In the ancient times, wars, food, a constant struggle for life used to turn children into adults through a series of life-events (most of which were not always pleasant).
But in our modern world, it’s not exactly clear when one truly enters the adulthood. Is it when we get to legally drive a car or drink alcohol or are no longer our parent’s control? Or, is it when we find a paying job or secure a relationship or have a career or all of the above?
It’s somewhat sad when on the one hand science and society tells you that the human brain doesn’t stop developing until age 25 and at the same time your inner adult doesn’t get to express herself (or himself) until much later when you are beaten down with debts, social obligations, and converted into a social norm following, play by the rules kinda zombie.
Life After 18
Going by the philosophy of this blog, I believe, each soul already possesses what it should do and which paths it needs to follow. Almost everything we face from the time we turn 18 (at the dawn of adulthood), is a series of resistance to thwart us from our path.
As we age and slowly learn more about ourselves, about our own strengths, and about the many lies of society, we begin to take control of our life (if we are lucky). Most humans are not fortunate enough to ever claim their freedom. If you are reading this, chances are, you value your life and you seek freedom above all else.
Below is a short list of truths about life that I have realized over the years. Eventually, each one us learns these on our own. But, the sooner you internalize these truths, the better your life will be.
Hard Truths of Real World
- Everything is a choice. A choice is a fork in the moment. Each choice has consequences. Consequences have consequences.
- You begin adulthood with nothing figured out. But so does everyone else.
- Everything that you’ll do now, you will own it for the rest of your life. Therefore think before you commit to do something or do anything.
- The most powerful thing that you’ll ever learn is “compound interest.” Take it seriously. Compounding looks boring at first but then quickly makes things grow exponentially. It’s hard to mentally calculate in exponential terms.
- Everything compounds in life. Your health. Your relationships. Your money. Your knowledge and skills.
- No one can (or will) make you happy. Making you happy is your job.
- Happiness is a state of being. To be happy, be happy. That is all to it.
- You would always feel you wish you saved more. So start saving from the day you earn your first penny.
- There are two kinds of work you’ll ever do. Work that generates income and work that generates meaning. Your real job, therefore, is to marry the two.
- Most managers aren’t leaders or managers, but simply slave drivers with no alignment with the company’s vision or inner desire to truly manage.
- Freedom doesn’t begin with making a lot of money but by being self-aware and making yourself grounded in your own truths.
- Speaking of which, financial freedom is not “true freedom”. It’s a part of freedom pie (and not the whole pie).
- Self-awareness is more important than hard work. The more you know about yourself, the more successful you’ll be.
- If you make twice the amount of above poverty line and have a family, get a good life insurance.
- Life is fragile, cherish it every moment. People are fragile, be kind to everyone.
- Animals are consciously evolved creatures. Be kind to all life forms.
- If you need help, be the first person to help yourself.
- Health is the first wealth (the key) that allows you to enjoy the rest of your wealth.
- Time is the most valuable asset. Your lifetime is finite. No matter how hard and smart you work, you can never gain any more of it then what’s given to you each day.
- Become worthy to find a worthy mate or a worthy life-partner or a worthy friend.
- Be the person you wish your parents or teachers or coaches were.
- Don’t take any advice from someone who is not walking the talk. Money advises from broke. Health advises from overweight. Relationship advises from unhappy singles.
- Because someone was divorced three times, doesn’t mean they know the most about human relationships. Too many failed relationships show the person doesn’t really value long-term partnership over personal freedom.
- Every successful relationship requires both sacrifice and understanding.
- Most people fight over trivial matters. Most fights are fought over trivial matters.
- If you truly value someone as your true friend, you’ll always find time to cherish their every life-events opportunities (wedding, baby showers, big birthday milestones, national recognition, big anniversary milestones, funeral, etc.).
- Everyone is busy. But, everyone has time for things they think are most important to them.
- You never really ever graduate from The University of Hard Knocks. Each time you think you are done learning, you are quickly humbled.
- When people ask for advice, what they are really asking for is validation.
- Debt is not fun. You must absolutely avoid them. (There is very few exceptions to when debt is okay. In general, debt is never okay.)
- Long-term thinking, planning, and execution will always outperform short-term thinking, planning, and execution (in a long-term).
- When in doubt, say ‘yes’ to life. Serendipity is real and can have a significant positive impact on your life in most unexpected ways.
- The more you understand probability (in a mathematically correct way), the better your decision-making process will become.
- Hope is just a measure of anticipation of an expected outcome.
- Hope makes the many difficulties of human life endurable.
- It’s never too early to learn about game theory and developing good heuristics.
- The success in the 21st century is measured by not how hard you work or how smart you are but what leverage you have and how long is your lever.
- Looks don’t matter for anything meaningful in life and yet looks will matter for everything superficial and material. So, when dealing with the superficial (which is most of the world and worldly events), pay careful attention to your looks (how you dress, hair, smell & hygiene, posture, handshake, and how you talk).
- The first impression now beings before someone meeting you for the first time. Social media and internet have ruined that surprise. It’s neither good nor bad news. Just be aware of this fact.
- Whichever job you will end up getting will most likely be done by A.I. during your lifetime.
- Don’t plan on settling down with a 9-to-5 job. No job is a secure job anymore. 99.99% of workers are replaceable with other human or machine workers.
- If your family is spread out, talk to them on the phone (as frequently as possible). This goes back to the rule of “life is uncertain”.
- Talk to your friends. Meet in person. Value them. Invest in your relationships that you deem important and valuable. The alternative is you’ll lose all of your friends without putting the effort from your side.
- Most people don’t really change with time. Most just pretend. If you discover a fatal character flaw in someone, keep distance. If someone has betrayed you once, they will certainly betray you again.
- Life is too short and the earth is too big to not be picky about who you want to be friends with.
- When setting goals, aim for the highest, biggest, most unimaginable outcomes. As the saying goes, if you fail, you’ll likely fail much higher. If you achieve, you’ve likely changed the world.
- Study Meta learning (learning how to learn). Meta learning is the most important learning.
- No one ever has too many good friends. Cherish each of your friendships.
- Read and think deeply about the Butterfly effect (ripple effect). Once you grasp the concept, everything you’ll do from that moment onward will be a little more enlightened. (Again, remember everything has consequences and consequences has consequences).
- Your level of mastery on any given subject or work will reveal your true level of passion. Mastery gives birth to passion, but passion not always leads to mastery.
- Mastery requires dedication and long hours of deep work. Mastery is about understanding something to its atoms.
When I was writing this piece, I could have gone for a 100 or 200, but then I realized, truths can be shared but they can’t be taught. Each one of us must learn our own truths.
So, with this parting final thought, I would purposefully leave this list incomplete. May your life’s journies bring you many more wisdom.
Last year, this was the week when my brother told me that doctors are suspecting that Dad might have Cancer. He was not getting better and all other options were crossed. Doing a Biopsy was the last remaining test. This was hard for him and everyone.
I suspected this through intuition since January. I told Neha (my fiancee) I am having a bad feeling about Cancer (not sure why). I was reading, researching and watching everything that I could find on Cancer. It’s weird, I know, but I was having precognition about my dad’s real condition.
In all, my father passed away battling cancer on March 5th. So, it was just 48 days from doctor’s suggestion to death. So much can happen in 48 days. I am sad about this but also insightful on how to use my time here. Today, all can be well and the next thing you know is you have just 48 days to live.
I have many videos, voice recordings, and notes that I took during those 48 days but still haven’t found the courage to go back and write my dad’s story and a video of his final days with us.
I could not give him anything back and that is the sharpest pain. What keeps me sane though is at least he went away in peace knowing he had a successful life, he has two sons who turned out to be decent, an awesome family who came forward with support, and a loving wife who stood by his side until the end.
