Darkness inside us and Illuminating Love

Basic human nature is to be kind to others. Generally we all are good people and we care for others. However, we all are aware that we have lots of darkness inside us. We all feel emotions like jealousy, greed, lust and anger. We will never allow someone to pick inside our mind to know what all kinds of thoughts are going on. Sometimes we become a different person and realize the impact only afterwards. Why do we forget our basic nature? Why do we allow the darkness to grow inside us and how can we illuminate our-self?

It all starts from negative thoughts. Many might argue that those negative thoughts are only inside us and we do not express it outside. This is a big mistake. Once you have any thought and if you allow it to stay and grow inside you, then one day it will manifest in the real world as well. We say that some innocent guy became a criminal because of the situation. In reality, situations just revealed his true self. He might be having criminal thoughts in his mind from long time and situation just gave him a chance to take it out in the real world.

What is darkness – Imagine you saw a pool of mud on your way home. The mud is dark, but it is calling you to play with it for once. Out of curiosity you just touch the mud, but slowly slowly it covered your entire body. It sounds like some horror scene or a nightmare. Our one dark thought can force our mind and body to act against our will. Darkness is ignorance. We forget our true self and only can see the black mud.

Is it possible to get rid of the darkness? The question itself is wrong. Darkness is nothing, but the absence of light. Instead of fighting, we should illumine ourselves with love. Similarly we cannot eliminate negative thoughts, but we can simply replace them with the positive ones. Our mind can think of only one kind of thought at a time. We can either think good or we can think evil. It depends on us which one we choose. Now there is a whole science of positive psychology that focuses on how to strengthen our power to choose.

I recently saw a movie which depicts what I just mentioned above. In that movie someone stole the heart of a deity and suddenly a monster appears out of nowhere and the entire world is covered with the darkness. Hero of the movie tries to fight with the monster, but never wins. The main character of the movie is a young lady who is chosen by the nature to put the heart back to its place, to return it to deity and save the world from evil. At the end, young lady realized that the deity herself became the monster when her heart was stolen. When young lady puts the heart back, the deity became blissful again and all the darkness vanished.

How to illuminate love – Now continuing your body with full of black mud, you see a river. The water of the river is shining like diamond. You chose to touch that magical water and your entire body is now covered with the same water. All the mud, all the darkness have no place inside you as light of knowledge has uncover your true self. You feel the complete bliss. This is the feeling of love and kindness. It all sounds good, but we can never hold the thought of love for a long time. We need continuous reminders from nature for the same.

Neither can I tell you any step nor can I teach you as how you can light a candle of love in your heart. That is the blessing of God. All I know is that we have been distracted and in the dark jungle, but we can find a way to the light. Let us all not become the animals and remember our true nature that is of kindness. Negative thoughts are going to haunt us for lifetime, but at the same time thoughts of hope, faith and love are thousands time more powerful. All we need is a courage to take the control of our mind and illuminate ourselves and others.

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5 ways that can expand our Consciousness

From a kid to a young boy to a father, I have seen huge changes in my consciousness. It can be looked in different ways. One can say that we become mature over a period of time, i.e. we understand life better now. Another way to look at it is from a spiritual way. We are getting closer to understand our real purpose. Now most of us who are grown up can be tagged as a mature people, but very few might have seen the expansion in spiritual consciousness. In reality, we know everything right from our birth and we only uncover the truth over a period of time.

Seven years back, I visited Kanyakumari (a place in south India) where there is a big memorial of Swami Vivekananda. I went there just as a tourist and was very much impressed with the energy of that place. We all know about Swami Vivekananda as a monk through our school, but never really understood his message. I purchased his one of the books named as Raja Yoga to learn something about him and his thoughts. After coming home, I started reading the book and put it back to cupboard within 15 minutes as I could not understand a single word from that book. Not that the language was difficult to understand, but my consciousness was not ready to grasp the life changing lessons mentioned in the book. Recently, I started reading the same book again and I could at least understand few teachings of Swamiji.

I am sure most of you might have felt the same. We try to link it to the maturity which comes with the age, but I have seen even few small kids understand our ancient scriptures better than many old people. Consciousness definitely does not uncover or improve with the age. Otherwise, we would not see so much crime in the world which are done by adults. From my own experience and from the experience of people around me, I could list down few ways through which our consciousness expands. Before that, we need to understand as why we should work to expand our consciousness.

