Monday, 7 December 2009

Are you holding on to your problems?

Professor began his class by holding up a glass with some water in it.
He held it up for all to see & asked the students
“How much do you think this glass weighs?”

'50gms!' .... '100gms!' .....'125gms'.....the students answered.

“I really don't know unless I weigh it,” said the professor, “but, my question is:
What would happen if I held it up like this for a few minutes?”

'Nothing' …..the students said.

'Ok what would happen if I held it up like this for an hour?' the professor asked.

'Your arm would begin to ache' said one of the student
“You're right, now what would happen if I held it for a day?”

“Your arm could go numb, you might have severe muscle stress & paralysis & have to go to hospital for sure!”...... ventured another student & all the students laughed

“Very good. But during all this, did the weight of the glass change?” asked the professor.

'No‘…. Was the answer.

“Then what caused the arm ache & the muscle stress?”

The students were puzzled.

“What should I do now to come out of pain?” asked professor again.

“Put the glass down!” said one of the students

“Exactly!” said the professor.

Life's problems are something like this. Hold it for a few minutes in your head & they seem OK. Think of them for a long time & they begin to ache. Hold it even longer & they begin to paralyze you. You will not be able to do anything. It's important to think of the challenges or problems in your life, but EVEN MORE IMPORTANT is to ‘PUT THEM DOWN' at the end of every day before You go to sleep. That way, you are not stressed, you wake up every day fresh & strong & can handle any issue, any challenge that comes your way! So, When you go sleep tonight,


Tuesday, 1 December 2009


Let's gather together for meditation on Friday, December 4 from 11.00 am-12.30 pm at 1604/2, The Palms, South City I, Gurgaon. Topic would be Self-image. Please bring any relevant quotes, stories from your experience or articles that you think may benefit others.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Happiness comes to Gurgaon

It is with great pleasure that I share the news that our favourite spiritual teacher, Nithya Shanti will be doing a free session of meditation, happiness and healing practices for 2-3 hours on coming Sunday, November 22nd in Gurgaon. Anyone over the age of 14 can benefit from this session. No prior experience of meditation is necessary :-). I urge you not to miss this opportunity as you will surely be thanking yourself for attending it later! It will start at 4.00 pm in 1604, Tower 2, The Palms, South City I, Gurgaon. Please call or e-mail to reserve your space and to help us manage numbers.

Nithya Shanti is an inspirational speaker, writer, happiness coach, integral healer, educator and modern day sage. He is committed to sharing transformational principles and practices for everyday happiness. For more information, please visit

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Buddha - A Recycling Story

Click to enlarge.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Next Meeting MONDAY - Nov 9th

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. -Buddha

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Happy Diwali

"May you remember that some people's lives are parched dry... and be grateful for the abundance in yours. If you can, please light up just one life that of a stanger this Diwali. Wish you all a very Happy & prosperous year ahead . Lots of love & good wishes! Happy Diwali :-)" - By my friend Raj Nayak

Friday, 2 October 2009

About The Dash between the Two Dates....

A Birth Certificate shows that we were born.
A Death Certificate shows that we died.
Pictures show that we lived!

Have a seat . . . Relax . . . And read this slowly...

I Believe...

That just because two people argue, that doesn't mean they

don't love each other. And just because they don't argue,

that doesn't mean they do love each other.

I Believe...
That sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry,

but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel...

I Believe...
That we don't have to change friends if we understand

that friends change.

I Believe...
That no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once

in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I Believe...
That true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance.

Same goes for true love.

I Believe...
That you can do something in an instant that will give you

heartache for life.

I Believe...
That it's taking me a long time to become the person

I want to be.

I Believe...
That you should always leave loved ones with loving words.

It may be the last time you see them.

I Believe...
That you can keep going long after you think you can't.

I Believe...
That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I Believe...
That either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I Believe...
That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when

it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I Believe...
That money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I Believe...
That my best friend and I can do anything, or nothing,

and have the best time.

I Believe....
That sometimes the people you expect to kick you
When you're down will be the ones to help you get back up.

I Believe...
That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences

you've had, and what you've learned from them . . . and less to do with

how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I Believe...
That it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others.
Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I Believe...
That no matter how badly your heart is broken the world

doesn't stop for your grief.

