What Is The World Saying To You Right Now?


endless practiceHow are you being challenged beyond what is familiar? Where do you sense you are being led?

These are the questions from the book that I am reading currently  called “The Endless Practice – Becoming Who You Were Born To Be” by Mark Nepo.

With the siege in Sydney before Christmas, the sieges that happened over the past three days in France costing lives of innocent victims as well as the perpetrators, and now the latest news of Boko Haram massacring over 2000 people in north Nigeria, I cannot but help ponder on what is the world actually telling us right now?

That violence is normal way of life and we passively accept it? Seems to be so doesn’t it?

Unfortunately the ‘unwanted’ has become the ‘familiar’  and we are constantly challenged in our struggles to reject that unwanted familiarity of violence riddled world invading into our lounges and homes.

In order to reject the unwanted, we either polarize ourselves between good and bad and stand firmly on one side only or we run from it all with a fear that our involvement even in thoughts might affect our safety.

Whilst we want to live in a ring of safety, we are constantly pushed to expand our ring of fear.

What capacities can we develop to not succumb to that ring of fear, to actually contract that ring?

How can we create and expand a ring of safety for ourselves, our immediate and extended families, friends and loved ones?

How can we cast a net of love to all peoples of the world so the language of violence and acts of terrorism can actually reduce?

To cast a net of love we need to first understand what love actually is and what it looks like in action – don’t we not?

  • Is Love an uprising of joy from the folds of our hearts?
  • Is it tears welling up in our eyes when we appreciate beauty?
  • Is it the concerns that arise spontaneously about the well-being of those that are closely associated with us?
  • Is it a heart wrenching pain we experience watching the innocent suffer?
  • Is it a sense of duty (Dharma) that we have, to do certain things regardless of what we have to go through?

What is Love? What does it look like? How does it feel?

I understand and experience all the various situational values of love’s expression – Caring, Empathy, Compassion etc., but the big word itself – Love – I struggle to understand.  What I do know is that Love is beyond the accepted cultural norm of expression and that it is a word that has many faces and cannot be easily captured.

These questions and the burning desire to know led me to do another exercise from the book “Writing To Wake The Soul – Opening The Sacred Conversation Within” by Karen Hering in which she asks to list random objects in your immediate area and create associated thing of the words in the list. After doing that she asks to create metaphors for Love using the words listed.

I did that and the metaphors for love that came up from the list are as follows:

  • Love is soft, thick, layered textures of a Carpet that I like to lie down on
  • Love is a fluffy, soft, comfortable support of a Cushion under my head when I take a nap
  • Love is the discipline of a Clock moving forward
  • Love is a Painting that is colorful and geometric holding many themes and patterns at the same time.
  • Love is the thick long Curtain that filters good and bad light.
  • Love is the Laundry Basket that holds clean and dirty clothes without complaining
  • Love is the Coffee Table that silently witnesses the scattered  mess on it.

How do these metaphors serve us in understanding love better?  They are only showing one thing aren’t they not?

Love is understanding and accepting both sides,  – Good & Bad, Beauty & Ugly, Light & Dark – completely without judgment and Be a Witness. Period.

It is only when we can do that do we have the capacity to extend our ring of safety and contract our ring of fear.  Accepting both sides does not mean that we condone violence.  Accepting both sides means we remember the larger wholeness in which we all belong and in so doing, we recover our wholeness within. We cannot afford to be separated from our soul because then we will be separated from life.

So what do we do? How can we live from a place of understanding and hold everyone equally in our hearts?

As hard as it may be,

  • We need to try and accept everything happening in our lives as a blessing.
  • We need to down our fear riddled masks which keep us from facing the truth and meet life fully with a vulnerability that is so human and so imperfect.
  • We need to change our thinking from fear to love. Our fears only create more fearful events because we create everything first in our thoughts.

Mark Nepo says, “When the dangers of drowning in the troubles of living are near, when feeling separate from your soul and the fear of burning up is heating up, rub the place in your chest where you feel most human, most vulnerable, and you will be perfectly returned in time to a thoroughness that will present the next step.”

Let us embrace the world knowing that we cannot fully comprehend what is going on and why.  That enables us to live in the world with a tender, open and loving heart and mind which does not contribute to the chaos but instead creates a pristine lake – the shores of which can be a shelter for all of us.

Hope you will join me in that embrace…..

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

 

How Much Planning Do You Do?


Cherry tree 2December of every year, my Facebook feeds start flooding with various posts on how to greet the new year, what plans to make, how to make plans – whether it be deciding on a word to guide one through the year, or creating a mandala for the year or a dream board or a vision board – the idea is that one has to plan and map the coming year so one knows exactly where to head.

I get caught in this religiously every year and my journaling towards end of December is always filled with plans, ideas, questions to answer, themes to choose from etc etc.,  Its a good practice to reflect on the year passing so the same mistakes will not be repeated.

