Laws Of Attraction

Recently I watched a documentary that claimed to have the secret to  having a life that one wants. It was a very simple secret, something which most know but don’t apply it or don’t believe in. It talked about how your positive thoughts have the power to attract a positive world around you and likewise, negative thoughts would cause bad things to happen to you. In short, you will attract what you are feeling right now.

Whatever happens to you is because it’s what you wanted. It maybe something you really don’t need but by thinking about it constantly, you are willing it to happen. So if you think you are going to fail in an exam, you will because thats the kind of energy you are creating around you. If you think you will get a promotion, because you deserve it and you start feeling good about it, you will get that promotion. That positivity will make it happen. You even reading this blog is because something in you attracted you to this. There is a message here that you needed to read.

A few weeks ago, I remember watching an episode on Seinfeld which talked about how everything evens out for Jerry. He loses 10 dollars and he finds 10, he gets dumped by a girlfriend and another comes by. So I was wondering if that is true for everyone. During that week, I had ordered a pair of uggs and when they got delivered, it turned out to be a tad too tight. The store wouldn’t take it back since it was from the clearance rack. So while I was wondering how to even out my loss of over 200 dollars, the universe played its role. A friend bought those shoes from me for 50% of the price, I found a $100 note in a forgotten old bag and I got a $100 check from my college because someone joined from my recommendation! So in just a weeks time, I had evened out, actually profiting from what I thought was couple of hundred down the drain.

So how do we attract this positive energy? Here is a simple step by step process:

  1. Relax your mind and body: Meditate for a few minutes and just focus on your breathing.
  2. Write down what you want: As silly as it sounds, take a pen and actually write down in your neatest handwriting, what you actually want. If you are clear in your thoughts, the universe will also be able to understand your needs and will grant it easily.
  3. Ask the universe: Think of the universe as a ‘Miracle lamp’ that can be rubbed many times and will grant you infinite wishes. So ask. If you want a car, visualize yourself in that car driving it. If you want love, visualize being with that person and enjoying happy moments.
  4. Write a thank you note: Thank the universe for granting you the wish, even though you haven’t received it yet. Imagine you have it and are enjoying it. Express your gratitude.
  5. Feel it: This is the most powerful step. You have to actually feel and believe you have what you wanted. This is the one step that will generate that power to grant you what you want.
  6. Show gratitude: Think of all those past issues you had a few months ago that brought you down but now is non-existent. Thank the universe for removing those obstacles. Motivate it to give you more.
  7. Keep faith: This is the most difficult of all. Trust that the universe is going to grant you your wish. If you question it at any point, you are again attracting negative energy. Your wish might be granted in a day or a week or a month, you have to keep faith regardless.
  8. Be happy: Remove the negative people in your life. Let go of the ones that make you unhappy. Start your day with happy thoughts. Read a funny joke. Watch funny movies. Stay away from stuff that depresses you.
  9. Make a collage: Create a visual of everything you want and look at it everyday. Cut out pictures from magazines or photographs of what you want. Make that your motivation.
  10. A pocket full of happiness:  Store a pocket full of happy memories and whenever you sense a negative thought creeping close, pull a happy thought out. Drive the negativity away. Do fun things. Sing a song, paint a picture, play with your pet, look at happy people, etc. (Look at the pictures below)

These are some simple guidelines to train yourself to get the universe to work for you. If you have had recent moments of euphoria, think about it as much as you can, in as much detail as you can. You will attract more such episodes into your life. If you constantly think about the failures in life, you are inviting more such misery into your life. Use positive words and phrases. Avoid negations. Instead of saying, “I don’t want to get sick” say, “I am healthy and happy”.

So try this mantra. Make a wish for what you want and actually see it happen. These are the laws of attraction. It’s a science and it will happen!

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A Rape Of My Sensibilities

She is not just India’s daughter, she is everybody’s daughter! She could be somebody’s sister, mother or friend. And more importantly, she has an identity of her own, an existence to which she has a right to live in any way she chooses to. This is not about one family’s cry for justice for their daughter, it is about those millions of families who have lost a girl to the brutality of men and those countless girls who never got to tell their story and relive the nightmare everyday of their life.

