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.

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.

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.

 

 

Insight and discovery

The insight to be discovered in our own mind is extremely important as it shows us where we need to grow and what we need to let go of.

Many times we hold on to limiting beliefs and they block us from moving forward, we keep making the same mistakes again and again. Or we get the same results again and again. The only way to let go of limiting beliefs is to understand who we really are.

If we see ourselves as the creator of our lives, then we will reprogram our mind to think differently, to respond differently.

Limiting beliefs is simply those beliefs that keep you at square one, no matter how much you think you are moving forward.

Therefore, see yourself as a Creator and if that is done then watch how you take every thought and intention with so much awareness that they can never escape you. Hence, meditation is so important because we get to that clear space where we are open to making changes to our beliefs.

Nothing lasts forever, so why should our vices?

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.

Gratitude – 5 things I am grateful for!

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I was listening to Humble the Poet earlier today and he spoke about how important gratitude is. So I was thinking that today, I wanted to share 5 things I am grateful for. Here goes and in no particular order:

  1. Wisdom – the reason for this is because without wisdom, I wouldn’t be able to discern between right or wrong in most cases. I like to learn and try to implement and as I always say that knowledge with action equals wisdom. In the space of social media – we get so many people say very bland stuff but it comes across as inspirational when in fact, if we didn’t just scroll through or double tap or clicked ‘like’, we could have thought about the true meaning of that quote and seen if it comes from a place of deep understanding or just something that sounds good. Wisdom is hardly a soundbite, most of the time, it is longer than that and a soundbite may only be one part of an awesome but longer piece of writing.
  2. My wife, family & friends – without their support, their presence, I know my life would be incredibly fruitless. The wisdom I have gained, the love that I have been able to share is all because of their attention to me and their kind suggestions that sometimes were in the shape of a lecture. However, in the most trying of times, it is my wife, family and friends that have stood by me and shown me that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is not just that, they hold my hand and that makes me feel safe. I can’t thank them enough! In fact, if my parents were not so strict on me having a spiritual journey then I probably would lack meaning in my life. On top of that, my wife has been a shining bright light when my whole world turned dark when my Satguru Baba Hardev Singh ji merged into the Formless.
  3. Books – anyone that knows me, knows how much I just love reading books. I will not disclose how much I have spent on books but it is enough for you to know that it is a lot. Reading books takes me to new places of thought, I gain new insights and I use those insights to make my life better. When we read, it is said to be incredibly good for our health. A business insider article discusses it and you should give it a read here. The point of reading for me is that it keeps me feeling young and a learner, which helps to keep my ego in check.
  4. Meditation – the benefits of meditation are aplenty and there is no end to studies about this. However, for me meditation has been a life-saver in many ways. I have been able to feel calm and content on more occasions due to meditation and in fact, gratitude comes a lot easier when we meditate or are mindful. Meditating and observing a mind that projects or perceives nothing is a remarkable experience, a mind that is quiet is a blessing for one’s being. Meditation not only enhances one’s spiritual journey but it empowers one to be strong and determined when the world attempts to get tough at us.
  5. My Satguru – without the presence of my Satguru, my life wouldn’t be the same, I may have never been as spiritual as I am if it wasn’t for my Satguru. My Satguru is the one reason why I meditate, read and honor wisdom so much. I have even improved my relationships by following the wisdom of my Satguru. You see, Satguru means truth and leads you from darkness to light. Although, I am not able to say that I am completely out of the darkness but whatever progress I have made to get to the Light is because my Satguru has always given guidance that enhances my life. You could even say that my Satguru enriches every reason why I am full of gratitude. You can read more about why I need my Satguru here.

Here are my 5 reasons why I am grateful. Please tell me at least one thing you are grateful for in the comments below.

Freedom in the Formless

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As I sat in contemplation last night at a gathering last night, I kept thinking of the words in the title of this blog – Freedom in the Formless. It felt like an inner voice guiding me that I had to write about this and explore what it meant.

I regularly attend a spiritual gathering and the fundamental teaching is that we are all formless and that we can understand this by understanding that the world that we see around us is eventually formless when we break it all down. When we know that beyond the universe is formless, we can contemplate within that we are also Formless.

I find this to be a very powerful thought, which in the beginning it simply is a thought. Then as we begin to contemplate on it, meditate on it, we slowly begin to feel like the Formless and then we become Formless. The closest material to the Formless is love. In fact, love helps us a lot in spirituality. My wife is amazing at helping me grow spiritually and ensuring that I don’t remain stagnant. She is a perfect mirror for me and every time I think of her, I am overwhelmed with this sense of unconditional love. I don’t know why I love her, I just do. I don’t mean to be all romantic here, but simply stating we can feel spiritual concepts within our own homes and that my wife has allowed me to dive back into my spirituality.

