Create your own magic, let your music happen and be happy!

When you can immerse yourself into doing something, no matter where you are, and you love doing it so much that you lose yourself, in it, to it – well, that’s one sure way to be happy!
T.M.Krishna in “One”
Picture Courtesy: One with Music/facebook Page
A couple of days ago, I watched the opening of Carnatic classicist T.M.Krishna’s “One” (P.Jayendra, 2014) at Sathyam Cinemas. It was a magical experience. Jayendra calls his film an “experiment” to take the artiste out of the confines of a studio and/or auditorium and allow him to perform unbridled and free in nature – where the artiste experiences a oneness with creation itself. But the “experiment” actually ends up breaking tradition, blazing a new trail and setting musicians and music free. None could have been a better protagonist for this path-breaking initiative than Krishna. As Krishna himself told Narayan Lakshman of The Hindu, a few days before “One’s” release: “I have, over the years, moved to a different space in what music means to me and what the experience of music is; singing in tranquil, lush surroundings such as the foothills and forests of the Nilgiris allowed me to feel the air and space, actually experience beauty, and let the music happen.” When you watch the film, you too will realize how Krishna let go and let the music flow – unmindful of the film’s crew at work or of the three cameras that were capturing his every move and the seven microphones that were recording live sound – of not just the singing, but of the water flowing, the birds chirping, the clouds rumbling and the leaves rustling. Clearly, there appeared to be no retakes – Krishna sang from his soul and the crew recorded. Which explains how they finished recording the entire film’s content – all the songs – in just two days! That was my key takeaway from the “One” experience – Krishna just lost himself to what he was feeling, immersed himself in the moment and let the music happen.
For lack of a better quote, let me repeat, one more time, what Osho, the Master, has always said and championed: “When the dancer becomes the dance, when the singer becomes the song, when the musician becomes the music, magic happens.” Clearly you can witness and feel the magic happening in “One”. Interestingly, we too can create this kind of magic in our lives if we too follow our bliss – doing what gives us joy and immersing ourselves doing it all the time.
My bliss comes from being able to express myself through my writing, my public speaking engagements and through leading and inspiring change among people in workshops that I lead. I have found that every time take the floor, I just forget where I am and even who I am. I simply become the subject that I am championing.
I remember, some years ago, we were mandated with leading change in a very fractious environment at a leading healthcare company. I was anchoring a crucial offsite workshop, which marked the culmination of several months of our intervention. But parallel to our professional commitments, there was a big seismic event happening in our Life – we were just coming to terms with the fact that as a Firm we were bankrupt and penniless as a family! One of our creditors, from a large, multi-national bank, had figured out where we were conducting the workshop for this client and landed up at the hotel’s banquet area. He accosted me during the coffee break and threatened to both disrupt the proceedings by informing our client of our “dishonorable nature” and to also sue us in court. I told the gentleman and his contingent that while I appreciated their claim I could not fathom them interrupting me while I was at work. I requested that we meet another day at my office. But the creditor insisted on creating a ruckus. There were raised tones and some aggressive body language followed. This led to my client’s Executive Director, to walk up to me and ask if everything was okay. Her intervention led to the creditor and his team backing off. They agreed to meet me the next day at my office. But my equilibrium was clearly disturbed. I requested my client if I could extend the break by a few more minutes just to gather myself. When I resumed, and took the floor again, after 10 additional minutes, the Chairman of my client company also joined his team. Over the next two hours, I made an impassioned plea and case for change, citing opportunities that this team had, and highlighting the problems that needed resolution urgently. I lost myself to the cause that I was championing. When I finished, the Chairman, rose and soon the whole team, gave me a rousing, standing ovation. Each of them, including the rabid elements on the team, without any suggestion from me or the Chairman, promised to personally change and pledged to transform their company. When I got back home that evening, I marveled at how I had shut out such a disconcerting experience with the creditor and yet had been able to contribute so passionately to a client’s cause. I reckoned that this was possible only because I had done what I love doing, because I had immersed myself both to the cause and in the moment. In a couple of quarters after this workshop I bumped into the Chairman of this company again at the lobby of the Taj Coromandel Hotel and he told me this: “Your intervention was magical. It healed my team. Of course we had to let a couple of managers go, but the rest of them have truly changed the way they think and behave. Resultantly, they are performing better. This would not have been possible without what you did for us.” It was a humbling compliment. I cherished it more because is showcased to me that it is possible to banish worry and anxiety, anger and grief, and to let your music happen, if you do what you love doing and learn to be in the moment!

You too can do this. Despite what you are going through and what you are faced with, choose to spend an hour every day doing what you love doing – be it cooking, walking, gardening, reading, singing, dancing, writing, driving or even working (if you enjoy your job). Immerse yourself in that activity. You will soon discover that it is possible to lose yourself to what you love doing. That’s how you create your own magic, let your music happen, and learn to be happy! 

Recognize our oneness as human beings

Unless we realize the oneness that unites us as humanity, we will never be at peace.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination divided the country, referring to the anti-Sikh riots in 1984. “Our own people were killed. The incident was not a wound on the throat of any community but a knife, a dagger on India’s century-old great social fabric,” Modi is reported to have remarked, taking an indirect dig at the Congress, and their purported role in those riots. Consequent to Modi’s public posturing, neither he nor any National Democratic Alliance member visited Indira Gandhi’s memorial, Shakti Sthal, yesterday to pay homage to her on her death anniversary. No sooner had Modi taken this stand, his critics pointed to the daggers that were driven through India’s chest in December 1992 (over the Babri Masjid episode), followed by what happened in Mumbai between December 1992 and January 1993 (over the gut-wrenching Mumbai riots) and during February~March 2002 (over the Godhra episode). Irrespective of which party ruled – or where they ruled – these episodes do throw up painful memories of India’s soul bleeding. And all of this happened because we, as a people, as a nation, have allowed ourselves to be tricked to believe in our separateness, and worse, have allowed ourselves to be exploited on that unfortunate premise. These episodes are a gory, haunting, reminder that we didn’t recognize our oneness as people, not just as citizens, but as human beings.
What’s shocking is that we continue to refuse to see humanity as one even at a personal, individual level. The other day I was aghast when someone we know wanted us to connect them to a “Brahmin” lady who could be “gifted” a saree to commemorate someone’s death anniversary. Now, why a “Brahmin” lady? Why would this someone’s maid, who toils daily to keep their home clean, be a less deserving beneficiary? But my sane counsel, and humble protest, cut no ice. To appease the dead, I was told, a “Brahmin” alone can and must be a beneficiary!
An old story that Osho, the Master, used to say, comes to mind. A king had made a palace; the palace was called the Mirror Palace. The floor, the walls, the ceiling, all were covered with millions of mirrors, tiny, tiny mirrors. There was nothing else in the whole palace; just mirrors everywhere. Once it happened that, the king’s dog, by mistake, was left inside the palace in the night and the palace was locked from the outside. The dog looked around and became frightened — there were millions of dogs everywhere. He was reflected: down, up, in all the directions — millions of dogs! He was not an ordinary dog, he was the king’s dog — very brave — but even then, at the moment, he was alone and very scared of the “other” dogs. He ran from one room to another, but there was no escape, there was nowhere to go. He became more and more frightened. He tried to get out, but there was no way to get out — the door was locked. Just to frighten the other dogs he started barking, but the moment he barked the other dogs also barked — because they were all mere reflections. Then he became more frightened. To frighten the other dogs he started knocking against the walls. The other dogs also jumped at him and bumped into him. This saga endured all night. In the morning the dog was found dead. But, see the beauty of it, the moment the dog died, all the dogs died. The palace was empty. For, there was only one dog and millions of reflections.
Osho tells this story and says that this is the point that the venerable sage, Patanjali, makes: “There is only one reality – and there are millions of reflections of it. You are separate from me as a reflection, I am separate from you as a reflection, but if we move towards the real, the separation will be gone — we will be one.”

Alas, this simple truth is not understood. We find more and more ways as individuals, as a society, as a country and as a world, to focus on our “separateness” than celebrate our “oneness”. We even take our arguments and logic to banal levels – choosing to ignore a former Prime Minister’s contributions by refusing to pay homage to her or choosing not to talk of events that have plundered our country’s conscience and secular fabric – just because they inconveniently remind you of your failures to provide responsible leadership and governance! Understanding our oneness does not require a great effort. If we simply take a deep breath and see that we are all alive because of this one, Life-giving, source, which is common to all of us, we will bury our divisive urges and live celebrating our oneness! 

On the futility of hating

When Nina Davuluri won the Miss America pageant on Sunday, the celebrations were marred, shockingly, by some hate tweets, and as some view it, racist comments. Obviously, those comments led to more hatred against the haters on social media. And, surely, this morning’s newspapers in India led with Davuluri’s crowning on Page 1, playing up, alongside with the young lady’s triumph, the misplaced hatred for and racist comments against her.
That brings us to a simple yet important question: why do we hate someone or something? To be sure, each of us is strongly opinionated. Some of us express ourselves rabidly – of late on social media – while others keep their views to themselves. But, without doubt, we have experienced hatred for someone, whom we cannot get along with (often not even stand the sight of) at some time or the other. The question is why?

The fundamental reason why we hate is because we are not aware of the oneness of all creation. It is when we see each person as different from ourselves do we even have the urge or temperament to compare, and therefore, to dislike, or in some cases, hate. Separateness comes from the ego. When the ego is driving you not to look at the core of your creation, but at the fringes – when you look at nationality, community, family background, social or economic standing, color and such. Instead look at the core of all creation – especially among us humans – you will find that there is no separation, no difference. All of us are alive because of the same Life source powering us. We may have different stories, different upbringings, different education, different approaches to Life and even speak different languages – but we are all one! An evolved person will not let the ego drive her or his Life. Such a person will look beyond the differences, and go to the core and celebrate it. Then Davuluri’s win is your own win. As much as the loss of lives in the Washington D.C naval base shoot-out is your own loss.

The more we see creation as separate, the more we will be consumed by such wasteful emotions like hatred. At least one intelligent response when you see a chain of hatred being triggered is not to participate, not to respond. Just let it go. One opinion less out there means one moment less in the public lifetime of that form of hatefulness. By choosing to stay away from joining the chain of hatred in a situation does not mean ignoring it or “brushing things under the carpet”. When you feel hatred towards someone or something, focus all your attention on it. Don’t respond to it. But deeply meditate on it. You will then see the futility of your anger, the stupidity of your opinion, the frivolity of your venom, your hatred and through your ‘seeing’, you will see the object of your hate and you as one! It may sound incredible. But try meditating on someone you hate and you will come to this realization soon – perhaps after a few attempts owing to the “extent” of your hatred and your own evolution with the practice of meditation!
The truth is, as the Buddha taught, either you – the real you – exists or hatred does. If hatred is, then you are not. And if you are, then there can be no hatred. The real you, the real me, get suppressed when we are not aware, when we are in the clutches of ego. The moment awareness takes over, the ego cannot survive. And when there is no ego, there’s no hatred, there’s no separateness. Only oneness thrives!