What Are You Desiring?


Desire

A beautiful poem by 13th century poet Matchild of Magdeburg inspired me to question myself. I will post the poem in here as well.

What am I desiring? What are you desiring?

Are you desiring comfort, security, safety, guarantee of existence through material, impermanent stuff?

Are you desiring comfort, security, safety, guarantee of existence through your relationships with others who are desiring the same?

Are you desiring pain free, suffering less life through these impermanent and materialistic relationships to things and people?

We all desire the same but with different intensity and focus. I know I do.

spider-web-1185949_1920

Somewhere in that web of desires, there is a pocket that is craving for happiness and peace for self and family.

No matter how trapped we think we are in the big web of relationships to things and people, ultimately we are all desiring to be in that tiny pocket of the massive web – the pocket that quivers wildly every now and then as the breeze of the Divine touches it asking to break free from the rest of web and join with it so our love can be perfected free from the web of pain and suffering.

Isn’t that the journey we are actually on? A desire to create and enjoy lasting happiness and peace for us?

But that desire is buried under the layers of our immediate desires.  What is your immediate desire that masquerades the real desire?

I know my immediate desire is to break free from the intense egoistic attachments that make me feel indispensable.

If I stop thinking I am indispensable to my family and not anticipate every need of its members and provide in advance, while reeling in the need for recognition, resenting that feeling at the same time, then, perhaps, I can understand the real desire behind the desire – a desire to be happy, to be free, to be peaceful, to be – just TO BE.

What is stopping me from doing that? The egotistic me that thinks I am needed/wanted/required by others to lead their lives.  Really?

Truth is – They do and they don’t – need me, want me and require me.

I certainly don’t need that  for my existence.  Oh what a blow to my ego? What would I be if I am not a wife, mother, sister, daughter to someone? Who would I be if don’t have those roles to define myself and identify with? How am I to derive happiness and feel the love without playing a role?

Do I desire to be in these roles in order to perfect my love?  Is that the only way I can experience love – in relationship to something?  A love that can easily turn into a dislike or even hatred – is that real love? or is it a desire to protect my identity that is changing constantly? Can I detach from that clingy desire that makes me forget who I truly am…

Divine love

Metchild of Magdeburg (1207> – 1282> or 1297?) in her poem “God Speaks to the Soul” says

“And God said to the Soul:
I desired you before the world began.
I desire you now
As you desire me.
And where desire of two come together
There love is perfected”

So what am I desiring then?  Do I really desire to come together with Divine to perfect my love? Not consciously.  My desire and I am sure yours too is to live in this day to day life with that perfect partner, lover, child, sibling etc., who will exactly reciprocate our love the way we give.

In that desire arises the unrecognized competition that says – I have given, why can’t you give back in exact proportion and intensity?  Is that a sustainable desire that will help perfect love or find lasting happiness?

When the desire of two coming together is laced with expectations and attachments – it cannot last nor can that love be perfected.

Well the answer, at least, theoretically would be – I AM…

I AM

Every word I fill in after that I AM… is a role I created in this drama of attachment and entanglement of desires I play.  All I need really is to be aware of those roles i fill in whilst rooted in my being ‘I Am.’

If my prime desire to fill in the blank after I AM is LOVE – how would I behave? Worth trying?

When I AM LOVE, my desire would be to merge with that LOVE and that is the only desire I am born with to fulfill.  Every other desire in this journey is a stepping stone to recognize that true desire for which we are born.

As the poet Kabir said

My body is flooded
With the flame of Love.
My soul lives in
A furnace of bliss.

Love’s fragrance
Fills my mouth,
And fans through all things
With each outbreath.”
outbreath

Can we desire for that perfect LOVE only and break free from the trapped web of attachments and expectations?

What do you think? Is it easy, worth trying? Would love to hear your thoughts…

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

 

 

 

 

 

I AM….


If we don’t have anything to mull over about the past and get caught in the cycle of guilt & shame mostly, laced with pride and satisfaction occasionally or think about future with worry, anticipation and hope, mixed with anxiety and fear sometimes – what have we got to say in the present moment?

