Archive for July, 2014

Sometimes, you come across words which touch you deeply and impact your life. I am reproducing this piece from Barbara Rose which makes beautiful reading and will help us understand ourselves better. 

The Relativity of Your Life

We live in the world of the relative. What and whom we surround ourselves with, how we spend our waking hours, and the type of person we become is in direct relation to all that surrounds us.

Many of our choices are conscious. They are the simple choices such as; “I prefer a black car to a green car, so I am buying the black car.”

Many of our choices are unconscious. They represent those areas of our lives where we feel disenchanted, disappointed, empty, frustrated, and unfulfilled. Our heads may tell us one thing, such as: “I have to stay in this job to pay my bills” when in reality, we dread facing our work day each morning.

Other areas of unconscious choices lie in the area of unfulfilled relationships. The kind of people we share our time with. The type of romantic relationships we have.

There is only one way to tell if it is your conscious mind, or unconscious beliefs, that created these choices for you:

Ask yourself how deeply fulfilled you feel with those people.

Do you feel supported, nurtured, respected, valued, honored, cared for and loved? Or do you feel drained, taken for granted, hurt, depleted, disrespected and used?

Your greatest truth lies in your heart. You KNOW the answer. That answer creates the dawn of your opportunity to replace an unfulfilled life with a fulfilled one. It creates a tremendous growth opportunity. The growth opportunity of your life!

Who you are, who surrounds you, what you have, what you would prefer to have, and most importantly what you deserve, are all chosen by YOU.

It takes tremendous courage to face your deepest truth. For most people, myself included, it takes a paradigm shift.

Your paradigm is your general view of something.

If you think certain people who comprise a certain portion of the population are not good, your paradigm will shift when you meet someone of that exact group of people who shows you that they are not ALL that way.

THAT is a paradigm shift.

What about how YOU are? What is your general view of you?

For me, it took untold heartache, countless hours of therapy, and deep self questioning before I found the inner courage to align my conscious thoughts (I deserve the best) with my unconscious belief that I was not worth much at all.

Guess which belief was running the show? It was the unconscious one. The belief that I was not worth that much brought me the circumstances that showed me what I was tolerating, relative to what I could have.

Once your unconscious beliefs are brought to light, or come up to the surface, they dissipate. When that happens, a deep and positive inner shift takes place. You have grown.

No longer will you live any area of your life where you feel you are treated like dirt. You will only work in the type of job you absolutely love. You will only be in a relationship where you are treated beautifully. You will also feel worthy enough to extend yourself to others with an open heart, without having a fear that you will be hurt.

You will feel strong, confident and much more of the REAL you. The real you is relative to those parts of your life that do not feel like they truly belong.

What kind of company do you keep? Do you hang out with criminals or people who help uplift humanity? Which do you really prefer deep within?

Do you have a spouse or lover who adores you, or one who treats you like garbage? Which do you prefer?

This is the relativity of your life. All of our choices, both conscious and unconscious, lie in our self worth.

Look at your life and you will find the indicator of your self worth. It is a deep, trans formative process to uproot the unconscious beliefs that have created pain in our lives.

As your beliefs about yourself change, so too will your life change. It is all relative to what lies within.

You will know when you have grown. Your outer life will mirror your inner life in a healthier, more positive and life enhancing way.

It may be scary, however, choosing the best will show you the real truth: that you ARE the best. Relative to the old you, the changes in your life will be profound. It will feel like a whole new life. The life you DESERVE to live.
Barbara Rose, Ph.D.

Surekha Kothari



Speakingtree Blog: www.speakingtree.in/public/surekhakothari


Read Full Post »

A 24 year old boy looking out from the window of a train shouted…

“Dad, look! the trees are running backwards!”

Dad smiled at a young couple sitting nearby who were looking at the childish behavior of the 24 year old with pity,

Suddenly, he exclaimed again…

“Dad, look! the clouds are running with us!”

The couple couldn’t resist and said to the old man…

“Why don’t you take your son to a good doctor?”

The old man smiled and said…

“I did. We are just coming from the hospital. My son was blind from birth. He just got his eyes today.”

I am sure the young couple must have been extremely embarrassed at their hasty judgment. It has been said oft and again that we cannot judge a book by its cover. Actually, we need to understand that every single person on the planet has a story. Very often, we assume a lot about someone we have interacted with only briefly. I am constantly amazed at the kind of statements I hear from people about people. I can’t help thinking whether these judgmental people need to look at themselves first to find out why they need to judge people so superficially.


Wisdom dictates that we don’t judge people before we truly know them. The actual truth may be very far from our imagination. But even after that, can anyone know anyone completely? It is important to be aware that we have several dormant aspects within us which may be revealed under exceptional conditions and circumstances. How can we gauge what a person is going through or has gone through?


