Monday, August 23, 2010

East & West!

Sometimes I wonder if there is real difference in east and west... or there is not. Studies apart, which depend upon the statistical probabilities this is what I have noticed...

On a person to person basis, I do have few really close western friends and they are great to be around, talk, discuss, analyse. But if one is upset, they will usually try to talk sense ... how about 'name the logical solution', 'name the difference' or if much evolved 'name the emotion' ...
There is often an underlying anxiety of 'not getting stuck up' in someone else's problems, someone else's dynamics... almost like 'hey, i have far too many of my own, I can't carry yours' types.
Cynics say that is why psychotherapy evolved in west, you buy support and friendship. That is insane! (pun intended).

Oh, on the other hand, the extended self of eastern world, does help!
It only took 7 minutes 4 seconds precisely by a loving, affectionate phone call from my elder sister to talk me out of my real low moods. Seriously, is that too much to ask from someone???
( thank God! she is not a psychologist, or too psychologically sophisticated, else she might have moderated her concern, affection and even her intuition :)

Even during my spiritual discussions with western friends and mentor, sometimes I do get a strange sense/ resistance of being not fully convinced. The missing part is often a sense of unconditional affection... words seem empty without that (without a loving morality, as they say in Vedantic literature).

This was validated by a conversation with an Indian friend who shared about his Guru, (spiritual mentor) who lovingly cooked for him and one day broke his subtle arrogance by answering some serious philosophical questions, even before he asked them. Factually, this guy had his studies upto doctoral level in IITs, (and now a prof in another IIT), while the Guru was semi-literate or almost illiterate or less read(???).

They say, when the student is ready, the Guru appears. Am I ready enough...
Time to give time a break... not to Pondi but to Himalayas?

Ah! give me a sign, make the route little more easy... Its going tough now and for the first time, I'm really at the end of my rope! (Feel like hanging with the little that is left! ;)
Divine, you might be really tempted to extend the length of the rope, (like Draupadi's sari?), how about giving me a break this time and you appearing instead???

(PS: Suggested reading by a friend


  1. Can't disagree with that. The difference East West is the difference head heart and, although complementary, the two have a completely different logic. The power of the heart is being with and not making a real difference between self and other because what is visible and important to it is not the self or the other but the connection between the two; the power of the head is being out - watching from a place of objective detachment. That's why East and West need to talk together so much ... Thanks for this beautiful insight. I liked very much the 7mn 4sec to get yourself out of a bad mood without a PhD in psychology ... not too bad as you say.

  2. Yes I do agree there is need for conversation between head and heart, within same person, between people, and between east and west. Although after being in US for a year I realized the distinction is much more fluid.

    But yes, averages of statistics matter here. Especially when a lot of current world policies are determined by the head, which is often geographically located in the West. The burden of these policies are more often on the shoulders of people, across the world, whose heart do not understand these calculations.

    Personally even I am still learning, with a bit of struggle, how to get to that space where dichotomies like head-heart, self-world, meet.
    Wish me good luck :)

  3. Not sure it got posted so I do it again.

    Hi Jyotsna, how are you? Busy working and no time to visit friends.
    I did read your new post yet but will this evening.

    Yes, important to bridge dichotomies because they are a way of thinking we have learnt at school - nothing more.
    I have always been left wondering about why we were creating so many conflicts and oppositions between things as they obviously work together if we look just a bit closely and with an honest heart.
    WHat really help me most is the practice of meditation - soul consciousness more precisely - the conscious exercise of the position of the observer / presence inside, behind the eyes, at the centre of the space of the mind.
    In that spot, all the threads gather and meet.
    From that point, mind and world are perceived as a single field and Yin - yang, high - low, right - left or right - wrong are seen as the two legs that allow us to walk free - you cannot do without any of the two.
    Yes, the conversation with the heart is so rich! The voice of the heart is so genuine and clear and direct - no ambiguity like the head who always work in circle or opposites like a pendulum - which is very useful also.
    But we - I - forget and need to get into trouble before coming back to my heart. the one who sees the essential and ask its advise.
    I hope you are well and I know luck is by your side because it is the gift from Him/Her.

    1. Hi Frederic,
      Good to hear from u :) Was truly a lil busy ... have joined a new postdoc in yoga and meeting exciting people, interesting research, and amazing possibilities :)
      But I also didn't visit ur blog since I thought that I will get an automatic update about ur new posts. But guess it somehow missed. Have subscribed again :)

      I was reading Mother's post yesterday about different types of abilities/ personalities ... she compared them to different forces in the world. In a miser, the force of holding together might be working, whereas in someone else the force of expansion, of giving might be working. Both are imp. and have their place in the world. How often we miss this perspective. Suddenly I see- I am naturally looking for harmony, the similarities between different things. But some people are naturally looking for differences, and thus dividing, breaking down concepts into sub-concepts etc. Imp. in their own way, if used with wisdom, or in the service of a really higher goal/ power.

      Yes, the personal practice is so imp. Me lagging in it, esp. as i was in transition. Now re-starting it :) Me also re-connecting to 'That' luck... and its flow :)

      Thanks for visiting.
      (U on linkedin ? Couldn't find u).

    2. Good morning Jyotsna, also lil busy ... no meetings but my head in building a website which is a different story than a blog ... I have left everything else aside for the time being, even writing and blog and ... everything... and spiritual practice is suffering .. YEs, MOther is such a source of insights and inspirations. There is such depth in what she shares and both, Sri Aurobindo and her have been guides since .. aways it seems.
      I am discovering Eckart Tolle at the moment and he has quite a remarkable clarity about the working of the ego and puts quite complicated things in a very simple and accessible way. I was watching a talk of him yesterday - a simple little man, almost childish - nothing like the cosmic grandeur of Sri Aurobindo - but holding this extraordinary non egoic innocence that leads straight to truth.
      YEs, I am on linkedin - frederic labarthe I suppose - and have a look at the new site. There is going to be a lot of interesting things. It is still in preparation and I guess it will take another small month before it is ready to take to the sea. But have a look. The only section that has something is 'recent posts' All the posts will go there now. selfawarenessforchange,com
      Then, from September, I want to come back to some activity. Life behind a computer has its limits ... and I am missing training and workshops. Anyway, there is no omelette without breaking eggs- although I don't eat eggs!
      All best wishes for the day and those to come!

  4. HI Jyotsna, I wrote to you this morning but when I published it disappeared and I am not sure it has been posted. Would you let me know? Hope all is well with you.

  5. Hi Frederic, good to hear from u. To avoid spam the comments are moderated so i get them when i open my email. Guess that leads to confusion.

    I had seen ur website earlier too, and now it holds so much more. Not only the content, but also the presentation. I loved those cute, and meaningful animations. How do you get them? Did you make them by yourself? I just loved the one under the option 'subscribe'. Its such an amazing perspective :)

    I remember reading 'Power of now' at one difficult phase of my life. And since then I keep reminding myself of some of the ideas he presented in that book. I haven't read his other books yet.
    Added you on linkedin. Will keep the conversation going thru gmail, once you accept my request.
    Eid Mubarak :)