Original is here In 1879, when there was British Rule in India, Lt. Col. Martin of Agar Malva was leading the army in the war against Afgha...
MOOLA MANTRA FOR PRATYANGIRI DEVI Om Sat Chit Ananda Parabrahma Purushothama Paramatma Sri Bhagavathi Sametha Sri Bhagavathe Namaha This...
BENEFITS This is the stotra that provides us Lord Shiva's halo of protection. Whatever be your problems, whether of the horoscop...
These are the famous Ashtavinayak temples - divine spots of pilgrimage of Lord Ganesh. Click on to enlarge and download
Here is a miracle directly stemming from bhakti for Lord Shiva Easy to please, delivers all our wishes, just deep bhakti is all we need ...
Om Namah Shivay That is all you need to say....say it everyday. Every second of your day. Close your eyes and imagine that Lord Shiva is...
Click on image to enlarge. From bottom left - Somanath, Mallikarjuna, Mahakaleshwar, Omkareshwar, Baidhyanath, Bhimashankar, Ramanath, N...
This is hilarious, but raises some very thought provoking questions - this video is a must SEE. The AOL guys have blinders on - drinking ...
From bottom left - SOMNATH, MALLIKARJUNA, MAHAKALESHWAR, OMKARESHWAR, BAIDHNATHESWAR, BHIMASHANKAR, RAMANATH, NAGANATH, VISHWANATH, TRYAMBAK...
II The Devi Mantra II देवी मंत्र ...
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Think back - what miracles has life offered to us
Think back - let us convey our thanks!
To the spiritual souls, the spiritual energy of the universe for caring for us, for enabling our lives to function harmoniously with our soul intent
Saturday, June 06, 2015
WHAT DO I DO – Give
Most successful people know who they serve. Happier people make it a point to make other people happy. If I can make other people happy, then I will be taken care of to
Our planetary positions at birth are uniquely our own, designating our specific personality, purpose in the cosmic scheme of things. They should be memorized, treasured, contemplated upon, or even celebrated.
Celebrating your birthday(Sun sign) every year is of course most important, but what about your Moon and other planets -they too have their own "birthdays". The transiting Moon returns to your natal position once about every month, Mercury and Venus once roughly every year(always being close to the Sun), Mars once about every two years, Jupiter once about every twelve years, Saturn once about every thirty years, and Uranus once every eighty-four years. Even the Rising sign returns to your natal position once every day(based on the Earth's 24-hour rotation).
It is not really necessary to throw a party on each of your transiting planetary returns. Just acknowledging them and contemplating on what they mean in your life is sufficient. And it does not even have to be at the specific time of their returns. Any day(or night) will do. Relax, put on some music, or dance or exercise while contemplating one or more of your placements. If you are into meditation, visualize the planet and sign(or house) and try to glean important or positive imformation from it. Nurture your identity or uniqueness via the knowledge of your planets and the signs they are in, especially the positive combinations. A planet in its own sign or element is very powerful and is usually expressed as a very positive characteristic or talent. Even the negative placements(planets in incompatible signs, elements, or genders) can be looked at or handled in a positive light.
Then there are the planetary aspects by sign(and especially by degree). Focus on the trines(your gifts) rather than the squares(lessons to learn). Sun trine Mars, for example always gives confidence, energy, strength, and leadership ability, no matter what signs(or houses) they are located in. Sun trine Saturn is also positive but more difficult as the nature of both planets are not really compatible. Squares, especially those between friendly planets, can be seen as challenges or stepping stones rather than problems or obstacles. Grand trines(at least one planet in every sign of a particular element) are especially powerful and fortunate configurations, especially if they are in close or tight orb. Grand squares(planets in all four modes or quadruplicities), especially if tight by degree, can make or break you.
Your specific planetary configuration or chart with all of its variations will not repeat itself in the same way for thousands of years, making you indeed a unique and special individual, and this is not taking into account gender, culture, or karmic history. Astrology basically deals with your inner or spiritual nature. Only if you are exact twins, will your inner and outer characteristics be identical, but even then the two souls will have different karmic histories or past lives, and therefore have slightly different futures as well. Planets do not dictate destiny, rather, they incline or suggest it. They give you a basic framework with which to work your free will, and without which we would all be very lost or uninclined. The One Great Spirit created astrology as a means to differentiate each of its infinite offspring in a simple, orderly, and beautiful cosmic manner, and it behooves us to applaud or celebrate this ingenious system.
