Archive for August, 2014

A doctor entered the hospital in hurry after being called in for an urgent surgery    of        a            young            boy. 

He found the boy’s father pacing in the hall waiting for the doctor.

On seeing him, the dad yelled: “Why did you take all this time to come? Don’t you know that my son’s life is in danger? Don’t you have any sense of         responsibility?”

The doctor smiled and said: “I am sorry, I wasn’t in the hospital. I came as fast as I could after receiving the call.  And now, I wish you would calm down so that I can do my work”

“Calm down? What if your son was in this room right now? Would you calm down? If your own son dies now, what will you do?” said the father angrily.

The doctor smiled again and replied: “I will say what Job said in the Holy Book.”

“From dust we came and to dust we return; blessed be the name of God. Doctors cannot prolong lives. Go and pray for your son, while we do our best by God’s grace.”

“Giving advice when we’re not concerned is so easy”, murmured the father.

The surgery took some hours after which the doctor came out and said, “Thank God, your son is saved!” And without waiting for the father’s reply he started running out of the hospital. “If you have any questions, ask the nurse,” he said.

“Why is he so arrogant? He could have waited a few minutes so that I could ask about my son’s surgery”, commented the father when seeing the  nurse minutes after the doctor left.

The nurse answered, tears streaming down her face: “His son died yesterday in a road accident. He was at the burial when we called him for your son’s surgery. And now that he saved your son’s life, he left running to finish his son’s burial.”

The moral of this story is, never judge anyone, because you never know how their life is and what they are going through.

Another inspiring story. Another learning. How compassionate is this doctor who saves another father’s trauma when he himself is going through a worse trauma! How selfish we become in our grief, without realizing it!

Yes, we have to stop judging people. There is a beautiful couplet written by the famous Urdu poet Ghalib which translates as “When I was not aware of myself, I constantly saw flaws in others. But the day I recognized the flaws within myself, there were so many that I stopped seeing flaws in others completely.”   First, let us start by observing ourselves the way others might see us because our own self image may be distorted. Then, let us stop judging others. We are very quick at labeling and tagging people. The truth is, we need to accept and work on ourselves and leave others to work on themselves. 

The psychology behind judging people is often the feeling of a temporary sense of superiority over those we judge. But, if we analyze this, we will find that we are doing the same thing that we criticize in others. Therefore, we need not necessarily pat ourselves on the back.

The world is like a mirror. What I see in others is already mirrored within me. That is why I should know that when I am judging someone else, I am judging them through my perspectives and belief systems. And so, I have already internalized the qualities I am judging others by. Similarly, when the father in the story accused the doctor of being selfish and in a hurry, he was mirroring his own state of mind at that moment when in fact, HE had become selfish and myopic to save his son’s life.

We do this all the time. Our wants, our needs need to be satisfied on a daily basis. In the story, we can perhaps understand the desperation of the father in a crisis situation. It was an extreme case. But, societies have become so superficial that today, people judge people constantly by what they have, not who they are. 

 It is more worthwhile to be known for philanthropy rather than a Page Three celebrity who may not be known for the qualities of the heart. The doctor in the story is a prime example of the qualities that many unsung heroes are made of. To have an open heart and compassion is a connection to the higher self and to the Divine Energy which is amply demonstrated by the doctor. To emerge beyond ourselves to help someone in dire straits when we are going through a rough patch is a sterling spiritual quality which is not so easy to find.

Many would scoff at this story and show a disbelief that people can actually do what the doctor did. Here again, all I can say is that once again, they are mirroring their own  inability to do so by judging the story as mere fiction in a manner of speaking.

Surekha Kothari



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

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I have been observing people since a long time, just to analyze their sustainability quotient which has always fascinated me. Why is it that some people have this drive and some lose it along the way even if they have it? Of course, some vacillate so much that this factor is almost missing within them.

The most typical is the person who can never hold a job down for too long and is like a rolling stone. Such people will always have a justification for moving on or being fired, whichever comes first. Either it could be an issue with a superior or not enough incentive or maybe, the job is too difficult and takes up a lot of energy. A challenging job with more learning is often the cause of exhaustion and therefore, unsustainable. The mind is comfortable where it is and is not looking to be taxed any further.

Likewise, in matters of emotions, anger becomes more sustainable than love whereas it should be the opposite. Similarly, the good times seem very rare and seem to dissolve and dissipate quickly. To sustain a good disposition is also not a common phenomenon. However, to be mercurial may have long term sustainability because it takes long to correct imbalances of the mind.

There are so many parts of us that are in conflict with each other on many occasions. One wants something and another wants something else. The tussle often results in turmoil and frequent changes in decisions. This may be harmless in the small things of life. But imagine if we were to have career changes, relationship upheavals and even losing friends in the bargain! Can we sustain anything which is long term?

