Is HOPE Whispering In Your Ears?


My favourite spot of reflection

Hope whispers in my ear that I needn’t worry about kids, family, money, health, future and even world.  “Don’t Worry..” she says, “I am here alive in your heart and carry you through your worries.  ‘Forgetting’ is the magic dust I sprinkle on you. As you sweetly slip in to your dreamworld, I whisper gently and promise that I will hold your hands through the night and fill your world with dreams that help you wake up fresh and bright eyed.”

As life started closing in with all its worries, I was not convinced of these gentle whispers of Hope and needed more assurances from her.

Hope did not give up and continued to whisper in my ear that

  • She is here to make the world a better place by inspiring people to have visions that will not shatter with their current realities,
  • She is the bedrock of all visions and
  • She is an angel from God installed in every human heart no matter how flickering she might be in there.

Hope told me to tell you

  • To not give up,
  • To hold on as all pain comes to an end,
  • That Hope cannot be kicked out so easily
  • That she will linger as long as you dream even faintly against your reality.

Hope is the sun shining even when clouds are covering it up.  She asks us to remember that just as we feel a guarantee that there will be sunshine after heavy rains, there will be Hope even as despair tries to cover us up.  All she needs is half an acknowledgment from us and she is ready to run with us, leading us.

This is what Hope told me today.

She says that she is the next breath of fresh air that enters you – all you need to do is to pause, remember and inhale her deeply and she will light that lamp in your heart.

So, please lend her your ear and she will fill you with most divine melodies that you ever heard.

As Poet Lisel Mueller says –

Hope

It hovers in dark corners

before the lights are turned on,

it shakes sleep from its eyes

and drops from mushroom gills,

it explodes in the starry heads

of dandelions turned sages,

it sticks to the wings of green angels

that sail from the tops of maples.

It sprouts in each occluded eye

of the many-eyed potato,

it lives in each earthworm segment

surviving cruelty,

it is the motion that runs

from the eyes to the tail of a dog,

it is the mouth that inflates the lungs

of the child that has just been born.”

Will you allow Hope to whisper in your ear? What is she saying? Can you hear her?

Remember,

Hope is the Oxygen in the next breath you take

Fill your lungs with it – you won’t regret. 

Pause…..Relax….Breathe….deeply and fully. 

Do not let despair take over and constrict your lungs.

Fill them with Hope.

Inhale ‘Hope’ the Life Saver.

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

Inhale ‘Hope’ the Life Saver.

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

 

 

 

4 Fundamental Desires That Fuel The 3 Enemies – Part I


Español: Sathya Sai Baba alimentado los pobres...
Español: Sathya Sai Baba alimentado los pobres año 1948 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last 3 blog posts I talked about the 3 Enemies that Rob Your Health in all the 5 personality domains and in the last post promised to talk about an antidote for these enemies.

Well it is now time to explore that idea.

What do you think are the fundamental desires that motivate us human beings to live on this planet?  No matter what you do, life is governed and ruled by all of these desires.

You cannot escape from them.  They overlap each other – one leading to the other and eventually becoming one huge pot of a massive desire.

Do you know what they are?

The 4 Fundamental Desires are

  1. The Desire to Live
  2. The Desire to Create 
  3. The Desire to Experience
  4. The Desire to have Continuity for our Existence

Are you wondering how these desires are related to the 3 enemies?  Well, if you look at the first one – The Desire to Live is connected to Curry (Food in general) – don’t’ you think?

The desire to live is a fundamental human trait, not just human but every species on this planet has a desire to live as long as it can.

That basic desire which used to be satisfied with simple sustenance over the centuries now turned into a massive industry that is billions of dollars worth with trillions of choices – The food industry

As the choices increased, the Desire to Live gradually turned into a Desire to Consume  and now we are at a point where this desire is potentially killing us, both through excessive consumption and excessive wastage. We all know what excessive consumption does to us – from obesity to diabetes to heart disease – all life style related diseases point to one thing – the type of food that we consume.