Writing this short blog is my humble attempt to break free from the fear of feeling immense pain as my wounds are not healed yet. It may never get healed. But I need to tell my father’s story.
This way I can feel at peace and tell my father, “Dad, I miss you. I love you. I remember you. You are with me. You did great. I will continue to keep you alive in my heart.”
Do what you need to do, do what you want to do. Anticipate pain. Without pain, you won’t last long under pressure. Pain is the jet fuel for inner motivation. People say pain is temporary, don’t give up. Don’t quit. BS. Pain is not temporary. Pain is intermittent. It should never be completely absent. When you reach the state of zero pain, you are dead. Pain is resistance. And, there is no growth without resistance.
Be glad that you have today. Align your intention and your thoughts. Seize your chance while you have your breath.
Think about it.
“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.” – Joseph Campbell
There are times in our lives when we all feel we’re on the top. But, there are also times when we slip down unknowingly. They are the high and low points of our life. Sometimes, I wonder why we need to experience these low points, when in fact; we know that such states make us unhappy, doubtful, and unsatisfied? Why is there a need for us to step down from the highest point of our lives? I used the Organic Inquiry method to discover some answers for myself.
Organic inquiry is looking within and narrating our own story. The ego and rational mind are put aside while we seek to understand the greater connection of the various life events.
Life may be so harsh that without a warning, the wheels turn and you suddenly go down. This is traumatic. What is the purpose of being in that stage of life? The answer is simple yet deep.
We need to experience the low points of our life for us to notice that we were once on the top. Sounds confusing, right? Because it is.
When we experience the high points in our life, we feel happy, fulfilled, and satisfied. You really cannot ask for more. But, why is that, when we experience the low points in our life, we feel sad, betrayed and unsatisfied? When we experience the low points in our life, we always ask God or some Supreme being or force to bring back everything to the normal. Often times we blame others, and God for all the misfortunes that came into our lives.
Problems, challenges, and tough circumstances, are given into our lives for us to grow and see what we are capable of. It is important for us to grow not only physically, but also, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and in all aspects of our life. We need to be better than the person we are yesterday. We need to learn, grow and evolve. We need to know the fact that this world is the biggest classroom (a transformative trip) that we’ve got. Learning never stops.
The low points in our lives come with a purpose. It is not given to us just to feel how it feels like to be at the bottom, but it is given to us because it has something to show and something to let us know and learn. The low points in our lives serve as our teacher. It teaches us how to be strong to beat all challenges, how to build our confidence despite the unwanted situation, how to surpass those challenges successfully, and how to become a better person. The low points make us realize that we are capable of something more, that we are far more than what we expect from ourselves.
When life begins to get hard, we need to be strong. But above all, we need to appreciate its coming and see the truth that it is temporary and for a reason. There is no problem in truth if there is a solution. If you think of countless of reasons to give up, just think of one reason why you should hold on, and you’ll see yourself moving forward. You are not alone. Some people envy your position right now.
There is no problem if there is a solution. There is no solution if there is no problem. The highs and lows, the good and bad, the happy or sad are states of our human existence. No life is immune to this law. If you think of countless of reasons to give up, just think of one reason why you should hold on, and you’ll see yourself moving forward. You are not alone. Remember, many people envy your position right now (no matter where you are).
If life is perfect, then that is not the earthly life. There is no evolution without the oscillation between the highs and lows. Life consists of both good times and time of sorrow and miseries. If it remains stagnant, most probably, you are not alive. To live means constantly transforming.
What is the experience of being human – the one we wish to inquiry into, investigate, experiment with, or examine? We like to believe that we are living an ordinary life in an ordinary world, but are we really living an ordinary life?
Examining our life under a “transpersonal lens” may be thought of as living a self-examined life. And, a life which is understood is a life lived.
“At birth, when we first opened our eyes, the surprises and explorations began.” – Rosemarie Anderson
The verb “research” has its roots in the French verb rechercher, which means to go about seeking.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines this “seeking” in three ways:
1) careful or diligent search;
2) studious inquiry or examination, especially: investigation or experimentation aimed at the discovery and interpretation of facts, revision of accepted theories or laws in the light of new facts, or practical application of such new or revised theories or laws;
3) the collection of information about a particular subject.
My Life Story – A Little Background
Today, I want to share a few of my transpersonal life experiences. I am happy to do so and hope to offer myself as much as I can. This is my answer to my seeking.
As many of you longtime readers probably know that I am a polymath. But among many things that I do, I am particularly passionate about writing, exploring the natural truths, practical philosophy, listening under the noise, being a healer of hearts (nothing supernatural), and traveling the world and soaking in the essence and greater exposure to this thing we call – “humanity”.
I am a sensitive type with a capacity to handle a lot of emotions and bodily sensations. I find this to be both as my gift and as a source of emotional-pain.
Throughout my life, I have been a deeply spiritual person. I have witnessed in my own life unfold in mysterious and often unpredictable, twisted ways. To me, I am an example of “the path has chosen you and you are just a soul responding to your calling.”
In my short life, I have been on several contrasting poles: I was in utter destitution during 2009-10, literally living on $1 a day in Fargo, North Dakota and Nevada City, California. I have enjoyed earning a lot of money through my IT consulting business.
I have been fired from jobs and I have hired people (I still do). I have experienced failed relationships on levels of being traumatic and currently I am in a happy and loving relationship. Life has been a constant teacher for me.
Transpersonal Experiences In Ordinary Settings
There are several life events and synchronistic moments that I could list as a transformative experience for me but nothing comes to my mind as particularly strong at this time other than my last days with my father.
I’ll start here.
Unexpected Death of My Father from Cancer
My first transformative experience may appear distressing and downing but there is no greater teacher of life than death.
On Jan 24, 2016, my father (otherwise a healthy, working, functioning man) was diagnosed with stage IV stomach cancer with bone mets. He passed away on March 5th, 2016. I was with my father during this whole time. And there is nothing more powerful and transformative than caring for a terminally-ill person.
I would actually skip getting into the details here because this is so recent that it is hard for me to concisely write down without getting into the details. But, just to give you enough information to hang on, I am planning a 60 minutes documentary and a book “Cancer In Your Family: Caring For A Family Member & What Does It Mean For You.”
Becoming a Born Again Christian
Accepting a faith, changing your religion or starting a new practice are common day experiences. What makes religion so strong is the transformative power that it has over individuals through mystical and sometimes supernatural experiences.
I was born in a Hindu family but never took Hinduism seriously. I was an agnostic in a comfortable way. I was a curious mind but I was not actively looking for God. At age 18, things changed. I became a born-again Christian in New Delhi, India.
The Word of God, Jesus, my Spirit, everything became real. As real as the world surrounding me. I was transformed overnight. Cursing, porn, envy, anxiety – anything worldly – everything was gone.
There was no struggle on giving up the world. It was as if the burden of sin was lifted off of me. God was real to me. My heart was overjoyed and my life seemed immensely purposeful.
Becoming a Human & Leaving the Christian Jesus
In early 2010, I was struggling to afford McDonald’s $1 burger for my dinner. I was still digesting a certain hurtful events such as my fake-friends cheating me of my car, possessions, and respectfully kicking me out of my house (because I could not afford the rent), my girlfriend going cold turkey, and my mobile account going into collection because of other folks who did not pay their bills and I was left alone with the collection because the line was on my name.
Life was crazy and I was forced to live day by day. I became comfortable with just me being there – at any moment. Me and nothing else.
During those days, I was translating certain classical hymns into Hindi language for some local churches in India and I was still regular in the church. But something was happening inside me, inside my heart. My spirit was no longer feeling free in the church and its restrictive dogma. The people were nice and they meant good to me and towards the outside world, but they were living within a walled enclave of tremendous self-deceive.
