While travelling, we all have a checklist of things to carry and that may differ from one person to another. But when it comes to packing our mind on a travel, we all pray that we somehow stay in the present-be able to capture all the beauty that we get in that short trip, isn’t it? At least, that is true by me.
Otherwise, we would surely arrive at the destination but with an unprepared and an absent mind.
Have you noticed people staring away at their cell phones while holidaying? Their work laptops switched on when Mother Nature is at her best.
yes, I do know work follows us home, in fact every where. We are 24/7 now but a weekend getaway can be without the work, right?
The only thought I packed my mind with, this time was to be in the moment and admire the one lady(Nature) who never failed to look pretty. I was excited to see her as she is, without a makeover.
So, this post is to share the joy that we experienced by just packing that ONE THOUGHT.
As soon as I hear someone say that, my head automatically shuts off from the conversation and starts singing ‘la la la la la la’ but outside I will be nodding my head.
That conversation is not worth listening to because they contradict the same qualities which they say are the attributes of the Divine. Whenever someone does that, I am like, in my head, thinking, “Really? Are you kidding?”
Okay, if you see in Gita, alright..I am not a Gita addict but I strongly believe I need to know my self more than anything in this world. And for someone like me, Bhagavad Gita is a gift.
So in the Gita, the divine says that the whole universe is him and every inch of it is he. And that includes you and me as well. Arjuna, after much questioning ultimately admit that the Divine is indeed One and he permeates every inch of known the unknown(chapter 11, 37-40). If we believe in his omnipresence then it would be foolish to think or say any of the below,
That my God and your God are different(When he clearly says there is ‘One’ that encompasses all. That means, there are no TWO GODS. Now, let the fight not shift towards putting a name to that ‘One’.)
My way is the only way in knowinghim(If he is the whole universe then you and I are not separate, meaning there is this divinity that is common between us. So, that negates the above statement and there is no ‘my way’ business here.)
God and I are different( If the divinity is everywhere then we are within him and he should be us. If someone says otherwise then it would as stupid as to listening to that person saying that his leg does not belong to his body, unless that someone is suffering from BIID)
Every chapter in Gita is not just hinting but it literally puts it right on our face that there are no two things here. Everything that we perceive here is that one entity alone(Chapter 10,verses-6 to 8). 8th verse is just that.
I am the origin of all creation. Everything proceeds from me. The wise knowing this worship me with great faith and devotion.
Although Bhagavad Gita gives us options to choose our path(Sankhya/Bhakti/Jnana/Karma) it still reminds us to know that understanding Divine is understanding our Self, and vice-versa.
If we believe, that our sense of being is tied only to our body then how can we be fooled into believing that we can own a fake limb// rubber hand illusion.
Anyways, that was a little insight from science, about how easily our brains can be tricked into believingsomething so fake, as our own.
Okay coming back to Gita, the one word in the text that keeps coming back to me is ‘Ananya’. I understand Ananya as Not Anya(Other). We are united is what he is saying when he says Ananya. The bhakti should flow knowing that I am him and he and I were never separate or different.
Image: Bellur. If God resides in that temple. So does he reside in us as the sense of ‘I’
We all pray. What do we pray for and how we say our prayers may differ but we pray.
What does sharing has to do with saying a prayer, if you ask? There is.
When we set up our house, most of our cookware were hand-me-downs. We bought only the necessities and the rest was given by my Mother in law and by my mom. Whenever I dish out food in the cookware given by them, a prayer goes for them without a thought. Food prepared in those always turns out delicious and I wonder if they were prepped with love before it was handed over to us.
I can never photograph food without eating them first. You can clearly see that in the plate behind 😉
Some are in fact very old but mind you, they are fully functional. Every time I make something in them I feel fully nourished. Out of that comes the prayer for our parents well being- for being kind.
Although I won’t be able to share all the things they gave us but what I cherish the most are these well-seasoned iron cookware. God knows, I have an eye for them wherever I go. At least one dish in a day has to come from them.
Please don’t ask me what is this post doing in a Gita blog. It is here because I love iron cookware; hmm nah. Sure I love them but it is here to show how a child unknowingly mimics their parents footsteps.
