Self-acceptance and Other-acceptance are inter connected.
Accepting oneself and the other in our lives is an ongoing journey as we go
through different phases of growth and development and face existential
challenges in our life. We never become perfect and can tell us “ I made it
and nothing I need to learn and change.” We all are journeying. We all are
human beings with our strengths and weaknesses.
The perfection syndrome prevents us from looking at our shortcomings and
making necessary adaptations and health promoting changes. This is
where the inner work of working on ourselves mindfully continues with ups
and downs in our life. With mindfulness practice, the upward journey gets
smoother and easier and helps us go through the downward journey with
fewer bruises. Ongoing introspection and self-awareness are our great
friends to keep us walk on the wholesome path.
Being honest with oneself and cultivating integrity are essential steps for
our well-being and the well-being of others in our life. And that requires
courage and compassion to be true to oneself. Fear is contagious and so
also courage. Hiding, denying or justifying the dark zone of ourselves
diminishes our potential to grow within us and between us. Let yourself say,
“ This is who I am, a human being like you.” I have my open self, closed
self, hidden self and the self about which I do not have a clue. My intention
is to expand my open self, reduce my closed self, enlighten my blind self
and go deeper to discover my unconscious blockages and be free from my
self-created trappings. Carl Jung calls shadow work-working on the dark
zone of our life.
This is an ongoing intrapersonal and interpersonal work in relationships.
You can’t know until you know and when you know, you know. I know that I
don’t know is the beginning of knowing. No emotions are wrong. Not
recognizing our emotions keeps us trapped and blocks the unfolding,
experiencing and manifesting our deeper and inherent positive kind, loving
and nurturing emotions. We need to be compassionately aware of our
holding on to the tightness of our fist, the hurt it creates and be willing and
bold enough to let it go and open it. The open fist is a welcoming fist, a
helping fist and a connecting fist. It offers the joy of giving, receiving, and
Being compassionate to oneself, forgiving oneself, freeing oneself and
taking care of oneself paves the way to be compassionate to others.
forgiving others, freeing others and taking care of others.
Self -acceptance done lovingly and compassionately is transformative. It
builds the bridge of self-empowerment, peace, deep contentment, joy and
happiness within ourselves and with others. When we practice mindfulness
consistently on a regular basis, we become free from our habitual and
conditioned patterns of thinking, emoting and acting. We function
May we continue our well-being journey mindfully, and lovingly share our
gifts with others.
Our parents used to say; ”Lasting relationships are made in heaven by gods and nurtured by humans on earth.” This saying applies to both of us. Telling our life story to our children and grand children has become a yearly ritual in our extended family. They have been always curious to know how two people from vastly different backgrounds came together and sustained an unbroken relationship for nearly sixty years. Every year we gladly and happily share our life story with them and we know how that experience has created a strong bond among ourselves. We are equally happy to share our life story with you though we do not know you. Such real life stories build an invisible but strong bond between people regardless of time, space, ethnic, religious and cultural boundaries. Our life story is a story of building such a bond beyond boundaries. It is indeed a Yoga of Relationship.
My Roots (Jagdish)
I (Jagdish) was born in a traditional poor Hindu Brahmin family and we, my parents, four brothers and three sisters, lived in a small house. Though we were poor, my father was highly respected in our community for his scholarship, his devotion to God and his integrity. He was a teacher, a poet, a storyteller, a devotional singer and a healer. He always stood on his ground against popular winds and was never afraid of telling and living the truth. He followed traditions without being bound by them. He had an abiding faith in God and he believed that God would never forsake him. We faced many hardships and there were times when we did not even have two meals a day. My mother was a woman of heart. She was a very sweet and giving person. My friends used to say that the piece of home made bread they ate at our home tasted sweeter than any other bread they had eaten because my mother made it. I never heard my mother complaining against my father for not having enough clothes or other material comforts. She always counted blessings and never cursed the darkness. Though from a material perspective we were poor, we were rich in what was important. I am deeply grateful my parents for teaching us such a great lesson in life.
We used to have evening chanting and meditation sessions in our house. I distinctly remember the devotional songs sung by my father and how joyfully we all sang along with him. Those two hours of chanting and singing devotional songs and meditating together laid a spiritual foundation in our life. I would never forget how my father lovingly offered his early morning hours to teach us and help us in our studies. He did not impose his wish, his way or his expectation upon us. He just offered his helping hand whenever we needed it. Such a helping stance made us approach him more to ask for help whenever we needed it. Another lesson he taught simply through his presence: it is the presence of a person that is more effective than words of advice, lectures or sermons.
My mother’s presence in our family was more serene, supportive and comforting. Her path was the path of devotion. Every morning she spent time in a little corner to worship and pray to Krishna- one of the ten incarnations of God in Hindu mythology. Her heart was filled with devotional joy, peace and deep contentment. Her presence was very calming. We could be totally ourselves in her presence. Her love was unconditional. She embodied forgiveness and kindness. When successes and failures would affect us she used to remind us to live like a lotus in the water-jalakamalavat- connected but nonattached and unbound, to be in the world and not of the world. She was a busy housewife and caretaker but she always found time to attend to our needs. To her we were more important than the work she was doing or the things around us. Once I drew a picture on a piece of paper. I was very eager to show it to my mom. She was busy cooking. She saw my eager face. She put aside what she was doing and paid her undivided attention to me. Her face mirrored my excitement, pride and delight. I was privileged to have such experiences that enriched my life.
What am I in this vast universe? Who am I in this vast universe? Am I a dot in this vast universe? Am I living organism in this vast universe? From a micro perspective I am a separate isolated dot or entity. From a macro perspective, I am an integral part of the larger whole. And from a cosmic perspective, I am the whole, I am one with the cosmos, I am the cosmos.
When it comes to living in this world, our energy is primarily invested for sustaining and surviving.on a personal and tribal level. Meeting such basic needs creates bonding and interconnectedness.One dot gets connected with another dot creating a string of several interconnected dots. How do we relate to one another is an ongoing challenge for us as a human kind not only for our survival as human kind but also for the survival of our mother planet.
We all need to join our heads, hearts and hands to encounter this universal challenge. Wisdom traditions have been urging us to wake up from the illusion of seperateness and learn to relate to the unverse we live in as a family. It is imperative for all of us to learn to live amicably, compassionately and constrctively not only to survive but also to thrive and flourish.
We all need to be awakened and play our part not only for saving but also for thriving and flourishing life in multiple forms. Let us start from where we are and be a part of this evolutionary revolution. Let us spread the word by reading and reflecting on such writings, by using social media, and by actively patricipating in this movement. This is the time to act. If not now, then when? If not us then who?
May we all join our heads, hearts and hands to be a part of this noble venture!
Dr. J P Dave
Parenting is creating, sustaining and flourishing relationship with our children. Listed below are a few tried out ways of connecting our children when they face challenges in their life.
Nothingness is not a thing. Nothingness is the source of everything. There is nothing missing in nothingness. This beautiful poem reminds me of a similar beautiful poem in an ancient spiritual book called Ishvasya Upanishada written in Sanskrit: " Purnam adaha, purnam idam, purnat puram udachyate; purnasya purnam adaya, purnam evavishisyate." This is full. That is full. If you add something to fullnes, it remains full. If you take something out of it, what remains is fullness. Nothingness is described as emptiness-emptying those thoughts, feelings and actions that cause suffering to us and to others.Then emptiness is fullness and fullness is emptiness.
The source of creation has infinite abundance. When we separate ourselves from this source by believing and thinking and behaving as if we are separate from the source, we plant the seeds of alienation, me against you, invading others, and having not enough.We get misaligned with the source of creation. When we align ourselves and live in harmony with the all pervading and all embracing creative source, our cup of life gets filled.
Everything emanates from this creative source. We may call this source God, Supreme Being, Divine Mind, Tao or by any other name. Our egoic mind creates separation, divisiveness, and disconnection within and between people. Such a divided state of our ordinary ego-bound consciousness creates inner poverty and lack of fulfillment. If we wake up, become aware of this self-created alienation from the creative source, we can be reborn and live harmoniously, joyfully and peacefully.
My purpose of being in this world is to serve others and when I live this way the others become me and I become others.This is spiritual consciousness transcending the self-serving ordinary consciousness. This way of living makes me blissful and deeply contented. When I step out of this spiritual path, I feel discontented and unhappy. I wake up, rise and walk on the spiritual path.
May we rise when we fall down, wake up, and reconnect ourselves with the creative source of nothingness, emptiness or fullness.
Jagdish P Dave
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