad and sharing some thoughts and ideas and we he made some interesting remarks about life been a school and how we are meant to learn as we grow.
We laughed at some of the thoughts I had shared and at that moment I actually began to see things in a different light.

There is no gainsaying that nothing teaches us a deeper lesson than the experiences we gather through life and the best way to internalize these lessons is to actually apply them. In my previous blog, I had explained how life had a way of making us repeat certain experiences when we fail to learn and apply what we should have learned from it. The interesting part is that no two people have the exact same experiences and as such, it is almost impossible to copy anyone’s blueprint. We are all the architects of our lives, subject to the laws of nature and our  Karma. The best we can do is make the best of it by choices that are well thought out. In this blog I don’t want to dwell too much on the part of the lessons being repeated, rather I want to speak about the premonitions we all get prior to these lessons and how we sometimes just turn a deaf ear to them. Some of us may call it gut feeling and some may call it intuition but regardless of what we call we can very well agree that it is there to warn us and protect us; most times from our own selves.

Certain lessons are like a boomerang and they won’t stop in their course until we actually get hit really hard. The question usually comes up; how do we know when we are stuck in a looping test situation? How do we know we are meant to learn something from a situation and apply it?
How do we know that even when we may have left such situations we are not going to end up in them again?
To be honest, we don’t really know. What we can guess is that, if somehow or the other we can try to see things in perspective and weigh the pros and cons carefully then maybe we could hope to “escape” the looping effect of certain circumstances. The most painful part of being in a repeat lesson situation is the feeling of being incapable to change the situation even though we may desire to do so. It is similar to the feeling of swimming upstream against currents and trying so hard to forge ahead. The feeling that you know you can do more but at the moment, nature and time don’t afford you that luxury. Then there comes the “tiny voice” in your head to make it all worse; “I told you not to”. Well since I’m all about positivity and sharing light into dark areas of life, I just felt maybe together we can look at how we can get out of such a situation.
My Dad once told me, if you are ever in a critical situation where so many things seem to be going off and you don’t know what to do, then do nothing. I was surprised to hear that, as I was expecting a list of to-dos and strategic planning.

Knowing my Dad as a strategic planner, I was actually a lot more fascinated by his response because he is not someone who is passive. It actually makes more sense now. Repeat lesson situations are due to either our stubbornness or plain refusal to learn from certain given circumstances. Acceptance is usually the first step to take. Just accept the situation and don’t try to fight it. Once we accept a situation, it becomes easier to process it mentally. When we resist it, we only make it worse. With acceptance comes a 25% win for us and in that mental space we can do a lot more. Share your heart with family and loved ones you can trust, this will help lighten you from the inside. A problem
shared is half solved. It is important to do this with family members who understand the importance of confidentiality. In the process of sharing you may get some feedbacks or even advice as to how to navigate the situation. Be open and just listen to everything. When we have some mental peace, we can then go deep inside and come up with a game plan as to how to circumvent the situation, while taking good notes of the lessons
being taught. Work gradually towards achieving this plan while keeping the entire situation in perspective.
Last but not least, pray about everything and ask the Lord for guidance. Many of us will learn so much more from life than we will ever learn from all our University degrees put together. As they say, do not let school interfere with your education.

Fellow spiritual practitioners, I urge you to be strong in these moments for soon we shall overcome. Till next week, read, share and follow for more.

Communication; a two-way street.

Dear readers,

I hope you all are faring well. This week has been quite challenging, I must apologize for being a day late on my delivery but as they say; in order to grow we need to step out of our comfort zone. The comfort zone is meant to do exactly what it says; keep one comfortable. So unless we are comfortable in what we are doing, in how we are living then we definitely need to step out of it.

In other news, my new activities involve me communicating with people; many of whom I just met and every day I practically meet one new person. I have to establish contact, and in that conversation give them assurance that the need they have come to me for, can be met. So last week while driving on the highway, I try to keep my mind active my having thoughts that require my brain to actively think. ( long drive tend to make me go into a “beta-state”, hence I need to keep my mind active). During my long train of thought processes, I got into a subject matter that actually woke me up. In our everyday life, we interact with different people and communication is vital in order for this to occur. In a standard communication process, we have two or more people engaging in either verbal or non-verbal interaction.

