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Wherever you go there you are – Jon Kabat-Zinn

Written By: ruchi - Jun• 16•18
Wherever you go there you are - Jon Kabat-Zinn
I recently listened to this audio book – Wherever you go there you are – Jon Kabat-Zinn. I found it to be a very easy read and the concept seemed pretty simple. I want to be able to refer to it every now and then hence these are my personal notes for future reference.
Part One explores the rationale and background for taking on or deepening a personal practice of mindfulness. It challenges the reader to experiment with introducing mindfulness into his or her life in a number of different ways. Part Two explores some basic aspects of formal meditation practice. Formal practice refers to specific periods of time in which we purposefully stop other activity and engage in particular methods of cultivating mindfulness and concentration. Part Three explores a range of applications and perspectives on mindfulness.
Part 1
What is mindfulness

Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally. When we commit ourselves to paying attention in an open way, without falling prey to our own likes and dislikes, opinions and prejudices, projections and expectations, new possibilities open up and we have a chance to free ourselves from the straitjacket of unconsciousness.
Simple but not easy
Meditation means learning how to get out of this current, sit by its bank and listen to it, learn from it, and then use its energies to guide us rather than to tyrannize us.
TRY: Stopping, sitting down, and becoming aware of your breathing once in a while throughout the day. It can be for five minutes, or even five seconds. Let go into full acceptance of the present moment, including how you are feeling and what you perceive to be happening. For these moments, don’t try to change anything at all, just breathe and let go. Breathe and let be. Die to having to have anything be different in this moment; in your mind and in your heart, give yourself permission to allow this moment to be exactly as it is, and allow yourself to be exactly as you are. Then, when you’re ready, move in the direction your heart tells you to go, mindfully and with resolution.
This is it
Meditation is the only intentional, systematic human activity which at bottom is about not trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else, but simply to realize where you already are.

When we let go of wanting something else to happen in this moment, we are taking a profound step toward being able to encounter what is here now. If we hope to go anywhere or develop ourselves in any way, we can only step from where we are standing. If we don’t really know where we are standing—a knowing that comes directly from the cultivation of mindfulness—we may only go in circles, for all our efforts and expectations. So, in meditation practice, the best way to get somewhere is to let go of trying to get anywhere at all.

TRY: Reminding yourself from time to time: “This is it.” See if there is anything at all that it cannot be applied to. Remind yourself that acceptance of the present moment has nothing to do with resignation in the face of what is happening. It simply means a clear acknowledgment that what is happening is happening. Acceptance doesn’t tell you what to do. What happens next, what you choose to do, that has to come out of your understanding of this moment. You might try acting out of a deep knowing of “This is it.” Does it influence how you choose to proceed or respond? Is it possible for you to contemplate that in a very real way, this may actually be the best season, the best moment of your life? If that was so, what would it mean for you?

Capturing your moments
TRY: Asking yourself in this moment, “Am I awake?,” “Where is my mind right now?”
Keeping the breath in mind
TRY: Staying with one full inbreath as it comes in, one full outbreath as it goes out, keeping your mind open and free for just this moment, just this breath. Abandon all ideas of getting somewhere or having anything happen. Just keep returning to the breath when the mind wanders, stringing moments of mindfulness together, breath by breath. Try it every once in a while as you read this book.
You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf
Meditation is neither shutting things out nor off. It is seeing things clearly, and deliberately positioning yourself differently in relationship to them.
In praise of non doing
TRY: Recognizing the bloom of the present moment in your daily meditation practice if you have one. If you are up early in the morning, try going outside and looking (a sustained, mindful, attentive looking) at the stars, at the moon, at the dawning light when it comes. Feel the air, the cold, the warmth (a sustained, mindful, attentive feeling). Realize that the world around you is sleeping. Remember when you see the stars that you are looking back in time millions of years. The past is present now and here. Then go and sit or meditate lying down. Let this or any time you practice be your time for letting go of all doing, for shifting into the being mode, in which you simply dwell in stillness and mindfulness, attending to the moment-to-moment unfolding of the present, adding nothing, subtracting nothing, affirming that “This is it.”
Doing non doing
TRY: During the day, see if you can detect the bloom of the present moment in every moment, the ordinary ones, the “in-between” ones, even the hard ones. Work at allowing more things to unfold in your life without forcing them to happen and without rejecting the ones that don’t fit your idea of what “should” be happening. See if you can sense the “spaces” through which you might move with no effort in the spirit of Chuang Tzu’s cook. Notice how if you can make some time early in the day for being, with no agenda, it can change the quality of the rest of your day. By affirming first what is primary in your own being, see if you don’t get a mindful jump on the whole day and wind up more capable of sensing, appreciating, and responding to the bloom of each moment.
TRY: Looking into impatience and anger when they arise. See if you can adopt a different perspective, one which sees things as unfolding in their own time. This is especially useful when you are feeling under pressure and blocked or stymied in something you want or need to do. Hard as it may seem, try not to push the river in that moment but listen carefully to it instead. What does it tell you? What is it telling you to do? If nothing, then just breathe, let things be as they are, let go into patience, continue listening. If the river tells you something, then do it, but do it mindfully. Then pause, wait patiently, listen again. As you attend the gentle flow of your own breathing during times of formal meditation practice, notice the occasional pull of the mind to get on to something else, to want to fill up your time or change what is happening. Instead of losing yourself at these times, try to sit patiently with the breath and with a keen awareness of what is unfolding in each moment, allowing it to unfold as it will, without imposing anything on it…just watching, just breathing…embodying stillness, becoming patience.
Letting Go
To let go means to give up coercing, resisting, or struggling, in exchange for something more powerful and wholesome which comes out of allowing things to be as they are without getting caught up in your attraction to or rejection of them, in the intrinsic stickiness of wanting, of liking and disliking.
Imagine how it might feel to suspend all your judging and instead to let each moment be just as it
is, without attempting to evaluate it as “good” or “bad.” This would be a true stillness, a true liberation.
A non-judging orientation certainly does not mean that you cease knowing how to act or behave responsibly in society, or that anything anybody does is okay. It simply means that we can act with much greater clarity in our own lives, and be more balanced, more effective, and more ethical in our activities, if we know that we are immersed in a stream of unconscious liking and disliking which screens us from the world and from the basic purity of our own being.

Trust is a feeling of confidence or conviction that things can unfold within a dependable framework that embodies order and integrity.
TRY: Noticing the resistance to the impulse to give, the worries about the future, the feeling that you may be giving too much, or the thought that it won’t be appreciated “enough,” or that you will be exhausted from the effort, or that you won’t get anything out of it, or that you don’t have enough yourself. Consider the possibility that none of these are actually true, but that they are just forms of inertia, constriction, and fear-based self-protection. These thoughts and feelings are the rough edges of self-cherishing, which rub up against the world and frequently cause us and others pain and a sense of distance, isolation, and diminishment. Giving sands down such rough edges and helps us become more mindful of our inner wealth. By practicing mindfulness of generosity, by giving, and by observing its effects on ourselves and others, we are transforming ourselves, purifying ourselves, discovering expanded versions of ourselves.

Initiate giving. Don’t wait for someone to ask. See what happens—especially to you. You may find that you gain a greater clarity about yourself and about your relationships, as well as more energy rather than less. You may find that, rather than exhausting yourself or your resources, you will replenish them. Such is the power of mindful, selfless generosity. At the deepest level, there is no giver, no gift, and no recipient…only the universe rearranging itself.

