Tag Archives: #betterversionofme

How Do You Spell Love? You don’t, you feel it

I love Winnie The Pooh – there is something about this bear that appeals to the genuine and innocent self in me. I don’t remember how I came about this quote from Pooh, but I have had it on my office cubicle wall forever. And like all profound things in life, this one took its time to grow on me. For the longest time ever, I lived in my head, and by grace, I have started making little excursions to my heart in the past few years. And god willing – one day, that is where I will reside with occasional excursions to my head—this my journey from the head to the heart.

Anyways, I digress. I have been listening to a lot of Tolle, and one of the quotes he mentions is, ‘You teach the child the name of the bird, and you have made sure that the child never sees the bird again.’ What does this mean? Our minds (or head or brain) are like a library or encyclopedia – their job is to see something, categorize it and file it away for future use. And they are very narrow in their categorization; in a sense, it is just their view of the world – and not taking into account what somebody else views. And in mind’s need to be efficient – it sees one bird and then decides all other birds are similar and it is very boring to see another bird.

In reality, have you seen the bird beyond the four-letter word – BIRD and that it has wings and a beak. This is where your heart comes in. If I asked you to describe the bird without using words, how would you do it – and that opens up another world beyond words, thoughts – through the heart. There is so much more to a bird than its name.

I can explain this better with a dog example as I am privileged to live with one – Aki. Until I had Aki, I knew different kinds of dogs – retriever, poodle, labrador, german shepherd etc. When we say or think of the word – dog, our mind comes up with a picture of the dog, four paws, tail, ears – type etc. Or, it may even bring up feelings associated with the word dog based on your experience. When I saw a dog, I would try to figure out its breed and what I read about it on the internet, and that to me summed up the dog. And in my head, I knew everything I needed to know about the dog. But is that it – is a Dog just a concept in my head. No, there are depths to a dog that I am still discovering. It is hard to describe in words, but Aki is so much more than the word Dog, a being with his personality. And even beyond that, he lives in stillness, presence, mindfulness, which my true self shares. And the true essence of any being can be experienced only when we go beyond the mind into our hearts.

Next time when you label somebody as lazy or give them a name – will you be in your head or heart?

How To Evolve-Human Beings 2.0

My parents and I were reminiscing on the old days. We had just moved to Delhi when I was about four years old. And none of us except my dad knew the language Hindi. And my mom mentioned that she had done a correspondence course to learn Hindi. I expressed my shock that I had no idea about this and asked why my parents didn’t tell me.

To this, my dad replied, ‘As if you would have cared at that age.’ True, my priorities were not what was going on in my parent’s lives at that age. But, it did make me wonder that we have a certain kind of innocence that even we are not aware of as kids. And as we grow up, it gets replaced by our mind and thoughts, which veil the innocence with patterns governed by fear primarily. Let’s hold this thought for a while.

Have you ever wondered what is next in human evolution? When we started, we had no distinction in ourselves between me and mine. We were just like animals who do not see them as distinct entities – they just are. Then our minds developed, and we advanced as a society. But now, one could argue that our minds have taken over. Instead of being used as a tool, we are being run by our minds. And in nature, anything that is out of control needs to be destroyed to restore balance. So, what does the human being 2.0 look like?

Jesus had said, ‘Be like children.’ And we all know the term, ‘Childlike wonder. And we also know that all great things are cyclical. If you have read ‘The alchemist’, you know that that boy ultimately comes back to where he started.

So putting these two things together, a) minds are not in balance and b) things are cyclical – one can surmise that the next human is one with nature, who does not see themselves as distinct entities despite the mind activity. In other words, human being 2.0 are beyond the mind; they have transcended thought.

We are going back to our innocence as kids. It means that for us in our next step of evolution, even as our minds take over, we still retain the child in us. We are aware that thoughts are just that and nothing more. We do not let our minds shape reality as it is, but we are the reality.

If this is too abstract, think of it this way: When you are a kid and see something, you see it. Like a bird, you notice the eyes, bird, beak – how it moves, flies, looks at you etc. As you grow, you – you see a sparrow or a red robin. And we do this to people too. We see them through labels – greedy, lazy, not my friend etc. etc. This is where the following quote is apt – ‘Teach a child the name of the bird, and you have made sure he never sees the bird again.’

Human Being 2.0 sees the bird despite knowing the name. Where are you on the evolution journey?

Common Sense Is Not So Common – Is It?

