A man is not miserable. But he thinks that he is miserable and surrounded by miseries. He has endowed happiness but he has been conditioned to be unhappy as he has been conditioned to succeed others in a rat race of a lifetime. To succeed and do better than what others are doing, he becomes poorer by what he seeks. He seeks to succeed, be rich, powerful, and positioned on a big seat. So he stands in a long queue all his life trying to outpace others that make him miserable as others have already reached where he wants to reach.
You are happy but if you think that somebody has built a bigger business or assumed a better position than you that can make you miserable as you still haven’t had that. You want to collect a lot of things around you and these things define you. Man lives in the world of things. Your possessions are your definitions and reflections of your own self. In fact, man lives in a dilemma. He wants to retain things because in things he finds certainty. A thing that he has now will certainly be there tomorrow. He becomes master of these things. It is said that a bird in the hand is better than the two in the bush as a bird in the hand cannot fly it is a certainty. You turn bird in hand into a thing. But birds in the bush may fly away. That’s the dilemma as man is not a thing. You turn people into things too like your spouse, family, and friends.
The moment you define something, it becomes a thing. Lao Tzu has said that every word is a lie. So every written or spoken word is essentially a lie as the definition is never defined. Even what you call things are also not dead things. Things are constantly changing. Things are utilitarian but your presence and your sense of ownership turn them into things. You call them your things. Things are independent things. Things are also beings. Buddha has said that ‘one day every stone will become a being.’ Remember things don’t endorse your slavery but you perceive them under your slavery. They are simply things in existence as free as anything or being. They are not aware of being slaves to you but you are aware of you being their ruler. Beyond words, you can turn things into independent beings that is what is meant by being one with existence.
Humans can communicate in words spoken and written. Well-known linguist Noam Chomsky has said that ‘language structure is hardwired in a kind of universal grammar in our brains and our brain is not that blank slate on which experience writes.’ A small child with few words grows up to become a scholar not by experience but just by processing accelerated thoughts. Sigmund Freud has said that ‘people talk as they want to hide something from others.’ Language becomes a tool to hide your real self and it does not let you reveal what you actually are. In silence, you run the risk of revealing what you are. If language goes away, all your possessions will get dropped. You cognise things around you and define them in language. The human faculty of language is built up by our needs to cognise things around us for thousands of years.
To say something, the other or opposite is needed. Human languages define everything in relation to others. Like if we say what is God, we need to define God by probably something that is anti-God or demon. In fact, language is the progenitor of lies and our miseries because to define something we have to use the opposite but things are not opposite. They are relative. For example, to define health, we say when there is no disease. Health is defined by a disease and are relative. Only a healthy can be diseased. It is two points of the same thing. Like day and night. The night is there because of day and the day is there because of night. The day comes when the night ends and the night ends when the day dawns. Happiness is defined by misery. Without misery, happiness has no meaning. Summer and winter are two points of the same thing. A child and an old man are not the opposite but the child becomes old. Sound and silence are not opposite but one relative occurrence. In sound, silence comes and in silence sound emanates. Rule and chaos are not opposite they are two points of the same thing. Language limits things rigidly, it gives definition and name to things to divide them.
Therefore, Lao Tazu calls words lies. Someone went to Sheikh Farid and asked him, “what is truth?” Farid told him that “truth cannot be said but can be felt. It can only be felt when you want to feel it.” To receive truth from the one who can escort you there without language. To know about God, language is needed. All religions call God as One. But what is One? Two is needed. Hindus, therefore, use the word advaita to talk about one which means ‘that which is not two’.
Your whole life is just words and thoughts. Even your God is your thought. Buddha said that ‘whatever I say that I don’t say about what That-Which-Is is because that cannot be said in words.’ Further, he said that ‘I say it as at least I would be able to take you there from where you can reach a stage where you can reach nearest to the point where That-Which-Is is. So you can immerse into it and be it.’
Mind is ignorant. Words have no meaning. We have imputed meanings on words and made them loaded with meanings. Obviously, imputed meanings are not loaded with the truth. If imputed meanings are lost and we saw the truth as naked truth we will be surprised. Human languages are not that different than computer languages like words and meanings are imputed on binary digits and retrieved as an extension of human language. The human mind works as a language computer.
