Friday, October 27, 2006

Sixth Sense

And finally – this thing about the origin of thought – of words and ideas and emotions and instincts. Where is that? What is it? Where does it start? And why?

There is -- before the beginning of thought – an energy that allows its birth. It is the substratum in which thought emerges from stillness. This thought, though, is buried in my memory bank. So, obviously there is some sort of catalyst that makes this thought take shape from a dormant karmic seed into the force behind a full blown ‘event’ made up of thinking, feeling, acting and reacting.

I wonder then - what if I had a sixth sense – one that could easily observe how this thing emerges from nothingness into ‘thingness’. If I could feel the movement of this energy, through its whole neurological, chemical and physiological journey that happens within me. What if I could experience this evolution of thought which comes into play as a result of a mixed bag of external stimuli and internal chemicals that trigger something in my body which then travels up to my brain and becomes a full blown – PRODUCTION.

Would we then, if we did have this sixth sense not make such a big deal about thoughts and emotions and not allow them to torture, trouble, excite or delight us? Because we could see -- as easily as I can see the impact of heat or cold on my skin, sweet or sugar on my tongue, light and darkness on my eyes, cacophony or melody on my ears and fragrance or malodor on my nose – the impact of heavy or light thoughts and emotions on my brain. When then, the brain indeed becomes the Sixth Sense… an organ which would allow me to sense the world both inside and outside me and not make every thing, event or happening the be all and end all of my life.

I could, I would, then, simply allow these thoughts and emotions to happen – observing them, enjoying them, deflecting them or avoiding them. But not feeling like I have to master them, process them, analyze them, control them.

Perhaps that is real freedom.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Total Revolution

This integral approach towards living life is what I see now as the key to total happiness. What is total happiness then? Is it a type of fulfillment that only comes about when one is completely stimulated, internally and externally? Is it the process by which every moment of every day is full and fulfilled because it is being experienced to the maximum? Is that, and then the balance between mind, body, heart and spirit, what make life a holistic whole?

What is the reason that we want such complete happiness? And what is the human conditioning that repeatedly makes access to such total happiness both desirable and fearful?

This equal fascination with self sabotage and self-improvement – both equally powerful and appealing at one level, and ridiculous and distasteful at another. This struggle and need to be the Perfect Man.

What is a Perfect Man? I’m reading Arrow of a Blue Skinned God these days – the modern rendition of Ramayana – as seen by a westerner traveling through India. Was Rama really the perfect man then? Because of his courage, fortitude, sensitivity, equanimity, honesty, compassion and dynamism? What would it take to really embody these qualities in today’s world? Is such an outlook to life really possible anymore? Or are we doomed to a life of self-absorption and angst? I don’t know. I can’t really tell anymore.

But what if it was possible to be this perfect man with minimum effort and maximum effect? What if I could, indeed, have all of it but not need any of it? And be this person who has the courage and equanimity and fortitude to have it all and take it all but not need any of it – at all? Is this the meaning of perfection then? Is this the way to be when all that I see and all that I do and all that I am is simply an effortless way of engaging Life? Engaging everyone and everything in life. Without need and want nor hope nor yearning. Simply in, and as, an effortless whole.

That then, perhaps, is total integration – when there is absolutely no need to be different and unique and separate. When my individuality comes not from the capriciousness of my Ego, but because it is a unique expression of the divine unifying Spirit.

Can I do that? Can I be that? Will I ever live like that?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Spirituality and Religion - Journey through Generations

“The progress of succeeding generations is described as an evolution of understanding, an evolution toward a higher spirituality and vibration. Each generation incorporates more energy and accumulates more truth and then passes that status on to the people of the next generation who extend it further.”

I see this in my own life and lifetime – an interesting interplay between, and transition from, traditional religious beliefs to evolving spirituality.

My grandparents on both sides were highly principled, very religious and extremely conservative. My maternal grandfather followed strict Vedic rituals and astrology and Hindu scriptures to the letter. He was a practicing Brahmin whose genuine love and compassion for humanity often seemed to be hidden under strict traditional roles and rituals.

My maternal grandmother was all love, devoted to her gods with a simple but deep, unquestioning faith not influenced by bookish education. Intelligent, warm, witty and loving, she was all heart. She did, however, know her boundaries of influence. She could effect change in her own way but always stayed under the umbrella of my grandfather’s guidance and principles.

Living during a rapidly changing India they experienced the Second World War, the British Raj and subsequent independence, and the partition of India and Pakistan and the ensuing bloodshed. Witness to the ironically ghastly aftermath to the bloodless coup pulled by M.K Gandhi against the Brits, they were part of a unique period in history. Serving the British but silently supporting Gandhi and the non-violent movement, following western etiquettes and social norms but living deeply traditional Hindu lives, it couldn’t have been very easy to know what one believes in and what one stands for. Or, perhaps it was very simple. When you don’t question, you’re not restless.

My parents’ generation was less rigid, more open-minded but with guarded optimism towards life. They grew up during Nehru’s leadership of socialism and secularism and the non-aligned movement. There was no expectation of fabulous wealth and capitalistic extravagance. Visions of success were limited to the hope that hard work and good education, community service and social justice would lead to a pleasant and secure future. And that, hopefully, their children would follow in their footsteps and become respected civil servants, teachers, doctors and engineers.

Religion was still deeply entrenched in their lives. The Bhakti movement of devotional faith to the trinity of Indian gods – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva – forces respectively of creation, preservation, and destruction & divine rebirth, was the unifying principle explaining everything that happened in the world, from disastrous natural phenomenon and miraculous spiritual healings to the highest scientific discoveries. Other religions, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism were easily included and welcomed in this view of Existence but the possibility of cross pollination of ideologies was unthinkable. And while social interaction was celebrated, inter-faith unions was a shocking concept. Life was still led according to unchallenged Hindu principles and traditions. The caste system, in its highly warped interpretation in those changing times, was accepted as an inevitable reality. Although the atrocities meted out in some sub-cultures were swiftly condemned, they were resignedly accepted as part of life. There was some ambitious restlessness, but mostly order and belief in the divine principles prevailed.

My generation witnessed radical social, cultural, economic and psycho-spiritual shifts. Socialist India was condemned to Western scorn due to Indira Gandhi’s support of Soviet Union. Alliances with Brezhnev and Krushchev as opposed to the Republican conservatism of Nixon and later Reagan resulted in our childhood spent developing a unique worldview. We were part of the English-speaking world but we weren’t a westernized nation. Our lives carried significant British influences still, in literature, culture, social status and sports but we had an incredible fascination with all things American – but they were considered well beyond our reach. America was deemed to be too wild and loud and predatory by our parents.

But as we grew older living and succeeding in America became a very real and achievable goal. We applied to universities for scholarships and internships and attended lectures and workshops at the American Council for tips on taking the SAT and GMAT. There was, though, the sobering realization that there were no guardian angels offering us our American dream on a silver platter. It had to be self-effected, and so we slogged along, studying, researching, applying and believing. A belief in ourselves and the process, one which came from a deep but nebulous place within.

Religion was tolerated with good-natured eye rolling and resigned acceptance. In a country drenched in spirituality one would have to live in a cave to get away from it. We found the incredible capacity of our parents’ generation to fast and feast in the name of god both fascinating and embarrassing. Family discussions always had lively opposing teams of the faithful against the skeptics. Social and communal strife in the name of religion was heatedly condemned. A new generation of Spiritualists came into being…people who accepted religion as inevitable but also selected it more as a vehicle for self-awareness and personal growth rather than for identity and redemption by belonging to sects and following movements. Joining throngs of devotional worshippers chanting and singing in temples and Sanghas was uncool and unsophisticated but attending psycho-spiritual lectures by followers of Osho and Krishnamurthi was radical and hip. The essence of it all was what interested us intellectually – the notion of non-duality, the concept of Atman and Brahman and how they are essentially the same Spirit in its personal and universal incarnation - was what fascinated me much more than chanting and praying to a polytheistic hierarchy of Hindu gods and goddesses.

Embodied spirituality is an essential belief for me now. After the intoxication with the west for years where I did (and still do) live in Europe and America, and after all that has transpired as a result, I suppose in some ways life has come a full circle. While my life is here now and I enjoy many aspects of it…I feel a much deeper connection now with my eastern roots and the simple spiritual message of seeing everything and everyone as a unique but unifying expression of the same divine spirit. It’s hard to keep this in focus on a daily basis – when I’m conditioned to see the differences and to fight my way through life as an individual against a hostile Universe. But it’s so much easier and intuitively more powerful to live as a simple extension of it, with little or no conflict, or to be constantly fighting my way through life to be seen, be heard, be understood. What’s the need for it? Who’d need is it anyway? Mine really? Or of this ego driven mind constructed false sense of Me?

