Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Amazing!

This is interesting glimpse of human potential... Discovery channel's 5-part videos of a meditating boy in Nepal. Also interesting to note is the difference between the world views, about truth / fake - of the local lay public and the media / medical science.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMbG53MMo6o&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYJ_EIE1MLU&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4esMz2YEkc&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2Q_Sqbxjfk&NR=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bj4zjPlP5yI&feature=related

But may be one can read a bit about the different positions on mind and knowledge, before watching the videos in a purely skeptical manner ...
http://mindful.org/the-science/neuroscience/studying-mind-from-the-inside

Further, this looks like a good book, I myself need to get one and read it :)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0907845258/ref=sib_dp_pt/104-3365714-7273554#reader-link

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Multi-verse

Sometimes,
We grieve, for a long long time
In so many way.

Sometimes, we silently get up, from that
Coffee table, where we had our last conversation
Walk out, walk away
For ever. Die to the past
Never to enter the same universe again.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A few pink roses...

My day started a little off-mark by mailing a 'not so loving' comment to a loved one, though it got better as the day progressed. Had a long phone call with one of my closest friend, talking about the ways of life and how when we live authentically, we make ourselves unfortified and utterly vulnerable. Its awesome, its divine in an Utopian world but in our current modern world it also attracts people to feed on such intensity, such innocent vulnerability.

Reflected later, how with each blow in life, things are getting better spiritually. I 'come to see' the truth in many spiritual lessons ... about unity of the world, of humanity, of goodness & compassion not limited to only one area of life, some people, some location, under some limitations. Its both personal and impersonal, and it can never be otherwise. They make mistakes who are good to family and not to non-family, but they are also equally mistaken who care for distant, impersonal humanity, but do not care for people around them.

After all this, in the evening I was walking with a friend when I noticed a few roadside rose-bushes. I was simply amazed ... few days earlier there were only green covered buds everywhere. And now suddenly everything has blossomed beautifully. There were red ones and then there were a bunch of pink rose bushes. (We could not hold ourselves from picking a few, hoping this was not called stealing ;) I muttered 'I can offer them to my altar' and then added 'this decreases the guilt of plucking these beautiful flowers' ;)
Since I was also carrying a camera, we took a few pics... even some wearing those flowers :)



When we parted, I got a bus and all the way back I got contemplative. Holding those few pink roses in the cup of my hands I wondered about the beautiful fragility of them, of life. How much I miss such softer moments, in the dense world of cognition. Guess mental health field is as soft as science can get, and still at the moment I am amidst theories, research, numbers, rationality, papers, presentations, deadlines, conferences, outcomes, social contribution, success, what not. Harshness of world doesn't enter the bareness of these 'here & now' moments of holding these flowers. I was in complete awe, ... love and peace filled me.




And suddenly an African-American man entered the bus, on a wheel/ mobile chair, with oxygen pipes etc. He appreciatively looked at the flowers and asked me if I am a mother and I have kids. When I said no, he commented someone would really love me, gestured that he is moved to tears and said a prayer and made a cross and gave a reverential kiss in the air. What a moment!
I asked him if he would like to have them, he said 'no they are yours' (He thought I got them as gift... truly they were gifts of nature). I told him I have picked them from the road side and gave him the largest rose out of the four I had. He was soooo happy, almost like a child. After thinking a lot, he fixed it in the front of his mobile chair and also showed me, bringing a smile to my face. Soon after when he got down the bus, he left with some blessings for me, while I had prayers for his health in my heart.
My day was made! My God, what else can I ask for in life ... those moments were full of awe, wonder, contemplation, love, peace, compassion, sharing, innocence, joy ... they are truly sacred flowers to bring such moments !!!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Pity or Compassion

I came across some interesting thoughts on the difference between compassion and pity, both for self and for others. These two motivations would differ in people who might be trying to develop the world/ do social work out of sheer pity, and not really compassion. I feel the actual impact too might differ.

There is an idea that pity is an outpouring of empathy so strong that you may be tempted to help more out of the need to ease your own sense of guilt or obligation than real compassion.The central character in pity is YOU. YOU feel bad because of whatever the problem may be, and by helping you make yourself feel better.

In pity one sees the other person as being needy in some way. And thus the pity cycle may go on like pity-contempt-guilt-more pity. Some also say that in pity, you respond out of a sense of objective justice. while in compassion, you respond due to an internal, personal love for the affected.

Even when the other person has asked for help, it still makes the other person feel inferior and the first one a hero or martyr. On the other hand people usually dislike a 'do-gooder' who treats others as a means for self fulfillment in some way. Fulfillment of meaning or a profession? Guess pity will bring a lot of resistance from anyone who observes the dynamics.

(A friend of mine used to joke, her dad advised her to join social work course because it has good career prospect. The more there is problem in the world the more this career will be in demand in the market!)

Further it gets challenging and draining for the 'do-gooder' too.

Guess that is why in Buddhism Pity is considered as the ‘near enemy’ of compassion.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Is money the only problem?

Yesterday I was having a conversation with an Indian friend. She grew up in a poor family but never considered herself as poor. She commented, if an American comes to her parents place today, he/she will consider them as poor. She had an interesting and passionate opinion on 'insider-outsider perspective', coming from an anthropologist.

This exactly has been my experience too, and so has been of many of my other friends. Looking back some of the places we lived in would even be considered as 'slums'. But our focus was not so much on our finances, or lack of it. Well, there were times when it was an annoying issue, may be on the day when I would not be able to join a picnic for Rs 10 (or was it 20), and insensitive Sister my class teacher made fun of me in front of the whole class, saying look she is so poor.

But then it was not all consuming. Adults make it so, I guess. We didn't have terms for calling ourselves poor, or have self-pity for that. We were busy in our little joys and happiness. The unique gifts we had in ourselves, our family members, our circumstances.

Some of the things definitely need to change everywhere, there is no denial about it. Yes good education was the best thing to be available, along with a set of not-so-pushy parents. Reading was enjoyable, play was good, arts was fun, watching the big tree near my house was best. Most of us would have felt bitter if an outsider had come offering some help, making us so aware that money is our problem. More than money our live's well-being or quality of life was determined by something else.
...
I think we all need to broaden our vision... what is a good life!