Monday, 15 December 2014

How to Live a Blissful Life

Be like the winds; move with the winds; go wherever they take you. And don’t choose.

~ Lao Tzu

Hi Friends......

Welcome to my blog. It is a great feeling to talk with you. Before entering into the topic, I’d like to thank you all for your love and support towards me. It was really a thrilling experience to receive a bunch of emails enquiring my well being, requesting for new posts and seeking personal advices. 

For those who are concerned about my health and well being, I’d like to inform them that I am perfectly alright. For last few days, I was just busy in my other jobs; so, couldn’t write here. And for those who were seeking advice, I hope that I replied to them on time. In future, I’ll try to respond within 2-3 days.

Today, I’m gonna share with you the Path to Blissful Life. The message is beautifully summarized in the enlightening verse of Kokila Gupta. She is Pioneer of Hindi Haiku. She is a personality with many facets. She is a teacher, reader, writer, illustrator, traveller, amateur photographer, gardener and many more. She writes at and The depth of her understanding on life and spirituality could be felt from the following verse:

How to Live a Blissful Life?

Before knowing the way to blissful life, we should understand the meaning of life.

What is life?

What is life? How do you know that you are alive?

The simplest answer is by seeing others dying. Shocking! But truth. Do you know any other way of knowing that you are alive?

Death is the reference point of life. And, what is death? It is the absence of life. How do we know that someone is dead? By seeing ourselves alive. Life and death are complementary to each other. In fact, they are two different states of ourselves. If we introspect the characteristics of these two states – life and death, we find that life is like a stream while death is stagnant; life is motion while death is stationary.

Are motion and stationary absolute reality? Are they complete in itself?

No, they are relative concepts. They are complementary to each other. Motions are defined in respect of stationary objects and stationary objects are defined in respect of objects in motion. And, they are interchangeable, i.e. what appears in motion to you may appear stationary to others or vice versa. The best example to illustrate the idea is a train journey. When you are inside a train, it appears to you that trees are travelling, anything outside the train is travelling and you are static. And for others, who are outside, you are travelling inside a train and they are static. You also feel the same when you are standing outside and watch the passing train.

Motion and stillness are two states of object which are observer dependent. They depend on the way of observation; so is life and death. When we are in living state, death appears as motionless. May be when we are on the other side, opposite appears! Who knows?

Also read : Death – A Beginning or an End

Life is a journey not destination

Kokila has beautifully phrased “Jeevan Path” meaning “Path of Life” or “Alive State of Ourselves.”  Life is just like a train journey where we board into it at our birth and depart from it at our death. This life is, in fact, not the entire journey but a part of it – a journey of only one train. It doesn’t tell anything about our previous travels or journeys yet to come.

The problem or misery begins when we misinterpret life as destination instead of journey; when we start to think it in terms of permanent state instead of temporary state.

To avoid misery in life, we should behave with others as if we are travelling in a train. We make friends as well as enemies during our train journey. Sometimes we play and some other times we quarrel but when we get down of the train, these friendship or foeship do not affect us. The reason is: because we don’t form strong bond with them. It doesn’t mean that we form hollow relationship with our fellow passengers. No, they are as genuine as we form in our daily life. The only difference is that we don’t expect anything from them; we just enjoy the journey with them. We just follow our natural instinct without any prejudices or hidden agenda.  

What is your identity

What is your identity? Who are you? Are you the zygote who was once conceived inside a female body? Or the one who came out after delivery? Or the  toddler? Or the child? Or the adolescent? Or the adult? Who are you?

Most probably, you will say “all of these.” Now I challenge you, how could you be all of these if you are only one? It isn’t logical, is it? I further challenge you to take out the photograph of your childhood and stand before a mirror and prove that the person in the mirror and the person in the photograph are same and it is you in both of them. How you gonna prove it?

There is no way to prove it. You only know because someone has told you. In most of the cases, we are informed by our parents regarding our identity and we believe it to be true. It is better to say that what we know as our identity is actually the identity labelled by our parents to us.

Let it understand by a story. An eagle’s egg was placed in the nest of a chicken. The egg hatched and the little eagle grew up thinking it was a chicken. The eagle did what the chickens did. It scratched in the dirt for seeds. It clucked and cackled. It never flew more than a few feet because that is what the chickens did. One day he saw an eagle flying gracefully and majestically in the open sky. He asked the chickens: “What is that beautiful bird?” The chickens replied, “That is an eagle. He is an outstanding bird, but you cannot fly like him because you are just a chicken.” So the eagle never gave it a second thought, believing that to be the truth. He lived the life of a chicken and died as a chicken, depriving himself of his heritage because of the false identity labelled on him.

We, too, are living like this. Being an eagle, we are living a life of a chicken. Clouds are not boundary of sky. Sky is beyond clouds. Let the clouds part away. Try to see the sky through the gaps between the clouds. If dust settles on the glass of a mirror and nothing is seen but only dust and we think we are dust then it is nothing more than a sheer stupidity. Wipe the dust off the glass then you see your real self— true identity.

As you have noticed earlier that for a change or motion to occur, something unchangeable – something stationary is needed as reference. You are constantly changing from infant to child, child to adolescent, adolescent to adult and so on. There must be something within you as unchangeable as a reference point to observe these changes. Stop taking feedbacks from others about yourself and start to look within.

Also read: Memory – A Forged Identity Of Ourselves

Advantage of mind's limitation

In the Cosmos, everything is relative; nothing is absolute. In words of Einstein “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” The meaning only lies in our way of observation as in case with motion and static state. It is the state of observer which determines whether the object is in motion or static.

The state of observer is influenced by other things in the surrounding apart from the object of observation. Our mind, in fact, does not register any absolute state but only able to detect the relative difference between the observed object and its surrounding. When we compare 7 feet rod with 10 feet rod, mind registers it as small and when we compare the same 7 feet rod with 5 feet rod, it registers it as big.

The same comparison occurs also in the situation of miseries or happiness.  You can take advantage of it in enjoying your lives. At the time of problems or miseries, you can imagine of the worst things that could happen in that situation and feel happy that you didn’t hit by them.

Illusion due to prejudices

We have seen in previous section that how any observation depends more on observer than the object of observation. In this section we will see how our mind interprets the meaning differently under the influence of prejudices and sometime in entirely opposite direction.

The line “Jug me apni nijta laye kar” could be interpreted in two entirely different ways: First one would be to blend your ego into the world and look the world egoistically. And second one would be to harmonize yourself with the cosmos, acknowledging the differences as complement, and behave as unity.

