Duck-like!

Long drives have a compelling way of taking your thoughts on uncharted pathways that form a complicated mesh you find yourself helplessly entrapped. That is my mind at work, usually on my long commute to and from work where the heavy thought traffic easily beats the busy roads outside any given day!

So queer are the ways of the human mind that ‘living in the moment’ is a state that is not yet mastered. I often muse if this is an unconquerable feat for human mind, this state of being in the present, where you don’t wallow in the self-inflicted suffering from your past or angst for the future. Come to think of it, a high percentage of our thought process is rather futile than productive. Our brain is effectively a rerun of mindless thoughts of situations that threaten to destroy our ego, security, reputation, power to name a few. We are yet to imbibe the true essence of mindful meditation that offers space to accept any situation the way it is and find solutions for problems with a clear mind. Evolution has rendered us a far superior species at the loss of the art of simple living. What seems like an immeasurable leap from the stone age for human beings in terms of civilization is a battle lost in the areas of conscious living.

As a stroke of relief, my thoughts are interrupted at the sight of the placid lake beneath the bridge that my car moved at snail’s pace on. I spot a few ducks wading peacefully as if to put my over-thinking existence to shame. My mind is now in reverse gear in an attempt to undo the inconsequential thought process, to reclaim the energy wasted on the unplanned detours. These simple creatures teach me a thing or two by modeling the ‘living in the moment’ mantra. There is a sudden wave of stillness and contentment that inevitably strikes me at the daily sight of this natural wonder, it is almost humbling. I look forward to those moments of quietness inside with great diligence and regularity that I find myself craning out of my car window onto the vast water body below for my daily dose of sanity. Thank goodness for such lovely creations in nature, there is respite from the craziness of our over-driven mind. If only we could have such duck-like moments in our lives more often, if only we realized the need to slow down and really see and feel what is around us, the word ‘stress’ would never have existed in our vocabulary!

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Yoga

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Yoga was one topic I wanted to talk about for a long time, since it is close to my heart and I greatly benefited from its practice. I was introduced to this holistic form of exercise for mind and body when I was around 25. Living in the garden city of Bangalore, also notorious for its allergies, I suffered from wheezing and wanted to find respite not through high dosage medications that poisoned my system, but by more natural ways like pranayama* and yogasana*. The search for an instructor led me to a wonderful lady who was a doctor by profession, but a yogi at heart. Her classes used to be 1-hour long and were held on the covered terrace of her 2-storey house, 5 days a week.

The very first day of class itself made quite an impression on me of yoga as a practice for a well-rounded lifestyle. Her simple routine consisted of pranayama, followed by light warm-ups going onto surya namaskara* and then to various asanas* in standing, sitting, lying on the belly and back positions. The sessions wound up in meditations and chanting of shlokas* eventually ending in savasana*. By the end of the first month, I noticed a significant amount of improvement in my health. The pranayama along with the various asanas accompanied by conscious breathing techniques blew in my lungs new life. The shlokas that were chanted in the yoga sessions brought a sense of surreal peace and quiet confidence. That was when I realized how amazingly transformational this modest form of ancient practice was! Yogasana is not a set of mindless exercises but a practice that enhances the flow of elements to various parts of our body, rejuvenating them.

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To begin with, yoga in the eastern world in its purest form never had the hype and hoopla that the modern world brought with it. The essence of yoga is when the practitioner is in alignment with the consciousness, and the life energy flows in his/her being. These don’t require any gimmicks or gadgets, rather a highly focused mind in perfect alignment with the  body that embodies well-intended thoughts. That is yoga in its purest form, when it was created centuries back as Yoga sutras* derived from Hindu philosophies, where great yogis formulated various bodily postures called asanas.

The more I learned about Yoga as a discipline, the more intrigued I was about the brilliance of its various formations and the purpose behind them. What other form of practice can be so humbling, still empowering at the same time?! The yogic essence is truly felt, when you realize the flow of energy into every nerve of your body, when you feel the stretch of muscles in every limb, when you sense the measured breaths that blow life into every cell of your body and last but not least when you feel a tingling sensation of cosmic energy traveling through your nadis* to your chakras*. No wonder it is described as a physical, mental and spiritual discipline that translates as the literal meaning of Yoga which means ‘yolking’ or union in Sanskrit. I bow down to the brilliant souls from whose minds this great science originated for the inner healing of mankind through ages…….Om

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http://goyogaamelia.com

*pranayama – formal practice of controlled breathing

*surya namaskaram – sun salutations

*asanas – the art of sitting still

*savasana – corpse pose

*shloka – a category of verse line, like a couplet

*sutra – a distinct type of literary composition consisting of short, concise statements

*nadis – channels through which the energy of the subtle body flow

*chakras – energy points of the subtle body, meeting points of the subtle energy channels

Conscience!

