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.

Readiness for the Truth

There are times when I feel I am going round and round in circles for the Truth. Despite knowing how near It is, how close It is, I still feel like I haven’t got there. It is like the nervousness one feels in the stomach before you arrive at some destination that you were travelling to. Even if it is a place you go regularly, there is always a nervous feeling.

I often wonder on days when I feel that I am going round in circles about what more do I need? Do I even need to do anything more? Why can’t I just get it? What makes others so convinced but yet their arguments or their findings don’t resonate with mine? Am I just not ready for the Truth? How can I get ready for it? How can I be best prepared for it?

I don’t know if there is an answer. If you have one then please do share it with me. All I know is that the Truth feels so close, yet so far at the same time. Sometimes I feel I have grasped it and sometimes it sifts through like sand in my clenched hand.

I wonder whether it is the feeling that I am eternal that has become the hindrance. You know, nothing ever dies and that energy simply transfers. Or I would get another opportunity in my next life. At times, knowing all that isn’t enough for me and I begin searching again.

Is it that I think too much or am I not focussing on this Truth enough? Am I not enquiring into who I am enough? Do I need to make it a do or die type of event? I simply don’t know but somehow I feel I have to do this all alone. Nobody can take me there, they can get me to do the door and they can even open it. It is I that has got to walk through and the Truth is such that nobody can push you through to It either, it requires your own admission.

Silence It Is

A space, infinitesimal space, a gap in the middle, 
The mind still, caught in the middle ground, 
Observing, observer and observation suspended, 
That, with no definition, makes It's presence felt, 
It isn't exclusive, It is available to everybody,
Try to monopolize It, watch It disappear in an instant,  
It doesn't seek to convince, It doesn't like language,
It prefers if silence communicates, silence It is.  

Ultimate Reality

The highest wisdom known is to understand the Ultimate Reality. This Ultimate Reality has no form, no shape, no color, no dimension, no sound, no space, no time, indivisible etc. The biggest question is whether we can call this God, especially when a personal god is more or less invoked in the traditional aspects of religion?

The personal god is not just in traditional religions but has found its place in spiritual circles. You may call it the universe, it is still the personal god. To this god, we place our faith, our devotion as long as whatever we want is received. If it isn’t then there are two options. One is that we lose faith and become atheist sand settle in the belief that there is no god, or second is that we say we don’t have enough faith and that is why god didn’t give it to us. In fact, we make god into a transactional deity where He, the patriarch dishes out rewards and punishments. Why do some get more or less? Well, build up your faith is always the clarion call!

So back to the original question, can we call this Ultimate Reality – God? I don’t think we can. It is interesting that in Hinduism, they see the need for the personal God so this is called Ishwar or Saguna Brahman. The Hindu mystics were smart enough to understand that the majority will not have time to contemplate, to wonder, to pay attention and to focus on what Reality is but in fact, they are drawn to their primal fears and desires – therefore, Ishwar or Saguna Brahman deliver this. But remember – Sat Chit Ananda (Truth Consciousness Bliss) – cannot be experienced here! The Truth or the Reality experienced is only a part – it isn’t the whole. Saguna Brahman is also subject to destruction as it is part of the Universe. Consciousness is experienced by all, but here we are talking about Pure Indivisible Consciousness as the Ultimate Reality. This is only partly experienced. Therefore, bliss cannot be attained with the completeness of Truth and Consciousness. We can experience happiness, extreme happiness but not bliss.