And so, we move on to the new generation. When I see my nieces and nephews growing up in India and Australia and Europe and America, smart, confident, privileged but not spoiled. Impulsive and demanding at times, but surprisingly conscious and compassionate as well. Where causes such as fighting AIDS in Africa, speaking up against the war in Iraq, and donating their hair to cancer patients and going on day long hunger fasts for some social cause or the other, are taken on with zest and gusto. Religion for them is an amalgam of all previously segregated organized belief systems. They learn about Islam and Hinduism and Christian Mysticism and Buddhism and accept it all as an amorphous amalgamated whole that somehow makes sense to them.

The oneness of humanity, supporting the uniqueness of each human, is not just a concept but also an obvious reality for them. They may not have too much time to devote to spirituality just yet --- but they are open to it and are aware that something bigger is at large that will surely become clear to them when they are ready.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Life Less Ordinary

“The human race will first experience a period of intense introspection.”
“Because when people begin to receive clear intuitions of who they really are and what they’re supposed to be doing, they very often discover they are in the wrong job and they have to do another type of work to continue to grow.”

This seems to be my time for intense introspection. For honestly examining this feeling of ‘lack’, when everything in my life seems to be in even flow. There is no drama, minimal conflict, manageable stress and stable relationships. Yes there’ll always be the expected ups and downs and lows and highs that vary in intensity and importance from day to day. But that’s all part of the human experience.

Truth be told, I think my mind is feeling a bit cheated out of not having any juicy problem to chew on and make a federal case out of. Every problem seems to be a regurgitation of a previous one and the ones that consistently stir up negative energy are the ones I am most consciously aware of and can process and put into perspective – frustrations around a scratchy throat and persistent cough; irritation around a blowout with a friend; thwarted expectations of romantic bliss….I can see these as egoistic plays of the mind to garner attention and gather sympathy from myself and the world.

So, yes, I can see through the mind games and while I still indulge a few of them…they are steadily losing there previously vice like grip on my existence. Of course I could walk down the street and get hit by a scooter (not a bus I hope…that would surely kill me)…or get horrible news about a loved one or find out that the scratchy throat is really some form of a heinous illness…and all this perspective may go out the window and all the poor me, pity me, why me voices will start shrilling in my head.

But at this moment…I feel that this is a good place to be. To stay in the present and to observe that the lack is perhaps because I have not found my true purpose in life. A profession or a project where I can use my skills and creativity and drive and vision to do what I really am supposed to be doing.

To first be the change that I wish to see in the world, and then change the world by being who I am, and doing what I need to do, in it.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Shiva Shakti

“The mystical energy that we can tap as an inner source is both male and female. The integration process takes some time. If we connect prematurely with a human source for our female or male energy, we block the universal supply.”

Are aspects of energy really male or female and if so what does that mean? How did we all, as a collective, agree on some aspects of life and consequently energy being masculine and others feminine? There has to be an unconscious (or conscious) agreement that not only abstract forms, but gross forms too, often have masculine and feminine qualities.

My car – she’s a beauty; my guitar is one dark & brooding guy, even a house can have masculine and feminine connotations for people. All aspects of nature – food, trees, flowers, earth, wind, fire have masculine and feminine forms and energy. The Shiva-Shakti concept in Indian spirituality – where the supreme spirit is a beautiful fusion of Shiva the purusha (male) and Shakti (female) the source of his emotional, intellectual and physical strength. These two together supplement rather than complement each other.

Joseph Campbell also observed this in one of his books – the reason why finding love is approached in different ways in the East and West. Wherein western mythology believes that the masculine and feminine were created by ‘God’ by dividing a whole into its two halves. They believe that the reason there is so much restlessness in man (and woman) is because they feel that they are one half of a perfect whole and will never find true happiness until they find their ‘other half’ and merge in blissful union.

Eastern mythology suggests that masculine and feminine are fully contained in the ‘whole’ and the ‘whole’ in fact multiplied into 2 complete wholes and one energy got more pronounced than the other in each. The reason, then, of union with another is not to find ‘completion’ in another, but simply resonance and recognition of the dormant energy in one’s own self.

The attraction with R for me is my proof of this process…where our masculine and feminine energy seemed to be amplified by their resonance and reflection in each other.

So, perhaps, I need to take that as the gift from this whole experience, and understand that the ‘reason’ that I’ve been searching for, for why all of this happened – again – was simply this:

To allow myself to affirm that what I was seeking without is already within me.

Monday, October 02, 2006

E.S.P (Ego & Spirit at Play)

Two realizations that I had yesterday seemed to have helped me make a shift from resistance into acceptance, from doubt to trust and from ambivalence to direction. But is that really true? Is the shift due to a realization or due to another balance in the game played out between ego and spirit? I don’t know but I really need to first state them and then acknowledge this aspect of me and my life.

Well, the first was that one has to strike an agreement between Ego and Spirit since one can’t have one without another, one can’t do without the other not in a human incarnation, and one needs to honor and respect the other. So, it is not critical to stay in complete Presence all the time – it is okay to have egoistic awareness and reactions and emotions and thoughts also. There is nothing wrong or unnatural about it. It is simply a question of choice and acceptance. Of whatever unfolds in the process, good or bad, egoistically or consciously. Ego does not necessarily always mean unconsciousness. Can I look at both of them and create a mutually acceptable environment where I can accept both aspects of these energies within me. Without chastising myself for focusing too much on one or the other?

So, the quality of happiness that I am hoping to have in this very moment has to, necessarily, include the ego and the agreement from it to play along. Otherwise, although consciousness may perhaps unfold, it will simply be a more painful process with several ugly reactions and rebuttals from the Ego in the evolution of consciousness. It cannot be denied, suppressed, ignored, rejected or destroyed. It has to be acknowledged, observed, included, enjoyed and supported. And only then will it be malleable and pliant enough to really, and freely, go with the flow. It is then that there will really be little or no dissipation of energy in playing the blame game.

Consciousness will achieve its objective of experiencing itself through me. It will rejoice and revel upon fully participating in every aspect of the Universe when I truly accept every moment and in that acceptance allow it to emerge in its full glory. And ego will also accept that this new role bestowed upon it. One of promoter and facilitator and enabler and creator. And it will realize then how much happier it really is when it focuses on every moment and chooses quality over quantity, optimism over negativity, trust over doubt and inclusiveness over elitism. In fact, it will realize how easy and fulfilling life is and how much more rich and colorful and joyous everything and everyone around it really has become.

So, that is the truce then – Consciousness allows certain concessions to Ego,which help enable and allow it to reach its full potential through the process of alchemy. And Ego in turn surrenders to the inevitable and expansiveness of Consciousness – for defining its very existence before, during and after.

And the other thing that I was going to talk about – that came to me when I was sitting outside Jumpin Java – reading. What matters to me – is what deeply disturbs and upsets me.
- my appearance, my social image, my intellect, my emotions, my spirit

And this is really the last aspect in evolution. Complete acceptance of both ego and consciousness and their role in my life. My life, that is much more than the contents in my life and the mind stream that tells me the story of my life.

My life can only happen in this moment. Even something that had happened 5 minutes ago – can only be recalled in memory Now. Anything that will happen 5 minutes from now can only be anticipated in thinking Now. All decisions, projections, reminisces, delusions happen in the Now and that is all I have to go on. In this moment only is there Life. And the moment will keep on changing and so will form and content…but the essence will never change.

What a screwed up system this is then. Of course it is, what can I do about this, though? Simply not indulge negative thoughts and fears. Because when I do, that is when I create unhappiness for myself in the Now. And the quality of my Now builds the quality of my future.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Late Night Tales

“Once you become conscious of the questions active in the moment, you get some kind of intuitive direction of what to do, of where to go.”

A combination of jet lag, emotional confusion and general dissonance with the ‘way things were’ led me to fall into a strange spell yesterday afternoon while listening to Air – Late Night Tales (amazing by the way – highly recommended).

I saw everything unfold in consciousness – thoughts emerging, reactions to thoughts developing sometimes fully, sometimes dissolving under their own weight, emotions permeating through my body causing all sorts of chemical reactions which I could then label fear and pain and wonder and dread.

I felt the music all around me and within me and saw the energy flowing and floating in this consciousness. This whole interplay of consciousness with its own self created energy forms and structures – of my body and my thoughts and my emotions was all that Life was about. I could put a label to it – My Life – and own the resulting body and thoughts and emotions and make a complex story out of it. One with problems to be solved and rewards to be reaped.

Or I could simply let consciousness do its thing, play its play, think its thoughts, feel its feeling and enjoy the process of Life.

The conscious choice of living ‘My Life’ or simply ‘Life’ would then lead to different life experiences:: the former resulting in a roller coaster ride of Need and Control and the latter one of Even Flow.

