anantakasainlife

creating boundless space in our lives


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Distorted

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Photo by S.M.

When we are in the midst of a conflict situation, we are overcome by negative emotions. Stories from our past flow into our pain, which creates more pain. We play the mental movie of “The Unhappy Me” over and over in our head.  We look at the situation from a pessimistic viewpoint and get a distorted view of life. We thus become overwhelmed that we feel there is no way out of our dilemma.

It is similar to catching a ball that somebody throws at us. We not only catch it, but we internalize it and let it become part of our self-image. We catch other people’s thoughts and make them our own, even if they are against our nature. Is it any wonder that we are stressed, depressed, irritable and anxious?

How do we free ourselves from mental distortion? We start by observing the negativity in us. We watch the stream of antagonistic thoughts conjured by the mind. We step back from the torrent of unfavorable concepts in our head. We create space within ourselves. Our pure, true self, which was buried underneath the pile of destructive thoughts, is able to shine through and connect us with everything that exists. We thus see the situation clearly and find a way out of our dilemma.


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Transformed

Transformation

Source: zonefox.com

We live in a culture that is action-oriented. We are always busy doing something. We want to change “what is” into “what it should be”. We don’t leave things and people alone. If our relationship isn’t working, we try to fix our partner. If we don’t like our job, we go and find another job. If our children are bored, we come up with things to keep them busy. We think we know the solutions to problems so we set out to change people and situations. Then it turns out that even though the dilemma is solved, another one pops in its place. Why is this so? Because we were focused on the procession of myriad forms in our lives– the drama, the conflict, the stress. We only skimmed the surface of things so our perception is limited. We were not aware of space, the deep and vast aliveness that surrounds and contains forms.

Why do we need to be conscious of space? Because through awareness of space, we deepen our understanding of life. We go beyond the surface dimension of things and sense our oneness with the whole.  We feel the essence of every creature and realize the purpose of every situation. We stop fighting what is and go with the flow of life.

How do we create space in our lives? We start by observing people for no other purpose than to learn more about them. We study them, we observe them, we watch them–but we don’t judge them. We accept people as they are. If we are involved in a problematic situation, we look at it as if it were happening to somebody else. We de-personalize the event. We let go of our rigid expectations. We  allow each moment, good or bad, to be as it is.

The irony is that when we create space for transformation to happen, people and situations start to change.

 

 


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Power

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Source: bsnscb.com

When we give without expecting anything in return, we are powerful. We are in control of our destiny. We do things for the sheer enjoyment of it. Our work is of high quality because there is attention and care in what we do.

We do not wait for others to make us happy. We are happy and abundant and we share it with everyone. We give people our full attention. They feel this positive energy and gravitate towards us.

Or, if someone is blaming us, we watch the situation. We don’t react and defend ourselves against the criticism. We allow ourselves to be diminished and permit others to experience their feelings at that moment. We don’t add fuel to an explosive situation.

And the miracle is that once we allow ourselves to be diminished and let others be as they are, things start to change. Other people come to our aid. Situations suddenly turn around for the better. Why is this so? Because we permitted the hard shell of our ego to crumble so we become an opening from which consciousness flows into this world. We let the power of the universe move through us and set us free.

 


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Balanced

There is balance in the world around us. There is sadness but there is also happiness. There is darkness but there is also light. There is bad but there is also good. One cannot exist without the other. These polarities exist within our universe.

Why is it that we can’t see or feel the balance around us? Because we see the world not as it is but as we are. We are preoccupied with things or concepts that we fail to see the beauty of the present moment. And because these forms are fleeting, we are in a perpetual state of unease. We cling to one side and ignore the other side. We only see the negative but not the positive. We focus on things that are wrong instead of things that are right.

For instance, when we walk on a forest trail at dusk, we are afraid of the dark. We hurry along to get out of the darkness and into the brightness of a busy street. In our rush, we fail to see the beauty of the fireflies that lit the bushes. It seems that a million Christmas lights are strung along the bushes giving it an ethereal quality. Out of the gloom comes the glow of radiance.

How do we get in touch with the abundance that is everywhere? How do we find our balance? We start by observing things without judging them. We study and watch, without needing to change them. We become aware. Out of this awareness comes the understanding that is beyond the polarities. We are thus able to connect with our pure essence, which is one with the essence of all beings. We become balanced.


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Giving

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source: carleton.ca

When we give service to the world, the world will serve us. This is because the world is full and abundant. It is bursting with riches and wealth and its purpose is to share these with all of us.

But somehow this purpose is thwarted by our ego, which wants to take, more than it wants to give. This creates an artificial sense of scarcity, which leads to our insatiable need to do more and be more. We feel empty inside so we add things to our insufficient self. We look to the outside world to satisfy us. Then we become disappointed because nothing out there will ever be enough.

Or, we give but we don’t give freely. We attach conditions to our gift, which then becomes a bribe. We become disillusioned when the reaction we receive is not what we expected. We stop our so-called giving (or more accurately, bribing) and withdraw into our shell. We cut ourselves off from the fullness of life.

How do we reverse this vicious cycle? How do we bring abundance into our lives? We start by giving for the sake of giving–whether it is a smile, a touch, a helping hand, a hug, an encouragement. When we give, we align ourselves with the purpose of the universe. We are within our power. We are the master of ourselves. We don’t need other people to tell us we are good; we know we are good.

Giving brings out the inner joy that transcends forms. We enjoy each moment that comes but we are not tied to each moment.  We become free.

 


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The flow of life

The flow of life is everywhere. We see it  in the rustling of the leaves on a cool summer evening. We experience it when we feel raindrops touch our skin. We notice it when we see a butterfly dart from flower to flower. Even when something seems calm on the surface, underneath it life is continuing to unfold in its undisturbed pattern.

I was reminded of this when I recently went helmet diving off Boracay Island in the Philippines. It was my first time to go to the bottom of the sea with only a helmet attached to my head for breathing. Since I can barely swim, this was a big step for me. As I went down the steps of the boat, I was a little apprehensive. My mind started to conjure a variety of things that could go wrong. What if I missed a step and lost my helmet? Will I drown then? What if there were sharks? But then I remembered that life has always cared for me and will continue to do so. Besides, there were divers all around who would take care of me in case I needed help. They wouldn’t let me go down to the sea floor if it was unsafe. So I relaxed and continued climbing down until my feet touched the sand. I looked around and was amazed at the beauty and stillness that surrounded me. The water was bluish green and was a perfect background to the creatures that were floating by. Fishes of different sizes and colors were swimming all around me. There were sea urchins here and there.  I was given some food to feed the fish so they came to me and I was able to touch them. I was also conscious of the silence around me, which made me appreciate the experience even more.  I stood there in awe and marvelled at this wonderful spectacle that was not visible to me until I took the courage to see and experience it. How many times have I missed opportunities like these because I was preoccupied with other things?

This was my satori, my moment of enlightenment. I  came to realize that life is unfolding before my eyes every minute. All I have to do is open my eyes and experience it without the baggage of thinking. When I go with the flow of life, I experience life to its fullest!