We take birth, we own many possessions, we get in to many relationship and at the end we die and leave everything behind. Something is not right in that. Our scientists have reached to moon, but we are still not sure about big bang theory. In spite of getting all the material things of the world, we still do not feel the fulfilment and we greed for more. My curiosity is to find the permanent nature of us. My curiosity is to find the real purpose of our life. All these can be answered through our own consciousness only. We have tried enough to get answers from outside world and now it is time to go inward to the source of origin. To expand consciousness, some of the ways are shown to us and in some we have to put our hard work.

Experience – Life changing experiences like losing someone or surviving death or realizing the sorrow of the world can create tornado of thoughts in our mind. We start questioning the fundamentals of our life. We start seeing the world differently as now we have different consciousness. Suddenly we see the depth in everything around us. We start valuing our life and at the same time we try to make it more meaningful. Sudden experiences like above changes our whole personality only if we learn from it. These experiences are very painful, but it is important that we realize that these are signals for us to ensure that we choose the right path.

Study – Many people become interested in spirituality just because they heard about it or because someone close to them are on that path. Studying the literature and scriptures can help them to expand consciousness, but only at the intellect level. In reality we have to practice day and night what is mentioned in those scriptures. Study also means observing your own mind. We are the best book we can learn from. Our thoughts, our behavior, our happiness, our sorrow and our existence can teach us a lot.

Guru – Consider yourself very lucky if you have found your guru who can take your spiritual consciousness to the next level. Today we see many self-proclaimed religious gurus. Stay away from those who teaches you to discriminate. Swami Vivekananda’s life changed after he found his guru Shri Ramakrishna. Many people I know are completely devoted to their gurus. Real gurus not only teaches you what is there in the books, but also gives you experience which you cannot imagine. Guru is like an engine who can add the speed to the train of your life.

Previous birth – We have seen many people who in spite of no back ground of spirituality in the family or in friends became the greatest spiritual being ever lived on earth. I am a believer of rebirth, otherwise how do you explain the level of consciousness people get without any experiences or any study. They get these gifts from previous births where they already reached to a certain state of awareness. Jesus and Buddha were the greatest teachers, but from where they got their spiritual consciousness in one birth. Neither of them had any family members reaching at that stage.

Meditation – If we want to hasten our growth in the area of mind, then there is nothing better than meditation. All the sages spends their major part of the day in meditation. This is applicable to even households. People like us are bombarded with so many thoughts in a day that we can hardly focus on expanding spiritual consciousness. We cannot even find the peace for 5 minutes. Meditation allow us to shut the doors for all the external factors and we can focus on our goals. You can use it for other areas of life as well, but it works like magic on the path of spirituality.

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Spirituality vs Religion

Many times I wonder as how spirituality is different from the religion? We see that people who follow spirituality are normally against the religion or do not believe in the religion. The strange thing is that the ultimate aim for both is the same, i.e. to attain God. Is it that we look at spirituality and religion separately, but in reality both are one and the same or are there some fundamental differences between the two? Which path should we follow or which one is suitable for us?

The main difference between religion and spirituality is that of belief and of personal experience. Religion asks you to believe in the experience of some pure soul where spirituality is about having your own personal experience. If you notice, then you will realize that religion is more about written science where spirituality is the practical one. Religion is about dedicating your life in the devotion of God and Spirituality is about searching for God and experiencing the divinity within.

There are many religions and all have their own paths to attain God. The explanation of God is different in all religions. Perhaps the people who followed them in old times, did it as per their own convenience and understanding. The prophets or God took birth on earth to show the path to attain it. Different interpretations were made of their teachings and out of that were born many religions. In spirituality, there are many sects based on different Gurus. But, the teachings are almost the same with few differences.

Many people have lost the respect for religion because of different reasons. More blood has been shed in the name of religion than any other reason. People now do not understand the rituals because not many people can explain the real meaning behind the same. Lots of businesses are flourishing in the name of God. What we have understood of religion is a very low-level of it. We respect and even worship who devoted their life to God, but we do not want to do the same. That is why we get comfortable by only visiting the church or temples. Taking only small part of something so big, so life changing has deteriorated the meaning of religion.

