Category Archives: 2014

5 minute dance party

I am ashamed, yet proud to admit that I started and caught up on 11 and a half seasons of Grey’s Anatomy in about 3 months. If you are unaware of this show, the main characters Meredith and Christina frequently have 5 minute dance parties. And you know what? I just did too. This is why I loved it.

Nandan has been traveling quite a bit for work lately. I generally have had the apartment to myself a lot. Nothing crazy about that. Makes sense. However, I have noticed that it does get a little lonely around here every now and then. Sure, school keeps me busy with studying and homework and experimenting all the stuff we learn at school. But, there’s nothing that can replace human interaction. And well, Meredith and Christina can only keep me company for so long.

I’m all about bringing excitement to otherwise seemingly boring situations. Don’t get me wrong, I am loving school. Every minute. But, sometimes you’re just stuck in a boring scenario and you need to do something. That happened today. All of a sudden I got this crazy surge of energy, and I decided to have a dance party.

And it was the greatest thing ever.

I turned my Pandora station up all the way and just let loose. Jumping and shaking and dancing around my apartment brought a new thrill that I haven’t experienced since having similar dance parties with my college roommates and sorority sisters almost 3 years ago (woah, has it really been that long since I’ve been out of college?!). It was incredible.

To shake off all of the pent up energy I had from just sitting so much and being in the book and working hard was awesome. More importantly, it was FUN. Now, I understand why the lovely Grey’s ladies would succumb to a dance party no matter how sticky or terrible the situation.

Lesson learned from my dance party. I don’t need to look externally for fun and excitement. That source of energy and excitement and joy all comes from within. Of course, it’s great to share these moments with the people you love being around with. But, you don’t need anything but to love yourself to have a great time no matter what. There’s no need to be influenced by external factors. Everything you need to have an amazing life is all within.

So often we rely on other people or things to make us happy and have fun. I’m guilty of it more than not, getting trapped in the idea that I need Nandan around to have fun, or have my friends around to have fun, or go to that place or hang out there. But, all of that is so false. We have the power of the ultimate and the infinite right within us. What more do we need to be rockstars and have a great time every minute of our life?

The more we are able to tap into that energy from within us, the more positivity and excitement we can exude to those around us.

After all, it’s the holiday season. There’s no time for boring or mundane. It’s time to get crazy and have FUN!

Dance it out people.

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why I love my morning routine

This world is crazy and life isn’t any less. With the fast-paced lifestyles most of us are living these days, it’s tough to get a 5-minute breather in ever just to calm down and ground ourselves. But who wants to slow down? The craziness of life is what makes it fun and interesting; it’s what gets us up in the mornings. And that’s where you have to start…the mornings.

Having a morning routine is the perfect time to ground yourself and prepare your mind, body, and soul for the rest of your day. Life is crazy, and a lot of things happen that are out of our control and unplanned. Give yourself something to expect at least once a day, this will help ground your mind and get you prepared for life has to offer you. The mornings are great, because who doesn’t want to start the day with the right attitude?

The key to a morning routine is doing things that you love and make you feel good. My morning routine consists of a daily abhyanga or oil massage, meditation and prayers, journaling and reflection, and ending it with some pranayama and a short yoga sequence. Of course, life happens and I have to tweak my routine more times than not, but even then, I’ll try to do at least 2 of the above mentioned, because I know it will help me begin my day.

I love my morning routine because it lets me have my “me time”, that time to yourself that we are always seeking, yet never seem to squeeze in to our hectic days. It gives me time to be grateful for all of the wonderful things I have in my life. It gives me the space to be reflective and ponder the small and subtle intricacies of life. And most importantly, my morning routine prepares me to have the best attitude and perspective to start my day, because I wake up and do things that I absolutely love doing.

I never realized how essential a morning or daily routine is until I started studying Ayurveda a year ago. In Ayurveda, a dinacarya (daily routine) is key to help give your body and soul exactly what it needs to bring regularity and balance your health. It is one of the best ways to nurture and nourish yourself. With all of the incredible benefits you can reap from a simple routine, it’s bound to bring you happiness and an amazing start to your day.

Creating a morning or even a daily routine is super easy to do. Start the day doing things that make you feel good and appreciative. Some ideas to incorporate could be:

  • Journaling
  • Meditating
  • Writing 3 things you’re grateful for
  • A short yoga sequence
  • Breathing exercises or Pranayama

Of course if you want a more traditional guide of what a routine looks like from an Ayurvedic perspective, check out this awesome guide from Banyan Botanicals.