So, the process has begun already and this year I have joined #quest2015 – you can learn more about it here – http://trackingwonder.com/quest-2015/community/#sthash.1K7KPArm.dpuf

One of the questions posed by Jason Silva is as follows

In what ways might you artfully curate your life in 2015 to occasion serendipity, creativity and awe?Ontological designing says: We design our world and the world designs us back. What are the linguistic and creative choices you can make in 2015 that will in turn act back upon you and transform you?

Well, my 2015 is already crowded with ‘to dos’, ‘have to dos’ and ‘must dos’ before it even started.  Some of those things on the list are unavoidable as a bigger picture of what I want to do with my life has unfolded a couple of weeks ago without my voluntary involvement – “Serendipity – the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.”  I was gobsmacked.

So, every other ‘must do’ will have to revolve around those things so it can all happen without losing myself in that process.  I am trying to accept that serendipity with grace even in the face of overwhelm and  need to steer 2015 creatively so I can maintain balance in all the five personality domains of life – physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual.  Any one domain neglected, the rest will suffer.

It has now become an urgency to curate 2015 with decisions on how I desire to feel in all those five areas.  I believe in Danielle Laporte’s #desiremap  If I know the choices I am making in how I feel, then those feelings will guide my actions.

So the predominant choice that I am going to make this coming year is that

“I choose to Love.  I will love everything that I have to do, must do and choose to do”

It is said that what we focus on grows – so why not focus on Love? But Love is too broad a word isn’t it? How can we love everything? Is it possible?

Well, Love manifests itself in many forms.  If we are open, aware and curious of the world around us, we will most certainly curate every area of our lives and only fill them with love.  The moment we start judging we shut down and there is no life in living when curiosity dies.

So, here is what I am going to do in 2015.

I will get curious about every opportunity, every encounter, and every possibility in every step of the way. I will show interest in others more than I do in myself; I will be compassionate as well as self-compassionate and I will let creativity guide all my actions.  I will separate the actions from the actors so I am not judging people. I will live in gratitude in the NOW.

When I live life with a respectful awe and wonder, the sacred returns.  A life filled with sacred has only room for love.

So, what are your plans for 2015? How do you want it to take shape? How will you know when that happens? Please share how you approach a new year.

Would love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

 

“Everything Everywhere Is Just As It Should Be…Really?”


Sunrise

This statement – that I used to use a lot and regularly used by my ‘seeking’ friends, made me stop once again in my tracks as lately I have begun to question the commonly held spiritual beliefs handed down either through scriptures or elders and teachers or both.

I have never explored this statement and today, the last sentence of David Whyte’s poem – “Revelations must be terrible” stopped me.  the poem says a lot more and no doubt the last sentence is intertwined with everything before it, however, it threw me into deep reflection.

“You could flow on without a speck/of guilt and everything/Everywhere would still be just as it should be”

Do I agree with that statement? The tumble dryer in my head started whizzing.  Turn – Stop – Start – Turn – Stop…..and it was going in circles.

How can I convince myself with that statement when I see a homeless person’s anguish, or a drug addicts craving induced suffering, or parents grief over untimely deaths of their children due to stupid mistakes, or wars between countries or mindless crime, or pain induced in people over rampant unfulfilled desires that drive the loins, groins and the purses as well, minds that hold desires and uncontrollable appetites to have more, to do more and convinced that it is their right to possess, cherish or destroy at any cost, etc., etc., – is this the way ‘just as it should be?’

How can I sit on the sidelines and watch stories like young Brishan a 10 year old rape survivor who is under the threat of an honor killing, one exposed brutality amongst the many millions and think that everything is just the way it should be?

Have I no duty towards the world that I co-create in its beauty and chaos equally? Is that statement a shield that acts as a protection for  my ‘self’ from the pain in the world even as I feel helpless in the face of observed cruelties?

I went for a walk with the statement again, trying not to passively accept the ‘Law of Karma’ as an answer that my anguished mind was readily willing to declare as a solution so it can avoid the pain.

“Yes, everything is just as it should be” it tried to reassure me.  “Don’t you remember what Lord Krishna said in Bhagavad Gita, Not even a blade of grass moves without my will, don’t you remember that?” it asked.  And then my mind continued to give me a sermon over concepts that I have fed it over the years.  “They are reaping their past life karma, the victim in this life must have been the perpetrator of crime in another lifetime and the cycle continues…you see..” the superiority with which it gave me the ready made book answers was irritating.

But, I argued, what is my duty in all this?  As a citizen of the world am I to just accept that theory and not act?  What am I supposed to do?

