Monday, January 30, 2012

Break free

It's like you're a fabulously complicated jigsaw puzzle piece, with stunning colors, wildly serrated edges, oceans of emotion, mountains of possibilities, worlds of talent, and complex energies, but for as long as you see yourself as just human, you'll never quite know where you fit in.

You're just another part of me, and knowing this, all else starts to make sense.

~ The Universe by Mike Dooley

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I’ve been pondering over a talk by Sadguru in which he says that we depend too much on relationships to make us happy.

After thinking about it for some days, I think I’ve got to the wisdom of that. Best to be independent of all outside attachments. Love is so subtle, it can be expressed in spirit, from soul to soul, why seek physical connection? It’s the mind that seeks entanglement of the physical kind. Relationships. How we seek fulfillment in these. I’m glad that God sent me a few unfulfilling ones, some disappointing ones. It made me stop and look at myself closely, at what I was seeking, what I was giving. At where all the fulfillment and disappointment were being enacted. How desires were arising and clamouring to be met. How the fulfillment of each desire even though bringing a brief moment of pleasure, brought a more lasting void and how the mind seeks to fill that void by fabricating another desire. And so, the endless cycle continues. If all my desires were getting fulfilled, I guess, I would not have stopped to consider this. But some of them were not fulfilled and that forced me to look for answers. ‘Pleasure puts you to sleep and pain wakes you up. If you do not want to experience pain, do not go to sleep.’ Nisargadutta said it so well and succinctly. So, yes, pain has caused me to start looking inwards for answers and like the wise say, ‘all answers are within you.’

This is not to say that I’m going to ditch all my relationships. Not at all. Just that my dependence on them to give me happiness should be zero. Just as my dependence on anything external to me for my happiness should be zero. In reality, there is nothing external to me. The outside world that I see as outside me is merely a projection of my interpretation of it in my own mind. So, really, I should be saying, my dependence of anything that my mind conjures up should be zero. Which is really a smart thing to do. Because what the mind is conjuring up is merely a flickering movie the plot of which keeps changing every moment because the mind does not what it wants. Best to go beyond the mind, to the eternal reality, where no fickle happiness dependent on the mind is to be sought, but peaceful eternal bliss exists. Where joy is one undisturbed constant.

We tend to think that relationships are meant to bring us happiness, but actually they are meant to teach us lessons. And unless you are in a toxic relationship, in which case the lesson itself is to guard your dignity and walk out, I think one must stay and learn the lesson. Do the inner work, like removing all barriers to loving, respecting, accepting and forgiving oneself. That is of foremost importance. For unless we do that we cannot expect anyone else to do it to us. And once we do that, we stop expecting others to do it to us.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Freedom Unbound

“From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines.”

― Walt Whitman

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Wandering Soul

This is the last song John Denver wrote before his untimely death. Though he did sing it at one event, he never had the chance to record The Wandering Soul.

"The Wandering Soul"
by John Denver

"In this magic hour of softening light
The moments in between the day and the night
The instant when all shadows disappear
The distance in between the love and the fear

There's a longing deep within the wandering soul
It's like the half that understands it once was whole
Like the two who only dream of being one
Like the moon whose only light is in the sun

There's a danger in forever looking outside
You start to believe that all your prayers have been denied
And you forget the sound of your own name
And thus begins the suffering and the pain

I wanted an answer, I wanted a way
I wanted to know just what to do and what to say
I wanted a reason, I want(ed) to know why
Can there never be heaven right here on Earth and peace inside

Inside my heart
Deep in my soul
Within each part
And in the whole

There's a promise in the journeys of the mind
You begin to believe that there are miracles you will find
And that someday you'll remember who you are
The seed within a bright and shining star

That's like the flame that lives within a hungering heart
That only awaits a gift of love for it to spark
Into a fire that burns forever, endlessly
Like the river that can't help but meet the sea

In this magic hour between the dark and the dawn
In the space between the silence and the song
Suddenly the mystery is clear
That love is only letting go of fear

Love is the answer and love is the way
Love is in knowing just what to do and what to say
And love is the reason, love is the why
And love is in heaven right here on Earth and peace inside

Inside your heart
Deep in your soul
Within each part
And in the whole

Love is the answer and love is the way
Love is in knowing just what to do and what to say
Love is the reason, love is the why
And love is in heaven right here on Earth and peace inside."

