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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Living Rent-Free!

Last week, we visited our friends who recently became parents. I don’t have to describe their state of mind, do I? They were super exhausted, sleep deprived and trying to adjust to the new member in their family.

As soon as we were settled, we got talking, they were talking off their exhaustion of having a baby and before we knew it, two hours had gone by. During that time, most of the conversation revolved around others but the baby. We then realized that the baby was never the problem, it was their expectation from the family at these times added to their fatigue. This visit has done me some good. I now know exactly how many people I have up there who are living rent free ;). In spite of being watchful, yet there are few up there and that needs attention.

Strong emotions good or bad are dangerous. Trust me, these fixed opposites will never allow us to see those gray areas and lead us to a delusional state thinking – that our happiness is from outward things. When the people we like or dislike contribute nothing to our happiness quotient then why bother carrying them in our heads.

So, which arch enemy is living rent free in your head?

Let our Life Preach what our Lips can’t

On my train journey to Chennai, I happened to listen in to the conversations of two boys and their fathers. We shared the same compartment. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. I do not enjoy listening in to others conversation, but it was too loud and I couldn’t but be a witness to the drama that unfolded.

In both the parties, one seemed to be quieter than the other. One spoke, spoke and spoke, the other would reply only if he found sensible else nodded and smiled. Nonverbal communication can save our energy and face from many such conversations and people alike, don’t they? The father who wasn’t talking much, his boy was his replica. He was quiet and did not interrupt when the other person spoke. We think kids aren’t noticing but they are and they learn from us.

Interesting thing that I noticed is all the four were talking about what they have and where others stand. Drawing comparisons and critical at judging others. Kids were flaunting and bragging about the toys and looking for faults at what the other had. Men did the same but the discussion surrounded around their jobs and looking down at others who were either doing bad or better.

Walt Whitman once said “This world is big enough for both the talkative and the un-talkative; for both the complainers and the non-complainers.” He is right. Many of us fall under the category of complainers. Men or women, we all do the same. Judging others is an easy exercise and again how do we judge people, on our perceptions. We look down equally upon people who are doing well compared to us or vice versa. What makes us unhappy? Is somebody’s success bringing us unhappiness? Is our happiness dependent upon others success or failures? And, What are we preaching our kids when we exhibit such behavior?

Did your kid ever walk-in to you complaining about something that he didn’t have or how bad he felt when he lost to his friend? Do you remember what you said to your kid? Many of us would have asked our kids to take it easy and be grateful with what they had in life. Even go a step further, and point on to the underprivileged ones who can’t even afford one square meal. Oh, my dad has done that many a times when I was growing up.

I wonder what stops us from applying the same principle in our lives as adults. What we preach and expect our kids to apply in his life doesn’t seem to work for us. Why? Are our problems real than theirs? Are ours more important than theirs? Please think. As kids we felt our problems were as real as our parents. We felt unhappy and dejected when they gave a deaf ear to our problems. For some, it might have shaped their life differently from the happy kids they were.

There is a lot of research around people who have selflessly given themselves to society and to those who have brought the society down. Psychologists have identified root cause of both these to their upbringing. Deep rooted emotions without a vent, suppressed which turned them to criminals that society had to pay a big price for. The same for the ones who were altruists.

Bhagavad Gita in Chapter 16, shl 6 and 7 tells us that men (human beings) are of two types. One who are of Daivah gunam(divine) and others of Asura gunam(demonic). Gita describes those who are of Asura gunam as the ones who do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper conduct nor Truth is said to be found in them. We have been given a choice to choose between these.

If I may say, we are the role models to our children while growing up. If they do not see us act upon our preachings. They will never inculcate it into their lives. We have to reflect the good things that we want our kids to learn in our lives first. Then we don’t have to even remind them, they will not only learn from us but also spread those good things to whoever they come across.

Fortunately we are in midst of a paradigm shift, parents are now paying more attention than ever. We should focus more in building at least a few from the below Daivah gunams. I mean, instead of ruminating over and over our past and future , that time can be spent in freeing our mind of those Asuric qualities. When you slowly free the mind of those negativity then it will be ready to imbibe those daivic ones(Bhagavad Gita Chapter 15, shl 1,2,3).

Daive Gunam.png

we can live a positive life only with a positive mind. And, let our kids learn from our positive outlook towards life. Truly, then our lives will speak louder than our words.