Why We Need To Write New Prayers Urgently


Blue Mountains4.jpg

I was at the site of Three Sisters in Blue Mountains at Katoomba last week.  It was a perfect autumn day only a couple of degrees warmer than the April average. The place was brimming with weekend tourists who came to enjoy the spectacular beauty of nature and capture those moments forever, to tick off the bucket list.  People were crowding onto the vantage points that will give the perfect backdrop with their iPhone cameras stuck on selfie sticks.  Loud chatter and laughter crudely intercepting and disturbing the deep silence echoing from the surrounding mountains and the thick forest below.  The human sounds were quickly absorbed by the vastness of these magnificent structures – millions of years old – rugged, jagged, carved as they took in zillions of stories thrown at them – noisy stories of awe, wonder, marvel, preoccupation etc.

Blue Mountains3.jpg

What is the urgency we experience to vocalize our feelings?  Is it because the sheer beauty takes our breath away? or is it because we are afraid that we won’t remember if we don’t audibly gasp? Or is it because we are so competitive that we have to one up the others in our expressions?

Anyway, I was surrounded by all that when all I wanted to do was absorb the silent strength emanating from the Three Sisters that stood facing the sheer flat walls of the other mountains like they were in the witness stand in the court facing the jury.

Three sisters.jpg

My husband put in $ 2.00 into the binoculars and we had a closer look at the three independent monuments standing almost holding hands to support each other so they can withstand the jury.  Why were these three peaks separated from the rest?  The $2.00 ran out within thirty seconds.

I turned around from the binoculars and started walking to another spot to get a different view.  As I was walking there, I saw in one corner of the railing was a lady in a hijab, knelt on a  newspaper, hands folded, eyes closed.  I saw that she had a newspaper pinned to the railing creating a blank wall between her and the vision beyond of the majestic mountain range.

Blue Mountains2.jpg

She was performing her afternoon duty as called by her religion.  People were walking around her, falling silent out of respect as they went past her.  Nobody gave a second glance.  The sun was shining brilliantly and the skies were crystal clear blue.  There was a slight breeze which made the day very pleasant.

I was dumbstruck.  May be I am judgmental.  Whilst I admire and respect her discipline to maintain a prayer regime to specifically connect with God at certain times regardless of circumstances as called by her Religion or any other Religious mandates for that matter, I  couldn’t stop thinking to myself – ‘Open your eyes lady, Is your God only behind those closed eyes in that blank paper?  Is God not around you staring back at you through the soft ruggedness of this wilderness, through the jagged edges of the rough yet smooth, strong big mountains?  Why is there a need to show your piety to something special than what you are surrounded by?  Drink it in with all your senses, merge with it, blend through it.  Don’t separate yourself from God surrounding you.’

Is human love towards Divine so compartmentalized and so selective that we are capable of ignoring the Divine present all around us and instead worship our chosen form of God or formless God (as per our religious affiliation) with selected verses of prayer handed down to us that begs to relieve the pain we cause to ourselves through our ignorance?

How can we show reverence to our chosen form of Divine and worship that but not worship Her creation manifest in everything we enjoy through our senses?

How can we close our eyes to that fact that we are part of this creation  that is screaming Divinity in its majesty?

Walking along the trail that led to the watching deck on one of the Three Sisters, I noticed tossed coke cans and plastic rubbish littering the base of the trees below.

Are we so filled with self-importance that we have the need to leave our presence  in disturbingly contrasting colors of red and white against the surrounded hues of various shades of green and brown?

Do we have to so loudly proclaim our separate identity?  What is this arrogance that forces us to think we are superior in front of the mightiness that is standing so humbly?

Blue Mountains1.jpg

My heart ached for those peeks that are grandly displaying that – In silence there is strength; In humility there is mightiness; In witnessing there is compassionate understanding.

When do we learn to stop isolating God with a calcified reverence as that with a distinct form, shape and thought created by our narrow minds, there to answer our specific prayers to preserve our mortality?

Do we have the capacity like the mountains to let the tears of our pain erode the tough edges of our personality recognizing the oneness in all and thus becoming softly carved beauties of compassion?

How do we constantly remember that God has created ‘us’, ‘them’ and ‘it’ as well.  Is there an inch of space on this planet where God is  NOT present?

How do we get there?