We live in times when whatever can be misconstrued is misconstrued, and whatever you say that people can manipulate to soothe their whims and caprices can be manipulated. It is also the age of social media and “instant messaging” thus many people want quick feedbacks to things without actually waiting for responses that are well thought out or meaningful. In fact, it may come as a surprise to some of you that we live in times when a lot of “nonsense” is actually “sense” to others. So communicating is actually very relative now. You may spend a lot of time “talking” to someone but fail to actually communicate what you really mean. In order for us to function as social entities, we definitely need to learn how to express ourselves and communicate better. Many relationships today go sour because of the level of communication that there is. Be it formal, semi-formal or non-formal relationships, communication is actually very important.

The interesting part of this analysis is that I always try to bring back whatever real life situation I am talking about to how it affects a spiritualist. The spiritualist is also involved in communication on many levels. Physically with other practitioners, subtly with beings on a different dimension or spiritually with the Supreme Lord. Furthermore, one of the strengths of a seasoned spiritual practitioner is his ability to communicate with the Divine; either via prayers, chants, meditation or all of the above. When a spiritual practitioner who understands the real meaning of communication on a spiritual level, he doesn’t waste his energy in discussions that reduce his power of speech. He definitely practices austerity in his speech by only speaking about things that relate to the Supreme Lord. By so doing, he actually gains a lot of spiritual energy in his power of speech and his words become more potent.

Communicating with the absolute has many aspects to it and these different aspects are accessible to different people on various levels. Some practitioners engage in the call out communication. In this phase, the practitioner knows that the Supreme Lord can hear us if and when we reach out and he knows the Lord responds, however, he is not seasoned enough to have the audience of the Lord due to immaturity in his quest. He continues nonetheless, with strong determination and hope and if he persists someday he will get to the second phase. The second phase is the call out with intermittent responses. At this point, the practitioner can hear, but his hearing is not fine-tuned enough and thus every now and then he fails to receive certain messages. These could be due to a myriad of reasons, for example, recurring bad habits that block that connection or relapse into missing or skipping his regulated spiritual practices. Under the proper guidance of a bonafide spiritual mentor, he can definitely overcome this setback.

The beauty of spiritual life is that there is definitely a chance for growth and development if we are certain about what we need to achieve. The third phase involves the practitioner making a two-way call, where due to his level of maturity in his practice, the blessings of his spiritual mentor and the grace of the Lord, he is able to communicate with the Supreme Lord deeper. Due to the humility of the spiritual practitioner, he doesn’t go trying to prove to anyone that he can hear or communicate with the Supreme Lord. He actually doesn’t try to speak with the Lord, he just acts in a way that the Lord can hear him speak. Nowadays, we have too many imposters, who claim they can actually hear and communicate with the Supreme Lord. The truth is, if someone really has that ability, he’ll be hesitant to actually let people know. Imagine having the personal phone number of the president of the United States. I doubt you’ll want to walk around telling everyone that you have it.

Now let’s not forget that we are actually speaking about the Supreme Lord here and not a mere mortal and as such, having access to such level of powers would actually make one humble. No one who is arrogant and a “showman” can access such amount of Divine energy or make such a contact.  In a summary, it is safe to say that with great power comes great responsibilities and every season spiritual seeker knows this. I’ll let you ponder on this for now. Till next week do have a great week ahead.

Consumerism and the Culture it creates

Dear readers,

I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all yet another blog this week. Today I felt I’ll rather share something out of my usual genre, and just speak a little more freely about certain things I see around me. Living in the west has its ups and downs, and one of the “ups” is that you are around a lot of things that could improve your standard of living. This can be seen in the ease with which technology is available and how interaction with the newest inventions can drastically change our lives.

Now we live in times where you can literally stay indoors all day for as long as you want without even having to go outside for anything.  With home jobs, many people run their own businesses from home or even work from home for big cooperations. So, unlike a decade or two back, one can easily make a living right from the comfort of one’s home. Once finance is taken care of, I guess food is the next reason to step out. There are many restaurants and food outlets that will deliver to your doorstep and they are just a few clicks away. You don’t want to eat fast food? Ok, you can do your grocery shopping online now or even have people do it for you and deliver to your house. Exercise? Many new age apartments have a gym, and working out at home is something that is also trending especially for those who are “stay at home” moms.