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent!

Everyday, the media spits out disturbing stories where I hear the wail of an innocent girl abused, tears in a mother’s eyes whose child is abducted, and the haunting pain of a wife who lost her husband to war. It is a painful realization that our  world is losing consciousness and morality that has brought us at the altar of self destruction as human beings.The time has arrived for a shift in our understanding of real meaning of peace, love and harmony, on this tiny speck of dust that we call Earth.

Our conscience as a human race has come at crossroads with restlessness ruling the world, with constant friction between countries, between religions and castes, between races, and people coming at loggerheads at the drop of a needle. And for the shameless, lackadaisical attitude that turns a deaf ear and blind eye for all the injustice around us, we should rather be shameful. Sure enough, we have failed conscience!

One way we could bring more sanity to the war stricken minds that are more united in their hostility than love, is to teach the values of tolerance, compassion and harmony. It all starts from home, where we need to sow the seeds of righteousness in young minds from a very early age and be role models ourselves. If only educational institutions incorporated in its curriculum an agenda for awareness in our society to look beyond the differences of nations, color, creed or sex, a new generation of human race could evolve. If only places of worship became abode of enlightenment for altruism and selflessness and pure growth of inner self, rather than breeding grounds for shallowness, pretense and vulgar display of power and influence. If there were to be more holistic treatment of stress at work place that emphasizes on a healthy work-life balance, we would have less of machine-like humans. Even when we have the right tools for spiritual enrichment like the practice of yoga, meditation, and umpteen outlets for emotional catharsis, we fail to put them to right use. For us, peace is just a 5-letter word whose symbol we proudly flaunt on our shirts .It is time we took care of the inferno in the human minds that could consume the entire human race in its blaze than the most powerful nuclear weapon.

As we stand with heads held high on the pedestal of victory having conquered the world, unaware of our feet stained with blood from our ruthless, heartless actions, it is our conscience that we massacred. When man hollers and beats his chest for all his MANLY deeds, he is denounced the title of human, yet remains oblivious, and that is nothing but crucifixion of mankind!

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http://hdwallpapermania.com

 

Mother’s Day

   MOM

Mother’s day is around the corner and I muse about the true essence of motherhood. Do you become a mom just by virtue of giving birth? You are a mother but not ‘mom’, necessarily. The essence of momness is earned, not bestowed. Mom is not just another role that you perform in ways of feeding or dressing or educating your children, it is nourishing and enriching the young minds in emotional and spiritual levels!

Momness, if you think about it is not a qualification due to maternity itself. It is in fact, an abode of sanctity; it is a testimony that love, care and kindness still exist on earth. As far as there is flavor of motherhood on earth, there is still hope! You see subtleties of it in nature, in trees, in animals and all things living. It is owned solely by those who give birth – to goodness, to strength, to peace and above all, life. I see it in my own mother, who is momness personified. I also see it in my dad’s eyes and feel it in my brothers’ voice, as well as in random acts of kindness from near and dear ones, or a neighbor or sometimes even a stranger.

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If I were to take even one-millionth of an ounce of pride in being a mother, let it not be for the lives that my womb delivered but for their journey thereafter! How would I come close to qualifying for a mom, if I weren’t to exhibit an iota of humaneness from the standpoint of another human,  if it’s not my shoulder that my daughters choose to cry on, if I couldn’t read the angst in their troubled minds, or know the meaning of unspoken words? Motherhood is not a right, but a privilege that has to be earned from mutual love and respect, by letting go and not clinging on!!
Needless to say, it is not in the untouched souls, the crass creatures, or the ruthless ruler. It is rather a light breeze that smells of jasmine, and brings music to your heart as you feel the gentle hands that lay on your shoulder. Hail the existence of momness!