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(Photo Credit :www.Spokesman.com)

Here is a story of a boy who had lost his left arm in a car accident:

Despite his physical condition, he began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, but even after a few months of training the master taught him only one move.

Finally one day the boy asked his master: “Sensei,”(Teacher in Japanese) “Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?”

“This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you’ll ever need to know,” the sensei replied.

Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training and after several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament.

Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals.

This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out.

He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened. “No,” the sensei insisted, “Let him continue.” Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament.

He was the champion. On the way home, the boy and sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind.

“Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?”

“You won for two reasons,” the sensei answered. “First, you’ve almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm!”

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It is up to you

(Photo Credit sikhchic.com)

(Photo Credit sikhchic.com)

A group of frogs were traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead. The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit with all their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.

The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?” The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

Be careful of what you say. Speak life to those who cross your path. 

 

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Rise Higher

(Photo Credit http://jasonslavin.com)

A Sufi mystic lived in a wild and dangerous dark forest in a very small hut along with his wife. It was a very thick forest with spooky noises.

One day there was torrential rain throughout the day, which continued in the night also. In the middle of the night somebody knocked at the door.

The wife was sleeping near the door. There was not much space inside, just enough for two persons to sleep.

The husband said, “The night is dark, the forest has many wild animals. Somebody might have lost his way. Open the door. He certainly needs refuge.”

“But there is no space inside our hut, only for two of us to sleep.” Retorted his wife.

Laughing over it, the mystic said, “It is not a palace of a king, however big the palace may be, it is always smaller than a poor mystic’s hut. If two can sleep, three can sit perfectly well. We will sit, talk and tell stories, and sing songs. It is a beautiful night. Even the rain is creating certain music. Open the door !”

When the wife opened the door, there entered a visitor drenched with water and said, “I am sorry to disturb you. I got lost, and there is no light except in this hut. I know it is small, but there was no other way. Outside life is full of danger as the wild animals are roaming everywhere.”

The mystic heartily said, “No problem, two can sleep, three can sit. You are welcome. We will know many things from you about the world; and we will offer you our songs, and the night will pass this way. Please close the doors and be at ease. You have graced us; you have given us a chance to welcome a guest; you have made us richer.”

All of them sat together, while the mystic sang a melodious song. Just then there was again a knock at the door.

The mystic said, “You are close to the door, please open it. Somebody needs refuge.”

But the man who was asking for refuge just a few minutes before, became angry. He said, “What do you mean ? There is no space.”

The mystic replied, “It is not a palace of a king, which is always short of space. It is a small hut of a mystic. We three can sit comfortably, but four will have to sit a little tight, more close to each other. And it is really a joy to feel each other’s warmth and love, and anyhow the cold night is almost half way through. So you open the doors ! And remember, a few minutes before you were in the same position.”

Now as there was no alternative left, the man opened the door. Another man who had lost his way in the forest said, “Excuse me, I am absolutely helpless; otherwise I would not have given you trouble. I can see that such a small space is already overcrowded.”

The mystic said, “No problem. We will sit a little close to each other. The gaps between the three can be adjusted to accommodate the four. You are welcome. Sit down and close the door.”

Now the hut was completely packed. The mystic started singing another song, while there was another knock on the door, this time it was a different one.

Everyone was shocked. They now knew very well that whoever was outside the hut would be accommodated by the mystic. “Open the door,” said the mystic, “he is one of my friends, a wild donkey.”

All the guests and the wife were irritated as they said, “This is beyond tolerance. Do you want to bring in a donkey in this place where there is no space left even for sitting comfortably?”

The mystic said, “How many times do I have to remind you that this is a poor mystic’s hut. There is always space. One has just to find it. Now we are sitting; it’s just a matter of time that the last quarter of this night will also pass. Soon there will be sunrise, open the door !”

The last man who came in was nearest to the door, reluctantly opened it, and a donkey drenched with water entered.

The mystic said, “Remember perfectly well – you were in the same state just a few minutes before.

”Selfishness blinds you of other’s needs!

Happy Easter Folks!

 

 

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car

A young and successful executive was traveling down a neighborhood street, going a bit too fast in his new Jaguar. He was watching for kids darting out from between parked cars and slowed down when he thought he saw something. As his car passed, no children appeared. Instead, a brick smashed into the Jag’s side door! He slammed on the brakes and drove the Jag back to the spot where the brick had been thrown. The angry driver then jumped out of the car, grabbed the nearest kid and pushed him up against a parked car, shouting, “What was that all about and who are you? Just what the heck are you doing?  That’s a new car and that brick you threw is going to cost a lot of money. Why did you do it?”

