Tuesday, August 29, 2017

 The poison descended down the throat just once. The nectar coursed through the veins many times, but each experience was different, each sensation was unique, never to be repeated. I came out of my body twice, but each step wasn't the same. I saw him dying. Watched her descend into madness. Trembled before laughing friends. Looked down in shame, excitement, bewilderment as her fingers pulled the flaccid 6-year old flesh inside. Stood near the door, wondering whether to jump down into the abyss or wait for dawn. Watched her mumble something, at close quarters, tiny hair glistening on her neck. Saw evil hatred shining in those eyes. And divine compassionate love. An unbearable yearning arching through the whole body. Continuous slaps on my young cheeks as an act of deflected revenge towards my favorite teacher. Helplessness in his eyes as he watched me bullied in the staff room. The look in those eyes which knew they wouldn't see me again. The pain of losing that presence forever, on the last day.

Every moment has been unique. Life hasn't repeated anything. Even when something looked familiar the shade was different, the tune had a unique timbre, note, taste, sensation and color. The clasp through the fingers, the claw marks on the arms, the caress on the shoulders. The gaze of love, lust, care, adoration, helplessness, frustration, anger, pleading, destroying, dying in agony. The trustless gaze of looking down in disgust. The helpless gaze which looked up, requesting to stop and call truce. The gaze that said, you deserved this. The gaze that said, I'm with you in this until you drop dead, and even beyond.

Every teacher has been unique. Every lover. Every friend. Every pet. Every victory. Scar. Triumph. Every flirtation with death. Every kiss back into life. Every mistake. Illness. Sadness and despair. Stillness at the peak where bliss and love merge with lust. Emptiness at the depths where hope and joy and tenderness shatter into pieces. Alone and lonely. Fulfilled and dead. Fearful and self-loathing with seething anger. Sorrow and regret. Relief and utter suffocation. Helpless frustration. Losing faith. Gaining hope.

"You'll not get this again, not in the way you know it," she said. I wanted it all back just as I had seen it last. "No, you won't," she said firmly, before disintegrating into the mist. "I offer no thing twice, and I shall make no exception for you."

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

This is from a reddit thread about "Healthy non-toxic" relationships...

...but me thinks, it might apply to a range of human interactions, not necessarily the romantic kind. So here goes...