There has been much uproar about the BBC documentary ‘India’s Daughter’, many views, discussions, controversies and investigations. There is a deeper message to all this. It’s not about who made the documentary, it’s not about how she gained access to the convicts, it’s not about how much of the story was embellished and not even about the girl herself. This is about all those girls in the world who have been raped, this is about the muted society that watches in disbelief and does nothing, this is about the people who say they have the right to dictate terms about how women should run their lives and this is about all the people who try to move the focus from a burning issue to controversies around it. It was shocking to hear the convict say ‘Girls should be submissive so as to avoid getting killed’. More appalling was the statement by the lawyers who said ‘Girls should not be outdoors in the late evening hours or that he would set fire to his daughter if she was out with a male in front of his family’. Who are these people?? These men who are supposed to be the protectors of law, don’t believe in human rights, let alone women’s rights. How can we hope to be protected when the thinking of the lawmakers is so retarded? Who is the bigger culprit here? The society that breeds such people or the law that’s lacks in protecting its people.

The focus needs to be on the issue itself. Many girls are being raped in the world every single day. The top ten countries with a high rape crime rate are: Lesotho, Trinidad & Tobago, Sweden, Korea, New Zealand, United States, Belgium, Zimbabwe and United Kingdom. India features in the top 15 list.  This is the most under reported violent crime in the world. The stigma associated with it is another rape by itself of the individual. The laws that are supposed to protect people around the world are very flimsy. Some countries with low rape crime rates are Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, Yemen, Indonesia and Armenia. This data is by no means conclusive because not every rape gets reported. There are many who stay hidden in the shadows of shame.

Change begins at home, change can be small. Parents need to have open conversations with their kids.Students in schools should be encouraged to speak up about physical violations. They need be taught to be comfortable reporting abuse as they would a robbery. There also has to be a call for change in-laws. These issues need to be dealt in fast track courts. There needs to be specialty lawyers who are educated/trained specifically in these issues. We need to look at other countries that are doing it right and look at what we can adopt from them. Society needs to step up and not be the passive bystander. If you see a crime happening, stop it, report it, and don’t run from it. We need to stop looking for a messiah to come save us, we need to stop pointing fingers, we need to step up and be the change we want to happen. Every person is crucial, no one is inconsequential, so stop waiting for someone to fix the issue. Every courageous deed is important and put together one day we will see a safer world for everyone.

My Journey through Life —with love {Part-4: Befriending love}

Befriending love

Next, we come to a complicated relationship. That’s the relationship between friends. Actually it’s a very simple relationship but tends to get complicated over time and people make it more complicated. It is also one of the most important relationships everyone goes through in their lifetime.

Friendship is important because by the time you realize about this relationship a person is grown up enough that the people around him or her can make an effect on their personality. The people that surround you are the people that will most likely define what you become. These are people who give their love, respect, friendship and trust to believe in you in every step and help you make the right decisions. It’s very true when people say show me your friends and I will tell you who you are. That is how important friends become in defining a person.

A person just chooses a person as a friend for what they are, something they like about the person and they tend to grow together and help each other in evolving as a better person. They are happy to just be together and are able to share everything about themselves with ease. These are friends who always look out for the well-being of the other and want the other to succeed always in life and share every milestone crossed with happiness.

Though it starts out in a very simple manner, very easy, no pressure, no rules it very soon becomes difficult sometimes. The one problem many face is the boundaries of this relationship, how far can it go, how many liberties you can take with your friend, what are the expectations etc etc., and these things tend to weigh the relationship down. More often than not other feelings creep in, jealousy, protectiveness, possessiveness etc., This is one emotion creating lots of problems in this relationship and also puts the relationship thru lots of stress and tests. Unlike other relationships so far discussed, one has to know the other person completely and trust is the most expensive gift one can receive or give to the other person. The foundation of the whole relationship stands on trust. Its very hard to get it back once you lose it in a person.

It is said love is like a violin, the music may stop now and then, but the strings remain forever. Similarly for friendship it is said that, friendship is like a china dish, once broken can be mended but the crack always remains. What it means is that love can be rekindled but the trust in a friendship is hard to find once you lose it. Feelings in a friendship are very deep rooted and every emotion here has taken its own time to develop.

As kids we really don’t know the intensity and gravity of feelings that goes into a friendship. Therefore the person, the kid hangs around with a lot becomes the ‘best friend’ but as adults we delve more into the persons likes and dislikes and we pick and choose our friends. Then you start sharing everything with the friend, every success, every disappointment, every idea, every little thing you do, in happiness and in sorrow friends are always together.

Every person who has a true friend knows how lucky they are to have the good fortune of having a good friend. These are the people who stick with us thru thick or thin, these are the people who do not judge us by what we have and what we do not have, these are the people who like us for what we are and have accepted us with all our shortcomings. These people do not try to change us but do look out for our benefit and good always. Now with so many good things going for this relationship, what goes wrong?

Its usually jealousy with a dash of possessiveness!

