I have moved my self-improvement blog here.
Recent posts include:
Non-attachment to fleeting material things is a source of happiness. Non-attachment can also help us to discover and deeper and more meaningful sense of fulfillment.
I was inspired to write this post, after a small incident about a dint in my car. I called the post the honest Buddhist, (at Tejvan.co.uk) because I was touched by a fellow seekers sincerity and honesty. It was also a reminder than non-attachment gives a sense of freedom and happiness.
Non-attachment means we do not cling to things of this world – it means we do not hold onto opinions, material objects, and people with a sense of personal possession and expectations.
Non-attachment means we love the source of life, but we also acknowledge everything in this world passes away.
Non-attachment means we try to do our best, but without expectation of result or reward.
There is a big difference between non-attachment and indifference. Indifference means we don’t care and we ignore what is going on in the world. Non-attachment can involve a pure form of love, where we give and care. But, the difference is that we give this love, compassion and concern, without expecting a certain outcome and reward.
“Detachment and not possession should be the bridge between you and the object of your love. Spiritual detachment intensifies the seeking of our hearts, purifies the vibrations of our bodies, transforms the ignorance of our consciousness into knowledge.”
– Sri Chinmoy [source]
If we love with attachment, we can easily become frustrated. Suppose we offer love, but the person doesn’t behave in the way we expect – then we become frustrated and even angry. However, if it is an unconditional love, a love without attachment, we can never be disappointed, because we love the real, the soul in other people. If outwardly, they disappoint, it doesn’t matter, because the divine love is its own reward. Continue reading “Non-attachment and happiness”
In the treatment of depression, a new practise has emerged to help people overcome feelings of unworthiness and depression.
People are given 3D glasses, which give a virtual world. In this virtual world, people come across a person who is down on his luck – homeless and suffering. Usually, in response to seeing this person, people offer kind words to this stranger to help him feel better.
Later, the person undergoing treatment, experiences being the homeless person, who is then comforted by their own words of kindness and compassion. They hear the exact words, that they offered from the other perspective.
What goes around comes around. The first interesting observation is that this simulation works by speeding up the law of karma. If we offer kindness to others, this kindness will come back to us. Similarly, if we offer hatred to others, that too will come back to haunt us. Sometimes, we can forget that we should always treat others, how we would wish to be treated ourself.
Bringing out our good qualities. A strong point of this treatment is that it puts us in a position where our natural good qualities – concern, compassion and kindness come to the fore. Everybody has a heart, but when we are stuck in the cycles of the minds depression, we can forget about our own heart’s good qualities. Continue reading “A simple treatment for depression”
Dissatisfaction is a universal human trait. But, sometimes we are not always aware how easily we can become frustrated and dissatisfied – it becomes a habit.
True, from one perspective there may be a certain justification in our dissatisfaction. But, the real spiritual life is to avoid dissatisfaction – to accept the world as it is and see the world through loving eyes.
I came across this poem by Sri Chinmoy.
Here on earth I feel
Everything is wrong,
Everything is imperfect,
Everything is undivine
If it is not totally to my liking.
Such being the case,
How do I dare
To think that Heaven
Will be to my liking?
The dissatisfaction-tiger in me, alas,
Is infinitely more powerful
Than the perfection-power
That poor Heaven embodies.
It is an important poem because when we are full of dissatisfaction, we think that it is the outer world which is wrong and needs to change. But, in this poem, Sri Chinmoy challenges us to be aware that if we see dissatisfaction everywhere – perhaps we will even see dissatisfaction in Heaven.
Some say that the afterlife is very much a continuation of this life. If we are judgemental, dissatisfied and frustrated, moving to a different plane or location will not solve anything. Like moving from one country to another, we can’t expect our problems to be magically solved by going somewhere else.
However, if we can learn to live and accept the superficial imperfection we see all around and instead see the underlying beauty of life, then wherever we go – then we can create our own Heaven on earth.
I often fancy myself as something of a business consultant. If I walk into a shop or business, I often notice if something is wrong or could be done better. There is part of me which wants to tell the owner how to change and increase the popularity / success of his business.
But, the British reserve rarely says anything. Instead we complain in silence and then don’t go back or just put up with it. Also, there is no point in saying anything, unless there is some receptivity to hearing suggestions. Also, advice is easy to give, but it is much more important to deal with our own problems first!
Recently, I’ve been watching a series on television about failing businesses who ask a business consultant to come in and offer advice on how to turn the business around. It is an interesting insight into human behaviour!
One episode focused on a clothes shop which was losing money and was stuck in the past. The owner was passionate about clothes, but didn’t have much business sense and a mixed consumer service, which was good in parts, but also involved insulting consumers.
The business consultant suggested many changes which would help revitalise the business and reposition it in the market.
There is an inevitable resistance to change when we have been used to doing something in our own way for a long time.
Step by step approach. After suggesting several changes, the consultant realised it was too much. The business owner didn’t want to change the name of the shop. Although, he could see some of the benefits of changing, there was still an attachment to the previous ways of working. The consultant saw this and cut back her suggestions. Rather than make complete change, she suggested business owner make the changes he felt comfortable with. The owner had to be happy with the change they implemented.
Accentuating the positive strengths. The suggestions of change were met with resistance and uncertainty about moving out of their comfort zone. Rather than keep hitting on about the need to change, the consultant set up a day, where they would be able to show their skills of retailing in a different environment. By allowing their strong customer skills to come to the fore, the owner gained more confidence in the process of change, and how these skills could be at the centre of the business. Always we need a mixture of stick and carrot. Not just the stick! Continue reading “Seeking help and willingness to change”
I was born in 1976 so my life can almost be split up into half life pre-internet, and half life with the world wide web.
