What would you do given 38 minutes to live before Nuclear disaster were to strike?

Inspired by an actual incident that took place in Hawaii, my co-2 on 1 Friday blogger Shackman has come up with this very interesting topic for today.

I have had quite some time to think about an answer for this question and I have one. And I am very serious.

I will sit down in my usual meditation pose in the same place that I meditate everyday and await the strike. Why? Please see this clip to understand how one man lived one day at a time treating each as a blessing.

I urge you to read this article as well and you will understand that for me, each minute will be a blessing and I would like to spend those 38 minutes in doing what I like doing best.

Please do go over to Shackman’s blog to read what he has to say about the same topic.

Meditation.

An old Farmer lived on a farm in the mountains with his young grandson. Each morning Grandpa was up early morning and sat for meditation. His grandson wanted to be just like him and tried to imitate him in every way he could.One day the grandson asked, “Grandpa! I try to meditate just like you but thoughts disturb me, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I come out of meditation. What good does meditation do?”
The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and replied, “Take this coal basket down to the river and bring me back a basket of water.”

The boy did as he was told, but all the water leaked out before he got back to the house.

The grandfather laughed and said, “You’ll have to move a little faster next time,” and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again.

This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was impossible to carry water in a basket, and he went to get a bucket instead.

The old man said, “I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You’re just not trying hard enough,” and he went out the door to watch the boy try again. At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got back to the house. The boy again dipped the basket into river and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty.

Out of breath, he said, “See Grandpa, it’s useless!”

“So you think it is useless?” The old man said, “Look at the basket.”

The boy looked at the basket and for the first time realized that the basket was different. It had been transformed from a dirty old coal basket to now clean, inside and out.

“Son, that’s what happens when you meditate. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you meditate every day, thoughts starts to diminish, like dirty coal basket transformed to clean, in same way you tend to be pure, you will be changed, inside and out. That is the work of Meditation in our lives.

Never give up spiritual practice. By doing spiritual practice daily all heaviness and unnecessary things tend to fall and you start feeling light. This is the indication that you are evolving.
Slowly you will feel peace and calmness within you. Instead of reacting you start responding.”

Disclaimer.  I have simply copy pasted a mail received from a friend.  I am unable to find the source of this story.  I have shared here as the moral of the story resonates with me.

A Reason For Being.

Please click on the image for a larger resolution.


The Japanese have a word for this – Ikigai.

Try as I might, I cannot find this particular type of Reason For Being at my present age of three score and fifteen. What possible reason can motivate me to get up in the morning to face another day? I often write about the impact that Viktor Frakl’s book Man’s Search For Meaning had on me some decades ago, and now struggle to find some meaning to his conclusion of the Western kind. He concludes “it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly. Our question must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”

Truth be told, what gets me up in the morning is simply that I cannot sleep after 5.00 am no matter how late I go to sleep because of habit ingrained from boyhood when a martinet of a father insisted that we got up when the crows cawed which was inevitably well before sunrise and day break.

Subsequently, I got into the habit of meditating and yogabhyas in the mornings which continue to occupy my time in the mornings but, those two activities are not the reason for my being.

I look forward to reading the morning newspapers and solving the crossword puzzles in them. Is that the reason for my being? Once I finish those very likeable activities at around 12.00 noon, what will keep me going? The prospect of lunch, the siesta that inevitably follows, the session at the computer to catch up with mail, facebook posts etc?

I wonder what the Japanese will suggest as a word for someone like me!

Which wondering brings me to the Indian philosophical approach to the same situation. It is called Purushartha or The Object Of Human Pursuit. Please do spend some time on the Wikipedia exposition on this concept so that, you can follow my take on life’s purpose in my current stage of development.

The four components, Dharma, Artha, Kaama, Moksha can be compared to a bracelet of three beads with Dharma being the holding string that holds the three otehr beads together. In other words, a morally lived life of acquiring means to enjoy the pleasures of life which hopefully will take one to a stage of satiety and the last stage of seeking freedom from the very essence of life, wanting! Moksha is the ultimate goal for Indians which can be obtained by learning and understanding the highest philosophical ideas. This process is called Shravanam, mananam, nidhidhyasanam, or, learining, understanding and reflecting on the knowledge gained. Quite a bit of my time is taken on this activity and so my Ikigai may well be Moksha!

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.