The relationship between friends is like a close knit family. People can’t get in very easily and once you get in you are not allowed to go out easily too. When a new person enters in then usually that person ends up putting a spoke in the wheel of a smooth running friendship.  For example: Say one of the friends is entering a new business and the other thinks it’s not a good idea and tries to talk him out of it. Sometimes a person might misunderstand it for standing in the way of the other person’s success. Another example is when one of the friends gets a new love interest then the protective instincts of the friend kicks in and when one tries to tell the other what’s right or wrong it’s not acceptable.

Usually when the friend has been protective in other circumstances their judgment is not questioned and is accepted but when the similar judgment is passed under the ‘love’ circumstances or about choosing your partner, its not accepted. The person being judged might be wrong sometimes too because they might be rushing to choose their partner and the ever loving, ever protective friend does not want their friend to get hurt. The person who is passing a judgment might sometimes be wrong because sometimes the friend feels threatened by the entry of a new person into their friend’s life. They are not sure if they can accept the time sharing between friends. The friendship feels threatened. This sometimes causes problems between friends.

But then again we come across those friendships that are so strong they withstand all tests and come out winners. These people might even say that if a friendship can get threatened simply by the entry of another person into their lives then that is not a true friendship at all.

Correct? Wrong.

A friendship is formed between humans and each human is as different as chalk and cheese from the other. And humans err. They have likes and dislikes. They are selfish. They are protective-possessive. And these things define the friendship so some may have gone through all these emotions to come out stronger. Whereas some may not have gone through all these emotions but just remained strong and untested.  This by no means can be called a battle lost and these people cannot be termed as weaklings. These people just did not have patience to explore all avenues, these people were just not confident enough to talk to the other friend about the problems or issues they have. They were just a bunch of unlucky people.

The depth of a friendship cannot be measured with the amount of time/years spent with the friend. People usually get confused and think that the more time they spend with a person the closer they are and they tend to get drawn into revealing themselves emotionally. They feel like since they have spent so much time with each other they have to reveal all their inner feelings. Another assumption people make is that they start thinking that the more they are together the more they have to reveal themselves to make it last, that’s not true; you don’t have to have a ‘tell all’ friend. It’s not a rule or necessary to tell them everything that happens to you. Also the notion that people believe in that there should be no secrets between friends is also wrong. Everybody has a right to live their lives, keep their secrets and if they say that you are not a true friend for hiding your feelings, then they are just trying to emotionally blackmail you to satisfy their curiosity.

The main reason for a friendship to last is RESPECT.

Everybody has to give the other person their due respect. One has to respect the other person’s wishes, privacy and individuality. That is what friendship is all about. And when this is achieved then that friendship is a bond that lasts forever.

I am not saying friends should always co-exist peacefully and should not have fights or arguments. Friendship is not always a walk through the park. There are lots of hurdles to be overcome, there will be lots of fights, debates and arguments but as long as each one respects the other person’s views and lets go of it when they have to then it doesn’t matter. If one can’t point out the mistakes in the friend and if one can’t respect the other person’s views then something is wrong in that relationship.

So we can say a friend is a person who makes you feel better, makes you a better person and puts in so much of his own goodness that together both become the best. If a person can get the best out of the other, if that person can make you laugh or cry, if that person can lead you from darkness unto light, if that person can satisfy some inner need in you however small or big then that person is a friend.

How happy am I with the kind of friends I have? I am very fortunate to have some very good friends but they are very few and I feel sad that I don’t have many more. I have often wondered why I didn’t have many friends.

One reason I don’t have many friends is that I never had a stand still life in a single place during my growing up years to form a close bond with anyone. My dad was in the kind of job that required him to move around from one place to another so we were constantly being uprooted from our bases and put into entirely new cultures and among new people. But even in this short period of time I was able to find some good friends. Some are friends I am not in touch with very frequently but they are my friends. I know that when I meet them I can connect with them and pick up the relationship from where I left it of. These are people I trust and respect and who in return trust and respect me.

Another pattern I have noticed in life is that in general men seem to have more friends than women. Why? Being a woman I questioned myself too as to why we women can’t have lot of friends. Speaking for myself I would like to say that maybe it’s because of the easy going nature of men and the insecure nature of a woman. Women by birth are very insecure and they constantly have a need to seek attention, security, respect etc from time to time. They tend not to seal a relationship by thinking that he or she is my friend so let me leave it at that, they try to keep it open by constantly having the need to be told that they are important to the other. This is a major drawback because a relationship needs to grow with time and if a person is still stuck at the basics of sealing or defining a relationship then it will never grow. It is bound to fall apart. It would require great patience and understanding from the other to convince them otherwise and who on earth has the patience to do it for a long time? Not many.

