This Is Exactly What You Shouldn’t do..

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. 

The Mind knows that nobody can see the real face

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.

Header Image credit:Internet

“I am doing this Only for You”. Really?

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.

You Do Things For Others Because

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.

manaḥ-prasādaḥ saumyatvaṁ maunam ātma-vinigrahaḥ
bhāva-sanśhuddhir ity etat tapo mānasam uchyate//17, 16

Serenity of thought, gentleness, silence, self-control, and purity of purpose—all these are declared as the austerity of the mind

Love?? Hate??

Love and Hatred had kept me awake at many a night. I had felt them strongly or should I say that they followed me like my own shadow. I failed to understand the hold they had on me but nonetheless, they were with me all the time.

You know when something calls your life shots, however young you may be, that you need to probe further to understand the dynamics of what you feeling. Well, that’s exactly what I did – I tried to make sense of why they kept me company. First, I blamed myself and that wasn’t helping and then I blamed my sun sign and that was stupid and at last, I thought I made peace with it- I thought maybe I am allowed to feel them with such intensity.

Meanwhile, I reasoned with my mom, friends or just anybody that I could talk to, to see if they felt as strongly as I did towards these dualities(L/H). All the advice I got was to ignore these emotions- how are you to ignore them when you are under its spell? I think that is the worst advice that you could give a kid.

It is like this, I either fell for a thing or it never existed for me. I never really knew the middle ground. For me, all the other emotions were by-products of these two.

But you would all agree with me on the idea of being in love. There is a reason why they say “Love is God”. When you are in love, even the cold winters seem like spring, everything and everyone around you is beautiful.

But when the same love begins to turn sour then it gives way to hatred(the other side of the same coin). Growing up, I never understood this, in fact, neither my parents knew this- that the Love/Hatred that you feel is not because of a THING/PERSON/SITUATION. Yeah, they might trigger the feeling but it is not coming from them.

It is exactly like how Oxytocin makes you feel good, trustworthy just by getting a hug or a kiss. Now, would you say, the kiss alone is responsible for you feeling good or maybe that the person(who gave the kiss) triggered it but it is the hormone that’s making you bond better?

I only could really make peace with these emotions after I knew that there might require a trigger to discover these but in entirety, they always existed in me, as a part of me. And that puts me in power over what to choose and more importantly how to be when I am in their company.

Knowing that you have power over your emotions makes it easier to be with them. And Gita(7,27)seconds what we had discussed here- we are all born into delusion overcome by the conflicting pair of opposites(dvandvah) and the only way out of it is to understand it.

And this is what I was reading. Interesting thought, isn’t it? I wish I read something like this when I had these questions on my mind. It would have made things lot easier 🙂

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What’s Krishna’s take on Rebirths?

In 4:4 of Gita, Arjuna asks an interesting question to Krishna.

Arjuna is inquisitive as to how Krishna had instructed the science of Yoga(union) to the Sun God who thereafter passed this knowledge to Manu.

Arjuna wondered how is it possible for Krishna to have taught the Sun God and Manu had died long time ago. How the heck did Krishna exist then and now.

A genuine doubt, isn’t it?

To that Krishna’s answer was that anyone who is situated in wisdom,like himself and who had slained Maya for good would remember all his births.

And, what about the rest?

They go round and round and remain in this cycle of rebirths till they are ready and willing to fight Maya, the Goddess of Illusion 🙂

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4, Shlok 5

śhrī bhagavān uvācha
Bahūni me vyatītāni janmāni tava chārjuna
Tānyahaṁ veda sarvāṇi na tvaṁ vettha parantapa//

The Supreme Lord said: Both you and I have had many births, O Arjun. You have forgotten them, while I remember them all, O Parantapa.

Image: cartoonstock.com

Longing Will Only End…

Longing for a thing will only come to an end when we finally understand that the ‘Thing’ is neither us nor it is going to last forever. That ‘Thing’ can be our body, our people, our wealth, or whatever vapid that we are pining for.

Until this gets into our head, neither will the longing stop nor the desire to amass things will end. We can talk and write infinite things around it, but we can never put a step further from where we stand.

Worry Not, for the mind can still operate without attributing ‘IT’ to be whatever it has been falsely taught it is. In fact, it can guide us better when ‘IT’ realizes that it is not the one who is performing the feats. Really. You have to experience that to believe it.

The problem with us is that we keep running as if there is a finish line. But do we see one? Has anyone who ran before us seen it? Nevertheless, we keep running and panting till we crash.

With racing, we conveniently stopped thinking and thereby adding layers of personalities around one poor mind. It now carries a lot of baggage of varied characteristics that not only commands its attention but also consumes its energy while protecting them.

But what if we could take a moment and think whether we are as complex as we made ourselves to be. Is there another way of running the race? or Are we really in a race?