Nothing really. Only experiencing remains – experiencing the constantly rising, surging and receding waves of thoughts – the waters of past and future.

5 AM…If I remain still and notice, I hear the crickets drone and the rooster from the neighbor’s backyard, the fridge humming, my neck bones creaking, my left shoulder hurting, the silence I am surrounded and cocooned in intercepted by the soft clicking of the keys on the laptop as I am typing these thoughts.

In this present moment silence, there is a recognition of my solidity as well as the fluid awareness of the ‘I’ that is making these observations quietly noticing everything – alert and present. There is no emotion in this state – only a deep calm interjected by next sentence rising in my mind to be penned.
I am aware of myself as well as my surrounds, far and near. My mind is trying desperately to create a particular chain of thought, but as soon as a thought is arising to a certain height, it is popping like a bubble. There is the recognition of a thought arising. I have nothing to say, nothing to worry about, nothing to look forward to either – I am quiet, calm and rested in this deep echo in my heart of “I AM” – that’s it. “I AM” is the only reality – anything added after the ‘AM’ is the drama that we play on the screen of this world.

“Is this a thought regurgitated from acquired knowledge?” asks my mind, unable to comprehend that it has no hold on me and not carrying me away.

“No!” says the Awareness. “I acknowledge your existence, but you, my mind, are in my control and I will only use you to continue to make you know that I am in charge. I decide when you can or cannot talk through your thoughts. I have to use you for me to know who I am, but I will use you with full awareness and not let you cover me like storm clouds and take over. You may have hopes, desires, wishes, worries, frustrations, fears and anxieties, but ‘I’ am not them.

“I AM…” – anything after that is you jumping up and down with your theatrics. My mind! I own you and not the other way around. I am the charioteer, you are the horse drawing the chariot at my command, in a direction and speed I choose, and so I will know and live in that recognition that “I AM…”

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

 

My Homage And My Pledge


Sairam

I pay homage today to a larger than life phenomenon knowing that my words would fail to fully convey what I am feeling.

On this 90th Birthday of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, I offer my humble tribute to the tireless efforts of a Loving Divinity that walked on this earth physically for 85 years.  His clarion call to “Love all, Serve All; Help Ever, Hurt Never” reverberated from a tiny hamlet of Puttaparthi in South India – a dot that was not on the world map, a village so remote once upon a time, that access to it was through many means of transportation including a walk through the sands of Chitravathi River.

That call to Love that started 76 years ago when He was a mere lad of 14 now has spread through in 123 countries in the world, touching millions of people directly and indirectly.

I heard that call 3 times before I took serious note of it, once in 1969, once in 1983 and finally in 1993.

22 years later I am ready to not only receive but live the call for Love fully, openly and humbly, grateful to have found it, knowing that I will never fully understand or fathom its power but craving to be enveloped and anchored in its simplicity of living and loving the LOVE that is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient.

That LOVE continues to show the way to a Peaceful, Truthful living with Righteous Conduct that ultimately leads to Non-Violence in Thought, Word and Deed.

How can I ever pay homage to the LOVE that

  • Is pervading and patiently persuasive in its eagerness to show the way?
  • Demonstrated tirelessly for over 7 decades what love is all about, without taking a break?

Is it possible even to think that I can understand or fathom the depths of that LOVE that shone purely in its simplicity and was brighter than a thousand suns?

Is it humanly possible to peer into the depths of those loving eyes that saw everyone in their naked vulnerability and yet love them to their core?

Can I hide from a pervading force that is embedded in every cell and atom of everything that seem to operate from that Force?

No, it is not humanly possible for me to understand that so I will not attempt to analyse.

I will just allow myself to be enveloped in the arms of that gentle LOVE with total acceptance and through that touch I will come to know that LOVE enveloping me is already in me and is not separate from me.  It is in me, around me, in front and back, above and below, always in all ways.

