Sunday, May 31, 2015

Aloneness and Solitude

Aloneness is our natural state of being. This is how we come into the world and how we will depart from it, thus it seems to me that it is the only path to pure consciousness. Personally, the moments of greatest joy and sorrow that I have experienced in my life were in complete solitude. Pure bliss, in both extremes.
People fear solitude because it is difficult to distinguish between loneliness and aloneness. Aloneness is a blissful, fulfilling state. It is our natural state of being. 

Loneliness is a dark place and it is often in the midst of people that the deepest loneliness is felt. Loneliness is the ego screaming its insecurity, like a dog whining and begging to be pet.

The Dharma Endeavour

Staying on the path of dharma is a constant struggle. I have recently finished the Mahabharata and this book clearly teaches us how easy it is to forget what one has learned and fall prey once again to the ‘demons' in our minds. In fact, at the end of this great epic, it is only Yudhishthir (the eldest of the five Pandavs brothers) who makes it to the top of Mount Meru (Vaikuntha, the highest heaven) while the other 4 Pandav brothers and their wife Draupadi, die on the way and end up in Nark (hell). Even the great Arjun ends up in Nark because of his conceit. After Krishna leaves their lives, they forget their dharma, thus turning their backs on the higher wisdom they had thus far acquired. 
Thank God we are able, from time to time, to see glimmers of Light which instills hope within, but most of the time we are swimming in a pool of darkness. As Kalidas wrote, 'Laughing, I watch the fish drowning in water.’ 
That is what we are, fish drowning in water, birds falling from the air.

We are in our own element yet we see it not, hence the constant struggle.  

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Purnam, Completeness, Fullness, OM

ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते I
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते II

OM Purnam-adah Purnam-idam Purnat Purnam-udacyate 
Purnasya Purnam-adaya Purnam-evavashiyate

OM Completeness is that, completeness is this
From completeness, completeness comes forth
Completeness from completeness taken away
Completeness to completeness added
Completeness alone remains

If the understanding of this completeness, this fullness, this infinity, could be assimilated and totally known, there would be nothing else to do or say. Everything else - the books, the asanas, the questioning, the searching - everything would immediately become superfluous, redundant, unnecessary. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Love and Suffering

Whom among us has not felt that almost unbearable pain that occurs when our beloved has left us, ‘disappointed’ us, or simply does not reciprocate the love? It can be so painful, you feel as if you want to tear your heart out of your body. Physical pain cannot come even close to emotional pain. It’s terrifying because you feel as if you have no more control over anything. The person you thought you were, is no more. You do and say things you never thought you would do or say. And all the time, you just want the pain to go away. Sounds dreadful, doesn’t it? It is. Yet, we can’t wait to fall in love again. It takes great courage to really love someone, fearlessly and unconditionally. If we can truly love one person in our lifetimes, then we can love everyone. Relationship love is a gift from God because it forces us to look at ourselves. That kind of love has the capacity to burn away the falsity created by the ego. Unfortunately, as soon as the pain ends, we forget what was revealed and we yearn to get back on that rollercoaster. And then the vicious, illusion of love repeats itself until one day, you realise that Love has nothing to do with how our five senses perceive it. Love doesn’t begin and/or end. It is a constant flow, independent of all outer perceptions. At that moment, one gets off the rollercoaster ride of one to one ‘relationships’ and begins the lifelong Love relationship within him or herSelf, with The One. But the only way to really know this, is to go through it.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Mahabharata (and me, part one)

I decided to embark on the ‘adventure’ of getting acquainted with this legendary text, The Mahabharata, for two main reasons, one, because I have read the Bhagavad Gita (the ‘Song of the Lord’, one of the chapters in the Mahabharata) and found it to be one of the most beautiful books I have ever read, and two, because I spend a lot of time in India so I wanted to understand the people and their culture better. What better way than to read their most treasured book? In fact, it was this latter reason that gave me the final ‘push’ to buy this book. 
I was in for a surprise, a very pleasant surprise indeed.
At first, I was immediately struck by the beauty of the words themselves. The stories told can be described with a myriad of words: moving, fascinating, poignant, amusing, appalling, frightening, uplifting, shocking, devastating…’s all in here. My first thoughts were, ‘oh so now I know why the Indians think like this, or they behave like that…interesting…intriguing…’ And then, the more I listened to this great epic, the deeper it took me. These are not just mere stories relating to one group of people, these stories relate to everyone. I began to realise that everything and every character, human, animal, plant, half-human/half-demon, all demon, those of this world or another, were all allegories. Allegories of what goes on in the mind. And the metaphors! Every story is full to the brim of metaphors expressing all possible emotions. The allegories and metaphors weave through the complex net that is life. Example: it seems to me that the forest the five Pandav brothers and their wife Draupadi are exiled to, is not just a forest. It is a metaphor for the mind and everything the mind must go through to purify itself. The fact that they are five brothers is not simply for the enrichment of the tales, my understanding is that they represent our five senses of perception and action, and, of course, they could only have one wife amongst them because she is Prakriti Herself, the one through which the five senses are activated. So, if these allegories and metaphors reveal the deepest archetypes of the mind, then they represent my own mind. 
I had an ‘epiphany moment’. Every tale is an allegorical narrative of my own life, of my own thoughts and emotions. Through these tales, every aspect of a human being is revealed. 
This is no ordinary book full of tales.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Reverse attachment?

