Legend has it that Buddha was once delivering a sermon in Jetavana and at the end, he said, “Wake up! Time is running out!”
An hour later, he stepped out with his closest disciples including the ever-serving Ananda and always inquisitive Shariputra. A large number of people were still hanging about, waiting to catch a glimpse of the enlightened sage. Buddha stopped near the gates in a quiet corner so the crowd would dissipate and he could pass through. Just then a woman spotted him and came running.
“Tathagata,” she said bowing down, “I’m a dancer and I’d been scheduled to perform at the mansion of the richest merchant in the city. It had completely slipped my mind but you are all-knowing. When you concluded by saying, ‘Wake up! Time is running out!’ it reminded me of my commitment today. I can’t thank you enough. I will offer half of whatever I receive today at your feet.”
Buddha smiled and blessed her.
They had hardly walked a few steps when a man approached Buddha and clasped his feet. Buddha asked him to get up. “O Shasta,” the man said, “I know you never judge anyone so I must confess my truth to you. For months, I’ve been eyeing the home of a wealthy man where I intend to break in and steal. Today, I saw him attend your discourse and later tell his family that they were leaving for another town. Your last line, ‘Wake up! Time is running out,’ came as a jolt. I know you’ve given me the signal and I’m going to succeed in my mission tonight. If I get a good bounty, I’ll quit stealing forever.”
“Tathagata only preaches the middle way,” Buddha said to the man, referring to himself in the third person. “Tathagata would never encourage anyone to do something that harms the wellbeing of another person.”
“I just know that your final remarks in the sermon were meant for me,” the man said and took Buddha’s leave with great deference.
Before Buddha could say anything, the man took to his heels.
“What a weird man!” Shariputra whispered to Ananda who just chuckled in return.
“Do not judge,” Buddha gently reprimanded them both.
Soon the word spread that the awakened sage was taking a stroll with his disciples outside the vihara and the crowd began gathering again. Buddha decided it was better to go back. Just then an old man, well-dressed and adorned in fineries befitting of someone affluent, stopped Buddha in his tracks. “O Bhante! Ever merciful Buddha!” he said with his hands folded and eyes welling up. “All my life I ran after material things, chasing this goal and that. More fame, more gold, luxurious mansions, debauchery, deceit, and immoral thoughts – that’s the summary of my life. For whom, for what, I wonder… Your discourse today opened my eyes. Particularly, when you made the closing statement, ‘Wake up! Time is running out!’ with such conviction, I knew instantly it was for me. I have decided to withdraw from material endeavors and work diligently towards nirvana. How will I ever repay you?”
Buddha blessed the man and returned to his abode where trees, birds, deer, and quiet privacy awaited him.
Ananda washed his feet and Shariputra offered him coconut water. Anuruddha and Subhuti began fanning him while Nanda and Upali filled water buckets to sprinkle on the thatched walls of his resting cottage to make it cool.
“Pay attention, my spiritual sons,” Buddha called them closer, “Tathagata made the same statement to the entire congregation but it meant different things to different people. Each one interpreted it according to their understanding, convenience, and circumstances. Hence, I say, your liberation depends on you alone.”
Have you noticed that we are in conflict when the other person doesn’t approve of our actions or we, theirs? Their actions don’t feel right or, more importantly, their perspective is not the same as ours. They may have grown up in the same culture, they may even have studied in the same school as yours, heck, they may even have grown up in the same household as you did, and yet that does not mean they see the world through the same set of eyes. Buddha placed great emphasis on “right view”, meaning, a view that is non-violent (in thoughts, speech, and actions), that, I am responsible for what I feel and above all, whatever I experience is the result of either my actions or my conditioning (read perspective of life). Indeed, the eightfold noble path begins with a right view because, according to him, and I concur, all else falls apart in the absence of a wholesome understanding. Simply put, “right view” comprises the following:
1. Our actions have consequences.
2. Death is not the end.
3. Our actions and beliefs have consequences after death.
If two people can see the world the same way, they will have no conflict with each other. And usually, that’s the whole struggle: helping the other person see your perspective or you seeing theirs.
It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on not understanding it! - Upton Sinclair I have realized that this salary is not always monetary, often these are nothing more than our tightly held beliefs in the form of skewed morality and social conditioning. We face all the time at a personal, interpersonal and professional level.
Achieving the desired outcome in any situation almost entirely depends on if you can get the other person to buy your story. Peace between two people or entities can only exist if they can see each other’s perspective. Think about it. This is the root cause of all conflict, the basis of our struggles across the board: the other person or party doesn’t understand why we do what we do or they can’t seem to accept it. And vice versa too; we can’t accept or understand their ways.
It takes patience, empathy, and wisdom (at times guidance too) to shift the paradigm, to drop the colored lens and to have the courage to see the world as-is. In fact, non-examination of thoughts is one of the six principles of good meditation. You can’t see what lies at the surface of a pond unless you stop stirring the water. To quiet the mind when it’s raging with judgments and analysis, so you can see things as they are, is what meditation is about, it is what I mean by “right view”.
“How come you are always happy?” Mulla Nasrudin’s friend asked him one day.
“It’s very simple, my friend,” Mulla said. “I have a beautiful and intelligent wife. No matter how stressful my day, I go home and spend a quiet, intimate evening with her and all my stress is gone.”
“It works, trust me!”
His friend thanked him for the wise counsel. Some two weeks later, while Mulla was eating his dinner, he heard a knock on the door. It was his friend, looking rather down.
“You, here? Now? All okay?” Mulla exclaimed.
“I’m very stressed, Mulla,” he said, “and I’m ready to spend a quiet evening with your wife.”
Now then, you know what I don’t mean by seeing the world from another person’s perspective. It is not that we must do what they do in their world. Often, it simply means that we bring a whole range of possibilities to our world, so that we don’t become stagnant and regressive. After all, progress at any level is nothing more than the acceptance of a new way of life, a new dimension, another perspective. Challenge yourself.
The journey to a new life begins with a new way of thinking. Wake up! Time is running out…
And then there are some dates that take us back in time, time in which that memory was made. As before that, that date was just like any other usual day, that passed by as if we had to just witness the work of clock and time. but this day, I shared the most horrible journey of mine with the biggest of the smiles. My infinity turns one and so does my fear. it garnered me success but left me with tear. Dad - a word that evokes all emotions in me as he is the soul that was meant to be next to me. But now just the dates our left dissolving each memory we shared. Someday somewhere we will align but until then I will hold on to these lines and these dates which were once just usual days until my infinity drew its line.
This ones for you dad !-
To all the ups and down
To the breath that becomes air
To narrow roads and big dreams
To the yesterday that I feared
To patience that helped me persevered
To the flowing stagnation that mirrored my dreams
To every corner that shadowed his light
To every day that I spent without him in my sight
To the rope that still holds me tight
To different roles my mum played
To different stories my sister shared
To every hope that we tucked in night
To every dream that became true in real life .
To every success we will reach in our life
Nothing is more beautiful than having you in my dreams where you slip in to wish me good night .
For all this is Just an attempt to let my infinity be alive:)
- Son .
With every morning light , I open the petals of my eye
brief the silence and watch the truth set to die.
Once out of my window I see, the dazzling sky, the beautiful early morning birds cry,
and under this serene view lied the dirty truth,
that had kept my eyes dry.
There lie under the tree a burka lady , sitting.
With the tiny holes she unveils her veil,
focusing at the dim sky,
checking the stars and blaming them for the miseries in which she lie.
She wishes to fly and be one with the sky,
for man knows only how to divide
but its the women who binds the truth and lie,
never settling for less yet being abused under the same eye.
The truth is hard and her pain was real,
even though she breeds in fear yet her soaring soul makes her mark,
with her hands that are still cold dry.
She educates a part of she, the little life that nibbles inside her,
getting ready to be part of the world allies.
She grants her stories and immunity to try,
As she will not color her life in the same misery in which her mother died.
And now the baby lies with me bundled in love and coated with a lie.
that her mother was never there when she first cried.
But how can I tell her that through her is she only alive, her sacrifice is the reason of your smile
and the truth can never be pried, as that is the only promise she made me do before she took her only life.
delivering her other life into the onus of mine.
My fate was declared even without being her blood I was made her star eye.
Justice could not be severed, To be born was her mother's only crime.
Is this how we humans decided to civilize?
By - karanbir Singh
I remember as a child two books I enjoyed reading were Hitopdesha and Panchtantra, the Indian versions of Aesop’s Fables if you will, written some 2000 years ago. I was looking for a particular story to share with you when I came across something similar in You Don’t Eat A Lion Doesn’t Mean The Lion Won’t Eat You by Udaylal Pai. I’ve paraphrased it a bit (umm…quite a lot, actually; almost entirely, in fact):
Once upon a time, in a certain village, a young boy was walking alone by the riverside when he heard desperate cries for help.
“Please help me, save me, someone please release me,” a crocodile was shouting. Flapping his tail, the animal was badly entangled in a net, like humans in desires.
The boy wanted to help the poor croc but was skeptical. “If I help you,” he said, “you’ll eat me the moment you are free.”
The crocodile shed tears and said, “How can I eat the person who saved my life? My kind doesn’t savor their savior. I promise that I won’t even touch you and will remain eternally indebted to you.”
The boy felt pity and began to cut the net. Barely was the crocodile’s head free from the net, when, as expected, it grabbed the boy’s leg in its jaws, and said: “I have been starving for a few days now…”
“What the hell!” the boy screamed. “You damn croc, you return my goodness like this!”
“What can I do? This is the way of the world! Such is life!”
“This is so unfair!” cried the boy.
“What do you mean unfair! Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that this is how the universe operates. If they prove me wrong, I’ll let you go.”
The boy saw a bird perched on a nearby tree and asked him, “Do you think the crocodile’s actions are fair? Is this the way of the world – full of injustice?”
The female bird had been observing the entire episode, so she quickly replied that the croc was right. Goodness isn’t always reciprocated in kind. She along with her partner spent their time building a safe nest to protect their young ones, but all that mostly went to waste because the snakes would come and swallow the eggs, she apprised him. No doubt, she finished by saying, that the world was not a fair place.
“You heard it, kid,” the croc said, tightening its grip on the boy’s slender leg. “Let me eat you…”
“Wait…” He saw an old donkey that was grazing on the banks of the river and posed him the same question.
“Unfortunately, the croc is right,” the donkey said. “I’m a donkey, everyone thinks I’m a fool and yet even I know that this world is anything but fair. Bad things happen to good people all the time. When I was young, my master loaded soiled linen on my back and extracted the maximum amount of work from me. I served him faithfully for years. Now that I am old and feeble, he has abandoned me saying that he cannot feed me. So, yes, the crocodile is right. There’s great injustice, inequality and unfairness.”
“Enough now,” the croc said to the boy. “I’m salivating, I can’t hold it any longer. Say your prayer if you want.”
“Wait, wait,” the boy insisted. “Just one last time, let me ask that rabbit. They say the third time’s a charm.”
“Since you saved me, I’ll give you one final chance.”
Upon being asked the same question, the rabbit’s reply differed completely from the bird and the donkey.
“This is utter nonsense! It’s not like that at all,” the rabbit said. “The world is a perfectly fair place.”
“What are you talking about, you dumb bunny!” the crocodile mumbled with the boy’s leg in its jaws. “Of course, this world is an unfair place. Look at me! I got caught in the net to begin with, for no fault of mine.”
“You sound like a man trying to talk with paan, beetle leaf, in his mouth. I can’t make sense of your mumbling, speak clearly and loudly.”
“I know where you are going with this! I’ll open my mouth to speak clearly and the boy will escape.”
“You stupid or what?” the rabbit said. “Have you forgotten how strong your tail is? If he attempts to run away, one slash and he’ll be dead. You are the mightiest around here!”
The crocodile fell for this false praise and opened his mouth to continue the argument.
The rabbit screamed, “Run boy run! Don’t just stand there!” and the boy took to his heels.
The crocodile was mad with rage. “You cheat! You took away my food. This is so unfair!”
“Look who’s talking!” the bunny said, nibbling on a cherry dropped from the tree.
The boy rushed to the village and gathered all the menfolk who came with their spears and swords and killed the crocodile. His pet dog, that had come along with them, spotted the rabbit and chased it down.
“Hey! Hey!” the boy cried, trying to catch his dog. “This rabbit saved my life. Don’t attack him.” It was but a bit too late, the dog had already buried its fangs in the rabbit’s tender neck. It was no more than a lifeless ball of fur.
“Maybe the crocodile was right, after all,” the boy lamented. “Unfairness is the way of the world! Such is life!”
After speaking to thousands of people, seeing suffering from up close, I feel it would be ignorant to still believe that there’s a way out of the suffering. Here, I am not differentiating between pain (what is) and suffering (what we think it is). Buddha proclaimed that suffering existed and that there was a way out. Maybe. Vedas too say that if I can maintain a state of equanimity, if I can forever remember the impermanent, even unreliable, nature of this world, I would not suffer as much.
Good people suffer all the time. So much so, there’s almost no direct correlation between how good or spiritual you are vis-à-vis how much suffering you may have to endure in your life. Being good or great cannot protect you from physical or mental diseases if you hit the genetic jackpot, for example. Being good doesn’t mean that we can’t be hit by a truck or a drunk driver. Being good has no bearing on your stock prices or the life of your loved ones. In other words, goodness grants neither immunity from nor compensation for everything that we may deem as not good.
The question then arises if that’s the case, why be good at all? If my goodness does nothing to alleviate my suffering (not directly anyway), why bother with all this goodness and kindness business? The answer is a lot more straight forward and simpler than the question itself. And that is: being good is our inherent nature. We are designed to experience happiness when we practice goodness. Therefore, people are good because that’s our natural dharma. Goodness and its cousin kindness, give us the strength to face the challenges and difficulties this life brings as regularly as the seasons.
We pray, we meditate, we act kindly, we do good because we must; that’s what goodness is. It is an integral part of us. We may prove ourselves right, eventually though, it’s not when we have our way but when we make way that we experience joy and happiness. We must not relinquish goodness because it infuses strength and resilience in us. What’s even more amazing is that good people can’t stop being good just because the rewards are not coming through. Good people remain good. They understand that it’s not a choice. Think of some of the greatest human beings. Did they retort to violence or misdemeanor just because goodness wasn’t paying off?
Our challenges test us but our attitude shapes us. Our difficulties don’t break us, instead, they make us. They bring out what we have in us. Hence, good people become better, not bitter, when met with resistance.
The young Mulla was barely seven-years-old when his neighbor lured him with two dinars.
“Can you go buy two samosas from the corner shop?” he said. “You can eat one and bring the other one for me.”
Ten minutes later Mulla came back and said, “Here’s the balance of one dinar. The shopkeeper only had one samosa so I had mine. Thank you.”
A good person suffers in the same way like any other. Just because someone’s a good mathematician or an artist doesn’t mean, they can’t fall sick. Rather, such a comparison is preposterous. Similarly, just because someone’s spiritually evolved doesn’t mean he or she is outside the purview of the laws of nature. Or in the words of Udaylal Pai: just because you don’t eat a lion doesn’t mean the lion won’t eat you.
Does that mean we should be bad? Let me tell you, it’s not in your hands. Besides, how will that help? After all, the opposite of goodness doesn’t shield you from suffering either. So what does, you ask? Your perspective, your attitude, your view of and your expectations from life do. When these are aligned, there may be challenges, resistance, pain, but no suffering. You may wince but you won’t cry, you may crumble but you won’t be crushed.
When all else fails, it’s your inherent goodness alone that helps you steer the ship of life in choppy seas. Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and many others before and after them used this basic principle to weather the ravaging storms.
It doesn’t matter whether one is the boy, crocodile, donkey or the rabbit, there are no guarantees in life. And perhaps, this uncertainty is what makes our life adventurous.
Goodness is prayer, it is meditation. In fact, goodness is God. Be good.
Every day I wake up to her thought,
Morning’s that are still morning but just not good.
I sit at the same corner only now to be alone,
to witness the blank space.
I speak of you in and out of my mind
wondering what made the difference.
We weren’t perfectly a-line but wired imperfectly.
There wasn’t much I held for you in the beginning but then the summer ended.
The heat submerged its warmth in the sea
and the chill occupied the air and we started with our song.
The two oxymoron's now living like a synonym.
Nothing was perfect,
The idealism of relationship was about to be-fall, but then you stood there,
Carving our friendship out of each word whenever it wrong,
Aligning them with great symphony.
I wasn’t ready but who was I to challenge the stars,
Like the day you ended it all.
Before the change of winter you swung back and left a part of me to crawl.
Quoting the lines of rules and acting as if nothing was wrong.
I believed I took care of my part,
As it had submerged before in an iceberg
But this time it was a little strong.
For I never meant to have you for a life time but for a time that could last lifelong.
But now you were gone both lost the symphony and the song.
He tried to hold himself back thinking he was strong.
Worked on it, but this time he wrote only half a song mixing the symphony of the two oxy-morons.
Waiting for his part to be re-lined as his feelings towards you were still strong.
But then you merged with your true self to become an Amazon.
Writing reviews and leaving things in Cart with its price on,
Time wrote its cheque and in-cashed it all.
Finally the heart was strong,
having you back still meant that you were gone.
By- Karanbir Singh
She had cheated, he knew by now. She had undressed herself so that he would pass his desire to connect emotionally. But it was too late he had stumbled upon the fruit of love, his affection had grown, but she lay naked to dress the fruit. He lay vulnerable under the city lights for they had a contract to keep the fruit away. But he wasn’t exactly the way he portrayed and she neither. He turned and looked at the corner where the lights converged and darkened like his day. She hugs him from behind giving him enough impulse to refute his way. But there stands a picture of her with the guy she chose to go astray. They both slept together yet looking different ways. Decisions were made but the boy.. oh poor boy thought he had his ways. He would use that picture and refute his way. Leave the fruit buried in the mud with no hope to find new grains. They submerge together again, he resists a little, but she gets her way. For the conclusion is simple only the boy had now lost the way. Moments after they made love, she was back in the game. He trusted her words that others were just frivolous affairs and that he mattered to her in every way. Words were now stronger than her past even if she had put it to display. Lost in it he digs a new way. But it was too late for she had something more to say. We have to end it, but you will still be mine to say, for you mean more than just a friend now, as we both had it for a few days. He dazzled her emotions, as he was baffled by her play. Committed to make her sin on the same bed but this time it was only half way. She resisted again and went the other way, yet holding his hands but still asking to move away. With a swollen soul, he chooses to move away, for every thought was cluttered now, and he was half in his grave. He let the anger surface yet awaits for time to bring her real her back in play for there was an interval standing both ways.
He asked for charity, but she had both pictures to display. His anger was cold, but she didn't let them pave their way, her scent was strong, and their memories hadn’t yet faded away, as it was only yesterday he held her in every possible way. She knew the rest, and he was put to test, but nothing could be solved, as she dint turn up on his last day. He left the city yet stick to his phone as he prayed for her name to display and he could end it this time with the anger which was now ready to display. But if only he knew what he had to say, her script was ready. They both knew what had come their way, and she knew giving up is easy than been given up by the other. It’s easy to convince oneself that you made a choice than when you have to obey...
Now he lays reading the past deciding which way, as she holds his hand and looks at other men on display.
“Opportunity has never knocked on my door, Swami,” an entrepreneur said to me the other day.
“I read somewhere,” I replied, “that if opportunity doesn’t knock, create a door.”
“Well, that hasn’t worked in my case. Indeed, anything guised as opportunity has only blown away my door and knocked me down.”
I meet brilliant people all the time who could do a lot more in their life. But, they are stuck, they feel. Life hasn’t been fair to them or they are waiting for the right opportunity, they tell me.
Such conversations at times remind me of Prof. Sharma (my English teacher), who would always say that good people don’t sit and wait for opportunities, they create them. “No matter at what stage of life you are at, if you are up for it, you can do it,” he would contend and tell me this story.
A man built a fortune manufacturing and selling combs. When he had been growing up, combs were made of wood and ivory and couldn’t be mass produced. He figured that not only plastic combs could be made at a fraction of the cost, but they would also last longer. As he grew old, he decided to hand the reins of his business to his most capable child. So, he called them — two sons and a daughter — and assigned a task.
“There’s a Buddhist monastery in Bodh Gaya,” he said. “It has hundreds of monks. Get me a wholesale order from that monastery.”
“But, Dad!” the elder son retorted, “monks are bald. What use do they have for a comb?”
“That’s for you to find out,” the father said, giving them a fortnight. “Whoever gets me the biggest order will head my company.”
Two weeks later, they got together to report on their progress.
“I told you,” the eldest son said, “it would be a waste of time. They mocked me for asking them to buy combs. I gifted one to the head monk and he used it to scratch his back. What an embarrassment!”
“It wasn’t so bad,” the other son spoke. “I managed to sell two hundred combs. I suggested they could keep one in each room of the monastery for their visitors. Many travel from far and wide and may have tangled or ruffled hair from long journeys.”
“I sold 2000 combs, father,” the daughter said. “And now hearing that the head monk used one to scratch his back, I’m thinking there may be an opportunity for a new product.”
“2000! How?” they asked in unison.
“More than 50,000 pilgrims visit that monastery every year!”
“I told them that to emboss Buddha’s image in the middle of the comb and print the four noble truths on one side and the eight moral precepts on the other. That, they could offer it to each one of their visitors who would be reminded of it on a daily basis.”
“That’s incredible!” her father said.
“Plus, I found a rich merchant to sponsor 50,000 combs annually with his logo on them. So, people will associate goodness and morality with his company.”
“And the abbot approved of this?”
“In fact,” she replied excitedly, “he said the merchant would spiritually merit from this kind act.”
People who create opportunities approach things differently. Really, it’s that simple.
If you say, I can’t do it, you are right already. But, if you ask, how can I do it, at least your mind will shift from denial to a thinking mode. And, all is possible when human mind begins to pursue a line of thought. Our material and spiritual progress, discoveries in science and deep philosophical truths vouch for that beyond any doubt. In some way, people who succeed at anything in life are not usually sane. I say this appreciatively. There are four insanities they live and breathe. I call it the EPIC model.
Insanely EnthusiasticThe word enthusiasm comes from the Greek word enthousiasmos, meaning inspiration or possession by a god. For the first many centuries, it was used exclusively to refer to one’s religious fervor or a state as if one was possessed by the Holy Spirit. Even though, we use enthusiasm today to denote passion or eagerness in anything, I’m alluding to a broader meaning and that is love. When you are enthusiastic about something, you are not just keen and eager, you are in love with it too. You find yourself thinking, talking, dreaming, contemplating about it all the time.
Next time, watch any successful person talk about their cause, product or offering, and if you observe carefully, you will discover their eyes light up, their smile widens, body language changes and their whole persona gets flushed with positivity and inspiration. Consider yourself very lucky if you are insanely enthusiastic about something in life; half the job is done. You simply have to focus on the next important attribute then.
Insanely PersistentThey just don’t quit. Yes, like everyone else, they too get frustrated and consider throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but they don’t act on such misgivings. I am yet to meet anyone who made it by quitting. Besides, persistence is not just not giving up no matter what. There other more appropriate terms for such blinding behavior like stubbornness or obstinacy. Persistence is to continue working on something with an open mind while you make improvements to progressively build your chances of success. Successful people are not afraid of changing their opinion about something. There’s no wisdom in sticking to something just because you said so even though you now know better. In other words, they continue to learn and improve.
Insanely IndependentWhile you are only as good as your team, I have observed on countless occasions that those who become champions in any field be it corporate leadership, sports, arts etc. are fiercely independent thinkers. They have mastered the delicate art of balancing others’ inputs and opinions with their own goals and views. They don’t go out seeking approval on every little matter nor do they need spoon feeding. Successful leaders are not afraid of stepping out of their comfort zone and pursue their calling with all their might. They are not afraid of being wrong and admitting it. Paradoxically, independent people make great team players and they certainly make inspirational leaders.
Insanely ClearAbove all, they are very clear about what they want. Because they are not afraid of change (or changing their opinions), they remain insanely clear in their head. A confused person walks the longest path to success (material or spiritual). When you are clear, you may still fail and yet your other qualities help you make better decisions the next time vastly improving your odds of success. In fact, I say that clarity of thought is the foremost quality of successful and happy people. It’s the stuff geniuses are made of.
And this is how epic people create epic opportunities in life. Those who are afraid of taking risks and play life all too safe, lacking any freshness or originality and therefore remaining trite add S and T to my epic model making it counterproductive. How? Well, epic becomes septic then.
A shepherd approached Mulla Nasrudin with an unusual problem saying that one of his sheep got its head stuck in a pot’s narrow passage. He had tried everything to get the head out, but the animal was already scared, bleating its lungs out.
“Hmm…” Mulla said stroking his beard, “there’s only one solution to this problem.”
“And that is?” the shepherd asked anxiously.
“Cut off your sheep’s head.”
“There must be some other way, Mulla! I need that sheep for my livelihood.”
“Sorry but, there isn’t. If you chop its head, it’ll fall in the container and then you can take it out.”
Reluctantly the man agreed to kill the animal and exactly as Mulla had said, its head fell in the container.
“But, Mulla,” the shepherd said, “I still can’t get its head out.”
“I see,” Mulla said calmly. “What kind of container is it?”
“Tell you what, just break the pot and take out its head.”
Sometimes, when your head is stuck in a problem, breaking the pot makes more sense than other violent options. And, if anyone offers you a solution without first fully understanding (and appreciating) your problem, almost always it’ll be the wrong advice. Be not afraid of making mistakes because right wisdom often comes from lessons we learn from our wrong decisions. If you want to wake up to the glory of a beautiful dawn, you have to live through the darkness of night. Accept and cherish your insanity, because sometimes, it is the only emotion that keeps us sane and gives us the courage to pull through.
Be brave. Be epic.
The blanket of warm memories keep me captive in a cocoon of the forgotten.
It gets worse.
The ticking away at 2:30 am of my clock.
"Are you awake?"
A sliver of that vow. Its forbidden.
It is devastating.
The rasp. The tone. The tenderness.
It is the truth.
The real one. The only one that matters.
I. Me. Myself.
But it's good. Oh so good.
The sweet. The bitter.
by - #B
To the most beautiful lady I know
I don’t need a letter , to explain what you mean to me Because words are incapable to comprehend my feelings for you. Because -
You are my rock my pillar,
the reason of my breath to be so stiller.
Your heart is pure there nothing more beautiful than your early morning roar,
you are the blood to my heart ,
your will is my shield and
your love is the reason I grow .
Your hug can erase any wound attach to a soul.
To have you means to have the whole world by my shore.
I know moms are special but you are the epitome of gold.
You are supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Thank you for being you .
Love you forever
Life has taught me, Swamiji,” my father said to me the other day, “that, one must go through one’s journey alone.”
He was a bit unsettled, even distraught, as he had recently fallen prey to a fraudulent phone call telling him that his bank card was blocked. (Mis)leading him through a series of steps, the caller managed to extract the right details and spent my parents’ entire one month’s pension on various websites in under two minutes. The bank concluded that it was my father’s negligence for he’d shared the transaction password with the caller and understandably, the police couldn’t do much because the call was traced to another state in India.
In the big scheme of things, it’s nothing: to lose one month’s pension when you’ve been earning for more than four decades. But, as is the way of loss, it is rarely about the absolute nature of the loss itself or its magnitude and more about how victimized we feel. An unexpected, undesirable incident can catch even the wisest completely off-guard. It took him more than two weeks to come to terms with the fact that he was tricked. My mother on the other hand, was cool as a winter breeze and didn’t so much as even blink at this monetary loss. Two people under the same roof, bearing the same loss, are affected differently. What a beautiful and intriguing world we live in.
“I’ve seen,” Father added recounting his difficult childhood, “that no one is there when you are suffering. Only your grit and God’s grace helps a person sail through, no one else can help.”
I knew where he was coming from because many people I meet feel utterly lonely when they are down. They are usually not alone but even with all the help around, loneliness seems to seep in like water through cracks. Cracks in our consciousness, in our understanding of ourselves and our view of life. That’s why Buddha deemed, samyaka dṛṣṭi (right view of life) as one of the most important elements of self-realization. Krishna too repeatedly reminds Arjuna about the impermanent nature of everything and that one must navigate through the duality of life with courage (mātrā-sparśhāstu kaunteya śhītoṣhṇa-sukha-duḥkha-dāḥ…BG 2.14.) He goes on to say that forget things, even all the people you love or hate, they too one day won’t be there in your life or you in theirs (avyaktādīni bhūtāni vyakta-madhyāni bhārata…BG 2.28) so what are you brooding over.
Loss in (and of) life is not a question of if but when.
Whatever we are attached to or hold dear in our hearts, losing it is only a matter of time. It is inevitable.
“Of course,” I said to him, “No one can partake of our suffering. I agree. It’s a personal matter. Just like no one else will feel full or hungry if you have a hearty meal or are deprived of one.”
He nodded, relieved that I, whom he also looks upon as his guru, validated his view.
“However,” I continued, “they can share your loss, they can share your pain. You may not pass on the fulfilment of a good meal but you can share your food with them. Thereafter, whether they feel full or foul is up to them. And, that’s what suffering is: it is not what is happening to us but how we see what is happening to us. It is not the actual situation but our interpretation which then governs our feelings. Change the interpretation and feelings change on their own.”
You can’t change your feelings by just wanting to change them, no matter how desperate or strong-willed you maybe. You need to find out what is evoking these emotions in you. Go to the source. It could be an incident or a set of incidents, certain people and so on. Then ask yourself if you wish to feel differently. If so, begin with the assumption that nothing or no one else is going to change. They are where they always have been, they are exactly where they are supposed to be. Develop a broader view, distract yourself positively, look at the brighter side, practice loving-kindness towards yourself and others, and gradually, your perspective will begin to shift. When it does, everything else will shift with it.
Once the Buddha was confronted by a monster called Suciloma, whose name translates as “Needle-hair.” He was a prototype punk with needles for hair! He wanted to find out if the Buddha was really enlightened. So he sat down next to the Buddha and leaned toward him to prick him, but the Buddha leaned away.
“Aha!” said Needle-Hair. “You don’t like pain. You’re not really enlightened. An enlightened person would maintain equanimity no matter what. He wouldn’t have any likes or dislikes.”
The Buddha said: “Don’t be stupid. There are things that are going to cause problems for my body. It’s going to hurt it and make it unhealthy” (SN 10:53).
This is just common sense. You don’t step on snakes, you don’t run into fires, and you don’t allow needles to poke you. You move away. It’s common sense, not attachment. That’s loving-kindness toward your body: keeping it healthy, keeping it safe.
(Bear Awareness by Ajahn Brahm)
Often blinded by our experiences, conditioning, and set in our ways, though, that’s exactly what we do: we step on snakes, run into fire and allow needles to poke us. Snakes of attachments, fire of desires and needles of jealousy and covetousness. They bite, burn and hurt. We call it suffering and we think that this is the way of life. We mistake our pain for our suffering. We have little control over the former but the latter is almost entirely in our hands. We can take things in our stride or be tossed in the tide. This choice, we must remember, is in our hands. At all times.
A man went to a pizzeria and ordered a large whole-wheat pizza with a diet Coke.
“Should I cut it in six slices or ten?” the owner asked.
“Ten! Ten!” the man winced. “Someone’s trying to lose weight here! Cut it in six!”
It’s the same life, if you want it all to yourself then whether you divide it in six or ten, it doesn’t matter. As I wrote in Mind Full to Mindful: “Nothing Matters. Eventually.” The sooner we realize this, the quicker conflict or challenges will stop bothering you.
Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. Loss is unavoidable, grief isn’t. Death is certain. And life, well, life isn’t certain. Its uncertainty, unpredictability, even irrationality, is what makes it what it is: worthwhile, a blessing. You can see its attributes as appalling, boring and cunning or as adventurous, beautiful and captivating. Your choice. That’s the ABC of life.
As in a game of scrabble, what letters end up on your rack is not in your hands but what words you coin and where you place them is a matter of skill and knowledge. The less ignorant you are in vocabulary, the more chance you have of scoring. The faster you empty your rack, the higher are the odds of getting better letters and more options. If you are not going to let go of the existing letters or crib about how unfortunate you are, you lose your chance of scoring. Life is no different.
The alphabet is the same, it’s just what words you construct with the letters available to you that makes all the difference to what you feel about everything,. Yep, absolutely everything.
Fill your heart with loving-kindness, your time with noble actions, your mind with good thoughts and suffering will disappear from your life like sadness from a content heart. You will realize your soul, your self. Needles can’t prick your soul nor fire can burn it. Water can’t rot it and heat can’t dry it. (acchedyo ‘yam adāhyo ‘yam akledyo ‘śoṣya eva ca…BG 2.24) And snakes you ask, what about the snakes of attachments? Well, that a yogi wraps around his/her neck and yet remains unharmed.
This is the path of lasting peace. Walk with me.
BY - OM SWAMI