Thursday, 19 August 2010

Rising Above Thought

In his bestseller The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle says that "the single most vital step on your journey toward enlightenment is (to) learn to disidentify from your mind." Easier said than done, right? Who wouldn't give their right leg or arm to be able to do this! I don't think I'm wrong in saying that most of the time it's human nature's worst habbit of overthinking that disables us from true happiness and"enlightenment".

Tolle advises his reader to stop taking their mind so seriously that it begins to define ones sense of self.  However, how can it be that we can be anything but our thoughts? Is it not our thoughts that define our individuality and act as the reason why we are not just mere clones of one another?  How, then, can we rise above thought without removing thought (which would be impossible)?

"Your mind is an instrument, a tool.  It is there to be used for a specific task, and when the task is completed, you lay it down.  As it is, I would say about 80 to 90 percent of most people's thinking is  not only repetitive and useless, but because of its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is also harmful." (1)

We are not aiming to rise above thoughts which are necessary. Thoughts are valuable and you do not need to diminish them to attain enlightenment! However, there are necessary thoughts and then there are "repetivie and useless... harmful" thoughts, which is what many people find themselves trapped in at many instances in their lives. So how does one prevent such an instance arising?

" taking any routine activity that normally is only a means to an end and giving it your fullest attention, so that it becomes an end in itself  For example, every time you walk up and down the stairs in your house or place of work, pay close attention to every step, every movement, even your breathing.  Be totally present.  Or when you wash your hands, pay attention to all the sense perceptios associated with the activity: the sound and feel of the water, the movement of your hands, the scent of the soap, and so on." (2)

In the busy lives we lead, we allow thoughts to eat up our minds and to an extent take over our lives, but we forget to enjoy the small joys in life which help us understand our true sense of presence.  Clearly, we give our past and future way more importance than our present.  There's a famous saying along the lines of...“the past is history, the future is a mystery and today is a gift. That is why we call it the present"... then why is it that our ego has us constantly viewing our present with eyes of the past and expectation of the future?

Accoring to Tolle then, one can only attain true enlightenment when thoughts of the past and future are given less importance than the present moment we should be enjoying. Again, I'll repeat - easier said than done! However, it's food for thought and definitely something to make an attempt to aim towards.

The Power of Now, copyright 2005 by Eckhart Tolle, published by Hodder and Stoughton (UK)
(1) p18, (2) p17

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Happy Independence Day, India!

Though I've been born and bought up in England, I consider myself as much Indian as I am British! I feel blessed to be a part of both these beautiful countries and be able to balance a lifestyle which takes from both the cultures.

Today...15th August 2010...I'd like to wish INDIA, and Indian's all across the globe, a very Happy Independence Day! Today is a day to reflect on the past and present. Today is a day to thank all the freedom fighters who fought for the independence we have today. Whether we are living in India or elsewhere, we surely would not have been living the life we are today (or have the freedom of choice, thought, voice we are enjoying), had it not been for them, their determination and their sacrifice. TODAY is the day we should take a moment to think whether our "today", and India today, does justice to all that they gave up for us so many years ago!

Are we living life truly as 'good people'? Are we independent in our choices (without disrespecting anyone elses choices and feelings)? Are we making sure not to misuse or misunderstand the word 'independence'? Are we good citizens of whichever country we are residents of? Do we treat everyone equally..fairly..despite their nationality/race/sex etc? 

I'm proud of my Indian identity and I think everyone who is Indian (whether they are living in India or outside of India) should vow today that they will try their best to be better people every passing day, live life independently but without hurting others..etc... so that everyone can always be proud to be Indian!

Nobody is perfect, and nobody will ever be perfect..In the course of life, we will be students forever...but today is a day where we can try and take one step closer to excelling :)