Furthermore, with the growth of social media, even romance or “love” is possible right from the palm of your hands and just a few clicks away. The question is where am I going to with all these? There is no doubt that, we have come a long way and a lot of things have been done to improve our lives and make living easier. At least that is what I’ll like to think. The sticky part to all these wonderful innovations is when we become a slave to these “improvements”. Last night I was at one of the biggest Malls in the States here and going from one shop to another, I couldn’t help but notice the “hunger” that has been planted in the masses and how much they strive to acquire all the new stuff that has promises to make them better and happier. Don’t get me wrong, having good clothes on and looking good and decent is a necessity, however, struggling to buy a designer outfit just because it makes you appear rich and aristocratic, is just plain ignorance.

Celebrities of our day and age may have also contributed to the epidemic of consumerism. They post pictures of themselves “living” a lifestyle which doesn’t truly reflect their daily life and get millions of people who look up to them confused. Now people feel that in order to be “successful”, you have to look a certain way, dress a certain way, wear certain brands, drive certain cars, hang out with certain people etc. Up till this point, I would have still been okay with this type of paradigm if the masses who try to imbibe it could actually afford it. We have people driving cars that are not paid for, living in large houses with huge mortgages, struggling paycheck to paycheck all to impress others. The sad irony is that people are trying to impress people they don’t even know, with stuff bought using money they don’t have.

The results? A nation in debt and people who are unsatisfied with life. One would think that with the amount of stuff people have in Western countries that they would be happier, but on the contrary not so much. I use social media to connect with family, loved ones and acquaintances that matter in my life, and also as a casual form of distraction when I need to. There was a time when social media was just that; a medium to socialize. Not anymore I guess, as today it has become a platform for business, advertising, networking, bullying, self-aggrandizement etc. It is easy to misconstrue genuine expressions sometimes as being “salty” or jealous because we live in a time that truth is either seeing as “shaming” or “offensive”. People have the utmost right to share whatever they feel they want to share about their personal life on social media, be it their finances, love life etc.

If one feels like in order to feel validated they have to share their checks online each time they get it, then fine. The question is to what gain is that? I guess we all also have the option of ignoring whatever we feel is not helping us grow by not even commenting on this kind of pics etc. Instagram today, is just another “den” of these lions. Almost every other picture is an “Instagram famous person” trying to tell you they are happy and making money. Truth be told, remember the last time you had a good laugh at a really good joke among friends, in that time and space, did you remember to pause, stop, record the joke and you laughing and then share it? I doubt. This is because, when one is truly enjoying a moment that is beautiful and genuinely fulfilling, you are too absorbed in it to remember to document it. We can pretend that we are fine and happy, and try to make others think so too and even get them to believe our lies. What we cannot do is believe our own lies, because sooner or later we will snap out of it and reality sets right back in.

In the last few years, we have had a number of celebrities who were found dead from suicide, and one would wonder why they took their own life considering how much money, fame, prestige, and things they had. Many of us would have traded places with some of these celebrities in a heartbeat were we asked to do so. Long story short, we all need money to do basic stuff. Having ones finance in order is essential to living a comfortable life, at least. Consumerism and over accumulation is, however, a disease that has become viral now. It is okay to be content with what we have, it is okay to desire more as long as we can actually afford it and it adds value to our lives.

I hope this points someone in the right direction. Till next week, read, share and follow for more.

Psychic Attack/Manipulation

Dear readers,

I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all again yet another interesting blog this week. Over the last couple of weeks, I have had a couple of discussions with family and friends on the issue of esoteric and psychic manipulations. A few days back, I also had a long talk with a very good friend of mine, whom I share a very deep sense of spirituality with and from that conversation I felt I share a few thoughts.

