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Posts Tagged ‘karma’


I am the only one who can create the quality of my life. It is MY thoughts, MY belief systems, MY preferences, MY emotions, MY wants and cravings, MY ego, MY mind, MY level of wisdom, MY tolerance levels MY responses to relationships and events, MY ability to achieve, my benchmarks… in fact, every thought, emotion, action and the results thereof are mine.

I want to achieve phenomenal amount of success, fame and power so that people recognize me and my family looks up to me, loves and respects me. I think that this is the recipe for happiness. I think that this will improve the quality of my life because I can buy the latest gadgets, attract people through my wealth and feel a sense of abundance. Yes, I can totally achieve material abundance if I am karmically due for that success.

What I have not realized is that I need to introspect on the means I have used, the mental and emotional devices I have used to achieve worldly success. What I need to know is how much that success has been built on pillars of truth, honesty and integrity, love and spirituality. It is this that actually develops our quality of life.

The energy that is generated by a daily spiritual approach to life is unmatched by any success where the moral and spiritual strength depletes gradually. If my actions have distanced my family and friends, replaced genuine respect with mere lip service and silenced my inner conscience for ever, I am actually, slowly and steadily, caved myself in within the impenetrable walls of my own isolation. Somewhere along the way, I have disconnected my connection with my Divine source. Not only that, after all my desperate struggle to rise in the eyes of myself and those around me, I have managed to do exactly the opposite.

I should have taken into account the well being of my soul above everything else. I should have seen to the welfare of those connected with me while I was working with frenzy towards my own achievements. I should have painted on a larger canvas instead of succumbing to myopia. I should have internalized the transient nature of this world and what karmic lessons I am here to learn. I should have known that the only yardstick of a high quality of life is how I feel at the end of the day, how high my happiness quotient is and how true I have been to myself so that I can sleep with a smile on my face and peace in my heart.

Just as hugging a child is pure joy, embracing a life based on the adherence to spiritual values elevates our quality of life to a point where every breath is a prayer to the Divine energy within.

Surekha Kothari

www.BodyMindSoulCentre.com

surekhakothari.wordpress.com

http://www.speakingtree.in/public/surekhakothari

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Just as a play or movie unfolds scene by scene, so, too, life unfolds in phases. The students of today will qualify as adult, working members of society tomorrow. What we are today will shape our next phase. It is, therefore, very important to know what our “dharma’ or body of duties is during the student stage.

In the old Vedic times, when the “Guru Shishya Parampara” existed, students were taught everything that a youngster needed to know by way of   social, economic and political knowledge, along with the etiquette of living within a family and social system, behavioral patterns, and, above all, respect and love for all. The Guru’s “Ashram” was a complete school. As a result, the student moved into the next phase of householder and earning member of the family naturally and easily. This was possible because every student conformed to a well balanced, comprehensive and wholesome system of teaching imparted by the Guru or teacher with utmost honesty and sincerity. The system was also designed to integrate and connect people as individuals, families and societies so that a common value system of mutual love and respect created a peaceful and harmonious environment and a working atmosphere of mutual  trust. The honing of emotional intelligence through understanding, acceptance and sacrifice based on compassion became the common foundation of all human behavior.

Today, those values are not taught in educational institutions. The accent is more on material success. We need to bring back our timeless but fast disappearing rich culture and traditions which we have not been able to transfer to our succeeding generations. This is where our uniqueness lies, however modern we become in other ways.

Surekha Kothari

http://www.BodyMindSoulCentre.com

surekhakothari.wordpress.com

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

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There is some God given talent in all of us. Some have been endowed with more than one. As children, we exhibit a definite aptitude for particular subjects. Going forward, however, these talents could lie dormant because of our own inability to crystallize and optimize them. Often, we don’t take them seriously enough and sometimes, we follow the pattern of specialization that is expected from us rather than that which we believe to be our calling.

 

It is important to realize that out of all the talents we possess, there is that one special talent backed by an extra zeal and passion that ultimately translates into our career path. For multi talented people, it does become a problem to make a choice between equal talents. Following the heart balanced by a practical mind would be a good way to solve this issue.

 

In any case, talent has to be honed by education and focus on the goal or goals we set for ourselves. Just having an extraordinary talent is not enough. Unless we are child prodigies, the way forward is to be a few steps ahead of our aspirations, both in academic and technical knowledge.

 

For example, to be a performing musician, one has to learn voice culture, the entire grammar of a “raga” and then practice for years to master the art.  An inherent talent only helps in grasping a subject quickly while a passion for it sustains the focus and determination to excel.

 

Specialization opens up several windows of   opportunities. Talents must, therefore, be optimized through learning. Otherwise, they will fade away gradually. There has to be sustained effort to keep them alive and functioning to maximize our potential.

 

Surekha Kothari

www.BodyMindSoulCentre.com

surekhakothari.wordpress.com         

www.speakingtree.in/public/surekhakothari

 

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“I hear you” is a very common phrase. But is that enough? The counter question would be, “but are you listening?” Have you noticed that very often, when we are talking to someone, their eyes are somewhere else and their minds are visibly wandering? I have often stopped midway in my sentence and felt really foolish to realize that I am talking to myself. It is as if I have been addressing a wall all the while.