Silence…

I was on the main street by now, towards the Airport and a Reserve along the mighty Murray River.  There were a few cars going past, perhaps to work.  Sun was up, clear blue skies and crisp morning air, we are going through the last of the colds that enter in the middle of spring, determined to keep us from feeling warm and comfortable so soon.  The forklift driver at the nursery and garden shop was shifting pots from inside to display out on the pavement for gardeners that will arrive soon looking to beautify their patches that give them pleasure.

Everything is just the way it should be, or is it? What does it mean?

My footsteps made the Ibis fly away from its slumber in the marsh next to the bridge over the creek. Two ducks hurriedly moved out of my way continuing to pick the unseen worms from the damp earth.

I was struggling to think that I have no role to play in the events of life other than be a silent spectator if I accepted that statement.  Wouldn’t that helpless acceptance of a statement cause indifference and apathy? Am I just living day to day caught in my mundane survival oscillating between my own pain and pleasure, busy, oblivious to the world, only ‘tch tch-ing’ at the horrid images that flick past my screen for a moment or two and then quickly forgetting because there is nothing I can do so why bother?  because Everything everywhere is just as it should be – right?

A brown Honey eater flew from out of the tree, swooped onto the road a few meters ahead of me and with its sharp beak picked up a flirting butterfly.  The wings of the butterfly fluttered for a while as the wings of the bird carried it away with its prized catch – food, life, sustenance to one; pain and death to the other.

The earth rotates causing cycles of weather, day and night.  Life follows by death follows by life – regardless of whether I question or demand or pain over its course. Human emotions too recycle don’t they, collecting and discarding – hinging their survival on the intervals of happiness between pleasure and pain? Yes, true, but, the question still lingered in my mind worried that accepting that statement will make me an apathetic and indifferent spectator of my life and in the world.

I looked ahead and there was my answer, looking back at me, standing tall, strong, unmovable and firmly grounded – a thirty plus feet tall Gum Tree.

GumTree

My mind went into a scramble – “but,but, how, are you mad, but, how is it an answer?” It was incoherent even as my heart expanded in full knowing and said ‘YES’

There is the answer for ‘not why everything is just as it should be’, but for ‘what is my role in life if everything is just as it should be.’

My role like the tree is to be a witness to everything, even as I am fulfilling the duties assigned to me. A tree stands tall, firm, takes CO2 and releases Oxygen, gives shade and shelter to good and bad alike, sheds its weight without complaining even as it shines its smooth inner surface silently, unaffected, calm, grounded, witnessing everything around even as it performs its duty with complete acceptance.TreeBark

I have/We all have the same capacity – to be a witness, encircled by smooth and rough events and continue to do our assigned duties with love and without complaints so our inner beauty radiates with kindness and compassion in all its splendor.

Confused..don’t you see, that is exactly what David Whyte is saying – whether I feel guilty or worry over things in my life or pain over events of the world, things continue.  Everything is just the way it should be.  That’s a given.  My guilt and worry causes pain to me and does not alter a thing.  Being aware of that and accepting the cycles of life and death and everything in between, and, doing my duty a 110% with love is the only thing I can do.

When I am a witness, my creative capacity is enhanced because I am not caught in the cycle of pain and pleasure and become immobilized. When I am creative, I find solutions for problems.  If not solutions, at least I am capable of sending pure thoughts and intentions towards victims and perpetrators of crime at the same time.  Even as I remove myself from the drama, I can be the strength for the others as they come to lean on that strength.  I become selfless in everything I say and do.

In this witness mode and with complete acceptance of things just the way they are, the statement – “Everything Everywhere Is Just As It Should Be” helps me meet life with reverence and gratitude as a blanket of peace settles over me fr0m which rises grounded and constructive action.

Yes, Everything Everywhere Is Just As It Should Be.  Do you agree or do you think otherwise? Please drop a line, would love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time

Regards

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

 

What Are We Supposed To Do?


Pain and suffering image

It has been a long time that I haven’t written here.  Reasons are many – ‘Life’ being one of them.  Weekend has come and gone.  As usual I had a long list of things to do and then only did half the things on it, most of the time wasted and I lament about it on hindsight.

Sounds familiar?

When the head is scattered all over, heart in anguish about a myriad of things great and small, and everything else to do on top of it, is it any wonder that we look for distractions, lose focus, purpose and suffer?

There are layers of causes for suffering aren’t they? But really when we look at it – suffering is the same.

Pain and suffering generally is caused by:

  • Our own actions due to attachment and greed, driven by the desire to have a pleasurable life.
  • Others actions due to attachment again
  • Natural causes like earthquakes, floods, storms, fires caused due to imbalances in nature created by human mind’s selfish and greedy interests and desires to create pleasure.
  • War, crime, inequalities created by humans wielding power over the powerless to make their own lives pleasurable.