I learnt to share because I saw my elders demonstrate that. And as a child when you see your parents do something you mostly pick up on them.
And also it was taught to us as kids to be thankful for what was given to us. To say a prayer for that person whenever we played with a toy or anything that was given to us.
That’s a good habit which I picked up-for I was said to be notoriously picky and questioned almost everything that was being taught. Don’t worry if you have a child who is a bit difficult to handle, trust me he/she will turn out just fine.
Remember the verse 20 from the 10th chapter of Gita. If everything here is nothing but the Atman(vibhuti) then the one who is sharing and thanking is all the same. Anything that you don’t use anymore, needn’t stay in your cupboard catching dust, it can be passed down.
When you read this, it might sound like a person with a split personality talking! But Joking apart, what you think is the idea behind all religious texts? Per my understanding, they were to bring our attention to that one ‘purusha or self’ which houses the whole universe. Isn’t it?
Like the image of the post, we know very little about our Self, a lot is yet to emerge from the shadows.
If anyone were to ask me how religious am I, I would say- I am not religious enough, that I don’t follow it to the core.
And then they play this song ‘Namo Namo ji Shankara’ and you see me grooving along with complete faith and devotion 😉 Although I just said I am not much into any religion but my actions say otherwise.
What we’re really saying when we say we are not religious enough- (pun intended)
That I don’t know if I am religious or not.
I think I am not, but I love the God that I was introduced to more than the ones that I am alien to.
I am not aware of the soft spot for my religion. So don’t finger it.
I am not like my parents-I don’t advocate my faith but you don’t dare say, your God is the only God.
I am not religious enough to go on a killing spree in the name of religion but again don’t tell me, my God doesn’t exist.
I don’t have religion on my priority list. But don’t say anything stupid about my religion, you might end up being on my list.
So, that’s what our head is saying when we think we are not that religious. If someone corners me and puts my faith down, can I still walk past that without getting affected? Not always.
Then again, I am not religious. Why am I getting affected?
Perhaps the problem is in assuming that we know ourselves too well. Do we? Don’t our thoughts and actions surprise us?
Today, if I see my faith painted on a doormat, it irks me. But what should ring an alarm in my head is when I don’t feel the same when I see other religious figurines on a doormat.
We do terrible things in the name of God and religion. And who does these things? People like us.
People like us who are unaware of our religious conditioning.
People like us, sceptics, theists & atheists, are only brainwashed into thinking that no faith or one faith is superior or different from others.
Breaking religious conditioning or being Cynical are good places to start but that road should lead us somewhere. What If we do not Evolve? We will continue being the question mark.
So, the next time we size up our religious quotient, we should keep in mind that we are equally conditioned and ignorant like others. That will help us ignore the religious triggers coming our way else we become dangerous to our own species.
If we get too sensitive or do not articulate our beliefs well then we will go extinct fighting for our religion.
Have you heard this song ‘Attention’ by Charlie Puth? If you replace the lady by the World and Charlie by the Mind. Interesting, eh?
The world never lets a chance slip by in getting the mind’s attention and the mind is waiting to be swayed by the world. Aren’t they made for each other?
You know the thing with the mind, is that it wants to be in the spotlight all the time. And to make that happen it keeps on performing. In fact, we don’t even notice when the craving to perform an action hits us.
I have been guilty of this most of the time. When I am mindful I could see that yearning but I am not being consistent in not acting on the impulses that aren’t necessary.
I will tell you something interesting that happened yesterday. Why am I telling you this?
Because the mind knows well that nobody sees its tantrums. And when you write about your thoughts, as I do, there is a temptation to make oneself look good. It irritates the mind when you make it look like an ass. But if it decides to behave like one then it’s going here.
Anyways yesterday, I accidentally got locked in our balcony for hours when no one was home and the conversation in my mind was this:
Mind: Oh S***. The door got locked and I don’t have the phone on me.
Right Brain: Aah! There is a stick lying around. Let’s try using it as a key to unlock the doorknob.
Left-Brain: Are you crazy, the stick won’t do the job. Anyways let us try.
Mind: it’s not working.
Right Brain: Okay, no problem. We can reach out for the knife block sitting on the other side of the kitchen window and then try opening with that.
Left-Brain: Dude, it’s gonna damage the door lock and moreover it wouldn’t work. But do we have a choice, let’s try.
Mind: Hopeless, you guys are. It is not working.
Right-Brain: Our windows have sliding doors. Why don’t we try lifting the body and try reaching for the window and jump in?
Left-Brain: Are you crazy? The neck or the back, worse still both can be injured in this process.
Left-Brain: I remember somebody telling me that a coin can help open the door. But f*** we don’t have a coin either.
Mind: Shut up. Let me see if I can find someone to help us.
Mind: It’s getting dark and I don’t see anyone walking around.
Left-Brain: It’s not pleasant. Aren’t we supposed to panic?
Mind: No, No. I am not the body neither I am you. I remember I am part of something whole and I am sure some help will come by.
A little while later, a lady was walking her child home and I called for help. She informed the community office and a carpenter came by. They had to break open the door before that he asked me if I can slide open the windows and jump inside.
Left-Brain: Gosh, careful. Try not breaking the neck or the back.
Right-Brain: There is a small empty bucket here in the balcony and a full cylinder. Pull the cylinder towards the window and with its help get inside.
Left-Brain: You are nuts. The cylinder is full.
Mind: I have to get in before it gets too dark. Let’s do what the right side is asking us to do.
And finally, without any injuries to the body or the door, we land inside the house. I go out and thank everybody profusely, especially the lady. Till here, it’s all good stuff, the mind behaved.
Then it got excited and wanted to share its story with the husband and the mother. It forgot all about not being the body 😉 Everything was under control, it could have waited till the husband is home but no. It knew it doesn’t have to and yet I called both of them.
See the theme? This is a great example. These are the times when I should put the theory into practice. I don’t have to act on impulses that aren’t necessary. The desire to unnecessarily act is also a disease.
If you are thinking, where is all this in Gita? Chapter 4, verses 19 and 20 is on this. Nirashraya Nityatruptah..
I understand, as social beings, there is a strong compulsion to feel appreciated by the group that we belong to. But as seekers, this is one of the many things that need to be tamed.
So try not being a puppet when vying for somebody’s attention and surely don’t be a puppet of your own mind.
These are a few interesting things that you may notice if at all you are on this journey.
Mind is a great talker but a bad listener:
It can talk us into anything if we allow it to. Don’t go with the talk, it will quieten a bit and let it enjoy the silence. Poor thing, it has never tasted it, trust me, it will like it.
The biggest challenge is to cement the idea that you are not the body
The mind after much probing would admit that it is not the body but it takes time to digest the idea. It has to identify with something. Its job is to make sense of things and if we leave it without identity, it’s gonna go crazy. That is why the scriptures or seers or Gita suggests us to believe that we are Atman, for want of a better word.
Now it thinks it is Atman, so it tries to understand what this ‘Atman’ is. Then it learns a little more about it- that it exists everywhere and in everything. I mean, we are building a thought process around something Whole & United.
If you keep with it and keep at it then the old habits will drop, new wholesome identities will form. In everything, it will see itself. For example, when it sees another person, it will see itself (the mind) operating behind that person. When it sees a piece of wooden furniture, it will see the wood more clearly now; water in the ice more clearly.
Mind looses all its learning when in Love more than in Hatred
They are right when they say we lose our mind when we are in love. It forgets who it is; all the new habits go out of the window. All discipline is out, it acts like a teenager.
Yeah, that is all nice but it is important for it to remember who it is even then. How can that happen? It only happens if we constantly keep feeding that idea and trying to see that mind operating behind whoever we are interacting with.
So when it goes crazy, it will remind itself and will try to get some hold before it goes haywire 😉
Detachment does not mean being mean
Just because we are not the body does not mean that we have to suppress its needs. I have seen people do that but we can go easy on that. Don’t overdo it.
The idea that we are not the body does not mean to demean it. Our body is like another belonging; it is not us. Try to strike a balance.
Exercise as normal, dress as you do, do whatever chores you do regularly with it. The Guru or Gita is not preaching the body but the mind. The mind has to adorn fewer thoughts around the body- that’s the point.