I don’t know what the intuitive direction for answers to my questions are … but, at this moment, I’m not sweating over it.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

No Choice

“ No matter how afraid you become, you now have no choice. Once you learn what life is about, there is no way to erase the knowledge. If you try to do something else with your life you will always sense that you are missing something.”

This fear of losing – losing hope, loved ones, laughter, authenticity, trust and purpose in life – can only be dissolved by losing fear itself. And that is the key – losing Fear is the Key. It clouds and negates the deepest desire that we as humans have – to live life with authenticity and dignity and the confidence that comes with truly knowing oneself and ones place in this universe.

I feel this familiar fear seeping into my soul lately. Why am I here in London? Is this where I am supposed to be – right now? I feel so, in a vague way – like this experience is happening to tell me something, teach me something, show me something, about myself and my relationships to life and loved ones. But when I get into the daily wake, dress, work, pub, laundry routine… I wonder what is the message in all of this?

Why am I here? Where did I think I’d be at this moment and this phase in my life? Do I sense that I am missing something or am I missing what is already here?

Monday, September 11, 2006


Does this make much sense? Am I all here or am I just this shell of form and structure and thoughts? Is this incessant planning, wondering, rambling, plotting, worrying, analyzing, judging, hoping, despairing, doubting, dreaming, fantasizing, scheming, yearning, wanting, challenging, fearing, reminiscing really the only reason for my existence?

Can I look beyond this mind driven existence? Can I really see the bigger reason for consciousness to be present in this body, this mind, this soul? It couldn’t be for just those reasons….to live in this dream, this conflict ridden self manufactured drama that it seems to have been sucked into and stuck in for what seems like an eternal moment. There is no breaking out of it as long as the mind willfully succumbs to the spell of the drama and continues to weave more and more plots and ploys to keep the story going.

Keep the story going. Of me. Who has occasional glimpses of the stillness under the chatter, the signal buried amidst the noise. But cannot quite comprehend what to do with it. So what if there is the stillness and the vast expanse of consciousness connecting everything, beyond thought and mind? What the hell am I supposed to do with it? Is it of any use to me when I have to really plot and plan and live in this world competing for resources, time, attention and energy?

Even if I do see and sense this higher source, and can tap into it occasionally – through my writing and my meditation and my awareness – will it make that much of a difference to the story of me?

Will I still doubt and despair and challenge and scheme and hope and yearn even when I know that there is nothing that is really lacking or missing or hidden?

Will I indulge the mind, which is like a child throwing incessant tantrums for every thing it comes into contact with, until it is either exhausted, diverted, loses interest or simply sees something more appealing and fascinating?

Will the mind, when it finds the source of it all, of all thoughts and emotions and actions, drop all other striving and settle into the deep, cool, stillness of this eternal, quiet perfection – never to need again?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Of Human Bondage Not the one by S. Maughm

I've been writing mostly on my personal blog since I've moved here to London...but this seemed more appropriate over here.

Feeling quite strange and discombobulated today. After a good weekend...I suppose I feel more settled here. And then I read the news and check in with my own feelings and all is not well. What follows is a disjointed rambling...

I feel my disconnect is at a deeper level - at first I thought it's emotional (loss and lack of personal relationship, or lack of sensitivity from and towards loved ones); or psychic (processing pain and loss by internalising it by playing the blame game and allowing the critic and controller and victim to run rampant in my head).

But then, when I dig in deeper, it seems to be a pain at a deeper, universal and fundamental level of being human in today's world. I feel my angst and anxiety and frustrations and disappointments with myself and people and lovers and family are just manifestations of a deeper yearning for fulfillment and peace. That even if I have all the items on my checklist...the home, the partner, the intimate connections, the intellectual, professional and creative accomplishments and the compassion to see and care beyond my own immediate world... that this pain will remain and perhaps grow as I grow more mature and more personally fulfilled.

I feel that the loss of global consciousness is the cross that all aware human beings, while in this form and world will have to bear. I think relative happiness in human terms will always be just a self-serving ego's way to find fulfillment in achievements, accomplishments and accumulations.

I suppose finding a deeper peace and acceptance even amidst the fundamental inner and outer suffering is the ultimate goal for humans to live as conscious beings. The relative happiness from relationships and personal achievements will inevitably create more ...the need for more. Of everything.

Living in London now, I see there are the same set of issues and problems and yearnings ...just the triggers are different.

How to get out of this funk and really feel a deeper peace under all this turmoil and trauma??

Damned if I know...but I sure am trying to find out!

Peace and Joy!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Triple Twist of Fate

“We humans, although we are unconscious of it, have the tendency to control and dominate others, We want to win the energy that exists between people.”

I experience this at work on a daily basis. I’ve just started working for a new client here in London. Not only am I getting used to a the new environment, but also a new boss, a new team, a new internal team from my own firm for this study, and the different work environment here in Britain.

At each meeting I see and sense myself and others push and pull at each others’ energy from so many different angles: intellectually, technically, politically and even culturally. The Brits can often become so subtle and esoteric, if only to trip the Americans via language and wit, that it becomes at times, unproductive and detrimental to what we’re trying to achieve. And the Americans often come across as bulls in a china shop, loud, brash, overconfident and lofty. And the Indians, part of a huge bodyshop, nod their heads in silent acquiescence in that weird movement that could be interpreted either as a shake of the head – No, or a nod of the head – Yes…which drives people crazy. Did they get it or are they clueless, everyone wonders.

And being part of all three cultures through this triple twist of fate where I was born in one, had another be a significant influence in every aspect of my education and upbringing, and having lived most of my adult life in the third… I find all my buttons pushed with my energy ebbing and flowing with every conversation and interaction as I identify with every point of view or discredit every one of them!

Peace and joy!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Moving Energy

“Our expectation itself causes our energy to flow out into the world and affect other energy systems.”

All around me there is ample evidence of it…I may be blinded to it but I’m never not in it. All the people walking past, running around, milling about, doing, saying, fighting, stressing, all exchanging energy. I consume some and then expend some, I feel re-energized and then de-energized. It’s all a play of the forces of the universe taking form and shape and then dissolving into nothing and then reshaping and reforming into something else.

“The perception of this energy begins with a heightened sensitivity to beauty.”

Energy in London is different than in San Francisco – that’s a fact. I can’t help comparing the two and then I also relate and rate one against the other. Not an entirely healthy process, I know, but nevertheless, entirely human. Can I not, instead of thinking of ‘my life in san francisco’ and ‘my life in london’…just think of my life…anywhere and everywhere? Why this need to compare this moment with another possible, plausible but entirely impossible moment? Impossible because it can never happen in this moment….in this Now. Why this need to search for the perfect moment which always seems to be somewhere else, with someone else, doing something else? Can I, as I related to life in the present completely accept that this is the only possibility for perfection in my life? That not only is it the only possibility, it already is?

“Maybe we can make some events come faster – or slower – depending on how we think.”

This thing which started off as nervous anxiety…. To finish…finish this task has metamorphosed into a meditative journey of challenge and fun. I want the new moon to come faster to get this over with…and then I want it to come slower since I’m not done with my quotes! I haven’t been able to set my broadband connection and so feel guilty for not having had my weekly session. I want this week to finish quickly so I can enjoy the long weekend in London and make a trip to Brussels for my birthday! And then I don’t want the weekend to come just yet since I know that I’ll then be crossing the line – another birthday …another year another loss..another gain.

I am, however, perhaps for the first time after crossing the ocean and moving to another continent, enjoying this process of staying connected, building consensus and sharing energy with the group.

Peace and joy!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Vast Unknown

This way of living where I am beyond my thoughts and emotions and body and flowing in and through these limited dimensions of perception and projection, and going beyond, can actually be quite trippy.

Because then I am consciousness itself. I let go of trying to understand everything. Through the mind, through thought, through sensory perceptions, through bodily responses and reactions. When everything is in flow and there is no word for it, either. When everything just is.

So static and passive! screams the mind. So listless and submissive! cries the body. So demeaning and derogatory! chides the ego. This is not the way that I can achieve success in anything. Not contemporary living nor spiritual seeking. Even the interconnectedness that you are feeling has to be explained! Somehow. The numbers must add up, the coincidences should prove the flow, the human conditioning through the centuries needs to be understood, science needs to verify and validate spirituality and religion must bless and promote it. That is the only way that you can really validate your “beingness”.

So, then, if I find it so absurd to experience everything to prove everything, why do I insist on doing it? Why do I feel that the only way to corroborate a theory is by executing it in practice? Or the only way to defend a practice is by building a theory around it?
I don’t know. And maybe that is the mantra. “I don’t know”. And it is okay to not know.