The church going faithful saints were more dependent on each other (in the name of One Body of Christ) than on God or their inner guidance. Bible was interpreted from a standpoint of “all or nothing.”
Islam has this same issue. And orthodox Jews too. This is where Jihadist or any religious extremist get it wrong. Believe it all, literally or believe in nothing. This is plain wrong. This is infact opposite of what actually happened with the Bible itself. From Adam to Abraham to Moses to Jesus. Things changed constantly, even the god(s) changed.
Anyways, that’s a topic for another post. (Leave me your thoughts in the comments below)
One day, I picked up a book of poems from Rumi translated by Coleman Barks. The pages, the words, the flow of heart, the transcendental appeal of Rumi’s words broke my decade long Christian shield.
Jesus was still there but now as a human. A human who attained Godhood. As a godly human who was good, who was god! The Bible was still there but as a guide, a description of the journey of few faithful souls in human history.
In coming months, I stumbled upon Gurdjieff (and his Fourth Way), on Carl Jung’s work on inner landscaper of mind, Ra Uru Hu and his work on Astro-psychology, Astrology, Edgar Cayce, Sufi mystics and ancient Christian, Jew and Hindu saints. My life was not the same after this.
Today, I am living this third life. I call my natural birth as my first life, my Christina life as my second life, and now as a spiritual being my third incarnation.
I am sure there are things yet to explore, taste and learn. But, now being an open heart, I welcome change with joy and not with fear or dismay. I love studying our human journey, the evolution of life in this cosmos, exploring and sharing with others our purpose on this planet – our home – the earth.
I am currently working on publishing two poetry collection and one poetry handbook. My first poetry book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems did fairly well upon launch and reached #1 on Amazon. It has been doing well ever since.
I am excited to make my slow transition into a full-time writing and traveling career. I am here to explore the outer world and the inner world and to share with others what I find.
I’ll continue this discussion in an another post. For now, I feel, it is a good introduction and now I turn the mic to you. I want to listen what you have to share.
“Adventure means exposing yourself to the world out there.” — Naked Soul
Who Are You
Are you just a label or an epic story or a fun saga? Is your life “out-of-box” and is it evolving?
We make a life by what we give, experience, build and learn. Each year of our life is either a sentence or a paragraph. Or it can be a full chapter or even a book in itself.
We decide how our life is recorded in the eyes of the ancient stars of the faraway galaxies.
We decide which adventures we embark upon and which ones we finish.
Adventures do not mean walking on a high wire or sleeping on a bed of nails or eating fire.
Adventure means exposing yourself to the world out there – in its wildness, rawness – experiencing its unadulterated originality.
Adventure means getting in touch with your inner-self, knowing thyself.
Now, over to you.
Who are you? And, what are you going to do with your life? Please leave your thoughts and life missions in the comment below.
I am feeling sad today. Actually terrible. I just learned that someone I trusted and admired actually turned out to be not so nice after all. A cunning businesswoman who pretends to be something different.
I feel hurt by her actions but I am also thankful to her. She is in a place of higher power and could have done more harm to me (if she wished). Maybe she is not a bad person. Anyways, she doesn’t owe me, anything. Nothing. She has been nice to me in the past and has also helped me. Perhaps, this was it. Perhaps, this is as much and as far as we go. For now.
It’s true that I am feeling hurt, betrayed and angry. But do I have the position to feel so? Am I justified? Maybe not. What about her help and kindness in the past.
So instead of sending her a nasty email that I typed, I sent her this in an email. It turned everything 180 degrees around. No, my loss was not reversed or compensated. But the feelings between us changed. The air around us became breathable and lighter. I don’t hate her, why should I? She is on her own path and her mistakes are her seeds of her own destiny. I wish her well for her future.
What about me? My heart? I feel better. I wish she benefits from me from the things that I am doing with my life. I do not have to like her to wish her well. I can simply wish her well. In all sincerity.
What should I do with my losses? Actually, nothing. That’s right. Nothing. First of all, what loss? I am posting this quote on Instagram, I am mentally sane, physically capable and hopeful for my future. Why should I worry or feel that I am at loss? I have people who love me, I have a great happy family and a good circle of funny and capable friends. What more do I need in life anyway!
I am happy that I saw the light. I am lucky. I am proud of myself for not sending that nasty email. Instead, I chose to send something positive, light-hearted and loving.
Thank Universe! This is an awesome day and I love my life.
“Mediation works. My meditation practice helps me to live more deeply.”
Meditation is a great way to improve many areas of your life and open channels to your subconscious brain so you can more quickly and easily imprint new habits and beliefs.
If you understand technology, you can view mediation as “disk-defragmentation”. Every time when you meditate, you are optimizing your brain and restoring and re-purposing mind. You are cleaning up space, you are cooling down your system and you are optimizing your hardware’s speed and performance.
“Logic works with the conscious mind, but often not with the subconscious.”
If you are not a technical person, think of meditation as a river. The water flows continuously carrying everything with it but not holding on. A river is always fresh. There is no stagnation in a river. If your heart and mind is like a true river there is no room for “fermentation of disease.”
Mindfulness Through Meditation
A leaf or a broken stick may fall in the water and it may flow with the river for a distance but often times they get washed away to the sides. A river is pure, silent and yet you can hear its purpose of direction. It knows where it is going. There is no stopping it and yet the river is ever peaceful and calm going with the path of least resistance and minding its own business.
Besides the physical and emotional benefits of meditation (such as lowering blood pressure, improving sleep, etc.), regularly quieting your mind is also a way of slowing down brain activity, which opens up the door to more easily influencing your subconscious mind.
“Meditation is the most powerful (and totally harmless) gateway drug to creativity.”
When you slow down your brain activity, what you’re really doing is quieting your conscious mind. Meditation is a great way to begin your subconscious mind reprogramming routine. Meditation is helpful if you want to build a new habit (or break an old one). Learn how to meditate powerfully explained in 9 simple steps (in under 15 minutes).
By clearing your conscious mind of all distraction and mundane thoughts through the meditation process you can intentionally focus on your positive affirmations and visualizations. Meditation is a great way to maximize the benefit of affirmations, prayers, and visualization.
“Meditation is a deep commune with the Divine. Meditation in itself is a Prayer.”
In meditation, you are opening your whole being to the Universe. Your ego starts to fade away losing its powerful grip on you. There is no more filtering, twisting, coloring of daily events. Through meditation, you can free yourself from thousand mundane worries that is nothing but the construct of your own imagination.
According to Srimad Bhagavad Gita, our mind is a like a strong horse, and our spirit is in command. But our spirit needs the cooperation of our ego. To lead a life of mindfulness we have to take control of this powerful horse (so we can have our mind serve us rather than drive us anywhere it wants.) With a clear mind, one can achieve many great things with our time here on this earth.
This is what meditation is to me.
The problem is in the hook (the promise, the proposed solution, the value add). Our mind translates these words differently. What do I mean by “our mind thinks of these words differently?”
Let’s take a look. This is going to be a philosophical post. And, I am going to offer some practical advise on positive habit building in the end. There is power in building and cultivating good habits. Using high-performance habits we can achieve significant goals which otherwise may seem elusive.
Good habits lie behind making positive changes. We are more likely to achieve worthwhile goals if we have taken the time to build good habits part of our everyday routine. And, all of this means: Change.
“A nail is driven out by another nail. Habit is overcome by habit.”
Metamorphosis & Transformation
What do you imagine or think when you hear the word “transformation”? “Transformation” or “breakthrough” is seen as something magical. We unconsciously believe some divine power or some external agent of change will take us from point A to point B.
We want to quit a bad habit and we secretly wish for a magical moment where we are suddenly transformed without pain. Transformation is metamorphosis to us. We unconsciously believe or secretly wish that a major change just happens in due time.
But that’s not correct. It is a faulty conditioning. And, we need to break free from this erroneous belief.
In biology (and nature), metamorphosis is a process by which an animal physically develops after birth or hatching, involving a conspicuous and relatively abrupt change in the animal’s body structure through cell growth and differentiation.
There is no metamorphosis without a change of habitat or habit. Notice the two key components required for the transformation: Habitat and Habit.
Habitat (The Environmental Change)
Positive association (family, friends, colleagues)
Positive books (inspirational and deep)
Positive movies and films (relevant and impactful)
Healthy eating (to empower the body and mind)
Fitness conscious lifestyle (to take charge of your body)
Habits (The Behavioral Change)
The attitude of gratitude
The attitude of perseverance
The attitude of daily-growth
The attitude of faith
The attitude of humility
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle
Power of Positive Change
Top 3 Tips on How to Build Good, Positive Habits
1. Macro and Micro Goals
Create “goals” that fit the vision and values of your true self. Where do you want to eventually go? That’s your vision. What steps you may have to take to reach there, that’s your macro-goal.
To achieve each macro-goal, what smaller goals you first much achieve, that’s your micro-goal. What do you need to do “every day” to achieve your micro-goal, that’s your daily “to-do-tasks”.
This should be your first step. Create a daily, to-do-list.
“The second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half.”
~ Feodor Dostoevsky
2. Plan for Behavioral Change
Start with positive visualization, affirmations and incorporating small mindfulness practice in your daily life. Spend some time each day to talk to yourself. Self-talk is essential for “reflection.”
You have to think what did you achieve today? Did you make any impact on the world today? Were your activities significant enough to turn your life towards a higher purpose or goal?
Ask and answer these questions when you ponder about what new habits you want to build.
“Where evil habits are once settled, they are more easily broken than mended.”
~ Marcus Fabius Quintilian
3. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
You want a new habit to form with minimal willpower on your part. But, a new habit creation takes a lot of willpower. Have you wondered why?
Let me tell you a secret today which will save you heartache and tons of wasted hours. When building a new habit, focus on one positive habit at a time. Do not focus on elimination yet.
You have 24 hours in a day and you already have a fixed lifestyle. Now, you are trying to add something new to your daily routine. How do you do that? Where will you find the time? The key is, do the new habit the first thing in the morning or the first thing whenever you have “that free time (whenever that is)”.
When it comes to habit formation early repetition is the key. You have to be consistent for a month or 3 months. Consistency is the key. And, as you gently settle into the new habit, you’ll find yourself automatically drop an old, unhelpful habit.
For example, you want to add “book reading” as a new positive habit in your lifestyle. Say currently, you are watching Game of Thrones or House of Card or some other popular TV show. So, my advice to you is: keep watching. Yes, keep watching the TV.
Listen. Read a book for 10 minutes before or after your TV show. The TV series will end in some time but your new book reading habit will stick and grow over time.
There are millions of great books out there and you’ll never run out of them. Once, you start including a new habit in your daily routine the key is to not force anything out of your life but to push good things into your daily living.
As the good thing grows in your life, the unproductive habits will automatically be pushed out of your day.
“An unfortunate thing about this world is that the good habits are much easier to give up than the bad ones.”
~ W. Somerset Maugham
Top 7 Tips on How to Make New Habits Stick
1. Focus on Adding Not Subtracting
Behavior change is hard because we’re creatures of habit. To make a change in our behavior means we’re adding something and subtracting something. Habit formation is a two-way lane.
The mistake most people make is they focus on both lanes at the same time. For example, to lose weight, most people will start going to the gym and stop eating fries and ice-cream.
The problem is every task requires some degree of willpower (mental energy and decision making). If you try to resist ice-cream and at the same time, workout for 60 minutes sweating and feeling fatigued, you are bound to fail within a week.
My suggestion (which may sound counter-intuitive) is to focus on one. If you have time and you like the idea of going to the gym, go eat some ice-cream first and hit the gym.
Begin the journey. There is no hurry. Next, keep going to the gym. Focus on going to the gym routine. As you work harder on your body and realize how much effort it is to burn 1 pound of fat, your intrinsic desire to ice-cream and fries will automatically die or fade away.
This is a well-known fact to those who have been there but you won’t find the so-called experts talk about this. Why? Because most of these experts are not going to the gym. They are good at writing papers from their university lab.
Most of these “experts” have no clue how hard it is to control the desire to eat ice-cream (for dessert lovers) and how hard it is to run non-stop for 30 minutes.
“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.”
~ Benjamin Franklin
The resolution needs to be SMART.
Reward yourself for sticking to your habit
Track your progress
“Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.” — Anon
3. Ask Why?
Your “why” is the most important factor in making a new habit stick. You have to make sure that whatever it is that you are trying to do (eat more veggies, exercise daily for 30 minutes, write daily for 1 hour, etc) is something that YOU really want.
Thinking is not going to cut it. You have to “feel” your why. If there is a strong and genuine “why factor”, you won’t stop. You will try to get help from your community. And you should. You will do whatever it takes. And you should.
Don’t try to form a new habit just for the name or thrill of it. If there is a peer group available, join one. If there is no support group, create one. Even if you have just one more partner, you can keep each other accountable.
Having an accountability partner means, you are going to stick with it even if the going gets tough.
“Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.” — Confucius
4. Write it Down and Know the Benefits
Write down your new habit and your plan on a piece of paper with a timeline on it. Writing makes your ideas more clear and focuses you on your end result. Next, write down all the benefits that you will reap after making the change.
Get books and research on how your new habit will benefit you and your lifestyle or your bank balance or your social status.
“Cultivate only the habits that you are willing should master you.”
~ Elbert Hubbard
5. Allocate Time
Block out a regular time for your new habit in your schedule so that you can give your positive habit your undivided attention. I use a daily to-do list and keep it on my phone. I make sure I have check out every single item on my list before I go to bed.
“The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”
~ Samuel Johnson
6. Reflect on Your Progress
Take time to reflect on how your new habit is serving you. Are you following through or failing? If you are not doing as good as you would like, ask yourself “why?” Adjust your goals and plan accordingly. If you are fairing well, don’t overestimate your capacity and increase your goals or expectation until the new habit has become part of your being. You can do the reflection exercise when you do your creative visualization or daily affirmations.
7. Find Powerful Motivation Factor
To make new habit stick you have to exercise self-discipline, atleast in the beginning and until a new habit has fully formed. One way to strengthen your self-discipline and commitment to persevere is to create a Treasure Map or a Vision Board.
A vision board can be a simple collage or visual representation of what you want to achieve. It can be created as a secret treasure hunt map. Your map is your journey to significance and success. It outlines what you are going to have at the end of your adventurous journey.
The impact you are going to make on this world. The influence you are going to exercise while serving others. It is your mission written in pictures.
This last step is the most crucial because a vision board or treasure map will constantly remind you why your new positive habit is so important to you.
Looking at your board can be just what you need to feel motivated on days when your enthusiasm is fading and your mood low.
Where To Start?
Perhaps, start here. In 1726, at age 20, Benjamin Franklin created a system to develop his character. In his autobiography, Franklin listed his 13 virtues as:
The Thirteen Virtues
1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
3. Order: Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
5. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
6. Effective and Efficiency: Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
8. Justice: Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
9. Moderation: Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
11. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
12. Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.
You can pick any one of these virtues and identify positive habits that you can build around them. Or, better yet, create your own list of virtues and positive habits and then start on the top of the list and move downwards one by one.
After all, there is no limit to self-growth and personal development. Only you decide where and when you stop growing.
My last words: Don’t stop growing.
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What do you think about habit formation? Do you differentiate between transformation and change? Please leave your thoughts and input in the Comments below.
The Cold Within
Six humans trapped by happenstance
In bleak and bitter cold.