I have personally learnt a lot from my friends; each friend has only enriched me more and made me better than what I am. Each person has given me a lot to improve myself. I have always tried to take the good from them but sometimes I did take some things from some friends that would make me more rebellious or more defiant in my behavior. This mostly happened during my adolescent age wherein one gets so carried away with the possibilities around them and the freedom in their hands that one would end up doing things that they normally would not do but would get encouraged to do it in the company of their friends. But then like everything else you outgrow these too and they become just memories for you and your friends to talk about later on in life.

Do I feel I would have been a different person if not for the friends in my life? I would say, Yes. My friends have had a good influence over me. Over the years I have learnt from them and changed myself too. If one friend has taught me to be confident about myself, one has shown me how to voice out my feelings and to be stronger in what I believe in. One has made me realize that its ok to make mistakes as long as we do it only once and not repeat it again. Then there was the one who gave me lessons in human reproduction, telling me things you don’t learn in books. I also remember the friend who taught me how to dress properly and carry myself in public.  I got lessons in social etiquettes, and the importance of a good smile. So definitely everyone in my life has left their mark on me and they are reflected in everything I do and everything I am made out to be. Parents educate us only up to a certain point in our life, they lay our basic foundation but I feel friends take over later on when you are out on your own in the wide world. I have had ups and downs with my friends but I know who I can count on when the need comes. I also know there are some who will count on me to be with them, in their time of need. And you bet I will!

Today, in the age of media that travels at the speed of light, the world has become very small. Social networking sites like, Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In and instant messaging systems like Whatsapp, hangouts and so on have assisted in breeding and breaking friends. We now have long lost friends discovering each other and connecting with each other. People live across continents but are in touch with each other everyday. But then there is a saying, ‘Familiarity breeds contempt’! So the over familiarity has also managed to destroy few relationships. Its wrong to blame anyone or anything for it. A relationship can only be as strong as the people in it are. Over the years, I have lost few, found few and grew apart from a few. One thing I can say honestly is that each one of them have made a positive impact on my life. I can easily think of every friend I had or have and list out the ways in which they have shaped me. They may be out of sight today but they are definitely not out of mind. I salute them for all the good times we had!

Friends are the building blocks of our lives. If these building blocks are good and strong then that decides your future. They can make us or break us and in my case I can definitely say they have made me better and they are my friends for life. Let me end with a few meaningful quotes.

Here is what some famous people had to say about friendship:

  1. Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light. – Helen Keller
  2. Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything. – Muhammad Ali
  3. Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over. – Octavia Butler
  4. When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. – Henri Nouwen
  5. A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself. – Jim Morrison
  6. Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. – C. S. Lewis

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My Journey through Life —with love {Part 2 – Born To Love}

Where does a human get the first taste of love? How does it all begin?

The first and most purest form of love is what a mother feels for her unborn child growing in her womb. She forms an attachment, something very pure and magical, to the little miracle growing inside her. She nurtures the baby with love and tenderness and forms a bond with the unseen baby. When the baby is born the love only increases as the baby responds to every touch and sound from the mother. Surprisingly a newborn baby reciprocates that love immediately. There is no ‘getting-to-know-you’ phase here. It’s love when a mother just thinks of her baby and life pours out of her breasts. It’s love when she hears a baby cry in a mall and she calls home to check if her baby is ok. It’s love when she wakes up in the middle of the night to feed her baby.

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Where there is love, there is life” and it seems very appropriate in the mother child scenario. When a baby latches on to the mothers breast and suckles with gusto the mother feels rewarded and takes pride in the fact that she is the one nurturing the baby. That’s love, uncensored, unadulterated and pure. There are no rules, no limits, no desires and no rewards. Here trust is at its peak and in its purest form. The baby trusting its mother for love, protection and care and the mother trusting the baby in turn for love, affection and devotion.  And then there’s the father. He too loves the baby with the same intensity as the mother but one notable difference is that while the mother develops love for the baby when it’s in her womb, the father usually develops the attachment after he sets eyes on his precious creation. Again the babies too reciprocate to the father in the same way, sealing the bond of a parent-child relationship in its purest sense.

If I try to describe my experiences about my childhood from what I remember, all I can say is that I had a very happy and satisfying relationship with my parents. I remember that growing up I was more close to my dad than I was to my mom. The main reason I would attribute that to, was that my dad was never around much, being very busy with his work and friends so whenever he got a chance to spend time with us he was so good that he made me feel like his princess and he was the best dad one could ask for. This pushed my mom into the task-master of the house…and we all know how we feel about that.