In this moment – am I alive? Yes
In this moment – am I aware of my thoughts? Yes
In this moment – do I have body awareness? Internal and external? Yes
In this moment – can I sense a flow of emotional energy? Yes
In this moment – do I feel a presence that is beyond this form? Yes
In this moment – do I need to understand any or all of this? ….No

Friday, August 11, 2006


As far as the watching of history and how we react to it as it unfolds… the timing of certain events in my life currently can only be described as cosmically arranged…
So, after a wonderful weekend where I did a Yoga-Tai Chi fusion workshop, had a blast dancing til the wee hours of morning at a wild, fun Punjabi wedding on Treasure Island, went on an intriguing date and worked on my Challenge of the Moonth….. I began to start feeling a vague uneasiness by Monday evening.

By Tuesday morning I had a cold, by evening I had fever and chills and aches and by nighttime I knew something was quite wrong. It was like my body was preparing for, and yielding to, something ominous, and curling up in fearful anticipation. Wednesday morning I woke up to read the full story of the planned terrorist attack unfolding in London.

And it all made sense now at a personal level. I am flying to London tomorrow for several months and perhaps there was some premonition of impending stress, turmoil and discomfort that my body (and spirit?) had sensed from the Universe as it was happening and before I had any sensory ‘information’ of it?

Now that I know, factually and intellectually, of course I am preparing, medicating, understanding and gearing up for defense. It’s interesting though, how much before the mind took over, something deeper and more in tune with the Universe had picked up on the interplay of my inner and outer worlds.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A year of living

What does one do with linear time when one wants to live in the Now? The paradox of using time to get out of time is a tough one to understand. I can only be in the Now, now. Never then, the then being in past or future of linear time. In this moment which will last fleetingly in linear time, but forever in the Now, I have to live all my life. What did they say – the Romans lived 2000 years ago. No, actually the Romans lived in the Now. But today, in this moment the only way that I can understand their Now, is as a thought that they lived 2000 years ago. Which is simply that – a thought – they could’ve lived 2 years ago for all I know, in some other interpretation of linear time.

In some other cultures say, just as we say it takes 365 days to make a year, perhaps the gauge is different – just like we have the FPS system and metric system and both make sense and both relate to each other and both are used to measure the exact same thing but come up with a different number altogether!

This milk bottle is 3.4 liters but only 1 gallon. It is, however, just this milk bottle. One is a nice round number and the other is this arbitrary sounding number 3.4, but they both denote the same thing – the milk in the bottle.

Similarly for time, I suppose. A day is the amount of time – or re-occurrence of the event of – the earth to rotate on its own axis. A year is the amount of time it takes for the earth to revolve around the sun – 365 days. What, though, if a year or was the amount of time that it took for the earth to rotate around something else? Or solar-system-year was the amount of time that the entire solar system took to complete one whole rotation around its own axis or revolution around some other “center” of reference? And what if that planet year could map to our year in some way: 1 solar-system year = 500 earth years.

The Romans then lived 4 years ago.
The Romans, though, still lived in the Now. My thought and understanding in this ego form of this ‘happening’ changes completely and I now think – oh, they lived quite recently, didn’t they.

So what the heck is the point here? The point is this: what if our partitioning method for our existence on this earth was completely different? What if, instead of living 80 years, we only conceptually lived 8 (solar-system) years. 2 child years, 2 young adult years, 2 adult years and 2 senior years. Would my thoughts and perceptions of reality, and happiness and success and failure change completely?

Would I now look at my life, and create events and experiences in my life, to fulfill different goals and purposes?

Would the ego – perhaps conditioned to experience more and worry less – relate to Absolute Reality in a completely different way?

Would the ego even exist? Would Absolute Reality get it, right away, that there was no point in putting structure and mappings and models on the Now to really understand the Now? That, in fact, the understanding of the Now, could only emerge when we stepped out of all maps and models and pattern-sets superimposed on the Now.

Only then could I see everything for what it really is. This long (or short), complex (or simple), profound (or trivial), beautiful (or shocking), subtle (or gross)-----
event (or non event), thing (or no-thing), happening (or non-happening) ….
which just IS (or IS NOT)?

Which just ?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Lucid Waking

Here then are the last few things that I need to accept. This notion of lucid waking.
The world is a dream and yeah yeah, we’ve all heard that. That at one level this is just a big delusion, the play of Maya on the substratum of consciousness. The weaving of the intricate drama of life in reference to the physical and the tangible, based on thoughts and emotions and the sensory impacts on the body. This drama that is created by the ego is the dream of the Waking Life. It is similar to the dream in the Sleeping Life.

The dream that I experience while I am asleep has characters and scenarios and dramas and fantasies and excitement. There is rarely drudgery but there is often fear and frustration. And there are two ways that I experience the events of my dream, in my dream. Unconsciously, when I lose myself completely in the dream and then feel the emotions and the adrenalin rush and the reactions to the scenarios. I sometimes wake up sweating or smiling and then realize – shucks (or thank god) it was just a dream! No harm done, I perceive all this at a conscious level and then go on living my life. My waking life is the reality for me then – and everything else was just a silly dream. I can laugh it off, shrug it off, shake it off.

There is another aspect of dreaming – lucid dreaming. And that is when things get really interesting. When I am dreaming, and I know that it’s a dream and therefore have the power to control, experience and even influence the events of my dream, in my dream. But regardless of whether I do, I am fully aware of the dream and witness it with detached interest. It’s all a dream anyway – I’m just the witnessing presence in which it is unfolding.

And so, shouldn’t there be a similar principle in the Waking Life? The two choices of how one lives life?. One where one is completely unconscious and takes everything that is happening (thoughts, emotions, actions) as reality and as such gets heavily influenced by them.

And then, shouldn’t there also be Lucid Waking? Where I know that whatever is happening is happening within me and not to me. That I am that Presence that is simply experiencing all these things and events.

Monday, July 24, 2006

SOFA: Sit on It

This cannot be comprehended at one level and is so obvious at another. The guilt that I feel for not crawling my way up that corporate ladder is balanced with the peace that I feel from this stress free existence. This worrying thought of not being productive enough is countered by the happy thought of appreciating the simplicity of life. The stress of not getting things when I want them or how I want them is nullified by the bliss that I feel in being in this encapsulated state of awareness. For this awareness is what I have been striving for all my life. I realize how important my living and home environment has been in allowing me to feel this awareness. San Francisco living with its beauty and ease and non-judgment does allow for cultivation of a mindset of being chill and relaxed. Of course, it can be taken to one extreme of the spectrum where – since everything is so easy – there is less motivation to strive and improve and seek in ones life. And that is when one sees oneself getting in a rut.

Like I do at times. When the stimulation during the day are confined to gym, dinner, cafes, runs and searching for random thrills. When one feels a lack of cultural and intellectual and creative stimulation. Where the predictability of daily life creates a yawning chasm between life and the ‘me’ that is experiencing the life. What can I say and do or not say or not do to remove this feeling of ‘lack’ or ‘resentment’ or being ‘fed-up’? For there is no doing or getting or becoming that can ever satisfy my ego – it will immediately latch on to another set of tasks that need to be done or things that need to be acquired or roles one needs to become to really be successful. But the accomplishments do little to remove the deeper sense of discontent. This vague but persistent feeling that only when I reach the zenith of my life, having fulfilled all my human potential, will the striving and seeking stop.

But what is this highest striving and seeking? Really? To love, to trust, to be fearless, to be open to life and to be true to ones heart? Simple words I know and often misused and often bastardized and trivialized but aren’t those the values that will set one free? Really free? And not just once and not just for a few moments but really for eternity? Where ones heart is full of love and gratitude, and ones body is full of energy and good health, and ones mind is active and naturally stimulated, and ones spirit is simply free.

And that is the perhaps the ultimate goal of human strife and seeking: Strong Body, Open Heart, Free Spirit, Active Mind.

S.O.F.A. Sit on It.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Personal Velocity

The Fourth Agreement: Always do your best

By doing your best, the habits of misusing your word, taking things personally, and making assumptions will become weaker and less frequent with time.

So what to make of this? This new situation that promises to lift me up from my state of comfort and predictability and throw me into the throes of turmoil once again? When I am placed, yet again, in a position to have to make the choice of spending another few months in personal volatility – moving between two, nay three cities. Three cities that I have always fantasized about living in, and even, until very recently, have felt the push and pull from in all directions.

What does one do when one is expected to do ones best and is not really given much choice in terms of ones physical environment and personal circumstances? When the parameters have been rolled out for you and you are expected to work within those and then expected to make your decisions and take your actions within those boundaries? Do you then, feel free at some level and trapped at another?

Free at one level from the humongous prison that the Ego bestows on itself and on me…by having to make choices and exercise control in every which way? But trapped on another level – again by the Ego since it feels it’s losing its grip on me – my ownership and resulting experiences will be governed by forces that are outside its realm. I am no longer a subject of the kingdom of the Ego. I am a subject of something else… anything else, it does not matter…the only thing that matters is that it is not the Ego. And so there is this deep anxiety and fear and frustration for not having charge of controlling my life experience.

