Wednesday, October 31, 2012

God in everyday life

Here is a simple answer to the question of how to remember God at all times.

First, treat your work as worship. Work means anything that you do - be it play, love, work etc. As you work (worship), keep thinking of it as an offering to the Lord within you. Look at work as a service to Him (or Her if you please). Do it as best as you can and say this mentally "O Lord, I offer this work at your lotus feet."

Second, look at everything that happens to you and around you as a treat / blessing from Him. It could be good & pleasant things or it could be nasty & painful things. Relish each of these as a treat from the Lord and thank Him for the same. Tell Him of what you think of each treat.

If one is able to tune oneself in this manner, life becomes beautiful and wonderful. One does not get affected by the ups and downs of life. One is forever blissful and peaceful.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Learning from Breathing

Everyday events if observed thoughtfully can give us extraordinary learning. We can learn from everyone and anyone. All it takes is an open minded approach, keen observation and introspection.

The other day I tried to meditate. I was told that one can meditate in more than a hundred different ways. I decided to meditate by closing my eyes and silently observing my breathing. If you do this exercise for as little as 15-20 minutes a day, you can have a healthier mind and body. When you start observing your breath, it automatically becomes deep and relaxes you. The mind becomes less agitated and more calm. Consequently, the rest of the organs & constituents of the body gets more organised and less chaotic.

While I was thus meditating, I came across a startling observation. For every breath that we take in, we feel energized. For every breath that we release, we feel relaxed. We cannot have a state where we do only one thing - breathing in or breathing out. Both must necessarily follow one another.

Breathing in can be equated to receiving from the Universe. And breathing out can be equated to giving back to the Universe. Breathing in is like getting and breathing out is like giving. We get only to give back. We give in order to be eligible to get. We cannot get unless we give. We grow only when we follow this cycle religiously.

Nature is teaching us to give. Lets learn and practice it. We will be rewarded.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Gratitude reflects attitude

Each of us owes our lives, our success & our achievements to the support we have received from countless others. The support we receive from others starts much before we are born and continues much after our deaths. Most of the time we are blissfully unaware of this and sometimes falsely believe that we alone are responsible for everything.

In a typical day, we wake up to the alarm invented by others, manufactured by others and sold by others to us. The battery that runs it is manufactured by others and the components that go into the clock and the battery are manufactured by others. Likewise, every single thing that we do or enjoy has the hidden hand of others.

Once we realise this, wouldn't our thoughts be full of gratitude? It is childish to think that if we have paid the price or the taxes, we are entitled to enjoy life and need not be grateful.

We also receive unconditional love and care from our loved ones. Our parents who care for us, nurture us and shape our lives deserve nothing but our choicest gratitude and love in return. They sacrifice their own pleasures for our sake. They go to great lengths to make our lives secure and comfortable. Shouldn't we be overwhelmed with all this? Yet, some of us ignore them or complain about some or other blemish in their affection.

Gratitude reflects attitude. If we have it, it shows in all aspects of our lives !!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Create happy memories

When you think back of your childhood, what kind of memories come back? Do you remember joyful moments spent in the company of loved ones? Do memories of happy days spent in carefree laughter and silly games flash past your eyes? Do you remember your childhood as one great picnic? Or do you remember angry, sad, painful times spent agonising and hurting?

Every moment of our lives, we are creating memories. It is up to us to make them happy. Not just for ourselves, but for people around us. We owe it ourselves to be happy. We cannot let momentary issues make us forget the larger purpose of our lives - which is to be happy.

Our positive mindset can make everything positive. Summers can be fun days to let our hair down and enjoy. The rainy days can be fun too in a very different way. Winters can be the time to marvel in the beauty of nature and the change of seasons. Each day can be a day to look forward to with relish and anticipation.

When we live such lives, we end up creating happy memories. It is something like an album of our lives in which every picture showcases the smiles, the glee and the joy. When our present is so wonderful and so is our past, can the future be any less exciting?

Create happy memories !!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Wise or Foolish?

Prosperity, good luck, success etc. are all considered as moments of joy. The natural reaction of one who is blessed with such moments is to smile and glow with happiness. After all, it is a great feeling to be successful or to have achieved something. Each of us crave for such situations.

Similarly, adversity, misfortune, failure etc. are moments tinged with sorrow. One does feel the pain and anguish at such moments. The heart seems heavy with the burden of the moment. Such moments hardly ever makes one smile. Given a choice, we would rather not have such moments in our lives.