The young boy was apologetic. “Please mister … please, I’m sorry… I didn’t know what else to do,” he pleaded. “I threw the brick because no one else would stop…”

The Brick
With tears dripping down his face and off his chin, the youth pointed to a spot just around a parked car. “It’s my brother,” he said.  “He rolled off the curb and fell out of his wheelchair and I can’t lift him up.”

Now sobbing, the boy asked the stunned executive, “Would you please help me get him back into his wheelchair? He’s hurt and he’s too heavy for me.” Moved beyond words, the driver tried to swallow the rapidly swelling lump in his throat. He hurriedly lifted the handicapped boy back into the wheelchair, then took out his fancy handkerchief and dabbed at the fresh scrapes and cuts. A quick look told him everything was going to be okay.

 

“Thank you and may God bless you,” the grateful child told the stranger.
Too shook up for words, the man simply watched the little boy push his wheelchair-bound brother down the sidewalk toward their home. It was a long, slow walk back to the Jaguar. The damage was very noticeable, but the driver never bothered to repair the dented side door. He kept the dent there to remind him of this message: Don’t go through life so fast that someone has to throw a brick at you to get your attention! 

 

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(Photo credit: Influence versus Control)

(Photo credit: Influence versus Control)

A farmer owned a beautiful mare which was praised far and wide. One day this beautiful horse disappeared. The people of his village offered sympathy to the farmer for his great misfortune. The farmer said simply, “That’s the way it is.”

A few days later the lost mare returned, followed by a beautiful wild stallion. The village congratulated the farmer for his good fortune. He said, “That’s the way it is.”

Some time later, farmer’s only son, while riding the stallion, fell off and broke his leg. The village people once again expressed their sympathy at farmer’s misfortune. The farmer again said, “That’s the way it is.”
Soon thereafter, war broke out and all the young men of the village except the farmer’s lame son were drafted and were killed in battle. The village people were amazed at the farmer’s good luck. His son was the only young man left alive in the village. But the farmer kept his same attitude: despite all the turmoil, gains and losses, he gave the same reply, “That’s the way it is.”

My dear readers, do you agree with the connect between Acceptance and Awareness?  

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be-the-change

Nasrudin was now an old man looking back on his life. He sat with his friends in the tea shop telling his story. “When I was young I was fiery – I wanted to awaken everyone. I prayed to God to give me the strength to change the world.

 
In mid-life I awoke one day and realized my life was half over and I had changed no one. So I prayed to God to give me the strength to change those close around me who so much-needed it.

 
Alas, now I am old and my prayer is simpler. “God,” I ask, “please give me the strength to at least change myself.”

 

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sensuall brunette woman in underwear, studio shot, dark background,

Today I am going to talk about Solitude. Now please don’t get it wrong, it doesn’t mean that all human beings who are interested in spiritual matters should run away and sit alone in the mountains or in a cave and remain forever in solitude. This is not what I am talking about.

Solitude actually is a state of mind. It’s the understanding that dawns upon the mind, that one is really alone in the sense, like a great soul once said, Alone, A-L-O-N-E is actually all one. Now alone is not isolation. So the solitude which I am talking about is not isolation. It is not something that is imposed upon us. It is not as if we are arrested and put under solitary confinement. That is not solitude. Solitude is a spiritual word indicating a beautiful state of mind. Where one is ONE. One is ONE… Yes. Meaning, oneself is one with the entire universe. It is a result of a spiritual experience, where we begin to understand and realize that the whole world is one and we are a part of it. That is what I mean by Solitude.

Now, at another level, solitude is what the poets talk about. Well, you lead your life, you have your family, you have your friends, you enjoy yourself and then you decide, “Now I have to be alone for a while, to think, to ruminate, to meditate, to contemplate”. So what do I do? I quietly walk off, to the sea-shore and sit on the sands, and look at the waves, thinking particularly about nothing. Just watching the waves come up and down, seeing the vastness of the sea, and the silence that is heard in the midst of the dashing waves of the ocean. Now that is a spiritual experience. Or I go off for a walk in the woods, just keep walking in the woods, looking at the great tall trees, listening to the insects, no human being in sight. The dew dripping down from the leaves that is again solitude. Or I sit near the sand dunes in the desert, like Jaisalmer for instance, and watch the camels go by, and watch the sands being shifted by the wind. That is solitude too. Or I relax in an easy chair, sitting in my own personal little sit out, and hear the birds outside, sometimes even the traffic going past in the road, that is also solitude. Or if I am a yogi, I sit quietly in a beautiful place, where there is plenty of fresh air and oxygen, open or close my eyes, and just remain quiet and alone with myself. That is what is known as Yogic Solitude.

