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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

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

The Dream of Vishnu (Part 2) – Nothingness?

The Dream of Vishnu (Part 2) Nothingness? The Buddhist conception of nothingness today is grossly misunderstood. Many people ask that if the ultimate reality consists of nothingness or emptiness, then why even do anything? People prescribing to such point of view also state that it is all maya, then why should we even do any dharmic actions? Such people see futility in doing their righteous duties for the welfare of the society or dharma. It is similar to the situation of a shattered Arjun who found it useless to fight his enemies on the battlefield consisting of relatives and friends. The war of mahabharat should not be judged as a good war or a bad war but a dharmic war. Is non-doing of one’s own duties really futile? Is inaction same as renunciation … Read entire article »

Filed under: Hinduism, India, Vedic Knowledge

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

The Dream of Vishnu: Shunyata or Infinity? (Part1)

Dream of Vishnu :  Shunyata or Infinity? That man who uses the mind for reins and the knowledge for the driver, reaches the end of his road, the highest seat of Vishnu. Than the senses the objects of sense are higher; and higher than the objects of sense is the Mind; and higher than the Mind is the faculty of knowledge; and than that is the Great Self higher. And higher than the Great Self is the Unmanifest and higher than the Unmanifest is the Purusha: than the Purusha there is none higher: He is the culmination, He is the highest goal of the journey. (Katha Upanishad, Kena and other Upanishads, Page 115, 1.3.9-11) A thought cannot be measured nor can it be known as to when it began. It can also … Read entire article »

Filed under: Hinduism, Vedic Knowledge

Is Your EQ Consistent with Your IQ?

EQ or Emotional Intelligence (popularly referred to as EQ) is a term that’s been around a while. Author Daniel Goleman brought it into prominence in the 1980s with his best-seller, you guessed it, “Emotional Intelligence.” What is EQ and how is it different from IQ? And, why does it matter, anyways? IQ, as we know, is an individual’s ability to learn, memorize, problem solve, reason, communicate, and process information. Scientists believe that both genetics and the environment can influence an individual’s IQ and that it cuts across gender and ethnicity. Myriad tests are available on the market that assess IQ and are used by educators as predictors of a student’s educational achievement or “giftedness.” The higher the score on these tests, the higher your IQ — it’s that simple. For example, the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Hinduism, India, Vedic Knowledge

Is “Convenience” a Measure of Fulfillment?

Is “Convenience” a Measure of Fulfillment?

Who doesn’t suffer from the modern human affliction called “convenience?” It’s a hard reality that can’t be ignored. I’m guilty of it too. Personal computers, mobile devices, 24/7 cable television, vehicles, appliances, air conditioning, power tools, online banking, frozen meals, paper towels, antibacterial soap, the works! One-click phone calls, flip-switch controls, junk food drive-thrus, instant movie watching. The Upside? Life overall is more efficient and pleasurable. We can schedule tasks around our personal calendars. Modern conveniences provide … Read entire article »

Filed under: Hinduism