I Believe...
That our background and circumstances may have influenced

who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I Believe...
That you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret.

It could change your life forever.

I Believe...
Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something

totally different.

I Believe.....
That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who

don't even know you.

I Believe...
That even when you think you have no more to give, if
a friend cries out to you . . . you will find the strength to help.

I Believe...
That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent

human being.

I Believe...
That the people you care about most in life are taken from

you too soon.

I Believe...
That you should send this to all of the people that you believe in.

I just did.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything;
They just make the most of everything…


Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry,
two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is Yesterday with all its mistakes and cares,
its faults and blunders, its aches and pains.

Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in
the world cannot bring back Yesterday.

We cannot undo a single act we performed; we cannot erase a
single word we said. Yesterday is gone forever.

The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow, with all its
possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise and its poor
performance; Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control.

Tomorrow's sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of
clouds, but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in
Tomorrow, for it is yet to be born.

This leaves only one day, Today. Any person can fight the battle
of just one day. It is when you and I add the burdens of those
two awful eternities, Yesterday and Tomorrow, that we break down.

It is not the experience of Today that drives a person mad, it is
the remorse or bitterness of something which happened Yesterday
and the dread of what Tomorrow may bring.

Let us, therefore, Live but one day at a time.

-- Author Unknown
Contributed by Rose Fitter

Sunday, 27 September 2009

7 Days of Giving - Letting Go is Hard

I have been giving in the past so this idea was not new but giving consciously for 7 continuous days was definitely new and I am in! I have been volunteering for street kids with Jamghat for 2 years now and given gift pack spontaneously on Diwali to slum dwellers. My mother very often gives away bananas, sugar, cooks meals for the poor and the guards in our society where we live, ceiling fans to an underprivileged school etc.

Today was the first day of my week of gifting and I decided to give something precious that I have been hoarding for years. A very expensive Arabian perfume in a collector's bottle to my maid who just got married and is having problems - to brighten her day!

Oh I had giver's remorse! Maybe not this perfume as I dabbed a bit on my wrists in the morning and the fragrance stayed with me all day. Perhaps she will not know the value. Maybe I should have given something else and on an on. It was funny to watch my own mind clinging to something I had not even used for the past 4 years since it had been bought! But such angst when I had to give it away! :-)

Another interesting thing that happened to me is that I noticed many more people on the street that I could potentially give something to and a sort of barrier comes up - a shyness, a separateness about reaching out. What will they think. For example, I had to buy ice-cream for home and there was a boy standing at the shop. The thought crossed my mind to buy him some but then I thought, what would he think. I had to buy samosas for my mother as someone was coming home and I thought about buying a dozen samosas and giving them away to the kids I meet, but the thought passed...

The positive thing is that I am constantly scanning for opportunities to give and looking forward to the next days of self-observation and hopefully opening my heart further to reach out to others. Thank you creators of this initiative as this is a spiritual journey for me.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Favourite Affirmations - By Nithyashanti


May I be a channel of blessings for someone today.

All is well.

I relax into my natural well-being.

The basis of my life is freedom, the purpose of my life is joy.

The universe adores me, as it knows my broadest intentions.

I love you Nyanasanti, I really love you. (this is a powerful one for many people!)

My actions are inspired and my resources are abundant.

I cannot die, for I was never born!

Life is easy.

All good things happen at the right time.

I change easily.

I was born full of possibilities and I can choose any option.

I can create instantly.

There is no difference to the universe between small and BIG, all is easy.

I am always poised & centered; harmoniously & intelligently I deal with all circumstances.

My desires are all the things that are the best for me and everyone else.

There is plenty of everything for everyone.

I am as powerful and deserving as anyone who exists.

My natural state is health and well-being.

I choose to depart from my body without pain or illness.

I am infinite being.

I am universal intelligence.


I am a genius and I apply my wisdom.

I am love.

I am truly happy to be me.

I am the most truthful, positive and helpful person I know.

I give something positive to everyone that I meet.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

10 Deadly Sins of Negative Thinking

Contributed By Neena Pracer

The way to overcome negative thoughts and destructive emotions is to develop opposing, positive emotions that are stronger and more powerful. - Dalai Lama

Life could be so much better for many people, if they would just spot their negative thinking habits and replace them with positive ones.

