Posted in Art, Doodles, Life, Quick Thoughts, Spirituality

Spiral

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It starts with a point; revolves around the point; and keeps moving further away and up.

There is something very fascinating about a Spiral. It can represent life and divine. The pattern is visible everywhere from the far away galaxies to sunflowers. The pattern can be seen in the mind’s eye.

To make a free hand spiral drawing is simple and complex at the same time. It’s child-like fun but it needs coordinated movement and focus from the hands and eyes. You can fall into the center or wander away too far or too soon.

Posted in Art, Doodles, Life, Nature, Quick Thoughts, Spirituality

Spiral

IMG_4034.jpg

It starts with a point; revolves around the point; and keeps moving further away and up.

There is something very fascinating about a Spiral. It can represent life and divine. The pattern is visible everywhere from the far away galaxies to sunflowers. The pattern can be seen in the mind’s eye.

To make a free hand spiral drawing is simple and complex at the same time. It’s child-like fun but it needs coordinated movement and focus from the hands and eyes. You can fall into the center or wander away too far or too soon.

Posted in Life, Spirituality, Travel

Life view from monotony of long queues

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View of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak

I was advised to not miss a visit to the Victoria peak in Hong Kong by tram. And I didn’t. However, I didn’t find tram not-to-be-missed mind-blowing experience. The view from up there was absolutely mesmerizing. The view from tram was interesting. But the experience of getting in the tram was painful. Those were the longest two hours of my life.

I love high viewpoints. I love the views at dawn and dusk. I love the night views of big cities. In my unplanned Hong Kong trip, the only thing on my must-do list was Victoria Peak by tram.

Like any other tourist, charmed by the thought of a brilliant viewpoint and an interesting ride, I went strolling down the streets of Hong Kong in search of the Tram station. I walked through the city during the day and planned to reach the peak late in the evening to catch the sunset view. I was comfortably oblivious to zillion other tourists.

I was directed to the beginning of the queue across the road under a bridge. I stayed under the bridge for almost an hour walking over every inch of that little square. This was followed by another hour over another tiny square next to the ticket window and then the unstructured herd at the platform.

It was hot, humid and noisy. Needless to say, the queue moved slowly. It was uncomfortable and painful, especially to my shoulders from carrying a heavy camera bag and my legs from dragging me over that annoyingly short distance of less than 100 meters in a span of two hours.

While waiting in the queue, all I could do was observe, watch or meditate. I was the only single tourist there. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t feel alone or lonely. I was surrounded by a sea of people. No one looked like me but no one looked down at me with the disgust or fear reserved for strangers, dark skin and single women. No one came alone but no one carried a question or suspicion in his or her eyes landing on a solo female tourist in the queue. However, no one even tried to smile at others or talk to anyone outside their groups. Everyone was busy in friendly chatter or trying to find innovative ways to deal with humidity and the monotony of standing in a never-ending queue.

The monotony was overwhelming. The only thing that kept me going was the need to see the view from the peak. In the initial moments, my mind tried to bring back some memories from past or plans for future. What else could it do? Initially the thoughts were from my recent past, disappointments and pains of my life. But the emotional pain couldn’t keep up with the unimaginable amount of free time offered to the idle mind. It moved to future plans. It fabricated scenes and plans to deal with the upcoming challenges. There was still more idle time to deal with.

Sometime soon enough my mind gave up. Nothing mattered anymore… the emotional pains of the past or the fears of the future. The need to cry or complain or forgive was gone in the first fifteen minutes I think. All that mattered was to get through the queue and reach the top. I just observed the world around me and kept taking the next step when the queue moved. I just moved forward, one step at a time. The fragile ego didn’t care about the hurts; and the pains failed to bring up any feelings. In that moment, everything was forgiven simply because forgiveness has no meaning in the absence of pain. The past professional achievements and future dreams didn’t stir anything inside. Life didn’t loose its meaning, but the mind lost its ability to ponder on the meaning of life.

Nothing was important enough in the monotony of those two hours. I went through a similar experience a day after in the queue for cable car to Ngong Ping Village. The distance was longer and the queue was faster. By now my mind was experienced. It gave up as soon as it entered the queue. It said rudely, ‘don’t irritate me with your silly life problems… let me enjoy the view and the breeze.’

Monotony of queues gave me a new life perspective. The pains of lost love or ego-crushing humiliation of failures or the egotistical accolades for professional achievements or self-congratulatory notes on beauty and intelligence or the self-pity on physical ugliness and deformity or any other form of absolutely irrelevant emotion that basically arises from ego and a sense of self with respect to others didn’t matter. I wondered if nothing really matters. Most of it arises from the imaginations of your mind. None of this is real. When your mind is not bothered to feed you with images or create thoughts, you cannot perceive reality… any version of reality. Most of your life story comes from how you perceive your version of reality basis how your mind plays with imagination. The moment you realize all of this is a game, you can influence your brain to create thoughts, images and change your reality and your life story.

The tragedy can become comedy. The ego or self can be redefined. The hurts or pain can be turned to humour. Emotions like envy or greed can lose their meaning. Love can become an easy choice.

Posted in Spirituality, Uncategorized

Don’t seek the halo

Sometimes I wonder if people seek the halo of enlightened being more than the knowledge itself. I often meet people with the ‘desire’ of knowing everything there is to know… not for the quintessential curiosity of a human or the joy of learning but for the tag of ‘wise’, ‘knowledgeable’ and ‘enlightened’. In a pure competitive spirit, they want to be ahead of everyone else on a similar path.

I tried to make sense of this behavior but didn’t quite understand. I also fell for the trap. But I was able to pull back soon enough. I am always in a learning mode. And for one brief interaction with someone, I turned that off and allowed pride to take over.

My yoga teacher once mentioned in a class, ‘don’t seek the halo’. And just like that, many pieces of the puzzle fell in place. Many of us seek the halo… not the knowledge.

Spiritual quest is an equally common phenomenon as the material pursuit. The path follows similar emotional phases… ambition, arrogance, ego, envy, pride. Ironically, an essential requirement to reach the next level of spiritual evolution is to transcend these emotions or negative energy spirals.

Most of us pass through this journey anyway. I don’t have an answer for why the beings on spiritual journey get caught up in the negative emotions or why most of them are not even aware of it or accept it. I don’t have a guide book on how to transcend this pattern. I don’t know if most of us go through all the emotions or some of these. I don’t know how many of us can leave them behind within a few moments and how many take years. I know that not a lot of us are aware of it. I know that one of the earlier stages of learning involves being aware. So my question really is that if you are on the journey of spiritual upliftment and you are apparently more evolved than most others, then how is it that you are not even aware of your emotions and the games your mind is playing with you?

I don’t know answers to any of this. I know that it’s important to be aware. It’s extremely important to be aware of the emotions playing behind your behavior and interactions with others. Only then can you reach a stage where you can transcend it. When you identify you are falling in the trap, try to come out. Inhale the purity of that moment.

Don’t make spiritual wisdom your life’s ambition. Don’t let the arrogance and ego challenge your humility. Don’t let the envy enter in your relationship with guides and friends who can help you grow. Don’t let pride blind you.

 

On your spiritual journey, you will cross milestones where you know more than earlier; where you feel you know more than others; where you feel privileged. And in that moment remember to check the ego. You don’t want the halo. The moment of pride will take you back many steps in your journey towards wisdom.

Don’t seek the halo.

Posted in Spirituality, Uncategorized

Beware of the halo

 

Do good and forget it. We grew up listening to the metaphors and stories of selfless acts. We were taught, ’be selfless’ and ‘don’t cash in the act of goodness’. We remember the phrases and idioms but not the lesson. Most of us don’t remember. There are very few evolved beings that are able to practice it with a purity that can’t be defined by language.

We have evolved to be selfish. We are designed to think about self for self-preservation and promotion. There is no judgment here. It’s an important trait that allowed us to survive… that allowed us to reach this evolved state where our brains have the capability to contemplate this and all other abstract things like this.

The problem is when selfless becomes a state of achievement… when selfless becomes a desired label… when goodness is measured, appreciated and rewarded. Selfless is not a natural state for most of us. It probably is for a few evolved beings. But for most of us, either the idea is unnatural, revolting or simply aspirational. Whether or not we accept it in public but being good is not always just about being good. It’s about being acknowledged as good.

We are seeking a halo. We are seeking applause and approval. In that sense we are no different from many others who are a part of the rat race and seek materialistic rewards and strive to stay ahead in a competitive environment. The difference with these set of individuals is that we are standing on a different stage on a different pedestal performing different acts in front of the same audience hoping for more love and higher accolades for being good.

Do good and forget it. Be aware of the sense of pride and arrogance… and kill it as soon as it appears. Beware of the fake halo.

Do good and forget it. When you expect to be acknowledged and appreciated, then you have taken more. You are not a giver anymore. You have turned it into a transaction… the gratitude in return for the positive energy. This is worse than doing good for a favour. Because you are not even aware of your intentions.