Rumi – Ask not, What is Love

On Love

Love Is everything

Its language is silence, not words

The bridge that connects us to the universe

A mirror to see God

It paves its own path

Beyond time and space

Love is a secret that is open to all who seek

It cannot be explained

Yet when one is lit with love

All is explained

Ask no one, What is Love?

Ask this of Love itself.

Love is invincible, conquers all

The mightiest sword that cuts through all

An eternal blazing fire, never abating, forever bright

is not possessive of your possessions or your senses

It only seeks you

It has only one purpose to embrace the beloved

Love transforms all, It is an Alchemy, it changes all

An antidote for all poisons, Lover conquers all

Villains to saints, the dead spring to life

The greatest intoxicant

Without Love no man is alive

Your very breath

Love knows not good or bad, like or dislike

Love seeks the besotted, Love just Is

When Love beckons, rush headlong

Love is faithful, it demands your loyalty as well

Don’t seek it. Simply Love. Nowhere to Go.

Now Here – Love is. So near, It was never lost.

Just drop the wall within, Embrace Love

Love is a journey, No beginning, no end

It is the Alpha and the Omega

When you meet Love, you meet yourself.

Fall into Love, Surrender

Keep falling till you feel the love

For it will take you to the sky

Perhaps your only fault is to stay devoid of love in life

For when one is in Love, all is Empty

Just Love is

And whatever you touch just love remains

Love is that eternal glow that persists

Drink of it fully, don’t stay sober

Go mad with Love. Be reckless with Love

Share Love with abandon

Lose everything in Love

Love

Is pure

Is everything

It is not outside

It is within

Inspired by the many verses of Jalaluddin Rumi on Love. I used translation from Urdu text.

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Whatever is happening, happens for the best

 

Whatever is happening, happens for the best’ is an oft repeated comment in India. There is a belief in the cosmic abundance and wisdom, and that all events, happens for a reason, be it good or bad, and even though it may seem, like a drawback, or adverse is seen through a more philosophical orientation, that it is ordained and has only positive intentionality for the spiritual you.

Birbal enquired of King Akbar. “What happened, Your Majesty?” Akbar informs him that an unfortunate accident diced his finger off. The other Ministers, unlike Birbal were still praising the king for his greatness and buttering him while Birbal said “Jo hota hai ache ke liye hota hai” (whatever happens, happens for the good.) Offended by the absence of consoling words, Akbar puts him in prison. In the meanwhile Akbar appointed another Minister to take Birbal’s place. As usual, Akbar went deer-hunting one fine morning. Akbar and his new found minister chased a beautiful black buck and before they could hunt him down, the deer sped away. Looking back, they realised they were separated from their army of soldiers and the two were now left to find a way back home. They tried to figure out the correct path when they were caught by a local tribe. On seeing the King, they got happy. They could sacrifice the King’s body and please their deity God. Just when they were about to shred the King into pieces, they noticed his cut finger. For a ‘tampered’ body cannot be put up for sacrifice. They released the king but caught the Minister instead. The Minister was killed as the sacrifice King hurried back to the palace.

On arriving his palace safely, he realized that Birbal was right in every sense. He summoned him and appointed him back. The king said to Birbal, “I now believe that everything happens for our good, as my life was saved because of the cut finger. But, what about you? How can you explain that it was good for you?” Birbal replied, “As you had put me in prison, I was not able to accompany you on your hunting trip. If I had been there with you, the tribesmen would have taken me along with you and would have definitely sacrificed me to their deity, as I do not have a cut finger!” The king was pleased with his reply, and from then on, always consulted the wise minister while making any decisions for his subjects.

The Indian mind, has an instinctive faith in the divinity that lies within. He seeks within rather than out. Yet he believes that the omnipresent can manifest in an outer form or symbol as well. Ever present there is an instinct for balance and harmony, especially between the inner and outer, spiritual and secular, mundane and material. The inner spiritual urge of the Indian mind is not something exclusive, at the expense of the legitimate needs and realities of the outer life of the body and mind. It operates at all levels of Dharma, Artha, Kama and with the final goal for Moksha.