The one thing that I love is when I express how I feel about the day with my wife, I express my emotions and I have slowly seen how anger is slipping away from me. There was a time maybe in 2013/2014 where I didn’t experience anger at all. It just never happened. Many things could have stirred that anger but I was so drenched in my experiences of the Formless, anger just couldn’t rise. I didn’t overcome it, I let it rest for a while.

Then in 2017, my anger started coming back. Questions appeared and no answers were good enough. The problem was not about the answers that people gave, they gave the best answers they could but I had the answers within me all the time. However, I didn’t have the time to look at my own answers. I was angry with the world, angry with the circumstances and most of all, angry at the lack of love. Which is hilarious when I think about it, being angry at the lack of love. However, it felt so true at the time. I couldn’t understand how far we stepped back when it came to following spiritual principles that were held on to so tightly like love, understanding, forgiveness and acceptance.

Yesterday, while talking to my wife, I expressed that there was a time in my life when I didn’t get angry. I would raise my voice a little but it never grew into anger. I stayed calm for most of the time as I was so aware of my own self. My wife very beautifully asked – “But you meditated a lot back then?” and I replied that I did and that I used to wake up at 4am in the morning and meditate for an hour (Thank you Dad for waking me up at 4am). I got rid of a lot of the emotions that disturbs the peace of humans. However, in 2017 and especially 2018, my anger and those other disturbing emotions came back again. The only answer was and is a lack of meditation and awareness that I am formless. Not conceptually but experientially.

It has been in recent times that I have noticed my anger has been a regular visitor to my consciousness. It feels like a guest that has overstayed its welcome. I keep showing it the door but it keeps staying for yet another night. The only reason this happens is because I choose to let the Formless stay out for another night.

Although, I haven’t spoken much about what freedom in the formless means but this is reflective of a past that was good but a present that has all the possibility of becoming better. All that is needed is for me to go into that wisdom that shows me that within me, it is all Formless. In this vast experience, where is anger, jealousy, greed, lust or pride? These tiny specks of the human experience have enlarged themselves so much that they live in the majority of our days. I feel it is a time to bring an end to that. How do we do that? Awareness, we need to become aware of our own awareness.

How much am I aware in the day that my body is Formless? How much am I aware in the day that my mind is Formless? How much am I aware in the day that I am simply the Formless? In fact, how much am I aware that there is nothing but the Formless? Do I dive into these contemplations everyday? Maybe we should try it out for a week. See how it goes and what happens. It is an experiment where the only thing you could lose is your ego – the nucleus of all the negative emotions.

Let’s come back to this next week and share what we have discovered.

Discover like an agnostic

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I have quite a few friends who are atheists and to be fair, they are some of the best people that I know. I have never believed that people who believe in a God are somewhat better than those that do not. I have felt that those that drown themselves in dogma, end up harming society more because time has moved on, cultures have evolved and yet the practices remain the same.

I am a keen meditator and although I don’t believe in any abrahamic version of a god, I do believe that within us and around us, there is Formless, Conscious Energy. This is the creator, sustainer and destroyer all in one. It has no end and no beginning. It can never be defined and most of all, you can only experience this as you live as it is – or live in your most natural state.

We have been programmed to judge others, to be skeptical of others, to gossip about others when really why do we even care? I understand that judgment is needed, certainly some people are so entrenched in their ego, that does mean you will suspect an ulterior motive but your way of being shouldn’t change. You will not trust that person for sure, but love and respect will always be what you speak of.

The biggest challenge for me is that despite being an atheist in some ways, I would say I am happily an agnostic. I simply love the fact that I don’t know and even if I did know, I want to stay in the state of “I don’t know” because therein lies the beauty of discovery.

One thing is for sure, I go with whatever someone’s vibe is telling me. If someone tells me an experience or something that is not true, I will never say that it isn’t true. I will silently listen. This is how one should approach whether there is a god or not. Meditate and contemplate until there is nothing there. That is what I am doing. You can surely try it and let me know if you want to know how.

 

The Struggle continues

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3 months ago, a world that was full of colour turned dull, a life full of light turned into darkness in just one moment. All that remained was the observer in me – the watcher was untouched by the sadness and grief that struck my mind and my whole world was shattered. I didn’t know where to look, what to feel, what to say, what to do. I was lost in a world that didn’t make sense anymore. That is what happens when you have surrendered everything to someone – to a Spiritual Master.