Our mind is like a monkey. We get so many thoughts in a single day that it becomes difficult to focus on something. Religions were introduced for the same reason. Now if I tell you that there is God and you have to worship him, then you will ask where God is. I do not see it. That is why Idols were introduced and temples were built. So that we can focus our mind on God and realize the truth. We leave all our tensions and desires and devote our selves completely to God. That was the aim of introducing the religion. Some of the rituals also were shown so that we can calm our mind and can concentrate on what is real.

On the other hand, spirituality does not tell you where is God. It tells you to search for it. Spirituality does not want you to limit the definition of God only to one statue. It says that everything in this world is God including us. It becomes difficult to grasp it, as from childhood we have been told that God is higher than everything and he sits in the temple. We can never compare ourselves with God. Spirituality says that we are ignorant of our true nature and that is why we believe that God is separate from us. Spirituality asks us to practice meditation and service to other human being through which we can purify ourselves because only the pure one can attain the salvation.

Highest level of experience in both is the same. What we call nirvana in spirituality is described in religion as seeing God. In both of these experiences, you lost your individuality and merge with God for few moments. After these experiences your entire life changes. If you have ever met any pure soul, then you will experience the calmness by just being in their company. Their only message to the world is to spread love and peace. Self-proclaimed religious Gurus say that you have to take many births and you have to go through punishments for all the sins you have done before you have such experience. Spirituality says that you will get the fruit of your Karma. Either in this birth on in the next one. But, Spirituality also says that you can fasten your growth and can attain the enlightenment in one birth if you are really committed for the same.

So which path should we take? If I choose religion, then which religion should I choose? I guess everyone has to make their own decisions. I have experienced that our paths are shown to us only if we are clear in our mind what we want. No religion is bad. Only the people who became the owners of religions are spreading hatred. God never ask you to discriminate or hate anyone. I suggest that you try both and see yourself which one helps you to attain the truth. For me, the real test it to see if the path teaches to love not only God, but all the beings, then it is the real path.

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In Search of Sanity

Sanity means to think and behave in a normal and rational manner. It reflects a sound mental health. This is a very subjective definition and everyone has their own way of being normal and rational. Understanding of sanity has changed over a period of time, thanks to rapid advancement in technology. Somehow I feel that we are seeing lots of mental illness because of considering few behaviors as normal, and may be they are not. This mental imbalance also results into physical illness. We feel getting back our sanity when we are out of our current lifestyle and when we are close to nature. This itself gives us a strong message which we are ignoring.

Let us first try to understand with few examples as how we have changed the definition of what should be our normal and rational behavior. Few years back it was considered normal when we used to say prayer before eating our food with family. We used to have a conversation on how our day went and what all things we did. Nowadays it is normal to have food alone while having cell phone in one hand and checking Facebook or WhatsApp. Not sure if we are really enjoying the food.

Another very serious example is sharing our feelings and emotions with our close friends and relatives. I remember that if I had any problems or if I was excited about anything, then either I would call my best friend or will go to his place to share my feelings. I felt very light and refreshing once I shared my problem with my best friend. However, nowadays it is rational to share your secrets, your feelings and emotions on social media and we expect hundreds of people to react on the same. I assume it is quite normal and rational behavior now.

I have so many examples on the same, but I will end it with this one. I recently went to attend a talk given by a very famous speaker. There were thousands of people present at the venue. The speaker told everyone to sit down and asked to stop the recording through cell phone so that they can focus on what she was about to say. She continued her talk and explained something very meaningful. She said that instead of enjoying particular scene that is in front of our eyes, we want to capture it in our camera. So instead of enjoying that moment we feel that it is more important to have it stored somewhere in your cell phone. Irony is that, then we share it with hundreds of people through social media to get as many like as possible. So it is normal that we don’t enjoy the scene, but we want other people to give us like on the same. I guess living the life through social media and not in real world is the new rational for us.

We do not have to accept something just because the entire world agrees to it. How many of our daily activities actually gives us the peace of mind? I do not feel peace when I am scrolling through Facebook or while reading Whatsapp. I also do not feel better by sharing my personal feelings with the world. I find sanity when I find peace of mind. If I take a step back and try to analyze all these situations, then I feel that we are not only losing our sanity, but we are also becoming weak.

