Once upon an evening, I was getting ready to meet a guy for the first time. I sent him a message: “Are you there? Just leaving my place now.” He responded: “No. Is it tonight? I forgot.” I took off my jacket and heels and flopped onto my bed. I can’t believe this is happening to me, I thought, in utter shock. Not so much as an apology or a “Be right there” or even a promise to reschedule. He must be the kind of guy who likes making dates and not showing up. He must enjoy making women feel bad. Aw man, now I’m gonna have to make dinner. I was just about to phone a friend when a text came through: “Just kidding. I’m here.” And then another: “I was only joking! I’m here.” I replied: “Okay… That wasn’t a very funny joke!” I slipped back on the heels and jacket and approached the date with apprehension.
It ended up being a lovely evening and he was a total gentleman. He told me that he’d planned on sending me a message straight after his not-so-hilarious first but his phone had gone dead. He had to wait for it to switch back on before he could send the text. He realised that it appeared cruel. The point is, for several minutes, I believed that I had been stood up. I assumed that this guy was weird and masochistic. And I thought I was being treated very badly. That wasn’t the reality of the situation but, for those few moments, it became my reality.
Buddha said: “With our thoughts, we make our world.” What’s real for me is whatever thoughts I’m thinking. I’m sure a lot of other women would have presumed the same as me. It was there in the black and white of a text message after all. But it was just a massive sign for me to see that my reality is what I make it. With that kind of power, I’d better make it a good one.
Posted in Positive Thinking
Tagged being stood up, buddha, dating, first date, love, power of the mind, reality, relationships, shock, thoughts, world
Tonight I watched Kumaré, a documentary about a man who impersonates an Indian guru. Having become disillusioned with religion and faith, gurus and masters, Vikram Gandhi decides to fake it. He adopts an Indian accent, grows out his hair and beard, and sports orange robes and a comical staff.
Before long, Sri Kumaré has gathered a loyal following for his self-made teachings, pushing the boundaries as far as he can. It is amazing but not all that surprising to see how readily people believe and how willingly they devote themselves to him.
It is not Vikram’s intention to fool or humiliate these people. He simply wants to demonstrate that there is a guru within each and every one of us. That we already have all the answers. That we don’t need to give our power away by looking outside of ourselves for guidance. That we shouldn’t have to follow anyone else’s orders or advice. Sri Kumaré tells his devotees: “You are all great beings and you must stop pretending that you are not.”
Interestingly, Vikram realises that his new persona is the best version of himself. He is happier and more loving and connected than he ever was as Vikram Gandhi. But he must unveil the illusion in order to teach his lesson. By revealing who he really is, he hopes to reveal the guru inside each of his followers. And speaking of revealing, don’t worry, I’m not about to give away the ending.
In India, the greeting “Namaste” is frequently used. It means “I bow to you” and it is accompanied with a slight bow made with hands pressed together in front of the chest. The gesture represents the belief that there is a divine spark within each of us. I love the idea of saluting the divinity in every person I encounter. But it must start with oneself.
An old Zen koan attributed to Linji Yixuan goes like this: “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” This means that you should not worship any one person or value anyone else’s opinions over your own. Yes, it’s great to meet a wise person who shares their valuable teachings. But the smart thing to do is to take what they say and then allow it to sit with you. Is it right for you? What is your intuition or gut telling you? Give yourself time and space in silence to listen to yourself. As your own best guru, only you can lead your way. Namaste.
Posted in Modern Society, Spirituality
Tagged buddha, cult, divinity, god, guru, hindu, illusion, india, intuition, kumare, linji yixuan, master, namaste, religion, sanskrit, self-confidence, spirituality, trust, truth, unveiling, vikram gandhi, vulnerable, yogi, zen koan
I’ve always believed it but I’ve regularly forgotten. I’ve become caught up in work and study, fun and flirtations. I’ve felt down and alone, angry and frustrated, or self-centred and invincible. But, every so often, I’m reminded. That there is something bigger than me out there, something omnipresent, something powerful… That I am being looked after. That I am here for a reason. And that I have a purpose. That my creation, in itself, is miraculous.
It’s normal to question, to doubt, to fear, to rage against and turn our backs on a God that would allow pain, suffering, poverty, disease and loss. But I just know, without really knowing how I know, that there is something higher, something mysterious, something beautiful behind all of it.
I’m currently on my third cold of the season and I haven’t been able to do all the things I want to be doing. One day, I was completely fed up and annoyed with myself. I wondered what the point of my life was if I didn’t have the energy to do anything. When I confessed my thoughts to a good friend, he replied: “Every life is worthwhile.” Those four words stirred something deep within me, and my eyes filled.
Yesterday, my father proudly presented me with a leather-bound copy of The Bible. Today, lacking the strength for a walk, I started from the beginning of this holy book. My hands tingled as I turned the pages. These ancient scriptures are full of the wisdom of the prophets. After reading about how God created the heavens and the earth, I gave myself an acupuncture treatment and lay back to the soothing sounds of Deva Premal, Krishna Das and Jack Harrison. As I relaxed, I realised that I was looking after myself. This means that I love and care about myself. Which is exactly what I should be doing with this human life I’ve been given.
I don’t think it matters what you believe or how you connect with the peace and joy of the universe. Whether you pray or meditate, whether you follow the teachings of Buddha or Jesus, whether you read the Torah or the Qu’ran, whether you take communion or commune with nature. You have a soul. You are a brilliant being of light. And you are loved. No matter what you practise or how you think you have sinned, be gentle with yourself. Remind yourself of your connection to everything in the universe. Let the love and light and blessings in. You deserve them.
Posted in Spirituality
Tagged acupuncture, adam and eve, alone, anger, belief, bible, blessings, buddha, cain and abel, communion, connection, disease, frustration, holy, illness, jesus, light, love, meditation, nature, qu'ran, self-love, soul, spirituality, torah, universe
Today, I ran into a woman I know. She was looking particularly well this wet December morning. She wore a deep purple cardigan and an emerald green scarf. The colours were striking and really lifted her complexion. I told her all this. She thanked me for the compliment, then announced proudly:
“This morning, I had a look at all the ‘good’ clothes that I only allow myself wear on special occasions, which come around just a few times a year. I suddenly decided not to let these gorgeous garments die in that wardrobe.”
Her exuberance delighted me. I revelled in this woman’s candour. It got me thinking about how often we deny ourselves the “good” things in life. Do we not find ourselves deserving enough? Are we treating ourselves like clumsy children, always afraid that we’ll ruin the niceties? We should remember that life is short. Why relegate our most beautiful and valuable possessions to dark closets and dusty shelves?
"You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." Buddha
Why not give yourself permission to break out the pretty tea set and rip open the box of Leonidas chocolates that you were going to give your posh co-worker? You are entitled to spray yourself with your most expensive perfume and write letters with the sparkly pen you received three Christmases ago. It’s about time you drank from delicate china and ate off brightly coloured delph, dressed in your finest.
If you have it, why not use it? Who knows when things (economy, finances, health) will change? So why not treat yourself right now? Be nice to that inner child, who believed in delayed gratification to the point of self-denial. Send yourself a new message – one of self-worth and appreciation. You deserve it.
Images: http://kittenwhiskersandteacups.tumblr.com/post/4207590683; http://modymoly.tumblr.com/; http://favefavefave.com/zhaohan/view/1428
Posted in Modern Society, Personal development, Random
Tagged buddha, change, chocolates, christmas, clothes, confidence, deserving, fashion, inner child, leonidas, perfume, permission, positive message, presents, self-esteem, self-worth, tea