Just remember, don’t overwhelm yourself. Having a 5-minute morning routine just to take a few deep breaths before you walk out the door is better than nothing. Whether you’re spending 5 minutes or 3 hours, you’re taking the time out to care for you, and that’s the most important thing.

So, have at it! And have fun! What things are you going to incorporate in your day to nourish your mind, body, and soul?

namaste

Namaste

I’ve been Indian my whole life. I mean, I was born Indian, so that’s sort of obvious. This phrase “namaste” never struck me odd or weird. I just kind of went along with it telling people namaste at whatever Indian function I was being dragged to growing up. Whatever, no big deal. I never really looked into the meaning of this pretty common phrase. I just thought I was saying “Hey, what’s up” to whoever crossed my path. Little did I know that there was so much more to that phrase than just a simple hello.

My curiosity of the meaning of this phrase started picking up when I began going to more and more classes. Why the heck were these yoga teachers ending class with a namaste? I mean sure, yoga started in India and namaste is an Indian phrase, but there has to be more to it than that. There is.

Namaste is not just a phrase to greet someone. It’s about humbling yourself and respecting the other individual. Usually when the word namaste is said, there is a small bow that goes with it. The etymology of the word literally means “I am bowing to you”. You are honoring the soul, the inner-dwelling God within that person, the thing that is greater than the individual, the capital S Self…whatever you want to call it. It’s not just a simple saying after all. What does it take to truly and sincerely greet someone with Namaste?

It means that you are putting that individual before yourself. It means you are seeing the positive over the negative. It means bowing down to that person, and acknowledging the greatness that person is, the greatness that that person brings to this world and this life. It means having to lessen your ego and put yourself aside to see and honor that person as part of the Supreme.

But what does all of that mean? Why is it generally hard to see the other person in this amazing light of seeing the purity of their true inner being? It starts with us. We are constantly forming opinions whether good or bad, and those opinions start to cloud our perception of who that person or thing or entity is. We start identifying them by our old opinions and judgements we’ve formed of them (either good or bad), and thus we have created a shell. We’ve created a shell around these people and things and entities that we start to identify them with, and it’s become so thick, that it’s hard to see through that shell.

This isn’t a bad thing, We all do it. It’s just the way our mind works. We create these opinions and we start relying on those opinions to help us remember. After all, all of our thoughts are just repercussions of previously conceived notions.

How can we start having a fresh perspective on someone each and every time we meet them, so that we can start chipping away at the shell we create each and every day? How can we start seeing people for what they really are and see their true inner being?

Let’s start shrinking our egos a little bit and put our self intentions to the side, and start thinking about the other person. Let’s start to actually care and feel and really be with other people instead of being in our own worlds. But most importantly, let’s start seeing our own selves for what we truly are.

We are the greatness that exists in this universe. We are a part of something bigger than these bodies and these shells we’ve created. We are pure and loving and caring. We are amazing souls. Let’s start honoring ourselves first for what we is real within us–what is real and permanent–our pure soul.

Life is pretty amazing, and once we start realizing that amazingness then we can be sincerely humble enough to start respecting ourselves and the incredible people and things and entities this world so lovingly surrounds us with.

 

a new favorite

“Within us we have a hope which always walks in front of our present narrow experience; it is the undying faith in the infinite in us; it will never accept any of our disabilities as a permanent fact; it sets no limit to its own scope; it dares to assert that man has Oneness with God; and its wild dreams become true everyday. We see the truth when we set our minds towards the infinite. The ideal of truth is not in the narrow present, not in our immediate sensations, but in the consciousness of the whole which gives us a taste of what we should have in what we do have. Consciously or unconsciously e have in our life this feeling of Truth which is ever larger than its appearance; for our life is facing the Infinite, and it is in movement. Its aspiration is therefore infinitely more than its achievement, and as it goes on its finds that no realization of truth ever leaves it stranded on the desert of finality, but carries it to a region beyond.”