Negative thinking, in all its many-splendored forms, has a way of creeping into conversations and our thinking without our noticing them. The key to success, in my humble opinion, is learning to spot these thoughts and squash them like little bugs. Then replace them with positive ones. You'll notice a huge difference in everything you do.

Let's take a look at 10 common ways that negative thinking emerges get good at spotting these patterns, and practice replacing them with positive thinking patterns. It has made all the difference in the world for me.

10 Deadly Sins of Negative Thinking

1. I will be happy once I have _____ (or once I earn X).
Problem: If you think you can't be happy until you reach a certain point, or until you reach a certain income, or have a certain type of house or car or computer setup, you'll never be happy. That elusive goal is always just out of reach. Once we reach those goals, we are not satisfied we want more.

Solution: Learn to be happy with what you have, where you are, and who you are, right at this moment. Happiness doesn't have to be some state that we want to get to eventually it can be found right now. Learn to count your blessings, and see the positive in your situation. This might sound simplistic, but it works.

2. I wish I were as ____ as (a celebrity, friend, co-worker).
Problem: We'll never be as pretty, as talented, as rich, as sculpted, as cool, as everyone else. There will always be someone better, if you look hard enough. Therefore, if we compare ourselves to others like this, we will always pale, and will always fail, and will always feel bad about ourselves. This is no way to be happy.

Solution: Stop comparing yourself to others, and look instead at yourself what are your strengths, your accomplishments, your successes, however small? What do you love about yourself? Learn to love who you are, right now, not who you want to become. There is good in each of us, love in each of us, and a wonderful human spirit in every one of us.

3. Seeing others becoming successful makes me jealous and resentful.
Problem: First, this assumes that only a small number of people can be successful. In truth, many, many people can be successful in different ways.

Solution: Learn to admire the success of others, and learn from it, and be happy for them, by empathizing with them and understanding what it must be like to be them. And then turn away from them, and look at yourself you can be successful too, in whatever you choose to do. And even more, you already are successful. Look not at those above you in the social ladder, but those below you there are always millions of people worse off than you, people who couldn't even read this article or afford a computer. In that light, you are a huge success.

4. I am a miserable failure I can't seem to do anything right.
Problem: Everyone is a failure, if you look at it in certain ways. Everyone has failed, many times, at different things. I have certainly failed so many times I cannot count them and I continue to fail, daily. However, looking at your failures as failures only makes you feel bad about yourself. By thinking in this way, we will have a negative self-image and never move on from here.

Solution: See your successes and ignore your failures. Look back on your life, in the last month, or year, or 5 years. And try to remember your successes.. If you have trouble with this, start documenting them keep a success journal, either in a notebook or online. Document your success each day, or each week. When you look back at what you've accomplished, over a year, you will be amazed. It's an incredibly positive feeling.

5. I'm going to beat so-and-so no matter what I'm better than him. And there's no way I'll help him succeed he might beat me.
Problem: Competitiveness assumes that there is a small amount of gold to be had, and I need to get it before he does. It makes us into greedy, back-stabbing, hurtful people. We try to claw our way over people to get to success, because of our competitive feelings. For example, if a blogger wants to have more subscribers than another blogger, he may never link to or mention that other blogger. However, who is to say that my subscribers can't also be yours? People can read and subscribe to more than one blog.

Solution: Learn to see success as something that can be shared, and learn that if we help each other out, we can each have a better chance to be successful. Two people working towards a common goal are better than two people trying to beat each other up to get to that goal. There is more than enough success to go around. Learn to think in terms of abundance rather than scarcity.

6. Dammit! Why do these bad things always happen to me?
Problem: Bad things happen to everybody. If we dwell on them, they will frustrate us and bring us down.

Solution: See bad things as a part of the ebb and flow of life. Suffering is a part of the human condition but it passes. All pain goes away, eventually. Meanwhile, don't let it hold you back. Don't dwell on bad things, but look forward towards something good in your future. And learn to take the bad things in stride, and learn from them.. Bad things are actually opportunities to grow and learn and get stronger, in disguise.

