Tag Archives: spiritual journey

trying something new

I decided to do something new last night. Here’s what happened:

I was coming home from class, and was doing my usual routine; cleaning up the kitchen, brushing my teeth, getting ready for bed, whatever. As I was hopping in, I looked at my phone and saw that my battery wasn’t completely wiped. I thought, oh wow, I barely used my phone today. And it was kind of great. The days that I am so engaged in life and whatever is going on in the real world, as opposed to the virtual one, have seemed to usually end on a brighter/better note. Interesting. As I was hopping in bed, I looked at my phone and decided that something was going to change.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up, and the last thing you do before you close your eyes to go to sleep at night? For me, it was checking my emails, texts, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter every now and then. Literally. As soon as I would turn my alarm off in the morning, my fingers automatically jumped to the mail app, then the Facebook one, so on and so forth. And the same exact thing would happen at night. Let me just check really quick to see if anything new and exciting has happened since I last checked 30 minutes ago. Now, I get it.

Is this really the thoughts and energy I want to absorb myself with as soon as I wake up, and the last thing I do before bed? Realizing now, it doesn’t really jive with the positive, Truth-seeking life that I am trying to live. I love Facebook and Instagram, don’t get me wrong. But, I realized that it can’t be my life. There are so many more amazing things that I could be spending the last few minutes of the day with.

So, here’s what I am doing. I’m going to put aside my phone at night, and focus on what’s important to me. Get back in touch with my journaling, spend some time reading the hundreds of books that are on my “to-read” list, close my eyes and meditate/reflect on the day, actually go to bed a little more peacefully. And what am I going to do in the mornings? The same thing. Not look at my phone (except to turn my alarm off, of course), until I’ve finished my morning routine, finished my yoga and pranayama practice, and got a little meditation in. I’ve also decided to start my day with some words of wisdom, from whomever. Right now, it’s The Mother.

It may seem trivial or not even worth mulling over, but everything is sending you energy, whether it’s gross or subtle. If you want your day to be amazing and end amazing, you have to make the conscious effort to make it happen. This is how I’m doing it.

How do you start and end your day on a positive note?

From Prayers and Meditations by The Mother

November 2, 1912*
ALTHOUGH my whole being is in theory consecrated to Thee, O Sublime Master, who art the life, the light and the love in all things, I still find it hard to carry out this consecration in detail. It has taken me several weeks to learn that the reason for this written meditation, its justification, lies in the very fact of addressing it daily to Thee. In this way I shall put into material shape each day a little of the conversation I have so often with Thee; I shall make my confession to Thee as well as it may be; not because I think I can tell Thee anything — for Thou art Thyself everything, but our artificial and exterior way of seeing and understanding is, if it may be so said, foreign to Thee, opposed to Thy nature. Still by turning towards Thee, by immersing myself in Thy light at the moment when I consider these things, little by little I shall see them more like what they really are,—until the day when, having made myself one in identity with Thee, I shall no more have anything to say to Thee, for then I shall be Thou. This is the goal that I would reach; towards this victory all my efforts will tend more and more. I aspire for the day when I can no longer say “I”, for I shall be Thou.

How many times a day, still, I act without my action being consecrated to Thee; I at once become aware of it by an indefinable uneasiness which is translated in the sensi- bility of my body by a pang in my heart. I then make my action objective to myself and it seems to me ridiculous, childish or blameworthy; I deplore it, for a moment I am sad, until I dive into Thee and, there losing myself with a child’s confidence, await from Thee the inspiration and strength needed to set right the error in me and around me, — two things that are one; for I have now a constant and precise perception of the universal unity determining an absolute interdependence of all actions.images

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this too shall pass

The second round of vipasanna was one of the hardest things I believe that I have ever done in my life. Never has the phrase “this too shall pass” resonated in me more than it does now.

There is a concept of “annicha” that Goenkeji talks about in his discourses. Everything is in constant motion; nature, animals, us, even the walls that surround us in our homes. Our minds just aren’t subtle enough to pick up on it. Everything is impermanent. Everything.

This idea of impermanence is semi-easy to understand. It is a concept that we learned in physical science back in 8th grade along with other Newton Laws. I even remember watching a science cartoon (nerd alert, I know!) way back when about this idea, and remember them proving this fact that everything is in constant motion. As simple as this idea sounds, and as simple it is to “understand”, it’s not exactly an easy concept to fully experience or realize. We are constantly looking at the gross, and change is something that isn’t always received well.

Permanence. This idea of being stuck, static. When you think about it from this angle, it sounds a little ugly. Who wants to be stuck? Static? Continuously in the same place as before? I know that I don’t. And the cool part about it all, is that we’re not. You can never step into the same river twice, because the river is constantly flowing towards the ocean, and because of that flow, you are always going to be surrounded by new water coming from the source. And just like the river, we too, are constantly in motion, in constant change. Sure, it may not seem like it from the physical, external shell that we see each morning in the mirror, but think about all of the internal changes that are going on inside of you at this very moment, the next moment, and the next one after that. Really, you are not the same person every day you wake up. On a more physical level, you definitely aren’t the same person you were 1 year ago, 5, 10, 15 years ago, otherwise you’d be stuck in a period of infancy or being a child or even worse, being stuck in your preteen appearance. Who wants to face that agony on an everyday basis?