When we live with complete awareness that God is ‘in me, below me, above me, behind me, next to me, and around me’ wouldn’t we be living with reverence witnessing the pain and pleasure carrying principles with equanimity and discernment, separating the actor from the actions, recognizing the Divine in the actor whilst playing the role allocated in the drama to act on the actions?

To live in that complete awareness, we need a new prayer.

What would that new prayer be?

It would be asking ourselves with total honesty and purity for a felt understanding and knowing that we are part of the mighty mountains and the deep oceans, that we are the same elements that make the nature around us and all the sentient beings in it.

We need to repeatedly ask of ourselves to recognize and accept with an urgency that the ‘Sacred’ is in us as much as is in everything and everyone else.

This acceptance and understanding and the continuous reminder as a result of the new prayer will help us to live as  compassionate witnesses of the Sacred – grandly playing the dichotomies of life.  Our reverence will then be alive all the time under all circumstances – not reserved to select time and space bound ideas of Divinity and its worship.

Let us write that prayer and live it with a sense of urgency because in there lies the power of transformation.

Here is an example of such prayer I came across even as I was finishing writing this piece – Synchronicity – you bet.  Here it is by Nadia Colburn from the On Being blog

“At the Shopping Mall

Dear God, teach me how to

pray

anywhere.

Teach me that you live not

only in the open field,

the birds singing at first dawn,

but also in the concrete

parking lot

of the Everett Mall, in the

neon lights of Old Navy,

in the wires crossing the open

expanse

above me,

Teach me in sadness and anger

in frustration and fear.

The cars speed down the

highway.

Their tires spin, spin.

There is so much

work to do.  So much activity.

Dark oil flows over the land

as over a great Greek feast.

Teach me

how to praise your whole body.”

Yes, we need to learn how to pray not just to praise the whole body of God, but to recognize God in the whole of creation including in us and in every being in it.

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

 

Is Your Heart Open?


“The earth laughs in flowers.” ~ E.E. Cummings
“The earth laughs in flowers.” ~ E.E. Cummings (Photo credit: Chiot’s Run)

 

to little wonders of the world? Is it open enough to appreciate the hidden beauty of the ordinary?

Or is it clamped shut in the folds of your mind – A mind that commands the heart not to be open softly in case it gets hurt. Is your mind always right in its worries and stresses,  justifications and judgments, opinions and oppressions, demands and commands that your heart forgot how to light your face?

Here is a little poem by e.e.cummings praying “May My Heart Always Be Open To Little” Words of wisdom in their utter simplicity.

My prayer offer to you all people –

“Let us not be afraid to be the fools who pull all the sky over us with one smile”

It takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown –

Keep smiling and bring a little sunshine into your part of the world.

Until next time

Smiling With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

 

 

 

“3 Enemies That Rob Your Health – Part 2”


stressed and worried
stressed and worried (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Do you know what is the 2nd Enemy that robs your health? An enemy that is likely the biggest cause of most diseases from high blood pressure to heart attacks to cancers? An enemy that is our constant companion ”until death do us apart”

Do you know what it is?

WORRY – an invading, pervading, contracting, utterly debilitating and a totally unnecessary force.

From security of you to safety of your loved ones, from how you look to what others think of you and a whole range of things in between – mostly about your loved ones, you constantly worry.

Right now, amongst many other things, I am worried that I cannot write about Worry properly.

You really don’t need any reason for worry – do you?  You worry about worrying so much. You worry if you don’t have anything to worry about.

In the darkness of the night, when you are lying in bed fast asleep, worry arrives marching like an army band proudly displaying all its shiny brass instruments, playing same songs again and again without harmony, to the steady beat of the big drums that increasingly get louder with every beat , creating a cacophony of noise, drowning and sinking you.

The sizzling hot iron of worry in a cold night somehow cools down and melts like snow in the warmth of the day light. Worry gets blinded by the light and goes to sleep – temporarily, only to wake up again to play.

Why do you worry so much – knowing that it doesn’t offer any solutions, knowing that it doesn’t allow you to act.

There is mild worry like a dull head ache and there is chronic worry that causes anxiety and panic attacks.

What do you do about it – if anything?

Can you ever be worry free?

Yes, only when you are a mindfully mindless saint  or a mindlessly stiff corpse.

