May 17, 2010

Kahlil Gibran...

On Children

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

May 7, 2010

at the end of it all...

My friend Baba has asked me time and again to write a post on what I want out of this life. What I want to do and where I want to be, and what my plan is. I have always avoided this due to the fear of having to sort through my many dreams and decide what I actually want to do. But maybe the time has come now...

I think a good place to start would be at the end. The end of it all - Death.

Death is inevitable, it has to be done. There is no escape. The question that occurs to me is how to die. I don't mean the exact manner, as that is not in my hands, but how to be within myself during the last moments of this life. The obvious answer that comes to me is happy. As countless other people, how I want to be within myself when I die is – Happy. Other words that come to my mind are satisfied, peaceful and without any regrets.

Now the question that arises is what if I die now. What if I die this very instant, or in the next? Or sometime in the near future? Would all the feelings I described in those words above be going on within me? Would I be able to die without regrets, at absolute peace? Somehow, I doubt that.

Sometimes, a thought crosses my mind. And that is, do I really need to have a plan? Is ambition really necessary? Let me explain why.

When I sit down to practice Yoga, my mind is full of thoughts, feelings and emotions. I’m very entangled with them, as though they were an interesting movie being played in my head. After all, these thoughts are mine and form the basis of my identity. However, on certain rare occasions, I find that I am successful at un-entangling myself from the web of thoughts. It’s like they are a cloud at the bottom of my mind and I’m floating somewhere above them, silent and observing. I am able to separate myself from these thoughts and become a mere spectator. At moments like these, I sometimes experience blackouts. No, I don’t pass out, but these are very tiny fleeting moments where everything becomes black and in that instant there are no thoughts at all whatsoever. It’s like a blank mind. As I said, however, these are very, very tiny microseconds during which the mind seems to stop and everything is blank.

What also happens during these micro-seconds is something else very amazing. I like to think of it as touching some part of the inner core of my being. Something else seems to take control, something that I would probably never be able to explain in words. As this ‘inner core’ is being touched, a sense of total bliss and happiness washes over my mind and body. A small smile begins to play on my lips and soon makes its way to a full-fledged grin. Sometimes, I even laugh out loud, the kind of laugh that comes out of relief and absolute blissfulness. Like someone told me that I never have to worry about anything ever again. All these reactions are completely involuntary. There is something very natural about this state of happiness. There is no effort involved. Sometimes I think this is the state I should be in when I die.

Coming back to the plan. The reason for me to make a plan would be to do all the things that matter to me in life, so that when I die, I can be happy.

Well this is my thought: If I can right now, right here, be sitting in one place doing nothing at all and be the happiest I have ever been, in a state of absolute bliss, then what in the world do I need a plan for?

Something for me to think about…

Having said all this, what would I want to do with my life assuming that I have a long one ahead?

Maybe I would like to work on those fleeting microseconds and try to turn them into something that lasts a few minutes, and then a few hours, and then days, and then something that’s there all the time. It makes sense, really. It’s all within. So I begin from within.

Responsibilities? No, there is no need to shirk away from them at all. That will all go on, and so will this. The only difference would be that instead of me thinking so and so needs to be accomplished for happiness, it would be that happiness is there in everything that is done, no matter what is done.

My guru says that when we stop planning, calculating, deciding and recalculating, when we just stop and let everything go, when we say it doesn’t matter, rich or poor, life or death, comfort or not... when we don’t think any more about how to live life well, when we give up our life to something higher... .. when there is no sense of want or wish...when we simply live and go on with a sense of awareness... Then life unfolds something beautiful for us, and we are taken care of... by life itself.

I don’t know if this is true or not since I haven’t really experienced this. I don’t know if this is a teaching, a philosophy, or a truth. I don’t even know if it is possible to really live this way. But I certainly feel that if life is a blank slate given to me where I am free to experiment as I please, it makes sense for me to at least try and see if this is really true. What do have I got to lose? I’m going to die someday, anyway…