Thoughts in motion

Hello readers,

I hope you all had a great week. It’s been a week since I last wrote and I know a good deal of you must have missed my blog. I do apologize to those who came but found no content to read. Last week came with its own set of lessons and all I can say is I am grateful.

My partner and I had a road trip right after a festival of chariot and even though we have done the same route many times before, this time the challenges were different. I  have learnt so much in the last week that I feel obliged to share it with all of you. To be honest, sometimes we may be in a very trying situation with a lot of learning opportunities but if we fail to immerse ourselves into the experience given, we will not be able to fully grasp the message being conveyed.

In the face of disappointment, we are quick to judge, blame, and even give up. This is what I refer to as the “reactionary attitude”. Something goes bad, we act accordingly. There is no time for reflection, or time for us to evaluate the situation and then come up with a strategy. Over the weekend I can remember being in a situation whereby my partner and I had some not so good feedback and in the moment because I was carried away by her disposition to the situation, I also lost track of mine. My thinking ability had temporarily shut down and I was at the mercy of my subconscious memory. I was going through the physical motions of moving but my mind and heart were not in proper unison.

Another scenario had presented where I needed to exercise tranquility and remove myself from whatever was happening. I had being able to control my emotions and not act on impulse and the end results was great. It goes without saying that to whom much is given much is expected. Anytime we fall short in a situation we need to ask ourselves; are we utilizing all the resources we have in order to win this war over matter and the mind. It seems to me that we are in a constant tussle between matter and spirit. At some point we are in tune with our energies and spirit is in control, and at other times we allow our base tendencies to take over.

The struggle is real as a common phrase goes. We have to daily make choices that all add up into weekly choices, monthly choices, yearly choices and lifetime choices. We are a sum and substance of all the choices we have made over time in our lives. Whether we agree to this fact or not, it is a bitter pill to swallow. How do we convince someone going through a difficult time that they are in that situation due to choices they have made. The truth is we don’t. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion and as such most people learn by repeated and failed experience. There is the popular phrase “experience is the best teacher”. I used to quote that a lot as a teenager and once my Dad said to me “not in every case. In some cases only fools learn by experience. A first class human being (or intelligent person) learns by hearing from authorities on a subject matter or by the experience of others.”

I have always reflected on his phrase. There are some things I have been through a couple times and I ask myself; am I being a first class human in this situation or a third class human being. (This is someone who even though he has lived an experience still doesn’t learn and repeats the same mistake). There are other times when I have an experience once and I vow to myself never again to relive it. In effect what am I saying; life does get to us most of the time. The other part when we think we are outsmarting life, it is just a break. I don’t want to sound pessimistic or come off as one dealing with issues, I just wanted to share these random thoughts that were circulating in my head.

Another good analogy for life and its distractions is; travelling on the highway. When we travel interstate, we pass many exits. Each exit has its own attraction; food, gas, hotel, etc. However we do not get off at every exit. We keep driving until we need to either rest, refuel or eat. We won’t be able to arrive at our destination if we took every exit we saw. In fact we would never begin the journey if we took the very first exit that we saw. This will take us totally off track and if somehow or the other we got back on track and took another exit again, we would be off track again. In essence what I am trying to say is, it is always handy to have focus and direction in life. This becomes like a compass for us.

There will be times when we might need to pull over from the journey of life to take a quick break but we wont be off track. We still have the goal and our GPS will be our values. They will point us in the direction we feel is most important to us. Just like the regular GPS, it is just a guide to get us to our destination. Our values will always be our GPS, if someone is morally bankrupt or deficient then we can compare that to a GPS that is not up to date. If we hold others to our own values, we will be compared to someone who wants other drivers to follow his own GPS. Everyone has their own journey, we may journey together for a while but never entirely together.

After all said and done, we want to be able to look back and be grateful for the gift of life, the gift of good health, and the gift of basic amenities that we take for granted. To those who wake up everyday with the zeal of a hunting Lion, I say all the best and see you all at work on Monday.

Till next week do follow for more. Read, like and share with others.

Victim Mentality

Dear readers,

I hope you all are faring well. It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all yet another exciting blog today. Compliments of the season! Today I just want to discuss something more of a realization, one I guess you all must be familiar with. This is the concept of responsibility and victim mentality. We must have been in conversations where either we or someone was expressing how they were a victim of certain circumstances or actions of someone else when really the opposite was the case.

