According to Vedanta philosophy, Divinity is described in three intertwined words- Sat, Chit and Ananda- Truth, Pure Consciousness and Joy or Bliss. This is our True Nature, our Essence, our True Identity. In this state of consciousness, time-space created boundaries get dissolved, the ego-created self disappears and the Self emerges.
People who have reached this state are called self-realized beings.They are intimate with the universe that includes all living beings. To them the whole universe is one family.
I have been blessed to be in the presence of such self-realized beings. Their loving and compassionate kindness evoked a deep sense of intimacy within me and with others sitting around me. I would call it an enlightening experience, a blissful experience. I felt infinite compassion, affection, and warmth radiating from them. I deeply felt their loving presence. While I am writing this reflection, I feel their loving presence in my heart. Such experiences have awakened my heart and have made my heart spacious and gracious flowing with loving kindness.
May we all be blessed by enlightened beings for opening and expanding our heart!
When I was 5 years old, every morning my dad used to chant the song of awakening. It has become a light house for me. The song is in Hindi. " Utha jaag musafir bhore bahi aba rayn kahnatak sovat hai. Jo sovat hai vo khovat hai, jo jagat hai vo pavat hai." Let me translate this song in English.
" Hey traveler, wake up. Morning has dawned. How long will you keep on sleeping? One who wakes up receives blessings and the one who keeps on sleeping misses the Divine gifts."
To me life is a journey, a pilgrimage. We all are pilgrims of light. I am one of the pilgrims walking on my path. There have been times in my life when I took a wrong step. I hurt myself and hurt others close to me and around me. I woke up from my sleep and resumed my walking keeping my inner eyes open. I leaned form my fall. Got up and continued my pilgrimage.
I have learned that light is within me. I do not need to look for it outside of me. The face of light is covered by the veil of my egoic mind. When I become still and open, I discover the light within me and I follow it. Following this light brings joyful bliss in me. It keeps me on the path of love, compassion, and gratitude.I feel free from the grip of the past and the worry about the future. The inner world of worry and missing something takes me away from the Present, which is beyond time and space. Our suffering is created by the mental constructs creating divisiveness in me and others. And I am still journeying living in the here and now. Life is a blessing.
May we walk on the path of life keeping our mind and heart open to be touched by the inner light of awakening!
"Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the presentvmoment, nonjudgmentally. It is about knowing what is on your mind.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn
“ Mindfulness is about being fully awake in our lives. It is about perceiving the exquisite vividness of each moment. We gain immediate access to our own powerful resources for insight, transformation, and healing.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn
Jon Kabat-Zinn is the pioneer of bringing Mindfulness to the main stream in 1979. Since then it has grown by leaps and bounds in U S and in many countries of the world. Mindfulness is a life changing practice. Numerous substantial studies have demonstrated the biological,neurological, mental, emotional and relational benefits of consistently practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness cultivates and sustains skills for growth and development in our personal life, interpersonal life, family life and in the community at large.
Numerous research studies have demonstrated benefits of regularly practicing mindfulness.
● Reduces Stress. Calms mind, relaxes body and creates a relaxation response.
● Stay Healthy. Reduces pain and inflammation, builds a stronger immune system, lowers blood pressure, recovers faster and conduces better sleep
● Improves Relationships. Helps us shed our defenses and grudges. Creates attunes,spaciousness and gracefulness that bonds us with others.
● Increases Performance. Mindfulness enhances focus, attention, memory, compassion, collaboration and other critical skills for increasing performance.
● Adding Years to Life. Mindfulness changes gene expression. Telomeres grow stronger and longer, correlating with longevity. Mindfulness adds years to life and life to years.
● Awakens and Expands. Mindfulness helps us connect more consciously with our full self and greater callings.
It is never too late to learn new tricks of the trade! Welcome to the journey of Mindfulness!
Mind can bind us and mind can free us. How do we use our mind? If we become aware of our mind, we notice it trapped by thoughts and emotions usually relating to the past or future. Spiritual teachers compare such mind with a wild elephant or a monkey mind. We all know how the wandering mind wanders in the clouds of wishing and craving, worrying and fighting, and holding several negative thoughts and emotions draining our energy. We also know how it affects our physical, mental and emotional health; how it affects our behaviors and our relationships. Wherever we go, we carry our mental and emotional backpacks.
We all want to make our mind free from the grip of such energy draining thoughts, emotions and feelings. We all want to live in a calm, peaceful, loving and happy home of our mind. How can we attain our goal? How can we befriend our mind? How Can we convert the negative energy into positive energy? How can we free ourselves from ourselves?
One of the ways to attain our inner freedom is to become mindful of our mind spinning the same mental commentary, the same old stuff. Mindfulness is paying our full attention to what is happening in the present moment without judging. There are two wings of our self that help us to be from the the cage of bondage. One is mindfulness and the other is heartfulness.
Mindfulness is allowing the disturbing thoughts and feelings come. It is like inviting guests to our house. As the Sufi poet Rumi says invite all of them, pleasant and pleasant, without discriminating. This is paradoxical or counterintuitive. It is by letting things come, we make them go. As Saint Francis of Assisi says it is by giving we receive. We do this compassionately and kindly. Self compassion creates compassion for others.
Mindfulness and compassion, open mind and loving heart, creates a shift in our consciousness, expands our consciousness, frees us from our constricted consciousness. In order to expand our consciousness and to set our mind from the self -created suffering, we need to practice mindfulness meditation, the practice of letting the clouds of our mind come non-judgmentally and compassionately and letting them go away without pushing them out or trying to tame them. We arrive home, the abode of calmness, peace, clarity, love and joy.
From evolutionary point of view, the brain is wired to fight, flee or freeze for protecting ourselves. In this context, fear is an instinctive response for our survival and security. The fear mentioned in this writing is psychological created by human conditioning. The conditioned mind reacts to a perceived stimulus and makes us resist, oppose, run away, hide or deny. Such dysfunctional patterns of perceiving, thinking and behaving block our potential to see things as they are externally and internally. Sadly, these patterns become habitual and block our growth and development personally and inter personally.
" To want to see clearly is a true act of fearlessness." This statement says it all. When my eyes open to see my own suffering as it is, the gate to working on my suffering opens. I need to see my blindness with an open mind and heart, courageously and compassionately. Such mindfulness seeing is not an analytical intellectual process. Mindfulness is observing without judgment what I am experiencing in the here and now consciousness, in the present moment. The mind gets free from holding onto the past and being hijacked by the future, from regrets, anger, shame, humiliation and guilt or from fear, worry, apprehension and anxiety. The present moment has no clouds or shadows blocking the light of knowing which removes the darkness.
Mindfulness has been my way of working on myself. Mindfulness meditation has helped me to discover and meet my true self. It has opened the door of my life for receiving blessings coming from everywhere. I am very grateful for receiving such blessings.
May we cultivate fearlessness and mindfulness to live a blissful and joyful life!
All wisdom traditions emphasize the significance of awakening as we are going through the journey of life. As I child I used to listen to the song my father used to sing every morning. It is in Hindi. “Utha jag musafir bhore bhai, ab rayan kahana tak sovat hai. Jo sovat hai vo khovat hai, jo jagat hai vo pavat hai.” Hey traveler wake up! How long will you sleep? The morning has already dawned. One who awakens gets the blessings. One who keeps on sleeping, loses the gift of life.
Life offers many opportunities for us to wake up. When we are not awake, we stumble, fall down, hurt ourselves and hurt others close to us and around us. We inflict suffering on us and others. If we open our eyes and see us falling down, we stand up and walk on the same path with awareness. Falling down leads us to rising up if we are awake. If we keep our eyes closed, we keep on falling down causing suffering. When we are awake, we hold the hand of someone falling down with kindness and compassion. And this way, we help others to wake up-one lamp lighting the other.
Awakening happens when we are attentive to our footstepping. We are mindful of what is happening within us and around us. We are aware of ourselves and aware of our surroundings-human and natural beings. Awakening is non-judgmental existential awareness-mindfulness, clear consciousness without mental and emotional clouds or chattering. We see things clearly, we hear sounds clearly. Awakening evokes or invokes clear light of knowing and compassionate energy resulting in wise speech and wise actions. Awakening is not a conceptual knowing or conceptual understanding. It is a state of being. Right thinking, right feeling and right doing arise from the ground of being.
Awakening is like the light that shines in every corner of our life. Awakening is like the flower that spreads its fragrance in every corner of our life. In the awakened state of consciousness nothing is missing. There is deep sense of contentment and fullness. The cup of our life is filled with love, compassion and joy. As the sage sings in Ishavasya Upanishada - a book of wisdom-” Purnamadam, Prurnamidam, Purnat Purmaduchyate. Purnasya Purmadaya, Purnamam Avashisyate.” This is full. That is full. If you take the fullness out of the fullness, what remains is the fullness. If you add fullness to the fullness, what remains is the fullness.”
What do we experience when we live in an awakened state of consciousness? What happens when the stream of awakening flows through our everyday living? We feel oneness in everything.The other is me and I am the other. We are not apart from each other and from nature. We are an integral part of each other and of nature. The light of the Divine love shines and we embrace all beings with unconditional love.
We all have the potential to be awakened. We need to be aware of the obstacles created by our unawareness. We need to recognize the bondage we have created by ourselves. With the light of awakened consciousness, we let ourselves be free from the self-created bondage. It is called moksha-liberation and such a person is called muktatma- liberated soul.
A very wise statement by J.Krishnamurti. As I understand, anger is anger, righteous or unrighteous. Anger burns us and burns others. As far as I am concerned I do not intend and want to burn myself and do not intend and want to throw my fire on others whether they are my kinsmen or others. It is my conviction based on my experience that anger causes more anger and violence causes more violence.
Anger arises in me when I judge or condemn myself. The same way anger arises in the other person when I judge or condemn the other person. The same thing happens the other way around.
How do we end the cycle of anger? Not by denying it or by justifying it. Both ways perpetuate the cycle of anger. It does not end by preaching you should not be angry.
Practicing mindfulness in all contexts of life has been immensely helpful to me. Mindfulness is intentionally paying my non-judgmental attention to what is happening in me and around me. It is very helpful to pause between the anger generating stimulus and our habitual and automatic response. Taking deep breaths helps me to remain calm and centered and from that place within me the right, the wise, response arises. Such a mindfulness practice frees me from the grip of conceptual and sociological analysis of anger.
When the mind is calm, open and centered, the right kind of inquiry arises in the mind which helps me to understand the intra and interpersonal dynamics of anger. The inner light helps me to process the inner and outer clouds of destructive emotions.
May we be mindful of the arising of hurting thoughts and emotions in our mind and make wise choices!
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