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30 January, 2009

Free will: the power to choose

I was thinking to write on different topic. However, due to interesting discussions on the previous post contributed by my friends, I lured to extend the topic a bit more. Rather than trying to ‘answer’ the curiosity which I may not do, I am just holding the topic more. As pointed in the discussion, we found us as the victims of reactive mind. We generally can’t grasp the gap between the stimulus and the response, which is the greatest power- freedom to choose. As soon as we receive events as sensations, there is built-in reaction pattern to respond. Therefore we often lack to witness the 'free will'.

Firstly, there arose the concern about 'events' and life. In ordinary sense, the term events in “life is more important than events” was meant to those particular events which are still binding us, whose negative impacts burden us physically and mentally. We many times create a boundary (emotional, personal and social) because of those events happened in the past.

In general sense, as Caroline wrote “Every event in our life is neutral...until we give it meaning". Our 'life', the way we feel, is not accumulation of events. Rather it is the accumulation of meaning associated with the events. See how a single event carries so many different meanings to different people, sometimes diametrically opposite impact to the different observers. Each event consists of three parts- fact, fiction and truth. Fact is the objective observation, fiction is the unconscious reactive pattern and the truth is the understanding in a direction of growth. So, can we deduce positive meaning with events? Although it is very difficult not to generate fiction in the every events in our life, if we watch carefully, we can do in most of the cases in our everyday life. Getting accustomed to the ‘small’ events we can be master to the difficult events. Even the term ‘attainment’ also comes, as I believe, in terms of collective understanding of the events.

Lastly I like to conclude with very inspiring story, which I always love, of Viktor Franlin who practice the freedom in very adverse environment. I quote the following portion of Franlin's biography from book seven habits of highly effective people. Enjoy if you have not already gone through.

Frankl was a psychiatrist and imprisoned in the death camps of Nazi Germany, where he experienced things that were so repugnant to our sense of decency that we shudder to even repeat them. His parents, his brother, and his wife died in the camps or were sent to the gas ovens. Except for his sister, his entire family perished. Frankl himself suffered torture and innumerable indignities, never knowing from one moment to the next if his path would lead to the ovens or if he would be among the "saved" who would remove the bodies or shovel out the ashes of those so fated.

One day, naked and alone in a small room, he began to become aware of what he later called "the last of the human freedoms" -- the freedom his Nazi captors could not take away. They could control his entire environment, they could do what they wanted to his body, but Viktor Frankl himself was a self-aware being who could look as an observer at his very involvement. His basic identity was intact. He could decide within himself how all of this was going to affect him. Between what happened to him, or the stimulus, and his response to it, was his freedom or power to choose that response.

In the midst of his experiences, Frankl would project himself into different circumstances, such as lecturing to his students after his release from the death camps. He would describe himself in the classroom, in his mind's eye, and give his students the lessons he was learning during his very torture. Through a series of such disciplines -- mental, emotional, and moral, principally using memory and imagination -- he exercised his small, embryonic freedom until it grew larger and larger, until he had more freedom than his Nazi captors. They had more liberty, more options to choose from in their environment; but he had more freedom, more internal power to exercise his options. He became aninspiration to those around him, even to some of the guards. Later, he helped others find meaning in their suffering and dignity in their prison existence. In the midst of the most degrading circumstances imaginable, Frankl used the human endowment of self-awareness to discover a fundamental principle about the nature of man: Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose. Within the freedom to choose are those endowments that make us uniquely human. In addition to self-awareness, we have imagination -- the ability to create in our minds beyond our present reality. And, we have independent will, the ability to act based on our self-awareness, free of all other influences.

28 January, 2009

Art of living: Reading our inner 'Geeta' or samyak dristi

In one of my earlier post, we came across the phrase 'Reading our own Geeta/Bible/Koran'. It is worthy to read. If a person only reads the outer scriptures and lacks to read his/her own, there is the origin of hypocrisy; we cannot live, or put our energy to live, what we think and desire. There are many examples who only read the inner 'Geeta' and attained the unconditional happiness. But, there is none in human history who only read the outer scriptures and got peace or attained happiness. On contary, When one reads inner scripture, s/he can attain, then there is birth of scriptures. Jesus attained and the Bible born, Buddha attained and the dhammapad born, Muhammad attained and Koran born, and so on. The outer scriptures, in true sense, are the pointer and catalyst aiming to direct us to read our own, the original one.

