In Search of Love

In Search of Love

The invisible thread that connects us to everything, and everything else to us, is love. There is no meaning and purpose to life without love and yet how many of us really understand the real meaning of the word love. Love is unfortunately mistaken for so many other emotions that have absolutely nothing to do with it. Love is not just another emotion; it is a transcendental feeling of connectedness. Love has to be the language of the universe.

We need love because it is the only way we can make any sense of this experiential dreamlike state called life.  Without love, we are just wandering spirits of the wilderness of life, moving without any meaning or purpose, motivated by a few worldly purposes we have picked up along the way. Love is important because it is what we are searching for. Without love, life is simply pointless.

Now, what exactly is love? How can we be sure that what we have found or what we are looking for is love and not just another emotion? The first thing to understand about love is that it does not stand independently; there is no such thing as an objective love that is independent of you. Love is a difficult thing to find because its most important part is hidden within you; what you are searching for on the outside is simply a reflection of what you already know within you. The starting point of your search for love is always you.

When we forget ourselves in our pursuit of love, we miss the most important ingredient that makes love possible – Us. The first step in finding real love is diving deep into the recesses of our mind and heart to know who we are. It is a continuous process; the more we know ourselves the easier it is to find love. This might sound a little strange, but it is a fact. The one who knows himself/herself better has the best possible chance of finding true love.

Remember, there is no such thing as “The Love” there is only “Your Love”; there is only your definition of love. If you cannot define what exactly love is to you, you will never be able to find it. This is probably why most people keep searching for love all their lives, never to find it. For most, life is an endless pursuit of love because they have not made a sincere attempt to know themselves.

This is why there is such a deep connection between love and spirituality. The more spiritual we are, the more capable we are of finding true love. If love is all that we are searching for, then spirituality is simply a way of looking deeper within us to understand the true nature of this love. There is only one place where love finds its perfect match; when it is found within you.

Share with friends

Are you Emotionally Intelligent?

Are you Emotionally Intelligent?

When we talk about emotional intelligence, we’re talking about a higher form of intelligence. It is not only higher when compared to other animals, it also has a hierarchy within the human race itself. Most people actually don’t exercise this ability to watch their emotions and direct them in a certain way. When you are in control of your emotions, when you are observing your emotions, when you can direct your emotions in a certain direction, you can see the impact of emotions on your life.

Emotions are the glue that binds two thought processes together. Two thoughts have no relationship with each other except through some emotion. If you take away emotion, then two thoughts are simply random thoughts. If you don’t connect the clouds and the rain with the body, there is really no emotional connection at all.

All these are random processes: Someone is mowing, a flower is blooming, a bird is singing somewhere; life is happening all around us. If you were to take away the emotional glue that connects you to this process, everything is simply a momentary process: There’s no life here. Life is a connection. If you take away connection, then it’s just a painting with no meaning. That’s what life is: It’s colorful, it’s changing, it’s a three-dimensional painting and everyone is painting, but there is no connection to the painting, and there’s no relationship to the painting.

Emotion is what binds everything. Emotion is what gives us meaning. Emotion is what helps us to reflect on our place in this whole scheme of things. Most people don’t even know that they have all these emotions. Most of us think that We are victims of our emotions; we don’t have any control over our emotions. When anger takes over us, we simply have to react in an angry manner. We don’t have the choice to stop that anger. Emotional intelligence is the power to exercise your choice to stop an emotion and channel it in any direction you want.

This is not a totally alien concept, because a lot of us actually know what this is. Some of us actually use it but a lot of us know what it is. A situation happens, you get angry, and immediately some other force subsides that anger; it helps you to control that anger, and immediately a sort of intelligence comes in–a sort of thought process comes in–where you say, “Oh, I’m getting angry. Why am I getting angry?”

The moment you start interpreting your emotions, you are choosing to be intelligent. Because emotion is a force, it just happened to you. When you are able to pause that emotion, when you are able to say, “Now I’m getting angry, now I need to do something about it,” or “I want to see why this is happening.” Whatever it is that you do with that moment of anger (except for totally bursting out in anger) is a sign of emotional intelligence. When you burst out in anger without exercising any control over it, that is the sign of lack of emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is a fancy term we use, as if it is something totally separate; as if it is something that we need to acquire. It is within us. We are all emotional creatures and we think we are right. We actually think that logic and reasoning and systematic approach is our whole life, but in reality it isn’t. In reality our life is shaped by our emotions. Knowing how to direct these emotions in a certain direction is emotional intelligence. 