During the younger years I remember being scared of my mother. She was the controller in the house. She set standards for discipline, achievements, goals and we had to reach the targets chalked out by her. So growing up I was always trying to reach up to mom’s standards and be appreciated by her whereas with dad it was always easy going and happy go lucky. Since the quantity of time my dad spent with my brother and me was so less he made up for it in quality with undivided attention and buying us lots of gifts, sweets and playing endless carrom…what more can a kid ask for! So the love here was materialistic, but it still came from the heart and I truly loved my dad and I think I would have loved him even if he didn’t buy me anything. I would just be happy with the time he spent with me.

I started getting close to my mom in my late teens; there was a growing friendship between us everyday. I wanted to tell her everything that happened with me at school and share every moment and thought with her. It was more about a need for companionship. So basically my kind of need for love changed with time. It was getting more need based. I needed my mom to be there for me and I just shifted gears. Meanwhile my love for my dad had not diminished in any way but the fact that I wanted my mom drove me closer to her.

The graduate years are the rebel years, when one does not want to do anything that their parents tell them. I too went through that stage. I didn’t understand them anymore and neither did they understand me. I can truly say that, that time period would rate as one of the worst stages of my life. I was not happy defying them too. I loved my parents and it hurt me to hurt them but I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted freedom. Regardless, they never stopped loving me. I did what they wanted me to always..but it was always reluctantly.

That’s love, that it hurt so much to hurt them. This type of situation comes up a lot in life where even though you love a person you hurt a person and it may or may not be in your control but the affection you have does not lessen. Sometimes you just need to do certain things at a certain time and relationships, which come out unscathed thru these trials, are the ones that last a lifetime.

In my situation too luckily my parents gave us the time to find ourselves and never stopped loving us even though we had on a pretty unforgivable behavior for some time. They were always there for us, they had faith in us and they trusted us to come around and we did. It was their faith and belief that turned us around.

Today I realize and believe that I am where I am because of my parents and because of the faith and trust they had in me. I realize that their unconditional love turned me around and I came back home a better and a wiser person.

That’s the strength of their love.

Now, this is love between natural parents and children, what about the flip side. What about parents who adopt children? Speaking to a few people who have adopted children tell me that it does take some time to get to know each other, but as the weeks go by, it’s as natural as can be. They are much more conscious about spanking or disciplining the child initially but soon they forget and everyone bond over time-outs, dinners and games.

A few years ago, I had a student in my class who was adopted. She was very mature for a 10-yr old, knew the entire story and she would talk to me freely about it. She shared with me that her adopted parents were very loving and she is very lucky they found her. Her parents were also equally happy she was a part of their lives. Later on, during an essay on wishes and dreams, she wrote that when she grows up, it is her dream to find her biological parents. I was shocked. I asked her why she would want that when she had such wonderful parents and her reply was, “I want to experience how a real parent would love.” That was not what I expected from her but I guess everyone wants just a little more…no matter how much you have, it’s just not enough.

I will end this part with a quote about mothers

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. –Rajneesh

and some quotes from what kids think is love 🙂

  • Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.
  • I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and she has to go out and buy new ones.
  • Love is what makes you smile when you are tired.
  • I think you are supposed to get shot with an arrow or something but the rest of it isn’t supposed to be painful.

 

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–Next part is love between siblings. Coming soon.

My Journey through Life —with love

PART I – Quote, Unquote.


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Every once in a while we sit down and ponder, about life. What we have made of it and how successful we are. Who am I  and am I who I wanted to be? We also reflect on all those moments, people and  relationships that shaped our life.  Some that have scarred us forever and some that have miraculously touched our heart.

In reflections, the one thing that comes to the forefront is the colorful emotions that we experience in life, emotions that most definitely define us and make us who we are. One emotion that inevitably comes to mind is ‘Love’. What is Love? Its importance, its meaning, its value and its origin?  The answers we seek and the answers we find usually do not match.

Some quotable quotes:

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
Marilyn Monroe

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
William W. Purkey

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
Dr. Seuss

or just Click on the link to read what Bob Marley says about love!

One American poet put it perfectly when he said, “Everyone admits love is wonderful and necessary yet no one agrees on just what it is.”

That’s absolutely true. Everybody talks about it, seem to have an opinion about it, have experienced it in someway or the other but most of them seem unsatisfied about the quality and quantity of love they have received. So I took it upon my self to go on a journey of finding the meaning of love. I wanted to put down the various changes an important emotion called ‘love’ goes through in life as a person grows and how it’s meaning changes in every relationship. How it changes you and makes you who you are.

