Blessed with a Legacy

It’s been some time since I have written a blog and I must say I have completely been missing it. I have loved sharing my thoughts with you freely and frankly.

I have a couple of guest blogs that will be coming soon. They are amazing reads and if you haven’t read Niharika’s amazing guest blog yet, then click here.

We all have been blessed (or cursed) with an amazing legacy that we look up to, that we admire and what we understand has allowed us to enjoy life to the max. Sometimes, inheritance simply isn’t money but wisdom. If wisdom is inherited then wealth has no power over that. However, wisdom can bring in wealth.

I give a lot of gratitude and appreciation towards my elders for everything that I have today. Somehow, I have learned so much from their stories, their commitment to the Truth and their yearning for a better inner life. Their acute awareness of being awakened in the Truth is what has given me the required path towards the Truth. Not many are as lucky or as fortunate as me.

Sometimes, I can be in our (my wife and I) newly bought home and I feel immense happiness because I understand where it has come from and I don’t know how to express that it is so amazing. Although, at the moment, my work is not on the positive and it is very stressful, I am not letting that affect my happiness as much as it would like to damage. I have controlled that damage and I am sure that whatever doesn’t break you, simply makes you stronger.

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.

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.

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!

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.

The Story of a Bird in a Golden Cage

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There was once a king, who heard the sweet song of a bird. A bird that was able to fly to different branches of different trees, roam in the clear blue sky or thunderous showers. It could see the whole world with it’s wings whenever it wanted. It enjoyed its freedom. However, the King was in love with the birdsong and wanted to hear it every morning.

The King’s Assistant caught the bird and placed it in a  golden cage filled with diamonds, and other precious stones. However, the bird didn’t like the cage because he couldn’t fly and this deeply upset him. He would weep and the King thought the bird was singing a beautiful song and was immensely happy. Unknown to the King, he felt the bird appreciated the golden cage and precious gems, who wouldn’t love it?

One day, the King’s Assistant was assigned to clean the cage, whilst doing so, at the most opportune moment, the bird flew out and didn’t look back. He flew to the nearest branch, he could find.

Watching all this was a parrot and the parrot was annoyed at the bird and said to him, ‘What are you thinking? You had such an amazing home, you had to just sing beautiful songs for the King and you was given a golden cage. You are an idiot for giving up those precious gems. You didn’t even take one out when you left. You have lost everything with your so-called freedom’

The bird listened and after giving some thought, he replied to the parrot, ‘You may live in the cage if you like it so much but I prefer the freedom of roaming in the sky, living day by day and being happy because I am alive.’

Before the bird was intending to finish, the parrot flew inside the cage.

The moral of this story is that we as human beings love to be caged under doctrines, repeat whatever isn’t our own experience, we bound ourselves under religion, nationality, race, gender and color. If by some chance, someone decides to be free, to tread on a path that no one is willing to walk upon, we think they are crazy. However, if we really want the Truth, if we really want enlightenment then we have to do it alone and be willing to live moment to moment, whatever it brings. Yesterday, today and tomorrow will be the same for the parrot in the gems-filled, golden cage. However, every day brings in a new possibility for the bird that found it’s freedom again.

Likewise, if we are stuck on a body level only, then we will only be subject to the laws of the physical. If we choose to let go of this cage of the mind, invest time in thinking, in inquiring about what stops us from living the truth then we can truly transcend the time and live as consciousness, a pure awareness, as the Formless.

Inspired by Osho.

Meditation helps

Meditation has helped me a lot and recently, I have been rather easy with it. If I do it then great and if I don’t then great. However, a regular practice of meditation has always helped me to see life more clearly and with a lot more honesty towards myself.

Sometimes we want to care more about something or give more attention but with our constant short-lived, fast-food culture of seeking happiness, it arrives and disappears quickly. When we are able to concentrate and focus on life a bit more, we tend to have a longer lasting happiness. This is a gift that meditation surely has given me.

Being aware of your own self is super important. If you know what angers you, what annoys you, what makes you happy, what gives you joy then you more likely to make choices that benefit not only you but others too. A happy you is beneficial to others unless someone can’t see someone happy, which when you think about it, it can be slightly strange.

At the moment, I am reading the Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda and I think the Universe and the Formless beyond the Universe is trying to tell me that get a little more serious about meditation again.