We are constantly changing. We are impermanent. Dr. Lad gave a really good example in class last week, similar to this concept. Our blood cells last about 108-120 days (Ayurvedically speaking). But every time they “die” do you turn around and mourn their loss? Probably not. And although this example can be taken a little bit morbidly, what is the essence of what it is saying? There’s an attachment issue in this world. A stickiness. And classically speaking, raag/dvesh (pleasure/dislike). And this runs our world. Attachment.

If we can begin to realize that everything is impermanent, that even the strongest storms that create the hardest sorrows, pain, and hurt, that they don’t last forever, maybe we can start minimizing this attachment, whether good or bad. Attachment isn’t just to things that you enjoy, but to things that you dislike as well. If we can start peeling back the layers and figuring out where this is actually coming from, maybe we can be one step closer to figuring ourselves out, because at the end of the day, everything that we see around us, externally, is all just a reflection of what is going on inside of us. It’s really not you that is making me upset, but it’s me that is making me upset.

I’m realizing more and more everyday, that this path I’ve chosen, this path of wanting to seek truth as it says in my bio, as I have set intentions for, as I have began to revolve my life around isn’t easy. At all. It’s even harder than vipasanna, and I didn’t even think that it was possible. To truly be happy, to truly live a life with purpose, to truly live a life filled with love and compassion isn’t easy. At all. It takes a lot of work, and boy am I realizing that now more than ever. Even when I’ve figured out the root cause of a problem I’m having, figuring out what to do with that, is really confusing.

We create more and more layers around us every single day. It’s time to start clearing those layers away. Those layers, too, are impermanent; it takes a lot to see that.

One of our teachers in class said something that really struck a chord with me today. “Even a raindrop will find the ocean one day.” We’re not stuck. We’re not static. We are constantly changing. And one day we too will find the ocean.

 

floss your teeth

Oh hello there! I know it’s been about a week again. But, I just want to let you all know that today, officially marks the first day of my crazy summer. I work at a summer leadership conference for juniors in high school. It’s a ton of fun, and I love my job, but there is no exaggeration in me saying that I literally come home every night drained after a 10-11 hour work day. So, in advance, I apologize for what will be a slow summer of blog posts.

But, anyways! On to more important and crazier things, like the title of this post. I hope all of my dentist/to-be-dentist friends like this post dedicated to flossing your teeth! I never really got the importance of flossing my teeth until recently. Maybe that officially makes me an adult? Well, whatever it is, I now understand the importance of flossing. I never realized how true the dental care commercials were when they say, “get what brushing leaves behind…”. And let me tell you, its gross. No matter how far back you smash your toothbrush up against the walls of your mouth, and no matter how foamy your toothpaste is, there is still going to be food left in the crevices between your teeth. What’s the solution? Floss.

I began thinking about taking this idea and turning it back onto my life. “Flossing your life” Sounds kind of ridiculous, but the idea started to take shape. I thought about all of the changes I’ve been trying to implement in my life, as well as my progress on the goals I’ve set. A little before my senior year of college, I had made a decision to essentially turn my life 180 and focus my attention on reaching my goal and searching for Truth. Then, this past year, through my encounters and experiences and overall different adventures life had been taking me, I began to pinpoint areas that I wanted to change and things I wanted to do differently.

Of course, all of this requires “taking the trash out”, if you will, of your life. My ideas of trash ranged from something simple to just eating better quality and healthier food, to reading books and articles that are more aligned with my goals, all the way to meditating to literally take the trash out of my mind and purify my mind. But, when I came up with this concept of flossing your life, I began to realize that I need to take care of all the crevices in my life that are still filled with the residue that is just as bad, if not worse, for me. What residue is stuck in the corners of my life?

I haven’t really sat down and actually introspected and thought of an actual list of things that I know need cleaning up, but off the top of my head, I can think of some really simple things that don’t seem like a lot, but can definitely have a negative impact on my life. One of the items that makes my list, is sheer laziness. There are days/times when I don’t feel like doing anything. Let me just sit in my bed and watch Netflix all day long. I try to be as productive as I can on a day-to-day basis, but there are days when I don’t make it. That is the residue. Although it seems minor, each time I choose not to do anything, is time wasted when I could be doing something really great for myself, such as reading a good book, or spending time with the people I love. It’s the accumulation that causes the cavities; same goes to your own life.

Of course, it’s important to stay positive and give your self a pat on the back for the great changes you made in your life, but don’t forget the little stuff. It begins to add up. What other crevices can you think of that could use a little flossing in your life?

crowd control please

I hope everyone has had a positive-filled weekend, remembering that negative, bad, and the evil in our life can easily be eradicated if we focus on the good that surrounds us both internally and externally.

On that note, I think it is safe to say that everyone knows India is a crowded country. You can’t really feel it when you’re travelling through the villages and the countryside, but it is very apparent when you’re in big cities like Ahmedebad. And if you didn’t realize it, take my word for it. Everywhere you go, the traffic you encounter is unreal. The masses of people hoarding in one area is astronomical, and storefronts crowd every street and alley. It’s ridiculous and a little burdensome.

And I can’t forget that there aren’t really such things as traffic laws and such, not in Ahmedebad at least.  No one uses lanes on the road, people just cut you off if they’re trying to turn, you never know when a scooter (essentially a moped) or a motorcycle is literally right next to you in your car, and all you hear is car horns honking (even though it’s not creating any sort of movement, and is simply a loud noise that I still haven’t gotten accustomed to). But, I guess this is what creates some of that good ole’ Indian charm. I was telling my dad one day about how ridiculous the traffic and congestion is here, and he told me that everyone here is just used to it.

It made me think that there are so many situations in my life where I’ve “overcrowded” myself, and have merely gotten used to it. But, this behavior isn’t exactly what’s going to help me reach the Supreme. I have stuff. A lot of freaking stuff. I have things and ideas and wishes and goals and role models and friends and just a lot of stuff. All this stuff isn’t exactly bad, it can most definitely be beneficial to my life, and can even help me on my spiritual journey. However, I have to ask myself, is all this stuff, just stuff I’m used to? Or is it really good for me? Am I just honking the horn because that’s what I’m used to, or is it really creating a progressive movement in my life?

Simplicity is probably one of the hardest ideas to instill in our life. We’re surrounded by so much glitter, shine, sparkle, and glamour of literally just things, that they become wants we can’t control. When was the last time you were seriously really satisfied? Even when it comes to food, (and everyone knows I love food. A lot.) I’m sitting, eating a meal, but I eat more than what will bring me satisfaction. Yeah, it tastes good, but is gorging myself with 4 spinach enchiladas, chips, queso, salsa, AND the side of rice and beans going to be beneficial for me? Probably not. It’s way more than my stomach can handle.

In Yoga, there are 8 branches. The first two are Yama (pronounced: YUM) and Niyama (pronounced KNEE-YUM). There are five yamas, which are the universal moralities, or characteristics that we should try to infuse in our life. The 5th one is aparigraha, which means neutralizing the desire to acquire and hoard wealth. We should take only what is necessary. Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t buy that Michael Kors tote, by all means do! If you’ve been blessed by God, than definitely utilize what He has given you. But it comes down to are you literally attached to that bag? And is that bag hindering you from reaching the Ultimate? I deal with this issue a lot. I like shoes. I have probably over 50 pairs, and in all honestly, yes I am a little attached to my shoes. So, it’s definitely not an easy task, but we have to keep reminding ourselves, are those 50+ pairs of shoes going to get us to our goal, or are they going to hinder us? The same goes for the niyamas, there are 5 as well, which are more personal governances. The 2nd one is santosa, or contentment. We need to create a feeling to be content with what we have. It’s always awesome to have nice, new things. But, we don’t need nice new things all of the time. All that glitters isn’t always gold (or however that saying goes).

This process of detoxifying our life isn’t an easy one. You face a lot of things that isn’t always comfortable or going to make you happy. I started this process a little over a year ago, when I realized that I wasn’t living my life like I intended to. I wasn’t proud of who I had become, and I lost sight of what my goal in life was. I slowly started to decrease the negative in my life, and increasing the positive. I stopped going out every weekend, and started spending more time with myself and with God. Sure, a lot of my friends probably thought I was a recluse, but looking back, I’m not unhappy. In fact, I’m at a point where I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. During that time, I learned who my real true friends were (shoutout to AP, KR, KA, and EW for real), and realized who only called me to go out. I don’t like anyone less or anyone more, but I realized what I really needed to make me the best me.

It is so incredibly easy to crowd ourselves with information overload, negativity, and bad habits, all of which only hinder our ability to continue on a path of progression. But, we have to keep the goal in mind. A great tool that I’ve begun to use is every morning when I wake up, I think of a couple things I’m grateful for. Some are ridiculous, like the ability for me to afford 50+ pairs of shoes, and some aren’t so ridiculous like people in my life who love me. When we are constantly looking at what we already have, we fill a void in our life that is wanting more and more. Another great tool is to constantly remind yourself of what your goal is. You can write it on your mirror so you see it every morning while getting ready, post sticky notes around the house, or wake up and tell yourself, hey, this is my goal, and this is how I’m going to get there. We’re human, we forget, but how often do we forget is the key. Reminders are always great! We all need them.

Today, reevaluate what you have in your life. Be grateful, be proud, but most importantly, be satisfied!

Mosquito Bite Count: just 2 🙂 | Serious Craving: aforementioned enchilada supreme dinner

*for more information on the 8 limbs of yoga, here is a great website with general descriptions: Eight Limbs of Yoga

so much sparkle

seriously, the masses of people gathered in one area is a lot.

there’s never any room to park your scooter, let alone your car