Our State

Sometimes the state of the world, the country, the state, the individual etc seems to be disturbing and alarming. Where there are talks about tolerance, acceptance, love, compassion, forgiveness but really it’s just surface level. How do we commit to real change, real transformation? How do I learn to be truly tolerant? How do I truly imbibe compassion? How can I truly forgive someone, or more so the situation?

This type of transformation only comes when we understand who we are and what we are. If I believe I am this body which includes the mind, then whatever my body dictates that will be the outcome. Is there a way out of this? Is there a way beyond this? The Sages have talked about being the Atman, the Self or the soul and how do we come to this realization? Again, not simply knowing it as knowledge but truly feeling that one is the Atman? This comes by being aware, moment to moment, as much as possible that one is the Atman, the Self. As we become established in each moment of awareness, the more we find that tolerance, acceptance, love, compassion, forgiveness does not need to be cultivated. They are always within us. We just have to discover it.

How can we discover this? By being honest to ourselves, being honest to others, being honest in every relationship we have. When we let go the facade of being something, which is difficult for many. Unfortunately, social media has fooled us into thinking that our lives is what is on the screen infront of us. We think that how we show others on social media, this is what we are. But this is far from the Truth, I noticed this with myself hence I knew I had to change. When really life is how I relate to everyone around me. If I ignore them then I am in ignorance. If I honor them, respect them because I am the Atman and they are the Atman, the relationship is honorable, it is respectful, it is full of integrity.

Measuring my spirituality

The older I get, the more I analyze my spirituality. 10 years back, I was probably in a ‘honeymoon phase’ with my spiritual journey and today, I seem to reflect that I honestly don’t know how much I have achieved spiritually speaking. It’s easier to guess how successful you are materialistically, you can look at your wealth in your bank balances, the cars you own, properties, investments etc. But with spirituality, there are no milestones, it is not like you can be a quarter enlightened, half enlightened or almost enlightened. Either you are enlightened or you are not. How do we measure things like peace, bliss and joy? Is it shown through our values? Is it presented through the vibes that we give out? Is it the way we speak to others? All of these things can be subjective and projected through someone else’s perception and life experiences.

Spirituality is completely a gray area and it is obvious that spirituality isn’t a game of words or proclamations. Announcing to the world that you are enlightened is not enough. If I heard that, my spiritual sense would be telling me that something is rotten here and that I must observe the other person with little or no bias of my own. But how do I attain that sort of perception where there is no personal bias? It is by observing my own self diligently and with absolute honesty. Have I been able to get rid of my own prejudices? Do I get swayed like a pendulum in terms of opinions and views? Do I react instead of respond. Do I get offended by criticism and get carried away when praised? Even though some may say this level of balance may be difficult but the swaying isn’t healthy either. A balance has to strike otherwise, the ego really will always win and the efforts to dissolve the ego is futile. Therefore, a balanced mind is necessary and somehow I find that speaks volumes once you speak to someone. You can guess it by the attention they give, the words they say, the facial expressions and body language. It is only by fully knowing our own self that we can know others.

Therefore, if I do not know myself, is it right for me to pass judgment on others as how can I know them. Well, there are always tell-tale signs of anyone that is a spiritual delinquent. You know if someone is dishonest, or they cheat others, or they have a short temper. Sometimes, we can see the political motives of others and you don’t have to know yourself to see this. It is evident through actions and a sharp mind.

It’s hard to know where I am spiritually today. Sometimes, I feel that there is progress and sometimes it feels like nothing is happening but I trust the process completely. Maybe that is all that matters. Trusting the process that eventually I will know where I am spiritually and I can be at peace with that. All I know is that I am not at peace with myself spiritually. I feel there is a lot more that I can do and can achieve. Sometimes, I ask myself if it is worth it? It just seems so lonely at the top or maybe aloneness is the true oneness with all.

Elevate your Self

Following from yesterday’s post, I wanted to continue with discussing Allama Iqbal’s poetry, specifically from the poem ‘Dayar-e-Ishq’.

Khudhi Ko Ker Buland Itna Ke Har Taqdeer Se Pehle
Khuda Bande Se Khud Pochay Bata Teri Raza Kya Hai
Elevate your Self to such great heights that before issuing every decree of destiny, 
That God should ask you, 'Tell me, what is your wish?' 

Here Iqbal is really instructing his son on what to do. The best thing to do in life is to elevate your Self. What is this Self? Who is it? Where does this Self reside? In the some of the Upanishads, they didn’t see the soul and God as two different things but called it the Self, obviously with the capital ‘S’. This was to make us, the listener/reader understand that the true Self is not our ego but the limitless, indivisible, formless existence that witnesses through our senses. Here Iqbal is referring to this true Self. Before I go on, I want to make sure that I clarify what I term as the ego in a quick sentence. The ego is the accumulation of everything that I think is ‘me’ like ‘I am my body’, ‘I am my mind’ or anything subject to change, decay or death. As I have established what the ego is and what the true Self is, the poem further expresses to reach great heights. There is nothing higher than living an awakened life that is in awareness of our true Self.

In fact, here Iqbal really sets an interesting tone that by reaching such great heights that whenever destiny has to be written, or shall we say the results of our karma is to be issued, that God has to ask us what our wish is, what our desire is, what will satisfy us. It’s such delicate poetry that it can be interpreted in many ways. From the point of view that I look at it from, is that once there is oneness with the Formless, then you are literally writing your destiny. This isn’t some new-agey nonsense that whatever you wish for will be manifested. As you are the Self, the Formless, you will be honest in the result of your own karma. Also, anyone who reaches such great heights, most likely will not make mistakes. But sometimes, we do make subtle mistakes and an elevated Self will notice this and will be fair in its outcome.

This line just stood out to me because it contains oneness with one Self – which is the same as oneness with God. How many of us can attain to such heights? Who knows? But one sure thing is that we need to practice. Simply saying nice words, thinking nice thoughts will never be enough but sincere concentration and meditation on the Formless will elevate us. We can do it and it all depends on how important it is for us to reach that life-transforming moment.

In the Realm of Love

This past Sunday, I decided to listen to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan after a long time. I don’t know what made me do it but I put on a song that he had performed. The lyrics are by a great poet by the name of Allama Iqbal.

Dayar E Ishq Mein Apna Maqaam Paida Ker
In the realm of love, build your place.

This is a powerful line when we think about it. If we considered this Earth to be the realm of love, the dimension of love and built our life around that, then there would be peace, contentment and prosperity all around. In fact, to be established in love is the closest way to experiencing the Truth.

We often make decisions without even consulting that place of love that is within us. Normally, we react with anger, jealousy or envy. When we understand that the realm of love is all around us, when we are more aware of it then our response to life and its happenings would be completely different. Once we have built our place, made our mark, established ourselves firmly in love then we live a more awakened living, a more truthful living, an honest and simple living.

When Nusrat sings this poem, he emphasizes on ‘Apna Maqaam Paida Kar’ and when I was listening to this I was thinking about the Formless, about Nirankar. I was wondering about how can I get established in this place of the Ultimate Reality? How can I build my place? Then all I really could do abide in silence and the building of awareness was occuring by itself.

Tomorrow, I will share some other lines that I liked from this great poem.

Mirror of my mind

I take a look in the mirror of my mind now and then,
And I ask myself how many more talks are needed?
My mind runs through each talk with a quickening pace, 
Often losing track of what was spoken a second ago. 

I take a look in the mirror of my mind now and then, 
And I ask myself how many more books are needed?
My mind passes through multiple books simultaneously, 
Forgetting unique perspectives from the previous chapter.

I take a look in the mirror of my mind now and then, 
And I ask myself what more is there that I can do?
My mind gently tells me to keep practicing,
And I ask it again again on what I should practice on?

I took one last look in the mirror of my mind, 
My mind presented every thought and emotion held, 
Then one by one it took each thought and emotion away, 
Until nothing was left and my mind disappeared with it. 

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.

Cliff Edge

I have withheld all my thoughts at the cliff edge of my mind,
A step further and the emptiness will be filled again,
Many times I have gone over the cliff,
Trashing myself into an ocean of thoughts.

Why do I lose the beauty of an empty mind?
Why do I not allow the song to continue?
Where the Sacred Aum surrounds me,
Yet my thoughts seem to drown me.

I've let thoughts win each time,
Not that this is a battle on my side,
Each time I seek for the Sacred Aum,
More noise seems to appear at the Gate.

Acting like a great host - I let the noise in,
Suddenly my house is frantic with chaos,
I often stand by and watch this drama unfold,
And again I enter into the Sacred Aum.

When the noise has finally entered into a melody,
When the heaviness of thought enters a lighter state,
When sorrow dissolves into an intoxication,
I am bliss, transforming into Formless Awareness.

Jealousy has no place in any relationship

It is interesting at how you, the individual, is at the center of the world and then you are married/long-term relationship and the center grows, you have children and the center grows more.  Eventually, you realize that you are there to serve the others to support the center. However, what happens when jealousy and self-centered behavior creeps in? What happens to those relationships?

Jealousy is damaging in any relationship and sometimes we do not even realize how childish we can be when we moan about what other people are doing and why aren’t we given the same respect or why aren’t we invited to the same party etc. The resentment that grows ends up affecting our relationships and no matter how one may act in front of the person they are jealous of, the subtle energy of intention will always creep in, and the vibe is always felt.

When we are in a relationship, we do retain some individuality and that is healthy. We cannot be at the complete beck and call of the other. However, if we are so stubborn that we think the other person, our partner must do what we say and must act upon what we want them to do then that relationship will not last. It will decay and when resentment is felt once then it’s hard to get rid of them. Sometimes, the remarks we make about our relationships hint upon the resentment that is felt deep within. No matter, what someone may say on the surface, the words mention normally have an iota of truth.

Sometimes I joke around and my wife does get a little upset because my comments may portray a feeling that I have not expressed to her. She is damn right to be upset and I may try to pacify her with that it’s a joke but she knows jokes very well, especially mine. My jokes always have a deeper meaning to them. I have slowly learned that I have to express to my wife my feelings and it is hard for an introvert like me but I have got much better. If I need to address something then I will try and solve it that night but it’s always my wife that looks to resolve things before I do.

I truly look up to my wife because of the way she views things and even if I don’t agree with her (which I express), we always leave things on a positive note. The most important thing for me is to never make the relationship about me but about us and it’s easy to make it about me – my feelings, my intentions, my wants and needs, my desires and really things flow much more smoothly when I change the ‘my’ to ‘our’.

Even if our wants, desires and so on need to merge together, sometimes they simply will not and that is okay. It means for the sake of our relationship, it isn’t necessary. Frankly, the relationship comes first because our happiness is tied to it, yet free from it too.

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.

Love is the natural way

It has been a few days since I have last written anything. I have been busy with my new home and getting the little things sorted. It has been quite a journey.

Every day I have been contemplating on that I need to write on my blog but due to my late nights, I was not able to commit to writing. Although, my heart was completely in making sure I could get some time to write.

This week has been about decisions and choices. The choices that we make on a daily choice is aplenty. We constantly have to decide on a choice and stick to it. The joy in choices and decisions is really the illusion that we are completely in control when really are not.

The choice to love is less a choice and more the natural way. If you are living according to your natural way of living. It appears without any true effort. It is the only way your soul knows how to be, however the pre-requisite is that you know and live as your soul.

I will keep this short and maybe have something a little longer but try and be aware of what is the natural way for you.