Tuesday, November 4, 2014

HOW SPIRITUAL ARE YOU?




HOW SPIRITUAL ARE YOU? 
A dear friend of mine, who has been teaching the Art of Living for years, started asking his students this one question.  It's a question of enormous depth.

How Spiritual Are You; in the face of utter ignorance directed at you like two rockets intended to destroy, when things do not go as you expected, or as you would like? 

This was the challenge nature presented me with, not once, but twice this week.
The first time, I did not handle the situation skillfully or with equanimity.
Sri Sri was his usual loving and patient self, as  I applied the wisdom and eventually came out of it.
Or so I thought....

A few days later, he sat me down and gave me a life-changing lesson on the value of compassion, the true depth of compassion. He lifted my karma and I was happy and excited to apply the wisdom, especially as it was unlocking a place I'd felt stuck in for years.

Little did I know how quickly the opportunity would present itself.

Within days of returning home, I found myself in the exact same situation.
Nature has a way of turning up the volume, once you are given the knowledge!

In 48 hours, another powerful person was personally attacking me and slandering my good name.
They had taken a position and wanted to prove to others I was wrong.
How many times had I done the same thing to another - without awareness?
Since I also would have been in ignorance in the past, I do not remember.

Just as I had done for years when an injustice is happening, whether it's toward me or another, the warrior in me rose up.  I wanted to right the wrong and put this person in their place.

For 24 hours I tripped a little, as I struggled to let go of past conditioning and live the new gem of knowledge Sri Sri had gifted me with.  His words to me, on what true compassion is, and how to move with equanimity were reverbarating in my head. At the same time,  I was burning with frustration at the injustice unfolding. It was like riding a horse (mind) that has completely gone off course, while the rider (higher level of consciousness) is trying to reign in the wild stallion.

Since the understanding was not coming right away, I began meditating.
Still, the restlessness persisted, so I began reading the ancient spiritual text, the Yoga Vashishta.

Eventually, the wild stallion  mind) stilled itself and I realized...

It was up to me to stretch my hand to bring peace to the situation, to maintain belonging. It didn't matter who said what or did what to me. What mattered was how still was I from within, in the face of adversity? Can I keep my  equanimity, even when fireballs are aimed my way? This is the skill in life, and it is priceless.






BUDDHA AND THE THE MAN WHO SPAT IN HIS FACE

Years ago Sri Sri told me the story of Buddha and the  man who spat in his face.

When we take the first step to communicate from our heart, regardless of how someone is/or isn't treating us - then we are approaching the ups and downs in life from a place of strength and centeredness. This is when the door opens for real communication, for education in human values, and for the Grace, to enter for all.

I better understand the profound lesson on Compassion from Sri Sri at a such a depth, that words can not do justice  One has to experience it, to go through the process fully.





Rishikesh, India 2004
FORBEARANCE IS A WEALTH
I cannot stay I will not trip up again on the path.
But one day, for sure, I will walk on this planet, as my Guru walks.

This is what a Guru comes into our life for.
He is a living example, of how we can move through in life with total peace and equanimity, and to uplift others on the way.
It is the blessing of lifetimes.

It is not up to us to add to the negativity in the world.
We are here to bring forth a stress-free, violence-free world.

Be free from your side and leave the rest to the unseen hand. It knows what it is doing.
It will take care and you will be free.  In fact, you are free, right now.

 
True Compassion is forgiving someone, without them knowing it 
- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar


Friday, September 19, 2014

UN DAY OF PEACE WITH WORLD PEACE MEDITATION SEPTEMBER 21



What does it take to create a Divine Society?
A society where we treat ourselves, one another and all people regardless of age, race, culture or religion with human values?

My experience is that it takes cultivating inner peace in order to share that peace with one another.

Sunday, September 21st is the United Nations Day of Peace.