You Have to Be Strong Enough to Be Weak
If you are a strong-willed and accomplished person, you may often give the impression that you are invulnerable to feeling inadequate or insecure or hurt. This can be very isolating and ultimately cause you and others great pain. Other people will be all too happy to take in that impression and to collude in propagating it by projecting a Rock of Gibraltar persona onto you which doesn’t allow you to have any real feelings. In fact, you can all too easily get out of touch with your own true feelings behind the intoxicating shield of image and aura. This isolation happens a lot to fathers in the nuclear family and to people in positions of relative power everywhere.

TRY: Recognizing the ways in which you meet obstacles with harshness. Experiment with being soft when your impulse is to be hard, generous when your impulse is to be withholding, open when your impulse is to close up or shut down emotionally. When there is grief or sadness, try letting it be here. Allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling. Notice any labels you attach to crying or feeling vulnerable. Let go of the labels.

Voluntary simplicity
The impulse frequently arises in me to squeeze another this or another that into this moment. Just this phone call, just stopping off here on my way there. Never mind that it might be in the opposite direction.
It has me unavailable to others at those times, missing the play of light on the table, the smells in the room, the energies of the moment, including arguments and disputes, as we come together before going our separate ways for the day.

Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more.

A commitment to simplicity in the midst of the world is a delicate balancing act. It is always in need of retuning, further inquiry, attention. But I find the notion of voluntary simplicity keeps me mindful of what is important, of an ecology of mind and body and world in which everything is interconnected and every choice has far-reaching consequences. You don’t get to control it all. But choosing simplicity whenever possible adds to life an element of deepest freedom which so easily eludes us, and many opportunities to discover that less may actually be more.

TRY: Asking yourself why you meditate or why you want to meditate. Don’t believe your first answers. Just write down a list of whatever comes to mind. Continue asking yourself. Also, inquire about your values, about what you honor most in life. Make a list of what is really important to you. Ask yourself: What is my vision, my map for where I am and where I am going? Does this vision reflect my true values and intentions? Am I remembering to embody those values? Do I practice my intentions? How am I now in my job, in my family, in my relationships, with myself? How do I want to be? How might I live my vision, my values? How do I relate to suffering, both my own and others’?
Meditation develops full human being
TRY: Being open to the prince and the princess, the king and the queen, the giant and the witch, the wild man and the wild woman, the dwarf and the crone, and the warrior, the healer, and the trickster within yourself. When you meditate, put the welcome mat out to all of them. Try sitting like a king or queen, or a warrior, or a sage. In times of great turmoil or darkness, use your breath as the string which will guide you through the labyrinth. Keep mindfulness alive even in the darkest moments, reminding yourself that the awareness is not part of the darkness or the pain; it holds the pain, and knows it, so it has to be more fundamental, and closer to what is healthy and strong and golden within you.
Practice as a path
TRY: Seeing your own life this very day as a journey and as an adventure. Where are you going? What are you seeking? Where are you now? What stage of the journey have you come to? If your life were a book, what would you call it today? What would you entitle the chapter you are in right now? Are you stuck here in certain ways? Can you be fully open to all of the energies at your disposal at this point? Note that this journey is uniquely yours, no one else’s. So the path has to be your own. You cannot imitate somebody else’s journey and still be true to yourself. Are you prepared to honor your uniqueness in this way? Can you see a commitment to the meditation practice as an intimate part of this way of being? Can you commit to lighting your path with mindfulness and awareness? Can you see ways in which you could easily get stuck, or have in the past?
Going inside
TRY: The next time you feel a sense of dissatisfaction, of something being missing or not quite right, turn inward just as an experiment. See if you can capture the energy of that very moment. Instead of picking up a magazine or going to the movies, calling a friend or looking for something to eat or acting up in one way or another, make a place for yourself. Sit down and enter into your breathing, if only for a few minutes. Don’t look for anything—neither flowers nor light nor a beautiful view. Don’t extol the virtues of anything or condemn the inadequacy of anything. Don’t even think to yourself, “I am going inward now.” Just sit. Reside at the center of the world. Let things be as they are.
Part 2 the heart of practice
Sitting meditation

TRY: Setting aside a time every day for just being. Five minutes would be fine, or ten or twenty or thirty if you want to venture that far. Sit down and watch the moments unfold, with no agenda other than to be fully present. Use the breath as an anchor to tether your
attention to the present moment. Your thinking mind will drift here and there, depending on the currents and winds moving in the mind until, at some point, the anchorline grows taut and brings you back. This may happen a lot. Bring your attention back to the breath, in all its vividness, every time it wanders. Keep the posture erect but not stiff. Think of yourself as a mountain.

Pay attention to the present moment. Your thinking mind will drift here and there, depending on the currents and winds moving in the mind until, at some point, the anchorline grows taut and brings you back. This may happen a lot. Bring your attention back to the breath, in all its vividness, every time it wanders. Keep the posture erect but not stiff. Think of yourself as a mountain.

What to do with your hands
TRY: Being aware of subtle emotional qualities you may be embodying at various times of the day, as well as during your sitting practice. Pay particular attention to your hands. Does their position make a difference? See if you don’t become more mindful by becoming more “bodyful.” As you practice being more in touch with your hands in sitting meditation, see if this doesn’t have an influence on the way you touch. Everything from opening a door to making love involves touch. It is possible to open a door so mindlessly that your hand doesn’t know what your body is doing and you hit yourself in the head with it. Imagine the challenge of touching another person without automaticity, with no gaining idea, just presence and caring.

