Punctuate Life

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The Dilemma

Who am I?

I don’t seem to know anymore!

I wake up in the morning

And stare blankly at the door.

Trapped in a body wracked with limitation,

Every breath is an act of suffocation.

Am I the sum total of my successes,

Or the product of my failures?

 

Everything is a lie and illusion is rampant,

It is taken to be real and there lies the delusion.

The truth is hard to swallow,

The pain too much to bear,

This separation between body and soul,

As the body stumbles and the soul soars,

This I’m sure I did not ask for!

 

To be of this world and not to be,

To belong and not fit in,

To be torn between the dream and the awakening,

Is a dilemma that I dread facing.

 

Disconnected from the love of the source,

A whirlwind of activity and emotions I force,

I trip and fumble trying to find

Something that will satisfy this deep thirst in my soul.

What is it that seeks to be birthed?

A tiny voice inside me speaks,

Which I try to drown in the quagmire that is my mind.

Feebly it cries – Happiness lies in the ‘IS’,

In the ‘Now’

In the everlasting that is there forever more.

 


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Global Consciousness is For Real!

I wrote about collective consciousness a year ago, right after a basketball game (See http://www.punctuatelife.com/2012/06/07/collective-consciousness/). I could sense how the fans’ energy was making the players score and almost tie the game. When PBS aired a show this week about measuring coherance or in other words the collective energy emanating from the Boston Red Sox fans at Fenway Park, it blew my mind. For all you people out there who don’t believe in such a thing as thought energy this is all the proof you need. Scientific proof. A small group of people have been measuring global consciousness by using random number generators all over the world and have been analysing and recording the results.

It is not my intention to go into the details of this global consciousness project. You can learn more on the Internet. But it is my intention to show you that the time has come for you to actually regard every thought as an energetic entity that is powerful enough to change the outcome of any situation in your life. Or powerful enough to create any desired outcome in your life. It may not be easy for many of us to do this but with patience and practice you can work your own miracles as I have.

If you work better with a team then know this – many people sending out the same thought frequency have greater power to control the outcome. That is the reason prayer groups really work miracles. Every time my grandma went to the hospital with a serious malady I used to send a prayer request to the Reiki Center and every time she came out of the hospital perfectly fine. I still send prayer requests on behalf of my friends and I’ve seen it work time and again. Praying together as a family or simply sitting together and stating your intentions with a good intention is also very powerful. Trying to get my 8-year-old and 10-year-old to sit still is quite challenging but we are getting there!

The technique can be applied at work and even sports teams greatly increase their chances of winning when every player is resonating at a winning frequency. Here is the funny thing, if enough of them are on a winning frequency the rest of the team automatically picks up that frequency! It’s like that physics experiment with the tuning forks or pendulums. After a few rounds all the forks are vibrating at the same frequency or all the pendulums are in sync.

There is also such a thing as power places. Places that soak up all the energy of several centuries of prayer, rituals and healing vibes so much so that just going there can work miracles for you. We feel it in a small way whenever we enter a place of worship. We feel intense peace and come back with a good feeling that lingers for a long time. Imagine an energy 10,000 times stronger – now that can really change your life!

Energy is a palpable force that is changing our physiology every minute without us even knowing it. It is changing our reality and what we create in our lives. Today, I see a world where people are not happy with what they have created and are coming together to pool their energy to create a better world. Better energy, better world. It’s that simple.

Remember, it all starts as a tiny thought inside you head which then creates thoughts in the same frequency as that first thought. Before you know it your thoughts are crowding your brain, changing your physiology and your emotions and creating every second of your day. So what will you think today? Make it a happy thought!

 


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Nurturing the Goddess in you…

All you men out there, this one is for you as well. You may have six-packs and rippling muscles and testosterone in your veins. But you still have a feminine side. You have a heart, don’t you? That thing that pumps blood and also has the ability to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Perhaps you haven’t been listening to it lately.  I’m sure you have faced the classic dilemma posed by your mind and heart. Your heart says go for it and your mind gives you a million reasons not to…You listen to your head and end up with heart ache later…

In a world built on logic and ruled by logic what place does the heart have? Well, the world built entirely on logic and largely by men in power is slowly crumbling down before our very eyes. It lacks sensitivity and creativity which are primarily feminine aspects. The mind thinks and the heart knows. We have forgotten how to trust our hearts to make decisions for us. We think through our decisions but forget to feel our way through them. We deny our feminine sides. Shun it, deplore it, mask it! And all you women out there are facilitators!

Just the other day I heard  a single mom say about her son – I don’t want him to be too girly. I’ve also heard soccer moms go on about how their daughters are not aggressive enough and push them into competitive sports. When boys cry we say to them – strong boys don’t cry and lead them to believe that crying is a sign of weakness. Or even worse – don’t cry like a girl – creating the notion that crying and being like a girl are both highly undesirable qualities.

In my house most of the crying is done by my boy. He is what they call a Highly Sensitive Male (HSM). He feels everything deeply and hollers his tiny heart out every once in a while! I wish he would relax a little while still holding on to his sensitivity. It makes him a remarkable little person. He senses my angst at the end of a long day and will come and ask me – Ma do you want me to help you. It just makes me want to cry!

Just hope the world that thinks sensitivity is a weakness and power comes from supressing others doesn’t take it away from him. I’ve heard so many opinions about raising boys that I’m sick of it. Don’t hug, kiss and coddle your boys too much. You don’t want them to be sissies! Go help your Dad (like helping your Mom out with chores makes you less macho!!) And then these very same boys that you raise rough & tough, grow up and shy away from changing diapers or feeding babies. Their women will lament about their lack of sensitivity. And then these very same women will go on to raise identical replicas of their husbands! Do you see the vicious cycle we have created?

Women too seem to suffer from the mind-rules-and-hearts-can’t-be-trusted psychosis. After years of supression, women came out of the home, out of their nurturing roles as moms and wives. And into a harsh corporate world where the rules are different. The rules were made by men – men who had suppressed their feminine side. Men who only thought of numbers, figures and bottom line margins. Women had to be tough, put family last, work long hours and put their heart-centred nurturing on the back burner. But we have seen how this fractured way of thinking without a balance of mind and heart has failed time and again because it forgets that people are the life of an organization and not figures.

Nature however loves balance and the time has come to balance the mind and the heart. The male and the female. The yin and the yang. It is no surprise that this year there were women Olympians from every participating country. Today several top companies like Yahoo and Pepsico are headed by women. My only prayer is that these women share their wisdom and chart their own path to success instead of following the foot steps of  those before them.

It’s heartening to see stay-at-home dads who love and care for their babies. I remember a time when dads never did any parenting. They brought home the bacon, drank beer and watched TV. They never read to their kids or even hugged them. Those days are long gone but some men still hang on to remnants of those days and think parenting is mostly the mom’s job. No wonder many single women think they don’t need a man to procreate anymore! But there is a reason why children need both a mom and a dad. So they grow up balanced. So their minds and hearts are equally developed. So they can think and trust. Judge and love. But in order to raise balanced kids we need to be balanced ourselves.

So how do you get in touch with your feminine side? It’s the playful, creative, loving side of you, that is connected to nature and all beings. When you hold your baby and your heart fills with so much love that it might burst – you are connecting to your feminine side. When your dog showers you with unconditional love and you mirror it back you are connecting to the feminine. When you reach out with compassion you are connected to that force. When you dance, sing, write, play, have fun you connect to your inner goddess. When you pay attention to your feelings instead of that little voice in your head you are connecting to your heart.

I love the picture in which Shiva has the right half of the body and Parvathi has the left half. Male and female totally balanced. Where the heart listens to the mind and the mind bows down to the heart which always comes from a place of compassion and unconditional love.

 


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Taming Your Mind, the Monkey

I did not go out seeking mind control. But was forced to do it after a severe bout of depression. I simply had to control the negative feelings that kept rising up every now and then. So powerful that they almost smothered me. I was afraid that if my predominantly negatively charged brain was given control that I would plunge back into the Black Hole. The Balck Hole that I swore never to return to.

So the first step to controlling your thoughts is to be AWARE of them. If you go through your day doing things and not paying attention to your mental chatter then you have no control. But then again it’s hard to pay attention to your thoughts when you have a million things to do and your mind is jumping from one task to the next. My suggestion? Take a few minutes every day to just sit down and listen to your thoughts. Write them down if you want. Now check to see if they are predominantly positive thoughts or negative thoughts. Are they thoughts that will set you free or keep you victimized? Will they help you in your life’s purpose or will they keep you stuck? Or are you just replaying the bad events of your life over and over?

Thoughts and feelings are bosom buddies in that, where one goes the other will follow. If your thoughts are blue, guess what?  You will be feeling blue. When I felt sad I would try very hard not to dwell on those thoughts that were making me sad. By not paying attention to them. By doing something to keep myself busy or by distracting myself. Little did I know then that I could totally shift the way I was feeling by simply force -feeding my mind some positive thoughts. So for many years I lived in this limbo of unhappiness, slipping in and out of near depression. Mind you a negatively charged brain will refuse to go on a positive thought diet. It will throw up, gag, retch and find myriad ways to let you know that it dislikes change! Over time and with practice I have made my mind a cheery little creature that speaks encouraging words, eggs me on and boosts my confidence. You can do it too – everytime you pay attention to your thoughts. If they are positive, good for you! If not, stop, drop the negative thought and keep the positive ones rolling.

Here is the danger with not replacing the negative with the positive. Like attracts like. So one negative thought leads to another, then another and then another. And before you know it you are wallowing in it, in your nightgown at 11.00 in the morning! So remember the fire drill. Stop! Drop! Roll!

After a point I needed more than just positive thinking to keep me centered no matter what. I was looking for peace, a serenity that enveloped me and everyone I came in contact with. For that I turned to meditation. I was always drawn to it but it took me years to find the right fit for my kind of mind. I started off with Reiki Chakra meditation. Then SOHAM meditation. None of them lasted for more than a few months. If you prefer a guided meditation tape or CD then you could try these. In my case it was during guided meditation that I lost all feeling from my body and felt blissful. That one experience egged me on to find the perfect meditation. There was this chant that I heard at a musical that I really liked. It was like a trance and it made me feel at peace. So I used to chant it a few times and then just enjoy the peace that came with it.

For someone who has never meditated before I would suggest sitting still for a few minutes and following the breath. Take deep breaths and focus on your breathing. If you mind is too active then you need to focus it on one thing. Try saying a mantra. Choose something meaningful to you and not something random. ‘Om’ is a good mantra but if you feel it’s too ‘Hindu’ for you go with ‘Aaaah’. Take a deep breath and say Ooooooooooooommmmmmm or Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh on the exhale. Say it slowly and remember to stay with the ending sound as well  – the mmmm hum or the hhhhh hum after your lips close. Feel the vibration, feel the mantra course through your body. Feel the rhythm. Say it as many times as you need to and then just sit still and listen to or feel the chant in your mind or body.

Eckhart Tolle describes another method in his book “A New Earth”. This is a must read for anyone searching for meaning amidst the chaos of the world. He says that the breath or prana or life force or spirit is the doorway to your soul and the peace and bliss that comes with it. I’ve heard of this concept before and I had tried to control my breath in order to control my mind. If you hold you breath your mind will be quiet. I just ended up breathless! Tolle however asks us to watch our breath. As in, breathe consciously as opposed to unconsciously. That will stop the mental chatter because you can only be fully aware of one thing at a time. I practised this type of meditation for a while and then I saw Deepak Chopra’s meditation on the Doctor Oz show. He asked the audience to feel their heartbeat without placing their hands over the heart. And then progressively feel various parts of your body by sending your attention or concentrating on that part. Start with bigger areas like your hands or your feet. Then try feeling your nose, ears and scalp. As you concentrate you will feel the life force as a pulsating sensation, fully alive. As you do this, your attention which is usually in your mind will begin to shift and you are no longer a prisoner of your mind.

Yoga again is meditation in motion, if done properly. You have to breathe into the pose, feel the stretch or in other words your awareness should be within your body, totally present, totally focused.  Shavasana (corpse pose) is a wonderful relaxation pose and when the body is relaxed, the mind relaxes too. Then if you just follow your breath, you go deeper into relaxation and deeper into meditation.

One last type of meditation that might work for some of you, especially if you have an analytical mind is the Self- Enquiry method or the Who am I meditation. I have not had much success with it possibly because I’m not very analytical! So you sit still and ask the question – Who am I? Your mind will give you a thousand answers. Negate all those answers. Ask the question, be quiet and plunge deeper. In the end after you realize that you are not the body, the thoughts or the mind or the roles you play, you will only hear the ‘I’- ‘I’ beating of your soul.

It’s important that you use the same room/chair/place for your practice. After a while just entering the room or sitting on the chair will take you to that deep, sacred and peaceful place, almost instantly! If you try the last type of meditation and meet with success, please share your experience so others like me may learn and follow.

 

 

 

 


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Collective Consciousness

I was at a basketball game in February this year. Orlando Magic vs Atlanta Hawks. To get to the part I want to talk about I have to cut to the fourth quarter of the game (sorry guys!) Magic was trailing by two points. The Amway Center was full of Magic fans and they really wanted them to win. I was one of them. We rose in unison, chanting at a feverish pitch, the energy filling the stadium, pushing the players and the ball to do their bidding. A two-pointer! The crowd went wild. The clock was ticking. Just seconds to go before the end of the fourth quarter. Atlanta scores. The crowd roared and we continued to chant in unison – one voice, one soul, one vision! Magic scored again and the timer beeped indicating the end of the fourth quarter. I’m standing, my hands raised, screaming ecstatically. Even my usually reticent husband is screaming, thumping my kids and giving high fives. What just happened? Ever been to a concert or game? Then you would know that the fans exude so much energy that the air is electric and charged. So much so that spontaneous combustion is possible! To me the collective energy was palpable.  Almost like a force driving the players to tie the game. If the game had resumed immediately, the energy that hung around the room would have propelled Magic to win. But as the seconds slipped by and the game went into 5 minutes of overtime, I could sense the energy dissipating, people disengaging from the whole, the collective if you will.

The game resumed but the energy had shifted, the audience had lost it’s one-pointed focus and I could taste the disappointment, feel it in the air. Atlanta scored. Orlando missed twice and the timer went off. Magic lost and I knew they would even before it happened.

The mind when applied properly is a very powerful device. So several minds working together on a common goal are unstoppable. If only the people in the basketball stadium knew that. Enough of them. Just to tip the scales to obtain a win for Magic. Imagine what we can do right here, right now. Why work alone when you can improve your chances of success by working together. Many of us want the same things – a job, a partner, inner peace, money – may be not in that exact same order. But if a buddy can help you stick to an exercise routine, he/she sure can partner with you to get something you both want. So why not make the journey together, why not help each other along the way. Why go alone, get disappointed and give up just when the goal is within your reach. There is so much we can change just by working together. In our lives, in the lives of several people we haven’t even met and even life here on earth. So get cracking and get involved. No more standing in the bylines. Come on out to the forefront and focus your collective energy for the highest good of all. Find something worthy of your attention.

How will you (and your buddies) apply the power of collective consciousness today? Please share below…


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Balancing This Tight Rope Act We Call Life…

Balance is something I absolutely love to talk about. Maybe because it reminds me of the tree pose or Vrikshasana in Yoga. When I started doing yoga I couldn’t do the tree pose. I kept toppling over. I was out of balance. Had some dull aches and pains which I thought were ‘normal’ after childbirth and ‘normal’ as you grow ‘older’. But I remembered the time I was young and fresh out of school with a supple and flexible body that could contort into unimaginable yoga poses. I remember having the general feeling of well being that ebbed and flowed throughout the day. My emotions were equable and under ‘my’ control. I sorely missed yoga and the amazing sense of peace and health that went with it. So during the long dreary winters in Boston I started doing yoga in my living room with Wai Lana and my little yogis. My body resisted when coaxed into poses I was pretty sure I could do. I quickly gave up but by then my kids developed a liking for the kid-friendly yoga videos. They wanted to be lions and cobras and do the cat and dog stretch. So I did it with them but with little enthusiasm. Deep down inside I’m thinking – I can never be as supple as them.

Then the PBS channel did a special on Peggy Cappy of Kripalu Yoga in the beautiful Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. All her students are seniors. Some of them joined yoga class after years of crippling pain that interfered with their normal life. Her oldest student was 90 (I think). And here I was not even 30 and complaining about not being ‘bendy’ enough! So I threw myself into yoga with a renewed spirit but lacked the discipline I had before kids, marriage and responsibilities. I yearned for some structure and discipline and to study under a good yoga teacher like Peggy. Well, that wish of mine was granted soon. I found a yoga teacher after I moved to Florida  (seems like Fl is the land where dreams come true…at least for me!)  She had a morning class at the recreation center right across the street from my home (how convenient!) I ended up being her first and only student. Lucky me got to have several one-on-one sessions with her.

She is probably my grandmother’s age, silver-haired, always smiling with a soothing voice that can get you into Shavasana (deep relaxation) in a trice. After doing the sun breath she would say – bring your hands together in prayer position over the heart chakra – MIND, BODY and SPIRIT are one. She also did something called the breath of joy which helps release stress and lightens you up. I simply loved her and Yoga was the highlight of my week for almost a year. My aches and pains vanished. The back pain that used to show up at the end of a long day on my feet – GONE and has never returned. My malady of being cold always (yes, even in Florida!) magically disappeared even without me realizing it. I also had a lot more tolerance and did not lose my cool easily. People said I exuded peace. My body and mind were restored to a balanced state. But what amazes me the most is that I did not know I was out of balance. That, by the way is everyone’s story. People ignore signs their bodies send their way. You think pain is normal, diabetes is normal, heart disease is heriditary, arthritis is incurable. I have to live with it you say. No you don’t! Most diseases are caused by wrong thinking, wrong diet, lack of exercise etc. Why is stress everyone’s favorite word today? I admit that we have an undue amount of stress to deal with, living in the world as it is today…but we also have the tools to bust stress and live a balanced and peaceful life.

Everything in life is a choice. You can choose to think positively or spiral down the black hole of negativity. You can choose to live a healthy stress-free life or fill your life with meaningless things that stress you out and slowly but surely suck the life out of you. You have the power to transform your body into a powerhouse of strength which in turn transforms your work, your relationships and your impact on the world at large. Don’t put it off. Start today. Honor your body, strike a balance and stay centered always.

What will you do to bring balance into your life? Please share below.