If we were to reflect on such moments, it would dawn upon us that these are but fleeting moments in the vast expanse of time. Such moments do not last. As someone wisely said, “This too shall pass”. It would be stupid of us to expect success or failure to be lasting. Nothing is permanent in this world. All good and bad moments must come to an end. The cycle of joy & sorrow, good & bad, success & failure is going on all the time.

If we realise this eternal truth and remember this at all times, would we get carried away by the occasion? Would we not become more balanced and have a sense of equanimity?

The one who smiles in prosperity is foolish and the one who smiles in adversity is wise – Vishwanath Seshadri

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Create your heaven

I once read a story of a gas station attendant who liked to talk to his customers. One day a car drove up and he asked the driver how was the drive up till now. The driver began complaining about the villages that he has passed on his way. The villagers were unfriendly and unhelpful he said. They were also rude and nasty he claimed. Later another car came up and this driver spoke about how wonderful, pleasant and nice the people have been on the way. They were generous and caring, he said.

Both drivers had driven in the same route and had very different experiences. In a way, it reflected their own outlooks towards life and their own behaviours towards others. It is often seen that the world throws back at us what we give it. If we are pleasant and nice, so will everyone be. If we are cold, rude or nasty, that is what we will see in others. Others are a mere reflection of ourselves.

We have the great ability to create a wonderful heaven around us. All it needs is for us to be what we want to see.  We can smile and spread cheer around. We can laugh and dispel gloom away. We can be generous & caring and spread happiness around us. We can be trusting & positive, honest & fair. We can be soft, gentle and loving. And with this we can create a magical insulated positive happy world wherever we go, wherever we are.

What are you waiting for? Start now!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Change yourself

One of our favourite activities is to critically analyse and judge others around us. It could be a boss, a colleague, a student, a neighbour, ones spouse or children, ones relatives etc. As soon as we interact with a person, we begin to mentally form a picture and decide what is right about them and what is not. Then, depending on our relationship, we begin to advice them on how they can be a better individual and human being.

At the same time, our reaction to innate objects is quite different. When we know that a vessel is hot, we take care while holding it and consciously avoid contact. Similarly, we approach a rose bush cautiously to avoid getting a prick from its thorns. It would be considered really foolish for someone to try and strip or snip off all the thorns of a rose bush.

Why can't we use the same approach while dealing with people? Can we not accept people as they are and adjust ourselves while dealing with them? Can we not stop judging them or blaming them for the way they are? Is it not easier to change ourselves than trying to change others?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Be truthful always

All of us are taught this basic value very early in our lives. Our parents and teachers stressed on the need and importance of being truthful. Some of us were even punished for deviating from the path. And, although we know this value well and even preach it to and expect it from others, we sometimes indulge in falsehood. In today’s world, there are very rare people who show a strong commitment to truth. Most of us lie without batting an eyelid.

Why do we lie? If we think deeply the reasons for lying are not many. It is mostly prompted by a sense of selfishness and a desire for obtaining something that we would otherwise lose. Some of the major reasons for us to lie are given below:
a. We lie to cover up our mistakes / failures / dishonesty
b. We lie to mislead others whom we distrust
c. We lie to protect ourselves
d. We lie to realise our desires
e. We lie for fun

Every lie that we utter adds to the negative Karma that we accumulate. Not only will lies boomerang on us but we will need to use more lies to cover previous ones. When we do get caught, as we eventually will, we stand to lose a lot in terms of trust and credibility. On the other hand, we will derive a lot of spiritual strength by resorting to truthfulness. It will form a protective sheath around us. We can overcome fear with truth.

If there is a strong will to be truthful it can easily be achieved. It starts with a deep sense of commitment to living a life of truth. We can overcome the urge to utter falsehood if:
a. We lead an honest and upright life
b. We seek nothing and accept everything
c. We have absolute trust and faith in God

Resolve now to be truthful henceforth!!

Austerity of speech consists of speaking truthfully and beneficially and in avoiding speech that offends
- Bhagavad Gita

Only sacred thoughts can lead to sacred speech. The tongue has been given to man to speak the truth, to be sweet to others, to praise the Divine and enjoy bliss from such sacred speech
– Lord Buddha

Always tell the truth. Then you'll never have to remember what you said the last time.
- Sam Rayburn

It does not require many words to speak the truth.
- Chief Joseph