Celebrate the Miracle – YOU!

 

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Life is full of ups and downs, joys and sorrows. It is but natural for us to feel happy when things are bright and cheerful and sad when things look bleak. It is also true that when we are happy the world smiles with us and when we are sad, we cry alone. So, how do we lift ourselves out of doom and despair? Be BRAVE …

(B) Be Our Own Cheer leader

The first thing we need to do is to be our own cheerleader. We can’t expect others to cheer and encourage us all the time. So let us do it for ourselves. We owe it to us. Keep smiling. Forget the past. Don’t worry about the future. Forget about personalizing things and issues. Filter criticism. Look at the world with a sense of wonder. Be genuine and authentic.

(R) Read something Positive & Uplifting

Research has always proved the impact of reading something uplifting. It helps one to be cheerful and happy. Books like The Alchemist and The Secret actually burst with optimism. "When you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true." These words echo throughout the novel The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. So what is it we want to welcome into our life? Whatever we want is possible, provided we pursue our dreams, work towards it and inspire ourselves.

(A) Affirm, Affirm, Affirm!!!

When we cultivate a positive mindset and supplement them with affirmations, the positive vibes tend to naturally attract not only positive people but also positive situations. Affirmations help in creating a positive thinking pattern and mindset in us. The 19th century self-help author Émile Coué has contributed the famous affirmation "Every day in every way, I am getting better and better." Use positive affirmations. Write them, believe in and repeat them. Set apart a specific time for them.

(V) Visualize, meditate

Creative visualization is the art of seeking to alter our outer world through changing one’s thoughts and to realize one’s goals.  A book of the same name by Shakti Gawain contains meditations and exercises that are aimed at helping the practitioner channel energies in good directions, strengthen self-esteem, improve overall health, and experience deep relaxation. According to her, creative visualization is such an innately powerful process that even five minutes of conscious, positive meditation can balance out hours, days, even years of negative patterns.

(E) Enthuse

The word enthusiasm is from the Greek entheos and means God in us. Enthusiasm is contagious and creative. It infuses passion into whatever we are doing. It turns a ho-hum life into a rip-roaring adventure. It fuels life and success and is most powerful. If  we embrace it it is ours. And who does not like being a midst enthusiastic people? How can we enthuse? By being grateful, proactive, responsible, evolving, and by having fun.

“Daring enthusiasm and abiding cheerfulness
Can accomplish everything on earth
Without fail.” ~ Sri Chinmoy ~

To be BRAVE in this way, we need to realize our self worth, our uniqueness. Let each one of us celebrate the miracle that is us! This transcript from a  wonderful CD titled Love Now,   by Kute Blackson, the transformational  life coach, captures this exclusivity in a matchless way.(www.kuteblackson.com)

"When you were first conceived, you were a double strand of DNA in a fertilized ovum. Dividing 50 times, and you had over 100 trillion cells. More than all the stars in the Milky Way. Then, you were born into existence.

Each of your cells do over six trillion things per second. Just think how a human body knows how to kill germs, digest, make babies, and talk, all at the same time.

The miracle is you.
The miracle is you.
Your heart beats 101,000 times per day.
During your life it will beat 300 million times.
Each day you take 23,000 breaths.
Your blood travels 60,000 miles each day on its journey through the body.
25 million cells are being produced in your body each second.
You blink at least 15,000 times per day.
Your brain has about 100 billion nerve cells.
If all your DNA was stretched out it would reach the moon 6000 times.
You shed 600,000 particles of skin every hour.
Your bones are four times stronger than concrete.
Your eyes can distinguish up to one million colour surfaces, and take in more information than the largest telescope in the world.
Your lungs inhale over two million litres of air daily.
When you touch anything, a message is sent to your brain at 124 mph.
Your skin consists of 280,000 heat receptors.
The length of your blood vessels would circle the globe 2½ times.
You have the ability to distinguish up to 10,000 different smells.
Your tongue has over 10,000 taste buds.

The miracle is you.
The miracle is you.

Listen to the music.
Listen to the music.
Deep inside.

Listen to the music.
Listen to the music.
Deep inside.

There are universes dancing inside your body.
There are sunsets shining in your heart.
There are symphonies playing in your toes.
Rivers of blood effortlessly flows.
There is a full moon beaming in your belly button.
There is a cool breeze blowing in your lungs.
There is a gentle rain that falls from your eyes.
There is an army of love in every step.
There is love making in your every motion.

A body of devotion.

The miracle is you.
The miracle is you.

So realize.
Visualize.
It’s all inside.

A galaxy of amazement.

Should you ever forget.
Just close your eyes.
And

Listen to the music.
Listen to the music.
Deep inside.

Listen to the music.
Listen to the music.
Deep inside.

The miracle is you.
The miracle is you."

Aren’t you a Miracle? :-)))

Photo credit: Aathira Perinchery.

