Abandon all logic, see the magic around you!

Logic buries the magic in the Universe. It prevents us from seeing how beautiful each moment is.

To see the magic in you, in your Life, around you, you must stop being an adult, abandon all logic and just see everything with a child-like wonder.

While our logical temperament has been honed by years of schooling and social conditioning and while it has helped us grow our careers, it has really stunted our evolution as individuals. Consider your own Life. You, like me, have problems. And, logically, you want those problems resolved. So if the problem is financial, you may want your income to go up and your expenses to come down. Logical thinking. When your efforts at boosting your income come to a naught, you get depressed. Depression leads to scarcity and negative thinking. If your problem is a relationship, you will want to sit down and resolve it. But the other party is just not interested. You grieve. You suffer. If your problem is your health, logically, medication should work. But the doctors are wringing their hands in despair, because they say their efforts are not working. You think death. You believe it’s all over. In all this logical thinking, in all three contexts, you are tormented, you are anxious and you are not present in your every waking moment. You are living in your problems.

And this is where you are missing the magic of the present. Of the myriad opportunities that Life is still offering you. Remember that despite all the problems you are faced with and are seemingly drowning in, Life is going on and WILL go on. There’s magic everywhere. In the rising sun. In the chirping birds. In the smile of a child. In the few friends who are still standing by you. In the fact that you have a home, food to eat and someone to call family. When you are allowing yourself to be gripped in the stranglehold of your problems, you are missing all this magic. Your being wedded to your problems may appear to you to be very logical – after all, you want to solve your problems. But there are problems that you cannot solve. Only time and Life can heal and solve them. This is why being stuck with logic kills magic. American author Nora Roberts says, “Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.”


So, love this Life. Know that it won’t last forever. Abandon all logic. Then, and only then, will you see the magic – and beauty – in Life! 

Be happy and all else will follow

Happiness is a choice. Something that’s in your control. You choose to be happy, and immediately, your whole Life transforms.
This is an unalterable law of Life. That if you choose to be the happiness you seek, nothing, and no one, can stop you from being happy. We miss this great opportunity because we are forever imposing conditions for “becoming” happy. We say if we have money, we will be happy. Or if people we live with behave in a certain way, we will be happy. Or that we will be happy when we achieve something – like when we buy a house, or get a raise or become famous. So, between us and happiness, certain conditions have come up. Now, these conditions are quite unnecessary. Happiness is there – in your being. You just have to choose it!
The reason we think this way is because of the scientific conditioning we have received. This conditioning takes you away from you and thrives on the law of cause and effect. We have been taught that for an effect to be there, there must be a cause. Logical. Only if there is a seed, can there be a tree. Only if there is a fire, can there be light and heat. Only if there is a virus, can there be a fever. And so on. But on the spiritual plane, this need not be the only way to look at Life or live it. You can choose the effect and, magically, the cause will follow. And that’s why Life’s more about magic, than about logic. Magic happens the moment you choose to be happy – no matter what your situation is. Then, the right people come into your Life, abundance flows and you become a magnet, a center of attraction, for all the good things that Life can offer. Per this spiritual approach, you are in control, youare deciding to be happy, for yourself. For instance, if you say you will be happy subject to someone doing something for you, then that someone is in control. Not you. That’s the cause and effect theory: subject to certain conditions, you will be happy. But on the spiritual path, the choice is to drop all conditions and choose the effect – in this case, happiness. You simply be happy. Whether someone is there or not, whether something is there or not.
                                                    
The cause is beyond you, outside of you. The effect, happiness, is within you. Choose the effect from within, watch the outside transform, magically! This is Life’s way. This is the only way – to live intelligently and in bliss!

Living in a “not-knowing-what-will-happen” mode

The very uncertainty that we fear can make Life magical and beautiful.
When I reconnected with a friend recently, after several months, I asked him how his work was. He replied that he was feeling very insecure in his current job. “A new CEO has taken over and he’s driving a lot of change in our organization. He’s demanding that every member of the team must contribute to either the top-line or the bottom-line. I am in a Sales support function. The new CEO feels all Support functions must go. So, I believe I will be laid off. There’s so much uncertainty. I live and work in fear daily – not knowing when I will be given a pink slip and asked to leave,” said my friend. At close to 50 years of age, my friend feels his chances of getting another well-paying job are low. Around this time of their lives, employees, like my friend, have a lot of limitations in pursuing career options. Their children are often in final years of school or college, or their parents are old and need support – so not many are ready, even if they are willing, to immediately move to a new city to enhance their employment prospects!
While I can relate to my friend’s anxiety – having gone through similar experiences myself – I am not quite sure that fearing uncertainty is necessarily the appropriate response.