Language is a mathematic comprehension that man has built through logic. Therefore, one is not able to know God by thoughts. Buddha said that ‘every thought will become a thing.’ Truth is as big as existence, and a lie is pedalled as truth. Language is a great tool to strengthen your ego because in disguise of truth it pedals lies. In fact, your self-consciousness is your ego. I am is the ego. When I-ness gets dropped and ‘am-ness’ remains that brings you to your being. Ego is a wound. You are living in a wound. This wound needs to be healed. When ‘am-ness’ dawns, you will be like oceans of this earth with no boundaries, Hindus call it Brahma. In that ‘am-ness’ you become one with existence and in that epiphany, That-Which-Is is revealed to you.
Existence is one. Existence is limitless. The universe does not end anywhere. That-Which-Is is One and not two. The universe is expanding and will always remain unknowable to man and that’s why Hindus call it Brahma.
The author is a spiritual teacher and advisor on policy, governance and leadership. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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TO DEAL WITH CHALLENGES, THINK RIGHT
When there is a tragedy in the family, such as the loss of a loved one, many people are bewildered as to how to deal with the emotions that come up. They wonder how they can be positive in that situation. What does positive thinking mean? It is not thinking about nice things. There are times when nothing seems nice in our life. Positive thinking is thinking right. Knowing how to think right in every situation helps to keep our state of mind good. The vibrations radiating from us then create a strong, supportive environment.
Most people do not pay much attention to their thoughts. They think thoughts occur inside the mind, invisible to others, and they have no practical impact. But thoughts subtly shape our life. Our attention is usually focused on the evident aspects of life, such as physical health, relationships, work, and finances. Taking care of the mind is rarely on our list of priorities. As a result, emotional wounds accumulate in the mind. But since we cannot see them, and neither can others, we do not bother to deal with them.
Another reason why we neglect the mind is that we do not recognise its importance. We think that once everything in our life is taken care of, the mind will automatically be well, and we will be happy. We have heard the saying that one who masters his mind succeeds. But we live the other way round – we try to master everything else in the belief that it will bring us peace of mind. Our thoughts create our world; it is not the world that creates our thoughts. This is another equation we get wrong, because of which we ignore our thoughts. The Covid pandemic has taught us that we need to keep both body and mind strong. Thinking right helps not just during a pandemic, but in every situation.
We can start with thinking right about past incidents that have caused hurt, particularly if we are holding on to the pain. To have a healthy mind is essential to heal old wounds. It helps to remember that our thoughts are like seeds, and the external aspects of our life are the branches and leaves that have sprung from them. When we walk into a garden, we admire the colour and fragrance of the flowers; no one takes note of the seeds buried in the soil, away from sight. The same happens in our life. We compliment people on their looks, their job, their house, and everyone likes such appreciation. So, we too focus on what others appreciate, neglecting the seeds.
Over time, this neglect begins to tell on us. First, it shows in our health. Every thought we create triggers biochemical processes that have an effect on the body. When we hold on to past hurts, guilt, anger or hatred for someone, all that emotional energy does not remain confined to the mind. It affects our feelings, which determine our mental health. Then it impacts on our physical health. Most diseases are psychosomatic – they are caused or aggravated by mental factors such as internal conflict and stress. We may incorporate all the right things into our lifestyle, but if we do not change the way we think, speak and behave, the mental roots of disease will remain, and grow, gradually producing illness.
The third aspect of life affected by our thoughts and feelings is relationships. Each thought carries some energy, which radiates from us in the form of subtle vibrations. Others can sense the vibrations and get an idea of our thinking and feelings and they will respond to that. The right kind of thoughts create an atmosphere conducive to cordial relationships. They lay the subtle foundation for a healthy and happy life, enabling us to deal successfully with any situation and help others do the same.
B.K. Shivani is a well-known motivational speaker and Rajyoga teacher.
WHAT MAKES GOD HAPPY?
God does so much, yet He is beyond the feeling of doing. He does not think, yet still you can say that He thinks. That is His wonderful personality. We cannot become God, because His part is unique. But as His children, we can become like Him. And this is all God wants us to do.
God is very happy to see us making the effort to become like Him. When we are not making this effort, He does not like it at all. This is because He is not just our Mother and Father, but He is our Teacher as well. A teacher is never happy when the students do not study well.
God has given us understanding, made us belong to Him and is sustaining us in such a way that we are becoming like Him. Of course, there is a great difference between the Supreme Soul and other souls, but still it is not difficult to become like Him.
The more we can become like God and serve, the more we can become truly accurate instruments for His task. Then we can enjoy His company even more.
God wants us to become like Him, and we want to become like God, so the desire of both parties is being fulfilled.
Living life in a worthwhile way
“Time is saying to me: Live and make the most of every moment.”