Each one possessed a stick of wood
Or so the story’s told.
Their dying fire in need of logs
The first man held his back
For of the faces round the fire
He noticed one was black.
The next man looking cross the way
Saw one not of his church
And couldn’t bring himself to give
The fire his stick of birch.
The third one sat in tattered clothes.
He gave his coat a hitch.
Why should his log be put to use
To warm the idle rich?
The rich man just sat back and thought
Of the wealth he had in store
And how to keep what he had earned
From the lazy shiftless poor.
The black man’s face bespoke revenge
As the fire passed from his sight.
For all he saw in his stick of wood
Was a chance to spite the white.
The last man of this forlorn group
Did nought except for gain.
Giving only to those who gave
Was how he played the game.
Their logs held tight in death’s still hands
Was proof of human sin.
They didn’t die from the cold without
They died from the cold within.
Notes from me:
The idea of the American dream is rooted in the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence which states that “all men are created equal” and that they have “certain inalienable rights” including “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
All men are created equal.
The poem, however, at its time was the criticism on racism in American culture. If your heart is cold, nothing from the world can make you warm.
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How do you interpret this poem? Have you read this before? If you would like to share some thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment and I would love to read it. If you would like me to expand this post, please let me know what would you like me to describe in greater details?
The Naked Soul Talk Show: A Daily Podcast
Woohoo! Friends, creatives, seekers, and entrepreneurs! Here it is. Share all you can. Please spread the good news! Coming soon to iTunes/Radio. And NOW AVAILABLE on YouTube.
The Naked Soul Talk Show: Full Human Potential and Daily Growth
Welcome to The Naked Soul Talk Show with Salil Jha and Neha Rizal. Learn with us as we dig deeply into ways to initiate breakthroughs in our personal lives in relationships, health, and body- consciousness, discuss the law of success as it manifests in careers and finances, learn how to attain mastery of any skill, share rags to riches stories, and delve into what it means to have a purpose driven life and how to create one via lifestyle design (the 80-20 rule).
We have guests from all over the world from various ethnic, spiritual, educational, and cultural backgrounds. But all of them have one thing in common: the desire to be better than they were yesterday. Naked Soul is a transpersonal talk show.
Here, we will explore how to realize measurable self-growth and manifest success by turning our dreams into realistic goals and eventual realities. Build your own inner-GPS. Create a map for a success-lifestyle: plenty of time with family, and no bosses, no alarm clocks dictating your day, instead indulgence in creative pursuits and the enjoyment of a free life, passionately lived.
The Naked Soul is a place where we transform our “Daily Grind” stories into “Daily Win” stories. Our goal is to empower each listener so that they live their full human potential.
Are you ready to heal, grow and kick-start your soul-evolution and become world class?
The Naked Soul Podcast Ep. 01: Chris Jones on The Art & Business of Writing
The Naked Soul Podcast Ep. 02: Simone Salmon on Writing Books & Taking a Transformational Journey
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Do you listen or watch podcasts/talk shows? If yes, what are some of your favorite podcasts or talk shows? What kind of podcast would you like to listen to? If you have suggestions, feedback, and thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment and I will try to honor your requests. (The first 10 commenters are always my favorite.)
An interesting philosophical question is a question “Is the end of the world a new beginning?”
Scholars have pondered this question for centuries and it served as the focus of a 2000 documentary by PBS’s frontline program “Apocalypse! The Evolution of Apocalyptic Belief and how it shaped the Western World.”
In the above-mentioned documentary, the biblical book of Revelation was explored in detail. The book of Revelation is one that has sparked the interest of readers more than any other book in the Bible and recounts how the end times will play out including the reign of the man referred to as the Antichrist.
James Tabor, a professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, wrote of the book of Revelation:
“If you open the Book of Revelation and simply begin reading it as an unfolding scenario, it goes something like this. There will be wars and famines and disease epidemics and heavenly signs that will alert the world to some sort of crisis. Then will come an Antichrist as he’s called, or a political ruler, that will establish control over the whole Earth. He’ll be backed up with a religious ruler, who’s called the false prophet. They together establish a unified social, economic, and religious system that dominates the world. The only thing opposing them is the people of God and these two prophets, they’re called the two witnesses, who appear in Jerusalem, and begin to speak against this power. The rest of the book, really the last half of the book is about the overthrow of this system. The beast, the false prophet, who has the number 666, the Antichrist, is overthrown with judgments and plagues.”
The book was written by Saint John the Apostle who visualized the events of the end times in a series of visions while he was imprisoned in a cave towards the end of his life for his testimony about Jesus Christ.
God banished the nonbelievers to hell while the believers would live with God in a peaceful and secure kingdom. This new world was described in verses from the book:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne saying, Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
The apocalypse was depicted in a popular Christian fictional book series, Left Behind, in which the end of the world occurs and all of Jesus Christ’s believers vanish and are sent off to paradise in heaven while the non-believers or doubters of his teachings remain on Earth under the reign of the Antichrist.
By the end of the series, the husband of one of the believers begins to have an awakening in his faith in God and along with his daughter is reunited with his wife at the end of the series. The Antichrist meanwhile was banished to the depths of hell.
How will the world end?
That is still an unknown question but an article published in The Good News recounted the ways that politicians, educators, and scientists predicted how the world would end. The causes included nuclear warfare, environmental disasters, planetary pollution, overpopulation, killer diseases, and collision with a comet or asteroid.
A professor of theoretical physics, Michio Kaku, at City College of New York described what the aftermath of an asteroid collision would be like when he said, “An asteroid only a kilometer across would create cosmic havoc by impacting on the earth. The shock wave would flatten much of the United States. If it hits the oceans, the tidal wave it created could be a mile high, enough to flood most coastal cities on Earth.”
One such collision actually occurred in 1908 when a meteor or comet exploded over Siberia and flattened 1,000 square miles of forest which equated to 80 million trees. The energy released by the collision created tremors that were reported as far away as London.
The most likely scenario for an apocalypse according to scientists and scholars is a nuclear war. Austrian theologian Ulrich Kortner stated:
“The nuclear threat constitutes not a temporary, but rather an irrevocable global threat. The actual possibility of an end to all life is now a constituent part of our reality.”
Before his death in 1996, one of the world’s most recognized scientists, Carl Sagan, wrote,
“The development of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems will, sooner or later, lead to global disaster.”
Modern Day Theories & Events
It remains undetermined though when the world will end. Astrologers had long held that the world was expected to end in 2012 and companies capitalized on this by having “End of the World” sales.
Events were posted on Facebook in commemoration of this momentous occasion. The day the world was expected to end was December 21, 2012, which of course did not come to pass.
However, in October 2012, many New Jersey residents did experience a major shift in their universe due to the intensity of Superstorm Sandy. Homes were destroyed and several residents left the state due to issues with insurance companies regarding the rebuilding of their homes.
The aftermath of Sandy is still widely felt throughout the state as there is still uncertainty about when everyone will be able to return home.
It was truly the greatest storm I had seen in my lifetime and I remember volunteering afterward to help organize clothes, canned food, and lunches for those who had been forced to seek shelter elsewhere.
It is now evident that the apocalypse has been a major topic for discussion for centuries. Many refer to the Bible for its prophecies of when and how the end of the world will occur.
My Personal Thoughts
I personally do not believe that the end of the world will play out in any of the above-mentioned scenarios.
I am of the opinion that the world will keep on going, well, until we either destroy it ourselves or a man-made conscious, super-intelligent, powerful A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) takes over the planet earth.
But, whatever be the case, the end is never truly an end but only a new beginning. For now, I sincerely hope that we can end global conflicts so that we can become a unified global civilization and do not aim to destroy each other.
It will be easier to fight an alien civilization or man-made machines if we are one than if we have our nukes pointed out to each other.
Peace to all. Enjoy your day.
- I asked an AI (GPT-3) to talk about Philosophy
- Thoughts on Love: What is Love?
- Life After 18: 51 Hard Truths of Real World
- Ideal Education System: The Future of Education
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This post was written from a spiritual/religious perspective but there can be many other scenarios that I have not discussed here. What are your thoughts on the end of the world? Do you think the world as we know it will end? Or, will there be only a forward journey? Tell me in the comments and I’ll try to answer your questions. The first 10 commenters are always my favorite and I like to personally communicate with them. So share your thoughts.
Naked Soul Meaning
As an observer, writer, wanderer, and storyteller, I believe that to be naked is to show up, to be present, to express my truth in life. It’s to overcome my own self-imposed limitations and to transcend external influences that are often authoritarian or fear-based. To me, this expression of truth can become a sacred romance.
Therefore philosophically speaking, being a Naked Soul is a sacred romance between one person and the world around him.
When we love, we unguard our hearts. We disarm and disrobe ourselves down to the core. Whether we love to travel, to write, or to wrap our arms around another, we only love authentically. That is being truly naked.
How can you be totally naked? It’s not undressing your body. To be naked is to undress and be naked with your heart’s truth. It’s the only way to uncover what resonates with your own soul.
Also, please check out our upcoming podcast. As we speak, a lot of interviewing and recording is going on in the background.
Hosted by Salil Jha and Neha Rizal
The Naked Soul Podcast is an extensive series of over 200 timeless conversations from the popular authors, bloggers, health and fitness coaches, spiritual mentors and successful entrepreneurs.
Sign up here on the blog, iTunes, and please subscribe on YouTube channel to stay in the touch whenever a new episode is released.
Tune in for wisdom and insights from the leading thinkers, writers, adventurers, and explorers of our modern time.
Topics Covered on the Podcast and as well as this blog
- Addiction and Overcoming Addictions
- Artificial Intelligence
- Aging and Longevity
- Altered States of Consciousness
- Alternative Medicine
- Astrology, Human Design, and the Enneagram
- Biofeedback and the Quantified Self
- Body Awareness & Bodywork
- Business & Entrepreneurship
- Creativity & Creativity Process
- Death and Peaceful Dying
- Dreams and The Dreaming Mind
- Enlightenment & Evolution
- Global Awareness
- Holographic Model of the Universe
- Imagery and Mandala
- Jungian Psychology and Archetypes
- New Language Learning
- Leadership Theories and Best Practices
- Literature & Arts
- Magic and Cults
- Best Management Practices
- Metalearning (Learning How to Learn)
- Martial Arts, Budo, and Tao
- Meditation and Mindfulness
- Memory Enhancement
- Mind-Body Connection
- Music and Creative Expression
- Personal Paradigm Shift & Individual Transformation
- Peak Performance
- Personal Development and Self Help
- Personality Types
- Psychedelics and Drugs
- Psychology & Psychotherapy
- Quantum Physics
- Relaxation Techniques (Mind, Body, Heart, and Soul)
- (Morning, Evening) Rituals and Positive Habit building
- Science and Deep Space
- Sexuality and Eroticism
- Social Awareness
- Stress Management
- Tibetan Buddhism
- Transformation and Self Growth
- Transpersonal Psychology
- The Unconscious, Super-conscious and Sub-conscious
- Yoga, Health and Fitness
- Writing Life, Writing Tips
- Self-publishing, Book publishing, Book Marketing
- Author Brand Creation, Platform Building
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Are you a Naked Soul? How would you define one or yourself? The first 5 commenters are always my favorite and I like to personally communicate with them. So share your thoughts. Any other questions or comments please feel free to share below.
Do you believe an unlikely person can transform your life? This is an interesting question with a resounding answer that a person can absolutely change your life for the better.
Random encounters on streets / The Naked Soul Partners
Can An Unlikely Person Transform Your Life
This article will delve into the stories of people who seem like they were destined to meet each other as well as my own personal experiences related to this.
Story of Emmett
Our first heartwarming story emerged from Farmington, Minnesota last July of a three-year-old boy, Emmett, who became friends with his 89-year-old neighbor, Erling, a WWII veteran who had flown combat missions in Europe.
Emmett was only two when he visited the tomato garden of his neighbor because he loved tomatoes and slowly they began to interact with each other in different ways. Sometimes they would race lawnmowers together.
One day Erling set up a croquet set in his yard so he and Emmett could play together. They continued to visit each other during the winter but sadly their visits were put to an end when Emmett’s parents put their house up for sale so they could have a bigger house where Emmett and his little sister could both sleep on the same floor.
Erling would also be moving to live with his sick wife in a senior apartment.
I also developed a close relationship with someone unexpected. I had always had trouble making friends and sat alone during my lunch period in high school.
A lunch aide, Kelly, walked over to my table one afternoon and began talking to me helping to bring me out of my shell.
Every day we would talk and I visited her often in the kitchen. Her company helped me feel less lonely and she looked out for me when I was finally invited to sit with a group of my classmates and students from lower grades.
Whenever we run into each other now, we still make time to talk. I’ll never forget how great she made me feel about myself at a time when I was very awkward and still developing into the person that I am today.
Story of a Homeless Veteran
Our second story is of a young woman who became friends with a homeless veteran named Tony.
Tony hung out near her workplace and over the course of a few months, they began having lunch and snacks together where he would share his war stories and family while she talked to him about her problems and family.
They developed a deep level of trust with each other and when she was going through a very difficult time in her life he listened to her and pushed her to continue working to fulfill her dreams.
What makes this story even more remarkable is what happened one day when she was still full of self-pity. He gave her a watch head and said, “I don’t have much but I wanted you to know that you have done what many others would not, simply by being my friend.”
She realized that by reaching out to him she had received the incredible reward of a beautiful friendship.
Unlikely Friendship of an Imam and a Rabbi
World Peace / The Naked Soul Partners
Sometimes friendships transcend religious differences. This was evident in the story of a rabbi and a Muslim imam who met each other when they were being interviewed by CBS after Pope John Paul II’s death about his interfaith outreach.
Both men at first hid their quiet ignorant beliefs from one another and the rabbi said, I grew up in an environment as an Orthodox Jew where Muslims were the enemy, Muslims were to be demonized, Muslims were not to be trusted. I clearly brought to the table many biases, prejudices, prejudgments.
The rabbi called the imam several months later extending a gesture of peace and deciding to learn how to foster a better dialogue between the two religions.
They organized the first summit of rabbis and imams in New York in 2007 and began a process where the rabbi would speak to congregants at the imam’s mosque while the imam would speak to worshippers at the rabbi’s synagogue.
They co-authored a book about starting an interfaith dialogue entitled “Sons of Abraham: A Candid Conversation about the Issues that Divide” and “Unite Jews and Muslims” that breaks down misconceptions about both religions.
Story of Friendships
Friends / The Naked Soul Partners
I developed a meaningful friendship with a coworker who has some personality traits that differ from me. She is more assertive and extroverted than I am but has a sensitive side which she expresses when discussing her family and her dog.
We joke around with each other and she always knows how to get a smile out of me even when I am having a tough day. I never would have expected to develop such a significant relationship with a coworker but know that despite any issues we have with each other, she will always be there to defend me if necessary.
There have been many depictions of unlikely friendships that have developed in movies and television.
Toy Story / The Naked Soul Partners
Many have been in animated movies such as Toy Story where one toy, Woody, serves as a boy’s favorite toy for years while the other, Buzz Lightyear, was a birthday present; Up where a boy scout befriends an elderly man and helps him learn to love again after the death of his beloved wife; and the friendship between the young girl, Lilo, and her alien friend, Stitch, in Lilo and Stitch.
These cinematic relationships show that despite differences between each character, they are able to look past them and develop meaningful friendships.
The most obvious example of unlikely friendships can be seen on the classic 90s sitcom, Friends.
The six friends have unique personality traits that elevate the humor found in each episode from the commitment-phobic Chandler Bing and his Casanova roommate, Joey Tribbiani, to the neat-freak Monica Geller and her second roommate, the more laid-back and approachable Rachel Green.
Romantic entanglements even ensue between characters including the occasionally tumultuous relationship of Dr. Ross Geller, Monica’s older brother, and Rachel and the marriage of Chandler and Monica.
Friends has stood the test of time and in its more emotional moments depicts the strength of a group of companions that can always be depended on.
It is clear then that unlikely people can indeed transform your life. Whether it stems from a chance encounter or an arranged meeting, friendships can begin in many different ways.
Be open to meeting new people as perhaps this can lead to an enduring relationship.
Did you know about the free VIP pass offer to the Naked Soul Club? Subscribe your email address now and be part of this tight-knit community of lovers, readers, writers, adventures and other people just like yourself. I send great contents directly into your mailbox. Once a week. Sign up now and stay in touch!Was this post interesting? What are your thoughts or stories that you would like to share? Please feel free to share your questions or comments with us? Please leave your thoughts and input in the comments below.
I’ve recently been looking into the history of spirituality and eroticism. Since the antiquity, there has always been some overlap and deep connection between the two great muses of human pursuits.
Spirituality and Eroticism
From my research, what I have found that either the religion has tried to suppress the eros or embraced it by transforming and expressing the eros by channeling the sexual energy into spiritual, selfless love to God or some ideal.
While I’ve been checking out ancient teachings and beliefs, biblical verses, songs and poetry, all with the theme of eroticism and spirituality in mind.
I can honestly say that I’ve literally been blown away and swept off my usually grounded feet by the jaw-dropping beauty, frank honesty and unguarded language used by mystics, poets or pagan priests advocating their love for spiritual and mystical figures.
The strength of their ecstatic devotion never fails to shine through, even within their sometimes sexually charged diction. In fact, if I was of religious persuasion, you could probably say that through what I’ve learned, even in a short time frame, I’ve literally been taken to the church (or temple) and back.
It was no less than a sacred pilgrimage through time and cultures.
Let’s look at some of these overlaps where the erotic meets the spirit.
Saint Teresa of Avila
Since I’ve just mentioned church this is as good a time as any for Spanish mystic and nun, Saint Teresa of Avila (who was canonized by the Catholic church during the 1600’s) to share with us her heartfelt and intimate feelings towards God.
Saint Teresa is said to have experienced devotions of ecstasy which was one of perfect union with God. Her devoutness could not be more apparent than in her poem, I Would Cease to Be:God Dissolved my mind, my separation I cannot describe now my intimacy with Him How dependent is your body’s life on water and food and air I said to God, I will always be unless you cease to Be, And my Beloved replied, And I would cease to Be if you died
You get a real sense of her intensity and passion from the words used here. Whenever I read it I get the feeling that it could almost be a poem written to a lover.
Saint Francis of Assisi
Such displays of beautiful outpourings towards religious and spiritual figures by their devotees have been thematic throughout the centuries. The poem (a prayer as hymn actually): Dear God by lifelong devout Christian, Saint Francis of Assissi also shows the true extent of his feelings:Dear God, please reveal to us
beauty that is everywhere, everywhere, everywhere, so that we will never again
feel frightened. My divine love, my love,
please let us touch
I love the line please let us touch your face, it’s exactly the kind of thing a person would long to do from the moment he/she begins to fall in love with someone. Saint Francis was canonized as a saint during 1228.
Sixteenth-century Indian mystic, Mirabai, is another plenary example of devotion in its purest form. She became a lifelong follower of Sri Krishna whom she thought of as her husband.
So passionate was her devotion, Mirabi inspired many others to take the same devotional path.
Even well-known sadhus (Hindu word for ascetic holy men) came to her for divine influence. Her life’s sacrifice to Krishna really shines through in this poem:
The saffron of virtue and contentment
Is dissolved in the water-gun of love and affection.
Pink and red clouds of emotion are flying about,
Limitless colors raining down.
All the covers of the earthen vessel of my body are wide open;
I have thrown away all shame before the world.
Mira’s Lord is the Mountain-Holder, the suave lover.
I sacrifice myself in devotion to His lotus feet.
A lot of Mirabai’s poems were written to be sung as bhajans (religious songs of praise) and many of them are still sung in India today.
Song of Songs
I am going to return to the theme of Christianity for now as we take another journey back to one of the religion’s most well-known holy scriptures, the Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon).
It’s from the Judaic Old Testament and it’s frank and animated details of the physical love between two people definitely makes it unique to the books of the Bible, especially when you consider that it’s said to have been written between 971 and 965 BC.“Let my lover come into his garden
and taste its delicious fruits.” – Song of Solomon 4:16
There are a great many different versions, translations and interpretations around of this book, e.g. King James version, Hebrew translation or the more recent International version.
I’ve included just a small snippet of the more modern International version below, but it can be found here in its entirety.
Song of Songs
While the king was at his table,
my perfume spread its fragrance.
My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh
resting between my breasts.
My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms
from the vineyards of En Gedi.
– Song of Solomon 1:12-14
Do try and take in the whole thing if you haven’t already, I think the Song of Songs is a fantastic expression of the power of love and the physical attraction it brings, which definitely makes it stand out more than other books of the Old Testament.
Sumerian Mythology: The Song of Inanna and Dumuzi
This is said to be one of the oldest love poems from the ancient world. Recently translated, the words for The Song of Inanna and Dumuzi are said to have been found on stone tablets in the ruins of Nippur, one of the ancient cities of Babylon.
In this myth, a high priestess acting on behalf of the goddess of the land has sex with the ruler of the country to show the goddess’s acceptance to him as guardian of her people.
This ritual is said to bring prosperity to the goddess’s people (who would watch the whole of this sacred act taking place).
With verses that include phrases like:
He shaped my loins with his fair hands, and,
Who will plough my wet ground?
This poem is far more explicitly upfront than most in this blog. However, because the translations by Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer are quite recent, I don’t think I can include an excerpt in this blog for copyright reasons; but along with more information about Sumerian mythology, the poem can be found in its entirety here.
The Sumerians, like the ancient Greeks and Romans worshipped many gods. Their religious practices at times obviously included some sexual behavior.
We’ve probably all noticed the consistent use of erotic imagery when looking at history books on ancient times e.g. the representation of male Greek Gods often being that of naked well-endowed males.
It’s hugely apparent that back then, sexual attitudes and behavior, unlike today, didn’t seem to encourage any shameful undertones whatsoever.
When you consider that for two hundred years after Rome’s state religion became Christianity, long term gay unions including marriage were still in existence, it’s so apparent that during this era there were few restrictions imposed on sexuality before later teachings and opinions changed things.
The Virtues of Chastity
It was around 50AD that chastity became a virtue after Saint Paul advocated that the highest love was God and that chastity was the best expression of one’s holiness.
He was of the opinion that if the commitment to chastity could not be sustained then marital sex would then be the next option.
This, to me, basically suggests that Saint Paul felt that sex was sinful and that chastity was actually a clear expression of one’s religiosity.
I am not sure that Jesus even held this same belief as Saint Paul. Although there isn’t a huge deal of stuff documented about Jesus’ attitudes towards sexual behavior. He did preach that men and women should be treated the same when it came to adultery and divorce.
When Jesus came across a woman who had committed adultery, he did not condemn (The Hebrew bible authorized stoning for this act). Instead, he uttered one of his famous phrases:
“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” – John 8:7
During the 12th century Philosopher and Theologian, Thomas Aquinas’ impact on sexuality and sexual practices was so phenomenal it even still asserts its influence over the Catholic church today (not bad for a guy who died around eight hundred years ago!)
