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Peel the Layers

Peel the layers


The inspiration from this topic came from Rumi’s quote “show me anger and I will show you hurt. Show me hurt and I will show you love. Peel the layers if you care”.


Such a wonderful thought - “peel the layers”. Lot of psychology is based on this too and lot of inner work gurus do is to get away from the layers and identify the core.


I had a spiritual experience yesterday in something as simple as fireworks. Though they were the biggest firework happening this year (2021) in Nashville. First few minutes were ‘normal’. We all were in awe and appreciated it and thought they ended. But fireworks continued. So the next few minutes for me were to burst away all negativities - criticism, judgement, too much advising, body shaming etc. and I thought the fireworks were over.

But it continued! So next time was to bring in all the positivity. Blessings, showers of grace, gratitude, happiness, achievement, family …the list goes on on all. All bursting with energy! And the fireworks were over.


Not yet. So next phase we are done with both positive and negative. So only Krushna (God) remains. And the next set was all forms of Him. Everywhere. Omnipresent. Omnipotent. Omniscient.


The fireworks still continued. Now we are down to nothing. Just energy. Bubbling and vibrant. Untainted. Pure.


The fireworks show helped me peel the layers. Next time I feel an emotion, I am going to go deep into what led it and what is the layer behind it.


How have you been peeling the layers?


Layer after layer

Needs to be peeled

To get to the essence

A new discovery

With each layer

The journey is long

And tedious

But worth it

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The thought of this topic was inspired by Swami Yogananda (Self Realization Fellowship). He was giving tips on how to be critical if needed with love. Hence the topic - The Loving Critic.


My mentor Mike Smuda at one time had said ‘Feedback is a gift’. I have tried to take it to heart. Professionally I have made a specific effort to get feedback. The crux is that if someone you trust tells you something, it is typically more prevalent than just that one person. Personally, I get feedback from my husband Pranav. For me, my loving critics help me detect my blindspots!


For times, when I have to play the role of the loving critic, I first ensure the person wants to hear the feedback. I also clarify my intent. If my intention is not noble, I check my premises. Then ideally in a loving way I try to focus on strengths and talk about things for improvement. I also believe it’s better to hear criticism from loved ones.


The piece I and most people struggle with is being defensive when we hear criticism or finding excuses for that behavior or action. I remind myself that its best to be the listener at such times. Swami Yogananda advices to keep criticisms short.


I think the toughest part for me is when I get caught suddenly in unplanned criticism battle. Harsh words don’t work. I like planned loving critic sessions else it feels more like an argument and I become defensive.


Loving critic also implies your ego does not pay in it. Before finding faults in others, I like to have the mirror to see I am not coming from ego but from genuine love and intent to uplift. As I am receiving loving criticism, I need to remember and assume the other person is also not coming in from ego. Let me listen to the point, assume pure intention and reflect where to change/ improve.


Loving critic – it starts and ends in love. Loving critic are our blindspot detectors. I am blessed to have loving critics in my life.


The blessing

Of a loving critic

Throwing the light

To eliminate

Darkness


The blessing

Of being a loving critic

Spreading the love

Teaching

Like a mother


The blessing

Of loving critics

Thanking

The angels

God sent my way

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The conditions to happiness

The thought for this chapter started from reading the book ‘The Untethered Soul’ by Michael Singer. The author explains that we keep conditions to our happiness. “I will be happy if I am promoted” or “I will be happy if I get married / pregnant”. He believes that we should instead focus on unconditional happiness. It sure made me introspect. I had myself said “Happiness is a state after the fulfillment of one desire and before the birth of another”.

On talking with my colleague Maggie, she believes that competition and winning our inculcated in our minds. We tend to link achievement to happiness. The question she raised was “how will we keep ourselves motivated if we delink happiness and success?”

Coincidently my husband Pranav came across a book called Happiness Project where the author says that happiness begets success instead of success leading to happiness. I believe the thought is that as we are more happy, the calmness and joy show in our work leading to success.

A higher state of mind is when we are above this to enjoy unconditional happiness – being happy as its our true nature or nature of God. I have lived a long time building conditions on my happiness and linking achievement and happiness. I think it’s time to let go and work on being unconditionally happy and blissful.

Have you put conditions to your happiness too?

Let success be condition based

Let happiness just exist

Be happy no-matter-what

Be happy for you

For us

For Him

Be happy today

Right now

Let that smile shine

Your day and mine

Be happy

It’s a command

And a blessing

(quoted from Sri Sri Ravishankar – last 3 lines)

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Who is fortunate?


The thought of this topic came from a question asked in Ashtavakra Gita by Sri Sri Ravishankar, the question was “Who is fortunate?” Are the ones who are wealthy fortunate? Are the healthy people fortunate? Are famous people fortunate? He answers that it’s the joyful people who are fortunate.


That got me thinking. Whom do I consider fortunate? The first answer that came to mind are the people who have experienced deep love whether from our beloved, children, parents, siblings or friends. The love that really pushes the boundaries of expanding who I am.


Fortunate are also the ones who have experienced devotion. It’s when I get goose bumps singing. Again, its transcends me to a state of consciousness beyond the day to day.


According to Shrimad Bhagwat, fortunate are the ones who are inclined to read and understand the knowledge. Fortunate are also the ones who have gurus or mentors.


It takes me back to gratefulness. There are countless things I am grateful for. It’s also interesting how I believe I am fortunate by comparison – especially when I hear stories of loss of health or loved one or job, all the things I take for granted. I live in a peaceful country, have good neighbors, a loving family, good health with all necessities of life taken care off. I am fortunate and I am grateful.


I do agree that the people who are joyful are for sure fortunate. Sri Sri’s answer reminds me that saints are happy no matter what. They are happy without any qualms. It is quite a fortune to develop that mindset.


Who do you believe are fortunate?


I am fortunate

I am grateful

I am joyful

I am loved

I am blessed


I feel His love

I feel His Grace

I feel His presence


I sure am fortunate

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