Whilst the developed nations are slowly killing themselves through excessive consumption, the wastage that happens in these  nations is also one of the reasons for the starving deaths of the millions in the other part of the world.

We are dying due to excess, they are dying due to lack – where is the equality?

Answer to this – NO, Not give up eating ( I like my food too)

Desire is fundamental, we cannot live without desires.  Desire motivates us, desire drives us. So stopping to desire is not an option because that leads to self-deprivation and we cannot survive self-deprivation for long.

So, what is the answer?

Ceiling on Desires

It is a concept and a program coined by Sathya Sai Baba.  Knowing that we have desires, knowing that our desires motivate and drive us,  we actively put a ceiling on those desires.  Measure the resulting savings in monetary terms and donate that money to a charity of choice.

Example: If you like chocolate ( or anything else for that matter), instead of having 2 chocolate bars, have one and the money you would spend on the second chocolate is donated to a charity.  I am sure you can come up with any number of examples.

So, how does a Ceiling on Desire for food help your health?

  1. Physically – your ceiling will help you (of course that is obvious).
  2. Mentally – you are satisfied about your self-control.
  3. Emotionally – you are happy that you are saving money.
  4. Socially – you can be an example, a role model to others in many ways – from saving money to looking beautiful. You can also be the talk of the town (wink, wink)
  5. Spiritually – the sacrifice you made by not choosing that extra is literally going to give life to others. The resulting joy and contentment you gain through your direct contribution to society is priceless.

All that through a little act of putting an active ceiling on desire – isn’t it worth thinking about?

When we consciously think about it, we waste so much food.  Forget about supermarkets throwing out good food, we waste so much food in our homes. Our pantries and fridges are over flowing and half of that stuff never sees daylight and yet we are driven to buy more and eat more.

As a start, I am going to put a ceiling on my Coffee consumption – only 1 cup per day, that is from 6 a day down to 1 a day.  If I convert that into dollars, I would save at least $ 15.00 a day.  I will get a jar and put that money in every time I feel like a coffee and donate to a charity.  So, Good Bye 5 cups of Coffee…………

What is it for you?  What ceiling are you going to put today on your eating habits?

Open declarations help us stick to our plans better.   Please comment here and publicly affirm your ceiling.

Also stay tuned for the next 3 posts on how the other 3 desires are fueling our remaining 2 enemies of Hurry and Worry.

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

3 Enemies That Rob Your Health – Part 3


English: Indian curries
English: Indian curries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The third enemy of the 3 Enemies is a juicy and mouth watering one that tantalizes you with its thousand and one flavors available at your beck and call.

It is all around you. Without it life and living is impossible.

A good portion of the population live to do just that as another good chunk of the population is dying (literally) due to lack of that.  What is it?

You guessed it – it is CURRY. Well, when I say ‘Curry’ – I don’t just mean Indian, Sri Lankan or Thai curries.  ‘Curry’ here is synonymous with any kind of fatty, sugary, salty, spicy food and/or drink that we crave constantly.

Yes, we live to eat most of the time.  Our pantries are over flowing and girths ever expanding, whilst our physical health is dwindling rapidly due to life style illnesses that were virtually absent only decades ago – not to mention the resulting effect on the health in all the other personality domains.

There is advise streaming at us on the ill effects that excess food can cause.

And yet we ignore – I know I do.

I would like to connect the dots between the 3 enemies and show how they contribute towards dis-ease in all 5 Personality Domains.

Whichever way you look at it, the 3 enemies are connected.

Hurry causes Worry, whilst Worry can create Hurry.

Both Hurry & Worry can contribute to Curry (substitute with rich, fatty, quick, fast food that is empty in nutrients and high in calories)

Hurry leads to depletion of health in the Physical domain.  When you Hurry, you are not making time for important things in life like cooking  nutritious wholesome meals – so you reach for Curry. Curry makes you Worry because you know (deep down) the long term effects of it.

Worry robs health in the Mental and Emotional domains. When you Worry, your mental faculties are so preoccupied that you are unable to plan and execute things to your full capacity – that leads you to Hurry through and you grab a Curry.