– The late Dadi Janki
Do we know how to appreciate the things that we have in our life? How much do we take for granted?
Just stop for a moment and ask yourself: How much is your body worth? How much are you worth as a person? What is the value of your time? Do you know how much your smile is worth? When you look at all these assets that you have and that sometimes you neglect to appreciate, you will then realise that you are not poor at all.
So, when we come to measure the value of things in our life, we are the ones that will put a price tag on them, not others. How much value we put on something depends on how important that thing is to us. And if we really value something, then we will be mindful of how we use that thing and we will take care not to misuse it.
Spiritual economy is not simply about saving the pennies, but more about how we are putting to use all those pennies that we save. In other words, to put to good use all the assets that we have. Even a miser has several assets. A miser is not poor, but the difference between him and the economist is that the economist makes his assets grow for himself and others, whilst the miser keeps them safe in a locker for himself. But the irony is that, often like Scrooge, he neither gets any pleasure from that money and those assets and nor does anyone else.
Economising is not about hoarding for a rainy day. It is not about penny pinching. It is not about false economies, saving a penny and spending a pound kind of a thing. Economising is not avoidance. For example, not going to work in order to save petrol! That is really not sensible!
Economising is about waste, to have the mindset not to waste things and having that respect for Mother Nature. There are so many ways we can make an effort to make savings. It is not just a matter of money. There are the practical things such as water, food and light, fuel and electricity. But then there are also our precious assets such as time, thoughts, the energy of our mind, our breath, and our physical energy expressed through actions. Why do we need to use ten words, when we can use two? Why do we think too much when the decision can be made instantly?
The reason why we try and save our ‘energies’ is so that we can then do the things that we really want to do. So, if we save some time here, we can use it there, doing perhaps what we love to do. That is good budgeting and good economy! But if after we save the time or money or anything else, and we do not use these in a worthwhile way, then we are wasting those precious items.
We are given things in life so that we can create good karma with them. If we waste or misuse them then the karma comes back to us, and we run into a loss every time. Our lovely planet provides enough for every one of us. But how much do we use wisely and well, and how much do we waste? When we learn to be respectful and economical with the resources that we have, it will mean that everyone can live happily and harmoniously together.
As Oscar Wilde famously said, and we would do well not to forget his words and take care not to become someone who ‘…knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing….’
Courtesy of itstimetomeditate.org
Aruna Ladva is an author and the director of Rajyoga meditation centres in Kuwait and Egypt.
WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE GOOD WISHES
Having good wishes for others is one of the cornerstones of a charitable life. But it can be difficult to have good wishes for everyone, or at all times. That happens when we lack good wishes for the self. We can give others only what we have. Pure and positive thoughts are prerequisites for wishing others well. This is where spirituality comes in.
Whatever our social or economic status, if we recognise and reflect on the fact that we are souls — spiritual beings who are originally pure, peaceful, and loving — we begin to experience our innate qualities. As this experience fills the soul with purity, peace and love, we are able to share the same with others.
If we look at our circumstances and think, “I am not so good. I keep failing to meet my goals”, such thoughts weaken the soul and hold it back from realising its potential. Instead if we turn our attention inward and tap into the virtues that every soul has, positive thoughts begin to emerge.
Those who make a habit of meditating in this manner are saved from wasteful thinking. Their time is engaged in constructive thoughts, so there is no margin for other kinds of thoughts to arise. Such people automatically become well-wishers for everyone as they are free from thinking ill of others. Since they are upright in character, they tend to see and think of everything in a sanguine way, which is why they have good wishes for everyone. Even when they notice people’s defects, they do not dwell on them or think: ‘This one is always like that anyway’. Instead, they offer them the support of their good wishes and pure feelings.
Wishing others well means giving hope to the hopeless and making the weak strong; it is not being dismissive or contemptuous towards those who have made a mistake or have some shortcoming. It is not enough to just be nice and think well of others. Do we use our resources to serve — with our attitude, feelings, words and behaviour? Or do we busy ourselves with doing a lot by the way of service and at the same time look down on those we serve? Can that be called true service?
Someone who has good wishes helps others forget their weaknesses and inspires them to become better. They would not look at anyone with dislike; they seek to uplift others. Do we serve in this way? This is something worth checking.
B.K. Usha is a Rajyoga teacher at the Brahma Kumaris headquarters in Abu Road, Rajasthan.
TAKE A DEEP BREATH, BE CALM AND STEADY
If your mind is stiff, you are not mentally healthy. To attain a perfect state of health, one has to be mentally calm, steady, and emotionally strong.