A human being, driven to create pleasure for himself/herself either through mind altering substances, or a quest to make more money in the hope that it will buy comforts, or fight for what they think is theirs and theirs alone, or rob others to gain personally or expect others to behave a certain way so the self can remain safe and unaltered – causes pain and suffering.

The ‘want’ to have a peaceful and happy life drives people to obtain it, grab it, hold it and not let go of it; and they will do anything to get that from an individual, to families, to communities, to countries to the world in general.

Question – Is individual happiness different to collective happiness?  Can we collectively be peaceful if there are individuals suffering regardless of the causes?

The scale of suffering is different but suffering itself is not.  When comparisons come into picture as to whether my suffering is greater or insignificant than yours, we tend to suppress it, put it into some sort of perspective and try to move on.  Suffering that threatens one’s existence is always perceived to be more urgent than suffering caused as a result of inability to fulfill the next desire, but, for the person who can’t satisfy his/her desire, the pain in that moment feels like an existential threat.  Comparing with others who are less fortunate might temporarily ease the pain, generally out of guilt or shame, but continues to prick anyway to the point that we use all sorts of justifications to ease that guilt and satisfy the desire.

The point I am trying to make is that as long as we don’t accept that our greedy selfish wants and desires cause our pain, as long as we compare with others and justify our relative existence, we continue to suffer in pain.

Our happiness, our pleasure, our need for wanting these things and our desire to get it at any cost is what drives us to live.  Any disturbance to that flow causes pain.  The size and nature of the desire doesn’t matter.  Individuals caught in this web becomes the society. So the war that is happening between Palestine and Israel, the continuous suffering in Somalia and West Africa etc., are large screen dramas projected from the little screens of minds like  mine and yours.  We are not removed from that.

Philosopher J Krishnamurthy says, “Where there is a process of desire at work, there must be the process of isolation through belief, because obviously you believe in order to be more secure economically, spiritually and also inwardly.”

Collectively we are isolated.  I hear the question in your mind – “What are we supposed to do then?”

Let me know when  you know the answer to that please…..

Until next time ( and hopefully it will be soon…)

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

 

 

5 Ways To Bring Love Into Your Life – A Gift Offer


Love Love Love
Love Love Love (Photo credit: Gregory Jordan)

I have written this post for Christmas 2011.  The reason to re blog this is to offer a gift to all my readers so far, who actually grew in number recently.  Thank you for taking time to read and comment.  I really appreciate it. Read on and there is a gift to download

A year and a bit later, whether it is festive season or not, I have grown to believe that every day is a festival if we want to be.  The choice is ours.  If we dwell in our story and only look at the story taking wrong turns, then it will be hard to share the love.

There is a manifesto to download and it is yours for FREE.  Download it, print it, share it – do whatever –  your choice.  My only hope is that you like it and live it.

So here is the blog from Christmas 2011.

This  is the season of Joy, Fun, Friendship and Love.  A season to take stock on how our lives are travelling and to bring more of what we cherish. ‘ Love’ stands right there at the top of the list along with Truth, Peace, Right-Conduct and Non-Violence.

However what we find in today’s fast paced society is that these are the rapidly declining values.

We all agree that we need to slow down and bring back our attention to how we manifest what we truly are – Love

As it is said in the Bible

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Can we live up to that – Yes we can

Do we have the potential – Of course we do

Its just that our potential to love is covered under the many layers of soot of busyness, of trying to win the rat race, of selfishness, of greed, of jealousy, of envy, of anger, of hatred, of desire etc.,

When we blow this soot away gently with the winds of Truth and Right-Conduct , the embers of red hot Love will be visible underneath glowing in Peace and Non-Violence.

Want to know how to do this?

Get your free copy of ‘Manifesto of Love’ attached below and find out how Love is the undercurrent of all human values.  This is my thank you gift to you all for supporting me in this blogging adventure.  It was a learning experience and I am slowly getting a handle on how to write, how to blog and how to serve you all through this.

Manifesto of love

Wish you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Hope 2012 brings you all the joy, happiness, health and wealth that you deserve.

I am sincerely hoping, wishing, desiring that I will be able to share a lot more with you through this blog.  I hope you do enjoy reading, if you do please subscribe.

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

Are You Doing Your DUTY???? Or…….


English: The inscription says: "Our holy ...
English: The inscription says: “Our holy obligation is to reach a helping hand to the brotherly peoples “. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is DUTY a loaded word for You? Do you ever ask that of yourself? Is that a question that ever plagues you?

It does me…

I constantly ask myself – ” Am I doing my duty?” “Am I doing my right duty?” Questions that poke me, make me reflect and agonize over sometimes.

Do you know what exactly “Duty” means?