Love is like soul food to a person. It is the elixir of life and brings us lot of joy. It can be so fulfilling that you feel secure in every breath you take. It brings out the best in you, making you more confident and puts a smile on your face. That is what love does to you but what does it actually mean? When I actually sat down to write this article I found myself at a loss for words as to how to describe love. It was difficult to put forth a rainbow of emotions in a page. So I will try to write it in parts, one color at a time!

So I was off on my journey, to find the meaning of love. Like everyone else I too tried the easy way out and made my first stop at the dictionary. What I found surprised me and left me more confused than ever.

Here’s what it said,

“ LOVE, n.,

–    a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person

  • a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for parent, child, or friend.
  • Sexual passion or desire
  • A person toward whom love is felt; beloved person sweetheart
  • Used in direct address as a term of endearment affection or the like
  • A love affair; an intensely amorous incident
  • Sexual intercourse; copulation
  • Personification of sexual affection, as Eros or cupid
  • Affectionate concern for the well-being of others
  • Strong predilection, enthusiasm or liking for anything
  • The object or thing so liked
  • The benevolent affection of god for his creatures or the reverent affection due from them to god
  • Out of affection or liking for pleasure without compensation; gratuitously
  • Feeling deep affection or passion for…; enamored of…
  • To have profoundly tender, passionate affection for…

– SYN: tenderness, fondness, predilection, warmth, passion, adoration, love, affection and devotion all mean a deep enduring emotional regard, usually for another person. Love may apply to various kinds of regard, the charity of the creator, reverent adoration toward God or toward a person, the relation of parent and child, the regard of friends for each other, romantic feelings for another person etc., Affection is a fondness for others that is enduring and tender, but calm. Devotion is an intense form of love and steadfast, enduring loyalty to a person; it may also imply consecration to a cause.

This was the meaning given in the dictionary!!! I guess by far this must be the longest explanation for a four-letter word in any dictionary. The fact that it needs such a lengthy explanation goes to say that there’s no one way to explain it and it still leaves some questions in the mind of the seeker. It was confusing. What is love? How do you differentiate between friendship, love and lust –the three parts of love? Why is it so important to a person’s life that it makes and breaks people? How much of love is enough? How do you measure love? And so on…

I realized there was more to love than what we see and hear. I often hear people saying when asked to describe love that “its hard to describe love, you have to feel it”. They are probably right, one has to experience it to know what it is. That is because the experience of love is unique to every person and only the person who has experienced it knows what was felt.  Love is the very essence of life. It brings everyone closer. It brings in trust, faith, affection and more importantly hope. It gives hope for a day filled with sunshine and that makes life go on. That’s the power of love. In every relationship it plays a different role and everywhere it leaves its mark.

When I asked my close friends what they felt about love and what they would do for love, I got all kinds of responses. Here is a brief assimilation of their responses.

“One has to be mature to know love and what happens at a younger age is infatuation and ………  Love involves a great deal of sacrifices and a give and take policy , in sacrificing something for your loved one there is a special feeling of joy. You get in return what you give , I don’t expect anything but love and affection that is all , on the other hand from my side I am willing to give all my love to the person involved.”

“Love is a little bit of Heaven here on Earth. Love is next to God to me…. the person to whom I say this means everything to me, and my world revolves around him/her In love the question as to how much can be given or expected can never arise.  Love to me is to give, give and give and when you give something it should not be measured in any terms.  And when you have given so much you automatically get it back, but how much you get back you never know and again it should not be measured.  This according to ME IS LOVE.”

“The word here is “mutual”… that’s what it is all about… how two minds and two souls work at tandem… in a seamless and synchronous way… freedom is an in-built attribute of this mutuality and the compromise has to come from both parties…. well, what percentage…? that’s debatable….. but I, personally,  would go to any extent of compromise… because you are doing it for someone u love… and that’s where ultimate happiness is to be found… so, that I guess is the bottom-line… no cribbing, being reasonable and being practical… is the essence of a true relationship…”

“It is bigger than life itself. When I think of love, I think of my kid first. Nothing in the world is more pure than the feeling I feel for my child. Love is sharing. To me the phrase “I love you” does not mean much. To me love is the feeling…the bond that keeps you going. I definitely don’t get carried away when my husband says “I love you”. But I most definitely get carried away when I see the concern or the struggle to want the best for me and our kid. Why is it that we make up and move on in spite of a vicious fight???? That to me is love! The joy I feel inside my heart when my child gives me a hug or a kiss…which nobody really told it to do. That to me is love.”