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
1. Remember that your Character should always be stronger than your Circumstances.
We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can always control how we choose to respond. In those moments when I choose to stop complaining and instead give thanks to God for the good in my life, the parts that seem bad start to seem much less significant. Choose to keep a positive attitude and thankful heart regardless of what you’re going through.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
2. Remember that your Struggles always lead to Strength.
Every difficulty in your life, whether big or small, is something God will use to produce more strength, faith and perseverance in you if you let Him! All your pain has a purpose.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
3. Remember that God’s timing is always perfect.
God’s plans are almost always different from our plans, but His plans are always perfect! Have the patience to wait on His timing instead of forcing your own.
“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
4. Remember that God will never leave your side.
You may feel like you’re going through this struggle all alone, but from the moment you ask Jesus to bring you into God’s family, He will be by your side to the end so never lose hope!
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Thursday, January 01, 2015
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Siddhi Dehi Dehi Namah||
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Thursday, October 17, 2013
So long as one has any association with this awful sense of being the doer there cannot be the least achievement of liberation which is something very different.
The ascetic with matted locks, the man with the shaven head or one with hair pulled out, or the man parading in the ochre robes -- they all have eyes but yet do not see. All these are but deceptions for cheating the world, for filling their bellies. ( Renunciation does not lie in external appearance, but in inward thought, attitude and feeling).
When the supreme reality is not understood, the study of the scriptures is useless, and study of the scriptures is useless when the supreme reality has been understood.
Realising one's true nature as pure consciousness, one should remain always established in oneself, like a king surrounded by his army, and should redirect all that is back into God.
Abandoning all actions and breaking free from the bonds of achievements, the wise and intelligent should apply themselves to self-knowledge.
It is wealth only that causes all harm and brings about one's ruin. Bear this truth in mind always. Know that the pursuit of wealth does not lead one to happiness at all. The rich fear and are even afraid of their own sons. This is the outcome of riches anywhere and ever.
Who are you ? Who am I ? From Where did I come ? Who is my mother, who is my father ? -- inquire thus and you will, then realize that the entire world of experience, all the worries and problems are but a dream, a mere hallucination, born of imagination and delusion. With such a realization, you will be freed from the delusions of the world.
One should never permit carelessness in one's adherence to God.
Monday, October 07, 2013
Sat Chit Ananda Parabrahma
Sri Bhagavathi Sametha
Sri Bhagavathe Namaha
This mantra evokes the living God, asking protection and freedom from all sorrow and suffering. It is a prayer that adores the great creator and liberator, who out of love and compassion manifests, to protect us, in an earthly form. This Moolamantra has given great peace and joy to people all over the world, who have chanted, or even listened to it. It has the power to transport ones mind to the state of causeless love and limitless joy. The calmness that the mantra can give is to be experienced, not spoken about. Dear reader, here is the key with which any door to spiritual treasure could be opened. A tool which can be used to achieve all desires. A medicine which cures all ills. The nectar that can set man free! All auspiciousness and serenity is yours simply by chanting or listening to this magnificent Moolamantra.
Whenever you chant the Moolamantra even without knowing the meaning of it, that itself carries power. But when you know the meaning and chant with that feeling in your heart then the energy would flow million times more powerful. Therefore it is essential to know the meaning of the Mantra when you use it.
The Mantra is like calling a name. Just like when you call a person he comes and makes you feel his presence, the same manner when you chant this mantra, the supreme energy manifests everywhere around you. As the Universe is Omnipresent, the supreme energy can manifest anywhere and any time. It is also very important to know that the invocation with all humility, respect and with great necessity makes the presence stronger.
This Vedic Sanskirt chant was given to humanity through the Grace of Sri Bhagavan and Sri Amma. When you chant this Mantra, even without knowing the meaning of it, that itself carries power. But when you know the meaning and chant it with feeling in your heart then the energy will flow a million times more powerfully. It is therefore important to know the meaning of the Moola Mantra when you use it.
This Mantra is like calling a name. Just like when you call a person he comes and makes you feel his presence, in the same manner when you chant this mantra the Supreme Energy manifests everywhere around you. As the Universe is omnipresent, this Supreme Energy can manifest anywhere and any time. It is also very important to know that invocation of the Moola Mantra with deep humility, respect and with great necessity makes The Divine Presence stronger.