7. You can't do anything right! Why can't you be like ____ ?
Problem: This can be said to your child or your subordinate or your sibling. The problem? Comparing two people, first of all, is always a fallacy. People are different, with different ways of doing things, different strengths and weaknesses, different human characteristics. If we were all the same, we'd be robots. Second, saying negative things like this to another person never helps the situation. It might make you feel better, and more powerful, but in truth, it hurts your relationship, it will actually make you feel negative, and it will certainly make the other person feel negative and more likely to continue negative behavior. Everyone loses.

Solution: Take the mistakes or bad behavior of others as an opportunity to teach. Show them how to do something. Second, praise them for their positive behavior, and encourage their success. Last, and most important, love them for who they are, and celebrate their differences.

8. Your work sucks. It's super lame. You are a moron and I hope you never reproduce.
Problem: I've actually gotten this comment before. It feels wonderful. However, let's look at it not from the perspective of the person receiving this kind of comment but from the perspective of the person giving it. How does saying something negative like this help you? I guess it might feel good to vent if you feel like your time has been wasted. But really, how much of your time has been wasted? A few minutes? And whose fault is that? The bloggers or yours? In truth, making negative comments just keeps you in a negative mindset. It's also not a good way to make friends.

Solution: Learn to offer constructive solutions, first of all. Instead of telling someone their blog sucks, or that a post is lame, offer some specific suggestions for improvement. Help them get better. If you are going to take the time to make a comment, make it worth your time. Second, learn to interact with people in a more positive way it makes others feel good and it makes you feel better about yourself. And you can make some great friends this way. That's a good thing.

9. Insulting People Back
Problem: If someone insults you or angers you in some way, insulting them back and continuing your anger only transfers their problem to you. This person was probably having a bad day (or a bad year) and took it out on you for some reason. If you reciprocate, you are now having a bad day too. His problem has become yours. Not only that, but the cycle of insults can get worse and worse until it results in violence or other negative consequences for both of you.

Solution: Let the insults or negative comments of others slide off you like Teflon. Don't let their problem become yours. In fact, try to understand their problem more why would someone say something like that? What problems are they going through? Having a little empathy for someone not only makes you understand that their comment is not about you, but it can make you feel and act in a positive manner towards them and make you feel better about yourself in the process.

10. I don't think I can do this I don't have enough discipline. Maybe some other time.
Problem: If you don't think you can do something, you probably won't. Especially for the big stuff.. Discipline has nothing to do with it motivation and focus has everything to do with it. And if you put stuff off for “some other time”, you'll never get it done. Negative thinking like this inhibits us from accomplishing anything.

Solution: Turn your thinking around: you can do this! You don't need discipline. Find ways to make yourself a success at your goal. If you fail, learn from your mistakes, and try again. Instead of putting a goal off for later, start now. And focus on one goal at a time, putting all of your energy into it, and getting as much help from others as you can. You can really move mountains if you start with positive thinking.

Thursday, 13 August 2009


To let go doesn't mean to stop caring;
It means I can't do it for someone else.

To let go is not to cut myself off...
It's the realization that I can't control another...

To let go is not to enable,
but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To let go is to admit powerlessness,
which means the outcome is not in my hands.

To let go is not to try and change or blame another,
I can only change myself.

To let go is not to care for, but to care about.

To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive.

To let go is not to judge,
but to allow another to be a human being.

To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes,
but to allow others to affect their own outcomes.

To let go is not to be protective,
It is to permit another to face reality.

To let go is not to deny, but to accept.

To let go is not to nag, scold, or argue,
but to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.

To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish the moment.

To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone,
but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To let go is not to regret the past,
but to grow and live for the future.

To let go is to fear less and love more.

Author Unknown (Contributed by Neena Pracer)

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Why are there more illnesses?

Society is suffering ill health because our environment is suffering from ill health – the environment is sick because of our commercial activities. What we call ‘economic growth’ is in fact a growth in waste and a decline in the health of natural habitat. When we put our waste and rubbish into plastic bins to be taken away by vehicles to landfill sites, we think the waste has gone away, disappeared – but it has not. It is sitting somewhere causing pollution and disease. If our land is polluted, water and air are polluted, so what likelihood do we have for a healthy society? If society is living in a rat-race suffering from stress and pressure then what hope do we have for the health of individuals?