Anywhere in between, which is where we all are, we will have to accept that worry will be an unwanted guest that is irritatingly polite but stubborn in insisting that we need its company.

What do you do with it then?

  • You allow it to raise its head and announce its presence
  • You acknowledge its arrival
  • You tolerate its arguments
  • You don’t counter argue with it
  • You get compassionate with it and tell it that you know it is concerned
  • You assure it that you are doing everything you can about its concerns.
  • You breathe deeply and say ‘I understand’
  • Now that you have promised to address its concerns, you ask it to be quiet
  • You love it and make peace with it

In other words, you are not caught up in its story. You listen to its story like a mother listening to a child who is hurt and throwing a tantrum – with deep understanding and empathy, without judgment.

Remember Understanding leads to Adjustment – so you say ‘Yes’ to its presence, show that you understand its concerns and watch how happily it dissolves into nothingness trusting that you will take care of its case, so well presented.

So, in the middle of the night, when worry clings to you, stroke it gently and say ‘ I love you, I understand’ and ask its permission to release you from its grip.  Then, write down that worry/worries, on pieces of paper and deposit them in a drawer or even a shoe box labelled ‘Worries’.  A physical act like that is saying ‘yes’ to its presence, acknowledging and comforting it that you have taken an action and asking permission to be released.

It is a game, but you have to play it so Worry becomes a friend that is honest and loyal and intervenes only when necessary, not a foe that destroys you.  Hurrying the worry to go away does not help, it will only return with increased force.  Hurry also causes worry.

So, do you have any other tricks or tips to stop Worry to cause dis-ease?  Tell  me.

Visit here again next week for the 3rd enemy that robs your health.

Until then – don’t worry……..please

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

Do Judgments Offer Comfort to Us????


Sampaloc Lake
Sampaloc Lake (Photo credit: Storm Crypt)

People generally do not hesitate to freely discuss how others look and behave – fat, skinny, beautiful, ordinary, ugly, tall, short, gay, normal, abnormal etc, etc, and the list goes on…judging from physical to mental to emotional to social and even spiritual attributes – constantly eyed, compared, judged and compartmentalized.

We don’t feel comfortable unless we put everyone into neatly classified and categorized little pigeon holes and derive images based on those compartments.  We hold people to those images and get confused if they don’t fit in that, day after day, not realising nor remembering that people including ourselves, change on a daily basis.

Why do we do that?  Intentionally or unintentionally, consciously or unconsciously, with or without malice, we constantly weigh and counter weigh our interactions with each other.  Why?

Is it because we create our own identity through those comparisons?  “I am not THAT fat, I am MORE beautiful than her (often it is the opposite), I DON’T get angry like him, I will NEVER behave like that” – on and on it goes.  We try to establish ourselves in some kind of a pecking order and either feel elated that we are NOT like the negativity we observe or feel dejected that we can NEVER be like the positive or beautiful…

Not a day goes by without comparisons.  Judgments and criticisms  constantly plague people’s minds and make them feel inferior or superior.  All this happens within split seconds and often judgments are passed as observations. In those observations, we make a point of saying without saying that I am better or worse than that.

Expressed observations also are judgments only without the lace of criticism or ridicule.  Our identity primarily stems from comparison and belonging.  Without saying it loud, we form tribes based on our likes and dislikes.

Is it possible not to do that?  Is it possible to have a mind so clear as a lake on a windless, summer morning – clear, shiny, bright and still – the occasional breeze of thought gently rippling over the surface and settling immediately into its own stillness?  Is it possible to have a mind like that?

YES, IT IS POSSIBLE…

When the occasional ripple of thought does not become a rip or a whirlpool, yes, the mind can be clear and still.  When thoughts entering are not acted on or reacted to, they quickly settle to the bottom into the debris of the lake bed.

A stone of judgment thrown into the mind’s lake will sink and stir the debris.  But the only way the lake gets polluted is if the winds of emotions continue to hit the surface of the lake and keep the stone swirling and does not give a chance to settle the stirred debris.  We cannot get rid of the stone/s.  Stones enter into a lake, let them and see that they sink to the bottom rapidly.  Dont’ try to dig them out.

Let thoughts enter and settle in. We don’t need to keep digging the thoughts out with statements like – “I shouldn’t, I mustn’t, I couldn’t” or statements/expressions like – “How could she/he/they/it”, or even thoughts like”How could I”…

These ‘should’s, musts, could’s’ are the strong currents that keep the stones from sinking.