OM has got 100 different meanings. It is said, in the beginning was the Supreme word and the word created every thing. That word is OM. If you are meditating in silence deeply, you can hear the sound OM within. The whole of creation emerged from the sound OM. It is the primordial sound or the Universal sound by which the whole universe vibrates. OM also means inviting the higher energy. This divine sound has the power to create, sustain and destroy, giving life and movement to all that exist.
SAT means all penetrating existence that is formless, shapeless, omnipresent, attribute less, and quality less aspect of the Universe. It is the Unmanifest. It is experienced as emptiness of the Universe. We could say it is the body of the Universe that is static. Everything that has a form and that can be sensed, evolved out of this Un manifest. It is so subtle that it is beyond all perceptions. It can only be seen when it has become gross and has taken form. We are in the Universe and the Universe is in us. We are the effect and Universe is the cause and the cause manifests itself as the effect.
CHIT is the Pure Consciousness of the Universe that is infinite, omni-present manifesting power of the Universe. Out of this is evolved everything that we call Dynamic energy or force. It can manifest in any form or shape. It is the consciousness manifesting as motion, as gravitation, as magnetism, etc. It is also manifesting as the actions of the body, as thought force. It is the Supreme Spirit.
ANANDA means bliss, love and friendship nature of the Universe. When you experience either the Supreme Energy in this Creation (SAT) and become one with the Existence or experience the aspect of Pure Consciousness (CHIT), you enter into a state of Divine Bliss and eternal happiness (ANANDA). This is the primordial characteristic of the Universe, which is the greatest and most profound state of ecstasy that you can ever experience when you relate with your higher Consciousness.
PARABRAHMA is the Supreme Being in his Absolute aspect; one who is beyond space and time. It is the essence of the Universe that is with form and without form. It is the Supreme creator.
PURUSHOTHAMA has got different meanings. Purusha means soul and Uthama means the supreme; the Supreme spirit. It also means the supreme energy of force guiding us from the highest world. Purusha also means Man, and PURUSHOTHAMA is the energy that incarnates as an Avatar to help and guide Mankind and relate closely to the beloved Creation.
PARAMATMA means the supreme inner energy that is immanent in every creature and in all beings, living and non-living. It's the indweller or the Antaryamin who resides formless or in any form desired. It's the force that can come to you whenever you want and wherever you want to guide and help you.
SRI BHAGAVATI is the Feminine aspect, which is characterized as the Supreme Intelligence in action, the Power (The Shakti). It is referred to the Mother Earth (Divine Mother) aspect of the creation.
SAMETHA means together or in communion with.
SRI BHAGAVTE is the Masculine aspect of the Creation, which is unchangeable and permanent.
NAMAHA is salutations or prostrations to the Universe that is OM and also has the qualities of SAT-CHIT-ANANDA, that is omnipresent, unchangeable and changeable at the same time, the supreme spirit in a human form and formless, the indweller that can guide and help in the feminine and masculine forms with the supreme intelligence. I seek your presence and guidance all the time.
Sri Pratyangira is a powerful Devi who is greatly spoken about in the Adharvana Veda - one of the four Vedas (namely - Rig, Yajur, Sama and Adharvana Vedas). She, who is always seated on a lion, is also known as Narasimhika [in Kalisahasranama Stotram]. Devi Pratyangira appears as a ferocious half human-half lion form with four hands [lower right hand holding the soolam/knife, lower left hand holding the abalam, upper right hand holding the damarugam (drum) and upper left hand holding the snake]. The powers generated from the Maha Pratyangira Moola Mantra Maala Mantra Homam will be transmitted into the Sri Mariamman Utsava Murthi. A significant feature of this Maha Homam, as mentioned in the Adharvana Veda, is that unsalted cooked Vada soaked in honey, lemons, spicy dried chillies, and ghee should be the primary offerings to the maha homam.
