Know Yourself !!

Who am I? It is one of the commonest questions for anyone on their initial stages of any sort of a spiritual quest. Know yourself, say most gurus.

My nani spent a relatively happy life without any iota of knowledge of anything except what she needed to know about her home, how to manage it, her husband, her kids, her immediate environment; as did/do many of us, who find a content role to play and we play it with full conviction till it’s time to shed this skin and go on to yet another adventure. For some of us, knowing ourselves, or anything else much isn’t really important, as long as we have enough to go by, we make do. That is a good thing, I feel. Giving in to desires, dreams, aspirations, that keep changing with the ever-changing seasons rarely does anyone any good. Sometimes, like the sweet Buddha, it is good to, not give in; controlling one’s desires in one way to live a fairly simple, uncomplicated life. Either the blissfully ignorant, or the enlightened walk this path of contentment. Irrespective of whether you know anything about your self, your purpose, this life…you just go on, and on, taking each day as it comes, welcoming it with open arms and a warm smile. The rest…we struggle. We strive, we plan, we create agendas, goals, aspirations, we do sadhnas, or work hard/smart and succeed, or not; some just…chill.

Why do you want to change?

It started with this discussion with a dear friend, about why it is important to let things be sometimes, just as they are. The importance of going with the flow. The discussion started with the question, or issue, of changing oneself, one’s repetitive patterns, which one may find annoying about themselves, or harmful, or downright destructive. The friend has been trying to modify certain behavioral patterns for sometime but seems to reach nowhere. I suggested that if she has tried and tried, then maybe it’s a good idea to stop trying and let it be. To not force anything upon anything that maybe your natural design, which you may see as a flaw. Forcing a change on to who you are fundamentally could prove to be bad; unless the change happens on its own, with time, or through certain significant events. So if there is something that you may not appreciate about yourself, and you have tried changing it, but nothing happens, then just accept it. Take a deep breath and work with that; see where that takes you.

This little write-up is for the argument; why it is good to know yourself. I am not going too deep here; no existential questions answered here. Like, am I a soul, what about other dimensions, what about…ahem…God. It’s more shallow, much like myself, related to this world, this physical domain, very material Earth. Knowing ourselves, as we are, in the current life’s form, this human body. Like, in this life, I am Jagdeep Kaur, and I know my parents (it’s ok if you do not, just an example), I have this home, I had a fairly ok childhood, no major traumas, an ok enough life. Yes, this life, this person, this personality I got born into, this specific small life. Small happinesses count, very much, so start with what you have. What you have, is this body, this life, your life, your immediate environment. Start small. If you are just starting out and wondering where to go.

Do you really know yourself?

And now the priceless question. Do you know yourself? At least your physical, Earth dimension existing self? You may feel you do, but a lot of times we prove ourselves very wrong, time and again, in this area. We are too full of ourselves; this idea of what we wish to be, and think that we are it, but in reality we may not be it. Like someone might think that they are a nice and kind person, but they have never observed their own behavior when it comes to paying the rickshaw guy, squabbling over 5 rupees. Some think that they are an out-and-out people’s person, great conversationalists, but rarely say hello to their kaamwali or ask how she is, or even know what their kids do in their spare time. Yes, I am talking about accepting truths about our own self. And sometimes, well, most times, observing those around us, how they react to us, what they say about us, is the best way to know, judge ourselves. Instead of saying, well, I am a nice person, ask those around you, what they think. Or if you are intuitive enough, you will be able to gauge what they exactly feel about you. Well, if you are intuitive enough, you would be closer to the truth. Or, big Or, start observing yourself, be aware, analyse your actions; like, if you are all nice and polite in front of your mom-in-law, are you that way in front of the maid too? If not, then overall maybe you are not a nice and polite person. If you are aggressive and speak-your-mind types with your colleagues, but not so much in front of your boss, then maybe overall you are not the aggressive and speak-your-mind types. You may think that you have a large-ish paraphernalia, but have you seen other people’s junk? Where do you stand compared to that? (Asking for feedback here may not get you correct answers because most times people are polite when asked direct questions of such nature. So, observe and analyse.)

Accept yourself, all your weird quirks, just as you are.

And when you do see a certain type of a truth emerging about yourself, are you comfortable with it? Or does that disturb your balance, your mental peace? And if you are not comfortable with it, then what is it that makes you uncomfortable? Maybe you wish to conform to a certain societal standard, maybe a stereotype, and you do not wish to fall short.