Superficial judgments have a very deep underlying meaning for those who judge. The people who are within our orbit act as triggers for our own introspection. The very fact that we have come to a conclusion about someone speaks of our own ineptitude and limitations we have to overcome. Once we do that, our perceptions about the same people will undergo a change.


It is a fact that whatever we don’t like about someone is something we see in ourselves and have to work on. In the story, the couple who was looking at the boy with pity was so limited in mind and so pompous in their advice to the boy’s father evidently needed to know that their perceptions needed more awareness and more compassion.


I want to end with the question: is it necessary to judge people at all? In the deep sub conscious, does that judgment reflect within us as something about ourselves that we are not prepared to admit to ourselves or something we don’t like within ourselves? Conversely, in our judgementalism, are we looking for “approved” company (through our judgment) because we feel good about ourselves just by being in that company and hiding from the person we actually are?

Surekha Kothari



Speakingtree Blog: www.speakingtree.in/public/surekhakothari

Read Full Post »

“As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.”

He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller, we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?

Failure is part of learning; we should never give up the struggle in life.”

I chanced upon this story while I was browsing the Internet and wanted to share this revealing thought that each of us has tied ourselves voluntarily to our fears, low confidence levels and self esteem as well as to others. Do you know that these emotions of “feeling tied up” actually manifest in our body? Under hypnosis, many of my clients have actually described the ropes around their feet and ankles and have tried to break free of them during the session. It is the perception of their inability to move on in life due to their inability to let go of the past episodes and feelings that arose from them.

Just like the elephant in the story, these ropes are tied to us during our formative years, sometimes through conditioning and being dictated to, sometimes through intimidation or a demand for subjugation to an elder and sometimes just from our own lack of energy or incentive to break away. At the core of all this is our ignorance which makes us believe we are powerless to break free.

When people have come and told me they are very contented and have none of the fears similar to what I am talking about here, their body language, their facial expressions have often betrayed their false bravado. It is not easy to let go of attachments, either to people or to places. We even get attached to events, especially those that are unsavory. We hold on to them, relive them, feel the emotions again and again, deepening the effects of those emotions rather than letting them go as meaningless and detrimental to us. Later, these emotions convert into envy or dislike and even hatred which can manifest even in crime in extreme cases. All this starts within us due to our inability to let go of the past and break free from the bondage perceived by our mind and emotions, thus “nipping in the bud” what can be a threat to our well being.

It seems unpalatable that despite the higher intelligence we humans are gifted with, our free will and choices don’t conform to this intelligence because the mind seems to be ego driven. Somewhere along the way, the ego dominates the intelligence and reduces or bypasses all knowledge that, I believe, we all have within us but don’t choose to illuminate ourselves with, at the best of times or the worst of times.

Surekha Kothari



Speakingtree Blog: www.speakingtree.in/public/surekhakothari

Read Full Post »

An elderly Chinese woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her shoulders. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water to the lady’s house. At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For two years, this went on daily, with the lady bringing home only one and a half pots of water.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfections and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman by the stream one day. “I am ashamed of myself because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.” The old woman smiled and said, “Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?” “That’s because I have always known about your flaw and so, I planted flower seeds on your side of the path. Every day, while we walk back, you water them. For two years, I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not have been this beauty to grace my house. ”

How beautiful and touching is this story someone sent me recently! Each of us has our own unique flaws. It is these very cracks and flaws that make our lives so interesting and rewarding if we had the vision to turn them into assets.

This story also sends us a message that we have to accept people for what they are and look for the good in them. There is also the other side of actually turning the flaws into opportunities just the way the Chinese lady did. Very often, we criticize the flaws and end up shunning the person with the flaws. But, as we all know, change is just beyond our perception of an end. There is always scope for improvement and reform. The crack is only that which is visible to the limited mind. The possibilities of working around the crack and making use of it lies in the creativity of the mind. The distance from the realm of the impossible to the realm of the possible can be covered only by an intelligent and adventurous mind that never tires or admits defeat.

Just as the lotus manages to shine in the midst of stagnant water and a rose among the thorns, the human being can stand tall amidst all negativity, on the strength of a dauntless character and effervescent personality.

Surekha Kothari



Speakingtree Blog: www.speakingtree.in/public/surekhakothari


Read Full Post »

This process of re inventing yourself ever so often is a very exciting one. I see so many bored people around me. They have the affluence and everything money can buy, but they don’t know what to do with themselves. There is no motivation, no drive. There is no attempt to venture into new pastures and learn from the endless aspects life has to offer. There is a buried treasure in all of us, just waiting to be discovered.