The way to healthy living is to shift from quantitative economic growth to quality of life, food, water and air – to shift from craving to contentment and from greed to gratitude. Healthy living is not only a matter of physical health – spiritual and psychological health is an essential foundation upon which we can build physical health. But the modern mindset separates personal and physical health from psychological and spiritual health. We separate personal health from social health and we separate social health from ecological health. This disconnection leads to increasing illness in society.

--Satish Kumar

Monday, 15 June 2009

Anger Management - June 19, 11 am

ANGER CREATES A SORRY-GO-AROUND When you are angry with someone and you throw your anger on him, you are creating a chain reaction. Now he too will be angry. This may continue for lives and you will go on being enemies. You can continue this for centuries without end. How can you end it? There is only one possibility. You can end it only in meditation, nowhere else, because in meditation you are not angry with someone: you are simply angry.

Remember, this difference is basic. You are not angry with someone. You are simply angry and the anger is released into the cosmos. You are not hateful towards anyone. If hate comes, you are simply hateful and the hate is thrown out. In meditation, emotions are not addressed. They are unaddressed. They move into the cosmos, and the cosmos purifies everything.

Remember, it is just like a dirty river falling into the ocean: the ocean will purify it. Whenever your anger, your hate, your sexuality, moves into the cosmos, into the ocean--it purifies it. If a dirty river falls into another river, then the other river also becomes dirty. When you are angry with someone, you are throwing your dirt at him. Then he will also throw his at you and this will become a mutual dirtying process.

In meditation you are throwing yourself into the cosmos to be purified. All the energy that you throw, is purified in the cosmos. The cosmos is so vast and so great an ocean, you cannot make it dirty. In meditation we are not related with persons. In meditation we are related directly to the cosmos.

Osho, The Supreme Doctrine, Chapter 5

Thursday, 14 May 2009


Due to a work commitment, I am not able to host the meeting on Friday. It will be on Monday instead.
NON-ATTACHMENT: Being Your Higher Self by Sanaya

"Some people confuse attachment with love. The thought
of non-attachment worries them, for they think if they do not
feel attached to people they do not love them.

Non-attachment does not mean that you don't care, it is
caring at a higher level.

It is assisting them in being their Higher Selves rather than
their personality selves.

Compassion is remaining in your center, observing, and
detaching emotionally from their problems. It is looking at
the highest thing you can do for others' problems.

It is looking at the highest thing you can do for them, not
what they're personalities are telling you they need.

For instance, you may need to tell your child she can't
have something because you know having it might harm her.
You are not attached to how her personality reacts, because
you are serving her Higher Self.

Attachment is wanting to take care of people and solve
their problems for them. Non-attachment will give you a
clearer perspective on how much assistance to give, how
much people will be able to use your assistance and when
to stop giving to them."

Sometimes the only thing you can do for people is simply
love them and let them have their problems.

Non-attachment is loving people as they are and finding
the right moment to insert a thought, a touch, or love into
their lives to empower them to make a shift to a higher
level of consciousness.

You are not responsible for making other's peoples lives
work; they are.
- Sanaya Roman

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Finiding Life Purpose

In Vedic mythology Agni is the god of fire, representing our own inner fire or the sacred light within. On a metaphorical level, Agni burns away whatever is unessential and reveals our true path or purpose. In our current economic downturn, Agni’s transformative power is evident and many people are looking deeper, compelled by crisis to ask the fundamental questions Who am I? and Why am I here?

While change can feel chaotic or unfairly arbitrary, we can learn to see it as a friend rather than a foe. Every event leads to only one of two possible outcomes: Either it is positive, or it brings up something we need to learn to create more good in our lives. Here is a simple process that can help you connect to your own soul purpose:

Think back on those situations and projects where you excelled and had fun at the same time. What were you doing and why did it make you feel good? What gifts do you have that can serve others?

Keep a daily journal for ten days, asking yourself the questions above after meditation and then writing down everything that comes to you. Your passion is the force of evolution that drives your life energy, so don’t suppress it by telling yourself that you can’t do it or that it is impractical.

