I got out of bed at 3:30am to the smell of fire. I walked outside to my balcony and noticed the sky had a pinkish hue. Falling down was bits of debris. I felt ash on the wooden ledge, but could not see any evidence of a fire. I proceeded to the internet and saw that Napa/Sonoma county are currently experiencing forrest fires. My heart is with them. Continue reading “How to Find Inner-Peace”
Whenever I have to run errands in the city I take the bus. Although having a car in San Francisco, CA is convenient, it doesn’t help me arrive in the same way in which the bus does.
Let me Explain.
So when I got to the bus station, I had the choice of getting on the 38 or 38r. The latter being faster with less stops. Yesterday, both buses came at the same time with the 38 (slower bus) being in the front.
Not surprisingly, everyone took the 38r. I wasn’t in a rush. These days I never am so I gladly took the 38. I often think about why people rush because no matter where you run off to, the earth will keep on spinning. If you think about it, we are actually going no where.
Most folks aren’t in a rush because a loved one is on the brink of death or trouble. Shouldn’t these be the only reasons to rush?
I’m usually on time for things, but if I’m late, fuck it! The world will still move on, my appointments will understand and I’ll still be okay.
When I see people rushing, I see anxiety. I see the world riddled with it and don’t think anyone deserves it. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why I write. I don’t like to see people suffering from problems that they can control. I’m not sure if it helps others, but I do hope so.
Anyways, I digress. So I got into the empty bus and started noticing my neighborhood for the first time again. I choose to see everything I encounter, even if somewhat familiar like it’s brand new. It makes every day exciting and intrinsically blissful.
I saw Darryl during my ride – a middle aged white man, bald head, grey scruffy beard, faded light blue jeans and a blue hooded sweater. He was skinny, but healthy. He was also homeless. I know him by name because while going to Subway one hungry evening, I asked him if he wanted a sandwich. I gave him the sub and we started chatting. We didn’t talk long, and even the times we do talk, he’s always in a rush and today was no different. I sincerely hope that wherever Darryl goes, he gets there.
I saw Russian grocers selling meat, fish, vegetables and other Russian delicacies to their fellow comrades. A taste of home makes us feel like we’ve never left, doesn’t it?
With the exception of a few passengers the 38 was still empty. I got off on Spruce st. to get my computer repaired. The letter G came off.
I noticed that the 38r – the bus with fewer stops and more people was only now in-front of the 38. I looked at the crowded bus. People standing, crunched up against one another in discomfort and disarray.
Sometimes going faster means bombarding ourselves with more problems and keeping the mind cluttered. As humans we will never be complete.
If you look at life like a race, you will never finish, but if you’re aware of this whole spectacle of creation – the not knowing why we are here – you can truly see life for what it is. It’s important to enjoy the ride.
There is no finish line. You have to enjoy every moment and give them all equal attention and admiration.
Enjoy the good, enjoy the bad, cry your ass off when shit goes sour, and cry again joyously when they get better. All these events are just bus stops. They will change.
Enjoy the ride my dear friends, and whenever possible, opt for the slower ride. The ride that will make you contemplate existence..the ride that will make you smile as the sun shines on your cheek from the heavens.. the ride that makes you see a stranger as a lost sister or brother.
As far as the eyes can see, we will never have another.
I decided to try something a little different and share a video where I briefly talk about spirituality and what it means to me.
I meet new and interesting people constantly and somehow the conversation always gets steered towards life and its purpose.
In my interactions I see many derivatives. Almost all problems are centered around the past and future. Although the term presence is ubiquitous and sort of a cliche, people who practice is still far and few because it takes an extraordinary amount of patience and awareness to be in this moment.
In this video I share how you can start practicing spirituality right now.
A Noble Act of Defiance
In the 1960’s Monks in Vietnam burned themselves alive in protest to the war. (click here for pictures)
They did so with peace and grace.
They saw what was obvious for many of us. That violence doesn’t solve a thing.
They took action, and however you may feel about their decision, it was rooted in peace.
People who take on Monk-hood are respected in the Asian subcontinent because they have removed themselves from worldly pursuits.
Their life has become one of celibacy, simple accommodations and a relentless pursuit to perfect the art of meditation.
All their duties carry a focus to bring compassion to the world and attain liberation.
I don’t know what it means to be liberated or what’s nirvana — nor will I assume what it is, but nonetheless, the way these monks burned themselves alive and still kept a calm demeanor is something I can’t help but admire.
I had an “Aha” moment after years and years of self-introspection, a minimalistic lifestyle, contemplation in nature, experiments with drugs, long bouts of fasting, cold showers, spiritual lectures and tons of reading.
I was searching for something but didn’t know what. Maybe it was the search for the meaning of life..maybe it was for joy??
I had no real direction.
The moment everything changed for me was when I decided to stop the outward search.
Meditation was the answer. The funny thing is the answer was with me the whole time.
The thing that I was searching for, was searching for me. When we both finally converged, this thing called “LIFE” made a little more sense.
Popular belief states that we should seize the moment, but I believe that the moment seizes us.
Meditation is when I confronted the self and became responsible for every feeling I have and every action I perform.
Meditation is when you begin to see yourself as the examiner of thoughts -and if a thought happens to consume you, you’re able to disengage and come back the present moment.
The Inward Revolution
It’s the revolution that is seldom talked about.
The world of war, politics, greed, famine, poverty, criminal activity, financial burden and every other conceivable problem we have will never go away.
The problems in our life is the FIRE. It will burn for the rest of our life and long after we’re gone.
The inward revolution is the war that we are constantly waging with ourselves.
We’ve been accustomed to point the finger at others for our troubles (mentally, socially, psychologically, financially and physically) without acknowledging that we are the culprit.
Spirituality is the acknowledgement that you’re creating your world moment to moment and every action your perform and every thought you think has a consequence.
This is more widely known as cause and effect.
The ability to look inwardly and solely rely on yourself as the solution for all problems takes an extraordinary amount of discipline, trust and patience.
Most people in the world won’t be able to do this because let’s face it — it’s easier to blame others for our state of mind.
It’s easier to trust others than ourselves.
It’s easier to find instant gratification even though the best things in life are deferred.
It’s easier to have an excuse.
It’s easier to compartmentalize and label all our baggage as good and bad.
It’s easier to stay stagnant with our problems than realize that there are no problems — only the ones we hold onto mentally.
The inward revolution is about confronting the uncomfortable and painful and to understand that it wasn’t all that bad.
When I went on a 10-day Vipassana Meditation retreat I had many great revelations.
Despite the joy and almost MDMA type of euphoria that I experienced daily, none was more profound than the pain that hour long sits induce.
Sitting in one place is hard enough and doing it 10–12 hours a day can be torture and for me it kind of was — but after 3 days into the 10 day sit I was making peace with the pain.
I was able to feel the burning sensations and invited them with the same acceptance that I invited the euphoric feelings.
Similar to my physical pain I also experienced mental pains.
I uncovered the temporary bandaids of past problems and performed deep surgical drilling to eradicate them for good.
Pain is simply a sensation that comes and goes. It’s when we attach ourselves to these sensations that we inflict pain.
When we can make peace with the pain and when we understand to dance with the world of change we can live with equanimity.
Change is Inevitable — Now is all we have
I’m probably stating the obvious but we all know that everything in the world is in constant flux.
Despite this rudimentary knowledge, many of us will continue to live in the past and future narrations of our wondering mind.
Living this moment and seeing it for the change it is can be difficult, but once you cross that hurdle, life becomes intrinsically more beautiful.
Living in the now might seem like some new age term, especially in my home of San Francisco, CA — but living in the present moment is deeper than that.
Our psychological well-being as people depend on accepting and surrendering to this moment.
This is not to say that we should nullify the need to pursue and attain our goals, but more-so to be at peace with what is at all times.
The Monks in Vietnam had to take action. They did so as they saw most effective.
In the midst of the FIRE — they peacefully gave their lives because the act of compassion was bigger than them. I envy and appreciate their sacrifice.
They did not die in vain.
Through them we can learn.
The lesson is that no matter the fire in your life, no matter how much it burns and tries to consume you — if you can stay calm and see the situation as something that comes and goes, then you can uncover what we’re all generally chasing in this world.
To see the world in a grain of sand, and to see heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hands, and eternity in an hour — William Blake
I was born in California and grew up in a Hindu household but never understood the religion.
While younger, I took part in rituals that were performed at Pooja’s (prayer meetings) without understanding why?
I asked questions to the elders but no one close to me could give a sufficient answer.
Even the pundits that performed the ceremonies knew very little except what was regurgitated to them by another.
Was there a deeper meaning to all these traditional practices or were they done without purpose and simply handed from one generation to the next?
This bothered me. Continue reading “Nataraja – Shiva as Lord of the Dance”
As I sit at my local coffee shop writing these words to you I feel joy.
I do not know where this joy comes from nor do I care.
It’s in moments like this that I take a step back, breathe deeply and relish in my current environment — because no matter where the mind decides to travel, I can only be here. Continue reading “What is Meditation”
Once upon a time there was a village that had been conquered by another. The conquered warriors were prisoned. The compatriots saw that the living situation of their defeated warriors was less than adequate. Continue reading “The Four Noble Philanthropists”
In Your Face Spirituality
I’m a saint and I’m a hell-bent heathen. I’m Dr. Jekyll and Mr. fucking Hyde. A few of favorite books include Walden by T-Dub, the Upanishads, Freedom from the Known by Jkish and Meditations by Marcus A. The term spirituality has conjured up terms of hippiedom, but I assure you it’s not.
The Sun was setting as I sat on my usual rock in the sand. Baker Beach in San Francisco, CA has become a spiritual respite for when the traffic and noise of the city become overwhelming.
The beach has become a place where an oasis of thoughts cascade through me and onto my note pad. My thoughts begin as questions. I ask myself the usual:
- Why am I here?
- What is all this that we call life?
- Why is it so beautiful?
- Why does everything we love eventually go away?
So this is my second article that has been published by Elephant Journal. For this article I decided to dive in a little bit into my personal life. Writing is a form of expression where I can share how difficult times in my life have taught me the biggest lessons. My thoughts on love has changed since becoming more awake to the world of spirituality. Whether you are married or single you can relate to this post. Check out my newest article 9 Ways Being Spiritual can Improve our Dating Lives.
Written with Love by Anand Swamy
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