When I understand this, I have understood the LOVE that walked this earth even though no longer physically present in  a form, is very much present in all the deep recesses of every living atom that is being guided and driven by it.

I pay homage to that LOVE which physically embodied as Sathya Sai Baba and walked on this earth to show and tell what loving is all about, what life is and to wake up and recognize that I am that LOVE, You are that LOVE, we all are that LOVE which manifests in a variety of colors, forms, shapes, sizes, smells and tastes, so we all can enjoy its varied flavors.

I pay homage to Sathya Sai Baba who made it possible for me to recognise that, not only recognize but to live with LOVE as an anchor that moors me solid in the flowing waters of life so I can become a resting place for the restless passers-by.

The ultimate tribute I can pay to Him is to make my life that resting place to others as He is to me. 

I can only do that if I become Love in Action like He showed through His life.

Today on His 90th Birthday, I pledge that I will put my heart and soul in to practicing and living His message of Love every minute of every day, which means, I will see Him in every one.

I can only do that if I make My Life HIS MESSAGE which is LOVE.

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

 

 

 

Can We Stop The Violence and Create Peace In The World?


Peace & Violence

Mass shootings in Oregon in USA, two people shot dead in front of Paramatta police station in Sydney (one victim and one perpetrator), USA bombing in Afghanistan of a hospital (collateral damage is the claim), refugees fleeing out of their homelands, increasing deaths due to domestic violence (66 deaths in 9 months in Australia alone), human trafficking etc etc etc.,

How did humans become so violent – profiting from, mutilating and killing each other? To what end?

The violence I mentioned above on the global scale also plays on an individual level.  Our minds are “bubbling hot baths of violence” when we

  • Contradict, dislike, judge each other subtly or openly,
  • Constantly compare with each other,
  • Live in the artificial world of ‘us & them’
  • Spew negativity in the name of wanting to understand,
  • Get stronger in our own convictions even if they openly hurt another,
  • encourage cut throat competition in the name of fulfilling ambitions
  • consume excessively  created by extensive wants and desires…

Result is low self-esteem, over confidence, depression, fears, anxiety, scarcity thinking, hoarding, substance dependence to get away from all of that, which creates more problems.

We simply have forgotten how to live simply.

Global wars and crimes are micro played in our  minds first and we become blame shifters – it is the

  • Government’s fault,
  • The law’s fault,
  • Police not doing enough or
  • Religion’s fault.

Our phobias increase rampantly as we desperately isolate groups or individuals to pin blame on.

We are spending more money on weapons instead of educating people.

We spend time and effort and money on finding essential elements for survival in space (water on Mars) while actively contaminating and pilfering the precious resources here now on earth that we call home. Geroge Monbiot said in his recent article – “The richer a country becomes, the less its people care about their impact on the living planet.”

How is finding water on Mars save children who die daily because they don’t have access to clean water?  How is selling guns to countries who can’t feed their population an answer to their problems?

Where are we heading collectively?

I am sure these are questions that everyone ask of themselves, shake their heads helplessly and go back to living in their safe silos and hot heads (me included) – too far away, not my problem.  We have food, clothes, shelter – the basic necessities and we belong to a family, a community that is our safety net. We believe that one day someone somewhere will come up with a magic solution to all the problems…

Bonding, Belonging and Believing – three essential ingredients for human happiness.

Is it enough to have these three at individual level?  Is that even happening at an individual level?

How bonded are we with each other beyond our immediate family and even within our immediate family?

Do we feel safe in belonging in our communities – of course that depends on which community or country we are talking about.

Do we believe that solutions t0 problems are other people’s headaches?

Where do we individuals stand on these global issues – are we not responsible individually and collectively, no matter how immediate or far removed the issues are from us?

The gadgetry distractions we have created for ourselves, the fear induced selfishness which is making us become increasingly indifferent – are these the values that we are passing on to our children?

If we feel responsible, what can we do?

What do we teach our children?

What are we teaching ourselves?

When we know this is not who we are, how do we go about finding who we truly are?

How do we put an end to, may be not possible to put an end to, but at least curb the violence we witness each day?