Join me along with millions of people worldwide on Sunday, September 21st for a #World Peace Meditation at 10am ET. 
Click here to learn more & find a time in your country to join.

http://www.worldpeacemeditation.org

Society begins with an individual, extends to the family and then to community.
We are a reflection of what is negative in society, and society is a reflection of what is negative within  each of us.  When each of us reflects human values such as: compassion, kindness, non-violence (in thought, word and action), love, enthusiasm, sincerity, honesty and an attitude of service with others - then we will all enjoy a Divine Society.

Peace in society - really does begin with each of us.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

WHAT IS THE GURU PRINCIPLE? IT'S THE NECTAR OF LIFE





I remember a story about Brahmananda Sarsaswati, the Shankaracharya [spiritual head] of Jyotir Math, in India. There is a story ( i don't recall the exact words) where a seeker wanted to know what the Guru  thought about the seeker's mind.  Gurudev replied that he was too busy to watch his thoughts, because he was spending all his time observing his own mind! It's a profound lesson.

Most of us spend so much time observing and judging others, creating concepts in the mind, or misperceptions of what is truth - that we miss the goal of this life.  When you observe your mind and emotions, you will discover that what is negative dissolves, what is positive expands. Your realize it was only your small mind that had you in bondage - it was an illusion - and you become free.

In just a couple of weeks, I am moving from the majestic Rocky Mountains of Colorado,
to the much smaller (by 10,000 feet!) yet still beautiful, Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.
http://www.artofliving.org/intl-meditation-center-usa.  Moving is one of the top stresses in life, and this is not just a simple move. Personally, it's a big leap of faith, into a brand new way of life.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, my Guru, invited me to make the move to the Art of Living Foundation's spiritual retreat center in Boone, North Carolina.  He suggested I "leave my stuff there," and travel the world continuing to teach the ancient Vedic wisdom.  I'm honored, excited, admittedly anxious about jumping into the abyss, and thrilled - all at the same time!

Consequently, I'm spending alot of time observing my mind and experiencing the truth that what is negative (fear, anxiety,) dissolves and what is positive, ( truth, happiness, resolve) expands.

It takes courage for anyone to jump into the unknown, and at the same time, it's the journey of making the jump - not the destination - that builds our character and strength.

Staying stuck in the comfort zone brings boredom, unhappiness. 
Our nature is to expand.
That's why we want more love, more money, more peace-  more.
When we stay stuck in the same gear, we don't go anywhere.
We tell ourselves it's ok, because it's safe, but is it?

 It's fear that keeps us from taking a big step in life. Fear holds us back, yet we might start blaming  people, situations and things - rather than taking responsibility for our own state of mind. It's a miserable cycle.

What is Fear? It's simply a sensation based on past impressions. It's an illusion.
Sri Sri teaches that fear is Love upside down.

Years ago,  I had a similar situation to the one I find myself in today.  The situation required me to move forward in life with faith.  I was struggling and one evening, with tears streaming down my face, I packed up my belongings & prepared to leave. I didn't think I could do it. I was
afraid of the unknown and at the same time,I was miserable with the thought of being stuck with the familiar. (sound familiar?)
I was in a divided mind, which is just pure misery. I was nowhere.
That evening, at our German Ashram Sri Sri gave a powerful talk on the power of prayer, and the wealth of faith. 


He said, "The stairs to heaven are slippery and soapy. Hold on tight to the knowledge and say, this time, come what may - I will make it!" 

I went back to my room. Unpacked my things and stayed the course. That was 1998 & I'm still here!
Faith in the Divine, is our  greatest wealth.

I've learned, under Sri Sri's guidance, to have a broad vision and to move toward it with commitment - not to move on feelings. Feelings come and go; there is no value in basing your life on something so wobbly!  It's not always easy; however, in the end it makes life dynamic, expansive - fulfilling. The universal truth is - everything IS changing.  Trying to control what is happening, is just painful.

