Tag Archives: #universe

Great Healer

Do you remember something you wanted as a child? A toy, teddy bear, candy. And what about now? Do you still want it? Do you remember the first time your heart broke over love? Do you still feel the same angst? Do you remember the time when you fell as a child? Do you still have the same pain?

No.

Even if we grew up with unfulfilled desires as a child – there comes a time when the desires are longer relevant. Now as a grown adult the desire for a toy is no longer relevant. There comes the point when the questions drop away, and you start living the answers even if the answers are not what you expected.

I know one of my excellent friends who for reasons best known to the universe never married and after a while, the question ‘Are you married?’ does not matter. I know a few couples who never had a child and now the question ‘Do you have kids?’ does not matter. Because whether you like it or not time moves on and you will move with it (if you are wise). Because after a certain age – having a partner or having kids is no longer relevant.

And this brings me to the essence of the blog post.

Why is this good to know?
We can be assured from our experience that what we are experiencing now – will become irrelevant in the future, so there is no need to spend excessive amounts of energy for the situation. It can be used as a tool to deal with not so pleasant situations in our life currently.

It is the knowledge that the universe gives you only what you can handle – rest time will take care of it. Life is short – enjoy what you can, while you can.

It can aid in decision making knowing that in the long run time does take care of things – and it can reduce the agonizing over the decisions – if you let it be.

It helps you live your life entirely – which is an essential belief to grow in. If you think about the fact the earth is just a tiny mote of dust in the vast universe then not getting the promotion or not having a child or not having a partner is not that big of a deal. And as the saying goes – all roads lead to Rome, if this road does not work for you then take another route. Time is on your side after all!

Whenever you are in a situation that is bogging you down – do your best to deal with the situation as wisely as you can and always remember that in the long run time is in your side. And you might not even remember this situation down the road, or also if you do recall the situation it might bring laughter or tears of joy when you look back because with every second that passes – a new you is born and the new you has the potential to be free from the past you(s)

Exhaustion or Preparation

Have you ever been in a situation where there is so much going on that you wonder how you are going to get it done? And every activity on your plate is the one that you love and one that energizes you. I am talking about a situation when despite your best prioritization and time management there is still a lot going on. (If you are continually living in a state where you are overwhelmed, then you need to work hard on genuinely figuring out your priorities and managing your time.)

My approach to these situations is to remind myself that – Universe gives us only what we can handle and what is best for me. Like all mental models, this is also a mental model, and I cannot tell you if this is true or not, but I can tell you that it makes my life easier and works for me. It is a belief system for me.

I recently completed Habit Builder Series from Brendon Burchard and one of the habits he talks about is Courage. Courage means not complaining or getting frustrated when life gets tough instead tell yourself that you are being prepared. And this is my second belief system – Universe is preparing me for what is to come. Just like if you are running a marathon – you train and training is not comfortable when you start there is always something challenging about it.

Life is the same way. Let’s say I want to be a C-level executive in one of the top ten Fortune companies. At that stage in my career, I need to juggle tons of different situations, taking care of myself – exercising, meditating, spending time with family and managing a big company – All At The Same Time. So, now in my life, if I am being given lots of things that I have to juggle along with family and myself – If it’s not training for what is it come then I don’t what it is. Every situation, person, encounter in our life is preparing us for the next phase in life – Change is the only constant in life, and daily life is the preparation for it.

Some people have a belief system where they believe that if they do not take on challenging tasks, then they will coast along – they start complaining as to why it is happening to them – they try to change or avoid the situation they are in. If this is your belief system and it works for you then good for you. But what you are doing here is not accepting the reality as it is. There will come a point when you have to face what is in front of you and live it – because that is the only choice you have. The long and challenging road ahead of you does not disappear when you close your eyes – it will disappear only when you walk on it. Welcome, everything that the universe brings your way with open arms and Enjoy The Ride to more exciting destinations.

Empathy – huh!

Empathy – seems to be the buzz word these days. Notably, in management – empathy for your customers, for your business partners, for your team. And if that’s not enough, three people who I know well and spend quite a bit of time with have Empathy as their top gallup strength. Now, I believe I am smart enough to know that fighting the battle about ‘Empathy – not a big deal’ is not going to get me anywhere. On a serious note, I realized I would need to do something about empathy to be a better human being. Period.

On my search to understand empathy I looked everywhere but I was like a blind person in a dark room – there was no chance of seeing the light. But then the benevolent universe provided, and my blind eyes spotted a blog (maybe it was in braille) which had a sweet story that gave me a little insight into Empathy.

“A first-time teacher goes to her first class at a university. The students are all bored, and she is feeling very nervous. She asks the students to write on a piece of paper – how are they feeling? Their responses include -confused, bored, mindless.Then she asks the students to take another piece of paper and write – how do they think she is feeling?”

The very act of asking the question changed the energy in the room. There was a marked changed in the students – they were attentive.

This question – how do you think the other person is feeling right now? It did the trick for me. All the talk about stepping into their shoes didn’t make much sense but trying to understand how the other person is feeling – CLICKED. Thank you, Universe. I seem to have a mental blocking about putting myself in somebody’s shoes because in my mind it is not possible at all – but I can try and understand how they are feeling.

Let’s take the next step on this journey where I currently exist. Practice. I have to remember to practice this during my day to day interactions with other people. And whenever my fleeting mind decides to retain this question I have noticed a change in the way I behave – my habit patterns are starting to shift a little.

We, humans, are intellectual creatures – knowing how things work and asking why is quite central to our human condition, although the usefulness of this trait is up for doubt. My enquiring mind went on a quest to understand the question more deeply. The answer was very insightful – the question makes me think of somebody other than me. And even if for a second somebody else becomes the star of the movie of my life – I take a step closer to being a better version of myself. Wait! My line of inquiry hasn’t finished. It is essential for us to think of others because there is no I and there is no them, there is only us. We are all drops of the same ocean. Empathy, here I come!

Patience and Love

Let’s take two scenarios.
Scenario 1: You are having a really busy day – rushing from one thing to the other. You have had a whirlwind day – and you have got 15 minutes before you get on tube. You have been looking forward to the 15 minute break all day long and one of your old acquaintance from school calls you. She is looking for a job in your area and needs to touch base with you. Chances are that you are curt or don’t listen to her or listen to her but you just want the call to end. Or you may decide not to even pick up the call.

Scenario 2: Same day as before. And your sister calls you – you pick up the phone and are ready to do whatever she wants – even if it is a catch up.

Now in the above scenario the acquaintance/sister could be anybody can be but the point is if it is somebody you really care about that the conversation is really different. You are coming from a different space and are a different person as opposed to the one in Scenario 1.

Why is that? I am guessing its because we really care for person in scenario 1 than in scenario 2. And when we really care for that person we put them ahead of us – we move from being in a me-centered universe to a other centered universe [Exercises we learnt in CPM]. We are not thinking about how the 15 minute call is impacting me but instead we are thinking about how we can be of service to the other person even if it is by listening.

And in the above two scenarios our behavior was automatic as we have a relationship with those people which has grown organically that way. We did not consciously think about how we are going to behave with them. The key is we can choose the space where we come from regardless of who we are talking to. With people we care about this happens naturally. But next time our friend calls we can choose to be in that space where we are thinking about them.

I am not suggesting that we do this all day long – it would be ideal if we had the capacity to do so without disturbing our inner peace. But it seems like a good world to live in where we put everybody else ahead of us and are truly happy doing that. More and more we live in that space the more easier and nicer our life will be.

I am sure you are thinking if I do that more and more who will do my stuff? What about my thoughts and opinions? The answer is if you put others ahead of yourself the universe will do the same for you. If you don’t believe in the universe or an higher paper then I invite you to think – how important or crucial is the thing or comment you need to tell as opposed to listening. And in the previous example you were ready to use the 15 minutes for your sister so all we need to do is to expand the circle where we include more and more people.

Running Away

The story goes – Abraham Lincoln’s brother wrote him a letter stating that he wanted to move from his current location because he didn’t like the people, didn’t like the place. His brother moved places and after a few months the same story and the same letter to Lincoln. Lincoln wrote back and said, “How could you expect anything to change when you took the problem with you?”

Let’s look at another example, you have got a boil on your arm that refuses to go away and causes a lot of pain. You keep changing the shirts and even move places but the pain does not go away. Any logical person would point out that how could the pain go away when the problem is in you?

It all seems very logical and common sense to us now. How about the situation in our life when we wished that somebody would leave our team? if only the family member we found annoying would go away? If only the next guy I date was really serious? If only the difficult stakeholder would get a new job? If only my boss would quit? The list is endless – everybody else should go away because I am squeaky clean. Sounds familiar?

The world is like a mirror – it reflects back only you. Everybody including the people you like, don’t like, detest, hate, care about are all showing you some part of yourself. If you take it a step further then you actually created them in some sense too, but let’s leave that for now. Wishing other people to go away is not going to take away your problem unless the root of the problem is solved. And it is all within us and we have the power to change ourselves but often times we don’t because it is easy to blame others and be a victim as then I don’t have to do anything else.

Universe wants the best for you and like a loving parent will do whatever it takes to make you better or learn the lesson so that you can grow. And like the casino , universe wins ALL the time so you better listen to it. If you don’t pay attention to its small nudges it will give you a tight slap but it will make you learn the lesson.

Next time when you find the person who annoys you in your life be grateful as now universe is offering you a chance to learn the lesson. Make the most of it with gratitude and courage. It take courage to face our fears and work on one self. The hardest part for working on ourself is that the image we have of ourself breaks and we don’t like that. In our mind we have this lovely beautiful image – I am so great, I am so this and that. And when somebody comes into our life and shows the mirror to us we don’t like what the mirror shows so we blame the person showing the mirror.

As Goenka ji says in Vipassana – if we become aware that we have created the image and have become attached to it. And it’s that attachment that is causing us suffering then light will shine.

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.

Namaste and Accepting Thanks

I practice Ashtanga Yoga – Mysore style. I started it in London at Hamish’s studio who is one of the most content people I have ever known. And I admire people who are content – truly content with what they have because I “think” I lack that. Anyways, I digress. It was at this studio where I picked up the habit of bowing down to the teachers in the studio after the class which is also known as Namaste.

Today Namaste is used most commonly for Hello, but it has a deeper meaning that that. The more I spend time with books like Ramana Maharishi and Webu Sayadew the more I realize that the rituals of the past had a deeper purpose, a vision to them which the people of today have forgotten. It’s like we keep reciting the prescription without ever tasting the medicines prescribed on it. Namaste is another one of them – when we bow low to somebody we are essentially reminding ourselves that we are all one. That’s what the movie Avtaar meant with the dialogue – “I see you.”

When we moved to Columbus and started practicing at the Ashtanga Yoga Studio I did the same thing. However, I noticed that most of teachers are uncomfortable to the namaste. A bit like when somebody expresses Thank You and you brush it off or try to talk over it. A lot of people are not comfortable with accepting gifts/compliments or even a simple Thanks. I was also in the same boat.

Until I realized the following two things
1. Scenario time: Let’s say a friend has sent you a package that you have been waiting for ages. The Fedex guy comes over to your place to deliver it. He knocks on the door, you open it and immediately offer him drinks, put a garland on him, touch his feet because he got you this lovely gift. – Right it would be taking it a little too far.

Life’s a lot like that – we are all Fedex couriers. Yes, everything happens through us , it’s the ego and pride in us which makes us think I did it. And it is this “I” which brings in the UN-comfortableness. If we accept the thanks and express gratitude for being the medium what is there to be uncomfortable about?

Yoga and Meditation are two such jewels where the teachings have been poured into this vessel which we call body from one generation to the other. It’s to this knowledge and teaching that I bow to – not the body/vessel that contains it. Once we grasp this at a deeper level the discomfort will vanish truly.

2. Something that my prof at Creativity and Personal Mastery course in London Business School,had mentioned. He had said that if we do not accept the thanks or help that somebody is offering then we are blocking the flow. If you help somebody and if somebody else helps you , accept it gracefully and keep the flow going.

That said, last thing I want to talk about is helping others. There is a difference between helping and being of service. If we say, “Let me help you,” it automatically puts you above the other person in some fashion. Where as if you ask,”How can I be of service?” then it takes a different tone. The idea here is that you should be grateful that you can be of service. The words – help/service do not matter, what matter is the intention behind it?
Are you helping because it stroked your ego?
Are you helping because its filling up an empty space within you?
Are you helping because that’s who you are?

A lot of different messages in this thread and I will leave you with this one.