Curry slowly and gradually depletes your physical health as well as your Social health.  When you Curry, you may gain temporary Social health (Friends, Parties, good food) but it will catch up eventually.  Lack of physical energy will reduce your social contribution.

The three combined cause severe gaps in health in physical, mental, emotional, social domains.  When you are struggling to keep healthy in so many domains, nourishing & nurturing your Spiritual Domain is the last thing you will think of.

Lack of nourishment to Spiritual domain leads to crisis that causes us to breakdown literally through dis-ease and lack of meaningful contribution.  We will neither Savor nor Serve the world.

Do you have to wait for dis-ease to arrive in order for you to wake up?

There is an antidote to the 3 enemies – but that will have to be another post.  Until then

  • Slow the Hurry
  • Reduce the Worry
  • Moderate the Curry

How are you addressing the 3 enemies? Talk to me…………

Leave comments or better still subscribe, so this will be in your inbox.

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

3 Enemies That Rob Your Health – Part I


 

 

“The old enemies of peace”
“The old enemies of peace” (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

Do you know you constantly battle with 3 enemies every moment of every day?

I know I do.  Those 3 enemies never leave my side.  They are my constant companions, whether I am awake or half asleep.

 

They tempt me from every corner.  They rob my physical, mental and emotional health.  They create a gaping hole in my spiritual health.  The more I give into those 3 temptations, the bigger is my loss of health in all the 5 personality domains – Physical, Mental, Emotional, Social and Spiritual.

 

The 3 enemies keep me on a roller coaster of thinking that I do and that I care, all the while tempting me to indulge because I can.

 

Growing impatient to know what they are? Any guesses?

 

Well, impatience is certainly not one of them, all though, it can be a result of one of them.

 

OK!! No more suspense – Here they are.  Ready???

 

The 3 enemies that rob your health are………………..(drum roll)

 

HURRY, WORRY & CURRY

 

It’s not a joke.  You read it right.  Hurry, Worry & Curry are the 3 enemies that rob your health.  Those are not my invention.  They are as said by Sai Baba.  All I am doing is trying to elaborate on them – one by one.

 

Enemy No.1 – HURRY

 

Hurry – robs me of my physical and mental health.  How?

 

When I hurry……..

 

  • I forget
  • I make mistakes
  • I can trip and fall and injure  myself
  • I am impatient
  • I am frustrated
  • I get anxious
  • I get irritated at little inconveniences

Result –

 

Love is a distant companion.

 

Truth tangos between little white lies and blatant lying to outright exaggerations.

 

Right Action and Peace jump out of the window due to anxiety and fear.

 

And – Mild Violence will be a happy comrade.

 

Yes, Hurry does all that and more.  Hurry keeps me in a constant flurry of activity and I collapse at the end of the day exhausted physically as well as mentally, only to start all over again the next day.

 

I hear you say – but we have to hurry to keep up, to do everything that we HAVE to do.  If we don’t hurry, life will run us over and shove us aside.

 

We have to hurry to…

 

  • catch the next bus/train/appointment
  • finish the next thing

Because, we don’t have time.  We are late etc etc

 

Hurry to catch up? does it make sense – NO.

 

But we do hurry – if not physically, mentally.  When we are a zillion miles far mentally, but physically here, do I need to describe the impatience, irritation and frustration that results in exhaustion, energy depleted and ultimate breakdown?

 

So, is there an antidote to this.  Of course there is.

 

I know you are hurrying to get to the end of the post, so you can find out what remedy I have to suggest.

 

Slow down………. I am going to show you the remedy

 

S L O W D O W N

 

Yes, that is the remedy.

 

Deliberately, Consciously, Intentionally  –

 

S L O W  D O W N

 

B R E A T H E – DEEPLY IN………………… EXHALE OUT LOUD (PHEW……………………….)

 

Sorry, if I am deliberate in writing this.  But the only remedy for hurry is slowing down.  Is that enough? Its a start.

 

We need to slow down physically as well as mentally and plan ahead.

