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.

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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.

If someone throws a stone…

We all have the power within us to change how we want to live and perceive life. If we are consumed with our thoughts too much, we tend to feel heavy, tired, sleepy, lethargic. If we are consumed with awareness, we tend feel light, energetic, full of life and eager to live.

The difference is that when you feel change isn’t in your hands then you have opened yourself to any possibility that you may not desire. However, if you feel that you can be an instrument of change and then that means, change yourself first.

We are always looking around us on who will change first or feel that someone else needs to change. In fact, the change has to come from within me. As my Spiritual Master once said that if someone throws stones at you, instead of building a wall, build a bridge.

This type of insight can help one understand that forgiveness is the bridge and that enmity is the wall. Acceptance is the bridge, humility is the bridge. Once, we understand this, we are able to look within ourselves, be humbly, forgive ourselves and understand that all the strength we need to better ourselves, is waiting to be utilized.

With Baba Ji – my journey continues…

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You can wake up in the morning, everything will occur as normal but something is missing, something just doesn’t feel right. That is how I feel everyday since my Spiritual Master left His body three years ago.

His kindness, His humility and His loving personality won many hearts and it definitely won mine. I spend time thinking about Baba ji, my Spiritual Master very often in the day. Whether it is a walk down the corridor, I think of Him and my eyes well up with tears. I am in the car and I look at the clear blue sky and a flash of His image appears in front of, obviously from my own mind, but yet a sign to say, nothing truly dies. I am sitting in my temple, and a thought that Baba ji gave is heard and my heart skips a beat, as if not knowing what to do with the thought that He is known in the past tense now.

He was someone where my spirituality began, where my spirituality continues and where my spirituality will one day end. He is my past, my present and my future. I haven’t loved anyone as much as I have loved Him and I know so many, that feel the same way with me.

The great thing about Baba ji was that He somehow was able to reflect however you saw Him. If you saw Him as a cool person, He was just a cool person. If you saw Him as a person you admire for His sincerity, that is what He reflected. For me, I was fortunate, very lucky by fate or my own faith that I was able to see Him as my Satguru, my Spiritual Master of Truth. For me, He was a God and much more. Maybe this is why there is a lot of pain in the physical loss as right now, I am in growing pains, I am trying to realize the subtle form of His that I know He had planted into me when I was initiated with His wisdom.

I have often said that I reached a peak of one mountain when He was alive and when He died, He took me from that peak and placed me at the bottom of the largest mountain one can ever perceive. For some, they may find that Rahul isn’t as spiritual as He used to be, he was calmer before, he didn’t get so angry but actually I have started climbing this mountain, which I literally have no map to guide me with except my own self. All I know and what I totally have faith and trust in is that I have to find the compass of the inner guru within me – sooner, rather than later.

I am now content in that I cannot change anyone, inspire anyone, or even truly advise them on their spiritual journey except for what I know and like I said right now, I don’t know much as I am climbing this mountain, of which I have climbed only a few steps up. So everyone literally has to bear with me here.

What I have learned is that these three years, which was literally about abseiling down the mountain of which, I had reached my peak. I had to take the valuable lessons and be thankful for they have taught me so much. Now the Master is going to advise me from within but the foundation of all that will be advised from now is literally from what I learned from my Spiritual Master before His passing.

All I now know and what I knew before was that it was all up to me. I had to have the faith and I had to be in charge of my growth. Nobody could take me there. I recall a conversation that I had with Baba ji when I was around 19 years old. We were walking at the Center for Oneness, West London and for some strange reason, Baba ji stopped walking and stepped inside as we were in mid-conversation. It was only me and Him. I poured my heart to Him and said “Baba ji, I am struggling. I am doing sumiran (remembrance) but I am not connecting. I feel my faith is weak.” Baba ji looked at me, smiled and in a quizzing manner. “Rahul ji, I don’t understand how your faith is weak when it is so strong?” I just stared into His eyes for a few seconds, my eyes moist, lost in His humility, His love and His mercy I bowed and touched His feet for around 10 seconds, to which when I was getting up, He was holding my shoulders and He gave me the biggest hug. As we pulled away from the hug, we both gave the biggest smiles to each other and we both bowed as I stepped away so another devotee could talk to Him.

This conversation changed the whole direction of my spiritual journey. I started questioning my whole belief system a couple of years later in order to get what I perceived as ‘weak’ faith into something so strong that it is unbreakable. However, a lesson I have learned recently is that I was in charge of my faith. I decide whether it is strong or weak and that whatever faith you have for yourself, is how much faith you truly have with the Master. If you feel you are incapable then the Master can do very little to change that because you feel incapable. However, you can feel incapable but you know your Master is with you, within you so now you are absolutely capable and this brings forth a very strong faith.

I have a lot to thank Baba ji for and He knows how much He means to me and nothing can change that. No philosophy, no teaching can change that. Like I said earlier, it ends with Him. We are meant to have full faith in a living Master, to which I absolutely agree with. Living is subject to one’s definition. Does someone have to be physically alive to be living? Or can someone be alive through consciousness itself -in a more subtle form? One of the rules of nature is that energy never dies but is transferred. All that has happened to Satguru Baba Hardev Singh ji on this day, three years ago was that the energy that was physical or gross matter became subtle matter.

This post has come from a lot of reflection with some meditation too. I don’t know if what I believe in right now will give me liberation but all I do know is that I know that is my destination. Thank you Baba ji. Love You and miss You! Your child forever.

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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