  • You know and like them
You know what’s really important to the other person, their hopes and goals and pet peeves and preferences and fears, and you consciously integrate this knowledge into how you interact with them.
You’re curious about their thoughts and opinions. You’re aware they have a rich inner life and you get excited to find out what they think and how they feel about things, even things that have nothing to do with you. You ask questions and you truly listen to and try to understand the answers.
You seek out opportunities to share experiences with them. You want to be around them and you want to understand why they love the things they love. You want to welcome them into enjoying new things you think they’d like based on your knowledge of them and their preferences.
When they don’t like something you like and vice versa, it isn’t threatening, because you both respect each other and there are other things you can do together.
  • You are emotionally available
You pay attention to the kindnesses they show you, and you show appreciation when they listen to you vent or are patient with your foibles or remember your favourite things or make your life brighter in any way. You make an effort to show these same little kindnesses to them. You often ask about and try to keep track of what they like. You make tiny gestures all the time just to make them happy, and you don’t keep score of them in hopes of getting something you want.
You are honest and considerate with them. When you’re upset about something else you don’t blame it on them or start a fight just to fight. When you need to bring a problem to their attention you do it in a loving way. You don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep and you don’t pretend you feel anything you don’t feel.
You work hard to understand yourself and what’s important to you, what you want and what you feel and why you feel the way you do. Even if you aren’t totally sure what you’re really feeling yet, you try to share yourself with the other person. You’re willing to be vulnerable and let them see your fears and your flaws and your complicated feelings about things.
  • You actively respect them as your equal
You respect them as a person. There are things you admire about them and you find some of their ‘flaws’ endearing and it’s okay that there are things about them you don’t like because they’re a whole complicated person and you appreciate them for the whole package of who they are. You don’t secretly think you’re better than them. You don’t see them as disposible or fungible or a means to an end.
You respect them as the authority on their life/experiences and acknowledge that however well you know them, there are complexities to them you’ll never fully grasp. You never assume that you’re done getting to know them or that you could make their choices better.
You believe them when they tell you how they feel. You don’t ever try to convince them their feelings are wrong even if those real feelings are in response to a misunderstanding or have a context you don’t fully understand.
You’re comfortable letting them take the lead as often as you do, and you’re willing to compromise on things that affect both of you because their opinions are just as important and well-reasoned as your own. You acknowledge their capacity to know things you don’t or have good ideas you didn’t think of.
  • You do relational work
You talk to each other when either of you feels relationship problems arising, even if you don’t fully understand them yet, and you work together as a team to keep each other feeling safe and respected and listened to. You work to be patient and supportive and to not take it personally when other things are bothering them.
You apologize, freely and without expecting them to force themselves to heal faster to make you feel better. Your apologies are about letting them know you understand and respect and care about their hurt and that you are choosing not to hurt them in that way again. You don’t have hidden agendas.
When there are choices to be made that affect both of you, you talk them through together and decide together. You don’t expect them to do all the planning work, and you don’t make choices that affect them without their input.
  • You respect their time and effort and don’t act entitled
You understand you aren’t the only thing they have going on. You give them space to have other interests and friends and you appreciate your time together without making them feel obligated to pay attention to you 24/7. You also make time for them while maintaining your own interests and other relationships. You make an effort to seek out other sources of emotional support and connection so that you are not relying on this person to meet all your emotional needs.
You don’t expect them to do personal work for you that you’re capable of doing, and if they do such work, you intentionally do similar work for them, work that needs to be done just as often and requires just as much time/effort, because you care about them and don’t want to burden them with extra work. If they wash the dishes you use, you wash the floors they walk on. If they do the grocery shopping, you the cooking. You don’t ever take it for granted that it’s their job to do personal maintenance work (chores, home care, body care, appointment planning, kinship work) for you without reciprocation. If you are capable of meeting your own basic needs but haven’t bothered to learn to do that work or why it’s important, you seek out resources on your own to learn.
If you genuinely are not capable of doing your own basic self/home maintenance due to disability etc., you don’t assume they will automatically take over that work from now on because of your relationship. You have frank and honest discussions about your needs and their capabilities/limitations/interest wrt helping out.
  • You actively prioritize their happiness
You make sure they know you appreciate their no's. Every no reassures you that their yeses really mean yes, and you check in all the time to find out what they want and don’t want, because it’s so important to you that they don’t just grin and bear it.
You want them to be happy. You are willing to be deeply inconvenienced without them knowing about it if it will make them happier. You routinely spend time thinking about their feelings and how your words and actions will impact them. If you think they’re unhappy because of you, you want to know why because you are genuinely willing to put hard work into making them happy.
If they’re unhappy because you’re incompatible in a fundamental way, you’d rather give up your relationship with them than let them stay miserable because of it.
In a happy and healthy relationship, everyone involved ticks every one of these boxes.

(fucking brilliant!!! lots of self-improvement points and wisdom scores)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Ran Prieur summarized it beautifully...say a year ago

....and I posted it on social media. And also scribbled it somewhere, but it's too precious, too important, not to make a note of, here, in my blog. So here it goes...

An accomplished guitar player says

To master any truly difficult skill it's not enough to just want it; you have to be obsessed. If you have to force yourself to pick it up you're screwed; if you have to force yourself to put it down you know you're on the right track.

You told me that the only thing you've ever had to force yourself to stop was video games. Ask yourself: why exactly are video games so addictive? Of course it's because of the constant reward system. Every thirty seconds you get a reward of some kind. The next question is: how can I duplicate this experience in other areas?

When I was learning to play, I always broke any challenge down into it's smallest possible chunks. And these chunks were easy to accomplish and showed immediate results.

By doing it this way, I was creating a lot of very small, quick successes for myself. If you set yourself a goal and you succeed in just a few minutes, the flush of success releases endorphins in the brain. If you continue to duplicate that experience every few minutes you get addicted to practicing.

And I have consistently found that students who listen to me and practice as I described above will progress ten times faster than anyone else. These are the students who become obsessed to the art...and they become obsessed because they practice this way!

Break your practice into a series of tiny goals, so they always get a feeling of reward

 Things are transitory, and you'll be gone in a 'whoosh' while the world will continue as it is without a problem, so stop being such a self-important scumbag....it's all a play, so chill and do what feels right and good and fulfilling without worry. That's one viewpoint, and it gives hope when there's struggle and you're facing bewildering dead-ends.

 The other view is equally appealing. It's a play alrighty, but are you here just to play and disintegrate into dust one day? Or is there a mystery, a design that you're itching to crack open, and that's why you've descended into this dream, blanketting yourself with a thick unawareness of your own roots and sources, to make things a bit tough and interesting? What's the mystery? What purpose awaits you? Or what purpose do you want to dig up for yourself and pursue joyfully while enjoying the fruits that this existence offers?

 I swing between both of these viewpoints..that is, while not wasting away 99 percent of my time in inertia and day-dreams where I'm a hero and everything is hunky doryish :D

Monday, July 17, 2017

 28 pursuits that feed my soul. I realize that I've started out on 3 of them even before they became a part of this list. Will I have to accomplish great heights in all of them? Not necessarily. Will I start out on all of these in this lifetime? Of course I will. What's the point of this list? Why spread out my energy into so many channels?

This list is a reminder of things that excite me, pursuits that bring me alive, activities that strike a deep chord within. I'll not just sip and taste from each of these springs and move on. Like tasting from every small dish spread out on a plantain leaf in a traditional wedding ceremony. No!!! I will dive deep into each and every one of them. I'll make lusty passionate love with the essence that stands at the core of each of these adventures. Drink from the depths, recieve nourishment, and add something of value to each of them. Embrace the mystique of these worlds and leave them richer, colorful, and loved.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Hero and heroine make love in the rains, unmindful of the director yelling "cut" repeatedly. The scene comes out extremely well and realistic in the movie, and there are gossip mills which say that they actually "did it", it wasn't just acting after all, etc., but who cares, the movie matters. The comic relief in the movie is actually dating the heroine, but she is getting bored of him off late, so to spite him, she gets close to the hero, a bashful handsome young man who's actually had to sleep with both the producer and the director, both men, in order to bag this role. The movie is a spy thriller plus a tender love story set in World War 2 Germany, and there's lots of action, melodrama, romance, death and resurrection, but in the end....it's just a bloody movie. Everybody goes home.

 Not very different from real life. Except that, I don't realise deep enough that THIS TOO is a movie. My day-to-day life, the people, situations, conflicts, goals, obstacles, realisations and revelations---all are a part of a plot, a part of a drama that I'm too closely involved with. The truth of the 'movieness' of life ---it strikes suddenly like a lightning at times, but is gone in a flash before I allow it to sink in deep. And then, out of the blue, it strikes again. And again.

I want to take it deep...right there...into my bones, marrow, cells, atom, and the fucking empty space that encompasses the atoms. I want this truth to come blazing out from those depths! And I shall see to it that it does!!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sounds of gentle rains
splattering outside the window
Hot tea burning its way past the throat
A soothing aroma from the pages
of this book,
and the ideas it holds
which are knocking on worn doors
 and opening new brain cells

What's missing?


Monday, July 10, 2017

 Most of the days you are fresh and active with minimal work and stress. Some days are stressful and tiring but still you're fine. Even an occasional long drive for the whole day leaves you with a few aches in your ankles and wrists, nothing more.

Then there are days you wake up with a heavy head and disturbed dreams. Half of the weight of the world is on your shoulders. You simply want to lie down and waste away, do nothing else. Your body is signalling to rest and relax although you haven't exerted much. Push a bit and a headache begins to throb. Like today.

If it's energies and churning and stuff, I can't feel it as yet. Of course there's a desire, an intense craving to look beyond this dimension, and surf the waves of my complete existence. Not to be bound by anything, but to be a master of self. To overcome inertia that holds one down, and fly the vast skies on the wings of freedom and joy.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

There is no magic in this world. It’s a particular individual with a magical quality who makes something magical. And sometimes, the magic is in your eyes, in the way you look at things. Something extremely mundane and ordinary can become extraordinary and beautiful when it comes in touch with certain individuals, or when looked through with a certain mindset.

There’s a beautiful place that was close to my heart but which looks a bit dull now. Now I realise, the place came alive because of someone associated with it. And also because of the way I related to things back then. Remove a key element, and the extraordinary returns to being ordinary. Change your attitude, and everything changes. Quantum physics in action.

There’s no meaning in life, no purpose other than the meaning and purpose YOU bring to it.

Friday, July 07, 2017

 There was a time when I would write down my dreams, very regularly, in my amatuer writing days. With an aim of becoming a published writer and making my living out of words, I would soak up any writing advice, from anyone. One book said, write down your dreams and visit them later, you'll find story ideas in them, so I began scribbling. Extremely funny dreams would get written down which would otherwise be quickly forgotten. One dream had me hanging upside down from a ceiling while a fully grown hungry Lion approaches me. In another dream I was flying from one building to another, like a bird. Many dreams would fill me with acute embarrassment and dread, where I would be sitting in the open answering Nature's call, with familiar people walking around with a disgusted look. Inner fears, unresolved issues, anxieties and hopes maybe, finding expression through dreams.

 Last night's dream was interesting. We're about to be attacked by a gang of dacoits but there are two rifles in the cupboard, and I'm supposed to load them and be ready. But the gang arrives before time, and the leader, a ferocious looking hulk is at the door. As he orders people around I pick up the rifle and load them with two heavy cartridges, the ones used to kill elephants. A lot of fumbling around, trying to hide it from him, picking up the wrong rifle, his outbursts..all that drama, but I'm cool as fuck. His work done he begins to dance and I take aim, with his head moving in and out of the cross hairs. Finger on the trigger, everyone's expecting me to pull it and blow away his head to hell, and as I'm about to pull it....absolutely calm, no nerves, no tension...and I woke up, with a heavy pounding heart threatening to spill out of my mouth.

What to make of this dream?

On one hand there's a sense of ease, excitement, and settledness. As if everything is falling into place beautifully. As if the awareness is getting ready to zoom into single pointed stillness, and then escape out and expand magnificently into various dimensions. As if the flowers are getting ready to shower.

Then there is suffocation. Of feeling stuck and unable to move an inch. A dread of purposelessness. Tremendous inertia and fatigue. Severe resignation.

Wild pendulum swings. Interesting to hear and read about. Soul crushing when you're tossed into it.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

The C word...

It was a few years ago when I was deeply fascinated by collapse and end-of-civilization scenarios. Lots of reading, downloading, discussing with friends etc. There was this wonderful book (which I could find only in parts) about someone who had lived through a severe economic collapse in Argentina, and then wrote how he survived there with his family, the ordeals they had to face, the hacks they developed, how they navigated tricky situations, etc. Pretty adventurous stuff. We were hoping similar things to happen in India and across the world--especially with the 2012 scenario and doomsday predictions.

Things changed post 2012. Collapse got relegated to a distant memory but the books I downloaded remained, so did the fascination with breakdown of systems, and emergency of new systems. Dmitry Orlov, a Russian who lives in U.S. is one of the vocal and utterly sensible voices of this scenario. One book of his-- the Five stages of collapse seems totally relevent now, more than at any other time. He talks about different stages of collapse along with case studies-- Economic, Financial, Political, Societal, and Individual collapses. And there are serious insights and ideas to deal with each of these scenarios based on societies which have successfuly navigated through them.

I can hazard a guess that we're close to an economic and societal collapse, here in our country. The signs are bloody ominous. Fascists rule us and they're getting extremely successful in manipulating cracks and create unrest between groups. Things which've been on a backburner for long are coming to a boil. It'll be a matter of time before quite a few systems begin to crack and crumble. Rest of the world, less said the better.

Of course, none of the doomers and collapsenicks speak of integrating Spiritual awakening and transcendence into the breakdown scenarios. That's a dimension quite a few are fortunate to be aware of. Yet, its time to brush through the basics of dealing with collapse at the nuts and bolts level. It's time for a re-read and study of Five Stages of Collapse.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

 Sometimes there's an intense desire to correct the other person, to assert oneself--especially when that person is in "counselling" mode. I fall prey to it many times, and the result is always burnt fingers, hurt egoes and pride--a bitter taste all around.

 I got a live masterclass in how to handle this shit. Just nod and agree to whatever is said and suggested, especially when the other person is a belligerent motormouth. Don't waste your energy trying to convince the other, or assert yourself and make yourself clear--simply because the other won't agree and you're wasting everyone's time and energy. Just nod and agree, and quickly end the arguement or discussion. Then get back to your life and do WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANNA DO.

Peace of mind all around.
(of course, I'm still learning to implement this fully, old habits die hard)

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Monday, July 03, 2017

 All that's hidden is surfacing, so nothing remains obscure. Your crankiness, insecurity, psychopathy, and fear of inflicting suffering on others. Your willingness to manipulate others and throw tantrums. Control-freakism. Your unwillingness to hit back and protect yourself when attacked, for fear of hurting those you love. Giving away your power to others. Living in denial. Not letting go. Not standing in your own light. Jealousy. Grief over un-healing wounds.

I see these in others, in myself. There's a familiar response--rage. Then there's a delayed sober response--to contain and transmute these. In myself. Then, by gently nudging others and putting things across, without stepping on fragile egos.

Fuck this transition. Okay...don't fuck it, but still...

 A story from the Mahabharata keeps popping up frequently. Bhima, Arjuna and Krishna chase Ashwaththaama after he massacres the Pandava sons...and a battle begins. Ashwaththaama releases a powerful asthra called 'Narayana asthra'. Nobody knows how to counter it...even Krishna doesn't have a counter-weapon. Thousands of arrows, chakras and swords are created in the skies and they begin to rain down.

Krishna says, "There's only one way to escape...just bow down and allow the asthra to pass over you." Everyone bows down. Except Bheema! He stands tall and says, "I have nothing against this asthra of Narayana, but it is released by this lowlife, Ashwaththaama, so bowing down to this weapon is like bowing down to him. I would rather die than do that."

Soon the arrows and swords start descending into Bhima but he doesn't budge. Krishna advises him fervently saying, "Let this go, survive this day to fight another day", but Bhima doesn't listen. Finally Krishna and Arjuna subdue Bhima with all their might, push him to the ground and allow the weapon to pass over safely. 

Of course, they catch hold of Ashwaththaama after this and skin him.

Something like the taoist concept of being flexible like a blade of grass which bends in the winds instead of the rigid oak tree which stands proud and is broken and shattered.

What are your basic needs? Food? Sex? Shelter? Validation? How about Shifting awareness to higher realms? And Adventure? Learning? Belly laughters? Intimacy and the need to be loved, to be held, to nurture and be nurtured?

Whether we're here to experience something, transmute something, or create and participate in something, unless our basic needs are met, we progress not an inch. Attending to these needs comes first before anything else!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Before you ...

Eating a mango if you close your eyes and really focus on the taste, you're literally taken back to a different era. The taste, a kind of "pungent" sweetness that departs from the flesh of the fruit and dissolves in your mouth, the transitoryness of the experience--for a few seconds, you're not here. A ripe mango dying in your mouth is a time-travel device.

Knowledge is dangerous. You can die of suffocation and sensory overwhelm if your awareness expands without you being ready to accommodate the expansion. Sometimes you crave to know it all, to experience it fully, to dig deep, to receive everything--but existence doesn't want you to die a miserable death, so it deprives you of it all, smiling at your curses while waiting for you to bloody evolve.

You behave like an idiot, and realize it 20 seconds later. A period of regret follows, along with a resolution to fix yourself and not repeat your idiotic behavior. Until the situation arrives again, and before you realize, you're the same old idiot.

I met a few of them, maybe after what, 2 years? A brief period of warmth. Then distance. They're in their own world, and I have no clue about them. I'm in my own world and they have no clue about me. We walk back to our lives. It's pretty much possible that I may never meet them again. In the middle of the interaction, I suddenly realize that this could be the very last time they see me or I see them, and it overwhelms me with a strange gratitude. Towards whom, I don't know.

Flowers--red, violet, yellow, light pink, turquoise blue. Neatly tied into a beautiful bundle. They were alive and singing in someone's hands. Then the bride received the bouquet. And handed it to someone standing behind her, while she got ready to receive the next bouquet, the next gift. This bunch of beautiful, tender flowers--they got dumped amidst the other bouquets in the corner. Their song had ended. I picked them up, and caressed them, unwilling to let them go away so fast. They smiled as if to say, "It's okay, we're not sad...in fact, we're joyous for the brief period of life we came to enjoy." They had already started to fade.

I wanted them to be alive and smiling. Forever.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Just remembered this anecdote...

  There's a lady, a bit aged. And her husband was still older, bed-ridden, in his final days perhaps. We went to see him--me and Him. The lady ushered us in, her eyes brimming with gratitude and love. And as we entered the room, the old gentleman saw G from his bed, and became overwhelmed with emotion. His feeble hands rose up in a pranam, his voice quivering, tears rolling down as he kept repeating, "You have come all the way here, and I'm unable to get up and greet you." G assured and calmed him with soothing words, sat beside him for a while and enquired after his health. The old man was at a loss for words. For him, this visit by G was undoubtedly nothing short of a visit by God Himself. The whole atmosphere was surcharged with immense love and gratitude. It was very humbling to sit in that room and be a witness to this.

The old man passed away peacefully a few months later. What remains striking is the solace G offered him in his final days...with nothing but His presence. No words. No philosophy. No gifts. No action. Just pure presence.

He embodied that presence so effortlessly, triggering transformations, awakenings and love towards life in those he met. Looks unbelievable that we were with Him just a few years ago. And he also sowed this thirst in us--a thirst to embody a similar divine presence. To embody divinity, to hold light, to carry a powerful presence which would melt away all resistance to life within us. To embody a presence which would radiate out and touch other lives.

A lamp lighting other lamps, spreading warmth and love and joy.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Tame this beast...

 He is an upright officer administering a few villages surrounded by dense forests. The girl he loves is married to someone else. And a tribal girl is secretly in love with him but he brushes off her affections as juvenile infatuation. He has bigger battles to fight everyday. The jungle is home not just to cruel beasts but also to greedy mafia who'll stop at nothing in eliminating anyone in their way. He is in their cross-hairs but he just doesn't care, and goes on about his work with a single minded determination. So the mafia first get the tribal girl;they eliminate her...

 There's a song that roughly translates to this:
  This world...is a marketplace of happiness and sorrow
 Each one in the crowd walks a lonely path
 Everyone nurtures his own dream
 Every soul is pulled by his own destination

 Then, there's a sensation. The fan is running at full speed, and the air rushes past your face, caressing your locks.


The above three are enmeshed and entwined in a divine embrace. Trigger one, and the other two materialize! It takes the air from a fan at full speed to hit my face, and immediatly, the song arrives, its meaning explodes into my consciousness...and along with it, the story of the officer facing impossible odds, his struggles, desperation, loneliness, sorrows and triumps....all of it comes totally alive.

The officer and his struggles were a part of a TV serial I watched as a 12 year old kid. One summer night, as I lay watching an episode, the nearby fan was running at full speed, the air from it gushing against my face, and soon enough, the credits started rolling and the theme song began to play. The emotional impact of that character was still raw within me, his desperation and helplessness strongly imprinted...and soon I fell asleep. Unknown to me at any level, perhaps a strange connection might have forged between totally unrelated ideas. And this connection would come alive multiple times across the years. Without any rhyme or reason!

 Many songs trigger things. A fragrance brings alive a memory. A touch, a clasp of a hand, and I recoil. A restaurant brings alive a memory of fear and rage, of helpless frustration and sorrow. A road invokes a story. A wide sky opening up in all its vastness triggers something else.

 Where do we exist without memories? How does one get rid of them? Or...how to smile at them and move on?