So, how can we not do that?

Recognize the fact that judgments do not offer comfort.  They are divisive and keep us separate from each other.  Judgments are directly proportional to separatist attitudes.

We are the various branches of the one tree.  Lord Krishna said – “I have separated myself from myself, so I can experience myself”.  We all came from the one source and return back to the same source.  The brief sojourn we face on this earth is the colorful manifestation of that one source separated from itself into tiny fragments – complete and incomplete at the same time.  How can a fragment judge another fragment which is part of the same whole?  The whole cannot be formed unless the fragments join together like a jig saw puzzle.  The picture is incomplete even if one piece is destroyed.

We know this intellectually and yet fail to practice as we fall prey to the rampantly prevailing contemporary competition – a monologue that bombards us with a message that we can only be complete if we are better than..something or somebody. This is filtered from individuals through to the countries even with lightening speed and velocity.  We get sucked into this without realizing. It takes all our efforts to extricate ourselves from that message and reach deep within to the comfort offered by that Source which whispers gently – “YOU ARE ENOUGH AS YOU ARE”

How do we listen to that whisper?

Regular Meditation and deep breathing are a couple of practices that would help us to listen to that whisper and allow it to take over.  Meditation increases the Gamma Brain wave activity which is nature’s best anti-depressant.  Gamma Brain Waves are associated with ‘feelings of blessings’ and high Gamma Brain wave activity equals naturally happier, calmer and more at peace people.

As we become more at peace we stop judging ourselves, therefore others and a feeling of oneness grows.

This feeling of oneness and unity is what offers comfort as we grow as a community.  Judgments NEVER offer comfort….

What do you think? Drop a comment here..Would love to hear from you

Until next week

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

 

 

The One Statement That Will Avoid A Ton Of Pain…..


English: Illustration of the pain pathway in R...
(Illustration of the pain pathway in René Descartes’ traite de l’homme (Treatise of Man) 1664.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are surrounded by pain and suffering in this world, ours and others.  We cannot escape it.  From dis-ease to death and everything in between, suffering is a huge part of our lives.  Financial problems, relationship problems, health problems, deaths, accidents at a personal level; war, poverty, drought, famine, floods, earthquakes that cause pain and suffering at a larger scale, we are surrounded by it.  

In fact some would say that suffering IS life as the face of pleasures remain in distant future glowing in the darkness of suffering.  Some pain is more severe than the others, nevertheless, my pain always causes more suffering to me.  We get attached to our personal stories and want answers even as doubts and anxiety rage our minds.

However, there is ONE Statement when lived can help us navigate through pain and suffering more easily.  That statement does not alter the reality of any situation, but it helps in shifting my perception of the situation.

Want to know what that statement is?

“Whatever is happening in my life is life’s gift to me…”

If we believe in God, rephrasing the sentence would read…

“Everything that is happening is God’s gift to me…..”

I think Life, God, Love are interchangeable terms,  Even when one does not believe in God, one does not negate Life or Love.

So, “Whatever is happening in my life is life’s gift to me..”

What happens when we live in that thought and with that statement completely?

  • A calmness descends with that acceptance even as things around us get turbulent
  • We become objective therefore get clarity in our thinking.
  • We witness events whilst being part of the events
  • We are not in pain.
  • We become proactive.
  • We don’t get depressed and take a ride on an emotional roller coaster.
  • We become grounded with enhanced awareness that gives presence.
  • We are present in the Now.
  • Eventually, we live in equanimity regardless of what is happening.

Is it really possible to live with that thought?  

I have personally navigated through illness, accidents, financial problems, relationship problems etc., using that statement as my anchor.  So I can say, Yes, it is possible to live with that thought and achieve all of the above.  Generally we are wise in hindsight.  Hindsight reflections almost always point out that the seemingly worst thing that had happened in one’s life was actually a gift as the person has gained something from that experience.

I know it is hard to believe that, especially if the pain is due to the departure of a loved one – timely or untimely.  Major pain like that cannot be easily silenced with a simplistic sounding statement.  But most of the time what we put ourselves through and the resulting pain can be alleviated as we shift our perception.

When we accept everything as a gift, we are actually removing ourselves as the central part of an unfolding story.  When “I” am not the main character in a story, I can get detached and become a curious spectator, especially when I don’t know the ending of the story and not trying hard to steer it towards a particular ending I want.

Life takes turns and twists and the best outcome will surface regardless of we are acting in it absorbed or become spectators even whilst acting it out.  A tad of separation creates that distance and we can become objective witnesses.  That detaches us from pain and gives us the capacity to completely accept what is happening.

“Whatever is happening in my life is life’s gift to me…”

Try that line of thinking.  Make it a moment to moment reality and accept whatever is happening.  It will sure avoid a ton of pain.

As Sai Baba said, that statement is the clutch that shifts the gear of happiness and sorrow smoothly, because accepting everything that is happening as life/God’s gift is the true name of Surrender.

Do you agree?

Are you willing to try? Share your experiences.  Would love to know.

Until next week

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

 

One of the 21st Century malaise – Do You Know What It Is?


Tantek Multitasking
Tantek Multitasking (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

There are many things that are affecting our life styles in this 21st Century.  Life is made easy in many ways through technological advancements.  We are able to connect with each other in many different ways across the continents, instantaneously and many of us have begun to love that instant socialising and communication whilst trying to keep up with a multitude of activities – ‘at the same time’.

We ‘Multi-task’.

This advances in technology, this need to be connected all the time and this urgency to stay on top of everything we have to do – is it taking its toll?

Are we half dabbling in a dozen activities whilst the mind is constantly racing to keep up?  Our bodies are getting tired and sick  in keeping up with the mind too.

Multi-tasking — we worship that and take pride in it.  I am able to hold a conversation on the phone and Face Book simultaneously with people thousands of miles away from me and also check my emails and browse for what I will be cooking tonight whilst doodling with one hand.  My hands, ears, eyes and mouth all are engaged in doing different things at the same time.

Now that is something to marvel about, no doubt and it may be useful – but what is the price we are paying in doing that?  I can speak for myself, others experience might be different.  In multi-tasking to that extent, my productivity snow dived and my anxiety heightened.

New equation:  MT = <P >A

Result – constant scurrying from multiple unfinished tasks and suffering relationships as active listening has taken back stage.  I have become BUSY

Is it possible for us to attend to one task at a time without the pull and push of the mind?  If so how do we go about it?

Right now I have stumbled to write the next sentence and my mind quickly jumped to rescue me by trying to convince me that I can browse for the meaning of a word or check my email which I only did – like 10 minutes ago before I started writing.

Does it sound familiar to you?

So how do we not multi task?  There are  number of tricks and tips proposed on how to keep away from all of these and concentrate.  There is the word – “Concentrate”, the key to anything worthy of accomplishment.

Sanskrit language uses a word to describe Concentration, but it is more than Concentration.  EKAGRATA (EK – A – GRA – TA) meaning “One-Pointed Attention”, concentrating and paying complete undivided attention to one thing at a time.

Actually that word is used in the context of the ultimate goal of a human life which is ‘attaining liberation’.  Lord Krishna says to Arjuna in the battlefield delivering his ultimate song – The Bhagavad Gita, that whosoever puts their ‘one pointed attention’ on God and carry out their tasks shall attain liberation.

Whilst that is the ultimate goal of human life, to me it translates incrementally.

Liberation for me right now is having an uncluttered mind, a mind that is calm and peaceful and not jumping from tree to tree like a  mad monkey.

That is possible if I put all my attention on the task at hand and ignore the push and pull and the urges of the mind that makes something else look more attractive than what I am currently doing.

Easy said isn’t it?  Well, we got to learn to trick the trickster with its own tricks, don’t we?

How do we do it?  How do we stay on one task at a time until completion, completely focused and 100% attentive to it alone.

I came across this article on Zenhabits called “A primer of full screen living”.  I encourage you to read the article.  It makes sense and actually gives a handle on how to…. live doing one task at a time

I have been using that in the last week and actually accomplished more and feel less pulled and stressed and worried.

Multi-tasking may work but it works at a price – a heavy price of our health.  80% of diseases have their origin in the mind says Sai Baba.  It makes sense to me. If multi-tasking is actually making my life more busy and worrisome and if worry is the root cause of many diseases, it makes sense to not do that.

