Start living freely, unfettered by fear

Know this for sure: Nothing can derail the Life that’s been designed for you. Most definitely not the lack of money!
Much of our worries come from how much money we have or don’t have. Think about it! When has the lack of money stopped anything in your Life__or mine? Well, if it has denied a want, you probably did not need it. Life always provides everyone with everything they need just now. Let me clarify, money is important. But you don’t need money__especially when it is unavailable__to live happily! Besides, why are we embracing fear worrying over economic indices that feed off human greed? Every stock market operator, watcher and speculator, is responding to (and is in) greed. Every billionaire listing speaks of wealth in the hands of a few people who have the power to change the world and lives of the have-nots, but very few seldom really do or want to do anything. So, why focus on a negative influence__greed?
Another perspective. Our parents earned a fraction of what we do now. Their parents a much lesser fraction of that. And yet Life has been going on. We have all been educated by our less economically privileged parents. And, miraculously, are holding positions of influence in our own small ways. We are, in fact, managing to rear our children with more comfort than we were provided. So, why the fear? In fact, here’s a counter argument. If each of us can stop fearing the lack of money, and stop imagining that the world is coming to an end, we will be more productive than we are just now. And that may just revive and grow the economy faster__if it becomes a global trend.

So, stop thinking of what’s wrong with the world and with your Life. Stop cribbing. Stop wishing things were different. Start living freely, unfettered by fear. Have faith that all that you need will continue to be available to you, just as it always has been. Up until this moment. Think abundance. Think prosperity. Every time you read about the crumbling global economic indices, job losses, falling currencies and begin to wonder how you will survive, think of the most beautiful sunrise you have seen, the most intimate moment you have spent with your companion, or the most joyous vacation you have been on in Life. Define one spot outside your window that is beauty__believe me, you will find beauty everywhere, most definitely in unexpected places. And view that sight each time you feel worry and fear gripping you. The beauty of Life and nature can revive even the most hardened, numbed, human spirit. This is abundance thinking. Realize that it is from abundance that peace is born. It is from peace that prosperity flows. Will you make a new beginning today?

Feel Life – feel abundance, not scarcity

Feel Life. How you feel Life is very critical to what you experience.
When you see a mother feeding her infant at a traffic signal in the blistering Indian summer heat, an apology for a garment covering her sweaty bosom, while she moves from one vehicle window to another, hoping for someone to drop her a penny; you may well feel uncomfortable. The very sight is despicable. Avoidable. It makes you squirm. You are agitated and start thinking the whole Indian social order is so rotten, so cold, so inhuman. But instead if you feel compassion, for the way a mother protects and nurtures her baby despite the odds, for the way Life provides for everyone, for the miracle called your Life because it is only a quirk of time and destiny that you are on the other side of the car’s glass window, you will experience peace.
So, feeling, and what you feel, for Life makes all the difference to what you experience. In ‘The Little Prince’(1943) author Antoine de Saint-Exupery makes several profound and idealistic observations about Life and human nature. For example, Saint-Exupéry tells of a fox meeting the young prince during his travels on Earth. The story’s essence is contained in the lines uttered by the fox to the little prince: “One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” Indeed. Happiness, peace and joy are there in front of us, but they are never visible to the eye. We don’t see them because we find things material__our jobs, our money, our properties, our cars__far more important. But what’s essential, what’s absolutely necessary is that we live this Life fully. And all that we need for living fully is with us, has been with us, all the time.
To experience a fuller, richer and blissful Life, we must feel for abundance and not be steeped in scarcity thinking! Going back to the lady at the signal, scarcity thinking means we see depravation. Abundance thinking means we feel compassion. Depravation leads us to be cynical and embittered. Compassion leads us to bliss. So, make an intelligent choice. Choose to feel Life differently. Feel from the heart, not from the mind! Abandon rational thinking and plunge into Life __ in total abandon __ you will experience bliss! 