“Love is a state of mind, it’s probably the most abstract thing I’ve come across…. for one thing, when you love someone, you want to be with them. Not just be with them, but share everything with them. You have a great day at work and want to rush home and tell them every wonderful thing that has happened. You feel excited at the prospect of just being in their company, just being close to them isn’t enough, and you want to be a part of them, a part of their life forever. You can’t stand the thought of being away from them, yet when you are, you still feel that ever-present bond that ties you together wherever you go. You can almost feel what they are feeling. With a little bit of effort, you can see what they are seeing and think what they are thinking. It is almost as if you both can occupy each other’s bodies with complete trust and harmony. That to me is love…. plain old love.”

“Love is natural & irrational but very important ……Love is a moment that lasts forever…Love is everything, it is that catalyst, that real essence in Life. When I say I love someone I mean that this person is the one whom I have embraced totally (emotionally, mentally physically…etc) When I love someone all my saved up wishes start coming out When someone says that they love me it makes me elated, proud and privileged because one thing I know is that true love is one of the rarest things on this planet. True Love is like ghosts, which everyone talks about but few have seen. It also makes me feel responsible that I owe it to that person because when someone says that they love me I hope what they mean is “I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.  I would love to give everything for true love and expect nothing in return because, If you have Love you don’t need to have anything else. If you don’t have it, doesn’t matter much what else you do have.”

“Love………. should be unconditional……what a mother has for a child, what a child gives to a mother. ..that’s love….. Well one form of love —which in my mind is the purest of all….. When I say I love someone I mean that….for the most part I expect the same for the most part, i.e., unconditional love……the question is whether we all keep our word in this so-called pragmatic world.”

“Love is a two-sided coin. It can strengthen or stifle, expand or enfeeble, perfect or pauperize. When love is returned we are taken to new heights unseen, where it delights, invigorated and beautifies. When love is spurned we feel crippled, disconsolate and bereaved. Love is belonging to someone unconditionally”

“Love is unconditional ie. when your partner is happy you are happy. You do everything in your might to see them happy. Love is all about sharing, caring, trust and freedom. Love is how you feel when you are with them or even when u think about them. Love is pure and devoid of social stigmas and negativity “

“When being selfless comes naturally. That is love:)”

“Love always comes with expectations. Only love without expectations is with children. In this relationship there is only give, give and give”

“I experience love when somebody goes an extra mile and turns an impossible issue possible. For eg if a person knows about my likes and dislikes and gives importance to my likes …..then tell others that this is what she likes and this is what she dislikes….. that concern for me is just because they love me”

“Love is something which no words can explain. Love can only be felt from within. The warmth of love can make anything possible. Love makes a persons dreams come true. In short love makes you to fall in love with yourself and everyone, everything around you”

“ Love is Love only when it is selfless …… It is very very rare to find. What a husband feels for a wife or what a wife feels for a husband is NOT love I feel because it is not selfless. There are expectations in return. Even what a lover feels towards his or her lover isn’t Love because again ….There are expectations in return.”

“The only true instance of Love ….I feel ….is the love felt by a mother or father towards their child . There is no parallel to that sort of Love. That Love is blind. It ignores all faults and shortcomings of the child and expects nothing in return. Love cannot get purer than that ….”

So everyone had different theories on love. But almost everyone found the question difficult to answer and agreed that ‘love’ was an important part of their life. Some had it, some didn’t. The ones who had it wanted more and ones who didn’t felt they were incomplete.

In my next part, I will address the different forms of love a person comes across in his or her journey through life.

(To be continued) imgres-1

Conversations With Myself: Staying calm and focused

We were on our way to a weekend retreat, away in the mountains, far away from the hustle-bustle of a city life. A weekend to be spent discovering myself, meditating and connecting with the inner me. I was excited to be spending some time with like-minded individuals and learning more from experienced and learned individuals. There were many things I took away from the retreat. One that stuck to me and which I want to talk about here is the Eight Powers. The Eight Powers we need to exercise to restore calm and finding internal focus. These eight powers are like shields or soldiers that stand before us and can protect us from pain. Who and what are these powers?

