Savouring the flowers admidst all the noise!

Another one of those weeks where everybody, everywhere (and their team!) is screaming work – “we want this on priority – meaning yesterday!”. Phone calls are ringing off the hook, computers are overworked and alarm clock utilization has just hit the roof.

As I walk to my car and plug in my phone, the itunes player comes alive with John Denver effortlessly singing my favourite Anthem “It’s about time“. Savour teh opeing lyrics of this amazing song:

“There’s a full moon over India and Gandhi lives again.

Who’s to say you have to lose for someone else to win?

In the eyes of all the people, the look is much the same,

for the first is just the last one when you play a deadly game”.

He’s of course singing about the environment and our need to take care of it. He could be singing though about the “fast life” of today and the words would ring just as true.

And my mind wanders to those little “living games” (as opposed to the deadly ones John sings about) where “you dont have to lose for someone else to win” – everyone wins. And I break out into a smile. Here’s a sample list that came to mind, what are yours?:

– The warm, welcoming toothless smile the old lady sports when a toddler successfully (and naturally with a big proud grin on her face) walks for the first time – a walk she has attempted to share her birthday chocolates with grandma

– When the young, blind musician plays a mesmerising tune on his flute, his eyes and mind on a better, beautiful world far away. The enchanting melody draws a large crowd which spontaneously breaks into a loud applause – and the musician smiles realizing this world is just as good as the “heavens of his dreams” and in celebration of this discovery he instantly presents a fun earthy tune for his wonderful audience

– A young girl from a traditional family gets caught up in the teenage spirit and parties hard – only to be busted by the local police. As she waits for bail (her first time out at the police station) – she trembles in fear of what her very orthodox father would say and the effect this would have on their social circle. At this moment, her father comes in and with a huge smile of relief hugs her and consoles her tears. She knows she is accepted unconditionally – a lesson she willingly trades her partying days for. Her father knows his days of being the stern disciplinarion are over – his daughter has transformed into a friend. A bond has just been built..

And so on….little moments that have profound implications for all those participating. They go unnoticed for the most part on media and the “noise-focussed” channels – but anyone touched by the moment is grateful for his/ her life has been changed forever.

Suddenly the never-ending phone calls, the never-ceasing email flow, the seemingly-unending asks from the family – all seem bearable – even desireable. For who knows, one of these may hold a rare flower that will change your life for ever – and all you need to do is believe that there’s a flower in there somewhere and take the time to stop and experience it.

Musings on perfection – From a commentary on the Heart Sutra

The audience is shifting its legs anxiously, “hey, where’s all the spiritual stuff, the wisdom and so on this blog used to churn out – have these topics gone on a long vacation?”

OK – here goes, let me pull some stuff from a wonderful book by Ken McLeod named “An Arrow to the Heart: A commentary on the Heart Sutra”.

The answers are pulled verbatim from this book – please dive into it for more such contemplative thoughts.

Our question – When is perfection attained?

Perfection is attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away…

Our question – What are the 6 perfections?

For generosity, nothing to own

For ethics, nothing to hide

For patience, nothing to fear

For effort, nothing to achieve

For stable attention, nothing to wander

For wisdom, nothing to know

Endpoint – Contemplate a while on these – the are sure to bring in a shift in awareness …and if you love this, check out Ken McLeod’s website – its truly awesome.

Priceless? And wishes for a great new year…

No, I am not a visa salesman. Another year has come and gone (or nearly so) and I’d like to think they are both priceless for each of us (not priced less!).

I’d like to wish you erudition and information – but we seem to have too much of it anyway. We also have InternetEverywhere, TimeNowhere and PeaceAnywhere but here!

What we need therefore seems to be not more information but a means to transform all that information into wisdom. To do that, it seems to me we need to learn to unlearn – a skill that will I trust befit the title of this piece.

What do we do to unlearn you ask – here’s a little list I hope will do the trick for starters…

1. Read a book, bungy jump (!) or watch a video that pushes you out of your comfort zone and makes no sense logically (of course i don’t mean anything like the “dumb and dumber” movie). Here’s an osho video for instance that while in no sense educational, breaks stereotypes. The thought of an Indian mystic with a Japanese name and a hundred rolls-royces, discoursing to a suited man on jacuzzis and designer wristwatches  – has me in splits every time while becoming open to the fact that we haven’t seen it all yet!

2. Get inspired through an example of sheer courage – A terminally ill man (and one of scientific temperament at that) delivering a heartwarming and inspirational lecture on achieving childhood dreams – this is one of my all time favorites. Talk about Randy Pausch’s courage and compassion in the face of death – lots of unlearning lessons (how’s that work eh?) on how long faces, strong coffee and sailor language isn’t the only antidote for pressure-cooker situations.

3. Deciding on our stand on religion – do you want to be curious about religion or a policeman (or women) for religion? A lot of Indians were affronted (justified no doubt as they observed this to be an insult to their culture and beliefs) when the USSR recently banned a translation of the Bhagavad Gita – I continue to wonder however on how many of those protesting had read even a bit of this great book. The gita is the most pragmatic course in self unfoldment that i know of – and its hero, Sri Krishna sizes us up, diagnoses our particular condition and delivers specific solutions – all within 800 short verses (need a working manual for mass customization, anybody?). The curious would have found multiple paths (and signposts) to a better life – using the intellect (the path of knowledge), emotion (through devotion), societal (through service to others) etc. and picked up skills to still the mind, become responsive to our body’s responses…. The police(wo)man would have been left with a political adversary and a troubled mind.

4. Relate to the fact that social media = discovery. We can discover friends, hobbies, skills, vocations, places and -what the heck – even life. No age is too aged for a plunge into this world.

5. Finally management (had to bring that in somewhere!). Where resources are limited, we need to be aware of how we are using them, else we risk running out of the already limited resource. This is especially so when we are dealing with things that are unlimited by their very nature. Time and money for instance are limited – the things we can use them on (information, gadgets, travel, emotions) are unlimited. When we treat them as we would when we enter a fancy restaurant with limited cash (and no credit cards), all is generally well.

6. Most important – we need to distinguish between what we “care” about and what we “lust” for. The difference is really simple – we care about things/ people for their benefit and our mutual growth together (you care about your spouse or children for instance) while we lust for things for enhancing our own ego (buying a Ferrari not because we are a car connoisseur but because our competitor bought one – make sense?). Care gives us purpose in life and does not follow the diminishing curve (over time value goes up actually), while lust gives us ego trips and (mostly!) lighter wallets and a sense not being fulfilled. The lesson here – unlearn lusty habits (while strengthening the “care” ones!).

And that brings me full circle. Life reminds us it’s priceless everyday, and here’s wishing everyone a year that will make us priceless as well (and no I don’t mean we’ll go to work for visa!!….)