Here is what I think (for what it is worth)

To curb violence in the world, we need to stop violating ourselves first and foremost.  We need to go back to the fundamental Human Values that are inherent in all of us.  We need to actively teach our children what these values are and how it helps them grow up to be caring human beings.

Bonding and belonging is more important than any thing else. So instead of creating bonds with gadgets for our children because we are busy, can we perhaps make time to give them our time instead of a gadget and create bonds that last. Research shows that IPad usage by two year old children may harm language development which means inability to express which means inability to communicate and we know what that can lead to.

Yes, we don’t have control over global scale violence, but…

We have control over how we can

  • Develop the inner moral compass of our children,
  • Enhance their sensitivity to moral cues,
  • Make them become aware of our interdependence and
  • Teach them to live with personal integrity which helps them to take responsibility for their state of minds and actions.

Here is a free educational program that does just that for 4 to 6 year old children.  Use this program for your own children or gather a group of children from your local community and teach them.  Catch them young and mold their minds.

What else can we do?

We can stop being excessive consumerists and limit our desires

The older generation has so much wisdom that the young needs to learn from beyond the three R’s, in fact more than reading, writing and arithmetic, children today need to learn Resilience, Resonance and Reflection.

Retired people among us can volunteer their time with local High Schools and mentor the kids there especially the ones that are not coping with the demands of high school.  Show them how valuable they are, teach them how to respond and not react, as well as the value of being kind, being healthy, being helpful, forgiving, taking care of themselves and the planet etc.

They need to understand and practice the values of Love, Truth, Peace, Right Conduct and Non-Violence.  For that they need adults in their lives who practice and demonstrate those values in action.

We may not be able to solve the worlds problems, but we certainly can help in our local communities particularly children and young adults and create loving bonds and a sense of belonging that will stop them from straying away, becoming depressive and suicidal or violent like the 15 year old boy in Sydney who ended up dying.

We want a peaceful society, it is up to us to create that.  We are not helpless in doing that. We need to put our own inhibitions aside, limit our desires and the resulting consumption.   We need to  take genuine interest in the welfare of our next generation and use the freed up time and resources for the welfare of the community that we live in.

Let us form little ‘Circles of Safety’ and bring our younger generations into those circles and equip them to become character laden citizens.

We have nothing to lose and everything to gain – do you agree?

Would love to know what you think and how we should go ahead with this…Please drop a line in with your comments and action plans

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

Fear or Love – Can One Sheath Have Two Swords in it?


FearUnity and love

Yesterday I posted a news item on my Facebook page about an Anti-Islamic group planning to move protests to Albury amid mosque renovation plans and shared this news on a community page that I  maintain.  I have called for support to the local Muslim community and not allow outside groups to enter and disturb the peace and harmony in our town, if and when it happens.

This post sparked a debate with one gentleman who took objection to the post and ended up posting you tube videos that show Islam extremist groups fighting local authorities and their capacities, and asking  me not to post anything like this on a community Facebook page.

I also had a private conversation with another person who expressed concerns and ended up quoting the popular saying which echoes many peoples views on Islam and terrorism and that is – “Not All Muslims are terrorists but every terrorist is a Muslim”

This made me think.  This is how it is everywhere isn’t it – from individuals to societies, to countries –  people stuck on what they see as right, not willing to give the other party a chance to explain, wanting to have their word as the last word by all means, distinct ‘us vs them’ mentality, using religion to support arguments, to create arguments, forgetting the basic humanity.

The overriding need for safety of the self drives a person to behave in a way that suits them operating from within their silo.

Is this what humans have become?  What is it in us that is so threatening to each other?

We profess words of peace, but inside we are riddled with doubts, worry,  judgment, fear, persecution – how can our smiles be genuine?

How can love blossom in hearts that are shrinking with fear and crouch in that corners of safety that is illusory?

Love is the answer no doubt and caution needs to be exercised as well when getting into public debate because not everyone comes from the basis of love.  Solution for any of theses issues from micro to macro is in individual understanding and adjustment.