After ten days you will have some good ideas to work with. Now list one or two action steps that you can immediately take for each idea. Start with the smallest manageable step, such as making a phone call, signing up for a course, or getting the name of a mentor or someone who may be able to help you. The important thing is to identify that current of energy in you and then give it an outlet. Once it starts to flow, it builds its own momentum and creates its own path forward. That is the river of your life – your purpose. From there you just jump in and enjoy the ride.

-- Deepak Chopra

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

What Will Matter?

Ready or not, some day,
it will all come to an end.
There will be no more surprises;
no minutes, hours, or days.
All the things you collected,
whether treasured or forgotten,
will pass on to someone else.
Your wealth, fame, and temporal power
will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned
or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations,
and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans,
and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses, that once seemed
so important, will fade away.
It won't matter where you came from
or what side of the tracks you lived, at the end.
It won't matter whether you were beautiful
or brilliant.
Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

So, what will matter?
How will the value of your days be measured?

What will matter is not what you bought,
but what you built;
not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success,
but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned,
but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity,
compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched,
empowered, or encouraged others
to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence,
but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew,
but how many people will feel a lasting loss
when you're gone.
What will matter is not your memories,
but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long
you will be remembered,
by whom, and for what.
Living a life that matters
doesn't happen by accident.
It's not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Chose to live a life that matters.

by 2003 Michael Josephson

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Walking Meditation - March Meeting

Walking Meditation is a wonderful initiation for beginners into the art of Meditation. It is easy to practice, and enhances both physical, mental and spiritual well-being. It is especially effective for those who find it difficult to sit still for long periods of time. Some people enjoy practicing in a beautiful outdoor setting, like a park. Others prefer to practice indoors, due to poor weather, or desire for privacy.

Walking Meditation should generally be practiced for between 15 minutes to 1 hour. A 20 minute walking meditation can also be used as a break between two 20 minute sitting meditations, allowing 1 hour of meditation without placing undue demands on the practitioner.

You can practice indoors by walking around the perimeter of your largest room. If you practice outdoors choose a scenic and quiet setting. Walk without a destination. Wander aimlessly without arriving, being somewhere rather than going somewhere.

Start out walking a little faster than normal, and gradually slow down to a normal walking speed, and then continue to slow down until you start to feel artificial or off balance. Speed up just enough to feel comfortable, physically and psychologically. At first you may need to walk fairly fast to feel smooth in your gait, but with practice, as your balance improves, you should be able to walk more slowly.

Be mindful of your breathing, without trying to control it. Allow the breath to become diaphragmatic if possible, but always make sure your breathing feels natural, not artificial. Allow the breath to become circular, and fluid.

Walk with 'soft vision' allowing the eyes to relax and focus upon nothing, while aware of everything. Smile softly with your eyes (see Mirror Exercise in Vision Chapter for details). Gradually allow the smile to spread from your eyes to your face and throughout your body. This is called an "organic smile" or a "thalamus smile". Imagine every cell of your body smiling softly. Let all worry and sadness fall away from you as you walk.

Walk in silence, both internal and external. Be mindful of your walking, make each step a gesture, so that you move in a state of grace, and each footprint is an impression of the peace and love you feel for the universe. Walk with slow, small, deliberate, balanced, graceful foot steps.

Notice the beauty of your surroundings, both externally and internally. Smile with every cell in your body.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The Orange Effect

A friend of mine wrote to me about a writing exercise they did with oranges and this is how the humble fruit stimulated their imagination...

Cold from the open-air stall, the fruit was firm in the palm of my hand, the stalk sat between my fingers, thumb rested in the depression at the base. Ornamental leaves hang flaccid and waxy, a ball of waxy pumice asking to be bowled in swinging, graceful over-arm. A pinch of skin fountains fragrant, pithy spray.

The peel tears with a dull-dry crackle and luxurious scented oil glistens on my nail. A soft silkworm lining caresses and encourages the thumb to plough ever deeper around relenting flesh.

Powdery coolness rests on the tongue tastes bitter arsenic until a bite through jelly flesh floods the mouth with sweet, watery nectar.

The skin felt unsatisfyingly thin, the orange was small, wizened and in all honesty, suspect. Attempting to peel it with newly trimmed nails was as useful as using putty to break the surface. With nowhere to gain purchase the skin broke away in eventual scraps and patches of orange paper. This was taking too long, how can it be worth it? I tore out a geriatric segment in frustration, it separating with a rasping, paper tear.

He had bought the orange from the old Nepalese grocer, a guy in an old deer-hunter hat to shield against the cold, face weather in soft, translucent crevasses. Snow spiralled down from the mountain that loomed above the ramshackle, wooden hut town at it’s base. His daughter was sick in the hospital again so he had secretly, against a staunch secular belief, decided to take an offering to the prayer wheels in the monastery at the shoulder of the pass.

It was dusk now as he set out, boots sloshing in the gravely, chocolate malt mush, where pure snow was swallowed instantly by the dirt of the town. It was a relief to start the ascent and leave the human clamour behind. The orange was sticky in his hand, so he dug from his quilted overcoat an old plastic bag to put it in, holding it with his hand thrust in his pocket, the bag twisting in the wind against his leg.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Notes from a participant...

yesterday i met a group of interested contented women who meet in gurgaon to discuss various topics

the topic was mindfulness and the need to be conscious of the present moment we are in. we did an orange meditation with the great vietnamese philosopher Thich Nhat Hanh talks about

we looked at an orange and thought of all that went into its becoming what it was - the sunshine, the earth, the rain, the white flowers, the green fruit slowly ripening etc and then we peeled it and ate it with gratitude to God - the slow process made us fully conscious of what we were doing and aware of the miracle that nature has created

some women became poetic at the end of it and all of us were relaxed

the women who came were all not tied to a full day work routine (except me) and they meet once a month on week days ( so i can't go for future meetings) - they are well to do and educated and many are mothers like me and their faces show such happiness and friendliness that it is a joy to have met them - they don't let the everyday worries bog them down too much -they look around and find joy in being what they are

there was one man as well - he spoke so well - perhaps he is self employed

i have decided not to eat in front of the TV or computer or while reading a book hereafter - while i eat i will just eat and that way i will be content with less - this will automatically take care of my weight problem without a feeling of deprivation

another take-away from the meeting is to remember to be conscious of our breath as often as possible - at least to start with every time the cell phone rings and every time we come to a red light while driving - being aware of our breath will increase our awareness and relax us

thought i'll share this with you

Thursday, 19 February 2009

On Mindful Eating - Thich Nhat Hanh

We identify it with our mindfulness: "I know this is a piece of carrot. This is a piece of string bean". It only takes a fraction of a second. When we are mindful, we recognise what we are picking up. When we put it into our mouth, we know what we are putting into our mouth. When we chew it, we know what we are chewing. It's simple.

Some of us, while looking at a piece of carrot, can see the whole cosmos in it, can see the sunshine in it, can see the earth in it. It has come from the whole cosmos for our nourishment. You may like to smile to it before you put it in your mouth. When you chew it, you are aware that you are chewing a piece of carrot. Don't put anything else into your mouth, like your projects, your worries, your fear, just put the carrot in. And when you chew, chew only the carrot, not your projects or your ideas. You are capable of living in the present moment, in the here and the now. It is simple, but you need some training to just enjoy the piece of carrot. This is a miracle.

I often teach ‘orange meditation’ to my students. We spend time sitting together, each enjoying an orange. Placing the orange on the palm of our hand, we look at it while breathing in and out, so that the orange becomes a reality. If we are not here, totally present, the orange isn't here either. There are some people who eat an orange but don't really eat it. They eat their sorrow, fear, anger, past and future. They're not really present, with body and mind united.

Visualise the orange as a blossom, the sunshine and rain passing through it, then the tiny green fruit growing, turning yellow, becoming orange, the acid becoming sugar. The orange tree took time to create this masterpiece. When you are truly here, contemplating the orange, breathing and smiling, the orange becomes a miracle. It is enough to bring you a lot of happiness. You peel the orange, smell it, take a section, and put it in your mouth mindfully, fully aware of the juice on your tongue. This is eating an orange in mindfulness. It makes the miracle of life possible. It makes joy possible.