Health and Wellness by Mandakini Kwatra
They say health is wealth. And this is absolutely true at all times for each and every one. No one has achieved success in life with an unhealthy body and mind. Being healthy doesn’t mean one will never get ill. In fact, there wouldn’t be any significance of a healthy body if one never gets ill. Health is a state of the body and how fit you are to fight any illness is what determines it. Your immunity defines your health. Of course, there is also this fact that a healthy body is less prone to illnesses.
Our body has an amazing capacity to heal itself. And let’s be honest with ourselves, we have abused this a lot. Despite the fact that we do not take care of our body, it has been a lot more loyal to us than we deserve. Think about what you eat, the amount of sugar, processed food etc. that goes into your body every day, and what good they do to you. Wisdom lies in moderation but we do get carried away with our taste buds most of the times. We often choose unhealthy diet over healthy and organic foods like salads, fruits, green vegetables. The major reason is that we aim to please our taste buds than pleasing other vital organs.
Consciously, we are all aware that we need to feed our body and soul appropriately, and we do gather knowledge too, from books and Internet, but the action is missing. Which is why there are so many people suffering from obesity, hypertension, indigestion, acidity and other common ailments.
It is high time that we stop taking our body for granted and treat it the way that it should be – with love and care. For it is no one else, but us who are going to suffer the consequences. So, time to wipe off the dust that has gathered on your bookshelf, and get hold of your book on health / wellness / diet / exercise. Renew your new year resolutions and start over again. It’s never too late. Our body and soul deserve a king – like treatment, for even if one organ goes missing in action, our life may come to a standstill. Take care and stay tuned for more on fitness, diets, yoga etc.
What Does It Really Mean To Be Free?
Freedom is a word often used and abused in books, dictionaries, poems and novels. It is an encompassing word that is so powerful in its idea that it has been often misused, twisted and misunderstood. I have my own take on freedom and what it means to me and should mean to others.
Freedom is a sense of deep joy. It is a feeling of abandonment like the lifting of heavy chains. But freedom from what? Dropping the chains of what and what to unburden from? Well, relationships for one. Detachment is to be practised here meaning you value your relations and loved ones. You respect and honour them but you don’t compromise your life and beliefs because of them. You are with them yet independent of them. You value your loneliness and space and dive into it from time to time. “You are in the world but not of it”
Free yourself from false identities and flawed egos to a more relaxed and meditative state free from internal turbulence and regurgitated internal dialogues. Freedom is to be in the ‘here and now’. You must be completely free from the dimension of time with no past and no future, just the eternal ‘here and now’. You must be free from the cage and limitations of the body to be able to grasp at the very soul and then hold on to it. You must also be economically and socially free as in self-reliant and economically well to do. Social freedom is to break the chains of superstition and oppression of certain beliefs to rely souls on your intellect and good judgement independent of any other advice.
Freedom is also love and giving. Love binds us in an intangible glue that is seen yet unseen. Give abundance of love and you will receive the same in return. Freedom of debate and universal ideas, freedom to discuss and thrash out with a democratic order. Now that’s real freedom. You must have freedom from prejudice due to colour, ethnic background, age, gender or sexuality. To be able to embrace all and not judge any, that is true freedom.
Freedom from religious oppression and the freedom to practice your own faith and cultural roots. Freedom to be you in all its totality and vibrance. Freedom, utter freedom!
How To Deal With Post Rape Trauma by Mandakini Kwatra
In the light of current controversies surrounding the conviction of Dera chief, Ram Rahim and a few other Godmen waiting for a judgment, I observe that there has been neither any talk nor thought about the prolonged ordeal that the rape victims may have gone through.
Whenever a rape incident is in news, the focus of the general public, largely, is on punishing the wrongdoers. In a way, it is a sign of support that people do not look down upon the victims nowadays (there is still a section of society including our learned politicians who blame the victims for inappropriate attire). While, of course, it is absolutely necessary to convict the criminal(s), but more importantly, it is crucial to counsel the victims so that they can move on in their lives.
Rarely have we read about the victim’s trauma because it doesn’t interest us. Our personalities have become such that we let our anger overpower our compassionate sides. What interests us more is the police investigations, the court findings, public debates etc. And we follow blindly what the social and print media tells us without an iota of doubt that the convict himself could have fallen prey to a well-planned conspiracy. We never dare to think otherwise because we derive pleasure from punishment. Our entire legal system is based on nothing but revenge.
Having said this, I, by no means intend to defend the wrongdoers. I would rather stress on the reformation of both the victims and the convicts. In this article, I will share my thoughts on rape victim counselling. At first, we need to understand that rape victims are very sensitive to human touch so they may have a tendency to take otherwise, any physical advances. But, at the same time, a motherly hug can work wonders.
They need to be assured repeatedly that it is not their fault. They tend to blame themselves for not putting up enough fight and also because they were tagged as ‘dirty’ and impure. But society has changed with time and people have now started accepting the survivors back. An event this devastating can snatch away anyone’s self-esteem and nurturing them back is a task in itself. But love, patience and compassion can change it all.
It is also important to talk to someone trustworthy about the incident, the worries and the flashes. Tell them how you feel about the incident. Don’t isolate yourself and engage in social activities. Isolation will lead to overthinking and eventually get worse. A lot of NGOs are now providing employment opportunities for rape survivors.
Also, be prepared to have nightmares and flashes of the incidents. Exercise some slow breathing techniques and meditation to calm yourself. So whenever you have one, be aware that it is not reality and slow down your breathing to avoid a panicky state. To be connected to friends and family is the best and the quickest way to come out of the trauma. To the friends and family of the survivors, I would recommend giving unconditional support and love so that they can heal faster.
Reap What You Sow
Most of us have heard this phrase – “you reap what you sow” and some of us have experienced it too. But what we don’t know is that this is not limited to just our actions and words, but our thoughts too, for these are also the seeds that we sow. We become what we think. The law of karma is equally applicable to our pattern of thoughts and the same kind of thoughts, over and over again, will eventually transform into an action – you will be hypnotized.
Some people do not think before saying or doing something. Some, at least, think before responding to others. But not many are aware of the thoughts that they generate when they are with themselves. You can think of murdering someone and not do it actually for socio-practical reasons but a mere thought is enough to change your category of karma. The outcome of what we sow in the form of our thoughts is born at the same moment. For example, if you feel hatred for someone and think of harming the other, the entire feeling that you have is very unpleasant and disturbing. So the feeling that you reaped out of the thought that you sowed is what makes you, and not the other, feel miserable.
It is easy to deceive the world but not yourself. Only you would know whether you are a devil or a saint at a given moment. Your behaviour with others versus what you feel for them differs. This is required too, for we cannot go around killing those who we don’t like. But then this would mean that we will have to suppress our feelings. I, personally, don’t approve of any sort of suppression (please refer to my previous articles on how to get rid of your suppressions). Rather, I would stress on the transformation from negative to positive thoughts.
The first step is to identify that you have a negative thought pattern. Identification is a crucial and foremost step towards transformation. And the change will have to be deep rooted, not superficial. So you need to change your lifestyle to change your thought pattern. The more you live in love, empathy compassion and creativity, the less you will think ugly. The focus is always on maximizing positivity and not reducing negativity. So love more and meditate more, feel pious and be pious in the true sense.
What is Destiny?
We, as Indians, are a fatalistic society, we believe heavily on karma and destiny. We put our faith in all these things when things are bad and even when they are good. It is a kind of God’s will, a way to say that “Rab ki itcccha hei”. Destiny rides on a chariot of two horses namely Karma which is action and desire which is the want or need of something. The result of this is called the karma pahal or the fruits of our desire and actions.
As our desire, so are our action as our actions chase our desires. We pull at one and the reigns of the chariot. It moves to the left as we tug and it moves to the right at another tug. Destiny stems out of the two. It is a path that we have walked on using our free will but not without the interference of a higher power. When things go out of hand, we blame it on destiny. When they go according to plan, we take credit for it ourselves. The fact is that both victory and defeat are not in our hands. As Krishna tells Arjun in the Geeta “You have control on your sight, you have control on your bow and arrow but you do not have control on the deer that you are about to hunt down. If the deer moves even a bit, you will miss your target.” Our goals on which we aim the arrows of our desires are not in our hands. Therefore, many times, we miss the mark and then repent when our objectives are not met.
This leads to a feeling of failure which leads to depression and a feeling of being a loser. Again, to pacify ourselves, we bring destiny into the equation and put our blame on it. So here, destiny becomes a scapegoat. Destiny becomes something that we can fall on as a punching bag. Krishna says “Only the path of desireless action can lead us to fulfilment. Action where we seek no result can lead us to happiness. When we are content with both victory and defeat, it becomes a path of enlightenment.”
Destiny or the path can unfold in front of us as we purify our soul, sharpen our minds and use the power of intent. This is also called syncrodestiny which is achieved by attracting coincidences into our lives. These coincidences are subtle messages from the universe that invite us on to our path. These are like doorways or portals that guide us on the way. These can be in the shape of people, guides, gurus or just events that shape our destiny.
Thought and intent are foremost. They are interconnected. I think each individual should take the responsibility of their own actions and not just blame it on fate or destiny. We should be the masters of our own destiny and create our own path through focused concentration and desireless action.
Karma and The Theory of Reincarnation
Karma and reincarnation theory has its origins in the Indian subcontinent and is laced with the spirituality of the East. Reincarnation and the Karma theory are tied together like twins. One cannot be separated from the other. It states that we, as mortal beings, have a human form which is made up of five elements: Fire, Water, Space, Earth and Air. This human body is, thus, made of Punchatatva. This is only the beginning, the body is just a temporary home and in it resides the eternal. The eternal is the soul, the soul was never born and never dies. It cannot be destroyed. It just moves from one body to the other like a traveller moves from one home to the other. The soul travels from one body to the other.
The body can be destroyed by age, by disease, by famine, by a weapon, by hunger and so on but the soul is indestructible. It is eternal and will remain so. Therefore, why weep for the body which is in itself a temporary abode and why weep for your loved ones as they are just temporary relationships. From the time we are born in the body to the time we are dead, we see our loved ones pass away. Death and disease destroy the body and we weep at our loss. But know that this is just temporary and will also pass. Thus temporary are all our relationships today. Today, they exist and tomorrow, they will disappear. Today, they seem real, alive and true but tomorrow, they will be nothing but a dream, a haze just existing in the past and in our memory. So why lose sleep over them as they themselves are temporary.
Now amongst all this, only one thing remains immortal and that is the soul. As the Vedas say, the soul cannot be destroyed by fire, water or any weapon even of mass destruction as it is beyond all that. As we age, our body withers away, becomes weak and then dies. The soul escapes from the jail of the body and takes up another body and so the cycle of reincarnation goes on. So in fact, from the level of the soul, we never die and are never born. We just trespass from one form to another. This form can be human, animal, bird, insect or even bacteria. The Vedas talk about 84 lakh yonis or life forms that a soul has to go through to get a human form or body. The human form is the most supreme so as 6 billion humans on this planet. We should be grateful that we have been blessed with a human form and a human body. We, as humans, have an ability to think and act due to free will which can be used to either do good or bad.
