The Easier Path or the Simpler Path

Life is such that when we choose the easier path, it ends up being more disastrous for us entirely. Now, the easier path doesn’t necessarily mean the simpler path either. They are major differences between the two, let’s explore this together.

The easier path tends to be one that we do out of fear. For example, what would by friends think? What will my colleagues think? What will the people in the church think? We think more for the approval of society than the betterment of our own self. We make sacrifices for people that are living their lives but somehow we are impacted by their thoughts that have not even been conceived. Yes, we make their thoughts and reactions up in our mind. There are times, we do things because we think the struggle will bring us down. Yet, I can tell you from my social media feed that most people will claim hustle is in the struggle but when it comes to day to day life – they avoid struggling or suffering. Many times, with my own problems, I learned the hard way that whenever I thought the easier path was better, it would go horribly wrong for me, I suffered more as a consequence because we all think the easier path is better, and others advised me the easier path too because that is what they would have done. So our suffering, yours and mine becomes cyclical, we become busier and more invested in our problems, so how do we end this?

In fact, it is the recognition of suffering that leads us to think in more simple ways. We can analyze a situation, a thought, a problem, emotions with a mind that understands what is bringing suffering and will come up with the solution itself. We look at the simple solution to everything. If I am upset with something, I must understand why am I upset? I must look at it as a whole problem. Not just my angle, or the angle of the other but as a whole without inference from anyone. Now, there have been times when I have guided my friends, the more simple path but it wasn’t what they wanted to hear. Heck, I didn’t want to say it but it helped them in the end. See simplicity is embedded with the Truth. We live a more truthful life when everything is simple. When we complicate things, it is best to look at a problem through simplicity, rather than the easy path.

Let me highlight this with a very clear example. When we are in a disagreement, it is very easy to shout one’s thoughts or to react. But the simpler way would be to be silent, to listen, to be and then decide if a response is needed or not. The easier path will just change the situation and travel in all directions but the simpler path will transform the situation and bring the issue to stillness, to a standstill.

This was with worldly things but as you know, there is a spiritual context here. In fact, until we understand that Truthful Living is with simplicity, only then are we ready for a spiritual life.

In spirituality, we find ourselves always going towards the easier way. We look for the quickest way to enlightenment. We entangle ourselves with ideas that are definitely simple to understand, but if our mindset is a fast-food type of spiritual enlightenment then we will complicate it. Instead of doing arduous practice, we like it when we hear someone say, if we give you this or that, chant this mantra, you will realize the Truth or realize God. We love it when someone says we can attain something easily but what is the bigger picture. I covered this in my previous blog post Instant Enlightenment – Is it a Myth? that someone has probably practiced spirituality, lived an austere life, meditated a lot and then they met a Guru, who gave them the wisdom and they attained all that needs to be attained. They got it not because understanding spirituality became easier, they became simpler. There are less desires, less thoughts, less attachment, less emotion. All these things add up. Therefore, spirituality is always simple, we complicate it because we would rather pray to a deity or to the Guru and ask them to get rid of our karma, to grant us liberation. Unless you are a poet or a singer who performs or writes this to invoke the spirit of seeking, we should commit to being disciplined in our spiritual practice – that would be being simple. But we cannot, we want shortcuts, we want it all easily, but unfortunately God or Truth, whatever you want to call it, isn’t so easily attained.

With life both material and spiritual, be real. Don’t think about what others think. The first thought should be if you are ready. If you are ready, then think of the simplest way to get what you need or to do what is needed. Otherwise, the easier path is there and sometimes, it does work out but only for a while. We think our situation has changed, we think people have changed and we are deceived. The illusion of change is such that transformation becomes a lost cause. Therefore, to transform is to be simple.