Coming out of meditation
TRY: Bringing awareness to how you end your meditations. Whether they are lying down, sitting, standing, or walking, zero in on “who” ends it, how it ends, when it ends, and why. Don’t judge it or yourself in any way—just observe, and stay in touch with the transition from one thing to the next.
How long to practice
TRY: Sitting for varying lengths of clock time. See how it affects your practice. Does your concentration lapse as you sit longer? Do you get hung up in how much longer you “have” to be present? Does impatience come up at some point? Does the mind get reactive or obsessive? Is there restlessness? Anxiety? Boredom? Time pressure? Sleepiness? Dullness? If you are new to meditation, are you finding yourself saying, “This is stupid,” or, “Am I doing it right?”, or, “Is this all I am supposed to be feeling?” Do these feelings start right away or do they only come up after a while? Can you see them as mind states? Can you observe them without judging them or yourself for even brief periods? If you put the welcome mat out for them and investigate their qualities and let them be, you may learn a lot about what is strong and unwavering in yourself. And what is strong in you may become even stronger as you nourish inner stability and calmness.
No right way
TRY: Being aware of all the times in meditation when the thought comes up: “Am I doing this right?” “Is this what I should be feeling?” “Is this what is ‘supposed’ to happen?” Instead of trying to answer these questions, just look more deeply into the present moment. Expand your awareness in this very moment. Hold the question in awareness along with your breathing and with the full range of this particular moment’s context. Trust that in this moment, “This is it,” whatever and wherever “this” is. Looking deeply into whatever the “this” of the present moment is, keep up a continuity of mindfulness, allowing one moment to unfold into the next without analyzing, discoursing, judging, condemning, or doubting; simply observing, embracing, opening, letting be, accepting. Right now. Only this step. Only this moment.
The mountain meditation
TRY: Keeping this mountain image in mind as you sit in formal meditation. Explore its usefulness in deepening your capacity to dwell in stillness; to sit for longer periods of time; to sit in the face of adversity, difficulties, and storms or drabness in the mind. Ask yourself what you are learning from your experiments with this practice. Can you see some subtle transformation occurring in your attitude toward things that change in your life? Can you carry the mountain image with you in daily life? Can you see the mountain in others, and allow them their own shape and form, each mountain uniquely itself?
The lake meditation
TRY: Using the lake image to support sitting or lying in stillness, not going anywhere, held and cradled in awareness. Note when the mind reflects; when it is embroiled. Note the calm below the surface. Does this image suggest new ways of carrying yourself in times of turmoil?
Walking meditation
Try walking formally as well. Before or after you sit, try a period of walking meditation. Keep a continuity of mindfulness between the walking and the sitting. Ten minutes is good, or half an hour. Remember once again that it is not clock time we are concerned with here. But you will learn more and understand walking meditation more deeply if you challenge yourself to keep at it past your first or second impulse to stop.
Standing meditation
TRY: Standing like this wherever you find yourself, in the woods, in the mountains, by a river, in your living room, or just waiting for the bus. When you are alone, you might try opening your palms to the sky and holding your arms out in various positions, like branches and leaves, accessible, open, receptive, patient.
Lying down meditation
TRY: Tuning in to your breath when you find yourself lying down. Feel it moving in your entire body. Dwell with the breath in various regions of your body, such as the feet, the legs, the pelvis and genitals, the belly, the chest, the back, the shoulders, the arms, the throat and neck, the head, the face, the top of your head. Listen carefully. Allow yourself to feel whatever is present. Watch the sensations in the body flux and change. Watch your feelings about them flux and change. Try meditating on purpose lying down, not just around bedtime. Do it out of bed, on the floor, at different times of the day. Do it in fields and meadows on occasion, under trees, in the rain, in the snow. Bring particular attention to your body as you are going to sleep and as you are waking up. Even for a few minutes, stretch yourself out straight, on your back if possible, and just feel the body as a whole breathing. Give special attention to any regions that are problematic for you and work at letting the breath invite them back into a sense of membership and wholeness with the rest of your body. Keep your emotional body in mind. Honor “gut” feelings.
Getting your body on floor at least once a day
TRY: Getting down on the floor once a day and stretching your body mindfully, if only for three or four minutes, staying in touch with your breathing and with what your body is telling you. Remind yourself that this is your body today. Check to see if you are in touch with it.
Non practicing is practicing
TRY: Noticing the difference in how you feel and how you handle stress in periods when you are into the discipline of daily meditation and yoga practice and in periods of your life when you are not. See if you can become aware of the consequences of your more mindless and automatic behaviors, especially when they are provoked by pressures stemming from work or home life. How do you carry yourself in your body in those periods when you are practicing and when you are not? What happens to your commitment to remember non-doing? How does the lack of regular practice affect your anxiety about time and about achieving certain results? How does it affect your relationships? Where do some of your most mindless patterns come from? What triggers them? Are you ready to hold them in awareness as they grip you by the throat, whether your formal practice is strong this week or not? Can you see that not practicing is an arduous practice?
Loving kindness meditation
TRY: Touching base with feelings of loving kindness within yourself at some point in your meditation practice. See if you can get behind any objections you may have to this practice, or behind your reasons for being unlovable or unacceptable. Just look at all that as thinking. Experiment with allowing yourself to bathe in the warmth and acceptance of loving kindness as if you were a child held in a loving mother’s or father’s arms. Then play with directing it toward others and out into the world. There is no limit to this practice, but as with any other practice, it deepens and grows with constant attending, like plants in a lovingly tended garden. Make sure that you are not trying to help anybody else or the planet. Rather, you are simply holding them in awareness, honoring them, wishing them well, opening to their pain with kindness and compassion and acceptance. If, in the process, you find that this practice calls you to act differently in the world, then let those actions too embody loving kindness and mindfulness.
Part 3

TRY: Drawing back the veil of unawareness to perceive harmony in this moment. Can you see it in clouds, in sky, in people, in the weather, in food, in your body, in this breath? Look, and look again, right here, right now!
Early morning
TRY: Making a commitment to yourself to get up earlier than you otherwise might. Just doing it changes your life. Let that time, whatever its length, be a time of being, a time for intentional wakefulness. You don’t want to fill this time with anything other than awareness. No need to go over the day’s commitments in your head and live “ahead” of yourself. This is a time of no-time, of stillness, of presence, of being with yourself. Also, at the moment of waking up, before getting out of bed, get in touch with your breath, feel the various sensations in your body, note any thoughts and feelings that may be present, let mindfulness touch this moment. Can you feel your breathing? Can you perceive the dawning of each in breath? Can you enjoy the feeling of the breath freely entering your body in this moment? Ask yourself: “Am I awake now?”
Direct contact
TRY: Thinking that your life is at least as interesting and miraculous as the moon or the stars. What is it that stands between you and direct contact with your life? What can you do to change that?
Wherever you go there you are
Have you ever noticed that there is no running away from anything? That, sooner or later, the things that you don’t want to deal with and try to escape from, or paper over and pretend aren’t there, catch up with you—
It is so much easier to find fault, to blame, to believe that what is needed is a change on the outside, an escape from the forces that are holding you back, preventing you from growing, from finding happiness. You can even blame yourself for it all and, in the ultimate escape from responsibility, run away feeling that you have made a hopeless mess of things, or that you are damaged beyond repair. In either case, you believe that you are incapable of true change or growth, and that you need to spare others any more pain by removing yourself from the scene.

There is always something to dislike. So why not let go and admit that you might as well be at home wherever you are? Right in that moment, you touch the core of your being and invite mindfulness to enter and heal. If you understand this, then and only then will the cave, the monastery, the beach, the retreat center, offer up their true richness to you. But so will all other moments and places.

Going upstairs
TRY: To use ordinary, repetitive occasions in your own house as invitations to practice mindfulness. Going to the front door, answering the telephone, seeking out someone else in the house to speak with, going to the bathroom, getting the laundry out of the dryer, going to the refrigerator, can all be occasions to slow down and be more in touch with each present moment. Notice the inner feelings which push you toward the telephone or the doorbell on the first ring. Why does your response time have to be so fast that it pulls you out of the life you were living in the preceding moment? Can these transitions become more graceful? Can you be more where you find yourself, all the time? Also, try being present for things like taking a shower, or eating. When you are in the shower, are you really in the shower? Do you feel the water on your skin, or are you someplace else, lost in thought, missing the shower altogether? Eating is another good occasion for mindfulness practice. Are you tasting your food? Are you aware of how fast, how much, when, where, and what you are eating? Can you make your entire day as it unfolds into an occasion to be present or to bring yourself back to the present, over and over again?
What is my job on this planet with capital j
You can start asking this question any time, at any age. There is never a time of life when it would not have a profound effect on your view of things and the choices you make. It may not mean that you will change what you do, but it may mean that you may want to change how you see it or hold it, and perhaps how you do it. Once the universe is your employer, very interesting things start to happen, even if someone else is cutting your paycheck. But you do have to be patient. It takes time to grow this way of being in your life. The place to start of course is right here. The best time? How about now?
Wholeness and oneness
When we are in touch with being whole, we feel at one with everything. When we feel at one with everything, we feel whole ourselves.

The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Written By: ruchi - Jun• 16•18
The Power Of Now

I recently listened to this audio book – The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It was pretty interesting how he explains to always focus on Now and then there will be no problems in life. I want to be able to refer to it every now and then hence these are my personal notes for future reference.

Chapter 1: You are not your Mind

Enlightenment is a natural state of oneness with the being, connection with something indestructible; it is finding your true nature. Inability of feeling this connectedness gives an illusion of separateness from yourself and the world around you. You perceive yourself as an isolated fragment. It gives rise to fear. Being is the eternal ever present, which is beyond life and death. Being can be felt but never understood mentally. It is the feeling of your own presence, which is prior to I am this and I am that.

Identification with mind is the greatest hindrance in feeling the being. It causes thoughts to be compulsive and almost everyone suffers from it. This incessant mental noise creates a false mind made self, which casts fear and suffering. It creates an illusion of separateness. Thinking has become a disease. Mind is a superb instrument if used rightly but you don’t use it at all, it uses you, this is the disease.

Mind loves to get its teeth in problems. Can you be free of your mind when you want to? No? Then your mind is using you. You are not the thinker. The moment you start watching the thinker, you realize, that there is a vast amount of intelligence beyond thoughts. The things that truly matter, arise beyond the mind, you begin to awaken.

The voice in your head is tainted by your past and interprets the situations accordingly. The good thing is that you can free yourself of your mind. Start listening to the voice in your head. Listen to it impartially, do not judge or condemn. You become aware of yourself as the witness of the thoughts. You feel a conscious presence. The thought then loses its power of you and subsides because you are no longer energizing the mind through identifying with it. When the thoughts subside, you feel a gap in your mind. You feel certain stillness and peace inside you. This is the beginning of your natural state of oneness with being usually obscured by mind. You will also feel the joy of being. It is not a trance like state. You are alert and much more awake and fully present. It also generates the vibrational frequency of the energy field that gives energy to physical body.

You can also create a gap in the mind stream by focusing on now, on any routine activity, giving it your full attention, you create a gap between you and your mind and its chatter. For example when you get up in the morning and walk to the kitchen, pay close attention to every step, your breath, water on your hands, every sensory activity of water and soap on your hand. You can measure the success of this process by the degree of peace in your life it brings. Learn to dis-identify with your mind.

Thinking is necessary but only when required. Not constant repetitive, useless, negative thinking that occupies 80 to 90 % of the time. You should be able to stop it. To the ego, past and future are important. In ego mode, mind is dysfunctional. In the ego mode, mind projects itself in future that one day when this happens, I will be ok. When ego sees the present, it looks at it from the eyes of the past. Present moment holds the key to liberation.

You don’t want to lose the capability to analyze and think. You believe that you will cease to exist if you stop thinking but enlightenment means rising above thoughts. In the enlightened state you use thinking for practical purposes in more effective way by oscillating between thoughts and stillness.

Mind includes emotions also. It is body’s reaction to mind. For example hostile thoughts create anger. The more you are identified with your thinking, your likes and dislikes, your interpretations, which is to say the less present you are as watching consciousness, the stronger the emotional charge will be. Sometimes there is a conflict between the mind and the emotion. When mind says one thing and your heart or emotions say something else, emotions is the truth. Emotion is felt in the body. Observing your emotions is as important as observing your thoughts. Just observe, not analyze. It is difficult to watch emotion because it takes you over. Thoughts and emotions feed on each other creating a vicious circle. Mind can never get rid of the pain because it is part of the problem.

Love, joy, peace are not emotions because they are inseparable from your natural state of being. Glimpses of these are possible when a gap appears in mind but it’s short lived. Emotions are disturbances, caused by the thinking patterns. Emotions are subject to the law of opposites, meaning you can’t have good without bad. The very thing that gives you pleasure today may give you pain tomorrow. Love, joy and peace are always present in you but get obscured by mind.

Humans have been in the grip of emotional pain for a long time. Pain is inevitable as long as you identify with your mind, which is to say you are unconscious. Emotional pain is also the cause of most physical pain.

Chapter 2: Consciousness, The Way out of Pain

Pain is self-created as long as mind runs your life. It is a form of unacceptance. Degree of pain you feel is the degree of resistance to your present moment, which depends on how much you identify with your mind. The more you accept now, the more you are free of pain of suffering and free of egoic mind. Mind functions in past and future only. Time and mind are inseparable. Mind covers up the present with past and future or time. Your true nature is obscured by mind. To reduce the pain you inflict on yourself and others, just realize that all the time you have is now, not past, not future. Make only brief visit to past and future when required for practical purposes. Surrender to what it is and see life working for you rather than against you.

Sometimes present moment is unacceptable but it is as it is. Observe how mind labels it and create unhappiness. By watching the mechanics of mind, you can come out of it and allow it to be and take necessary action. Accept and act. Whatever present moment presents, accept it as if you chose it. Work with it not against it, make it your friend, this will transform your life.

All the emotions leave a residue of pain in you. It accumulates as negative field which occupies your body and mind. It’s the emotional pain body. It has two states, dormant and active. Anything that resonates with your past pain can trigger it. Catch it the moment it awakens from its dormant state. It feeds on anything that causes similar pain. When pain body takes over, it creates more pain. It feeds on pain. You become a victim or perpetrator. You want pain or inflict pain. If you don’t bring the light of consciousness on this pain, it will live forever. Pain body does not want you to observe it directly. The moment you do it, you have accessed the power of now. You cannot fight it, you can watch it and accept it at this moment. Feel its energy and it will go away slowly.

Here is the process:
Focus on the feeling inside you.
Know it is pain body.
Accept that it is there.
Don’t think about it.
Don’t let the feeling turn into thinking.
Don’t judge and analyze.
Don’t make an identity for yourself out of it.
Stay present and continue to observe as to what is happening inside you.
Become aware of the emotional pain and the one who observes, the silent watcher.
This is the power of now.

There will be resistance inside you, observe the attachment to pain, observe the need to talk about it, observe the pleasure you derive from it. The resistance will cease when you make it conscious. Focus on pain body. Only you can do it.

How does fear arise, doesn’t it help in protecting us? You don’t need fear to protect yourself, just minimum intelligence and common sense. Psychological condition of fear is just a thinking that this might happen or that might happen. You are here and this might happen in future, this creates anxiety. You can cope with the present but not with future. Body is receiving this message from mind that there is danger, which creates fear. If you identify with the mind, you don’t want to be wrong in an argument because that also creates fear. So you have a compulsive need to be right. Once you dis-identify yourself from your mind, you don’t care if you are right or wrong. You can state how you feel but there is no aggressiveness or defensiveness about it. This ends the power game, which is corrosive to all relationships. Power over others is weakness disguised as strength. True power is within and is available to you now.

Another aspect of emotional pain is its lack of completeness. People strive for money, power, special relationships etc. but even if they get it, they still feel this lack. As long as egoic mind is running your life, you can’t be at peace. Ego needs to be both defended and fed constantly, thru possessions, work you do, social status and recognition, special knowledge, relationships etc. None of this is you. You need to relinquish all this sooner or later. Death strips you of all this that is not you. Secret of life is to die before you die and find that there is no death.

Chapter 3: Moving Deeply into Now

Root of unconsciousness is identification with mind but how to dis-identify with your mind? End the disillusion of time from mind. Time and mind are inseparable. It’s a compulsion to live with memories and anticipation. Past gives you identity and future gives the promise of salvation. It creates preoccupation with past and future. Time is illusion. Now is precious. The eternal present is where all your life unfolds. Now is the only point of access that can take you beyond mind. Stay there.