I have seen an external kind of re inventing in women when they dress up with a different look each time with a great deal of enthusiasm. I have seen men don many a face to impress women. There seems to be much activity centered around the mirror and some of it around the personality traits, of which some may be genuine and some acquired to impress.

What concerns me is the subtle erosion of self esteem and a subtle stress that creeps up unobtrusively when the mind is idle and non creative. Creativity is the one major requirement in re inventing ourselves. I always think of the “All the world’s a stage” statement of Shakespeare. Imagine what we can do with our lives if we decided to actually live this statement! There would never be a dull moment. We would be donning new costumes and new roles with each act as well as attempting to live that role on stage. Why is this attitude missing in real life?

What creates this complete inertia, this boredom, this ennui that even the best dressed person cannot hide for long under a mask or a garb of pretence or by the frenzy of partying continuously?

Actually, we don’t really know what to do with ourselves. The zest for life comes naturally as a gift to some and some have to acquire it. It is the latter that is a challenge. It is all a matter of perception and how we use our creativity. Do we let it become just a fad or do we actually use it as a natural aspect of ourselves? There is an eternal fountain of creativity in all of us and with our active imaginations, we can turn the most basic and boring chore to an exciting event. The pre condition is that we stop labeling activities according to the condition of our minds.” I can do it but I don’t feel like, at this time”, is a revealing statement signifying low energy and low incentive. Since we brought it on ourselves, only we can change ourselves to make the desired shift to vibrancy and verve.

I love being around children because they are so bubbly, so full of beans and so adventurous. Have you seen a child making a sand castle by the sea shore? It will painstakingly reconstruct the castle every time a bit of it falls, and each time, it will build a slightly different one. Even if the waters of the ocean wash it away, it will start building all over again with the same zeal and excitement. Adults mostly lack this spontaneity and spirit.

What we do is definitely important to us but HOW we do it is the part that causes adults grief because we are more concentrated on how others are going to perceive what we do. This takes away the joy of the act. In comparison, children are not bothered about anything except their own pleasure in their ability to create something. I think children instinctively understand that the journey has to be enjoyable. As adults, many of them lose the “child” within them.

By conforming to and emulating the children’s standards, adults can re invent themselves every day. A musician can play the same tune, changing it a little each time to make it sound like a new one. A homemaker can improvise the same menu to taste different each time. An Engineer can learn dancing. If one career doesn’t go anywhere, there is always scope to divert our career path to another direction. Life can be fun also.

In reality, we are all a sum total of many personalities that live within us. We can activate one or more of these whenever we want, if we understand and appreciate our creativity. Then, Shakespeare’s words would start acquiring a depth of meaning and possibilities. When he calls human beings actors with different roles to play, is he wrong? Aren’t we donning different roles and trying to juggle them successfully? We have several jack-in-the-box type people inside us that pop up with the right triggers. We need to dare to go with those triggers and explore new horizons creatively.

We are creatures who can invent and re invent ourselves. This is a God given gift and a wonderful one at that. I have done that all through my life by changing from an academician to a dancer to a musician to heading organizations to becoming a Hypnotherapist. It has been a phenomenal journey once I decided I would wear the attitude of discovering myself, the world and beyond. I could never have done this if I had not taken the risk of being different and sometimes, isolated, because, It is difficult to do exceptional things with the approval of those around, especially when the visions are not in sync. However, the experiences one gets along the way are irreplaceable and one doesn’t realize how quickly one travels from the space of “lonely” to “alone” joyfully and willingly.

Surekha Kothari



Speakingtree Blog: www.speakingtree.in/public/surekhakothari

Read Full Post »

“Guru Poornima marks one of the greatest moments in the life of humanity. This is a day that is reminiscent of Adiyogi (the first yogi) opening up and offering the possibility that a human being can evolve beyond all limitations set by his physical nature, if willing to strive. This first full moon day after the solstice is a time when this planet and all life upon it are most receptive to the cosmic energy and possibilities. The next six months till the winter solstice is the best time to strive for evolving and experiencing the divine possibility that is innate in a human being.” – Sadguru


This explanation from Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev sets the tone for becoming seekers and exploring the divinity within each of us. A “guru” in simple terminology, is a teacher. With our humility in place, we can address anyone who teaches us anything as a “guru”. We learn about an aspect of ourselves by how we react to situations, events and people. We learn by the criticism we face for our attitudes and actions. An occasional honest peon at an office can teach us honesty by not accepting a bribe for accelerating an urgent matter. A child constantly teaches us to be simple, adventurous, transparent, and most important, forgiving and loving. So, if we are looking for learning and evolving, every moment can be a learning moment.


Guru Poornima is a day when we take the blessings, first, of our parents because traditionally, these are our first teachers. Then, we bow before all our conventional teachers, such as our spiritual guru, teachers of academics and fine arts, of sports and any other kind of knowledge. Every bit of it is valuable because it makes us what we are and what we constantly change within us as a part of our personal process of growth.


