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Thirteen Astonishing Fallacies of Meditation

The following is a compilation of the comments/questions that have come up during my talks and in general conversations. Notice how the human mind is conditioned to aimlessly question everything and resist new experiences. My responses are in Italics. 1. Meditation is for monks and holy people. …and for you and me! 2. Meditation is weird and wacky. Meditation is as weird and wacky as riding a bicycle. 3. Meditation is selfish. If that’s true, then any activity we engage in — eating, sleeping, exercising, driving, watching television, taking a vacation — has to fall in the same category. 4. Meditation is boring. Okay. You got me there! Boredom and restlessness can weigh you down during a meditation sitting. Continued meditation can help you understand the process better and help ward off extraneous distractions. 5. Can meditation cure diseases? Regular … Read entire article »

Filed under: General, Hinduism, World

India, Don’t Let This Moment Pass!

We saw it happen. Tunisia overthrowing its incompetent government. The Egyptian revolution ousting its dictator. Ireland’s abortion laws coming around. The US considering congressional action on gun control. It’s your turn, India. You hold the power! People power! You can do it too. CHANGE! Here’s what I’m talking about: Brutal crimes against women are occurring in India, the land of goddesses, at an unprecedented rate. The reality of rape, acid throwing, forced prostitution, trafficking of girls, female infanticide, honor killing and caste related violence is fast becoming common place. The most recent atrocity took place in India’s capital city of New Delhi, where a young medical student was gang-raped and beaten on a public bus, and then dumped from the moving bus! The brave young woman clung on to precious life … Read entire article »

Filed under: Corruption, Hinduism, India

Are You Pro-life? Take the Pledge…

Take the pledge at Friends, it’s time to think CHANGE. It’s time to re-examine “life” for all that it represents, a time to reprogram our understanding of “life” to include not just conception and birth, but, more importantly, life after birth. Let’s engage in meaningful action — one that nurtures, enhances and protects the sanctity of the ENTIRE SPECTRUM of life. Let’s empower ourselves, our families, and our communities with knowledge. Let’s make informed decisions. Let’s learn to let go of blind faiths, irrational fears, erroneous beliefs, and meaningless rites and rituals. Let’s ignite minds, young and old, to take a stand, make a personal change, fight for causes they believe in, or discover new things. Let’s embrace the future and move forward together as ONE, with love and compassion … Read entire article »

Filed under: Politics, World

What are You Grateful for This ThanksGiving?

This ThanksGiving November, as I look back on my life within the framework of my goals, vision, commitments and passion, I wonder about what gives life meaning. Especially in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, I wonder if I have learned how to live life to the fullest. If this were the end of the world as we know it, I wonder what I would say. Two words glare into focus…THANK YOU!! I’ve lived a wonderful life, for which I’m sincerely grateful. Yes, there have been peaks and troughs. Elation for things that I could change; anger and frustration for those that I couldn’t. Things that I cherished but were fleeting; things that I received but of which I didn’t understand the significance. But the strong and resilient person that I am … Read entire article »

Filed under: America, NRI, World

Three Life Lessons that I Learned

Here are three life lessons that I learned at a vipassana meditation retreat: 1. All in life is interconnected. We live in an incredible web of connectedness. Everyone and everything exist in relation to each aspect of their individual life and each tier of collective life: Family and generational Social and community National and global Environment An imbalance in any one aspect of life has the potential to impact other aspects. One tier has the potential to impact other tiers. Think of it as the ripple effect. The impact of your thoughts, words, actions, and behaviors has far-reaching consequences. The take-away message for me here was: Be aware of your thoughts, words, actions, and behaviors. Understanding your role in the Universe and living with that responsibility helps you assess life’s choices in regard to its impact on the … Read entire article »

Filed under: General

Four Mantras for Relationship Success by Thich Nhat Hanh

On Sunday, May 6, the Venerable Vietnamese Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh appeared on Super Soul Sunday on Oprah’s OWN network. In a rare interview with Oprah herself, the inspirational monk and gentle spirit discussed his dedication to mindful meditation. Of the many things he talked about, his “four mantras” for relationship success were truly powerful. These mantras are for use not just in intimate relationships, but also in professional, social, and family settings. I have attempted to analyze these mantras within the context of my spiritual framework.   Here are the four mantras that really struck a chord in me: Darling, I’m here for you. Darling, I know you are there for me…and I’m so happy you are truly there. Darling, I know you suffer…that is why I … Read entire article »

Filed under: India, World

Does Social Acceptance Equal Self-acceptance?

Social acceptance—the need to fit in with those around—has always been central to human existence. It affects both genders and people of all ages, races, and faiths, regardless of rank or class. Self-acceptance is the concept of loving and being happy with who you are now, in spite of deficiencies. The Upside? Validation is vital to an individual’s existence as an independent entity. Most humans have three acquired needs based on sensory contact (through the six portals of sight, smell, hearing, taste, touch, and thought) with the external world: Identification with a group Language, culture, rites, rituals, communities, religions, political parties—all exist to nurture people’s sense of belonging, to create a forum for expressing shared views and experiences. Social integration is great in that it provides opportunities to learn about other races and cultures, promoting harmony … Read entire article »

Filed under: Hinduism, India

Does “Instant Gratification” Qualify as a Virtue?

Patience used to be known as a virtue, but is virtually unheard of in the present-day culture of immediacy. Today’s children don’t even know the meaning of the word. People want everything, and they want it NOW! Investors expect instant wealth from their financial ventures. Customers expect that they’ll look skinny after spending a week at the health club. Students expect perfect scores on tests for which they study the night before. Short-term rewards, short-term gain, instant messaging, instant feedback, instant food, instant cures, even instant movie-watching—instant gratification has infected the world faster than AIDS. The Upside? The proliferation of technology and electronic devices—the epitome of instant gratification—revolutionized the transportation industry and transformed time management worldwide. Our ancestors walked, for the most part, rode domesticated animals, or rowed small boats. As civilizations evolved, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Hinduism, India, World

Does “Net Worth” Stack up against Sense of Worth?

This haunting dialog from the 1975 Hindi movie Deewar captivated audiences (link below) and rocked the movie scriptwriting industry. The onscreen characters of Shashi Kapoor (SK)—the poor, but happy guy—and his brother, played by Amitabh Bachchan (AB)—the rich, but unhappy guy—are having a heated argument about SK’s “adarsh” (ideals) and “asool” (convictions) in contrast to AB’s flamboyance of wealth. AB arrogantly barks, “Aaj mere paas buildingay hai, property hai, bank balance hai, bangalay hai, gaadi hai. Kya hai tumhare paas?” [Translation: I possess buildings, property, a bank balance, mansions, and cars. What do you claim to possess?] SK utters with great pride, “Mere paas maa hai!” [Translation: I have my mother.] *** Who doesn’t want to reside in their dream house in a sought-after neighborhood? Or drive their dream car(s) or have the kids attend private schools? … Read entire article »

Filed under: Hinduism, India

Happy Republic Day, India

Did you know that the Constitution of India is the longest written constitution of any sovereign country in the world, containing 444 articles, 12 schedules and 94 amendments, with 117,369 words in its English version? Compare that to the United States Constitution, which comprises 7 articles and 27 amendments. India became a republic on January 26, 1950. What that means is it is the birth date of the “Constitution of India,” the governing document that defines the principles upon which the nation is based. January 26 is a national holiday in India. To commemorate this event, the government of India holds a magnificent parade in the capital each year, consisting of invited bands, military units, floats, and guests. India’s military from all three branches–army, navy, and air force–marches to the band and … Read entire article »

Filed under: India