I consider myself extremely blessed that via the yoga teacher’s training I was exposed to the Patanjali Sutras, Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Gheranda Samhita. Its like I have taken a dip in ocean of divine knowledge…

I wish I was taught this in my childhood by someone. It would actually have built my respect for Hinduism as a way of life.

I have been born a Hindu but the actual meaning of the philosophy of why we did what we did never really made sense. I always had a curious mind and I could not find the right people for the answers.

As I grew older and life kept happening, the questions grew and there was no answer to satisfy me until I worked with various modalities. Each spiritual modality would give me a glimpse of something, maybe answer a few questions but the queries inside never stopped bubbling.  The Bible and Buddhism brought me closer to exploring the art of living life with some good concepts and very soon I realised that they also had their roots in the old ancient philosophy when there was no clear concept of religion. But again, as I searched subconsciously, I could not find anyone who could explain to me. I wished there were was someone who would extrapolate the ancient wisdom to grains of word that would be easily be possible to digest.

In my quest, I found Swami Rama’s books, Sri M’s commentaries and his autobiography was an eyeopener and my hot favorite is Adi Shankaracharya… and I am still diving…

As I started this new phase of my life learning how to teach and strengthen my personal practice, I was introduced to Patanjali’s Sutras. And I am still amazed… Short and succinct and it has so much meaning and such profound interpretations that has placed everything I look at with a beautiful perspective.

Chitta Prasadana is one aspect from the Sutras which has been on my mind for a couple of days. Chitta Prasadana as I understood it deals with mind purification or rather helps in making our mind tranquil. With so many ups and downs it seems that the art of being in balance has been forgotten. Chanting helps, meditation helps but digging deep into the Sutras also opens up so many avenues of thought process.

I was wondering about how as a teacher one could sustain the sattvic attitude of giving and not just showing off what one knows. Then with personal interactions with peers and public including myself where the people are so enmeshed in their “knowing” and “experience” that anything different or out of the box is difficult to accept or imagine..

Then it struck me… Chitta Prasadana. The ancient sages have already decoded this point and here we are trying to reinvent the wheel in our own mind trying to find quick fixes for our experiences or rather the events which bring us stress or conflict.

This thought liberated me to an extent – when I was struggling with the ego part from me and others… and it has at least stilled my restlessness. Practicing it in life definitely brings forth a kind of mindful and emotional evolution. Specially when we are attempting to follow yamas and niyamas which is quite difficult in this age.

Here is something I read which I want to share.

 

YS. 1.33:  Excerpt from http://www.ahymsin.org/docs2/News/1212Dec/01.html

Maîtree-karuNaa-muditopekShaaNaam sukha-duHkha-puNyaapuNya-viShayaaNaam bhaavanaatash chitta-prasaadanam

(bhaavaartha=paraphrase): The mind-field is made pleasant and clear by the practice of amity towards the happy, compassion towards those in suffering, joyfulness at seeing others meritorious, and the practice of indifference towards the transgressors of virtue.

It appears simple enough but the actual meanings are profound; this becomes clear by studying the explanations given by commentators, starting with Vyasa. He adds:

By practising these there arises in one the bright virtue (or bright attributes) (shukla dharma). Thereby the mind-field becomes pleasant and clear; thus made pleasant and clear it attains the state of stability and stillness (sthiti-pada).

Only such a mind can be stabilized in meditation and can attain the desired stillness.
It answers a question the sadhakas often raise: why does my mind not settle down during meditation? Why does it keep wandering? The answer is implicit in the sutra: Dear Sadhaka, your mind wanders, does not attain stability and stillness because you have not made it pleasant and clear through the practice of the four right attitudes of chitta-prasaadana.

I term this as emotional purification. Without emotional purification in daily life, there can be no ‘pra-saadana’ of the mind and consequently the mind will not attain stability during meditation which alone leads to stability and interior stillness.

The commentators go further into the psychology of these practices. Vachaspati Mishra (VM) states (paraphrased here):

The sutra states the means and methods for making the mind-field pleasant and clear that serve as antidotes to the negative attributes like malice (asooyaa) and so forth. It is because the mind that is unrefined is filled with these malice and so forth, it cannot bring about samadhi and its supporting means and methods.

These practices are the methods of refining the mind (pari-karman).

It works as follows:

When one practices amity towards those who are happy and in comfort, his mind-field’s dark stains of jealousy are turned off.

When one practices compassion, that is the desire and inclination for eliminating others’ sufferings in the same measure in which one wishes to remove one’s own, then the dark stains of any inclination towards harming others cease.

