with humble pranāms to

 Paramahamsa Śrī Nithyānandā 


Monday, November 5, 2007

Marriage Counseling - What's missing?

Q: Does marriage counseling help for a successful relationship?

While I was on my way to office, there was an interview going on about marriage counseling. Apparently, there's going to be a workshop titled - 10 Great Dates for a Successful Relationship.

Isn't it interesting to see that there are thousands of marriage counselors in countries like the US and yet the country sees high rates of divorce? They come up with all kinds of workshops, exercises, training and what not but still the condition has not improved. There are counseling organizations, churches etc. who teach the couple how to take care of finances, how to live together, when to go for children etc.

Looking at the statistics (which you can find in millions of pages in google), there seems to be something missing.

Nithyananda quotes from Shiva Sutra, an ancient Vedic text, 'in a relationship, if you think there are only two people you are wrong. There are actually four people, the man and his fantasy of his wife; the woman and her fantasy of her husband.'

Fantasy - that is the key word. When we constantly keep fantasizing how the partner should be, how the partner should behave, how the partner should talk, we are never living with the real person. We have mold made from our fantasies and we try to fit the partner in that mold. If he/she does not fit in, we start chiseling. Now this chiseling can become painful or pressurizing to the other person leading to divorce.

What is the point of counseling 6 or 10 weeks to a couple when they still have their own fantasies of their partner. No external counselor can help one remove his/her fantasies. The deeper problem needs to be addressed by the individual himself or herself. Each partner has to come out of his/her fantasies on their own.

Nithyananda says, 'only when you stop fantasizing, your relationship is real; only then you can enjoy your relationship. Otherwise, you are living with a ghost.' The countries in the east see lesser number of divorce cases because the individuals understand this truth. They work on themselves.

Meditation is another key to unlock oneself out of these fantasies. In the first level Life Bliss Program, this topic is discussed in detail and also on how meditation helps one to get over their fantasies. See what Nithyananda says about marriage ...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Resting the restlessless

Q: What is the cause for irritation and restlessness. How do we handle it?

If _________I ___________were ________to ________write_______ the_______ post ________this _______way, you would wonder 'Why are there so many extra spaces'. Am I right? Our eyes are comfortable only when pages are filled with words. We love to constantly feed words into our system. That is why we see people glued to newspapers from morning till midnight. Am sure there are many who read the same paper again and again simply because they feel there is nothing else to do! My grand uncle reads the paper from the FIRST word to the LAST word, not even sparing the matrimonials!

If we analyse our routine, we are on this exercise of filling ourselves with stuff 24 hours. When we go out for a drive, we see billboards and posters, filled with all kinds of ads. The minute we come home, even before getting our shoes off, the TV is on. Probably switching it off is the last thing before we sleep. When listen to radio manytimes without even knowing what's really being braodcast. We have just become so comfortable with this constant stream of junk into ourselves that we have forgotten what silence is all about.

Nithyananda says that even when we close our eyes, an internal TV runs non-stop. This is the root for all restlessness. Whatever information we gather through our senses are recorded in our sub conscious system and played repeatedly. This is what Nithyananda calls as 'inner chatter'. The inability to stop this inner chatter is what leads us to restlessness and irritation. 'Coz we don't know what's about to explode from within.

Many times when I tell people about the benefits of meditation and request them to try, they say they have no time. But if they are sitting in a flight, they would rather entertain themselves with a movie than meditate. So, it's not really the time. It's the inability to pause.

By pausing, we experience not the words, but the gaps. This is where our true nature lies, and this is where the bliss is brimming. All we need to do is pause. If you see Nithyananda's videos, there is a lot of gap between every two words. This is intentional. It is because our mind waits with restlessness for the next word and the gap is just an opportunity for that restlessness to subside.

A great exercise to stop the irritation and inner chattering is to become a witness for this internal TV. We do not need to stop the TV, just watching will do. The stopping will automatically happen. Of course, all meditations are about experiencing the vibrant silence of the gap.

Nithyananda beautifully explains about this inner chatter in the video below, enjoy!:

Desires - live them or leave them?

Q: Will I be happy if I fulfill all my desires?

This is a good question. Nithyananda speaks at length about it in many discourses. The first thing we should answer is do we really know our desires? All our problems arise because of this: we do not know what our true desires are.

Nithyananda says, ‘we are very happy with a fan in our house but the minute our neighbor gets an air-conditioner we feel our house has become unbearably hot. We love our car but when we see our colleague gets a new Mercedes, our car becomes old.’

This is so true. Most of our desires are what are called borrowed desires. We borrow them from friends, relatives and colleagues. We really don’t need them. Just because someone else whom we know gets something, we too want to get that. Our mind tells us, ‘how can you be left behind? This is a blow to your ego. What will people think of you?’

This way we start accumulating desires which are not even ours. If we go back and look at things at our house or office, we will see that we do not even require most of the things. We hardly use them. They are simple show pieces, nothing more, nothing less. The problem is that even after getting a better car than your neighbor, when you see your neighbor gets something better than what you have, once again a new desire will arise in you.

Borrowed desires never give us satisfaction because they are not truly ours in the first place. It is just the play of our mind. Nithyananda says, ‘If you want to be happy, just drop your borrowed desires and work on fulfilling your true desires. When you start to borrow desires you are inviting trouble for yourself’

Now, how do we know what our true desires are? Whenever a desire arises, just ask yourself, 'do we really need it? Is it really coming from inside or is it because of an external source?' We automatically get an answer. This is a simple yet powerful technique. Try it and see for your self. The second level meditation program called the Life Bliss Program 2 takes you through a very powerful meditation to drop your borrowed desires and leaves you with your true desires. If you get a chance we strongly recommend you to do it. For now enjoy this video on desires by Nithyananda.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Why fear your boss?

Q: Whenever my boss calls me to his room, my heart skips a beat and I feel numb. I don't know why?

Dear friend, I also went through the same thing. When I joined work a year ago, my attitude towards my boss was that of fear. I used to prepare myself for atleast an hour before entering his room to speak to him.

Now, after applying Nithyananda's guaranteed solutions, I am the last person to hesitate to express anything frankly to my boss. I speak to him casually, without any inhibitions. In fact, now that I think about it, he is a very approachable person.

I started thinking what brought about this change. Why was I so scared of him before?

The answer is - my own fear. Fear of not being recognised by him, fear of not being in his good books. I always wanted his approval. I always wanted to prove that I am a good employee. And most importantly I always wanted him to recognize my efforts, my work. That is the reason why I always thought a thousand times before entering his room. I used to prepare how I should present myself and my work to him so that he is happy with my work.

Can you see it? My own fear of losing his certificate kept me constantly in the mode of fear. Although he is a very friendly person, my fear of losing my credentials made me perceive him as a scary guy. Do you see how our own fear of losing someone's approval creates this misconception?

I was constantly seeking his attention. I was constantly on the run to get his signature, his certificate that I am good guy. Our Master says seeking attention is the cause for 80% of our problems. I could see that in my life. This incident of my life clearly shows that.

It is like a castle of cards. We see children build castles made of playing cards. We keep building the castle made of others opinion of us. We use others certificates about us to build our castles. We keep collecting certificates from every body to saying - good friend, good husband, good student, good employee, good son, good brother ...

Now the problem is we are constantly in the fear that the castle may collapse. What happens if we remove one card out of the card-castle? It will just fall apart. In the same way, if any one person takes away his certificate, thats it; we are depressed. We are thinking of new ways to impress that person. We are thinking of new avenues to get his or her certificate.

This is a problem that everyone of us faces. The truth is - we do not have an opinion of our self. This is the truth. If we know ourselves, why do we care so much about others. If I knew that I worked hard, then why was I constantly seeking my boss's approval? Simply because I did not have an opinion of my own self.

After doing the first level of meditation program - Life Bliss Program, I could see this clearly. Nithyananda talks how attention seeking is related to one of our energy centers and takes us deep into this problem. For those of you who want to know more, I would strongly recommend Life Bliss Program or get a copy of Guaranteed Solutions which captures the Master's words on each of the seven energy centers.

Just by knowing our self, just by being inside our own self, we live for our selves. What a effective technique!! Isn't it??

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Follow time, but let time not follow you!

It puts me off when people disrespect time. How do I handle this negative feeling?

My next door neighbor is an old retired man, about 55 years of age. Whenever he meets me, he takes great pride in telling me his time table. 'Now it's 4pm, time for tea, now it's time to say talk to my wife, now it's 9pm, time to sleep'. He has spent decades of his life in exactly the same pattern. What is wrong in this, you may ask.

To answer that I should quote an incident with the same neighbor, when things don't turn out timely. We had invited him home for a function last year. Initially he was smiling and chatting with everyone around. But, because of all the festivities and guests, lunch got a bit delayed. When he realized it was past 12:30pm and he hadn't eaten, it started to show on his face and I'd never seen him so upset before.

This may be an extreme case. But most of us are conditioned with time. We do not eat because we are hungry, but we eat because it is 12:30. Same goes with our sleep, work etc. What does this mean? Time literally has bound us. Why else should our dear neighbor be upset? Am sure we wouldn't die of hunger if we had a meal at a later time, or even skipped it for one day.

Our body is intelligent enough to know when it needs what. But we do not even give it a chance. We use an external reference when all we need to do is quietly listen to the signals that this body gives us. It is pure conditioning.

The second disaster we invite by being bound by time is that we make our life dull and monotonous. Change is our very nature. By being a slave to time, we have reduced ourselves to machines. The juice in life is lost the minute we have decided not to be spontaneous. And spontaneity cannot come when we are checking external time tables and clocks all the time.

You may ask 'does this mean it's ok to be late for meetings?' Nithyananda says that punctuality is alright for a social etiquette. As far as appointments and meetings with others go, please keep up time. We are after all living in a society where we interact with others and a standard is necessary. In fact when we are relaxed and not constantly worried about following time, we will see that we our sensitivity to time and punctuality increases.

But there are more instances when we are bothered about time unnecessarily. Nithyananda gives us a simple experiment to break free from the clutches of time. The minute you enter home, along with your coat and shows, relax from this time-boundedness also. You can remove your watch and put it aside when you are at home. Don't worry, no disaster will happen. Whenever you do not need to use a watch, put it aside and experience the deep sense of freedom it gives.

Watch Nithyananda talk about how our inner nature is actually liberated from time and space.

How to Get to the Bigger Picture?!!!

Q: You mention in an earlier post that having a bigger picture of our problems, Enlightened Masters can solve them, guaranteed. How can we get the bigger picture just like Enlightened Masters?

You really internalized the previous post, and asked the right question. How can we do that! If they (Enlightened Masters) can do that, why can't we!

Paramahamsa Sri Nithyananda says (paraphrased), when you are in no thought zone, that is, when your thoughts per second (TPS) is zero, or very low, you have access to future events. With this extra information, wouldn't you be able to take informed decisions?

You might have had a glimpse of such a happening, when say, the door bell rings, or your phone rings, and you are reminded of a person. And that's the same person who is at the other end! If you had such an experience, we assure you that you aren't the only one, and surely, it can't be a coincidence.

What happens when the doorbell or the phone rings is that, all of a sudden, you drop your attention from the millions of thoughts going on in your head at that time, and come into the present moment, putting you in very low TPS. Thus, you get a glimpse of the next moment, without you answering the doorbell or the phone!

How wonderful would it be if we can do that all the time, and thus be able to take "informed" decisions! Watch the following discourse video by Nithyananda to learn more. Adjoining is the Time Shaft Theory diagram which Nithyananda explains in the discourse.

How can you say GUARANTEED?!!!

Q: How can you say solutions given by an Enlightened Master such as Paramahamsa Sri Nithyananda are "guaranteed" to solve our problems?

That's a very good question.

Let us approach this question from the point of view of what would aid us in finding the right solution to our problem, if at all such a solution exists.

To answer that, let us consider this puzzle. There is this whale calf which is separated from it's mother, and to reach her, it has to cross this maze.

Now let's focus the situation from the calf's point of view. It knows that it's mother is at the other end. But, being two dimensional, it can't look up and see the entire maze. It has to work through the different options only by trial and error. Plus, it doesn't have any markers to cancel out paths which lead to dead-ends.

Let us show some compassion and help this poor calf get to it's mother. Please use a marker and try to solve the puzzle, thus helping the calf. (Hint: You need not start from the calf-end.)

We assume you were able to solve that maze. Now what advantage did you have, which the calf didn't? Of course, you could see the bigger picture! You being in the third dimension could easily solve the lesser dimension problem. Is it not?

So, are we saying that enlightened masters can solve our problems due to their access to higher dimension(s)?

We will get back to you on that in our future posts. For now watch a video clip from Nithyananda's discourse on how an enlightened master helps us, while the gentleman on the right tries to solve his maze!

Meditation - Give an appointment to your self

Q: What is the point of meditation? What do you achieve by closing our eyes and sitting for 30 minutes?

Unfortunately, that is how meditation or yoga is perceived now a days - close your eyes; sit silently for 30 minutes. The first thing that comes to your mind when someone talks about meditation is someone sitting like that.