Song performed by James Twyman

Friday, January 20, 2012

In remembrance

Today, quite unexpectedly, I met you
around a sudden bed in my mind.
Your laughing Buddha face - crinkled,
kindness shining out of twinkly eyes.
You must forgive me the hot tearing of eyes,
the sharp, jagged desire, for a glimpse, a smile,
a warm, glowing conversation around a meal.
And memories flooding, tumbling, unstoppable,
that blindsided me and pinned me down
with hidden talons of longing, for a smile
now erased, for affection, not quite expressed
but arching from heart to heart.
“Surely,” you seemed to say, laughingly,
“you knew of life’s transience, its proclivity to end.
The Siddhartha I Flipkarted to you
would surely have shown you that.”
“Yes, but what about goodbyes, leave-taking?
your kind nature does not befit this abrupt,
sudden departure. You should have
sent a book on coping with loss instead,
with gaping voids that will not be filled.”
But no answer came, only the wind blew
a sad, melancholy tune and the treetops
nodded comfortingly. And, yes,
your smiling, sonorous, silence said,
‘there are no goodbyes for those who live inside.’

Remembering Amitji, a dear friend who passed away a few months ago.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Memorable scene

Brilliant acting!!! Makes me cry everytime ... the words so true ...

Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Amazing talent

Of Sukesh Kuttan, the autistic singer.

Performance 1

Performance 2

Performance 3

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Simply, too good

Hilarious and so true ...



A video that touches you to the core and makes you believe in miracles ...

Watch Carly's journey here

God bless Carly and her family.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


The world is a feedback. No more.

Observe without blaming.

~ Rinon Hoxha

Friday, January 13, 2012

Weather lesson :)

Today was a strange day. I woke up to rain - pouring, driving rain. And wind. Buffeting, roaring, wind. The wind was a constant throughout the day. The rain came and went, interspersed by periods of sunshine. Clouds raced across the sky and the raindrops raced each other to pelt down on everything. When I went for a walk, the wind beat against my body and tossed the tops of trees into a mad dance. At home, the house shook sometimes to sudden extra-gusty winds and windows creaked in complaint. At times like these, in spite of all our technological advances, we begin to feel like marionettes. Mere stick-like figures that nature can break in an instant. And wipe off its path for good measure. It seems to say to us "Bah! who do you think you are? You infant on this planet ... strutting about, broad-chested... take this tsunami, this hurricane, this earthquake ... " And, of course, we never learn. Our ego never lets us. We continue to strut and preen and pretend we are the lords of all we see, until one day we manage to wipe ourselves off this planet. And nature, of course, goes on happily without us. Hah! And has the last laugh to boot :)

I am

I start to think, and I lose myself,
I stop thinking and I find myself.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

The Joy of Quiet


Published: December 29, 2011 in the New York Times | Sunday Review

ABOUT a year ago, I flew to Singapore to join the writer Malcolm Gladwell, the fashion designer Marc Ecko and the graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister in addressing a group of advertising people on “Marketing to the Child of Tomorrow.” Soon after I arrived, the chief executive of the agency that had invited us took me aside. What he was most interested in, he began — I braced myself for mention of some next-generation stealth campaign — was stillness.

A few months later, I read an interview with the perennially cutting-edge designer Philippe Starck. What allowed him to remain so consistently ahead of the curve? “I never read any magazines or watch TV,” he said, perhaps a little hyperbolically. “Nor do I go to cocktail parties, dinners or anything like that.” He lived outside conventional ideas, he implied, because “I live alone mostly, in the middle of nowhere.”

Around the same time, I noticed that those who part with $2,285 a night to stay in a cliff-top room at the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur pay partly for the privilege of not having a TV in their rooms; the future of travel, I’m reliably told, lies in “black-hole resorts,” which charge high prices precisely because you can’t get online in their rooms.

Has it really come to this?