It is somewhat ironical that we are quick to tell others to “Man-up” and take responsibility for their actions but refuse to apply the same energy when it pertains to us. Having the privilege to travel the world is a great opportunity that allows one to learn a lot from other people and culture, it is one that also exposes us to different ways of thinking of people in general. In my travels around the world, I have met with a lot of people and I have been amazed at how they all handle different situations. In as much as some of you may beg to differ, I can say in some way shape or form our environment, and upbringing has a lot to do with how we respond to certain issues in our life. 

Those who are raised in an environment where people are taught to take responsibility for their action, often deal better with situations in their own lives and do not try to pass the buck unnecessarily. On the other hand, those who are raised in an environment where everyone plays the victim and scream at others, at how they have been treated unfairly, almost never grow out of that mentality. They act rashly and without reason, and when checked, they are quick to play the victim and complain about how tough their life has been. Truth be told, yes there are situations where people have been disenfranchised in some way, form or manner. However, some people cling on to this narrative as if their existence depended on it. So basically what is the thought process of someone who takes responsibility for their actions as opposed to someone who plays the victim?

  • The victim always has a story while the responsible fellow always has a lesson. When something happens, those who accept responsibility for their actions take a leaf and learn a lesson while moving on smarter. Those who play the victim use it as an excuse to further indulge in their victim mentality.  
  • The victim repeats the same activities that make them “victims” while those who take responsibility step away from any activity that takes away their power of discernment. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results.
  • The victim thinks everyone owes them a favor, while those who accept responsibility for their actions don’t wait on favors. The common pitfall of most people who play the victim mentality is that they feel they are entitled to favors because of situations they have been in and will almost always try to prove a point with this. On the other hand, those who take responsibility do not wait for favors, rather they try to make amends to their situations and if a favor comes; fine. if not they are not disturbed.
  • The victim has habits of one who doesn’t strive for growth, while those who accept responsibility for their actions have habits that improve growth. When we take a closer look at how victims live their lives we can see that their daily habits are neither productive nor inspiring even for them. 
  • The victim hardly every shows gratitude except when they are asked to, while those who take responsibility are always beaming with gratitude. The reason is simply that the victim thinks he is “owed” something, no matter what you do for them, they never seem to appreciate. Those who take responsibility for their actions know that gratitude is a strong fort to have in life.
  • The victim thinks that a change in circumstances will take away their “suffering”, while those who take responsibility know that a change in mindset will save you suffering. There is a saying that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. This is a statement that shows to an extent the approach of these two people.  
  • The victim is a spendthrift, while those who take responsibility are better savers. Those who are always in the victim mentality will always find a reason to be lavish with money and feel it is an entitlement they need to have. Those who accept responsibility know that money is a resource that if misused, depletes quickly.
  • The victim feels that happiness comes from how much “stuff” they have, while those who take responsibility for their actions know that happiness comes from within. 
  • The victim makes excuses for their inefficiency while those who take responsibility make amends.
  • The victim feels being regulated is a disturbance while those who take responsibility know that to be successful one has to be regulated in one’s activities.
  • Last but not least, the victim has a “business relationship” with everyone and that also reflects in their relationship with God, while those who take responsibility for their actions have a loving relationship with people and extend that to their relationship with God.  

Since the mindset of a victim is one that is constantly trying to see what they can get out of a situation, they hardly ever turn to God just as an act of fellowship. They remember God when they are in distress and usually they tend to accuse God of being indifferent to their “suffering”. The irony is that even when God makes arrangement for them to grow by putting them in a better situation, they still won’t take advantage of it because they are too busy making excuses.  This concept of playing the victim is not just peculiar to material matters but as we can see, it slowly rubs off on our spirituality and how we handle ourselves as spiritual practitioners.

In a nutshell, if we must grow as viable members of the society and strong spiritual individuals then we must strive to better ourselves by taking responsibility for our actions no matter how small they may seem. I hope this sheds some light on the matter and helps someone out there to make better decisions. Till next week, read, share and follow for more. 

Repeat Lessons and Premonitions

Dear readers,
It is a pleasure to be able to share with you all yet another blog this week. I hope you all are faring well.
In this blog, I’ll like to share with you all a few ideas I have been deliberating for a while. I have shared a blog on something similar in the past, however, I feel this is like a development on the previous blog. A few days ago I was speaking with my Dad and sharing some thoughts and ideas and we he made some interesting remarks about life been a school and how we are meant to learn as we grow.
We laughed at some of the thoughts I had shared and at that moment I actually began to see things in a different light.

