The Tiger Swami

When I first met Sangita – she mentioned that the story of “Tiger Swami” changed her life. I was skeptical and later decided to check it out. It’s from the book called – “An Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda. As I read the the story I was in awe. I was hooked. I read the whole book and even till this date haven’t come across any book as satisfying as this one.

The Tiger Swami – is a story of Yogananda visiting this Swami who is popularly known as Tiger Swami – a name he achieved by fighting tigers with nothing but his bare hands. It’s a fascinating story of how his hubris grew as he won over many tigers until he met his match in Raja Begum – a royal bengal tiger. He defeats it but it brings profound change in him. He becomes spiritual and rather goes on to win the tigers of desire.

A fascinating book and my dream is one day to produce the book as a movie. A mix of spirituality, science and myth. I would highly recommend the book – even if you are not a fan of Yogananda. Here is a quote from the Tiger Swami chapter –

Mind is the wielder of muscles. The force of the hammer blow depends on the energy applied; the power expressed by man’s bodily instrument depends on his aggressive will and courage. The body is literally manufactured and sustained by mind. Through pressure of instincts from past lives, strengths or weaknesses percolate gradually into human consciousness. They express as habits, which in turn manifest as a desirable or an undesirable body. Outward frailty has a mental origin; in a vicious circle, the habit bound body thwarts the mind. If the master allows himself to be commanded by servant, the latter becomes autocratic; the mind is similarly enslaved by submitting to bodily dictation.

 

Read the book online here – http://www.ananda.org/inspiration/books/ay/

Hankering after the unknowable

No one explains it like J.Krishnamurti does.

You want me to tell you what reality is. Can the indescribable be put into words? Can you measure something immeasurable? Can you catch the wind in your fist? If you do, is that the wind? If you measure that which is immeasurable, is that the real? If you formulate it, is it the real? Surely not, for the moment you describe something which is indescribable, it ceases to be the real. The moment you translate the unknowable into the known, it ceases to be the unknowable. Yet that is what we are hankering after. All the time we want to know, because then we shall be able to continue, then we shall be able, we think, to capture ultimate happiness, permanency. We want to know because we are not happy, because we are striving miserably, because we are worn out, degraded. Yet instead of realizing the simple fact -that we are degraded, that we are dull, weary, in turmoil-we want to move away from what is the known into the unknown, which again becomes the known and therefore we can never find the real.J. Krishnamurti, The Book of Life

More here.

Vibrational Beings

I have varied interests and I read a lot of literature on the stuff I like. I like, other than computer science, Physics, Quantum Physics, Mathematics, Spirituality, Philosophy, Human behaviour, Human Psychology, Scientific History, Data Mining, Visualization etc. At any given time I am reading a bunch of books that mould my mind in various directions. At this time I am obsessed with an idea of  how we are all ‘Vibrational Beings’.

This sounds new-age-ey, so please bear with me. I believe that we are all vibrational beings. Like layers of onions, we are engulfed within various beings, of which the most apparent one is Physical. Everything in this Universe has a vibration to it. If you dig deep into matter, it’s nothing but a bunch of quantum stuff loosely coupled and vibrating at a very high speed. If you look around you, you will see visible, living world. A world which could be perceived with our 5 senses. Based upon which we build our beliefs, thoughts and mental models. I believe that we have 4 layers in our beings.

  1. Vibrational
  2. Feeling
  3. Mental
  4. Physical

As always, I think visually and I am very comfortable explaining things visually. Here is how I believe it’s structured.

4 Layers of Being

There are 2 aspects to it. First, Internal – meaning the things that happen within the person. External meaning – things that happen outside of the person/being. Here is how I think it’s laid out.

1. Physical Being – This is the default visible being you see around. This is the action seeking person we interact with. The outcome of this being in the external world is – actions, activities, decisions etc

2. Mental Being – This is the being that gets attacked a lot. Because this is the being that creates the separation. This is the level at which the so called ‘EGO’ lives. This level, we have an image of ourselves as well as others. We have mental model of the world and all our beliefs are stored at this level. Access to memory at this level is very high. If you draw parallels to computer, this being has access to memory on a magnetic Hard disk. Everything gets stored, but you will have to search to retrieve it. This being is also responsible for the rich imagination and visualization. The outcome of this being in the external world is – Thoughts, ideas etc.

3. Feelings Being – This is the being who feels things. Anger, frustration, love, lust, mercy, good feelings, bad feelings are all created and live here. This being also has access to memory, but if you think in terms of computers again – the kind of access this being has to memory is like ‘Solid State Hard Disk’. Meaning, it’s smaller but very powerful and doesn’t take much time to retrieve it. You will always be able to recall the feelings you had when you had your fist kiss. You don’t need to think about it. The outcome of this being in the external world is – Emotions.

4. Vibrational Being – This is the core of all. This being is what we actually are. At this level, nothing is different from the individual being. Everything and everyone is same when it comes to vibrational beings. This is the being that gets referred to as soul, atma, consciousness, Godness etc. This is who we all are. Unfortunately, there is no external representation of this being in the external world. How can it be? If everything is one, there is no external world at all. And that’s what causes a lot of confusion in our lives. This being is often mistaken as ‘Feelings being’ as that’s the closest to it, but they both are not one and the same.

All the practices we do in the name of religion, God, Spirituality are all pathways to realize or touch this vibrational being within us. Good deeds, Good thoughts, Meditation, Love etc are all a pathway to get access to this Vibrational being.

Well that’s theory, now how can you use this knowledge? If you look closely – Feelings are closest to this vibrational being and there is no other simple way to get access to it. Say, for example – you are looking for a new job. You would prepare your resume – that’s physical. You would prepare for the interview questions that’s mental. Various new age gurus suggest you to visualize the outcome, or feel the feelings. That’s true and correct. In addition to both physical & mental action – you need to be there feelings wise too. That’s how you land that job.

Feelings are the only way you can have access to the Vibrational being. Once you change the vibration of that being through a mix of Emotions, Thoughts & Actions – you will sync with whatever you are looking for in vibration. This sounds easy, but hard to do because – everything in our world happens at Physical & Mental level. So, many distractions and so much work to do. A part of it is also our beliefs which we hold them as true. We associate ourselves with the egoistic self-image we create of ourselves. It took us our lifetime to get here, and it will take some more time to get where we actually want to be. But, having a map of things always helps. This is my map which I use to look at things when I am in doubt. This is what bring me clarity to some extent.

Igniting the Flame of Self-Awareness

I am a big fan of J.Krishnamurti. I got this in my email today and I think it can’t be any simpler than this. We spend hours watching Tv, movies etc, I think it’s totally possible in this world to follow a simple method just like this and become self-aware. I love JK.

“If you find it difficult to be aware, then experiment with writing down every thought and feeling that arises throughout the day; write down your reactions of jealousy, envy, vanity, sensuality, the intentions behind your words, and so on.

Spend some time before breakfast in writing them down – which may necessitate going to bed earlier and putting aside some social affair. If you write these things down whenever you can, and in the evening before sleeping look over all that you have written during the day, study and examine it without judgment, without condemnation, you will begin to discover the hidden causes of your thoughts and feelings, desires and words….

Now, the important thing in this is to study with free intelligence what you have written down, and in studying it you will become aware of your own state. In the flame of self-awareness, of self-knowledge, the causes of conflict are discovered and consumed. You should continue to write down your thoughts and feelings, intentions and reactions, not once or twice, but for a considerable number of days until you are able to be aware of them instantly….

Meditation is not only constant self-awareness, but constant abandonment of the self. Out of right thinking there is meditation, from which there comes the tranquility of wisdom; and in that serenity the highest is realized.

Writing down what one thinks and feels, one’s desires and reactions, brings about an inward awareness, the cooperation of the unconscious with the conscious, and this in turn leads to integration and understanding.”

The Book of Life – December 25

Way to Mastery

genius.jpg

1. Un-Conscious In-Competence: The Ignorance is bliss place. We are not aware of our incompetency.

2. Conscious In-Competence: The Insecurity land. We realize how unprepared we are and how ignorant we are. This is the place where all the newbies drop off or give up. This is the phase where life is showing you the mirror in your face.

3. Conscious Competence: The Knowledge is Power land. We are aware of our practice and goals.

4. Un-Conscious Competence: The Mastery land. The Genius level. Our skills become a habit. Woot Woot.

Belief Systems

I read an article today in Times of India which inspired me to think about certain things. Here are my thoughts on ‘Belief Systems’ and how I think about them.

Before we start off, let’s do some definitions:

1. Situation: Situation is any single activity, process that is out there. You can basically define the world around you as a huge set of situations that are happening simultaneously. For example: Your car broke down, Someone complimented you etc.

Situation

2. Emotion: This is the feeling that gets generated within us. This is within us. Emotions usually form in response to something outside – ‘situation’. We do have the ability to create a emotion without any outside stimulus but that’s for another blog post. Usually everyone of us function the default way – i.e., we generate emotions in response to situations.

