The true meaning of Life is being free — so let Life simply be!


The true meaning of Life is being free!

And to be free you must just let everything be. When you wish that things were different is when the shackles of pain, agony, suffering, sorrow, guilt, anger, jealousy, remorse and fear imprison you. 

How do you let it, or anything, be?

This question has be answered with understanding why it is being asked in the first place. What is the difficulty in letting things be? One clear idea can be that if you don’t do something about some situation, you will have abdicated responsibility. Or if you don’t do something, something worse will happen. Or that you may grieve later that possibly you could have done something. So, for these reasons and perhaps a few more, you will find it difficult to let things be! And you want to get back into control.

Let’s also be clear about what situations call for action and which ones call for letting them be. Your house is on fire, obviously, you can call the fire service. Your teenage child is taking to drugs. Surely you can counsel him and take him to a de-addiction center and work on getting him back. So, you act when you can act and must act. No issues. But there may be situations in Life when you cannot do anything. Someone close to you is dead. What action can you take to bring the person back to Life? So, let it be. Or someone is seriously ill. The doctors are trying. But they too say only a miracle can save her. What can you do to work that miracle. The best you can do is to let it be. Or a relationship is suffering because someone is hell bent on interpreting whatever you say. You have clarified, apologized, fallen at their feet, but the person keeps on bludgeoning you. What can you do? You want the situation to heal, but what can you do? Healing takes time. So, you just let it be. Or you try your best to resurrect a failed business and your Life, but every single attempt meets with zero success. It’s not that you lack talent or purpose or values or ethics. But still the business doesn’t happen. Money just refuses to come to you. You have tried getting an employment but nobody even wants to meet you, let alone hire you. What do you do? Other than letting it be, do you have a choice? So, when you have tried everything and nothing works, while you may still want to try newer approaches to dealing with a Life situation, you just let it be. 

When you let things be, the mind will make matters worse. It will remind you that you are doing nothing about a grave situation. It will amplify every small fear into something draconian, gruesome. But fear has to be dealt with head-on by facing it. Only then can you overcome it. Once you have crossed the threshold of fear, all other emotions become manageable. If you are not scared of what will happen, how can worry even exist? When the future doesn’t worry you why will the past haunt you anymore? Your entire being slips into just being.

So, to practice letting things be, take stock of your Life:

1.   Make a two lists: areas that you can act on and areas you cannot

2.   Act on all areas that you believe there are options available to act on

3.  And on those areas where you can’t do anything anymore, where you don’t have any more options left, just let them be. Watch your emotions as they obsess with you. Meet them head-on. Only that way will you transcend them.

4.   When you transcend your emotions, beginning first with fear, you will slip into just being

5.  This may take days, weeks, months, years, but only through continuous practice can you arrive at that state of just letting your Life be

6.   And once you have let it be, you have given up the need to become, you are NOW free!

That’s how you experience true freedom. Freedom means a certain inexplicable blitheness of the spirit. You feel alive – because fear, anger, worry, guilt, everything, every guest who was residing in you, holding you in their grasp, has taken leave. The house is empty. And what resides there is a lot of air and light. It’s pure. It’s beautiful. And that is what the true meaning of Life is __ being free, unshackled, unencumbered, detached, being alive.

To rid yourself of your negativity, go to the source within!


Learning to deal with emotions you don’t want in you, requires a deeper understanding of yourself. You are the source of all your joy, your miseries, your habits and your overall attitude to Life.

Fundamentally, no one wants to be angry or sad, worrisome or anxious, fearful or complaining. Ask anyone and you will be told that all they want is to be happy. Yet why do the other emotions come into play?

The simplest way to understand this is to know yourself. Let’s say someone did something nasty to you. Broke your trust, or cheated you or conspired against you. Then your entire system erupts in response and emotions like anger and hatred come to the fore. “How dare you?” and “Let me teach you a lesson!” are the manifestations of these emotions. And you project your anger or hatred on that person or on that object. That is really of no use. Because while that person will perish, at times, unable to bear your shower of negativity, the source also gets scarred. And the source is you. So, if you want to check your emotions, go to the source. This happens also when you are sad. Someone dies. And you feel sad. You feel infinitely sad for days, weeks, months. The person who died is no longer there, the object of your grief is absent. But you keep on projecting your emotion on your memories. These emotional projections are like cinematic projections. They are magnified and become larger that you! They rule you, possess you only because you allow them to. For them to become inconsequential, you must go to the source. And that source is within you, not in the object that you project your emotions on. So, if you want to get rid of your anger or sorrow or fears or anxiety, stop focusing on what triggered it and focus inside you, on what’s continuing to cause it! You will need to turn off the projector if you want to stop the projection!

We are doing this projection business all the time. With a variety of emotions. In India people go to the beach for various reasons early in the morning. A jogger sees the rising sun in the Bay of Bengal and feels refreshed and energized. A child sees it and is excited about wanting to make sand castles. A man sprinkling the ashes of his dear father who he has just died the previous evening, wonders sadly, fearfully, anxiously, how the first day of his Life without his father will be. A lady looks at the sun and later at the sea, which appears surreptitiously calm, fearfully and angrily wondering how it will react the next moment – because that has been her experience with the tsunami of 2004 when she lost her entire family! The fact is that the sun and the sea are the same. It is the same sun and sea that people are seeing. But each one’s projection is different.

So the hatred, the sorrow, the fear, the worrying about that comes out on to objects that are causing you to behave that way are actually a reflection of how you are at the source. Some part of you dies each time you express yourself with any of these negative, debilitating emotions.

That’s why in Buddhism, everyone is encouraged to be a Buddha. And a Buddha is about compassion. In being unmoved by what’s coming at him or her, the Buddha projects compassion, because she or he is compassionate at the core. To reach that state, we only have one way, to understand who we are. We are all centers of love. If we bail out all the negativity in us, what will be left is love. Become that center of love, and you will be unmoved. In fact, you will attract everyone in the Universe, just as a magnet does.

Osho, the Master, often shared this marvelous Zen story: “One of the greatest of Zen Masters, Lin Chi, used to say, “While I was young I was very fascinated by boating. I had one small boat, and I would go on the lake alone. For hours together I would remain there.” Once it happened that with closed eyes I was in my boat meditating on the beautiful night. One empty boat came floating downstream and struck my boat. My eyes were closed, so I thought, ‘Someone is here with his boat, and he has struck my boat.’ Anger arose. I opened my eyes and I was just going to say something to that man in anger, then I realized that the boat was empty. Then there was no way to move. To whom could I express the anger? The boat was empty. It was just floating downstream, and it had come and struck my boat. So there was nothing to do. There was no possibility to project the anger on an empty boat.” So Lin Chi said, “I closed my eyes. The anger was there, but finding no way out, I closed my eyes and just floated backward with the anger. And that empty boat became my realization. I came to a point within myself in that silent night. That empty boat was my Master. And now if someone comes and insults me, I laugh and I say, ‘This boat is also empty.’ I close my eyes and I go within.””

Maybe you may want to use this technique of the empty boat. It works miraculously!

Life’s nature is to go up and down!


Life’s nature is full of duality. What’s up will go down soon. And what’s down will go up too.

When we don’t understand this duality and refuse to go with the flow of Life, we will grieve, suffer and agonize over every twist in our Life’s tale!

The Master Forlorn
This is not a comment on the man or his decision. This is just a presentation of a case in point. Just look at the venerable Sachin Tendulkar, the master of the game. Look at how pale shadow he has become of his own original great self! Writing in The Hindu this morning, Vijay Lokapally, observes painfully: “The master’s dismissal, against England here on Friday, was a poignant moment for those who have watched him conquer batting peaks that none dreamt of. His state is that of a singer who has lost his voice, an artist his brush or a soldier his gun. Or, precisely, of a Tendulkar who has lost his bat. Bowled off an inside edge. Not for the first time. Fifty-two times the ball has hit his stumps; 58 times the pad has come in the way. He has failed many times, but never has he appeared so helpless, so despondent…But his aggregate stands at a monumental 15,643 runs in Tests and 18,426 in one-day internationals. Had his technique and attitude been faulty, Tendulkar would not have travelled thus far. If failure has embraced him more than success this year, the reasons can be many, and different. “What if he is getting bowled? It is another mode of dismissal,” former great Bishan Singh Bedi would insist. True. It is just another mode of dismissal, this one triggered from a spot that jagged the ball in by a bowler brought back into the attack with a specific plan. Tendulkar, 39, nearly collapsed as the ball crashed into the stumps. He recovered and trudged back to the dressing room, leaving a trail of sadness. The introspection of his dismissal was best left to him, the greatest batsman the game has seen.”

So, this is not an analysis of Tendulkar as much as a perspective on Life itself. Get used to this truth: what may once appear invincible will be humbled. And the meek shall conquer. This is the way Life works. With a peculiar, inscrutable madness. This will happen to every single person that walked the planet. And you__and I__are no exceptions.

So how does one deal with Life? By just living it!

Living simply means that Life will give you problems, challenges and pain. Whether you like it or not! Now you can do nothing about what comes at you. But you can do everything within your means to ensure you don’t grieve, agonize or suffer over what comes. You can live without suffering anything: a bad relationship, an ailment or injury, emotional stress, poor or even zero income, poor form or injustice. You, in fact, are responsible for all your suffering. Suffering comes from wishing, pining and insisting that things were different. Acceptance is an antidote for suffering. Give up insisting and start accepting what has come your way. You won’t suffer. 
Know at the same time that what causes you pain now will fade away with time. It will eventually be replaced with extraordinary and boundless joy. Only, in some more time, for the whole cycle of Life to be repeated again. 

As former US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice said, “Life is full of surprises and and serendipity. Being open to unexpected turns in the road is an important part of success. If you try to plan every step, you may miss those wonderful twists and turns. Just find your next adventure_do it well, enjoy it_and then, not now, think about what comes next.”


Life Really Is A Mind Game


Life really is a mind game. And you need to be on top of the game to live your Life fully!
The human mind is an amazing, to use a Gen Y term, App! It can do more things than even your iPhone or the fastest supercomputer on the planet ever can! The key is to use it effectively, efficiently and point it to whatever you want out of your Life.  
Examine each of your feelings. Worry, guilt, anger, jealousy, sorrow, pain, suffering __ all of them are born out of your mind. Have you ever asked yourself why do these feelings arise? Let’s take a case. You lose your job. And are out of money. You need to pay your bills. You are fearful as a new month dawns. Is the month fearful? Is the bill fearful? Is non-payment of bills fearful? Or is it that your mind tells you that a scary future awaits you? Indeed it your mind that induces feelings in you. What if someone told you__and proved to you__that non-payment of bills is moksha or nirvana or salvation or bliss?   
According to the Buddha, the mind is full of drunken monkeys who are always jumping around, aimlessly, boisterously, mischievously, cantankerously. They are noisy and there is an incessant chatter that they cause. The drunken monkeys are Buddha’s metaphor for the 60,000 thoughts that arise in your mind daily. Research has proven that the average human mind throws up 60,000 thoughts daily. And these thoughts are random. They sometimes have no relation to what you are doing. For instance, while driving to work, you may see a lady in a red dress. And that lady could remind you of a girl from your college that you once had a crush on. And soon the thoughts could move to how difficult you found Economics back then. That thought could lead you to how you cheated in exams. And then you start wondering how hypocritical it is to be counseling your adolescent child on integrity. Then you think about the lack of transparency in public Life. You think of the state of your country. And then your mind complains about how bad the roads are and how messy the traffic has become. One red dress took you, in a few seconds, on a trip that spanned several decades and various issues! 
That’s really how powerful your mind is. The Buddha also taught that it is imminently possible to tame the mind monkeys. He said don’t resist them, don’t control them, because what you resist, persists. Instead tame them. And that means give them something meaningful to play with. On a spiritual plane, giving the monkeys awareness of your true Self is a beautiful way to tame them. When your mind knows who you really are__that you are simply the energy that powers the Universe__the mind will quit playing stupid, senseless games. You will begin to see everything__EVERYTHING__as petty, transient, fleeting and inconsequential. Success, failure, sorrow and joy, will mean the same to you. On a more practical plane, taming the monkeys means giving them a higher cause, a Purpose and a Vision, to play with. Which is, when the monkeys know why they do what they do, they will do it with involvement, with passion and with diligence. Then there will be no jumping around. There will be a certain aesthetic quality to your thinking, bringing a beauty, a sense of Purpose to everything that you do! 
On Sunday, Aadya Kaktikar wrote, in The Times of India’s Crest Edition, a piece on Odissi exponent Guru Mayadhar Raut. In the article, reviewing Raut’s biography ‘Odissi Yatra’, Kaktikar asks the Guru how he has such a phenomenal memory at his ripe age of 83. And Raut replies: ‘Ye man ki ekagrata se hota hai. Ye man ek rai ki pudiya jaise hai. Yadi bikhar gaya to use phir saath lana assambhav hai’. Meaning, “This is possible due to the focus of the mind. The mind is like a bag of mustard seeds. Once the seeds scatter it is impossible to gather them again.”
Mindfulness: This is so simple and yet so profound!

That’s at the same time so simple and yet so profound. For all of us who have not tamed our mind monkeys, our thoughts are like those mustard seeds__they are all over the place. Which is why we worry, fear, are anxious, sometimes jealous, often angry and are quickly filled with suffering at the slightest hint of pain! Which is also why we don’t see the beauty, magic and miracle of Life, in everyday occurrences. 

Change your Manic Monday today to Mindful Monday! Point your mind in the direction of your true Self and on your Vision for yourself. Let nothing distract you.  
Remember as long as your thoughts, your mustard seeds are gathered and your mind monkeys stay tamed, you will be alive to the magic of each moment. It is the sum of all these awakened moments that will make up the rest of your Life! To make them memorable or keep them manic, of course, is your personal choice!