Thoughts & Reflections

Think beautiful, live beautiful.

Category: Spirituality

Om

I have been reading, Upanishads for the modern world by G.K. Pillai.  In one of the passages, it describes the meaning of the word Om. The work Om encompasses the eternity of our existence. It symbolizes the unborn and the eternal energy around us. It gives rise to all the material existence around us. Om symbolizes the “Brahman”, “Supreme Consciousness”, “The One”.
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The state of being

The Backdrop:

A pertinent question that afflicts our conscience frequently is the question of existence. Why do we exist? A discussion with a friend forced me to ponder over the topic once again. We deliberated on the Buddhist way of living. He had a very simple question. Buddhism says to free oneself from bondage, one should give up desire – desire to achieve materialistic pleasure (money, success, fame, comfort etc.). Then why not give up the desire to live itself. After all, life is also a state bound by temporal and spatial constraints. What good can you get out of life, if the sole aim of it is to give up everything. The idea is contradictory in nature – “a desire to be desire-less”. 

Common Philosophy:
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Moments of Happiness


When life becomes an illusion,
When time seems meaningless.
Oh, then you realize the beauty,
Of moments that fly by, careless.

When feelings become so pure,
When your heart cries with love.
And life seems so wonderful,
That all pain recedes to joy.

Oh, hold them in your memories,
Hold them by your heart and soul.
For they are the secrets ingredients,
Of a happy and joyous life.

Wisdom Thoughts – III

Rahul became a common visitor to the old sage who sat by the tree. He used to call him the “old wise man”. Today, he came up with a very general query. He approached the old man who sat in a meditative lotus position and waited for him to finish his meditation. He then bowed before the old man out of reverence and asked him.

“If you may allow, I want to ask this question about the nature of beings. Why do feel a sense of pleasure when we come in contact with the nature? Why does nature nourish us? Why do the trees provide us oxygen, fruits, vegetables, shade, medicines? Why do the clouds provide rain? Why do the animals have a sense of connection with us? Why is the nature so virtuous and provides us with so much help?”

The old man smiled and repeated the following lines –

“Without the concept of an other,
There is no separate I.
Without the sense of an I,
Nothing can be seen as other”
Chuang-tzu

He then said, “Listen carefully my boy. This is wonderful secret that a great enlightened soul left up on us a few thousand years ago.

We believe our selves to be separate from the nature around us.” Rahul nodded. “How do you define self? Anything that is a part of your consciousness, under your control and attached to body is a part of yourself. However, if I say that what you have experienced up to now is only your physical being. You own self transcends this physical nature of things. Consider your heart. It is a part of your body because it pumps blood throughout your body and keeps you alive. However, you can feel it as it is physically attached to your body. Consider this tree’s leaves. They provide you with vital oxygen without which you cannot survive. Why should that lead not be a part of your vital self.

Our consciousness does not extend far enough to accept the tree, the cloud, the river, the sun as a part of our selves. Only an awakened soul can realize that our beings can never be embodied in a physical body. It transcends the body, mind and extends into this infinity expanse of life and universe. The leaf is as much a part of your being as is your heart. For every molecule of oxygen it generates brings vitality to your body, helps you think, powers your muscles and lets you live. In return, do you not care for your heart through exercise, good food etc. Unconsciously we tend to those plants, water them, provide them sunlight and help them grow. In essence, you nourish your own self through.

This is the concept of non-existence of self. Our minds are trapped by ignorance. Our minds are clouded by the thoughts of an existence of self, of I and you. The concept of “I” and “You” can not hold ground for your existence and development depends on me and mine on you and without the other one is powerless. Interdependence and non- existence of self are important to realize. You can understand it. However, true understanding germinates from a feeling of a realization. The answer to each and every question lies in the nature. You need to let yourself free from the notions of a physical entity. Consciousness is an all encompassing force that includes right from the smallest of the particle to the entire universe. A universal being is reality. That is why you love to sit in nature. That is why nature tends to nourish you and helps you grow healthy for it is not tending to the “other” as there is no other. It is tending to the one and only being – “we”.”