I have noticed that many people look only for short term benefits and instant gratification. In such cases, there is no attempt to sustain anything once the benefit accrues to the individual. However, a series of such quick gratifications may perhaps satisfy and sustain many a life.

Sustainability in terms of either mental or physical hard work, sweat and toil, is the virtue of thinkers, planners and achievers who have the vision to understand that Rome was not built in a day. Sustainability is also an asset for those who focus on fixed goals and achieving them at any cost, while refraining from being side tracked through “benevolent” advice which may end up taking them away from their calling.

My vocal music teacher would always tell me that only a fire in the belly or a passion can sustain a determined and persevering course of action even though it may be a long and tiring one. Many hours of sustained practice, day after day and month after month reveals the artistry of a musician, the excellence of a sportsman and determines the heights achieved by businessmen.

My final take on this is, sustainability proves the mettle of an individual and illuminates the character and personality which shines brightly so that others can use it to fashion their own lives.

Surekha Kothari



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

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The Bible is a wonderful text and conforms in many ways to the way of life that other religions also advocate. Forgiveness is the most cleansing experience for those who may practice it genuinely and with utmost sincerity. It is also the most difficult.

As long as there are human beings with the power of freedom of choice, there will always be a need for forgiveness. Why do I say this? I say this because every person constantly acts, reacts or responds to circumstances and to the people involved in those circumstances with the power of free will. Free will indicates choices made out of the feelings and intentions of that moment, which determine the final outcome of these incidents. There may be times when, between people, an innocent remark or action may inspire a very vehement and unpleasant reaction. Conversely, sometimes, a deliberate action may be taken intentionally, to hurt someone either in retaliation of out of a sense of hatred or prejudice.

Small incidents surrounded by negative reactions can have a huge build up over a period of time. Deliberate negative actions harm not only the doer but the receiver also, although it weighs heavier in the karmic book of the doer. There is no remission from karmic repercussions, except through genuine repentance and forgiveness.

The question then is, what about actions done unwittingly and out of ignorance? Do they need to be forgiven, too? I would imagine that the answer would be a “yes”, because there are lessons of awareness to be learnt here. We must necessarily elevate ourselves to higher levels of awareness of thought, word and action when it concerns others around us. Pure intentions are very difficult to conjure up when there is pollution of thought about a person, whereas, it is the purity of intention that makes an action positive. Therefore, first, we must question ourselves about our intentions and drop any action inspired by any negative emotion such as anger, hurt, envy etc. This is the first step to start building our awareness levels.

We have all experienced that, often, we do things innocently and unintentionally to find ourselves overwhelmed by completely unexpected reactions from the opposite person. The most important issue here is, do we register the recognition of the hurt we have caused unintentionally? If so, then forgiveness definitely becomes a necessity. All the blocks of energy within us and others need to be cleansed immediately to prevent a buildup of meaningless and unhealthy baggage.

Accidents are apt examples of unintentional but harmful action. Here is a story taken from the Internet.

In 2011, Patricia Machin lost her husband when he set out to buy the morning paper. Gerrard Machin was doing what he always did, but this time would not return home. Patricia sensed something was wrong and  went to look for him. She was greeted by the sight of an ambulance and blood on the ground. Her husband had been struck down by a driver.

The driver Brian Williamson, was extremely distressed over having hit Gerrard Machin. Patricia Machin, though, felt no anger toward the driver. She knew that the horrible accident had not been intentional, and she harbored no ill will toward Williamson. The sincerity of her forgiveness shone through in a letter she wrote to Williamson that was to be used in his defense. In that letter she wrote, “However bad it was for me, I realize it was 1,000 times worse for you.”

Forgiveness is the most beautiful cleansing experience, especially when it is done from both sides. It is recognition of a mistake made and also of the fact that it must be forgiven. Many would not agree because , either they are aggressive in their low self esteem, or their past baggage sits too heavily on them and their wounds and scars run very deep. Breach of trust, betrayals, attempts to ruin careers, an unnatural death of loved ones is unforgivable where the immediate demand is for justice. In such cases, even a suggestion to forgive brings forth a very intense and adverse reaction. This is completely understandable on one level.

However, on the soul level, lessons for forgiveness often come cloaked in apparent tragedies like the story I have mentioned here. It is very hard to rise above the attachment for our loved ones to show compassion to someone who has been instrumental in harming our loved ones. It is very difficult to perceive these episodes as the work of destiny. Yet, that is the only plausible, though unpalatable explanation.

I do believe that forgiveness is not complete unless it is done to oneself and received from others we may have harmed. The exercise of daily cleansing and forgiving oneself and others would be wonderful in ensuring mental health and consequently, in destroying the very desire for intentionally hurting anyone. We always look for brownie points from the people around us. I recommend that we start experiencing them in the good that happens to us. The reward comes from the Divine, not necessarily from the people we expect it to come from.

