Musings on Life and Living!
Kindly find below some quotes, vignettes, and musings to uplift your spirit:
[the wisdom-beads belong to others; I have only tried to supply the thread]
Don’t waste your time with explanations: people only hear what they want to hear.― Paulo Coelho
You cannot always stay on the summits. You have to come down again . . . So what’s the point? Only this: what is above knows what is below, what is below does not know what is above.” ~ René Daumal, one of Gurdjieff’s pupils, author of Mount Analogue
It is not that I’m so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer. ― Albert Einstein
A modern man lives in sleep, in sleep he is born and in sleep he dies.~Gurdjieff to Ouspenksy in In Search of the Miraculous, p. 66.
Grace Notes: It may at first seem a bit harsh assessment of humans; but then how can one explain all the senseless wars, killings, foibles, contradictions and incongruities in human conduct without invoking the hypothesis that humans live their life in “waking sleep.” We do not really do anything; everything happens to us. One cannot evolve in sleep; even so one cannot become conscious unconsciously.
So, the real question in life is how to wake up from this profoundly progressive, psychological slumber?
One key pointer: Try not to express your negative emotions. What are the most inveterate negative emotions? Anger, hatred, jealousy, arrogance, and greed. These are the obvious ones. The subtler are: self-centeredness, self-righteousness, self-ignorance. They all emanate and orbit around one key marker: self-ignorance. That is why Socrates stressed on the need to ‘Know Thyself.’ And the Bard of Avon mused: “To thine own self be true.” Self-knowledge is the one antidote to all the ills humanity is heir to.
So, get to know yourself, authentically, as also suggested, albeit perfunctorily, by the modern textbooks of leadership.
It is said that we are very good lawyers for our mistakes and very good judges for the mistakes of others. Just reverse this tendency. Judge others by yourself, said Gurdjieff, and you will rarely be mistaken.
One more hint: From time to time, try to shift your attention from outer objects to your inner ‘Presence-Awareness.’ It is called ‘awareness watching awareness.’ Try to sense the felt sense of the presence of your being. Be able to be.
You are not in the world; the world is in you! Examine carefully your dream-experience. In the dream, you—well, your mind—projects a whole new world out there. This world has equally real objects, people, your own ‘ego-entity’ experiencing emotions of joy and fear, and its own time-space coordinates. Likewise, when the dream state gives way to waking state, You project the whole new world (time-space-causality) and ‘waking ego-entity’ and its concomitants. Obviously, dream ego/world is entirely different from the waking state.
Then you enjoy the bliss of deep sleep, withdrawing within yourself the senses, mind, the ego, and the rest. These three states are universally experienced by everyone, regardless of their age, gender, class, and creed. Notice that these three states keep on changing all the time. What is changeless in all three states? The one who says, ‘I am awake, I dreamt, I slept well.’ Find out who this ‘I’ is, its true identity. Know the changeless amidst the changing, says the Gi̅ta̅ 13.27. What is changeless amidst all that is changing? Ponder over this mystery deeply. Are you the senses and the mind or their knower? Examining thusly, know yourself as the knower of the senses and the contents of the mind. This is the real-deal.
Says Śaṅkara in his commentary to Kenopaniṣad 2.4: There is no other way to know the inner Self: nānyaddvāramantarātmano vijñānāya (नान्यद्द्वारमन्तरात्मनो विज्ञानाय)
The last words of the Buddha were: “Live not inattentively.”
Life is short; art is long. Strive to free yourself from the disease of “tomorrow.”
Live fully—have more life in your years than just years in your life. Make every meal a feast, a fiesta.
Sometimes try looking up the sky instead of looking down on your smart phone all the time.
Every now and then, disconnect from the internet, to connect to the inner-net.
If you try these two simple exercises, you will get the real taste of what self-awareness is. S/he who tastes, knows, said Rumi. Rumi also reminds us that, some doors open—only from the inside. Actually, there are no walls, hence no doors either:
A door with ego becomes a wall.
A wall without ego becomes a door.
These pointers may be simple, but they are not easy.
But who said waking up is easy? 1/3 of our life is spent in physical sleep; and the remaining 2/3 in self-imposed psychological sleep. While the physical sleep is essential and virtually harmless (unless one snores: the snoring person truly enjoys sound-sleep; sleep for him/her, sound for others!); it is the psychological sleep that is responsible for all the mess in human affairs and impending ecological hazard.
