What Happens At The Time Of Death?

A beautiful video where an enlightened master is asked the age old question: What happens when we die? The question is answered in an absolutely masterful way and is worth watching multiple times to get the full depth of all that is being said. The key insight is that “all is well”. What happens depends on what we want and where we are in our journey. If we are engrossed in the world of form and have unfulfilled desires our entanglement with form will continue for more cylces. If on the other hand we have begun the process of disengagement with the world of form then our journey will progress in that direction.

Another key insight is that even for an enlightened master there is room for sorrow and grief when a loved one departs. Eckhart Tolle discusses frankly his own reaction when his parents died. He says that it is entirely possible to have the coexistence of both a place of sorrow and grief combined with an underlying current of peace.

This video is really an invitation for us. It is an invitation to build towards a level of awakening so that our journey out of desires and form begins. It is also an invitation to build a level of disengagement so that the passing of a loved one does not disrupt the underlying layer of peace.

You may also like: Eckhart Tolle On Spiritual Awakening

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Four Ways To Find Meaning

Search For Meaning
All our actions are aimed towards finding happiness and avoiding sorrow. The search for happiness is the most meaningful thing we can do.

This essay should end here. But alas, finding happiness within the context of the ego is like trying to build a sand castle at the beach. Waves of discontent and sorrow will eventually reclaim it.

It is important to realize that there are two broad categories of meaningful actions. To understand this we will explore two Sanskrit words:

  • The first word is “Artha” and relates to the first category of actions. Literally it means “meaning”. And it refers to action that leads to cessation of suffering. We spend our lives in “Artha” because we find it meaningful to act in a way that diminishes suffering and provides us with happiness. Sadly the actions related to “Artha” are ego centered and we never find lasting happiness.
  • The other Sanskrit word is “Paramartha” and relates to the second category of actions. This word means “Supreme meaning”. Because of the futility of “Artha” we have to go beyond it to actions that provide deeper happiness that cannot be destroyed. Such actions are “Paramartha” and are actions that take place without the ego’s interference.

We are all naturally inclined to act in a manner that corresponds to “Artha”. Many will spend entire lives doing so. But our moment of awakening begins when we realize the futility of “Artha” and instead synchronize our actions towards “Paramartha”. This is when our journey into yoga begins.

This essay shows how to take our ordinary actions and orient them in such a way that puts us on a journey into Paramartha. If we take this journey to its logical end it leads to a permanent end of all suffering. But the journey into the extraordinary starts with the ordinary. Here are four ways to find deeper meaning in life:

1. Selfless action

A far more superior type of happiness unfolds in our life when our actions seek the happiness of others. Selfless action can happen if we can control our thoughts so that ego-driven thoughts are minimized. The challenge for us to change our orientation from “What’s in it for me?” to “How can I serve?”

2. Love and connection

Selfishness takes us away from love, while selflessness take us towards it. The happiness that comes from selfless love is far superior to the brief glimpses of happiness that arise in a love that is possessive and clinging. The challenge for us here is to build an attitude of forgiveness and let go small slights so as to not make mountains out of mole hills.

3. Knowledge and creativity

When we minimize our ego-based concerns we are able to free up tremendous amounts of energy. This energy allows us to be truly creative and gain knowledge and expertise that would otherwise be beyond us. The happiness of such creativity is far superior to the happiness gained by power and position. The challenge here is to go from “How can I prove that I am right?” to “What does this mean?”

4. Direct exploration of consciousness

We are conscious creatures and our consciousness is naturally outwardly directed. When we calm down our mind-body systems enough then we are able to direct our consciousness inwards towards itself. When this process starts we are able to gain knowledge of our true identity. The happiness arising from such knowledge is far superior to the happiness gained by being engrossed in our sensory world. The challenge here is to disengage from the sensory world and seek solitude and quiet.

Every moment in our life is an opportunity to permanently end suffering. Sadly we fritter away our lives trapped at the level of the ego unable to break free from the cycles of temporary happiness and suffering. Let us resolve to move away from this and turn our actions from “Artha” to “Paramartha”.

You may also like: Two Faces Of Reality

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

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Kiss The Earth

Kiss The Earth With Your Feet

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Bring the Earth your love and happiness.
The Earth will be safe
when we feel safe in ourselves.

- Thich Nhat Hanh

You may also like: The Power Of Unknowing

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The Power Of Introverts

In this thrilling talk Susan Cain, a self-declared introvert, describes her journey into accepting her introversion in the face of societies bias to look more favorably at extroverts. She talks about her love for books and her love for her grandfather who surrounded himself with books. She remembers him as a quiet and graceful presence surrounded by people who loved him and respected him though he was an introvert.

Susan has done many years of research on the phenomenon of introversion and has even written a book on the subject. She differentiates introversion from shyness. She considers shyness as the fear of social judgment, while introversion is merely being more comfortable with less stimulation. She does not think that there is a pure introvert or a pure extrovert. We all fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. The extroverts love to be in an over stimulated environment most of the time while the introverts like to tone down the stimulation and be within themselves. Most of us fall somewhere in-between so that there are times where we prefer stimulation and times where we prefer solitude.

What alarms Susan is our societies bias for extroverts and she thinks that this can be dangerous for us as it has the potential to stifle the creative process. While she does not deny the need for collaboration and social skills she feels that all of us must take the time to get away from groupthink by unplugging and spending time in solitude.

From the point of view of those who aspire to be on an yogic journey we must realize the importance of solitude. The price of deeper Self-discovery is solitude. We must learn to live with less and less stimulation as we progress on our yogic journey. The yogic journey is a journey into quietness, solitude, and introversion. Its time we recognized the power of introversion and introverts, and have the courage to speak softly.

Related: Pratyahara Is The Bridge To Meditation

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Nine Ways To Invite Health Into Your Life

Health As A Choice

Health is not something that just pours out of our mind-body system over which we have no control. There is an element of choice involved in how our mind-body expresses health. Here are few things that you can do to invite health into your life:

1. Food

The food we eat has an enormous impact on our health. Careless eating habits can even bring a robustly healthy mind-body system to its knees. Eating over-processed food that is loaded with chemicals, hormones, and sugar will overwhelm your system and force it to express its troubles to you as an illness. Do not mind being labeled as a “health nut” and put only healthy stuff in your mouth.

2. Sleep

Sleep is essential for a healthy mind-body system. Cutting short on sleep can build up imbalance in our body that can grow into physical and mental ailments. Be sure to get 8 to 10 hours of good quality sleep every night, and give yourself the chance to catch up on deficiencies in sleep at least once a week.

3. Chronic Stress

Our mind-body is perfectly capable of handling stress. But when stress becomes unrelenting our mind-body has no time to recover. Illness is the result. Sleep and Yoga can help you get out of stress. You can also try meditation and breathing exercise to help reduce chronic stress in your life.

4. Relationships

Having strong loving relationships is essential to our health and well being. It is possible to have thousands of Facebook Friends but at the same time have very few quality relationships. It’s not the number of relationships that matters but its quality.

5. Relaxation

The ability to take an occasional down time or a relaxing vacation is essential for our health. Taking a leisurely stroll along the beach, or in the park, or a forest is important. It helps restore our connection with our deeper core, and this expresses itself in our health.

6. Attitude

The ability to think outside our own concerns and have more empathy towards others is a key to our health. A constant ego-obsession with perceived or real insults can make us angry, worried, and hostile. When we take away focus from our ego and instead become sympathetic to other people’s concerns it improves our relationships and our mental well-being. This is eventually expressed in terms of our overall health.

7. Active Life-style

Having an active life-style is essential for health. It’s important to move about and be active. Walking, exercising, playing outdoor games, yoga, running, and any other physical activity should be part of our daily routine. Also having fun in these activities and building connections and relationships multiplies its health benefits.

8. Cleanliness

It is important for health to maintain cleanliness and personal hygiene. But cleanliness is not just physical cleanliness. It’s also about de-cluttering our thoughts. Learning to keep our thoughts clean is the same as taking their focus away from the ego. An unclean mind and body will eventually express itself as an illness, so cleanliness in mind and body is key to health.

9. Meaning and Purpose

People who feel they are doing meaningful work are healthier and live longer. But meaning and purpose do not fall out of the sky. They come about when we do our actions with a sense of service to others. Ambition and ego kills meaning, while humility and service enhances it. Even the most humble job becomes something much larger when done with a sense of service. Finding meaning is not necessarily about finding work that is meaningful but it is finding meaning in the work we are already doing.

The greatest danger to good health is to take it for granted. This article puts you back in charge. Take strong action and make sure that you are always in the company of good health.

Related: Nine Secrets Of Long Life

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

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