Why do I not see a finish line? What am I running for? How much ever I run and whatever trophies I had won, had it made me happy? Has that happiness lasted?

I think sometimes it is better to stop and ask these. We are so consumed in this run, that at times we end up destroying others dreams on the way. All because of our wrong identifications and blindly conforming to whatever we were told.

It is really something that we should ponder upon.

And, an interesting chapter in Gita on the same subject:

śhrī-bhagavān uvācha

Idaṁ śharīraṁ kaunteya kṣhetram ity abhidhīyate

etad yo vetti taṁ prāhuḥ kṣhetra-jña iti tad-vidaḥ//B.G 13.2

O Arjuna, this body is termed as kṣhetra (the field of activities), and the one who knows this body is called kṣhetrajña (the knower of the field) by the sages who discern the truth about both.

Egotism-Can’t Afford It

This morning, I reminded my husband(jokingly) how lucky was he to have me in his life and to that he nodded, with the sardonic smile leaving his face. The smile said it all 😉

Also recently, I met a friend who was all miserable- she felt all her hard work went unnoticed. She said there was no reciprocation and nobody loved her as much as she did. And this continued till I acknowledged what she went through and only then did we end the topic.

I believe we all might have felt this at one time or another that we are doing more than what is required. But if you look at it closely, we need others more than they need us, don’t we?

Besides, we need someone to certify our actions. I struggle with this myself and this is the most horrible thing that we can put ourselves through. A consenting nod, an acknowledging smile, appreciating our benefaction, a warm hug(& the list is endless). It is not just begging for somebody’s attention but the worse is looking for constant approval. This is a dangerous disease in itself. Although, consciously being aware of these is a step towards finding a cure for such pining.

I, truly think that we commit to something only if we need a certain kind of environment. Rather than complaining about getting a raw deal, think why are we doing it when we know the ROI is low or none. That is the question that we need to ask.

Why do we feel so incomplete? Can someone really complete us? What within us is seeking this? Is that us? Is there a cure?

Arjuna had a similar question and Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, 35 prescribes the cure. And how we go about it? Maybe in the next blog post…

Chañchalaṁ hi manaḥ kṛiṣhṇa pramāthi balavad dṛiḍham

tasyāhaṁ nigrahaṁ manye vāyor iva su-duṣhkaram// 34

The mind is very restless, turbulent, strong and obstinate, O Krishna. It appears to me that it is more difficult to control than the wind.

śhrī bhagavān uvācha

Asanśhayaṁ mahā-bāho mano durnigrahaṁ chalam

abhyāsena tu kaunteya vairāgyeṇa cha gṛihyate// 35

Lord Krishna said:

O mighty-armed son of Kunti, what you say is correct; the mind is indeed very difficult to restrain. But by practice and detachment, it can be controlled.

Image: Internet

Govindam Bhaja Mooda Mathe

If you have a sibling, what I am about to say would be in your experience.

when I was a kid, my dad bought me a toy and I can’t remember what I liked about it but I always carried it. Whoever visited our house, I showed them the toy and said it was mine.

Then my brother came and he watched me carrying the toy everywhere. Now he wanted it. My dad had to buy another toy so I could start sharing the old one with my brother. Slowly I outgrew the old one. It didn’t amuse me anymore. My brother played with it and it became his toy. After a while, he also left the old one for new.

Now the old toy had no takers. Whose is it anyway? Before my dad bought it, it was the storekeepers and then mine and then my brother’s and now nobody’s. Down the lane, someone would pick that old toy and start calling it theirs.

So, is our thoughts. They are an accumulation of stuff we read, heard, liked or observed. They were never ours in the first place. There is no such thing as an original thought; it is always borrowed. A little tweaking wouldn’t make it authentic. Like the old ’80s, fashion trends are back in fashion now.

A thought is like that old toy. The kids called it theirs till they outgrew it but here we are not even calling it ours but we are calling it ourselves.

We sometimes call the body as our self and at times our mind becomes our self. Are we suffering from multiple personality disorder?

So, when the Seers look at us. They are unsure how else to explain this very phenomenon. They have written multiple scriptures, all boiling down to this very idea. Out of compassion and unable to digest the way we identify with things; they call us mooda mathe.

Therefore praise the lord..Sing his glory, talk about him, think about him until the difference between you and him blurs out.

Which is that lord, Govindam do we sing of?
Stop assuming ;). Let’s hear it from him.

Meditate on that formless Brahmanimmortal, imperishable, eternal and of unending divine bliss.

Bhagavad Gita

Brahmaṇo hi pratiṣhṭhāham amṛitasyāvyayasya cha
Shāśhvatasya cha dharmasya sukhasyaikāntikasya cha//14.27

I am the basis of the formless Brahman, the immortal and imperishable, of eternal dharma, and of unending divine bliss