I am fascinated by my royal, regal, adorable, handsome five-year-old Shiba Inu pup – Aki. The long list of adjectives with the name of his royal highness only goes to prove how much we love him. There is no doubt that he is of a royal lineage but to realize that he is a spiritual teacher with no equal was a slow realization.

Aki wakes up in the morning, and he has no idea what the day has in store for him. He could get up and go to daycare. Or, he could get up and be in the car for eight hours to some location. Or, he could wake up and just lounge at home all day long. The possibilities are endless, and Aki has absolutely no idea.

And not only is he comfortable with ambiguity he also embraces what’s in store as if he had chosen it. If we go for a hike, he leaps and bounces on the trail like he had been looking forward to it for ages. If we decide to stay at home, he lounges like it’s been ages since he had a day to himself. Or, if he finds himself at daycare, he bounds in as if we abuse him at home.

This is not to say that he lets his subjects know if his needs are not met. He rings the bell when nature calls. Or, he stares at us with the judging looks only a Shiba can bestow when we have missed his treat time. Or, he jumps on the desk to remind us that it’s time for his walk.

All in all, he shows excellent common sense. Now, humans, on the other hand – not so much. I am beginning to understand the inspiration for the quote, ‘Common Sense Is Not So Common.’ might have originated from watching animals.

We wake up with a clear idea of an impossible to-do list. Any child or a pet would tell you that there is only so much time in the day, but time is not a barrier when it comes to our never-ending to-dos. Let’s say that some of us are wise enough to ensure that our list is manageable.

Read Carefully.
So, we have established that our list is manageable or does not even have a list.
Do things go as planned? If you are not a child, you should know that this is one of the universal truths in life.
Do you still go with the flow as if you planned them? If yes, then you don’t have to read the blog. (Why do you think Aki never reads my blogs?)

Humans resist what is happening now, at the moment, as if it were possible. It shouldn’t. I wish. For example, it might be pouring rain, but you (or your mind) wishes it were not. Your car has broken down, but you want it not to be broken. You have lost all your money, but you want it all back.

I am not saying that we accept everything that happens like a passive vegetable but be like Aki, who uses mind minimally, not all the time. Life is straightforward when we accept what is happening right now. We complicate when we wish otherwise.

As a result of this decree, Aki is my inspiration for common sense – what about yours?

My First True Love

Continuing from my last blog – a student in the university describes how his lab partner and others got into the university. In India, if you have to get into one of the prestigious engineering schools, you have to ‘crack’ an exam called JEE – Joint Entrance Examination. And there is no child with decent education who does not dream about cracking JEE. 

So going back to this lab partner – he lived in a three-storied building with other students. The ground floor was a dorm, the first floor was a mess (canteen), and the third floor was the classroom. And for two years, that’s all they did – sleep, eat, study, eat, sleep. And they got into a prestigious university. They cracked JEE.

The student laughs when he says, ‘after two years of jail; they found freedom – why would they study?’ My intention is not to belittle tuitions or the students who fall prey to this, but to ask – what happened to interest, student’s interest? What do I mean by this?

When I was growing up, my dad got transferred to the IT department of a bank. So, I was introduced to computers at a very young age. My dad being who he is, taught me how to program in BASIC. And I remember printing cars made out of * until one of his friends introduced me to Pacman. By then, I had caught the bug, was good at computers at school (one subject that I excelled at), and that positive reinforcement only grew to where I wanted to do software engineering only. I refused the opportunity to do chemical engineering at a prestigious university to do information technology engineering in an all women’s university (yes, that was a big deal at that age). 

I love coding – I missed it more after I got into management as you never realize what you had when you have it. There is something very creative about coding – it is beautiful. My code was beautiful, with comments every five lines. When I transitioned my code over to others, they would not believe how comfortable it was to understand. It taught me analytical thinking, attention to detail, problem-solving, relationship building (you get to know who the nerds are and keep them happy, and you bully the testers). The software has its challenges – spiritual in some ways. The time when you want to sit through and solve the bug is when you should leave it. It is when you don’t think about the solution that it appears.

As a software engineer, I had found my place in the world. At that time, I did not even know the word passion. I eventually got bored of it because all I was doing was cut+copy+paste – true coding was becoming rare. But the love of coding, the software never left. 

By The Way – this seems like an excellent way to put a plug for my newly published app. I gave in to the desire to code and painfully and joyfully ended up creating an app. 

To download Google Play Store – App Link AND Apple App Store – App Link

Or search for ‘Pick Me Up Anu Morris ‘ on Android and ‘Pick Me Up Morris’ on iPhone.

And looking back, I think it was this passion, ‘interest’ that helped me get through obstacles and difficulties in my career and life. This is my intent – maybe it is time we stop putting a square peg in a round hole. Perhaps it is time for things to fit naturally.

What does this mean – I will leave you with the question because some answers have to be experienced.

Those Were The Days

I just watched the Netflix Series – ‘Alma Mater – Inside the IIT dream’. It was a trip down memory lane – nostalgic, and I did not want it to end in some ways. So much packed in those days, just like peeling the layers of the onion.

I did my engineering and then did my MBA. Both of these experiences were only four and two years long, but a lot happens in those years at a rate that you cannot process.

In the series, they had a section on on-campus placements. I kid you not, my body constricted watching them go through it. I could relate at a visceral level. This you have to experience to know what I am talking about. The anticipation, shortlist, quant or aptitude test, interview. Your life up till then has been one thing after the other or, as Churchill said about history – ‘One damn thing after another. You study hard to get good grades in 10th to get into a good stream – science/arts. And then you study hard so that you can get into a good engineering college. And then you study hard so that you can get into a good company and then it switches to marriage, kids etc. But the pressure builds on.

And nobody – no one person is doing this to you. I do not ever recall my parents putting pressure. In my case, it was all self-inflicted, unknowingly. The world I created ended if I did not get placed. I still remember the very first company I interviewed with. I did not get the offer. I went nuts – I holed myself in my room and studied like crazy. Now, I wonder what I studied for an interview, but at that time, it was necessary. I remember my mom bringing me food to my room. And the actual day, we were there on campus for the entire day. I was such a bundle of nerves that I could not even eat. Everybody in my building knew. All my neighbours knew that I had my campus interviews. It was a big deal.

And I remember late in the day they announced the list, and my name was there. It was relief followed by a tug in the heart when some of my friends did not make it. I remember calling my mother, and the relief was palpable even on the phone.

All this drama, and when we showed up for work the first day, they had no idea we were joining – hehe!

At that time in my life – it was necessary. The drama, the stress, friendship – the experience was significant. It made me who I am today. It creates a bonding experience with others. I probably learnt a lot of life lessons in those situations which I cannot even articulate. Isn’t this what life all about – experiencing life situations. What has changed is now I am not as identified as those life situations. There is an understanding that this will also pass.

Enjoy what you have NOW as it will pass, but you, the watcher – remain the same.

Saluting Mother nature in all of us

I am my Father’s daughter. I have so many of his mannerisms that I can predict with almost 99% accuracy what he is thinking or saying. Growing up, I looked up to my dad, and he was/is my best friend. I would tell him everything and still, to this day, do so. And he never judged me or told me what to do – which is probably why I told him everything.

My relationship with my mom was more of a rebellious nature, primarily around marriage. It seemed to eclipse all other memories. My mom wanted me to get married, and I did not. Looking back more than the marriage – it was the act of ‘Being Told’ to do something. Life works out in mysterious ways, and I decided to do my MBA to avoid marriage. And I met my husband, Adam, during my MBA. As Master Oogway says in Kung-fu panda, ‘You often meet your destiny on the road you take to avoid it.’

I took the course ‘Creativity and Personal Mastery’, which started changing my relationship with Mom. I was beginning to see where people were coming from. Yes, for the longest time ever, I was very selfish – still am but relatively less. And I understood her more than before. And as I have grown as a woman and been a wife, the understanding has increased. And my respect and appreciation for what a mother does have shot up exponentially.

Switching tracks, my brother has two daughters. And the youngest one was born when my parents were there. And I watched my mom and my dad interacts with the baby. My dad was amazed at what she did and said, ‘Wow, she grabbed my finger.’ And my mom even watching her over skype – the unconditional love in her eyes was so evident. She didn’t have to say it, but it was so clear that she was just so happy that my niece existed – however she was, regardless of what she was doing. I do not think my mom existed in that space – isn’t that wonderful. My niece responded to that love in ways that she did not to others. It is the unspoken language of true love. When I am sick, I want my mom around me. I am sure most of us do.

Women in my mom’s generation got married relatively young and were primarily housewives. They cooked and cooked and cooked some more. My mom still cooks for us as a family when we are all together. And she does that without any grumbling. I complain if I have to cook during the week or if cooking takes more than fifteen minutes. Granted that I have a day job. My mom and others like her have made peace with what is for the most of their lives. They have surrendered and learnt to live with the present moment and accept what it offers. There is very little resistance. All roads lead to Rome.

Recognize the mother nature in you and rejoice in it!

The Biggest Culprit Of All – Time

Eckhart Tolle tells the story of his dad, who in his older years remarked that the quality of mirrors has deteriorated since his younger days. I am sure most of us have looked at the mirror and wondered what happened? Or, go for reunions and somebody remarks on how young we were? Or, go through the albums and realize that some people are not alive anymore. Albums are a significant source of this realization – the wedding, the party, the celebration each of them was so crucial at that Time, and now they are just memories.

What happened? Time happened. Time is the biggest culprit of all, but nobody has ever seen Time. Because Time is a human-made concept that exists only in our heads. And in the head of society at large. But life does not happen in Time – it occurs in the now. Right now, there is no concept of Time – it may be 7:33 PM, but you cannot experience 7:33 PM. You can see it on the ever-pervasive timers on the laptop, phones, clocks on the wall, but you cannot feel it. You can only experience what is happening now. Hence, Time is the biggest culprit, but nobody has seen it.

Time manifests itself as past or present. Time – this four-letter word has become so powerful that it runs the world. We have even come up with sayings like Time is money or Time and tide wait for no man. Some courses teach you how to manage Time. Time management is a skill that you are supposed to have.

And in all honesty, it is driving most of the society mad. In my parents time, I never remember calling somebody to say, ‘Hey, can we come over?’. We would go over – and they would be there or not there. In our village there is no time – people follow the natural body clock – when the sun sets it Time for bed. Fast forward a few decades, we have calendars that sync with each other. We have watches and phones that remind us of different events. ‘Finding’ Time on people’s calendar is a nightmare. God knows what shape will Time take in the future.

We believe in the artificial deadlines that we have created that we do not even question anymore. I am not advocating that we do away with Time. Then it will create chaos – the world will stop functioning. But maybe there is a possibility to revisit our relationship with Time. Perhaps we stop thinking about the past or future so much but focus on the now? Maybe instead of thinking about what we need to next, we focus on where we are now? Instead of Time driving us – let presence drive us.

It is about Time (no pun intended) that we took our life away from Time and lived in. Instead of blocking into chunks for things to do – have some time where we live in a timeless – eternal world.

So, what has Time planned for you next?

Are We Lying To Ourselves?

Have you ever been in a situation where you did something without remembering you just did that? Take a shower without realizing it or driving home from the office or travelling on a tube and may be missed your stop. Your mind was so engrossed in something that you forget what you are ‘actually’ doing. 

Has it ever happened that your body reacts to something which is not accurate because it sees/hears/tastes or touches something? I remember standing on the escalator in Warren Street tube station, watching the ads on the sides of the walls. One of the ads was about a hamburger, and my mouth started salivating even though I was a budding Vegan).

We have six sense doors – smell, sight, sound, taste, touch and our thoughts. And our body is blind without these. Our body gets a sense of what is going on in the outside world only through these sense doors. 

Let’s connect the dots. Your mind has a strong habit, also called conditioning, of never being in the present moment. It lives mainly in the past or the future. For the most part, you are playing out the movie that the thoughts in your head are displaying. And if your mind is one of the sense doors, then your body starts to react to it as if it were real.

For example, you missed your tube in the morning, or you had a fight with your boss – and on your way home, you replay that incident in your head. Your physical body is sitting in the tube, but it reacts as if you are fighting your boss now. But, at the same time, a part of you knows that you are sitting in the tube – because you cannot deny it. Your feet on the floor, your bum is uncomfortable on the cushion.

What happens to a piece of string when pulled in two different directions? Or when you apply pressure on metal in different positions. They will break or become brittle and will not be able to perform the essential functions. This is what we do to our bodies all day long. We are somewhere, but we trick our body into thinking we are somewhere else. We may be in the car, but we are thinking about how nice our childhood was or how bad our childhood was. You may be eating your dinner, but you are thinking about your last vacation. No wonder stress is one of the significant issues on the planet earth today.

Merriam Webster dictionary defines hypocrisy as a feigning to be what one is not or believe what one does notbehaviour that contradicts what one claims to believe or feel. In this sense, are we all not hypocrites – doing something but accepting something else is real. And we go through our lives without really living. And even worse, our poor bodies have no idea what is going on. One Minute they are excited about getting the promotion, and the next, they are worried about the rise. Can you imagine what it does to your body? What happened to the body being a temple?

How are you treating your body?

Do Ducks need to go to Ivy League? And Humans?

