I write a lot and never cared to share it unless it was pried out of me by invitation or otherwise, mostly because as soon as it was written, it felt worthless to me. Sometimes I wrote just because I needed to get myself to the otherside of where I was and writing helped me get there. I am getting better at sharing what I write for pronouncing it worthless is also a judgment that I am ready to let go of. Let it flow - as is. One sided or Duality. Words or Silence in between words that renders them intelligible.
At last night's Being American Circle with Aryae, I was thinking out loud about the challenges ahead, and this reading offers a remedy -- not an easy one -- but something to strive for atleast. Thank you.
For 14 years I held back my reactions to all manner of anger fueled abuse from a partner (then an ex-partner) who marched to the drum of his inner demons. I raised our son, mostly alone, with a commitment to my value that a child have respect and love for his father. This practice changed me and my life in more ways than I can count. Now my only prayers are that the grown son and father find their own healthy equation in their relationship, and may the father's inner drum find a peaceful enough rhythm. I am blessed to have sufficient clarity on living for what I value.
My story is that the universe was created with the sound OM and it is ever expanding, full of beautiful stars, and it is eternal. There is no old story or new story. The entire universe is within me, and the evidence is that my heart is always expanding, just as the astrophysicists universe outside is. We are one and the same.
Recently, Audrey mentioned Adam Grant's book Give and Take - and mentioned the idea of 'closeted givers'. I liked the idea of outing the givers - because there is a large number of givers who prefer to remain anonymous and closeted. This silence is clouding the way the world may be experienced - so lets out the givers and make it okay to give so easily that it is normal and public - like all ordinary behaviors.
So beautifully expressed. I had a similar exchange at work today when someone I work with made comments that were so far away from how I think and behave - that I was completely dumb-struck. I realized that we approach the world very differently. I paused. I accepted that the interaction was meant to teach me something that I needed to learn. I talked with someone who shared my values. It helped to heal the hurt I felt from being put down for my being. I found the courage to walk the path I was on, even if I had to go alone. I spoke my truth. I thanked the person for their candid feedback and said what I was going to do and why. I know I do not need her acceptance or approval, and I do not need for her to see the world the same way as I do. I am happy to have clarity on my choices, and that is a blessing. It frees me.
Even my best friends tell me that no one our age has natural hair color anymore, and I simply smile and say I'll be a flag-bearer. I hold on to the experience when a little girl came up to touch my hair to tell me that she had only ever seen all white or all black hair, but never seen black and white hair on the same head.
I understand and agree with 1 & 2 but need a lot more to really understand 3. In my experience, I find that little children have that deep simplicity where they gravitate towards love and beauty without conscious effort. I can relate to them easily. Practicing simplicity in my own life is an ongoing effort that keeps peeling away at layers. I see women in high heels or hiding behind masks of makeup and wonder why they torture themselves so, but they probably see my lack of makeup as not loving myself enough to care for my appearance? I agree that there are no simple answers.
The purpose of education is to let you discover your own heart's drumbeat so you can march to it. Sadly, like the healthcare system, the education system too has stifled individual creativity in favor of conformity, and too many people get trained to do what they were never meant to, and then slavishly stay with it as it 'pays the bills'. I like the message "I AM ENOUGH". I'd like to add "I HAVE ENOUGH" to stop the compensatory over-consumption all around,
The idea of consuming suffering into oneself is a fresh one. I have never thought of it that way before. Suffering has consumed me for parts of my life. I have always surrendered to it because in my experience, striving against it does not work. The surrender induced state of paralytic catharsis is restorative even it takes it own time. I accept the enforced break from the constant striving of the other times. Stasis leads to a blossoming of creativity. I have liked the idea from an earlier reading here that pain is given but suffering is optional. Pouring suffering into a creativity may be linked to consuming suffering into oneself - maybe.
Yes, a richer vocabulary for love is desirable and would enrich our world. Everyone says Sanskrit has these words, but why do not share some of these so we can start using them? I am ready. I do not believe that thinking and feeling exist at the expense of each other, for in practice, it is impossible to find a perfectly (ir)rational thinker !