When one cultivates joyfulness at seeing other beings virtuous, the dark stains of malice are turned off.

When one cultivates indifference, that is neutrality, remaining in the middle (madhya-stha), then the dark stains of intolerance vanish.

So this kind of gave me an idea ( I am still figuring this out) how to work with the mind and the pull and push from outside. The knowers and the doers and the haters and the players… its all a game… if I focus on the mind and understand what state I need to be in, and just follow the sutras keeping my ego totally out, there is so much more to achieve then…. WOW…

Well I am just a babe in these woods and still trying to comprehend how to work through this… inside myself… so more later… 🙂

passion-wordle-1One of the wishes I had was to work with something or someone or a concept for which I had love and passion for..

It started with languages and then with writing and then with People… Everytime, I resisted and then once pushed it worked wonders for me… it was like polishing what I had inside…

Languages for example, it was never unique for me that I grew up speaking more than 5 languages.. it built the communication skills and helped me learn the foreign languages easily. Today when I see my friends who are married from different ethnicity, I encourage them to have their kids speak both their languages. It is an unbeatable combination or a foundation for communication skills and lateral thinking and even helps in their imagination..

I loved to write from the time I discovered pens and pencils.. and stationery.. even today I flip on stationery items… Keyboard just does not do it for me like pen on paper.. it evolved into letters and then I discovered the world of pen-friends… where I could write to my hearts content and there were friends who had the time to read and reply in equally detailed manner… made many good friends some of whom are still in touch… it was a beautiful world.. without much expectations… just writing and sharing for the love of it…

These were sort of some of my many hobbies which kept me busy enough to be always excited about something or the other. I had plenty of friends and playmates but this world of mine was just mine… where I could build and create as I wished… oh it is still so beautiful…

Then writing became my job and my love and communication became standardised shaded with policies and rules of dos and dont’s, a totally different world of different shades of grey. It was all interesting at the beginning and as long as the job was exciting and there was impact with my skills or whatever abilities I had, it was fulfilling but then it was tiring swimming through the plethora of resistance and routine… and yet salary meant security and stability… which one is so scared to let go…

The more resistance I had from inside, the more I was pushed to do justice to my inner self, my purpose and the very belief that kept flowering inside me that it was time I just followed my passion… yes it would be difficult, yes it would be unknown, yes it would be totally scary but to stay with something which totally killed me inside and did not give me any respect besides the money… was really a deal breaker.. I was like —- what is the worst case scenario… that I would have to face… believe me I had deep dark scenarios… which left me shaken… part of it fuelled by the score of society which kept me tied… unwillingly to things that I did not believe in….

There is always a beginning and an end to everything.. Nothing lasts for ever and if only we allow the old bits to end, new bits come to flower in our life…

So here I am, unshackled from that so called corporate milieu and loving it… Yes I have had withdrawal symptoms… but I have embraced all that and every day is beautiful when I keep counting what is already there in my life and my gratitude knows no bounds… I am breathing, I am healthier, I am not worried about compromising my beliefs, I dont  have to be forced to listen to a  stupid Chinese putting Indians and Indian colleagues down or the Indian system down at every opportunity …. Idiotic though that soul is, he never understood that it was this very India which was giving him so much freedom to be nonsensical… if he was in China, he might have been bloody persecuted by his Govt.. ( grrrrrrrowwwwlllll) [ More on that on my future ramblings]

Anyways, before I digress, my cup is empty now and my loving friends have rallied again.. to push me ahead with things I have been fearful of… I knew from the inside but the monkey mind keeps scattering the doubts… ready to overpower the certainty in the uncertain… After one of the calls today from a dearest friend, I was in tears with gratitude to the universe as my thoughts unfolded and as my friends came in to rally in with me… I get more and more courage to strike out with the values and the ideas which I believe in…

It is more critical for me since I am a person, as crazy and idiosyncratic as I am, it scares me to hell to just leap into the unknown but oddly whenever I did that, there were multiple benefits…  and hope that this unknown leap will also bring forth unlimited joys and open more pathways inside me…. the possibilities have been been limitless…. just waiting to be tapped into…  Yeah as you can understand… now I am in love with myself… buhahahaha 🙂 and I love it…

It is always important to follow what your heart wants. You will get stuck doing things what others want to do… Do It.. its fine as long as you know there is something which you want to… and start digging, you never know what treasures you may discover… and block out the chatter of the souls who tell you that you are no good or this will not work or laugh at you… they don’t matter… and yes hook up with the souls who egg you on, even knowing that its a bit crazy and yet have that belief in you making you stronger with every step…. with no judgements…

