Author Archive | tejvan

The beauty that remains

rainbow-wharfedale

Over Christmas I saw quite a few beautiful rainbows. Their short-lived transience makes the thrill even greater.

However as a photographer, I was caught between living the moment and trying to capture on film. The momentary arrival of a rainbow can come with a tinge of sadness that everything soon passes on earth. Part of you wants to hold onto the rainbow’s beauty before it slips away.

The world is in a constant state of flux. Everything is fleeting – nothing lasts. The rainbow exemplifies this birth and death – all within a few minutes. It lifts our spirits, but then is gone.

***

The sweet rainbow comes and goes,
But its beauty remains.

The dear sun comes and goes,
But its duty remains.

The faithful day comes and goes,
But its sound remains.

The restful night comes and goes,
But its silence remains.

Sri Chinmoy
– Wings of Light, part 11, WL-529

In this poem, Sri Chinmoy reminds us of the beauty which is everlasting. It echoes the immortal words of John Keats.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever”

We love the outer rainbow, not just for its unique light, but because it also – consciously or unconsciously – reminds us of the soul’s world and the inner beauty.

In the poem, Sri Chinmoy suggests we should not mourn the fading of the outer light because its Source is eternal. The outer beauty is a just reminder to seek the inner light.


Photo top: Tejvan (Wharfedale, Yorkshire, 25th December, 2016)

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A simple truth to be shared

Buddha Maitreya (Koji Takeuchi) has spent the last 35 years of his life transforming a two-acre plot into traditional Japanese garden. He uses the garden to teach meditation and offer a path of inner peace.

I like this video for its simplicity and example of practical spirituality. To work and create a beautiful garden – with the aim of offering the peaceful surrounding to others – in the hope of providing a catalyst for people to find their inner peace and happiness within.

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Spending less time online


My spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy is very keen on New Year’s Resolutions. He advocated both making a few personal resolutions and a few resolutions for achieving things outwardly.

In the past, I have been very poor at making New Year’s resolutions, but this year I am following one resolution, almost by accident.

In 2016, I spent a lot of the time wishing I didn’t waste so much time reading online news, opinion and comment. I would have a good meditation in the morning but, before I’d finished breakfast, I was back in the world of opinion and judgement.

It was like eating a healthy breakfast of fruit and oats, only to finish it off with a chocolate gateaux cake and cream. The point is you can’t lose weight by eating chocolate cake and cream, no matter how much fruit and vegetables you also eat. Similarly, if you want real inner peace, you need to meditate – but also be careful of where else you spend your time and energy.

The problem is that the easy accessibility of online news means there is a never ending stream of things to read. You start with the intention of just seeing the headlines, but then I found myself reading more than I intended. Time can pass by – you haven’t done anything productive, only filled your mind with more opinions.

There is an addictive quality to browsing the internet – a spare one minute appears in the day and, before you know it, 15 mins have passed. I noticed that it is usually when bored or unhappy that I often sought refuge in online browsing, but this didn’t help. Continue Reading →

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Concentrating on good qualities

Concentrating on the good qualities of other people helps to bring forward these values in ourself, and also gives real encouragement to others.

sea-swim

Over the New Year I heard an audio talk from my spiritual teacher, Sri Chinmoy, which offered one simple suggestion for the New Year.

“In the New Year, instead of focusing on people’s bad qualities, concentrate only on their good qualities. For the New Year, make it your resolution to always see good qualities in others and forget about their bad qualities.”

This was the essence of the talk as I remember. A very simple message, but repeated several times, I felt the idea sinking into my mind.

The idea behind this message is highly relevant for everyone.

Whoever we are, it is the nature of the human mind to hold onto the flaws and failings of people around us. It is their undivine qualities – ego and jealousy, which irritate us. When we are displeased with someone, it becomes hard to value their good qualities, which may lie hidden underneath. But, even the most irritating acquaintances and work colleagues will have at least a few good qualities.

Why is it important?

The first benefit is that it will help us to be happier. If we concentrate on people’s bad qualities, we may gain a little feeling of superiority, but this does not give real happiness. If we can appreciate other people’s good qualities, it will give us a sense of satisfaction and self-giving. Continue Reading →

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The Golden Age

I am reading a book about the Golden Age of Atlantis [1]. It is a picture of Heaven on Earth, a world with no conflict, but a society where willing individuals see and feel the underlying unity of the universe. There are some sections I skim through (it does have quite a new age vibe) But, the interesting thing about the book was the depiction of a golden age, where people were predominantly spiritual and the prevailing culture was one of connection to God, the Ultimate Source in every aspect of life.

sunset-croatia

Whether it is true or just the writers imagination, is perhaps not important. The idea of a golden age – a world where spiritual oneness and peace are the predominant qualities of the world does touch at an inner core of our being. The hope of every soul must be to someday live through a golden age, where real spirituality is natural, spontaneous and all-pervasive.

The current world situation is certainly a far cry from any golden age – though it is often said the night is darkest before the dawn.

I feel optimism and belief in a better world are not just building castles in the sky. Optimism and faith in the divine potential of man and the world are an important foundation for creating this future golden age.

The Golden Age will rapidly blossom
In the hearts of those
Who most devotedly love God
And at the same time
Shall not remain detached
From His earth-family.

Sri Chinmoy

References

[1] Discover Atlantis – Diana Cooper

Personal meditation techniques

meditation-recognition-true-self

My meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy gave many different meditation techniques, but also suggested that the real secret of meditation was – not just mastering technique – but our heart’s inner cry. If we are satisfied with what we have in the material world, then our meditation will not be very deep. However, if we feel a deep inner cry for peace and joy, then whatever technique we use we will be able to make faster progress.

Nevertheless, these are some techniques which I find helpful and use in my own meditation.

Mantra

During the day, when the outer world is a little more restless, I like to repeat a mantra. I use ‘Supreme’ which is a term Sri Chinmoy uses to describe God in his ever transcending aspect. By repeating the mantra Supreme, I feel it is both meditation and invocation. I try to repeat the mantra in the heart, to try and awaken the heart chakra. It is often recommended to count a certain number of mantras 500, 600, 700. However, although I often use mantra beads, I don’t tend to count. I start off relatively fast, but try to repeat the mantra more soulfully and with more awareness. For me the goal is not to achieve a certain number, but to say more soulfully and without any mental distraction.

Heart

Trying to meditate in the mind is difficult because the nature of the mind is to produce thoughts. If we can move away from the mind to the heart, then we are in a better place to meditate. Whatever technique of meditation, I usually try to be in the heart; there is a good spiritual energy there. If you really concentrate on the heart, you can start to feel your sense of being shift – from the head to the heart.
Continue Reading →

Inner peace and Facebook likes

When I was at university 1994-97, none of my friends had a mobile phone or internet access. If you wanted to meet up with a friend, you would walk down to the other end of the corridor and knock on their door. I have to admit it was sometimes a little inconvenient, you could knock on their door, and no-one was there; but I seem to remember we had a good time!

From a spiritual perspective, how does social media and browsing of the internet influence our meditation and spiritual practise? Is it a harmless side-show or does it make it harder to achieve real peace of mind?

Like anything it can depend on how we use it, and also the inclinations of the user. A disciplined use of a work account a few times a week – is very different to those who find themselves spending hours everyday.

The influence of modern technology is definitely an interesting challenge for modern seekers. I now make a living from an economics website and regularly use email. However I constantly find myself (most weeks!) making New Year’s Resolutions to try and limit the time I waste on the internet. I don’t think I’m the only one in this boat either. Continue Reading →

Choosing peace over conflict

be-wise-buy-peace

This is a thought-provoking aphorism on peace [Source] . What can we learn from it?

Peace is the most valuable quality

Without peace, all the material objects in the world will not give joy. It is peace which will make us inwardly rich, yet peace is often the thing the world lacks most.

“This world has everything
Save and except one thing,
Peace,
And this peace has to blossom
From within.”

– Sri Chinmoy [2]

Don’t wait for tomorrow

If something is good to do, now is the best time. If we have a bad habit, now is the best time to break it. Sometimes, we can feel ‘maybe when I am an old man and retired, I will then have the time to give up bad habits and meditate on peace.’ But, if we keep delaying, we may surrender completely to the bad habit and wrong way of living. By the time we are old, we are stuck with our bad habits. If we can see a new approach to life which will bring more peace of mind and happiness, we should choose this path straight away – whilst we still have the enthusiasm and aspiration. To meditate on peace requires determination and sincerity, the sooner we start the better.

How to buy peace?

We can’t buy peace with money. We can only buy peace with our own inner attitude. For example, sometimes we have to give up our pride in order to gain peace in return. If pride comes to the fore, it makes us unwilling to change and we can persist in a wrong course of action. But if we lose the desire to be proved right, then we can gain inner peace. If we live in a state of desire and expectation, we will not experience peace because some desires will always remain unfulfilled and we will feel frustration. This is the price for attaining peace – giving up our desire and pride.

Escalation of conflict or choosing peace

In life we come across situations where we have a choice how to respond. One choice is to respond to an initial confrontation with escalating the conflict. If we have hurt feelings, the response of the mind and vital is invariably to retaliate. If we feel hurt, we subconsciously want to project this back onto others. But, this tit for tat attitude will make peace more distant and harder to achieve.

The other response is to invoke the heart and the quality of peace. Rather than retaliating, the heart can be sympathetic to the struggles of others, and we seek to be the one to let go of the unfortunate situation. This magnanimous attitude is often the best way of bringing the good qualities of others to the fore. If someone else is full of anger, we won’t diminish their anger by getting angry in response. But, if we remain calm and peaceful, they will respond in a better way. Through forgiveness and maintaining our inner peace, their conscience will come to the fore and secretly they will be inspired by our calm attitude.

No price is too great to pay for inner peace.

“No price is too great to pay for inner peace. Peace is the harmonious control of life. It is vibrant with life-energy. It is a power that easily transcends all our worldly knowledge.”

– Sri Chinmoy [3]

Choosing inner peace does not mean sacrificing principles and truth. It means we reject the negative emotions of jealousy and pride, but invoke a real and meaningful quality of peace instead. It means whatever happens in the outer world, we hold onto our inner peace.

This inner peace is more than just intellectual understanding. We have to pray, meditate and serve to gain a real sense of peace. The peace that comes from the heart is a powerful reality that will convince the mind.

Related

Quotes on peace

The secret of inner peace by Sri Chinmoy

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