Mirages and Spiritual Awakening

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Growing up with a thirst for spiritual awakening was not easy as I had to study and build a life thereon. Studying for me was boring because it was forced upon me and inside I knew that I would probably never use half of the things I learned in high school. I was right about that but my thirst for spiritual awakening was also growing, as I became more thirsty, several mirages appeared in my life to distract me – whether it was women, intoxicants, wealth etc.

Eventually these mirages were ignored after several years of going through these experiences as if they were true. I look back at the past and think I was so sure I was doing the best thing for me and now I almost regret some of it. However, what has been done has been done. I have to move forward.

As several mirages appeared again, I knew it was right to let them be as they were but not be allured towards them. I was then clear for spiritual awakening, so I thought but such experiences never come easy even if you have the tool to instantaneously get it.

The mirage of concepts was very heavy and while I got rid of some concepts through careful analysis on their validity, I ended up created some more concepts and down again I went down the rabbit hole. From saying there is a god to know saying there isn’t a god – I was firm on both these concepts at one time and now – I don’t know even though the answer is very, very clear to me.

Two things I had never let go of: One was my love for my Spiritual Master and two was my meditation. Even though, I tried to stay clear from my Spiritual Master, I understood that something else was being played. Even though I disagreed a lot with some of the philosophy that His organization taught, it was later discovered through my own meditation that those were my philosophies and not His. This was when I realized that our perception had to be cleansed in order to truly understand a philosophy as it is and not how you interpret it.

Let’s just say that the way I see the philosophy now is very simple – the realization of the Formless Self, is the realization of your True Self. The Spiritual Master just points at that Formless Self. It is up to you whether you look at the Formless Self or take a little detour with looking at the Spiritual Master. If you do take the detour, it becomes dangerous territory because you may love the Master but your mind has not realized it’s true self so therefore, your Master will be judged by you – even if it is a positive judgement. Any judgment will not let you see something clearly.

As I mentioned, I stayed away from my Master while I was going through this major analysis, but I was very devoted to meditation and meditated a lot. I was working and would wake up as early as 4am and meditate for an hour, then read for two hours and then get ready for work. It so happened, that on a Saturday, I started meditating again around 9am and as I was focussing on empty space for a while, I saw the tiniest dot of Light appear and I was amazed at this. I floated in this empty space and went near it and I heard a sound that simply said ‘Before this, I am,’ and I just saw this dot expand and the whole of creation was presented to me. I couldn’t contain myself and took myself out of the meditative state. I didn’t know what I experienced other than there had to be something before creation.

I have never forgotten this experience but it came back to me three weeks ago. This time, the tiniest dot was not seen but empty space was taken away from me and I came to an absolute stillness and centered my whole focus on that stillness. I was so taken aback by it that it felt like I had been there for 10 minutes when in fact, it had only been around 30 seconds. It was an intense experience. I realized one major thing – it didn’t matter whether this is god or not – there is only stillness. Call it whatever you want now to personalize it. I totally understand why we name it. Yes, it certainly dilutes what It Is but people need something to relate to and the easiest thing to do is to name it.

I enjoyed this experience and I have noticed how it continuously presents itself to me without any desire from my side. It’s presence cannot be ignored by me. It only then occurred to me that my Spiritual Master had told me about this around 5 years ago. He held his right hand out, His palm facing His stomach, maybe 15 cm away from His stomach and with His left hand waving in between the right hand and the stomach said “You have to be aware of this, it is stillness. Keep focusing on this awareness.” Little did I know that after almost 3 years of His departure from His physical form would this golden nugget of wisdom make sense to me and I would understand it.

The mirage I had then was that a Spiritual Master is only the physical body, this is a massive illusion. The teachings are of an eternal nature and so is the presence of the Master. It is now that I truly appreciate everything that has been taught to me. I am still learning, discovering and in fact, I am more eager to learn than I probably was in my teens. Spirituality has no end in terms of literature but in the end it is your own experience that matters. Use the literature to inspire you, refuse to let it be a concept.

A few weeks ago, I had my second spiritual awakening, the sight towards enlightenment is also on the horizon. All gratitude goes to my Spiritual Master.

 

 

Guest Blog by Niharika Ahuja

Hello everyone!