And what do I do in all of this? Do I really feel that I am being controlled by internal or external forces? The personal ego within and the world ego without? Do I feel that no matter how hard I try, the experience of living my life will always be subtly or overtly influenced by forces beyond my control?

Or do I not? Do I feel that all of this that is happening is really of my own making and doing and causing? That “I” who experiences this is the one that is completely in charge of the quality of the life experience? Simply by choosing to follow these four agreements? That if I do my best, in whichever circumstance, without really questioning who or how this is being controlled, then by the process of completely immersing myself in the experience, I will choose to be impeccable with my word and I will not take things personally and I will not make assumptions and I will create my own kingdom of heaven on this earth.

And with this information in mind and heart I need to move through life in a way that does not question, influence, assume, suggest, deny, doubt or fear. I question, certainly, not to negate but to confirm and clarify. I speak up, not to challenge and destroy but to support and evolve. I acts, not to impress or influence but to create and fulfill the dream.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

You get the best of my...

The Fourth Agreement: Always do your best

Doing your best is taking the action because you love it, not because you are expecting a reward. Most people do exactly the opposite: They only take action when they expect a reward, and they don’t enjoy the action. And that’s the reason why they don’t do their best.

So here’s the problem with this. What if you don’t love the action that you need to take? How can you do your best then? Let’s look at it practically and not conceptually. I am working at a client site. There is a complex set of reasons why I am there – for financial, professional and practical reasons. I have duties and responsibilities and obligations to myself, my company, my family and my client. Not necessarily in that order and not necessarily at the same level of – but I do. I am there to perform a job, whether I like it or not.

And often times in such situations, I have no choice or voice in performing the task at hand. I just have to. There is no question of love or non-love for the task at hand. There cannot not be an expectation for reward – the reward may not necessarily be materialistic but it certainly is very personal. I may need to complete the job at hand to move on to something bigger. Not necessarily better, just different and more interesting.

What are we saying here? That every task no matter how small and how insignificant and how trivial and how simplistic should never be or become a problem? That if done selflessly, without the ego responding to it in terms of stress or expectation or frustration, will always become an act of love? No matter what the content and structure of the act itself might be?

I suppose that’s the message here…. In the Bhagwad Gita there is a Sanskrit shloka that expresses just this:

Karmanye vadhika raste maa faleshu kadachan.(
To do action without attachment and without desiring the fruits of actions.)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Master & Slave

The Third Agreement: Don't Make Assumptions

When you transform your whole dream magic happens in your life since spirit moves freely through you. There is mastery of intent, spirit, love, gratitude and life. This is the path to personal freedom.

How does one transform ones whole dream? Does one make choices based on will power and inner strength – that would lead to bright, honest, magical experiences, day by day, minute by minute, moment by moment? Or does one use fear and anger to transform the current situation because of the egoistic need to change and improve and become better? Both, one would say, can be effective in the short term. Self improvement books abound in western bookstores, all with the express intention of making you look better, act better, feel better, present yourself better. To strengthen and improve and enhance the image. It works in the short term because the ego is temporarily occupied with this new challenge. It can strive and stress and seek and speak. It can see and be seen, hear and be heard, express and impress. It can do and act and live.

Eventually, though, the real impact of such change sinks in. For any change effected thus, begets more chance for change. And the more that I change the more I get stuck in the familiar grooves of judgment, anxiety, criticism, comparison and analysis. The ego gets stronger creating blockades and bottlenecks for the free flow of energy through me. Trapped energy festers and stagnates and makes me feel heavy, sluggish, sullen and sad. I try to find ways out through quick fixes of pleasure and power. There is complete slavery of intent, love, gratitude and life. This is the path to personal hell.

And for the path of transforming dreams through inner strength and will? What of that? Isn’t that too a subtle way of the ego enforcing its position on my body and mind? Why use strength or will at all? Why not transform in this moment? Simply. By bringing awareness to myself in this moment. As different from the doer, actor, maker, and thinker. As the one who accepts and embodies all those roles and also at the same time is so much more than any and all of those. With this awareness I feel light and open in body, mind and heart, and Spirit does move freely through me. I don’t know what Spirit is – it has qualities that I cannot describe in words. All I know is that in moments when it flows through me…I identify with it completely. And then there is mastery of intent, love, gratitude and life. And this is the path to personal freedom.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Free Fear....Fear Free

The Second Agreement: Don't take anything personally

If you live without fear, if you love, then you live in that state of bliss where everything is so wonderful and beautiful.

Living without fear. State of bliss. Everything’s wonderful. Everything’s beautiful. Are these simply words that humans use to convince themselves that there is a better way to be human than the present human experience that they are having? When words start ringing hollow and we realize that words are all that we really have to base our reality on? To construct a story out of the day to day process of being human. That I can embellish or diminish every life experience by simply using words.

An event can become “fabulous” or “fantastic” or “amazingly good” or “yawningly dull”, or “awfully bad” or, in that interesting paradox of the English language…”terribly exciting” or “fabulously hideous”. So, the event takes on a mighty personality of its own and can then be recalled, related, reacted to or rejoiced in. I have now personalized the event and it is now my creation. I am the proprietor of the event and I now have ownership rights. I now feel possessiveness around the experience and then fear of losing the experience. I am now bound to the feelings invoked by the event based on the words that I have used to describe the event – to myself and to others.

What is the alternative then? Is there one? Am I simply destined to have this life experience, governed by the capricious word and based on self-created fear and uncertainty? Can one, while in the midst of this human experience, while in the throes of this cause and effect based existence, which can only be understood based on the limited filters of words and thoughts, really become without fear? Become liberated? In a state of bliss where everything is wonderful and beautiful?

I don’t know. And even if I did – there would be no words to describe it.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Movie Makers

The Second Agreement: Don't take anything personally.

Don’t take anything personally – otherwise you set yourself to suffer for nothing.

When we take something personally, we make the assumption that they know what is in our world, and we try to impose our world on their world.

I am watching a film. It is playing inside my head. It has action and adventure and high drama and romance and comedy and thrills and chills. It plays out in vivid colours of the rainbow at times and stark black and white at others. I am the primary character in my film. I am the hero and the victim and the comic and the romantic lead. I am the do-gooder and the villain and the sufferer and the caretaker. But whatever role I play, I have convinced myself that this is the only way to capture whatever is happening in the Universe. The way that I have captured it in my personal movie. And of course, since I can see the obviousness of this assumption, surely everybody else can as well, right? Everybody else, I tell myself, must be seeing the same film. Why, they have to, since that is the only film that I know about that has recorded all of these moments. So it must be the truth.

You, too, are watching a film. And perhaps I am in your film. But strangely enough for me, I am not the primary character in your film! You are. And the events in our lives, and the reactions to the events in our lives, happen to you. The colours and hues and emotions and thoughts are different than those in my film. I can’t believe it – how could you be so blind or so dense or so simplistic or so naïve in your interpretation of the truth?

For isn’t my truth the Universal Truth? Doesn’t everybody see things my way? Don’t all my personal thoughts and perceptions of the truth simply permeate into the whole wide world and then simply, through magical osmosis enter your world and become your thoughts and perceptions of the truth?

They don’t??????? Hmmmm…..

Friday, July 14, 2006

Sloth, Lust, Greed, Gluttony, Pride, Envy, Anger

The First Agreement: Be impeccable with your word

We use the word to spread our personal poison – to express anger, jealousy, envy, and hate.

If we become impeccable with our word, any emotional poison will eventually be cleaned from our mind and from our communication in our personal relationships.

This negativity that permeated through me all of yesterday and manifested itself in the destruction of emotional equanimity and mental discrimination and unconscious actions can only be attributed to this. The destructive power of my thoughts and words when not used with impeccability.

I want to spread my emotional poison then, since that is the only way that I can defend the false perception of reality created by the untruthful word. My position and my actions and my thoughts have to be rationalized and protected. The ego knows that this is the only way that it can defend the inauthentic word or thought. And so, rather than creating and nurturing, I use more words and more thoughts to diminish and destroy.

I express anger rather than simply state my concern; I feel jealousy rather than allow the release of emotional possessiveness; I feel envy rather than happiness and support for others achievements; I feel hate rather than allowing the release of self-righteousness and the feeling of being a victim.

And this is the emotional poison that gathers and grows with inauthentic thoughts and words. It accumulates and then is expressed and spreads more hurt and pain in all my relationships. Especially in my relationship with myself.

Witness the truth of the moment. And then act and feel and think and say. It will always lead to personal freedom.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Blame the Judge; Judge the Blame

The First Agreement:Be impeccable to your word

When you are impeccable to your word you take responsibility for your actions but you do not judge or blame yourself.

Self Rejection is a mortal sin. Use your energy in the direction of truth and love for yourself.