The one conversation that actually got me thinking that it would be worthwhile to share this topic, was the one I had two nights back. Psychic manipulations are real and for the uninitiated, these are manipulations carried out on a subtle level. They could be by human beings who have learned and mastered the art of utilizing dark energy against other people, usually for a selfish or malicious end, or they could be by subtle beings, usually with lower energies (dark), but higher access to their subtle side. To make this easier to grasp, let look at the human body. There is the physical body, which we all see and feel. This body can, however, be subject to disease if not properly taken care of.

The disease gets into our body through unsafe/ unsanitary habits, thereby introducing certain virus or bacteria into our system. Our antibodies or immune system will try to fight to the point where they are over-powered and then the body breaks down. There is a similar scenario for our subtle body, which is the connection between our soul and gross body. The subtle body is not made up of gross elements like earth and water, but of mind, intelligence and ego. The subtle body is thus less restricted as compared to the gross body. It is also vulnerable to attacks just like the physical body. The antibody for our subtle body is our spiritual habit/practice. Just as good hygiene helps to keep away diseases, good spiritual practices helps to keep away subtle attacks on the subtle body. We can be victims of attacks for many reasons, however, one sure way to attract such lower energies is to allow oneself to be a “walking vessel”. When we fail to keep our subtle bodies armed by daily engaging in spiritual practices, we are naturally inviting these attacks.

Often times people fail to realize that, just as there are innumerable microbes that we cannot see without the aid of an electron microscope, similarly there are innumerable beings from different dimensions roaming around, that we cannot see with our naked eyes. I know at this point, some skeptics may feel this is just another “conspiracy theory”, but I must say this is far from such. Every now and then we get to see people losing a sense of whom they are and begin to feel as if their minds were operating on its own. There have also been cases of people who actually admit to using subtle means to manipulate people to do their biddings. Even some Governments have admitted to using mass control methods to get people to act in a certain type of way. Thus, it is no longer  a question of “is it true?” but one of “how do we tackle this?” When the subtle body is weak then it becomes porous to attacks just like a weak immune system.

The physical body has a lot of impacts on the subtle body and vice versa because they both need each other to function. When the physical body engages in activities that are not spiritually uplifting then the subtle body suffers for it. Take for example someone who is constantly in a state of inebriety, first the physical body is weak, out of consciousness, and sometimes dirty. The speech of such a person is mostly incoherent, and sometimes with foul language. He/she can hardly recognize people or make sense of anything. In such a state, his/her body is not theirs and as such, they are in an altered state, that is induced by an external stimulant and not by consciously raising their level of awareness. When this happens then such people become susceptible to beings that “prey” on such physical bodies. So just as virus and bacteria “prey” on body’s exposed to low hygiene, subtle beings prey on subtle bodies that are not protected spiritually and porous to attack.

When the subtle body is attacked and taken over, we still see the physical body going about its functions and may never suspect anything unless we are psychics or have some training to feel and understand these energies. Some people may be able to tell that they are having some attacks, while some may not be able to do so. Just as sometimes we may have an ailment and be able to tell, while sometimes we require a specialist/Doctor to run a diagnosis. Whatever the case may be, we can try to prevent these attacks by keeping our “spiritual hygiene” intact. We can try to avoid substances that alter our consciousness; for in an altered state of consciousness, we have no grip on our reality. We can try to have a daily ritual or practice where we spend some time every day, connecting to higher divine beings through, prayer, meditation, chants, hymns, etc.

We can clean up our living spaces to avoid clutter, as this aids dark subtle beings who are attracted to such an environment. The less clutter we have the less dense our living spaces are and more light we can get in. We can also try to make sure that we keep our physical body healthy and clean by daily taking a shower to help keep us clean and sound at all times. Just as germs won’t thrive on a clean physical body, a clean physical body helps sustain a better subtle body. We can avoid activities that invite dark energy or beings, such as seances, graveyard visits, left-hand tantra etc. We can also minimize our association with people who are known to dabble with dark energies. This was we can greatly reduce our susceptibility to such attacks.

Till next week, do read, share and follow for more.

Real Independence

Dear readers,

It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all today yet another blog. I hope you all are faring well.

Today I would like to share a few points with you all on a very important topic that we all are quite familiar with. The issue of independence is one we all are conversant with and many of us would like to believe that we are independent in our lives to some extent. Independence can be viewed in many perspectives and light and to various people, it means something different. To a country, it may mean being free from colonizers or people who oppressed them, to a race it could mean emancipation from things that enslave them, and to individuals, it could mean being free to act in a way they like, how they like and when they like.

