anantakasainlife

creating boundless space in our lives


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2016-09-17 08.28.18

Photo by S. M.

Unhappiness is everywhere. It is embedded in our mind, which by its very nature is chaotic and problematic. It wants to control and take things. It is always fighting the present moment because it fears the dissolution of forms.

We are run by our mind so we look at life from a limited perspective. We see the procession of forms and not the space that allows the forms to be. As a result, we only see fragments of life, not the totality of life. Life, in all its glory, is benevolent, abundant, and helpful. Whereas each passing moment is subject to the polarities of life: good/bad, happiness/unhappiness, success/failure, and so on.

The way to be free from unhappiness is to de-personalize a situation. We look at a dilemma as if it were happening to somebody else. We put the situation inside a box and we watch the event from outside the box.  For instance, if somebody calls us stupid, we put this person in an imaginary case and look at him/her from the outside. This person may yell at us and call us many names. But we remain calm and peaceful because we know that they are inside the box and therefore can not hurt us.

We discard our harsh judgments and rigid expectations about the person and the situation.  We accept each moment as it is. This acceptance doesn’t mean doing nothing. It means we acknowledge this moment and do what is needed. We go with the flow of life. We become fully alive and enjoy the freshness of each moment.

This is when fear and desire lose their hold over us. We watch the play of forms and realize that there is nothing personal against them. It’s just the way of the world. We begin to play with them and even enjoy ourselves in the process.

 


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Finding our balance

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source: sweetlightphotos.com

We live in a world that is balanced. There is sadness, despair, sorrow, unhappiness, anxiety. But there is also joy, peace, gladness, happiness, tranquility. But somehow we tend to focus only on the negative aspects of our lives rather than the positive ones.

We have lost our balance. We only see one side and neglect or forget the other side. We are taken in by the concepts in our head. We regret what happened in the past and fear what will happen in the future. Hence, we are blind to the freshness and abundance of the present moment.

How do we bring awareness into this moment? We start by observing ourselves. We feel the emotion that is running through our bodies. If right now we are feeling anxious, we feel this raw energy coursing through our veins. We don’t fight it. We watch it, we surrender to it. At first this is hard to do because the mind wants to take over our bodies, but we keep at it. Gradually, the momentum of the mind lessens. We then feel the stillness within our bodies.

And it is the silence within that brings transformation.  Why? Because we become an opening from which life flows through. We are able to move from one perspective to another and enjoy the play of forms. This is when sadness merges with joy, despair turns into peace, sorrow is transmuted into gladness, unhappiness is transformed into happiness, anxiety leads to tranquility.

When we live each moment as it is, we become balanced.


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Fire

source: sodahead.com

source: sodahead.com

Suffering is the fire that burns up our ego so our pure, true self can emerge. The ego is that voice in our head that is constantly thinking, judging, imagining, needing, wanting. Its needs are limitless and illusory. Everything that we can insert after  the words “I am _____” or “We are____” is associated with the ego. We define ourselves by who we think we are. We are beautiful, handsome, rich, successful, educated, famous, etc. The list can go on and on. These are ephemeral things that are here today and gone tomorrow. Yet, we cling to them with every fiber of our being. We identify with the illusion of ourselves.

Suffering releases us from illusion. It brings us back to the source of all life by getting rid of all concepts that come after “I am” or “We are”. We are stripped of our ego, so we have nothing, like the rest of creation. We are then able to feel our true nature, which is “I am” or “We Are“. Nothing else needs to be added to our true selves. We are whole and complete now.

However, suffering is painful and excruciating so we often run away from it. Our ego is not ready to be burnt up. We don’t want to lose our identity. We dredge up thoughts, emotions, feelings from the past or expectations of the future to keep our identity in place. But if we allow the fire to burn us up, we create space for our true self to arise. How is this done? We don’t resist what happens; we let it happen. We watch events unfold without getting entangled with them. We watch people leave us and things taken away from us. We empty ourselves into God so He can come in and make us whole. We go beyond the boundaries of our limited mind and return to space, which is our origin. We become spacious, boundless, limitless.


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Resistance

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source: sport-kid.net

We resist the world in two ways: we want the negative things to stop and we force the positive things to continue. We do what we can to avoid or get rid of the negatives and we search for ways to let the positives stay.  This is considered normal. This is also insane. Why? Because this pattern of resistance is going against the flow of life. We pull one way and life pulls the other way. This friction causes disruption, unhappiness, diseases, stress. We believe that if only we can get rid of the negative situations and focus on the positive events that our lives will be better. But unfortunately this is not the case. The positive already contains within itself the concealed negative. We can not have one without the other. It is part of the dance of life.