Duty is derived from “Right-Conduct” which is a very lose translation of the Sanskrit word “Dharma”.  Duty is attached to every role we play in life.  I have a duty as a Daughter, Wife, Mother, Grand Mother, Friend, Employee, Employer, a Citizen – every role we play, every hat we wear comes with a set of terms and conditions relating to that role.

Duty is not limited to people.  Wetness is the duty of Water, Heat is the duty of Fire, and when those elements perform contrary to their duty – things start to go wrong.

Whilst Duty is a synonym for Obligation, Duty is more than Obligation.  Obligation can be externally imposed and Duty is intrinsic to our nature.

Performing my duty in an obligatory way can be devoid of love.  Anything done without love will soon become an obligation, an imposition, a chore that we come to resent. What would be the result of doing something out of resentment? I begin to regret my actions. It eats me and the  build up is hazardous for  my health and detrimental to the health of my surrounds.  

Sathya Sai Baba says,

“Duty without Love is deplorable;

Duty with Love is Human;

Love without Duty is Divine”

Now we all teeter between the first two statements, performing our duty with and without love.  We generally perform our duty with love when it comes to family and friends and perhaps even our jobs.  There are certain duties that we perform without love – cleaning in my case.

But what does it mean to Love without Duty?  

Is it possible to love something or someone knowing that we have no obligation to do so, knowing that we are not bound by duty to love?

How would that look? Would that be spontaneous actions? Would that be responding rather than reacting? Would Love without Duty show up as kindness, empathy, caring?

We can easily do those things with nature, animals and children. But when it comes to extending love without a duty to adults, we struggle.

Why is it easy to love a child or a puppy spontaneously without hesitation?

I think we can do that because we have no preconceived ideas about who they are other than what we see in front of us – little bundles of innocence, joy and purity and we get drawn to those qualities instantly.  Whereas when we come in front of adults our previous interactions are the first ones that jump into our minds before we even finished saying hello and those interactions color our greeting instantaneously.

We put people in pigeon holes and expect them to stay there, forgetting that people change all the time.  Our sense of security is threatened when a person acts differently to how we know them to be.

Those colored perceptions and judgments make us forget to look at the intrinsic beauty, innocence and purity of each human being.  

Result – at best we are polite or walk away, at worst we clash openly, with hostility. And of course, we regret later and agonize over our actions.

So how is Love without Duty possible?

Every time we come across somebody we picture them as a child, innocent and exuberant brimming with pure joy.  We deliberately not let our previous interactions color our perceptions in the moment.

It is very difficult to do that especially when we know we are wronged by someone.  Remembering that they are doing their ‘duty without love’ and therefore their actions are deplorable  will help in separating the person from the action.

If water catches fire, we put the fire out and move on, we don’t condemn water for its action.

Separating people from actions and labeling the actions help us to interact with love and compassion. It is a deliberate, constant and continuous practice.

Ultimately ‘Love without Duty’ is the only balm that would heal the wounds and the only obligation we have in order to create peace within us and in our society.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?

Would love to hear your comments.

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Are You Rising ‘FOR’ ??? (A Post Reflection on One Billion Rising)


Love Love Love
Love Love Love (Photo credit: Gregory Jordan)

Have you risen publicly? I have and masses of people have risen throughout the world as a response to a direct call of “One Billion Rising” – Men, Women and Children in 197 countries stood shoulder to shoulder in solidarity – a call to Strike, Dance and Rise, to demand to put an end to violence against women.

A fantastic result for a fabulous call to put an end to one of the world’s most pervasive,  most hidden, rarely brought to full justice, human rights abuse.  We have risen against violence. We know the statistics now.  We know the urgency to stop this because we understand that abuse of a woman and the results of it do not affect just the one person, the abused – it affects the whole fabric of the society.   Jean Kilbourne describes abuse of women as a public health issue.

Systemic abuse has now become a weapon of war in countries like Democratic republic of Congo which is dubbed as the Rape Capital of the World, Somalia, Sudan and many other countries.

Sathya Sai Baba said

Politics without principles, Education without character, Science without humanity, and Commerce without morality are not only useless, but also positively dangerous.”

These are the exact phenomenon we are witnessing in today’s society. We crave for change. We crave for a new order.  We crave for morality in society.  We are crying out for change and standing against something that is destroying the fabric of our society.

This rising is only a beginning towards that change.

What else can we do after having stood up against the wrong?

Socrates said –

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but building a new”

The new that we want is in our hands to build.

What is the NEW that we want?

This ‘Rising Against’ is also a call for a new time and a new way of being to herald the Human Values of Love, Truth, Peace, Right Conduct and Non Violence.

We want a New World order where:

  • Morality in Society is present every step of the way,
  • Politics are run with Principles, and
  • End of Education is Character.
  • A society where women are respected, honored and cherished, not objectified and made to identify just as ‘things’ associated with beauty.

