The Gold and Diamond Test

Dear readers,

It is a pleasure to be here to share with you all once again yet another interesting topic. I hope you all had a productive week, mine has been great and I am particularly looking forward to a festival today, which is celebrated by Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

My topic of consideration today is one which many spiritual practitioners find difficult to wrap their minds around, because of the delicate nature of the subject. This subject is one that has made many people become atheist and has also strengthened the faith of those who are believers. It can be summarized in a single phrase; “why does God allow his devotees to go through tough times”. However before we begin to deliberate on the subject matter let’s look back in time and cite a few examples.

Lord Jesus Christ in the Bible was of a simple disposition, he helped the poor, fed the hungry, healed the sick, but in the end he was betrayed by his own disciple for 30 silver coins (is a man’s life not worth more than that? How cheap). In the last meeting with his disciples when he was about to be arrested by the soldiers and one of his disciples drew a sword to fight back, Jesus did the opposite and turned himself in. Bear in mind that this is a person who is a sakti-avesa avatar (one who is imbued with divine potency to do God’s work), he is described as the Son of God in John 3.16 and we all know he had divine powers and abilities. He didn’t try for once to use that power, when brought before the people and the Pontius Pilate asked the crowd to choose between him and the criminals, they chose the criminals over him, still he didn’t complain. Today he is celebrated the world over, and almost everyone knows that name, Jesus.

Haridas Thakur who is the manifestation of Suddha nama, and who is known as nama acarya was flogged in 22 market places, lied on etc. He had the potency to descend wrath on those who did these things yet he didn’t, and the lord intervened. Today his glories shine even brighter than ever.

The Pandavas, knew Lord Krishna on a one on one basis, imagine having the Supreme Lord as a relative and friend. Yet despite this privilege they went through such terrible situations that one can hardly even imagine the extent to which they must have been damaged.  They were poisoned, attacked, set up, had their house burnt down, had their property usurped by dubious means, had their wife stripped in front of an assembly of men, My goodness, this one is tough. However in the end they were victorious and today their glories are sung even more. I can go on to list more examples but I’ll just stop here.

Now let’s draw a few lessons; sometimes in the course of our spiritual life we are thrown into some situation which may seem absurd, however if we fail to learn the lesson, we fail the Gold and Diamond test.  What is the Gold and Diamond test? To purify gold and make it pure, it is subjected to heat, diamonds are just carbons subjected to a lot of pressure over many years. Similarly for a devotee’s qualities to shine, he has to be subjected to heat and pressure, after that one can see the Gold and diamond in him/her. A pseudo devotee will melt under heat (trials) or break under pressure (tribulations).  Lesson two, when a devotee is going through the Gold and Diamond test, in matter of time, if he/she passes the test, we may not see the transformation or elevation physically, but internally there is a great milestone covered, and they are given more access to divine strength and protection.

Lesson three is often times people want to know but these people who pose as disturbances to devotees what is their fate? Usually not very good, Judas committed suicide and couldn’t even spend the money he got from betraying Jesus, the entire Kauravas lost their lives and none of them was spared in the war, etc. The devotee doesn’t wish anyone bad, however Krsna never lets his devotees perish, “Na me bhakta pranasyati”. It’s a promise. I once had an interesting experience once while travelling by road in a public bus.  A private car, double crossed our vehicle forcing us to come to a complete abrupt halt and he jumped out of his vehicle yelling at the driver of the bus I was in. That day was Pandava Nirjala ekadasi, I was travelling with another devotee, and we were observing the fast in total. We were chanting the entire time of the journey, when this incidence began. The driver who had forced us to stop began hitting the windshield and went on to hack off the side mirror on our vehicle.

Our driver became furious and wanted to retaliate, I told him “wind up your side mirror and stay put”. When the devotee who was me tried to speak calmly to the enraged driver who was trying to damage our bus, the driver moved over to our side of the bus as we were seated in front and started to rain abuse on him, the devotee in question wanted to step out to and probably engage with the driver, again I told him, “ignore it, remember you are fasting”. Now this is where it gets scary, from nowhere in a split second a van carrying military officers, suddenly pulled over, and in a few seconds the man terrorizing our vehicle was in cuffs. It was unbelievable, it happened so fast that many people didn’t even understand what was happening. While the officers were whisking him away, for causing nuisance and destroying our car, he started to apologize. A few minutes ago this was the same person who had vowed to beat us up if we dared step out.