| Sri Prathyangira maala mantra ||
Om nama krsna vaa'sase
Sadha sahasra kodi singhaasane
Sahasra vathane asdaatha sabuje maha bale
Maha bala balaakrame ajithe abaraajithe
Thevy Maha prathyangire prathyangirase
An'ya para karma vith thuvamsini
Para mantro chaadini
Para mantro saathini
Sarva bootha thamani
Ge'am Sa'um prem greem grom
Maam sarva ubathra vepya'ha
Sarva aapathyo raksha raksha
Raam greem Sreem grom
Sarva thevanaam mugam stambaya stambaya
Sarva viknam chinthi chinthi
Sarva thushdaan bakshaya bakshaya
Vakhtralaya jvaala jikve karaalavathane
Sarva yenthraani skodaya skodaya ;throdaya throdaya
Prathyasura samuthraan vithraavaya vithraavaya
Sam ravoothra moorthe
Maha Prathyangire, Maha Vithye, shaanthim kuru kuru
Mama sakthron bakshaya bakshaya
Om kraam kreem krum Jambe jambe
Mohe mohe Stambe stambe
Om kreem um'bat swaha
Om kreem eem gla'um sreem sa'um
Aim u'm krsna vasane
Sadha sahasra simma vathane
Ashdaatha sabuje maha bale
Sadha paraakrama poojithe
Ajithe abaraajithe thevy prathyangire
Para saiv'ya para karma vith'thuvamsini
Para manthra para yanthra para thanthra uch'chagini
Para vithya grasa gare sarva bootha thamani
Sham gla'um sa'um eem greem glim glaam iyek'kyegi
Prathyangire chitha chith'roobe
Sarva upathra vepya'ha
Sarva graga thoshepya'ha
Prathyangire maam raksha raksha
Graam greem groom gra'im ra'um knaha
Shaam sheem shoom sha'im sha'um cha'ha
Glaam gleem gloom gla'im gla'um gla'ha
Prathyangire para bramha mahishi
Parama kaarunike 'ehi
Mama sarire aaveshaya aaveshaya
Mama grathaye skura skura
Mamaam shep praskura praskura
Sarva thoshtaanaam vaasham
Mugam vatham stambaya stambaya
Jikvaam keelaya keelaya
Uth'thim vinaashaya vinaashaya
Prathyangire maha kundalini chandrakala vathamsini
Vethaala vaagane prathyangire kabaala maala thaarini
Baanasana paanipaathra buritham
Mama sathru sronitham biba biba
Mama sathrun maam samkaathaya kaathaya
Mama sathrun thaadaya thaadaya
Mama vairijanaan thaga thaga
Mama vithvesha kaarinam
See'krameba bakshaya bakshaya
Sri Prathyangire bakthakaarunike
See'krame vathayaam kuru kuru
Sathyo jvara jaakya mukthim kuru kuru
Vethaala bramma raaksha saathim jagi jagi
Mama sathrun thaadaya thaadaya
Praa'rabtha sanjitha priyamaanaan thaga thaga
Roga yukthaan kuru kuru
Prathyangire,praana sakthi maye
Mama vairi jana pranaan gana gana
Marthaya marthaya naashaya naashaya
Om sreem greem gleem sa'um gla'um
Prathyangire maha maaye
Thevy thevy mama vaanjitham kuru kuru
Maam raksha raksha Prathyangire swaha ||
The Pratyangira aspect of the Divine has been a bit of a secret for most of these past ages. Many believed that direct experience with this energy was reserved for Saints and Rishis. Seeing Pratyangira in any form was considered an enormous blessing, and an indication that you were in similar company. Pratyangira comes from a deep, deep place within the Divine Mother; an area simply known as the Void. In the Void there are no thoughts of fear, or pain, or loss, or want, or time, or even space… just the warmth of the Mother’s love. As Pratyangira energy manifests, it’s often a very swift and sometimes ferocious current. Many of the Saints who’ve seen it’s energetic expression have described it as half lion and half human. The lion head is that of a male and the body is that of a female, representing the union of Shiva and Shakti. In her full form, she is humongous, with 1008 heads (symbolically representing the 1008-petalled Sahasrara Chakra, the universal chakra of the cosmic energy) and 2016 hands, riding majestically on a chariot pulled by 4 lions (representing the 4 Vedas), carrying many swords for removing obstacles. The jaws of so many lions makes it very powerful for destroying negative karmas, and a great blessing for anyone on a spiritual path. However, such a current can be understandably rough, so it’s wise to approach with respect and some consideration of what our heart is asking for. Two Rishis in the ancient times, Pratyangira and Angiras, in their deep meditation, discovered this goddess through her Moola Mantra in the ethereal waves of the sound current. And though this Mother is nameless, she honored these Rishis by giving the blessings to be named after them. She has hence been known as Sri Maha Pratyangira Devi. The beejaksharam (seed letter) of her Mantra is ksham (bliss). Sri Maha Pratyangira Devi is all powerful and secretly protects devotees and others. She is always by the side of Her devotees. She is within each and every being in all planes of existence, and there to be awakened within.
