creating boundless space in our lives

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nature-tree-green-pine.jpgWhen I surrender to the present moment, I go with the flow of life. I open myself to life, and life moves through me. Miraculously, people come to my aid. Out of the blue, a solution arises to a perplexing problem. A creative idea pops into my head. The blockage that was inside me suddenly disappeared and is replaced by stillness–an alive presence that is one with all and untouched by it all. I feel my connection with everything and know that all is well.


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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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We live in a civilization that is restless. We are always moving on to the next thing. The minute we perceive something we immediately put a label on it and then we go on to the next moment.  Our attention is focused on things that are fleeting and ephemeral. We are in a constant state of uneasiness and dissatisfaction because all that we see is the surface of things or the polarity of things (good/bad, high/low, happiness/unhappiness). We don’t see the depth that is within and around everything.  Then we try to cover up this uneasiness by taking drugs, drinking alcohol, shopping, or getting into a relationship with someone who we believe will take away the uneasiness. But we find that these are just temporary relief. The moment the effects of the drugs or alcohol wear off, or problems start to creep into our “perfect” relationship, we feel the uneasiness return with a vengeance.

How do we cope with this restlessness that is pervasive? How do we drop our addiction to the next moment? We start by observing the things that happen in our lives, without judging them as either good or bad. We become still inside and watch life unfold before our eyes. We don’t get involved in the drama, the tears, the frustration, the argument. We see the situation against the vastness of space and we realize that things had to play their role in the totality so the fullness of life can come forth. We then discover the essence that was hiding in the form–the essence that is one with the form, one with us, and one with the universe. We experience the peace that passes all understanding.

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Working with your tailwind

We spend a great part of our lives working. But why is it that some people thrive at what they do while others barely make it? Why are others enjoying themselves at work while their friends are stressed and tired? The answer lies in one word: “swadharma“–Swa means “one’s own” and dharma means “nature“. Therefore, swadharma means one’s own nature.

We must choose a field of action,  including our livelihood, consistent with our nature or inclination. We can not change who we are, so it is best to rearrange our lives so that we are doing what we love to do instead of doing things that people said we should do. We follow our own internal compass and  are in touch with our true selves. We do what comes natural to us and let the universe do the rest. As the Baghavad Gita puts it, “It is better to do your own duty, however imperfectly, than to assume the duties of another person, however successfully.”

Swami Parthasarathy likens the person who loves his job as working with his tailwind and the person who dislikes his job as dealing with a headwind. In aviation, a tailwind blows in the same direction as the plane and so it increases the plane’s speed and thus reduces the time required to reach its destination. A headwind blows against  the plane and thus reduces its speed and makes the journey longer.

Working with your tailwind gets you to your destination faster and with lesser effort because you are going with the flow of nature and the universe. You are carried by the wind and all you have to do is enjoy the ride. Dealing with a headwind delays your journey and produces anxiety and stress because you are working against your nature and the flow of the universe. You are fighting the wind instead of riding it. If you are not happy at your job, pause for a moment and reflect on what you love to do. It’s not too late to let your true nature unfold and see the wonders that come into the world through you.