Friday, 30 May 2008

Sacred Space 30-MAY-2008 TOI



Sri Ravi Shankar - Experience Fullness By Emptying Yourself


Experience Fullness By Emptying Yourself

Discourse: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

The world would be free of trouble if there were no love. Without love, you can’t be jealous. Greed comes because you love objects too much. Anger is because you love perfection; imperfections anger you. You love yourself too much and that’s why you are proud and arrogant.
It is not love per se but the distortion of love that causes problems, yet life will have no meaning without love. Suppose you are immensely successful and have all the riches at your command but love is missing from your life. Life will not really be worthwhile; it would appear dry and barren. All we really long for in life is love; a divine love. The purpose in life is to blossom in that ideal love.

So how do you get to that point of love where it is free from distortions and you are at ease with yourself ? Love with knowledge, understanding that it is your ego that’s obstructing you from innocent love. Ego is like a dream. You can’t call a dream real, neither can you call it unreal because you have had the experience.

Ego is attachment to wrong image / believe.

To be egoistic is to be unnatural. The ego is not a substance; it is a non-substance like darkness. Darkness is only lack of light or absence of light. You could say ego is just absence of maturity or the lack of pure knowledge.

Knowledge is an aid to develop your innermost state, which is love. Love is a state of being rather than an act. We are all made up of love. When the mind is in the present moment, we are in a state of love. So live in the present moment.

If everything is God and all is love, then where is life heading to? Life is heading towards perfection. You look for perfection; that is why you are angry at imperfections.
There are three kinds of perfection:

  1. perfection in action or kriya,
  2. in speech or vachan, and
  3. in feelings or bhaav.

Suppose someone makes a mistake and when you see that you get angry. Then you are no better than the person who has made the mistake. Your feelings have become imperfect because of someone’s imperfection in action. Any action will have some flaw. But when the feeling becomes imperfect, then it stays for a longer period. Inner perfection is lost.

Spiritual practices help you maintain your centredness and remain unshaken by small events. Every individual is bestowed with all the virtues. They simply get covered by lack of understanding and stress. Just uncover the virtues that are already there. Breathing techniques and meditation are effective in calming the mind. Learning something about our breath is important. Our breath has a great lesson to teach us, which we have forgotten.

Handling the mind directly is difficult. For every emotion in the mind, there is a corresponding rhythm in the breath and for every rhythm in the breath there is a corresponding emotion. Knowing this, and learning various breathing techniques will allow you to deal with mind and emotions effectively.

Our mind is like a pot that is turned upside down. When we were born, the pot came first with the neck upright. The whole purpose of life is to stand up, turn the pot upside down and empty it. But the pot is filled with something very sticky; though it is standing upside down, it doesn’t get empty. Becoming hollow or empty is the whole purpose of life.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

TOI - 25-May-2008



Path to self-awareness

Path to self-awareness

By accepting our weaknesses and sharing our aspirations, we can get the support of others on our journey to self-actualisation

Lois Grant

Knowing what is right and what is wrong in your own inner consciousness is insufficient. It is not the knowing of truth that transforms a person; it is the doing of truth that has an impact on you and on the other people that you interact with. You may know that it is inappropriate to think selfishly and look out for your own best interests first, but your inner emotions may drive you to be blinded to the needs of others.
You may know that it is against your basic truth to judge another individual, but your inner emotions may cause you to
look at that person and make a judgment because of the effect you are allowing them to have on your life.You may understand that all of God’s creatures were created equal, but that doesn't stop you, on an emotional level, from feeling that the human race is the most important life form on the planet.
The discrepancy lies not in a lack of information, for the information is available on a
world-wide basis for those who would seek it, evaluate it, and accept it as their own; the discrepancy lies in the ability to integrate Universal Law into your lifestyle. Awareness of the self does not just focus into the positive aspects of a personality, or the positive aspects of skills and talents that you brought with you into this lifetime, but into the negative as well; it is only when the positive is weighed against the negative, and the balanced perspective is used as a guidepost in integrating higher consciousness into the self that the influence becomes apparent in your relationships and in your lifestyle.

Self-actualisation can be translated to mean, making the self actual. It means there is no difference between what you think and what you do. There is no contradiction between what you tell others and how you respond yourself. It is manifesting who you are and what you believe in on a dayto-day, consistent basis. T
he path is a long and solitary one, and many individuals give up. It is difficult to accept what our conscious choices in the course of a specific existence have driven us to do to other people. It is hard for us to accept that we have been selfish, or resentful, or spiteful. It is hard for us to see where we have deliberately manipulated our lives so that we have control over the people and the situations and the events within it.

It is not easy to admit that we are not the positive, smiling, loving person that we prefer to see ourselves as; when, in the course of personal growth, it becomes necessary for an individual to truly, honestly evaluate how
they have interacted with their fellow human beings, the drop-out rate skyrockets.

This is unfortunate, because personal growth cannot proceed — self-awareness and self-actualisation cannot be accomplished — without a true and open acknowledgement of who we used to be and how we used
to live our lives, no matter how unpleasant that panorama may be. This does not mean that we need to spend years of our lives suffering regret and remorse for the wrong we have done in their lives to other people. It does mean that we need to take a reasonable amount of time to look back and to evaluate honestly what was really at play in any particular situation, where the two parties were really coming from, and where each conducted themselves with less than universal love.

We cannot change the past; we cannot undo the influence that we have upon other people by our thoughts and our feelings and our reactions, but we can learn from that experience and make a personal commitment never to treat anyone with that lack of respect again. If that person is still in our life, we can have the grace to apologise, and share our learning experience, and say, “I’m sorry that i used to be like that. I want to be like this, now, and i hope that you will help.”
It is only by acknowledging our past weaknesses, and sharing our future aspirations, that we can experience the support and encouragement of others on our journey to self-actualisation. If we are not willing to admit that we have ever made a mistake, ever reacted inappropriately, ever deliberately hurt someone, then we cannot admit that we need to change, or that we need other people’s help in doing so. It is, from a soul evolution perspective, selfdefeating behaviour to remain in situations made from the lower consciousness that create less than fulfiling situations and relationships in our lives.



Loosen the influence of external pressures, listen to your own internal dream, and then let go of what isn’t part of that dream within, says Bret S Beall

When we are children, and someone tells us to ‘let go,’ it is usually in reference to something material, and when we let go, we can either feel empty, as if we are being deprived of something, or we can feel full, knowing that we have allowed someone to have that something, and s/he must really need it.
As adults, letting go can still leave us feeling empty or full. Both feelings may occur simultaneously. Ultimately, letting go will allow us to feel free, unburdened, healed, happy, even joyous. I intend to address how we can reach these ultimate feelings. The concept of letting go is very complex. For the sake of this discussion, i will divide the various aspects of letting go into three categories: 1) physical, 2) psychological, and 3) spiritual.
When i discuss the physical realm, i am talking about anything tangible, whether it is our bodies or our environment. Our environment can often be cluttered, so purging of much of this stuff can be truly liberating. Our bodies may not please us, so we can choose to let go of extra weight. We can choose to let go of bad habits and addictions. We can choose to free ourselves of the indiscriminate materialism and consumerism that requires constantly acquiring more and more of anything.

Moving from the physical to the psychological, we move to the why of those items that we could let go of physically. For example, why do we have all of the stuff that needs to be purged? What has caused the rampant materialism that has allowed us to fill up our lives with objects and beings? I almost wrote ‘inanimate,’ but there are those who fill up their lives with pets and children and casual acquaintances rather than real relationships. All such acquisitional behaviour is symptomatic of a psychological need that longs to be filled, but which should be purged. The same is true of other unpleasant emotions, like anger, fear, jealousy/envy, even hate; when a psychological need exists, it causes these emotions to manifest in an attempt to satisfy that need. Guess
what? The very same is true for any bad habits and addictions we want to let go of; while there may be a biochemical component to these, they also are indicative of some sort of need or self-perceived deficiency or pain that, in turn, is symptomatic of needing to spiritually let go.

Truthfully, one could argue that if one lets go and purges at the physical and psychological levels, spiritual
level purges and progress will automatically follow. Instead of dealing with those two arguments, i am going to run to one common expression: Let Go; Let God. When we consider the spiritual level, by definition we are dealing with the Divine by whatever name we wish to call Him. Also, by definition, we are exiting the scientific arena that forms the foundation of most of my work, and moving into the realm of faith, which happens to form the foundation for the remainder of my work. Most spiritual advisors argue that happiness and joy are the natural state of our souls. Therefore, if these are not what we feel, what must be purged from the spiritual realm? Because every single major faith has reincarnation as one of its major tenets, and the purpose of reincarnation is for the spirit to achieve a higher state. Ridding ourselves of karma is the ultimate purge!
Now that we have seen the different levels of letting go and purging, how do we begin the process? Try beginning with just one small step in one aspect of your everyday life. Identify something that you don't need, and let go of it. Perhaps it will be your décor? Even though i embrace much of Mies van der Rohe’s ‘Less is More’ philosophy, one does
not have let go of an overall personal style that you might enjoy more in order to simplify and streamline your life. However, it may help to examine “Why” you have a particular décor, and whether it might merit letting go in order to have a more lifeenhancing physical environment. Mostly, this is about just getting rid of accumulated material items that aren’t needed any more.

Think about the motivations you have for selecting a career, a hobby, a car, a house, even a spouse. Are those motivations from your own internal dreams and drive, or are there some external pressures? This is moving beyond the realm of everyday activity, and into the realm of special activity; these special events are most often psychological in nature.

Remember, though, that there are many ways to get an education, so temper all external pressures with your internal dream. Loosen the influence of external pressures, learn what your choices are, listen to your own internal dream, and then let go of what isn’t part of that internal dream. Now that you have identified your internal dream, what is holding you back from achieving your greatness? Money? Fear? Inhibitions? Overwhelming anger? Frustration? Laziness? Whatever it is, you must start to let go of what is holding you back. For instance, i have a beautiful relative who is very intelligent and artistically talented; she once told me that her dream was to write children’s books. When i asked her why she didn’t ‘just do it,’ she said she was afraid of failing. I urged her to let go of her fear of failure, but that fear had its hooks in too deep.

Once you start letting go of what you don’t need, and loving all, you will have fewer blocks in your spiritual Path! As you begin to ‘Let go,’ you automatically begin ‘Letting In.’ Both are processes, so please don’t expect overnight success. Start small, and change will occur incrementally. Let go of the need for perfection and the physical, psychological and spiritual baggage that embodies. Let in the goal of self-improvement throughout your life. Let in Love. We are all works in progress. Make a pact with yourself to show just a little more love every day. Let in the Divine.