I have been trying to sell my flat for about two years now. Not because of any financial difficulty or because I don’t like it, nor do I have specific plans of moving someplace else. I am not necessarily in a hurry either. It’s simply that over the past few years, I have been systematically reducing and/or eliminating all of my belongings. As the great Krishnamurti once said, ‘To have inner order, one must first have outer order.’ So, the less clutter on the outside will facilitate the decluttering on the inside. I need to feel lighter and freer. The problem is, this flat doesn’t seem to want to leave me…so what is this? Reverse attachment? :-)))) How do you explain to a house that’s it time to let go? 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Acceptance vs. Tolerance

In recent times, I have seen the word ‘tolerant’ used quite often in a positive sense. Personally, I don’t think this word is very positive because it denotes a sense of ‘even though I don’t like or understand you, I will put up with you’. It gives a sense of condescension that I find disturbing. I think instead of being tolerant towards others, we should be more accepting.

Acceptance is better than tolerance. Acceptance takes you to a higher form of understanding. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Studying Hindi, learning a new language

One of the things I enjoy most is studying languages. A few years back, I took it upon myself to learn Hindi. This is, by far, the most difficult language I have ever studied because it has very little in common with any of the other languages I am familiar with. To start with, the alphabet is completely different (devanagari) so every single word must be memorized. It’s not like, when you know Italian, you can somehow connect with the other Romance languages, Spanish or French. Of course, there are many differences amongst these languages, too, however, at least, the alphabet is the same and the root of these languages is Latin. Needless to say, learning Hindi has proven to be quite a challenge. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Milk products, Vegetarianism, and Veganism

About cheese and milk products....I have been a vegetarian for many years. I had also stopped eating cheese a long time ago, not only because it is not good for the  health, but also because most cheese, I would say 85%, is absolutely not vegetarian because it is made with rennet (Rennet is a complex of enzymes produced in stomachs of ruminant mammals, meaning the traditional source of rennet comes from the stomach of slaughtered newly-born calves. ….bleh….). There are, however, cheeses made with non-animal rennet. 
Vegetarian cheeses are manufactured using rennet from either fungal/bacterial sources (microbial), genetically modified micro-organisms, or, as in the tasty Indian paneer, lemon juice, vinegar, or any other food acids are used. 
When I first started seeing vegetarian cheeses on the market here in Europe, I was thrilled. I am not that much of a cheese-eater anymore, but at least I knew that if I wanted to have some cheese or use it in the dish I was cooking, I could do so knowing that I wasn’t responsible for the slaughtering of a newly-born calf. Or so I thought….

Monday, May 4, 2015

Gender Discrimination

I talked about this topic on my radio show and I thought it was really interesting so I wanted to share it, and my thoughts, with you.
In Sweden, the government passed a law to change its grammar, meaning, they have added a third, completely neutral form of pronoun. So, instead of having just the usual he and she, there is a third pronoun for those who do not want to be classified according to their gender. And not only did they decide on this, they also passed a law that states that schools can no longer give a ‘gender’ to toys, meaning, there will be no more of the, far too usual, ‘this is for girls, this is for boys’ nonsense. Not only is this limited to schools, but it is the entire Swedish society that behaves according. In fact, even the color of baby clothing is neutral… no pink for girls, blue for boys. 
Sweden is fighting to eradicate gender discrimination and create a society in which gender doesn’t matter.
Personally, I think this is a great idea. A refreshing idea. 
So if a boy wants to play with a doll and dance, he will be free to do. If a girl wants to kick a ball and climb a tree, no one will say anything to her to make her feel uncomfortable. 
The conditioning begins at such a young age and it creates so many problems. If a child can at least be himself or herself at home and at school, it will give her or him so much more confidence when he or she goes out into the world.
I, myself, was a pure tomboy. I never liked dolls much. Barbie gave me the creeps. I much preferred climbing trees or playing sports. I used to climb on top of the garage, and then have someone call my Mother so she could watch me jump down. She encouraged me and told me I could do anything the boys did. None of this ever made me doubt my femininity.