At a time when we are living with all nationalities and religions together in communities, do we isolate one particular community because the larger diaspora of that community on an international scene is not just labelled but marginalized as terrorists because of a few hundred or thousands of peoples’ actions?

Which religion is exclusive of fundamentalism?  There are fundamentalist terrorists in all religions Hinduism included.  In fact, every individual is capable of being a terrorist.  As long as we are operating from fear, the capacity to terrorize in the name of self protection not only is there but is on the ever increase. When enough people with this terror in their hearts join forces, extremist groups are formed. Anti-Islam groups are equally the terrorists.

Yes, I agree when we chose to migrate from our home lands, we have to abide by the law of the host country.  I don’t see any Islamic group in Australia nor any other religious group acting against the law of the land barring a few isolated cases.  So why do we have to bring international fears into our home towns or allow others to pollute our minds?

Is Fear the driver of the 21st Century?

Did we not let fear rule us so far and look where we collectively brought the world to.  I cannot exclude my role in the large collective drama.  Every fear I harbor in the deep dark corners of my heart, no matter how hidden and deep, will contribute to the larger scene.  It first plays on me, then on my family, community and it spreads.

When our children have to sit side by side in schools with Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs etc what are we teaching them – not to help a child in need because he happens to be a Muslim, therefore a terrorist by default?

When that fear is big in our hearts, how can we genuinely demonstrate to our children to become caring individuals?  Can we preach something that we are not prepared to follow?

I am not asking that we should become activists in an effort to solve world problems.  But what is wrong in asking to become activists for ourselves, to weed our own hearts from the damaging fears and prejudices, plant seeds of love to sprout and grow in recognition that –

“Skin deep, we all flow red” and the fistful of muscle that beats in our chest cavity and throbs inside our skulls wants only one thing – LOVE.

What is the worst thing that can happen if we all converted to the Religion of LOVE, just for today, and tomorrow – one day at a time?

Start the day with Love – Send loving thoughts for yourself, your family, your community and the world.

Spend the day with Love – Smile and wave at everyone.  Extend loving help where possible. Don’t be a grouch. Smile does not cost anything

End the day with Love – Say thank you for the day’s events, send loving light into the world and pray that even more loving day will dawn tomorrow.

If we took time to make this an individual practice and also do it collectively, then fear will have no room in our hearts.  We can put aside our minds’ little worries, fears, pressures of various sorts of daily living and grow in love.

Continuously spending a few conscious moments everyday living in love and gratitude, we pave our way to create unity and harmony – recognizing the Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of  man.

Fear and Love are the two swords that cannot fit into the one sheath. 

What is your choice – Fear or Love?

One binds and the other releases from our own self created shackles.

Let Love be the driver of your thoughts, words and deeds.

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

How To Create a “Culture of Care”


Featured image

We know that the world is in utter chaos and we all crave for a world order to be brought about – by Governments, by Scientists, by others…..

Pope Francis’ Encyclical entitled “Laudato Si – On Care for Our Common Home” that sets out a program for change calls for the need to develop a “Culture of Care” in society and it starts with each individual.

A friend of mine asked “Why do we need to listen to a religious leader talking about climate change when the scientists who are the authority on the subject cannot get heard? My response – Pope’s call is not just for religious followers but for the entire humanity, because Climate Change is not just a scientific issue but it is a moral problem.

In order to fully comprehend Pope’s message, we need to first unpack what is a “Culture of Care” and how it looks like and then perhaps connections can be made how the world’s chaos needs spiritual solutions.

A ‘Culture of Care’ is based in Love.  When Love permeates a human being, he/she will do nothing but care for themselves and the others, wherever they are, which has a domino effect eventually.  When enough people care, societies transform. Caring nature results in beauty in character.

Sai Baba said – ” When there is beauty in character, there is harmony at home; When there is harmony at home, there is order in the nation; when there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world.” 