The devotee with me looked and me and said this must be instant karma. I said “you see why it was pointless go out to meet him”. The devotee in no way wishes that those who prosecute him should suffer, rather he prays for them, Jesus said on the cross “father forgive them for they know not what they do”. Haridas thakur was constantly praying in his mind for those who were flogging him and that inhibited the lord from acting, even Arjun who saw his wife stripped in front of him, turned down retaliating when he had the chance at the battel field. However the Lord, in his own sweet time, solves everything.

I don’t intend to make this too lengthy, I hope you all learn a thing or two from this. Till next week do share, read, internalize and follow for more.

The Core Test

Dear readers,

I would like to kick off my post this week by saying a Happy Independence day in advance (if you reside in the States), easy on the fireworks, lol. Actually last week while we were having a beautiful Swan boat festival and the fireworks were going off, there was one particularly loud that made my heart skip a beat. It really got me thinking about how something so small could release so much sound energy. Anyways I hope you play safe with the fireworks.

That being said, this week I would love to share something that speaks in relation to what is our content. What exactly are we made up as individuals? Now I am not speaking about our real-self here but more in terms of what kind of mood and mannerism makes up our inner identity. To help us grasp this idea I have taken the liberty to share with you all a brief analogy. Let’s take a Tea bag, a Potato and an egg as our specimen and then we carry out an experiment. When these three items are subjected to intense heat and put in boiling water, they all respond differently, each according to its own constitution and capacity. The potato in its fresh state is hard on the outside and seemingly tough, one would expect it to be the strongest in this test. However this is not the case when it is subjected to high temperatures over an extended period. After sometime it softens and even splits open.

When the egg which has mainly liquid as its internal constitution is subjected to the same situation, it comes out hard and refined. Finally when the Teabag is subjected to a similar situation, it dissipates itself into the liquid and also gives off its aroma. Interestingly, Humans are also like this. Some of us fall into the Potato category, some into the Egg category and others in the Teabag category. When life gets tough and most especially our spiritual practices get difficult, some of us encounter the situation like “potatoes”. We go in strong with a lot of “resolve” but somehow or the other we fail to brace the circumstances and come out soft and weakened. We lose the battle against the forces we combat. There are others who go in like Eggs, apparently fragile and weak but then the entire situation brings out another side of them, which sometimes they never imagined they had. There has been cases of people who lost family members, went into depression but came out of it and became counselors. In spiritual circles, there are practitioners who “fell, or backslide” but comeback with a lot more vigour and become a story of inspiration for others to emulate. These people have been able to harness a lot more than just courage or positive thinking, not to say that these factors aren’t necessary but they have gone even a step further.

The final set of people are those who go in like the teabag. We all know that the teabag is the most unassuming thing we can think of. It is soft and naturally quite simple. In the real sense one would expect the teabag to undergo total destruction in such a situation of high temperature and even pray to see the remains. Nay, it surpasses all others in its glorious exit. Like a magical act, the teabag comes out unharmed and even leaves a lasting impression of itself in the situation that was supposed to be excruciating. These class of people are very rare, because they are the ones who change things in our world today be it in spirituality, economics, management etc. In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna says that one who neither rejoices nor grieves….. is very dear to Him. The first two items could be said to have reacted in either grief or happiness, depending on how we see it. One comes out hard and the other soft. However the teabag goes into the same situation and is content with being “itself”. The result is that there is aroma and a change in the situation itself. When we encounter tests and setbacks as spiritual practitioners or as just regular folks, the result of the situation is mostly born from what our real internal composition is made of. If we are pseudo spiritualist then we become soft or weakened by the situation, if we are serious but attracted to the results of our actions then we come out hard. This hardness is often times seen in different forms in various people. A quick example; some spiritual practitioner’s take the vow of celibacy and in the long run become very hard hearted due the “nature of their austerity”. They seemingly have overcome a big challenge, which is total abstinence from sex life which is supposed to allow us connect to a higher sense of love, but they have created a different problem, which is lack of compassion or an unforgiving spirit, because they do not have a good sense of the austerity which they practice.

Regular folks may go through adverse situations of poverty, and struggle so hard that they eventually becomes financially successful but end up being miserly because they feel “no one helped them when they needed help”. So in one sense we may feel it is best to go into adverse situations and come out “strong” but we should also reflect on how much this so-called “strength” is actually helping our advancement. We can only give out what we have inside. When we squeeze oranges, we get orange juice and not pineapple juice. Similarly when a spiritual practitioner is subjected to various forms of trials and test, his/her response is proportional to their core values and constitution. If we have hate, anger, grief, envy, malice etc. inside of us, naturally when we are put under intense temperatures or when we get “squeezed”, all these attributes come out. On the other hand if we have love, peace, compassion, equanimity and happiness inside of us, when we get “squeezed” we will exhume these very same traits. The key to surviving these tests isn’t just being tough or hard, it isn’t about just knowing how to deal externally with a situation or knowing how to let waters slide. It is about knowing how to radiate what is truly inherent in us, to the degree that they reflect the true nature of a compassionate spiritual practitioner.