-Rabindrath Tagore
Sadhana–The Problem of Evil

never alone

I spent this summer digging deeper and deeper within myself and trying to connect more and more with my inner Self and my true, pure soul. I’ve begun to realize more and more how impermanent everything in this world is, except for the thing bigger than myself. This thing, this soul, this inner universe, this whatever you want to call it is truly a fascinating thing to study. The more personal I get with my true self, the more I realize how much strength it has. I’ve begun to realize what it truly means that I am able to live and breathe because of this invisible thing living within the walls of my body and bones.

Growing up, day in and day out my parents, family, friends, the spiritual organization I grew up in kept drilling the idea of the in-dwelling God within myself. The constant threats to always do good and be good, because “someone is always watching.” Of course, being the bratty kid that I was, I put on a show, but never really truly understood what they were trying to tell me. God’s everywhere. Cool. So what? And then, when I began this journey a few years back to truly seek truth–I mean not just want it, but really do something above and beyond to find this Truth, the layers began to unravel. This whole idea of God is everywhere began to make sense.

Next, Ayurvedic School happened, and my world was turned upside down. Every day in class, Dr. Lad would drop these huge truths like they were no big deal. Talking about what real meditation was, about the Seer, Seeing, and the Seen, and so much more philosophy that I wasn’t sure what to do with. But, the core of it was the same thing that I’ve been taught my whole life…you’re never alone.

Everything that I studied growing up, the spiritual books I read, the teachers I was learning from were all saying the same thing–that your body is just that, your body, nothing more and nothing less. It took 24 years to figure this out, and I’m still trying to grasp my mind around it all. I am never alone. My real Self is the higher Self, it’s bigger than just Nishita, it’s bigger than my body, than this daily life of routine. When this Truth finally started to sink in, little by little this summer, my perspective started changing.

There really is more to life than just the stuff we surround ourselves with in our tiny little bubble. This world is huge, and life is the gigantic container for it all. But even bigger than that is your true self, the capital S Self that encompasses life. And to get reconnected with that, that is something I want to do–to find my way back to the ultimate source. That is what life is all about.

It’s just reassuring to know that I’m not alone in all of that. There’s a source inside of me that is waiting to give me that strength. It’s flooding with the energy I need to continue and carry on. It’s constantly looking out for my best interest and cheering me on to succeed in everything that I do. It’s that little Jimney Cricket within us that is the source of all things wonderful and positive and good.

This feat is not impossible friends. With the right tools and the right understanding anything is truly possible. Straight from my senior year yearbook, “See the invisible, do the impossible.
Never has this quote meant so much more than it does now…and I’ve only barely scratched the surface. When you start believing in that invisible, literally nothing is impossible.

when the clouds roll in

On a recent flight to Dallas, there was some turbulence in the air. It was a super cloudy day, and the captain kept the seatbelt sign on the entire flight. Usually, I’m not a huge fan of sitting in the window seat. I feel stuck and uncomfortable, unless of course the next 2 seats next to are open. However, this time around, I was blessed with spectacular views of really amazing clouds. They were of all shapes and sized, even one that looked like a man worshipping facing the moon.

I began thinking of the nature of clouds. They are such a dualistic thing, and as humans we derive both pleasure and pain from them. On a hot and sunny day, the presence of clouds brings a pleasant shade and possible breeze. On the other extreme of the spectrum, they can bring turmoil and pain when they shed their water droplets and cause destruction.

The nature of this world is really interesting. This concept of duality has become even more clear to me recently more than ever. Where there is a positive, there has to be a negative to complete the whole. It’s the same concept of yin and yang. There has to be opposites, wherein lies the idea of duality. I was reading a book on ahimsa the other day, and there was a statement that really struck me. It was went along the lines of even a merciful saint has a little bit of cruelty in him to complete that 100%.

I was really struck by this statement, because it really made me realize that this world that we live in, the nature of us human beings and everything that surrounds us, the way we react, the way all these things play out, there is no equanimity. The possibility of equanimity is there, and there are many (although few) people/creatures/beings that have mastered this skill to the point where they are beyond the duality of this world and of this universe.

It takes a lot to go beyond dvait (duality) to advait (non-duality). I can’t be sure I completely even understand either concept, but the idea of advait makes more and more sense. Because of our egos, we have separated ourselves from everything else that is not me. We’ve created a duality for sure. Our pure soul, our true self, our real, inherent nature is seeking to go back to the state of advait, back to the whole. Here comes the idea of moksha, nirvana, liberation, whatever you want to call it.

