Monthly Archives: June 2017

Role Play

Imagine that a friend of yours has sent you a gift via Fedex. The Fedex guy rings the bell and
SCENE 1: You accept the packet and thank the guy.
SCENE 2: You invite him in, wash his feet, garland him, offer him the best sweets – do whatever he wants so that he will bring you more packets.
You might be laughing at scene 2 but guess what we all do the same.

Imagine your school/university – the students suck up to the professor so that they can better grades – they read the books he recommends, they laugh at all his jokes, they go to all his parties, they tell him how great he is…
Imagine your office – where the associates defer to their manager, assume he is right, don’t push back because he is their boss…

Now all these scenarios are like scene 2 – all of us including the professor/manager are like Fedex guys, they are just here to deliver the message – its the friend aka universe that you need to be concerned with.
This is where the quote “You will get what you deserve or rightfully yours” comes from.

Nobody can stop you from getting the grades/promotion if universe has that planned for you.Sometimes we forget that it is the universe that we are dealing with here and not the messengers.

Let’s look at it from a Fedex guy’s perspective:
SCENE 1: Fedex guy gives you the package – takes your sign and leaves.
SCENE 2: Fedex guy expect you to bow down to him three times/give him rice pudding or millions of dollars to deliver the package.
Again if you think scene 2 is silly – think back on times in your life where you have expected others to behave a certain way with you because you have forgotten that you are just a messenger – like expect your students to address you as Dr/Sir.

Remember the universe will deliver the gift/lesson to you regardless of whether the Fedex guy delivers it to you or not. If we find ourselves in situation where we have mistaken our role as a professor/manager to be more than the messenger then it’s going to be a steep hill for the self-realization goal. All it does is to puff up your ego, nothing else.

It is easy to forget that you are only the messenger when students tells you how great you are as a professor or if your articles get published in the journal of your course gets selected as the best course in the school.

If you are the receiver then remember that everybody around is only a messenger for the message that universe wants you to hear – what is important is the message and not the messenger.
And if you are the messenger then remember you are just a conduit for the universe messages – replace any self-aggrandizing thoughts with gratitude for the role that you can play.

We all play both the roles.

If others give you respect then just let is flow through you, don’t let it get to your head and the best way to do that is to keep in mind that you are a messenger. And if you are treating others like they have power over you then remember its the universe you are dealing with.

Let everything just flow through you – don’t be the blocker, be the passage.

Beginning with a Yes!!!

At a CPM reunions, one of my friends suggested the idea of a improv – one of the first things he said is that you have to start with an Yes. I found that exercise very difficult because it meant I needed to put the BIG “I” behind and go with the flow. It was not easy for me to just accept what the person in front of me was saying and build on it – I wanted to show my smartness by contradicting or trying to prove I was right.. It didn’t come easy to me.

I remember my first course as a server in Vipassana at London. I had sat three courses and the feeling to serve arose in me – as you know Vipassana courses are all volunteer led. Many people had served me when I sat my three course and now it was my time to give back. I showed up at the door and remember saying “I am here to serve.” Those words made a difference to me – I was ready to put the I behind and serve. And I ended up serving as a course manager – someone who is the conduit between students and the staff/teachers etc. And one of the rules of conduct includes that we don’t give advice – we only listen and direct as needed to staff/teachers. And we also served the teachers. I found myself saying yes at the beginning of every sentence – regardless of the what the question/ask from me was – my attitude was “Yes, I am here to serve.” It was very helpful to live in a space where I put others in front of me. I learnt a lot in that course both knowingly and unknowingly.

I came back and found that my daily practice has been established – Dhamma does work.

Coming back to real life there is so much power in saying yes to everything that happens, people asking you difficult questions/emails that need to be answered/swimming classes/dance classes – in short life. How many times have you resisted something and it has still happened? Why lose energy in resisting something when it is what is? Yes- means accepting life as it is regardless of your liking. Your likes/dislikes in essence don’t matter – what matters is what needs to be done and doing it.

In a gamble between life and you – I would place my bet on life and win 100%. Man proposes – God disposes. This does not mean if somebody asks you to harm yourself you say yes – no it means saying yes to the fact that this is what is happening and then reacting to it – but see here is the main difference you won’t be reacting, you will be acting if you have accepted the situation and a much better position to come from.