Every time I think that I am striking it alone, there are so many so many so many helping hands in the form of so many magical events… that I cannot be grateful enough for all that life has given me… even if its a tiny drop… it fills me with an ocean of possibilities… that tiny drop is enough…

So yes I think I am hanging up my Corporate Robe for a while, as I brew something for what I believe in. Its still work in progress and I don’t know the exact path but its unfurling and that journey itself is bloody exhilarating…  this new robe is magical… I must say… hahahaha 🙂

I am one who actually ran away from all rituals from a very young age. It would be with great difficulty you would be able to make me do something against my will… The only allowance I would give Ma was to chant Mantras…

I realise now why… they made my play with words and sing which I loved to anyway.. so memorizing was easy peasy…

Everytime I sit for a ritual like marriage, death or even Grihapravesha… it is like well we got to do what we got to do.. it actually put me off since it had so much religious and social content… I know it has to.. sometimes, but it did not make sense if you were busy fighting which is the best or right rather then focussing on the ritual itself… I mean the whole purpose is lost..

But I guess, when perspective changes… our lives also changes…  As life kept happening to me, it was those very rituals.. like getting up in the morning and following a particular task like say Pranayama or yoga or anything just chanting Gayatri Mantra … or simply just sipping tea at leisure… watching the sunrise  before leaving for work… it presented a great way to ground oneself and to prepare oneself for the day. Even before starting work, spending some quiet moments with self always made me go about my day and face what was necessary…

Even writing is a ritual for me. I missed it so much due to the pre-disposed judgement of people you work with just because you wrote something about which you felt deeply.  The spontaneity was lost and my soul begged for outlets for words… and today I am glad I am slowly making it back to the ritual of wording something I feel deeply about.. and I hope to re connect with myself… through words here… this blog was always a special place to return back… away from all the musts and shoulds and slowly build my own structure of ritual.

shradhtarpanToday remembering Raj, our dear departed friend, we are doing a  shraddh ceremony and it feels good. I believe if we start something somewhere its fulfilling to complete it.  You can call it ritual, you can call it closure and you can call it a heartfelt action…

So …. I am feeling peaceful… just watching the pandit go through the various motions of his ritual… watching our friend Jaya immerse herself in that, gives me great joy… and I am sure even Raj who never believed in such actions can recognize it for what it is… a heartfelt prayer and loving thoughts for you… so that you can go ahead… with joy… we want you to keep going till you reach where you are supposed it… we will meet you there soon… buddy…

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Everyday life…

Its what we try and live every moment, sometimes in a routine, sometimes with awareness, sometimes with rebellion, sometimes with courage and sometimes with a desperate wish to do more and more… to live more and more the only way one knows how… right or wrong… it does not matter how…

Having reached a considerable age in human years and hopefully in soul years, I have not been untouched by death, the most impactful was that of my mother’s and I am still getting over it… there is no saying how long that “time” takes to heal.. one never does in a way…

Living and losing is a part of life’s game and yet… it makes for so much pain. I guess I would not be human if I would not feel it again and again. The pain is in a way reminding me that I am still human…

Among the multitudes of souls that pass by some souls just touch you deep in your subconsciousness, just by being themselves this was one such person.

Rituraj Choudhury or Raj as he was called… came into my life as this crazy friend a year after mom died. It was the 31st of Dec and I pushed myself to get back to normal life for the first time, going to a friend’s house. It was his birthday and well I was born on a 31st too…(what a coincidence, I thought.. tough numbers, tough destiny..)

We talked cars, we danced to the night, we celebrated his birthday cooking and drinking generally doing things what people do… It was my first step towards getting back to normal life..

And somehow he became a very dear friend. Describing him would be very difficult as he had all the great things that made him a wonderful soul and all the not so great things which made him so human… I think I am the only person who knew him for such a short time. All the rest seem to have known him forever… And yet, it seemed like a long time. He had loads of friends from all walks of life. And he was generous with everyone to a fault. Everyone.

Then he became severely ill which he just refused to admit to himself until it was too late,  and took us through the agonising moments of his death. The many procedures his body had to go through, the clutching at straws knowing this is a point of no return and just rueing the fact that it is such a waste… but then maybe he did what he had to do… with his life..made his choices …. so there…

It has been 3 days and I am still trying to control the flow of tears out of nowhere as I sit and do my work.

I know it is life. I know the soul lives on forever, and I will meet him again and again… if its so willed..