Have you ever done, felt, thought anything outside now. Do you think you ever will? Nothing happens in past or future, only in now. Past is just a memory trace. Future is imagined now. It’s a projection of mind.

Life threatening emergencies bring you in now sometimes and extraordinary things happen. Adventure sports do the same thing. It brings people to now but they become dependent on that activity to be in that state, but you don’t need to. You can enter that state now. In now, all your problems dissolve. Suffering needs time. What is lacking at this moment? This question brings you to now.

Make it a practice to withdraw attention from past and future when they are not needed. Step out of the time dimension from your daily life. Be present as the watcher of your mind, your reaction. Notice how often you are in past or future. Watch the thought, feel the emotion, observe the reaction, don’t make a personal problem out of it. You will then feel something more powerful, and feel the presence of silent watcher.

Intense presence is needed when a situation threatens your self-image, things go wrong and emotions from past are brought up. Reaction takes you over. You justify it. Use clock time not psychological time for practical matters. Immediately return to now when the matter is taken care of. Clock time includes learning from past, plan for future, set goals.

Time is illusion meaning, the present moment is all you have. There is never a time when your life is not at this moment. Are you always trying to be somewhere else? We wait for love, for happiness, for that one possession and it seems just around the corner. The life loses its vibrancy. Mind creates an escape in future. Usually future is the replica of past. If your mind has the heavy burden of past, your future will hold the same. The quality of your consciousness now is what shapes the future. In future, you may get 10 million dollars but that change is skin deep. You will act out the same patterns in a luxurious surrounding. The degree of presence changes the quality of your consciousness. So the true change can only occur now. Anxiety, stress, unease, tension, worry is caused by too much future and not enough presence. Guilt, depression, regret and resentment are caused by too much past. You believe that pain is caused by a situation but that is not true, it’s the attachment with past and future. The only problem in your life is the time bound mind. There is no salvation in time, you cannot be free in future; you can only be free now. But how, I am unhappy now, how do I cope with that, hope keeps me going? Certain things in past were not according to you, you are still resisting and now you are resisting what it is, hope keeps you going but it’s in future and this denies the focus on now and creates unhappiness. Pay attention to your life now. Narrow your focus on this moment. Do you have a problem at this moment? When you are full of problems, there is no room for any new solution. Use your senses fully, be where you are, look around, don’t interpret, see light, shapes, textures, be aware of things around you, listen to sounds, listen to the silence behind the sounds, feel the breath, feel the life energy within. This is moving deeply into now. But my problems are still waiting for me, they haven’t been solved? It’s not about solving the problems. It’s about realizing that there are no problems, only situations to be dealt with. You are carrying a burden of 100 things that you need to do in future and you lose now. When you create a problem, you create pain, make a choice that I will create no more pain, no more problem.

In life emergency, mind stops you become totally present in now and something powerful takes over. Either you survive or you don’t but there is no problem. There are no problems in now, so there is no fear. So if a situation occurs, your action will be clear and decisive. It will also be more effective. It will be an intuitive response. Is there joy, ease and lightness in what you are doing? If not, then time has taken over your life. Do not be concerned with the fruit of your actions just give attention to the action itself. The moment your attention turns on now, you feel peace, joy. You no longer depend on future for fulfillment and satisfaction therefore you are not attached to the results. Neither success nor failure has the power to change your inner being. At the deeper level you are already complete. You can pursue your goals with great satisfaction but your happiness does not depend on it. You know that nothing real can be threatened. When this is your state of being, you have already succeeded.

Chapter 4: Mind Strategies for Avoiding the Now

Root of suffering is in our constant wanting and craving. Make it a habit to monitor your mental state. Ask yourself frequently. What’s going on inside me, ask frequently. Don’t answer these questions immediately. Direct your attention in your body. What do you feel? Is there any tension? If you detect some unease, see how you are resisting life by avoiding now. Here are examples to practice.

Do you resent doing what you are doing?
Are you carrying resentment with a person close to you?
What are the thoughts? What are the emotions? Pleasant or unpleasant?

May be you are being taken advantage of, or the person close to you is unfair but that is irrelevant. The fact is that you are resisting what is. You are creating unhappiness, you are polluting the inner being and people around you and collective psyche of the planet. Negativity is never the optimum way of dealing with any situation; in fact it keeps you stuck in it. Any negative state is contagious. Are you polluting the world with negativity or cleaning up the mess? If humans clean inner pollution, they will also clean outer pollution. Just drop the negative feeling.

Shouldn’t it be ok to have negative emotions though? Yes, once you have the emotion, accept it, you don’t have a choice. Examples of unconsciousness: If you catch yourself complaining, it is unacceptance, it is a negative feeling, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation or accept it or change it. If you want to take responsibility of your life, choose one of the three. Then accept the consequences, no excuses, no negativity, no psychic pollution. Any action is better than no action. If you choose to accept, drop all inner resistance, don’t create negativity about the situation. This is called surrender, it’s not weakness. Stress is caused by being here but wanting to be there. Choose an action and totally be in harmony with that. If you are constantly in past whether in negative or positive feelings, you age fast.

Are you always waiting for something or the other to start living? In this case future will always be better, the perfect recipe for permanent dissatisfaction. Basically you don’t want what you have and want what you don’t have. This creates a conflict and reduces the quality of life by making you lose the present. For example, many people are waiting for prosperity. When you accept what you have, grateful for what you have that is true prosperity. It cannot come in future. If you are frustrated about your present lack, even if you make millions, you will still feel the lack. Give up waiting, snap out of it. Just be and enjoy being. If you are present, there is never ever any need to wait for anything.

But there needs to be a purpose in life and that needs future planning. Yes outer journey may have a million steps towards this and that but inner journey has only one step to focus on now. This is both the purpose and the fulfillment of your inner journey, the journey to your inner self. Does it matter if we fail or succeed in our outer journey? It will matter if you have not realized your inner purpose. Once you realized your inner purpose, you will still keep playing the outer game but success or failure will not matter. In any case outer purpose will eventually fail as everything outside is subject to the law of impermanence.

Chapter 5: State of Presence

When you are in the state of intense presence, your thoughts disappear. To stay present, you have to be rooted within yourself, meaning always keep some body awareness. In this state, your past and future disappears. In the presence of nature or beautiful scenery, the inner essence shines through, and you feel really good because you are totally present without thoughts and it feels great, though only for a few seconds. When being is conscious of itself, it’s presence. Silence is a more potent carrier of presence. When you listen to someone speaking, be aware of the silence beneath and under the words. Be aware of the gaps. To listen to the silence wherever you are is an easy way to become present. Even if there is noise there is always some silence underneath and in between the sounds. Listening to silence immediately creates stillness inside you. Only stillness in you can perceive the silence outside and what is stillness other than presence.

Chapter 6: The Inner Body

You are cut off from being because your mind has taken up all your attention. You can’t stop thinking. Compulsive thinking is a collective disease. Your whole sense is derived from mind activity. Your identity become vulnerable and needs a mental construct, which creates fear as the dominant emotion. One thing that really matters is missing from your life and that is awareness of your deeper self. You need to reclaim it from your mind. A very effective way to do it is to take your focus away from thinking and into the body. Try it now, close your eyes, direct your attention on your body, feel your body, is there life in your arms, stomach, back? Do you feel the energy in your arms? Can you feel it in all parts of the body simultaneously as a single source of energy? The more attention you give it, clearer and stronger the feeling will become, every cell will feel alive. Your body will appear luminous but pay more attention to the feeling. Open your eyes but keep some attention in your inner body.