The nature of independence in this material world is actually not as we would like it to be, because the very moment we think we are independent, material nature has a way of reminding us that we aren’t. It is not unusual that we all crave to be independent in some way or fashion because that is the nature of the soul. The soul is full of knowledge, bliss and it is eternal. It is part and parcel of the Supreme Being and as such has the qualities of the Supreme in minute portions. Thus it is qualitatively one but quantitatively different from the Lord, and as such it exhibits some of its qualities from time to time. The major reason why the soul cannot fully express itself is due to the fact that it is covered by a material body; which is subject to many defects and constraints. The souls being a spiritual spark when placed inside the gross body, is limited in what it can and cannot do.

This limitation is something that can be surmounted if we understand our real constitutional position of being souls and not just material bodies. The material body we have is subject to birth, growth, disease, old age and finally death. Hence there is no question of real independence for something that has so many constraints placed on it. The soul, on the other hand, is not subject to any of these factors and is superior to the body. When we express a need or desire to be independent, it could come either as a genuine urge to be free from the clutches of material nature or as a misdirected use of our free will as living entities. What do I mean? As living entities, despite being part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, we are free to act as we please and do as we choose. However, we are not free from the consequences of such actions or choices. We are responsible and must take into account whatever we do.

One type of independence which I’ll like to refer to as pseudo-independence is to try to Lord over material nature. We all are practically guilty of this, and we strive daily to lord over the material energy in one way, form, or another. Trying to better the living conditions of the material body with the hope of living longer or even forever is an illusion which is born from a misdirected quality of the soul. When we think we can create a safe haven in this world, free from anxiety or lamentation, we are again buying into a false hope. This is because this world is a temporary place and no matter how safe we try to make it, time will eventually take it away from us or us away from it. Without sounding too much like a fatalist, the basic idea is that we genuinely have the ability to desire, and even become truly independent, if we actually understand what real independence is. So what is real independence?

Real independence is knowing first and foremost who we are and then seeking out what our real duty in life is. Sounds simple right? well, in theory, yes, in practice not so much. In theory, many of us may understand that we are not this material body and we are part of a higher self which isn’t subjected to the dictates of this plane. So, if we know that we are actually part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, then the next question is what is our duty? Before looking at what our duty is, it is worthy to note that, when something is described as a part of another thing, it means that both are meant to exist together for them to be fully functional. In this scenario, we the living entities are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, meaning that for us to be fully functional we have to remain in our original state; place, service, etc. The Supreme Lord being self-sufficient doesn’t need us to be complete, rather we need him to be. Since we are distinct individual souls, we are free to act as we please and disregard this basic principle and try to seek happiness and independence on our own, separate from the Lord.

This is one of the reasons why we are on this sojourn in the material world in the first place. On the other hand, should we recognize that our attempt at being independent is bringing us nothing but more entanglement, then we begin to trace our steps back to our original position. In our original state as souls, free from the constraints of this world, our duty is to serve the Lord. Serving the Lord is where our real happiness lies and where our real independence is. No matter how much we try to finesse the situations here, there will always be something to remind us that we are not in our original state. Our present independence away from the Supreme Being can be likened to a fish out of water in a big palace, with lots of money, fine women and wine. As wonderful as all these things are, a fish can only survive perfectly when it is in water. In water, it doesn’t need all these things to be happy and that is where it belongs.

So to experience true independence we all need to engage ourselves in our original duty of service to the Lord in our constitutional position as spirit souls.  I hope this helps someone today. Till next week, read, share and follow for more. 

Inattentive Meditation

Dear readers,

I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be able to share with all today yet another interesting blog and I really can’t wait to discuss a few realizations I had during the weekend with you all.

Over the weekend I had to make a long drive and prior to this trip, I wasn’t properly rested, and I must admit I have a very frugal sleeping schedule, which has become more like second nature for years now. Without being told, I know some of you can already guess where I am going to with this narrative. I had my car serviced and checked a couple of days before my trip to make sure everything was fine. Oil change; check, Tyre pressure; check, fluids top off; check, etc. The car was ready and I felt I was too; at least mentally. The day came and I set out quite early as I wanted to be out before the day’s effect had its toll on me. As a morning person, I was in high spirits and felt I had enough energy to make this trip.

I got on the road and did 2 hours in no time, the road was practically empty and I was doing good. I had water by my side and every now and then I’ll have a sip to keep hydrated. Somewhere after about two hours, I lost concentration for a split second and the next thing I saw was that I was in the median with a punctured tire and a loose tailpipe. It happened so fast that I didn’t see it but only do now in flashback. I was trying to cheat nature and my body for long by sleeping very minimally and the toll had begun to kick in. My body had shut down momentarily in a few seconds and I was in a bad state. Luckily I didn’t hit anyone nor sustain any kind of injury by the grace of God, however, I had put myself and others in a state of immense danger by my sleeping habits developed over time.

I called my emergency road service provider and was told that the closest help to me was 2 hours away. So I had to sit in that state, and just wait. I called a family member and she said well just chant and wait. Tired, in shock and in a state of helplessness, I took out my prayer beads and began to chant. Then something began to dawn on me; inattentiveness is said to be an offense while chanting the Lord’s name and every spiritual practitioner is advised to guide against it. Usually, we see nothing wrong in chanting and doing something else by the side. In fact, many of us have become self-acclaimed “pros” in the matter of “multi-tasking meditation”i.e. doing many other things while meditating/chanting. What we fail to realize is that we are consciously putting ourselves in the line of the danger of being swept off the high way of our spiritual life and also missing out on the chance to connect deeply with Mantra.

For attention to be sound we need to take certain precautions. Just like I needed to have had a lot more rest to allow my physical body function better, similarly, we also need to reduce whatever it is that may jeopardize our physical concentration on the mantra. If we turn on the TV set, or the Computer while trying to chant at the same time, then we are kind of getting behind the steering wheels for a long trip without adequate rest. We may think that we have covered all our rounds because we were able to do them while responding to other things, but in the real sense, we have actually lost that time to nothing. We were neither fully focused on the meditation to get the full benefit, nor were we focused on what we had to do, to get it done correctly.

As I sat in my car waiting for emergency help to get me back on the road, two hours passed and no one came. So, whatever time I thought I had gained, I lot again in waiting. Fortunately, I got some help later on and was able to get back on the road. Just as driving is a process that requires full attention, mantra meditation is quite similar. Every good driver will do a few checks upon entering his car before even commencing on the trip. He checks the side and rear mirrors, straps on the seat belt etc. All this to ensure that his physical safety is not compromised. When the journey begins, he does his best to maintain focus on the road and avoid distractions such as those from a mobile device. A spiritual practitioner should embark on his mantra meditation with the same preparatory mindset. The environment he chooses to chant should be of less to no distraction, the place, the time and all, should also help him focus better.

Even though one may argue that driving is a lot more demanding because there is an immediate physical repercussion for carelessness, I must say that the repercussion that comes from spiritual or esoteric matter do not need to be physical for them to have an effect. The spiritual practitioner knows this and therefore doesn’t put himself in harm’s way. If and whenever we have a major setback in our spiritual practices, it is safe to say that we are getting a cumulative result of a long period of inattentive meditation. The best thing to do is to stop, review our habits and then make the necessary changes required to secure our spiritual lives.

We should also not hesitate to get help whenever we see that we are lacking in our endeavors. The moment we reach out to those we trust, share the same sentiment with, senior adepts, or our spiritual mentor then we can become recipients of help and mercy. It is the nature of a spiritual practitioner to be kind and merciful, and as such, they can bestow on us all good fortune.

Till next week, do read, share and follow for more.

 

Mother/Father God

Dear readers,
I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all yet another blog this week. As at the time of my current writing, it is Radhastami; a special festival celebrated by Gaudiya Vaishnava’s that marks the appearance day of the feminine aspect of God. This naturally ushers us into a topic I’ll to share with you all today; the concept of God’s gender.
We live in a world that is Male dominated and there is no doubt that this is reflected in many areas of our lives, whether in a subtle form or in an outright manner. There is also no gainsaying that over time this is changing and with the rise of many feminist groups, many “masculine status quo’s”is being questioned, especially if they do not serve a positive result. Many religions across the world teach us about Divinity, the Godhead, etc. However, in the many different descriptions from the major world religions such as Christianity and Islam at least, we hardly find God or the Supreme person being described in a feminine light or perspective not to even mention as a feminine person. The beauty of Gaudiya Vaishnavism is that it probably the only faith that has a philosophy where God is depicted in both his Male and Female energy, both equal in quality. In fact, the Vedic philosophy makes us understand that we cannot access the Masculine form of the Lord without the blessings of His feminine side.
Let’s back up a little before we get into the technicalities of this concept. The first question many people ask is “How can God be feminine?” or “How can God be both?”. The answer is simple; if there is something that God cannot be, then how is He God? If there is something impossible for God to do or become then where is the idea of Him being all-powerful? So, clearly, we have placed certain restrictions on what God can and cannot do because we are limited living entities who try to understand something that is unlimited. First and foremost, we need to understand that everything emanates from God and as such, he is the complete perfect and even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains a complete balance. We also need to understand that the material world is but a perverted reflection of the spiritual world, as such there is nothing here that is foreign to the spiritual world. In the material world, we have Lust, which is nothing but the perverted reflection of Love. Similarly, just as we have the male and female gender here, we also have the same in the spiritual world, because they both emanate from God. In the material world, whenever a Man wants to experience some loving relationship he seeks out a Woman to fulfill this sentiment. Thus, he is dependent on someone or something to fulfill his needs. This is one of the differences between the living entity and the Supreme Lord.
God doesn’t need anyone or anything to satisfy himself, because he is self-sufficient. Everything emanates from Him and as such, there is nothing outside of Him. Furthermore, when the Lord wants to engage in certain pastimes that require him to show his feminine side, he himself manifests a feminine form; that is no other than his own internal energy. This energy is responsible for giving pleasure to the Lord. The Supreme Lord is said to have 3 energies; internal, marginal and external. The living entities are part of the marginal energy because we have the ability or tendency to either be influenced by higher energy or lower energy. The external energy of the Lord oversees the material world that we currently live in. Thus, each energy of the Lord has specific functions and they all work to serve the Lord. The internal energy of the Lord takes on a Feminine form which is none different from the Lord himself and even more compassionate than his Masculine form. In the Vedas, this form or aspect of the Lord is described in details and as such, I am only trying to give pointers here. For one to get the full audience or mercy of God in his masculine form, one has to obtain the favor or mercy of his feminine form, which shows us how important this aspect of him is.
The feminine aspect of God is not something that is new or just “created” to serve the ideology of feminism, rather it is part of a very sound philosophical tradition dating back to the oldest scriptures known to Man; the Vedas. In the Vedas, we have a very detailed description of many aspects of life; from the science of self-realization to the soul, creation, the material world, the spiritual world, innumerable universes, Demigods, Humans, Demons, Life after Death, Heaven and Hell, just to mention a few. The Shrimad Bhagavatam which is but a book of one part of the Vedas (The Vedas is divided into four parts), contains about 18,000 verses. This is to show you the wealth of information present in this scripture. There is no doubt that, if God wants to reveal himself to us then he would do so in a very elaborate manner so as to enable us to get a glimpse of his unlimited attributes. Today, we have some people who have also begun to embrace the idea of Mother-Father God, because they have gone through some logical conclusions (Jnana yoga) and seen that there has to be the other side of divinity. The good news is, we don’t have to speculate what this feminine aspect of God is, what she looks like, or what she does. The Vedas have already answered all these questions for us, we just have to make ourselves available to read and receive it.
The Supreme Lord expands himself in multiple forms according to time, place, circumstance or pastime. There are no rules as to how or why he assumes a form, and he does so at his own discretion. To place a limit on how the Lord can look, act or manifest is but a display of insufficient knowledge of infinite matters. Till next week, read, share and follow for more.

The intricacy of Material Existence

Dear readers,
I hope you all are faring well. Last week was Janmashtami; the appearance day of Sri Krishna. This is a day that Gaudiya Vaisnava’s, Hindu’s, and all those who adhere to Vaishnavism, celebrate the apparition of God on earth some 5000 plus years ago. To the uninitiated, this is like Christmas to Christians, just that Christians celebrate the birth of the Son of God, while Janmashtami celebrates the appearance day of God on Earth.
The festival had lots of activities meant to make the day sacred and also fun filled. Usually, adepts will observe a dry fast until the time of the Lord’s appearance as a sign to show that they are fully committed both in mind and body, to welcome the Lord. This year’s celebration was particularly interesting for me as I got to spend it in the company of other devotees and also loved ones.

Naturally, when the festival was over, I wanted to write a blog about it, to shed some light on the entire celebration, however, I remembered that I had done a blog on The Lord’s Descent. In that blog, I had explained the reason why God descends to Earth and what his activities are while He is here. Thus, doing another blog on the Lord’s appearance would seem more like a repetition hence I felt I discuss something somewhat different instead.
I feel like now is a perfect time to speak about the nature of the material world in which we live and so dearly call home. The reason has been that we all are in contact with material energy or at least it’s various tentacles in some form or another. The most important attribute of the material energy is that it is a part of God’s energy. Material energy just like the spiritual energy comes from the same source; God, even though they have different functions.

The spiritual energy helps us to connect with the absolute on a metaphysical platform, while the material energy reminds us that we should be connecting with the spiritual platform. To lose sight of this crucial point is to lose focus on what really matters. Too often, I see many people “fighting” about how “bad” the material world is and how “hopeless” it is for a spiritual practitioner to be here. This kind of mentality has led some people to become fatalists, to become impersonalists, and to become overly inimical towards the material energy. Of course, the material energy is not on the same platform as the Spiritual energy and we shouldn’t wallow in it, however, we should not despise it too. In the Isopanisad (one of the shortest Upanishads; a part of the Vedas. There are close to 200 Upanishads), it is mentioned that “only one who can learn the process of nescience and transcendental knowledge side by side can transcend the influence of repeated birth and death and enjoy the full blessings of immortality”.
The verse goes a long way to show us that knowledge of nescience (the material energy) is not a bad thing in itself, however, the application of that knowledge is what could lead to degradation if not properly harnessed.

The ideal or seasoned practitioner of spirituality knows that for one to achieve real success in his/her spiritual journey one would have to be at peace with both energies. When we “despise” something, we fail to learn about it as it should be. In order to learn about the nature of the material energy we would have to go to its source; the Supreme Lord, who mentions in the Bhagavad Gita, that the material energy is but one of his energies. When we understand that the material nature is also trying to serve the Lord, only then do we begin to see properly. The Lord mentions that trying to overcome material nature on our own is futile. Thus, we have to surrender to him and by his grace, we can cross over it. The process of surrendering is accompanied with constant practice and detachment. Constant practice refers to certain “Do’s and Don’ts” that allow us to build the required strength to detach ourselves from the snare and enticement of the material nature. If we do not have a solid resolve to systematically rise above the enticement of the material energy, then sooner or later we will find ourselves in serious trouble. Naturally, one may ask at this point; why is the material energy so intricate?

First is because it is part and parcel of the Lord and as such is difficult to understand and surmount. Second is due to the fact that when factors like Karma interplay with the material energy it becomes really difficult to navigate. Whenever I take a look at some of the events that have occurred in my life, it’s kind of given me an avenue to fully appreciate the power of being consciously connected to a spiritual energy. To be connected to a spiritual energy means to be in sync body, mind, and soul. Our activities have to match our talk and our soul has to shine through our bodies. Spirituality is not a party trick or a weekend retreat, it is a way of life, and as such our lifestyle has to reflect our deepest level of connection to a spiritual energy. Just to be clear for those who may be reading my blog for the first time, there is a difference between spirituality and religiosity.
As long as we live in a material world, we are sure to get a dose of what the material energy is about. We are sure to be influenced or even shaken by the material nature, but what matters most is our inner connection to the absolute via a method of conscious and personal devotion to the Supreme Person. It is through this connection that we can weather the storm of life and also hope to find inner peace and enlightenment. Till next week, read, share and follow for more.