Friday, February 25, 2011

Failure just an idea

There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just an idea just as success is a stupid idea. Instead of trying to change the world, change the idea. If you just change that, everything is just great.

If you were a beggar on the street, and if you could walk into the restaurant and eat a masala dosa, this would be the height of your success! So you've gotten trapped in social situations and this idea of success is not even your idea, why am I crediting you with this? Every idea, thought, emotion or value that you have is picked up from somewhere and it rules you from within. Your religion, your society and your culture have trained you to believe that this is it.

Don't become a slave to somebody's idea; that is the first and foremost success.

Success and failure is not in the volumes of money flowing into your life; success and failure is not dependent upon the recognition that you find in the world.

You are successful with life if you know how to walk with joy even through hell.

For one who is seeing this life as a stepping stone for a larger possibility, for him there is no failure. For one who is looking at the simple events of this life itself as the goal of life, for him there is failure and success. Various situations in your life can either be used to make yourself stronger and better or you can sit and cry. This is the choice you have.

Everything it doesn't matter what happens, even the most horrific event in your life can also be used for your growth and your well-being.

The small events of your life --your business, your marriage, your children and a hundred other things are just a stepping stone. It is entirely up to you whether you go with them or without them. You may be a sanyasi or in samsara, but your goal has to be `mukthi'. Only that defines your success or failure

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Invoke the warrior

Two words that I hate thinking about are `impossible' and `procrastination.' While the first makes you a cynic and a pessimist, the second leads you to the wrong side of the action likely to be taken up.

But when I came across a chapter on `What is Holding You Back?' in a book `Redesign Your Life' by Andrea Molloy, I was keen to know more about procrastination as a factor in marring one's life. The book entices you into reading it by promising that it would help you begin a life of greater power and energy.

The word procrastination has been used several times only to bring home the point how it could be so deadly.
Actually, most of us tend to procrastinate whenever we are faced with a challenging task. The weaker part and the easier-going self want to be always in the “avoid mode“, but then we regret later having missed a great chance of doing a good job.

What does one need to cast aside this trait and get into a “doing“ mode? Of course, you would say, will power and a realisation of what would happen if you put it off for some other day, maybe, as you say, a good day. But the thing is that tomorrow, to use a cliche, will never come. It has a tendency of keeping itself giving many tomorrows!

Molloy has several points to `beat' procrastination: Before you say `go', you must gather all kinds of information, materials etc. needed to work out the task; Focus only on one thing to avoid any kind of distraction; Imagine how you would feel when you have achieved your goal; To begin with, work on smaller things so that your interest is not killed right at the beginning; Think of other and more interesting ways to finish up the job; Share your goal with friends so that you get better ideas.

If these don't work, you have not yet lost a chance.

Procrastinate (!) for a fixed period and resume with new ideas and new zeal of a warrior. Think that you are in war and winning it is your only chance to stay alive!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Let the ego die

“You shall get nothing from me until you die“, said the Sufi mystic. Kabir described the concept beautifully.

ye to ghar hai prem ka, khala ka ghar naahi; shish utare bhui dhare ta par under jaahi' (This is the house of love, not one's familiar house. Cut off your head and then alone can you enter).

They all speak of death, but this is not physical death. The death they speak of is the death of ego, death of the individual self. Because, till the ego remains, the dual identity remains and it will not be possible to be one with the divine.

Ego is the barrier that stands in the way of acceptance and surrender. Therefore, the need to emphasise the concept of death.

Ego and the mind is the twin doubting Thomases, with logic and analysis their army. They raise doubts.

They seek refuse in weighing pro and con and lead ultimately to a calculating wavering personality.

Sansyatma vinashyati“, said Lord Krishna, when he found Arjun's mind waver and get into the web of logic ,which made him forget that he was in the battlefield to fight a decisive battle and not ponder over the consequences of the battle.

The battle did not come accidentally. It came after all alternatives had been exhausted. Then why did he suddenly develop cold feet?