He was of the belief that sexual organs were merely a vehicle for procreation, any other uses were deemed unnatural or immoral, especially when it came to homosexuality.
His opinion laid the foundation for Christian attitudes that would continue for centuries. Aquinas’ poem to God “Could you Embrace that” can be found here.
Have a look at the quote below which was made by modern-day spiritual leader and Indian mystic Rajneesh (Osho).
So always remember, whatsoever I say to you, you can take it in two ways. You can simply take it on my authority, Because I say so, it must be true — then you will suffer, then you will not grow.
I love this quote because it immediately encourages the growth of the mind. During his time on Earth (between 1931 – 1990), Osho gave nurturing talks on all manner of subjects, ranging from meditation, enlightenment, religion, and self-exploration.
He was also a follower of Tantra which he describes as the science of transforming ordinary lovers into soul mates.
Rather than seeing sex as a sinful act, Osho believed it to be sacred and joyful. This is a snippet from one of his discourses From Sex to Superconsciousness.
Only in the moments of coitus did man realize that it was possible to feel such profound love, to experience such illuminating bliss. And those who meditated on this truth in the right frame of mind, those who meditated on the phenomenon of sex, of intercourse, came to the conclusion that in the moments of climax the mind becomes empty of thoughts. All thoughts drain out at that moment. And this emptiness of mind, this void, this vacuum, this freezing of the mind, is the cause of the shower of divine joy.
If you want to know the elemental truth about love, the first requisite is to accept the sacredness of sex, to accept the divinity of sex in the same way you accept God’s existence with an open heart. And the more fully you accept sex with an open heart and mind, the freer you will be of it. But the more you suppress it the more you will become bound to it.
You can read more of this discourse here.
I am going to round things up now with something I haven’t heard about very often an erotic poem written by a priest. This one was created during the 16th century by Anglican priest, John Donne. It’s called:
To His Mistress Going to BedUnpin that spangled breastplate which you wear, That th’eyes of busy fools may be stopped there. Unlace yourself, for that harmonious chime Tells me from you that now it is bed time. Off with that happy busk, which I envy, That still can be, and still can stand so nigh. Your gown going off, such beauteous state reveals, As when from flowery meads th’hills shadow steals. Those set our hairs, but these our flesh upright. License my roving hands, and let them go Before, behind, between, above, below. O my America! my new-found-land, My kingdom, safeliest when with one man manned, My mine of precious stones, my empery, How blest am I in this discovering thee! To enter in these bonds is to be free; Then where my hand is set, my seal shall be. Full nakedness! All joys are due to thee
To read the complete poem, please visit here. John Donne’s poems were first published posthumously in 1633 and 1635.
Read another one of John Donne’s poem: The Ecstasy by John Donne
Thanks very much for looking at my blog, please let me know if you enjoyed reading it.
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Have you ever wondered why mediation is so popular in our culture? It is no wonder that in today’s society, which is full of stress and anxiety, meditation helps people in calming one’s mind and bringing clarity of thoughts.
You may ask, What is meditation? To that, I would say, Meditation is the mindful observance of our own mind. ‘Watching the self’ is the key in meditation. This impersonal act of witnessing our own self from within brings quietness and peace to our being.
The primary purpose in mindfulness-meditation is to observe or watch our inner self — without any judgment, evaluation or expectation. Just by watching, you immediately get out of the never-ending-thought-train. When you stop or slow down the thinking mind, you feel serene and calm.
However, I must add that feeling good and peaceful is not the primary goal of meditation.
The ultimate goal of meditation is to seek to know your own true self. The chief aim of mediation is to experience the no-mind and to seek and know the truth. The realization of the oneness of all life with a compassionate and loving heart is the final fruit of mediation.
But, to embark upon such a quest, one must be relaxed first: physically and emotionally. Therefore, any mediation practice begins with the calming of the mind.
How to do Mindfulness Meditation
Once you are relaxed you are ready to begin your journey. The most common question that people often ask is “How do I meditate?” I have never done meditation before, how can I start?
Well, I was in your spot once and I figured it out. It is actually simple. Below you will find out how one can start practicing meditation and stick to one’s schedule at one’s own pace.
A step-by-step guide
1. Find a place that is quiet and not too warm or cold. Find a seating cushion or something comfortable that you can use to sit on. If you do not have a seating pillow or cushion, you can also use a chair. If you are going to use a chair, make sure that the height of the chair is not too tall or short according to your height.
2. You do not have to fold your arms or feet in a certain fashion or order but you certainly can if you want to. The first step is to make your physical body comfortable. You want to minimize the physical discomfort so that you can take on the greater challenges of the mind and spirit.
3. As you sit and are still preparing, keep this thought in mind that you are at ease and you are safe and at ease. This silent affirmation will help relax your body.
Gently close your eyes and breathe slowly and deep. Do not rush into breathing deeply. Let the natural flow and rhythm take control. Keep breathing deeply yet gently.
4. Now you are ready to “just be”. The first step is to not do anything. Yes, do not do anything. This is the first step. Do not repeat a mantra, or a word or anything. Do not imagine or focus on any image or symbol. Just be. Be relaxed. Just watch whatever the mind is doing.
5. Focus on your breathing and watch how each breath is taking place. Keep witnessing this until the mind has calmed down (relatively speaking). Some random thoughts will keep coming to you. Let them come. You just bring your attention to your deep breathing.
Having thoughts is okay
6. Do not disturb your mind by trying to prevent a thought to occur or by trying to chase a thought. Let thought arise if it comes; let it pass, when they dissolve. Similarly, one thought may be dissolving while the next one is arising. Recognize this fact as the nature of the mind. It is okay. Do not artificially disturb this flow. Let it happen if this happens but make sure you keep watching every thought as they occur.
This is the first lesson of mindfulness meditation. Do not repress a thought; do not do anything at all on your part. You just be a watcher; this very act of watching is meditation.
7. As you become more and more aware of your inner world (being) and your environment with all the sensation that you may be experiencing or feeling in your body, your focus sublimely shifts from your breath to witnessing.
Remember, witnessing means witnessing everything, all that there is witnessing do not filter out anything nor does it expects anything. Keep sitting and keep watching.
Feel the emptiness
8. As you watch, slowly and slowly, the mind will become empty of thoughts. But, if you are falling asleep, come back to the attention. Battling sleep at this deep state of relaxation is difficulty but by regularly practicing, you will overcome.
9. As you become regular in your practice and develop inner strength, in due time, you will also overcome most of the discomforts associated with your physical body. The only key here is to keep sitting and keep watching.
No special instruction is required. You will find your teacher within yourself. Just be consistent and persistent.
Not Blessed Are Those
Alas! Not blessed are the cowards, for they shall miss everything honorable in life.
Alas! Not blessed are the gossipers, for they shall never hear anything more than rumors.
Alas! Not blessed are the slumbering ones, for they shall miss the purpose of life.
Alas! Not blessed are the lovers of money, for they shall have too much stress and anxiety.
Alas! Not blessed are the fundamentalists, for they shall never experience true freedom.
Alas! Not blessed are the war-makers, for they shall only wound themselves, and deeply.
Alas! Not blessed are sexually loose, for they shall never receive the joy of true love.
Alas! Not blessed are the liars, for they shall be the biggest fools.
Alas! Not blessed are the snobs, for they shall be laughed upon, hated, and scorned.
Alas! Not blessed are the greedy ones, for they shall not have any true friend.
Alas! Not blessed are those who show-off, for they do not know their own true self.
Alas! Not blessed are those who have never suffered, for they don’t possess the will to life.
The 8 Beatitudes
I consider the above 12 truths as the silver rules when contrasted with the eight beatitudes (as preached by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount.)
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