Today, I am very happy to say that Niharika Ahuja, a very dear friend and a fellow traveller in spirituality has written a blog for me and the readers of this blog. I have known Niharika for years and her wisdom and spiritual understanding is truly remarkable as you will discover when you read the post she has written. She has reached some amazing spiritual heights despite her young age and has been a continuous inspiration

. I have learned a lot from Niharika and I am sure with this blog, you will also learn from her. Niharika also has a blog and catch up on her insightful posts on https://livinginyourlight.wordpress.com


Awareness:

Research indicates as per majority’s beliefs, the average person has 70,000 thoughts
in one day. How crazy is that? That is 70,000 times a day that the average person is
not living within the moment because she or he is thinking about something that
happened in the past or dreaming about something they desire in the future. This
explains why the topic of mindfulness has gained so much interest in society.

Most people will argue why it even matters if they are engrossed in their thoughts?
It matters because the more we let our minds wander to the thoughts of the past or
future, we are taking THAT very moment away from us and our loved ones too. A
second or even an hour after, we will also regret losing those moments we spent
pondering on what could have been or could be, rather than enjoying the
opportunities, people and beauty that surrounded us in that very moment.

Call it awareness, being cautious or more mindful, when every act is done with your
attention in whatever you are doing, you live life in the most enriching and beautiful
way. One may think that doing the dishes, walking your dog, drinking your tea or
even eating may be ordinary things or obligations that do not require our undivided
attention. However, I believe if we do even these smallest acts with our whole heart
and mind, we will start to fully experience the beauty of life and cherish all that it
has to offer.

Research indicates that when we become mindful in whatever we are doing, hearing,
seeing, speaking, eating etc., any depression and anxiety that one may have may also start to diminish and heal. The more I practice mindfulness in my own life, I realize how
many hours on end I wasted being absent from my present moments and a slave to
things I have no control over now. Some moments that are lost can never be
recovered again and soon enough, that will be another grief we will mourn or
ponder over in another present moment, in the future.

An example that I have personally witnessed is where a loved one may be sitting in
front of us trying to engage in a conversation. That person could be going through a
mental illness and may be yearning for a person to talk to for support or any last
sign of hope or love to hold onto. When we don’t give that person our attention and
are too focused on what happened in our own past or how many likes we got on our
picture posted on instagram, we could be giving them (and even ourselves) another
reason to go home and feel worse about their situation and feel more alone than
ever. Every moment and time of ours and others is precious and the less we remain
aware of that, we may be exposed to an entire lifetime of never really living our life
and becoming inspired by things that other people have to offer.

The truth is, we never really know when our last moment will be. It is in our hands
what we choose to spend our last moments doing- living in something in the past, or
could we say that we were fully enjoying and celebrating the greatest present- the
present moment…because it is another opportunity for us to start anew and
experience and create more beautiful memories to hold on to.

The simple habit of putting away our phones when we are meeting with someone,
looking at the smile on your dog’s face when you walk him/her and the sound of the
a loved one’s laugh or nature, mindfulness then becomes not a forced practice or
ritual, but a way of life and an excelled art of beautiful being and living.

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Don’t give up!

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The spirit of a spiritual aspirant is one that doesn’t give up trying and always knows that enlightenment is the end point of the beginning of a great journey into the Eternal.

The issue today that I find is that many people like talking about spirituality but how many truly desire something spiritual? How many truly want enlightenment? Do they want a life which leaves them vulnerable and sensitive? I don’t know if it is everyone’s cup of tea.

Being vulnerable to other people disappointing you and even betraying or cheating you is not an easy future to face with. Yes, there is bliss and joy but the enlightened experience is the experience of everything in stability and stillness. Therefore, I would like to say that being enlightened, the observation of the end of the journey seems to be disturbing for many.

A lot of times, especially in the age of so-called rational intellectualism, we overthink certain concepts and this takes us away from one key thing – practice. We should practice and practice whenever we find ourselves consumed with rational intellectualism. It is not bad to be rational or intellectual, this is a necessary part of the spiritual journey so we stay away from dogma, doctrine and superstition but when we overthink on whether a practice of self-discovery is right or not, we just delay the actual practice of it. I was very guilty of this and now I have let go to simply experiencing and practicing.

Practice and the determination to attain the greatest heights helps us to move forward. Instead of focusing on the material acts that are done out of a spiritual or religious spirit, but to have positive wishes of global peace and compassion is just as important. Physical acts of service towards others is just as important as the spiritual prayer for healing others. We have to appreciate that help comes in many ways and all ways should be celebrated.

The essence is to always help materially as well as spiritually in perfect balance and harmony. This is only achieved if we understand that human beings are physical and emotional beings.

To truly move forward, I recommend that practicing meditation or self-remembrance will take you leaps and bounds. First, discover your true self before you think of helping another. Helping with awareness is holistically sound.