But that only is not meditation. Try this now. Just close your eyes and open it after a few seconds... What did you notice? Are you really closed? Are you really shut down?

You might think, what kind of questions are these. Well, that is what meditation is supposed to do. Okay, lets see how many of these thoughts came to you when you closed your eyes -
(1) Thoughts about office
(2) Thoughts about home
(3) Thoughts about kids
(4) Thoughts about work tomorrow
(5) Thoughts about what happened yesterday

You will see that even when you close your eyes, most of these thoughts still keep popping up inside you. There is an internal TV that continuously runs inside even with our eyes closed. We are jumping from one place to other, one point to the other, one timeline to the other.

The point is we are so busy with our thoughts that we never are really within ourselves.

Now, answer this - how many times in a day are you consciously in your boundary, i.e. how many times is your mind really with your body?

The answer is mostly a NIL or hardly few seconds. This is means out of 86400 seconds in a day, we are a complete unit only for a few seconds. By complete unit, I mean the mind and body are together.

This is precisely what meditation helps you to do. Meditation does not mean sitting silently and closing your eyes. It means being totally aware of your self, your thoughts, your inner space. It is a means to make yourself a complete unit. It helps to give an appointment for yourself for atleast those 30 minutes.

Also, meditation need not be silently sitting and watching your thoughts. There are various dynamic meditations. If you attend the Life Bliss Programs, you will see some interesting meditation techniques and some of them are really fun to do :)

Heres the link to meditation programs. Meanwhile enjoy this funfilled video by Nithyananda on being within boundaries.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Enjoying a Cup of Tea

Q: Why do we not feel relaxed in spite of taking breaks from work?

At my office also, a group of colleagues take an afternoon tea-break. I happened to join them one of the days. They started chatting, topics ranging from office gossip to problems in their projects, about their bonus etc.. We stayed there for nearly half an hour and we did not even know when we had finished drinking tea.

Most often than not, all of us do various things without even being aware of what we are doing. Our physical body is probably doing whatever it needs to but we are not there in totality. We drink a cup of tea without even knowing what is going into our system. We are busy in our own world, the dream world, the fantasy world.

Even if we are not with someone with whom we talk, even if we are alone and drinking a cup of tea, we are least bothered about tea. We call it a tea-break but just think about it. Is it really a tea-break?

What do we mean by a break? We would ideally like to relax ourselves, our body and mind. But what do we do? When we are doing something as simple as walking to the canteen, we are constantly thinking about work. Our stress and worry which was at the office desk are being carried by us as we are walking, as we are drinking that cup of tea and as we are going back to the desk.

So where have we taken a break? Nithyananda says - when we wake up, our mind is already in office; when we are at office, our mind is already at lunch break; when we are in the lunch break, our mind is already thinking about 5pm and when we are back at home, our mind is already thinking about office...

Our mind is never there where we are. Let us just start to put awareness on our breath. We don't have to control it, just watch the breath as it moves in and out, in a completely relaxed manner. Gradually, we start to build an awareness about whatever we are doing. When we start living in the present moment, with our mind and body together, we start to see a complete relaxation happening automatically. We do not need any other kind of relaxation, even our work becomes a relaxation.

When we are aware of our mind and body, we start to enjoy every single act. When we are drinking a cup of tea, we enjoy the very drinking. When we have a plate of food with full awareness, we enjoy every bite of it. The same goes with work.

What else can be relaxation? Conventionally, when we say we want to relax, we mean we want to enjoy being completely stress free, being completely thoughtless. This is exactly what meditation helps us to do. It helps us to be in the present moment and enjoy every second. How easy to relax, isn't it?

Just by being aware of what we are doing, just by bringing our mind and body together, we eat when we are eating, we drink when we are drinking, we work when we are working. The entire day becomes a relaxed extended break!

The first part of this video by Nithyananda talks about how our mind keeps oscillating from the events of past to future. When we settle in the present moment, we become utterly relaxed:

Monday, October 29, 2007

Is it outside or inside?

Q: I am in my pre-university. I need to take critical decisions which will affect my future and its difficult and confusing. I need some clarity here...

Hmm.. this is so typical for youngsters, isn't it? If we analyze this confusion deeply, we see that the seed of this confusion was planted long time ago, right from when we were born.

This reminds me of a conversation that I had with the kid of my friend (who is a doctor by profession). This kid, hardly in his Grade 3, was intently playing with some toy and I was asking him questions which I thought are meant for a Grade 3 kid. E.g. which grade are you in? Who is your teacher? What does she teach? etc. etc. The kid was answering back with short and sweet replies (unlike us adults who speak volumes for simple questions).

After a few minutes, my friend interrupted my interrogation of the kid. His first question was, 'Son, tell uncle what you want to become when you grow up.'

I was like, 'give me a break. He does not even know where his school is. What kind of a question is that to a 5 or 6 year old?'

To add to my shock, the kid replied, 'Doctor'.

This incident simply shows, from our childhood, right from when we were in our kindergarten, we have been trained to look around us and let others make decisions for us. The fact is even the parents train the kid that way. Because the father is a doctor, the kid is bought a mini surgery kit. Because the family has 10 engineers, the kid is embedded with one single idea - become an engineer.

This conditioning has been happening since our childhood. Every time we make a decision, we take the opinion of a hundred different people. We ask our parents, our elders, our friends, our teachers, our girlfriends/boyfriends etc. We do all the research and if and only if all of them come to a consensus, we agree on a particular decision. Isn't it true?

Your case over here is also of similar nature. The pre-univeristy period is difficult not because it is actually difficult. It is difficult because we are making it difficult.

Now, why are we making it difficult...

Simple, we are looking around and trying to find a solution to the problem. We are looking at our friends, 'Oh! Ajay is going to UCLA and Stuart is going to Harvard Business School.' Then we are looking at our teachers who say, 'Boy, you are good at economics, why don't you do that?' Then our parents, 'our family has a lineage of biologists, why don't you do medicine?'

The truth is we do not have an opinion of our own. We are not ready to trust ourselves, our inner self.

We do not know ourselves because we have never consciously tried to be within ourselves. We have always looked outside. Once we look inside and see our strengths, we immediately get the solution because...
the solution is not outside; it is inside us.

Worried about no worries?

Q: I have all the money I want, my children are settled, now I have nothing to look forward to in life. How do I handle this?

This question reminds me of an interesting conversation that I had recently with a close friend of mine. For the past few months, he was TERRIBLY worried about his job. I know because he used to discuss with me. He was worried about whether he should change jobs, whether he should continue where he was, what the pros and cons were, how he would inform his boss if he gets a new job, how to finish the deadlines before that, whether his resume was made well enough, whether he had correctly chosen the list of places to apply to, how to prepare for the interviews, whether his parents would be happy with his decision..... the list was never ending, really!

Recently, he got a job offer that he is happy with. Now he has signed the new contract, has already informed his ex-boss, everyone is happy, including himself. Celebrations also done!

I was chatting with him after that. Here is the uneditted chat excerpt:

Yours Truly: so how are u feeling man? abt the new job? :)

Friend: am happy, one big prob solved, parents are of course happy.. but one thing i noticed is suddenly i dont have anything to worry abt.. so kinda feel.. empty.. amazed how much i used to worry abt the job..

Yours Truly: LOL.. are u missing your worries ;)?

Friend: thts wht... yesterday and today not much work.. so i actually got bored. no expecting calls or emails, no tension whts gonna happen next.. no worry of how to break news to boss. so now i cudnt help but think.. so wht am i gonna worry abt next? :)

This is a problem of how to handle "no worries". This leads us to a very relevant question "Why do we love our worries?"

As Nithyananda says, our worries make us feel we are important. It defines our identity. We like to worry about our work, children, their studies, home etc. because these are the few parameters that define us. If I were to ask you "tell me more about yourself", what would you say? Perhaps "I am Mr. XYZ, son of ABC and PQR, working in MNC, living in the USA, I love my BMW..."

Imagine you remove these parameters from your life, we feel as though the ground on which we have been standing is removed. We feel we are nobody. We have clutched so tight onto our so-called identity that we feel baseless when we do not think about these things. To put it simply, our ego is boosted when we worry!

When people reach their 50's, when their children are married and well settled, they feel a sense of emptiness. They have all along worried about getting their children educated and married, suddenly when it's all done, they feel a void. Some fill this void by next worrying about grandchildren and their education etc.. till they leave this body one day. Some of them take this opportunity to ask "Surely, my identity cannot be these external things, I am deep down something else, let me explore".

Worry clouds us and gives us an illusion of a false identity, which we hold onto very tightly. To see beyond, to experience the vibrant silence, our true nature is what meditation or any spiritual contemplation helps us towards. It is all about experiencing that beautiful space inside. Only the brave ones explore, the others give excuses and postpone. If you are ready for the jump, why not take the leap and see for yourself? Trust me, you will not regret it!


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