By Life Positive
Enter the new year with a sheaf of resolutions as eight illustrious gurus tell you how to achieve prosperity, inner clarity, a loving nature, happiness, right studentship, peace, success and transparency.
Bliss attracts fortune
In India, when any new venture is started, people sit down for a few moments, close their eyes and meditate. They try to bring about an energy play or transformation inside themselves in those few minutes.
Why do they do this? Understand: when the energy flow in us becomes fulfilling, it has the property of influencing the outer world! Whether you believe it or not, accept it or not, you are deeply connected to Existence, to the Cosmos. Your thoughts and energy levels have the capacity to create and attract incidents and people of the same nature.
‘Attract prosperity by learning to live in bliss by Paramahamsa Nithyananda’
There is a beautiful scientific study done by one Japanese doctor, Masaru Emoto. He published a book, Messages from Water. He worked on the power of the mind over matter by visually documenting the molecular changes in water due to the environment it is in, by means of his photographic techniques.
He placed water in several containers under the same controlled conditions. He relayed positive thoughts like peace, bliss and joy to one specimen, and violent thoughts like war, terrorism, violence, anger to another. He labelled them appropriately. He then froze the water, and examined the crystals under a dark field microscope with photographic capabilities.
He concluded that the water on which he used positive words shone like gems with amazing geometric jewel-like patterns! The water on which he used negative words looked dark, dense and evil!
He discovered many fascinating differences in the crystalline structures of water from many different sources and different conditions around the planet.
Now imagine: if our thoughts can affect the chemical structure of a mere glass of water, then just imagine how much our thoughts can affect our body and mind which is made up of blood! Our thoughts have the capacity to affect the seas. All the so-called natural calamities are nothing but the effects of global negative thoughts.
From childhood onward, we have been trained in ‘mathematics logic’, never in ‘existential logic’. Mathematics logic is very straightforward, and should be applied only where appropriate. In matters concerning life and relationships, mathematics logic will cause only chaos. With it, we will always look to conclude with a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ judgment. There is something beyond and deeper than this, and that is existential logic – the logic of the Cosmos. This comes with a deep understanding and flowering from within. When this happens, your thoughts and energy will transform.
Your thoughts and energy directly affect your body, your cell structure, your decisions, your capacity to fulfil your decisions, incidents in the outer world. Currently, you are always centred in either greed or fear. Every action that you do is out of either desire or fear. You corrupt your energy flow because of this.
If you can change your mental setup from this type to one of bliss – ananda, your energy flow will start brimming, and your thoughts will be much clearer. When this happens, you have every power to control incidents in the outer world, because then, you and Existence have a very deep connection at the energy level. This is the thread that you need to catch in order to understand that bliss attracts fortune. When you are blissful, when your mental setup is not one of worry, fear or greed but one that is in the present, always joyful, you will automatically attract all good things to yourself.
All authentic world religions, all meditations, all world philosophies have one ultimate goal: to tune man with the energy of Existence or Cosmos because if this happens, man enters bliss and when he enters bliss, he lives with great prosperity in the inner and outer worlds. And there is no other way which attracts fortune like how bliss does.
When you pray to Goddess Lakshmi, it is not enough to ring the bell and chant praises to Her, and then go back to your old mental setup. You have to imbibe the very qualities, the very energy that She stands for – that is beauty, grace and prosperity! When you understand this, and start tuning yourself, you will see that you become Lakshmi! That is where religion and spirituality meet to transform you!
This deep understanding combined with meditation can initiate a quantum transformation in your living.
Paramahamsa Nithyananda is founder of the Bangalore-based Dhyanapeetam.
Cultivate Inner Clarity
Achieve inner clarity and live a fulfilling life by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev
Nowadays, especially in the United States, this self-confidence business has become a big fad. Everybody wants to know how to be confident. Everybody tells you, “Believe in yourself.” Slowly, this has seeped into the Indian coast also. When people believed in God, they did horrible enough things on the planet. Now they believe in themselves; this is going to produce far more horrible things! Confidence is not a solution to life. Confidence can only help you to walk through the streets eyes closed.