After 20 years with Sri Sri, I  have learned to trust nature with its infinite intelligence and I trust the Divine, who works through this Guru so beautifully, with nothing but unconditional love for our highest good & happiness.  Because of this trust, (which I didn't start out with 20 years ago) life gets better and better, with more and more dynamism and love. It's possible for me, for you - for all.

I am not going to sugar coat it, and say that this is easy. It is not. You have to ask yourself, how do I want to move through life? Like a scared chicken or a powerful tiger?
The answer is obvious.
--------------------------------------



When you feel weak I am with you as your strength,
 you are not alone. 
- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

This is the Guru Tattva, the Guru Principle. 

Guru Tattva is faith in the unconditional love and infinite intelligence of the Divine, it's connecting to that Grace, that is always with you, when you have a Sat Guru. It t allows you to lead a happy, fulfilled and divine life & to share it with others.  It is pure Love. 

Click here to read what Sri Sri says about the power of Guru Tattva.
http://www.artofliving.org/power-guru-tatva.

It is this indescribable love and grace of the Guru Tattva  that held me up this week and gave me peace of mind - which was most
needed. It is what allows me to move forward in my life and to
let go of fear and do what I am meant to do for myself & others.


Words cannot express the gratitude I have for coming in touch with the Guru Tattva, through Sri Sri (www.srisri.org).

I don't know why anyone, who has the enormous karma to be with a Sat Guru would choose to life life any other way.

Gurudev says, you  have misery or you can have a Guru.
You can't have both.

I choose the Guru. 


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Art of Communication, 1,2,3 then Bham!

Patti &Dhwani, DSN Course Philadelphia

When you look at this photo...do you smile?
It is "Soul to Soul " communication.

No words are necessary.
It is the best form of communication, however, one of several.
There is also...


Head to Head communication = Conflict
Head to Heart communication = Manipulation
Heart to Heart communication = Understanding


This morning I read the knowledge below, by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and felt compelled to share it.
I have read it and practiced it many times. It has taught me patience and the skill of communication.
This knowledge has served me so well in my personal and professional life.

There is no value using our words to hit someone over the head with a hammer.
Even if you're right - you'll stand alone, feelings are hurt, and belongingness is destroyed.

There is also no value in not speaking at all to someone you are close to, when their behavior is negatively impacting themselves or others. I've found the best way to communicate is authentically, and from a space of love. It's important to choose the right time, i.e. when you feel that person is ready to receive what you have to share. Do not scold or guilt - who responds positively to that? That is simply layering negativity upon negativity, to get what you want.

Share from a space of love, with the aim of creating awareness of how their behavior is negatively impacting themselves or others.

If someone still chooses not to wake up to reality - then Sri Sri suggests, take a stick. Let them know how you will change your behavior toward them, as they are choosing to continue on the same negative track. This will maintain belongingness along with your peace of mind.

Let me know how it goes as you apply this ancient wisdom in modern times....


The Art of Communicnation
 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

These are four ways of persuasion:

When someone does something wrong or misbehaves with us, what do we do? First, we gently make them understand how they are wrong. Many people unknowingly commit a mistake, so once they understand that they are making a mistake, they do not repeat it the next time – this approach is called Saama (meaning to explain by persuasion).

You cannot blame someone for a mistake that they have made unknowingly. So Saamameans to explain to the other person the mistake he has committed and to make him aware of it.
Now, even after explaining the mistake, if they still go on repeating it, then what should you do? Then you should forgive them by saying, 'See, you realize that this is wrong, is it not? I forgive you, now do not do it again'. This is Daama.
So, at first, you make them aware without making them feel like a culprit. If they repeated it, then you make them feel responsible for the mistake, and forgive them.
You should never make a person feel like a culprit in the very first time of committing a mistake unknowingly. See, if you create guilt within them by blaming them at the very first instance, then they will never improve their ways. They will never be able to gain awareness and overcome their wrong ways.