Now though, these may be different expressions of solitude, or different ways of enjoying solitude, which I think every human being needs at some time or the other, the result of all this is finally that one feels a oneness with the entire universe. With the breeze, with the waves, with the plants, with the birds, with the dew, with the woods. There is a strange feeling that steals in which you feel that you are a part of the whole and not different from anything else. And that there is only ONE. That I would call Spiritual Solitude.

Now the question is, if all this is true, okay we agree, but is there a necessity at times, or is there a necessity at all, for those who practice concentration and meditation and who are sadhaks, who are seekers, who are advancing towards spiritual perfection, is it necessary for such people, such sadhaks, such trainees, to actually and deliberately to move away from society? And go to a solitary place and sit in solitude. Is it necessary? Does it help spiritual practice? I would say yes. But not lifelong, because lifelong you really cannot understand, how you have progressed if you sit in a cave all alone. Suppose I sit in a cave for thirteen years, and meditate for thirteen hours a day, and then say I am free of anger and jealousy and all those negative emotions and thoughts, now how do I find out? There is nobody there, I cannot get angry with the cave, I cannot angry with the walls of the cave, I cannot get angry with the darkness. There is nothing to be jealous of. Its only when I come out of the cave and get into a bus or a train and somebody kicks me on my foot, or stubs my toe, that I really realize if I am free of anger, jealousy so on and so forth. So the only way to test oneself, is by communicating, being with society, with people around you.

But all the same, small periods, let me say, short periods of an hour, or a day or if possible two days, or if you have time, a week of solitude, really does wonders to your system. Physical and mental, and that is the time when you can go completely into the practice of whatever you are doing, and remain in complete meditation. I would say that kind of solitude especially for a spiritual practitioner, is very very essential. That’s why Rishis lived in the forest, under the great trees, meditating under the banyan tree and teaching the students also in the forest hermitages. In fact the whole literature of the Upanishads comes from these forest hermitages.

So when you retire in solitude, to pursue your contemplation, thinking and meditation, choose a place which is beautiful naturally. Beautiful hills, or the sea, where there is plenty of oxygen, because the very fact that you breathe fresh air, helps in making your mind clear. And therefore your thoughts are not confused. Now to say that such deliberate, induced solitude I would call it, is escaping from society. Or is actually laziness, that you are trying to run away from life, is stupid. Because, every busy person knows that he needs or she needs a period of quietude or solitude. The busy executive goes to say Ooty or Kodai, or Bandipur or if possible to the Alps just to remain alone, quietly enjoying nature. You can’t say he is running away. Because when he comes back, he is refreshed and is back to work, and the work is often better than it was before.

Caterpillar

In this regard I must tell you a story. Just listen to this little story.

There was this person or let’s say this creature, who was walking along or crawling along the ground, in clay and mud and muck, eating the little insects that were in, that was Mr. Caterpillar. So Mr. Caterpillar moves in the muck, in the clay, in the fields, eating the little insects that were little creatures that crawl, earthworms and so on, until he decides to go into a period of solitude. So what does he do?

He starts weaving a kind of cave around himself. We call it the Cocoon. He weaves and he weaves and weaves and weaves, sticking to a leaf, hanging upside down. And then when he has finished his job, in the darkness of the cocoon, in the safety of that cocoon, he stays absorbed in himself, maybe we imagine that he meditates, we really do not know the state of mind of our friend Mr. Caterpillar. But he is in solitude. That is what I mean, absolute darkness, absolute solitude, not doing anything at all. Almost hibernating and then, what happens? When he is mature enough, the cocoon breaks or rather he breaks the cocoon, and comes out. And now, what has happened to our friend, the lowly caterpillar? He is a beautiful or lets say she is a beautiful butterfly. Beautiful wings, with lovely designs, which even an artist finds it difficult to imitate. And then, not only that, while he was before a lowly caterpillar, moving at one level,on the ground level, or sometimes, under the ground level, or walking up the branches of trees eating little insects or eating green leaves, What’s become of him now?

He soars in the sky, high up, flying as he wishes, as he moves, and glides along, showing off his lovely wings. The beautiful Butterfly. From the lowly crawling caterpillar, to a soaring lovely butterfly.

Emerging

And what happened, and how did it happen and what was the process that transformed her?

The process was Solitude. After a certain time of solitude, after a certain period of solitude, out comes the caterpillar transformed into a butterfly. Now this is what happens when you remain in solitude meditating quietly, contemplating, going deeper and deeper into yourself, and then when you come out, you are a changed person.

In fact they say, that the acid test of Samadhi, which is an altered state of consciousness, a super conscious state, that Samadhi, when one goes into it and comes out of it, the person who comes out is no longer the same person who went in. He is a completely transformed Human being.

