Sleep Is The Best Meditation.

The title is a quote from The Dalai Lama.

Way back in 1978 I was burning both ends of the candle and a very dear friend put me on to Transcendental Meditation to prevent me from self-destructing. I found it very helpful and became an evangelist for it with the zeal of a typical convert. I subsequently moved on to Vipassana Meditation and have stayed with it for over 34 years now. In between, I also learnt Yoga Nidra which I take recourse to on and off at need. I had learnt all three techniques from trained and qualified teachers.

Having explained my qualification and experience to write about meditation let me come to the topic and what I think that the Dalai Lama meant with that quote.

Meditation of all three techniques listed above takes one into stages of conscious awareness and deep silence. Properly and regularly practiced, this takes one to a lifestyle free of tension and anxiety. It helps if one also follows some kind of spiritual / religious life, though not necessary as a precondition.

In sleep one goes through stages of awareness, dream states and deep sleep sans dream stages. Exactly the same sequence that one goes through in meditation albeit with full consciousness. I suspect that the Dalai Lama wants to convey the need to sleep effectively to recharge one’s battery as it were, which is what meditation does. If one cannot meditate, at least proper sleep should be sine qua non for a stress free life.

If one is blessed with both, so much the better!

I have suggested this topic for this week’s 2 on 1 Friday blog posts where Shackman and I write on the same subject. Please do go over to Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say on the matter.

Samsara.

Tomorrow is Sunday. The day on which, without fail, my Godson ND will call me in the morning to check if I am still alive and kicking. My readers will recollect ND from my post Memory Trigger 7, The Runaway.

Last Sunday, during the usual weekly phone conversation, ND suggested that I see a movie called Samsara and offered to send me his copy of a DVD of the film. The context was how human beings can be vulnerable to temptation as on one of his teasing moods he had suggested that I look for a girl friend to give me company for the rest of my life. On my being unresponsive, he suggested that I see this movie.

A little background about ND other than what you would have already gathered from the link. He is a spiritual seeker and a follower of the late Osho. He is a Vipassana meditator too.

On investigating Samsara the movie, I discovered that it was all about a Tibetan monk and I was intrigued. I found a full length offering on Youtube and saw it earlier this evening.

It is a remarkable movie, which has won many international awards; very sensitively made and if you are as intrigued as I was, it is worth spending the two hours and twenty minutes before a computer seeing it. You can of course have as many breaks as you want as I took as well. I had not heard about the director Pan Nalin and am very glad to have been able to see his, this spectacular work.

You will get to see spectacular scenery of the Ladakh area of our Himalayas and some monasteries there. You will also see some excellent acting and direction apart from the photography.

I wish you happy viewing if you have not already seen it.

Doing Something II.

Cheerful Monk while commenting on my post Doing Something asked – “So what are you choosing to do? How are you making that choice?” In the same post, Wisewebwoman commented – “You need to share, Ramana!”

My response is This. Please click on the images for larger resolutions.

And this.

My life has been like the clip below for quite some time now and I often throw the cup and the balls away just like the child in the clip does.

I hope that my responses have amused my readers enough to come to some serious stuff.

I don’t set an alarm clock to wake up in the mornings. My inner mechanism has a built-in alarm that wakes me up around 4.45 am every morning. Till 8.30 my morning is taken up by meditation, yoga, morning cup of tea, japa, prayers and breakfast. After those have been handled to my satisfaction, I read four news papers everyday and also solve four crossword puzzles that come in them. That takes me to around 1200 noon when I start reading whatever I am currently reading in the form of a book or one or more of the many magazines that I subscribe to. Lunch is around 1.00 pm and after lunch too I read till about 2.00 pm when I go off for my siesta till 3.30 pm. From then till 5.30 pm I am either at the computer catching up with my mail and attending to other matters like blogging / reading other blogs and reading the international news. I then go to a park nearby for a walk and meeting with my friends and return to my computer to end whatever has been left over for the day which will include a session or two with Facebook. I either watch a movie or some program on the TV or read till 10.00 pm when I go off to bed to sleep.

This routine is often changed to include going out to see movies or to lunch with family or friends but by and large it is unchanged except when visitors come calling.

I am sure that my readers will agree that all the above will come under the classification of doing ‘nothing’. I enjoy being in my comfort zone and am content with my life as it is.

Now to what earthshaking ‘thing’ that I do when I do do something. For some strange reason, I am treated like a sage by some people. Simply stated, I mentor some younger friends and allow my broad shoulders to be used to cry on by some friends and relatives of around my age.This can be in person, by mail, whatsApp or phone calls. Not a day passes when I don’t have to handle one or two of such interludes in my life.