Do you subscribe to this notion as well? Do you have any incident(s) to share? Also, do you believe the pandemic has its upsides as well? 🙂

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Rumi Poem: The Song of the Reed

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English Translation of the Opening Song of the Masnavi. The song describes the lament of the Self separated from itself.

Listen to the reed flute tale, as it laments its pain of separation.

It says, ‘Ever since they have uprooted me from my reed-bed I have been crying

Also causing both woman and man to be moved, who have since wept along, my lament

I wish to repose my head on the breast of a longing heart – one that has been ripped away from their beloved, a heart torn to pieces, so that I may unburden my pain of this love.

For only one who has been afflicted knows my song,  only they would understand my sadness,

Anyone who has been cut from the source, wishes to reunite,

they long dearly to return to that blissfulness.

In many gatherings, I have uttered my wailful notes, the same lament.

I consort with the unhappy and those that rejoice.

Each sought me, befriended me but for their own reasons and opinions

Each according to his fancy became friendly to me.

Yet none sought out the secrets I held within.

Nor could they decipher the secrets behind the notes

My Body is not veiled from the Soul, nor soul from body, yet none can see the soul

For truly, the divine secrets are not separate from my cries

The eyes and ears lack the illumination of cognition

These secrets unlock to the heart, not for eyes or ears

The one who hears this is senseless. A tongue has but one customer, the ear.

The song of the reed consoles those such parted from their beloved,

The reed is a comfort to all estranged lovers. The notes tears away our veils

The song shares the tortuous bloody path

And recounts how Majnum, when separated from his beloved and Laila how his heart bled

To one who is joined to my lips and is in harmony with myself

I too like the reed would tell all that may be told

When the rose is gone (his beloved) and the garden faded (in Autumn)

You will no longer hear the nightingale’s song

But only those who are cooked in the fire of love will hear them

The sound from the reed is fire, not wind. Be that empty.

The love fire is one that inspires the flute. It is the ferment of love that completes the wine.

If you don’t have this fire, you might as well be dead

Oh, how can the uncooked know the majesty of the fire of love?

This reed is the friend of everyone who has been parted /separated

Who has ever seen a poison so bitter and antidote so sweet such as this. It is hurt and salve combining. Have you seen a more intimate companion and lover? That is the song of the reed.

Intimacy and longing for intimacy, one song.

All are satiated except a fish in water, and one who does not have his daily bread fails to pass his days easily.

If you meet the uncooked, the immature man don’t sing, don’t preach

the raw will not understand the state of the ripe

Instead listen to my advice: Say goodbye and leave

-Rumi

(the original verse was written by J. Rumi a Sufi from Iran) Translated mostly from Urdu to English. reviewed multiple versions in English as well.

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Alfred Adler – On feeling Inferior

Does everyone feel inferior deep down?

This article is based on the theories of Alfred Adler (1870 – 1937), who followed Freud initially but soon separated as Adler refused to embrace the notion of ‘sexual instinct’ but never totally rejected Freudianism.

Born a Jew, he converted to Christianity. As a physician, he witnessed first-hand the suffering of wounded soldiers leading him to theorise about Gemeinschaftsgefuhl (deep seated concern for others) – social feelings. These social feelings are promoted in society, work and parenting, through cooperation, love and care.

According to Adler, each individual decides for himself, what directions their lives take – style of life. He saw Humans as one indivisible whole, with a unique pattern of behaviour – individual psychology.

The world is simple and life is simple as well.

We live in a subjective not objective world, and we give our own meaning to it. All behaviour has social meaning. In this it is psychosocial not psychosexual.

The past does not matter. We are driven by self-goals we set.

Our behaviour stems from purpose and focus on ‘present goals’ rather than the past. It provides direction for promised security, power and perfection, we anticipate and expect. Our anxieties are ‘manufactured’ to serve our ‘goals’, what Adler calls ‘teleology’.

Trauma does not exist.

Adler argues that no experience by itself is a cause for success or failure, rather it is the meanings we give to it. We have choice in meaning making. Your future is determined by your actions now. Adler talks about neurosis as an extreme reaction to shock. He argues that through courage and optimism the social interest in the neurotic can be awakened. He argues that our present determines our past (the exact opposite to Freud).

You create the emotion to support your behaviour.

Anger does not cause you to shout, rather you fabricate anger to achieve the goal of shouting to have the other person submit to you. If the phone rings, it is possible to go back to a controlled conversation, and get back to shouting post the call. Differentiate between personal anger (grudge) and indignations with society’s contradictions and injustices (righteous indignation).

We are not controlled by our emotions.

We all have the capacity to change, and the first step is ‘knowing’ and preferably through dialogue. Knowledge by itself is useless – it is accumulative.

Be Yourself, not somebody else. Focus on your own ‘potential’

Adler says focus on ‘not what one is born with’ but what use you make of your ‘equipment’. One’s personality is formed as a result of the creative power of the individual. Our personality is best reflected especially when we face difficulties.

We choose to ‘stay unhappy’ and we can choose to ‘stay happy’.

Our personality and disposition is what Adler describes as a ‘lifestyle’ – a worldview and in a sense a choice of the way one’s life should be. We prefer the comfort of our ‘lifestyle’ to Change which is scary. In a sense, one needs Courage to Change, to be Happy.

Expose the lie – ‘If only…’

These are excuses to not making a start. ‘If I Pass this exam, life will be rosy’, or ‘If I get this promotion everything will get well’.

Avoid focus on ‘symptoms’, rather ‘accept yourself’.

You may discover that your goal maybe – ‘not to hurt yourself’ caused by others.

Getting ‘hurt’ by others is an inevitable aspect of interpersonal relationships.

‘One has to live in the universe all alone’.

Adler asserts, ‘all problems are interpersonal relationship problems’.

The shadow of other people are always present in our worries.

Adler uses ‘feeling of inferiority’ to refer to one’s value judgement of oneself.

Adler argues that humans feel inferior which is necessary to allow for a ‘great upward movement’. The inferior feeling is on account of not measuring up either to society’s mirror or to one’s fictional standards. Having a shorter height by itself isn’t ‘inferior’ but the meaning one has given to it oneself. It is a subjective valuation and based on a social context. When the inferior feeling is exaggerated or internalised it becomes an inferiority complex.

Even successful people harbour ‘feelings of inferiority’…

Adler argues that everyone born enter the world as helpless beings and are in the ‘pursuit of superiority’. All human endeavour is on account of this. He argues that both inferiority and superiority are stimulants to normal healthy striving and growth. However, if one is fixated with, ‘I am not good enough’ that may lead to an inferiority complex which is wholly different. Staying with an inferiority feeling such as, ‘I am not educated, I have to work harder’ can be a desirable direction. Often the superiority complex is an exaggerated over compensation for personal weakness.

The apparent cause and effect’ is rejected by Adler.

The real cause and effect is not wishing to change or letting go the comfort of the present. Even if the current is unpleasant or has limitations. Through Courage one can strive through growth and learning.

The feeling of inferiority may lead to a ‘feeling of superiority’.

People may substitute this inadequacy by flaunting their proximity to those in power, objects of wealth, etc. They are living ‘other people’s lives’. Boasting for example is a result of a feeling of inferiority.

Even bragging about one’s misfortune is a sign of feelings of superiority…

One can often use one’s misfortune to feel special and control the other. For instance, ‘you don’t understand how I feel’ while containing some truth can also be a weapon.

One can keep moving forward, without competing with the other.

All human beings are different and unique, but are all equal. Competition may be good if the other viewed as a ‘comrade’, and it would lead to self-improvement, but that is not often the case. When we compare self to other, we end up in competition and with feelings of inferiority and superiority.

Which may lead to the notion, the world is a hostile place.

This terrifying thought urges you to keep winning as you fear failure. On closer scrutiny, you are the only one who worries about your own looks. When competition is dropped, when the other is viewed as a comrade one is released from the fear, ‘maybe I will lose’.

What has this article invoked in you? How do these views align to your own experience?

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Inspired by: The Courage to be Disliked, I. Kishimi and F.Koga

Wisdom from 2020 years and before!

 

 

 

Introduction

Win and lose to what matters. When you challenge yourself, and beat your own record, you achieve both! Herein lies our opportunities. What are the challenges we wish to excel in? With ourselves.

In these past months, with lockdown and work from home, it has given way to a lot of reflection on our lives. It has thrown up questions about our hankering for materialism, even while opening a light on man’s deeper purpose.

Presented below are twenty difficulties for us as humans, shared by Gautam Buddha in The Sutra of 42 Sections. The explanations are elaborated inspired by commentaries by several learned teachers. Each of the twenty statements carry nuggets of deep wisdom. To these I have added quotes from Jesus as well. ‘Truth is One, the wise speak it in various ways’, say the Rig Veda. I hope this article will help you reflect further on What Really Matters.

1.    It is hard to practise charity when one is poor.

 Being poor is not referring to wealth, but one’s internal quality. You cannot give what you do not have. If you wish to share Love, you must have it else you will only share misery or loneliness. Only when you overflow can you share. You possess only that which grows within and cannot be taken away from you. Existence is tired of your pennies, your misery – your poverty. Instead, bring celebration to life. Try to be wealthy inside so that you can share yourself. For what is offered from within has deep richness.

Luke [21:1-4] As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Jesus asks: “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”

 2.    It is hard to study the Way when occupying a position of great authority.

 The proud and egotistic is not ready to surrender. For they feel powerful. Nor should you surrender only when hopeless and all is lost. Move instead towards yourself when things are going well. It is difficult to remain meditative when you are rich. Move into the unknown when you are strong and full of zest. There is no better time. We tend to postpone our life to sometime in the future, perhaps when we retire. For now, status, money, recognition, power, fame are deemed more satisfying. Perhaps, we believe that the pursuit of all of these will lead to happiness. Soon we realise with time that what we seek is a myth, what we have, we do not value, what we want nobody gives.

King James Bible refers to this spiritual poverty: It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

3.    It is hard to surrender life at the approach of inevitable death.

 It is easy to disregard death when one’s life is oozing out of you. While life and death are inevitable, we choose not to discuss it. Those who penetrate deeply into life become aware this is not the real thing. For in the midst of life there is death. Only those who realise this take a jump into the river that leads somewhere else – towards death. To disregard life, is to truly know what it means – it is a dream. Buddha enquired what is the longevity of life? It is the length of one breath, replied a disciple. Buddha agreed.

In the garden of Gethsemane, the night he was betrayed prayed to the Father in simple surrender, “If you are willing, let this cup pass from me. Yet not my will, but thine be done” (Luke 22:41).

 King James Bible: For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

4.    It is hard to get an opportunity of reading the sutras.

 Only a fortunate few will recognise that life is fleeting, a shadow, not a reality. Only one who is awakened realise this. Only a few will realise the wisdom of the way.

One of Jesus’ followers asked to be excused from his responsibilities to ‘go and bury his father’. Jesus replied, ‘Follow Me[don’t neglect your spiritual calling], and let the [spiritually]dead bury their own dead’.

 “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him” (Matthew 11:25-27).

 Only a few will have the real opportunity to pursue the spiritual path.

 5.    It is hard to be born directly into Buddhist surroundings.

 It is indeed rare to find an enlightened being. Only when the student is ready does the Master appear. Else a teacher will be ignored. To be a student one has to be empty, receptive, sensitive and meditative. Such opportunities are rare to most people.

6.    It is hard to bear lust and desire without yielding to them.

 The greatest difficulty is to be without hankering to be something else, or one who is without projection. To avoid desires and attachments and lust. Buddha avers that Wealth and Sex is like honey on a sharp knife – a child will lick it, and harm himself.  If one can be around sense objects without being affected. Only when the mind is still will desire drop. Buddha says that the cause of all suffering lies in desire.