Mind resists familiar societal ideas when building new ones
It is something that we have to keep in mind that it will resist what it is changing. Let me give you an example, I was trying to see reform in my old ways, one being God is not someone to be afraid of. Like many, I have been raised with the idea that idol worship makes God happy and vice-versa.
Then I met somebody who asked me if God had no other business other than punishing the ones who don’t follow him. He said God is everywhere and being respectful to everything here is respecting him. And I wanted to practice that but out of fear and habit, I used to still bow down in confusion. Please don’t read me wrong, I’m not saying bowing down is wrong but out of fear or by habit is meaningless.
And, what he said made sense; God cannot be like us, right? So I decided to practice it and I started saying a prayer anywhere, not necessarily before the prayer room. Also, I replaced my silly prayers with a Shanti mantra instead. People will notice and you’ll get an eye roll and all but that’s okay. What I am trying to tell here is this- when the mind makes a change, it is going to look drastic initially, later it will learn to be that within and perform things outside. Till then give it time.
Just saying “I am Atman” will not make us one
It is all contemplation and practice. We are not trying to prove a point to anybody here, neither are we trying to put others beliefs down.
We are experimenting with the truth so we got to flow like a river. Everybody here is trying to do the same in some fashion or the other. We are not here to judge them. If we are not a river we will never learn and we can never flow to the ocean. So the mind should keep flowing in that direction and it will find its way to its source.
Should I not just attain nirvana, when I am under a tree or on a rock? Does it need work?
No, it doesn’t need work. But when the mind is only focussed on the world then shifting its focus might need your attention.
We generally ask questions as to when and where have a seeker attained samadhi. But what we should be asking is what his journey was like before he attained that state. What was his state of mind? That particular rock or tree hasn’t spoken to him neither is it going to talk to us, it was his mind which attained nirvana. That state of mind is what we should be interested in.
Knowing that would do us some good. Nobody attains anything just like that. Their journey should have started when the world alone left them empty inside. And that’s more riveting than when and where 🙂
We have said this at least once, whom are we kidding? Not once but many a time- “I am doing this only for you.”
Really? Ask yourselves whether do you do something for anybody here other than for yourself? Think of an event where you thought you went out of your way to do something for somebody and then drill down and drill through till you reach the rock bottom. Who do you see there at the bottom? Is that you or that somebody? It will always be you.
We might move out of our comfort zone, do things for others and the reasons can be many however, if we look closely then all the reasons will point straight at us.
After taking a good look at the image above, can we still go around telling others that we do things for them? And it is okay, that is how we are and that is why we as a race are still existing. Our mind is designed in a way to support our existence. Whatever it thinks that we are, it’s job is to support that. And it does a brilliant job at that.
But we were also socially conditioned since childhood in believing that good people are those who help others and selfish ones are those who help themselves. So there is an inner conflict, your mind is driven to helping you but it is also afraid of being judged. So it smartly sweeps anything damaging to one’s reputation under the carpet. Even the knowledge that it is there to support you first before others also goes under the carpet.
Therefore we stop accepting this fact and start believing that whatever we do for ourselves are also to help others- our (close family members or friends or peers or religion, or society or nation). Over time, this becomes a habit, now our unconscious mind drives our thought process as well as our habits.
Thus, we not only lost that knowledge but also take false pride in helping others while whatever nonsense we are doing is only and only to support our existence. With this false pride, comes flared-up ego and when people don’t reciprocate, frustration builds in and we wonder why others aren’t seeing our selfless nature. God, what foolish false bubble do we live in?
While I write this, I can’t stop thinking of those times when I refused to accept that I am solely responsible for my actions and that I have no one to blame. We all been there, right. It’s easy to blame others than take responsibility.
This small knowledge sets me free of many social prejudices and helps me appreciate others way of living. There is no right or wrong. If there is anything wrong then it is us working like machines, we stopped questioning our thoughts, habits and conditioning.
For me, spirituality is this. Bhagavad Gita for me is to question my fears, prejudices, habits, false pride and basically to question whatever I think I am. Spirituality is like having a good bath, purifying your self of all the impurities you have claimed and gained through this journey called life.
Bhagavad Gita is not asking us to look at others but to look within. Our contemplation should start and end with us. And the verse below is saying exactly that.