Once an American woman came to India. She sat in one of our autorickshaws, and it started whizzing. The driver believed he was in a Formula 1 circuit, and was going full throttle through everything. He missed many things by inches, and the woman was just screaming and yelling, but he just went on. Then he went into a narrow street where two trucks were passing each other, and he went right between them. The woman thought she was finished. But to her amazement, she came through. When he stopped, she asked, “When those two trucks came, without cutting the throttle, you just went straight in. How did you manage it?” He said, “I just closed my eyes.”
If you did not have confidence, you would gently feel your way through the world. But the combination of stupidity and confidence makes one walk blatantly on this planet. The whole of humanity is walking very blatantly on this planet – with terrible confidence.
But to be truly joyful and peaceful as a human being, one needs to invest in his inner strength. Unless a person carries a certain inner clarity – an inner space which cannot be disturbed from outside – no matter what he creates, he will only bring bigger problems upon himself. Only when there is inner clarity and balance, he will see how to live happily in spite of external situations.
A man can work in many dimensions in this world. One is by using his body and mind, and the other is by using his inner clarity. Whenever a man uses his inner clarity for his work, that work has a certain quality and sharpness. On the other hand, confidence is a blind strength that works just by chance, and living by chance will only breed anxiety and fear. It is only through clarity that one can gain ultimate strength.
One way one can cultivate this space of inner clarity and balance is through the practice of yoga. The word yoga itself means “union”. The ultimate goal of yoga is to become one with everything.
Creating inner clarity and balance is not the goal of yoga, it is a fundamental requirement. If we balance the energy system, we will find that the body, mind and emotions will function perfectly well. Through yogic practices, one’s energy attains a state of balance that naturally becomes tuned with the body and the mind, allowing one to reach a state of inner clarity.
Even simple practices can go a long way in creating this.
Every day when you wake up in the morning, sit up on your bed, sit cross-legged, sit with your hands open, eyes closed and just look at everything you are not. Appreciate all that you have gathered – your home, your family, your relationships, your qualifications, your body, your clothes, everything, be thankful for that.
At the same time, going step-by-step, go from the furthermost thing to the closest, just identify everything that is not you as “this is what I have gathered” and mentally keep it aside. What you gather can be yours, but it can never be you. Spend ten minutes in the morning, ten minutes in the night every day; this will bring clarity.
If one is properly initiated by a guru, this particular process can take on a new dimension. But till such an opportunity comes in your life, you can do this by yourself. It will definitely have a big impact upon your inner clarity.
Sadghuru Jaggi Vasudev is founder of the Coimbatore-based Isha Foundation.
How to be More Loving
Cultivate the art of loving if you want a joyful life by J P Vaswani
Man is made in the image of God – so says an ancient scripture. And God is love. Love is not an attribute or quality of God. Love is God!
Man is made for loving. If we don’t love, we will be like the night without the moon. Indeed, without love this world is a wilderness. How true it is that the greatest blessing of life is that we can love – and we can be loved.
In the beginning, as we are told, there was Love, only Love. And Love bethought to itself: “I am one, let me be many!” With this sankalpa, Love trod the tracks of time and entered the fields of space – and the universe was born. The entire universe is love-filled. There is not an atom that does not carry love within it.
Each one of us is love. Each one of us is a holy light. Our great tragedy is that we have forgotten this truth and we keep on chasing shadow-shapes of pleasures, possessions, power. We feel we are separate from God: we have turned our back to God and we continue to walk in the darkness of our own shadow. If only we can bring back love into our lives, our trials and tribulations, problems and perplexities would vanish as mist before the rising sun.
The question arises: What can we do to bring love back into our lives? How can we be more loving? Here are a few practical suggestions:
Love is never blind. Love sees not only with the physical eyes but also with the mind, the heart and the spirit. Love goes about with open eyes, looking for opportunities to be of service to those in need.
A holy man could not bear to see the agony and suffering of the people around him. “O God,” he cried, “You are the Lord of love and mercy: why don’t You do something about it?” It is said, he heard a voice and the voice said to him: “I did do something. I created you!”
God has created each one of us – readers of Life Positive – and poured His love into our hearts so that we may regard the agony and sufferings of others as our own, and not rest until we have done everything within our power to alleviate it.