The reason is his ego trying to assert itself and use immature logic when action was required. And, when he unconditionally surrendered to the Lord, his doubts vanished. This is a classical case of “death' of the ego and the . quarrelsome mind.

Sanyasins wear ochre.

This symbolises that the ego, the mind and the individual self have all been consigned to the flames, and what remains is the openness of the vast vista, which can be filled with the experience of the divine. A most noble “death“ indeed. But only a genuine look within and sincere effort and humility can one get to that stage and be in bliss forever.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Say Bye to Guilt

Guilt has a purpose. A little bit of guilt is good. It does not allow you to get into a cycle of actions that are not good for you and for others. When such an action happens, the guilt in you acts like a brake for you not to continue with the act. However, guilt is good in the right amount and only for that period of that time. If it goes beyond a limit, it eats you like a termite. If you are stuck in guilt, your mind cannot blossom; you cannot rise above.

So, you need 'skill' to get out of your guilt. But at the same time, not totally remove it from the system till you realise that you are not the doer but the total light, the wisdom, the self. Until that blossoming, a little bit of guilt serves you.

To bring about that balance, we have spiritual practices, surrendering to the divine, and faith in the higher power and self. Go into the soul, "Satchidananda"- true, blissful, the consciousness.

Let go of the event which has gone and left its shadow in the consciousness but take this sankalpa (resolution) that you will not do this action in the future.

Your very wish to repent has solved the purpose. This wish is an indication that your intellect is getting matured. Otherwise, you would not have been aware of your wrong actions.

You are innocent in the present moment. That person who did a mistake has packed off his suitcase and gone. Now inside you is a new person.

Start believing in the innocence of the present moment where the YOU in you is innocent.

Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, "I will relieve you from your sins. You just surrender. Then it's my responsibility to take care of your sins. Don't worry. Drop all that you are holding onto. Drop even your dharma."

Instead, people try to get rid of their sins. The Divine will relieve you of your sins. All that you need to do is to let go of everything you are holding on to.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A step Ahead

How can we assess ourselves whether we are moving in the direction of our dreams, growing spiritually or stagnating? I put this question to enlightened persons and also tried to find an answer in books. When asked, a spiritual person said,“Do you think of God more often than you did earlier?“ In one of his books, Swami Sivananda gives this test for assessment: An unruffled state of mind, ability to do difficult work, cheerfulness, inner strength and fearlessness are some of the signs that the `will' is growing.

We can devise a simple test based on chapter 3 of the Gita and ask ourselves,“Is my mind relatively free from lust and hatred? Can I do some work, read, write or meditate more easily now?“ The task of monitoring progress is easier if we keep a diary. Or we can rely on our memory. Though different religions broadly suggest what should be the purpose of life, we have to set our own goals based on our temperament and circumstances.

Mahatma Gandhi suggested that we ought to have limited worldly ambitions but limitless spiritual aspirations. The goal of life is self-realisation, he said. For a Buddhist, it is enlightenment. For a Christian, it is falling in love with Jesus. Other religions too prescribe similar goals.

We can ask how much time we spend on our cherished activities and how much time we waste.
Some of the milestones in our growth can be the times in our life when we take important decisions like improving our diet, going for regular walks, reading good books, keeping a journal, learning to meditate or giving up smoking, drinking and drugs.

A decision to do our work more sincerely is also a milestone in our spiritual progress. One of the factors that checked my growth was the fact that I learnt the importance of work quite late in life, when I was nearly 30. I wish I had realised it in my college days, but better late than never!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

7 Ways to fix your crumbling marriage

Alisa Bowman, in her new book, ''Project: Happily Ever After,'' offers advice and tips to other ''miserably-married'' couples who may be finding themselves at the point of no return, reports FoxNews .

1. Look in the mirror. We always initially thought that our partner was 100 per cent to blame for our marriage problems. It wasn't until we took a good, hard, humbling look in the mirror that we were able to see that our problems originated with me. we'd failed time and time again to tell him/her what I wanted, what I was thinking, how I felt, and how his actions (or inactions) affected me. Once I started speaking up for myself, our marriage improved.

2. Drop the idea of fairness in favour of the idea of happiness. What it takes to improve a marriage isn't always fair. You might have to be the big person most of the time. You might have to make the first (or 100th) move to warm up your marriage, be more affectionate, or keep things civil.

3. Become a problem solver, not just voice it. Shift from complaining about what's wrong to doing something about it. Marital problems are no different from any other life problem. Attack them with an open mind.

4. Stop stockpiling old grievances . Fight about current issues. Forgive the old ones. Many people use the words "I can't" when talking about forgiveness, as in, "I can't bring myself to do it." But you probably can. Forgiveness is a decision. When you feel like you can't forgive, it's because you are holding onto the old hurt as if it were a precious jewel, and you are afraid to let it go.

5. Be adventurous in the bedroom. Most of us have learned how to have sex somewhat accidentally. As a result, we end up relying on a small number of techniques that we use over and over again. This, however, leads to sexual burnout. Pretend you are 16 again and that you know nothing about how to please a man or a woman. Learn everything you can, and ask your partner to do the same. Explore the art of the hand job. Find out more about oral sex. See if there are new positions you might want to try.

6. Focus on foreplay, not on anti-play. Think of foreplay as everything that gets you warmed up about your spouse. It includes compliments, thank you's, favours, hugs, physical intimacy, skin on skin contact, listening, and support. Think of Anti-Play as everything that turns you off: sarcasm, henpecking, ignoring, putting things off, slacking while you are hard at work, criticism, and more. The more your practice foreplay and the less you practice anti-play, the happier your marriage will become.

7. Communicate assertively, without blame. Don't brace for a fight. Just ask for what you need, and do it in as few sentences as possible. Do it as warmly as possible, too.

Stay in love to stay healthy

Is love powerful enough to lower one's blood pressure, reduce depression and speed the healing of an injury? Well, science says, yes it is!
"Our relationships help us cope with stress, so if we have someone we can turn to for emotional support or advice, that can buffer the negative effects of stress," the Washington Post quoted Julianne Holt-Lunstad, of the Brigham Young University, as saying.

Holt-Lunstad's study found that happily married people have lower blood pressure than unmarried people. But unhappily married people have higher blood pressure than both groups.

So, when it comes to blood pressure, at least, you're probably better off alone than in a troubled marriage.

Loving spouses tend to encourage preventive care, reinforce healthy behaviors such as exercise and flossing, and dissuade unhealthy ones, such as heavy drinking, according to many studies.

Romantic relationships also can provide a sense of meaning and purpose in life that can translate to better self-care and less risk taking, said Holt-Lunstad.

Arthur Aron, a social psychologist at Stony Brook University in New York, does brain scans with fMRI machines of people at various stages of the romantic journey: newly in love, in long-term relationships and recently rejected.

In his studies, Aron has consistently found that feelings of love trigger the brain's dopamine-reward system. Dopamine is a powerful neurotransmitter that affects pleasure and motivation.

Hugging and hand-holding, meanwhile, have been found to release the hormone oxytocin, which lowers the levels of stress hormones in the body, reducing blood pressure, improving mood and increasing tolerance for pain, according to research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

If being in love makes you happy, it may also have another welcome health benefit: fewer colds.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh found that those who tended to experience positive emotions such as happy, pleased and relaxed were more resistant to the common cold than those who felt anxious, hostile or depressed.

A happy marriage may also speed the rate that wounds heal, according to a 2005 study at Ohio State University. It found that a married couple's 30-minute positive, supportive discussion sped up their bodies' ability to recover from an injury by at least one day.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Managing tension

Today people are going through various kinds of stress and tension. It is a new name that we have given.
What we call as stress and tension, in ancient times they used to call this ignorance.

There is also a lot of talk about managing your stress and tension. Why would you want to manage stress? I can understand you want to manage your property, business, family but why would you want to manage your stress?

Stress is happening to you not because of the work that you are doing. Stress is happening to you because of your inability to manage your own systems properly. Your work is not tension, your work is not stressed; it is your inability to keep your system, your body, mind, your energy and your emotions in a certain way. It is your inability to keep yourself in a certain level of comfort and wellbeing.

So, what we are referring to as meditation is not only a remedy for this, it is also an opportunity for a person to move into a dimension where there is no such thing as stress within you. As I said, this stress is something that we used to call ignorance ages ago. So, if you your body, your mind, your energies and your emotions to a certain level of maturity, meditation will naturally happen.

It is just like if you keep the soil fertile, if you give it the necessary manure and water and if the right kind of seed is there, it will grow and bloom into flowers and fruits.

Flowers and fruits will come out of a plant, not because you want it, simply because you created the necessary conducive atmosphere.

Similarly, if you create the necessary atmosphere within yourself, on all the four dimensions of who you are, in terms of your physical body, your mind, your energy and your emotion, then meditation will naturally flower within you. It's a certain fragrance that one can enjoy within oneself.

Friday, February 4, 2011

कोशिश करने वालों की हार नहीं होती.

लहरों से डरकर नौका पर नहीं होती,
कोशिश करने वालों की हार नहीं होती 

नन्ही चींटी जब दाना लेकर चलती है
चढ़ती दीवारों पर,  सौ बार फिसलती है.
मन का विश्वास रगों में साहस भरता है,
चढ़कर गिरना, गिरकर चढ़ना ना अखरता है.
आखिर उसकी मेहनत बेकार नहीं होती,
कोशिश करने वालों की हार नहीं होती.

डुबकियाँ सिन्धु में गोताखोर लगता है,
जा जा कर खाली हाथ लौटकर आता है
मिलते नहीं सहज ही मोती गहरे पानी में,
बढ़ता दुगना उत्साह इसी हैरानी में.
मुठी उसकी खाली हर बार नहीं होती,
कोशिश करने वालों की हार नहीं होती.

असफलता एक चुनौती है, इसे स्वीकार करो,
क्या कमी रह गयी, देखो और सुधार करो.
जब तक ना सफल हो, नींद चैन को त्यागो तुम,
संघर्ष का मैदान छोड़कर मत भागो तुम.
कुछ किये बिना ही जय जैकार नहीं होती,
कोशिश करने वालों की हार नहीं होती.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Resources are enough, just utilise them

In this fast forward life, where we press the button `Play' once, we forget to put it on a small pause. We forget to realise that life is too short and we cannot ask for the extension of our days here.
So, won't it be worthwhile if we sustain ourselves with the resources that we are bestowed with. Two days ago, my mother told me something that struck my mind.
She asked why we have two ears and two eyes and just one mouth. I found it a little humorous as she explained that God had a design. He gave us two ears to listen more and two eyes to see more. He gave us one mouth to speak less. The point is that he has given us the resources that one needs to be a gracious person. If we listen more to what people say and if we see more to gain a refined experience and speak less when and what is required, won't we be more successful in creating a better world?
Life is small, and we have to insert our best part and participate with the best utilisation of the resources that God has provided us with. Most of us fail in achieving our goals or end up hurting people. The reason is that we use our mouth most often. Ask yourself what is the fun in giving the ears a rest. They are born to listen as much as they can.
The eyes play a more essential role than just seeing. They are responsible to see and then revise what you saw and that marks the level and the strength of your experiences. A rich man isn't the one who has a whole book of currency notes, he is the one who is enriched enough to make an honest utilisation of his resources and senses.
So, let us make an effort to take out a little time from the ever busy everyday routine and create a change by noticing the need for the little things that go unnoticed every day.