Liberation is to go back to the state of advait where you’re not different from anything else. In a book by Rabindranath Tagore, he states that the way to be in this state of whole is to see yourself in every other thing that is of this planet, whether it be your neighbor, a tiger in the zoo, or even a rock in the park. We have to figure out how to go past the state of duality, which consists of letting go of our ego.

Alas, all these things are easier said than done. Fortunately there are many tools to help you remain in a state of equanimity and help you look past the duality of this world. Seek and you shall find.

Let me find my way back.

seek and you shall find

We are seekers.

I was at a store the other day, when I stumbled upon a mug that said seek. I don’t know why, but something appealed to me about that mug with its drawing of a bird and the simple phrase of seek. I began thinking of how we live our lives constantly seeking something, whether we know it or not. We are in a perpetual state of seeking knowledge, truth, something bigger than ourselves, more than we ever know.

Even on a physical level, we are seeking food, water, and clothes. We are seeking a place to belong, friends, a career. We are seeking knowledge and skills. We are seeking ways to make us better (on all levels), seeking things that bring about a sense of fulfillment, a feeling of satisfaction. We seek fun and enjoyment. We seek happiness. All of this we are constantly doing on a day to day basis, without us even realizing it.

It has become a natural state of being for us. It always has been a natural state of being for us. Think back to the cave men who were seeking something too..food, shelter, whatever. The more I pondered on this subject, the more I began realizing that this state of being is almost inherent, whether we believe it or not. Sure, all of us are at different stages of this act depending on what we want out of life, and that’s perfectly okay. Personally, I’m on a journey of seeking something bigger than myself, seeking truth, and seeking the true meaning of happiness. However, the deeper I delved the more I began seeing how the different levels of seeking interplayed and connected with each other. Even on a very physical level of the food decisions I make, play a huge role in what and how I seek on a more emotional or spiritual level. Ultimately we are all seeking some sort of Truth, big or small, relative to our bubble and our thinking and our reality. But, what does this even mean?

To be completely honest, I can’t say that I have an answer to that question. But, I do know that to get something that you really want, to reach the end of what you are really seeking requires a lot of digging and cutting and going places you probably don’t want to go. I’m speaking metaphorically, but that’s just the way I can think to explain it. Facing the truths about yourself and seeing yourself and others in a light you haven’t exactly paid attention to isn’t a pretty thing to face. A lot of days, I begin to uncover things about me that aren’t awesome. I have huge anxieties and attachments that govern the way I think and the types of decisions I make. I have a strong desire to please a million other people, except the one true thing that actually matters, my soul, my Self. I run around doing a million things constantly asking for a break, and when that break comes, I bore myself to death and waste precious time. These truths aren’t awesome. I have a hot temper, I have a strong ego, I have ridiculous attachments…all of which I found while seeking something.

I don’t know what it means to be a seeker. I do know that the path is a hard one. I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned it in a previous post or not, but someone once told me that when you’re on a path of seeking (which, in my opinion, we all are to some extent), the harder decision tends to be the right decision. And it hurts. A lot (I can definitely vouch for that). But, I’m sure even the cavemen went through some sort of pain on their seeking journey. Surely one of them burned themselves a little when they discovered fire.

In that same fire the first people discovered, there was a bright light and radiance that must have filled the air. It took some time, but it happened. Although I have a long and tedious path ahead of me, I know and have faith that whatever I reach will fill my being with a bright light and radiance unlike anything I have ever seen.

Keep on the path my fellow seekers. Soon we will reach our discovery,

“Decide what your Truth is. Then live it.” -Kamal Ravikant

temporary

How long is considered short-termed? Whatever that increment is, I feel like I’m constantly trying to aim for it. I can’t say that that’s how I want to live my life, even though I fall into the trap on an every day basis, and it’s so easy to live for the short-term. The deeper I delve into life this summer, the more I realize that the things I do, think, feel are based on me wanting to be happy in that moment, but not really thinking about the rest of the day, week, or even my life. Sure, it’s really great to be happy in the moment, but if that is constantly fluctuating, what’s the point? If the next moment I’m going to be unhappy, confused, frustrated, was that one moment of happiness worth it? To be completely honest, I don’t know if it is.

I can tell you that what I want is to be happy in every moment the rest of my life. And what’s the key to that? Well, in theory, it’s pretty simple.

