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…”
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.
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
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’.
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.
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
The word evokes mixed emotions – some times motivating, often repulsive. It makes me feel inadequate in what I do, because I lack that – Discipline.
What is Discipline but a routine, a ritual that turns into a habit. How can a routine turn into a habit? By sticking to it without fail of course. We all understand the importance of Discipline, yet I am sure most of us struggle with it. As we jump from one activity to another, from one temptation to another, as our mind convinces us that a little bit of distraction will not hurt, we will soon get back to the activity after this one little thing once more, even though, we know that this one little thing, whatever it is, is not going to yield any great results, we succumb to it. Why? We lack discipline, stick-ability to one task until it finishes, even starting one task as set out at the set hour.
I am a classic example of this lack of disipline. I make promises to myself – ‘No more TV from today, instead I will use that time to write and read’ – a grand promise that I make to myself and ask for help from Universe in making me stick to that plan. Come the hour, after dinner, settle in the couch – “Oh! just this half hour, just this show and I will get back to it” – an empty promise to myself and 2 and a half hours later, I drag myself away from the couch into bed, tired and disgusted at my own lack of Self-Discipline, making the same promise to myself – ‘Tomorrow, Fresh start’, new promise, even write in my journal – ‘I will not……….’
And deep down from a corner of my heart or mind, my ego, I am not sure where it exactly resides, silently but surely whispers saying “Ohhhhhhhhh Yesssssss, you will? you watch…….”
Is that weakness of will, knowingly succumbing to the next temptation that keeps me away from doing the most important thing? Why do I wait until the ‘important’ becomes ‘urgent’ before I act? I know in every pour of my body that Discipline will not only achieve results, most importantly Discipline makes me feel soooooooooooo much better about myself. Discipline puts purpose back in life and yet…….
So may be I need to trick myself saying this just next ‘one thing’, ‘one sentence’, ‘one task’, whatever, just keep attention on this just one next thing, just like I tell myself ‘this one next show’, ‘half hour’, ‘I am tired, therefore I get to sit’ etc.
Whether it is dusting one tiny corner, clearing one small cupboard, or writing a small paragraph or paying just one bill – I need to trick myself to doing this just ‘one next thing’. We all know in doing just that one little act, we start the ball rolling. There is heaps written about the power of starting with one tiny action – I am not adding anything new here.
I cant remember who said this, but if we make a list of 3 most important things to do each day, we will accomplish heaps Somebody else said instead of making ‘to do’ lists, change it to read “I get to do…” There are books and blogs written on ‘how to’ approach our lives with discipline. We all know that, yet I am very disciplined in failing to be disciplined.
Reading about it, finding out the next technique on how to be disciplined, these are only temporary measures. Lasting and sustaining discipline has to originate from the Self and therefore it is called ‘Self-Discipline’. Self Discipline is empowering and reinforcing. My mind needs tricking and convincing that what I am doing next is not work but leisure, the only thing is that it needs to be engaged in that activity. The mind will bave to be full not less ie., I have to be ‘mindful’ in my next activity, not ‘mindless’ and my conditioning tells me that being ‘mindful’ is tedious and being ‘mindless’ is fun. I need to turn that perception around and convince my mind that mindless activities also require mindfulness.
It is ironic that I have to convince my mind which is a ‘bundle of thoughts’, with another ‘bundle of thoughts’ to override the original bundle. What if I don’t engage either of those bundles and just pick up the next thing to do as easily as I pick up the remote control?
The power is in me – I am the master of my mind, I can dictate to it and that ‘I’ gets stronger by the day if it stops listening to the mind. The ‘Self’ in Self-Discipline is that ‘I’. So, Self-Discipline means ‘I’ discipline ‘i’ and bring it in alignment.
We need to resort to all sorts of tricky business to bring the ‘i’ in line with ‘I’, because in the end the ‘i’ will have to merge with the ‘I’.
May be instead of saying the words “Self-Discipline”, “I-Discipline” might work.
What do you think? Do you have problems with Self-Discipline? What can you accomplish if you were disciplined in your approach?