Prayers

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Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire,
Uttered or unexpressed;
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast.
   ~ James Montgomery, What is Prayer?
I have always believed in the power of prayer. What is prayer? It is acknowledging the existence of some higher power. It helps me connect to that Higher Power.
The word Prayer came to English from Old French preier, meaning “to request”. It has been an integral part of human beings across time and culture. Prayers also find expression in diverse forms – rites & rituals, chants, confessions, pleas and supplications. In fact, it is when we go through crises that we hold on firm to the anchor of prayer.
One of my favourite prayer chants is:

“Om Sham No Mitra Sham Varunah Sham No Bhavat varyamaa,
Sham Na Indro Brihaspatih Sham No Vishnu rurukramah,
Namo Brahmane Namaste Vaayo Tvameva Pratyaksham Brahmaasi
Tvaameva Pratyaksham Brahma Vadishyaami,
Rtam Vadishyaami Satyam Vadishyaami,
Tanmaamavatu
Tadvaktaaramavatu
Avatu Maam Avatu Vaktaaram,
Om Shantih Shantih Shantih”

Taken from the Taittiriya Upanishad, I have been chanting this every morning, ever since Brahmachari Gagan Chaitanyaji taught it at the Vishnusahasranama classes. I really did not know what it meant, though I could recite it. It appealed to me and so I chanted it. It is interesting to note that Upanishads start with such “Shantih Paths” or peace invocations. Recently, I came across its meaning and realized the efficacy of this powerful peace invocation! Recited together by the teacher and the taught, this chant honours the forces visible in nature to reach the invisible, yet omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient God.
This Mantra implies:
“OM. May Mitra do good to us, may Varuna do good to us, may Aryama do good to us, may Indra do good to us, may Brihaspati do good to us, and may Vishnu the omniscient do good to us. Salutations to Brahman. Salutations to thee, O Vayu!  Thou art the visible Brahman. I shall declare that Thou alone art the visible Brahman, Thou art the ‘right’, Thou art the ‘good’. May ‘That’ protect me; may ‘That’ protect the speaker (teacher). Please protect me. Please protect the Speaker. Om! Peace! Peace! Peace!”
Energy is made most use of through activities during day time and hence Mitra is considered to be the spirit of prana and the day. Varuna is believed to be the one who governs the exhaled breath (called “Apana“) and night. It is worth noticing that whenever we are working hard / carrying things etc, we breathe forcefully and even go short of breath. Prana is expended and we need to rest. Besides, isn’t wind or Varuna the visible God?
Who is Aryama? Aryama is said to be the presiding deity of the Sun and the eyes. The connection is between the light principle and the eyes, with which one sees lights and colours. Without light, eyes cannot see anything. Without eyes, any light and colour is imperceptible. Indra is supposed to be the governor of physical strength and the presiding deity of the hands. Generally it is through hands that one exhibits strength.
Brihaspathi is the celestial preceptor and reins over intelligence and knowledge. Vishnu, on the other hand is both omnipotent and omniscient and controls movements; therefore He controls the feet.
Thus by invoking Mitra, Varuna, Aryama, Indra, Brihaspathi and Vishnu, the teacher and the student(s) were seeking everything they needed for their well being (Sham; meaning well being) – health, intelligence and knowledge, strength and energy to sustain themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This prayer also invokes Brahman, the infinitely supreme truth.
Shantih means peace. The prayer ends with the chanting of Shantih three times, to ward off all kinds of obstacles that destroy mental peace. In simple terms it signifies peace in body, peace in speech and peace in mind. Alternately it could also refer to peace individually, collectively and universally.
The first one, “Aadhi-daivika” shantih refers to all kinds of disturbances from phenomenal powers, which are absolutely beyond our control, i.e. cyclones, tsunamis, floods, quakes, volcanic activity etc. With this “Shantih” we beseech the Higher  Power  to  protect us from obstacles that are beyond  our control and chant it aloud.
Aadhi-bhautika” shantih, the second one, denotes the disturbances around us –  loud talks, barking dogs, ringing telephone bells etc. We can negate them to some extent by control – moving away from the place, or locking ourselves inside a room, or plugging our ears; by taking the phone off the cradle, or switching it off altogether. So this shantih means, “O God, may we be protected from the people and surroundings.” This shantih chant is softer than the first to indicate that it is directed to the environmental disturbances.
The third  is the  only one over which we have total control i.e.  Aadhyatmikam. It refers to disturbances springing from one’s own body, like, illness, worry, jealousy,lust,  anger, sorrow, hatred etc that destroy our peace. The egoistic mind which thinks only of its comfort zones that are invariably not really good for us as persons, is the only true obstacle to mental peace. This third shantih is hence the most important one, for even if we are free from outside disturbances and if there is no inner calm, we will never know peace. On the other hand, if we have found inner peace, no external force can ever disturb us. So chanting this third shantih is akin to praying, “O God, please remove all the inner obstacles related to the self.” Hence it is chanted the softest.
The invocation prayer ends thus with three chants of shantih to invoke peace in the unseen forces; our environment; and lastly our own mind, our own heart, our own self. It is also believed that trivaram satyam – that which is said thrice comes true. We chant shantih thrice to emphasise our intense desire for peace. Truly, incessant chanting of this is earnestly needed in this strife-torn world!