So the ones who contemplate on this Ultimate Reality, who wonder about it, who want to see it as it is, without our interpretation, without our thoughts, without our emotions, we find that they experience Sat Chit Ananda. This Ultimate Reality is referred to as Nirguna Brahman and this means Brahman without attributes. This is the Purest of the Pure. Right now, I can feel It’s presence that seems infused into everything, yet distinct from everything too. I can feel that there is bliss and if I must use the analogy of the ocean, I am only at the shore, and haven’t gone to it’s depths yet. Some of you, may have gone there and are there right now and can feel the uncreated, unbreakable, undiluted bliss. This Ultimate Reality cannot belong to any religion and can only be personally experienced, therefore a spiritual group or organization will not be able to contain such a Force. It’s impossible because once the spiritual group loses focus on this Ultimate Reality, which it inevitably will because people are too attached to primal fears and desires, they will lose focus on where to direct their contemplation. This Ultimate Reality doesn’t care for praise or criticism – therefore It doesn’t negotiate. So we cannot win this like we can do with the personal god. This Ultimate Reality is always here, within us, we just need wake up to it. It doesn’t need to do anything, we need to discover it by contemplation, by inquiry, by discussion and by meditation.

So, after discussing this with you, I find that Nirguna Brahman cannot be referred to as god because that will give it unrealistic expectations that It will not follow. This can only be referred to as the Ultimate Reality and is literally defined as having no form, no shape, no color, no dimension, no sound, no space, no time, indivisible etc. If we are to truly experience the essence of spirituality, it is only with understanding and knowing this Ultimate Reality without any duality within us – the observer.

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.

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.

What is Wisdom?

The biggest declaration is one that is made in your own very heart, your very being itself. It is a personal moment that whenever it is shared, it is lost and unless you are a mystic, you cannot afford to share it yet.

Bathe in the wisdom that you have discovered in your own being, meet it every day, spend quality time with it, get to know it more, unveil things that you never knew and make sure that you are convinced that this wisdom will never change and is of an eternal nature. Once you find this, then it is worth sharing. Then the more you share it, the more you realize it does not deplete.

What is wisdom? It is knowledge that becomes experience. It is eternal, changeless, transcending and in many ways it is beyond comprehension. When it is translated back to words, it loses a large part of it’s essence. Wisdom is not like strong winds that blows you away, it is that gentle breeze that swirls around you in a dance, it envelopes you and takes you to a place of meditation, a place of inner awareness, where there is stillness and you have been taken over by that wisdom.

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Mysticism of the East have named this wisdom as Nirguna Brahman (The Formless Oneness without attributes) or Tat Tvam Asi (You are That). This is where all lofty thoughts, concepts and ideas come from. However, we must always separate them to Nirguna Brahman. To get to this point of clarity, to this indivisible state requires practice in meditation, and contemplation on one’s true self with the company of the wise. Serving others in a selfless manner can also bring one to that clarity. If one serves all as if serving Nirguna Brahman, many have reported attaining that Wisdom itself from performing selfless acts. Devotional acts have made people reach Nirguna Brahman too even though one may believe they are worshipping Saguna Brahman (the Formless One with attributes).

The fastest way to Nirguna Brahman is by seeking a teacher, a Guru of Truth. With their Grace, they reveal this wisdom in an instant. They may ask the seeker to purify themselves first by reading scriptures, sitting with wise company, meditating, volunteering etc. The Teacher, when they feel the seeker is ready, unveils the Highest Wisdom – Nirguna Brahman. From there, it is seen that Saguna Brahman is the manifested in the Guru of Truth and whenever the seeker finds it difficult to connect, they lead the seeker to Nirguna Brahman.

This is my experience and I find myself very fortunate to be able to behold nothing but Nirguna Brahman for periods of time. Even though, I do find it challenging to connect to Nirguna Brahman, I find that devotion, singing the praise of my Guru of Truth, my Saguna Brahman leads me to the Formless Indivisible Self that resides within me. In fact, I am always This but I am battling my mind/ego to accept it.

Love.

Pseudo-Wisdom

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It has been a long time since I have written on my blog and I will not lie but I have missed it. There is something about writing your thoughts every day and how it connects you to your own self. It’s quite an interesting way to introspect.

I have been spending time away from posting on social media too and I feel that now the likes of Instagram, Snapchat etc are more for businesses than individual content. Facebook still has it’s place as we find out news about our friends and family, or generally the political climate in our home country or abroad. However, Facebook is not something a 18 year or under runs towards now.

I have started to stay away from Instagram and I used to write poetry on their daily. Eventually, I found that the thoughts I expressed had lost it’s original voice and depth. A few may disagree but I really felt I wasn’t doing justice to the actual thoughts that I had.

I have noticed how individuals are trying to be content creators or influencers and as much as I applaud the efforts, I find that it is more narcisstic and definitely spreading more pseudo-wisdom than anything truly worth remembering. I often wonder would one find the Buddha or Lao Tzu or Krishna ever enjoying what they see on Instagram and the like? They would probably like to retreat to a cave and I must say that it may be the first time ever in my life where I find staying in a cave more interesting than going through the torture of social media.

However, I do find it funny and I do laugh at a lot of people’s attempts of being something special. It is a bit sad and I must add this, that some people on Instagram provide amazing content and it’s a little unfortunate that their talent that is screaming is being drowned by the mediocrity that has become the mainstream.

As I remain more of a spectator of social media than an active participant, it’s wonderful to find out good news on dear friends and family. It brings me a lot of joy when I see genuine happiness and that is what I really look for.

I certainly do not look for wisdom on Instagram and I must say that it is nearly impossible to find it anywhere on social media. I have resorted back to reading on my Kindle, reading about the deep hindu philosophy of advaita vedanta, reading poetry or works by great mystics and therefore increasing my concentration on focus.

In a world today that loses it’s attention span so quickly, I am doing the opposite. I am working on increasing it. This is obviously aided by meditation. Maybe this is why I see the frivolty of so-called influencers and content creators. The biggest question that they need to ask is am I going to be relevant a thousand years from now. If that is a stretch then 100 years from now? If not, then the few days of success will end up being a lifetime of failure. Which will only increase anxiety and possibly, mental illness because when someone loses relevancy, it hits really hard.

For years, I have thought about how to be relevant in today’s day and age. How can my poetry reach far? Then I remind myself of the above. My success lies in how long my work remains. Will it remain for a few years now as a fad or will it be something of an eternal nature. All I know is that I have a lot of work to do internally and on myself and that is what my focus is on.

As much as my discourse above has been based upon the state of social media from my perspective, I do appreciate the entertainment it provides even if they are trying to be serious. It is a little scary too and sometimes I have seen posts talk about mental health issues and the advice provided is not appropriate or even shows a little understanding of the actual issues that people go through. What needs to be understood that the shallowness of their thoughts or pseudo-wisdom cannot comprehend the issues that run deep in the human mind. In topics where professionals’ advice must be shared, others should either spread those professionals advice or not write about it at all.

There is a lot that I want to share with you. All that I share is what I know and whatever I feel helps, I will share that. I want to be authentic and honest and these are the basic values I strongly hold on to. As I grow in my spiritual practice, there is one thing that I am more transparent about and that is ineptness and I am quite vocal about the dangers of such matters. Being genuine and straightforward is better than sugar-coating. Although, my personal philsophy is to sugar-coat first and if someone still doesn’t get it, I just share what I feel in it’s less filtered state. After all, one has to respect the feelings of others even if their pseudo-wisdom will eventually do some harm.

At the moment, pseudo-wisdom is definitely winning and it is gaining huge popularity but the lack of real transformation will eventually lift the veil on the reality of the ‘wisdom’ that was once so inspiring. This is why I go back to the ancient folk because the Truth doesn’t belong to time and therefore, you can be in the world today and practice those pointers without worrying if it is relevant in a modern society. Being enlightened is transcendence and therefore trnascends all apparent limitations.

Anyway, this post was longer than I had anticipated and I just hope that whatever you are doing is the best for you. Keep it real. Keep it authentic. Keep it honest. May joy and happiness be with you in every step that you take.

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.

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.