The hardest knocks, the deepest wounds, the strongest blows, I reserve for myself. For every action and every emotion and every thought that I experience, there is judgment rather than simple witnessing, bestowing of blame rather than acceptance of responsibility or egoistic self-congratulation rather than grateful thanks for the perfection of the process.

And all of these actions and emotions and thoughts then create in me self-rejection rather than self-love. Because I use my word to destroy what does not feel true to my heart. And what is not true to my heart, that takes me away from the experience of truth, is also what stands out as failure for the ego. And the ego can never simply witness and accept. It needs to judge and correct or reject or improve or remove. The ego wants to change what is. And all of this energy that it employs in changing the effect of my actions and emotions and thoughts takes away from the energy that energizes me through awareness and acceptance of their truth.

The practice then is to simply allow the actions to execute, the thoughts to unfold and the emotions to emerge. For they are not done based on my own volition. They are simply the way the Universe is expressing itself through me. And so, rather than rejecting them – and in the process myself and in the process the Universe – can I not simply bring them to profound and unconditional awareness?

For, by and by, with such awareness of my actions and emotions and thoughts, there will be the purity and truth that “I” so want to bring to them.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


The First Agreement - Be impeccable to your word.

What you dream, what you feel, and what you really are will all be manifested through the word.
Like a sword with two edges, your word can create the most beautiful dream or your word can destroy everything around you.

My word! The spoken and the unspoken one. That which I use to communicate with others externally through conversation and dialogue and with myself internally through thoughts. That which I use to experience, interpret, express and then manifest my dreams. And my nightmares. For every dream that takes me away from my truth eventually becomes my nightmare.

And I can use the word so frivolously and I can use the word so profoundly. And both are perhaps okay as long as I am impeccable to my word. The interesting result of that, though, is that my word, is based on expressing my truth, and will always manifest in beauty and joy. And when I am not impeccable with my word, it will always, without question, create destruction of my, and everyone else’s around me, dream.

Monday, July 10, 2006

True Believer

The Four Agreements: Domestication & Dream of the Planet

Truth is everywhere but with the agreements and beliefs we have stored in our mind, we have no eyes for the truth. -
The truth of this moment is simple – there is no need to question or struggle with it. It is a gorgeous summer day in the city. I am sitting in a café with large picture windows that show me big blue sky and soft warm sunshine. An urban landscape of cars and shoppers criss-cross with the ample green of trees and shrubs in the headlands beyond.

There are no bindings and restrictions, physically. And if I really let this sink in, there are none mentally or emotionally either. I feel I am in a steady frame of mind. Or at least, there are no external stimuli that are provoking a wild jumble of thoughts and emotions inside me. Nothing externally can be evidenced as wrong or different or challenging. And I should be able to accept this as the truth of this moment.

But can I? Can I let this moment just be and make an agreement with myself to not question its uneventful simplicity? Can I let consciousness flow in and out of me and make me aware of the truth of the moment, in this moment of truth?

And there in lies the dilemma – since it is the “I” that assumes that it is allowing this moment to unfold in awareness, rather than the other way around. And the “I” therefore, feels responsible for working on making this moment better than what it is.

And with this agenda in place, and referring to the thick set of agreements and beliefs that it holds so dear to its survival, “I” sets about righting all the wrongs of this moment. Suddenly the panhandlers smoking and spitting outside are irritants brought to my attention. The baby whimpering on another table distracts me from my work. The music is now too loud – I can’t concentrate. The quick scan to check for ‘that’ email brings new disappointment and disillusion with this whole dating process.

“I” descends into a familiar funk. And so in the process to live up to its agreements, the truth of the moment gets clouded in a complex web of mind-bound hope, stress, anxiety and doubt.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Was, Not Was

And so what is not authentic can never really remain. And that is perhaps what happened with the previous post. I was writing perhaps for the sake of convincing myself – that I strongly believe in something - when every action of mine was defying this belief.

And then, I deleted it without thinking.

Without thinking. This episode that happened today that made me behave so unconsciously and made me pay the price for that behaviour almost immediately. That which left me feeling violated, victimized, exploited and cheated. In so many ways but that which also showed me the way out of this self-defeating behaviour. That there was no more choice left in this matter but to accept the inevitable. That I am getting ready to shed even this. And that now there are no more excuses left. That this authenticity that I am seeking has to be first to myself through my actions and thoughts and emotions. That nothing is being done against me…that those are just projections of what is happening to others in their reality at that moment.

My absolute reality is this and there is no more need to seek relative realities any more. For they will never satisfy the never-ending needs of the ego. And so they must be relinquished for the greater truth in the greater scheme of this existence.

So much for that. So much for the self-flagellations and the self-congratulations.

Life unfolds in every given moment exactly as it should. These losses of physical and intellectual possessions is showing me that whatever was, and now is not, has been consumed somewhere else. And, whatever was not, will never be.

And whatever is, is the truth. My truth. Anyway and everyway.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Where did you go, What did you do, How did you ‘be'?

This feeling of deeper contentment is what I sit with at the end of this period of downtime. I look back in my journal (Feb 22: "Where will you go, what will you do, how will you be?") and read with mixed emotions the excitement and anxiety and wondrousness that I had felt in trying to capture the essence of that moment. That moment which would be the beginning of this journey when everything seemed alive and possible. I knew not how it would unfold but I was determined that several steps would be taken to make this journey an experience worth remembering and truly cherishing.

Well, have I succeeded in that? Rather than quantifying the experiences that I have had - and there have been several - I would rather focus on this overall feeling of inner stillness and energy and gratitude and peace and acceptance and spirit that I seemed to have tapped into. It fills me with a different form of excitement now…not of anticipation but one of kinetic dynamism. A spirit that is ready to take on anything and everything in life – within and without. I want to embody the cliché - be all that I can be - in every which way. I feel like I have become completely exposed to my own self now. That there are no crevices in my mind and heart that have not been examined and explained and accepted and addressed.

And with that process there has resulted complete acceptance of what is a deeper clarity of what needs to be enhanced, diminished, brought into focus or eliminated from attention to make this life and living the perfect experience that it really is. This experience though now being amplified because of the attention that I bring to every moment and aspect of it.

Will I take it on? I’ll keep you posted.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Unbearable Lightness

There is a weightlessness to this moment – like all my baggage is missing or lost or gone. The aches and pains and staleness of the past and the worries and anxieties of the future and the naked heaviness of the present – they are all gone. This weightlessness is funny because it is in relation to nothing that I’ve known in the past. It is as if I am simply a cluster of molecules that are experiencing the flow of energy within and through them. They are propelled up and down and back and forth and they acquiesce in perfect harmony with each such movement.

Even the weight of my thoughts is missing, it seems. Those that weigh so heavily on me drowning me in their potent yearning or dread. Even those light fluffy ones that are simply wispy whims or feathery fantasies – harmless at one level but with the deadly potency of creating an all consuming mental movie if left unchecked.

And as I experience this lightness I also sense a feeling of expansiveness. An awareness that this moment engulfs me but exhumes me as well. It shines a light, bright glow on the spirit behind the shadow, the essence under the persona. And that focus is perhaps what allows me to carry on my shoulders this new load.

This load of simple awareness – one that weighs nothing but contains everything

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The change that I wish

This is it then… these feelings of acceptance and happiness and longing and frustration and all the people and places and things that are the catalysts and reasons and stimulants for them.

These sudden mood swings from anxiety to serenity are quite strange. Especially since I am bringing complete awareness into them. At one moment I feel that I need all of this – this want and hope and possessiveness consumes me. And then at others it just seems pointless. That there is nothing that I should be striving for since it’s all within me anyway. And in moments like this – all this makes perfect sense.
That this conflict, this turmoil this resistance and friction and frustration is also perfect and is a mirror to show me something that I need to see within myself - of how I perceive the world around me.

As me, all of me, or as some external force challenging me all the time. When I see that all of this is me then I really can be completely immersed in it and go with the flow at every moment and that is the meaning of true and simple joy.

Don’t question anything to make it different but question it only to get clarity within my own self. You must be the change you wish to see in the world , is really the key to it all isn’t it. So then, why do I have this feeling of anxiety still?

I don’t know … I need to find out in the most sincere way possible. This lecture might be a first. Onwards and upwards then.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Direct Experience

Why is this moment full of such pregnant expectation? Why do I feel that I want to connect and communicate and at the same time be by myself and just be? Why do I feel on one hand that the world is waiting out there for me to express myself and experience it, whereas on another hand I feel that this is the most peaceful “my” time that I need to acknowledge and appreciate?

Why do I write stories if I don’t want an audience for them? Why do I consistently improve my physical skills if I don’t want others to recognize them? Why do I constantly strive to open my mind to new concepts and theories if there is no one in my life that I would really choose to share them with? Why do I constantly seek the spirit within if I refrain from experiencing it without?

