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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Do you meditate?


You probably are thinking of meditation as something that you learn by attending some classes, or by reading some books; where you sit cross legged, with your eyes closed, trying hard to calm down your mind.

No. Meditation is not just that. You can turn anything you do throughout the day into meditation. In fact, you can be meditating all the time!

When I water my plants I carefully watch around the plant to see if the soil is too dry or is it too wet. I water accordingly. I feel the plants gracefully swaying as if to say “thank you”. I talk to them and gently pat on their back.

When I dig a hole in the ground for a new plant, I enjoy the feel of the fresh moist soil as I dig it out. I take in the aroma. I observe the tiny creatures hiding beneath, and gently lift and set them aside so that I don’t harm them.

Whenever I get some time, I engage myself in carving. I carve wood since wood carving demands the most concentration. A small lack of focus can result in a mistake that is hard to correct. My carving subjects are normally monk figures. My friend tells me that the figures I carve, though not perfect, have a serene look on their face. Since you are carving monks, your mind gets filled with serene thoughts and that serenity in turn gets reflected in the pieces you make.

I was reading Tipitakas (ancient Buddhist texts). One of them describes the last days of Buddha. Buddha went through severe illness as the end approached. But even at that stage, it is said, Buddha was calmly observing each stage of the approaching death, the feelings they created, the last moments of his life. And that is meditation!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

There is still hope

I often get disturbed by the rampant violence either in the name of racism, religious faith or just any other intolerance that we see around us these days. I keep wondering whether humanity is moving towards its annihilation! 

I have spent varying periods of my life in various countries and interacted with people of different nationality, race and ethnicity. Without fail, I have always found the same humane face everywhere. May be I was lucky. But what makes me hopeful is that majority of humanity is sober. They just believe in “live and let live” policy. It is just that a few odd ones create all the trouble and they get the most attention.

Nature, I firmly believe, has built in mechanisms to preserve itself. So, in spite of occasional failures, it always recovers and moves on.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Miracles everywhere! Keep your eyes open.


I vaguely remember the two books that I read long long ago. One by Paramahamsa Yogananda (“Autobiography of a Yogi”) and the other by Swami Rama ( “Living with Himalayan Masters”). Both these are more of anthologies of miracles than strictly autobiographical.
 
Though I was a bit skeptical while reading these two books, they did keep me engrossed. I have seen many people – highly educated, as well as lay – very much impressed by the miracles described in these books and needless to say that these books succeeded in further arousing their appetite for miracles.

But we often tend to ignore those miracles that keep happening just in front of our eyes and look for them elsewhere! After all what is a miracle? It is just an unusual happening that baffles us and we fail to fully understand it.

Take for example, the birth of a child. Just a lump of flesh that hangs upside down in the mother’s womb for nine long months, gets forced out through a passage too narrow for it to pass through, the passage suddenly expands to accommodate the exit, the extreme pain that the mother experiences during the entire process that she later cherishes as a sweet memory, the tube that nourished the fetus all through gets detached on its own when the baby comes out, the baby takes in a puff of fresh air for the first time in its life, and starts feeding on the fluid that gets spontaneously produced in its mother’s breasts……. Each event is unusual, one that baffles us, and all the same we fail to understand how such a thing could happen. Isn’t that a miracle?

Miracles keep happening every second, everywhere, wherever we look around. We just need to keep our eyes open. No need to look for them elsewhere.