We want a New World Order where

  • Looks do not matter, color does not matter,
  • Beauty is recognised as shining from within the individual.
  • Our children are safe in public places,
  • Neighbors look out for each other,
  • Doubts and suspicions are not the first reactions,
  • There is mutual Respect that grows from Trust.
  • Love and Compassion rule, not Greed and Lust.
  • Harmony prevails within individuals, at home, in our communities and in the world at large.

We want to live in times where there is:

  • Love in our Thoughts
  • Love in our Actions
  • Love in our Feelings
  • Love in our Understanding

We want to live in a society whose motto will be “Help Ever; Hurt Never”.

We are that society and we can create that society starting from now.

HOW?

We need to put aside our judgments, criticisms,  first and foremost against ourselves and then towards the others.

We may think we are not, but we are violent.  The violence we see out there is a collective manifestation of individual thoughts from minor criticisms to major judgments.  When we are critical of ourselves, when we cannot extend love to ourselves, when we blame ourselves, we are starting the violence.

How can we possibly extend love and understanding to others when we cannot do that to ourselves?

This Rising while outwardly looks like a rising against violence in society, indirectly it is a call to Rise to stop being violent within ourselves.

It is a call to Rise to cause self-transformation.

We cannot change others, we can only change ourselves. When I become a person who is non-violent in my thoughts, words and deeds, then I have removed violence from within my circle of influence.  If each one of us did that, then the circle of influence widens and soon the whole world is in that circle of Non-Violence.

Unity in Thought, word and deed is the most Non-Violent way to be.  We are not at all like the rapists in the world who violate the sacred physical, however, we rape our minds constantly through thoughts that violate our own person-hood.

Rise against that Violence within!!

  • Every time you have a negative thought, criticism, judgment, say “STOP”.
  • Demand from yourself to stop the negativity rising.

“Change begins with me” – said Gandhi.  So let us take a pledge here that in the coming year from today we rise against violence within us and in the society.

More than that let us make a pledge to

Rise for Love In Our

  • Actions which manifest as Right Conduct
  • Thoughts which manifests as Truth
  • Feelings which manifest as Peace
  • Understanding which manifests as Non-Violence

Let us make a pledge to understand ourselves and then understand others because as Satya Sai Baba said

“If there is Righteousness in the Heart, there will be Beauty in the Character;
If there is Beauty in the Character, there will be Harmony in the Home;
If there is Harmony in the Home, there will be Order in the Nations;
When there is Order in the Nations, there will be Peace in the World.”

 So Peace & New World Order begins with Me….
Let us Rise For That!!!!

Let us re-educate ourselves who we are –

We ARE Love, We ARE Truth, We ARE Peace, WE ARE Non-Violent by nature.

When we don’t see those out in the world, we crave for those values.  Those values of Love, Truth, Peace, Right Conduct and Non-Violence are right in our hearts, inherent to our nature.  We need to consciously bring them out, and make a choice to live with them in thoughts, words and deeds.

As Pema Chodron says:

“Whatever you are doing, take the attitude of wanting it directly or indirectly to benefit others; take the attitude of wanting it to increase your experience of kinship with your fellow beings”.

Let us take the attitude of Love and Peace in our day to day, moment to moment living.

Let us Rise for Love within us and in the world.

Let us Dance with that Love in our hearts, joyously, and celebrate who we are –

We Are LOVE Walking On Two Feet.

Your thoughts? Would ‘Rising Against’ alone is enough, or should we ‘Rise For’ after rising against….

Please share your thoughts here, or on Face Book, Re-Tweet this if it has spoken to you.

Spread the word to RISE – RISE FOR LOVE, IN LOVE, WITH LOVE.

Until next week
With Love and Respect
Padma Ayyagari

How To Avoid The Emotional Roller Coaster……


English: Roller coaster in Xetululu, Guatemala
English: Roller coaster in Xetululu, Guatemala (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you feel angry, upset, sad one minute and excited, happy and joyful the next?

Do you feel bored, hopeless one day and full of inspiration and hope the next?

I do…

We all do…ride on the emotional roller coaster and go round and round on a regular basis if not on a daily basis.  UPpppp we go only to come down and again rise upppppp and come downnnnnnnn.

Over and over, again and again, the thrill that we get of being on that roller coaster is what we call life even though it churns our insides out and almost spills.  Most of the time, we catch the spills before they spill, and yet other times we just let the spills out like a broken water hydrant.

We tell ourselves not to feel THAT way, we beg others NOT to feel THAT way, THAT way being – angry, sad, upset, frustrated, jealous, bored, anxious, envious, angry…..on and on it goes like I am here right now.

Can anyone tell us how to or how not to feel? Can we stop ourselves from feeling? I guess we will be 6 feet under, the day we stop feeling.

Feelings are the natural expressions of emotions.  We cannot stop having them.  No one can tell us how to feel one way or the other. So, why do we have such reactions to our feelings?

If we cannot stop having the feelings, what matters then is what we do with them – does it not?

Our feelings need not be given expression, they can just sit within us as we acknowledge and acept them, certainly other people should not be the targets of our feelings.

As we acknowledge our feelings without judgment, they dissipate.  Feelings persist stubbornly because we don’t acknowledge them with complete acceptance.  The moment I feel something like anger or jealousy, I tell myself that “I shouldn’t be like that”, or that “it is wrong to feel that way” or “it is not nice to think like that”.

Feelings are like children.  When we ask a child “not to do something”, that is the exact thing they attempt to do.  Same with feelings.  When we say “Don’t feel that way”, the intensity of the feeling increases or gets suppressed and pushed down, never acknowledged and never accepted.  When enough layers are built, there will be no room left, so they spill out, usually as attacks on somebody.  Once purged, we carry on until the next layers build.  We have never processed them properly and given them a rightful place.

Feelings are as natural as breathing.  We don’t say it is wrong to breathe heavily, laboriously or smoothly.  We accept our changing breathing patterns without questioning.  So why don’t we accept our feelings without questioning ‘why’ or putting a judgment on them?

If we accept our feelings without questioning, they disappear as fast as they arise.  When I am angry, saying “I am angry” is enough.  It doesn’t have to be “angry at..” or “angry because…”.

I always have a choice of how I act or react with my feelings.

Reaction is the unfortunate accepted norm of society.  In reaction there is blame and judgment.  In action there is acknowledgment, acceptance and compassion.  So there is nothing inherently wrong in feelings.  It is how we express them that causes conflict – conflict within ourselves and with others.

Feelings arise.  We accept the feeling that has risen with no judgment.  Solutions appear.

Creation happens from acceptance.  

Acceptance requires Self-Love.

Do you love yourself enough to acknowledge your rising feelings without judgment and guilt or ridicule…

Next time you are feeling whatever — angry, sad, upset, anxious – try just saying “I am (feeling word)” and accept it completely without naming and blaming the cause or the causer and see what happens… You will be surprised.

Would you like to try? I would love to hear the results. Share them here.

Until next week…

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

 

 

“To Stop the Violence Against Woman……”


IMG_0700

(Shakti – Acrylic on Paper, by Padma Ayyagari)

She was attacked brutally, violated, hurt and thrown on to the road side like a piece of waste used paper. She didn’t survive the assault.  The whole world came to know about it and an entire nation was outraged at the unbelievably audacious attack that happened right amongst crowded streets.

We came to know her name as Jyoti Singh Pandey.  There was not a dry eye nor an unbelievable feeling of horror and shame. Horror that such an atrocity happens time and again and shame that we witness it and continue our lives calling ourselves human.

Jyoti Singh is not an isolated case and attacks on women is not a new phenomenon either.  From Rwanda to Rome, New Delhi to New York; Melbourne to Milan and Sydney to Sudan, attacks and assaults on women is a common almost daily occurrence  more in some parts than the other.

Ironically, Hindu Mythology worships Females.  Creation is referred as feminine, Earth is called Mother, Countries we are born in are called Mother-Country and the native language we speak is called Mother-tongue.  Indians worship Goddess of Wealth – Lakshmi, Goddess of Education – Saraswati, and Goddess of Higher Intelligence – Gayatri.  There are countless stories of Goddesses having fought horrific wars to win good over evil and reestablish righteousness.

So, the question remains, how can an Indian Male worship Goddess in different forms and yet commit such horrific acts on a female.  How can we women pray to different Goddesses and yet can be incredibly cruel and judgmental against fellow women – be it a mother, mother-in-law, daughter or a daughter-in-law.

This painting is my tribute to Jyoti Singh Pandey and many millions like her who are made to suffer.  The painting depicts Shakti (meaning sacred force or empowerment) it is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe in Hinduism. Whilst Shakti sheds compassionate tears at the brutal attempt to tear her down, she also provides infinite source of hope, wisdom, courage and inspiration through selflessness and generosity.  We women have an obligation to learn to rise on that courage and inspiration provided by the selfless suffering of the likes of Jyoti Singh and stand united to stop the violence against women.  What is also most important is that we women need to stop violence against ourselves and towards fellow women.

As Alice Walker wrote in her poem “To Stop the Violence Against Woman”….

Woman
To Stop the Violence
Against
Woman,
Woman
Must stop the violence
Against
Herself.

We can begin to do this
Now, Now that we see
A sky
And not a Rock
A stick
Or a fist
Above all
Our Heads.

Woman
To stop the violence
Against the Woman,
Stop the violence
That you
perpetuate
Against
Your own
Sister
Who is
A Woman, your own
Daughter
Who is
A woman,
Your own
Daughter-in-law
Who is
A Woman.
Your own
Mother
who is
A Woman.