I actually found that ‘One-Pointed Attention’ to the task at hand brings peace and satisfaction.

Try it.

Live one full screen at a time because you can convince your mind quite easily that after this screen fills, the next screen can appear and you go from one completed task to another smoothly without the temptation of attending to several open screens at the same time.

Believe me, ‘One Pointed Attention’  makes you feel happy, peaceful and content.

As much as we like to believe we are designed to multi-task, we are not.

So, Ekagrata is my new mantra.

Will it be yours too? Would love to know what you think of this…Drop a line in

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

 

Do You Do This???


Words
Words (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

Alarm rings early………..

Hit snooze, too tired.  I will get up in a minute…..

Another hour passed before I jump out of bed.

It is Tuesday morning, my blog publishing day. I got up an hour late than I promised to myself.  Not much time to write, edit, polish and publish the blog post.  I hit the pages panicking with an eye on the clock.  I manage to  finish but the work I produce can be of a better standard.  The rush and anxiety I experience in meeting a deadline can be avoided and I can be more productive if I stick to my original thought that I should consistently work on it earlier than the due date and also get up when the alarm rings.

Promises made to myself, broken time and again.  Nothing earth shattering, little promises, little thoughts, expressed and denied in action as words try and justify the action through counter thoughts.  I am constantly contradicting myself.  There is not much congruence in what I think, I say and I do.

Result – minor irritating dissatisfaction with myself and a deeply settled discontentment and unhappiness for not having kept the word.  Lack of Unity in Thought, Word and Deed.

Now that might seem like a minor example that can be justified with a thousand reasons why I didn’t/couldn’t get up early.  Perfectly valid and I convince myself and make another promise to myself – ‘Tomorrow, Definitely,’ and the cycle may repeat again and again and again.  Before I know I even stop making that promise to myself and leave it in a too hard a basket with a permanent label attached to it, ‘I am not a morning person’ or ‘ I can’t get up early.’

When I don’t practice Unity in Thought, Word and Deed, what is my relationship with me? I can’t trust myself in my own capacities, I limit myself and settle with an increasing discontentment that is drowned in external noise.  I have lost a piece of myself.

Sounds extreme doesn’t it?

Same with my relationship with others.  I think one thing, say something different and do something totally different yet again.  When I behave like this, what is my relationship with others?  They can’t trust me.  I am not a person of integrity.

So what is the basis for authentic relationships?  Unity in Thought, Word and Deed or Unity in Head,  Heart and Hand.

What does it mean?  As it suggests, we think, say and do the same thing always, at all times, in all things, with all people including myself.  It is not just that, but the unity and harmony in the three should emanate from the highest and noblest in us.  Otherwise we will make more enemies than we can handle or justify our own actions to suit us.

The highest and noblest in us always thinks, says and does the right things that do not harm us or the others.  This is possible only when we live our lives in congruence with the 5 Human Values of Love, Truth, Right Conduct, Peace and Non-Violence.

Spiritual journey involves becoming self aware not just of our strengths but of our weaknesses as well, knowing our less positive motives, thoughts, feelings and prejudices and modulating our behavior in light of this knowledge.  As our knowledge of self increase,we start to go beyond body and mind identification.

Unity of Head, Heart and Hand is difficult when we identify with the body and mind.  When we belive the ‘I’ in us is the subject and everything around us is ‘object’, we are cautious in our actions.  We let our ego boundaries down only when we feel safe.  We open up with people whom we identify as ours.

Practicing Unity of Head, Heart and Hand in little things to big things makes us fearless.  We feel comfortable and at peace with ourselves no matter what the outcome. We do not need to pretend or defend ourselves.  As our personal integrity grows, our relationships based on Unity of Head, Heart and Hand are pure, unselfish, honest, free from personal agendas and we do not wear any masks.  We form genuine and authentic relationships that will be long lasting.

As our subjective happiness and sense of well being increases, our stress levels decrease and health improves.  Spiritual progress can only take place with Unity of Head, Heart and Hand.

So what Spiritual Practices can help in enhancing our self awareness?  What can we do to regulate our own thoughts, words and actions first and foremost?

Daily meditation is one practice that helps in growing self-awareness.  As the awareness increases we catch ourselves and stop even if nobody is noticing.

