Remembering a friend…

Today, I was remembering a dear friend, my closest friend and who’s presence I deeply miss as each day passes by. How in one glance, all that I needed to say, was understood.

Sometimes, when I feel all alone, He is the first person that I think of and I smile in the sweet memories that I have of Him. Then an overwhelming sense of grief fills my eyes in the fact that He is physically no longer here.

It was beautiful to know that a human being existed that didn’t judge me, that didn’t make assumptions about me, that didn’t think the worst of me and I guess sometimes I wish everyone was like this.

His innocence that filled the room with love, His sweet nature made many rejoice and His absence gave meaning to a God that has lost meaning in the rising wave of material desires.

His silence filled a vacuum with an energy that buzzed, that tingled with grace and this is when God felt present in the human standing before me. Who could deny God whilst looking at Him?

Each day going by since He departed, has been difficult, each step more difficult than the last. I often wonder why I am still left here and then I realize that I am yet to complete the task that He gave to me.

Maybe we will meet again once the project of enlightenment is complete, then we shall sip on tea and eat digestive biscuits. I will be able to hear the melody in His voice and absorb His meditation contained in His silence.

Miss You my dear Baba ji, how I wish to tell you that your Rahul is nothing without his Hardev.

Spiritual Opposition

I received an interesting response from a dear friend of mine, whom is a Professor and a spiritual teacher for many of us and it was about if families always accept that you are a spiritual person? Do families always embrace those that start walking on the spiritual path or move ahead in it?

I did write yesterday that your family members know about your reality, whether you are truly spiritual or not. However, it definitely isn’t always embraced. My dear friend pointed me towards a very interesting direction here. Sometimes, your family or close friends can become a hindrance to your spiritual path. There is a great amount of internal fear in being spiritual and the reason is that it allows you to be comfortable with being alone. However, family and close friends may fear that they will lose you if you fully embrace your aloneness and they use their imagination of you moving into a cave and meditating until you die. They may fear about how they will live – food, shelter, transport, their smartphone etc. They may also fear that you will not need them anymore as much as they need you. They may start to fear your independence and within them, they also crave for that independence but they don’t necessarily want someone else have it, even if it is their own beloved family and friends.

It is known in my family that my conversations will end up being spiritual in some sort of way. For me, spirituality isn’t an app that I check now and then or a piece of clothing when it feels like I have to. Spirituality for me is an everyday and every moment part of my life. In fact – it is my life. I can’t live without it. It has totally consumed my mind. This is not always embraced. I know I am left out of social events with friends because of my spiritual nature. If I am at an event, most talk has to be on a superficial level and I get bored. Even if spirituality is discussed on a superficial level, it is tiring for me.

In the past, my family have not been supportive of my spirituality and there was always worry that because I was not materialistic enough, I wouldn’t hold a good job or want to earn good money. However, I have shown my family that I have all of that spiritual seeker within me despite moving up in my career along with buying a house and even moving to another country for a better life. However, there is something in me that is always wishing the ascetic lifestyle. I would love to be a monk and what I have learned in the past few months is that I can be living in the world, in the midst of materialism, in the midst of social change and be a monk within. Untouched by the world and its drama, yet acting in it fully. It has taken me a long time to get to this place in life.

I feel that the opposition to my spirituality has not touched what others have gone through. Some are definitely called hypocrites and claim that it is all a show – a pretense to claim these beings are spiritual. Again, this is stoked by fear. If we see that someone is able to live out spiritual oneness, we attempt to discourage them with hurtful jibes. However, these people carry on in their spiritual life, no matter what their close friends and family say. They know the purpose of their life.

Many Gurus saints or bhaktas have faced opposition from their close ones too. From Guru Nanak to Kabir to Rumi to Tukaram to Mira Bai. Their passion and love for the One, for their realization was overwhelming and I assume for their family members torturous. Who would like that their family member starting loving God more than them? Or at least that is how it is perceived. Tukaram used to get a good old scolding from his wife. Rumi’s children were jealous of his relationship with Shams. Not every spiritual person, not every mystic is able to please their close friends and family.

There is a reason why I have, what can be termed as a normal life. I have a wife, eventually we will have kids, we have a home, a car, a job, a Netflix account and social media accounts. At the same time, my weekend is more or less devoted to spirituality, to my own individual practice as well as in the week. I read scriptures on a daily basis. Any free time I get and I will have my iPad out, reading on the Kindle app. I also do spend quality time with my wife, we go on date nights now and then. My spiritual life is perfectly balanced. However, some may say that one command from my Satguru (True Master) can change things? I may be asked to preach, if my Satguru truly desires so. This will not change my lifestyle but my lifestyle should become exemplary. Yes, my diary will change it’s focus but the monk within can still reside in the hustle-bustle of this world.

Not everyone has it easy and I guess this is my post to say that it is okay if you are condemned for being spiritual. Atleast, you know deep in your heart that you are doing the right thing for you. How can we care for others, if we ourselves are in turmoil? We should never dampen that spiritual zeal to further enhance our spirituality. If you feel you are being challenged in your spiritual journey, let me know. Let’s talk about it.

Love.

Being Nothing

The Truth is always revealed about us eventually and if you have a family, it is even quicker. Your family recognize any inauthenticity before you even utter the first word. Your actions, your body language, your intentions speak before anything else. That is why that if we truly want to be spiritual then the first people who will declare it is our family. For example, my wife will be the first to tell you my reality. That is the way it is.

We often seek to pretend to be something we are not in our social circles or when others are around. When we are with our own then our real nature shows. If we are truly kind and considerate then that shows. If we are mean and horrible then that will show. We cannot fool those that live with us each and every day.

We like to show the world that we are something else. We want others to have a certain image of us and we play upon that image. Yet, the spiritual path, the path of wisdom is all about destroying the image. We do not need to be labelled, or put into a box of a certain kind. We are to be free from such notions. The path of the wise is about becoming nothing and this is the biggest fear we fearfully hold. Being nothing is linked to death. With death, we know that nothing will happen to us. Inside we know it. For example, even if you believe in heaven, you are still nothing on the Earth now. This can create a sense of fear of us. The highest spiritual attainment for the mind is to become nothing, to become empty and this is the truest victory. It is only at this point that we understand that we are actually Fullness. We are Imageless. We are Formless. We are beyond even the sense of nothingness, emptiness or void.

Too much of our life is about what we are trying to portray instead of revealing what we truly are. It is the ascetics, the monks, the spiritual householders that truly look to reveal what they really are. Vedanta calls this Brahman – the Ultimate Reality. How many who claim to be spiritual, who claim to be sharing wisdom, who claim to follow religious rituals are in touch with the Ultimate Reality that is within them? Not just within, it is around one, beyond one and the Ultimate Reality is the Gyana (Knowledge) that is understood beyond the mind. Therefore, this can only be shown and known when one accepts what they are. Once one is able to silence the mind so that it can be programmed as being Brahman then they are Brahm Gyani (Realized Being). It is the Realized Being that is living the Ultimate Reality as the Ultimate Reality.

I am very fortunate that I am able to discuss this with close friends, my wife on a almost daily basis. One thing that has really helped me is seeing Brahman, or Nirankar (the Formless) in my wife. In the morning, when I bow down to touch her feet for blessings, I truly feel that the Ultimate Reality in her and in me too is Greater. This is the birth of real respect. This is the beginning of being authentic. This is the flowing river of love. It creates mystics. For if you can see love in the eyes of your beloved one, in your parents, in your friends then wisdom is at your beck and call. What is the point of wisdom, if it doesn’t create respect for others? What is the point of wisdom, if one is not open-minded towards all.

I do want to talk about spiritual intoxication and maybe will tomorrow. How do you practice spirituality in your day to day life? I would love to know.

Love.

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.

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.

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.

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.