The ultimate knowledge which leads to a gradual ascension towards purity, leaving behind the impurities of the mind, is often aided by a spiritual guru whose importance in helping us ascend the steps of the spiritual ladder are vital to each one of us.


Swami Sivananda says, the role of the spiritual guru has a sacred significance and supreme importance in the evolution of man. It was not without reason that ancient India carefully tended and kept alive the lamp of “Guru-Tattva”. “Tattva” means the substance as existent in the profoundness of spiritual knowledge and Guru is the master who imparts it. All compassionate Gurus will always refrain from becoming a crutch to their students. The real test of Gurus is when they impart the spiritual knowledge and then, free those students from any bondage, any attachment to themselves. The truth is, having been mentored by a guru, the journey of each of our eternal souls is alone.


It is, therefore, not without reason that India, year after year, age after age, commemorates this ancient concept of the Guru and re-affirms its belief in spiritual mentoring by a Guru. India has greatly benefitted in retaining its spiritual heritage through counseling by spiritual masters which is vital to the individual transcending the path of bondage, sorrow and death to experience the realization of the “I AM the Divine” reality.


It is said that the genuinely elevated gurus seek out disciples and not the other way round. To be singled out for this honor is the benchmark of a prospective student’s current spiritual level, a capacity for ascension with single mindedness and the willingness to focus on the path shown by the Guru. The path is challenging and difficult and the tests several and severe. But once these are crossed, the joy experienced from ascending to a rarified and pure level of the mind and heart makes worldly aspirations meaningless. But this does not mean that we don’t fulfill our earthly duties. It only means that duties become a child’s play, the world appears like a temporary home that has to be left behind and any fear that lived within is replaced by love.


For those yet to embark on this beautiful journey, “Guru Poornima” is a good starting point.



Surekha Kothari



Speakingtree Blog: www.speakingtree.in/public/surekhakothari


Read Full Post »

“I searched for God and found only myself. I searched for myself and found only God.”

I am really surprised when, while talking to people, I realize that spirituality is perceived as yet another subject like Chemistry or Psychology. Ironically, despite the fact that spirituality is natural and intrinsic to human beings, it is actually a topic which does not naturally interest many.

Often, the problem is that we read so much and listen to so many elders and even preachers that confusion reigns supreme. Only when we actually learn to look within us, will we come across the right and final direction which points inwards.

All of us, at one time or another, have had sublime experiences; the joy that we feel at holding a baby, or doing something unconditionally for someone , or just sitting calmly near an ocean, watching the world go by. Meditators will speak of the joy of being spell bound spectators of the self as it is gradually revealed. All this joy, all this happiness has its source within us. There is divinity in such moments, with the experience of being one with Divine Energy.

This experience brings us to the question, “besides the physical form, who are we?” Evidently, there is an inner world of experiences beyond the physical body. Going deeper into ourselves will give us some wonderful answers. What we call “spirituality” is merely the realization of the soul, or “atma” or “spirit” which is encased within the body, like a temple structure has a sanctum sanctorum housing the deity. The outer structure of the temple, often beautified with carvings and murals, therefore, also becomes holy. We worship the deity with all our reverence and protect the temple, too..

But, we fail to apply this reality to ourselves. Temples are symbolic of the human form. But the faith we have while praying in the temple fades away when we come back to real life situations. Today, the accent on looks and outer beauty certainly demonstrates an eagerness for beautifying the external form. But, is the same attention given to our “spirit” within? In fact, in many cases, the body is abused instead of being protected and this happens because of the imbalances created by our worldly desires and our inability to understand the nature of our spirituality. If we keep the attitude that spirituality is outside us, we will never be able to be whole and complete, however rich or physically beautiful we are during the few years we live in this world.

The integration of spirituality with the physical body brings about the balance required to fulfill the individual soul plan for this lifetime. I am aware that there is some amount of disbelief and even cynicism in this “theory”. I understand that human beings are on different levels of evolution. Just as this is my truth, others have their own truths. But I believe that to share these truths is important because when they are assessed with an open mind, humility and an intention of learning, some of them may be extremely useful for some of us. I never doubt the fact that if you are a seeker, you will learn from anything in Creation, from an ant to an elephant, from the trees to the clouds in the sky, from a man on the street to a sage, and, above all, from the “gurus” who light the candle of knowledge to help us understand every small and big truth.

Having said all this, the brightest light shines within each of us. Let us become illuminated souls, together on a wonderful journey of self discovery and self realization.

Surekha Kothari



Speakingtree Blog: www.speakingtree.in/public/surekhakothari

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »