Wednesday, December 26, 2007
By the time you read this, Bangalore has recorded the coldest night in December in the past 124 years!
The committee on Global Warming and Climate Change just ended a couple of days back with all the usual bickering and the Mara Mari :-( at Bali.
Al Gore was one of the speakers at the convention and to be honest it brought a eerie resemblence to the movie " The Day After Tomorrow" where there is a similar meet happening in Delhi and its snowing at the same time!
Have we just looked up this morning!"What wonderful weather" we might say, look a little deeper and also ask yourself "Is this the same Bangalore I knew as a kid?" In my memory (serving me well till today) Bangalore has had the most beautiful weather in the month of December (sans the clouds and all), Sunny and chilly both at the same time!
Doesn't look or feel the same now. Unfortunately we are caught up in our own, no time to even stop for a moment and think " This is unusual".
I just thought that we really need to stop for a moment and think!
Today, we are "thinking on how to stop us from thinking" that is the hard truth that we face.
Folks this is the time to spread the word around that the planet that we live in is asking us to think on what we are doing with her and we simply refuse to dwell on it even for a moment!
If you feel like I do right now (not compulsory), take a moment to forward this to all Earthlings, so that we give a second chance (or is it toooooo late) to the one and only planet that we have.
Remember "She can live without us, but we can't" :-(
Like the weather :-(
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Research shows that on an average we get 50,000 thoughts in a day. While this may seem surprising, what needs attention is that, a majority of these thoughts are the same thoughts we have had the previous day or the day before that and so on, so much so that certain thoughts have become like a song we know very well, it keeps playing in the background without our knowledge. Similarly thoughts play in the background without our knowledge. The need is to become aware of our thoughts and understand how these thoughts are responsible in how we feel. Thoughts are essential to feeling and feelings to thoughts.
In most cases thoughts and feelings are exquisitely coordinated, but when passions or pressures surge, the balance tips and the third aspect of emotions capture the upper-hand.
Emotions are Energy in motion. Motion is nothing but action. Any action in the mind which produces a result internally or externally can also be understood as emotion. Our past thoughts which have created memories drive current action, which drives the way we feel, which gives our emotions the energy to action. Actions maybe based on feelings of compassion, altruistic love, forgiveness and acceptance, which are enabling emotions on one hand or feelings of Jealousy, Anger, Pride, desire, Insecurity, Greed and guilt which are disabling emotions, on the other.
Channeling emotions in the enabling path, is the path to inner healing. Our emotions at present might be following a disabling path, this is because we blame the external environment for whatever is happening to us instead of turning internal and understanding the thought which is driving that emotion.
The pattern of blaming the external has a long history to it going back to our childhood, where anything that we did contrary to norms and expectations set, was a mistake and we were made to feel guilty about it. In the pretext of covering up the mistake we look for excuses all the time and this creates a pattern which we fail to recognize after a period of time. Therefore the path to transformation is to monitor our thoughts and feelings which are responsible for our emotions.
This path requires looking at things with a child like innocence; it requires not forming opinions about the anything. We have opinions on everything. We judge others based on caste, colour, region and profession, we pronounce individuals guilty till they prove their innocence. We have opinions on the system, the weather, and even God!
Looking at things with innocence requires reprogramming our thoughts. Thoughts of acceptance set the enabling emotions and thoughts of bias and hatred set the disabling emotions. It requires the inner resolve to break free from prejudices and live life.
When thoughts are reprogrammed, it brings in awareness which in turn drives our perception. When we follow old thoughts we follow the opposite where perception drives our awareness.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Evolution and Involution
By Balakrishna Jayasimha
Often in today's world, we hear the word ‘evolution’ being used by science or otherwise. The word has gained in prominence, more so from the time of Charles Darwin, and his famous work on evolution in the ‘Origin of species’. Since then, we have used this word, almost anywhere to indicate a sense of collective growth and as a measure of individual success.
We have evolved new systems, in our corporate settings, evolved from the Stone Age to modern man as a society, so much so that the phrase ‘industrial revolution’, which is a barometer in measuring our success as a species, also contains the word evolution.
While this external evolution has brought with it certain comforts, which previous generations lacked, it has also defined individual success on the basis of the 3 P’s of Pay, Possession and Position. We often use the expression one has evolved; yes, we are definitely evolving in our ‘material surroundings’. However, the deeper question to ask oneself is whether we are evolving in our inner surroundings, the inner self, are we progressing in our ‘involution’, which is evolution within the core self?
We need to understand the difference between the two. Evolution is wanting, Involution is accepting. Evolution means feeding one's greed, involution means recognizing others need. Evolution traps us in the outer noise; involution helps us listen to our inner voice. Evolution is to analyze, involution is to realize. Evolution feeds the ego, Involution frees the spirit. Evolution adds to arrogance, Involution leads to acceptance.
Finally, evolution applauds the “Survival of the fittest.” Involution believes in “Being provided for from the nest.”
This in the least does not suggest that the process of evolution as an undesirable experience. Only it is being portrayed by all involved in the ‘a’ particular way suggesting that it is the ‘only’ way, and it is the ‘correct’ way!, while in fact the two need to go together. They cannot be mutually exclusive; we need to make it mutually inclusive. In the current scenario there is a skewed tilt towards the way evolution is being advertised, which is leading to this imbalance. Getting in touch with the inner self helps in setting right this balance.
We spend most of our lives analyzing and passing judgments about others, so much so that we hardly know our own self. Knowing and understanding the self helps to know and understand the others in a different light. This helps the involution of the self at the same time adding to one’s external evolution. So, when the next time you hear the word evolution in its various forms, ask the question, ‘How far am I in my involution’?
Friday, May 11, 2007
The origin of defence mechanisms
By Balakrishna Jayasimha
When anxieties due to prevailing insecurities become too overwhelming, it is then the place of the ego to employ defence mechanisms to protect the individual. Feelings of guilt, embarrassment and shame often accompany the feeling of anxiety.
Lately, as my research in behavioural sciences moves me into the thesis stage, I have been asked as to who my subjects are going to be as a part of sampling. Quite a few have jokingly even asked who would be my ‘specimens’.
Upon sheer reflection, I realised how we look for external ‘specimens’ for our own internal insecurities. The best ‘specimen’ is the self and reflecting on the self can help bring to the surface these insecurities, so that the process of healing begins.
Unfortunately, we look at others as ‘specimens’ when the true ‘specimen’ lies within. This is because as a part of the review of literature, I came across how our “defence mechanisms” play an important role in looking to the external to cover for our insecurities rather than to look within.
“Defence mechanisms” are unconscious resources used by the ego to reduce anxiety and for that reason; they are more accurately referred to as the ego defence mechanisms. When anxieties due to prevailing insecurities become too overwhelming, it is then the place of the ego to employ defence mechanisms to protect the individual. Feelings of guilt, embarrassment and shame often accompany the feeling of anxiety.
While there are many types of defence mechanisms, three have been listed that are prevalent and regularly employed by oneself.
The first one is ‘denial’; this is an ego defence mechanism that operates unconsciously, to resolve emotional conflict, and to reduce the anxiety by refusing to perceive the more unpleasant aspects of external reality. The second one is ‘projecting’; attributing to others or to the external environment, one’s own unacceptable or unwanted thoughts, feelings and emotions, is projection, this reduces anxiety in a way that it allows the expression of the impulse or desire without letting the ego recognise it. The third is ‘rationalisation’; this is the process of constructing a logical justification for a decision which may have gone wrong. We may rationalise anything and everything which has not gone according to our expectation.
Do not make an assessment of every situation, appreciate the essence in that situation, when we assess it increases anxiety. Listening without assessing we appreciate what is said, it is also a way, where the ego loses its place in day to day interactions.
Saturday, March 31, 2007
There is this wonderful example of a child which spends a lot of time with the mother, before he or she goes to this place called school. The child is with the mother while the mother is mixing atta for the rotis. A piece of that atta is given to the child so that it keeps quiet, and the child in its wonderful innocence goes on making different shapes out of that piece of atta and generally keeps itself occupied and also enjoys itself.in the process thus helping the mother complete her task.
Change of scene: This same child on the first day in school, encounters this new entity (teacher) who, walks-in to class hands over a piece of clay which very much looks like the atta which the mother had given in the kitchen. But here is the difference, while the mother had just let the child be with that piece of atta, this teacher says "Children make that piece round" and shows them how to do it. This sets the first thought into the child which can be very traumatic, it begins to wonder, "hey, I was never told to make it round at home, how come this new twist?" From that day everything that the child has learnt is contradicted with a forced thinking that this is how it should be done. Then there are various justifications given in terms of discipline, order, education, facts and what not.
Take another example: Tell a five year old to draw a line and it draws anything but a straight line, where as tell the same to a supposedly educated thinking individual, he/she will draw only a straight line!.
See how patterns have set in because of our conditioning of thinking and thinking in a particular way! So what the child has learnt through self-discovery, is changed in our education system by wrote memory. While this path of self-discovery is purely intuitive, intellect drives our thinking.
Learning is something that is experienced, it is something that happens in the 'NOW' and gives the 'WOW' feeling, while thinking is mainly driven by our past and the unknown future.
Is there some Learning?
Friday, March 9, 2007
The beauty of silence when we are silent, the mind starts talking to us and it can be extremely difficult to listen to our own mind...
By Balakrishna Jayasimha
On Sunday morning we witnessed a magnificent spectacle in the sky: a complete lunar eclipse. What amazed me that morning was the absolute silence that prevailed all around, even the silence of nature. The complete silence that lasted the duration of the eclipse was indeed an amazing experience. I felt that we experience the glory and beauty of celestial grandeur only in moments of complete silence.
Today, if you look around you find that all we have around us is noise. It’s noisy in the streets, it’s noisy in the restaurants, it’s noisy on the television, it’s noisy everywhere. Even schools today teach the young to read and recite, but never to listen — not only to listen externally but also internally. We are in times when, even while working, walking, jogging or simply sitting, we have a constant companion called noise.
In fact we have reached a stage where silence is scary and hence there’s a need for noise as a constant companion.
When we are silent, the mind starts talking to us and it can be extremely difficult to listen to our own mind.
Ask yourself this question: “Will I be my best friend?”. The answer in all probability will be “no!”. That is because we are constantly self-critical.
In order to escape this self-critical person in us we find various ways not to listen to the mind.
While the self-critique in us can make us quite uncomfortable, it is the storehouse of information. It can give us an insight into how we are currently thinking and feeling.
When we become aware of our thoughts and feelings, we can go about understanding and healing the inner critique. And one of the ways we can understand and heal the inner critique is by remaining silent, by listening and experiencing everything around us, accepting the views of others, listening to the thoughts of others.
We find difficulty in following it, because as soon as we are subjected to any feedback, our defence mechanisms, built up unconsciously since childhood, spring to our apparent rescue.
When we become defenceless and operate through silence we discover a new self, a self that is happy and in sync with its surroundings. In the self that has divinity within we can find the glory and beauty of celestial grandeur.
As Rachel Naomi Remen has said: “The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. “Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.
“A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words”.
Friday, March 2, 2007
Follow your intuition
To develop intuition, we need to dig inside us rather than look outside for rationalisation. If the driving force of intelligence in the 20th century has been the head, in the dawning of the 21st century it will be the heart. The emphasis on the intellect for defining success of an individual by the modern world is out of touch with the heart-level engine or intuition today.
Following your intuition would mean following your heart, listening to your gut feeling. There might have been several times in our lives when we have felt a certain way about a certain event, but have not expressed it, and later found out that what we felt actually happened. We simply did not have the courage to express what we felt when we felt it.
Following the heart also means following the divinity within, it is listening to the divine voice within; it is listening to your feelings. When we listen to the voice within we recognise the same voice in others.
The rational thinking in us, the intellect has taken us far away from the magical world of our gut ‘feel’ and dismissed it as coincidental thoughts. The most common example being when we think of a person whom we have not met in a while and at that very moment that person either calls or arrives at our doorstep, we say “what a coincidence"! There is a thin line which separates our thoughts from intuition.
Intuition has, other than thoughts a bodily response, we experience a tingling sensation when such thoughts arise. We need to observe our bodily response when a thought arises to distinguish it as thought from intuition. Thus, to develop the intuitive faculty in us we need to go within rather than look for rationalisation from the outside. Once we develop our intuitive abilities, we also are able to recognise the inner feelings in most others – this way we understand their feelings and emotions. We often say “I understand” without actually doing so. All this requires a process of un-learning and learning again. A student asked the master, “Lead me to change master, I want to become like you”. The master looked at the pupil, and took a jar containing water lying next to him and started to pour the water into a glass which was three fourths full. The glass filled up and water started flowing out, but the master continued pouring.
The pupil said, "What are you up to master? The water is spilling out! To which the master replied, "Son, for you to accept something new, you first need to pour out all that is old!
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Our Physical personality consists of the Perceiver and the actor. Our forms of perception, driven by the sense organs of Taste, Touch, Smell, Hear and See, help us understand the physical world. The actor executes the actions based on our perception.
The Emotional personality has the Feeler in us which involves handling our emotions, and the discriminatory personality has the Thinker in us that defines intellect which further branches into the gross and the subtle. The gross is involved in worldly boundaries and worldly thoughts and the subtle is the contemplator in which lies the spiritual personality.
We now live in the age of speed and instant gratification; we have everything instant starting from noodles, to messaging.
The media today constantly exposes our minds to speed. We have 15 second advertisements showing achievements which might take a lifetime and giving us a false sense of instant possibility. This has driven focus from what is fundamentally important to what is urgently important thereby causing anxiety when one discovers things do not work the way they want it to and it surely doesn’t work in 15 seconds. We begin to live on expectations from our actions which causes internal stress rather than on accepting the results of our actions.
When the mind is racing with thoughts of expectations and encounters roadblocks anxiety increases and when anxiety increases it leads to stress. Stress is therefore the speed of the mind. To reduce stress we need to decrease the speed of the mind. This is the yogic definition of stress.
So, the percolation of stress starts in the mind which affects our breathing (observe your breath in moments of anger or fear) which affects the way we look (body language in times of anger and fear) and finally affects the individual organs leading to various ailments.
When our intellect is inattentive due to external stressors the mind goes wandering, making the senses run helter skelter which causes the body to be under constant pressure and finally break.
Therefore to control the speed of the mind we need to first control our intellect which means focusing on our contemplative intellect and seek to understand the greater purpose of our journey on this planet which is fundamentally important rather than get carried away by our gross intellect making us seek temporary accomplishments which are short lived and thereby carry the message of being urgently important to do.
For a start, to reduce the speed of the mind, focus on the contemplative you and start the journey of discovery within.
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
We are frequently faced with the question “What is this life?” To understand this question we need to first distinguish between Life and ‘Life - style’. There is an overlap that we find between the two. Most of the time we think that life style and life are the same, when they are not! Life-style is associated with the external while Life is associated with the internal, which is within oneself.
We often are in the quest of looking to make our lives happy, and seek external sources to quench our thirst, in wanting to make life happy we seek from our material surroundings. We think we will be happy when we have a secure job, we will be comfortable when we have a shelter above our head. When we achieve that we are not satisfied and we look for enhancing what we have got, thinking that “this will make us happy”. We look for promotions within the job are it in position or monetary increment and we look to renovate our houses thinking the extra room or a better kitchen is what we need. Thus this spiral of wanting more which we conveniently term need leads to greed, while all the time we are still in search of that elusive happiness, which we seek within. Thus we need to understand that what we think will make us happy in life is actually our ‘Life-style’ which only provides a temporary illusion of happiness till we start wanting more.
Life on the other hand requires one to go within and live in the moment, in complete faith that one will be provided for without wanting or asking, it prompts one to learn that happiness is not a destination that we seek but the stations that you get along the path of life, being present in the moment and appreciating the thoughts in the present thereby freeing us from the thoughts of the past or the future, which leave us wanting for more.
Life teaches simplicity which no longer is a convention but an invention! ‘Life-style’ is getting caught in the outer noise! While Life is listening to the inner voice. ‘Life-style’ recognizes the one who has the most, while life supports one who needs the least.
Looking outside we dream, looking within we awaken, looking outside we analyze, looking inside we realize. We need to understand that the eyes offer sight while the heart offers insight.
The next time that you are faced with the question “What is this life”? Distinguish between ‘life – style’ and ‘life’ before looking for the answer, and seek answers from within rather than from the outside
Saturday, February 3, 2007
“Has mankind been courteous to the bounty around him given by the provider”?
Saying a ‘Thank-You’ or ‘Please’ to another Human Being is an expression of gratitude to any favors received however small or big and recognizing the feeling behind the act.
In a similar analogy, it would be worthwhile to ponder how we express our gratitude to what Nature around us provides.
In an age of recognition of self-claimed achievement we often say “There are no free lunches”, when millions of living beings around us get just that.
We claim “Money does not grow on trees”, when in fact it does. We also claim that “Nothing comes free”, while the best things in life are for free. Take air for example.
We have developed an attitude of “What’s in it for me”? in every action of ours thereby increasing expectations. This is the voice of the EGO which translates to Edging God Out, as often quoted by spiritual masters. We should develop and attitude of “How can I help”? this is the voice of the spirit.
The saying “There is enough for everybody’s need, not for everybody’s greed”, cries for expression in today’s environment.
“I have enough of what I need”, is an attitude of gratitude.
Our own body is a great example of attitude of gratitude. Deepak Chopra in his book “The Book Of Secret’s” writes about the wisdom we already are living.
It says: You have a Higher Purpose. Every cell in your body agrees to work for the welfare of the whole. Its individual survival comes second. Selfishness is not its option.
You are in communion with the whole of life, just as a cell keeps in touch with every other cell in the body. Withdrawing or refusing to communicate is not an option.
You feel acceptance for all others as your equal, without judgment or prejudice, just as cells recognize each other as equal. Going it alone is not an option.
Your idea of efficiency is to let the flow of life bring you what you need and not what you want, remember-the cell stores only three seconds of food, it trusts in being provided for.
You are committed to giving as the source of all abundance, just as the activity of cells is giving, giving makes receiving automatic. Hoarding is not an option.
So from today thank the provider for the abundance around you, realize that life has found a way to express itself perfectly through you.
Look with-in, for that attitude of gratitude. Once you look with-in then you appreciate the with-out.
Friday, February 2, 2007
OASIS Changing the world
By Balakrishna Jayasimha
In his book “Conversations with God” for teens by Neale Donald Walsch, a question is asked, “How then can I change the World”?
In his book “Conversations with God” for teens by Neale Donald Walsch, a question is asked, “How then can I change the World”? The answer God gives is, so far all the best efforts of governments, social systems, and religions have not been able to change the most basic human behaviour, which is the reason why we still find human beings, squabbling, fighting, killing and not able to openly share and openly love. This is because all that humans do is try to change the conditions of life on the planet rather than the beliefs that have created those conditions.
Humans keep trying to change the conditions of poverty, hunger, misery, violence and war…they keep trying to make these conditions go away.
With all humanity’s supposed advancement and fancy technology, humans have not been able to eliminate these basic problems and they cannot because these conditions are reflections of beliefs that have not changed.
Our experiences, driven by our parents, teachers, and environment, might have educated us to behave in a particular way. For example: we might have been told as children by parents, teachers, friends that dogs bite or that dogs are dirty and over a period of time we believe it to be true. So when we in the present, see a dog, our belief drives a behaviour which is to either chase the dog away or get scared and run.
Unfortunately, the mind compares information it already has in store and if the response is in sync with the information in store the mind will accept it, if not it rejects. That's how beliefs become stronger and deep-rooted.
When you look at someone really old you will find that they find it very hard to change their beliefs.
However, human beings have the unparalleled capacity to choose an entirely new response simply by changing the belief that dogs are man’s best friend, thereby create a new thought, choose to offer a biscuit, driving a change in attitude and thereby adopt a brand new behaviour.
To change the conditions we need to believe first. Unfortunately we behave first, which determines our attitude which determines our thinking. We follow the reverse.
So just for today tap into your hidden potential of changing your belief system and tell yourself I'll be open to new thoughts, my attitude will not discount suggestions from others, defend my mistakes and I'll let the other person express his or her own opinions. You might discover a precious treasure hidden for long. An open mind also has a spiritual component to it. It involves looking for coincidences. No event in your life is coincidence but has a much deeper meaning to it.