What you perceive as body, which is subject to disease, old age and death is not real, is not you. But do not turn away from body. It conceals your immortal reality. Truth is to be found within your body. Don’t fight against your body for in doing so you will fight against your own reality. You are your body. The body you see and touch is only a thin illusionary veil. Underneath it lies the invisible inner body, the doorway into being, into life un-manifested. Through inner body you are connected to this un-manifested one life, birth less, deathless, eternally present. Through inner body, you are forever one with god.

The key is to be permanently connected with your inner body, to feel it all the times. The more consciousness you direct into the inner body, the higher its vibration frequency becomes. In this higher energy level, negativity cannot afford you anymore. And you tend to attract circumstances that reflect this higher frequency. If you keep your attention in the body as much as possible, you will be anchored in now. Thoughts and desires will be there but it will not take you over. Do not give all your attention away to the mind and external world, focus on what you are doing but feel the inner body at the same time stay rooted in your inner body and observe how it changes the quality of doing. While waiting for anything, use your time to feel your inner body.

Presence is pure consciousness, reclaimed from mind. Inner body does not change with time. Inner body awareness reduces aging and strengthens both physical and psychic systems. It also strengthens your immune system. Body loves your attention; it is a potent form of healing.

How to meditate to heal your body (first thing in the morning, last thing at night)?
1. Close your eyes. Lie flat on your back. Focus on breathing. Focus on each body part for 15 seconds each. Feel the life energy in each part as intensely as possible. Let your attention run through your body like a wave a few times. Feel the inner body in its totality as a single field of energy. As soon as a thought occurs, return back to body.
2. If it is hard to focus on inner body, focus on your breath. Feel it expanding the stomach or chest. Then feel that you are surrounded my luminous energy. Breathe in that light. Feel the body getting filled with that light. Then focus on your feeling.

When you want to be creative, focus on your inner body for a few seconds, become aware of the inner stillness and then go back to thinking. When thinking, don’t just think with your head, think with the whole body. Most human relationships are through mind, without any real communication. Being in touch with your inner body creates a clear space of no mind, within which a relationship can flower.

Chapter 7: Portals into the Un-manifested

When your consciousness is directed outward, mind and world arise when it is directed inwards it realizes its own source and return home to the un-manifested. When your consciousness returns to the manifested world you resume the form identity that you temp relinquished, you have a name, a past, a life situation, a future but you are not the same, you would have glimpsed a reality, which is not of this world. Keep some attention to your inner body when in the external world. You become a bridge between manifested and un-manifested. Use your inner body as the portal through which you enter the un-manifested and keep that portal open so that you keep that source open all times. Inner body is timeless. If you are not able to feel the inner body, use some another portal. Now is another main portal. You need to open any one portal to stay in touch with un-manifested. Another portal is cessation of thinking. When you are present, thinking stops. Surrender, the letting go of mental emotional resistance is another portal. Inner resistance cuts you off from everything. It strengthens the feeling of separateness. It is up to you to open just one portal. Once a portal opens up, love flows.

Pay attention to the silence than sound. Paying attention to outer silence creates inner silence and a portal opens up. Even in conversation, pay attention to the gap between the words. No sound can exist without silence; nothing can exist without the empty space that enables it to be. Every object is surrounded by nothing and eventually will return to nothing. Even in solid matter, most of the space is empty. Essence of everything is emptiness. Pay attention to the space. As you do that a shift in consciousness inside you happens. When you don’t think of objects, the thinking stops and a portal to un-manifest opens.

If there was only silence you won’t know it. Similarly if there was emptiness, you won’t know the objects. There will be no distance or speed. Similarly world is needed for the un-manifested to be realized. You are here for the divine patterns of the universe to unfold, that’s how important you are.

Chapter 8: Enlightened Relationships

Relationships appear fine for some time but after some time they oscillate between love and hate. When the negativity increases, the relationship collapses. They become addictive, either negatively or positively. How can we change an addictive relationship into the true one? For love to flourish, the light of your presence needs to be stronger to take over the thinker. Stop judging yourself and your partner. Accept them as it is. That immediately takes you beyond ego. All mind games are over, there are no victims, no perpetrators, there is no accuser and no accused. Love is a state of being. It is not outside, it is deep inside you. It cannot leave you. It does not depend on others. When you can feel your own formless and timeless reality, you can feel the same life in everything else. This is the realization of oneness, the love. Love cannot flourish until you are permanently free of mind identification.

So whenever your relationship is not working, whenever it brings out madness in you and your partner, be glad that what is in unconscious is brought to light, it’s an opportunity for salvation. Know the reality and hold the knowing. If you observe unconscious behavior in your partner, hold it in your loving embrace of knowing so that you won’t react. Unconsciousness and knowing cannot coexist for long. Energy form behind the hostility finds the presence of love intolerable. If you react, you become unconscious yourself. Relationships are not to make you happy and fulfilled. The relationship is here to make you conscious, instead of happiness, the relationship offers you salvation and you will be aligning yourself with a higher consciousness.

Never mind if your partner is acting out, you be conscious. Don’t wait for the world to become conscious. It may be okay to point out the partner’s behavior without blaming and proving the other person wrong. Learn to express without blaming. Learn to listen in a non-defensive way. Give your partner space to express. Love cannot flourish without it.

Use pain body for enlightenment. At first sign of pain, catch it before it takes over. For example if you are getting irritated, put full attention on it. Feel energy charge behind it. Know it is pain body. Be aware of your conscious presence. It will subside. If it was purely physical symptom, it will not turn into emotional symptom. Stay present. Do not let the pain body take over your mind. Watch it carefully. It gets transformed into consciousness. If your partner is conscious enough, whenever the pain body takes over, your partner will not mistake you and take no offence. When pain body attacks, he will hold the space of intense presence.
When you are enlightened, there is one relationship that you no longer have, the relationship with yourself. Once you have given that up, all the other relationships will be love relationships.

Chapter 9: Beyond Happiness and Unhappiness there is Peace

Happiness depends on positive things, while peace does not. Seen from higher perspective, things are not positive or negative, they are what they are. There is no bad thing. If you are conscious enough, you know that there is always a higher good in everything. Suppose someone close to you dies or you are about to die, you won’t be happy but you can be at peace. Acceptance releases you from mind dominance as a result usual ego motivation for doing like fear, greed, control cease to operate and a different consciousness will flow in doing.

When one or more egos interact, a drama is created. Most people are in love with their life drama. They fear the end of their drama. Once you are conscious, the drama ends. You can still put your point across without any reaction, there is no drama. There are cycles of success and cycles of failure. You have to let them go. If you cling or resist, you will suffer. It’s not true that upcycle is good and downcycle is bad. Growth is considered positive but if it keeps on growing, it will become monstrous and destructive. Downcycle is required. Everyone fails, sooner or later. You can still be active and enjoy new circumstances. Your physical energy also has cycles. Many illnesses are created in fighting the downcycle. Illness is created to stop you from resisting. Cyclic nature of universe is closely linked to impermanence of all things and forms. It will change, disappear or no longer interest you. The prosperity of today becomes empty consumerism of tomorrow. Nothing out there can satisfy you permanently. Things and conditions can give you pleasure and give you pain but they cannot give joy. Joy arises from within. It is essential part of being. Peace is your natural state.

