Uncles and Life Lessons

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I look back at all the blessings that I have received from my elders and younger friends and family and I always have a gentle stream of tears roll down my cheeks – out of gratitude and joy.

Recently, me and my wife bought a home and I was at my home, feeling this immense state of gratitude for all the people in my life, who have touched my soul with their presence and love. Their pure love has given me so much strength throughout my life. My present moment is beautiful because of all these great people.

Recently, I have been spending some time with my niece and she is a great lesson in being present and joyful. Her every need is catered in the moment, she isn’t anticipating a future nor is she contemplating over the past. She simply is. I was thinking of my own Uncles, who have each taught me something different and unique. One Uncle taught me to keep reading books, to always inquire about the Truth.He taught me how to always spend my life propagating the Truth. Some important lessons were ‘It’s nice to be important but more important to be nice.’ and ‘If God is knowledge, why not have it?’  One Uncle taught me to always be joyful and have a sense of humor. One Uncle taught me to always be there and supportive especially in difficult times (when my brother was in hospital, he travelled by public transport in the snow). One Uncle taught me that silence and serving guests with love is important. Another Uncle taught me to remain in discipline. One more Uncle has shown me to live life to the max, not to worry about anything and live authentically – simply transcend your own bullshit and the bullshit of others. I am talking about my Uncles only because I am an uncle to my niece and I want to show her this way of life. She doesn’t have to live the way I live, she is unique to her own self and I just want her to know that I am always there for her.

Learning and shaping who you are is what life is all about. Imagine that you yourself are a block of marble, all the thoughts, actions and intentions represent the sculptor and they will chisel away on that block of marble. The beauty of the sculpture depends on how aware we are of each thought, action and intention. When our life is full of joy, when our life is lived in the present moment then our mind is at peace. A mind in peace is a mind alert with awareness. This is the opportunity at hand.

As I continue to grow, as I continue to try and live a life of awareness, as I continue to explore the Truth, I am going to be changing a lot until that one transformation settles itself. I do find that transformation is occurring in the background of countless changes that are perceived.

The one thing that life will always show us is how vulnerable we are to death too. Two of my Uncles mentioned have passed away yet, something of them lives in the hearts that they touched and in a way makes them eternal. Each Uncle that I mentioned is an uncle that I have spent considerable time with and are related to my mum and dad. I have so many Uncles who are friends of my parents and it would be a very long post to go into each of the lessons that they have taught too.

One thing that is most important and that is to live authentically and allow your uniqueness to be. Nobody is perfect, nobody is without flaws and we have to understand this. In our relationships with others, we have our own expectations of how they need to be but let them be as they are. They have their own journey and their own growth and if they need your help, they will ask. If not, then you be authentic and promote authenticity. We live in the shadows of others, failing to see that we have immense Light.

High Pressure and Awareness

Days like today are when I find that I am less mindful and more reactive. It was a tough day at work, where misunderstandings are aplenty and very little is achieved. This is when I find myself exhausted because I am trying to keep my peace of mind but like a virus willing to spread itself, stress likes to outsmart me.

This is why living with awareness is tough because you can see someone’s ego, your own ego but the other person probably doesn’t even know they are acting out of ego. That is when you always have to be the better person.

However, there are times when the pressure is there and you feel that it is weighing you down. I would always say that mindfulness helps if one remembers to do so. Sometimes, we have to vent and get things off our mind but seldom are we ever understood.

In circumstances like this, it is hard to deliver your very best because you are expected to juggle a 100 things in a limited schedule. This is when I believe quantity definitely overpowers quality and that is with anything in life. As they say, less is more.

What is Spirituality?

The definition of spirituality is aplenty. Some say that it is about becoming a human being, some say that it is to transcend desires, some say that it is to give comfort and peace. Many definitions but the main question for me is whether spirituality is a door that once you walk through, you can never walk back?

The way I see spirituality is very simple but ultimately complex at the same time. Spirituality is the realization of the no-self. Once one attains the state of union, there is no longer two. If there is only one, there is no need to say so. Once we give this formless, or shapeless no-self – the idea of self, even the label, we end up losing what it actually is. It is clear through Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta that there is no-self at all. The mind is not the self and the body is not the self. The only thing that remains is something that if spoken about, it would be destroyed of all it’s essence.

Many people claim to be spiritual but they have some affiliation with some concept and I guess what I am trying to say is that if there is affiliation with one, then there is a possibility of infinite affiliations. If there is no affiliation, no attachment to anything – philosophy or thought, we will find that it encompasses it all. In my head, this all makes sense and I don’t know if this is making any sense to you. I really do find that defining spirituality at its core is a dangerous path because once it is defined as a path, we can create multiple diversions.

Once we discover this no-self, I do find that we end up seeing everything as it were a great theatrical play in motion, this time the characters fail to understand that it is all an act. They have become their characters. The method is now madness. When we are able to step back and observe, the no-self within us in untouched by any of the experiences perceived.

Ultimately, what is the Formless to itself? absolutely nothing and I think this is the fear that we have, we are afraid to be nothing even if it means it leads us to be the nothing that is in everything.

