Spirituality & Philosophy

Towards a Richer, Deeper & Happier Life

Towards happiness

Towards happiness

I have been a very irregular blogger. Despite my best intentions and innumerable commitments to self I have always floundered on writing consistently.
This time around I think I have found a solution to this problem.
I have decided to write a very small paragraph each day.
Reflecting on my own life and writing about one facet that I feel can lead to a happier life. I will try not regurgitate what I have read or heard, but come up with insights from my own experiences.
My target is to be able to write at least 4 posts a week. Lets see how it goes.
Your feedback will help immensely, encouraging me to write regularly.
So wish me luck and keep adding your insights & experiences to this effort. Here goes!

1) Away from iPhone, iPod, iPad make some iTime
When was the last time you spent some time with yourself?

Calm contemplation

Calm contemplation

No phone, no music, no books no nothing – just you. Eyes closed, relaxed – not asleep but fully alert. Even if you don’t know how to meditate just be a witness to yourself, doing nothing simply watching all those thoughts come and go. Start with may be just two minutes a day. This seemingly simplest change in life can have the most profound life-changing impact.
As you begin getting used to it, you will start looking forward to this time. May be wanting to increase it or doing it more often.
Either way you’ll start feeling calmer and being able to cope with life’s stresses and various demands better. Leading to a happier you.

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#Osho : God is Mad –

If you are ready to be a little mad, only then is there any possibiluty of any contact betwen you and the infinite. It has to be so. When the whole ocean drops into a drop, the drop is going to get crazy. When the infinite descends into the finite, how can the finite remaine sane? It has to go mad. The old mystics have always called it ‘The Divine Madness’. All meditation is an approach towards divine madness. Stake all human sanity. it is better to be mad in a divine way than to be sane in a human way. I am crazy.

Osho

~ #Osho

One moment it was there, another moment it is gone. One moment we are here, and another moment we have gone. And for this simple moment, how much fuss we make! How much violence, ambition, struggle, conflict, anger, hatred, just for this small moment! Just waiting for the train in a waiting room on a station, and creating so much fuss: fighting, hurting each other, trying to possess, trying to boss, trying to dominate – all that politics. And then the train comes and you are gone forever.

You Are Programmed To Give

Life often works in mysterious ways, which at times may seem not just irrational but even contradictory. Give more to have more is one such seemingly contradictory truth. Is this possible?

All recent scientific research is now discovering this truth. The more you give the happier you become. And it isn’t even about giving material stuff. Just a good deed, a word of encouragement or even a noble thought is enough to trigger biochemical reactions in the body for positive emotions. This discovery published in a recent issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science has been known to spiritualists for centuries.

The simplest way to increase happiness is to spend some time everyday, analyzing whether one has contributed something towards the larger good, some selfless act or not. It needn’t be something huge or epoch-making but something as small as offering a word of solace.

The beginning can be made every morning, thinking “what good can I do today” & then analysing this in the evening.

Step by step small efforts start making a difference, reinforcing this behaviour to an extent that it becomes second nature. In addition you will see that your capability to do good keeps increasing with entire existence aiding you in this process. That is the tremendous power of giving, with infinite payback.

Elusive Happiness. Really?

Have you ever met anyone who doesn’t want to be happy?
Yet how many people do you know who are genuinely happy?
Not many, I am sure.
I am not speaking about the passing happiness of buying that new dress that enamoured you in the show window, or your team winning that major league championship or even getting married to your sweetheart, which may last a little longer.
I am talking of happiness that’s more permanent, like a part of a person’s very existence.
Why is happiness so elusive and ephemeral?
Common sense tells us that being happy should have been as natural as breathing.

No other living creature seems unhappy except for us humans.
Have you seen a sad butterfly or a depressed bird?

Seems to me the blame lies squarely at our doorstep. It is we who have made life so complex and by looking for happiness in the wrong places.

Even trying to define happiness can make it complicated. Anything the human being touches becomes complex.

For simplicity’s sake let us say happiness is a state of feeling content and complete, looking forward to life with zest and energy. The closest most of us come to experiencing happiness is when our desires are fulfilled. The big contract, the new car, the promotion or the bonus. But no sooner does that happen, like the full moon, it starts waning and with each passing day it reduces till finally it’s back to square one. Darkness once again.
This is transient happiness.
What this tells us is; nothing that comes from outside can ever give us permanent happiness. There is some void, some great emptiness inside, which we in our ignorance try and fill with external possessions. It is an attempt in futility. It is akin to a blind man trying to fill a bucket that has no bottom with water, he can keep pouring in water all his life but the bucket will remain empty.
Why don’t we realise that only something that arises from within can fill the void inside and no amount of external possessions can ever do that. And yet even the most intelligent amongst us keep trying to achieve it by accumulating more and more, whether it’s bank balances, larger houses, vacation villas, the latest gizmos, the snazziest cars or fame & power or even the pseudo-friends who we party with.
It seems that we have created a whole facade to mislead ourselves; the great pressure to perform, the deadlines, the packed schedules, the achiever syndrome.
And our vacations are packed with even more activity, from one great sight to the other. From one picturesque location captured in our digital cameras to the other. Only serving to update one Facebook status update after the other cramming our online albums to show off and expecting to see the pictures some day. Pictures of the vacation that we were too busy shooting pictures of to experience. Of our leisure the less said the better. Glued to our smart phones, tablets, iPods & readers.
It is almost as if we want to be connected to everyone else in the world but ourselves. Too scared to all of a sudden be confronted with a stranger called ourselves. And that is the crux of the issue. If this constant outward journey has brought nothing but misery, isn’t it time to change its direction?
If our innumerable attempts of playing into the hands of our desires and ambitions have brought us no lasting happiness isn’t it time to try a change of tactics. No I am not for a moment suggesting that we give up everything one fine morning and become an ascetic.
Let’s take a few baby steps to begin with. Of all the human faculties the one most precious is our ability to think and analyse. It would be a good beginning to start with using it.
The first step would be to totally disconnect from the world outside for sometime everyday, sitting in solitude and trying to connect with oneself. Gradually increasing this time where undisturbed, eyes closed you try and delve deeper into yourself. Just watching yourself like a witness becoming more aware of yourself as time goes by. Not attempting to ‘do’ anything, in fact drop all the doing and simply watching. This simple step will result in a tremendous transformation; suddenly you will start experiencing a centering within. You will gradually start seeing the futility of all those things you loved doing earlier. And more importantly you will start looking forward to this time with yourself more and more. Desires will slowly start blunting; they will not possess you, driving you till they were fulfilled. A new kind of contended existence you had never known should follow.
You will be surprised by an inner calm and an overall feeling of well being that doesn’t need to be fed by constant stimulation from the outside. This is just the beginning; there are many more treasures to be discovered in this inner journey.
And all it needs is only a small first step in the right direction. Inwards.

Bon Voyage!

Yog: Beyond Health, Meeting Yourself!

The moment one mentions Yog (incidentally I prefer this original term to Yoga, the moderns gave it) people tend to think of those torturous contortions of the body referred to as ‘asanas’.

Nothing could be further away from truth. Asana or physical poses are merely the starting point, the first step in the journey that could lead to the ultimate destination; self-realisation.

Yog has seen tremendous popularity in recent times taking it way beyond a fad into becoming a part of the pop culture. And here in lies the greatest risk; that of its true essence being completely missed and people left clinging to the superficial diluted & often distorted popular form.

Yog is a complete way of life, focusing on every single aspect – from a human being’s personal existence, day to day living, behaviour, code of ethics, cleanliness of body & mind, his relationship with the society to the healthy development of the body, mind & spiritual faculties.
It is in fact one amongst the six major philosophical systems of ancient India, the others being Vedanta, Sankhya, Nyaya, Mimansa and Vaisheshika.

It is the most holistic philosophy of life. How an entire life can be lived to be healthy, happy, blissful and finally culminating in nirvana or enlightenment.

The word ‘Yog’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’ meaning ‘to bind, fuse, yoke, a union or communion’. At the basic level it does signify the meeting of body and mind, slowly evolving into the more spiritual realms.

But it does have a more evolved meaning too. According to the Hindu philosophy all existence is permeated with a Supreme Universal Spirit (Paramatma) of which the human spirit is a part (Atma). The analogy often given is that of the ocean and the wave. Yog is the method for the wave to go back & become a part the ocean. For the atma to move back towards its roots parmatma, thus liberating it from the miserable cycle of birth, death & rebirth, resulting in moksha.
Yog, incidentally has nothing to do with religion. In fact nowhere in his entire treatise ‘Yog Sutra’ does the sage Patanjali ever use the word ‘Hindu’ or any religious connotation. This is the difference between spiritualism & religion. Yog is unadulterated, pure spiritualism.

(I shall dwell further on these aspects in the next post. Do leave your comments to serve me as guideposts)