7.    It is hard to see something attractive without desiring it.

 If one focusses on the real, rather than the agreeable, then one comes to the truth. Fears come from worry and worry arises from craving and desire. Be a floating piece of log on a river. If not deluded by emotions, or wrongful views one who is steadfast will pursue the Way.

8.    It is hard to bear insult without making an angry reply.

 It is easy to get angry, but challenging to remain calm and quiet. No intelligence is needed to lose one’s anger. Patience under insult is the greatest strength avers Buddha. Patience creates softness, harbours no hatred.

In the Akkosa Sutra, we have the story of Buddha being severely insulted by an influential Brahmin and he responds by saying: “Whoever returns insult to one who is insulting, returns taunts to one who is taunting, returns a berating to one who is berating, is said to be eating together, sharing company, with that person. But I am neither eating together nor sharing your company, Brahmin. It’s all yours. It’s all yours.”

 If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow’.

9.    It is hard to have power and not pay regard to it.

 People seek authority so that they can abuse it. In every interface authority is present: either bullying or being bullied.With power you become political. Nietzsche says, that we all have a ‘will to power’ – an attempt to assert ourselves onto the world. He takes it one step further and asserts that the will to power is ‘the force which creates all forces’.

10. It is hard to come in contact with things and yet remain unaffected by them.

 The real test is not in isolation, but when one is living in the world. One cannot change the circumstances often, but one can change one’s consciousness.

11. It is hard to study widely and investigate everything thoroughly.

 We prefer the familiar, the comfort zone. All the knowledge of life is borrowed. Only be knowing oneself, can one move further. One needs to study deeply rather than widely. To look within, rather than seek outside. One needs to continually review the way. It is a challenge to be thorough in learning and exhaustive in investigation.

12. It is hard to overcome selfishness and sloth.

 To think of oneself as extraordinary is most ordinary because everyone thinks so. Pride is like a disease and with it you can never be healthy.

13. It is hard to avoid making light without having studied the Way enough.

It is hard for people not to disparage the untutored. One feels superior to those who are illiterate, and envy to those who are learned.

In Matthew 7:3-5 Jesus says: Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour’s eye.

Jesus says, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you.” (Luke 6:37).

14. It is hard to keep the mind evenly balanced.

 One needs to remain the master. Others can manipulate you, make you angry or flatter you. Be in control of every situation and stay the master. To be equitable in mental activities at all times.

15. It is hard to refrain from defining things as being something or not being something.

 It is difficult not to express an opinion and it becomes a prejudice. Allow your understanding to grow instead. Be defining something we limit ourselves to a deeper understanding.

16. It is hard to come into contact with clear perception of the Way.

 One who sees the truth vanquishes ignorance. The Self cannot be found in any form – it is illusory. The sense organs have confused people, keeping them in a dream like state.

17. It is hard to perceive one’s own nature and through such perception to study the Way.

 It requires a journey inwards. To one’s nothingness. The more you move towards yourself, the more you disappear. Yet Buddha says it is hard to develop this clear perception.

18. It is hard to help others towards Enlightenment according to their various needs.

 The language of the valley and the peak are different. One needs to guide others in accordance to their individual needs, abilities, dispositions, and circumstances.

Buddha advised, ‘Be a light unto yourself’.We all have the responsibility to discover our own light within.

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven”(Matthew 5:14-16).

19. It is hard to see the end of the Way without being moved.

 It is hard to come in contact with things and yet remain unaffected by them. Our senses get attached to things and we experience ‘movement’. To see things without attachment without clinging to emotions or becoming vexed by the situations.

20. It is hard to discard successfully the shackles that bind us to the wheel of life and death as opportunities present themselves.”

 It is hard to unshackle ourselves from the grip of life and death – the perpetual wheel. To deploy ‘skills-in-means’ viz acting in expedience at times. Once Buddha lied saying he had candy to offer a child who was dangerously close to falling into a well.

Some questions for reflection

 As a leader,

1. What are you practicing and sharing?

2. Do you embrace your humility and vulnerability?

3. Are you prepared to let-go of old meanings?

4. How do you wish to leave behind a legacy?

5. What has this article triggered in you?

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