In barely one generation we’ve moved from exulting in the time-saving devices that have so expanded our lives to trying to get away from them — often in order to make more time. The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug. Like teenagers, we appear to have gone from knowing nothing about the world to knowing too much all but overnight.

Internet rescue camps in South Korea and China try to save kids addicted to the screen.

Writer friends of mine pay good money to get the Freedom software that enables them to disable (for up to eight hours) the very Internet connections that seemed so emancipating not long ago. Even Intel (of all companies) experimented in 2007 with conferring four uninterrupted hours of quiet time every Tuesday morning on 300 engineers and managers. (The average office worker today, researchers have found, enjoys no more than three minutes at a time at his or her desk without interruption.) During this period the workers were not allowed to use the phone or send e-mail, but simply had the chance to clear their heads and to hear themselves think. A majority of Intel’s trial group recommended that the policy be extended to others.

THE average American spends at least eight and a half hours a day in front of a screen, Nicholas Carr notes in his eye-opening book “The Shallows,” in part because the number of hours American adults spent online doubled between 2005 and 2009 (and the number of hours spent in front of a TV screen, often simultaneously, is also steadily increasing).

The average American teenager sends or receives 75 text messages a day, though one girl in Sacramento managed to handle an average of 10,000 every 24 hours for a month. Since luxury, as any economist will tell you, is a function of scarcity, the children of tomorrow, I heard myself tell the marketers in Singapore, will crave nothing more than freedom, if only for a short while, from all the blinking machines, streaming videos and scrolling headlines that leave them feeling empty and too full all at once.

The urgency of slowing down — to find the time and space to think — is nothing new, of course, and wiser souls have always reminded us that the more attention we pay to the moment, the less time and energy we have to place it in some larger context. “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries,” the French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in the 17th century, “and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.” He also famously remarked that all of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.

When telegraphs and trains brought in the idea that convenience was more important than content — and speedier means could make up for unimproved ends — Henry David Thoreau reminded us that “the man whose horse trots a mile in a minute does not carry the most important messages.” Even half a century ago, Marshall McLuhan, who came closer than most to seeing what was coming, warned, “When things come at you very fast, naturally you lose touch with yourself.” Thomas Merton struck a chord with millions, by not just noting that “Man was made for the highest activity, which is, in fact, his rest,” but by also acting on it, and stepping out of the rat race and into a Cistercian cloister.

Yet few of those voices can be heard these days, precisely because “breaking news” is coming through (perpetually) on CNN and Debbie is just posting images of her summer vacation and the phone is ringing. We barely have enough time to see how little time we have (most Web pages, researchers find, are visited for 10 seconds or less). And the more that floods in on us (the Kardashians, Obamacare, “Dancing with the Stars”), the less of ourselves we have to give to every snippet. All we notice is that the distinctions that used to guide and steady us — between Sunday and Monday, public and private, here and there — are gone.

We have more and more ways to communicate, as Thoreau noted, but less and less to say. Partly because we’re so busy communicating. And — as he might also have said — we’re rushing to meet so many deadlines that we hardly register that what we need most are lifelines.

So what to do? The central paradox of the machines that have made our lives so much brighter, quicker, longer and healthier is that they cannot teach us how to make the best use of them; the information revolution came without an instruction manual. All the data in the world cannot teach us how to sift through data; images don’t show us how to process images. The only way to do justice to our onscreen lives is by summoning exactly the emotional and moral clarity that can’t be found on any screen.

MAYBE that’s why more and more people I know, even if they have no religious commitment, seem to be turning to yoga or meditation, or tai chi; these aren’t New Age fads so much as ways to connect with what could be called the wisdom of old age. Two journalist friends of mine observe an “Internet sabbath” every week, turning off their online connections from Friday night to Monday morning, so as to try to revive those ancient customs known as family meals and conversation. Finding myself at breakfast with a group of lawyers in Oxford four months ago, I noticed that all their talk was of sailing — or riding or bridge: anything that would allow them to get out of radio contact for a few hours.

Other friends try to go on long walks every Sunday, or to “forget” their cellphones at home. A series of tests in recent years has shown, Mr. Carr points out, that after spending time in quiet rural settings, subjects “exhibit greater attentiveness, stronger memory and generally improved cognition. Their brains become both calmer and sharper.” More than that, empathy, as well as deep thought, depends (as neuroscientists like Antonio Damasio have found) on neural processes that are “inherently slow.” The very ones our high-speed lives have little time for.

In my own case, I turn to eccentric and often extreme measures to try to keep my sanity and ensure that I have time to do nothing at all (which is the only time when I can see what I should be doing the rest of the time). I’ve yet to use a cellphone and I’ve never Tweeted or entered Facebook. I try not to go online till my day’s writing is finished, and I moved from Manhattan to rural Japan in part so I could more easily survive for long stretches entirely on foot, and every trip to the movies would be an event.

None of this is a matter of principle or asceticism; it’s just pure selfishness. Nothing makes me feel better — calmer, clearer and happier — than being in one place, absorbed in a book, a conversation, a piece of music. It’s actually something deeper than mere happiness: it’s joy, which the monk David Steindl-Rast describes as “that kind of happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens.”

It’s vital, of course, to stay in touch with the world, and to know what’s going on; I took pains this past year to make separate trips to Jerusalem and Hyderabad and Oman and St. Petersburg, to rural Arkansas and Thailand and the stricken nuclear plant in Fukushima and Dubai. But it’s only by having some distance from the world that you can see it whole, and understand what you should be doing with it.

For more than 20 years, therefore, I’ve been going several times a year — often for no longer than three days — to a Benedictine hermitage, 40 minutes down the road, as it happens, from the Post Ranch Inn. I don’t attend services when I’m there, and I’ve never meditated, there or anywhere; I just take walks and read and lose myself in the stillness, recalling that it’s only by stepping briefly away from my wife and bosses and friends that I’ll have anything useful to bring to them. The last time I was in the hermitage, three months ago, I happened to pass, on the monastery road, a youngish-looking man with a 3-year-old around his shoulders.

“You’re Pico, aren’t you?” the man said, and introduced himself as Larry; we’d met, I gathered, 19 years before, when he’d been living in the cloister as an assistant to one of the monks.

“What are you doing now?” I asked.

“I work for MTV. Down in L.A.”

We smiled. No words were necessary.

“I try to bring my kids here as often as I can,” he went on, as he looked out at the great blue expanse of the Pacific on one side of us, the high, brown hills of the Central Coast on the other. “My oldest son” — he pointed at a 7-year-old running along the deserted, radiant mountain road in front of his mother — “this is his third time.”

The child of tomorrow, I realized, may actually be ahead of us, in terms of sensing not what’s new, but what’s essential.


Read the article here

Friday, January 06, 2012

Slain by beauty

I was slain by Beauty.

She grabbed my heart and

Shook me with unceasing and unflinching Love

Until the delusional mirror created from

My tendencies and protections

To see the world and self as

Broken, sinful and devoid of the sacred

Burst into a million shattered shards of dust.

I was slain by Beauty and then…

I became Her.

~ Julie Daley

Monday, January 02, 2012

The beauty of wabi-sabi

Wabi-sabi, the Japanese aesthetic whereby greatness exists in the inconspicuous and overlooked details, and beauty can be coaxed out of ugliness. Wabi-sabi is central to the idea Japanese beauty and has the same importance to Japanese aesthetic values as the Greek ideals of beauty and perfection do in Western thought:

"Truth comes from the observation of nature. The Japanese have tried to control nature where they could, as best they could, within the limits of available technology. But there was little they could do about the weather - hot and humid summers, cold and dry winters, and rain on the average of one out of every three days throughout the year, except during the rainy season in early summer when every­thing is engulfed in a fine wet mist for six to eight weeks. And there was little they could do about the earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, floods, fires, and tidal waves that periodically and unpredictably visited their land. The Japanese didn't particularly trust nature, but they learned from it. Three of the most obvious lessons gleaned from millennia of contact with nature (and leavened with Taoist thought) were incorporated into the wisdom of wabi-sabi.