The entire message from the reference point of our first interpretation of the third line conveys: “The secret of sustenance in life is to identify yourself with your ego, blend it with the world and see the world through it because that is the only world relevant for you.”

This is a very dangerous interpretation. Unfortunately, most of the time, we interpret in this manner only because of our prejudices. We are conditioned to think in terms of ego since the very childhood. Moreover, we are loaded with the ego of family, religion, nation and many more.

I’ve heard a story of a person who once went to learn the secret of blissful living from a Zen fakir. The fakir welcomed him with a cup of tea and then began pouring more from his kettle into it. The person shouted annoyingly “what are you doing? It’s already full. How could it accommodate more?” The fakir replied with a serene smile “I understand; but do you? How could I give you more if you already come overflowing?”

According to Zen saying, one who longs to be everywhere must not be anywhere. One who wants to be all cannot afford to be anything. There is no congruity between all and something; they just don't go together. You have to be nothing to become all. You have to relinquish your personal identity to gain cosmic identity.

Also read: Surrender - A Way to Freedom

Harmony is blissfulness

Harmony is the key to blissfulness not solution. Existence is paradoxical. Everything we observe in cosmos appears to us in pairs: day-night, hot-cold, light-dark, matter–antimatter, pleasure-pain, happiness-sorrow etc. It is not that they appear in pairs; it is our limitation of observation that we see them in pairs. We can only observe from some reference point and to generate that reference point, we divide the things into two. (Remember motion in reference of some static object and stationary state in reference of some motion.)

It is not only that we divide them into two but begin to believe them as a separate entity. Then the conflict arises – problem begins to upsurge. When problem surges, we try to find a solution for it. To find a solution, we start to compare between the two and choose one part against the other as solution. Then miseries begin.

One who chooses will always be incomplete, less than the whole, because the part he chooses will continue to delude him and the part he denies will continue to pursue and haunt him. He can never be rid of what he rejects and represses. That’s the cause of his misery.

You cannot find a solution of tree growth to a greater height by cutting its roots. You cannot find happiness as solution without sorrow. How would you know that you are happy without the reference of sorrow? Happiness could only be known from the reference point of sorrow.

Once, a boy was flying a kite with his father and asked him what kept the kite up. Dad replied, "The string." The boy surprised and said, "Dad, it is the string that is holding the kite down." The father then asked his son to release the kite from that holding if he thought so. The son broke the string. And then, the misery began.

A few minute earlier, he was happy. He was enjoying flying a kite. But now, he was sad. He was sad because he misunderstood the Law of Cosmos. Existence is paradoxical. The very things that are holding us down are also the things that are helping us fly. You cannot find a solution by choosing one against other.

There is a basic flaw in our understanding. We understand opposite as conflicting but, instead, they are complementary. The cosmos is a unity of contradictions and dialectics. It is composed of different and contradictory notes.

Harmony is the use of different and contradictory notes simultaneously. Harmony is a pleasing combination of elements as a whole. To be in harmony with cosmos means to be complete, to be integrated.

When you harmonize with Cosmos, you and cosmos become Unity. Then you just become synonym of cosmos. You don’t have anything of your own because there is nothing left other than you to be owned by you. Your individual identity becomes nothing. And you become whole.

Seeing the cosmos in oneself

It is just like watching programs on your television by tuning it to broadcasting frequency. You don’t need to be present at recording studio to watch the programs. You can watch them at your place on your television-set tuned in to the broadcasting frequency. In a similar fashion, you can see the cosmos within yourself when tuned in to it.

Let understand it from different perspective. A drop of water is same everywhere irrespective of its origin. It doesn’t matter where it lies: whether in ponds, lake, river, ocean or single droplet or even in ice or vapour. Its true identity i.e. its composition will always remain the same. It’s the same proportion of hydrogen and oxygen, you’ll find in every forms of water. It means if you understand one droplet of water, you understand the whole water. The same is the case with you and the cosmos. If you understand yourself, you understand the cosmos. If you are able to see your true self then you are able to see cosmos within yourself.

Surdas said “One drop of water is in the river and another is foul in the ditch by the roadside. But when they fall into the Ganga both alike become holy.” It means that it doesn’t matter what you are at present whether clean river or foul ditch; to become holy, you only need to unite with holy Ganga. When you fall in Ganga, you become Ganga. In a similar way, when you unite with cosmos, you become the cosmos.

There is a beautiful story of Vivekananda associated with this Bhajan of Surdas. Once, a party was organized by Maharaja of Khetri in his honour. In that party, when a dancer entered into the court to perform, Vivekananda rose to go out. He was prejudiced regarding the character of those dancers. Upon seeing the Vivekananda rising from his seat, another stanza of this bhajan broke out from her choked throat with tears pouring down her cheeks:

“O Lord, not look upon my evil qualities!  Your name, O Lord, is Same-sightedness. Make of us both the same Brahman! One piece of iron is in the image in the temple and other is in the hand of a murderer but when touched by philosophers’ stone both alike turn into gold. So Lord, do not look upon my evil qualities! Your name, Lord, is Same-sightedness.....”

Vivekananda was completely overwhelmed. He realized his mistake. He touched the feet of that dancer and begged for pardon. This is the secret of his blissful life. He never carried his ego with himself. He never let his ego come his way or overpowered by it. He never lived for false pride and importance.

Most of our energy goes into upholding our importance. If we're capable of losing some of that importance, two extraordinary things happen. First, we would free our energy from trying to maintain the illusory idea for grandeur; and second, we would provide ourselves with enough energy to catch a glimpse of the actual grandeur of the cosmos.

Ways to feel harmony with cosmos

  • Practice choicelessness
  • Spend time with nature
  • Listen music without words
  • Include dance in your life
  • Try to observe the rhythm of your breathing in leisure
  • Use the time on bed before sleeping for introspection

He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the Universe.

~ Marcus Aurelius

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Hope the article fans the flame of POSITIVITY within you.

Have a nice day!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Change Your Action Change Your Attitude

Action seems to follow feeling, but really action and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.
-William James

A Russian Physiologist while studying digestion in dogs accidently noticed associativequestionre of learning. Dogs normally salivate upon seeing the food but he found a strange thing that dogs started to salivatn seeing the peophysiologicalusually fed them. Any object or event that dogs learned to associate with food would trigger the same response. To confirm associative learning, he conducted additional experiments. Among one of these was to ring a bell before feeding the dogs. After continuation of procedure for many days he rang the bell without presenting the food and found that the dogs salivated in the same way as if food was there. He was Ivan Petrovich Pavlov who received Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1904.

Our actions are associated with our feelings in the same way. They constitute a self sustaining system. They form a vicious circle in which feelings incite action and actions reaffirm those feelings. We, at any moment, are the cumulative effect of our actions. Our actions shape ourselves to a great extent.