Then the question is that if there is nothing that can give peace then what is left in life to strive for. Accept the impermanence nature of things and that makes you peaceful. When your inner dependency on form is gone, then general condition of your life tends to improve greatly. Things, people and conditions that you thought you needed for happiness now come to you with no struggle or effort on your part and you are free to enjoy and appreciate them while they last. Cycles will come and go but with dependency gone, there is no fear of loss anymore and life flows with ease.

Being takes you beyond the polar opposite of mind and frees you from dependency on form. Even if everything were to collapse and crumble all around you, you will still feel a deep inner core of peace. You may not be happy but you will be at peace.

All resistance is negativity. Negativity stops desirable outcomes to arise. No other life forms know negativity except human. Watch plants and animals teach you acceptance of what is, integrity, how to live, how to die. Let it teach you how to live peacefully. They don’t keep past in their mind. When you notice some negativity, it’s a signal to wake up and be present. Let everything pass through you. If something irritating happens, instead of reacting, let it pass through as if nobody is there in your body. Someone says something rude to you, you let it pass through you, offer no resistance, that is forgiveness. You can tell the person that their behavior is unacceptable but they don’t control you.

Chapter 10: Meaning of Surrender

The question is that if we accept things as they are, there will be no progress, we will not improve anything. To surrender is to accept now unconditionally without any reservation. It is an inner phenomenon. Accept the is-ness of the moment and then take action to get out of your current situation. This is positive action instead of the negative action being generated by anger and frustration. Through resistance emotional and physical body become hard and inflexible. Surrender is perfectly compatible with initiating changes, taking action and achieving goals but in this state different energy flows into doing. Surrender reconnects you to the source energy of being and if doing is infused with being, it becomes the joyful celebration of life energy that takes you more deeply into now. The results reflect the quality. No truly positive action can arise from un-surrendered state of consciousness.

When you are in argument with your partner, observe your attachment to your point of view, the need to be right. You could surrender and let go of the argument and iIf you feel peace that means you completely surrendered. Then observe the partner. As you are not energizing his resistance, true communication happens. Nonresistance means doing it in a nonreactive way.

When you are ill:
Don’t blame life or yourself.
Use it for enlightenment.
Withdraw time from illness.
Be in present.
Don’t give in to past and future.

When a disaster happens, know that there is another side to it that you are just one step away from something incredible..

If you can’t accept outer condition, accept the inner condition. Witness the pain, allow the pain to be there, surrender to grief and embrace it. Then see how the miracle of surrender transforms it to peace.
When your pain is deep, you want to escape it but there is no escape. Drugs, anger etc. may look like an escape it won’t free you. When you deny emotional pain, you broadcast it. Don’t turn away from it, feel it. Don’t think about it. Give attention to the feeling. Don’t create a victim out of it. Keep feeling the grief, pain, loneliness. Stay present and as you do so, you are bringing light to darkness. You are already in present. Present removes time. Time removes suffering.
Enlightment means to relinquish your attachment to past and future and focus on now.

The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer

Written By: ruchi - Apr• 06•18
7 Spiritual Laws Of Success by Deepak Chopra

I recently got an opportunity to listen to the audio book – The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer. I really liked the book although I had to read it really slowly to understand it. These are my personal notes for future reference.

Chapter 1: The Voice inside Your Head

You have a mental dialog going inside your head all the time. It never shuts up. How much of it turns out to be true. How much of it is even important. If you see someone talking to oneself nonstop what will you think. Why is he talking and listening and taking both sides? It adjusts its viewpoint and keeps going. You can’t shut it. Best way to free yourself is to just view that voice. If you are hearing it, it’s not you. If you are willing to watch your thoughts, you will soon realize that most of them have no relevance. They are simply making you feel better or worse about now, past and future. There is no point of this talk, it is meaningless. Eventually the real cause of the problem is not life but the commotion mind makes about it. But then why does it exist and talk to you? Sometimes some energy needs to be released. It is a way of releasing energy. Voice talks because you are not okay inside and talking releases energy. But it talks even when you are okay. Sometimes it narrates the world for you. But I am already seeing the world then why does it need to narrate it to me. Narration makes you feel more comfortable with the world around you. You actually feel that you have some relationship with the world. You saw a tree, labeled it and judged it. You brought it in your realm of thoughts. There it becomes interrelated with your past thoughts and experiences. You verbalize it, judge it and recreate the outside world inside you and live in your mind. Your mind processes the current experience in a way it fits in your view of past and vision of future. It helps to create a semblance of control. You use mind as a protection to buffer from life. True personal growth is about transcending the part of you that’s not okay and needs protection. This is done by constantly remembering that you are the one that constantly hears the voice talking. You are always silent. Your mind processes current experience with your past experiences and creates your reality.

Chapter 2: Your Inner Roommate

You are ready to grow when you realize that the voice inside will never be content. You will never be free from problems until you are free from that part inside, which has these problems. When a problem bothers you, see which part of you is uncomfortable. For example you are feeling jealous. Ask yourself, which part is bothered. Then ask yourself, who notices this. The process of seeing something requires a subject object relationship. Subject is the witness. Object is what you are seeing, the inner disturbance. This is the difference between spiritual person and worldly person. Worldly person thinks that they will be okay if they fix the things outside. Nobody ever truly becomes okay by changing things outside, there is always the next problem to solve. To attain true peace, you must objectively watch the problem. You cannot find a solution while you are lost in the energy of the problem; first deal with your own reaction. The real problem is that you have something inside which can have problem with anything. First step is to deal with that part of you. Permanent solution is to go inside and let go that part of you that seems to have problem with reality. Watch yourself getting jealous or angry. Who sees it? Who sees the uncomfortable changes inside? Once you take the seat of consciousness you can get rid of these personal disturbances. Just start watching what’s going on inside there. Now watch this person talking. Make this person your roommate. There are 2 distinct aspects of you. First is the awareness, the witness. Second is what you watch. The problem is that second part never shuts up. If you could get rid of it, peace will be with you always. Your roommate can come up with new theories at any time without any notice, like I don’t want to talk to this person, I am afraid, this thing is useless etc. Once you see what it does to you, then you are ready for spiritual growth. Spend a day watching your roommate. You will see it’s never silent. It jumps from one subject to next. Personify this person. Spend the day with this person. Just watch, don’t try to stop it. Make her your best friend. Will you like such talkative person? This is one seriously disturbed person. How many times it’s totally wrong. Once you realize that you will never take their advice. You will ask it to get lost but how?

Chapter 3: Who Are You

You are not your name, your profession, your age, your religion, your nationality, your status or your demographics. You existed before all these. You existed before you were a doctor or before you started living in Australia. It was the same you. The one who sees, hears, dreams and experiences everything is the real you. You are not the object, you are the subject. If you are looking at something, that thing is the object and that’s not you. You are not the outside world. You also feel the emotions but again that’s not you. Inside and outside objects compete your attention. Your existence does not depend on the act of thinking. Thoughts are objects; you are the subject aware of thoughts. You exist whether you have thoughts or not. But then who are you? You are the experiencer. You live in the seat of consciousness. Your consciousness fully comprehends everything you see. Consciousness is pure awareness.