So a Culture of Care results in world peace.  Sounds far fetched? Let us explore what that Culture of Care actually looks like.  A Culture of Care looks like:

  • Content humans with what they have, which grounds them in the present.
  • A grounded person in the present has a solid identity of who they are.
  • A person who knows who they are is not competitive or an aggressive consumer
  • A non-aggressive consumer does not focus on ‘getting.’
  • When the focus in not on getting, the natural opposite fills in the void – which is ‘Giving.’
  • What can a content and grounded, non-aggressive consumer give?
  • A natural compassion because there is no comparison or competition.

What does natural compassion look like?

A Kind, Satisfied, Happy, Caring, Sharing Person because a naturally compassionate person has

    • Love in their thoughts – therefore Truth prevails
    • Love in their actions – so Right Conduct manifests
    • Love in their feelings – and Peace penetrates
    • Love in their understanding – thus a non-violent world results.

Is this formulaic? I don’t think so. Do you see the connection?

It starts with stopping being an aggressive, competitive, jealous consumer and be content with what we have and live in gratitude. There is always someone who has less than us.

A content and caring individual recognises the interconnectedness as they see the world from within.

If contentment is an answer to create a ‘Culture of Care,’ how can we remain content when the world screams at us that we cannot be happy unless we have more?

Pope’s answer is “Growth marked by moderation” In fact this principle has been given as a “Ceiling on Desires” program four decades ago by Sathya Sai Baba.

Accordingly, Desiring is a natural human phenomenon and cannot be eliminated completely. So, we put a Ceiling on our Desires to consume, whether it is food, money, time or energy.

  • If we learn to stop with one piece of chocolate cake, there is more to share – Ceiling on Desire for food can be connected to relieving world hunger – you do the maths.
  • If we learn to use less energy, there is less burden on natural resources, which means more to share and a safer planet.
  • If we conserve and manage our time, we overcome unhealthy anxiety which means happy families and peaceful societies engaged in meaningful activities.
  • If we desire less, we don’t have to buy more, which means savings. More savings, better lifestyle and happy individuals.

Our consumption of food, money, time and energy are directly linked with our capacity to be content or discontent.  Sounds simplistic? Don’t answers to large problems often have simple solutions?

So, ‘Culture of Care’ starts with an individual and can happen only if we stop excessive consumption and be content. When we are content, we create a ‘Culture of Care.’ Love blossoms as a result and Inner Peace that is directly related to care for ecology and common good results. This is each and every one of our responsibility.

Without a moral and imaginative structure that links our wellbeing to that of others, so that their suffering feels as urgent as ours, or is at least measured on the same scales, we will render our planet uninhabitable.  Not only do we urgently need to understand the human nature but live with the knowledge that Love is the undercurrent of everything and that Love is our true nature.

Ceiling on Desires is a simple ANSWER for today’s complex crisis in the world – from micro to macro.

Shall we start a revolution by creating a ‘Culture of Care?’ Share your thoughts and action plans please….

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

How To Make Love The Goal Of Life…..


Love

“Love is the Source; Love is the Path; Love is the Goal “– says Sathya Sai Baba.

How is this Love felt or displayed in any of the actions we undertake in this world?

Is it Love to question?

Is it Love to be ignored?

Is it Love to want?

Is it Love not to grant that want?

Is it Love to attack?

Is it Love to defend?

Is it Love to doubt?

Is it Love to trust?

Is it Love to resent?

Is it Love to accept?

Is it Love to rise on other’s shoulders?

Is it Love to claim something forcibly taken as inheritance?

In this life’s drama of give and take, blames and counter blames, win and lose, withhold and share on a need to know basis – what role has Love?

From micro to macro issues, individuals to countries, when each one is firmly rooted on the one side of the coin, trying to peer through their own silo and see what they want to or wish to see, how can Love be the Source, the Path and the Goal?

Can a blind person ever understand or comprehend the enormity of an elephant?

Can our dualistic attitudes to life ever fully understand Love?

Can we ever hold both night and day without labelling one as good and the other bad, but see both as the full range of our vision?