I hope this sheds some light on the subject, till next week do like, share and follow for more. Happy Independence Day celebration to my friends who live in the states too.

Sharpen the Saw

Dear readers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SEXUAL ENERGY 2: EQUILIBRIUM

Dear readers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SEXUAL ENERGY: REPRESSION vs SELF CONTROL

Dear readers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INCOGNITO

Dear readers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INTERNAL DIALOGUE

Dear readers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IT’S MORE ABOUT PROGRESS

Dear readers,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Greed 2

Dear readers,

I hope you all are faring well. It’s yet another week for us to share insights on topics which are spiritual, informative and thought provoking. Last week we spoke about Greed, and in order to aid readability I had split the discussion in two. This week we shall try to look at the subject of greed from a deeper perspective, as it relates to the spiritual practitioner on a metaphysical level and how this can be used to strengthen our relationship with the Absolute Truth.

In our dissertation last week, we had the chance to look at greed on a physical and somewhat subtle level and how its effects have taken a toll on us as people and on our planet. To this end it may seem that greed in itself is a vice and nothing much can be gotten from it based on the facts from our first part discussion. It may come as a surprise when I say now to you all that, when greed is refocused and used in the right direction, it is a wonderful virtue in itself. Just before you all get worried about my last statement I must mention for a fact that there are two kinds of greed: greed for material objects and greed for spiritual advancement. The former we have deliberated on to an extent in the first part to this blog, the latter we shall try to develop in this blog.

One thing we can all agree on is the fact that when people are greedy, they never seem to get enough of anything, there is the constant want for more. This quest and strive for more all the time, is what usually gets them in problem. Now for a second imagine if that constant want for “more” had its precedence in matters of spirituality. Imagine if instead of wanting to over accumulate money and material possessions at the detriment of even our health, we actually were eager to accumulate information about the Supreme person. Imagine if instead of trying to hoard resources at the expense of people’s lives, we actually began to hoard esoteric delineations about the Supreme Being. The question now is how do we go about this? For a start we need to know what we are after in the first place. Just like those who accumulate wealth, know for certain that their primary objective in life is to amass wealth, the spiritual practitioner should also know and use his greed to the same effect. He has to understand that his entire life’s mission is to amass relevant and practical information about the Supreme Being.

Amassing this information is but the first part to redirecting the greed tendency, because as with material accumulation, once we have it we spend it and then get some more. Similarly, when the spiritual practitioner has understood his goal in life and has begun to use his greed tendency in amassing relevant and applicable information of the Supreme, then he moves to the next stage of actually “spending or using” this information. The satisfaction people get from being greedy is short lived and thus they are in a constant quest for more, but the satisfaction gotten from being  greedy about the topics that pertain to the Supreme being are indescribable and of immense satisfaction. This is so because it is mentioned in the revealed Scriptures such as the Bhagavad-gita that those who are devotees of the Lord derive great pleasure in discussing about the glories and pastimes of the Lord. It is in such a gathering that the spiritual practitioner must develop and exhibit the greed to hear more and more, without limit.

By regularly hearing and reciting the pastimes of the Supreme Being and by exhibiting intense greed to hear more and more on a regular basis, all that which is troublesome to the heart of the spiritual practitioner becomes practically destroyed and loving service to the Supreme Lord is established in his heart. When loving service to the Lord is established in the heart of the spiritual practitioner then he becomes free gradually from all the vices of this material world. For the heart which has the topics of the Lord’s activities as its sitting place cannot hold other nonsensical matters. When the greed to hear more about the Supreme being’s activities intensifies in the heart of the spiritual practitioner, not only does he become free from the dualities of this world, he gradually elevates his consciousness to a state of pure goodness and thus begins to search deeper for the personal aspect of the Supreme Being. During the course of this search and further intense greed to know more about the Lord, he becomes totally absorbed in the contemplation and daily remembrance of the Lord. This is a very high stage in our spiritual quest; when we are totally absorbed in the remembrance of the Lord.

When we cultivate intense spiritual greed, not only do we automatically eradicate material greed but we also bring our consciousness to a higher level where we can understand more esoteric matters about the Supreme Being. We cannot fully understand the esoteric nature of the Lord’s activities if we are still chained to activities such as anger, lust and greed. These vices among others ruin our material and spiritual life together. The spiritual practitioner should thus strive to be among people who have for a goal, developing intense greed for spiritual topics on the Supreme Lord. If the spiritual practitioner fails to take the association of such people and associates with those who are still conditioned by material greed, he puts himself at a risk of gliding back into his previous ways of material greed.

