By Ritu Khanna January 1997 The enchanted hour, when the two hands of a clock meet. They stand upright, almost as if saluting the new day; their coming together symbolizing unity and strength. On midnight, December 31, they bring in the New Year. We divide our calendar year into 12; the passing months reminding us of the fleeting and transitory nature of time; each month bringing us closer to the New Year. But is not each passing moment an illusion? Consider this simple story: Narada, the famed devotee of Lord Krishna, once requested his Lord to show him maya, illusion. A couple of days later, Krishna asked Narada to travel with him towards a desert. After walking for a while, Krishna told Narada to fetch him water since he was very thirsty. Narada immediately left in search of water. He reached a village where he met a beautiful young girl, whom he married and lived with for 12 happy years. Then came a flood in which Narada lost his wife, children and all worldly possessions. He began to weep and wail. He then heard a gentle voice behind him: ‘My child, where is the water you had gone to fetch? I have been waiting for half-an-hour.’ Twelve eventful years had passed through Narada’s mind, and yet they had all taken place within 30 minutes. This is maya, a cosmic illusion in which the One is manifested as many. And this brings us to what Swami Vivekananda observed: ‘The One becomes many. When we see the One, any limitations reflected through maya disappear; but it is quite true that the manifold is not valueless. It is through the many that we reach the One’ Many different ways to lead you to the One: Letting Go, Think Positive, See It Happen, Live From The Heart, Love Your Work, Serve, Grow Spiritually, Pray, Meditate, Try Alternatives, Love Your Body,Eat Right, Make a list of things you are clinging on to: Material goods: car, house, music system.People: a relationship long gone awry.Opinions: refusing to change a certain mindset.Emotions: fear, hope. Now just let go. Consciously, decisively, irrevocably. LETTING GO Apply the letting-go process in all areas of life. This may be difficult at first, but make it a habit, a lifestyle as it were, and watch things fall into place. Getting rid of life’s excess baggage leads to release and, it follows, freedom. This is something that has been advised by our sages of long ago; it is also finding its way in popular, catchy songs like Huiyo Ho (in the Indian film, Khamoshi the Musical), with singer Remo Fernandez’s enthusiastic refrain of ‘let it, let it, let it, let it, go…jaane, jaane, jaane, jaane, do‘). Susan Jeffers gives the example of an old woman in End the Struggle and Dance with Life, who, when asked why she was always cheerful, replied: ‘Well, I wear this world just as a loose garment.’ To wear the world as a loose garment means not to blame anyone; implicitly trusting that life will happen perfectly and harmoniously. There is this story of a monk who was asked by an angry warrior whether he knew that the soldier was someone who could cut off the monk’s head and not bat an eye. To this, the monk calmly replied: ‘Don’t you know who I am? I am someone who can have you cut off my head…and not bat an eye.’ Get rid of the chains that bind you, dispel your attachment to these fetters, surrender your right to people, property and possessions, and you will find yourself in the state of detachment that is a prerequisite for those aiming at spiritual perfection. Theologian Mary Reuters compares the three layers of attachment with an onion: each layer has to be peeled sequentially. We need to become detached from material gains first, then from self-importance, and third from the urge to dominate others. We also need to let go of expectations and of our preoccupation with the past and the future. Chögyam Trungpa, in his book Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, observes that balance comes, not from holding on to a situation, but from making friends with heaven and earth. The Buddhist teacher has his own DIY approach to letting go: Trust in yourself. Train yourself in the discipline of renunciation. Tell the truth. Be without deception. Only then, will your letting go be complete. Or, as Jeffers puts it: ‘do the work/let go of the fight/embrace the flow/bliss!’ THINK POSITIVE Believe in yourself. Develop faith in yourself. Have confidence in your powers These three tips mean the same; their goal is also the same—they are reiterated here only to drive home the simple point that a confident person, someone who is secure within himself, will find happiness. In other words, positive thinking leads to success and well-being. Norman Vincent Peale wrote this over 40 years ago in The Power of Positive Thinking: ‘…if you feel that you are defeated and have lost confidence in your ability to win, sit down, take a piece of paper and make a list, not of the factors that are against you, but of those that are for you…mentally visualize and affirm and reaffirm your assets and keep your thoughts on them, emphasizing them to the fullest extent, you will rise out of any difficulty regardless of what it may be.’ So begin each day with happy, positive thoughts. Repeat them as often as you can. Slow down, live each day, each moment, be with what you are doing, even if it is making a cup of tea or some household chore. Live in the here and now, expecting the best, and no doubt you will get it. Dispel all negative thoughts, replace them with positive ones. This helps the healing process, it builds your self-esteem, it energizes you and gives you peace of mind. ‘Think positively…and you set in motion positive forces which bring positive results to pass,’ explains Peale. ‘Positive thoughts create around yourself an atmosphere propitious to the development of positive outcomes. On the contrary, think negative thoughts and you create around yourself an atmosphere propitious to the development of negative results.’ Robert Schuller (best known for Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do!) tells the story of a professor who made a circle on a piece of paper, colored it black, and then asked his psychology students what they saw. The answers were many: A black dot; A round circle and it’s dark; A round circle colored solid black. Finally the professor asked: ‘Doesn’t anybody see a piece of white paper?’ Most of the people you work with and live with are negative people, looking at the faults, points out Schuller. In this search for negatives, ‘they miss everything that’s positive and great’. In fact, Schuller warns us against ‘the most dangerous and destructive force on earth—the Negative Thinking Expert. Because he is an expert you will be tempted to listen uncritically, trust him, and quit!’ ‘Don’t Quit’ is something all positive thinkers affirm; it is the message carried in inspirational books. Cognitive therapy also helps treat your negative thoughts. But the easiest and most effective way of getting rid of these thoughts and adopting a positive mental attitude is by repeating some positive affirmations, in context, throughout the day. To conclude with two affirmations: I believe God gives me the power to attain what I really want, I expect the best and with God’s help will attain the best. Now repeat them as often as you can. And you will get what you want. Positively. SEE IT HAPPEN Go to a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Close your eyes, relax totally, practice deep, rhythmic breathing. Enter a meditative state of mind or be in the alpha level. Now imagine what you want. See yourself getting it. Do not rush this mental imaging process, be with it, savor what comes your way. This is most effective when practiced on waking or before sleeping. Do not worry if you fall asleep or do not see anything at first. Let it just happen. End with an affirmation, a positive statement that reinforces what you have just experienced. Say to yourself, firmly, that you are now getting everything you have visualized. Creative visualization involves using your imagination in a positive manner. It can help improve relationships, heal, bring harmony into your life, and get what you want. Explains Shakti Gawain in Creative Visualization: ‘Imagination is the ability to create an idea or mental picture in your mind. In creative visualization you use your imagination to create a clear image of something you wish to manifest. Then you continue to focus on the idea or picture regularly, giving it positive energy, until it becomes objective reality…in other words, until you actually achieve what you have been visualizing.’ You have to be totally centered, concentrating on concretizing what you hope to manifest. One reiki master tells you to imagine that you are in a store selling television sets; there is one set here with a big screen, the rest with smaller ones. Think of something, person or event, you want to heal, place it on the large screen, diffuse it with white light, stay with the image as long as you consider necessary, then shift it to a smaller screen. According to the Silva Mind Control Method, if you spur your imagination with belief, desire, and expectancy, and train it to visualize your goals so that you see, feel, hear, taste, and touch them, you will get what you want. There is also place for visualization techniques in Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), a system that helps translate our dreams and desires into reality. You can try future pacing which is an approach that requires mentally rehearsing new skills, knowledge or attitudes in an imaginary future where they will be needed. To further illustrate the importance of the imagination: It is believed that the theory of re
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