If you are just beginning, to try and understand yourself, first up, let go of all your revered standards, of you how you “should” be. Be comfortable with just what you, or how, you are, irrespective of whether someone else may appreciate that about you. You appreciate it about yourself; ACKNOWLEDGE and ACCEPT. It helps, a lot, if you have around you people who accept you just as you are. If there is someone, in your immediate vicinity, who snaps, or snarls, or even looks in a certain seemingly negative way, or tone, when you are just being yourself–how much ever silly, or clumsy, or downright stupid, which happens with me a lot cos of my very short attention span and very limited knowledge base–it may be harming your ability to accept yourself, just the way you are, very much so. Surround yourself with people, or friends, that are fine with you being your silly, weird self. If there aren’t any, then just be with yourself, and love yourself, and be nice to yourself.

Start with that, and spend some time, some months in that nice knowledge of how ok you are, just fine, and then see where that takes you. Then we will talk about next steps. Good luck!!

~As originally published on http://www.teerathyatra.com/

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To Do or not To Do

I have a theory. If you drop all inhibitions and have sex in the initial meetings, it paves a way for a stronger, healthier relationship later. It would also be a relationship based on honesty and openness; two of the few strong pillars on which the relationship stands. This theory has come about as a result of a conclusion based on observing various couples at play, around. Now-a-days, thankfully, people are a bit more relaxed about sex, and here in India too people don’t think much about it today. But there are still some out there, who just wouldn’t let go. Now I am not encouraging or forcing anyone to do anything. Sex is complicated, especially if you really like someone. You do want to tread carefully. Think over each little step forward, or back, if that is what needs to be done. It’s a very personal choice; make it at your own discretion. This article is for those few who have grown up thinking that sex is a huge deal and can happen only after having spent an x amount of time or experiences with someone. Sex is a huge deal, of course; but things have altered a bit now. In today’s day and age, a fast paced life, it helps to not be too rigid in our thinking about anything, most of all sex.

Consider a regular Joe and Jane. At a conscious or subconscious level, Joe wants to get laid. Jane wants flowers, sweet nothings, promises…the list goes on. The two start dating, first unofficially, then officially. Mostly because Joe wants Jane to get comfortable, like him enough, to “open up”. Trust me Joe, you do. Of course Joe may want the sweet frills of being in a relationship too, but sex is a strong underlying current, which Joe may or may not be consciously aware about; it can make or break things for him. So Joe and Jane are dating; they become a “thing”. They introduce themselves to their respective friends. When they do end up doing it, it may be great, or not. At that point things have gone ahead a bit, for both of them, they like each other enough, they have become used to each other, they enjoy being in a relationship, it could be anything. But if the sex is not that great, it would eventually start gnawing on the innards of that relationship. Disagreements and fights will ensue. And by the time the break-up happens, a good amount of time would’ve been wasted, for both of them. If they stick it, with all their might, it could end up being a sad, bitter life, full of disharmony.

So, just to be sure, go ahead and do it. If they don’t call back, after that first encounter, well, good riddance. You had a good, fun evening and are an experience richer. And if they do call back and want to see you again, then you know it’s for genuine reasons.

~As originally posted on http://www.teerathyatra.com/

Perfect Partner

A perfect (life) partner, is wishful thinking. It’s something that may exist in an ideal world. We don’t live in an ideal world, sadly. We desperately keep trying to create idealistic environment(s) around ourselves to make ourselves (temporarily) happy, yet, every now-and-then, cribbing, complaining, whining, getting angry. At people, situations, around us, him, her, this, that. All the while not realising that ideality comes from within us. Our environment, what we wish to create, has to radiate out, from within us. The same goes for having a “perfect” partner. Are we perfect ourselves, or at least trying to be?

First, define, what exactly is your idea of a perfect partner, for you, to cater to your needs. Some may like complete independence; I don’t interfere in your shit, you don’t interfere in mine. Some appreciate 100% trust and honesty. Some prefer some things hidden from them. Some may even appreciate a bit of jealousy emanating from their respective partners, every now-and-then; though it may not be healthy. Define your ideal partner, qualities you may like in a person who is around you almost all the time. Do you want them around almost all the time? Would they appreciate if you share this thought with them, that you may not want them around almost all the time? Draw out a list.