Happiness and Creative Work

Attention and a critical eye is necessary for any form of writing, whether it will be for a blog, for a book or even for social media. Today, as fast as we scroll on Instagram or Facebook, it seems that we write just as fast with little consideration of what we have typed. Sometimes, what I read cannot be termed as poetry but for the sake of thinking art is evolving, I accept the few words on a blank space to be as great as Whitman. I read captions to a picture or to a video and sometimes I am impressed with the content that it makes you wonder and analyse your own life. In these moments, social media seems worth the time that it demands. Then I read some captions and I don’t know what I have read and wonder if the person has checked what they have written. It seems like that captions can be for the more attentive folk, and some write paragraphs knowing that nobody is really checking it. Then comes the story feature (which I like), however it dims our attention span even more. We click to the next story without any bother of what the person may have asked. I am completely guilty of this too so I am no saint here.

I recently thought about sharing more on Instagram and thought it would be good to write a couple of poems a day and as much as it is creatively inspiring and some poets on Instagram are impressive poets, who have words that make you think deeper about the subject in their poems, it just didn’t feel enough for me for my own writing. I found more joy in caption writing and sometimes I asked questions and only one or two people would respond and this saddened me a little. I would explain my point of view behind the poem I had written and it solicited minimal return. Therefore, I led myself to question how can I make myself happy with my creative work.

I can easily add that I am lazy too. To create 3 or 4 poems a day takes some effort and even though I could do that, I felt it took time away from doing the more sacred things for me like writing a book, writing on my blog that I love and often abandon, for the sake of hoping that I will get recognized on social media. Therefore, turning to the quick option of writing poetry on Instagram. To become the next successful Instagram poet is less about poetry but about working the algorithm but what makes someone different is who they are as a person. When I thought about how do I express myself the best then it would be through blogging.

So what do I intend to do? Write as much as I can on this blogging site, even if it means more than one post a day and maybe include one Instagram poem/post a day. The joy is in the mix of things and excelling in anything we do, not for the popularity but for the improvement of one’s own art.

We may live in a world where we want the fastest results done in minimal effort but I miss putting the effort into effort nowadays. The joy has to be more in just feeling that joy yourself. The moment you feel tired from something, it is best to take a break and question it’s validity and what it is doing for you and your whole life in general, not just what it is doing to your creative juices.

There are some great features on social media like IG Live or Facebook Live, even the stories are interesting for a snapshot of your day or promoting your awesome art. The ability to make short videos and just show your personal side is incredible. Things have moved forward and that has been awesome for creatives. However, at the same time, the element of mystery can become extinct and when this is extinct, we lose wonder. Sometimes, I want to look at a picture or read a caption and feel the same joy that I felt as a kid that looked up at the blue sky and wonder at it’s blueness.

Finding your voice

Finding your voice is extremely important to an artist and requires patience and hard work. Commitment has to be your best friend. It is not that from day one that someone finds their flow. It takes sincerity to invoke the creative energies within you to command you into a continuous expression of your creativity.

Many platforms have ensured that those that didn’t know they were creative, found their voice and was able to create something valuable to them.

However, as humans, we need to think about what we feed our minds with and what does our mind tend to follow, which direction does it go to. When we look at something, is it distracting you from reality? Is it taking you down a rabbit hole? The ego finds much joy in this.

Each day that has passed by, I have been very mindful on what mind listens to, reads and eventually what it acts upon. This is the contract that I have given myself and that is that more pure the mind can get, the better. It is important to follow whatever shows you reality as it is.

Love.

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.

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.

Mysticism – the Union

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The greatness of mysticism is it’s powerful endeavor to unite consciousness with the Universal Consciousness. The steps that are taken with mysticism are very simple. It is a constant inquiry into how can I become one with the Formless? It is a real look into the availability of such an experience and the expectation of disappointment if any concepts once held become useless and heavy baggage onto the ego.

Mysticism is the transcendence of the ego into a more human, yet divine being. The ego is not casted as some evil creature that needs to be banished. It is a friend that served its purpose and now must rest. Yet, if for whatever reason, a deviation from the path occurs, this sleeping giant (ego) can rise again to take over from the more human and divine qualities of the being. The ego despite not wanting transcendence helps us with many tools to show us of its presence. If pride of any kind appears, attachments, lust, greed or false identity then the ego is ready to take the reigns again. Otherwise, one can truly rest in spiritual awareness and enjoy a very human and divine life.

