Many common problems are caused by wrong attitudes. People see themselves as the center of the universe and judge everything as it relates to them. Naturally you won’t be happy that way. You can only be happy when you see things in proper perspective: all human beings are of equal importance in God’s sight, and have a job to do in the divine plan.
I’ll give you and an example of a woman who had some difficulty in finding out what her job was in the divine plan. She was in her forties, single, and needed to earn a living. She hated her work to the extent that it made her sick, and the first thing she did was to go to a psychiatrist who said he would adjust her to her job. So after some adjustment she went back to work. But she still hated her job. She got sick again and came to me. Well, I asked what her calling was, and she said, “I’m not called to do anything.”
That was not true. What she really meant was she didn’t know her calling. So I asked her what she liked to do because if it is your calling you will do it easily and joyously as I walk my pilgrimage. I found she liked to do three things. She liked to play the piano, but wasn’t good enough to earn her living at that. She liked to swim, but wasn’t good enough to be a swimming instructor, and she liked to work with flowers.
I got her a job in a florist shop so she could earn her living working with flowers. She loved it. She said she would do it for nothing. But we use the other things too. Remember she needed more than a livelihood. She needed other things. The swimming became her exercise. It fits in with sensible living habits. The piano playing became her path of service. She went to a retirement home and played the old songs for people there. She got them to sing, and she was good at that. Out of these three things, such a beautiful life was built for that woman. She became a very attractive woman and married a year or so later. She started right in that life pattern.
Credit: Written by Peace Pilgrim. “Peace Pilgrim, her life and work in her own words”.
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“Follow your passion” is the most common advice given for a healthy and happy life. But it is rarely mentioned that there are many who remain stuck in a dead end when they follow their passion. So what is the right approach? Should one confine oneself to the straight and narrow safe path of drudgery and boredom? Or should one take the courageous but more dangerous path that passion dictates?
The key here is to understand that there are two types of passions. One is the passion on the surface. This is the “shallow” passion. It is linked to immediate gratification and is driven largely by the ego. Activities related to following such passion cause a boost in the ego as one is moderately good at such activities. This path of passion is a roadblock. It prevents us from finding our true calling as we most likely stop at the shallow level. Our egos are boosted and going further into unknown areas seems dangerous and unnecessary.
Then there is the deeper Passion with the capitalized “P”. This is our deeper calling. It is not related to the ego. Rather the ego is a roadblock. How do we know we are following our Passion and not a shallow ego-boosting activity? The answer is that when we follow our Passion, we are “zoned out”. Time and space do not exist as we spend long hours in this activity, and when we emerge out of our zone we emerge relaxed and happy. There are no boundaries in such activity and there is no worry about acceptance or failure. On the other hand when we do activity related to our shallow passion we are looking for praise, acceptance, and we are constantly afraid of failure. Our work here leaves us tired and anxious. At the shallow passion level our work is merely good and acceptable. However at the level of our deeper Passion, our work is path breaking and outstanding. At the shallow passion level, learning has stopped or is not creative enough. At the deep Passion level learning never stops and is extraordinarily creative. Deep Passion may or may not make us rich or famous, but it gives us immense inner satisfaction. The problem is that most of us remain stuck at the level of the shallow passion and never venture out to the open field of our deeper Passion.
So how do you find your Passion and not remain stuck at the dead-end level of “shallow passion”? The answer is not to try and find your Passion. Rather let it find you. When you get out of your craving to do ego-boosting activity that gives you immediate gratification of recognition and respect, and instead do your actions in the spirit of service, then Passion will find you, and your life will be transformed.
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Credits:This has been written by Raj Shah and edited by Ketna Shah.
Intelligence seeps through in every aspect of the universe. This wonderful video shows that Honey Badgers are not only intelligent but also skillful tool users. Rather than behaving as masters and overlords of this planet we have a responsibility to work with all species as equal partners to ensure our collective survival.
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The understanding of the word ego is slightly different in our normal day-to-day usage as opposed to the word used in the spiritual context. The typical understanding of the word ego is conceit or self-importance. It often has a negative connotation. A person with huge ego is thought of as being full of himself.
The term ego or “Ahankara” in the spiritual sense has a slightly different and subtler meaning. The entity that takes ownership of all our actions (Kartrutva – कर्तृत्व) and that believes that it is entitled to enjoy the fruits of all its actions (Bhogtrutva – भोक्तृत्व) is ego. Both Doership (Kartrutva) and Enjoyership (Bhogtrutva) go hand in hand. When we talk about transcending the ego to realize the Self, it means one has to transcend Doership and Enjoyership. A true Karmayogi (one who is on the path of Selfless Action) is a perfect example of someone who has transcended the ego. She performs all her actions because they are the right things to do not because of any selfish motive. And she does not expect any fruits from the actions that she performs.
It is very easy to misinterpret the concept of transcending Doership and misunderstand it as not taking responsibility for your actions. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Another beautiful way of explaining the concept of ego in Vedanta is by comparing it to the reflection of Sun in a bucket full of water. The Sun signifies the Self (Atman/Brahman), the bucket signifies our body, the water signifies our mind/intellect and the reflection of the Sun is our ego. We incorrectly think of the reflection of the Sun as “me” where as the true “Me” is the Sun that is unaffected by what is happening to the bucket and water. If the water is muddy, the reflection is not clear but the Sun remains the same; if the water is disturbed, the reflection is shaky but the Sun still shines brightly. Similarly, the changes to our body (pain, discomfort), mind (emotions), and intellect (thoughts) clearly affect our ego but the Self is unaffected. It is only because we think of our ego as us, we feel that we are affected. If we correctly think that we are not our body, mind, intellect, and ego but are our true Self, we will never get affected.
Credit: This has been written by Milind Pradhan. He is a student of Vedanta and eastern philosophy. In his professional life he is a Professional Engineer and Board Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE) and a principal in a leading Environmental Engineering firm.
The Golden Egg
The Golden Buddha
We are all familiar with the Calorie Model of weight loss. This model states that when we consume more calories than we use, we gain weight. Consequently to lose weight we need to reduce our calorie intake to below what we use. This model has gained widespread popularity and it has put most people of the developed world in some form of dieting. The problem is that though the Calorie Model works pretty well in the short term, it just does not work in the long term. The phenomenon is so well known that the term “Yo-Yo dieting” or “Yo-Yo weight cycling” has entered the popular lexicon, and refers to repeated weight loss and gain as a result of an attempt to reduce weight by reducing Calorie intake.
This post attempts to introduce a new model for weight loss. We shall call this model “the Stress Model”. This model says that it is foolish to view calories in isolation. Since Stress controls energy usage, consumption, and storage in our mind-body systems, any attempt to manage weight in the long term should be aimed at managing stress. The core idea of the Stress Model is that if we drain stress out of our lives, then our system automatically adjusts our calorie intake, usage, disposal, and storage in a way so as to reduce our weight.
To summarize the differences: Calorie Model versus Stress Model
- Calorie Model puts you in charge of Energy Management. Stress Model accepts that Stress really controls Energy Management.
- Calorie Model puts you in a fight with your mind-body; Stress Model forces you to work with your mind-body.
- Calorie Model seeks to reduce weight by reducing Calorie intake; Stress Model reduces weight by reducing Stress.
- Calorie Model works short term, Stress Model works long term.
- Stress model accepts that mind-body knows how to regulate weight; the best way is to work with mind-body and reduce stress. Calorie model completely ignores wisdom of mind-body and ignores stress levels.
So how does Stress model work?