 

I wonder if people are aware of their actions at such times. Where are those simple people who genuinely care and share love, empathy and compassion only because that is vital to the quality of a human being?

 

The cacophony of sounds caused by our own screaming desires is probably sufficient to tune out any external voices. The complexities of our wants and the imbalances of our emotions are greatly responsible for our inability to rise above ourselves to focus on someone whose life can be transformed just by listening and understanding, by lending not only our ears but also our hearts to them. Only then does one actually start to “listen” to others with concern for them.

We tend to “hear” voices like we hear car horns and dogs barking on the streets, without paying attention to them. But when we claim we are “listening”, there has to be a focus, attention and caring.

 

Many of us are guilty of not listening to even our own near and dear ones who may not say exactly what is topical or relevant according to our perspective but to them, it may be vital. Today, we love to talk about Corporate Social Responsibility projects. We speak of being prominent social workers. But, it is the small acts of listening, understanding and kindness that fetch us big brownie points in the eyes of the Almighty.

 

There is no joy in living just for oneself. That was not the Grand Plan. So, the next time someone speaks to us, let us not just “hear”. Let us listen!

Surekha Kothari

www.BodyMindSoulCentre.com

surekhakothari.wordpress.com

www.speakingtree.in/public/surekhakothari

 

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Memoirs are what memories create. Some happiness, some tears, some agony. As we grow older, we seem to start dwelling on the past very naturally. I always used to wonder why the older generation talks so much about their past. I guess, when we are younger, there is so much to look forward to. Our energy levels are high and life seems to stretch in front of our line of vision as having many goals to look forward to. Towards the evening of our lives, a saturation point is reached for many people. Some others retire from their workplace because they have to. Some pass on their work to the next generation. Some opt to resign and take life easy after many years of hard work.

 

For all of these people, there seem to be many experiences in the past to talk about. There is a lot of learning there for those who listen. But, to handle a phase of inactivity or less activity can get very difficult as well. Not everyone can accept this phase graciously.

 

Our sense of self esteem depends hugely on how occupied we are, and, more important, how this places us in the eyes of the world. When our identity comes from the approval of others, anonymity can be very unsettling. If life can be viewed as a series of phases, it would be easier to accept changes, both within ourselves and the external set of circumstances.

 

What is really the issue here is that there is little to look forward to. There are no new goals for many. Actually, the world has opened up so many opportunities that we can learn something new every day. Recently, I saw a computer class with seventy year old individuals and I was thrilled! When so many new vistas open up the Mind, and we have the child within us alive and motivated enough to keep learning, the present and future become so exciting that the past ceases to be a compulsive memory and remains dormant within us , to be brought up at will when lessons from it need to be remembered.

 

The productive use of each present moment is the key to living rather than existing on past memories just because we don’t see anything before us that would adorn our present and future.

 

Surekha Kothari

www.BodyMindSoulCentre.com

surekhakothari.wordpress.com

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

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A farmer had a dog that used to sit by the roadside waiting for vehicles to come around. As soon as one came he would run down the road, barking and trying to overtake it. One day a neighbor asked the farmer “Do you think your dog is ever going to catch a car?” The farmer replied, “That is not what bothers me. What bothers me is what he would do if he ever caught one.”

 

Many people in life behave like that dog who is pursuing meaningless goals. There is always a personal definition of “meaningless” for each of us. Life has so much to offer that it is often very difficult to make the right choices for ourselves. Sometimes, we may think we have made them, but the resulting experience may ring hollow. So, there is little satisfaction in the whole exercise.

 

The good news is that this kind of experience helps us search further and this search takes us forward in our journey towards evolution. We need to know what to do, of course, but it is also equally important to understand what not to do.

 

I see many judgmental people who are looking at the lives of others with a microscope. If we really think about it, do we really know what the components of someone else’s journey are? It is very possible that what we perceive as “meaningless” may be very meaningful in their journey. So, again, “meaningless” becomes a very subjective feeling.

 

Taking off from the story of the dog, maybe, its journey of chasing cars is exciting. Maybe, it will get tired when it gets tired and then, starts to look for something else which may excite him.

 

The thought I am attempting to present here is, there is nothing meaningless in life. Everything happens for a reason because everything has a built in lesson for us. Maybe, the owner of the dog should have chased cars to see what lies in that experience.

 

The learning is, do what your heart tell you. Be happy. Everything works if there is a flow of energy that doesn’t create any blocks. Every breath we take is also an experience because we really don’t know if it going to be our last one.

 

Surekha Kothari

www.BodyMindSoulCentre.com

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

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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

www.BodyMindSoulCentre.com

surekhakothari.wordpress.com

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

www.BodyMindSoulCentre.com

surekhakothari.wordpress.com

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

www.BodyMindSoulCentre.com

surekhakothari.wordpress.com

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

www.BodyMindSoulCentre.com

surekhakothari.wordpress.com

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

 

 

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