Now this transformation is possible in Solitude. Therefore, for all serious practitioners of meditation, I recommend short periods of solitude. Find a place where you are not disturbed. Where the day to day things don’t bother you, put off your cell phone.  Put it on only for an hour a day or so, and remain doing your meditational practices, quietly by yourself. And when you are not meditating, go for a walk in the woods, look at the trees, don’t associate with business.

There are people, who cannot but associate things with business. They walk in the woods, and they wonder how much timber can be cut from the trees. If they go to the sea and look at the waves, they wonder how many kilos of fish can be trolled from the sea. Keep all that away. Let us not always think of business, of profit. The greatest profit is peace. And for peace, solitude is a very very important factor.

Once you found your true self, when you have realized, or when we have realized, that we are a part of the Absolute Supreme Whole, of the Universe. When we know that wherever we stand we are still one. When all is One, one is not alone, One is not alone but at the same time one knows that there is only One, alone, then that feeling is the highest spiritual attainment that comes. Once that has come about, then you don’t need to go into solitude. We don’t need to run away to the forest. We don’t need to do nothing. We just carry on. You can sit at Russell Market, or spend all your day there, and still find that you are still enjoying the solitude of oneness with the whole universe. That is only when you have matured. Not before that. Before that, it is very very essential to have periods of Solitude.

Now a practical suggestion. What would I do if were to go for say a two-day solitary meditation? Two days of solitude where I propose to improve my meditation, to clarify, to clear my mind, and to become more peaceful and self-controlled. What would I do? How would my day’s program be?

First, it is important that I find a place, which is a little away from home. Where it is not possible that somebody might run in and disturb me. Now, if it is a beautiful garden, or if it is a lovely mountain top, or if it is a little cottage located in a place like say Bandipur or kodai or Coorg, or a solitary place, that would be ideal place. If not, at least go away to the country side somewhere. Don’t take records or things which you associate with your daily life. Keep them away, so that you can pick them up when you come back. Keep your mobile phone, but switch it off. Then prepare a schedule.

Wake up in the morning before dawn. Very few of us am sure even see the sun rise very often. Because we sleep late, and we wake up late. And then we hurry up to get to the office. So get up a little early, go and sit outside, in an arm-chair, or sit cross-legged. And watch the sun rise. It is one of the most beautiful sights, one of the most beautiful feelings that one can get. Watch the sun rise. Watch the sky turn orange and pink. See the play of colors in the sky. As the sun rises, sit down and chant your Gayatri Mantra. Om BhurBhuvaswah, tat savitravarenyam, Bhargodevasyadhimahi, dhiyoyo nah prajotayat. Or chant Om or some other prayer which you know and relax and just look at the sky, as the sun rises. Once the sun has risen, leave. Don’t keep staring at it, because it’s not good for the eyes. Then close your eyes and meditate. Practice all the techniques which you have been doing, now without worrying about the time. Then go for a good walk, if there is a place to walk, and after you have really sweated, come back, wash yourself, have a bath, and have a light breakfast. Preferably fruit and milk.

Then spend a few hours reading important books that relate to your particular sadhana. The Yoga sutras, the Bhagwat Gita, the Upanishads, the Bhagwat. It depends on what you are doing. Then have a light lunch. And after lunch take a little nap, even if it is for half an hour. A noon day siesta works wonders. Now start meditating again after a cup of tea or coffee. Then meditate till sunset. Allow the sun to set. Watch the beautiful colors; Once again see the golden disc going down the horizon. Hear the cows outside on the fields, see the birds chirping as they go back to sleep wherever they came from. Watch and don’t get worried about anything that is concerned with your day to day life. Just enjoy, be one with the sunset and the birds and the great colors in the sky. Then, meditate. Meditate quietly, thinking of this entire universe, with its magic colors and its magic trees, and the beautiful sights that we see every day. After that listen to music or just sit quietly doing nothing for a while. You may read a novel, or poetry or something like that, but don’t touch the newspaper please. If possible, avoid the newspaper for the two days that you are in solitude. Have an early meal , a light meal and then, go to sleep, you can lie in bed and read for a while, but then read beautiful books, Pancha tantra, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Quran, Bible. And then sleep early and wake up also early, and begin the procedure again.

Do this for two full days and I assure you, when you come back to your world, to your files and your mobile phones, and your office, things will be different. You will be more relaxed, you will understand the value of solitude, you will be kinder to your colleagues. Believe me, try it and see how it works. People might even say, “Oh you seem to have a smile on your face. Something has happened, you have brightened up.” Try it and decide for yourself if it works.

So my recommendation is, while the deep experience, spiritual experience of solitude, is an inner feeling, it can be brought about, at least to a small extent, by short periods of solitude in the midst of your busy life. Those short periods of solitude are the sanctuaries where your soul gets refreshed and absorbs the great energies of this Universe.

(Paraphrased from a talk by my Spiritual Guide Sri M)

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