So let us do as much good as we can, to as many as we can, in as many ways as we can, on as many occasions as we can – and as long as we can.
Let us not curse the darkness. Let us kindle little lights of love, wherever we go!
Dada JP Vaswani is the head of the Pune-based Sadhu Vaswani Mission
Resolve to be Happy Now
There is no happiness except in the now by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Every year, we celebrate the New Year wishing others happiness and prosperity. But have we really looked at what is the true sign of happiness and prosperity? The true sign of prosperity is an unconditional smile on your face.
Welcome the year 2008 with a smile from within. As we flip the calendar, we need to keep flipping our mind as well. Often, our diaries are full with memories. See that you don’t fill your future dates with past events. Learn and unlearn from the past, and move on.
Everybody keeps postponing his or her happiness. A child thinks he will be happy when he goes to college. Once in college, he thinks he will be happy when he starts earning. Then he thinks he will be happy once he is married. The story goes on and that special day never comes! Instead of preparing to be happy all the time, make your conscience happy now.
In the New Year, let your devotion flower and give it a chance to work. Prayer is a vital tool to improve your life. It also nurtures values such as integrity and honesty. If you are not grateful and prayerful, you will be miserable.
The mind totally forgets the divine. You should experience the Divine’s presence, the Divine’s light around you. You should have a desire in your mind to experience the divine light. The higher goals in life can be realised only through a few minutes of meditation and introspection. A few quiet moments are sources for creativity. Some time during the day, sit for a few minutes, get into the cave of your heart, eyes closed, and kick the world away like a ball. But, rest of the time, be 100 per cent attached to your work. Eventually, you will be able to be both attached and detached. This is the skill of living, the art of living.
Don’t be feverish for perfection. If you are too much of a perfectionist, you are bound to be an angry person. The world appears imperfect on the surface but, underneath, all is perfect. Perfection hides; imperfection shows off. The wise will not stay on the surface but will probe into the depth. In this world, everything cannot be perfect all the time. Also don’t make a mistake by pointing out mistakes! Mistakes keep happening all the time. To correct mistakes you need authority and love. Authority without love is stifling. Love without authority is shallow. When you allow room for mistakes, you can be both authoritative and sweet.
Learn to communicate effectively with everyone. Communicating without prejudice is vital for success. If you are faced with someone who knows more than you, be like a child, and keep your ears and eyes open for learning. If you are faced with someone who knows less than you, be humble and strive to make them as good as or better than you. This New Year make up with someone with whom you are not on good terms. Drop all your prejudices against gender, religion, caste and class as they do not allow you to mingle with everyone around you. Break that barrier.
Don’t forget to nourish your emotions. A person without emotions is like wood without any juice. You need to make your life interesting to make people be with you. This will happen when you nurture yourself with music, prayer, service and silence. Silence heals and rejuvenates, and gives you depth and stability. Service leads to the dynamic experience of heart. It creates a sense of belongingness. Do some acts of kindness without expecting anything in return.
Unless you have a dream, you cannot realise it. Dream the impossible. Give yourself the freedom to dream and think big. Have the courage and determination to achieve those dreams that are dear to you. We often have a tendency to pour cold water on other’s enthusiasm. Reverse this tendency. Take every opportunity to praise others and support their enthusiasm.
When the New Year arrives, wish everyone with a sankalpa (intention) for peace and prosperity for all the people on the planet. Make a resolution to do more good to society, help the people who are in need and bring solace to who are suffering. Let our life be useful to one and all.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is the founder of the Bangalore-based Art of Living organisation.
Be a Right Student
Focus on improving yourself instead of searching for a master by Swami Sukhabodha-nanda
Most of us are searching for the perfect master. But the question one has to ask is: am I the right student? If one is not the right student then one can never learn from the perfect master. So let us strive to be a right student.
“What shall I do in order to be enlightened?” asked the student.
“As much as you can do to make the sun rise or sun set,” replied the master.
“Then what is the use of all the spiritual practices?” asked the student.
“Only to make sure you are awake when the sun rises and the sun sets,” replied the master.
To be inwardly awake is the quality of wise living. To strive to be the right student is the right step to be wise.