Surekha Kothari



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

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A man felt that he lived a very hard life. He came to God, told him about his troubles, and asked,

“Can I choose another cross for myself?”

God looked at him smiling, took him to the store of crosses and said, “Choose which ever you like..”

The man went into the store, looked around, and was surprised to see many varieties of crosses: little, big, medium, heavy and light.

The man looked at each of them and finally, chose the littlest and lightest cross, then came to God and asked:

“May I take this one?”

“Yes, you may”, answered God. “It is your own cross.”

How quick we are to brand our lot in life as very hard or even the worst at times! I haven’t seen any human being without crosses to bear. What I HAVE seen is the amazing difference in attitudes while carrying these crosses. We make our beds with thorns and expect to lie on a bed of roses. And when we don’t see those roses, we cry like spoilt children. The question is, why didn’t we make a better bed for ourselves?

When adversity comes, our eyes are so full of tears that our vision becomes blurred and we fail to see the learning that is inherent within the adversity. Our ego is so fragile that we magnify little things into very big, and therefore, unbearable things. Complaining to God becomes a daily ritual and “why ME” becomes our theme song.

I have realized that what comes our way is what we have invited. However, we also get the strength to handle what we have to bear. We just need faith and courage. As the story indicates, if we can actually understand that the cross that we bear is much smaller to those of many others, we would be in a state of gratitude instead of disgruntlement.

There is a popular saying that when we need to improve, we need to look up to a role model and when we need solace, we need to look down to see the many who are worse off than us. The truth is, some carry very heavy burdens lightly and others seem to carry light burdens as if they were struggling with a very heavy weight. The issue is in the tolerance and faith levels.

Everything falls into the realm of the “relative”. There will always be someone better off and someone worse off in our perspectives. One must not forget that when we make an observation of this kind, we are looking at just the current phase of life. Things can change as the phase changes. Hence, the importance of the statement, “this too shall pass”. Nothing is permanent in this world. Change is the only constant.

If only we can learn to accept life with more faith and more grace, every cross might appear small and manageable!

Surekha Kothari



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



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Two men were jailed in the same cell. They were in the same condition, but one of them was unhappy, and the other one was happy. “Why are you so sad?” the happy man asked unhappy man.  “What should I feel happy for? I am unlucky. Just recently, I was free and resting at a resort, and now, I am here, in prison!”

And then, the unhappy man asked the happy man, “And why are YOU so happy?”

“You see”, the happy man said, “recently, I was in another prison, where the conditions are much worse. This place is just like a resort compared to my earlier prison. Many people want to get here, but I am the lucky one who made it. So why shouldn’t I be happy?”

Everything is relative in this world. One minute, one is unhappy and the next minute, happy. The mind shifts constantly and as rapidly as emotions change. We look at others mostly with envy, wanting what they have. But we don’t look at those who don’t have what we have and bow in gratitude for being blessed. Our intelligence fails in the wake of our wants because, at such times, we only see what others want to show us, not what the actual reality is. Only the heart can “see” such things provided it is open and loving.

But this relativity of reality is not visible to many. Human beings have gnawing and often, even obsessive needs. Greed and acquisitive tendencies can therefore, make man oblivious to the fact that everything IS relative. Possession and ownership here, on earth, is an illusion which can become a fictitious and dangerous reality for some, thus depriving them of good sense and a balanced perspective of reality.

There are always some positives and some negatives in the lives of all of us. But at the end of the day, these are mere perspectives of the mind. Contentment is being happy with what one has at all times. Any action that comes out of a basic contentment is taken more with equilibrium and less out of desperation. This is not to say that such people do not succeed in life. These are just people who are aware of their spiritual source and also have a deep faith in the process of life and the presence of Divine Energy around them. They do not consider themselves as the nucleus around which the Divine Energy revolves. There is perhaps a simplicity and purity within them that gives them access to light as opposed to the dark forces. Both are around us all the time. We have a free will to make a choice. Choosing to become beings of light is to be very high on the happiness quotient.

If we observe the way people live, there are so many who live peacefully, simply and spiritually without any scramble towards name, fame or money power. They may not ever make any headlines on news channels or newspapers and magazines, but to be around such people is a source of pure joy. They definitely live with their hearts full and with the “glass half full” attitude, with the faith that they are in this Universe for a purpose, to care and share, and also that they are safe in this Divine space. The choice of being either happy or unhappy under any circumstances is a state of mind that multiplies manifold in either case. The choice of happiness over its opposite, therefore, should be apparent. But, it is often not that apparent unless there is an in depth understanding that happiness is relative in the larger context of our existence on this earth.

The quality of the journey of each one of us “from dust unto dust” determines our actual claim to fame in the eyes of the Divine. There is no existence of a higher caliber than this reward anywhere in this world.

Surekha Kothari



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




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