Why are we running scared of uncertainty when the very nature of Life is impermanent, fragile, uncertain? In fact, there’s a certainty about death – if you are alive, you will die for sure some day. But just because you are born – and alive – does not mean you will go on living. There’s no certainty about Life! From the time you came out of your mother’s womb your entire Life has been a journey through the uncertain. It’s your upbringing, your education and your reference to economic parameters that makes you believe that you are secure and can be certain about the way your Life will pan out. Because you have been raised in a protected environment by your parents and family, because you have been progressing through your academic career in a linear fashion – moving from class to class in a predictable manner – because you got employed soon after you graduated from college, for all these reasons and more, you have come to believe that Life’s happening the way you envisioned it for yourself. You have almost concluded that Life is a straight line! That’s when Life socks you with a pink slip or with a heart attack or a break-up or a death! That’s when you wake up, shocked and dazed, and begin to “fear an uncertain future”.
When you live out of fear, resisting the uncertainty that surrounds you, you will not grow. You may grow older. But you will not grow up. Because fear debilitates. It limits. Every aspect of Life is uncertain, unsafe, dangerous – there are so many diseases you can contract and die or your house can be burgled and you can be murdered or you may meet with an accident on the road or your plane may crash mid-air or someone could hack your bank account and siphon off all your hard-earned money…Anything can happen if you actually consider what all can go wrong with your Life. But if you start letting the fear of uncertainty rule you, you can be sure to have ruined your Life.
There’s hope though! You can let go of all your fear and embrace uncertainty. Since uncertainty is the essence of Life, when you embrace it, you are actually uniting with the Universal Energy. That Energy empowers you and gives you the true sense of security – which no insurance scheme, no amount of money and no amount of physical protection ever can. Then a pink slip will not torment you. Then not-knowing-what-will-happen will be part of the game, of the adventure called Life. Uncertainty can be scary. But if you drop the fear, the same uncertainty becomes beautiful. This is the magical quality of Life. To experience this magic you must learn to live in the moment, soaking in whatever the moment has to offer, in a “not-knowing-what-will-happen” mode!

Majnu, Madness and the Magic of Life!

The biggest impediment to happiness is non-acceptance of what is. The more we resist Life, the more our unhappiness persists. To love the Life you are given you need the eyes and heart of a lover like Majnu!

There’s an old Sufi parable, often perceived as a great love story, of Laila and Majnu (made into memorable Hindi films by several filmmakers), that teaches us the power of loving Life for not what it appears to be but what it truly is! Osho, the Master, often used to say it.

As the story goes, Majnu fell in love with a woman called Laila who was not beautiful according to others. According to popular opinion she was very ordinary and perhaps ugly too. But Majnuwas mad after her, for her, so mad that the very name of Majnu has become synonymous with madness. He was continuously praying to God, continuously moving around the city asking people for help, because he was a poor man and the woman he had fallen in love with belonged to an aristocratic family. Even to see Lailafrom far away was not easy. It was an Islamic country where the story is set, and in a such a country it is very difficult to see even the face of a woman.

Seeing his agony, his anguish, even the king of the land became a little concerned. He sent for Majnu __ he felt great compassion for him. He told him, “I know that woman; that family is well known to me, and if Laila had been a beautiful woman she would have been part of my harem. I have not chosen her __ she is not worth choosing. I have got all the beautiful women from all over the country, and I feel so much for you that I will give you a chance. You can choose any woman from my harem and she will be yours!” So saying, he called the most beautiful women from his harem to his court!

Majnu looked at each woman in minute detail and declared, “This is not Laila!” Again and again…he passed over a dozen women, and the remark was always the same: “This is not Laila!”

The king said, “You have gone utterly crazy! Lailais nothing compared to these beautiful women! You can choose anyone. I have known the most beautiful women of the world, and my women are some of the greatest that have ever been on the earth. Stop this Laila, Laila rant of yours….!”

Majnu replied, non-plussed, “But you don’t understand me. And I can understand why you cannot understand me. It is not a question of choosing somebody else or anybody else; the choice is not in my hands. It has happened already; the heart has chosen! I am nobody, I cannot interfere in it. The mind is only the circumference; the heart is the center. The center has chosen, how can the circumference interfere? And moreover __ forgive me for saying so, because you have been so kind __ I still insist that there has never been a woman like Laila and there will never be again. But to see the beauty of Laila you need the eyes of a Majnu, and you don’t have those eyes so nothing can be done about it. You have to see her through MYeyes; only then will you be able to see the grandeur, the splendor of her being.