There are three types of impacts that an event can create – an environmental impact, an experiential impact and an educational impact. Most of us are controlled and bullied by the environment and experience. But if we can bring in the quality of education in our experiences, then we will not be a doormat to situations in life.
With the power of spiritual education, we can grow and learn from the environment and experience. In ordinary situations, with the power of spiritual education we can have extraordinary insights and thus discover diamonds in the garbage of life.
When you face a situation, are you responding out of love, silence, or are you reacting out of anger and disappointment? To be reflective of one’s state of Being when one meets situations of life is being a right student. Or, in other words, are you reacting or responding to the situation? Learning to respond is a part of wise studentship.
As you become aware of how you deal with the situations of life, you have to look a little more deeply, and discover that there is a distinction between the social self and essential self.
Our identity is defined by society. For example, if I am considered a good speaker, who has given me this title? Society. Is it not? So our identity is defined by society, and hence we are dependent on society. The remote control of our life is controlled by society. This slavery keeps us in bondage to society. In most of the cases society controls and dominates our lives. Thus, a social self in us is born.
If one is spiritual, then this conflict is a spiritual problem. If we search within, we find that there is an essential self. This essential self is who we are, and not what others want of us. If one can recognise this distinction, and go a little deeper, one operates from the essential self, and keeps the social self on the periphery.
This essential self has energy which unites, like love and gratitude, which keeps us in order and harmony. To garden these energies is being spiritual. Anger, jealousy create disorder, and hence are not essential.
One has to deal with situations of life by keeping the essential as one’s centre. So often the situations of life are disturbing. One has to learn new ways to love, new ways to learn, and new ways to enjoy those situations. By doing so one logs on to a powerful self which will be supportive and not destructive.
A self which learns to love, learn and enjoy is supportive. The ego which reacts to situations, does not learn to enjoy the challenges of the situations is a nuisance. To discard the ego which is a nuisance value and to install the self which is essential is a part of wise living.
So don’t get lost in search for the perfect master. Instead be a right student.
Swami Sukhabodhananda is founder of the Bangalore-based Prasanna Trust.
You are Peace
When you eliminate the ego and wants, you are left with peace by Swami Chidanand Saraswati
The mantra of today seems to be “I want peace.” Every day people tell me this.
The obstacle and the solution are buried in the statement. I want peace. What is there in that statement? “I”, “want” and “peace”. If we remove “I” and “want”, what is left? Peace. We do not have to look for peace or create peace. All we have to do is remove “I” and remove “want” and peace will be there. It is “I” and “want” which prevent us from revelling in our own peaceful natures.
The key to peace, then, is not to go out in search of it, but rather to work to remove “I” and “want” so that peace can be found.
‘I’ is one of the greatest obstacles to peace. ‘I’ is our ego, our sense of doership and pride. We have everything these days. We have tea sets, TV sets, sofa sets, video sets, but we, ourselves, are up-set. Everything is set and we are up-set. Why? Because of this ‘I’ that tries to keep us in the centre of everything.
The answer is to surrender. Realise everything is due only to God. As long as He wants us to succeed, we will succeed. We are merely clay in the hands of the Divine Sculptor.
When we surrender our lives to Him, then our little, individual ‘I’ becomes merged in the big, universal, divine ‘I’. The tension, stress and separateness melt instantaneously, and we become bathed in the great Ocean of Peace.
Ideally, we remove this ‘I’; yet this is very difficult. Living in the world today, it is nearly impossible to completely remove the sense of ‘I’.
So the next best option is to take this ‘I’ and transform it into something conducive to peace. When ‘I’ stands vertically it is an obstacle, a barrier. But if we take this ‘I’ and turn it horizontal, then it becomes a bridge – between our families, our communities, and our nations.
What does it mean to bend the ‘I’? It means to become humble. It means to sacrifice.
There is a saying in Hindi which is:
Jhukataa to vo hai jisamein jaan hoti hai
Akard to murde ki pahachaan hoti hai
It means, you can tell if a man is alive by whether he can bend. A corpse is rigid. A living man is flexible. However, the saying implies something deeper and more profound. It means that if we want to be truly alive we need to be flexible. We need to bend ourselves in humility. Otherwise, we are no better than corpses.
‘Want’ symbolises our needs, desires, and insatiable appetite. Modern culture claims that the deepest joy and peace can be found in owning the right car, living in the right home in the right area of town, or by vacationing in the right resort.
The insidiousness of this indoctrination is that not only is it false, but it is also contradictory. Not only won’t possessions provide peace and joy, but the constant struggle for more and more actually leads us further and further down the road to anxiety, restlessness and frustration.
It is not that possessions themselves breed unhappiness or unrest. There is nothing inherently wrong with being wealthy or owning luxury items. Rather, it is the incessant and unrelenting drive to obtain more and more which steals our peace and disconnects us from our Divine Self. It is our discontent with what we have and our craving for what we don’t have, that are at the root of our chronic dissatisfaction.
Expectation is the mother of frustration and acceptance is the mother of peace and joy. If we live without expectations we will always be in peace. The key to being in peace is to expect nothing, crave nothing other than God. As long as our hopes are pinned on material pleasures and achievements, we will be forever miserable. Only by attaching ourselves to God alone will we be able to attain the true state of bliss.
Let me give you three capsules – multivitamins– you can take every day. If you take all three of these every day, and let them deeply saturate your being, then you will find true peace of the body, mind and spirit:
There is a beautiful mantra that we all should chant every night to bring deep peace to our beings:
Kaayena vaachaa manasendriyairvaa
Buddhyaatmanaa vaa prakriteh svabhaavaat
Karomi yadyat sakalam parasmai
This means, “Oh, Lord….whatever I have done, whatever actions I have performed through my speech, through my mind (anything I’ve thought), through my intellect (anything I’ve planned, achieved or understood), through my hands or body or through any of my senses, therefore anything at all I have performed, perceived or thought, it is all due to Your divine grace and I lay it all humbly at Your holy feet.”
By chanting this mantra, sincerely, deeply and devotionally every night, we remove any vestiges of ego which may still be lingering, clinging and preventing us from being in peace.
Swami Chidanand Saraswati is President and Spiritual Head, Parmrth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh.
Achieve True Success
What is true success and how do you know when you have it? by Swami Veda Bharati
In the traditions of the rishis, success is stated to be two-fold: abhyudaya: worldly happiness and prosperity, and nih-shreyasa: spiritual liberation.
That by which these may be obtained is called dharma. The two are interdependent and not exclusive. One who has not created happiness in his/her surroundings cannot aspire to reach spiritual liberation. Nor can one aspiring for liberation ignore the karmic debts s/he has to pay off by way of creating happiness for those in relationships with him/her.
To create such happiness and comfort for others is success.
As one attains such success, one’s karmic debts are paid off, one learns to gather no more debts, and a state of joy ensues within oneself. Meditation becomes clear, undisturbed by extraneous thoughts and ultimately spiritual liberation becomes a personal reality.
For this, one has to be ambitious. One should cultivate such ambitions as:
Sadly, success by these definitions is not what people commonly aspire for. A big luxurious car, an ostentatious house, a large bank balance, high position like that of a world emperor or at least the company chairperson – these are temporary gains, with happiness and a sense of fulfilment remaining elusive. No one who has obtained only these fruits can say “I am fully satisfied”. Only they feel fulfilled who use these puny measures of success as the means towards what we have defined above as success.
When one seeks that success in pure spirituality and applied spirituality, one’s joyful mind remains clear, unclouded, able to perceive what is imperceptible to the less cleansed minds. Then one’s decisions are made clearly and quickly, instead of after long periods of lingering doubts, and they turn out to be correct, conducive to whatever one wishes to accomplish. The conscious divine forces (devas) that nurture and nourish the universe guide and bless his undertakings. A quality of grace flows through him to those around.
If you meet such a one, know that you have met a successful person.
How do we ascertain as to whether someone was truly successful? We can know it only by observing the manner of his/her dying, by reading that punch line of the narrative of his/her life.
When s/he died was there joy in his/her mien? Was there a smile on his/her lips? Was s/he comforting the ones around? Did those completely unrelated to him/her grieve that they had lost their ever loving mother? Was the dying process somewhat, or complete
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