Uniting with the Universal Formless Consciousness is a time when we can experience an expanse, yet we can have a single-minded focus on that point of absolute stillness. This seemingly paradoxical realization is both empowering and a continuous source of inspiration. The more we acclimatize with this, the more spiritual awareness grows and becomes a larger part of our lives. When our spiritual growth starts to mature, when the union has laid a solid foundation, joy and bliss are around the corner. I can sense this in my own experience.

Mysticism is the way forward for a true spiritual journey. Unless you do not find the Formless Self within you, it will be a difficult and arduous journey ahead especially if honesty about your growth is in limited supply.

Joy in the Formless

This is going to be a short post but I wanted to express how much joy that one can feel if there is a single focus on Nirankar, which means Formless. Once there is a moment of this, where you feel the absolute stillness, there is immense joy available. All that is required is this practice to continue and to let these few minutes become longer and longer.

The Beauty of Laughter

Laughter is an important part of a relationship, it enhances it a great deal. It is truly beautiful to just laugh and look into each other’s eyes and be playful to the moment. It is something of tremendous importance that we sometimes overlook because of the seriousness of every day life.

We are constantly worried about the bills, about the next pay check, the next grocery shopping that we forget that even if we are on top of things and comfortable, without any laughter or joy, our relationships would matter very little for us.

Laughter has a quality of bringing you closer to your friends and loved ones. There is an intimacy with laughter that nobody can truly explain except that it makes relationships and their bonds stronger and more resilient to negative forces.

Laughter brings about a positivity that makes a dark room light up, a dark mind light up, a dark soul light up.

It’s okay…

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Photo by Tim Gouw on Pexels.com

It’s okay to feel exhausted on some days, it is okay to feel that the whole world is resting upon your shoulders and it is absolutely okay to be overwhelmed. Sometimes, we are told that we need to think a little more positive, be a bit more optimistic and all we want to do is allow these emotions to live out their short-life span.

If happiness is our natural state, then like clouds across a blue sky, let the cloud of emotions pass by and the blue sky of happiness will appear. I believe the best way to ever deal with emotions is to be aware of them and be okay with it. As you know that ultimately nothing remains the same, all this shall pass.

We definitely have the power to overrule our emotions, we can smile when we have been uncontrollably crying at the kind request of a loved one. We know we have that capacity but all I really want you to know is that it is okay to let your emotions pass by and yes, your happiness remains untouched and unblemished. I know this sounds a little strange but what I am trying to express here is that sadness and happiness is separate and they don’t mix well. You can’t be in the middle. Some people say they are okay, neither happy nor sad. However, I still see this as sadness as it is an unrecognized place.

Let me know if you agree or disagree with me. I would love to know your views.

Work stress – Don’t bring it home!

I remember speaking to a manager
She didn’t approve of a management style of
another manager who managed me.
She told me a simple thing
And it should apply to everyone
‘Do not become a mood hoover!’

It got me thinking alot
We all have bad days at work
Sometimes it becomes overwhelming
It can get the better of us
But why let it get the better of us?
We are incharge of our own lives
Why should our state of mind
Be at the will of others?

Yes, if you must show emotion at work
Do that and don’t hold back.
If you can look at the situation objectively
Then right course of action is taken.
If no answer is coming to you
Then simply do not react,
Otherwise something that is a molehill
Will undoubtedly take shape of a mountain.

The worse thing is when you come home
Or you go to see your friends
And you act all moody and down.
We all have our troubles and problems
Nobody is exempt from experiencing this.
Begin to understand the nature of your feelings,
Understand how your energy passes into a room.
A wise man once told me personally that
Are you that person who enters a room
And people stand up to leave? Or
Are you that person who enters a room
And the room lights up with joy?
If you cannot find happiness in yourself
If you cannot find joy in yourself
You will NEVER find it in another.
That person will become a reflection
Of what your state of being truly is.

When you come back from work
Meet others with a grand smile.
Give them positive energy
Because when their times are tough
You may be the only hope they have
The only thought they will possess
When they feel overwhelmed.