First we need to redefine our sanity and take control of our life. We need to structure our daily life in such a way that it includes all conscious and meaningful activities. We might still have some things which really do not add any value, but they should take our minimum time. I am not saying that every day you go to temple or to forest to find sanity. If we do everything with consciousness, then we can find peace even in this concrete jungle.

When I go on vacation, I try to analyze as what makes vacation different from my normal life. Definitely the places have their own energy and we are relaxed as do not have to go to work. But, apart from that I also noticed that the main attraction is that I am enjoying everything including every bite of food I consume. Suddenly I am enjoying being in the garden because I notice beautiful flowers. I enjoy because I get into deep conversation with my family. I enjoy because I notice their happiness and it gives me the best feeling in the world. It gives me feeling that I have accomplished something. That analysis made me realize that it is how much focused we are or how much detail we notice and how much conscious we are that gives me my sanity back. When you are conscious, you only chose happiness.

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UnTagging the Self

Human beings are always scared of something. Our mind has lots of thoughts about negative situations. What if I lose the Job or what if someone leaves me or what if I fall sick? We have so many fear in life because we do not have confidence of facing the situation. At the end we all come out of the negative situations. Darkness do not stay forever. Still, we do not believe in ourself and live in the tense mode. Why does this happen?

One of the main reason is the attachment to a particular identity. We are so obsessed with it that mere fear of losing it makes us sleepless. What is this identity after all? Something through which people know us. It is like a tag given to us or earned by us. For an average person these tags are a healthy, successful, wealthy, respected, parent, house owner, car owner, salaried, businessman, married and many more. Let us try to understand what happens when we lose one of these tags.

We will try to look at couple of above tags and we will see how it impacts our world. For, e.g. let us say I own a car. Now everyone who knows me are aware of this fact. Let us consider that I am not using this car very frequently as I have other means of transport and I avoid using car due to traffic issues. I am using public transport or cab to meet my everyday requirements. Now I am aware that I have spent some good amount of money on my car and I am not using it fully so ideally I should sell it and should en-cash some money. But I cannot as now everyone is aware that I have a car and if I sell it, then people will think that something is wrong.

Now I do not want to give that thoughts in others mind that I no more own a car and because of that I continue to own it. Here, I am trying to keep my tag of a car owner. In reality I can be better off without my car as I can use that money to pay off my loan. But, I am clinging to my identity and hence I cannot let it go. Similarly it goes for house or any other material possession. Now let us look at another tag, successful. The only way to keep this tag is by not facing any failures.

To avoid failures we hardly take risk. We will attempt where there are chances of being successful as that is what we have been known for. We never realize that we lose so much to save these tags and we hardly experience the life. We are creating bondage for lifetime by tagging ourselves. We can never come out of it and we can never live fully. What if we do not care how people see us or what if we don’t get scared if one of these or all tags are gone? Can we be our true self then? Do we have confidence to get it back if we want? For all that we need to create a self that is stronger.

First of all we need to accept that we are much more than our identity or these tags. We need to understand that this life is not going to be there forever in this body. We need to utilize this time to utmost possibility. Let us do one experiment. You need to do it for your own self and we don’t need any instruments. We only need 10 minutes and a clear mind. So do this when you are completely relaxed and when you are not worried about finishing any tasks. Night will be a good time as you are about unwind.

Try to analyse, which is the tag that you are most attached to. Is it wealthy or respectful or successful or a beautiful? Pick the one that can give you nightmare if you lose it. Now see a situation where due to whatever reason you lost that tag. Now see that how it will affect your life in reality? What all problems will you face and what all kinds of thoughts you will get? Now try to see can you really live without it? Do you see any freedom in it? Do you find peace of mind for not having to maintain it anymore?

If I continue with the above example of a car owner, then in the start I will see the pain of not having my own car. I will feel that I will always have to be dependent on public transport. I will fear what my friends and relative think. They would definitely assume that I do not have money now. I will feel jealous every time I see other people with their car. If I see on the positive side, then I don’t have to travel in traffic anymore. I don’t have to worry about scratches and damages to the car or maintenance of it. I can use that money somewhere else and can get peace of mind.

To become a strong self we need to do two steps. First, do not create anymore tags at least in our mind. This does not mean you stop growing, but it means that you don’t limit yourself to anything. Second, lose as much as possible tags from the mind. You don’t need to actually sell the car but owning of it does not create any bondage. You are fine with it and without it as well.

Untag the Self and Be a free bird.

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