“Nothingness to nothingness is the whole journey”

Celebrate your nothingness. Your nobodyness. Your non-entityness!
The more you hold on, cling on, the more you will suffer. And the lesser you will see of Life’s miracles. The Universe, and Life, operate on a simple principle. That I have come to understand as ‘nothingness’. Nothingness is what you__and I__are all about. You came with nothing. You will go with nothing. This earthly sojourn is where you will deceive yourself to believe that you gained a lot. You imagine you gained an experience called this lifetime, you gained an education, a name, fame, family, wealth or reputation. All this is what you THINK you have gained. But will you be able to take any of these with you when you go away? Even this experience called this lifetime may not be remembered by you. Who knows? Because Life, after this body’s demise, is unknown to you__and me! So, why do we cling on to anything, and everything, wasting precious time, energy and effort?

Osho, the Master, says, “In the beginning is nature, in the end is nature, so why in the middle do you make so much fuss? Why, in the middle, becoming so worried, so anxious, so ambitious – why create such despair? Nothingness to nothingness is the whole journey.”

Giving is the most beautiful part of being human

When you give, just give. Don’t analyze. Don’t expect anything, not even a thank you, in return. And don’t give holding back. Just give freely.
Giving is the most beautiful part of being human. The Buddha has said: “If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way.”
Here’s a very true moving story, an old and popular one albeit – but worth revisiting – that illustrates this point the best.
One day a man saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road, but even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her. Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn’t look safe; he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was those chills which only fear can put in you.
He said, “I’m here to help you, ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson.”
Well, all she had was a flat tyre, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tyre. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt. As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid.
Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Bryan never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and he knew there were plenty who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole Life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way.

He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Bryan added, “And think of me.”
He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.

A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy-looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase. The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan. After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress quickly went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, but the old lady had slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be. Then she noticed something written on the napkin.
There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: “You don’t owe me anything. I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you.” Under the napkin were four more $100 bills.
Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard….She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, “Everything’s going to be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson.”

Indeed, what goes around, comes around! Give today! Give freely and without expectation! Discover the joy of being human! 

Be true to yourself – just say the unvarnished truth always

As long as you know it is the truth, always speak it. Because the truth can and must never be hidden.
But the most baffling thing about humankind is that we find it very easy to lie, to cover up, to say what immediately comforts us and the listener, than to speak the truth. Having spoken what’s easy, what came easy, the ideal situation must be to not suffer anymore. Yet, most of time, the person who has chosen not to speak the truth, grieves and suffers. This is what is most tragic. Let’s say you have a tyrant for a boss. And you wish you could tell him what he was doing was wrong. Instead you keep praising him or approving of all his nonsensical behavior because you feel it is easier to pamper him than provide him with constructive feedback. Now, as long as you are living peacefully having deceived yourself and falsely pumped up the boss’ ego, there will really be no problem. But if you continue to feel miserable because you have been saying what you don’t believe in, then you have a problem. The only solution then is to speak the truth about your boss, to him!
Contrary to most opinions, the truth is always respected. Both by the one saying it and by the one listening to it. But always say it to the one who is directly concerned with the truth. If you don’t, and choose to speak to a third party, you are actually promoting gossip. That’s when you are vitiating the atmosphere. For you, and for the person to whom you intend to speak the truth.

Truth does not require any crutches. It can stand on its own. And you too can say it without any fear. But you believe just the opposite is true, in any relationship, because you don’t want to be the person saying it. You prefer that someone else bell the cat. Or that a kid, than you, tell everyone that the emperor is wearing no clothes! That’s fantastic. If you are comfortable being someone who continues to thrive while pleasing everyone around, that’s just fine. Then, why are you grieving? Please don’t. If you are grieving over the state of any of your affairs, and if the people connected with your Life, need to be shaken awake, then throw the truth at them. Let them deal with it than you suffer with it! That’s the way to intelligent living. That’s the way to peace.

Why fear a God than love one?

Don’t let anyone feed your insecurities and fuel your fears. Because that’s what society wants: to keep you enslaved to your worries and anxieties.
One of the first things we are taught as children is to be God-fearing. My grandma used to encourage me to eat my food or avoid telling lies by saying, “Swami vanthu kanna kuththum”. Meaning, God will come and gorge out your eyes if you don’t finish your meal or if you say lies. How gory can that be? Hardly Godly! Resultantly, most of us are brought up fearing an external God who will punish us for any transgressions.
But how can God be both merciful and fearful at the same time? Have you ever wondered why you have not been encouraged to be God-loving? As you grow up, enter adulthood, the whole spectre of SIN looms large over you. If you drink it is a sin. If you have sex it is a sin. If you as much as not pray it is a sin. Then Life becomes, in due course, a challenge for most of us. What all this God-fearfulness does is it makes us insecure to the point that we lean on the crutches of religion, abstinence (weekly fasting to propitiate the divine!) and God-men/God-women! This is bizarre.

You – and I – were not born basis a religion. You were not brought up because you chose a society, a standard of living or a way of Life. Then why become victims and slaves of what society wants you to do? Deal with Life, its beauty, its challenges, its pain, its joys, its insecurities and its abundance in your own way. Be free. Because it is your Life. When you experience Life for what it is than what others make you believe it is, you will see a God, your God, within you! Then you will appreciate the value of being God-loving!                                                              

Face your fears to be courageous

Courage is not something you acquire. It is something that surfaces from within you when you face up to fear in any situation.
In order to understand courage you must understand yourself first. If you believe you are a victim of the circumstances you are faced with, then you will live in fear, self-doubt and misery. Instead know that you are the Master and your circumstances are just that. They are circumstances and are therefore impermanent. Know that the energy within you is capable of overcoming any situation. Provided you turn around and face it. The Vietnamese dissident poet, Nguyen Chi Thien (1939~2012), was a classic example of someone who made the best out of any situation. To be sure, Thein had spent a total 27 years in prison resisting oppressive regimes and captors. Of this time, eight years were spent in solitude, in shackles, in the dark. He committed his poems to memory so that the authorities could never discover them! In one he wrote, of the regime and how he fought them:
“They exiled me to the heart of the jungle

Wishing to fertilize the manioc (cassava, a staple food) with my remains.

I turned into an expert hunter
And came out full of snake wisdom and rhino fierceness.
They sank me into the ocean
Wishing me to remain in the depths.
I became a deep sea diver
And came up covered with scintillating pearls.”

This is how you become courageous. When Life puts you in the dock, you face it with equanimity. You remind yourself that every dawn will take the night’s darkness away. When you look fear in the face, and do what you think you cannot, the circumstance, while remaining the same, will be less terrifying and your ability to deal with it will substantially improve!

Nothing in Life is worth agonizing over

Everything that you once did is laughable today. And what you do today will soon be laughable.

For instance, when you look back at your student years, all the pre-exam stress is so irrelevant. So much so, that when you see your child agonizing over revisions on the eve of exams, you laugh and say, “Take it easy.” Or when you reflect on how keyed up you were before your first date or your first job interview, you laugh and say, “Man, I was so inexperienced then.” Even when you have lost a dear one, and have been in pain and trauma for years, when you finally attain that position of spiritual equilibrium and equanimity, you would come to terms with the reality__that the person is no more__and laugh to yourself saying, “Such is Life!”

It is a truism of Life that every experience we undergo is to teach us a new lesson. And when we do learn from it, we understand how simple Life actually is. Once this simplicity becomes evident, everything__believe me__everything, is laughable. Imagine if you were asked to recite two tables up to twelve, wouldn’t you laugh at how simple the ‘challenge’ is? And yet, as a seven-year-old, you struggled a lot with this ‘simple’ stuff? This realization is what makes life fun and laughable. Nothing, repeat N-O-T-H-I-N-G, in Life is worth agonizing over. Everything about your Life__and mine__is laughable.

Never miss the opportunity or the ability to laugh at yourself. Just keep laughing….

Take a break – nurture your body!

Every once in a while we must listen to our body. It often gives us several warning signs and tells us all that we need to know about ourselves. Ironically, doesn’t our air-conditioner, mobile phone, laptop and our car receive more attention and care than our body? Isn’t that a very unintelligent choice we make?
A key reason why we postpone personal health and fitness issues is that we think we have a lot of time to deal with them. The truth is, we don’t! With every passing second, our lives are getting shorter. Surely, nobody wants to spend time in hospitals and among doctors in the evening of their lives. And if we spent a little time to reflect on the generation that is ahead of us – and see what their lives are like, we will take our own lives seriously. Pretty soon we will be where that generation already is – reporting mobility issues, dealing with lifestyle-led complications like diabetes, hypertension and heart ailments or simply facing age-related consequences. Around that time, our children will be getting ready to build their careers and families. The last thing we would want is to burden them with helping us deal with our health challenges. Besides, the simple truth is that the more fit you are, the more productive (with your line of work), more peaceful and happier you will be. By fit, I don’t mean having a six-pack-ab body. I simply mean being fit enough not to have serious consequences arising from poor and irresponsible lifestyle choices!  

Take a break. Nurture your body! I recall Quality guru Philip B Crosby’s (1926~2001) immortal line, Health is Wealth. And it is totally Tax Free! Need we say any more?