The way we interact with others shapes our opinion of ourselves. What we do influences people's opinions of us; and from their reactions to our behavior we draw some part of our opinion of ourselves. A braggart antagonizes people, causing them to withdraw from him. From their reactions he comes to feel that he is adequate and that people are impossible to impress. Believing himself unnoticed and unheard, he invents stories of accomplishments even grandeur than he has talked in the past — a tactic which antagonizes people further, provoking reactions that in the end make him less desirable. His bragging is, by its influence on other people, producing an eventual change in his own attitudes toward himself.

The other way our action influences us is through our pre-suppositions. When one escapes from school to watch a movie and sees his neighbor standing outside the theater. And, the neighbor visits his house to meet his father in the evening. Would he able to meet his eyes with the neighbor? If not, then one thing is certain that his own behavior has influenced his perception of his neighbor. The neighbor may not even have seen him.

Our actions, whatever they are, mold our perceptions in someway. One thing is crystal clear that we are responsible for good or bad whatever we are at present. Whether we like it or not, everything that is happening at this moment is result of the choices made in the past. Unfortunately, a lot of people make choices unconsciously and therefore, don't think they are choices and yet they are. If I were to insult you, you'd most likely make the choice of being offended. If I were to pay you a complement, you'd most likely make the choice of being pleased or flattered. But think about it: it's still a choice.

Let me tell you about an experiment conducted by B. F. Skinner. He put a rat in his specially designed Skinner box fitted with light bulbs and a lever. The rat was subjected to unpleasant electric shocks through the floor of the box. As out of discomfort the rat moved about the box and accidentally knocked the lever which ceased the electric shocks. The rat quickly learned to go straight to the lever encountering occasional electric shocks a few times. The rat observed that bulbs were lighted just before the electric shock came on and also learned to avoid the electric shocks by pressing the lever when the lights came on. 

We learn in the same way as the rat in the experiment. We are born in chaos. We use trial and error. We find a pattern of attitudes that are acceptable, either because they please us or mitigate our fear in someway. We allowed those attitudes to motivate us. We widen the sweep of our activities, many of which reinstate this set of attitudes and lock them and we continue enlarging on our behavior. Though, we are infinite choice makers but have become bundles of conditioned reflexes that are constantly being triggered by people and circumstances into predictable outcomes of behavior.

We are hard-wired to think negatively at first instance to avoid potential dangers. Imagine, we're early Homo sapiens dwelling in caves. It is the dead of night and we're comfortable in our warm cave, asleep with our family. Suddenly, we hear an ominous noise outside the cave entrance. What do we do? Can we ignore this noise and sleep normally? No, we're mentally predisposed to take the negative view to defend ourselves from attack and possible death.

As it is said that excess of anything is bad; so, is the case with pessimism. In extreme cases, we give our negative thoughts the domineering power and they manifest in negative ways. The Law of Attraction says that we attract into our life whatever we think about.  Our dominant thoughts will find a way to manifest. Our brains become magnetized with the dominating thoughts which we hold in our minds, and, by means with which no man is familiar, these “magnets” attract to us the forces, the people, and the circumstances of life which harmonize with the nature of our dominating thoughts. Our every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind.

Now, the question is what to do then? The answer is very simple: Change the thoughts. But, as easy it sounds, it isn't that easy. We don't have direct control over our thoughts. But we can change our thoughts by changing our action which is under our direct control. Recent researches show that by changing our action in really pretty easy and simple ways for a short span of time, we are able to change our state of mind from docile to powerful through physiological changes in our body.

It is found that in both human and non-human primates, expansive, open postures reflect high power, whereas contractive, closed postures reflect low power. Not only do these postures reflect power, they also produce it; in contrast to adopting low power poses, adopting high power poses increases explicit and implicit feelings of power and dominance, risk-taking behavior, action orientation, pain tolerance, and testosterone (the dominance hormone), while reducing stress, anxiety, and cortisol (the stress hormone). High testosterone means more confidence and low cortisol means less stress. High testosterone and low cortisol, a hormone profile that is characteristic of high-status and effective leaders and is induced by power posing, is associated with reduced stress, increased sense of personal control, and increased engagement and performance in competitive tasks.

In an experiment conducted by Amy Cuddy and her team, it is found that 2 minutes of high power pose increases testosterone level significantly and drops cortisol level while 2 minutes of lower power pose does the opposite

Thus, we can conclude that motion can be a precursor of emotion and attitude of a person can be changed by changing his physical action. A person can't act devoted for a long time without feeling devoted.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Luck Factor: How To Get Lucky

He worked by day
And toiled by night.
He gave up play
And some delight.
Dry books he read,
New things to learn.
And forged ahead,
Success to earn.
He plodded on with
Faith and pluck;
And when he won,
People called him lucky.

Most of the times, these lines are interpreted as obsession of work. Edison said “When a man really Desires a thing so deeply that he is willing to stake his entire future on a single turn of the wheel in order to get it, he is sure to win.” When Edison said this, he didn’t mean to become obsessed with work — a workaholic. He simply meant to tighten one’s waist belt and wait for the opportunity. His emphasis was on preparation. In the words of Lombardi, “Everyone has a will to win but very few have the will to preparation to win.”

David J Schwartz in his book ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’ wrote “Take a second look at what appears to be someone’s good luck. You'll find not luck but preparation, planning and success-producing thinking preceded his good fortune."

In order to accomplish anything in the Universe, one has to relinquish one’s attachment to it. The moment one relinquish one’s attachment to the result and concentrate only on preparation, one will have that one Desires. If a person is so dedicated that he doesn't divert his attention even for result, there is no doubt that he is going to succeed in his endeavor.

Attachment is based on fear and insecurity — fear of loosing. This divides one’s mind and steals some part of it to focus on thoughts of result instead of preparation. Work with divided-mind wouldn’t result in divided results but ends in no results. It is the conscious mind that knows how to fulfill every need and consciousness comes from being fully present in the moment.

The search for security is an illusion. The solution to this dilemma lies in the wisdom of uncertainty. Uncertainty is the ground of pure creativity and freedom. The unknown is the field of all possibilities, ever fresh, ever new, always opens to the creation of new manifestations. One characteristic of the field of all possibilities is infinite correlation. The field can orchestrate infinity of spacetime events to bring about the outcome that is intended. Between points A and B, there are infinite possibilities. With uncertainty factored in, one might change direction in any moment if one finds a higher ideal or something more exciting. One is also less likely to force solutions on problems, which enables one to stay alert to opportunities.