I know that we don’t die… only change our bodies… and roles…

And yet, this role of mine which knew him as a friend in this lifetime is so pained at the loss…. cannot comprehend why… I am just trying to get through… maybe because its so sudden, maybe because it was such a close encounter…  I dont know… So here I write… I get through better when I write… And I affirm the following…

wake-of-loss-affirmation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would like to thank him for so many things..  Little things which we take for granted… in the wake of racing with the world..

1378709_10151618127742890_823384916_nI would like to thank you for all the fun dances…. we had as friends…

For all the times, when we were stuck, you offered your car or bike or whatever…

For having my red tea once with a grimace even though you preferred your poison..

For being so positive and “so what” even in the face of “what will I do ?”

For those warm hugs…

For giving us the space to be… joyful and enjoying the moments..

For rushing to be with us when Dad had his surgery… even though it was too much for you to get up early and make the long journey… I will never forget that…

For the lovely music..  You have a collection I love.

For swinging to Rabindra Sangeeth…. even though you said you never understood it… I will never forget that night with You and Jaya… as we both got caught by cops that night and also let go…. what a memory… I am still chuckling… as I write this… you were a badass rock star … far away from Bangla songs… hahaha 🙂

For the plants you forcefully bought for me… while walking with me to the horticulture garden.. no reason… you had to give them to me..

For the many evenings and afternoons, you spent with us, making us laugh…even getting angry… (I keep expecting you to ride by with your yellow glasses and hailing us and stopping to chat…)

For sharing your Five Star Chicken and Coke… I will always remember you when I have that now.. ( so many silly memories)

For the photos you clicked… I remember you crawling on the floor to get one good shot… and you were drunk… sigh…

For caring for so many people… wanted to please many…

12049653_10152995233897890_3339534337722018632_n (1)For spending time with my Dad…  You guys had a gala time when I was not there.. and you made sure I knew that… good for you…

For the silly gifts which only a friend can give… I will treasure them all… the silliness of it all makes it all the more special..

For those comments on FB… I will treasure those caustic notes.. ( I am not much for social media but it is so nice to go through your thoughts now)

For the deep talks and even the sharing your tears and fears with us.. I hope you know now that we all have similar fears and live through it every day..its not easy to share tears for a guy… I was humbled by that..

For the future you saw and wanting all of us to be there…

For just being you… incorrigible, reckless, rambunctious, naughty, freaky friend on one hand and the same time, a generous, kind, sensitive, emotional, loveable friend…. for not hiding the ugly and the beautiful… thus making it easier to accept you more easily..

For showing me that extremes can exist in one person… its just the choices that one makes that paves the path…

You did what you could… you lived as you wanted to… and its ok…  Now Remain in Peace and Light , till we all gather together and reminisce this lifetime we had and prepare for the next….

 

 

Meanwhile, I remain here with the rest… just another tiny soul… waiting to cross when its time… and wishing, wishing… wishing and swimming between What Ifs… 

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Or rather you ARE what you DO…

This is the thought that keeps me grounded…  so every morning I find something meaningful to do.. in my day… and I try and have my family practice that.. .

Its not about the job, its not about the ego, its not about the rat race…

Its what you do every moment… this is true for all ages…

When I was young, it was my well meaning aunt who introduced me to books and music and movies… in various stages of my growing life and that has made me pursue many other aspects to keep enhancing myself and it kept adding to the journey of life…

Even when I was learning various Life Hacks from Master Coaches, it was always said that to change the state of our mind to reach our goals of leading a more grounded life.. instead of wallowing in thoughts that hinder our growth..

So its been sometime that Dad has been widowed and he has been like a lost child, needing constant attention. At first I started to wind him down with different methods of diverting his mind but it did not work..  All the things that he liked, he started staying away from it. I found that odd. He was focussed on one and only one thing that is food. He became obsessed with food and that led him to really affect his health. I knew he was sliding down the path but he was not listening to me.

Inspite of him living with me, he would wait till we went to work and then would binge on food.. overdoing it with everything that was harmful to him, resulting in a major heart attack and then Bypass Surgery. We took care of that easily but my worry was how to get him away from his obsession and have him focus on stuff that would enrich him and give him a sense of joy on his own without having any dependency on anyone else. Senior members specially need to feel independent and have purpose else its very easy to slide into depression and disease making habits.

The Bypass Surgery actually was a blessing and it helped me to get him into a routine… and I decided that I will bring him back to all that he likes doing..