So after Saama comes Daama.
Suppose even after doing all this, they continue to repeat their mistakes, then you need to adopt the approach of Danda (punishment). And if punishment also does not work, then one needs to adopt the way of Bheda (meaning to change one’s behaviour towards the other person).
Then you tell them, 'Okay, since you continue to repeat this mistake even after my telling you so many times, I am not going to behave the same way with you anymore'.
This will make them feel a pinch of guilt about what they have done, and they will understand the pain of their mistake.
Danda is the last measure one needs to adopt. When someone does not listen even after doing everything else, then you need to pick up a stick to make them understand. Someone who does not understand and improve their ways even after explaining and persuasion, will only understand through punishment (Danda).

Monday, June 9, 2014

NO HARSH WORDS 5 DAY CHALLENGE! are you ready?!





The first step to being on the spiritual path is not to blame yourself.  To forgive others, we must first start with sincerely forgiving ourselves.  The way to do this is to let go of the past.
See a mistake as a happening and learn from it.
How can we truly be there, sincerely be there, for another, if we are not there for ourselves?
Where is the sincerity, the integrity  in us if we pretend to be pleasant and hurl insults behind the back?

Join the 5 day challenge:

NO HARSH WORDS TO YOURSELF OR OTHERS UNTIL JUNE 14TH.


Whenever you choose to let go of what someone said to you, and contemplate what may really going on inside for them v.s. their negative expression, (remember the old saying..."walk a mile in my shoes?) , your awareness goes up, your center returns.  Your response will not be fueled by emotion from your side and you will respond skillfully, you won't react.

People say and do things that are hurtful, negative or destructive -  out of fear.
Remove the fear and the defense or attack consciousness cannot rise.
Remove the culprit (shame) or victim consciousness...same thing...hurt, anger, negativity can't exist.

Can we be honest? 

If someone calls you a bad name..how do you react?
If someone praises you...how to you react?
If someone calls you an idiot and shouts at you...how do you react?
If someone sincerely says, I love you...how do you react?
If someone ignores you...how do you react?
If someone criticizes you...how do you react?

If it's someone who is really close to you, something may expand or contract from within.
The question is, do you hold onto the words or do you take action to become free & back to center?

Our words...Your words...have Power
Every time we call someone a bad name, we complain, gossip or attack/defend with our words, all we're doing is spreading negativity on the planet.  The wise don't spread negativity nor are they affected by it. The skillful action may be to address it.  The best way to decide what the right action is - is to be free in your mind, centered in your heart - and then communicate.

The minute we step foot onto a spiritual path and start meditating, our words have more power.
The words of the enlightened have immense power.
This is why an enlightened master will say yes, if there is even 5% possibility, and,
they will say no only when something will bring harm.

Share the 5-day challenge with friends, family & frenemies 

When you lead by example, others follow.
Good or bad...so, let's lead with happiness!

I'd love to hear from you.





Saturday, June 7, 2014

THE VALUE OF OBTAINING A HUMAN BODY


I would say, don’t waste time waiting. Explore the depth of your Being and you will realize that the Supreme Consciousness is not someone coming in the future but is here, now. Faith in this knowledge is the sign of a seeker on the spiritual path - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Brahmandanda Saraswati (Gurudev)
was the Shankaracharya of Jyotir Math. A Shankaracharya is the head of one of the four cardinal institutions established by Adi Shankara in the 8th century CE and its appointees bear the title of Shankaracharya. Adi Shankara was one of the (if not THE) greatest philosophers of all time.

The famous pop group, the Beatles, visited Rishikesh, India and spent time there with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Maharishi was a beloved devotee of Brahmananda Saraswati, also known as "Gurudev."

 A popular Beatles song, "Across the Universe", was written by John Lennon. It contains the refrain "Jai Guru Dev", meaning Victory to the Big Mind/Victory to Guru Dev. Guru is the remove of darkness and Dev is the play of the Divine. This is the beauty, the indescribable blessing of having a Guru.