Or do I really? Why do I perform acts and expect others to react if not to feel the connectedness with the universe? And why do I consistently feel disappointed when it does not happen on my own terms? What is the bigger picture in all of this? What is this need for perfection that I consistently feel and then consciously deny by my actions?

Why do I need the constant approval of the universe if I choose to not be part of the universe or be part of it only on my terms of space and time and energy and availability? Why do I then feel resentment and concern if the universe, too, exercises the same rights for its own amusement, enjoyment, self-discovery and whathaveyou?

In this continuous striving for approval I am now aware that perhaps there is something deeply and intrinsically missing in both my internal and external environments. That, although I constantly strive to connect with the universe, I also consistently pull away from it. I create situations where others who may be naturally inclined to share consciousness with me feel overwhelmed or pushed away. And in those situations all I can do is stop and take a breath and realize that it will be okay, ultimately, eventually. But only if I do not cast such aspersion and judgment on my universe. The universe will still unfold. I can choose to be in it, of it, or out of it.

But in this moment such clarity does not strike me. I want to escape but I don’t want to escape from my life. I want to move on but I don’t want to move away from my surroundings. I want to give selflessly but I don’t want to expend too much of myself in this giving and receiving.

I want to be. See, I say that but is that really a specific phenomenon that I feel that I need to experience? Why can’t the being just be part of the living? It can’t be a new, specific experience – this ‘being’. It’s like what someone said in the lecture the other day: your experiences of “God” are just that – your experiences - they are not “God”.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Dream myself a life

Is this really happening? Or is this just a dream? Did I just dream myself a life? That I was born, grew up, had experiences, thought thoughts, felt feelings, followed ideologies and devised philosophies? At regular intervals, in this life, I fell asleep. Then, too, I had experiences, thought thoughts, felt feelings and manufactured concepts, but all were in a different continuum, perhaps. At a certain level even in my dreams I still knew that I was doing just that. That eventually I would wake up …often though, the dream seemed completely real and there was nothing that I could do to shake off this conviction, until one of two things happened. Either I woke up, psychologically but not physically, and told myself to experience the dream but also know at another level that it was just that. Or, I really did wake up psychologically and physically and then I simply knew that it was unreal, since I was now in a different state of consciousness. In both scenarios though, my approach to my experience changed radically. I was no longer consumed by it…being affected and impacted by every possible turn of events within the dream. I could now keep in awareness the knowledge that it would – this state would - eventually end and I would then move on to the next and the next experience in other states of consciousness.

This knowledge, however, has not changed my overall need for control of the experience. I know that I cannot control my dream experience so I let go of any attempt to do so. However, in my waking life, I am fully aware that a lot of this can be controlled by me – I can make things happen if I set my mind to it. And then I try to resist, change, manufacture and manipulate. And in those moments, since there is no longer flow with the process as it unfolds, there is also tremendous pain and anxiety.

Take this moment for example. I know there is nothing that I can do to change it. I realize that I am suffering acutely due to my need for controlling this experience. I want to make things happen! I am waiting for certain triggers to make things happen – for me to feel that now I have the power to influence this experience. All the things that have not transpired as I imagined they would, in the last few days, weeks, perhaps even months. Sheesh, why stop there, why not go back all the way? All the things that have not transpired according to my expectations in all those times in my life, and which I have felt upset and anxious and frustrated by. In hindsight, the attempt at control seems like such nonsense. And with 20-20 hindsight with some self-awareness, one understands that the process unfolded exactly as planned according to cosmic and karmic laws. However, that lesson is soon forgotten as new experiences unfold in the increasingly volatile present.

And then I try to do the same again. I have an expectation. From myself, from others, from life, the world, nature and even from “God”. In an exact similar fashion all these entities have their set of expectations from me. And when they do not perfectly complement each other, then there is bound to be a very valid feeling of hopes dashed or wishes unfulfilled. I express my disappointment then in various ways, through self flagellation, self disparaging, self deprecation, self sabotage and self analysis. I also pin my disappointment on the integrity and behaviour of others. And while all of this is unfolding I am unconscious of the power of the process itself. Of what, by presenting such a scenario for me, it is really trying to show me. About me and my self created experience of the universe.

Can I just not drop it then? Simply? And let this moment just be. Nothing else. No emotions, analysis, witnessing even? Can I just be this moment and let it show me the way to the next moment?

These feelings of pride, hurt, pain, despair, sorrow, humiliation, anxiety, disappointment, frustration, shock, chagrin, anger, self-consciousness and inadequacy will all stay in the moments that they were supposed to. And then move on….and then return again. The only guarantee is that they will stay and they will impact me and they will move on. And they will be replaced by others and those in turn by others and so on and on. And for each time that I do not bring awareness in the moment… of the moment … these feelings will be accentuated and personalized by the “I”. Because then, the “I” will try to make sense of it all. It will associate a thought with a feeling with an action and will create an experience – a personal experience that the Ego will then try to control by changing it if it feels good, or improving it to make it better, or removing it if it feels bad, or lessening it to make it less worse. But in all of those events, it will have lost the essence of the emotion, the thought, the action and the experience. And now it will recall and relate this experience through memory and fabrications and fantasies and reminisces and add it to that bag which then shape its shadow and persona. And again and again there will be a further shaping and solidification of my identity.

So the practice then is to see how this identity can be made less solid and more fluid. Can I then say that each time that this experience is registered by the ego…it processes the experience completely until I am very clear and very sure that there is no desire to change any of it?

I suppose the concept of Absence Of Desire is not to “not want anything”. But not to want to ‘change’ anything that is happening. And isn’t that the ultimate respect for the karmic law of cause and effect?

I cannot change the cause since it has to unfold in the present moment according to karmic and cosmic laws. So, if I am being bestowed a bounty of joy and abundance of material, psychological and spiritual wealth, well then that is what is happening. I do not have any desire to change any of it. If, on the other hand, I am being bestowed trying and unhappy experiences then, too, I respect the process and do not try to change any of it. The absence of desire comes from the complete acceptance and trust in the process. Not in a passive I-can’t-do-anything-and-this-is-my-destiny-and-I-must-suffer-for-the-sins-of-being-human way, but because of the conviction that the process is unfolding to show me the path to perfection. They show me those sides and aspects of myself that I embrace and those that I reject. And by complete acceptance of both the positive and the negative I can grow to truly experience my self. As this channel of joy, knowledge and truth.

And that is when I wake up from dreaming myself a life, to actually experiencing my life.
So let go. Let go even of letting go.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Con

This is so frustrating at a certain level – this waiting to hear back from people – trying to make plans, trusting that people will live up to their words and then be disappointed continually and consistently. Well, there is not much one can do about this except allow them their time and space knowing in my heart that I too have done that to others. Perhaps too many times in the past.

And the irony of it is that I know that it all comes to a full circle anyway – that they do respond and they do return and they do try to make amends, just as I do too. But in the moment, while it is happening, the ego and the mind do not allow me to see past the immediate perceived slight. And then I wait and fantasize and fear the worst and label them as insensitive, ignorant, inconsiderate and every other ‘in’ that I so self-righteously am not. And then they do call and respond exactly when I am obsessing the most about them and then there is this gasping sigh of relief and lifting of emotional anxiety.

But then, while it was happening, I had completely forgotten myself, and my higher self, and now I regret it and feel remorse and guilt for all the terrible things I thought and said. And I convince myself that it will never happen again – next time I will be more patient – and allow them their time and space before jumping to conclusions.

And so, the con continues.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Moving Right Along

It has to happen – and you know it. You prepare yourself for it mentally – building various scenarios for the possibility of that chance encounter. On the streets, in the bars, in a restaurant, or museum, or a coffee shop. You try to prepare yourself for how it will be, how you will behave and what you will say. You will hope that you are the one who initiates the encounter, or is at least the one who is established on the higher ground, morally, ethically, even physically and geographically. That you will be sitting reading Proust and sipping cappuccino in that café, or hanging out with charming friends having loads of fun at that bar, or walking briskly down that street barking orders into your cell phone as you adjust your power tie to sit perfectly on your blue striped suit. Or happen to be sitting in the most intimate corner of that softly lit restaurant, the focus of the adoring gaze of a bewitched Adonis. And they, of course, in stark contrast, limping down the street, clutching a wet umbrella and suppressing a hacking cough, would look up towards you and wretchedly wonder, why! Why they missed out on being with this fabulous, trendy, witty, compassionate and amazing person. How could they’ve been so blind? And that one look of yearning, remorse, guilt and sadness would be your reward for all those hours and days and weeks and months of self-torture and despair you had subjected yourself to.
But of course it doesn’t happen that way. You are probably walking down that street lost in your thoughts, sunny or gloomy, and there they are right upon you, doing their thing, living their life, and all that you can do is take one look at them and all your insecurities and memories come flooding back. You still hold them personally responsible for shattering all the dreams that were carefully crafted in your head regarding the eternal bliss that the two of you were meant to share but now couldn’t. All because their selfish needs came in the way of your perfect dreams.