Rahul seemed content and went back happy and satisfied with his gurus answer.

Let’s learn to walk

How so many aims, how so many goals?
How so many un-quenched, ever thirsty souls?
What complexity, what a quagmire,
Why do we want, why desire ?

What is there that you can take?
Why then put such a precious life at stake?
For wealth and luxury are for a day’s sake,
True bliss and joy, they cannot make.

Why then the pretence, why the guile?
Why feign ignorance, every minute every while?
Lets observe ourselves, in a silent talk,
Let’s end the run, and learn to walk.

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Desire is a universal characteristic of human beings. Our aims in life are motivated by our wants and needs. The first stanza questions this longing. Why do we have so many ambitions and so many yearnings in life? I am referring to materialistic gains. Why do we depend so much on insignificant things in our lives? Most of our needs never get fulfilled. We set a hundred new aims once we achieve one. The cycle is endless and it makes us thirsty for material success. Our life has become a very complex process (quagmire)

In the second stanza I reverberate the idea that material wealth is transitory in nature. It is only a means and not an end. We should not put our precious life in order to build wealth (money) alone. Instead our aim should be to understand life and “live” a larger purpose.

In the last stanza, I try to bring out the point that we as humans are very intelligent. We have knowledge of the nature of things around us. Yet we do not accept reality – a reality that we are mortal beings. We ignore this particular fact. We live as though we are going to live forever. However, that fact is not true. “why the guile”  refers to the way we live such an artificial life. In our lust for money and for power we tend to cheat on people. Living a truthful life is such a rarity. I suggest people to understand life. Understanding oneself is very important. One needs to observe oneself in a silence quite like meditation.  Once a person comprehends his own being, life becomes easier to fathom. We all are creations of the same reality, and therefore the innate nature of things is just the same. It is about understanding ourselves. Let us meditate and deliberate on our own lives. Let us talk to ourselves in a calm and serene manner. Let us stopping running and give up this mad race. Let us give the pursuit of a success that has been defined by others. Let us move slowly, observe and learn.

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Life Vs Death

Answer to a question posted on Quora –

Everyone has a right to choose between life and death.
Living is meaningless, painful, tiresome and requires effort.
There are no gods, no spirits, no souls, no afterlives, no reincarnation.
There is no pain or effort or tiredness involved in death.
Why should anyone choose to keep living?

The answer would vary from person to person, for the understanding of life is a personal conception. There are several reasons why people choose life

1. People are scared of dying, because we are not sure what will happen to us after death. 
No one really has the answer to the question as to what really happens to us after death. Religion provides us with some answers. There is no sure proof. Besides, death has an in-built psychological connotations that make us afraid. It is regarded as a negative term. People are afraid of being alone too. Life is perceived as a blessing.

2. Emotions bind us to our the people we know.
For most of us, love is such a binding force that keeps us alive, provides us with energy, meaning and takes way all the tiredness from our lives. Death means a separation from those dear ones. Some have responsibilities too and they want to fulfill them before their lives. Some live for their love ones. Hence, emotional bonding with our dear ones is an important factor that keeps us from dying. Or lives evolves in a society and society has evolved to support our lives. The foremost factor must be the society that keeps us from dying.

3. Human race is essentially pleasure seeking.
We are a very optimistic race. We spend our lives unconscious of the inevitable death that looms large on our life. As we live, we understand that there would be pain. Yet, there are moments of pleasure too. We keep working towards those moments of pleasure. We learn from others. Achievement of our aim leads to an increment in the zeal, that propagates our will to live. It is a cyclic process. Ever wondered why do we actually feel jealous when others are happy ? For the exactly same reason. We live to be happy. And a moment of happiness becomes a sweet memory that motivates us to live. We are essentially a material seeking lot, and there is material once you are dead.

4. Humans build up aims, meaning to their lives.
We are very intelligent species. We have attached so much meaning to our lives that we have hardly any time to think up on death. We have so much cognitive knowledge. Our mind has evolved to learn facts. The dearth for knowledge, money, etc. pushes us to live. The lack of satisfaction is one quality that contributes to our will to live. We are a very competitive race too. Hence, we want to be the best. Theoretically only one can be the best and so you see every one keeps trying.

5. We are monkeys following each other. 
Since, people do not believe in death no body attempts it. We are followers of our society. If a person has no meaning left in his life and life becomes too painful then death could relieve him. However, since nobody is dying he would not attempt that too. Emulating our peers is a very common habit, since that is considered a stable state of life. So once had people been popularizing death, you would actually be asking the opposite question as to why do all die off so quickly, why do we not try to live ?

Some other reasons are:

6. Some are just not bothered about their lives.
7. Death is seen as a state of powerlessness.
8. The pain of death brings fear to the human mind

Wisdom Thoughts – II

The wise man’s answer made Rahul satisfied to an extent. Yet he pondered up on and asked the meditative sage these questions –

“Why is some person’s life so comfortable while others life so difficult and writ with so many troubles? Why is a man dying of hunger in Africa, while others in developed nations cannot decide what to eat? Why did the Holy God make us so many dissimilarities? Why are the differences so profound that they kill each living soul on this earth yearning for more? Why do those that have enough remain have a mental discord, while those who do not have enough suffer from physical pain and anguish?”

The old sage smiled, thought for a moment and answered –

“What you said is very true. We are very dissimilar in our outlook. And yet, son, you miss a very subtle point in the Almighty’s creation. He created similarities in dissimilarities. We are all different, and yet we are all the same. Look at the man dying of hunger in Africa. He does not have anything to yearn for. Therefore, there is a peaceful calm in his mind and yet his body is in pain because of want of food. Look at the elite in a developed nation. They have all the riches and yet are so caught up in this world of materialism that he cannot give up his life. His mind is in a state of constant strife. When God takes away something from our lives, he provides us other facilities. It is, we humans that have created parameters that make a man “look” richer than the other. This is a delusion we must come out. Does a father treat his children different? Look at all your fingers, they seem to be different. Yet, the basic constituent of all the fingers is the same, for the origin is the same unique cell. How beautifully they complement each other! If only humans could learn from their nature, they would understand that the path to happiness is in helping each other and not trying to beat other in a materially created world of abstract parameters.  The path to enlightenment (eternal bliss) is equally difficult and equally easy for each one of us. Those poor have lesser distractions and thus can pursue it better. Those “rich” (laughing as he said it) have all the resources to understand the path, yet they face the challenge of having to give up material wealth which is beyond any sacrifice for humanity in today’s world. And yes the path to bliss has been created in a separate manner for each one of us, so that each individual achieves it by his own true effort. Each individual would learn a new method of understanding the same truth that would enrich humanity with the wisdom. Tell me would you like to find the truth on your own or hear it from my mouth? Would you be convinced of it? Would your heart accept it? Look at your hand, when you catch a ball, each of your fingers bends in a unique manner to hold it. Does a finger emulate the other one? If it did will it be the most optimal way of holding a ball? Will you be at ease holding it? No, because each finger was designed to do its job in unique manner. That is the beauty of nature. The answers lie all around you. You just have to look around, ask questions and the answers will present itself, for He would never hide answers, it is just that we have shut our eyes and put our minds in the creation of wealth that is transitory in nature and which brings us sorrow in the longer run of life.”

For we live our lives,
With eyes so open,
And yet so closed.”

Wisdom Thoughts – I

For a long time now, Rahul had been pondering over the very basics of life, existence, spirituality, enlightenment, the ultimate truth etc. One day he met a wise old man sitting under a tree in a meditative position. He gently bowed to the old man and put forth his problem as follows,

As a human race we are a very curious species, pondering over questions of existence since ages unknown. While some of us are able to understand the “ultimate reality” of life, others give up the struggle to indulge in other chores of life. There have been many hypotheses to explain the “absolute truth”. Some believe that understanding of oneself is the final destiny of a human being. Others believe living a simple, disciplined life, according to one’s karma is the sole purpose of life. Some believe achievement of “Nirvana” – the state of enlightenment as the aim of human life. Some believe that life is meaningless. How do I begin to understand life and the ultimate purpose behind it? “
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