1. All things are impermanent. The inclination toward nothingness is unrelenting and univer­sal. Even things that have all the earmarks of substance - things that are hard, inert, solid present noing more than the illusion of permanence. We may wear blinders, use ruses to forget, ignore, or pretend otherwise - but all comes to nothing in the end. Everything wears down. The planets and stars, and even intan­gible things like reputation, family heritage, historical memory, scientific theorems, mathematical proofs, great art and literature (even in digital form) - all eventually fade into oblivion and nonexistence.

2. All things are imperfect. Nothing that exists is without imperfections. When we look really closely at things we see the flaws. The sharp edge of a razor blade, when magnified, reveals microscopic pits, chips, and variegations. Every craftsman knows the limits of perfection: the imperfections glare back. And as things begin to break down and approach the primor­dial state, they become even less perfect, more irregular.

3. All things are incomplete. All things, includ­ing the universe itself, are in a constant, never-ending state of becoming or dissolving. Often we arbitrarily designate moments, points along the way, as 'finished' or 'complete.' But when does something's destiny finally come to fruition? Is the plant complete when it flowers? When it goes to seed? When the seeds sprout? When everything turns into compost? The notion of completion has no basis in wabi-sabi.

" 'Greatness' exists in the inconspicuous and overlooked details. Wabi-sabi represents the exact opposite of the Western ideal of great beauty as something monumental, spectacular, and enduring. Wabi-sabi is not found in nature at moments of bloom and lushness, but at moments of inception or subsiding. Wabi-sabi is not about gorgeous flowers, majestic trees, or bold landscapes. Wabi-sabi is about the minor and the hidden, the tentative and the ephemeral: things so subtle and evanescent they are invisible to vulgar eyes. ...

"The essence of wabi-sabi is apportioned in small doses. As the dose decreases, the effect becomes more potent, more profound. The closer things get to nonexistence, the more exquisite and evocative they become. Consequently to experience wabi-sabi means you have to slow way down, be patient, and look very closely.

"Beauty can be coaxed out of ugliness. Wabi-sabi is ambivalent about separating beauty from non-beauty or ugliness. The beauty of wabi-sabi is, in one respect, the condition of coming to terms with what you consider ugly. Wabi-sabi suggests that beauty is a dynamic event that occurs between you and something else. Beauty can spontaneously occur at any moment given the proper circumstances, context, or point of view. Beauty is thus an altered state of conscious­ness, an extraordinary moment of poetry and grace."

----- article as posted by delanceyplace ----------

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Did I?

Points to ponder on the year gone by -

Did I express love this year, real love? The kind of love that doesn't announce itself in flashy circumstances or structured conditions - but an authentic, quiet, internal love? The kind of love that bubbles to the surface when I gaze at another with understanding, a love that places me in their shoes, granting freedom from judgment and deepening my compassion? A philanthropic love that expresses because it simply feels compelled to, because it knows there is more than enough and everyone can benefit. If not, then I resolve to be and do better in my authentic loving.

Did I forgive this year, really forgive? The kind of forgiveness that cracks open my heart, peeling away one more layer of righteous indignation, thus allowing my soul to breathe? The kind of forgiveness that loosens my clinched fists held high at a situation so that I don't enter into the next one with guarded mistrust? The kind of forgiveness that comprehends there is a difference between understanding a behavioral choice and condoning it? If not, then I resolve to be and do better in my forgiving.

Did I stop this year, really stop? The kind of stopping that can't help but make me vulnerable by becoming more familiar with who I am without distraction, smoke screens, excuses or self-imposed numbing? The kind of stopping that turns me, naked, towards my feelings, giving them permission to express? No right or wrong - a stopping that simply lets me hear what I need to hear so that I can live more effectively? If not, then I resolve to be and do better in allowing myself to stop.

Did I seek adventure this year, real adventure? The kind of adventure that requires me to not only take a leap of faith off my cliff of familiarity but actually sends me back to get a running start? The kind of adventure that shakes the dust off my capable but underused wings and gives them an opportunity to catch the gorgeous wind of change? The kind of adventure that knows there is no outside safety net in this physical world, only an internal one? The kind of adventure that shouts, "I choose to live fully!" If not, then I resolve to be and do better in seeking adventure.