Reading Newspaper, watching some TV for 2 hours in a day… good things, not stupid news which actually make people more tense about everything, eating healthily so that he eats with me and not hog down anything, and most importantly get him back to gardening…

I started giving him some projects to run errands for me from the shop inside the complex so that I could make him some really different food and BANG on… he fell for it… so every now and then I get together with him and plan a new recipe… he is gung ho about going many times downstairs and getting what I need… he is like a child waiting for the result… ( I am smiling right now as I imagine him looking down at my last bread pudding fiesta… hahah )

So the advantage is that I also get to explore and I have a father who is equally enthu about it all… so that took care of his food binging since  he knows he will get surprises on and off… 🙂 which he looks forward to that.

TV – I have tuned him to Nat Geo and mythological series… only in the evenings… ( thank god he is not addicted to TV – after mom’s death he got addicted to some really stupid time consuming serials which had nothing but nonsense saas bahu dramas … EWWWW…. )  So that checked…

Newspaper – I am ok that he is now addicted to newspaper… he can get lost in the newspaper… for ages… I am ok… its better than TV or food.

There were various other things which I tried to keep him motivated… and away from being naughty… hahaha which worked…

Like getting fishes and setting up an aquarium so that he could bond with them.. Like me, Dad loves pets… he loves interacting with my birds…

This is an evaluation image and is Copyright Pamela Perry. Do not publish without acquiring a license. Image number: 0515-1103-2603-0635. http://www.acclaimimages.com/_gallery/_pages/0515-1103-2603-0635.html

So thinking back to Shillong days,  we always had gardening as a part of our lives. We had a garden for everything. Most of the houses it.. Dad had a special rose garden, a whole lot of orchids… cactus line ups… and many many different blooms.. and vegetables and fruits… which dad took lot of time to nurture like little children… the hardest part of leaving our space was the garden I guess.  I was his assistant to water them when he would be away.. he would not trust anyone otherwise… it would take almost a whole day to water his garden… phew…. it was not a job I really liked…. and tried to escape as much as possible.. 🙂

I actually thought that it would be easy to get him back to something he loved.. but I got lot of resistance to this surprisingly. He kept complaining about the space..

I got along and planned a colourful garden with leftover wood… and it did come out better than we planned. So the project became our creative ‘do’ too… 🙂

Once the visual appeal and everything was taken care off… step by step…  oh yes !! out of sheer frustration, I had to go get some plants and start planting them… just to show how badly I did and how I needed his help… he kept on about how I did not now… I said … : teach me….  and well slowly,  but surely he took ownership… and made it his daily life…

Now, when I see him pottering around… totally engrossed in the plants… it makes all the effort worthwhile…

To some it would be gardening but to me, it was a added lease of life… into something someone loves… so that he could live with more joy… seeing his flowers bloom…. give me great happiness knowing that I see his love… in many ways… worth my time  and more importantly his as well….

Today… his lilies have bloomed, roses keep popping up… different hibiscus flowers that I got, also smile under his care…

I still have to get him to build the orchid put from scratch… thats a work of art which I miss… I want to learn too….

Doing something we love always gives us more impetus in our neurons and our anatomy to function more healthily from a subconscious perspective…  For me, I am getting back to writing daily… its something  I have always loved and I am going to hope I can spontaneously blog like I used to before… so dear blog, you will hear from me….

I had seen my father in law slip away just like that… and I did not know…  today I think maybe if we could introduce him to some stuff that he liked and got some incentive… he would live a bit longer, instead of giving up..

Anyway… so I would like to share some of the pictures… of his blooms… some I have already shared in Facebook…

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The garden being set up… for Daddy.. the more colorful, the more fun…

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The latest of his blooms. A beautiful Lily pot

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So besides being positive… which is somewhat challenging sometimes given what is around us… it takes going back to things that we love… to get charged up… and making that part of our daily life… specially when we retire… 🙂

Be it learning how to bake, learning how to paint, reading a new book whatever floats your boat….  it could be a life saver…

We all will die one day… that is the only permanent truth but the days we live… we have to find ways to live with joy…. be it digging inside ourselves to get back our mojo… for something we have long forgotten because life happened by….

Anyway… I wanted to jot this down just in case I forget in my old age…if i live that long… hahahah 🙂

So the only downturn of all this that my Dad is now like Dennis the Menace when he is at a flower shop… No matter how much I say its enough, he does not want to agree and keep getting more and more… flowers… sigh….  so much so that a traffic cop the other day told me to move from besides the flower shop, I asked sometime… and showed him my dad who just had conveniently turned deaf to my calls so much so I had to call him and say that the police would catch us if we did not hurry.. and move…. Very very reluctantly, he left the shop…. I could not help chuckling to myself…. he was ok when I told him I would get him back on a Sunday when traffic was zero there…. LOLOL…..

Well days of my life… I guess.