Seeking God

Catching myself

I have been caught up in the whirlwind of Maya. Passion for work and overriding attachments to my family have kept me firmly rooted in the rajas guna (ambition, material growth, desires), while a certain sloth has taken over my physical condition — s symptom of the tamas guna (immobility, darkness, pathway to stagnation). I’ve seriously missed a good dose of the sattvic guna (lightness, divinity, spirituality) in my life lately. I am out of balance.

Thankfully I had a wakeup call yesterday, a self-induced one. I had been mulling over various material preoccupations — who said what, why they said it, are they jealous, what do they mean, how dare they, they need to be put in place, and so on. I acted on impulse once, but then the trigger was repeated. Before I reacted the second time, I decided to pray and look inside me a little.

Grace. I was able to check my impulse. I was able to see that I had been getting caught up in the whirlwind of Maya. I was able to see that it was never about ‘me versus them‘ but about ‘me versus God‘. I was getting caught up in my material roles in this life, I was beginning to take them super-seriously. I was under the illusion that I ‘owned’ them — my job, my family, my loves.

But truth is, I don’t. They are all on loan, all gifts of nature, fleeting, temporal, here-one-day-gone-the-next. The more I identify with them, the more I am trapped. (*takes a deep breath, and releases it with a ‘let go’*)

I love this life, this family, this work, these people. And because I love them, I must learn to detach myself from them, else the love will turn into possessiveness and poison.

It is easy to forgive and put behind those you once hated. It is nearly impossible to detach yourself from your most prized loves. One man did it and he was called the Buddha.

Oh well. One can aspire to aspiration.

Finding God

Beliefs that serve me

I’ve started a new weekly exercise at my workplace. Every Monday, I share with my team 5 tips on living life to the fullest. The idea is to pass on whatever little knowledge I have before I die. Surprisingly, my team is very receptive and eager for these sessions. It is deeply fulfilling for me and I thank God every day for the opportunity.

This past Monday I shared 5 beliefs I have imbibed over the years that have served me.

1. There is enough for everyone: Contrary to what the corporate world makes things out to be, there really is room for everyone to be a true leader. If we operate from a mindset of ‘there can only be one man for the top job’, well, we’re always going to fight and jostle for our space in the universe. The minute I adopted this belief 5 years ago, the universe actually CREATED new positions for me to occupy. I no longer had to apply for a job. It was created for me by the forces that be.

2. People are good: We’re often brought up to distrust strangers or told that some people are good and others are bad. But one belief that has served me is that all people are inherently good, and if they do commit behaviours that are perceived as ‘bad’, it is because they crave something – love, attention, acceptance, power, whatever – or because they’ve been indoctrinated that way. I truly believe that, given the choice, humans gravitate towards the light. This belief helps me see the good in just about everyone, and this further helps me bring out the best from them. It also keeps me happy and at peace since I do not doubt people’s intentions.

3. Everyone is right: My dad once said this to me when I was a kid and, later, when I grew up, I understood what he really meant. Every human being takes actions that his or her subconscious dictates as the best option for survival at that moment. In other words, if you put yourself in the other person’s shoes, you too would do exactly the same deed at that same moment in the same situation as they did. So there’s no point judging others as wrong and yourself as right. This belief has served me in arguing less and accepting others more. I do not hold grudges for long.

4. The universe is a benevolent place: Over the past many years, I have come to believe this deep in my heart that no matter what happens, I am protected, I am safe, that this life is not all there is, and that there is more to existence than existence. I have come to believe that I am deeply loved by my Creator and that no matter how bad things may look, they are really only less than a blip on the radar of the mighty universe. And that, eventually, whatever happens is going to be for my good. This belief helps me bounce back from setbacks time and again, and to be resilient in the face of sorrow.

5. We can only defeat darkness by turning on the light: By constantly focusing on the negative around us, by reporting only negative news day after day, we only create more darkness. What we need to focus on is the light. Once the light is turned on, the darkness automatically goes away. This applies to just about everything: let us publish more positive news instead of negative; let us work on our strengths instead of cribbing about our weaknesses; let us focus on our mission in life instead of whining about little obstacles on the way.

With gratitude. Hari Om.

Finding God

Believing is receiving

A couple of days ago, my elder daughter M, age 16, borrowed a formal churidaar-kurta ensemble from me to wear to a Diwali party with other teens. After trying it on, she busied herself with hair and makeup, until it was almost time to leave. Then, she asked me, “Where’s the dupatta? I had it just a minute ago.”

I smiled and replied, “This kurta doesn’t have a dupatta. I never got one made. I wear it just like that.”

She refused to believe me. “But I tried it on just a minute ago, it’s the same colour and it goes perfectly.” She kept rummaging in my cupboard and peeking about her room. My rational argument fell on deaf ears. She completely, irrevocably believed this kurta had a dupatta. She just hadn’t found it yet.

A Maheshwari dupatta (courtesy http://www.indianroots.com)

Suddenly, sitting on my bed, I recalled another ensemble of mine that had a dupatta in these colours. I dug it out from the corner of my cupboard, where it lay packed in plastic, the dry-cleaner’s tag still on. I interrupted her search and offered it to her: It was a perfect match. “See, I told you this kurta had a dupatta,” she said breezily as we left for her party. My explanations about where it had come from were irrelevant for her.

After dropping the kids, I was driving back alone, smiling about the whole event when a deep realization dawned on me. It didn’t matter where the dupatta eventually came from; in her reality, she simply got what she utterly believed in. There was not a trace of doubt in her heart that this kurta had a dupatta in its exact colours. And no matter how it came — no matter that someone’s memory in extracting another dupatta from the back of a cupboard had a role to play — she got what she expected and what she believed in.

It was enough cue for me to do some expecting and believing of my own. So I spoke aloud a couple of statements three times, and then to seal the deal, turned the volume of the radio really high. It was Adele belting out the original version of Skyfall. And to her stupendous vocals, I added the refrain: “So be it, so be it, so be it.” It was all very dramatic and goose-bump-inducing.

This Diwali, I wish my readers and everyone else in the world the fulfilment of their most impossible dreams, the attainment of the most complete joy, and the power to create their own destinies. Happy receiving!