The Pain of Moving

It is always very difficult to move on. Whether be it a place, a person, a job or a belief. Human brain is very comfortable with the homogeneity of life. Every day the same routine, same food, same office, same people. Any change in that routine creates a frustration and then chaos depending on the intensity of the event. We listen everybody say often – ‘I am bored from the routine.’ But it is just for a while. One might want a break, but then gets bored of that break, and look forward to the same routine. We fear Change. And we resist it in a big way. We pay a huge cost because we don’t want to change. Years pass by and we realize and feel and then wonder that we are at the same place as we were before years.

I have been at that place, we all have been at one time or another. We read a lot, watch a lot of motivational stuff, listen to great podcasts, but still we fail. Why? Because we don’t Do. We don’t Act. We are in the pattern of thinking about doing, but actually don’t do it. And then find reasons and excuses as to why we don’t do it. We keep telling ourselves the stories that it is alright, everything is fine the way it is. But deep down we aren’t satisfied. We like people, who try new things, who take risks, who just lead the life as they want to. Thanks to Facebook and Instagram, we get a peep into life of such people. They motivate us for a moment, but again we are too lazy to do anything of that sort. “After all they are lucky people that their destiny is such, that they can live their lives on their terms. We are not from that lot. We have to do what we are told to. We are so forced by situations and circumstances of our lives, that we don’t have power to make choices for our own life. We are just puppets to the circumstances, that we can’t quit what we don’t like.”

I know we all recognize that it is a bullshit story that we keep on repeating in our minds. We all like new adventures, and taking risks bring thrill to us, but what is stopping us – is the lack of courage and too much thinking. Belief that thinking too much will help us being safe and everything will be alright. But trust me, it feels it is alright, but after few years it won’t be. Moving to a better place or a better opportunity, getting out of a bad relationship or unsatisfying job. It is a virtue in itself. There is no doubt, that it will attract struggle. Every new situation has struggle tied to it. Even when a child comes out of mother womb, it is suffocated first, though it is a freedom to come out. In the same way, if we can develop the courage to manage the initial struggle, we can feel the freedom soon.

Freedom is nothing, but the feeling that you are in control of your life. And you are, if you let yourself be in the control and stop telling yourself otherwise. No world is going to stop by you doing what you actually want to do. Try for yourself and see.

Act. Discard. Move. Shift Gears.

 

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1000 journal project

I follow twitter very religiously and often come across many amazing people and accounts. Recently my love for stationery led me to Spotlight Stationery (@spotlightstat). They provide beautiful stationery boxes containing amazing things to their box subscribers (check them out, you will fall in love with stationery they give out every month). Through them, i got introduced to 1000 journal project. It is an ongoing project as well as their is a documentary with the same name. It is very inspiring story about how art connect all of us in an unbelievable way.

1000 journal is a project of Art journal. One day in 2007, a common man like you and me, doing 9 to 5 job, decided to pass on few journals at random place to random people, with instruction to put whatever they like in the journal and pass it on ahead. At the end of each journal he has mentioned his address, where you can send back the journals when it has come to its end. He sent out some 1000 journals during a span of 2 years. He has got around 25-28 journals back till now. And other remaining journals are still out in the world. His journals have crossed  many countries. He gets emails from many people who have got the journal and are filling it. If you will have a look at the filled journals in the documentary or its website, you will be amazed, that how a random act can have such a huge impact on lives of so many people. People have wrote, drawn, painted, and poured their hearts out in the journals. They took it as a responsibility, to do and create something beautiful and meaningful, and pass it on to others.

You can watch it and get more idea about the whole project in detail.

It will make you realise, that how each one of us is an artist. It will get you back in touch with your creative self. It makes you feel, that a small act of art, can bring so much joy to us as it used to when we were kids. In our busy lives, with never ending work, allocating some time to art can be very refreshing.

Paint. Sketch. Scribble. Doodle. Shift Gears.

Morning Pages – Journaling

I have been a big fan of Tim Ferris, and have subscribed his blog for years and have listened to his podcasts from time to time. Few years back, I read his best seller book “The 4-hour work week” and currently I am reading his latest book – “The Tools of Titans”. This book is full of practices and routines followed by many successful people.

One practice, which Tim himself practices, Morning Pages have fascinated me.  It is a very simple practice discovered by Julia Cameron, and she has discussed it in detail in her book – the Artist’s Way. You can visit her website to know more about it.

Tim has been following this practice since long time. It has been an important part of his morning routine, and now mine too. Morning Pages as explained by Julia:

“Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing,
done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*–
they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about
anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes
only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and
synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put
three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.”

So it is nothing, but to sit in morning with your notebook and a pen, and just fill the three pages with whatever comes to your mind. Julia even says, that if nothing comes to your mind, then write “Nothing comes to my mind” for all three pages. But just keep writing. Make it a ritual for every morning. And you don’t have to show it to anyone. It is for you. Even you don’t have to read it.

Writing has always been my way to let the feelings out, which i otherwise find difficult to express. I have always sought to writing to lighten myself up and to vent out. It has been therapeutic and meditative. Try out yourself and find out if this works for you. Because it think it will.

Do Write, Shift Gears.

Let it go

A beautiful post written by my friend which implies how lessons of life come to us in unexpected ways. If we have the mindset, even simple things can bring major shift in our thoughts. And this is example of that. From the animated movie FROZEN, with the different perspective. LET GO.. Shift gears..

A PILLOW OF WINDS

Looking at the past record of my blogging and writing, I never imagined that I’d be writing on a topic which I never thought would excite me. Yet, here I am, doing the unthinkable. My 6 year old niece loves to watch cartoons and cartoon movies (naturally). A few months back, she came across a Disney character called Elsa from the movie Frozen. And in no time ‘Let it go’ became her favorite tune to hymn. Gradually, she asked me to show her the video song on YouTube, and as I heard it, I instantly I became a fan. (I already had heard it, but this time it was different). That was the moment, to be honest, I made up my mind, that I would most certainly write a post on this magnum opus.

It is nothing like an ordinary song, at-least to me. It is more than…

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Anger & Attachment

Where does anger come from? As a person occasionally prone to angry outbursts, I’ve thought a lot about this question. The lesson of Zen practice is that enlightenment is not something that is suddenly achieved and retained in perpetuity. Instead, enlightenment, much like happiness, is a state of mind we only experience brief glimpses of. It is a process, not a result. This is why we must focus on the process, and not the results, if we want to include enlightenment in our experience. The harder we search for it, the more difficult it is to attain. We must simply let it come and go at will while nurturing the conditions that make it most likely to arise— mindfulness, concentration, gratitude. This is the most intriguing paradox of Buddhism but also the most liberating.

When I don’t meditate for a few days, I notice the conditions for enlightened consciousness begin to fade. I become less aware of how I am behaving and thinking and am more prone to losing myself in harmful thoughts or actions. This lapse makes me more prone to anger, attachment, impulsiveness and mindlessness. I view meditation as a daily cleaning of the dust from the mirror of the self. If we let the dust build up, we lose sight of the self and begin to act un-harmoniously. It’s important to recognize that this is natural; the same way dust buildup is natural, mental fogginess naturally results from a lack of self-reflection. We are not failures or idiots for letting it build up, and should never beat ourselves up over this, but if we want to live mindfully we should take the steps needed to clear it up each day.

This is partly where anger comes from. The impulse that feeds anger is the desire for things to be different from what they are. How silly that we trouble ourselves trying to alter reality and bend it to our wishes. This is sure path to disappointment and destruction. In this respect, anger is a reflection of how attached we are to the illusions of the world and the self. The higher the stakes, the more severe our emotional response. This is why anger often comes about at times when it would seem most important for it not to. We sabotage ourselves with anger when we are most in need of a compassionate attitude towards the self.

Many notable figures with stressful careers in fields like business, medicine or entertainment have publically lauded meditation’s influence. It enables them to stay calm and centered when the whole world seems to be chaotically rushing around them. What great strength we find when we differentiate ourselves from the herd. When everyone around you is too focused on results to calmly participate in the process, the one who ‘wins’ is the one who isn’t focused on winning, but on each little momentary action. This is the secret to a meaningful and ‘successful’ life. Meditation’s benefits and results come from its greatest lesson: life is not about benefits or results.

The challenge of mindfulness is to remain calm and self-aware even when everything in the world is begging us to lose our cool. This is why consistency is so important in meditation practice. If we don’t consistently flex the muscles that train the mind to be still, we might not remember to be mindful when we need it most. It is our duty to ourselves, our loved ones, and the world at large to retain mindfulness when life challenges us with chaos, anger and indulgence.

This all might seem very insular to you, but is it really? How often have rash emotional responses harmed those around you? How often has fear kept you from doing things you intuitively know you should do? How many times have you felt anxiety or depression because you directed your anger inward? These self-defeating impulses aren’t just inconveniences; they shape the way we live our lives. If we don’t uncover the mindfulness needed to balance them out, they end up holding us prisoner.

The goal of meditation should not be to escape anger or escape suffering. This is a false attitude. There is no real goal to meditation; this is exactly what gives it its power. If we attach it to an ends, we attach ourselves to the act itself and it subsequently becomes impotent. But if we meditate for its own sake, we learn to let go. In learning to let go, we make peace with the world for what it is. In making peace with the world, our anger disappears because we stop trying to control every little moment to fit our fantasies and expectations. Instead of trying to become something else, we make accept what we are.

By Charlie Ambler

Meditation: Exercise For Mind

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.” —Amit Ray

I’ve been lifting weights for 5 years, which is half as long as I’ve been meditating. Exercise has changed me more than I would have thought when I started. I have become less anxious and less depressed. I am in better control of my habits. I am more confident. Physically, I am stronger and have more endurance. I can move really heavy things with ease and carry moderately heavy things a fair distance. My skin has improved, my sex life is better, etc, you get the idea. After a good workout, I feel less angry and my mind is sharper. I enjoy all of these benefits and have devoted much thought to why I enjoy them so much.

Mostly, exercise reconnects you with your body. Many people are disconnected from their bodies and so do not appreciate the other more nuanced benefits of keeping the body in top form. They do not recognize the relationship between mentality and physicality. Fine-tuning the body also sharpens the mind, which in turns enhances your relationship to the world around you. You see clearer, think clearer and feel more empowered to take risks and do things. Not only this, exercise influences your relationship with yourself. You become willing to suffer and work hard to both achieve and maintain results. Exercise is not masturbatory. Sitting on the couch and eating junk food while watching TV every day is masturbatory. Exercise is hard work! It doesn’t always feel good, and that’s when it’s most important to persevere.

Now, let’s return for a bit to Zen mind. No more of this results talk. No more ego talk. Meditation has the same effect on the mind as exercise has on the body. When you do resistance training, you work specific muscle groups really hard. They become exhausted and damaged from working so hard. When the fibers repair, they are stronger. You repeat this as much as you want to grow stronger, bigger, leaner, whatever your goals are. The process becomes more rewarding than the results. It is a meaningful ritual. This process requires patience. It requires commitment. It requires an ability to suffer through difficult sets, injuries and recovery times.

Anyone who has meditated for a while will tell you that this process applies to meditation in the mental realm. In the beginning, your mind is often very sore. It gets distracted. It fails to stay focused. It experiences intense emotions and thoughts. It loses its way. Sometimes it uncovers painful thoughts and memories that it wanted to hide. With all this suffering and difficulty comes progress, but only if we confront it and push through it. With this progress comes moments of pure bliss, moments of beauty and awakening. These moments are impossible without the struggle and the patience.

I view exercise and meditation as the two greatest practices in this world. I am so grateful I have them in my life. I don’t feel attached to them or compulsive. Every day when I meditate I am grateful to have the time and energy to do so. When I go to the gym, I savor every rep. I try to eat properly and recover properly. These are not activities that we do to get better at life; they are life. They are what our caveman ancestors did to stay alive. Running, climbing, lifting, jumping, dodging, hunting. Add mindful contemplation into the mix and you can really enhance your relationship with both yourself and the external world. Meditating and exercising with diligence and respecting the process provides us with a sense of deep meaning. The connection you develop with yourself— your body, your mind, etc— connects you with the whole world. It helps you recognize yourself as a part of the world rather than a mere individual.

By Charlie Ambler, founder of Daily Zen.

The urge for an answer

Everyone might come to this place – where I am right now – at least once in his or her life time. It is a great learning place that one can be at and is forced to analyse one’s self, though it is nothing less than the epitome of struggle. I am trying hard to understand myself and start with something to do – that would make me feel like I am on the right path – something meaningful as well as fun while doing.

Starting with something is not easy, when in the first place you don’t even know what you want to do. To get the answer to this question, I have questioned every possible person that i thought can help me, but no one was able to justify or help me get to my answer. Then i started to search online resources, like websites, podcasts, interviews and books.

During my search, i have landed on to many interesting websites and Youtube channels which would be great for you to check out – Inspire nation show by Michael Sandler, Inside Quest and Impact theory by Tom Bilyeu. Both this places call upon inspiring writer to their shows and have interviews on length. Writers share their own quest and experiences with life and how they overcame their own self and reached the other side. I came to know about many new motivational books and writers through this programs. Also Gatesnotes.com is a great book recommendation website by Bill Gates himself.

How much ever you look for an answer outside, I have realised nobody or nothing can give you answer to your question, but you. You need to get connected to yourself to get the answer. Now the real question would be, how to get connected to one’s real self – how to get advice from the expert – You. Our innermost self has answers to all our questions, it knows what we want to do, where we want to go, when even we don’t know. For that we have to silence our minds noise and become capable to listen to the voice within.

To be silent at such times is the most difficult task. Mind takes over and it does not allow you to remain calm, instead anxiety and fear start driving your decisions and in turn your life. I am still trying to figure out ways to remain calm and shut my mind up, that can just keep me away from the anxiety driven state – which make the situation worse altogether. We lose the faith that things are meant to work out and instead feel that we need to do something – which we don’t know, but we need to do and behave like a fish out of water.

Keep searching till you get the answer. I believe i will tumble upon something great on my quest for my real self, and so might you. As Rumi says – Look for the answer inside your question.

Keep digging. Move Inside. Shift Gears.