Then, see if you are like that. Like, if you like honesty in your partner, are you, yourself completely honest? If you want space from your partner, do you also give space in return? If you like to go about galavanting with your friends every now-and-then, maybe even for weekends, would you be ok if your partner does that too? “Ideally”, things you indulge in, you should be ok if your partner indulges in them too…or indulges in their own kinda things. We all have our little quirks; are you tolerant of the quirks of your (current/prospective) partner? If you expect your partner to make certain adjustments, in themselves, their behaviour, their lifestyle, for you; are you willing too to make certain adjustments for them?

For me, I love being single. Actually, I have almost always been single. Having never had the good fortune of having a loving, caring (romantically involved) person in my life, I never really got used to living with someone like that. Though I have had relationships, but they rarely involved me actually sharing living space with someone. So, for me, an ideal life partner is someone who can let me be single. Hold your horses now. The first thought that may come to most people’s mind is going crazy and sleeping around; loads of casual sex. Hell, even single people don’t really do that you know…at least not those who are mentally, emotionally, spiritually healthy and stable, not “loads”. Well, ok, sometimes. But you get my point. See, sex, ideally, should not be a priority when it comes to life partners. Though it comes pretty close as sexual satisfaction is pretty damn important for general happiness and wellbeing for most of us. On a slightly different note, why harass your husband/boyfriend for something your vibrator can do, maybe even better. Kidding…that’s just the ever-single-life-loving me talking.

What’s really important, or even more important, is companionship. Are the two of you good together outside the bedroom? Do you guys make a good team? Do you genuinely bring a smile to the other’s face, often? That can happen, if you let the other be single, or, just be themselves.

What I mean by let me be single, in a relationship, is that let me have a happy, independent life of mine own. My own little space; some me-time all to myself, sometimes; me taking solo trips, if I so wish; you know, general stuff. Of course, through it all, complete transparency is imperative. There should be no secrets, no hiding anything. It is important because I have seen people cribbing about wanting to do something, go somewhere, meet someone, but they just can’t because their partner/spouse doesn’t feel good about it. That’s the worst thing ever. Don’t stop someone from doing something that will make them happy, if you love them, esp if you love them. Don’t impose your thoughts or opinions on those around you, esp those that share your life, every single day. So be careful. Are you, maybe, doing that? Telling her not to go here/there; telling him not to see him/her; stop this; start that; why don’t you…

Stop, and think. Take a deep breath, relax, and stop, and think. Are you doing that? Are you stopping short of being a perfect, ideal partner yourself? Be constantly aware, keep correcting yourself, and what’s ideal for you, would, hopefully, fall in your lap, soon. 🙂

~As originally posted on http://www.teerathyatra.com/

Looking for life purpose?

For some, who are actively looking for a life purpose, the only place to start is within. Looking around, asking others, may not help; with all due respect your guru may not be able to help much either. Your guru may be able to guide you within; but the journey is yours, and yours alone.

It comes very easily to some people, some very few people. They develop amazing talents, or things that they are very passionate about early on in life; they have a clarity of purpose from a very young age. Some have it, and then lose it; like your truly. That’s perfectly alright. Some find it traveling. Some finding it sitting, ruminating. Some, when they are way past 40, or 50, or even 60. Doesn’t really matter. With life purpose, it’s like that Hindi proverb, ‘Jab jago, tab savera’, which means, when you wake up, it’s morning.

One way, to understand your life purpose, is to look at your life; introspect. How have you been living your life…or it’s your life that has been living you. Has there been a set pattern? Is there a particular kind of people you keep ending up around, or certain situations or circumstances you find yourself often in. Like, for example, throughout my life, I have met many angry people, it’s because I know I have anger issues; or have had. And that is one thing I need to (or needed to) work upon. I would know for sure once I get an opportunity to get adequately angry. So if there is a particular kind of people you keep meeting, or, there is a kind of set role you keep playing, in your own life, in other people’s life, then that is what you came to this life for. For example, if you end of being a doormat, for everyone you meet, you need to work on your esteem. At the same time, your role in life could be, to silently, and lovingly provide support. You could keep doing that, but ensuring that no one takes you for granted, or takes you for a ride, once you’ve worked on that self-esteem issue. If you find yourself solving other people’s problems, well, then that is your calling. If you love too cook for everyone…so on, and so forth.

So, see, and think, and consider. Take a deep breath, relax, and then, see, and think, and consider.

