Archive | inspiration

How to be kind to yourself

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We all know we should be kind to animals and considerate of other people. But, are we actually kind to ourself? If you regularly find that you are beating yourself up or are plagued by guilt, it is worth making an effort to be a bit kinder to yourself. Here are some ideas so that you offer a bit of support for your good self.

The Past is Dust

It is often the past, that we carry like a heavy chain around our neck. If we spend time regretting the past, then we bring yesterday’s problems into our present as well.

“I always say the past is dust. By thinking of it and brooding over it we cannot change the past or free ourselves from guilt. If we have done something wrong, it is past. Let us think of the immediate future and allow it to grow into the immediacy of today.”

– Sri Chinmoy

When we live in the past, we become plagued by regrets and guilt. By constantly reliving the past, we cannot change what has gone before. If we have made mistakes in the past, we should not feel that this is our permanent reality. Focus instead, on the present moment and see how you can improve and go forward. It is only by focusing on the present and doing the right thing, that we can learn from the past.

Don’t feel bad for what you can’t control

It is easy to look at the world and be upset by the injustices and problems of the world. But, we shouldn’t allow ourself to become depressed over things we have no control over. This doesn’t mean we are indifferent to the world’s problems. If we feel the motivation, we should do something positive to promote the truth, kindness and goodness; but we also have to know our limits, we are not responsible for the direction of the world. A feeling of indispensability puts too much pressure on ourself.
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Mother Teresa

Recently I came across a book written about Mother Teresa, entitled, A Simple Path. The book was compiled by Lucinda Vardey, in 1995. It shares with the reader stories about the work done by the sisters of the Missionaries of Charity Order, under the then direction of Mother Teresa. It contains several prayers which I felt are worth sharing. The first one which is really a poem, is apparently displayed on a sign on the wall of a children’s home in Calcutta, it reads:

Take time to think
Take time to pray
Take time to laugh

It is the source of power
It is the greatest power on earth
It is the music of the soul

Take time to play
Take time to love and be loved
Take time to give

It is the secret of perpetual youth
It is God’s given privilege
It is too short a day to be selfish

Take time to read
Take time to be friendly
Take time to work

It is the fountain of wisdom
It is the road to happiness
It is the price of success
Take time to do charity
It is the key to Heaven.

This poem contains a fairly simple message, always try to remain childlike. Laugh, play, give and be friendly. Try to live more from the heart and less in the mind. Yet it also demands something of us. Take the time (or make the time!) to do these things. Some of them, such as laughing and being friendly, are pretty easy for most of us, but what about prayer? How many of us make the time to consciously pray for the betterment of others, for peace in the world, for love and friendship to be the norm in our communities? Some studies have apparently proven real positive results of prayer. For example in the area of health, praying for a loved one has been shown to increase the rate of recovery from some serious illnesses. Even without any thought of personal gain, selfless prayer probably does makes us happier, and is an easy way for us to do something positive.

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The Nature of Love

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“The very nature of human love is to stick only to one person and to reject everyone else: accept and reject, accept and reject. But in divine love, which is unlimited and infinite, the question of acceptance and rejection does not arise at all. In divine love there is no possession – only a feeling of oneness.”

Sri Chinmoy [1. What is Love?]

Related

Essays on Modern Spirituality

eat-my-dustKalatit Jeffrey Baker has published a collection of essays on modern Sprituality and new American Mysticism, entitled ‘Eat my dust, Martin Luther!’

The writings delve into the fundamental questions of life, our soul, and God. The essays engage with questions man has frequently grappled to understand – with a simple and direct approach. Kalatit writes on these topics of spirituality and the meaning of life with good humour and a refreshingly light touch. The book is an enjoyable way to understand the promptings of our soul!

Kalatit explains his choice of title. When a friend heard he was going to write 100 essays, she replied:

“Why not 95, like Martin Lutherʼs Theses?”
“Iʼll do him one better,” I boldly replied, “and attempt 96!”
Hence, this collection and itʼs odd title.

 

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The Unitive State

In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad we get a most illumining description of the immortal Self and its primordial state of complete union with the all-pervading Divine consciousness.

In the Unitive state there is no suffering and pleasure, there is no birth and death; there is only a state of being.

At times the Self may incarnate in a certain body and have a dream like experience in and through this particular body. However whatever may befall this particular body, it is like a mere passing experience which leaves no lasting mark on the state of being.

Thus, when we feel I am hungry or I am in pain, what we really mean is that this particular body is hungry, this body has taken on the experience of pain. In ordinary life we perceive ourselves to be in a body, with a thinking mind and human emotion. But, this is not the real Self. At this point, the immortal words of the Bhagavad Gita throw light on the difference between the material world of impermanence and the Self’s reality of absolute permanence

"Even as man discards old clothes for the new ones, so the dweller in the body, the soul, leaving aside the worn-out bodies, enters into new bodies. The soul migrates from body to body. Weapons cannot cleave it, nor fire consume it, nor water drench it, nor wind dry it." [1]

Furthermore, the Upanishads reveal that the nature of the Unitive state is beyond sex; it is neither male nor female, but contains the essence of both polarities in perfect harmony. Within the Self there is no concept of man made morality, good and evil do no exist. The Unitive state is in all; everything is but a dream of God, the all-pervading consciousness. To an un-illumined seeker, these concepts may be hard to grasp, for if we live in the world of duality, it is not possible to avoid such concepts. Yet, the Upanishads do not shrink from unveiling the supreme mystery of life, which is: what is the nature of God, my real Self?

"In that Unitive state one sees without seeing, for there is nothing separate from him; smells without smelling, for there is nothing separate from him; speaks without speaking, for there is nothing separate from him; knows without knowing for there is nothing separate from him." [2]

In the Unitive state negative emotions of anger, hate, jealousy and anxieties cannot occur. How can we be jealous of our own Self? How is it possible to hate the Self which offers only unconditional love. How is it possible to be anxious when nothing can affect the intense delight of being?

Furthermore other Upanishads tell us that the essence of this unitive state is infinite and unalloyed bliss.

"From Delight we came into existence.

In Delight we grow.

At the end of our journey’s close,

Into Delight we retire.

[3]

The intense inner ecstasy of this state of being can never be described in words. But, when we gain a glimpse of this consciousness we will never feel desire for the pleasures of this world.

[1] Sri Chinmoy on Death

[2] Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

[3] Upanishads

Brahman of the Upanishads

Some interesting recent blog entries

Sometimes it can be hard to find purely uplifting blog entries in the middle of the introspective maelstrom that is the blogosphere, but here are a couple of gems that have shone out recently:

  • Freedom: a moment of clarity through running a marathon. Posted on Spirit Flower’s blog at Zaadz.
  • The most exotic animal: Serial Guiness-record-breaker Ashrita Furman describes his recent record-breaking exploits in Mongolia! Ashrita’s records often have a very playful aspect to them, and this blog entry is great fun to read!
  • Jellyfish concentration: A mother tries to teach her son how to concentrate, but ends up getting a lesson herself. A post from the Sri Chinmoy Inspiration Group.
  • The world’s oldest sub-3 marathoner: A short blog article about Ed Whitlock, who ran a 2:54 marathon at age 73

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