As told in Markandeya Purana: In the beginning of the Satya yuga, the Lord Narasimha, an avatar of Vishnu, killed the unruly King Hiranyakashipu by tearing up his body and drinking his blood. Because of the anger in Hiranyakashipu's body and the malicious effects of human blood, Narasimha was drunk on rage and could not be stopped. To calm him down with the power of compassion, Lord Shiva came down as Sarabeswara, a bird-animal-human hybrid. Upon seeing this, Lord Narasimha created Ganda-Berunda, a two headed-bird that was Sarabeswara's opposite. Upon seeing this, Sarabeshwara turned into Bhairava (Shiva's fierce form) and created Goddesses Pratyangira from his third eye. Prathyangira ate the bird, displaying rage the like of which the gods had never seen before. They praised her as she calmed Narasimha down by sitting on his lap. Some believe that in ancient time when two rishis, Prathiyangira and Angiras, were meditating discovered a goddess through a Moola Mantram who was nameless. Later she privileged the rishis by naming her after them and hence she was called as Prathiyangara Devi. Narasimhika is another name of hers. 'Naran' means human and 'Simha' means lion, so she got named thus as she appears with a lion's face and a human body. It is believed that when Narashimhika shakes her mane, she shambles the stars in the universe. Prathiyangara Devi is considered to be a powerful repellent of the influences generated by witch-craft. In Sri Chakra worship, she protects her devotees against all odds and guides them along the right path. She is enveloped as bliss in the letter "Ksham".
Sunday, October 06, 2013
The man who lives without moneyMark Boyle
The change in life path came one evening on the yacht whilst philosophising with a friend over a glass of merlot. Whilst I had been significantly influenced by the Mahatma's quote "be the change you want to see in the world", I had no idea what that change was up until then. We began talking about all major issues in the world - environmental destruction, resource wars, factory farms, sweatshop labour - and wondering which of these we would be best devoting our time to. Not that we felt we could make any difference, being two small drops in a highly polluted ocean.
But that evening I had a realisation. These issues weren't as unrelated as I had previously thought - they had a common root cause. I believe the fact that we no longer see the direct repercussions our purchases have on the people, environment and animals they affect is the factor that unites these problems. The degrees of separation between the consumer and the consumed have increased so much that it now means we're completely unaware of the levels of destruction and suffering embodied in the 'stuff' we buy.
Very few people actually want to cause suffering to others; most just don't have any idea that they directly are. The tool that has enabled this separation is money, especially in its globalised format.
Take this for an example: if we grew our own food, we wouldn't waste a third of it as we do today.
If we made our own tables and chairs, we wouldn't throw them out the moment we changed the interior décor.
If we had to clean our own drinking water, we probably wouldn't shit in it.
So to be the change I wanted to see in the world, it unfortunately meant I was going to have to give up money, which I decided to do for a year initially. So I made a list of the basics I'd need to survive. I adore food, so it was at the top. There are four legs to the food-for-free table: foraging wild food, growing your own, bartering and using waste grub, of which there far too much.
On my first day I fed 150 people a three course meal with waste and foraged food. Most of the year I ate my own crops though and waste only made up about five per cent my diet. I cooked outside - rain or shine - on a rocket stove.
Next up was shelter. So I got myself a caravan from Freecycle, parked it on an organic farm I was volunteering with, and kitted it out to be off the electricity grid. I'd use wood I either coppiced or scavenged to heat my humble abode in a woodburner made from an old gas bottle, and I had a compost loo to make 'humanure' for my veggies.
I bathed in a river, and for toothpaste I used washed up cuttlefish bone with wild fennel seeds, an oddity for a vegan. For loo roll I'd relieve the local newsagents of its papers (I once wiped my arse with a story about myself); it wasn't double quilted but it quickly became normal. To get around I had a bike and trailer, and the 55 km commute to the city doubled up as my gym subscription. For lighting I'd use beeswax candles.