Always being “busy” is not going to help. “Oh, I don’t have time.” Well, then, stop cribbing, and focus on your work, and don’t think about things that you won’t do, or can’t do, at least not right now. But one good way to hone your skills, understand your life purpose, and generally understand life, and what role you play in it, is to take out time for yourself, do just what you want to do; even if it is one hour each day, early morning, or evening. Or maybe a week or two every few months. At least, make a start.

And, pray. It helps.

~As originally posted on http://www.teerathyatra.com/

Not lucky (in love), yet living happy ever after…

First, this write-up does not discourage people from being in a relationship, or encourage single living. What is encouraged is realising whether you are in a “healthy” relationship or if it’s eroding you from the inside. If it is killing you slowly, then yes, moving away from it is encouraged and single life recommended.

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Sorry my loved ones. My days normally tend to start in the evenings, so my “Valentine’s Day” starts now. 🙂 I remember the first time I had heard about Valentine’s Day; I was in grade 9. A friend called up and wish me a Happy Valentine’s Day; and I had asked what is it.

Love, is something that has intrigued me, since my early teens (not anymore though, it doesn’t “intrigue” me anymore). As a teenager, I did not really believe in it, and quite made fun of those around claiming to be a pair. I remember boasting that I am never going to marry, as a child, as a teenager, which, some my aunts used to make fun of; all girls say that…heeheehee. And even as a child, I always had a doll, not a girly doll, but a baby doll that I used to pretend to be a mommy of. Funny, how it all turned out. 🙂 I remember strongly arguing with a friend of mine once, in my first job in my early 20s, how a dad is not really required (the friend was arguing that a child needs both the parents for a healthy growth). My point being that what any child requires, growing up, is complete love and support and it doesn’t really matter where it comes from. Of course, it’s great if both the parents are there, together, happily together, but it’s not imperative for a healthy growth.

Just what I feel about being in a relationship. Notice that I have not used the word love. A lot of times we tend to equate romantic love with love. We need love to live well, not necessarily romantic love, or being in a relationship with someone. Of course, it will be great if there is someone, someone to love, someone to share stuff with, someone to care about, someone that cares back; but it is not imperative. It is a bonus, like being born a gazillionaire, but it’s ok if we do not have a lot of money; we can be live happily ever after without that too.

Look around you, look a little beyond your immediate circle of good friends. Look at life, people, in general. Couples fight, couples bicker, couples are miserable. A lot of couples get together for many not-right reasons. For me, the only reason to be together with someone is if you love them, no other reason suffices. The most common being, ‘I don’t wanna be alone’, or, ‘I am lonely’. That is one of the worst reasons to get married, or be in a relationship with someone, for my loves, it is a selfish reason, and in love, it is never a good thing to be selfish. That is where, or how, the misery starts, then fights. We start with selfish reasons and then we go on being selfish, until there is no ‘us’ left, but just a ‘you’ and ‘me’. Remember, there is never a separate you or me in love, in a loving relationship; there is always ‘us’, one single unit.

Learn to live alone; learn to stay alone and stay happy, then go out and go ahead and find someone who is also happy being with their own selves. Two grown-up, fully mature people come together and create a mature, loving, healthy love relationship. Have you seen people totally in love and togetherness; how they rarely fight (no, fighting is not a part of being in a relationship; get over it)? Not only do they rarely fight, they are good, complete, wholesome, successful individuals within themselves, by themselves. Because not only they are mature, happy people who tend to make the right decisions and live good, happy lives; their partners (if they have one) adds value to their lives, and vice versa, thus both adding positively to each other’s lives and well-being. Of course, that is an ideal situation, a little fight does happen, among everyone, that is natural. But if you are fighting quite regularly, something is wrong, get away, take time out, take stock of the situation. Your love partner adds on to your life, good things. When you think of them, you should have a small on your face, a loving, sweet smile, not a frown, or worry lines on your forehead.

I have rarely seen such couples; there aren’t many around me. Couples that actually, complete each other. I feel that it is rare, and very lucky, for someone to find true (romantic) love, a love that makes you truly blossom, and makes you a better person. Like I said, it is rare, and very lucky, to be born a gazillionaire, or find a huge fortune and live a life of crazy luxury, not caring one bit about the environment. But that does not make the rest of us, the non-rich folk, from living a good, happy, peaceful, content, satisfied life. The same with love; we are lucky, we will find it, but don’t let that be the pinnacle of a happy life for you.

Learn to live, happily ever after, with yourself, first. Whatever else needs to come, will come. Let’s make this world better, one happy person at a time. 🙂

~As posted originally on http://www.teerathyatra.com/

About Anger

My dear friend, Mukta, and I, we talk a lot…we love to talk, and discuss, and sometimes argue, in a…controlled, very grown-up fashion. Now some may just feel that we are so full of just hot air, it’s ok, go ahead, make mazaak, make mucho mazaak, and once you’ve had a belly-full of laugh, take a deep breath, and read on.

My dear friend, Mukta, and I, of late have been talking a lot about Anger. We’ve both had anger issue; I..ahem…not so much…ahem…of course. And I tend to attract people, in my life, with anger issues. It means I need to deal with such issues within myself first…which of course I never get to, cos’ I honestly believe that I am perfect. Oh well…

So, my dear friend, Mukta, and I, we were talking, and thinking about Anger…where does it emanate from? What generates it? What gives it shape? What color it may be? Does it have a smell? What makes it erupt in a person, like a volcano, scorching everything in its blast radius. People get affected deeply by anger; the one that is angry, and the ones that are in the blast range of the bursting, raging, anger.

First up, let’s chalk out, erase, the reasons related to health, physical or mental, that may cause anger. Certain diseases, or mental imbalances. That is (more/somewhat) understandable. We will not discuss those here. Then there are some good, very valid reasons of getting angry; for example, someone slaps me real hard, for no reason, or call my mother names, for which there is never a good reason. It’s completely uncalled for. It had happened to me once. I got slapped. I had recently made friends with this person, who was friends with no one in class, in college; I think it was 2nd year. So this one time, we were sitting on the bus stand, waiting for the bus, and I noticed that she looked upset. I asked her what was wrong, she didn’t say anything, but just looked away. I asked her a couple of times more, and then suddenly, she turned towards me, and slapped me real hard, without uttering a word. That didn’t make me angry though; I was shocked, at first, I then felt very hurt. I never spoke to her again. She remained friendless for the entire time she was in college, at least in college, from what I could see.

A lot of times anger is genetical, or in the spiritual sense, baggage of the lineage. Many angry people have angry backgrounds, or backgrounds that make ripe grounds for anger and such related emotions to form and erupt. Fear is a reigning ingredient. It could be anything, fear of rejection (by the society or an individual), fear of falling short of expectations, fear of being found-out who one really is…sometimes, well, most-times it is not just one fear. As is the case with fears, they brings along to the party, a rather large entourage. A lot of fears get together to form a conglomerate of dense anger. Fear of not being in control (of a situation, or person) makes many people very angry. And sometimes it’s just a technique to keep things in control. I know someone who loses it like it’s no one’s business, and snaps, and shouts, and scares people. People listen to him. I don’t know if they respect him, or love him, maybe they do; but I know for sure that they fear him, and then behave. He gets things done, each time, every time. I tried talking to that person about it, and very calmly he explained that he does it purely to stay…well…above everyone. And to my surprise, it worked, it works. I am really nice to people, polite, sweet…but a lot times I am not able to get things done; to get some work done in offices, for example, or in shops if I feel I had been cheated and I wish to return something. But him, he walks in, and people…straighten up, and seem so ready to serve him. He’s got this violent, aggressive, ‘I-am-your-daddy-and-I-own-you-bitch’ aura that I so admire.

Sometimes, anger exuberates authority. Many fathers I know are like that. Who use anger to stay in complete control. Instilling fear in the subjects becomes a way to establish authoritarian rule. Kids run away from such fathers, listen to them, shiver when the mother threatens to tell on them. Which, I don’t think is a good thing at all. A father, I believe, should be loving and supportive, and a child should never fear to approach a father, for anything.

Or, many a times, it’s a response to shattered expectations, a broken heart maybe (another form of shattered expectations). You broke my heart, I am going to break everyone else’s; I am going to break this world. And thus a life is spent in bitter anger and sometimes hate. Or a broken arm, or leg, a broken, hurt ego most of all. That could leave one very angry.

It’s important to understand where the anger is coming from, and it’s very important to objectify it, and then place it correctly. If need be, take it out, on whom you need to take it out, sparing others around you, who don’t deserve it, sparing your own, precious self. Anger is an intense, dense, rotting emotion. If you allow it to rule you, it’d rule you life, your relationships, and most of all, your mental, physical, and spiritual health. It could affect your next life too if you believe in one. Don’t let it.

Understand the alchemy of your anger, and you will be better able to control it, and steer it in the right direction.

~As originally posted on http://www.teerathyatra.com/