Love is selfless service - with a smile - at any age. When I was a little girl, I would gleefully help sweep and mop the house feeling pride in being trusted with adult jobs. When I was a young lady, I happily did all within my power to make my husband at the time happy. As a mother, I cleaned up and soothed the sick child, always with a smile, and continue to be the driver, the cook, the housekeeper and everything else that my young lad takes for granted ! I feel loved when someone enables me to be 'home' - where I can simply relax enough to breathe deeply naturally
I needed this today. Over the last four years, I have helped and enabled four colleagues establish a successful program and platform to train others in our shared expertise. At this fifth annual occurrence of our workshop, I stepped away to let them take it forward on their own, using much of what I had helped create. At the conference, I stopped by their session to visit and greet them. I just like to stay connected. Three of them greeted me warmly but one of them, the oldest who assumed leadership, ignored and snubbed my goodwill visit so completely that I was surprised and hurt. Last year I was explaining Indian food to her grand-daughter at the meal after our session and this year I did not even deserve a proper hello! What happened? Was she upset that I had not joined them and chose to do something new with another new group of colleagues? Did I do something wrong in not having interacted during the year at all (we are not co-located)? Am I hurt because I was seeking to be acknowledged for my contributions to the success of this workshop? I volunteered to step away and wished them all success in carrying it forward. I had no interest in being acknowledged as a contributor, but I did expect to be acknowledged as a person and a friendly presence who came with goodwill. The passage reminds me that I have shared all I could of myself. She simply sees me as a colleague whose job is done while I see her as a life long friend. I suspect that she has no radar to detect the friendship vibe. She is threatened by perceived competition when all I ever see is cooperation. She likes being a leader and I am more at ease being a ladder. There is more than enough work to keep us all busy. I wish her well and will still see her as a friend, in case she ever needs one.
As a swimmer, who cherishes the activity for its meditative solitude, I relate to the incident described. I find myself judging the lane blocker as an inconsiderate woman. There was room in the lane for both and not only did she not stay on one side, but she hit the swimmer. The story teller may have accessed the meditative calm to absorb that angry and invasive presence and convert it into compassion, yet the story lingered to eventually need release in this writing. In her situation, I would want to give myself permission to allow my story to be released gently back in the moment. I would want the gumption and presence to calmly say "Ouch! that hurt. You are a strong woman." I would like to leave the pool with "Enjoy your exercise class" shoutout to her. But even as I write this I know that the presence, gumption and calm are immediately lost when I am hurt. Unhooking from judgment and fear is not going to save me from getting hurt. Nothing is. Simply accepting my truth that sometimes I hurt and being able to own and bear that kindly, is what I wish for.
Fish riding a camel, dancer lying on a church floor, the images of being on the Path are so vivid and alive. Why do we live so confined when there is so much to explore? I take the time to dance and get thirsty again for this thirst is what makes us alive.
Being means awareness that I am. Just that. I am. I allow myself to happen, just as I am. When I start to think about what is conditioned thinking and what is truly me, I am already moving away from simply being. The conditioned me is also just meant to be, just as it is. Accept it and just be.
Our language reflects our thinking and concepts. When there is no word in a language, the very concept does not exist. In Hindi, there is no word for boredom or being bored. If you want to talk about being bored in Hindi, you still have to use the English word for it, because being bored is a foreign concept in India. The closest Hindi idea is 'ji ub gaya hai' which literally means I have had my heart's fill of it. And what is wrong with knowing that you have had enough of something? It is time to move on to what your heart wishes for next. Get on with it. It is a terrible thing to waste life's precious moments on something your heart has already had enough of. And it is a good thing to know what your heart wishes for and how much of it, more of some things than others. That is the nature of life and wishes. Wishing everyone all their heart's desires and a full heart of it, so you can get to being bored/ fulfilled.
I know a kid whose mom works late at night so she sleeps in the morning, leaving him to get up on his own, get his own breakfast and get himself to school by bus. He does this day after day. Occasionally, he is a tired young man who sleeps through his alarm and misses the bus, and get to school late. Ten unexcused absences had him hauled in to principal's office with orders to attend Saturday school to make up for the missed school time. He thinks he needs more will power to make himself get up everyday and not be late again. Hie mother thinks he is an exceptionally strong willed young kid who needs to be allow himself the compliment that he accomplishes what not too many kids are doing at his age. The two mislaid bricks are like the 10 absences on his school attendance. Who, other than his mother, can see that he gets himself to school on time with no assistance on all other 170 days, while other parents are urging their kids to wake-up, fixing them breakfasts and driving them to school !
Pain in inevitable - suffering is optional. Cancer patient who can smile and say it's a good day. Listening to spiritual leaders and remembering their beautiful smile more than their words. When someone hits you, to reach past your pain and stay connected to your inner calm and say: "brother you don't need to do this - come visit my home". Infant's and grandmother's genuine smile, for they don't worry about what other's will think of them. The Dalai Lama and Rev. Desmond Tutu are always ready with a laugh, that I am envious of. Lovely circle of sharing creating ripples of joy all around. Thank you all.
I was going for a stressful meeting to seek justice knowing that none may be available, when two pennies lifted my spirits, and made me stand taller in still asking for it. A convenient parking spot in an otherwise difficult to park area where the meeting was. And, a lovely bloom laden tree right outside the building,reminding me that there is no justice even in the tree giving its beauty and bounty to all for no return in exchange. I felt well supported as I went in to seek justice because that was all I had to find courage to do. Not getting justice did not matter much. My duty ended with speaking my truth and standing up for what I believed in. Both the pennies facilitated my process in that.