If we truly desire a panacea for the global issue of over accumulation and greed, then we must begin to redirect our greed and use it instead in the work of the Supreme Lord. It is only then we can hope to have a planet that is peaceful and full of resources for our collective use.

I hope this strikes a chord with you all, do read, internalize and share with others. I hope to see you all next week, till then Follow for more.

Greed

Dear esteemed readers,

Welcome to another week of informative blogs, I hope you all are faring well. Today we shall deliberate on a topic which we can all admit is having a negative toll on our relationships, communities, countries and even our planet as a whole. This crucial subject matter is none other than Greed.

At some point in time or another we have either accused someone of being greedy or maybe we have also been called greedy at some time due to certain actions or behaviours we exhibited. When we say someone is greedy what do we actually mean? In general we are saying that the person is not considerate of the feelings of others and cares too much about themselves, that they feel the need to over accumulate resources which could serve a larger number of people, just for themselves. So key words are too self-centered, inconsiderate, and over accumulation.

In the sacred texts of the Bhagavad-Gita it is mentioned that there are three gates leading to hell; lust, anger and greed. One would admit that if a person is lusty, angry and greedy or exhibits these tendencies then it is difficult to deal with them on a deeper level. Without digressing too much, why do people feel the need to over accumulate resources, things, money etc? The answer is because they lack self control and they fail to acknowledge the real owner of these things. It is mentioned in the revealed scriptures that everything we survey on this planet belongs to the Supreme Lord and thus we should take that which is our quota, knowing well to whom they belong. The sticky part in here is that many people fail to realize that we actually do not possess anything and all that we seek to acquire through over accumulation is actually the Supreme Lord’s property. We are but custodians of all we have, and the moment we forget this salient fact we begin to have problems.

Every now and then, we hear over the media of how much debt the planet is plunged into and how much poverty the world is facing, and sometimes I wonder “to whom do we owe this money?” Well I guess it’s more of a rhetorical question because I don’t expect anyone to give me a solid answer. On one hand we cry at the poverty level of many countries and put up banners and ads all over the internet to “raise” money for them, but on the other hand we celebrate a few individuals as the “world’s richest people” and every year we so diligently keep record of their earnings and publish them in the best of media outreach. Please do not get me wrong and feel this is a subtle attack on those who are rich and have made a name for themselves, I am a strong believer in people getting the results of their labour. However what I still do not understand and I guess most of you don’t too, is why a Man, who has so much money that it, is estimated to be practically impossible to spend all in one life time, be so keen on getting more and more?

If one is not satisfied with the little he/she has, even if you give them the whole world they won’t be satisfied. There is a saying that “there is enough for everyone’s need but there is never enough for one person’s greed”. Thus we can see that day in day out the more we put our greed first at the expense of other people’s needs we are making a choice, knowingly or unknowingly. It doesn’t matter how much we try to pretend it is all about “competition, having the winning edge, etc” the fact remains that people will suffer from our choices and actions. The other side to this spectrum is the fact that even though some people feel the need to over accumulate resources etc, you find out that they are never satisfied and are seldom really happy. So you begin to wonder, if you have so much money and you still aren’t satisfied and happiness in its deepest sense is far from your reach then why continue this futile chase? If greed and over accumulation was really fulfilling then the world would be a better place, but we all know this is the opposite today.

Furthermore, there is the subject of conscience that comes into play and I ask when you over accumulate due to greed and lack of self-control and you see people suffering at your expense, don’t you have any sympathy? Nowadays, there is the publicity stunt of trying to give some large sums of money in “charity” by some very rich people, and many people feel well this has to count for something. Of course it does but it that the solution? Every one of these businessmen knows for a fact that the best way to help a man is to teach him how to “fish” and not to feed him with “fish”; meaning teach people how to fend for themselves. If I constantly give you money instead of teaching you how to make yours then you are unconsciously allowing yourself to be at my mercy for as long as I continue. Is this truly “liberating and philanthropic”?

Well without sounding political and passing across the wrong ideas, the message here is we all have to evaluate our position and stance when it comes to our motives, interests, and reasons for accumulating resources. If we begin to see that these resources have been given to us as a tool for our subsistence on this planet and not as a medium for dominance and oppression then maybe we can begin to redirect our greed and focus on our needs. I was hoping to go deeper into this subject matter and try to link it to the spiritual aspect of greed and our duties as spiritual practitioners; however that would make this lengthy so I guess we have a second part coming next week.

Till then, read, internalize, share, and follow for more.

Cheers