Spirituality- Not Being A Dead Fish

My in laws and grandparents were home over the weekend. So, the day before they arrived, my mother said that she would help me to shop groceries so I could cook them lunch.

Accordingly, I shopped and made them a typical Tambrahm lunch. They stayed over the weekend and we had a good time.
My mother calls me the evening they left thinking they would be home. And, the conversation,…

Mom: Why did they leave so early? Did you not insist on them staying over?
Me: I did. But Thatha said he would be more comfortable there. We had a good time but it was both exciting and tiring at the same time. So, I am going to crash soon. I’ll talk to you later.
Mom: Wait. Did you make use of the things we bought?
Me: Yes, I did. They loved the food and Thatha said it was delicious. Full marks and happy.
Mom: Oh…is the happiness to do with the full marks? Sumi, I don’t have to remind you that your actions should never be to create an impression. (Expected and a standard question from my mother :-p )
Me: Yes Maa. That is what they said.

We spoke for some more time before I was reminded of the work waiting to be finished. I wished her a good night’s sleep and hung up the phone.

My Mother cautions me all the time because she thinks I over indulge in things more than what is required. Was not an easy child. The reason I documented the conversation is to point out that our spiritual outlooks are different. And, that is okay.

I do not think anyone can teach us how to manage our head because only we know what kind of demons we created. There is no moral code. And, we shouldn’t live like a dead fish in the name of spirituality. A dead one can experience nothing. Just being mindful of what is coming our way and how we take it is the first step towards it.

Also, do not override something that happens in your head. I think we should not tell people not to feel certain emotions or question them unnecessarily. It doesn’t matter; it is just another one among the other fleeting emotions or feelings. We complicate things by brooding over passing thoughts.

If something needs your attention, give it. Unnecessary ones will fall out with time and I do not think we need to be worried. Feel it and leave it. It is happening in the head.

Spirituality is about finding our way out of what we think we aren’t. All the things that we see, read or listen about spirituality should only be a guide and not a rule until it comes to our experience.

According to me, if we aren’t the roles we are playing then we should be something else. And, only we could find our way out. Be grateful and thankful to those who help you find yourself but tread your path.

Let me give you an example to illustrate this. I respect Bhagavad Gita and I look at it as my Teacher for guidance but I am not obsessed nor would I identify with it.

Identification is Our Mental Problem. From identification flow our likes and dislikes. We become rigid. All we have to do is to keep learning from our mistakes and experiences. Even if it means, learning to unlearn.

Tinnaga Vetagi Telusukontinayya Ninnegani Madinenna Jalanorula
After inner soul searching, I now see that YOU are in everything.

That is all we need to do..some soul searching 🙂

Credit: Written by Tyagaraja, in Carnatic composition by Mahesh Raghavan, love it..

Image: Internet

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Mind Tricks You into Mindlessness

Me: Maggie, why can’t you turn down the shower knob?
Husband: Sorrrryyyyy, I thought I did. Why don’t you check it before you turn on the faucet?
Me: Silent. all wet.

He is right. My eyes are working fine but my mind was busy thinking something nonsensical. Two days in a row, I walk into the bathroom for something else but had to come out taking a shower.

If I do not have a say on when to shower, there is a problem. Generally, you see these in movies, when the hero or heroine is in love, he or she mindlessly go about doing their work. No, I am not in love and ain’t daydreaming. So, this is not good 😉

If my mind accompanies my body in its activities this wouldn’t happen. But I guess, I have made it think that it has many more important things to ponder upon while the body mechanically runs its activities.

This is a good reason for me to turn mindful. So, I told my mind you will be here with me in whatever I am doing. That is the only way I would know what you are thinking. And, that is the only way I could go about doing things efficiently.

Here, is a conversation between us.

Mind: It is very boring that you keep a tab on me all the time. Moreover, you know what needs to go into a khichdi. You don’t need my help.
Me: Yeah, I need you here. See, I create fewer blunders so fewer cleanups

Was lying on the couch. Conversation continues…

Mind: Remember, those days, when you would do something mindlessly and I would do my own thing. We were happy then.
Now you have to learn to watch me over all the time. You do let me think but you are intruding.
Me: You could daydream when I decide to go mindless for some time. When I choose not to listen to some boring conversation, I will let you free then. But for now, you are with me. I AM THE BOSS.
Mind: Okay, then. Why don’t you grab a coffee? I guess we both could use a cup right now
Me: RIGHT NOW? HMmmmmm….

Shrimad Bhagavad Gita on turning Mindful
Sanaih sanair uparamed buddhya dhrti-grhitaya
Atma-samstham manah kritva na kincid api cintayet //
Bhagavad Gita, Chp 6, Shl 25

 

 

Learning Knows No Age

I saw a lady trying to cheer up a kid from the apartment’s balcony. The kid was imitating whatever she was doing. After a while, the lady seemed tired but the kid happily continued mimicking. As I watched them, I thought what a beautiful display of mirror neurons at work. A primitive thing which stayed regardless of how much we progressed, both in age and science.

We see someone in shape, there is an immediate urge to get in shape though continuing might be a challenge. If the thought of cooking itself is boring then watch a YouTuber cooking for her family and instinctively you are motivated. How else can you explain 1 million subscribers and a million likes on such videos?

Mirror Neurons.jpg

When our favourite actors smoke on screen, we reach out for our packs.

One day I decided to watch all Kenny Sebastian’s stand-up comedy on YouTube and after few hours my husband arrived from work. After five minutes or so into our conversation, I noticed my husband’s weird expression or rather a confused one. I didn’t have to ask him the reason, I knew then that I was acting like Kenny. After watching more than 10 shows of him, my mind has literally adopted his ways and was turning Kenny. My husband was so confused else he would have captured my act in a video and I could have shared it with you 😉

That is the power of the mind and the power of media🤑 They say we learn pretty much everything in the first five years of our life, but we continue to learn through our experiences. And that is why Organisations spend millions of dollars in training.

Bhagavad Gita also states the same- We have a tendency to follow and imitate the people we like. Nothing stands in our way other than the proper resolve to become that. Even the sinners when in the right company, they can learn their true nature and follow the path of a Guru(an enlightened being).  Just like Ratnakarah who, with the help of sage Narada, turned Valmiki. There is no age, the strong resolve is the only necessary ingredient to achieve success.

Api chet su-durāchāro bhajate mām ananya-bhāk Sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ samyag vyavasito hi saḥ//
Kṣhipraṁ bhavati dharmātmā śhaśhvach-chhāntiṁ nigachchhati Kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśhyati//
Bhagavad Gita Chapter 9 Shl 30, 31

Even if the vilest sinners worship Me with exclusive devotion, they are to be considered righteous, for they have made the proper resolve. Quickly they become virtuous and attain lasting peace. O son of Kunti, declare it boldly that no devotee of mine is ever lost

Yadi hyahaṁ na varteyaṁ jātu karmaṇyatandritaḥ
Mama vartmānuvartante manuṣhyāḥ pārtha sarvaśhaḥ
Bhagavad Gita Chapter 3 Shl 23

For if I did not carefully perform the prescribed duties, O Parth, all men would follow my path in all respects.

 

 

Is the fight for Respect or the Ego?

Is spirituality about turning the other cheek after being slapped on one? Can the words ‘ego’ and ‘self- respect’ dare to present itself in the dictionary of a spiritual person? Does spirituality ask for absolute compliance in everything? How can anything be condemned by a person who wishes to renounce the world?

I am sure the above questions are no stranger to you. These would have come up when you had to put your foot down and say no.  Your own mind would have inspected to ensure the fight you are putting up is to be heard and certainly not to strengthen your ego. And, the pressure is more real when your views don’t match with the group you belong.

And anyways, it is foolishness to just superficially embrace somebody’s thought when you are not in a capacity to follow it. If somebody slaps you on one cheek, would you happily turn in another one? Just because Jesus or Buddha did it, doesn’t mean you angrily replicate their actions. Isn’t spirituality about inner growth?

There is no hurry. Accept yourself for whatever you are at the moment internally. Build from there. Nothing should rob your intellect of its capacity to choose the right thing in a situation. Although keep in mind your choices are stemming from your limited knowledge. So, there is always scope for improvement. Before we call someone wrong, we should see if we are slaves to our own beliefs. Are we just resisting or ‘hearing’ others out? Most of the time it is the ego at play but we mistake it to be something that is protecting our self-respect.

Poor Ego has got such a reputation that even thinking about it is a SIN. It is one of those things that everybody indulges in but never wants to be associated with. Also, we comfortably ignore the role it plays in the process of our self-preservation.

Does that mean Ego is good? Nothing is good or bad in itself. It exists because it is required to survive and to evolve. If we knew where to stop then the above question itself becomes unnecessary.

In short, what I mean to say is, “do resist” but only after listening to others. If you still do not see any good then you should but your INTENTION shouldn’t be shallow. We will encounter people who will challenge us and whose views might not be right for obvious reasons. But we can use them to strengthen our resolve and thereby forming a new habit. If you loose your calm at times, it is okay. Don’t beat yourself up but stop indulging in it as soon as you realise.

Besides, it is all in the word ‘Self-Respect’- respecting THAT SELF/Divine in everything that we see. That is why we do Namaste.

namaste_01.jpg

Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.” -Martin Luther King, Jr….I love this quote for reasons different from what it might have been said for.

Image: Internet

Do I Always Tell The/My Truth?

We had the privilege of hosting family and friends over the past couple of weeks. And there had been some interesting conversations.  One such went something like this……

When you walk into the house you will hardly miss the book collection. It is strategically placed 😉

“Aah! I see you have a good collection here”
“Thank You”
“Whats with all these spiritual texts? Did not know that you are into all this?!” …….Silence
“Hahaha, I haven’t read them all.” silence again…
“Hmmmm…So, do you practice what you read?”
“Try to”
“Ohh so you never lie? All holy texts urge man to speak the truth, don’t they?”
(Smiled and asked her if I can get her another cup of coffee)
“You didn’t answer my question?”
“I do lie. I try to remain quiet at those times but if I have to then mostly I speak the situation”
“Oh Okay.” “What are your thoughts on the beef ban?”
Another dangerous question 😶

Oh, she was good, very good at asking tough questions 😋

Okay, coming back to the topic of discussion.  I do not think any religion would ask you to always speak your blind truth. Your truth is your understanding of the situation which may not be completely true. Where do we go in search of facts?

What is Truth? Is it “Your Truth” or “The Truth”. We don’t always have to fill the silence.

However, the problem arises when we want to be a part of every conversation. So, we participate in the gossip when we know it isn’t right. It takes enormous strength to stay away and at the same time to be kind and to speak your truth.

But, before we start, we could ask ourselves, if it is even important to speak or to entertain the negativity that drains our energy. I am not hundred percent there yet. I still agree to things to keep the close-knit happy. I restrain from gossiping and carefully choose the people I interact with but I still haven’t learnt the art of being assertive and yet kind.

At times, when people mistake the silence for the disability then that is when you are tested. It is okay to commit mistakes if you know they are blunders to be avoided. After all, we are Human learning to stay humane.

Bhagavad Gita on Speech…

Anudvegakaram vākyam satyam priyahitam ca yat |
svādhyāyābhyasanam caiva vāṅmayam tapa ucyate || BG 17.15 || 

Non-irritating, truthful and pleasing speech, reading of Scriptures and performing spiritual practices.

So Why Grieve?

Life gets tough at times and we all learn complex lessons through our life experiences. Sometimes it is difficult to cope but in the process, we grow stronger.

Just like everybody else, I have my own challenges to overcome but I don’t want to stress more than what I should. I don’t want to follow the crowd that thinks to stress over things helps.

Like it or not, none of us is going to be here forever. So why stress on stressors? It is easy to say but just turn around and see if stressing had helped.

Let me quote the Bhagavad Gita,  death is the only truth you know for sure and is certain. Moreover, you think you are this body and you get too attached to its activities but ultimately you have to even drop this body here before you make your journey to the next. And you wouldn’t remember a thing of this life in your next. So why worry about anything? (chapter 2, verses 25-30).

My fav among the above verses is the one below. Everybody knows this but yet only a few understand it. Beautifully said…

Aśhcharya-vat paśhyati kaśhchid enan
Aśhcharya-vad vadati tathaiva chānyaḥ
Aśhcharya-vach chainam anyaḥ śhṛiṇoti
Shrutvāpyenaṁ veda na chaiva kaśhchit //

Some view the soul as amazing, some describe it as amazing, and some hear of the soul as amazing, while others, even on hearing, cannot understand it at all.

Something to remember …

Image: the Internet

 

Moved Into New Rented Home

Moved into new rented home just like the same way I moved into this body with absolutely nothing.

As soon as our parents got to know about our movement, they shared many things to help us make a smooth transition into this new chapter of ours. Just the same way, I got a name and other things along with a family as soon as I moved into this body that I call mine.

I try not to entertain any thoughts about adding anything more to the rented apartment than what is required. Because I know although I live here, it is not mine then I wonder why does it not come easily to me when I look at my body. That I had also signed a rental agreement before moving into this body and one day I have to vacate even this that I call mine.

Something to remember…or the only thing worth remembering…

Srimad Bhagavad Gita

Adhyatmajnana nityatvam tattva jnanartha darsanam
etaj jnanam iti proktam ajnanam yad ato ‘nyatha

Settled conviction in the nature of the SELF and understanding that the knowledge of the Self as the ultimate in Knowledge – this is declared to be wisdom; whatever is
other than this is ignorance.