Numerous Awakenings makes sense

Do we know enough to grow spiritually? It is something that I have been thinking about. For example, I know the Truth is simple, extremely simple but for the mind and body to accept such Truth, would it be easy?

I am obviously one of those individuals that goes through a series of awakening, instead of becoming an overnight enlightened one. I haven’t understood how one can be instantly enlightened, whether it is luck or fate, who knows. Even the Buddha was a pure seeker and has an incredible story but even he took 6 years and in those 6 years, he practiced and only practiced spirituality. He didn’t concentrate on anything else.

That is why sometimes I am a little skeptical when people declare they know the Truth and yes, a little peek into their lives will tell you where they really are in spirituality.

My point is that there is so much to discover. The Vedas itself is a massive spiritual text and describes many aspects that would help someone in the process of seeking enlightenment. However, without this knowledge, how can we understood true union with the Divine.

Cultivating Awareness and Pizza

We are frequently reminded of what is good for us and what is beneficial for us. Sometimes we give in to a lifestyle that is not healthy for the body or the mind. When we do this, we are basically living so much in the body, that we cannot see the bigger picture.

One of the most popular sayings that I often hear is ‘eat, drink and be merry.’ To be honest, this is the most dangerous idea. If we just ate without limits, drank without limits, the only time there will be any merriness will be at one’s funeral. Therefore, balance is always needed. I often think about the times that I do give into temptation of harming my body and mind whether through food or thoughts and it is multiple times in the day.

Cultivating awareness is extremely important if we want to awaken ourselves to a higher way of living. There is a reason why the saints and sages of the past, the mystics have always guided that we think a few times before doing anything. The thinking really is another way of saying ‘BE AWARE’ and I am writing this because right now, there is pizza right next to me and the aroma is enticing but I have had my dinner.  Tonight was my first test and I think I can pass with flying colors!

Approaching the Spiritual Master

A single moment with a (Spiritual) Master can transform your life. Recently, I read about how there are four types who approach a Master.

  1. Follower – they are more of a spectator. They visit the Master because maybe there has been a miracle that happened in their life when they first came into contact with the Master. They only arrive to meet the Master because sometimes they like the charisma, the personality and the aura of the Master. They appreciate the teachings, they love the Master too but they don’t know the Master intimately. This leads them to be followers but with no depth of spirituality. The mind is so cunning of followers that they may be able to parrot the teachings but they have no experience of it.
  2. Disciple – they listen to the message, they practice some of the teachings and they love being in the company of the Master. They listen very intently to the Master, they talk about the teachings and they serve but they have other motives at time. They can be a little political and allow their egos to sometimes get the better of them. Even though they love the Master, they have a little depth of spirituality, they possess a little of the inner experience but their heart isn’t completely for the Truth. They are totally in love with the physical form of the Master, that they have not tried to understand if there is anything more to the Master.  They will speak of the Master as what they understand the Master to be.
  3. Devotee – they listen to the message and understand the silence of the Master. They practice the teachings, they meditate and try to get rid of their ego through self-inquiry. They are not just attached to the physical form of the Master, they understand that there is an inner form of the Master. Their love to the Master is one that is close to union but there is still  a duality between the Master and devotee.  They vouch for the Truth but it is still mainly conceptual. They seek to understand more, they read more spiritual texts. They are very close to being enlightened, they are nearly there. They are great spiritual beings to be around, they will inspire because they will speak of the Master as the Master is.
  4. Mystic – they listen to the Master, understand the silence and beyond the silence too. They can look into the eyes of the Master and they lose all sense of self. They are one with the Master and there is no real difference between the two. They live and breath the Master. They are enlightened, they have understood the Truth and are consumed it. Their understanding is based on their own inner experience. They have not only the understanding of the Truth, they are able to observe all through the Truth. They live in the world, not consumed by it, they use the world to their needs over wants. They inspire everyone because of their energy, they are exactly what is expected by the Master. They are truly free from the ego and its trappings. They are in constant union with the Master, the representation of the Formless.

These are the 4 types that approach the Master and neither are good or bad, it is all based on what you want in life. All are welcome by the Master.

Our own minds

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When we look into our own minds, we have to wonder where each thought has appeared from. We need to inquire into it’s origin? Also, has it caused limiting beliefs? Does it take away my freedom? Does it stop me from growing? Can I be in awareness with these type of thoughts for long?

If we decided to invest time and look into our mind, understand its nature and see how we can improve it, we would focus on making the most out of our mind – only when we understand that it knows its place, as a friend to my consciousness, not an enemy.

The space of ego is as large as you want it to be, and it can be the tiniest and even non-existent force in your life. It depends on how invested you are in keeping your ego. It is not that you can’t be spiritual if you have an ego. It is just that the vastness of spirituality will be smaller according to the vastness of the ego.

We all know what we need to do to grow, however the time and effort to do so, is totally something else. All I know is that observing the mind is a practice that needs to continue and continue, until it becomes clear on what the mind actually is.