There’s this idea of temporary versus permanent. What is permanent in this world? Physically, on a gross level, nothing really. We are constantly changing; one day we will deteriorate back into the Earth from which we came. Our jobs, family, schools, environment is always changing. Ever internally, we can’t really rely on our thoughts and emotions, our mind because they too are constantly changing as well. Unfortunately, not many of us have the power to harness our mind’s energy and be able to control. On the flip side, our mind controls us. Our intellect controls us. Our senses control us. We are constantly chasing after all these things, the latest shoe, the best tasting dish, a great education. What is all of that doing to us? What are we gaining from it? Up to a certain point, we are benefitting. However, we are benefitting on a pretty gross level. We are just feeding our senses. And sure, that is giving us this in the moment happiness, but it also can give us in the moment frustration, anger, hatred, confusion, and so many other emotions. What use is this if we really truly want to be happy? Is this the way to eternal happiness? Is this what is going to make our souls–our true and pure selves happy? I can’t say that it will.

On this current adventure I am on, I heard a really interesting thing the other night. The speaker was talking all about what we attach ourselves to in terms of temporary and permanent. In terms of permanence, what is more true? The mind? Or the soul? As permanent as the mind seems, it is in constant fluctuation; chasing what the senses want and getting in the way of our true nature. The soul on the other hand is the truest aspect of ourselves. It is true happiness and bliss and perfection. But, unfortunately, we have lost sense of our true self as the soul and the God within (or whatever lingo you wish to use).

We need to stop attaching and identifying ourselves with the temporary, ever-changing things in this world. Bind to something that is constant and permanent. True happiness isn’t a hard thing to achieve. It just takes a lot of work.

It takes a lot of soul searching. Literally. Reconnect with your true self. Ask yourself what is real and what is not, what’s temporary and what’s permanent. Everything is relative; and it’s okay to live in this relative world, because that’s just what we have to do. What’s important is we learn to be aware of the relative, and learn how to move past that and into the permanent.

That permanent is something bigger than ourselves. Seek your path and find your way back to your true self.

mind space

Here’s a thought that has been recently brought to my attention more than usual–mind space. The capacity of the mind is fairly large. I mean seriously, it is filled with just stuff. And everyday, we are constantly adding more stuff to it, whether we realize it or not. I mean its constantly processing, thinking, analyzing, organizing–it never stops! The power of the mind is unreal and crazy incredible. Its remarkable how much stuff gets put into the brain and the mind every single day.

The unfortunate part of it all is that a lot of that space is taken up by a lot of negative things. Judgements, criticisms, dislikes, jealousy, ego…all that gross stuff takes up a huge portion of our brain. What the crap?! It’s okay. It’s human nature to have an ego, and it’s easy to accidentally slip out a judgement or a negative comment. No biggie folks, it happens to me all the time.

But here’s the idea that has been popping up in a few books I’ve been reading, as well as some dialogues I’ve been listening to. Instead of filling our space with negative stuff that really isn’t good for us anyways, why don’t we fill our mind with positive stuff? Love, compassion, optimism? Those things never killed anyone! If anything, they help us grow into better human beings.

I know this seems like a simple and obvious idea and concept, yet, I’m not sure why it has never been so obvious of a decision in my life. I’m not just talking about positive thoughts and stuff. I’m talking about everything that we take in from our 5 senses should be positive. All of those sensations get perceived in our mind while the mind makes choices and discriminates between what to do and what not to do. So instead of sending sensations that aren’t super positive, why not send ones that are? Our mind can become purer, happier, more content, cleaner, all of these things that just make sense.

Naturally, as anything that is good for you, it’s easier said than done. It’s about making the right choices at the end of the day. I can sit and watch some reality show (which everyone knows I have my guilty pleasures of The Bachelor/Bachelorette), or I can read a good book. I can choose the slice of cheese pizza (which, again, everyone knows I’m a sucker for a good slice of cheese pizza) or I can pick the lighter and healthier option. The decision is ultimately in our hands of what to do and what not to do. However, the better the choices we make and the more frequently we make them, the more clarity our mind receives; and when we truly are stuck in a tough situation, our mind can immediately discriminate what’s the right decision and what’s not.

It’s all about setting up for later on down the road. The more confusion and cloudiness we bring in our lives now, the harder the decision-making process becomes later on. But, we have the power to reverse that!

There’s already too much negativity in this world. Fill your mind space with the good vibrations.