Any attempt at civility on their part is of course immediately dismissed as condescension; their maintaining a polite distance awaiting your response first, is judged as outright slight; and them quietly moving on about their business is considered a shocking and callous disregard for your feelings.

They can’t win. And you can’t either. And so the two of you go on through life, keeping the distance, protecting the image, shielding the persona and suppressing the pain. You convince yourself that this is good, that this is healthy. This is the way to protect myself from hurt and pain and future folly. And all the time your edges harden and your ego strengthens and your isolation from everything that is not labeled yours deepens and your world narrows into this tiny speck of volatile, turbulent, repressed energy that resists the inevitable flow of life.

And that I suppose is labeled Moving On.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Last turn in the road

And yet again, I feel these alternative states of satisfaction and hopelessness. I just finished writing an interesting story. Perhaps not groundbreaking but it helped me gather my thoughts about the process that has been unfolding for me in the past few weeks and that which I have allowed to simply take over this time of my life.

It was not an easy release – loosening my grip on, and control of, my experiences, my thoughts, my emotions and my actions, has not been easy. It has never been easy for me – the master of my destiny in every which way. And then this time happens. This jury time, this down time, this time to grieve and feel pain and find solace and then heal, the time to let go, the time to simply experience this world by traveling to different lands and witnessing other people and lives and lifestyles and recognize that all of us go through all of this. All of us feel the pain and create the problems and find the solutions and enjoy the pleasures. All of us are just here allowing the process of being and becoming human. All of us, though, are not always entirely aware of the difference in being and becoming. One seems to complement the other for some, and negate the other for others.

So, anyway. This letting go - letting go of control to feel pain and stay open to sorrow and allow grief and anger and to succumb to healing - has not been easy. I still find this so hard to comprehend at one level, although it does seem to loosen its grip on me when I do try to take conscious action to allow consciousness into my reality.

The meditation retreat was another highlight – this practice of letting go, not resisting the resistance, or accepting the non-acceptance, presented more challenges to the rational Ego and allowed chance for more catharsis from preconceived expectations of how to deal with sorrow and fear.

Traveling to Costa Rica alone and to Puerto Vallarta with friends was also an amazing experience since that allowed me to let go of other kinds of control. Of trying to organize, arrange and manage the process of having pleasure and fun. There were other, more experienced people, who would take care of those choices for me. All I needed to do was allow myself to be taken for the ride. Regardless of whether it was swinging like a monkey through a rainforest hanging on to a thin cable; shown the sights of birds and crocodiles and wildlife by brazen guides on a muddy river safari; or allowing myself to be taken to a restaurant of someone’s choice, or to just experience the food, the ambience the company and the moment, at any given moment.

Such letting go has indeed come with its own issues, none of which I was as aware of as in PV – the process of leaving stuff, losing things, walking away from material possessions. Knowing that they never belonged to me, or knowing that although they did on a certain plane, they were really simply placeholders for keeping track of these moments in time on another. If they were no longer here with me, they were somewhere with someone else – the Not Me who also, on another plane, was part of me.


And now. This final phase that I have started in the past few days and which will finally kick off ritually today – with the full moon. This conscious choice of abstinence, to focus on what I can give up, and bring this sacrifice into my awareness and sit with the results of such choices. How will I feel to let go of such pleasures – of drinking, companionship, fine food, sex, and other substances? Will there be pain and frustration and anger and a fearful realization that I am simply attempting to plot against the inevitable – the way of the world that has been charted for me? The way of this world which is, for everyone, harsh and ruthless and ultimately isolating?

Am I doing these things with the hope of being granted certain gifts in return? The gift of whatever I have sacrificed but now in its much higher and purer form? Instead of pleasure, to drink the nectar of joy; instead of sex, to experience lovemaking with a soul mate; instead of heartburn from food and drink, amazing health and fitness in return for a sensible diet; instead of routine companionship, a divine connection with the aforementioned lifetime lover; and instead of momentary release from mind-altering substances, all kinds of holy, godly, divine and sublime experiences that will keep me in a perpetually altered state of unadulterated bliss?

Is that the condition then? Grant me these when I sacrifice to thee their much lesser and more meaningless versions?

I don’t know – and I can’t tell you until the process is indeed complete.

All I can do at this point is dive into it.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Dive In

And in this moment after a meditation that has transported me to a place that is beyond words and thoughts, I feel that I get what it means to align my self with My Self – the merging of Atman with Brahman. That this process is so simple but so powerful. It’s the path of no resistance to the flow of the universe. Be whatever it is that is being offered to you. This cup of chai that sits in front of me in a lovely copper vessel, this beautiful tea shop that exudes serenity, the softness of the music, the sweetness of the tea, the quietness of the heart. It is all there in this moment as I embrace it completely. There is nothing that is not being allowed in or released out. This negative thought, this insecure egotistic notion, this feeling of just being…they are all here… waiting to be given awareness. All of this, is all of me. There is no separation and no discrimination. There simply is. And how do I proceed from here? This energy is so powerful at this moment – and I want to bathe in it, soak its essence so that I don’t have to ever forget what it means to simply be one again. Surrendering to the higher consciousness. Align ones consciousness with the cosmic consciousness and powerful phenomenon will begin to take form and shape in your life – and that is the true Awakening.

Feel like I need to capture this in a more dynamic way – like this process is of diving into the deep end with no question of what it would be like to resist. Can you, not resist even resistance? Can you just simply embrace everything because everything is you and everything is happening within and through you? Can you simply wake up and dive into Life?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Qualitatively Speaking

So strange is this grip on me of this feeling that wants to stick on, suck me into those all too familiar fantasies and delusions. Even when here I am in god’s paradise – this surreal country of Costa Rica – where everything seems to have a magical quality. The constant stream of birds, tittering and chattering and singing in merriment and amusement. The stunningly blue sky and deliriously golden sun and the gray blue ocean and the lush green hills and trees. The warm, friendly people who have adjusted and accepted the shift in their own eco-culture since the presence of the foreigner – gringo – sustains it with a steady infusion of the almighty dollar.

Side note: As I sit here sipping a beer on this warm humid afternoon looking out into the surreal landscape, a blue iguana stops by to say Hi. It looks around, chews on some floor dropping, not really sure where to go. And then, in a quite matter of fact fashion, gives me a half-nod and ambles on, each thrust of a paw contorting its body in an absurd fashion while its muscley tail firmly slithers on the floor. There is no confusion here. The birds give it its space, dancing over and around it, not teasing, just hobnobbing.

Everything is in flow. Even the crocodiles in the soggiest muddiest of rivers, Tartalia, yesterday, were content in doing their thing. Laying around, lazing around, widening jaws and opening paws to pose for our pictures. Even obliging to snap the chicken out of the daredevil tour boat driver’s hands to allow us a full view of their hideous profiles for our Kodak moments.

The ocean breeze sweeps over my sweaty skin – the beady bracelet sticks to my wrist and my bare feet lay folded on the cool stone floor. My breath is even, my head is clearing from memory and analysis, and clouding now, with the buzz of the afternoon’s first beer. I wait for Madjiel to pick me up and take me back to San Jose for my final two days in Costa Rica.

How does one qualify a life experience? It’s easier to quantify isn’t it? Swinging high through long tall trees with no ground in sight – careening at breakneck speed through a canopy in the forest – Kierkans the guide egging me on in that strong and encouraging way. A lovely lunch with a Venezuelan family discussing the … merits…. of Bush and Chavez and Miami and New York. A visit to a coffee plantation, swimming in warm blue ocean and lazing on golden sandy beaches, driving through pelting rain on unpaved treacherous roads to finally reach the beautiful hamlet of Manuel Antonio. It’s easier to cross all of them on a checklist and quantify the overall experience – done that, done that, oh, just managed to catch a glimpse of that, spent 2 hours doing that. And overall, I am happy to report that I managed to accomplish 75 percent of the recommended adventures in the Discover Costa Rica! traveler’s guide!

Now that’s a pretty good experience, eh? How would I qualify it, though? Can one? What was the overall feeling as I spent a week in this amazing country doing my own thing, at my own pace, in my own space? There were many moments of losing myself completely in the experience. And there were others where I executed hard and strong effort to force myself to ‘lose myself in it’, the paradox of the exercise not quite lost on me, even as the effort got stronger and the outcome more fruitless. There were moments of quietness and peace, moments of wonder and awe, moments of simplicity of human connection and moments of excitement and delight. And there were other moments of sadness, thoughtlessness, anxiety and loneliness.
Always, though, whether I knew it or not, they were moments unfolding in Pure Awareness.