Life’s like that. Like Laila. Often appearing to be ordinary, pedestrian, boring, challenging … everything else but beautiful, mesmerizing, fantastic. But there’s great grandeur in its being. And to see it, to feel it, to exult in it, to rejoice, to celebrate, you need to be. Simply be. You need to be like Majnu__ a bit romantic surely, but a lot, lot more fanatic! Such a Majnu-like attitude will arise in you, when you stop resisting Life and start embracing it! Such Majnu-like fanaticism may seem “madness” to people around you! But you, when you just be, and love Life for what it is, through that “madness”, you will be bliss!


Mourning or Celebrating: Our world is the same!


In the midst of all of our problems lies a very beautiful world. Simply, we don’t notice it!

Yesterday I was on a flight. The hostess did a particularly bad job of the announcements. The food was cold. My ear was blocked thanks to an infection I have been carrying. And my thoughts wandered, at 30,000 feet, to the slew of problems we are faced with. I tried attempting solutions to some of them by making a diligent list of them on my little Post-it pad. My problem solving skills were particularly challenged because the nature of the problems were so nscrutable. After about 30 minutes of concentrating intensely on those problems, I was no more wiser or relieved than before! Suddenly I was forced to look up.  Some activity across the aisle from my seat had drawn my attention.

What I saw blew my mind away. There was a very, very old lady, perhaps well over 90. She had very little hair left. But whatever she had was in a brilliant silver and was neatly combed and made her glow. Her skin was all shriveled. And hanging. She had no teeth. Even so, she appeared to be completely at peace with herself and her world. She was looking radiant and very beautiful. Her toothless smile made me come alive and connect with a higher energy. She was struggling though to stand up to walk to the washroom. The hostess, with the pathetic announcement skills, was helping her. When she realized, the lady couldn’t make it with just she offering her hand for support, the hostess reached out and embraced the old lady and walked her slowly to the washroom. They were back after several minutes. In that time I put my pen down and replayed the whole spectacle again in my mind’s eye. What I had witnessed was a beautiful spirit in the old lady and genuine human compassion (and not just the discharging of a professional responsibility) from the hostess. When the old lady was seated again, she held the hostess’ hand, smiled benignly at her and said, in a beautiful voice, in English: “My child, I love traveling. And I prefer to travel alone without having to depend upon anyone from my family. Because I know the world is full of such angels like you. Thanks for being so kind to me.”

The irony struck me hard. Both the old lady and I were traveling together. We were literally seated next to each other, with only the plane’s aisle running in between us. Yet the world the lady inhabited seemed so much more beautiful and abundant than my own. For, if I had not looked up from my futile problem-solving attempt, I may have missed the beauty in the moment that I actually was so blessed to witness. An awakening and a learning dawned on me: The world we live in is the same. It is the same for the one who mourns and for the one who celebrates. It’s beauty doesn’t diminish ever. We actually see the world as beautiful, for the way it is, but in the throes of our problems, we hardly notice its beauty! So,we believe “our world” has lost its sheen. Because we see it with problem-tinted eyes and a depressed spirit! Alfred North Whitehead (1861~1947),English-American mathematician and philosopher, has summed it up perfectly: “Everything of importance has already been seen by somebody who didn’t notice it.”

The import here is not to say that we should not face our problems or attempt solutions. There’s only a humble submission that in doing that, don’t get so consumed, that you stop to pause and celebrate the magic and beauty of and in the Universe! When you allow yourself to notice the world you see, without judging whether you are in a frame of mind to celebrate it, you will open yourself up to such a whole new world of opportunity and a beautiful new way of living __ intelligently!

To get more out of Life, get out of Life’s way!


Almost everyone wants more out of Life. But sometimes in Life, nothing seems to work! When nothing works, miracles will! Miracles happen not when you want them, but when you need them. Miracles don’t happen from your logic, they happen from the Universe’s magic. Not through rituals and mumbo-jumbo and god-men or god-women but from complete, total surrender to the Universe. They happen from letting go. They happen when you get out of Life’s way and allow Life to lead you the way!

Someone I know told me his Life’s story a few years back. He had lost everything in Life. His most recent marriage too had ended in a divorce, with the court granting his wife much of his estate. His business had suffered owing to the protracted legal proceedings. His children from an earlier marriage too had staked claim to his estate. They too had got what was left through the court settlement. His partner of several years had schemed and finally forced him to sell out his stake in the business ‘as-is-where-is’. He had barely got a few months’ survival costs out of that deal. That too had run out and all he had was about 200 pounds with him one morning in March! He was staying with a friend. He woke up, left a note for his friend, who was still asleep, and took a cab to the nearest rent-a-car service centre in East London. He hired a car for two hours but paid for five with the money he had. He just had enough to buy himself a burger and a Starbucks Coffee. He started driving out of London. He told himself he would drive as far as the gas in his rented car took him. He would step out where the car stopped and find a way, then and there, to end his Life! “I didn’t see a point living anymore. Nobody loved me. I had no money. And I was old, 58! I thought what was the big idea in struggling with a Life I didn’t want,” recalled my friend. So, when his car sputtered to a stop on an incline, en route up a small hill, he stepped out and walked up to the hill top. He managed to get to edge of a precipice that lay waiting for him. It was easily a 50 feet drop to a hard, rocky, certain death, he thought, as he surveyed the ‘last mile’ or so of his Life! He looked up at the sky. And noticed it was dark and cloudy. He spent several minutes staring at the clouds __ and wondered if there really was any silver lining in any of them. He thought all that he had gained, lost, learned and unlearned in Life. He confessed his mistakes to himself. And, in a ‘subconscious act of benevolence’, he thanked the Universe for what had been a tumultuous but eventful Life. It was then that he realized it was raining. Not heavily. But just so. He started enjoying the rain and told himself that since this was the last rain he would ever feel, he might as well wait for it to stop and relish every moment of being drenched in it. He closed his eyes and focused on each rain drop that fell on him. There was a certain beauty and a rhythm with which they fell, he noticed. Soon, he thought he heard music from the falling rain. It was like a very soothing Jazz piece, from his favorite, Louis Armstrong. Soon the music ended. And he could feel the rain no more. He opened his eyes believing that it was time he jumped without any more ado. When he opened his eyes, there, in front of him, where only gloomy, dark clouds had loomed large less than an hour ago, he saw the most beautiful rainbow ever! “I thought it was a rainbow created only for me! And if the Universe was creating such a miracle for me, I realized I had no business taking my Life which too the Universe, creation, whatever, had ‘given’ me. How could I take something which wasn’t even mine,” he recounted. He took a deep breath. He walked back to the road, hitched a ride. And decided to live a new Life!  He has since rebuilt his business, mended his relationships with his children, and lives Life to the fullest. What would have been the end of a sob story, continues to inspire!

When I heard him tell this story, my own Life was filled with darkness. His story gave me an opportunity to understand the magical quality of Life. I too, just like you perhaps, have come to such moments of complete hopelessness. Many, many times! I have learned, each time, that Life’s best when we don’t come in Life’s way! The truth is Life is playing a game with each of us. And since this Life has not been given to us because we asked for it, and since it is only a gift, we must not look a gift horse in the mouth. Our games and the rules are different__and unique to each of us. Metaphorically, each of us has been given a unique version of, let us say, ‘Angry Birds’. The rules vary and the levels of difficulty vary. It gets tougher as we start playing the game better. Every conquest of a new level is an ‘aha’ moment! Just as with a game, if you can’t crack a difficult level, flinging the phone or the iPad, in frustration, isn’t going to help, there’s no point absolutely getting angry with Life! Life has to be met, played with diligently and learned from daily. As you learn to play your Life’s game better, your level of difficulty may well increase, but as you let go and get out of Life’s way, you will see the beauty and magic in it!

Getting in Life’s way is something that we all do all the time. Not that we succeed. But our vanity, our ego, wants us to solve the problems that Life has placed in front of us. This is when despondency and depression sets in. This is when you feel you can go on no more. This is precisely when you must learn to get out of Life’s way! That’s only when you will get more out of Life too!

No matter what you are dealing with right now, learn to enjoy and feel the rain. Or if it isn’t raining yet, simply open your window and let some fresh air caress you. Hear the music of Life. Dwell in the beauty of that irreplaceable moment. Watch yourself coming alive. Witness a rainbow brighten up your Life. Your rainbow may well be a bird chirping, a dew drop falling or a child smiling on the bus. That moment of magic, that reaffirmation that Life’s beautiful, despite the circumstances you find yourself in, is your miracle!

Here’s hoping you get out of Life’s way and get more out of it this Sunday!