Woman

to stop the violence
Against Woman,
Stop the violence
That lives
In opposition
To your life,
Deep in your
Own terrorized and
Uncherished Heart.

Woman

Remember who we are:
Not “Guys”
But
The Mother
Of all
Living.
We create out of our
Own blood
And milk
The creatures
Who oppress
Us;
Whether they are men
or
Ourselves.

Woman
Awake!
Arise!
Stand up!

Woman

To stop the violence
Against
Woman,
Getup
on your perfectly
Unbound
Feet!
We have the earth
Living on our knees…

Yes, we need to stop the violence against ourselves, awake,arise and stand up united.

Nothing can stop the Shakti…

What do you think?
Love to hear your comments…
Until next week

With Love and Respect
Padma Ayyagari

The Greatest Gift that We can give……….


Christmas gifts.

 

Festive season is over.  New year had begun.  It will be a while before the gift giving frenzy starts.  Some decide it is too much to give gifts and not give at all.  Others do ‘chris cringles’, select one person to give, and yet others give everybody either happily or begrudgingly. However,  during the lead up to Christmas just about everyone has this exasperated sigh in their conversation – “I haven’t even started my Christmas shopping yet”, “I don’t know what to give”, “I might just give a gift card or money, they can get what they want”… etc., etc,

 

Is gift giving a token gesture or is it more than that? Why do we give gifts anyway? Can we be unacceptable to each other during the entire year and expect to change that through a token gesture? Lot of questions that I am sure we ponder upon every year during the festive season.

 

We all want to do the best for the other.  We want to give as giving is our nature.

 

Did you ever stop to think of the greatest gift that we can ever give to each other? Is there such a thing as greatest gift?

 

Yes there is…

 

The greatest gift that we can give is…….

 

“Allowing others TO BE….”

 

Sad, Mad or Glad;

 

Silly or Jolly;

 

Content or Discontent;

 

or any number of combinations that we find expressed as human nature.

 

Allowing others TO BE, without judgment, criticisms, opinions, approval, disapproval etc., etc, is the greatest gift we can give each other.

 

Why is this a greatest gift? 

 

Because

 

1.  It maintains human harmony.

 

2.  It maintains personal health.  When we have no judgments on others, we have no issues with our emotional status ( no imbalance). Emotional imbalance is a primary cause for dis-ease.

 

3.  It brings social cohesion through transparency. Allowing others ‘TO BE’ helps them to make choices freely.  As people can relate to us as they are, our friendships improve.  Others find it comfortable to be in our presence.

 

4.  This gift has no ‘expiry date’ or ‘return policy’ and is perpetual as well as refreshingly new each time.

 

Is it easy to give a gift?

 

Yes, only if we are comfortable in who we are.

 

Often, we judge in others what we find in ourselves as unacceptable.  Our disappointments and frustrations increase as our expectations are not met and we end up withdrawing Love or limiting our love.

 

When we are comfortable in our own skin and have accepted ourselves completely and unconditionally, then we have the capacity to accept the other completely and unconditionally.  We do this well with strangers but often fail to do this with people who are close to us.

 

The key to get to this state of being is to acknowledge the source of power within, which is the same in everyone and ignore the outer boundaries or shells.  The source within wants only one thing – to express itself grandly.  That expression is only possible when we allow it through acceptance.

 

If it is such an easy to give gift, why do we hesitate to do so…

 

because we are not taught how to do this.  We are living and growing in times where blame is the name of the game and expecting everybody else to change is the rule to win the game.  Allowing others ‘to be’ is a threat to our identity.  We exclusively talk about being inclusive. The distinctive differences in appearances firmly keep us entrenched in our ‘us’ and ‘them’ thinking and we poke our heads through our silos and extend our hands over to make friendships.  We ‘tolerate’ each other than ‘understand’ each other.  Tolerance hardens the walls of the silos whilst understanding makes them porous.

 

What can we do to promote ‘understanding and acceptance’

 

When we put ourselves in the other’s shoes and judge our actions against that background, understanding will improve and acceptance follows when we are being ourselves.

 

So, the the greatest gift that we can give others is allowing them TO BE and the key to do this is to be understanding and accepting of ourselves as we are.

 

Isn’t that a double pronged gift?

 

What do you think?

 

Agree or disagree – leave a comment. Would love to hear from you.

 

Until Next Week

 

With Love and Respect

 

Padma Ayyagari

 

PS: New Year resolution of mine to write this blog once a week and post every Saturday. I know today is Sunday, I missed it because I wasn’t well yesterday.  But I intend to keep to this schedule of posting every Saturday and I hope you will join me on Saturday’s.  Your suggestions on topics also is most welcome.