There lived a boy who was sent to buy two pastries. He was told that they would cost 6 bucks. He went to bakery and asked for two pastries. The bakery owner asked five bucks for the pastries but he started arguing that he was told that they would cost 6 and he would pay only 6 bucks. The owner understood his problem and said with a smile that 5 is lesser than 6. The boy finally realized his mistake, paid 5 bucks and took the pastries. This happens to most of the people who choose to force solution and miss higher opportunities.

The state of alertness — one’s preparedness in the present, in the field of uncertainty allows one to seize the opportunity. It is contained in every problem of life. Opportunity has a sly habit of slipping in by the back door, and often it comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat. Perhaps this is why so many fail to recognize opportunity. One can look at every problem one has in one’s life as an opportunity for some greater benefit.

I heard a story of a man who had a horse. One day his horse went somewhere and didn't return. The man went sad and thought himself unlucky. After three months all of a sudden his horse with some other 30 horses returned. He thought himself lucky. While riding on his horse the man fell down and got severely injured. At the same time war broke out with neighbouring countries and the king wanted every healthy individual to join army and fight for the country. The man due to severe injuries could not join the army and survived because his country was defeated and all the army men were brutually massacred. Now I give up to you to decide whether he is lucky or unlucky?

One can stay alert to opportunities by being grounded in the wisdom of uncertainty. When one’s preparedness meets opportunity, the solution will spontaneously appear. Luck is nothing but preparedness and opportunity coming together.

Edwin C Barnes wanted a partnership with Edison. Two difficulties stood in his way. He did not know Edison, and he did not have enough money to pay his railroad fare to his destination. These difficulties were sufficient to have discouraged the majority from making any attempt and declared themselves as unlucky. Luckily, he didn’t belong to the majority and decided to travel on a freight train rather than be defeated. He presented himself at Edison’s laboratory, and announced he had come to go into business with the inventor. But, he did not get his partnership with Edison on his first interview. He did get a chance to work in the Edison offices, at a very nominal wage, doing work that was unimportant to Edison, but most important to Barnes, because it gave him an opportunity to display his merchandise where his intended partner could see it. Months went by. Apparently nothing happened to bring the coveted goal which Barnes had set up in his mind. But something important was happening in Barnes’ mind. He was conscious of what’s going around him and was prepared for the moment. Then, one day, Edison had just perfected a new office device, known as, the Edison Dictating Machine. His salesmen were not enthusiastic over the machine. They did not believe it could be sold without great effort. Barnes saw his opportunity. He knew he could sell the Edison Dictating Machine. He suggested this to Edison, and promptly got his chance. He did sell the machine. In fact, he sold it so successfully that Edison gave him a contract to distribute and market it all over the nation.

Dr. Richard Wiseman, a noted psychologist and author of the book, Luck Factor, did extensive research over a period of 10 years in finding factors for good or bad luck. In one of his experiments he gave lucky and unlucky person a newspaper asked them to find out how many photos were inside. On average, unlucky people spent about 2 minutes on this exercise while lucky people spent seconds because on the paper’s second page — in big type — was the message “Stop counting: There are 43 photos in this newspaper.” Lucky people tended to spot the message. Unlucky ones didn’t. He put second one halfway through the paper: “Stop counting, tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $250.” Again, the unlucky people missed it. He deduced from the experiment that unlucky people miss chance opportunities because they’re too busy looking for something else. Lucky people see what is there rather than just what they’re looking for.

Luck is all about positive believing and attitude. In an experiment on learning to be lucky, one unlucky subject said that after adjusting her attitude — expecting good fortune — not dwelling on negative — her bad luck has vanished. One day, she went shopping and found a dress she liked. But she didn’t buy it and when she returned to the store in a week, it was gone. Instead of slinking away disappointed, she looked around and found a better dress — for a less. Events like this made her a much happier person.

Purna was a disciple of Buddha who wanted to go on a pilgrimage taking the Buddha's message. Buddha asked, "Where are you going?" He said, "None of your sannyasins have gone to Sukha yet, I will go there." Buddha said, "It would be good if you don't go there. The people of that area are dangerous, this is why no one has gone. If they insult you what will happen to you?" Purna replied, "If they insult me then I will consider myself Lucky that they didn't beat me, they only insulted me." Buddha said, "And if they beat you what will happen to you Purna?" Purna replied, "I will consider myself Lucky that they didn't kill me, they only beat me." Buddha said, "One more question, if they kill you what will happen to you as you are dying?" Purna replied, "What else could happen? These are such good people that they have released me from living in this body in which I might have committed some mistake. Now no mistake is possible. They have released me from living in this body where my foot may have gone on wrong paths, anything could happen, I could stray off. They have liberated me from this body. I will die filled with kindness for them. I will die full of gratitude for them." Buddha said, "Then you go. Go anywhere. Wherever you go, you will find your HAPPINESS, because now you cannot see any MISERY."

Andrew Solomon for his book about "How family manages to deal with various kinds of challenges or unusual offspring" interviewed many mothers. One mother he interviewed had been raped as an adolescent and had a child following that rape which had thrown away her career plans and damaged all of her emotional relationships. But, when he met her, she was 50. He asked her “Do you often think about the man who raped you? She said “I used to think about him with anger but now with pity.” Andrew exclaimed pity! He thought she meant pity because the culprit was so unevolved as to have done this terrible thing. He asked “Pity?” And, she said “Yes, because he has a beautiful daughter and two beautiful grandchildren and he doesn’t know that and I do. So, as it turns out, I’m The LUCKY One.”

In order to be Lucky, don’t be judgmental. If you can’t be non-judgmental, try to see the positive part of an incidence. If you also can’t able to see positive side, try to imagine things worse than this and feel happy that it didn’t happen in real. 

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Success ─ What Does It Mean?

Before coming to the word Success, let us have a look on following sentence

‘People know me as Rama’ 

What do you infer from this sentence? Probably most people will think that name of the person is Rama but a few will also consider the person having the virtues of Lord Rama of Hindu mythology. A few who have the second opinion must have somehow related to Hindu mythologies. People belonging to other communities, such as Christians or Muslims, who do not know anything about Lord Rama will come with first opinion. Further, we all are familiar with experience of coming with new ideas or interpretations each time when reading the same text again & again.

From this it is clear that the words or sentences do not have any specific meaning. It is we, who give meanings to them according to our consciousness. The same is true with the word Success. Every individual may have different meaning to success. For most of us, Andrew Carnegie, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Dhirubhai Ambani, Thomas A. Edison, Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King are the names of successful peoples. Some might think Mother Teresa, Jesus Christ, Prophet Mohammad, Gautam Buddha, Vivekananda are successful in real meaning. There is also not the scarcity of those for whom passing the exam, clearing the interview, getting a job, being doctor or engineer, marring a particular girl or boy mean success. 

I know a family which was teaching the meaning of success to a child as securing the top position in class terminal examinations. It was nothing to do with his overall percentage. There was much emphasis on top position rather than individual performance. In first terminal examination he got 95% but secured second position in the class. The parents were not happy with a significant percentage but advised him to top in the class. Boy was depressed, as he worked hard but no appreciation was given. But, he came out of depression and committed to himself that he would work hard and would pay more attention to studies. He fulfilled his commitment honestly and this time got 98% but got third position in the class. The parents reacted as if they were undressed in front of others. The father didn’t talk to the child for many days. The mother who was herself illiterate instead of having sympathy with the child cursed him very badly. As a consequence of these, the child changed his way of thinking and study. He paid more attention in remembering about top position than studying hard. He used to open his books and constantly thinking over securing top position in spite of reading the pages. As a result he got only 80% marks in subsequent examination but surprisingly got first position in the class. For that he was rewarded by having new bicycle, new video games and many more. No one was worrying for his very low percentage as compared to previous examinations. 

Looking from a different angle one may argue that the paper was tough so that overall percentage of the class is low, not only of his, and in previous examinations the paper was easy, so high overall percentage of class was observed. He was only not sincere. This may be true but if this is true then the credit of Being Successful doesn’t go to the child because the result was not the solely effort of the child, some other factors was also involved. It can also be stated as the failures of others. 

The average person puts only 25% of his energy & ability into his work. The world takes off his hat to those who put in more than 50% of their capacity, and stands on its head for those few and far between the souls who devote 100%.
─ Andrew Carnegie

Success is one's achievement and if depends on others then it is worthless. Success must be related to one and his effort only. Percentage of success must be evaluated from the performance of an individual only excluding all the other factors. It should be a comparison between his maximum performance and his present performance. Success should be utilization of full potentiality of an individual.  There was a child who was writing examination and after finishing his writing, submitted the paper to the invigilator. While handing the paper to invigilator, he remembered that a comma was missing in the answer sheet which he mentioned to invigilator. He was assured that his paper was checked after putting the comma in the sheet. When paper was being checked, the examiner could not find the missing comma and the child was called to put it. He came and put the missing comma at appropriate place which was overlooked by the examiner. His paper was remarked by the statement ‘Examinee is better than examiner’. He was later became the first President of Republic India. His name was Dr. Rajendra Prasad. No one can analyze your performance or judge you correctly except YOU. 

Life is like a ten-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.
    ─Charles Shultz

A cub was reared with puppies. It resembled itself as one among the puppies and learned all the skills of puppies and performed even better than actual puppies. Can it be called as Successful? No, it has the potentiality of becoming lion but due to ignorance leading a life of puppy. We too have enormous possibilities but being ignorant leading a menial life. 

Man isn’t the sum of what he is but the totality of what he might be.

In the Olympic of 1960, Muhammad Ali won the gold medal in heavy weight boxing championship. He was Negro of Louisville. After returning to home, he was offered huge & massive welcome. Parties were held in honor of him all over the America. He was overwhelmed by all this. His childhood dream was to win that medal and he worked hard for it. He loved his achievement & his gold medal very much. He never let it out of his sight. He even slept with it. One day he went along with his friend in a restaurant in Louisville but he was not served because of being a Negro despite he was a Olympic Champion who bought pride to his motherland. He was abused by calling nigger. Some whites tried to snatch his medal. He was very disappointed and lastly what he did, he threw his medal in the middle of Ohio River. His friend was not happy with that with many questions in mind. Muhammad explained his feelings as "How could I put the answer together? I wasn’t sure of all the reasons. The Olympic Medal had been the most precious that had ever come to me. I worshipped it. It was proof of my performance, status, a symbol of belonging, of being a part of the team, a country, a world. It was my way of redeeming myself with my teachers & schoolmates, of letting them know that although I had not won scholastic victories, there was something inside me capable of victory. How could I explain I wanted something that mean more than that? Something that was so proud of me as I would be of it. Something that would let me what I know I had to be, my own kind of Champion.”

Success should mean a feeling of satisfaction- a enjoyable satisfaction. Success is happiness. Success is freedom. Success is blissful living.

A happy person is not a person in certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.
     ─Hugh Dawns

According to science of biological evolution, monkeys are the immediate ancestors of humans and have many similarities. One thing I found fascinating is catching of monkeys. A box, filled with eatables, having a hole big enough for entering monkey’s hand while open, is enough to trap a so called intelligent animal. It enters its hand to grasp the eatables by making a fist. After that the hand doesn’t come out due to fist formation and it is easy to snatch the monkey. The hand may come out by loosening its fist, opening its palm but in order to do that it has to sacrifice the desire of having eatables. The monkey thinks that it is free and have right to get what it wants and now the thing of desire is in its hand. It was happy but its happiness dries out as it was caught and put into cage for life long as a showpiece for entertainment of others.

Flies are fond of honey. They like honey very much. They are searching honey everywhere and when encounters go there to have it. They feel very happy while sipping honey but when try to fly after satisfaction their sting & feet get stuck to it and finally die there. In the case of monkeys eatables are there in their hands while flies case is one step ahead they taste it. But, can we call them Successful?

Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired but controlling the desire.

Set your goals according to your necessities not desires. A person is suffering from Diabetes and desires to have sugar. The family hides sugar from the range of his approach and offer karela (bitter melon) juice for the benefit of patient. He doesn’t like taste of karela and like to have sugar instead of it. He set a goal to search the hidden sugar and have some and he succeeded in that. Eating sugar is very harmful for the life of diabetic patient. He is hurting himself & inviting many serious health problems related to diabetes by eating sugars just for instant gratification. Can we call him Successful because he managed to get sugar in spite of all odds?

Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal.
─Earl Nightangle

There lived a saint who once was travelling through a dense forest full of deadly animals,  found himself being chased by a fierce tiger. He got frightened and started running haphazardly. While running, he looked back to enquire about the position of tiger, he noticed tiger was not eager rather enjoying chasing. He thought if tiger can enjoy at this moment, why not he? Flashing of this thought, in the mind of saint, changed his style of running. Now it became a game of hide & seek. Finally after travelling a large distance he found a tree and tried to climb over it but failed. He just managed to hang on a branch. Tiger also came there and sat beneath the tree waiting for him. He laughed at this situation. He had the courage to laugh at moments like this. He laughed more lauder this time when he saw two mice, one  black and another white, were biting the very branch upon which he was hanging. He was laughing because he understood the nature’s law of pleasure and fear. Now he could see the nature’s coded information- tiger as a symbol for death, white & black mice as days & nights which were continuously trying to bought him death. He had to choose between living with fear of death or try to get the best of moment. He found some strawberries beside his hands, plucked one, enjoyed eating it and got absorbed in the moment. He learned to taste the pleasure in the present moment.

Feel good because you choose to; feel sad because choose to, not because of events transpiring around you over which you have no control.
─David Simon

When Socrates was jailed and sentenced to death, he remained unperturbed on getting the news of capital punishment. He maintained his calmness of mind and said. “I have been preparing for death all my life. In fact I have never secretly or openly done a wrong to any man.” Saying so, Socrates smiled. This shows the courage arises from purity of the heart of a person who lives fearlessly and who dies cheerfully─ A Successful Legend in true meaning.

Fight with yourself. Why fight with external foes? He who conquers himself will acquire happiness.
─Lord Mahavira

When Alexander the Great was about to die, he told his ministers that his hands should be left hanging outside the coffin. When they complained that this was not the custom and wanted to understand the reason, he said, “I want people to see that in spite of all my conquests, I leave this world with empty hands.”

Why are we mad about desires and fulfilling them? For the sake of happiness and satisfaction associated with them only. Appearance of pleasure, surfaces with objective desire, is not pleasure in true sense. They are pseudo-pleasure as of monkeys and flies. They are like throne tucked in throat which cannot be either swallowed or ejected out of mouth easily. If objective desire remains unfulfilled, gives resentment, and if fulfilled, gives frustration because the feeling of pleasure is transitory and dies out. Satisfaction associated with objective desire exists as far as object exists but by getting the desire fulfilled, object dissolves so as feeling of satisfaction & pleasure associated with it. Our wandering mind is again stuck to another desire and we rush to fulfill it. If unfulfilled, gives resentment, and if fulfilled, gives frustration and this cycle goes on till our last breath until we change the place for searching pleasure. Pleasure is an individual’s feeling. It should not depend on others.

Success doesn’t mean the absence of failures; it means the attainment of ultimate objectives. It means winning the war not every battle.
─Edwin C. Bliss    

Ultimate mean the last, the extreme point after that nothing exists. And objective goals are encountered every day, one after another like battles. Nothing completes by accomplishing it. You have to start from beginning again. It is not the ultimate war- a deterministic war, by winning which, you will become King of kings and there is no more fights to face. Success means victory over that deterministic war- the last war after that you will established as undefeatable. There will be no further battles to establish yourself. It is the war against You by Yourself. In fact it isn’t direct fight against you; it is actually the fight against your army men who take salary from you but works for opponent. They are enemy in disguise. You only have to do is to replace these men with your loyalists. In short, you have to change your problem solving approach i.e. the way of thinking.

The first and best victory is to conquer self; to be conquered by self is of all things, the most shameful and vile.

Success is associated with the personality of an individual not with the object of desire or fulfillment of desire itself. A successful personality can only have taste of success in every scoop of worldly soup. It is the way of living life. Being successful means having such a personality that every effort will lead towards achievement of goal- a worthy goal. In other words, every effort is having taste of success.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Memory -- A Forged Identity Of Ourselves

A person's mind is like a silent lake where ripples generate due to external factors. But, no ripple that rises in it, dies out entirely, it leaves a mark and there is a possibility of that wave coming out again. The mind is like a sensitive photographic plate which when exposed, registers all the impressions in it. Every work we do, every movement of the body, every thought we think, leaves such an impression on the mind-stuff and even when the impressions aren't obvious on the surface, they work on the subconscious region of the mind. The physical counterpart of mind is nervous system. 

The nervous system consists merely of mechanism of receiving messages from either sense organs or own thoughts and transform them into some sort of muscular movements either locomotory (mechanical movements) or internal structural muscular movement. The message trails in the form of nervous current; leaving impressions on the pathway it traverses which once made can be retained and thereafter tends to seek the same pathway and to end in the same movement when same incoming message received. With every repetition the pathway deepens and we can say “we are forming memories.” 

The sum total of these impressions is called Memory. In psychology, memory is the process in which information is encoded, stored and retrieved. And it is this Memory that shapes our character and govern our behavior. It is this Memory that makes up the ongoing experience of our life -- they provide us with a sense of self.  In a nutshell, we are the outcome of our memories. We are the memories, we accumulate. We are the projection of our memories.

If our memory is our identity, then a question arises: Are all our memories real? Are they actually the impression of something that happened in real time not some imagination thing?

In this regard, I'd like to share some researches and studies carried out in past years. A study conducted during 1980 Olympic called 'visual motor rehearsal.' Olympic athletes were asked to run the event within their mind with actual emotions. It was found that the same muscles were fired in the same sequence as real event on tracks. It is found that our subconscious mind could not differentiate between real and imaginary because it uses the same mechanism to process both phenomena. Some of us may have experienced a biological response when reliving memories of traumatizing past, including heart palpitations and shortness of breath. The same is true with reliving positive experiences, such as remembering the overall sense of well-being that comes from being deeply happy. This is because good memories can cause the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure.

Emotion can have a powerful impact on memory. Numerous studies have shown that the most vivid autobiographical memories tend to be of emotional events. The strength and longevity of memories is directly related to the amount of emotion felt during the event of their creation. That is why, self-help books emphasize on feeling the exact cash in hands. Auto-suggestion books ask the readers to suggest themselves emotionally for result; they condemn the parrotization of suggestions.

In another study, one group of peoples were shown a simulated accident and asked "How fast the cars are going when they hit each other?" Second group was asked "How fast the cars are going when they smashed into each other?" The speed stated by second group was greater then the speed stated by first group. Moreover, the word 'smashed' caused the peoples of second group to more likely to say that they saw broken glasses at accident scene; however, in real, there were no broken glasses at all.

The other study I'm going to share was conducted under stressful condition. Stress has a significant effect on memory encoding process and retrieval process. The result was highly surprising. The subjects of this study were US Military officials. It was to teach them whatever going to happen if they were captured as prisoners of war. They were interrogated in an aggressive, hostile and physically abusive manner for thirty minutes. Later, they have to identify who conducted their interrogation. And when fed suggestive information that insinuated a different person, many of them misidentified their interrogator, often identify someone who does not even remotely resemble the real interrogator. 

It is evident clear from these studies that a misinformation has potential to distort or manipulate our memory and has direct impact on our identity. Researches have revealed that asking individuals to repeatedly imagine actions that they have never performed or events that they have never experienced could result in false memories.

Memory is like a movie clip having many frames of perceptions. We, at any time, edit it by modifying its frames, adding or replacing frames. This is what psychologists do in most of the times. In fact, we, too, often do this unintentionally. While reliving any past memory, if we introduce new information and allow this new information to incorporate into this old memory, this will change the memory. We almost always engage ourselves in some sort of thinking or reliving the past while being exposed to experiences in present. This alters the memory. We constantly alter our memories without knowing it. We may register those things that never actually happened. We are continuously forming false memories.

Let me share a fable about how it happens. A man was going to meet his wife at the residence of wife's family. His mother served him a dish made of rice and pulses together. He love the dish. He asked his mother about the name of the dish so that he'd ask his wife too to cook it. His mother told 'khichdi' as name of the dish. He lept on the back of the horse and kicked to move the horse. He was reciting 'khichdi' while on way to retain it in memory. He met a long ditch on the road. The horse jumped and his 'khichdi' turned into 'khachidi'. He continued his chanting. Then he saw a crop field. There, birds were eating the grains and the farmers were very angry. The word 'Khachidi' sounds in hindi as provoking birds to eat. 'Kha' means to eat and 'chidi' means bird. The angry farmer upon hearing this instead of throwing stone at birds, throw it at the man and asked him to say 'Urchidi' which means asking birds to fly. There were so many modifications during the journey. And when the time came to ask his wife to cook the dish. He uttered that word as name of the dish which his mother didn't tell. 

What do you see in above picture? Obviously, two persons. But, is it really the picture of persons? Nope. There are only breaks into lines and we see persons. It is a deception-- a beautiful one. Our mind has the marvelous ability to create reality through perception. A special trait of human perception, called patterning, in which our mind creates a continuation of a pattern when it perceives such a pattern. It isn't true about vision only; it's equally applied to other senses too. For example, one can easily complete this sentence: Mary had a little....... 

The nervous system abhors a vacuum. Under the best of observation condition, we only detect, encode and store in our nervous system bits and pieces of the entire experience in front of us and they're stored in different parts of the system. At times, when we've to recall what we experienced, we've an incomplete, a partial store and what happens? Below awareness, with no requirement from any kind of motivated processing, the system fills in information that was not there, not originally stored, from inference, from speculation, from sources of information that came to us, as observer, after observation. But it happens without awareness such that we aren't even cognizant of its occurring. It's called reconstructed memories. It happens to us in all aspects of our life, all the time. All our memories are reconstructed memories. They are the products of what we originally experienced and everything that's happen afterwards. They're dynamic. They're malleable. They're volatile. Our vividness and certainty of our memories are not the parameters of their accuracy. In fact, we can never know which ones are authentic.

And, if we come to know the authentic ones, what are their significance? None. Memory tells about past. If we extrapolate it, we'll know about future. But, both past and future are insignificant for us because we live in present and we always will. Past and future are like dreams; whatever we achieve in that, it is of no use when our eyes open-- when we come back to present. If we argue that we can utilize the knowledge of past in present then we are deceiving ourselves. No two situations are identical; they seems to be but they aren't. 

I heard a story of a doctor who visited a patient with his assistant. Patient was suffering from common cold. Doctor informed the patient that the reason of his illness is guava eating. The patient was impressed by doctors wisdom. Doctor's assistant was also noticing this. While returning to their dispensary, on the way, assistant asked "how do know about guava?" Doctor replied "I saw the guava's remains beside the bed." Time passed. Once again, the person got ill and doctor was called. This time doctor was on a vacation with his family. Therefore, his assistant visited. This time also the patient was suffering from common cold. Assistant recollected the past knowledge, looked beside the bed and to impress the patient uttered "the reason of the illness is sandal eating." We can imagine what'd happened to that assistant. Don't let knowledge become a weight upon wisdom. No knowledge is useful in present but only wisdom.

The Universe is changing every moment. The only unchanging truth is change. No sunrises are alike; no days are identical. Even we, the humans, are not the same a moment ago. 

An angry person once spat on Buddha. Buddha's disciples got angry too. They wanted to teach him a lesson but Buddha forgave him and let him go safely. When his anger silenced, he realized his mistake. He repent the whole night sobbing. His eyes swell and got reddened by crying. He didn't sleep the whole night. The next early morning he again entered Buddha's place to beg for pardon. Disciples saw him coming. They also noticed his red eyes and thought the cause of redness was anger due to their past memory experience. They decided to teach him a lesson but Buddha intervened and the person again started crying and fell on Buddha's feet. Buddha told his disciple that he was no longer the person that came the day before. He was a changed man. A spitting person could not fell on feet and who fell on feet could not spit. These are the opposites but only wisdom identifies the change not knowledge. Memory will be of no help in present.

We think we are memories; we cannot exist without memory. Our sense of self is based on our memories. But we were, prior to our memory, and will be, after dissolving our memory. Our true nature is not our autobiographical memories. Our true self is not dependent on memories we collect. It is the memory that covers our true self and deceives us to believe it as our 'self.' We were born without any sense of self. Researchers have proposed that children do not develop self-recognition skills and a personal identity until 16 or 24 months. They also proposed that we develop knowledge of our personal past when we begin to organize memories into a context. This message is reflected in Kabir's statement: "I left as I got." Kabir is saying that he was born without sense of self and he left his body without it. Researches also revealed that verbalizing our personal memories of events contributes to our autobiographical memories. That is why sages emphasizes on silence.

We create memory to shape ourselves into forms. The formless form of ourselves is dreadful. Eternity, uncertainty always frighten us because we forget ourselves and wrapped a forged identity of false memory around ourselves. 

We are alive because of our memory. We'd die without this memory. And that'd be the real death. The death of body isn't real death; it's like changing clothes. Gorakh says I teach death, the death I passed through and became awakened. It was the death of memory, not of me. The ego died, not me. Duality died, not me. Duality died, and non-duality was born. Time died, and I met the eternal. The small constricted life broke, and the drop became the ocean. Yes, certainly when the drop falls into the ocean  in one sense it is dying. As a drop it is dying. And in another sense for the first time it attains to the great life  --  it lives on as the ocean. 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Surprise --- A Glimpse of Eternity

Surprise stays for a very short span of time. It is a fleeting experience like orgasm. It doesn't last longer and always followed by emotions like happy, sad, fear and others. It is a state of no-emotion. Facial expression tells a lot about what is going inside; which thoughts are prevalent in the mind etc etc. A smiling face is a sign of happiness. A upsidedown U of lips shows sadness. But, seeing the expression of surprise, you could not tell anything about what is going inside, which thoughts are prevalent in mind because surprise is a state of no-thought. It is the state of attention. Your mind become alert in the moment of surprise. 

Peaceful Warrior is a movie based on the life of Dan Millman who won NCAA Gymnastics Championships after shattering his right femur in a motorcycle accident. In the movie, Dan meets a person whom he calls Socrates to learn about the right leverage at right place at right time. The way told to Dan is to throw the trash out of mind; be in the present. Socrates asks Dan to meet him next morning at a bridge on a pool. Dan arrives next morning but he is in a hurry. He asks Socrates "Can't it be quick?" Socrates replied "Sure" and throws him out of the bridge into the water. He comes out of the pool cursing him "What the hell wrong with you?" Socrates replies "I did what you asked for. I emptied your mind. Do you have any thoughts while you are falling?" Dan realizes that he was not having any thoughts at that time. Socrates assures Dan that he was devoted to cent per cent experience he was having i.e. being in the present at those moments. Dan remarks "Do you know you are out of your mind?" Socrates smiles "It's taken a lifetime of practice."

To live completely out of mind takes more than one lifetime. It is very arduous task. Surprise only shows a glimpse. It only shows the sky through a peek-hole of the door; the door is there but one has to open it. One has to walk on the ground of uncertainty with calm and attentive mind without thinking about past and future. It is only the formula; the synthesis is yet to done. It is a drop but having all the qualities of an ocean. 

Surprise is being in the moment. It is very lively. It is a transition phase. It is the state of both, is and is not. It is the state of uncertainty. Uncertainty is the fertile ground of pure creativity and freedom. The unknown is the field of all possibilities, ever fresh, ever new, always open to the creation of new manifestations. Surprise is a drop of ocean called eternity.

Unexpected means something other than expected. When unexpected happens, we surprise and immediately adjust ourselves to the new situation and soon unexpected incorporated into the list of expected in mind. Surprise is an active phase; it is the transition from expected to unexpected. Both, expected and unexpected, are passive forms of mind. They are occupied forms. They are occupied by certain thoughts. Surprise is a state of no-thought. It is the gap between expected-thoughts and unexpected-thoughts. It is the state of awareness. 

As breathing is essential for body; so is awareness. In the moments of awareness, we have a glimpse of our souls. It is said that deep breathing elongates the life span. The statement is proposed by extensive study of breathing patterns of varied animals ranging from rat to tortoise. Tortoise has longer life span of about five hundred years due to its deep breathing. The same is true for awareness. Longer duration of awareness brings peace and harmony in  life and when it stretches to lifetime, one becomes eternal.

When a person is moving in a certain direction and immediately asked to change his direction, he stops for awhile before changing his direction. The same is the condition of mind. Mind is moving in expected direction and suddenly asked to change the direction. It stops for a moment before changing its direction. Surprise is the moment when mind stops to change its direction. It is the moment when mind ceases its wandering. It is the door to bliss. The moment passes so suddenly and we miss the door. Surprise is not only the passage to walk from expected to unexpected but there is a door hidden in the passage. A door to ecstasy. A door to escape from misery.

Misery is consolation of expectation. Expectation when fulfilled brings happiness but a temporary happiness. It dries out quickly. It lies on your palm and when you try to grab it, store it permanently, it slips out of your hand. You close your palm making a fist to capture it. You think you have caught but when you open your fist, it is not there. You again set new expectation and run after it. Again, if you succeed then again the same result. It is the same rat race. It is like chasing mirage. This generates frustration and eventually misery. When your expectation failed, you become angry. Your anger destroys your reasoning ability that leads to confusion and loss of memory which results in loss of wisdom and ultimately misery. 

Expected and unexpected are the two ends of the same thread called EXPECTATION. They appear as different, almost opposite but they are same. One is towards while other is against but the centre is always expectation. They are the two extremes. They are the abode of ego. Ego always lives on extremes. Extremes are the life force of ego. Ego feeds on more -- more expectations -- more than expectations. What direction you run makes no difference. Ego lives in extremes, whether extreme expectation or extreme unexpectedness. Ego and bliss cannot stand together as darkness and light; so is expectation and ecstasy. Break the wall of ego and let the fountain of bliss gush forward. Stop in the middle and ego will dye. That is why Buddha called his path, the middle path. 

A door is always in the middle between the opposites -- the extremes.The meeting of opposite energies is the cornerstone of all creation, of the universe. To construct a house with a door, an arch is put at the top of the door with the help of opposite shapes of bricks to support it. It is just this placing of opposite kinds of bricks in the arch that upholds not only the door but the whole building. If we use uniform kinds of bricks in the arch, it will be impossible to construct a house. In the same way, the whole play of creation, at every level of life, begins at the intersection of two opposite poles.

Surprise, an intersection of expected and unexpected, opens a door to centre of creation -- a union with eternal. Surprise is a door through which one can enter and lost into eternity -- the core of being.

One morning Kabir sends his son Kamal to the forest to bring green grass for the cattle. Kamal goes to the forest with a sickle in his hands. Plants are dancing in the wind. Morning turns in to midday and midday passes in to evening, and yet Kamal does not return home from the forest. Kabir is worried, because he was expected to be back home for his midday meal. Kabir makes inquiries and then goes to the forest with a few friends in search of his son. On reaching the forest, he finds Kamal standing in the thick of grass tall enough to reach his shoulders. It is wrong to say that he is standing, he is actually dancing with the dancing plants. The wind is dancing, the plants are dancing and Kamal is dancing with them. His eyes are closed and he is wholly absorbed in the dance. Kabir finds that he has not chopped a single blade of grass for the cattle. So he gently puts his hands on his shoulders and asks, ”What have you been doing, my son?” Kamal opens his eyes and looks around. He tells his father, ”You did well to remind me,” and then picks up his sickle with a view to his assigned task. But he finds it is already dark and not possible to cut any grass. 

The people with Kabir asked him, ”But what have you been doing for the rest of the day?” Kamal says, ”I became just like a grass plant; I forgot I was a man or anything. I also forgot this was grass I came to chop and take home to my cattle.The morning was so beautiful and blissful, it was so festive and dancing with the wind and the trees and the grass, it would have been sheer stupidity on my part not to have joined the celebration. I began dancing, forgetting everything else. I did not even remember I was Kamal who had come here to collect food for my animals.I am aware of it again only now that you come to remind me.” 

The beautiful morning surprises Kamal and he doesn't miss the opportunity and opens the door. We, too, are often given plenty of opportunities to transcend expectation, to come out of rat race and understand the joy of living in the moment. 

Surprise is the key to unlock the mystery of eternity and the secret revealed is consciousness.