  1. Power to withdraw:  Sometimes you just need to withdraw into your shell and protect yourself. Like a turtle! There is nothing wrong in going there. Go ahead and withdraw attention from the world around you. Be an introvert. Reflect.  Stop. Put the phone down. Withdraw within yourself and create the silence. Give the inner you some time to reflect and come out stronger.
  2. Power to pack up: It is having the ability to control your mind, intellect and your memories. Having the strength to let go of the past and the power to be open to a new way… a better way. Pack up all the good things you need and discard the rest. You don’t need that baggage.
  3. Power to tolerate:  Give yourself the power to not be affected by external and internal events and when needed to respond to those events positively. Try not to take in the negativity. Thoughts and feelings are your own creation; they exist only because of your mind. So be a detached observer. Tolerate what happens around you. Change is constant so the pain that exists now, will be gone in a moment.
  4. Power to cooperate: Trying to see someone’s highest qualities of character and not their weakness are an act of cooperation. It allows one to give without depleting your own energy. You are strong and you know it. You are good and you feel it. There is no need to desire praise from someone else, because your soul is independent and certain of his/her own worth. You don’t need to be validated by another.
  5. Power of discernment: To have the ability to discriminate from real to false. This can come only from being detached from the senses. Like a diamond merchant you should be able to pick out the one real diamond among hundreds of fake shiny ones, you should be able to discern the real truth.
  6. Power of judgment: Be the judge for yourself. You and only you know truth.  So make right decisions and stick to them. Be honest. Honest to yourself, within yourself and for yourself. Don’t be afraid to talk to yourself. The inner you is your friend and will tell you the truth…always.
  7. Power to face: You have the power to emerge courageous and honest such that nothing is too fearsome to handle. Your soul has done inner work to become powerful. So face the issue. Face yourself. Don’t hide and don’t run. You can face it!
  8. Power to accommodate: A power that emerges whenever a situation becomes awkward or difficult and shows the way to set things right and to be flexible. Create a space for those difficult people and issues. You have the power to sort it out.

It was an amazing experience to give so much importance to myself, almost to the point of feeling selfish and narcissistic. But then, that is the right way to begin. You are in this world not to fix someone else’s problems, not to create world peace, but to just make yourself a better person. Help yourself, change yourself and focus just on yourself. Now if everyone could just do that, wouldn’t the world be peaceful anyways??!!

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Cogito Ergo Sum

I think, therefore I am. I am and therefore I think. Thinking is my identity, my existential need of everyday, every minute. Often times, I have been chastised by many, for thinking too much, for analyzing too much, but if I didn’t, I really wouldn’t exist. It wouldn’t be me. My thinking today has taken me back a few years, to a time when I was doing my masters. The time when I was introduced to the greats like, Descartes, Plato, Aristotle and many others. There were many topics that tickled my brain and of course got me thinking more! Few of them that I want to discuss here are ‘Determinism’, ‘Predeterminism’, ‘Fatalism’ and Freewill. Here is my attempt to put it in as simple terms as possible.

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 Determinism: In simple words, determinism means that what you are going to do tomorrow has already been decided by the choices you made yesterday. There is no way you can change what is bound to happen. The paths you choose and the choices you make in life have already been decided. Even if I was given ten choices, it has been decided that I will choose to write about philosophy today. Nothing else.

 Predeterminism: This term has sometimes been exchanged with determinism. It is almost similar but has a slight difference. Predeterminism has a theological connection to it. Simply said, what you are going to do tomorrow has been decided before you were born by God. Your karmas, your deeds, your past lives, decide your future path. No miracles and no chance events can happen. That I am in the business of education, was decided by my past deeds of my past lives. So if I have done something wrong in this life, could I just blame it on the past and not take responsibility because heck it was already decided I would do wrong? I have no say in it!

 Fatalism: It’s a special form of determinism wherein, every event in the future is fated to happen. There are no causal laws or higher powers that are involved. The saying ‘Que sera sera’ fits it perfectly. The bigger events are fated to happen. There may be some choices we can make about how we get to the big event but no matter what the event that was supposed to happen, will happen, at that exact moment. So if someone predicts I will have an accident tomorrow, I can stay home, lock my self indoors and not drive anywhere, yet, the accident is bound to happen. So why not drive everyday without a care because if it has to happen it will happen. Right?

 Free will: The most debated issue in philosophy is free will. What it states is that we as humans have a free will to decide what we want to do. It basically negates any kind of determinism or fatalism. Free will has many factors that it is free of, factors that otherwise bind us to do the right thing. Factors or constraints such as, logical, religious, fear of punishment, fear of society, or ethics. Our strong sense of freedom, forces us to believe in free will. But do we really have the freedom to do what we want to do?

The philosophy that binds us depends I guess on the life we have had and the experiences we have faced. Each experience in life pushes us towards a certain philosophy. If you dig deeper, you should be able to see the philosophy you subscribe to. It is hard to find the right answers in philosophy. Nothing is right or wrong. Everything is possible and impossible. We can only think about it and draw our own conclusions. Atleast I agree with Descartes when he says, Cogito ergo sum. I think therefore I am.