Soar High

Soaring Falcon

Once there was a king who received a gift of two magnificent falcons from Arabia. He gave the precious birds to his head falconer to be trained. Months passed and one day the head falconer informed the king that though one of the falcons was flying majestically, soaring high in the sky, the other bird had not moved from its branch since the day it had arrived.

The king summoned healers and sorcerers from all the land to tend to the falcon, but no one could make the bird fly. Most who came were afraid that if anything happened to the bird the king would be very angry. He presented the task to the member of his court, but the next day, the king saw through the palace window that the bird had still not moved from its perch. The members of the court had the same fear. Having tried everything else, the king thought to himself, “May be I need someone more familiar with the countryside to understand the nature of this problem.” So he cried out to his court, “Go and get a farmer.”

In the morning, the king was thrilled to see the falcon soaring high above the palace gardens. He said to his court, “Bring me the doer of this miracle.”

The court quickly located the farmer, who came and stood before the king. The king asked him, “How did you make the falcon fly?” With his head bowed, the farmer said to the king, “It was very easy, your highness. I simply cut the branch where the bird was sitting.”

We are all made to fly — to realize our incredible potential as human beings. But at times we sit on our branches, clinging to the things that are familiar to us. The possibilities are endless, but for most of us, they remain undiscovered. We conform to the familiar, the comfortable, and the mundane. So for the most part, our lives are mediocre instead of exciting, thrilling and fulfilling.

So let us learn to destroy the branch of fear we cling to and free ourselves to the glory of flight!

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Credit: Came to us via e-mail. Source unknown.

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Unshackle From The Past

Unshackle From Past

Anyone who has tried meditation knows that it’s not easy to either stop or control your thoughts. According to Yoga Sutras thoughts arise from “Samskaras” or “Latent Impressions” in the mind. The modern way to say this is that thoughts arise from the “wiring of the brain” or neural connections. But how does the “wiring of the brain” arise? The answer is that thoughts themselves modify the brain’s wiring. New connections are forged by thoughts and ideas. There is nothing unusual about this notion. We routinely talk to others in the hope of influencing them. A new thought can rewire the brain and subsequently change behavior. Modern psychology, advertisement, and education are based on this notion.

So we have a closed loop system: Thoughts arise from the wiring of the brain and in turn influence and modify the wiring of the brain. It is apparent that this closed loop system is self-perpetuating and has potential to continue ad-infinitum. Our actions in the past are the cause of thoughts and feelings in the present that then give rise to new actions that then influence the way we think and behave in the future.

The past casts its shadow on the present and our actions in the present shape the future. So how do we unshackle from the past? How do we break this cycle? Are we doomed to being shackled to this endless chain of cause and effect?

It is the contention of Yoga that this cycle can indeed be broken. The entire treatise by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras is based on this idea. The “Eight Limbs of Yoga” in the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali are a means of breaking free from the endless chain of cause and effect.

Bear in mind Yoga is a process that unfolds gradually. It is a process of slowly modulating the effect of the past on our lives and charting out a new direction free from its influence. Think of the eight limbs of Yoga as something that create a positive spiral in our life that slowly lifts us out and frees us from the clutches of the past. Doing the asana practice is vital but it is only one of the eight limbs. To unshackle from the past one has to practice all eight limbs simultaneously.

The ego is also one artifact arising from our actions in the past. As the effect of the past subsides so does the ego. Consciousness then manifests itself clearly without the distortions of the ego-mind. Instead of our ego driven concerns our lives are governed by love and compassion. The break from the past is not running away from difficulties. It is moving away from selfishness, anger, and bitterness and moving towards love instead. As the role of ego diminishes and our journey into yoga deepens we can break free from our destructive patterns of thoughts that trap us and hold us down.

If Yoga is taken to its logical conclusion, a state of “Samadhi” is eventually achieved. Neural connections are now so re-wired so as to create no new connections that cause distortions in Consciousness. Free will is now fully synchronized with Divine Will. Our lives are fully spiritualized. We are completely free once more.

Related: A Tale Of Two Destinies

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

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A Story For Tomorrow

As travellers we are on a quest. But do we know what we are looking for? Shall we find it? Was our journey worthwhile? This wonderful video will make you stop and think.

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The Cocoon And The Butterfly

Butterfly Cocoon
A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole. Then it stopped, as if it couldn’t go further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily but it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The restricting cocoon and the struggle required by the butterfly to get through the opening was a way of forcing the fluid from the body into the wings so that it would be ready for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us. We will not be as strong as we could have been and we would never fly.

Related: How To Become A Butterfly?

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Yoga And Dying

Yoga And Dying

Lets face it: the prospect of dying is not a pleasant one. Yet this is the single unchanging constant in our lives. How we deal with dying to a large extent determines how we live. But we do not want to talk about dying. We hope that by somehow keeping the prospect of dying out of our mind, we can avoid it. Unfortunately this is counterproductive. If our thinking about dying is muddled, so will be our actions. This post attempts to take the issue of dying from under the rug and bring it out in the open.

Dying is the ego’s problem. Our association with the ego turns dying into our problem. The more closely we associate with the ego, the more our attitude towards dying will be either evasive or heroic. In either case, our mistreatment of the prospect of dying can have adverse effect on our lives and the lives of our loved ones. It can make our lives miserable and so also the lives of our loved ones.

The key to cultivate the right attitude towards dying comes from decoupling ourselves from the ego. When this happens the terror associated with dying greatly diminishes. This in turn greatly reduces the amplitude of drama associated with dying. Those around us find us to be more approachable and our lives are filled with love till our last moment.

How does Yoga come into all this? The key is to understand that yoga is a process. It leads to a mind-body that slowly decouples itself from the ego. Yoga takes you away from your ego and introduces you to your soul.

As we allow the magic of Yoga to unfold in our lives, we find that the role of anger, bitterness, jealousy, and rigidity is greatly reduced. This is replaced by love, forgiveness, compassion, and flexibility. All this is the direct result of decoupling from our ego.

The decoupling from our ego also allows us to approach the process of dying in a more natural way. Instead of fear we have acceptance. Instead of anger we have generosity. Instead of bitterness we have love. And instead of remorse we have forgiveness. Our thinking is decoupled from false drama and becomes more mature. When the ego ceases to become our focal point, our decisions are based out of love. This fills our lives with happiness and so also the lives of our loved ones. We allow ourselves to die happily, peacefully, and naturally. But more important is that we learn to live fully with lives filled with love, peace, and gratitude.

You may also like: What Happens At The Time Of Death?

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

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