How to read the own Geeta?
To read own Geeta means to watch own life and living patterns, and identify the causes of (un) happiness. If happiness is within, where exactly is it? Let us take a closer look. The term we know 'life' is a chain of events happening one after another according to their own laws. But what we interpret is little different, it is the fiction we create according to the way of looking. The event happens outside and through our sensor system we receive the signals. When the mind receive the signals in term of vibration of unique frequency, we feel it through the sensations. There is program within us which judges the feelings in term of 'good' and 'bad'. Then there is craving and aversion of respective sensations. This the origin of pain.
Coming to the point
We are happy or sad, not because of external event, but because of the manipulation of that event; the story being added from our side with that event. If we look at our own past and capture the moments of pain which are even re-striking now, what we find the root?
1) The loss of valuable things?
No. There are lot of news about loss everyday but why this particular one is causing me pain. It is my fiction that the lost thing is MINE.

2) Feeling insulted and victim?
We are creating the outer layer to show other. The layer consists of story known as PERSONALITY. If the feeling are not accordance to that layer, the story amplifies the feeling so that it could be able to hurt us.

3) The result didn't happen as we wish?
In the stage of doing work, there is involvement of me only. But for results, there are many combinations to be fulfilled, there is involvement of entire universe. I am claiming that the universe should only favor me. I am the center of universe! how dare I!

4) Put other events and watch..

Is there any way to getting rid of these chains and bundle of frictions? The trap is due the program written unconsciously by ourselves. Let us write own program. Be programmer.

Be Programmer means
A vision free of fiction may be called as Right Paradigm or Samyak Dristi a constituents of eightfold path of Lord Buddha.

For meditation practitioner who are accustomed to watch own feelings, it may be applicable to be at the state of letting-go, recognizing the fact that all the sensations are ephemeral; the essense of vipassana.
However, for the common people, can we rewrite our story or twist our program based upon:
=> Life is more important than events,
=> people are more important than things,
=> principle are more important than relations?
The question is open so is the answer.

23 January, 2009

Five Delusions of Spiritual Journey.

Human race has one religion- it is the quest for happiness. Each of our activity is motivated consciously or unconsciously to get better feeling. Even a thief and a murderer rationalize their actions in term of seeking 'happiness'. We have many beliefs to achieve it; wealth, power, knowledge, truth and so on. Among them, it is amazing that power and wealth have never failed to confuse human race as a synonym of happiness. And, this chaos of struggle to achieve more, makes a person machine depleting much of his life energy. However, in this world of discord, there are still few people who believe and seek happiness primarily in recognizing IT within. They may not be 'religious' but are 'spiritual'.

Here is another aspect which always fascinates me. There is no single person in human history who could have ever become happy by searching it outside. Alexander to Einstein, Russel to Shaw, all found emptiness within during their death. One the contrary, there is no single person in human race who ever have tried honestly to seek peace within and failed to achieve so. In spite of this marvelous fact, why the wealth and power always entice us as synonym of happiness? In great extent, so-called religious activities are also aimed to generate more coin and influence.

Why it is so? There are five delusions about spirituality since ages..

1) Spiritual quest is for few excluded person who are gifted and destined to achieve self- realization.
2) How can we do meditation when the world around us is filled with chaos? There was never perfect peace in world nor will be. In this dialectic world new controversies and disputes, physical or mental form, come and go. A sick person is arguing, " I will not take medicine until i will be healthy".
3) Spiritual activities are for older age and retired life. Phew! we lose all our creative energy in other things and hope to happen good thing with exhausted body and mind. Importantly, who knows we will live until our old age.
4) We have no time for meditation.
It is matter of priority. We never say- we have no time to eat, bath and sleep. We don't say-we have no time for busying in nonsense task, spending hours in TV, seeking something in internet to kill our boring. . We somehow manage. See our priority list, spirituality is probably at the last of the menu.
5) Spiritual practice is for elite and wealthy people.
In the medieval time bathing, shaving and tooth-brushing were termed as activities of elite class. It is a cleaning process and in reach to anybody whoever like to do so.

20 January, 2009

Way of Sufi: wine, beloved and intoxication

To those people who are guided by heart and understand the language of love, Sufism is wonderful way. There is no philosophy, no debates and no logic behind it. It only talks about love, wine (god bless) and sweet-heart (god), and nothing else.
There was a young guy with thirst of god and determination to realize same. He went to a Sufi guru to learn the art. After listening his wishes, the Sufi master looked tenderly to the seeker and asked.
" Do you know love? Are you in any kind of love, my son?"
He answered, "No I am in search of god. Each time I think about him. I therefore could not be in love with anybody".
The guru looked more concerned.
" Please think deeply, do you have any minor trace of love with anybody; be it women, children, parents, any..?"
" No . I donot think I have love with someone".
Then the master felt sad and eye full of tears.
" My son, I am unable to teach you my way. I only know the art of love. If you had any kind of raw love, I could have channelized it to the way to Beloved, could have made you drink a wine whose intoxication never deplete. Please find someone other for you".
This is the way Sufi. They talk about intoxication, being drunkard, and being with sweet-heart. Taste of Sufism also can be found in Qawwalis. First time when the western thinkers read about the poem Rubaiyat (by Umar Khaiyam), they doubted it having any spiritual quality..

When reading Khayam, Gibran and Rumi, I always feel mystic thrill in the heart..they are so lovely! Here I am presenting a poem by Mawlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī (مولانا جلال الدین محمد بلخى), commanly known as Rumi, a Sufi mystic of 13th century lived in northern Afghanistan(?). This poem is recited by another spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra.

16 January, 2009

Living with New-Year-Resolution

I recall one of my friend's blog titled Never Stop Dreaming. It is very loving phrase indeed. The dream I am not talking about an unconscious wandering of mind. The dream, for me, means a passion and visualization of higher meaning. To live life in fullest. To pour the whole energy consistently in a direction of growing. A motivation not to satisfy in mediocre activities. To listen the music coming from the unknown world and run after it, like a child follow his mother. It has so much to say...

I also have beautiful dream. You also have. In fact every dream is beautiful, otherwise it does not deserve to be a dream. Now look back to ourselves and our dream. Are we living the dream ? There are mixed answers. For me living the dream is not putting of the joy and happiness until the dream fulfils. Dream doesnot means 'some day' after the achieving 'some thing', I will able to enjoy fullest. The truth is that are we decided to be happy now, on the course of achieving it? While the goal provides a magnificent direction and way to focus, I have better try to live each day squeezing all the joy I can tap of in the given moment. .I heard some where a phrase,

“Remember that the direction we are heading is more important than the individual results”. However, it is not too easy as said nor too difficult and serious as people contemplate. It is a game worthy to play

I believe that if we move in particular direction with passion, whatever result we achieve in a way is better than we are pursuing of. Now a question arises, are we in the direction of our dream. To answer the question, read ourselves. It meant to read own handwriting, own Geeta/Kuran/Bible. Reading own Geeta is more important than the others'. Here is a vey loving and passionate poem, Madhushala, composed by Haribansa Ray Bachchan.

धर्मग्रन्थ सब जला चुकी है, जिसके अंतर की ज्वाला,
मंदिर, मसजिद, गिरिजे, सब को तोड़ चुका जो मतवाला,
पंडित, मोमिन, पादिरयों के फंदों को जो काट चुका,
कर सकती है आज उसी का स्वागत मेरी मधुशाला।।१७।

What is our handwriting, our Geeta? How to read?.. Lets discuss..put our views..
To be continued..

13 January, 2009

Negation is Invitation

I like to introduce one section called letter from the masters, in which the personal letter from the master to his/her disciple will be included. The letters express themselves how the master cares his/her own disciples, which I like to say a divine romance. Here, I have put a letter from Osho to his disciple. In earlier time, Osho used to send his own hand written letters to the disciples. His letters generally start with salutation LOVE then goes like .......

I read your letter
on the way here.
It has touched my heart.
If your desire to know life's truth
becomes strong
then what is longing today
becomes one day the attainment.
Burning desire is all that is needed
and nothing else.

As rivers seek out the ocean
so man if he wants to can find the truth.
No peak, no mountain can stop him,
in fact their challenge awakens
his sense of adventure.
Truth is within everyone
Rivers have to find the ocean
but our ocean is inside us
-- it is a wonder that
so many remain thirsty yet without it.
Actually they cannot really want it.
There is a saying of Christ's:
Ask and ye shall be given.
But if you don't ask, whose fault is it?
There is no better bargain than the attainment of God.
We have only to ask, nothing more.

——Letters by Master Osho

06 January, 2009

Esoteric Journey of a Soul

Once there was a little soul
Wandering in the heaven
In the fathomless joy
And in the infinite love

He prayed to the Beloved
O dear! I like to be away
Away from you temporarily
Pretend I am not love and joy
Dream am separated from you
So that when I awake
Would rejoice with newer ecstasy
Would re-taste the fresher love

He looked around
There were infinite souls
Rambling in bliss
Were so dear like LOVE itself
Not less inferior than him

The little soul revealed his wish
To those majestic souls
With embarrassing voice
And ask what he could do for them
As he had the yearn for some good
For the inception of new journey

One majestic soul propose
O dear! We too come to earth
With same wish as thou have
That time we may pretend
Pretend to hurt you
Act to injure you for some reason

That time,
O tiny one!
O our dearest mate!
Forgive us!!
That will be the elegant gift
And the glorious start
The start of new journey

Mean time,
Suddenly I woke up
With piercing sensation in my heart
Could dream be so real?

Then a question resided in me
Am I the little soul ?
The multitudes around me
Are the majestic souls??
Playing as a part of cosmic game???

03 January, 2009

New Year Resolution

Yesterday I awoke till late night. The haunting thoughts popped up in mind as a dissatisfaction of my present ME. Those thoughts propelled me to contemplate my daily routines and the habit patterns. To sleep late morning and regret: I could have got up little earlier, have morning walk and lose a few pound. Work day long. Feel the victim of the situation in which I have no control. Gather with the friends in the evening, chatting and alleging other people and situation for my present ME. Spend time and energy in negative/reactive thoughts-word-actions. The list become very long and boring..

I watched my thought pattern:
"That's me. That's just the way I am." I am determined. There's nothing I can do about it.
"He makes me so mad!" I'm not responsible. My emotional life is governed by something outside my control.
"I can't do that. I just don't have the time." Something outside me, limited time is controlling me.
"If only my wife were more patient." Someone else behavior is limiting my effectiveness.
“ I will start this work later, I have no mood to start now”. I procrastinate. I wait till favorable mood arrive.
"I have to do it." Circumstances or other people are forcing me to do what I do. I'm not free to choose my own actions.
In summary: I always speak the Reactive Language: There's nothing I can do. That's just the way I am. I did not get the opportunity because of the bad system. He makes me so mad. They won't allow that. I have to do that. I can't. I must. I am victim of outside circumstances and I have no control of my self. I wonder where this would lead me. .Is in the direction of the happiness and peace..?

I pondered whether I am a simple bio-program such that my habits, activities and responses are controlled by outside. Is there any mean to deviate from it? I made sketch of my activities and responses (as in figure). At the center there is my being which is surrounded by a small circle (doing); circle of my habit patterns and the activities of my direct control. Out of it lies another circle; circle of my influences where the results are decided jointly by my activities and outside situations (trying). My career, my success and my social behavior represents the circle. Out of this circle is the plane of those actions, in which I have no control whatever I do, like the geo-political conditions, past effects and other situations (no control).
See what am I doing! I blame the activities of outermost circle (no control) for my career and success belonging to middle circle (trying), and I allege the happenings of the middle circle for my habit patterns and happiness (doing). Outside-in approach, a common collective reactive psychology and a way of becoming victim , is not it?

Then I questioned myself, “Can’t I invert the approach? Inside-out. Then, came my resolution.

Apart from achieving my academic and career schedule, I resolve to be the best of myself; to be energetic, healthy, authentic, and forgiving to self and other. The approach is by doing my best in the innermost circle (doing), trying my best in the circle of my influence (trying) and living with acceptance with the incidents of the outermost circle (no control)?”

The big challenge is how to achieve the goal. I know I could not achieve these goals in the great extent in short time. However, I can strife and put my honest effort to achieve them. Thus I decided I would measure my success, not with achieving the goal, but with my continuous efforts to achieve them. The indicator of my success will be the degree of my sincerity in effort NOT in the goal I achieve.

Few times I hesitated to publish the post, later decided to do thinking that sharing with the friends could provide the exchange of positive energy. Friends, I will be very happy to know your resolution. Let's share our resolutions..