So what is this good or bad? Good is when we think of others and do for others. Bad is when we only think of ourselves and not for the greater good of society or for others. To do good for society is to be and do good. The more good we do, the more brownie points we get which means that we will get a better human form in the next life. We might be born as a king and have a much better life than we have currently have. To do bad is to only think of our needs and harm others for our selfish needs. This will lead to an inferior life like the life of a dog or an insect. The fact to remember is that if we are born as an insect, we will again have to travel 84 lakh yonis to get the yoni of a human.
So here, Karma comes to play. The better our actions, the better our deed. This leads to the good of all society and therefore, we have the chance to purify our soul further. Better deeds lead to a better life in the next Janma and so forth. Thus, we are told to be good and do good. Good is a movement towards the positive, the enhancement of the self and the happiness of the others. Bad leads us to an inferior life in the next Janma.
So what of the soul? The soul is the life energy which is part of the universal soul or as we say, the combined life energy of the universe. Thus, the phrase “We are not the drop in the ocean but the ocean in the drop”. The act of prayer, sadhna, pooja and meditation is when we go inwards to find God and find and understand the soul. This is what we call looking inwards or Antarmukhi, a person who meditates to find the meaning of the soul by going inwards. Doers also search for God but they do that by Karma Yoga. By action, they look for God outwards.
In the Buddhist monasteries of Dharamsala, I saw the Bhikshus chanting and meditating. They were doing this to cut desire and escape the cycle of birth and death to reach an eternal space called Samsara, a point of no return. It is the point where the individual soul merges with the universal soul and never takes a human form or another form. It escapes this cycle and never returns. The drop merges with the ocean. This is called Moksha, a point of no return. Every soul has only one goal and that is to attain Moksha and escape the cycle of birth and death.
Like the balance sheet of a company, our karmas are the good and bad of our lives according to our deeds and when the books are balanced, Moksha is achieved.
Make Travel a Play, Not a Journey
Most people see travel as a journey with a beginning and an end. You start from somewhere and end it somewhere. This leads to stress, worry and hurry. You want to be in a constant rush of reaching somewhere and arriving somewhere and that destroys the very beauty of travel. Travel should be like learning a musical instrument or like dancing. You don’t work a piano, you play it. You dance for the joy of dancing. You don’t wait to see where you will arrive in the room at the end of the dance because if you become conscious of the end, you will miss the dance. So make travel a Leela, a dance, a spontaneous symphony which has no definite finale or ending. That way, you will remain spontaneous and enjoy every moment of the travel. Your eyes and heart will be fixed in the moment and you will be focused on the journey.
You can change course if you like and the travel will meander and change course with you. Remember, the entire existence is not going anywhere. It has been here since eternity and will remain here forever. It has no purpose. The only purpose it has is to dance and throb with energy every moment with no beginning and no end. Talk to people, share your stories, give them love and get love from them. You are the one who can see the journey from your very perspective as no one else can. Make it a dance and don’t make it a race. You have been running around a lot, so just relax and breathe. It’s all Leela and you are the puppeteer and the ring master alike.
Why The Only Advice You Should Hear Is Your Own
I am in Dehradun today in the loving company of my grandmother. The rains have been pouring into this valley for days. I was delighted and went out in the rain to meet an aunt of mine. She is an old Hindi teacher who had taught me Hindi when I was in school. “You should get married you know. You are forty now. You will need someone when you get old. How long can you go on living like this.” she said as she handed me a plate of puri. “Well, I can go on living like this as long as you can go on living the way you are. There are no right or wrong ways of living.”
“But you have to get married someday. Who will look after you when you are old?” she said with concern in her eyes. “Well, people will come on the way. There are a few people looking after me today. New people will look after me when I am old. Life does not stop. It is a constant movement.” My aunt took a deep breath and then poured out her heart to me including the problems with her bahu, her displeasure with how young women treat their in-laws these days and so on. I realised that she had turned against her own preaching now and instead of showing me the positive points of family life, she was now telling me their negatives.
The only advice that is right is the advice that works for you. All of us are blessed with a certain nature and that nature leads us to the life we lead. Mine has led me to the life that I enjoy today. So is it fair to say that my life is not complete somehow? Not really. My life is complete as complete as it should be for a person of my personality and traits. It is perfect for me in every way. As a mystic once said, “At any given point in life, your life is giving you the best results.” If you realise this, you will be happy and content. The results you are being given are the best for you. Life is not moving from imperfection to perfection, it is moving from perfection to perfection. You are complete within yourself, you don’t need anyone to complete you. When you realise this, the yogi in you will rise and you will move towards your blissful state.
So only hear your voice, the voice of your heart and heed no one’s advice. Go all the way, all the way! Don’t stop, just keep going all the way and you will find what you seek. So next time someone gives you an advice, smile, shake your head and then do what the fuck you were going to do anyways.
Why Should You Meditate? by Mandakini Kwatra
Meditation is the ultimate solution! But the solution to what? To stress, anger, frustration, misery and such other ‘so-called’ diseases. And who brings these to us? Ourselves. Yes, it is we who inflict these diseases on ourselves. It is our mind’s pattern to create such sadness around and make our lives more miserable. And it is this pattern that needs to be changed to experience that luxurious feeling of bliss and happiness. We need to RELAX!
So, what is obvious is that we are looking for happiness, relaxation, peace and bliss. But, the reality is that we are living in hell, misery, sadness etc. that comes from various diseases like expectations, greed, non-acceptance, anger and unhealthy relationships. Definitely, everyone is making efforts and trying to be happy. But, in this process, something is going wrong because the result of all our efforts is not happiness. What are we doing incorrectly? The approach is completely wrong. We don’t have to look for happiness. Simply removing the sadness and its causes are enough. Once the veil of misery is removed, you will find that bliss already exists, within, not somewhere outside in material possessions or other fellow beings. You will discover an ocean of compassion, love, peace, relaxation, bliss only when you go beyond these mind-diseases. So now we know the reason for our unhappiness and what we need to do to get rid of this unhappiness and enter into a realm of bliss. But how to achieve this? Since the list of these diseases is long, I would suggest that you go through the websites School of Life and Hello Spirituality. Read the articles and check out the videos on these websites. The solutions are already mentioned and in great length.
Next, we need to understand what meditation is. Meditation is not any activity or method. To put it simply, it is “sitting silently, doing nothing”. It is not some technique but it has become a way of life. However, to reach a meditativeness state, techniques are required, both active and inactive. For the mind to be present and aware, all disturbances need to be removed, which is why active techniques are recommended for beginners. Do try some very short techniques that are already mentioned on the websites to catch a glimpse of the inner realm of peace and bliss.
The benefits of meditation are countless and cover a lot of dimensions. Besides the ones already mentioned like stress, anger, anxiety, frustration, lack of direction etc. it is also known to improve relationships, focus, willpower, awareness, wisdom and promote divergent thinking as well. For a spiritual seeker, there is no other path than meditation to satisfy the spiritual thirst. Needless to say, no harmful effects have been found for meditation, ever. By practising meditation on daily basis, one can easily attain peace of mind, bliss, stability, happiness and inner fulfilment which then results in the effective execution of all the tasks in life and attainment of work life balance.
It will, therefore, be correct to determine that a balanced life can be achieved only by practising meditation on a daily basis. Meditation helps in difficult times when practised in easy times. So never postpone it. The sooner you start, the better it is. Also, it is a myth and excuse that meditation is for old people. In fact, the right age should be 14-15 years. In later years, it becomes more and more difficult. So what are you waiting for? Start here and now! Good luck!
My Experiences in a Mental Asylum
My foray into Bollywood was marked with controversy. Every rejection that I got in an audition added to my misery. My doubts about my talent and abilities kept resurfacing again and again. I quarrelled with my parents when I decided to take up an alternative career. I went against their expectations of becoming a corporate honcho in a multinational bank. “You want to be a bhaand? I mean only those people go there who have nothing. You are educated, take up a job” my dad used to bark. I was not ready to relent as I was fascinated by Bollywood as I was a free spirited person who enjoyed his liquor and smoked pot regularly, indulging in free sex from time to time. I felt that the Bollywood life was made for me. After some struggle, I started getting good work and also got my share of respect and recognition.
The subsequent death of my mother with cancer was a big setback to me personally as my equation with my father changed. My mom used to be the arbitrator whenever I and my dad argued with each other. With her departure from the world, dad and I just couldn’t communicate with each other. The rift grew wider between us. My drug problem only made things worse as time passed with some unwanted relatives adding fuel to fire.
I was also fascinated by the OSHO cult and was very much influenced by his ideals and methods especially his many meditation techniques. My dad did not like my approval of OSHO as he, like all ordinary men, equated OSHO with a sex cult and nothing more. This class of ideas between me and dad added to the tension. My dad tried to reason with me and finally decided to take me to a rehabilitation centre cum a mental asylum so that my condition would improve.
The clinic was run by a Dr. Razdan who was a very well established psychiatrist in Jodhpur. To flush the drugs out of my system, they used to sedate me for hours. All around me, I saw poor people, camel headers, sheep herders and other people from parts of Rajasthan who used to come to meet the doctor. They were not mentally sick according to me. Their sickness was only one and that was POVERTY. Medicines by the dozens were given to me. The doctor even tried regression theory on me and took me back to the time when I was a child.
After one such regular dose of injection, I got up and realised that I had lost my memory. “Who am I? Where am I?” I asked Tiwari, my manager, who was interested in taking me to the asylum. “Do you know who you have acted with? You know where you live? Sir, do you even know your name?” I looked perplexed. I had even forgotten my hotel room number let alone my name. The medications were making me sleepy and lethargic. They made my condition even worse. I tell you, a rehab will make your condition even worse. The doctor was experimenting on my trying and testing new medications on me. All of it was making my condition even worse. Dr Razdan was a short fat bald man who saw patients all day, almost a 100 patients a day. Although he was famous in the area, I don’t think he was as good as people said he was. “Nice to see you” he would say with a smile on his face as he got ready to inject me with another dose of his evil syrup. I hated it all. I would rather overdose on cocaine than be injected with his vile potion onto my skin. To keep himself company, he would carry a cage full of singing birds who would dance and sing for him all day. He reminded me of Dr. Mangela, a sweet man with an evil intent. I was amazed this asylum thing was making my condition even worse.
The only thing that got me out of my condition was the murder of my father. That one shock was enough to wake me up from my slumber and then take charge of my life again. That shock was more than enough and more effective than all the shocks that I got in the asylum. Even all the regression practices. That one shock got me out of my drug habit and today, I am healthy, more peaceful and more aware of my emotions. But I have paid a huge price for it as I lost my father because of it.
Nonetheless, hope has kept me going. Hope that I am not ill. Hope that I can take on the world. Hope that no matter how bad things are, they will always improve. Hope that I am sane and will remain so.
Life is a Gift by Mandakini Kwatra
How often have we come across people complaining about their daily struggles in life? Almost every day! And if you further scrutinise the content of such complaints, you will find them so petty and meaningless, and all of which is created by the individual itself. This ‘life’ is a gift to us bestowed by the existence. What we have made it into is a result of our choices.
And look at the irony – when we achieve something in life, we owe it to ourselves, but when we fail, we curse life. This certainly isn’t the way to thank the existence for once in a lifetime gift.