Many people label me an anti-capitalist. Whilst I do believe capitalism is fundamentally flawed, requiring infinite growth on a finite planet, I am not anti anything. I am pro-nature, pro-community and pro-happiness. And that's the thing I don't get - if all this consumerism and environmental destruction brought happiness, it would make some sense. But all the key indicators of unhappiness - depression, crime, mental illness, obesity, suicide and so on are on the increase. More money it seems, does not equate to more happiness.
Ironically, I have found this year to be the happiest of my life. I've more friends in my community than ever, I haven't been ill since I began, and I've never been fitter. I've found that friendship, not money, is real security. That most western poverty is spiritual. And that independence is really interdependence.
Could we all live like this tomorrow? No. It would be a catastrophe, we are too addicted to both it and cheap energy, and have managed to build an entire global infrastructure around the abundance of both. But if we devolved decision making and re-localised down to communities of no larger than 150 people, then why not? For over 90 per cent of our time on this planet, a period when we lived much more ecologically, we lived without money. Now we are the only species to use it, probably because we are the species most out of touch with nature.
People now often ask me what is missing compared to my old world of lucre and business. Stress. Traffic-jams. Bank statements. Utility bills. Oh yeah, and the odd pint of organic ale with my mates down the local.
Mark Boyle is the founder of the Freeconomy Community www.justfortheloveofit.org. 'The Moneyless Man', a book about his year without money, is out in June.
Monday, September 23, 2013
Saturday, August 10, 2013
9 Mind-Blowing Epiphanies That Turned My World Upside-Down
The world now seems to be a completely different one than the one I lived in about ten years ago, when I started looking into the mechanics of quality of life. It wasn’t the world (and its people) that changed really, it was how I thought of it.
Maybe you’ve had some of the same insights. Or maybe you’re about to.
1. You are not your mind.The first time I heard somebody say that, I didn’t like the sound of it one bit. What else could I be? I had taken for granted that the mental chatter in my head was the central “me” that all the experiences in my life were happening to.
I see quite clearly now that life is nothing but passing experiences, and my thoughts are just one more category of things I experience. Thoughts are no more fundamental than smells, sights and sounds. Like any experience, they arise in my awareness, they have a certain texture, and then they give way to something else.
If you can observe your thoughts just like you can observe other objects, who’s doing the observing? Don’t answer too quickly. This question, and its unspeakable answer, are at the center of all the great religions and spiritual traditions.
2. Life unfolds only in moments.Of course! I once called this the most important thing I ever learned. Nobody has ever experienced anything that wasn’t part of a single moment unfolding. That means life’s only challenge is dealing with the single moment you are having right now. Before I recognized this, I was constantly trying to solve my entire life — battling problems that weren’t actually happening. Anyone can summon the resolve to deal with a single, present moment, as long as they are truly aware that it’s their only point of contact with life, and therefore there is nothing else one can do that can possibly be useful. Nobody can deal with the past or future, because, both only exist as thoughts, in the present. But we can kill ourselves trying.
3. Quality of life is determined by how you deal with your moments, not which moments happen and which don’t.I now consider this truth to be Happiness 101, but it’s amazing how tempting it still is to grasp at control of every circumstance to try to make sure I get exactly what I want. To encounter an undesirable situation and work with it willingly is the mark of a wise and happy person. Imagine getting a flat tire, falling ill at a bad time, or knocking something over and breaking it – and suffering nothing from it. There is nothing to fear if you agree with yourself to deal willingly with adversity whenever it does show up. That is how to make life better. The typical, low-leverage method is to hope that you eventually accumulate power over your circumstances so that you can get what you want more often. There’s an excellent line in a Modest Mouse song, celebrating this side-effect of wisdom: As life gets longer, awful feels softer.
4. Most of life is imaginary.Human beings have a habit of compulsive thinking that is so pervasive that we lose sight of the fact that we are nearly always thinking. Most of what we interact with is not the world itself, but our beliefs about it, our expectations of it, and our personal interests in it. We have a very difficult time observing something without confusing it with the thoughts we have about it, and so the bulk of what we experience in life is imaginary things. As Mark Twain said: “I’ve been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” The best treatment I’ve found? Cultivating mindfulness.
5. Human beings have evolved to suffer, and we are better at suffering than anything else.Yikes. It doesn’t sound like a very liberating discovery. I used to believe that if I was suffering it meant that there was something wrong with me — that I was doing life “wrong.” Suffering is completely human and completely normal, and there is a very good reason for its existence. Life’s persistent background hum of “this isn’t quite okay, I need to improve this,” coupled with occasional intense flashes of horror and adrenaline are what kept human beings alive for millions of years. This urge to change or escape the present moment drives nearly all of our behavior. It’s a simple and ruthless survival mechanism which works exceedingly well for keeping us alive, but it has a horrific side effect: human beings suffer greatly by their very nature. This, for me, redefined every one of life’s problems as some tendril of the human condition. As grim as it sounds, this insight is liberating because it means: 1) that suffering does not necessarily mean my life is going wrong, 2) that the ball is always in my court, so the degree to which I suffer is ultimately up to me, and 3) that all problems have the same cause and the same solution.
6. Emotions exist to make us biased.This discovery was a complete 180 from my old understanding of emotions. I used to think my emotions were reliable indicators of the state of my life — of whether I’m on the right track or not. Your passing emotional states can’t be trusted for measuring your self-worth or your position in life, but they are great at teaching you what it is you can’t let go of. The trouble is that emotions make us both more biased and more forceful at the same time. Another survival mechanism with nasty side-effects.
7. All people operate from the same two motivations: to fulfill their desires and to escape their suffering.Learning this allowed me to finally make sense of how people can hurt each other so badly. The best explanation I had before this was that some people are just bad. What a cop-out. No matter what kind of behavior other people exhibit, they are acting in the most effective way they are capable of (at that moment) to fulfill a desire or to relieve their suffering. These are motives we can all understand; we only vary in method, and the methods each of us has at our disposal depend on our upbringing and our experiences in life, as well as our state of consciousness. Some methods are skillful and helpful to others, others are unskillful and destructive, and almost all destructive behavior is unconscious. So there is no good and evil, only smart and dumb (or wise and foolish). Understanding this completely shook my long-held notions of morality and justice.
8. Beliefs are nothing to be proud of.Believing something is not an accomplishment. I grew up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they’re really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because “strength of belief” is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you’ve made it a part of your ego. Listen to any “die-hard” conservative or liberal talk about their deepest beliefs and you are listening to somebody who will never hear what you say on any matter that matters to them — unless you believe the same. It is gratifying to speak forcefully, it is gratifying to be agreed with, and this high is what the die-hards are chasing. Wherever there is a belief, there is a closed door. Take on the beliefs that stand up to your most honest, humble scrutiny, and never be afraid to lose them.
9. Objectivity is subjective.Life is a subjective experience and that cannot be escaped. Every experience I have comes through my own, personal, unsharable viewpoint. There can be no peer reviews of my direct experience, no real corroboration. This has some major implications for how I live my life. The most immediate one is that I realize I must trust my own personal experience, because nobody else has this angle, and I only have this angle. Another is that I feel more wonder for the world around me, knowing that any “objective” understanding I claim to have of the world is built entirely from scratch, by me. What I do build depends on the books I’ve read, the people I’ve met, and the experiences I’ve had. It means I will never see the world quite like anyone else, which means I will never live in quite the same world as anyone else — and therefore I mustn’t let outside observers be the authority on who I am or what life is really like for me. Subjectivity is primary experience — it is real life, and objectivity is something each of us builds on top of it in our minds, privately, in order to explain it all. This truth has world-shattering implications for the roles of religion and science in the lives of those who grasp it.
What have you discovered that turned your world upside down?
Welcome to the spirituality blog
This blog is an offshoot of a website that I had conceived as a result of the spiritual grace and resultant inspiration during Shivaratri Y2K (http://www.jyotirlinga.com) on the joy of Shiva Bhakti and my quest for spiritual progress. Not finding the time (yep, bad excuse!), this blog suits me fine in quickly adding content... my spiritual forays and thoughts - helps log them too. My spiritual journey started with Hinduism and it's simple stories/ teachings as far back as when I was a 2nd grader, with Lord Shiva and has now found convergence with Advaitism / Duality. The Advaitism gurus like Bhagwan Ramana Maharishi, Nisargadatta Maharaj; they have provided that spiritual boost of energy in many lagging moments and have tremendously influenced me ... little baby steps at a time... that will hopefully all lead upto a final crescendo. The merits of satsangh are many!
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