Other Worlds To Sing In

Picture of Singing Bird
When I was quite young, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember well the polished old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it. Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person–her name was “Information, Please” and there was nothing she did not know. “Information, Please” could supply anybody’s number and the correct time.

My first personal experience with this genie-in the-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer. The pain was terrible but there didn’t seem to be any reason in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy. I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear. “Information, Please,” I said into the mouthpiece just above my head.

A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear, “Information.”

“I hurt my finger,” I wailed into the phone. The tears came readily enough now that I had an audience. Continue reading

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Breath Of The Eternal

Breath Of The Eternal
“The Self cannot be known to man, if he desists not from evil, if he controls not his senses, if he quiets not his mind, and practices not meditation.” –From the Upanishads

Reading the ancient scriptures of Hinduism is fascinating, and I am amazed by the importance put on meditation. As a student of meditation I find this very inspiring.

In the first chapter of the Upanishads (Katha) Nachiketa is granted three boons from Death, because he had waited at his house for three nights and not received his hospitality. For his first and second boon Nachiketa wishes his father peace of mind and to learn the fire sacrifice that leads to heaven (thereafter called the Nachiketa sacrifice).

For his third boon he asks Death to tell him the truth about life and death. Death refuses to grant this wish, and offers him all the pleasures imaginable, but Nachiketa insists that this is his only wish. Death refuses again, and Nachiketa repeats his wish a third time. This satisfies Death, and he grants him his wish.

“The good is one thing; the pleasant is another.” says Death, and he also says “Blessed are they that choose the good; they that choose the pleasant miss the goal.”

Nachiketa was blessed according to Death because he had renounced the most pleasing offers. His focus was pure and clean and therefore he could be initiated into the secrets of the eternal.

This post comes to us from Norway! Thanks to Nicone of Just Add Yoga. Reposted with permission. Here is the original post.

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An overflowing cup

Overflowing Cup
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea.

While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen.

The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”

“Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

Our ego-identities are barriers to deeper knowledge. They prevent us from imbibing new thoughts as these have to struggle past deeply entrenched ideas associated with our ego-self. Till we empty our cup off these we shall be unable to grasp the deeper essence of Zen. Yoga is a journey of slowly draining this cup and moving out of our ego-identity.

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I am nothing and I am everything!

Nisargadatta Maharaj

Nisargadatta Maharaj


“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing,
Love is knowing I am everything,
and between the two my life moves.”
—Nisargadatta Maharaj

If we identify ourselves with our ego then we need true wisdom to realize that we are truly insignificant. This knowledge does not arise as an intellectual exercise but comes about from the deeper well of life-experiences.

When we reach the level of wisdom to realize that our ego-identity is nothing, our lives overflow with joy and love. From this overflowing emotion of selfless love comes a realization that our True Self encompasses everything. Every molecule and atom dances to the beat of its joy and the entire universe is nothing but its plaything!

Having fleeting insights into our deeper identity we still struggle with our ego-self and our life oscillates between the two. Here is the translated version of what Nisargadatta Mharaj probably meant:

“Wisdom is knowing I (the ego-identity) am nothing,
Love is knowing I (Deeper Self) am everything,
and between the two (Ego-identity and Deeper Self) my life moves.”

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (April 17, 1897 – September 8, 1981) was an Indian spiritual teacher and philosopher of Advaita (Nondualism).

One of the 20th century’s exponents of the school of Advaita Vedanta philosophy (nondualism), Sri Nisargadatta, with his direct and minimalistic explanation of non-dualism, is considered the most famous teacher of Advaita since Ramana Maharshi.

In 1973, the publication of his most famous and widely translated book, I Am That, an English translation of his talks in Marathi by Maurice Frydman, brought him worldwide recognition and followers.

Credits:This has been written by Raj Shah and edited by Ketna Shah.

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The Power Of Embracing Opposites

Picture of two faces

“When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy._When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,’ and others say, ‘Nay, sorrow is the greater.’ But I say unto you, they are inseparable.” —Kahlil Gibran

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how embracing one side of a spectrum invaluably deepens our understanding and often our appreciation of the other. The catalyst of this contemplation was something I experienced a few weekends ago. Over the course of two days, I was in the company of a loved one preparing to leave his body, followed by that of a newborn arriving into the world.

In addition to witnessing these two, vastly varying phases of life, I observed a full spectrum of my own emotion—sorrow and joy, fear and comfort, denial and acceptance. While my sorrow certainly deepened my gratitude for experiencing joy, my joy only deepened my appreciation of my overall ability to feel.

Likewise, I witnessed my beloved friend, Eric, who passed away a week and a half after my visit; find such balance between reason and passion. Eric was like an uncle to me. Throughout his nine-year battle with bladder cancer, he experienced a great deal of pain, but he did not allow himself to suffer mentally. He put up an enormous fight against the cancer with his body and worked ceaselessly to harness and better understand his mind. In addition to self-study and meditation, Eric and his wonderful wife used music as an outlet to channel their emotions (he was an amazing guitarist, who taught me so much). Continue reading

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