Life is a beautiful gift and you have earned it. You only get what you deserve and this life is the existence’s way of thanking you for doing justice with your previous life. So be grateful for each day that brings an opportunity to live your life blissfully surrounded with all the beautiful things that this world has to offer. Be grateful for the struggles too; with every challenge comes an opportunity to transform for the better. Credit the existence for your achievements and learn from your failures and move on. When you start thanking the existence, you will come across lesser things to moan about. And when you start valuing your life, you will also start valuing other lives too that surround you, for theirs is a gift too!
Acceptance of Change Is the Key to Happiness
Change is the only thing that is constant in life and more so now as we move into the age of technology and social media with the formation of the Gig Economy which looks to be the future. We, as people, need to respond to this ever-changing dynamic environment. The same also holds true for our personal relationships. The dynamics of our relationships keep changing as time goes by. Things that hold true and look real today will only be shadows tomorrow. The intensity of love and passion of our relationships will below down and subside as they wither away with time. Our own internal energies are at play here. As our energies move, we move to other relationships and seek fulfilment through new activities.
Not accepting change is a bad thing. It leads to resistance and that invariably leads to unhappiness. So always leave the old and usher in the new. Your ability to respond to change determines your success. You need to figure out new ways to solve problems, unlearn skills and give up old habits. Learn new skills and then develop your business strategies accordingly. The same holds true for your business and personal partnerships. Seek out new people with different skill sets and motivate them to learn further.
But for that, you need to accept change and embrace it as something for the better. Change can come to you gradually or in a sudden burst. I think it is important to understand that and then learn to let go of the past to usher in the new.
Understand that change is always for the better and never resist it.
Self-Help Techniques to Overcome Depression! By Mandakini Kwatra
Hello, my depressed souls! I know that I promised to share my secrets with you last month. Guess it’s been a long time since then! But in the meanwhile, I’ve been trying my methods, yet again, to verify if they still work the way they did the first time. And yes, they still do! (For me at least, and I hope they would work for you too.)
Let me first say to you that depression is not bad. So there is no reason for you to get depressed over your depression. This thought, ‘why am I depressed?’, is causing more devastation than the depression itself. If you are depressed right now or have been in the past, then you are one of the rare fortunate people that this existence has chosen for bestowing maturity and growth through your own experience. But for this realisation to happen, you must overcome depression. In fact, it can be done either way – once you overcome depression, you will yourself feel fortunate to have matured. And vice versa, if you can accept and feel this fact that you are fortunate, your depression will go on its own. No other effort is required. If you genuinely accept that there is some learning hidden behind the event that triggered the state of depression, it has to go, it cannot stay with you any longer. Because now you will introspect and look for a lesson and simply move on.
In other words, the mere acceptance of the fact that you are depressed is enough to get you rid of it. And this is a very important aspect that I speak of – the problem does not lie in the disease, but in its non-acceptance. The moment you accept, the very same moment it will stop bothering you, or at least the intensity will go down. This is the ultimate solution and foremost, for those who are courageous enough to identify and accept the existence of this disease.
But it’s ok if you cannot take this jump. For some, baby steps are easier to practice, and that’s perfectly alright. In fact, I took baby steps too. The most important thing is to not resist, and instead, support it. So, if you feel like crying or screaming, do that, in a closed room perhaps. This is a very widely known therapy – catharsis. In my next post, I will share details of how I’ve done it in all these years, but for now, just google up and start practising.
Then music helps immensely. Set your own playlist and do some workout or maybe just dance, or sing along. Dance like no one is watching. Do not just listen to music. Add an activity to it, like singing or dancing, so you’re not carried away while listening to your favourite playlist.
Also, it can be a good time to invest in your hobby or start a new one. The more creative you are, the less prone you will be to depression. For me, a simple colouring book is as effective.
Sometimes, it can be good to talk to a real person. So here is an activity you can try. Find at least 10 people and share the reason for your sadness/depression with them. But please tell them beforehand that they should not be offering any unsolicited advice since this is only therapy. After you have shared your saga with about 4-5 people, you will see the difference. The emotions that you would have displayed in the very first sharing will not be there as soon as you approach towards the last one.
Please be aware that these methods may or may not work for you. If that’s is the case, it is best to seek medical help. However, if you have the will and faith, you will definitely overcome depression by trying out these self-help techniques. Also, these need to be practised regularly for the results to appear, so patience is required. For clinical help, you can try psychologists and other related professionals who can guide to overcome depression. You can try websites like www.juno.clinic, www.livehealthonline.com, www.dialmyangel.com for online therapists and psychiatrists. Or feel free to drop me an email at email@example.com if you feel that I can be of any help to you.
If you plan to try any of the methods I suggested, please do let me know your feedback. And in case I feel I have missed out on something, I will make sure to include it in my next post. Until then… Buh-bye!
The Sardars of Shiv Khori
The depression of losing the world cup last night had now gone away and I had to move on from my abode in Chail towards the village of Kuniyaar, where I wanted to see the famous Shiv Temple and the Shiv Khori which is a Guffa with a Shiva Lingam in it. On my way to Solan, I stopped over to courier my passport for my Tibet trip but first things first. I reached Shiv Khori in the late afternoon and, as usual, got off the car with my camera lens all ready to shoot this den of wonders – The den of Shiva. It was a walk downhill for a while as we approached the temple complex. On my way down, I saw a group of Sardars passing by who had just finished worshipping at the Shiv Khori.
I stopped over to chat to them “You all come here to pray? It is wonderful to see Sardars in a Shiv Temple.” I said folding my hands in a namaste “Yes sir ji, the Lord is only one, He has many names and many roopa, but He is all one and truth is also one. For us, it makes no difference whether it is Shiva or Nanak, They are all one and we respect all Dharmas.” I was amazed to see such a broad through on theology by a group of rustic Sardars, wearing only a vest, torn shirt and trousers. Even at this level, their thought was so profound and really touched a chord. I felt happier and peaceful as I approached the temple. I went into the Guffa that leads from the temple. It was cool with a soft wind blowing, right in the middle was the Shiv Linga. A few ladies were sitting around it trying to meditate with a group of men on the other side, head bowed with respect and devotion. As I ventured into the temple complex, I was invited into the kitchen for some food or prasadam. We sat down to have rice, dal and vegetables. At the end of the meal, kheer was served which I ate to my heart’s content. I walked back to my car full and nourished for my journey ahead. My night stay will be in a frugal guest house costing only Rs 1200 a night with a dinner of butter chicken and chapatis. It seems like my journey around the fabulous state of Himachal has just begun.
But today, I bow my hat to the feisty Sardars of Shiv Khori who are a burning symbol of religious tolerance and love for all humanity and religious equality. Even when places in our world burn out of religious hatred and bloodshed in the name of God, the Sardars of Shiv Khori are leading us all from darkness into light.
What is Consciousness?
Well, to explore this term, people have used so many jargons and loaded words. People are confused as to what is really consciousness and what it does for us. I will try and explain this in simple terms as I have understood it through reading and listening into other people’s experience and through, of course, my own direct experience.
Consciousness is the universal force field. It is where all matter and energy came out of. It is the true real source and it is one. The Hindus call it the atman, the supreme force field, the beginning and the end of all. At the level of pure consciousness, we are all one. Underneath the multi-coloured diversity, there is only one true source that connects and binds us all and that source, field, energy is pure consciousness.
So what? Well, the yogis and monks of the east devised various forms of meditation and chanting techniques so that we could tap into this universal force field and use its positivity to drown negative emotions and drive them away from our sphere. All that we know is negative emotions like hate, jealousy, sickness, fear, doubt and depression. All these can be cured by raising our level of consciousness and tapping into the universal force field. So that is the area where it can help and add value to each individual. As we tap into this consciousness by meditation, chanting and other transcendental meditation techniques, qualities like love, superior intelligence, creativity, bliss, joy and even problem-solving techniques are enhanced. We begin to feel more love and poetry emerges from within us. Life is a dance without any resistance. Everything looks easy, pure and effortless. The manifestations of your desires and dreams are effortless. That is what raising individual consciousness is all about and that is why guys are like OSHO, Satguru and Deepak Chopra are in great demand. They, through their guidance and meditation techniques, are able to help you tap into this universal force field and transform your life. That is the fruit of modern day spirituality and that is why people throng to these gurus with sacks of money. They are all ready to buy that bliss and trade their Rolls-Royce for it.
One of the other powerful qualities that emerge in you is that of intuition and I have a first-hand experience of it. A dear friend of mine, Tiwari Ji, a writer from the holy city of Benares in India had a great intuition. But it was only about me. He could predict events in my life and who I was about to meet, how events in my life will unfold and even things like who I should associate with or if any harm was coming to me. At one moment of time, I trusted his intuition so much that I took my future based on the strength of what he could see coming in my life and yes, he was very accurate most of the time. He was also a meditator and liked to retreat to quiet spaces to tap into the force field and revive his intuition about me.
Artists especially can benefit from tapping into these states of consciousness as it is the source of all creativity, great plots, writers, filmmakers and even scientists who have experienced the magic of consciousness. So get your tinker bells and robes out, put on some soothing raga and get down to meditate. Consciousness is within you and through it, you are not a part of the whole but the whole itself.
A kind of talk-back is what an echo feels like. What you say reverberates into space and by energy, bounces back at you as a repetition. You can hear it in Gothic churches, tombs, valleys, caves and between two mountain peaks. An echo is your own reflection from the cosmos. We beings have our own individual echoes which only we can radiate and receive. We are one with our echo and that is why it is important to have a positive self-echo. It is after all, a reflection of our self.
We need to hear our own echoes as it is a window to our own internal dialogue and emotional state. The clearer and crisper our echo, the more we are self-aware and in tune with our internal dialogue and life goals.
On the physical plane, exercise, yoga, meditation, surya namaskar and pranayama are exercises to build a positive life echo for each of us and one should incorporate these in their life routine and schedule. My trips to Baba Ramdev’s ashram and to Mansarovar are also meant to keep me fit and my internals clean so that a positive echo can be built within me.
What you throw to the universe, the universe throws it back at you. That is why an undifferentiated and positive echo is a must for us to have in our lives.
These are like bat sounds, sonars that reverberate as energy from us. People with similar echoes flock to one another and thus form an ecosystem which then begins to thrive and nurture into a colony and so on. Bats relay on this mechanism heavily and so do dolphins. They use it as a radar system to swim and navigate the depths of the seas. An echo is like a search light for them in the dark.
So be aware of your echoes and keep them positive.
How to Build and Nurture Your Dream
Dreams, ahh! That amazing quality of the human mind, to be able to deal and then the ability through consciousness, intent, awareness, visualisation and action manifest that dream. Let us take one stage at a time as we move to build our own individual dreams.
Define Your Dream
First, understand and define your dream, write it down as a mission statement. Verbalise it into a chant and repeat it each day, morning and evening. You could want to be an athlete, a ballet dancer or a scuba diver or just want to be the CEO of a company. Whatever your dream is, write and chant it out. This is a great reinforcement and the first step to building your unique dream.
Bring in Awareness: You need to garland your dream with ideas, chalk out a course of action, visualise your dream every day when you are alone or meditating. The awareness and your visualisation fuels your dream and realigns your internal dialogue as if to add fuel to your ever burning passion for achieving that dream.
Intent: Draw a roadmap towards your dream, add goals, define timelines and call to action. Measure your options, resources and contacts. Are you playing to your strength? is this the direction to both outer and inner fulfilment to your life? Is this going to add value in terms of money, prestige, knowledge, gain or otherwise?
Action: This is the difficult bit. Now take charge of your dream and act on your timetable, make your contacts and your pitch. Simply go out there and do it. Play the game with full confidence, you have after all nurtured your dream. Share it with well-wishers, coaches or family alike to get feedback. Don’t be disheartened by negative feedback, remember, only you know your dream truly and only you know how to manifest it. Not everyone can relate to your dream or is interested in it. It is your mission, not the worlds.
Move Forward: Move ahead with your action plan. The idea is to keep marching ahead making mistakes and then learning from them doing major course corrections as you go along the way. Your dream from being just an idea of a blip which will begin to grow and beaches will appear. You will find solutions and improve your problem resolution skills along the way. I might be about building a new company or developing a film idea. Whatever it is, move forward with it in spite of the hurdles.
Company: Seek a like-minded company that can encourage or facilitate your dream, people willing to go with you on your journey, because they also want to seek out their own truths. You become a facilitator and vice versa.
If It Feels Good It Is Good: Listen to your heart, feel the vibe, the air and the vibrations, if it feels good, it is good and you know you are in the right directions to build your dream and make it grow each day. That is enough, with positivity, that is enough.
Why Surrender Is Better Than Struggle
There are only two ways we can live, guide and move on in life, one is through surrender and the other is through struggle. Surrender is when you take life as it comes and surrenders to a higher power being or entity in which you have placed your entire faith to see things through. So now whatever result you get in life: good, bad or profitable, you see it as the will of the Gods or destiny as people say. You have left everything to the will of this supreme being and have bowed to its wishes. If something bad happens, it happens for a reason and we are only puppets in this game of life, the one holding on to all the strings is someone upstairs. This leads to a feeling of letting go and suddenly the heavy weight of problems of life is dropped. A new found sense of freedom prevails when you have left the game of life played by someone else. Now irrespective of the results, one gets as one just plays as if this was a recreational universe. Surrender is a balm that heals the soul. Organised religion, gurus and spiritual shams all teach us to surrender and focus on Nish Kaam Yoga. That is to do our duty and karma but not be attached to its consequences in either way. As they say “agar maan ka ho tho accha her our agar mean ka na ho tho our phi accha hein” (If you get what you asked for, it is good but if you didn’t get what you hoped for, it is even better)
The other way to live life is the way of the ego which leads to struggle. This is what is happening to the modern man, he believes in himself, that he is the one in charge and fully in control of his life and the results that he gets are the direct consequences of his greatness, effort and genius. Here, man has kept himself as the centre. This leads to struggles when things fail or goes wrong, one has only himself to blame as one had attached himself to the results of one’s actions. This is the way of living life against the tide and flow, it leads to stress, ill health and mental illness. One finds life to be a battle of uphill tasks a chore, which is not. Life is a song, a dance, a joke and a laugh.
What We Want We Do Not Get, What We Get We Do Not Seek
Life is strange with all its contradictions, uncertainties, surprises and a roller coaster trip of never-ending desires that keep renewing itself as we keep chasing like a donkey chases a carrot stick in front of it.
Time to time, you get the feeling that life has changed you, either you are following the wrong things or just that your timing was not right. You chased lofted dreams that went bust, you ran after stuff that was never yours in the first place. You thirsted after illusions and returned empty handed. Yes, why is it that I never get what I wanted? Ask again, are your wants in tune with your life journey, your attributes, your talents, your strengths? If not, you are wishing for fairies and they will not come. Link your desire to your basic core, your basic nature and then fine tune them according to your skill sets, talents, ability and tenacity of getting the job done. Then and only then, can you tune yourself with the force field of your desire as they say in the very seed of your desires, lies the roadmap of its fulfilment. The timing may differ, some get instant gratification and for some, the process is slow and painful.
No one likes unpleasant things happen to them, a death, a material loss, broken relationship, disease and so on, but these come to us uninvited. We do not seek this unwanted pain yet are saddled with it. In rural villages, if someone is inflicted by misfortune, people say he is cursed or he is paying for his sins. When my father so tragically died, people said it was the curse of the wealth of the Tikku family. All sorts of hypothesis were being drawn as to why we had to suffer so much. So in life, we get things that we do not seek, but yet we move on and trudge along.
We move from being fulfilled to a state of non-fulfilment instantly. Not being able to understand that we are on a merry go round tossing up and down on the internal seas of our emotions. All we need to do is just breathe and let things lie low, let calmness and serenity return to us. Let’s not be just a cog in this giant merry go round wheel, let’s be the wheel itself. At times, our ego tells us that it’s all in our hand, through will, effort, work and application, we can achieve our desires and when we do not get the results we had hoped for, we are lead into a flood of despair. Remember there are so many uncontrolled variables in life that the final result is not exclusively in our hand. So live in a state of let go, as long as your direction and intent are aligned with your vision and values, success will come, it may come in a different form or manifest in an unusual way but it will come and you will have to be patient, also ready to receive it. This has also been prominently explained in the Karma theory, which says “Karma kar par phal ki ieccha mat kar.” This is also known as the A-KARTA or the non-doer. Once you lose any lust for the results of your action, you are no more tied to its results either good or bad they have no impact on. You, as you understand, you are the non-doer. So let the universe be the KARTA or the doer and let it act through you. Just become like a hollow tube, an empty vessel through which your desires can flow through.
What is an Awakening or a Spiritual Experience?
In the world of God and religion, awakening or a profound spiritual experience is something a lot of devotees and followers of different faiths have experienced. Modern day Christian evangelists and faith healers have rallied heavily on the ability of people to experience this and transcend the awakening to self-heal their wounds. We have seen this happen in prayer gatherings when people are howling and even reduced to tears, that they feel close and almost touched by God. These are similar to experiences people on LSD or Lithium say that they have experienced, a so-called eureka or alleluia moment when you feel the divine is acting through you. This, many people say, is accompanied by voices, deep and bright light flickering in the mind, a feeling of one going through a tunnel. A born again feeling, a feeling of being drowned by the love of God.
Many times the spiritual experience comes in a form of epiphany, as the highly imaginative and intuitive part of the brain is triggered. One can also have an outer body experience or a feeling of weightlessness. I, for one, used to have days where I would be dancing for hours all through till the morning and then come home to find my body full of energy and charge. I used to write poetry for days after my experience. There is a deep sense of oneness, serenity and self-assurance that comes into you when you go through the awakening. One turns towards God and goodness and feels protected by a higher being. It’s like you are feeling light again, doubts have suddenly disappeared and you just see things as they are without any judgement.
In a lot of self-actualised saints, the spiritual experience brings a kind of sheen and glow to their face, it acts like the hello effect and one seems wise to others. But spiritual experiences are intense, they can drain you both mentally and physically. They can cure confusion in the mind and one rarely has people he can share these experience because people think you have lost it or are doing drugs. You look like a fool, it is important to find someone you trust enough to share your awakening as a master or a guide who has been through a similar journey. A feeling of being a fool’s paradise, a heightened feeling of euphoria and confidence pervades you. I, for one, find it difficult to forget my own awakening and spiritual experience and many times want to bathe in its nectar but alas, it doesn’t come to me anymore.
Relax – This is a Recreational Universe
I have been reading autobiographies, philosophy, religious books, gurus and many prophets of alternative religions each professing their own way and practice that can lead one to lead a happy, content and pious life. Be it at the monasteries of the Dharamshala where old Buddhist and shaman practices merge though the words and way of the Dalai Lama, or the Ashram of Baba Ram Dev in Haridwar that preaches good health through yoga, exercise and healthy eating. Steeped in the flavour of Desh Bhakti, Patanjali Yoga and public welfare, the programs offer a way to Improve the quality of people’s day to day life and keep them fit and happy.
In Coimbatore, you have Sat Guru, the practitioner of ISHA Yoga and his love for Shiva which stands out along with his lessons on inner engineering and meditation. Along with that, we have the sacred walks, these are religious journeys one takes with Sat Guru, I am already booked for Mansarovar and a trip to Tibet. In Pune, you have the OSHO ashram offering meditation programs all selling their books and CDs full commercial style. Of course, why forget Sri Ravi Shankar, the big daddy whose art of living foundation teaches people how to live a life that is absolute dance, joy and sheer painting. His recent world festival of dance and music was fined crores for polluting the banks of the Yamuna. Then there are the older Gurus like Vivekananda and Ram Krishna Paramhans who are not alive but live through their preaching, books, speeches and the way they conducted and lived their lives. These merry band of Sadhus, Sanyasis, gurus, healers and spiritual Godmen all pedal the same stuff. They are the opium sellers of joy, enlightenment, bliss, delight and euphoria through religion. The marketplace is full of their rhetoric, each wooing followers to join them, so they can sell packed bliss to all. Energised baths, natural hot water springs of Manikaran and Badrinath are places where the mass baptise themselves at the same time cleaning their sins in the Ganga at Benaras, Hrishikesh and Yamunotri. A lot of the ashrams offer an almost SPA like service to their clientele, delivering massages and therapies for the aching body. Both the inner and the outer is healed and then energised.
We must be a really unhappy lot for so many of these spiritual factories catering to our ever growing demand. At the end of the day, all that we need to realise is that we are the enlightened human being already, we are the atman beyond the five senses and our bold experience. Once we know atman, we know we can never be born and never die, we are the embodiment of the eternal, this itself should make fear, struggle, pain and misery disappear from our lives. Once we know that we are the eternal that lives in the eternal, we merge with the whole and thus merge with the will of the supreme. This is a state of total let-go and relaxation, now we are in tune with our internal rhythms, now life is joy, dance and a song as we skate and glide through life knowing very well that the whole knows where it is headed. Then life is play, you can play it, alter it, manipulate it through will and appropriate action. You are in charge and that is a great feeling. So make the most of this song and dance knowing well that you yourself are eternal.
Old Age and Living in Nostalgia
As I have crossed forty in my life, suddenly I have realised that a large part of life is over for me. I see more and more people around me dying and falling off. The old are getting older with diseases, health issues etc. My uncle got up one morning and lost his hearing completely. My Grandmother can barely walk from her bedroom to her drawing room, she has arthritis in her knees. Another uncle is bedridden as he is an Alzheimer’s patient. Friends from my school and university have started getting heart attacks and complications due to stress, age and natural wear and tear of the physical as well as the emotional body. Me, for one, have developed a fatty liver due to heavy drinking and non-vegetarian food.
Tick tock tick, the time clock is ticking away, yet there seems so much to be seen and accomplished, yet there are endless desires that seek my attention. Hair has started getting grey, the skin around the cheeks and chin has become rough, I have developed warts on my shoulders – Man, ageing is a process one begins to see only after forty. I mean that it will be like when I hit 70 or 80 years’ age.
Nostalgia is what the old hang on to all the time. Most old people, I have noticed, live in theist, I sort of glory land, they have created for themselves that keeps reminding them of the good old days. I see this most in my uncles and aunts who love to post yesteryears nostalgic family photos on Facebook. Photos of old wedding, black and white pictures of great grandfathers and other family portraits. Nostalgia is all they are left with or is it because they have considered themselves old too early? Now they have only the past to hold on to, as it seems the future is just an inevitable death, which will come to all of us no matter what. The old love listening songs and seeing movies of their times and love to talk about the actors and sportsmen of yesteryears. I guess as you get old, the most valuable asset you have is that you can pass to others your experience and values that have kept you in good stead in life.
I, for the first time, feel that I have lost touch with today’s teenage generation and the start-up culture. But to me, all this also sounds like Déjà vu. I mean, it was not that the start-up culture was same, yes, there was the IT and Internet boom of 2001, and I was a part of it once. I was recently really excited that the stock markets here were doing well until an uncle threw hot water on me by saying “Oh, I have seen all this in my time, all this stock market boom, sale Saab bubble hey”. Then it’s the young girls calling you uncle that can be a bit of a let-down. That’s when you say now that’s old. No matter what age makes you responsible, it has certainly done that for me. I am so much more organised now and so much more in tune and control of my life than I used to be. So there are qualities of fine wine and aged whisky that age also brings. Tales and habits also change with age as does your motivation for things. My motto is to stay in the present and dream of a passionate, wild and colourful future to keep feeling alive, vibrant and forever young.
Is Truth Always Absolute? Part Two
Truth and Dharma are twins of each other and, thus, define righteousness and maryada. In Ramayana, Ram was righteous when he took vanavasa and left the throne in favour of his younger sibling Bharat. Bharat, like a loving brother, showed his dharma by taking Ram’s slippers and placing it on the throne as if to show that even in his physical absence, he would rule and that Bharat will only be a caretaker while he is away in the jungle. Lakshman walks on his truth which is that he devotes himself to Ram and follows him to his vanavasa into the jungle.
So doesn’t truth get affected or distorted by situations, circumstances and irrationalities of human behaviour? Yes, I believe it does. That is why it’s always your truth against mine. Mahabharata is a great epic and a yardstick through which we can define or try to define the truth. Who is the one responsible for the war? Is it the blind king Dhritarashtra who put his love for his son Duryodhana in front of the wellbeing of his people and his kingdom? In this way, he failed to carry out his duties towards the throne. But was it not the Draupadi vastra harass in the open sabha the cause for the final great war? On the other hand, was not Krishna responsible for it when he gave Arjun the Geeta Gyaan, encouraged and coaxed him to move forward and understand that his only charm at that point was to wage war and fight his enemies who had crossed all limits in their brutality towards others? Why not Gandhar Raj Shakuni who slowly poisoned the Kauravas especially Duryodhana against the Pandavas?
Here again, like a puzzle, each character is performing or taking decisions according to what they believe is their personal individual charm or truth. After all, either sides used debt to try and overpower the other at the dice game, Laksha Graha , Draupadi Vatraharan, all being incidents where the Kauravas debt was clear. But Pandavas killed many in the karat army through debt and unfair play. The killing of Bhishma when the transexual Shikandi covers Arjun every time Bhishma took aim. The killing of Dronacharya and the mighty archer Karan are cases that show debt from the other side too. Truth again seesaws between the two contesting forces.
Yet truth fascinates us. It is the cornerstone of every religion and was part of Moses’ Ten Commandments too. The truth is ancient as existence and man have tried to pursue the truth to varying degrees of success. Saints, as well as sinners, have pursued it and many have come empty handed amazed at its ambiguity and perplexing nature. At times, truth can just be a bundle of contradictions and nothing else.
It is because of the very nature of truth. You have to see it through the eyes of different perspectives. Therefore, truth can always be challenged and debated. This is what has gone on for centuries. We keep debating the truth and turning it upside down. Our effort should be focused towards finding our own truth and to be at peace with it.
Is Truth Always Absolute?
We know the truth is the opposite of a lie. The truth is transparent. It is clear like the daylight cutting through all the confusion to rip open the heart and make things apparent. They seem as a breath of fresh air, a manna from heaven. It has angelic qualities as dharma is always with the truth. Truth is absolute in the Mahabharata. We know Krishna as the absolute truth as he is always on the side of Dharma. In the Ramayana, in a conversation with Vibhishana, the mighty Kumbhakarna debates the meaning of truth. We see Vibhishana say categorically that the truth is absolute and singular as it is one. Kumbhakarna, on the other hand, retorts that the meaning of truth has changed from yoga to yoga and people interpret truth in their own way through the prism of their perspectives. He says that the way in which Vibhishana have chosen to help Ram and his army is the same way in which Kumbhakarna sees his dharma and his truth to fight for his brother Ravana, his country and his Jaati.
But is truth really singular or one? It is no more than a mixed bag of various permutations and combinations. Who is responsible for Draupadi’s great harassment in the Mahabharata? Is it Duryodhana who orders Dushasana to fetch Draupadi in the middle of the sabha and undress her? Or is it Yudhishthira who broke the dharma of considering his wife as part of his property and, thus, trading her in a game of dice? Maybe it was Shakuni who manipulated the dice game to make sure Duryodhana wins. It could be one of them or all of them. Truth, here, is not absolute at all. The truth is more like a puzzle.
The judicial system uses lie detector tests to find out if a defendant or criminal is lying. Courts take sworn affidavits as playoffs. The lawyers always ask you to answer questions only with a yes or a no so as not to smudge the truth with as it is ambiguous.
Another example of seeking the truth is that of the great O.J. Simpson murder trial that so much captivated the American public for over two decades. The truth was not about O.J. getting off scout free but most people did not agree with the verdict of not guilty. Things caught up in the race issue and the negligence shown by people taking the blood samples. Then again, Nicole Brown Simpson’s relationship with O.J. and Ronald Goldman got a lot of attention. It was a media circus with truth shuffling from one corner to the other corner. Both sides were armed with evidence to counter the other, both were with a battery of the best lawyers money could buy. Yet, truth seems to elude the process and what immerses is a lack of faith in the system and also the way we perceive truth.
So, if you think the truth is absolute, think again.
Why We Weep
Weeping is equivalent to crying or shedding a tear from your eyes as they roll down your cheeks. It is due to the direct result of pain inflicted either on the body or on the soul. It’s also a technique to grab attention which is especially used by little kids who begin to cry when they want a thing or when they want to draw attention.
Weeping is a release of pent-up emotions of pain, misery and remorse. We weep to cleanse our soul and it makes us feel lighter after having a loud cry. It can happen due to a deceiving partner, a death of a loved one or when you have just gone broke. A cry can go a long way in lightening your burden.
Tears lighten the soul a bit. It’s like having a shower and releasing your pain at the same time. So crying can be a great therapy. When you feel like weeping or having a good cry, go ahead and do it. Make noise, grunt and whine. Take it all out because you will be feeling level-headed and lighter after the weep.
Why Women Get Depressed?
Sometimes in life, you feel sad without any reason and you can’t help it. You would not know how to deal with it and this feeling gets accumulated over a period of time. This is what we call ‘Depression’. While it is mostly induced by some life events or circumstances, there is not always a reason for depression making it difficult to identify and also be overlooked.
Depression is not as casual as we have made it sound like and it definitely isn’t a ‘once in a blue moon’ affair. It lasts long, long enough to cripple you for life, emotionally, at least. This is why it should be sincerely dealt with. A mere shopping spree will not heal the sadness, the filth and the negativity that you carry within yourself.
So what leads to depression irrespective of the gender? Depression is a psychological disease and so, its diagnosis is also not dependent on any clinical tests. Hence, it becomes difficult to conclude. It is not something that would affect a man of low means. It is a disease of the rich and famous! The common man is too busy making both the ends meet. There is no time to sit and brood over the past or future. So he can encounter stress, but even that, he cannot afford to retain for long.
The more civilised, educated and urban we have become, the more prone we are to depression. So while the deadliest of all diseases ‘Cancer’ has permeated into the rural areas, depression is still restricted to the urban cities.
Now, particularly speaking about women, the repercussions can be far more dangerous and life-long than in the case of men. A woman is considered to be the lifeline of a household, but if her own life is at stake, what would she contribute to the lives of others around? Not only for the sake of others, her emotional well-being is equally important.
For ages, women have always suppressed their feelings and emotions. But they never were depressed since they were always busy with their daily tasks and they were socially active too. So they could vent out. The modern independent woman is more prone to depression. The amalgamation of stress that comes from work and personal life is too much to handle. With the nucleation of families, they have too much idle time but lesser population to socialise with.
Having said that, it cannot be denied that in many cases, medical complications lead to depression. But this cannot be the only reason. There could be unfulfilled desires or some hurtful incidents in the past that could be the underlying cause. Whatever be the reason, a disease, as serious as this, should never be left untreated. Do not be ashamed to seek help. There is no greater tragedy in life if you have wasted this beautiful opportunity to live life.
– Mandakini Kwatra
The Goalless Path
The path with no goals, goals with no ends, ends with no beginning, it is all about how you walk the path. If you walk it without attachment, without judgement, without greed but with fortitude and a certain firmness, you will skate through life. A goalless life is what one needs. When you add goals, you add barriers, you add timetables and then you start dreaming of deadlines. A sense of false urgency prevails which leads to tension, stress and a need for fulfilment. This fulfilment is hollow.
So keep the path of your life goalless and aimless. Don’t hold it with taut strings. Just play it like a sweet harp and hear the bells and sounds of the birds. Whistle to yourself as you walk on your merry way without the need to prove anything to anyone. Just sing your own song and dance with the winds that blow past you. The path always appears when you walk on it and your very walking creates the path. It’s like an artist painting on his own canvas. The art appears when the artist paints it. Every stroke is like a brush of emotions without hurry and with the least amount of thrust.
So be a wanderer, a traveller, a conqueror and an adventurer. Walk the goalless path stride after stride with gusto and joy at your very feet. It is great when you are aimless and mindless and in full sway. One can almost swagger through life and float through it with no bother.
So be goalless and fact free. When you are free, you will roar. When you are free, you will sing. When you are free, you will be joyful and playful. Play is of utmost importance to life as it brings with it leela and maya. Maya is the illusion and the path that illuminates with imagination, creativity and dance.
Dance creates energy which vibrates through you and with it vibrates all. So energise yourself with a dance and a song. Be bright, be passionate, be thorough, be intelligent and be thoughtful. Those are the prime qualities you need to develop if you wish to walk on the goalless path.
Don’t wait for a full stop or an end. It is endless and with no shores on either side. The infinite is the walk on the goalless path. So be thankful, be grateful and be joyful. This, with the nectar of a laugh, will make things follow suit and the path will flow from right under your feet. The goalless path is what you should seek.
Why Suffering Builds Character
Suffering is important in life as it actually builds character if one wants to grow in life and become stronger. Suffering is a great teacher and also a leveller. Unless you have known pain, deceit and sorrow, you will not appreciate the blessings of joy, fun, happiness, success and loyalty. Both are opposites of the other. Joy and suffering are twins to each other. A man who has known suffering must also know happiness. Pain and pressure follow together and both can taste sweet. Pain cleanses the soul and wipes the slate clean.
Suffering is like lifting dumbbells and taking weights. Well, as the pain is absorbed, it heals naturally and the process makes one emotionally stronger, wiser and more clear headed. Pain is needed to put one’s life in perspective. It’s like pause and silence where one can coil into one’s shell and reassess situations making one go into silent contemplation. It’s needed to grow. Suffering is like manure as it makes the seed of your consciousness grow and expand. The mind numbs and stillness appears before you. You begin to take in pain as the ego evaporates and the self appears before your eyes. You become lighter, especially, when you have a good cry. A good cry just releases the pain like a tap of tears on the cheeks. Yes, suffering indeed builds character and one begins to see things in perspective. But if you keep the attitude, this too shall pass. Suffering can be transcended and one can become wiser through it.
So take suffering in a more positive way. It’s like a spring that makes you coil inwards and then, like a spring, propels you forward in your journey of joy. It is important for you to understand this and things will begin to flower within you. Suffering can be transcendental, almost uplifting in a way from darkness to light, from fear to bravery, from the depths to the highest. The sea of suffering and tears can only be crossed with the boat and oars of hope and self-belief. So unburden yourself to suffering and know in your heart that it is through suffering that you will meet your true maker as the ego dissolves and only the witness remains in its pure oneness and stark nakedness.
Let suffering be a stepping stone into something new like a rapid following through the river. Suffering just speeds up things in your life. It shakes you up, tosses you around and sends you spinning like the whirlwinds. But, rest assured because when you fall, you will fall back to a safe shore. You always do and you always will.
So go deep into your suffering and observe it. Just watch it. Don’t analyse it too much as it has no meaning. So, just watch it and you will slowly see that it will disappear and the healing of suffering will be transformed into joy and abundance, just like the sunshine falling on the dew drops on the grass. Suffering can indeed be good for the soul.
The Truth About Suicide
There was a recent suicide case about Arjun Bhardwaj who jumped from a five-star hotel window to his death and even recorded it on Facebook step by step. What must have been going through his mind, I ask, to take such a drastic decision. I know as I have been there myself. Depression is an ugly thing and happens to us all. The most successful as well as the most unsuccessful people go through it. I have seen even the mature and the immature go through it.
This is due to the fake culture where every kid is expected to win in life and achieve success. This unnecessary pressure put on the youth of today by the fake society and their values has led to these unnecessary suicides by our young ones. Success and failure are both irrelevant words and are of no consequence in the larger scheme of things in life. Parents should know not to put undue pressure on their kids in a worthless and useless race for an irrelevant and worthless success culture that is prevalent in our society. Parents be warned, if you push your children too hard, you will one day be carrying their dead bodies to the funeral pyre.
Let your kids enjoy and partake in activities that they enjoy without putting undue pressure on them. It is ok to fail. We all have failed. There is no reason to look down upon on anyone because he has failed to achieve anything. Life is about living, being happy and joyful, and spreading that good cheer with everyone. I repeat, both success and failure are of no consequence in the larger scheme of things. What is of the utmost importance is the well-being of your loved ones and their mental health. Counselling is totally useless in these matters when someone is going through hell in life and battling his or her own demons.
Instead, guides and counsellors should use the case study method to solve the current issues that are going through in the heart of the patient. The patient, who is suffering from depression and suicide related tendencies, needs to write down his issues and problems in the form of a case study and present it to the counsellor. Then the counsellor needs to give him solutions to his problems and guide him through it like a guru. Practical advice is important rather than nonsensical spiritual advice which will only confuse the patient. LOVE and UNDERSTANDING are the key to it all.
Why Do We Question Our Belief System and Values When Something Bad Happens?
Our beliefs, values, morals, way of life, our internal system of judging people and situations and our very own internal software is geared towards bringing us happiness and joy. At the end of the day, all of us are looking for joy and happiness but we question everything when something bad happens. We question the path we have taken so far, we question our decisions, we question the company we kept and we question the very moral fabric that has kept us in one piece throughout our lives.
In our mind, our belief system is meant to lead us to good but suddenly when we are struck by a tragedy, it leads us to darkness, sadness and something bad. This shakes our belief system. When tragedy had befallen me with the death of my father and the very way of his brutal death, I questioned my values, beliefs and my own nature with which I was born. I started to look for a job that my father wanted me to do. I searched through matrimonial sites to look for a mate and to get married and start a family of my own as I was left alone in this world. I even found someone and dated her for a while but realised that I just couldn’t walk the path that my father had wanted me to walk. The more I thought about settling down, having a home, a steady job and a family with this woman, the more depressed and negative I became. I realised that I was only doing this out of guilt of my father’s death. It was not out of my own motivation or out of my belief system but out of guilt and out of some twisted pressure that was put on me by society at large. There was no point and I finally gave up the ideas altogether. A man like me was born free and will die free. That was my only conclusion.
So stop questioning your values and belief system when something bad happens to you. These beliefs have kept you in good stead so far and will keep you going. Your heart knows the way. If a tragedy has befallen you, it could be for many other reasons. Why suffer endlessly for it and question your entire life just because this incident has happened in your life? Make that incident a way of strengthening your beliefs even further and move towards the good path. They have kept you in good stead so far and will keep you in good stead in the future. Stop questioning yourself and criticising your way of life when something bad happens. Move on with your values and march ahead.
Acceptance of Oneself and Others is the Key to Survival
In our day to day life, we walk with the burden of prejudices and complexes that we carry on our shoulders. We have a certain self-image of ourselves which further alienates us from others as we seek to carve our own distinctive identities. We have our habits, traits and behavioural patterns that we need to accept as unique qualities that only we have. We must accept these and be in harmony as these are the traits and beliefs that define and guide us in our future course of life. No doubt, these will be distinctively different than others, we must respect the view of the other while at the same time maintaining our distinct identity. The annihilation of this tussle is the key to peace harmony and survival. In a sense, ‘I AM OK, YOU ARE OK’. Once we act and take life in this spirit, things become easier and calmer. We understand ourselves and learn to understand the point of view of others. This is the way of the heart and the way of peace. So, understanding is the key and patience is its virtue. As you age, these qualities will evolve within you and these can be very effective in dealing with people and day-to-day affairs of the world.
You must listen to the clutter of the mind and let go of your inner dialogues that often hold you back in life. All the fears and wounds you will find are self-inflicted. Maintain your identity and respect the boundaries others have set for you as well as themselves. That is what one calls mariyada. Acceptance is adherence to that mariyada.
You may be gay, leper, prostitute, fanatic, poet or a drunk. You are what you are and first, you need to make peace with yourself before you can make peace with others. So again, it is an inner journey that we are undertaking. Its manifestation comes later in the outer world. So indeed, stand apart and stand alone but see yourself in the world and a part of the whole.
The key to survival is walking on your own dharma at the same time walking along with others.
To Be, or Not To Be, That Is The Question
This famous phrase thrown by Shakespeare himself has baffled many. To me, this phrase describes the classical struggle between the ego and the ‘I’ (the witness). When the ego is there, the witness is not and when the witness immerses, the ego dissolves. Life is a constant tussle between the witness and the ego. The ego mainly consists of matter, the senses and the physical body while the witness is the drishta or the seer, pure consciousness. When we connect to this, we connect to the infinite subconscious mind and when we connect with ego, we are limited to the physical body. You can only appease the ego though worldly things like money, power, prestige, lust, food, sex, pleasure and intoxication. The ego is driven by desire and the witness is driven by renunciation or by tyaag. It is grown by renouncing worldly things. Ego wants to acquire, dominate and lead whereas the ‘I’ or the witness only grows through sacrifice, love, compassion and seva.
This tussle of man is between the ego and the ‘I’. It is said that to move from a truly limited self to the limitless is the true spiritual journey that a soul must undertake to reach moksha or nirvan.
If you grow your spiritual self, you drop the ego, you drop the struggle and let things be and seem as they really are.
To be, or not to be, that is the question. Whether I am, or I am not. When I am, there is attachment, pain, struggle, winning and losing. When I am not, there is an infinite let go, no attachment, no pain. It is as if all is mine yet nothing belongs to me. Here there is no pain, no desire, no winning nor losing, no need to be owned. You are just staring at the infinite wilderness as the ego dissolves into the abundant ‘I’, the ‘I’ of non-attachment, the ‘I’ of the silent seer.
Chanting, meditation, reki and dyaan are just methods and techniques where we can dissolve the limited sense of the body and melt into the inner world of the ‘I’. The world is made up of only thoughts and feeling. Once we learn to control and, at times, manipulate the inner world, then we can also create an infinitely joyful outer world. But this comes with practice and one has to be dedicated to it on a daily basis. It is an effort one has to do. If you visit the Buddhist monasteries around the world, you will see monks deep into chanting and reading out scriptures. On these scriptures are ingrained the mantras that they recite so diligently. The idea is to break from the ‘here and now’, the idea is to break the cycle of birth and death, and cut out desire in order to reach moksha and let the spirit or the ‘I’ merge with the supreme consciousness, a place the Buddhists call the samsara.
We all, no matter which profession or walk of life, should try and reach this samsara through active meditation in order to take an inner journey into ourselves.
Your Inner World Reflects Your Outer World
The man is living in a world of his own manifestations. This world is divided into the inner and the outer. The inner world is the world of thoughts and feelings. The outer world is made up of deeds and actions. To manifest the outer world, we must first try to manifest the inner world. So, watch your thoughts carefully because they can lead both to your misery and to your happiness. Watch them all the time and have an ear to your inner dialogue. The inner dialogue is made up of the conversations you have with yourself like your mumblings. The inner world fights with your alter ego. Hold on to those duels and try to manifest a more purposeful inner dimension with no tussle with oneself. Try to find a place of harmony, peace and calm waters. Then train your thoughts to constantly think about that purpose.
Nurture your goals and your dreams as if they were your own newborn babies. Feed them each day by performing a purposeful action to make them manifest into your outer world and see the magic of the universe unfold. Dream big with lots of colours and then action will soon follow. What you desire will manifest into the material world sooner than you think. So first get your inner world in place and throw out all the cobwebs. Get rid of the negative energy that holds you back and forge new alliances. This is the only way. To stop the struggle outside, you must be at peace in the inside.
The Yin and Yang, the Tao and Chi, we all live by being tugged by opposite forces. This is also reflected in the universe as light fights dark, good fights evil, love fights hate, tears fight laughter and so on. Duality is the nature of our being and if we can hold a balance on the middle path, even as we are pulled by these dual forces, you will see balance and harmony restored.
So next time you are in disarray, learn to watch your thoughts and be in one with your feelings.
The Spirit of Survival
I have created this special button SURVIVAL to salute the spirit of survivors like myself and many others who have come out of a traumatic incident in their life and carried on forward in their lives with renewed enthusiasm and gusto. I have shaken past the brutal murder of my father and then the fiasco after the incident. I have buried it behind after I sold my house in Mumbai and started travelling. I have now created a successful blog and am in the process of starting my own speciality tours while teaching others life skills. Make no mistake, survival is the state of mind and spirit. It is also a skill which needs to be nurtured and honed over a period of time. It needs to be watered and looked after.
Each one of us has a natural instinct for survival and we use it to overcome the downs of life to life ourselves up, dust ourselves and move forward. It is the inner belief in our abilities that drive us out of life’s quagmires and bring our boat back to the shore. The strong inner will responds to situations in different ways, through acts of patience, resilience, faith, moderation through finding a middle path, for not stopping and continuously seeking.
In this section, we will discuss the best ways to overcome trauma and setbacks in life and how to make them the cornerstones of our next big wins in life. We will also learn how to build inner belief and self-confidence in ourselves and not to enter blame games with ourselves and our situations. This is a place where you can find solutions and advice on how to survive this game on life and how to be on top of situations and circumstances, and how not to be bowed down. The advice will be practical day-to-day advice and may also consist of philosophical preaching.
We will talk about trusting again and how to identify the right people who will help and guide with us on this new journey of ours where we solemnly swear to take back all that we had once lost. We will ideate on different types of situations and how people survived. I will, of course, elaborate my very personal survivor stories and I am sure there will be many others who could learn from it. So watch out for all the survivor gyaan and tips that will surely come through the SURVIVAL button. So go ahead and click on blue!
Buddhism – The Path of The Awakened One
The religion of Buddhism dates back to the origin of Siddhartha Gautam in 5th century BC in north India from where it spread to the East and to many other corners of the world. Buddha was born a prince. His father did not let him go out of the palace compound as he did not want his beloved son to get distraught by seeing all the misery of the world and so, he protected him. Still, Buddha yearned to go outside the palace to seek the world and finally one day, he eloped into the city with his charioteers. He was saddened and dismayed as he first saw an ill man. Then he saw a leaper and then a hungry man. Finally, he saw a dead man who was being taken to be cremated by his relative. He felt sad and an inner voice within him stirred to find out the meaning of life and most of all, how to eradicate misery from human life. Through great penance and meditation that he did in the forest, he left his princely robes, status and family. One day while sitting under the Bodhi Tree and meditating, he became enlightened. His face showed light and energy as if he had a halo on his head.
I have visited this place in Gaya when I went to do the prayers for my Nana’s departed soul. I have even walked around the famous tree in Bodh Gaya. Buddhism has lots of texts and teachings on meditation, chanting, monastic life and how to detach yourself from misery and the cycle of birth and death. This state is samsara and it is where you go when you get moksha, never to return in a human body again. Buddha’s teaching comprises of The Four Noble Truths and The Eight Fold Path.
The Four Noble Truths
First Truth: This is the identification of suffering. The Buddhists believe suffering comes from desire that arises when we seek pleasure through vice. Suffering also comes from ignorance which leads us to rage, jealousy, hatred and many other negative emotions.
Second Truth: This determines the cause of suffering by getting to the root of it all. Unfulfilled desires lead to suffering, so does ignorance.
Third Truth: This tries to end suffering
Fourth Truth: These are the methods and modes used to end suffering.
The Eight Fold Path
The Eight Fold Path consists of the Right View, Right Intentions, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Concentration, Right Mindfulness.
Chanting is an integral part of Buddhism and I had the good fortune of seeing this great religion in full bloom at South Korea, Nepal, Sri Lanka and also right here in Dharamsala at India. Each place has adopted this great religion and added their own local flavours to it. Their own mythologies and yarns have been spun with mythical characters, the battle between good and evil, and even various dragons as I witnessed in Hong Kong.
What Is Inner Engineering?
Inner engineering is the inner cleansing of the body, mind and soul that extends itself to transcendental meditation. Meditation is the art of applying dyaan to transcend the limitations of the mind and body to experience our true abundant dimension. This act of concentration through dyaan is what the yogis call meditation. Where there is neither body nor mind, only the silent witness exists which is pure shunyata, pure bliss.
The current spiritual marketplace is full of inner engineering products. One such spiritual factory is run by Isha Yoga Foundation in Coimbatore that is heavily promoting inner engineering courses at its ashram as part of the 26th February Maha Shivratri function. I will be headed their soon to experience this exercise for myself. Basically, inner engineering is getting your inner world of thoughts and feelings in order and your emotional body healthy. New techniques help in this regard and bring relief.
How To Overcome Trauma, Part 4
These mechanisms have worked for me and I can claim fairly and honestly that I have been there and done that when it comes to a traumatic existence and overcoming it! Here are more pointers on the way.
1. Identify Pain
Pain comes from attachment. The cause of pain is always attachment. Only if you are in love, you can get cheated by your girl and will hurt. If you lose money which should have been rightfully in your pocket, it hurts. When you put effort into building a business but you end up losing, it hurts. You lose a dear one like a friend, a parent or a sibling to an accident or tragedy, it hurts. When your dog dies, it pains. When you lose something that you think belongs to you, it hurts and pains.
The only way to overcome pain is to imagine that nothing in this world belongs to you. All belongs to existence. Nothing is yours, everything is transient. Neither your woman nor your wealth. The more you hold on to things, the more it will hurt. So be in and let go. It sounds easier said than done but that is a fact. Remember, life is a zero-sum game. At the end of the game, the king and the pawn go back into the same box. These might sound like words from Bhagavad Gita but they hold true. The only way to overcome pain is to identify it first, get to the source and then let go.
Forgiveness is to be practised and to be made a part of your day-to-day life. Forgiveness releases you of pain. If you feel someone has wronged you, you need to forgive. The person who has wronged you might move on in life but if you keep holding on to your pain, you will never be able to move on or transcend your pain. So forgiveness helps you to transcend your pain.
3. Practice Charity
You can transcend your pain by helping those who are suffering pain and are even less fortunate than you. This relieves you of your own pain. In my travels around the world, I have practised this mantra like giving bags of rice to kids in Vietnam or adopting Ndotto, the orphaned Elephant. I enjoyed giving and forgot all about my pain.
4. Take Refuge Only With Your True Blood
My case was very different. I lost my father who was my true blood and biological connection. The only other biological connection left to me was my ailing grandfather and a 90-year-old grandmother, and I took refuge with them. They nursed me back to health slowly and I realised that only they were my true well-wishers as they did not expect any other thing in return from me. Chacha, mama, cousins and others are bogus relationships. They all want something in return. Only trust and confide in people who want nothing from you except to see you back on your feet.
5. Think Laterally
Only a new way of thinking and a new idea can get you out of your current depth. My Travelthon was that new Idea. So think in tangents and then pursue it with your might.
6. Remember It Is You Against You
The race is yours, the journey is yours and everyone else is just in your way. Don’t play their game, get them out of your way. Remember, you got in this mess because you listen to stupid people and depended on unreliable sources. Get them all out of your way.
The law of focus is very important. You lost because you lost focus. You looked behind instead of looking ahead. Focus on the road ahead and the road will reveal itself to you as you walk the path. The faster and deeper your focus, the more the road will reveal itself.
8. The Diamond Path
As the road reveals itself, you will be able to pick up diamonds and meet new people who will take you further on your way. I met YourStory on my way and they helped me immensely to go forward.
9. Stop Whining
Nobody likes whiners “Hai mere saath yeh kya ho gaya?” and “Hai meiney yeh kya kar diya?”. Get these kinds of sentences out of your dictionary. Nobody will give you sympathy, they will only give you a peace of their mind.
10. Don’t Borrow Money to Start Again
If you have lost a business or taken a heavy hit, rebuild on your own financial strength no matter how little it is. It is your own. If you borrow to rebuild, you might end up in a bigger mess than you were before.
11. Work Smart
Even a labourer works hard but gets nothing at the end of the day. Work smart. Use technology, software and IT to get better results. I carry my laptop, an Apple Mac, and an iPhone 6s Plus along with my Canon DSLR camera with me all the time. I am connected with an entire gamut of social media applications all the time so that I can communicate with my team and my followers all the time and work from anywhere in the world. I am covering more than 10 countries in Africa in one go without a breather and only technology is helping me achieve that. Invest in the latest technology and gadgets, and they will help you in a long way to go forward.
How To Overcome Trauma, Part 3
Laughter is the greatest medicine after you have gone through a trauma like I did. The best way to get out of it is laughter. People will first frown at you. They will ask how you can laugh after such a huge tragedy in your life. The society will expect you to keep a sombre face and look sad all the time. But I laughed my way out of my sadness and trauma. I did that every day sitting outside my garden and laughed my way out of my grief. It helped me a great deal.
2. Stay Away From Negative People
Stay away from doubting Thomas’s and people who tell you that you are finished. It is never over till it’s over as long as you are alive. All options are open to you. You can win back all that you have lost. So, negative people is a definite no-no. All those who say “I told you so” and all those who say you were headed for it are to be avoided strictly.
3. Believe In Yourself
Self-belief is the cornerstone to getting out of stress and only you can get yourself out of it. Only you and others can only just comfort you or demotivate you depending on friend or foe. Get rid of emotional crutches and take charge. Believe that the trauma you are going through is so that you can grow further in your own journey. It is important that you take the pain as part of your own personal growth and believe that it will lead you to your oasis.
4. Get In Touch With Your Own Emotions
Try to feel more and talk less.
5. Be Patient
The storm will pass. Life is neither all good times nor all bad times. Both are transient and are just like hovering clouds in the sky that will clear away. So keep the faith.
6. Don’t Seek Unwanted Sympathy
Stay away from relatives who give you unwanted sympathy. All they want is your money in return for saying “Hai hai merry bacchey ke saath yeh kya ho gaya”. In return for shedding crocodile tears, they want your money. I had many relatives like these who came to me to show sympathy in the garb of asking for my money. I, with the help of my grandmother, was able to shoo them away.
7. Adversity Is Your Greatest Teacher
You will learn only from adversity. Only bad times can teach you and show you who your real friends are. I found true friends during this time and the rest just wanted some material gain from me. Only those who unselfishly come to your aid are your true friends and your true well-wishers. Separate the chaff from the rice.
8. Go with the Flow
The flow will guide you to your destiny. Go inwards to find your answers. I found mine through my Travelthon and now, I am in a very happy state of mind.
How To Overcome Trauma, Part 2
1. Write Down Your Thoughts and Feelings Everyday
I realised that writing my blog was the best therapy I could have asked for and it was totally free. No need to go to shrinks and pay them large amounts of fee. No need to go to astrologers and pay them to tell you the future. The future is something that no one in their right minds can predict. No need to go to religious men or men of faith and pay them money to listen to you. It is just plain and simple. You just need to write what you feel at the point. This is what I do with my blog. I write what I feel. The more I wrote, the more therapeutic it became. These writings will, in the future, comfort others and help them to overcome their trauma.
2. Take Comfort from the Writings of Other People
I took comfort and overcame my trauma by reading other people’s words. The one quote that I still remember that moved me the most and helped me the most to overcome my personal tragedy was the quote of the great Vivekananda. Someone asked him “What is worse than losing everything that one has?”
Vivekananda replied “Losing the hope that all has been lost can be won back one day.”
So hope is as big as faith. I did not lose hope at all and kept faith in my abilities. I realised that no matter how bad things were, my natural talents, my natural intelligence and my natural tenacity are still intact and I will never lose those. These gifts of nature, given to me by birth by my maker, will be the cornerstones of my comeback and by using them, I will be able to push myself from the negativity that I found myself in.