There is no gainsaying that nothing teaches us a deeper lesson than the experiences we gather through life and the best way to internalize these lessons is to actually apply them. In my previous blog, I had explained how life had a way of making us repeat certain experiences when we fail to learn and apply what we should have learned from it. The interesting part is that no two people have the exact same experiences and as such, it is almost impossible to copy anyone’s blueprint. We are all the architects of our lives, subject to the laws of nature and our  Karma. The best we can do is make the best of it by choices that are well thought out. In this blog I don’t want to dwell too much on the part of the lessons being repeated, rather I want to speak about the premonitions we all get prior to these lessons and how we sometimes just turn a deaf ear to them. Some of us may call it gut feeling and some may call it intuition but regardless of what we call we can very well agree that it is there to warn us and protect us; most times from our own selves.

Certain lessons are like a boomerang and they won’t stop in their course until we actually get hit really hard. The question usually comes up; how do we know when we are stuck in a looping test situation? How do we know we are meant to learn something from a situation and apply it?
How do we know that even when we may have left such situations we are not going to end up in them again?
To be honest, we don’t really know. What we can guess is that, if somehow or the other we can try to see things in perspective and weigh the pros and cons carefully then maybe we could hope to “escape” the looping effect of certain circumstances. The most painful part of being in a repeat lesson situation is the feeling of being incapable to change the situation even though we may desire to do so. It is similar to the feeling of swimming upstream against currents and trying so hard to forge ahead. The feeling that you know you can do more but at the moment, nature and time don’t afford you that luxury. Then there comes the “tiny voice” in your head to make it all worse; “I told you not to”. Well since I’m all about positivity and sharing light into dark areas of life, I just felt maybe together we can look at how we can get out of such a situation.
My Dad once told me, if you are ever in a critical situation where so many things seem to be going off and you don’t know what to do, then do nothing. I was surprised to hear that, as I was expecting a list of to-dos and strategic planning.

Knowing my Dad as a strategic planner, I was actually a lot more fascinated by his response because he is not someone who is passive. It actually makes more sense now. Repeat lesson situations are due to either our stubbornness or plain refusal to learn from certain given circumstances. Acceptance is usually the first step to take. Just accept the situation and don’t try to fight it. Once we accept a situation, it becomes easier to process it mentally. When we resist it, we only make it worse. With acceptance comes a 25% win for us and in that mental space we can do a lot more. Share your heart with family and loved ones you can trust, this will help lighten you from the inside. A problem
shared is half solved. It is important to do this with family members who understand the importance of confidentiality. In the process of sharing you may get some feedbacks or even advice as to how to navigate the situation. Be open and just listen to everything. When we have some mental peace, we can then go deep inside and come up with a game plan as to how to circumvent the situation, while taking good notes of the lessons
being taught. Work gradually towards achieving this plan while keeping the entire situation in perspective.
Last but not least, pray about everything and ask the Lord for guidance. Many of us will learn so much more from life than we will ever learn from all our University degrees put together. As they say, do not let school interfere with your education.

Fellow spiritual practitioners, I urge you to be strong in these moments for soon we shall overcome. Till next week, read, share and follow for more.

21 lessons from Ramayana

Dear readers,

I hope you all are having a wonderful week. It is a great pleasure to be able to share with you all again yet another inspiring blog this week.

I wanted to post this on Rama Navami however I did another blog instead, so I felt this week would be a nice time. For those of you who are not familiar with the stories from the Vedas, I’ll be sharing 25 lessons today from the Epic story of Ramayana. This is the story of a young prince who is banished to the forest; a night before he is made king, due to the desires of a step mother. I definitely cannot tell the full story here however these lessons are great tips for everyone in life.

Without further ado, I present you 25 life lessons from the Epic Ramayana;

Power of Bad association: It was a known fact that Kaikeyi loved Lord Rama more than her own son, then how did she become so evil. It was due to her association with the maid Mantara.

Attachment to service and not to the position: Lord Ram was willing to become king as a service to Maharaj Dasarath, he was also willing to go to the forest as a service to his father.