You cannot help others without helping yourself. And same is true of harming others. And remember, there are no others! Everything you take as the ‘other’ is only you, in disguise. Karma never loses an address. The axe forgets, but the tree remembers. So, tread carefully but lightly on the planet and strive to contribute at least as much as you intend to consume. There is no glory in cutting the very branch on which one is sitting. It is starkly counter-productive.
Rumi reminds us that, in this great mystery called life, we do not really own anything. Free yourself from the fundamental disability of acquisitiveness born of self-centeredness. In this quantum soup of oneness, there are no separate selves. Like the same one indivisible space dwells inside and outside all phenomenal objects, the One Spirit pervades all animate and inanimate beings. Try to live as often as possible in the awareness of this One Spirit, in Oneness.
Your own self-transformation is the greatest gift you can offer to the universe, says Ramana Maharshi. This alone is your first and last responsibility: self-evolvement. There are no friends or enemies for the seeker of the path. Everyone you meet is your teacher. What can be favorable or unfavorable for one who has realized one’s fullness, asks the Gītā. The Gītā (2.56 -72)presents the highest conception of a sage in terms of a person whose ‘heart is pure and mind is steady,’ as follows:
The one steady in wisdom has casted off all (self-centered) desires arising in the mind; is content in the Self by the Self; is even-minded in success and failure, gain/loss; neither rejoices or recoils in meeting with the favorable or unfavorable; has self-restraint; is free from likes and dislikes; and moves about without attachment, egoism, fear and anger.
People intoxicate themselves with work so they won’t see how they really are. ~Huxley
From the same food and the same circumstances the hornet produces poison and the bee produces honey. ~ Madame Ouspensky (drawing upon an analogy by the Buddha)
Here is a great hint about transforming charcoal into a diamond. But remember, even the diamond has to go through “cutting” to radiate its full splendor. “He who would be light to others,” said the inimitable Nietzsche, “must endure burning.” But then the same fire which burns the wood, purifies gold. So, make gold of all the golden moments of your life.
Always associate yourself with the finest in arts and ideas. Life is too precious to squander on drab interests and trivial pursuits. Continue to refine your sensitivities and sensibilities.
There are moments when troubles enter our lives and we can do nothing to avoid them. But they are there for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there. ― Paulo Coelho, The Fifth Mountain
In his book, Ethics, Aristotle asks a question, what is the essence of life? He answers: The essence of life is to serve others and do good. This is the wisdom the world needs during these turbulent times.
Take a vow to work for the good of all; make a wish for the well-being-of-all-beings. And be patient, with yourself and with others. As Alexandre Dumas mused, “Until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, ‘Wait and Hope.’”
Then you will be good; being good, you cannot help doing good. It will become your very nature; like it is the nature of water to flow to lower levels.
When you do good, you benefit the society; when you be good, you benefit the whole universe. Thus have i heard from my teacher, Swami Sharnanand ji Maharaj.
My Vedānta teacher once said, “Work for the good of others, and the universe will work with you.” This is a cosmic law.
It is an inalienable law: Contentment can only come from serving others, selflessly. A skin-encapsulated ego makes a very small package, Alan Watts reminds us. Recent research in positive psychology also corroborates this age-old wisdom of selflessness: “Doing things for others, is the best thing you can do for yourself.”
Gurdjieff has written: ‘any prayer may be heard by Higher Powers and a corresponding answer obtained only if it is uttered thrice,’ first for one’s parents, then for one’s neighbor, and lastly for oneself.’ (Gurdjieff, Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, p. 2)
Let our life be an invocation, a chant, a flying cathedral, for the good of all. Let’s make our life one magnificent prayer, dear friends. Let’s be a rainbow in someone’s cloud, as urged by Maya Angelou.
Here, then, you have the master key: The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others, said Gandhi. He was not mincing words!
Remember that the universe tends to cancel out all inharmonious frequencies.
So, cultivate harmony and follow the path that leads to wisdom.
There is a great difference between being a human being and being human. Let’s strive to become a human being—without “quotation marks.”
To all the learners and strivers everywhere, I wish the following for you with all my being: ‘May the Light of Goodness hold you in all you do, wherever you go!’
Be well, do good work, and, if possible, stay in touch.
Above all, continue to be abundantly blessed.
May the Divinity reveal its true nature in your own heart!
Bon voyage and Godspeed.