The more we show up with a Yes- with willingness to serve the more we are putting others in front of I. More we do that more the I flourishes – this is one of the paradoxes of life.

What is a problem?

“A problem is a problem only if you define it as a problem.”

I remember when I was doing my engineering in Bombay – I had to take a share auto to my college from train station – Santa Cruz. And during exams or important classes that used to be my prime worry. I did not want to spend any more money than I had too.

And then I got a job as a software engineer and I was earning. And Auto sharing was no longer an problem because I was earning. It did not even cross my mind – I shared an auto if I could and did not if I could not. It could have been this easy when I was doing engineering too – it wasn’t that much and I could always go early but for reasons unknown to me I had decided that auto sharing was a big problem. In fact most of friends did not even think of it as a problem. I had no issues with exams/interviews just with sharing auto. And my friends did not even care about auto but had trouble with exams.

We define what the problems in our life are and then start behaving as if they are happening to us and not as if we created them. Because if we admitted to ourselves that we create problems then we are not victims anymore and will need to do something about them.

Let’s say you have a difficult stakeholder in your life and you have defined him as a problem – worst nightmare of your life. If you check with a few of your colleagues or the stakeholder’s close friends – you might find that they think it’s quite the opposite. So your definition of him/her as a problem is coming within you and not from that person and it means that this stakeholder is an indication of lesson that needs to be learnt. This means you need to be grateful to the person for the opportunity to grow instead of running away from it.

Sometimes we worry about something when it hasn’t even happened and start living it’s reality of it which is just making your life miserable now unnecessarily. Some of us are so used to living in that problem state that if we ever find ourselves devoid of any problem we create problems for ourselves. And as Mark Twain at said – “I have had a lot of worries but most of them never happened.” All problems are after all illusions of our mind – yes, every problem is created by the mind. And let’s say you believe you have a problem that is real – then attack it with full force immediately. Sometimes all life wants you to do is to grab the bull by horns and show who is the boss. If you do take the step you will find a cute puppy instead of a violent bull – such is life.

Life will teach you the lessons you have to learn – it will give you a nudge , push , shove and sometimes a tight slap if you don’t face them but it will teach you the lesson.

Space you come from

My parents were visiting me in London while I was working for British Telecom. It was around that time when I had told my parents that Adam and I wanted to get married. We were discussing the details and we had an disagreement. I remember my mom walked off and I was so angry that I was pacing back and forth in the living room in St.Johnswood flat. I was talking non-stop and what I remember is that my dad just stayed there quietly holding the space. He didn’t say anything but it was very obvious to me that he knew that I was going through a phase and that’s not who I am. And I remember being aware of it so clearly and I calmed down.

The space where my dad was coming from was the key here – he didn’t say anything but it was very clear to me that he knew that angry person was not me and it was a phase. There have been many other instances where my dad has just listened to me and not been judgemental about anything. He never told me what to do (mostly) and maybe that’s why I would tell him everything and value is opinion a little bit more than others.

The space you come from can have an profound impact. And its very hard as it feels as if you are not doing anything. One of the hardest things to do is to watch the ones you care about make mistakes and knowing that all you can do is to be there to support them – they have to go through that path for them to grow. It is hard not jumping in and telling them to stop.You can try but it won’t stop them from doing it in fact they might move away from you. In fact you might even slow down their path to growth.

In order for you to be holding the space you need to be in a position where you are not thinking about yourself because if you do then the space becomes polluted – its hard as we are all selfish at out core. The difference here is that the selfishness goes beyond just the I – the other person is included in your I. It is also grounded in the belief that we are all one at the core and all this dramas that we have are just passing phases for some these phases last really long,for some they last only an instant and for some they don’t exist.

It’s like we are all part of the ocean but when we become waves we forget that we are part of the ocean. It’s the recognition that we are all one – there is no difference.

So, lots of themes in this blog
1. Space you are coming from.
2. Reserving judgement on others as you know this is just a phase
3. We are one at the core where we are beyond all the dramas we create.