I came across this writing of Gurudev's today and wanted to share it with you.  May his wisdom wake you up so that you do not waste one moment of this precious life in misery  or with harsh words,  but in sharing joy and love. 


TO GET A HUMAN BODY IS A RARE THING - MAKE FULL USE OF IT.

THERE ARE FOUR MILLION KINDS OF LIVES WHICH A SOUL CAN GATHER.

AFTER THAT, IT GETS ONE CHANCE TO BE HUMAN,
TO GET A HUMAN BODY.

THEREFORE,
 ONE SHOULD NOT WASTE THIS CHANCE.
EVERY SECOND IN HUMAN LIFE IS VALUABLE.

IF YOU DON'T VALUE THIS, THEN YOU WILL HAVE NOTHING IN HAND, AND
YOU WILL WEEP IN THE END.


BECAUSE YOU ARE HUMAN, GOD HAS GIVEN YOU POWER TO THINK
AND DECIDE WHAT IS GOOD AND BAD.

THEREFORE, YOU CAN DO THE BEST POSSIBLE KIND OF ACTION.

YOU SHOULD NEVER CONSIDER YOURSELF WEAK OR A FALLEN CREATURE.

WHATEVER MAY HAVE HAPPENED UP TO NOW MAY BE BECAUSE YOU
DIDN'T KNOW, BUT NOW - BE CAREFUL.

AFTER GETTING A HUMAN BODY, IF YOU DON'T REACH GOD, THEN YOU WILL
HAVE SOLD A DIAMOND FOR THE PRICE OF SPINACH.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Pay It Forward & Spread Love!



A dear friend gifted me money this past week in the form of $2.00 bills. A lot of them.

I had no idea what the significance of the crisp, new $2.00 bills was, but knew it meant something for him to have taken the time to provide a gift in this particular form of currency. I googled a few things and couldn't come up with any answer, so the next day I drove to my regular bank.

On the way a voice popped into my head and said,  "this bank could get robbed."
 THAT was unusual; there was no reason that I was aware of to think this.
I pushed it aside and continued into the parking lot, when the same thought popped in again...
"This bank could  get robbed."  This time I paid attention and went inside of myself, where intuition hangs out, before stepping out of the car.  Something said, its okay to go in today; nonetheless, I turned my awareness level up a few notches.

I was quite surprised to see a policeman in the bank as soon as I entered, instead of the usual friendly clerk who serves hot popcorn and cookies.

A smiling bank teller motioned for me to come forward. She was new and of Chinese heritage. This turned out to be a nice stroke of luck because, being of Asian descent, she knew what made a $2.00 bill special. According to her culture its a sign of luck to receive a $2.00 bill and she encouraged me to keep a few of them for myself and to hand out to loved ones.  She added that the person who gifted it to me had literally showered me with luck.  I let her know it was a gift from a dear student, to which she replied, "You must be a very good teacher," and she asked me what I taught.

I told her a bit about the Art of Living programs and the connection between our breath and our state of mind, and the ability to manage emotions. She listened intently and then leaned forward and whispered, " "We were robbed twice since the 5 months I've been here. It just happened again last week and they haven't caught the guy." This explained the words of caution I head from within.

She said that she is very afraid to come to work now and she's seeing therapist but it isn't helping  her very much. She's frightened and so is her husband.

I could see the fear in her eyes, so I took the time to explain a little bit more about the Art of Living program ) and the connection between the breath and emotions that helps us to let go of fear.  She was so grateful to know about the Art of Living program ( www.artofliving.org) and I invited her to attend an upcoming free seminar.

She took my hands and said, " You are my Angel today. I'm coming with my husband".

Its amazing to witness the domino impact one act of generosity had on so many lives.

DO YOU HAVE A PAY IT FORWARD STORY TO SHARE ?

I'd love to hear from you!