14 November 2020

The Five Lamps of Diwali...

The first lamp: Let it burn any anger and jealousy that might be there in our heart and replace them with calm and peace.

The second lamp: Let it burn greed and desire and replace them with contentment and gratitude.

The third lamp: Let it burn all insecurities knowing that our life is in God's hands.

The fourth lamp: Let it remove all illness and disease and replace them with good health.

The fifth lamp: This is the Divine Light. Let it fill our life with warmth and love.

09 November 2020

Decency...

is to me one of the most important traits of a human being, kindness being the first. To keep one's cool under trying conditions is hard enough, but being decent and looking on the person creating the pain with kindness is even harder, and yet it is only with the help of these two things that we can make sense of this world...

03 November 2020

Today’s headlines...

in The Telegraph, “Crunch begins to tell on schools” paints a very frightening picture. And the question that my mind is constantly throwing up is what is going to happen to these children, and, where is this country headed without an educated people? Children need to study, play, fight, and interact with each other. Okay, so noone can go to school now. Traumatic and difficult as it was for many children, the online experience did keep them in touch with their teachers and classmates. If teachers are being laid off, principals are being asked to resign, admin staff are being reduced to bare minimum..... just what does the future look like? 


We know Indian kids blossom when they go abroad... but here, in their own country, they are not even being given a toehold on the ladder of education. How unfair it is to deprive them of learning and knowledge just because there are not enough funds to tide over this difficult phase. Why are the people in power forgetting that it is these children who will be leaders one day... why should they not be given the mental and intellectual and emotional training to become responsible citizens? I would imagine no funds would be spared in the growth and development of our children. They need to be well prepared to live in a whole new world order. I am anguished beyond words at this turn of things. Our kids have to have to have to be made ready to take on the world and take our country forward....

17 October 2020

It has always been important, but never more so than now...

TO BE SILENT 

and

TO KNOW WHAT TO SAY AND WHEN

Even how you say what you want to say is extremely important. 

The thing is people filter the words they hear through the prism of their own experiences, and the knowledge they have acquired through their own reading --- through their perceptions. So you never know how your words are being interpreted. Their reaction, it follows, is naturally according to what their minds have processed. 

It is not possible for us to always give a measured response and we often trip up here ending up igniting a fire where there need not be one in the first place. 

Gandhi gave a very clear directive: Speak only if you can improve upon the silence. 

The Buddha said: Sometimes it is better to be kind than to be right. 

It is always better to take a step back and be silent. Words can cause damage equal in proportion to a holocaust. Silence allows for that little space or leeway to re-phrase....or eliminate the words entirely....thus keeping the peace and more importantly to be at peace...

12 October 2020

A rather frightening picture...

flashed through my mind a couple of days back. Is this virus, in its destructiveness, making us create a whole new world order? A world order in which each one will sit in his or her own corner with a digital device... no one will step out of their homes... no meeting up with friends for a cup of coffee... no window shopping in malls or on a high street... no wandering around absorbing the various sights and sounds swirling about... no stopping at a roadside dhaba for a snack and a cup of tea in an earthern 'bhaand'... no browsing for books either on the pavement stalls or in bookshops... no picnics, no outings anywhere to revel in nature... no travelling to be with family... no visiting friends... no going to a Church (or any religious shrine) to sit in peace and quiet for a while... The list is endless as the memories of all those little little things we took for granted come flooding into the mind. The reality we took for granted is changing and it looks like we will have to change the way we see and do everything... move increasingly into a virtual world... 

The picture is frightening mainly because of the surge of loneliness... or aloneness...

09 October 2020

As powerful as pausing is...

 silence.

And it is the greatest gift we have...

Many of us, however, don't give being silent enough importance. We could have picked up various responses to our being silent through the years of childhood through to our adulthood. We could have used silence as a protective mechanism. We could come from homes where the atmosphere is generally silent. We could have believed that to be silent is to be rude... 

I learnt a lot on silence from the writings of Maya Angelou. Learnt too, from the Buddha's sayings. And Christ being silent while being accused of all kinds of things by the priests, remaining silent in front of Pilate even as He was being handed the sentence of crucifixion, taught me the greatest lesson of all. 

Growing up, we had a rule at home: If you can't say something good about a person, keep quiet. 

Through the years I learnt that silence is actually a very helpful thing to learn. The most important time when we need to be silent is when someone is accusing us of something, either falsely, or without knowing all the facts. We need to be silent when words are spinning out of control in a conversation. We need to also be silent when we are getting to a point when we find ourselves dominating a conversation. We need to be silent in grief.... and in so many of the situations that are exclusive to our life experiences.... because it is in this deliberate silence that we find the strength we need...a strength born out of pain. And it is this strength which enables and helps us to face difficult/unpleasant/unhappy situations...it is this strength which gives us the right words...it is this strength which clears the mind and heart...it is this strength which puts us on the right path...it is this strength which fills us with quiet peace...


07 October 2020

The value of...

pausing is something that I am learning to do now. Every time I do this, I find myself - after a while - in a better and more peaceful space. 

This is not an easy thing to do, I have learnt. To deliberately stop whatever it is that is causing a disturbance in the heart and mind is not easy. It has to be learnt. When I find myself in a difficult situation, or a tricky one, and I find my thinking going crazy, I force myself to just stop.....wait.....press my hands together.....sit quietly.....take deep breaths.....not look at the clock ticking away reminding me of a deadline.....totally quietening down, winding down till the heartbeat becomes slow again. After a while I see that what I was allowing to have so much importance so as to upset me, really was not that important.....it had taken on smaller, manageable, and do-able proportions. Most of all there was a quietness and peacefulness in my heart...and this helped to handle what I was doing without any pressure. It is the same thing in a conversation. When I feel it is getting out of hand, I force myself to stop.....maybe leave the room.....till whatever it is leaves me completely. Often I have found that what was distressing me was really not worth being distressed over..... or, the right words present themselves in my mind.....and I can deal with it without making it bigger than it was anyway...