There Monk and WWW, I have bared my soul!

Peace!


“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”
~ Dalai Lama XIV

When I had suggested this topic for the weekly LBC blog posts, I had no idea about what I will write on it. As late as yesterday, I had no clue as to how to go about writing the post on time. This morning however, when I sat down for my daily session of meditation, the idea of writing about inner peace came as though it was a command and ideas on what to write also crystalised.

In Sanskrit peace invocations one always concludes by saying “Om! Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.” The reason that the word Shanti, meaning peace is said three times is to invoke peace of mind during sufferings arising out of Adhidaivika (of divine origin), Adhibhautika (originated in the physical, material beings), and Adhyatmika (created by ourselves).

Adhidaivika
The word “daivika” means “of divine origin”. Adhidaivika refers to the suffering due to divine causes, causes that we have no control over. These include natural disasters like floods, tornados, tsunamis, earthquakes, plagues, fires and the like.

Adhibhautika
The word ‘bhautika’ is derived from ‘bhuta’ which means all “things”. It can be any entity, living or non-living. For example, even a stone can be termed a bhuta. So Adhibhautika refers to suffering caused by other things. These are classified as – other humans, domestic animals, wild animals, reptiles, insects, mosquitoes, bugs, cockroaches etc. For example, suffering can be caused by someone physically hitting you or hurting you through verbal abuse. Similarly, suffering can be caused by a snake or a scorpion bite, you may have sleepless nights due to mosquito bites, you could be attacked by a domestic or a wild animal etc.

Adhyatmika
The word ‘atmika’ means ‘self-generated’. Adhyatmika suffering is the most damaging and long-lasting as we inflict it on ourselves. This could be physical, mental, or emotional.  We cause physical suffering on ourselves by, for example, overeating, not taking care of our health etc. Most other suffering is mental. We suffer when we carry negative emotions – anger, hatred, jealousy, greed etc.

In the Indian ways of life, one remarkable feature was the way the average Indian was expected to face trials and tribulations of life with equanimity and peace of mind. Unfortunately, we have become quite materialistic in our life styles here over the past few generations and so this ideal of a life of inner peace despite adverse conditions is also rare to find except in those who follow some kind of a spiritual life which will include regular meditation and study of the scriptures.

I flatter myself that I lead a spiritual life and by and large, live a life of inner peace and joy. I have not however  yet reached the stage that the Dalai Lama has reached. Ido slip every now and then and get agitated. I am however making steady progress and hopefully will reach that stage before I call it a day.

I have suggested the topic for this week’s LBC Friday post. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs.  Maria, Pravin and Shackman.

Memory Trigger. 5 – TM, The Beginning.

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In my post Religion Vs Spirituality you will find a new commentator Sultan.  Please do read his comments.

Sultan is among my close friends. His family including his in laws and mine were very closely linked when we lived in Bombay at the same time. After that, both of us have lived in different places and he has retired to Mumbai as it is now known and I to Pune. His family home in Patna was my home whenever I went there and even during Ramzan, his mother who kept roza would cook meals for me so that I did not have to fast with them. I am family for them as are Sultan, his lovely wife Farida and daughter Shehla are to me.

Sultan has been an enigmatic atheist all his life. Enigmatic, because he is also an Al Haj. Al Haj is one who has performed the Haj more than once in his lifetime.  Sultan has done it so many times that he has forgotten how many. He has also performed the Umrah any number of times. Being an atheist and all this? The mystery is in his Indianness. He lived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for decades before he returned to retire to India and all his family members and Muslim friends wanting to perform either Haj or Umrah would depend on his hospitality and escorting to do those. A remarkable fellow really, with so much patience and affection.

This atheist friend was a Consultant teaching Indian companies productivity in the seventies before he took off to the KSA. It was a time when I was burning the candle at both ends in Bombay and Sultan suggested that I try Transcendental Meditation to get my act together. He had attended some lectures given by a TM Instructor during the process of his consultancy work and felt that I would benefit. Off I went to learn and that was the beginning of my spiritual path. That nudge from this atheist friend took a trajectory of its own and while he continues to be an atheist, I have changed. It has had no effect on our friendship though.

His comments on my blog post for the first time ever, took me down memory lane to his family, Patna, and also my tryst with meditation and all that involved. And most importantly, the nostalgia took me to how Sultan and I met. That is another story waiting to be told at a different time.