So how do we deal with the fluctuating forms that come and go without going mad? The key is to allow things and people to be as they are.  We don’t force our opinions and judgments on others. We permit events to happen without interfering with them. We create space within ourselves so forms can move the way that life intended them to be. We then notice that things magically improve. The negative that we once avoided, but were forced to accept, suddenly changes into something creative and beneficial. The positive that we clung to would have turned into excess and waste, had it not been curbed. It is only through non-resistance and surrender that we go beyond the play of forms and experience the beauty of life.


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Service

Source: twitter.com

Source: twitter.com

If we serve the world, the world will serve us. This is one of the teachings of Swami Parthasarathy, which is reflected everywhere. If we look at the history of civilization, we find that the people that truly made a difference were those who gave freely without asking anything in return. Mother Teresa and St. Francis easily come to mind. They did what they did because it was the right thing to do. And the miracle is that they never lacked for anything. Everything that they needed always came to them without any effort on their part.

In our current state of affairs, however, the opposite is true.  We want the world to serve us and want it done NOW. We demand that people and situations cater to us. When we go to the restaurant we want to be seated right away by the hostess or we go somewhere else. When we go to the bank, we want our banker to answer our questions then and there or we file a complaint. When we go to a retail store, we want the saleslady to cater to us or we demand to speak to the manager. We say that of course we deserve to be treated right away. After all, we are paying these people for their  services. But is this really the case? Or could it be that we want each moment to satisfy us so we can be ourselves?

The truth is that we can only find our true selves when we stop looking for satisfaction out there. We go within and feel our own essence. We feel the stillness inside and let it permeate our being. We are able to let go of our rigid expectations that people, places and situations make us happy. We give service freely and truly. And because we serve the world, the world will serve us, as illustrated by Dave Lerner in this article: https://www.openforum.com/articles/how-to-make-contacts-the-right-way/.


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Work is Rest

We spend most of our lives working to make a living. But we are stressed at work and so we are not productive and creative. We have to deal with a multitude of problems and people that we feel constantly agitated. How do we change our work environment from being stressful to restful and peaceful (and maybe even joyful)? The key is to be at peace while doing our jobs. To let our minds be at rest while our bodies are working.  Swami Parthasarathy says that work in itself is not tiresome. It is actually an avenue for us to express ourselves. But our true selves are held captive by the worries of the past and anxieties of the future. This saps us of our energy and disturbs our being. We make hell out of heaven.

In other words, our egos get in the way. There is an intention behind what we do so our actions are hindered. We are selfish so our minds are disturbed. No selfish person is happy and peaceful. But if we change our attitude from one of selfishness to one of selflessness, then this changes the dynamics of the situation. We begin to serve others and the world. We perform a task just for the joy of doing it. We become the architect of our fortune. It is not what we are doing that makes us noble but how we are doing things.


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Chasing

source: venturegalleries.com

source: venturegalleries.com

We are conditioned to look to the world to bring us happiness. And so we embark on an endless, futile effort of chasing forms hoping that once we have them, we will have happiness. We go to the shopping mall or grocery store chasing discounts. But then we find that there is a better deal elsewhere so we return our purchase and go to the cheaper, better place. Or we attend one meeting after another chasing the next deal. But it turns out that the deal falls apart or it wasn’t as lucrative as we thought. Or we move from one relationship to another chasing the perfect person. Then our partner’s flaws come out and we realize that he/she is not the perfect one for us. This craving, this need for fulfillment always leaves us with a perpetual feeling of discontent because we interchange the two things that we experience.

As we know, this world is composed of two dimensions: forms (thoughts, actions, things) and formless (space, consciousness, infinite intelligence). The forms can only satisfy forms and the formless can only satisfy the formless. We cannot interchange the two. For instance, food will satisfy hunger, but it cannot satisfy craving. Money will buy a nice house but it cannot buy a home that is filled with love, harmony and peace. We can marry a husband or wife but we cannot force him/her to truly love us. The first analogies (food, money and marriage) are subject to the polarity of forms–good/bad, worst/best, high/low–which cause suffering and despair. Whereas the latter analogies (craving, home, and true love) can only be dealt with or exist on the level of the formless, which is above the fluctuation of forms.   How do we move into this uncharted territory of spaciousness?

The key is to allow the formless to flow into form. This happens when we observe things without getting entangled with them. We accept what happens without judgment. This acceptance stops the mind from its noise-making activities because it is no longer fighting what is. We don’t chase the next moment so we are able to have space within ourselves. We feel our essence and that of every being and form around us. We gain depth and perception that were missing before. Consciousness is able to move through us and connect us with the right action, person, or situation. Wonders begin to happen. We are able to drop the food or shopping addiction. The right deal comes along. We experience peace in our home. True love finds us.

The paradox is that when we stop chasing happiness, it comes forth and embraces us. It was always there, ready and waiting for us. We did not have to go after it. As Eckhart Tolle said, “Nothing real is threatened, nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.”