After surrendering to Baba ji (my Spiritual Master) I didn’t have to think about anything in my life. I knew that it was in safe hands and still is despise His demise. I know that He has made sure my life will be comfortable and He must have given me all the strength to continue until my body decides that it has run its course on this Earth. However, there was certainly a sense of stability and comfort knowing that Baba ji was alive in His form, you felt safe knowing that if you had an issue then you could see Him. It was His approachability that made Him our everything and today, it is that very approachability that myself and others miss and seek.

My life has taken a turn where I am struggling to cope with this loss. It is no normal bereavement. It is one of excruciating pain where even the Observer, the Witness, the God within us understands the soul’s pain in losing the One who gave it so much joy, happiness and celebration. I always have this image of my soul crying, all alone in the universe, searching frantically for Baba ji. It is lost and doesn’t know what to do. I don’t think losing Baba ji is something I wanted so early on in my life.

How can I explain that God had showed me God? How can I explain that it was God that showed me how to be human? How can I explain to others that God had shown me how to become God Himself? And now this very God, the one we all worship regardless of our different paths had now left His mortal form. Can you imagine the pain of a devotee losing Krishna, Buddha, Kabir, Rumi and other Great Spiritual Masters whilst they were alive? You just don’t want to imagine it but today that imagination that I avoided is now my reality.

The only reason I am living is to write His praises, to write about how loving He was and to give the world now and in the future – the story of Rahul and Hardev. It is not that I want to die tomorrow or even right now. I don’t want to die until it is the right time but I can’t stop expressing the pain that I feel and it is not wrong to feel this pain. I have lost my breath and I am suffocating and drowning and I am only beginning to swim again. It feels like I have just been born again and have to start life all over again. This is not easy when you are left without the Beloved. I wonder if I trip or fall, will I be saved? Will someone pick me up?

As this struggling heart continues on the path towards liberation, I know that we have Satguru (Spiritual Master) in a new form and we have to surrender to Mata ji with the same zeal and enthusiasm that we did for Baba ji. It will have its own challenges but we can see through it. It does not mean we will not grieve for Baba ji, the tears will always flow and we will only be telling others about the legend of Hardev – the sweetest, caring and compassionate Guru. In a world spread with turmoil, suffering, hatred, intolerance and jealousy, we will know of a man that defied those values and became an embodiment of peace, love, humility, tolerance, forgiveness and compassion. We lived and walked alongside this legendary being.

His one smile was always something that we all longed for whenever He was going to visit us, wherever that may be in the world, but I know for sure that Mata ji will give us the same loving smile. She did this for me the day after Baba ji’s funeral. It was something that I needed and I also need that right now. I seek the glimpse of the Satguru to give comfort to the pain that my heart feels for my Beloved. As a devotee, I have full trust in Mata ji and all devotees of Baba ji have to support Her vision.

On the note of forgiveness, we all know that Baba ji had left His mortal form in a car accident. That is exactly what it was – an accident. The quicker that we can accept this, the better it will be for our own advancement. I have only seen this as an accident and have placed no blame on anyone. The point is that I knew Baba ji told us to think with a broad mind. We all say that a leaf cannot move without Satguru’s grace but have some of us just said it to meet our own egoic needs? Satguru does all and we cannot become judges of what happened and who should be guilty or not. I find it incredibly inconsiderate to do so. Baba ji only told us to love and forgive and if we cannot do that for our brothers, our family then what tribute can we ever possibly pay to the Satguru who sacrificed His whole life to put a smile on our faces. Those in the car are also grieving like we are. The quicker we forgive and welcome them in our hearts then we can concentrate on our own grieving process with the right mindset and focus.

Our Beloved Baba ji was overflowing with love for us all and we need to be the same. He wasn’t the best human being for His own praise, far from it. He wanted us all to be like Him – hold the same values and become those very spiritual values. We can never let go of the target He set for us, we have to remain focussed. I miss Him loads and I am struggling but the more I am the observer, the more I allow light to enter my dark world. The more I am in the present, the more I feel His love and presence. It is in the connection, focus and merging with the Formless that we see Baba ji again. Every day, I do meet Baba ji and I receive His love, I touch His feet and receive that warm embrace of His. This can be our way, and I need to surrender my struggle to Satguru Mata ji. I will trip and fall but She will pick me up. I will always miss Baba ji and I will still write about it because we are all sharing this grief collectively, but we have to at the same time, side by side, bring the message of Truth everywhere. And the message will always be in our thoughts and actions. Be aware, observe and be.

Thank you for reading. Please like, share and comment.

With Satguru’s love and blessings,
Rahul