 

Nothing new here but we don’t make time to do it because if we are not hurrying we are not accomplishing.

 

When our bodies are tired, we don’t have the energy to get up earlier than necessary, we don’t have the energy to plan ahead and so the cycle continues.

 

So, first steps:

 

  • Deliberate and conscious deep breathing will ease the hurry mentally. Meditation of course will yield enormous benefits.  But deep breathing is a start.
  • Planning as we all know, gains us time.  With easy breathing, plan the next day before hand.  This gives control and help slow us down physically.

The benefits of these will flow on to help with the other 2 enemies

 

Stay tuned for Enemy No. 2 – WORRY.

 

Now don’t hurry in your waiting for the next post – will you.

 

Until next week – BREATHE & SLOW DOWN

 

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

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Living in Gratitude” – A Choice or an Obligation?


Gratitude…..

 

“The Soul is like water in its polarity to Spirit. When we become like water, we attract the Divine Will and we become the conduits of the One Force. Water is a reflective mirror. Like the Moon it attracts the light of the Sun and projects images of light into the world of Matter. When our Heart is clear, the light finds us and shines through us. ♥” –
Shannon Port © 2012, The Mirror of the Soul

I picked up this quote from one of the Facebook pages that I subscribe to and it sums up pretty much what I tried to capture in the painting. I did the painting before I even read this quote.

Gratitude can be a loaded word, especially when things in one’s life are falling apart, gratitude will be a far fetched concept.  How can a person living in utter poverty, or violated by crime, war etc., how can people who flee their countries to others for shelter, feel gratitude for the situations that they are in… It sounds preposterous to even suggest that they find something to be thankful for, given their situations.

Lets put those extreme situations aside for a minute.. How many of us who never have faced those situations and are unlikely to face them given where we live –  how many of us live with gratitude?

A person who seemingly has everything can still find something to be unhappy for.  Depression is 21st Century’s biggest disease.  Can Gratitude be an antidote for depression? I am not mocking the serious biological nature of Depression.  However, we have been so conditioned to look at only what is going wrong in our lives and forget or ignore all the other things that are good in our lives and feel discontent which can trigger a type of depression.

If we deliberately live in Gratitude for everything we have, would the world be a better place? Would that help people who are suffering?

Well, it may not help directly, but I think the indirect benefits are far too many.

When I live in gratitude, I am empty with fullness.  As my head gets empty, my heart gets full swelling and overflowing with gratitude.  The result of that would be that my focus is not exclusively on me and I have room to take in others into my heart.  Overflowing Gratitude washes selfishness and self-interest away.  As light is spread before me, above me, below me and around me, I disappear into that light and merge with no identity left of  my own.

How can I ignore the grace flowing in through the sun rays and only look at the muck I stand in from time to time?  How can I forget that the sun rays can dry the muck up and the pure waters can wash it away as well?  What remains after that?

Pure Grace. I am thankful for that light and for that water which shine and purify everything including me.  When I open myself with gratitude to allow that grace to cleanse my heart and flow through, my dissatisfaction and discontent disappears,  judgments drop like autumn leaves.   I gain the capacity to see that even the worst offender has something to teach me.  I begin to touch others (not just people in my immediate circle but everyone) unconditionally and compassionately.  As my life becomes a reflective mirror, it projects images of light into the world of Matter and  my capacity to help and serve selflessly multiplies.

Living in Gratitude is not a Choice but an inherent Obligation, a Duty of ours.

So if you haven’t already, I recommend starting a practice of living in gratitude.  For the next 30 days write 5 things you are grateful for each day.  You cannot repeat the same things.  Instead you will have to find 5 new things each day.  This practice makes one acutely aware of how many things in our lives we take granted for.

Would you like to join me in starting a 30 day practice of ‘living in gratitude’? As we are approaching the end of the year, this would be a good practice to reflect and recapture everything that we are grateful for and say ‘thanks’.

What do you think?

Would love to hear your thoughts..

I am grateful that you took time to read this

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari