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.

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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.

Circle of Influence

Dear readers,
I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all yet another interesting blog today.
In the last few days, I have been deliberating on some thoughts and I felt I share them with you all, more in the mood of trying to bounce off certain ideas and reflect on ways to improve communication and also integrate these ideas into our spiritual lives. The principle of our circle of influence is one which has been explained in a great detail by authors like Steve Covey in his books. To fully grasp the concept of the circle of influence one has to understand also the circle of concern. Both circles work and influence us in ways we know and may not know. In simple words, the circle of influence is those things we have some direct control over like our health, children, work etc. while the circle of concern is those things which are beyond our immediate control. These include the Government, National laws, etc.
There are two kinds of people who deal with these two circles; those who are reactive and those who are proactive. People who are proactive focus more on the circle of influence and expend their energy on things they have some control over and can influence. They know it is futile to spend energy outside this circle trying to fix things in the circle of concern. The circle of concern is outside their immediate influence and as such they do not spend their energy there. On the other hand, reactive people focus their time and energy worrying about things in the circle of concern and this worry translates into nothing tangible as there is almost nothing they can do to change anything in this area. The nature of reactive people is that they wait for a problem to happen before trying to do anything about it. Proactive people try to anticipate the problem and see what viable options are there for solving it before it even occurs.
In other to be able to anticipate a situation, one has to be abreast of what is happening in that situation. The activities and factors in our circle of influence are things we can keep an eye on and work to improve in some way or another. If we are distracted by things outside our circle of influence then it is certain that we would miss the opportunity to adequately prepare for those things inside our circle of influence. Many of us go through life subconsciously worrying most about things in our circle of concern, and as such find it difficult to live a successful and meaningful life. We worry about every other thing besides those things that really matter. As a spiritualist or someone one a path of spirituality we also would have to encounter this dynamic in our daily endeavor. There is a constant internal debate in the mind of a spiritualist as to which energy to feed; the lower or the higher. He has to consciously choose to feed his higher energy daily, as this is what he needs to grow and advance in his spiritual journey. Similarly, the spiritualist has to be careful to make the right decision when it comes to feeding one of the circles.
His daily spiritual activities and life choices would reflect if he is sober enough to be a proactive person or if he is unsteady and more of a reactive person. Now the beauty of spirituality is that it enables us to calm down, focus and place first things first. There is no doubt that the circle of influence has certain areas such as family, health, etc. however when one embarks on a spiritual journey and begins to understand the real nature of the self then he sees things as they are and pays more attention to things that really matter. In that light, the spiritualist has some more addition to his circle of influence. It includes all that is to be found in that circle normally but a little more. His circle of influence reflects how he uses those things that matter to better his spiritual practice. So, for instance, the family is a part of the circle of influence and as such he tries to see that his immediate family at least supports or partakes in his spiritual journey. This enables him to pay more attention to this circle because it also supports his spiritual journey. Understanding that he is not the body but the soul, he maintains the body to be fully functional to serve the Lord in his spiritual journey.
Thus, the Lord becomes a driving factor for the circle of influence for him and this makes his endeavor successful. If for some reason he comes to the path of spirituality as a reactive person, then he is sure to improve if he takes advantage of the process fully by applying himself. The process of meditation, mantra, positive self-affirmation, regulated and cruelty-free diet, prayers, association with like-minded spiritual people, yoga, etc. can also help re-center his purpose and make him a proactive and sober person. The non-spiritualist on the other hand who is not regulated in his bodily needs has little or no control over his emotions and as such it comes as no surprise when he is constantly reacting to matters that are outside his circle of influence. The materialist is preoccupied with the circle of concern because he is not even aware of whom he really is. When there is a lack of clarity about the real self then the foundation for positive growth is shaky, because decisions and life choices are made based on a false identity.
For instance, if one thinks they are their body instead of the soul then it is normal for them to worry about things that pertain to the body. From the misidentification of the body as the self, such people may become overly sentimental about nationalism, racism etc. They feel that being true their real self is to do everything that enhances the bodily identification. This, however, brings nothing but misery, as there cannot be lasting happiness based on temporary objects. The body is temporary and as such the happiness we derive from it cannot be permanent. To experience lasting happiness, we have to position ourselves in a situation that allows us to make choices that are lasting and from a place of peace. We can only experience real peace when we are sober and proactive. It is difficult to be peaceful when we are reactive and in distress.
Till next week, read, share and follow more.

Material Stereotypes

Dear readers,
It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all today yet another interesting blog. I hope you all are faring well. Today while deliberating on the topic to write for our weekly discussion, a few thoughts crossed my mind and I felt I share them in a context that could help everyone in some manner.
Before we delve into the topic per say, I must state that the premise to this discussion is one that stems from recognizing that we are ultimately spiritual beings. Earlier on, I had written a blog on Spiritual Stereotypes and thus I felt the need to make a counterpart. The reason been that we are all living in a material world and as such we have to interact with the material energy and things of that nature. As spiritual entities in a material body we have to live certain experiences which pertain to our body, country, environment, race, religion etc. However, the bottom line is to always remember that we are having a material experience and as such it is temporary. No one makes a big deal of something they know won’t last long. The trick is to actually know that it is temporary, because as long as we think it is permanent or there isn’t more to experience after our limited time here then we won’t know how to re-organize our lives to have a better experience.
That been said, we all must have been exposed to some sort of stereotype based on how we look or what race we belong to. It is no longer surprising to me when I get certain remarks from people based on assumptions they have or might have cultivated over the years. It is sort of “normal” for most people to think that every African American is a great dancer, athlete, gymnast, etc. It is also sort of “normal” for people to think every Asian kid is a Wizkid, super smart and very good at Mathematics. It also comes as no surprise that people think every Caucasian is rich and from an affluent background. Having been blessed with the grace and opportunity to visit 4 continents, I can confidently say that these assumptions are true for certain people and untrue for others. I have met Asians who are not so smart, African Americans who are bad at sports, and Caucasians who aren’t anywhere near rich. Just as there are positive stereotypes we also have the negative ones which I won’t be mentioning here so as to keep the energy on this read positive. The objective of this blog is to understand how to deal with these as spiritual practitioners in our place of worship or spirituality.
Believe it or not, these material stereotypes somehow or another creep into places of worship and prayer and instead of having our minds focused on whatever Divinity we are meditating on, we find ourselves consciously or sub-consciously looking for flaws in our colleagues. One of the biggest hinderances in our spiritual quest is to commit offences towards those who have dedicated their lives to deepening their faith and conviction about certain spiritual matters. One easy way to commit offences towards other spiritual practitioners is to judge them based on their bodily appearances. In as much as some of us try to avoid doing this physically, we may actually be enforcing certain stereotypes even without knowing. I once happened to live in a spiritual community that had a very diverse demographic and actually preached a lot about how we are not this body, however I couldn’t help but notice a pattern every time we had our meals. I noticed that the Indian bodied practitioners always sat together, the Mexicans did same, the Caucasians did same and without even trying to plan it, there was hardly a time when the temples were sat differently.
I was in the minority and probably the only person in a colored body and I took it upon myself to rotate which table I sat at. Some days I’ll sit with the Indians, another day the Mexicans and some days with the Caucasians. (I must say I really don’t like classifying people by how they look and this is just to give my readers a glimpse into the picture I am trying to paint). What this did was amazing. I began to see that every group would relate with me as if I was from their demographic and we had a mutual relationship of trust. I would also reciprocate this trust by making sure that I kept whatever discussion I had with each group strictly within it. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but think about how much more progress we would make if we all could go beyond the bodily platform and associate on a deeper level. I could see that many people wanted to establish real loving connections but were hesitant because they felt they would be judged or misunderstood by members of a different demographic. This made me sad not just because I could see the tension this emptiness was creating but because I knew that each group was going off the other based on certain preconceived assumption that they had formulated over time.
Having to deal with material stereotypes in a secular setting is trying enough and many of us would rather not have to engage with that energy. What is more draining is when that energy creeps into a spiritual environment or place of worship and adherents begin to vibe off it. So, what is the way forward? My first suggestion is that whenever you go to place of worship/meditation/prayer etc., please drop off all your “baggage’s” right at the door step. By baggage’s I mean all bodily identifications, all worries, all desires, all thoughts opposing to spiritual growth, all stereotypes, all sorts of distractions be they physical such as a mobile device or as subtle as a thought process.
As spiritual practitioners we must endeavor to raise not just our consciousness but of those around us too, by our words, and actions. If we have a collective effort to achieve this, then we can be certain of positive growth in our spiritual life and less dealings with stereotypes from bodily identification. Till next week, read, share and follow for more.

Paradigm Shift

Dear readers,

It is my pleasure to be able to share with you today yet another interesting blog. My weekend was quite busy and fulfilling, as I made new steps in my life regarding my relationships. I am grateful to the Supreme Lord for this new phase and also extremely grateful to family and friends for all of their love and support. I sincerely apologize for posting a day later than usual, I had quite a busy weekend.

Looking back at most of the events in my life generally, I can’t help but notice that besides whatever talent or qualification the Lord has given me, there have been quite some personal transformations I have had to undergo. One of them has been shifting my paradigm about a good number deal of things. Paradigm basically means a typical example or pattern of something. In life, we all have different paradigms that affect our perspectives, and the degree to which we allow these paradigms to play out is relative to that degree of being able to break through certain limitations which are interwoven in our basic paradigms.

The concept of paradigm shift is one which has become a multi-million dollar industry today, because over time people are seeing more than ever before that if our basic ideology is of a certain pattern and we build that into our paradigm, then we are more than likely to make most of our life decisions based on these paradigms. Our paradigm is being constantly constructed and manifested during the course of our lives by various factors. Our families, our association, friends, work colleagues, personal preferences, faith, religion, spirituality, etc.

Sometimes we wonder why we are stuck in certain areas of life and imagine what would happen if things were different,  however many people stop at this level not knowing how to proceed, while others try to proceed but face a recurring setback. Little do they know that the factor that has been “holding” them back is more of their own making than some external factor. Take for instance someone who has built a paradigm of fear of success (due to either family traditions or negative internal dialogue), this individual would find it difficult to accept and embrace success in their lives no matter how easily it comes. The principle of addressing our paradigms has a lot to do with replacing our current way of thinking about certain things with a new mindset. Up to the last half-century, some people felt that human beings were superior to each other merely based on how they looked or what texture their hair was.

Many bought into this idea, and its effects on mankind have been devastating, to say the least. Now we know better and we have seen over time that there is a lot more to the human intelligence than just their physical appearance. There had to be a major paradigm shift in the mentality of people to make this change happen. The paradigm shift required to make such a change began with a conscious decision and specific intent. This shift also has to be made with the intent to improve or better our involvement with the factor we are trying to get a new perspective on. A paradigm shift should help us make a transition from a place of mediocrity to a place of excellence. For a paradigm shift to occur, however, there has to be a conscious thought process that makes us see that we are at a place where we need to grow. If we are comfortable with our current disposition then there cant be a talk about having a paradigm shift.

The application of paradigm shifts has been seen in various areas of society such as science, religion, management, etc. This goes a long way to show that it is a principle that cuts across many disciplines and as such its applications are versatile. Since we are looking at this from a spiritual perspective, it is pertinent to see how this principle can also be applied from a metaphysical perspective. As spiritualists, we have to be conscious of our thought process and make sure we make deliberate actions needed to experience the divine in ways that are not restricted by our paradigm. The spiritualist has to be very conscious to make sure that his paradigm is a true reflection of his spiritual practices. If our spiritual practices are mature and sincere then naturally our paradigm will reflect our deepest inner values.

In as much as we want our paradigm shift to be one of positivity and growth, we have to see that our daily interactions and choices reflect our deepest realizations. The journey to making a paradigm shift is one that involves a lot of re-education. Often times we see today that people are invited to attend seminars that help them learn how to think, feel, and will. Our thoughts, words, and actions also make a great deal of our paradigm. In fact, it is safe to say that our paradigms can be read through our words, thoughts, and actions. The most beautiful aspect of making a conscious paradigm shift is the fact that we are naturally empowering ourselves from within to help ourselves make the necessary transitions we need to make in order to be successful in whatever endeavor we are involved in. Many authors like Robert Kiyosaki and Steve Covey have been able to show what can be achieved the moment we make such paradigm shifts in our lives.

The sage from previous ages underwent arduous austerities to make the body transcend so many physical elements. However even though the process of meditation may seem to be a physical one, there is always an inner journey where the sage has to shift his paradigm from that of a bodily conception to a subtle platform. If he thinks that he is the material body subject to many flaws, then he is going to have a hard time making the transition required for him to obtain the mystic powers he is searching for. However, the moment he begins to think differently (which is the internal beginning of making this shift) then he is met with the wonders of what can be achieved as soon as the mind is made to adapt to a new paradigm.

I hope this meets you well Until next week read, share and follow for more.

Doing it right! (A prayer)

Dear readers,
Please accept my warmest greetings. It is great to be able to share with you all again yet another topic and I hope you all are faring well.
Today, I’ll like to share with you all a prayer, like I do from time to time. The prayers I share here are usually written in a mood that allows for my readers to connect not just with the words of the prayer but also with the mood with which they are written. As usual, I’ll like to say that my prayers do not in any way reflect my stage of “advancement” however they are my deepest cries and call out to the Supreme Lord in various times.
Dear Lord, I know I try to connect with you every day in my meditation, my mantra recitation and my worship, however when I write you a prayer it is different. In my writing, I have the opportunity to offer you my intellect in the form of choice words, strung on the thread of various moods just like a flower garland. Sometimes it is difficult for me to find the right words but as always, I just start and let you lead me from within. Today my request is simple, not one too materialistic neither too spiritual, but a perfect balance in between them both. Please teach me how to do it right.
Dear Lord, having a material body means I have to take care of it by eating, sleeping, mating and defending. However, I do not want these tendencies to take over my intelligence and cloud my ability to discern right from wrong. I know the modes of material nature are at work 24/7 in their quest to keep me entangled, but I also know that your grace is sufficient for me. As I eat to nourish my body, let me only eat food which has been offered to you in sacrifice and accepted as communion. Protect me from eating anything that will cause pain to any living entity, knowingly or unknowingly. Please teach me how to do it right
Dear Lord, as I sleep, let my subconscious mind and subtle body create dreams that help me rise up to higher planetary systems and connect with great teachers from the past and future. Let my dreams be a continuation of my reality as I try to learn more about your pastimes and glories. Let my subtle body learn to travel to realms that are free from sensual activities or filled with hostile people and creatures. Allow me to experience different spiritual activities in a way that may not be possible with my physical body. As I mate to procreate, please help me do so with a partner who is a gift from you, and may the act itself be a source of bliss and joy for us and the world, because we would be bringing forth souls that are pious. Help me understand that my partner is a gift from you and as such I must take care of her, seeing you in her at all times. Please protect me from my own mentality of being an enjoyer but rather one to be enjoyed by you. Please teach me how to do it right.
Dear Lord, as I defend myself either through my navigation of daily activities or against envious people who try to thwart my effort, let me always remember to do so with a sense of detachment and love. Help me see that even those who try to cause me pain are nothing but instruments in the hands of material nature and as such I have nothing to prove to them. Help dear Lord to rise above the spirit of being vindictive, for revenge is of you and as such I must have faith that time and karma would eventually fight for me. May all those who wish me bad not have to deal with my sense of defense, because with time you will place me on higher grounds above them all just to show that you are loyal to those who serve you. As I pray to you to keep me safe from having to defend myself unnecessarily from wicked an envious people, Lord please also protect my mind from finding fault in others. Help me always remember to mind my own business and not make the affairs of others my priority. Please teach me how to do it right.
Dear Lord, as I try to use material things in spiritual activities with the sense of dovetailing them, please help me remember to whom everything belongs. Help me see that you are the proprietor of everything and as such all that I have is but a gift from you. Lord, please help me stay true to the promises I make to family and friends when it comes to providing them with material amenities to support their spiritual functions. Help me so that I can create a system that allows them to remember you always because they do not have to focus too much on the material aspects of life. To those who serve you with explicit love and devotion, you carry what they lack and preserve what they have. Lord, even though my love and devotion for you may not be explicit, please do not forget your promise. In your words, I have faith and believe that just by keeping true to them I will surely receive the blessings thereof. Please teach me how to do it right.
Dear Lord, not a day passes by without me committing some sort of offense knowingly or unknowingly, I sincerely pray that you please overlook them just like a father overlooks the faults of a child. I in no way try to purposely offend you, however living in this world can take a toll on you sometimes, so much that you act in ways beyond your control. Lord please see and remember my service to you, no matter how insignificant they may be. This simple servant of yours is simply just trying to live right. I know I may slip at times but I promise I’ll always find my feet back up again. Please teach me how to do it right.
Till next week do read, share and follow for more.