A Gift and a Blessing

Life is an eternal blessing, an endless course of abundance. We are not seeing this always because we are steeped in scarcity thinking!
Focusing on what we don’t have comes naturally to all of us. But for each thing that we don’t have or for each dimension of our Life where there’s something scarce, there’s a blessing, another aspect that’s soaked in abundance. For every dark cloud that hangs over us, there is the proverbial silver lining. To find it, we must just let go of our grief over what has happened and of what we don’t have, and simply survey what we have left with us. When we let go and learn to live with what we have we will immediately experience inner peace.
Some months ago, I had to sell my car. It was old and was breaking down far too frequently. There wasn’t money to either fix it or replace it with another car. We simply had to let it go. It was a difficult decision, having had a car for over 25 years, for as long as I have been independent and married. The question that confronted me – and my wife – was how would our daughter manage. She had never used public transport before. Not that she was spoilt by luxury. Hardly. But there had miraculously never been a need for her to take a bus or auto-rickshaw ever – to school or to her social outings or to college. We called her and updated her of our hard decision and predicament. We advised her to use autos for transport. To our surprise, she declined. She said she understood the situation we are in and so wanted to use train and bus for her commute. We tried explaining to her that since we was not used to either mode, she may find it difficult to cope with the crowds at rush hour. But she insisted that she wanted to give it a shot. We agreed that she would try for two weeks at which point we would review. In exactly a fortnight our daughter came back to declare that she was “comfortable and was settling in” with her new reality. She said it so simply, so responsibly and so convincingly that we did not feel like countering her with our parental anxiety and reasoning.

It was a beautiful moment of awakening and discovery for me personally. Here I was grappling with what I didn’t have – a car, and so was steeped in scarcity thinking, wondering how a child who had never ever used public transport would cope. And here was Life that had blessed me and my wife with such a wonderful daughter who not only had the maturity to accept our current reality – in which anything material, even a basic taken-for-granted gadget, device, instrument, machine or asset, is a luxury – but also had the sense of adventure to plunge head-on into an environment she was not familiar with. I don’t share this by way of self-congratulation or to praise my child, but I share to tell you how beautiful Life’s ways are. Our daughter (and son) fills our Life with abundance – this blessing far outweighs what we don’t have and what, perhaps, no longer matters!

Indeed. There’s so much abundance in us and around us. And not all of it is material or linked to money or to what money can buy. Most of it, in fact, can make us happier even if we didn’t have money or things with us. Someone I know, Madhuri Velegar, who used to write for Femina magazine from Bangalore, died of cancer a couple of days ago. A friend pulled out what she had written sometime back (on how she felt in her last days) and posted it on facebook: “…I got drawn into meditation. Almost daily I stared long at the Gulmohar tree and its flowers outside my house. I waited for sunsets, I sat under the morning sun, I worshipped the rain…” That’s the abundance that I am talking of.
Our lives are abundant too. Our sunrises and sunsets, the rains, the flowers, the birds, the love and warmth of our children and the companionship of our soul-mates, all these are available to us and are waiting to soak us in abundance. Provided, of course, we stop complaining about what we don’t have and instead celebrate what we have! When we do that we too will realize what a wonderful gift Life is and what a blessing it is to be alive!

You will never be denied what you need by Life!

Whatever you need will always be provided for. And if you don’t have or get something that you want, it really means you don’t need it right now!
This really is how Life works. If you carefully examine the Life that you have lived until now, you will notice that your needs have always been taken care of – with amazing consistency. If anything was denied to you at any point in time, it may well have been only something you wanted. This is true for everyone – irrespective of who they are, what they do and where they live.
We don’t see this very evident sign of this whole Universe, and its inhabitants, being soaked in this abundance (of every need being fulfilled), because we are always focusing our attention on what we don’t have or don’t get. Also, our definition of what we need or what anyone needs is not how Life looks at it. In fact, Life’s way – how it thinks and works – is  inscrutable. So, if people who live in pitiable conditions, in slums for instance, are, in our opinion, denied even basic, bare necessities – Life’s view may be different. And we can’t even quite know what that view is or why do some people have to live the way they have to. Yet even these people manage to survive only because Life takes care of them – again providing whatever “they” need appropriately.
Your grief comes mainly when you think of what isn’t there, what you have not got and what you don’t have. Almost all your waking time is spent in such unproductive scarcity thinking. If only you shifted your attention to what you have, you will realize that everything you need is there – and it keeps coming, just in time, every single time! This is called abundance thinking. It means that you must know, and keep the faith, that if you have been created, you will be provided for – with whatever you need, as long as you are alive!
So, switch the way you think. Know and be sure that you may not always get what you want – but you will never be denied what you need by Life! 

When nothing works, try CTRL+ALT+DEL

Last evening I attended the launch of a unique initiative that focuses on providing preventive and curative care for people with diabetes. The program, with special emphasis on women, is the brainchild of renowned endocrinologist Dr.Usha Sriram of ACEER (Associates in Clinical Endocrinology Education and Research) and her team. Dr.Sriram shared a simple prescription for diabetics. She said: “CTRL+ALT+DEL – Control your Lifestyle, Alter your Diet and Delete unwanted/negative influences from your Life. Sometimes, you simply may have to reboot!”
I have found the CTRL+ALT+DEL method particularly inspiring. This is what we have all learned to do with our computers when programs running on them ‘hang’. We decided to use it on our Firm, when our business turned “unresponsive” some years ago. It was bleeding losses quarter-on-quarter and guzzling cash in the form of debt. That’s when we embarked on a strategy that we called ‘CTRL+ALT+DEL’. We closed 6 offices, painfully let go of 38 clients and as many team members. We basically bombed our Firm and ‘rebooted’ it!
Sometimes, Life requires a ‘forced’ pause, especially when it doesn’t seem to be heading anywhere, and possibly, a reboot. So CTRL+ALT+DEL in a Life context means that you review and revalidate every premise that you have been holding as true.
CTRL – CONTROL – the urge to grieve over what has happened or to conclude that there is no way forward and that it’s all over
ALT – ALTER – your focus; stop thinking about what you don’t have – SCARCITY THINKING; instead, look at what you have – ABUNDANCE THINKING
DEL – DELETE – the anxiety to want to solve all your problems at the same time; if you can’t find solutions to your problems yourselves (either personally or through experts), learn to go with the flow of LIFE
Remember: Life is not to be endured or suffered. It has to be enjoyed. Allow no one and nothing to come between you and your enjoying Life! Be obsessed with your happiness. And if you like, be selfish! Because from your inner core of happiness, is born your ability to serve, to be selfless and to make a difference in this world. And in case you are struggling with a listless Life just now, when nothing seems to be working, try rebooting it with the CTRL+ALT+DEL method. It works!
  

Of Raavan, Ram and Jannat

The conditions inhibiting our inner peace are, interestingly, within us! Our true, native state is love and peace. But years of conditioning, in the way in which we have been raised and how we lead our lives, have suppressed that true state. Our only task is to undo that conditioning and remove all the layers of anxiety, misery, jealousy, self-doubt, anger, hatred and fear that suppress our true nature__and we too will return to being loving and peaceful!
I watched the Hindi movie Swades (2004, Ashutosh Gowariker, starring Shah Rukh Khan) another time last night. There’s a line in a beautiful song “Pal Pal Hai Bhaari” (Lyrics by Javed Akhtar, Music by A R Rahman) in the film that goes like this: “…man se Raavan jo nikaale, Ram uske man mein hai…”. It refers to the plight of the devotee who is signing the Lord’s praise but actually nurtures a lot of hatred and evil within. Raavan (the demon) and Ram (the Lord) are metaphors here. That line in the song is a reminder that if you really want to experience the Lord (love and peace) get rid of what’s tormenting you (the evil, whatever’s debilitating, in you)! The real import for all us, mortals, caught in the rat race, is that to be truly peaceful, we need to throw out all the conditions that inhibit our inner peace from our lives.
In Urdu there’s a word called jannat – it means paradise. Jannat is where love, peace, prosperity and all the good things in Life are in abundance. Most people believe jannat is something to be attained after completing our worldly tasks, after fulfilling our responsibilities, perhaps, in an after-Life.  But the truth is that there’s only this one lifetime, as we know it. And whatever has to be attained and experienced has to be done here. Now. By accepting and loving what is.
It is by resisting what is that we are piling on the layers of wasted emotions that restrain our true, native state, of love and peace, from flowering. Look at young children. They just submit themselves to Life, to their environment, to the conditions into which they are born – unquestioningly, without resisting. Which is why they are in complete bliss. We will do well to draw inspiration from children around us! And experience Ram and jannat – here, in the now!

Stop being a miser – and you will never be miserable!


Have you ever wondered why when we are created so ‘able’, let us say arguably by the creator, do we end up becoming so ‘miserable’?

The answer lies in the word ‘miserable’. In one sense of the word, ‘miserable’ means someone who has great wealth but leads a despicable, wretched existence in trying to be stingy with spending it. The wealth  that we truly have is this Life, the ability to love and to be loved, and through living intelligently, the ability to be happy. When we don’t recognize this great wealth that we have, and keep pining over what we don’t have, we live in misery. To become ‘able’__in fact, recognize and be that which we already are__we must stop being miserly. We must be generous with our love for all that is part of creation. And through loving Life, unconditionally, we discover abundant, limitless, inner joy!

In fact, as Eckhart Tolle, author of the best seller, The Power of Now, says, “All that you think Life is withholding from you is what your are withholding from Life!”

So stop being a miser. Let go of all you have! And all that holds you back. See how able then you are to celebrate Life’s boundless abundance!