Sometimes I think back and, through rose tinted spectacles, remember the halcyon days of pre-internet. Playing Chinese checkers with my grandma on the lawn. No video games, no computers, no internet, the only tv a 11” black and white set with 3 channels. Those were the days! It makes me feel positively old. You certainly didn’t have to worry about whether people were liking your picture of your cat on t’internet.
Would life have been more enjoyable with the internet? I don’t think so. It would have come in pretty handy for doing my homework, but apart from that I can’t say I lie awake at night – thinking if only I’d been able to read more twitter feeds as a child…
So here are some tips for navigating the world wide web.
Don’t read the comments.
I like this twitter feed,- don’t read the comments. I shall post a couple of my favourites.
“The problem with internet comments is that you can never really know who’s saying them.”
— Winston Churchill
One of the great heroes of the Mahabharata was Yudhishthira. Yudhishthira was King of the Pandavas and known for his adherence to dharma (right action). With the help and guidance of Sri Krishna, the Pandavas were successful in defeating the Kauravas at the great battle of Kurushetra.
It was a symbolic victory of dharma over adharma. But, after the victory, Yudhishthira confessed he was not happy, and he couldn’t understand why.
Sri Krishna told Yudhishthira that his problem was pride. His one remaining undivine quality was pride – pride in his adherence to dharma, pride in his victory.
See: Yudhishthira’s worst enemy at Sri Chinmoy Library
Commentary on the problem of pride
This is the great paradox of leading a good life. If we do the right thing and follow all the required wisdom and spiritual scripture, we can gain a feeling of pride from our own actions. This feeling of pride we may not even notice because it is quite a subtle feeling.
It is good to do the right thing and lead a good life. But, pride can be the undoing of our progress and efforts.
How can we avoid this pride in doing the right thing?
The inner pilot. Feel, if we have the capacity to do the right thing, there is something within us, the divine inner pilot which is acting in and through us. This is not our unique achievement but something that belongs to our bigger I.
Feel that God observes all our actions – inner and outer. If this is the case, we can’t fool God. If we are acting selflessly and with the best motivation, then God will know and this is enough. There is no need to broadcast it to the world.
Who is better than who? If the index finger is stronger than the little finger, we don’t let one finger feel proud it is stronger. All the fingers are an integral part of our hand. Similarly, if we do something good, feel that there are many others who made this possible. If is never our achievement alone, but all those who have helped teach and illumine us.
Humility alone gives joy everlasting. If we feel inner disturbance, if we lack an inner peace and poise, perhaps it is our pride which prevents us from enjoying the satisfaction yearned for by Yudhishthira. If we become aware of this, then we can make a conscious effort to let go of our pride and choose the contentment and inner peace from not valuing our pride.
When pride disappears,
Real joy appears.
Remember the problem of pride. If we come across someone who is overly proud, we tend to dislike this attitude. Instead, we value those who are modest and don’t boast. When we observe other people, we can choose which characteristics we would like to cultivate in ourselves.
“Jesus son of God, avatar of the Western consciousness: Jesus accepted a mortal body so he could reveal man’s immortality. Jesus accepted a man’s consciousness so he could fulfil the divine consciousness. Jesus accepted bodily pain so he could offer the world eternal joy. Jesus accepted betrayal so he could teach the world the meaning of forgiveness. Continue reading “The message of Jesus Christ”
Once Sri Chinmoy was asked how a seeker could recognise a spiritual experience as such. The answer was not what I might have expected, Sri Chinmoy mentioned spiritual experience could involve:
Question: How can I recognise a spiritual experience as such?
Sri Chinmoy: “Millions of times you have had the feeling of true eagerness to help humanity, and with God’s Grace you have helped humanity according to your capacity. Then you have gotten joy.” 
This is interesting because I would have defined spiritual experience as something quite different. I would have defined spiritual experience as a sense of peace, a vision of spiritual light, entering trace. (I might even have included take levitating off the floor…) Continue reading “Spiritual experiences”
News and the internet has become all pervasive. There is no shortage of information and opinion in the modern world, and whilst keeping up to date can have certain benefits – there is also a danger of being overwhelmed with news and articles which act as a permanent distraction.
Thomas Jefferson wrote
“The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.”
Jefferson also illumines us:
“I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.”
How we would like the happiness of Thomas Jefferson!
The problem with the news is that it is mostly depressing, and accentuates the most negative image of the world and people. It can create a disconnect between perception and the reality of people’s good hearts.
The nature of the news is that it tends to focus on bad events. You can have 10,000 people leading good lives; but by nature this is not newsworthy.
2. I spend too long
The truth is I spend too long watching news, reading news online. It is too easy to fill a few minutes here and there. I can find myself checking news sites throughout the day. But, it’s not a profitable or useful experience. It’s bugged me for a long time, so I thought I would try something different over the Christmas holidays.
3. It affects me
The problem with being absorbed in a 24 news stream, is that you can end up thinking about it all day. Your mind cultivates opinions, and you can end up frustrated with the injustice of the world. Yet, at the same time, you are not doing anything to create a better world. You can’t help it, but the more time you spend on the news, the more your mind is jumping around with opinions of its own. It is an energy that is self-perpetuating. There is no peace, no connection with the heart, only opinions and endless un-winnable arguments.