Share with friends

Mind & Sleep

Mind & Sleep

All of us at some point in time have had trouble sleeping. No matter what we do, the body wants to sleep, but the mind says, “No way!” Why does this happen?  Sleep is our birthright!

Sleep doesn’t just happen (or not happen) during the night. How you sleep is affected by what goes on during the day. If your day involves constant thinking, jumping from one thing to another without any rest, then guess what? That’s going to continue into the night.

We need to understand that life has no upper and lower limits. We can work ourselves to death, we can think ourselves to death and we don’t realize it. We think that, “Oh, it’s just thinking; it’s wonderful, it’s nice,” but you can go crazy, you can go mad just by thinking. There’s really no upper limit since the mind is not a limited phenomenon. It’s only the body that is limited; the mind is totally free to imagine whatever it wants to imagine. It can go deeper and deeper into layers and layers of thinking where you can get totally trapped.

Our minds are like the engine of a car that we never shut off. We leave it running continuously, day after day, year after year, letting it just go crazy with thoughts. We need to learn how to shut the engine off when we’re not using it so we can get some rest! The way to do this is to incorporate “conscious rest” into our daily routines.  Conscious rest is simply to sit quietly and watch your breath. Each hour, if possible, sit for 10 minutes and just watch your breath. When a thought comes into your mind, just let it go; don’t entertain it. The monotony of watching the breath can magically keep thoughts at bay because your mind can only handle one thing at a time; if you’ve got it tied up watching the breath, then there’s no room for any imaginary trips of horror into the future or depressing dramas from the past.

This is going to seem impossible at first, because the mind has never been approached like this–it’s had free rein to think whatever it wants, whenever it wants. To gain control, you’ve got to be persistent. Just think: If you work for 8 hours per day and are able to sit 5 or 6 times during the day (and a little after work as well) and practice watching the breath, after a week or so you’ll start getting the hang of it. Then, the next time you lay down to sleep and your mind says, “I’m going off on a tangent now,” you can say, “No way–I’m watching the breath. You be still.”

And sleep will come.

           

Share with friends

Slow Down

Slow Down

Life is not all about how far we go, how many things we do, or how much we achieve; life is simply a measure of how deeply we live. This is why there are as many ways of living as there are people on this planet. There is no one right way of living and there certainly is no one definition of life.

Rarely do we talk about the experience of being in the moment. Most of the time we are so busy skimming off the surface of life, darting from one point to another, we simply forget that there is enormous depth to the present moment. The present moment is a single moment only from the point of view of the past and the future. From the point of view of the present, this moment is eternity. It has a depth beyond comprehension.

Our fears, worries and anxieties are simply a result of not knowing how to experience the depth of the present moment where life is brimming with joy and completeness. Happiness is not an experience; it is simply the depth of our being. The deeper we are able to get to the depths of our being, the happier we will be.

One of the easiest ways to reach the depths of the present moment is by learning to slow down. Yes, the simple act of slowing down tremendously increases our ability to experience the present moment. Just a conscious choice to slow down will make an ocean of difference as to how we perceive and experience life. Slowing down doesn’t mean that your life has slowed down; slowing down means you are more aware of and alert to what is happening around you.

Just reflect on this for a moment; aren’t all our daily frustrations a result of our mind racing fast, hop-skipping from one thought to another, not knowing how to slow down, pause or stop? We know this from experience; the faster our thought process is, the more agitated and disturbed we become. There is a direct correlation between speed of thought and stress, isn’t there?

Contrary to the understanding that slowing down will not allow you to complete important tasks in time, slowing down, in fact, increases your ability to complete your tasks in time. In the name of finishing something fast, more often than not, we make a lot of mistakes which make it more difficult to finish the task in time. Slowing down and doing things more consciously will not only add more meaning and depth to your life, it will also help you to avoid unnecessary mistakes, avoid doing things again and again, and you will be able to enjoy life as it comes, moment-by-moment.

Share with friends

The Secret of Inspiration

The Secret of Inspiration

Why is it difficult to stay inspired and motivated all the time? What is it in the nature of life that makes it so hard to keep our motivation going? Let’s try to understand the science of motivation. More importantly, let’s try to understand why we lose the ability to stay motivated as we grow up.

There is no debate in the argument that we were a lot more motivated during our younger days. Irrespective of our age now, we can all reflect back on the time when we had more energy and enthusiasm. We can all recollect a time from our past when we were a lot more inspired and motivated.

One important reason it’s difficult for us to stay inspired as we grow up is our changing understanding of life. As we grow, our understanding of life changes and so does our attitude toward what inspires and motivates us. Since the very definition of “growing up” is a process of changing, staying motivated is a big challenge

The trick to staying inspired most of the time lies in our mind. If we are able to understand the nature of our minds clearly, we will be able to learn how to keep ourselves motivated.

As far as the mind is concerned, motivation is simply a state. In fact, our mind doesn’t understand motivation at all. The main thing it understands and recognizes is different states of our mind; positive and negative states. Being in a positive state of mind corresponds to being motivated, and a negative state of mind corresponds to demotivation and lack of enthusiasm.

It is amazing how much time, money and effort is spent in trying to motivate people. Most people understand motivation as a surge of energy; hence they fall into the age old trap of instant energizing, only to lose their energy all too quickly.

We cannot approach our personal motivation in this manner. Rather, we need to understand it as a way of keeping our mind in a positive state of mind. The biggest secret to motivation is knowing the difference between a negative and a positive state of mind. When we know what triggers a negative or a positive state of mind, it becomes possible for us to control our motivation levels.

The easiest way to stay motivated is by listening to the continuous conversation of our minds and not encouraging negative conversation. This sounds too simplistic to work, but it works brilliantly. Just by listening to our thoughts we can weed out negative and unnecessary conversations and cultivate an internal atmosphere of positivity and energy.

Share with friends

What is the Connection Between Stress and Creativity?

What is the Connection Between Stress and Creativity?

What is the connection between stress and creativity? Let’s first understand what exactly stress is. Stress is a fight or flight response of the mind triggered because of fear. This fear can either be real or perceived. When the mind is gripped by fear, it can race faster than normal, making it extremely difficult to stay focused and relaxed. In a way, stress is the absolute destroyer of our sanity.

Throughout the day and even during the night our mind is constantly in stress. Our mind is constantly chasing something (worrying about the future) or trying to run away from something (thinking about the past). This constant running and chasing creates stress. Over many years of this constant running, stress builds to eventually become a chronic problem sapping our vital energy and creativity.

Let’s rewind our minds back to our childhood and answer one question very sincerely. Are we more creative now or were we more creative when we were children? Of course, we were more creative during our growing up years. The sheer amount of learning that happened in our early years of life is proof of this. We solved more problems during the first 5 years of our lives than in the last 25 years combined

We have gotten so used to thinking about the future and dwelling on the past that complacency toward constant stress has made it immune and strong. So strong that it is becoming more and more difficult to identify and deal with stress. We just think it’s normal.

Creativity is a natural state of the mind. When the mind is not in stress, when it is in the present moment, it wants to solve problems; it wants to use its energies to positively express itself in many ways. A stress-free mind is a creative mind.

Creativity is not a domain of life. It is an essential and integral quality of our being. Not only are we a part of the creative expression of existence, existence is also a part of our creative expression. Stress can completely drown this creative force by not allowing us to rest and relax. When the mind is racing between the future and the past it is impossible for us to be creative.

Only when we slow down, take deep breaths, and just be in the present moment, can we be creative. This moment is all we’ve got; nothing was ever created in the future, and the past is just that–it’s the past–it’s gone. Enjoy this moment and embrace the creativity that flows from being in the present.

Share with friends

Quick Pleasure or Lasting Bliss?

Quick Pleasure or Lasting Bliss?

“The purpose is to transcend pain and suffering.”

What is meditation? What is the message of Jesus? What is the message of Buddha? Their message is that there is a zone within us; a zone where there is peace and tremendous joy. When you touch this joy, you know that it’s internal and you know that it’s real. In this zone, the pain of the body goes away; the pain of the mind goes away, and you experience existence in its most natural state.

While you’re having sex, or when you drink alcohol, use drugs, or take part in whatever it is that you do to escape, you are basically connecting with that zone. That’s when the peace comes. You don’t smoke to be happy, you smoke to forget the pain of the body, or you drink alcohol to forget the pain of the body. Now for me, any “sudden jerk” in trying to connect with that zone–that inner zone–without a systematic process is just like smoking and drinking and having sex.  It’s like walking into someone’s house and seeing them drinking and being blissful, being happy, and then walking into someone else’s house and they are crazily jumping and dancing and speaking in different tongues. It’s the same thing. They’re experiencing some kind of joy, but once they step out of that experience they can’t carry forward that experience, so they feel depressed and sad.

This is where systematic practice is required to help you understand what mindfulness is, what meditation is, and how to gradually get into it. Life is a very long phenomenon; it’s not like you just live for 10 days. It only takes a few years to get to the point of experiencing this bliss. All we need is to develop the narrative. We need to develop the conversations. People should start talking about the scientific way of exploring the inner life and they should get into the practice of naturally touching those internal zones. In all my years of meditation I have never done anything crazy. I’ve never danced, no drama, never have psyched myself up. Once in a while I used to connect and feel all this is good, but then I quickly stepped away from this knowing that those feelings weren’t the “real thing”–They were not permanent. 

For me, I wanted to be in this zone permanently. I didn’t want to just start something accidentally. I wanted to be able to find that zone again. If you approach meditation gradually you might not experience tremendous energy and crazy things happening all of a sudden, but gradually you will experience it and enjoy it. It’s a better idea to experience gradual enlightenment because you need to know the path, you need to know how you got to that zone so that you can go back to it at will. 

Ultimately, what is the purpose? The purpose is to transcend pain and suffering. Do you want to go beyond pain and suffering for one moment and fall back into it? I mean it’s like this: Do you want to go beyond your pain and suffering completely and experience tremendous blessing one moment and then fall back into the body consciousness where the pain is still there, or do you want to gradually reduce the pain of the body, and gradually reduce the pain of the mind by connecting with that zone again and again, by going deeper into meditation? The pain of the mind reduces by understanding it, by watching the thoughts. In that understanding you grow. This is why I say the best meditation   without any doubt comes from the middle path.

When you touch the inner zone through external means such as sex or alcohol, it’s only momentary, and as soon as “the high” is gone, you’re right back to where you were, only feeling worse, because you’re not experiencing that bliss anymore.  The middle path is simply integrating quiet, meditative time into each and every day. Be mindful throughout the day, and watch your thoughts. There won’t be any “sudden light”, but the light will gradually get brighter and brighter until every day of life is full of bliss and you can live from that inner zone without external stimulation.

Share with friends

Standing for Truth

Standing for Truth

When you are confused, always take the side of truth. Nothing a human being has ever done matters more than this. Truth is, was and always will be the yardstick on which we are measured. While truth is the best path to take, it is also one of the most difficult of paths to stick to. You can be pushed away from the path of truth very easily.

The world has become a complex and confusing place. The sheer pace at which things are changing makes it easy to get confused and lost in this fast-paced, ever-changing, shape-shifting reality. The only reliable source of strength and inspiration for the individual is the truth he or she believes in.

Now, why is it so important to discover our truth and stick with it? Apart from the moral argument that truth is right, there is also a very important practical aspect to truth. Truth provides us a sense of direction; it acts as a guiding light to help us make sense of the confusing darkness around us. The moment we decide to compromise on our truth and integrity, we simply lose the way.

Truth offers us the internal certainty that is necessary to face the daily challenges of external reality. We are living in a world where everybody is fighting for our attention. We have to constantly choose between our influences and focus on what is important to us. How is it possible to focus when we are not sure about what we want, and how we can be certain about what we want if it is not deeply rooted in the truth we believe in?

Without internal truth, honesty and integrity we are like a dry leaf that is drifting in the wind. Without this internal certainty, our future, fate and destiny are simply a matter of chance. We will not have any control over our present or the future. We will not have the necessary strength and motivation to pursue our dreams and desires.

Truth fills us with incredible energy and enthusiasm. Truth lifts us when we fall. It cushions our fall and puts us back on the path. Truth gives us meaning and purpose to our actions. It helps us to weed out unwanted distractions and helps us to stay clear and focused. Truth is the best friend who will walk with you and support you in your most challenging situations.

Just reflect on the lives of some of the most creative and successful people of history; Einstein, Da Vinci, Galileo, Michelangelo and so many others. What drove them towards such incredible excellence and success? The common connecting factor of their lives is truth. They were all possessed by the truth they believed in. They were guided by an internal truth that shaped their lives. Without a clear sense of the truth that we believe in, life will always be uncertain.

Share with friends

If a tree falls …

If a tree falls …

he fundamental question is: “Is there an independent existence that goes on all by itself whether you exist or not?”

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody was around, did it really fall? That’s a very fundamental, existential question. Why do you ask such a question, when we have absolutely everything in existence happening all by itself, and you are just a small part. When you have absolutely assumed that the forest is already there for you to take a walk in, the sky is already there for you to contemplate on, and everything around you is ready-made and you’re just one person in the middle of the game of life, then that question doesn’t make any sense.

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, we still ask the question, Did it fall? When you understand the nature of reality for what it is, can you understand that existence is pure perception? Without the perceiver there is no perception; without the watcher, there is no watching; without the one who is inquiring, there is no inquiry; without the one who is listening, there is no song. So, if a person is not there to hear a tree fall in the forest it did not happen.

Everything that you have perceived in your life, you have perceived through your own personal experience. When somebody says that a tree fell in the forest, you have to imagine a tree falling in the forest. There’s got to be a sound that’s already in you to be able to imagine that tree falling in the forest. If you don’t have that imagery at all, if you have never experienced it, then it is impossible to even talk to you about such things. That itself means that you supply something very important to the process of creation.

There’s a difference between your imaginary world and your real world. In your imaginary world you can create whatever you want. You can imagine a tree falling, you can imagine dinosaurs gathering themselves up from bones, you can imagine a lot of things. But for something to actually happen you need to participate in the process. To experience a tree really falling you have to be there watching and listening. The question is not about the tree, or the tree falling, or you listening to the tree falling. The fundamental question is: “Is there an independent existence that goes on all by itself whether you exist or not?” Every time you think about this, if you think that you’re just this reality or just this physical body, then you’ll miss the whole point.

Share with friends

Creativity: The Flow of life

Creativity: The Flow of life

“Creation is something that happens from the inside and flows to the outside.”

Creativity is the very process of life, the very process of creation itself. Everything that is happening around us is happening through the process of creativity. Creativity is not just an isolated domain or department of life, creativity is the core of life. Everything begins with this creative energy and then it flows outwards.

A few things are important to understand: Creation is not something that just happens on the outside while you remain a mute spectator. Creation is something that happens from the inside and flows to the outside. This is the most important thing that we need to understand about creation and creativity. The human mind has the ability to imagine, create thoughts, and generate emotions. When this is projected, when this energy flows outward as an expression of the individual, it becomes creativity.

Creativity is really not a choice. It is not as if you can say, “Oh I don’t want to be creative, I’ll just go on living my life the way I’m living it. I don’t have to worry about creativity.” Creativity is what gives meaning and purpose to living, because all of us are here to express ourselves. Only in that expression does life become complete and meaningful. If you are not expressing what you are meant to express, then that means part of you always remains closed, and part of you never reaches its highest potential, its completion.

That is the reason why there is this tremendous joy in being creative, in expressing yourself. There is also a tremendous contentment and fulfillment in expressing yourself because creativity is the very process of life. Since you are right in the middle of life, creativity is inevitable. You have to embrace creativity as a part of your life. Otherwise life is going to be dull and boring, and all the time you will be searching for some meaning.

Einstein said that there is nothing that is more powerful than imagination. All of his work, everything he did, he attributed to his ability to imagine things newly, freshly. He did not just walk on the same path that the mind takes everybody. He said that all of his theories came from a zone of pure imagination. This imaginative ability of the mind, to see things that are not yet there, is the zone of creativity.

There is a vast difference between thinking and imagination. Thinking is more or less a regurgitation of what you have already acquired. You are just reflecting on what you have already done and on information you have already received. Imagination is totally different. Imagination is new. This is why you cannot imagine when you are in pain and you cannot imagine when you are disturbed. Imagination happens from a zone of silence and stillness. Only when your mind is calm and relaxed, when it is not tormented by the disturbances of thinking, does creativity arise.

Share with friends

Pin It on Pinterest