Keeping up small promises that we make to ourselves increases the capacity for Unity in Thought, Word and Deed.  So, tomorrow when the alarm goes off at 4AM, I know what to do and it is NOT hitting the snooze button.

Another helpful practice is a daily Self-Audit where you examine your actions throughout the day and modify anything that is not congruent.

What do you think? Is Unity of Thought, Word and Deed a required mandatory practice for Self-Transformation?

Eager to hear your thoughts.  Drop a line and let me know.

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

Who is A ‘Guru’?


Full moon rising, seen through the Belt of Venus

The word ‘Guru’ has lot of negative connotations in the western world.  It is understandable because in a world full of horror stories of how Guru’s exploit the innocent, a cautious approach to that word is expected.

So, what does the word ‘Guru’ mean?

Today is the auspicious day of ‘Guru Purnima’ and understanding what ‘Guru’ really means is important.

‘Guru’ is a Sanskrit word and is made of two syllables. ‘Gu’ signifies darkness and ‘Ru’ denotes that which dispels darkness.The term “Guru” means one who dispels the darkness of ignorance.

What are we ignorant of, that needs dispelling?  We are ignorant of our own inherent goodness and capacity.  We are ignorant of our capacity to manifest love in all situations.  We are ignorant of our potential hidden within us.  We delve in darkness created by our own limited thinking arising due to attachments and desires.

The truth is, we are beyond the limits that we place on ourselves.  When we shine the light on that darkness that we have created, it disappears.  It was  not darkness, it was absence of light.

How do we shine light on our darkness?  There is no better ‘Guru’ than our conscience – that little voice inside of us which quietly and continuously whispers right words of advice, which we tend to ignore or not hear at all because our mind’s voice is so loud. That tiny voice that makes us recognise the right from wrong, that makes us squirm uncomfortably until we hear its reasoning, that voice is our true Guru because it is without attributes, and is formless.  Another meaning of ‘Guru’.  Gu = without attributes and Ra = without form.

If we heed that voice, which is non-judgmental, patient, loving and truthful in its persistence and is always steering us in the right direction, we are living the path of Righteousness or Right Conduct or Dharma. We are following our ‘Guru’.

It is because our minds are so clouded we tend not to trust that little voice or even unable to tell the difference when it is our inner voice speaking and when it is our mind’s voice shouting.

How do we develop the capacity to discern the difference? Usually the first impressions we get is the inner voice speaking to us.  When there are nagging doubts about something, when something doesn’t feel right or when we get a distinct feeling in the gut, usually that is the ‘inner voice’ trying to get our attention.  It gets bold and loud when we listen to it and follow its advice.  Just as a true Guru never deserts his pupil, the inner voice too, never goes away. We can only strengthen it by paying attention to it and trusting its guidance.  Before we know, we are confidently walking on our chosen path brightly lit by our own indwelling ‘Guru’.

We may need teachers who can show that path but ultimately the ‘Guru’ that we need is right under our noses

Do you agree?

Drop a line here in comments or on Facebook. Would love to hear your opinions.

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

 

 

 

Are you at Peace?


Sri Sathya Sai Baba died. Beloved Baba's heart...

With the increased pace of life and the unrest in the world, Peace is what we all crave and clamor for.  We go for wars to create peace, we rally for peace, we hold public protests demanding peace.

Do these work?  Is absence of war equal to peace, can rally’s and protests create peace? Whose responsibility is it to create a peaceful environment?

I am sure we all have asked ourselves of these questions at least once if not many times and yet the answers seem to be elusive.

Sai Baba gave a simple prescription for Peace in the world and it starts with me as an individual. It starts with adhering to the Right Conduct attached to the duty that I am performing.  Right Conduct and Duty are big terms that need extensive exploration.  Hopefully we will do that here through these pages in future. But for now let us look at the following saying and see if it can be followed to achieve a peaceful life.

Sai Baba says:

If there is righteousness in the heart,

there will be beauty in character.

It there is beauty in character,

There will be harmony in the home.

Where there is harmony in the home,

There will be order in the nation.

Where there is order in the nation,

There will be peace in the world.

So, Peace begins with me acting with Right Conduct.  Peace is not something I can demand from others. It has to begin with my actions and only then can I expect Peace in the world.

How do you define ‘righteousness’  in this context?

Please share your thoughts here.  Love to hear from  you

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari