Photo by Esparta




Lately we have heard so much about the global economic crisis, recessions, job cuts, natural disasters, increasing environmental problems and so on. Continuous talk about these things can easily influence the collective psyche in a negative way.

Even before recent events, we have always been bombarded with news, images and video clips of tragedies, wars,disasters, violence, crime,etc  from a very young age. We are not even consciously aware of the extent to which we are exposed to such negative media. We might think that we have grown ‘immune’ to it or that we have become numb or insensitive to such media.

To a certain extent, this is true but there is a residual effect that acts on our subconscious minds and which can influence us negatively by injecting fear, paranoia, hysteria and anxiety. This has the direct implication of affecting our reasoning and decisions even in everyday life.

More than that it is the ‘collective effect’ which we seem to be more vulnerable to. This means that it is not only our own personal exposure to these stories which affect us most (although they do in certain ways) but it is the way that the general morale of the people around us (even those we do not interact with directly)can leave a sort of after effect on our own mood and attitude.

Since no man is an island, we are all subject to this collective effect. The social environment we live in is a highly connected network of individuals. When a network is highly connected, causes and effects spread out throughout the network very fast and effectively. There is a lot of interdependency.

It should therefore come to no surprise that other people’s moods affect us in many ways. Now although these moods can be both positive and negative, it is the negative thoughts and attitudes that are of a concern. I call it the negativity pandemic. (more…)

How to Survive the ‘Negativity Pandemic’

Continue Reading How to Survive the ‘Negativity Pandemic’

Photo by Eugenius D80

Ancient Eastern Philosophy has taught a lot about the concept of non-resistance. This view has been deeply rooted as a cultural way of life as can be most popularly seen in the martial arts for example.

Most internal martial arts such as Tai Chi, for instance, are built on this principle of non-resistance and ‘action without action’ (Wei Wu Wei) or effortless doing. The idea behind this principle of effortless action is that when you don’t resist or work against the energies around you but actually work or flow with them, you become aligned and in equilibrium in such a way as to obtain a ‘soft and invisible power’.

The adept martial artist knows how to use the power and momentum of his opponent to overcome him with out exerting any force or power.

Non-resistance is like the nature of water. The strength of water lies in its ability to flow around obstacles and in its suppleness. Its force is soft yet powerful.

On the other hand, resistance is friction, an act of opposing, blocking or impeding something. It generally implies working against natural forces as opposed to working with them. (more…)

The Strength of Non-Resistance

Continue Reading The Strength of Non-Resistance

Photo by LunaDiRimmel

Fear is a cruel tyrant and we all know it. It debilitates us and immobilizes us, by restricting our possible responses to life and thus severely limiting it.

It effectively sabotages us from succeeding in reaching a goal or achieving happiness and peace of mind.

Fear can make us reject an opportunity to make a public speech, hold us from applying for that perfect job, keep us back from making that fantastic trip or keep us awake at night worrying what might happen to our loved ones when they are out of our sight. The examples are endless and I don’t need to illustrate further – I’m sure you get the gist of it.

Some people live in constant fear; some others face fear from time to time when it creeps out from some hidden corner and surfaces to haunt their days and nights.

The fact is that fear is a form of feedback about potential or real danger in our environment. Physically it is associated with a part of our brain called the ‘amygdala’ situated at the tip of the temporal lobe.

It is the part of our brain responsible for the flight, fight or freeze response to dangerous situations. No doubt, such instinctive responses were greatly helpful to the survival of our ancestors in the past. Yet as societies grew increasingly more complex and human lifestyles changed radically, this primordial survival instinct started sometimes coming at odds with everyday life situations that do not require such drastic responses.

The effect of that was an embedded sense of fear that manifests itself in many forms such as anxiety, worry, lack of sleep, nervousness and uneasiness, etc. (more…)

Overcoming Fear and Breaking Free from its Tyranny

Continue Reading Overcoming Fear and Breaking Free from its Tyranny

[GARD align=left]No matter how different people’s goals, inclinations and social conditions might be, there is always one thing that is common to all humans – the desire for inner peace.

Some might not be consciously aware of this all the time or their life experiences have completely closed their heart to this possibility. Others might think that their highest goals are nothing like inner peace but more like material success and gratification.

Still, whether we admit it or not, we all seek happiness and inner peace. Nobody will ever feel complete with loads of material rewards but a spiritual void. So many life stories are a witness to this.

The rules

If you are listening to your heart’s calling for inner peace and happiness, there are a few rules you can embrace and follow in your life. These rules helped many people over many centuries acquire inner peace, reconciliation with their heart’s desires and happiness.

Here they go: (more…)

The little sacred rules of inner peace

Continue Reading The little sacred rules of inner peace

Photo by mslori411
Photo by mslori411

 

“Awareness implies that you are not only conscious of things (objects), but you are also conscious of being conscious. If you can sense an alert inner stillness in the background while things happen in the foreground – that’s it! This dimension is there in everyone, but most people are completely unaware of it”. Eckhart Tolle – A New Earth

 

I wasn’t planning doing a second part to ‘Developing Awareness’ today, exactly following the first part. I was planning to let some other few articles in between.

However, I was flipping through pencil-written bookmarks and side notes I left on Tolle’s  book*, when I came across the verse quoted above.   It struck me a second time as being an important practical tip worth noting and sharing.

I would also love to hear your thoughts on this. (more…)

Developing Awareness – Part 2

Continue Reading Developing Awareness – Part 2

photo by h.koppdelaney4

Awareness is fundamental to all human activity. It is the basis of all our mental states and processes, creativity, perception, knowledge and culture. Everything starts from awareness. It is the portal between consciousness and the world around us.

The more I learn about awareness, the more I realize how it pervades everything we do and that by learning to focus it, expand it or redirect it consciously, we can transform ourselves by gigantic positive leaps. It’s the key to greater inner peace, happiness and self-mastery.  In fact there is no possible way one can walk on the path of self-mastery without learning to direct his awareness. (more…)

Developing Awareness – Part 1

Continue Reading Developing Awareness – Part 1

Have you ever been in a difficult moment where you needed to take an important and quick decision but didn’t have the answer there and then?  And did it ever happen to you that in such a situation you suddenly ‘hear’ an answer in your head out of nowhere that leads you out of your predicament? That’s your inner voice.

The inner voice is that subtle message that you sometimes pick up but feel is coming from somewhere different than your thoughts or the usual internal commentary in your head. It has a different tone and a different purpose.

Your inner voice can be your guide, your ally and your friend in need that speaks up in those moments when you really need an answer. Sometimes we have to take an action or a decision but the information we have is limited. Your inner voice serves as a priceless feedback.

Your inner voice helps you take wiser decisions and it keeps you in perspective by guiding you in the right direction and giving you information in the form of hints which you would otherwise have missed or overlooked.


How to find you inner voice:

A common question that I’ve been asked when the subject of inner voice comes out is “So how can I find my inner voice?”

To be exact, we don’t find our inner voice but our inner voice finds us. What we can do to facilitate this is to open up and tune our ‘internal antenna’. I’ve noticed that although some people like myself have always found it very natural to be inward looking and sensitive to subtle things, most people are more externally driven, so listening to their inner voice could be a possibility that they never opened themselves to.

If you are such a person you need to start forming some habits that help you redirect your awareness inwardly – to your feelings, ideas, energies, motivation, etc.  Here are a few things to do: (more…)

How to find and recognize your inner voice

Continue Reading How to find and recognize your inner voice

photo by elaine faith
photo by elaine faith


As I was reading the article “A gentle honesty” on the blog ‘Beyond Karma’ the other day, the Zen saying “After Enlightenment, the Laundry” came to mind.


In the article, Kaushik, the author of the blog and the post in question, was asking how it is that sometimes after some experience of deep inner awareness that awakens us from our limited patterns of thinking, we return back to our same old selves?


To quote Kaushik’s own opening lines:

“A strange thing about awakening is frequently we feel we are very conscious, but then life throws something at us and we react in the same conditioned way we always did. It’s a humbling experience, and that’s the point of it.”


How is it that after some brief moment of enlightenment we relapse back to the same old habits and limited views?


This naturally leads to other questions such as “is enlightenment or spiritual awakening ephemeral”? Is it some short excursion beyond our boundaries just to give us a taste of what it’s like to be in a higher state of consciousness?

(more…)

After enlightenment, the laundry

Continue Reading After enlightenment, the laundry