Journal, Life-Saving Tips

BLESS YOU!

blessings

A few days ago, I was unexpectedly invited to a high-profile party. In general, I find almost everything unpleasant about parties – the ear-damaging thump-thump of music, the smoke-and-alcohol fog, the stilted conversations and the late-late hours. But this time, as my wife Aditi and I dressed, it struck me: “You know why we are going? Our job is to bless everyone there.

The idea came with force and clarity and resonated for both of us. So as we drove, we sent blessings ahead to the party. When we reached, we silently, sincerely wished real joy on all those we could see. It wasn’t difficult because we  genuinely adored the host, and were fond of many of the guests. Bathed in an aura of blessing, we found ourselves easy and open, generous and unselfconscious. We saw God in many different forms and ended up having a smooth, beautiful time.

The next day, as we reflected on how unexpectedly perfect the night had been, I connected the dots. And I realized that for the last few years, the joy of blessing has grown almost unnoticed.

Today, I do it as often as I remember. On flights, I bless everyone on the plane as we take off. Before meetings, I bless those who are going to be there. After meditation, I play a little audio track which reminds me to dedicate the positive potential of this meditation. I even bless my blog posts before I publish so that they may reach those who need to read them.

This gradual love for blessing was triggered a few years ago after a conversation with my brother and mentor GD. When I was going through a dark spell of frustration at how life was not working out for me, he suggested as a solution: “Why don’t you try wishing for others what you want most in life?”

In those days, grappling with mental advaita gymnastics, I thought his suggestion was sentimental, feel-good foo-foo. But I instantly experienced its joy. Over time, as I heard more about it from GD, I saw the deep insight behind it.

For example, it is impossible for the mind to bless and judge others at the same time. To bless someone, you cannot vibrate with the lower frequencies of scarcity, fear or anger – you have to hold the energy of love and abundance.

The state of blessing is also close to our true nature. So, as you clean your inner load, the bedrock of quiet blessing begins to shine naturally (A sage, without saying a word, is a blessing to the planet). Not surprisingly, every ancient religion prescribes some form of blessing or prayer – it is the simplest way to connect with your true nature!

Initially, blessing seemed wiser use of intention than manipulating the universe into manifesting what I had to admit were conditioned egoic desires. Over time, the sheer joy of doing it caused it to spread to other parts of my life.

A few months later, GD recommended a little book, ‘The Gentle Art of Blessing’ by Pierre Pradervand (which I would also endorse unequivocally). “By blessing,” Pradervand says, “I mean wishing from the bottom of the heart, in total sincerity, the very best for those people – their complete fulfillment and complete happiness.” In his book, Pradervand suggests:

On awakening, bless this day…
On passing people in the street, on the bus, in places of work and play, bless them…
On meeting people and talking to them, bless them…
As you walk, bless the city…
P. S. And of course, above all, do not forget to bless the utterly beautiful person
you are.

Do try this if you feel inspired. Take a few minutes to bless others in whatever words work for you – the sincerity matters more than the phrasing. Picture them joyful and forgive them for any real or imagined wrongdoing; forgive yourself for the same. If the other is not ready to receive the blessing, Pradervand says, it stays in their aura until they are – but for you, the result is always instant and liberating. 

GD Speaks, Poems

Thank You For Nothing

GD Gyandev

As my blog completes one year today, I would like to offer a thank-you for the one who inspired me (and kicked my scared butt initially) into starting it: my brother and spiritual mentor GD. Of course, his contribution in my life goes far beyond this blog. Here’s a little poem I wrote for him.

thank you for nothing
thank you for the silence

thank you for never giving me
any ground to stand upon

for the kindness of pretending
that my problems exist

and then for the kindness of
showing me they don’t

thank you for the emptiness of meditation
thank you for the fullness of heart

without you, my life would be
asentencewithoutspaces

*

Journal, Parenting

A Huggable Gratitude Mantra From A Three Year Old

Boy Hugging Planet

A few days ago, I was dejected: the boutique hotel we had chosen for our family holiday called to say they had been sold out just a few hours before. As I walked off into my room gloomily, my three-year-old son tagged behind me, asking me: what happened, papa?

Papa is sad, I told him.

Why, he persisted.

I looked into his serious eyes and decided to give him the truth even though it would not make any sense to him: “The hotel we wanted to stay in for our holidays does not have rooms for us so papa is sad.”

He screwed up his forehead trying to understand, then replied: “But mama is still there.”

I stopped in my tracks. Yes, it was true: I did still have his mama, and him, and my family. And so much more to be happy for in that moment. I took a deep breath. And I realized I had more than enough air to fill my lungs for the rest of my life. I had enough earth to explore for the rest of my days. And my life itself is a pure gift – none of us can ‘earn’ even a moment of it.

That tiny exchange with my son triggered off a little snowball of gratitude. Over the week, I began to see that what I called my ‘burdens’ were blessings I was blaming to avoid facing the real issues; and those ‘real’ issues didn’t actually exist outside of my thoughts. Perhaps the only thing as amazing as seeing how much is perfect in your life is seeing how easily the mind gets locked onto the tiny apparent imperfections.

It turned out to be a challenging week, with a few unexpected expenses, delays and stressful moments. But whenever I found myself pulled down into negativity, I reminded myself: But mama is still there. It made me smile and became my personal code to remind me of everything that is all around serving me in that moment.

Eventually, our hotel room worked out perfectly too, as we have found an even better option – a mountain cottage – for ourselves. But the greater joy is in knowing that, regardless of whether it happened or not, ‘mama is still there’.

Quotes

I Love You!

I Love You

One of the purest & most powerful lines of love I have come across.
I created this image for all of you who read this blog.
And who muster the courage to put out your creativity every week.
You awe me. I love you…

*

GD Speaks

The Empty Boat

The Empty BoatMy informal role in the spiritual group which gathers around my spiritual mentor GD (a role appreciated by GD, mind you) is that of the senior student + class clown. Which basically means I keep the energy in the workshops and Sunday sessions light by poking fun at myself and sometimes taking welcome potshots at GD too.

But a few weeks ago, it was different. A weeklong ‘12/12/12’ workshop had organically crystallized around GD. Amongst the 24 participants filling GD’s living room were seven professional therapists, life coaches and healers, and I was feeling a little – I hate to say it but – diminished, even sidelined.

And I didn’t even realize this until the fourth day morning, when GD privately asked me why my energy was sad. I looked at him blankly. Me? Sad? No way! Out of respect for his insight (and past experience with his supernormal empath X-Ray vision), I offered up likely causes – Money? Writing? Missing home? Nothing clicked for him until I mentioned in passing how I felt a little hurt by his comment on day one. His body spontaneously let out a deep breath. “Yes!” GD said. “Talk more on this subject…” And one by one, out came the entire tangle of perceived events, imagined slights and sulky spells. At the end, I could see, as clear as day, the load of heaviness I had been carrying inside for the past few days.

“It’s all about being special,” he suggested quietly. “Can you see that?”

Yes, I could now: I was not getting my chance to ‘shine’, so I was inwardly sulking.

“And when the ego can’t shine,” GD continued lightheartedly, “it throws tantrums to seek attention: either outwardly, by reacting – or inwardly, by sulking. The ego wants to prove its ‘specialness’ at all times… especially in groups. But it fails to see that every time it is seeking specialness, it is missing the Oneness.

“For the remaining days of the workshop, just let go of wanting attention… stop struggling to prove anything… and experience the bliss of being nothing and nobody. Contrary to how it sounds, it is one of the most nourishing and empowering experiences possible.”

Then it struck me even deeper: what had I gotten stuck into! One comes upon the spiritual path to experience oneself, but gets caught in navigating group dynamics. In cementing one’s place in the pecking order. In earning intangible privileges to show off one’s seniority. In seeking symbols to signal closeness with the teacher. And the whole focus moves away from oneself to the teacher and the group.

“It’s great to laugh and interact with the group,” GD reminded me. “But that is tiny compared to experiencing your inner beauty. Can you let go of whatever you have been in the past… and just be… and melt… and disappear?

“Can you be an empty boat?”

Suddenly, I felt a wave of gratitude for the new participants who were drawing the big laughs and doing ‘my job’ so that I could be spared to go within. My sadness lifted. My soul was once again singing – like a bird which had once again regained its connection with the open sky.

Image used with gratitude under Creative Commons via Martin Gommel