O nly a healthy bud can blossom. In the same way, only a healthy being can succeed. So what’s being healthy? If you are feeling rough inside, then you are not healthy; if the mind is stiff and not calm, you are not mentally healthy. When the emotions are rough, you are emotionally not healthy. To attain a perfect state of health, one has to be mentally calm, steady, and emotionally strong.
The state of healthiness has to flow from the innermost of your being to the outermost, and vice versa. That state is called Swasthya in Sanskrit. Swasthya means health. It also means being in one’s Self. Swasthya or health is not just confined to the body and the mind; it has come to you as a gift from the cosmic mind or the ‘Indra’.
Have you noticed this? When you enter a place where a very disturbed and stressed person has spent some time, you start feeling disturbed for no reason even if the stressed person is not around any longer. The same feelings, same thoughts, same emotions come to you.
Similarly, when there is a harmonious vibration like at a place where a Satsang is happening, you feel good. You don’t know why. So feelings are not isolated in one’s body, they are all around. So is the breath. Ditto for the mind, it is in the whole environment because the mind is subtler than the five elements — the earth, water, fire, air and ether. Like if there is a fire somewhere the heat is not just in the fire, it is also radiating throughout the place. Subtler than that is air, which is all over.
So if you are unhappy or depressed, you are not the only one who is feeling it; you are spreading it to the whole environment. A time may come in the future when people will be fined for being depressed because they are creating emotional pollution!
But how can we control this? That is the key question and the answer lies in meditation. The main purpose of meditation, Pranayam and related practices, is that they increase prana or the subtle life energy. Prana is subtler than emotions. When you attend to the subtlest, the gross becomes all right. You handle the breath and the body gains good health. In the ancient days, the prayer has been that let this collective consciousness, the Indra, always bring health and put me back to my Self. Let it always keep me centred, joyful and happy. Let everyone whom I meet bring me back to the Self. This is important because the words that you hear from people around you affect your state of mind. They either give you peace and joy or create a disturbance.
Usually what happens is that, when people say something that creates jealousy, anger, frustration or sadness in us, we think they are responsible. No, we are responsible because we are contributing to the process. We are affected because the mind is not its Self; it is not centred. How can we gain that peace which is unshakeable? Being individually happy is not enough. Our wish should be that whomever we meet be happy and radiate happiness. A frustrated man will create frustration; a jealous person will create jealousy and so on.
You can turn every situation to your advantage. Have you ever thought of this? There are stories in the Puranas of how a saint turned an arrow that was going to hurt someone, into a garland. If somebody is shooting an arrow at you, insulting you, realise that they are doing it because they are miserable. Once you are blossomed from within, you can take any insult and turn it to your advantage.
Realise that they are simply pouring out their stress, tension and anxiety. When people shout or burst out at you, you can only feel good that all that was building up inside them is coming out. I am not saying that we should encourage this tendency or justify it. But when it happens, do not regret it. What do we normally do? We go on regretting and with regret, we commit the same mistake again.
Even when someone commits a mistake, he or she is not the culprit; the stress inside is causing him or her to make that mistake. Once we get rid of the stress inside us, there is no culprit; no one to be forgiven. Then we begin to realise that the whole thing is just a game in which there is no winners or losers. It’s just a play and fun.
The objective is to have that fun in life and make sure that the knowledge that we gain in life permeates inside us. With this, Upanishad happens and the learning process begins. As we learn more about life, the mystery of the whole creation unfolds. Then the question in the mind is, what is the meaning of life and what is its purpose. What is this world, what is love, what is knowledge and so on?
Once these questions arise in you, know that you are very fortunate. These questions need to be understood; you cannot find the answers in books. You have to live through them and witness the transformation. That is perfect health; you are transformed from within. And the bud becomes a totally blossomed flower.
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a humanitarian leader, spiritual teacher and an ambassador of peace.
YOU ARE NOT YOUR MATHEMATICAL COMPREHENSION
The human mind wreaks time. We think in terms of time. We think that time is not passing or time is passing fast. The sense of time that is ahead of us and the sense of time that we passed lend us an artificial cognition and we perceive this artificiality as the truth of life. Therefore we say that time is all-powerful and time is the truth.
Krishna in Gita has said that I am the time to denote that the time which is human comprehension which has penetrated deep into our cognition is within Him. That which is time exists in the mind. In existence, that which is time exists like existence. Things are changing around you. Seasons birth new seasons. Seeds birth trees and trees birth flowers and seeds. Everything is changing around you. Water is gushing down fast in rivers to birth into the sea. Water is gushing fast because it wants to birth into a vapour that will birth icebergs. The human body is changing every moment. Old cells birth new cells in the colony of 90 trillion cells. Days birth nights and nights birth days. Everything is changing around you.
The predicament of mankind is that man wants to know ‘how much’ time-change. This sense of measuring ‘how much’ time is practically useful to be more organised so you make good use of it. But it is not necessary for your existence. You simply exist and the sense of measurement of time is not necessary for living your life. You exist in existence because existence exists in you. Existence is the truth in which you exist. Measurement of time that how much do we exist has gripped us.
We think about how much life we have. How much life is left? All this is interpretation in terms of time. This type of interpretation breeds death in us. Our mind is nothing but an interpretation of time. This body anyway is going to birth a new body. Like one lived 70 years that is only a measurement of time by human comprehension.
In fact, we live in infinity and eternity. Our sense of measurement of time lends us an understanding of ‘that much’ time we lived. We ruin our eternal life. We ruin our life that exists like existence and that is in our hands to live right now. Instead of living an eternal life that is in our hands right now we constantly live in the darkness of time. This mathematics of time is simply a mathematical artificiality. We comprehended time we invented time and we have mired ourselves in manipulability of time. Time is a piece of information. Life is not a piece of information. Life is being here and now in the being-ness of your being. Life is not a scale of time.
The scale of time has lent humans the dimension of science and mathematics has lent us comprehend the world better. We cognise the world in a certain way. Animals don’t cognise the world in that way. The ones who evolved a better sense of listening cognise it differently whereas those who evolved a better sense of seeing cognise the world differently. When our eyes see an object, say a rectangular object, our ability to cognise that object as rectangular depends on the light thrown on that object. When we see that object, that rectangular object projects an elliptical shape on the retina in the egg-shaped eyes. How does an elliptical shape project on the retina make us assume or decipher that the object is rectangular?
Science thinks in terms of time. Science cannot explain how does vision that according to science leads us to an assumption of the object, our mind assumes it to be rectangular. Science cannot explain how does vision that is a projection of an image on the retina leads to instant understanding. This is the biggest riddle that AI scientists face. But when one sees an object say a flower one instantly becomes one with the flower. He can dive into that flower-ness of being. No time is needed. Time is needed to calculate.
We live timelessly and we are timeless. Our minds caused time. Mind is time. Time is mind. Mind is confronted with psychological a disease that is time. The common problem of time is anxiety. Anomalous perception of time that has deep entered into our mind has lent us the situation of neurosis.
When you are alone, you feel more anxious. You need somebody immediately. A sense of time is necessary to organise things and activities around you. That daily you work out for an hour or you picked up a particular work for four hours. So to organise that won’t keep doing it for more, time may be utilised.
In reality, that sense of time that is utilitarian is biologically present in your mind already. When you ask yourself that you have to do particular work for an hour, the biological clock in your pineal gland makes you stop exactly after an hour. We have invented chronological time for our utility. We have made Sundays, that is holiday and Saturdays weekend when youngsters party. We have made a day at the end of the year to say goodbye to the year and to welcome the New Year.
In fact that we call the moment that is where the illusion begins. We generally say, ‘live in the moment’. We live in the moment. Then we say we live next moment also. That fabricates chronological time. But that we call ‘now’ is the now-ness. We live in now-ness. In Hindi the word ‘Now’ is a boat and in English ‘Now’ is also a boat that takes us beyond. We have to live in now. And keep living in now. In that now nothing comes next. Anything that comes next is psychological and the mind.
You may keep sitting for hours, days turn nights. You may keep on sitting. But we have organised our bodies as such that it sleeps in the night. It is spontaneous. The next day we wake up and go to the office. It keeps happening. This continuity has an infinite continuum. The world is ephemeral but that which is infinitely eternal is what we are.
Time is nothing but a sense of time that is bred in us as the mind. Time is psychological. It is not anything that happens in eternity. You happen in eternity and unhappen in eternity. You are eternal and you exist in eternity. And you keep existing in eternity. And you keep living in that eternity. Your life is eternal. All else is mathematics. You are not your mathematical comprehension. You don’t exist because of your comprehension. You comprehend mathematically because of that being that infinite eternal and timeless. Time is not the truth but that which is the truth is timeless. Nanak has said Satnam — thy name is the truth that is Akal which means timeless.
The author is a spiritual teacher. He can be contacted at email@example.com
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