You want to continue your life perpetually, a burning desire to live, to leave a mark, to create a legacy.
This desire is entrenched in you and you don’t even realise it
Every activity you undertake, every thought you have, every memory you hold stems from this desire to continue.
Deep down you know that your existence on this plane is limited and you want to stretch that.
The Desire for Continuity is rooted in thought, memory and word.
Thought, memory and word are of time – time either past or time in future.
Time – It doesn’t show any bias to anyone, it dishes out the exact same amount to each one of us.
We have 24hrs at our disposal – never to return once gone.
In that 24hrs you experience your own self projections created from your thoughts, words and memories – there is no freshness in this and time is wasted.
When you make plans constantly and live in your plans – you are trying to create permanency.
When you watch excess TV, surf internet, chat constantly etc.,- you are trying to hold time still and create permanency, all the while realizing that it is fleeting from you.
Result – Hurry. Desire for Continuity is the fuel for the Enemy of Hurry.
By ignoring the present moment, caught up in either future plans or fears of executing the plans, knowing that you have wasted time, feeling guilty, you hurry to catch up with the present moment – a moment that just slipped into the past.
So, you eagerly look to the future moment waiting to arrive – with bated breath, holding yourself in fear, worry – comforting yourself at the same time that the future moment hasn’t arrived and slip back into your activity.
You suddenly realise that the future moment arrived, not only has it arrived but it already slipped into the past because you only realise when it is gone, you feel guilty etc., and the cycle repeats.
You are constantly hurrying to catch up with the present moment that is just past and leaped into the future, arrived into the present and gone again. The catch up game never ends.
Desire for Continuity – rooted in thought, word and memory – a total mind game.
How do you hold time? Can you hold time?
The obvious answer is NO. So what is the solution to avoid the ‘hurry and catch up game’?
Put a Ceiling on Desire on how you spend time.
Instead of watching same news at 3 different times on 3 different channels, limit it to one and instantly gain an hour.
Instead of endless surfing on the internet, limit the time that you spend on it.
Instead of subscribing to countless number of blogs that sounded interesting at the time, limit them to a couple that are most relevant to you
Don’t let screens take over your life – (says me, who spends most of her waking time in front of a screen – my laptop, but hey! I am alerting you to the perils of it – on the screen – aren’t I?)
You would be amazed at how much time you would gain in simply being aware of how you are spending it and where you can gain it.
Just becoming aware of yourself in your surroundings, bringing yourself to the present moment constantly – not only saves you from hurrying, but also gives you a presence in your life. You become alive, not caught in the mental gymnastics that your mind constantly engages you in.
Living in the present moment does not leave room for guilt, fear, worry or hurry.
When you are not hurried, you have patience.
When you have patience, you become loving and kind.
When you are loving and kind, you are healthy not just mentally, but physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.
Desire for Continuity is fulfilled as you are leaving a legacy of how good, loving and kind a person you are.
Same desire, two different results – all because you have decided to put a ceiling on how you spend your available time.
So what do you do with your available time?
You can work on yourself – creating a healthy you
You can spend it with your family – creating a healthy family
You can serve in your community – creating a healthy community
A healthy you, a healthy family and a healthy community creates a better world.
Think about it – all this because you decided to put a ceiling on how you spend your time.
Ceiling on Desires on Food, Money, Energy and Time – is not about not having desires or not fulfilling desires.
Ceiliing on Desires is about recognising the excessive desires in these 4 areas that can take over our lives and then consciously putting a limit on fulfilling them, so we still enjoy those but in moderation.
The freed up resources of Food, Money, Energy and Time are then put to good use for the benefit of the individual, the family and the society.
Ceiling on Desires is a simple spiritual practice that is steeped in respect and love for oneself and for the world that one lives in.
Ceiling on Desires is a practice that is loaded with potential to create a loving, united and harmonious world.
Will you practice Ceiling on Desires? I am………..trying to
Tell me where you can put a Ceiling on Desire on Time? Leave your comments