Emotion

So, the generic thinking is that we have matching emotions to situations in life. But that’s not totally true. The truth is a little bit deeper. See we don’t usually generate emotions to the situations – if that is true we would be overwhelmed. What we usually do is – we generate a emotion based upon what we think/feel/guage the situation is. Please read that carefully, because there lies the solution to everything we are looking for. So, we generate emotions in relation to a situation based up on what we think about the situation. It could be one thought or it could be a bunch of thoughts.

So it would look something like this:

Emotion -> Situation

So, to take our earlier example: My car broke down: My feeling towards it is panic, bad and scary. I have heard horrible stories about how people got in trouble when their car broke down and now this situation is genrating emotions in me based up on what I think about my car breaking down. To take the other example: I might feel better and it would make my day if someone passed on a compliment to me. I could also totally flip out if I have a different thoughts associated with ‘compliment situation’.

So, all these thoughts/feelings we have towards situations combinedly form our Belief System. Our belief system is the most influential part of our system. We function with our belief system.

Belief System

When people live a life of auto pilot, they totally don’t see their belief system at all. All they see is the situation and the emotion just flows. So let’s get back to emotions. What happens over a period of time with our emotions is – we form habit out of them. So, a couple of times my car breaks down and my default behavior is to panic. In this mode I am not even aware of my emotions. I see a situation and I just take a short cut with a habit.

Habitual response to Situation

So why is it such a big deal to know/see our belief system? Because if you can see it then it means you can also change it. Most of the time people attack the problem at a wrong level. They think it’s a habit problem. They try to fix the habit. For example: people trying to quit smoking habit. Then some go one level deeper – emotions level. This is where people try to go to a Therapist. Talking it out, good counsellor, life coach etc. This works for some, but not that effective.

I think and believe that if I want to solve something or fix something in my behavior, it’s always effective at my belief level. This is so empowering. I am the one who is looking at my belief system and changing it. I admit this is not that easy to do. But this is the only effective way.

So, how does one see one’s belief systems?

1. Meditation. A lot of people think that meditation will lead one to state of Godliness, holiness, nirvana etc. All these are misconceptions based on the rituals centered around the actual act of meditation. What meditation actually does to us (I am referring to any form of meditation) is it makes us aware of our Belief System. This is so powerful that we don’t even realize it. What we usually feel is better and better as we meditate every day. Over a period of time we realize that we have become a better person. What actually happened is that over a period of time when we meditated we have become aware of our belief system and have mended it. So, now when the car breaks down – I don’t freak out. I take a deep breath and think how I can resolve the situation.

Meditation

2. Journaling: Any form of honest journaling acts as a mirror to our soul. I learned the most effective journaling method from the book called “The Artist’s way“. It goes like this. When you wake up in the morning, the first thing you do is write 3 pages/sides. It could be anything. It could be your dreams, fears, tears, complaints, appreciations etc. It’s a mind dump. You don’t even have to read back/check what you wrote. What happens is – initially I was able to write 5 pages. Then slowly I wrote about everything that I could think of. I had to dig deeper in. And once I start doing this consistently – over a period of time I get a feel of my own belief system.

Journaling

3. Reading good books. Books open up our thinking and let new ideas, thoughts to sprout in our mind. Reading a good collection of books definitely tells a lot about our thinking patterns. One quick glance at what kind of books we like tells us a lot about our Belief Systems. By reading a lot of books we usually provide a lot of fodder to our brains based on which our belief systems are built.

Books

4. Feedback from Environment. This is usually our friends, colleagues, peers and elders. One need to engage in healthy conversations to learn more about one’s belief system. Only by taking it out in a secure environment of our friends our belief systems get updated and hardened. Keeping our eyes and ears open for good feedback from our friends will help us re-structure our belief systems constructively.

Friends

Now you may wonder – will becoming aware of my belief system gives me enough power to change it? Yes it does. Like I said, it’s very empowering and it may sound hard but our souls are tuned in such a way that they always choose the best for us. Once the mind becomes aware of the belief system, once it see the fallacy behind some of our beliefs- it consults/defaults to the souls way – which is the best way for us.

So, discovering our belief system is the best gift we can give to us. It’s the best thing that has happened to me. I have been following this from the past 8 months and I still learn so many new things about my belief system. So, depending up on how much stuff we have within us it will take more and more time. But this is most effective way of re-constructing our worlds.

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Inspiration from the article: “The answers are within” in Sunday Times of India on 13th Jan, 2008, by Paul Countinho.

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