16th Century Spanish writer – Lope De Vega sums it up very well in his poem

 Various effects of Love

To be fainthearted, to be bold, possessed,

abrasive, tender, open, isolated,

spirited, dying, dead, invigorated,

loyal, treacherous, venturesome, repressed.

Not to find, without your lover, rest.

To seem happy, sad, haughty, understated,

emboldened, fugitive, exasperated,

satisfied, offended, doubt-obsessed.

To face away from disillusionment,

to swallow venom like liqueur, and quell

all thoughts of gain, embracing discontent;

to believe a heaven lies within a hell,

to give your soul to disillusionment,

that’s love, as all who’ve tasted know too well.

 So, it is bearing witness to all that without just becoming a winner or a victim – that witness is the Source, the Path and the Goal – Love –  a prize that cannot be won in one life time.

Off we go on to the roller coaster in the meantime, one drama after another…until we learn to truly love which means…

To Be a Witness and taste life’s sweet and bitter treats without complaining

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

 

 

 

What is the Boundary Line between ‘Broken’ and ‘Whole’?


Broken and wholeWe live in a world of opposites – thick lines that separate good and bad, beauty and ugly, clean and dirty, kind and cruel, love and hate etc., etc.,  dichotomies that divide us and keep us in our compartments and will not let others come out of their compartments.

It gives us great security in putting someone in their little pigeon hole and always looking at them through the lens that we have created the hole for them.  Often it gives us satisfaction when we determine that someone is more broken than us.

We tend to place our worth entirely on our tangible achievements don’t we not?  Do we consider the efforts that we make in this process? Do we acknowledge the struggles we go through? How whole do we feel in this process or how broken do we think we are?

So, what is the boundary line between ‘broken’ and ‘whole’? Why do we have a need to live in the black and white world of opposites? What stops us from living on the line where black and white start to blend and a grey hue emerges?

In our desires to fix ourselves and/or others, do we constantly blow out our flame of worth? Is it possible for us to live in a world that is free of ‘attack’ and ‘defense’?
I think the images we create for ourselves and others as ‘this’ or the ‘other’ is the source of the problem. It is time we recognized that we are not this ‘OR’ that, but we are this ‘AND’ that.

How difficult is it to live a life of ‘AND’ but not an ‘OR’? When we put aside our fear of disappointments whether with ourselves or with others, we start to see as Poet Mark Nepo says that “The essence of who we are is independent of the web of relationship we need.”  Our essence does not depend on our image of ourselves nor on the image that others create of us.  The essence is not broken or whole, it just is.

How can we live with that realization – with that constant reminder that we are whole no matter what the circumstances and others are trying to tell us, that we are not just a cumulative result of our achievements?

How can we connect to what is eternal in us, a flame that carries us through thick and thin, the essence of who we are?  How can we go beyond the need to prove our worth to ourselves and to others, beyond the dichotomies that gives us false hope and security?

Drawing on Mark Nepo’s words again – “Honest living can shift our quest for worth, from inscribing ourselves in history to releasing what is eternal by living a life of care.”

How can we release what is eternal?  How can we live a life of care?  Mark Nepo says “if we could only give in to gravity just a little, we would cross our inner boundary of fear and discover the endless world of being, buoyant enough to carry us through.”

He offers us to consider Rilke’s poem “The Swan”

swan

This clumsy living that moves lumbering

As if in ropes through what is not done

Reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks.

 And to die, which is a letting go

Of the ground we stand on and cling to every day,

Is like the swan when he nervously lets himself down

 Into the water, which receives him gaily

And which flows joyfully under

And after him, wave after wave,

While the swan, unmoving and marvelously calm,

Is pleased to be carried, each minute more fully grown,

More like a king, composed, farther and farther on.

Can we die to our voice of inadequacy, the voice of opposites?  Can we die to a life of ‘OR’ and live a life of ‘AND’?

Can we live like a swan floating in the currents of life’s waters? Can we embrace the world of dichotomies instead of living in thick demarcations?  Can we see ‘whole’ instead of ‘broken’?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

 

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