A few weeks ago, we saw Mr and Mrs Duck looking for suitable accommodation for producing ducklings. They looked far and wide, from our sidewalk to the pond few blocks away. And our dog Aki was always excited to play with the ducks.

And then we did not see them, so we assumed they had settled on a place. A few days ago, when Adam was taking Aki for a walk, he sniffed in the bush right in front of our house, and a duck came out of it. Adam looked inside the bush, and to his surprise, he saw a concerned duck sitting on her eggs.

I was curious, so I decided to take a look. And if I did not know that there was a duck in the bush – there is no way I would have known that the duck was in the bush. From the outside, all I could see was the bush. Even when I looked inside, I had to really look to see the duck as she was camouflaged so well. Hopefully, we will get to see the little ducklings come out into the world.

It made me wonder, though – ducks do not go to schools to learn how to find a nesting place. They do not go to ivy league schools to get a fancy degree. Yet, the places they find are THE BEST. This is true for birds and their nests – be it rain or wind, the nest stays put. It is inbuilt in them. Nature and everything in nature has an innate quality that guides them – they have an inbuilt compass.

Now that leads us to the question – what is inbuilt in us? As we are also part of nature right. We are not separate from the rest of the planet. This is where it gets tricky – because, for most of us, we have lost touch with ourselves even to understand what is innate to us. Let’s spend a little bit of time on this.

The one thing that differentiates us from other beings is our Mind – which creates a self-image. Humans are the only creatures on the planet who have a relationship with themselves. I am happy. I am sad. I am so good. I hate myself. I love myself. I am bored. It’s like we are two people – I and Myself. Isn’t that weird? My dog does not go around thinking about him – he does not have a relationship with himself – Thank God!

If we are not even sure who we are – I or myself then how we can get in touch with what is innate in us? It is like the ocean and the ripples on the ocean. If we think we are the ripples all the time, how will we discover the oceanic depths?

The next question is how do we do get in touch with the deeper dimension in us. Awareness is the first step – recognizing that the voice in the head is not YOU. It is pretending to be you so that it can stay alive.

Are you ready to go beyond thought to who you really are?

This Is A Robbery in the NOW

March 18th, 1990 – St Patrick’s day in Boston, 13 priceless art pieces go missing (Robbed) from the Isabella Stewart Gardner’s Museum. Fast forward almost thirty-one years later – paintings are still missing. The empty frames are still hung in the museum expecting the art pieces to show up someday.

This is the premise of the docuseries ‘This is a Robbery’ from Netflix. Watching the four-episode series felt like the slow unveiling of an intriguing painting. For example, one of the stolen paintings was Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee. The Storm on the Sea of Galilee is the only seascape ever painted by Rembrandt. It depicts Jesus calming the waves of the sea, saving the lives of the fourteen men aboard the vessel. Of these fourteen men, Rembrandt included a self-portrait of himself in the boat, next to Jesus and his twelve disciples.

There is a lot of items that happen in the series – reporters who find informers, get clues; Museum guards who are suspects, hippies; Mafia people who get murdered and some are still suspects; Museum staff like director, boards and their corporate politics; even two passersby who were the only witness; FBI, Boston police who are trying their best – But no paintings.

Often, you hear the characters say – that if this happened today, things would be different. In those days catching a mafia don was more critical than finding art. In those days, climate control in the museum was more critical than security. Those days the protocols around missing evidence were not as advanced. Isn’t that true always? Hindsight is always 20-20. 

What caught my eye in this whole series were the following things. 

Happy New Year 2020 with Glasses isolated on yellow background

First, it is not easy to see the accurate picture – you have to see multiple sides of the story before you even get a sense of what is going on.

Second, art is sacred to the people who understand it. The passion and zeal in people’s eyes when they talk about the painting strikes a resonant chord in your true being.

Third, corporations or big companies can only play at being nimble. There is something inherently faulty with the way they work. Museum knew that their security was vulnerable and that the mobs were casing it – but still, it didn’t click.

Last but not least – everything is temporary. Imagine your photo album. Right now, you look at it and see two people on a canoe. It is your white water rafting trip. A few years down, your grandkids know that photo as their grandparent’s canoe trip. A few years down the line, it is just a photo of two people doing what was cool years ago. It makes you wonder what is life all about. What I was ok at ten years ago – I am a lot better today. And something I was excellent at years ago – not so much now. What matters is the moment – ‘the NOW’ when you are doing it. 

How in the world did this blog end here from the Robbery – I do not know. But, I guess this is what looking at an authentic piece of art feels like.

What are you doing in the NOW?