Did I seek wellness this year, real wellness? The kind of wellness that requires me to be fully conscious of what I put in my body - the kind of wellness that requires me to practice what I preach when it comes to self-love while understanding that the power to dissolve poor habits starts by simply choosing to change? Wellness that says, "This is the only body you've got. Treat me with respect, praise me daily and honor me as the holy temple that I am?" If not, then I resolve to be and do better in allowing wellness in my life.

Did I play this year, really play? The kind of play that gives value to the heavenly activity of fun - knowing that fun is sacred, that play is the equivalent of work and that during play - renewal and relaxation usher in the newest ideas and the clearest choices for better manifestations? Did I view play as a necessary life function and not a debatable luxury? If not, then I resolve to be and do better in my relationship to playing.

Did I set a goal and see it to completion this year, really complete it? The kind of completion that lets the vibration of satisfaction and confidence in my abilities heal any opposing ideas of not being good enough? Did I honor my life and its sacred purpose by utilizing my time with forward thinking and letting my mistakes be motivators not antagonists? Did I dissolve my insecurities and procrastination by understanding that my untapped genius has but one mode of expression and that is through idea, thought, word and action? If not, then I resolve to be and do better in setting and completing my goals.

Did I open myself up to learn this year, really learn? The kind of learning that entices me to enroll in being a student of life with thirst and enthusiasm? Did I set an intention for uncovering more of my potential, letting divine intellect eat from my plate and stepping deeper into the waters of wisdom? Did I open a book, take a class, study a language, learn an instrument, write a poem, visit another culture? Did I learn to surprise and thrill myself with the infinite capacity I have to master more than I thought I could? If not, then I resolve to be and do better on my personal path of learning.

Did I clean up my relationships this year, really clean them up? The kind of cleaning that requires me to break open the lock, pull back the curtain, throw open the window and start removing the dust of harsh words, grudges, false accusations and misguided choices that have layered my heart? Did I make amends for the fearful ways that disheartened another, for neglecting to honor their point of view? With careful examination, did I communicate my truth, understanding that sometimes all we may be able to do is agree to disagree and to do so without judgement or malice? If not, then I resolve to be and do better on cleaning up my relationships.

Did I share my good this year, really share? The kind of sharing that comes from the pure joy of seeing another succeed, not from what I think they can or will do for me in return? Did I tithe back to where I was spiritually fed, transformed and inspired? Did I practice random acts of kindness and give of my time, talent, and treasure realizing that my good is a part of a never-ending wellspring that cannot run dry - whose source is and always will be the infinite wellspring of the Divine? Did I commit to walking the altruistic path, remembering that every step brings healing and enlightenment to the world? If not, then I resolve to be and do better in my sharing.

Did I pray this year, really pray? The kind of prayer that is spoken not to God but AS God - prayers that affirm rather than beseech, are pregnant with knowing rather than bloated with doubt? Did I make my every day activities a prayer - realizing that every thought I think carries with it the responsibility of an effect on the world? Did I remember how truly powerful my own prayer actually is and that by simply devoting myself to the practice of it, I become the change? Did I remember that my prayer takes what I seek and introduces it to me, the seeker? If not,
then I resolve to be and do better with praying.

Did I do all these things because deep down inside I fully understand how precious I am and that these activities will help me to see that I am held in the light as a perfect idea? Did I remember that I have been perfectly conceived and am always held in the perfect mind of God as perfect being? Did I know that there is nothing that I can ever say, nothing I can ever do that will separate me from the love of God? If for any reason, I forgot my divinity this year, then I resolve to be and do better in my knowing of it, to fully understand and embody the truth that it is done unto me as I believe. And I believe in the power of Good, for me, for you, for all.

(c) Rev. David Ault

New Conciousness

Humankind is being led along an evolving course,
Through this migration of intelligences,
And though we seem to be sleeping,
There is an inner wakefulness
That directs the dream,
And that will eventually startle us back
To the truth of who we are.

RUMI, The Dream That Must Be Interpreted