3. Look After Your Health
Eat the right food, lots of greens and salads. Do away with non-veg stuff as it creates unnecessary toxins in the body. Give up alcohol for a while and concentrate on eating vegetarian food.
4. Take Up a Sport
Take up running, swimming or some other sports to make you feel light and make you feel at ease. I immersed myself into adventure sports. I did river rafting and bungee jumping in Rishikesh. I took up scuba diving which I attempted for the first time in Maldives and did it again in Mauritius. Now I am a PADI certified diver.
I did water scooters on the beaches of Boracay and sea carting in Mauritius. All these sports helped me push myself and gave me a lot of self-confidence to fight the world and to make a name for myself again.
Get regular massages to heal your body and to ease the tension that builds in your body when you think or procrastinate about the past. Massages are good and very vitalising for the body. They lift you up and put you in a positive frame of mind.
6. Have Lots of Sex
You don’t have to get into a serious relationship to get sex. Paid sex is available in plenty in India and around the world. You can release the stress through sex without getting into the mess of any serious or emotional relationship. Just pay for it and do it. You will find it to be a great release from any unnecessary tension or procrastination.
How To Overcome Trauma, Part 1
1. Take Responsibility for What Has Happened
The first step to overcome trauma is to take responsibility for what has already occurred and accept that it was because of you and no one else. You have to take responsibility for what has happened. If something bad has happened to you and you push the responsibility on someone else, it will not help you at all. Then you will be in revenge mode and start blaming others for the misfortune that has befallen you. I realized this when I wrote the poem “Yes Sir, I Killed My Dad” after the murder of my father. There was no point pushing the blame on the murderers as it would not affect them one bit. When I wrote that poem, I felt light and relieved. I took responsibility for what had happened and thus the poem relieved me of some of the burdens. Taking responsibility is not as same as blaming yourself. It is just pure acceptance. Once you have accepted what has happened, it makes it easier to move on in life.
2. Seek Support of the Company of Comforting Friends
I took refuge in the company of old friends who had known me for decades and knew my positive sides. They were the ones who had seen me winning and did not judge me when my bad days had come. I surrounded myself with those friends who did not judge me and by being my mirrors, they told me about the days when I had overcome great odds and won.
3. Delink From The Past
Get rid of all the memories of the past including your clothes, artefacts, belongings and other things that remind you of the past. These things must be done away with. My first step was to give away all the clothes and other artefacts of my father to the poor. I then proceeded to sell the house where the tragedy had taken place as it was a hurdle between me and my past. I also did away with all the servants of the house as they would remind me of my father.
4. Put All Your Efforts into Rebuilding
I chose a totally new path and vocation. I gave up my fledgling acting career and took to travelling and writing a blog. This really gave me a new lease of life and the more I introspected, the more I wrote and the clearer things became. I started finding my bliss again. I visited temples, churches, mosques and gurudwara. I spoke to sages, wise men and fools alike. The world became my playground and I shared my love with people. The blog has gone a long way to comfort me and I hope it can comfort others also when they read my experiences. I chose a totally different road and here I am.
I took my grandmother’s servant boy Bhartu for a Chaar Dham Yatra and to Vaishno Devi and Amaranth at my own expense. These were places he would have never got the opportunity to visit. I donated money to these holy shrines and asked the saints and pujaris to pray for the soul of the departed.
6. If You Are Alone, Adopt Someone
I adopted an orphaned elephant Nadotto in Kenya through the Sheldrick Wild Life Trust. This gave me great joy since after the death my father, I was also orphaned and adopting someone in the same situation as I, gave me immense satisfaction.
7. Be Your Own Therapist
I did not seek the help of psychiatrists or other professional doctors. I just became my own shrink and that helped me more than any professional doctors.
8. Prayer and Compassion
Pray every day to your maker or to your own personal god and ask for his or her blessings. That will give you new insights and new ideas to follow your new path.
9. Only Get Into a Serious Relationship After the Healing Process Is Over
Make no major decision or get into new relationships until the past has been forgotten and totally been buried. This is because you will carry the bruises of the past with you into your new relationships and these will also get poisoned by the trauma of the past. Totally cleanse yourself of the past before you take any new financial decision so that it comes from your present foresight and has nothing to do with your past.
10. Make Your Peace
Make your peace with yourself and your maker by showing compassion to even strangers as they will show the same to you. Give ample love to the love you are sure to get it back.
22 Immutable Laws of Overcoming Defeat in Business or Personal Life
1. Defeat is a Friend not a Foe
Make Defeat the stepping stone of your success, for in your defeat lies the seeds of your success. After the unexpected murder of my father and the subsequent havoc that took place in my life . I tried to get a job but couldn’t because of all the negativity surrounding me , no one gave me a job . For months i tried even jobs that i was over qualified for eluded me . I then looked inwards for my answers because all the answers lie their . I realised the clouds of my defeat carried with in the pure rain droplets with which i could shower the world with my love . Thus the idea of the Travelthon was born with singular mission to give love to the world and gain redemption for what had happened .
2. Identify key People :
I identified key people who unselfishly helped me when i was down and out . I made them as part of my key team who would pull be out of the mess that i was in and would help me move forward.
3. Trust your team :
I then put my trust in these key people and gave them responsibility . My lawyers , my bankers , my friends from university and college and a hand full of relatives who came to my aid out of compassion not for my money.
4. Pay your team well :
After giving responsibility to these key people i also made sure they were paid well and looked after , so that their loyalties to me remain intact . That is important loyalties of your key people is paramount , so that they don’t switch sides or join the enemy ranks.
5. Keep your basic nature intact :
When faced with defeat and adversity you begin to question your very nature . You question yourself , but remember it was your basic nature that made you win battles , so when faced with defeat don’t question it .Rely on it and use it , use your strength’s to win back all you have lost .Their is no room for doubt .
6. Think Laterally :
Think different , stand apart from the crowd , go into unknown territories and use your inner self as your compass and guide. I knew nothing about travelling or blogging in the last ten year i had only ventured out of India twice and now in the last two years i have covered 17 countries . Even for my travelthon I am ideating and developing new ides that have not been used by travellers before . One example is Location scouting that will go on my site soon . I have been in Bollywood and understand how important location scouting is , as i travel the world i will capture unique locations and gain an understanding of them , these can be suggested to Bollywood Projects . Their are many countries where cheaper yet more exciting locations can be found . So Location scouting becomes a revenue source for the business.
7. The Law of Focus :
Put your whole might behind your idea and believe you can win back everything you have lost .
8. Seek positivity :
Seek positive people and positive work environment . My travels give me ample opportunity to seek positive locations where i can sit down and ideate . I seek positive people to chat to and ideate with that refreshes me and gives me new perspective.
9. Close all other Options :
This comes from the law of focus drop all useless activities and ideas and just focus on one current big idea and run with it . Don’t jump into different avenues . Why you lost in the first place was that you tried doing too many things and couldn’t do even one with intensity and focus . During my stint in Bollywood instead of focusing on my acting I did various other things like writing and running a content company . The up shot was i was not able to excel in even one of these task .
10. Show your teeth :
When you are down the world will keep you down , they will try to take even more advantage of you when you are down a wounded tiger cub will be attacked by Hyenas’ and vultures because they can smell weakness and will surround him to nibble at his flesh . The same happened with me . With the murder of my father things where bad but before they got better , they became even worse . I was surrounded with unwanted relatives and friends who wanted a peace of my flesh like vultures they eyed my property and wealth . So much so even my servants started to attack me . The only way out is to show you will not be intimidated and i with the help of a few true well wishers was able to shoo them away .
11. Shed Your Skin :
Embrace the new and shed the old , change every thing around you , old allies are to be dumped , their support did not work for you that is why you are in the quagmire you find your self in . Change your current environment i totally refurbished my house n Delhi to seek positivity .Today i don’t remember the incident that shook my life as i am totally involved in a new project and tackling new challenges .
12. Form an army of losers :
Weather Ram or Shankar they forged allies with losers and outcasts . Ram took an army of monkeys to win back Sita . Shankar took an army of aghodis and goblins to win back Parvati . Outcasts and goblins know what it is like to loose . They hover as outcasts of society so are adept in the art of guerrilla warfare . You need these kind of people to win back what you lost . Many such people have come to my aid and i have forged alliances with them to move forward in my journey .
13. Keep your Mouth Shut :
Talk less do more think hard and work fast .Make winning your only goal and don’t stop till the task is done .
14. Stay away from Emotional Attachments :
Don’t get into serious relationship’s with women until you have achieved your goal . Women are unnecessary distractions , when you are down you use them as emotional crutches , you will find that that will make things even worse for you . Just focus on winning back what you have lost , a whole life is ahead of you to have affairs. If you win you will find many woman to fall in love with , do it when you have won lost territory not before that .
Reminds me of a famous Bellwood song “ yeh zindigi hei ek juaa yanha jeet bhi hei haar bhi , yanha dushmano ki bheedh mein mil jayein ge tujhey yaar bhi , tu khelta ja khelta ja baziyon pe baziyaan .”
15. Seek Honest Advice not Sympathy or Sycophants :
Seek the advice of blunt people who are not afraid to tell you the truth on your face . One of the reason you find yourself in the mess you are in is because you surrounded yourself with sweet talkers and people who just massaged your ego .These people added no value to you or your company they are fleecers and only do “ji hazuri “. I also had surrounded myself with such people that is why i faced defeat in the first place . I have gotten rid of them now and find myself making progress . My single biggest mistake was that i listened to stupid people who took me back in my journey rather adding value to me .
16. Remember if you are rock bottom the only way is up !:
I should know this more then anyone since i have not only been on the edge but gone over it . Having come back from the jaws of death i now find myself back from the abyss. Also remember their are no dead ends every road is linked to every other road .The game is still on all champions will tell you that .
17. Live in the present Intensely :
Past is to be forgotten , live the present with intensity and focus through the windows of the present will you find your future .
18. Seek your Bliss :
Find activities you had loved but had given up because of lack of time or other wise . I took refuge in spirituality by visiting sacred places and reading sacred and holy text . They will come to your aid when you are down and out .
19. Win Win Win with Truth on your side :
The world spits on losers and will urinate on you when you are down . “ Duniya sirf ugte suraj ko salaam karti hei .” The world only salutes winners , so you have to make a come back and show them you can gain lost ground .But be honest with your victory as you where when you where defeated . Be fair , just because you got ripped off by people doesn’t mean you have to rip others off . Be honest and fair , you will comeback harder and stronger .
20. Be Humble :
Now that you have tasted defeat be humble and egoless . Watch your ego and stop being fool hardy it will lead to complacency again and you will go down hill . No unnecessary bravado is needed only pure humbleness is to be displayed .
21. Watch your Money :
Your financial situation is paramount in getting you out of the mess you are in . You will need money to resurrect yourself , so watch your assets and rejig them .Restructure to create liquidity at all time . Money will be needed to buy new resources and to raise a new army . I got help from my Bankers in Citi Bank to restructure my assets . Believe you me i was under attack by the Mumbai Underworld , they not only wanted to take over my flat but also eyed my properties in Delhi . I had to re jig my assets and now am in a comfortable place .
22. Don’t Forget the above laws when you win this time around………………….