Absence of environmental stress makes it easier to relax into my natural state of being connected to my inner calm, and that is why I love being in nature. I find that when I am in a stressful environment (e.g. a hostile workplace) I tend to seek out calm places (the terrace garden or yoga class) as my escape and coping mechanism, to reconnect with my inner calm. This evening, I was dancing with family in a pre-wedding function, laughing and enjoying together, in the very same room in the very same house where just a little over a year ago, we were all gathered tearfully with heavy hearts to say our final farewells to the recently deceased matriarch of the family. The place is the same, the people are the same, the emotions are radically different and yet there is the awareness of the observer in me that is alive to experience it all, bringing the past sadness into the joyful present and letting go of both to cherish the fullness of being alive to experience it all. being alive is to experince life in all its colors, some light, some dark, each just as they are.
We are boundaryless divine creatures who are socialized into living with boundaries as we grow. Children play effortlessly with other children but adults hesitate, judge, assess, fear, and associate with selected few. If we can stay connected to our inner child, we can stay connected to all, and wonder at the vastness of the universe that we are all a part of. A number of struggles in my life have come from being told that I don't get the concept of boundaries, but all the joys have always come from being infinitely bundaryless too, so I keep unravelling and enjoying it all.
Sweets are my weakness too, and I have to go eat one just now, simply from reading this paasage. I always have six flavors of ice cream in my freezer and having that abundance handy was the way for me to stop eating it compulsively. It is just reassuring to have it, should I want to indulge, and now I seldom over indulge in ice-cream. But other sweets can still be an issue sometimes. It is good to have permission to indulge occasionally and not be carrying guilt for it all the time. When my friends come for dinner, and start to read the small print on the ice-cream container to see the calorie content, I have to protest and remind them to simply enjoy it for what it is. It may not be good for the body but it can be good for the soul when it is comforting in its own way. Why ruin the enjoyment of eating it by focusing on the label when we already know it is not good in excessive amounts. Just indulge responsibly. Lord Krishna loved butter so much that he would steal it to satisfy his cravings, and there is no guilt associated with that !
Thoughts can be used creatively, with training and awareness. Monkey mind can be tamed, with practice. If I did not belief that, I would not be teaching critical thinking !
On intuitive intelligence, sometimes I just know what I need to do, without thought, without rationale, without it being impulsive too -- but with clarity, almost perfect clarity. It feels absolutely right. That, to me, is intuitive intelligence. I have no choice and I am content or rather happy to have no choice, because even if I did, I would still be compelled to just do that which feels right in every which way. Interviewing to get into a prestigious college, I was waiting in the corridor outside the interview room, sizing up the other candidates, competition. One of them was pacing restlessly and somehow I knew she was going to be my friend. We both were accepted to the college, were okay friends, but now 30 years on, are still friends and perhaps best of friends. The initially weak ties have survived so much, despite living half a world apart and only connecting infrequently. She knew I was a poet before I had ever told her or anyone else about any of my poems. She just knew too. We see and hear each other as no one else does. This is intuitive intelligence.
This is a practice, daily, hourly, by the moments. Only then can it serve in life's turning points. I had a restless mother who called me lazy for doing less. At work, I was considered a workaholic for I did a lot more than most. I simply do what comes through me easily. I am neither lazy nor a workaholic. I am simply aware that I have some gifts that allow me to contribute to do my share for the world. I am merely an instrument played by the deep nature within and without, connected and in harmony.
I agree with this call to action except I'd like to challenge the statement in the final paragraph."..being an active participant in your own awakening to Truth is neither easy nor safe". I would like to say that it may not be easy but it is safe. In fact, it is the only safe reliable anchor, your inner voice that you can rely on. Even though it may not seem to be easy in the moment, just trust the Truth and step forward to take the leap of faith for you will land safely eventually - in your own Truth and one with the Universal Truth. If you let fear get in the way, you will live a lie and live to regret it someday. It was painful for me to acknowledge that my marriage was dead, but staying in a dead marriage would have been to kill myself as the authentic person. It was very hard but it was the right thing to do to move away from the soul destroying experience. And it took a long time to find my bearings and new friends, but I am there now. I am safe for having walked away from the sham to discover my own place in the world.
Today we are literally in a struggle to even save the seed, rather than honoring it. Geneticaly modified seeds are created to self-destruct or kill 'pests' who might feed on these plants, are designed so the farmer has to buy afresh everytime, bringing in the profits for the corporations. It is just plain sad. Mercifully, there are people working to preserve seed banks, as in http://www.navdanya.org/ As a metaphor, I find that I have many seeds in me, some of which blossomed and others did not, depending on what I fed and nourished.