Mission of Life should be to vanquish demoniac tendencies in our heart: Lord Rama’s purpose to kill the demons was fulfilled by his banishment to the forest.

Even extreme reversals if taken in the proper spirit will help us fulfill our mission in life: For example the law of gravity is only in effect in the Earth’s sphere and not beyond. So also laws of material nature act only when we are on the level of the modes of material consciousness and not in spiritual consciousness.

Rama or Aaram: A test for every seeker or spiritual practitioner, citizens of Ayodhya wanted to go with Lord Rama to the forest and leave behind the comforts (Aaram) of the city.

Alertness in Spiritual life: Lord Rama leaves the citizens when they are asleep. If one is inattentive or lazy, one will lose taste in Bhakti.

Sometimes saintly people may cause pain to others not to hurt them but to benefit them: Just as a Doctor may cause pain (operation) to cure a patient.

The Supreme Lord is the proprietor: Bharat ruled the kingdom on behalf of Lord Rama, keeping the Lord’s shoes on the throne. We are only caretakers, He is the real proprietor, he gives and can take away. The caretaker must act according to the will of the owner.

Anyone can make a show of greatness: The reversals tests who we really are. When laksmana cuts the nose of the witch demoness Surpanaka, her charming form disappeared and she assumed her real form which was ugly. One’s greatness is tested by one’s ability to tolerate provoking situations.

Bhakti (Sita) cannot be achieved by Deception: Ravana wanted to kidnap Sita by deception but all he got was the Maya Sita or illusory Sita. Greed and Lust never satiates, they lead to arrogance and envy. Attachments create traps and make us suffer. Marichi takes up a golden deer form which Sita develops attachment for. We should always see things through the eyes of the scriptures.  The spider web is very attractive to the fly, but it is also a trap.

Maya knows our weakness: She can make our strength a weakness and then force us to take shelter of learned souls. Ravana uses Sita’s knowledge of sastra to make her disobey Laksmana.

Always stand by what is right: Jatayu’s integrity is forever remembered. Real success is to please the Lord. Jatayu lost his life fighting for Lord Rama but achieved the purpose of life which is to please the Lord.

Patience, determination and enthusiasm:  Shabari was told by her Guru to wait and receive Lord Rama, while the Guru and others ascended to heaven. She waited for years and showed enthusiasm by cleaning the cottage everyday while waiting for the Lord to arrive. She had complete faith in the words of the Guru and waited patiently with determination.

The Lord reveals himself only when he wants: We cannot put a façade before the Lord. Hanuman tries to disguise himself before Lord Rama, but the Lord Knew who he was. The Lord knows us from within, who we really are and we have to be honest to receive the Lord’s mercy.

Obstacles on the path of Bhakti: The demons who tried to stop Hamunan as he crossed to Lanka are like obstacles on our path of bhakti. Mainaka (the golden Mountain) – Temptation to seek comfort before achieving our real purpose. Simhika (The Shadow catching demoness) – While striving for Bhakti people will chastise us, criticize us, we should be willing to tolerate. Surasa (The Serpent) – Being envious of people in higher positions and trying to stop their progress. By engaging in devotional service we can devour these demons.

Arrogance: The world is a mirror of our consciousness. Ravana thought Mandodari was envious of Sita, while he was actually envious of Rama. When we think we know, we are not willing to listen to good counsel. Spiritual progress means simplicity and humility.

Big or small we can swim the ocean of repeated birth and death: By chanting the names of the Lord we can stay afloat in the ocean of Samsara (repeated birth and death).

Hearing about the Lord: Revival of our dormant love for God is achieved by hearing about him. The Lord in the heart or Ravan knew his thought and could have killed him but he went through these ordeal to give us the opportunity to sing his pastimes.

Righteousness: Even though all the Monkey soldiers were against him, Vibhisan was willing to be misunderstood to take shelter of the Lord.

Counsel and Advice against the battel of illusion: In the battle against illusion, at every stage we need the association of devotees to put us straight, otherwise we will fall off. Even Lord Rama took counsel of Vibhisan.

The grace of a Saint is important: Agastya Muni had a divine arrow which he gave to Lord Rama to help kill Ravana, the arrow was used to pierce the heart of Ravana.

As we continue our daily battle with the darkness in our lives, may the Lord grant us the courage to fight the good fight. Till next week, read, share and follow for more.