Down Memory Lane

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Yesterday was a special day.

A student, whom I taught 18 years ago, visited me. I was flooded with joy. The young lad whom I knew had climbed up ladders of growth and success. He updated me quickly with his profession and also that he is a happily married person and the proud father of a daughter. Being a training coach, I realized that he had selected the right kind of job for himself; for, as a student he was fluent at communication and had evinced leadership skills. Besides, he was a people’s person who had excelled at dramatics and theatre.

It was then that he confessed that he had opted for a wrong subject for his graduate degree course. He opted for studying Physics but should have taken English Literature, he reminisced. After years in sales careers, he had moved on to training. It was a pleasure to see him exude confidence and hear him say that he enjoyed his job. The more challenging the session, the more enjoyment he had out of them, he gushed. How many young people can honestly make such claims?

My student then went on to recollect how when he was working with a pharmaceutical company, he had an opportunity to meet with a group of people from Kerala, in a remote place in Maharashtra. There he befriended another young man and their conversation veered to teachers who impacted them. And by sheer coincidence both had the same name – mine. The other student was one whom I had taught at Munnar! The world sure is very small.

My visitor then took me down memory lane when he said that I had made a difference in his life. I had no memory of any such incident and he most graciously refreshed it for me. It was the next day after the Annual Day. We were standing near the staffroom and the Best Class XII Student for the year walked by. He recalled how I had told him – “Next year you must get this award.” From that day onwards he worked towards that goal and won the award the next year, he mused.

As teachers, we can make a world of difference in the little world of children. We can show them what to aspire for. A small well-meaning sentence loaded with expectations and fixing benchmarks for him/her is sure to affect them in the most positive and encouraging way one can ever imagine. Simple words can have such profound effects. For a student to have remembered you even after 18 years bears testimony to the difference I had made in his life. And this is precisely why I still love being a teacher…. and specifically, being in the classroom! And it is small joys like these that tell me over and over again that I am in right and the best of professions!!

A Special Prayer

Prayer

One of the basic premises that we as human beings must nurture in us is that each day we grow and evolve into better people. That is why I simply love this affirmation – “Each day and in every way I am becoming better and better.”

It said that growth happens in spirals, working its way gradually into the deepest core of our beings until it finally becomes part of who we are. So very true. Now I am working at making this a part of me. Of late, the thought that comes to my mind when I really don’t know what to do or what not, is this:

"If this is what God wants, then this is what I want.
Whatever God sends my way is for my ultimate good.
He has my interests at heart much more profoundly than I ever can.
Therefore I joyously accept everything that You send my way,
for all of it is an instrument of Your grace to help me void of my karma,
and move me into eternal health and happiness."

When I let go and let God, I also enjoy a huge sense of expansion and relief. I also feel good that I am aware of my thoughts and focus and there is absolutely no tension or stress. There is a shift in consciousness and it is doing me a world of good.

It is good to learn this art of living… living in the Now, the Present!! No wonder, "present" means gift … Somebody said, yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery. Let us therefore focus on today, the present, a gift … Better late, than never, right?

Anything is Possible

As an educator, one quote I have always had on my soft board is “Anything is possible.” And while I meticulously worked at making everything possible, there were times when I did not succeed. More so in the last two years…. I have led gypsy-like existences, much to the consternation of all those who know me – family, friends and professionals.  Moved from one to another, and “the rolling stone” was not viewed very kindly! The ‘dis’-ease manifested physically and vortex of emotional turmoil totally churned my inner being.

The transformation opened newer possibilities – I learned to forgive myself and others; I learned to accept the things as they are; I learned not to judge anybody or anything; and most importantly got over my obsession with perfectionism. This journey of insight made me realize that striving for perfection is like a two-edged weapon – irrational on one side and inhibitive on the other.

It also dawned on me that we need to forgive ourselves for our mistakes and failings. We have always been conditioned to look down upon failure as something that is worthy of punishment – not only by others, but also by us! This “F” word sets off a trigger that makes us reactive, not responsive. The result – failure reframed and I learned what failure-resiliency is all about. When I knew deep within me that I can always bounce back, I learned to keep the trampoline springs of my mind in good condition so that each time I fall, I can bounce back resiliently!

Nothing can capture the essence of this journey of possibilities better than this beautiful and heart-warming video from the You Tube.