Chapter 4: The Lucid Self

There is something called lucid dream and a normal dream. If you are aware of your dream, it’s a lucid dream. Similarly if you are not completely immersed in the events around you; you are aware that you are seeing events and thoughts and emotions; that’s lucid self. Consciousness has the ability to focus on anything outside or inside. Objects are passing by at 3 levels, mental, emotional and physical. Your consciousness gets attracted towards one object and just immerses in that. It is no longer aware. When you watch a TV program, you are so immersed in it that you forget everything else. Similarly, while you are sitting in the seat of consciousness you get absorbed in the screen of mind, emotions and outside objects. You are watching your own TV show of your thoughts, emotions and outside objects and get drawn to it so much that you become part of that show. You can’t see anything else. When your consciousness is not centered, you focus on objects. What if the consciousness focuses on itself? When that happens instead of you aware of thoughts, you are aware that you are aware of thoughts. That’s true meditation. If you pull away, you can view not only your own thoughts but everything else, you move from finite to infinite.

Chapter 5: Infinite Energy

Thoughts consume a lot of energy. Creating, holding on to or recalling thoughts consume energy. Even emotions consume a lot of energy. Creating and disciplining emotions consume energy. When you are happy you feel a lot of energy inside, when you are depressed you feel lack of energy. You are the same person that was happy yesterday then how come you don’t have energy today that you are depressed. You are eating the same way, sleeping the same way. The truth is that you have phenomenal amount of energy inside you. It does not come from food or sleep. This energy is equally available to everyone. You don’t feel it all the time because you block it by closing your heart and closing your mind and pulling yourself into a restrictive space inside. This closes you off from all the energy. You close the energy centers and the energy can’t flow in and you don’t feel the inner energy. This energy needs openness and receptivity. How do you train yourself to stay open? Closing is a habit, which can be broken. Under normal circumstances, our past experiences and Sanskars control the openness or the closeness. If you remember that meeting this person was humiliating last time, you will be closed in the next meeting. But you can’t leave your inner energy to depend on outside events so just stay committed to not close because protection only cuts you off from the energy. Ask yourself do you really want to cut off the energy. If not, don’t try to protect yourself from the negative experience. There is nothing worth closing down. Just deal with the situation, don’t close. Over time you will have all the inner energy all the time. If you stay open all the time, you become source of energy for yourself and everyone around you. That can even heal your body.

Chapter 6: The Secrets of the Spiritual Heart

Your heart is an instrument made up of subtle energy. It is a powerful energy center of your body. The energy changes in your heart run your life. The senses sense the world, convert the info, transmit the data thru electrical nerve impulses and then the impressions get rendered in your mind. But if the energy pattern that comes in create disturbance, you will resist and not allow passing through. When this happens, energy will be blocked. When you have no personal issues, with impressions, they are processed freely. You take them in, experience them and pass through so that you are fully present in the next moment. That is how an awaken being lives, in now. If you were present in the current moment all the time you will be experiencing every moment but that never happens. Your past experiences taint your current experiences and if you cling to that, the current moment passes away, without being experienced. The energy gets blocked instead of passing through. The energy first tries to release by manifesting through the mind that’s why the mind it becomes so active. Then the energy tries to release through heart and you feel all those emotions. When you resist that release the energy gets stored in heart as the block of energy that just keeps circulating at one place. Slowly it builds up and restricts the normal energy flow. Allow the experiences of life pass through if the old energies come up, let go. If a bad past experience comes up, just smile that now is the time to release it. Of course it hurts but experience the pain now and release it.

Chapter 7: Transcending the Tendency to Close

It is the underlying energy that flows in particular patterns through inner being. The most primal energy flow is the survival instinct. There has always been a struggle to protect oneself. For many of us now that survival is not an issue, as a result the inner energy have adapted themselves towards defending the individual psychologically. If you don’t like a situation or feel threatened, you hide inside, withdraw and close down and pull back behind a psychological protective shield. You are closing down your energy center to avoid being receptive to the energies coming in. You are protecting your ego. The problem is that you feel threatened by the simplest of the triggers. We constantly use our energy to close down energy centers. You are locking your problem inside. You are locking the scared insecure person inside. It’s not healthy. It devoids you of spontaneous joy. If you want to grow, you need to not close down. Expose your sensitive parts otherwise you have to protect it for life. Begin by seeing the tendency to protect and defend yourself. The reward is liberation. If someone says something that starts to tighten your heart, that’s your cue to let it go. Don’t defend it. Consciousness has the tendency to focus on disturbance. But don’t let this happen. You notice a thought but don’t dwell there. Just observe and relax behind it. Don’t try to change it or fight it or judge it. Just relax and release. If you focus on disturbance, it grows in importance and demands more attention. Then because your attention feeds it, it draws more attention and the cycle goes on. Begin with small things and let it go. If you remain centered with small things, very soon you can do that for big things too. All feelings like anger, jealousy etc. will come and that’s okay as long as you are releasing that energy instead of suppressing it.

Chapter 8: Let Go Now or Fall

Natural ups and downs in life can cause growth or fear. It depends on how you view the change. If you have a lot of fear, you won’t like change. People go through their entire life attempting to create safety and control by defining how they want their life to be. You try to avoid things that stimulate your fears. We all do this. But who says that life that naturally unfolds is not okay? Fear says that. We define our entire scope of outside experience based on our inner problems. If you want to grow spiritually, you need to change that. Trying to protect yourself from problems, creates more problems. You have all those dialog inside all the time, how to protect yourself or what to do if it happens. Alternative is to not to fight with your life. Life is continually changing and if you are trying to control it you will not be able to live it fully. There is life without fear. Fear is the cause of all the problems. If you did not have fear, you will be willing to do anything, meet anyone. Life is helping you by surrounding you with people and events for your growth. You need to learn to let go. You simply allow the pain to surface and release it. First you must recognize that there is something that you want to release. Second you must know that you are the one who notices it. When your fear gets hit, let go immediately. The longer you take to let go, the harder it will be because it will draw you in and you will get lost in it and lose perspective.

Chapter 9: Removing Your Inner Thorn

One of the most important areas requiring change is how we solve our personal problems. We normally solve our problems by protecting ourselves but the real transformation begins when you embrace the problem as the agents for growth. Suppose you get a thorn. It hurts when anything touches it. Now you have 2 options. One, you protect yourself so that nothing touches the thorn. Two, you remove the thorn. In the first case the thorn runs your life. Your life will be centered around the thorn, protecting it from everything everywhere. In the second case, you become free. Similarly, if you protect yourself from the problem, it becomes the center of your life and you don’t want that. In the human heart we have more than one thorn. We have sensitivities about rejection, loneliness, appearance and what not. Slightest trigger hurts it. We end up limiting our life in fear of hurting ourselves. You don’t want the weakest part of you to be running your life. How do you free yourself? You could let the disturbances come up and you can let them go. These inner thorns are just the blocked energy from the past, they can be released but we always tuck them deep inside. You can notice who feels these inner thorns. The one who notices is already free. Witness the feeling, don’t get involved and let it go. Once you understand that it’s okay to feel the inner disturbance and they can no longer disturb your consciousness, you will be free.

Chapter 10: Stealing Freedom for Your Soul

Prerequisite to true freedom is to decide that you don’t want to suffer any more. We fear that we are not good enough or that we will fail or that people will take advantage of us or stop loving us and we experience insecurity, anxiety and self-consciousness. All these things burden us tremendously. People don’t understand how much they suffer because they have never experienced what is it like to not to suffer. You only notice when it becomes worse than your daily life. In normal situation we don’t think about our body, when we have to do something, we just do it. Same is not true about our psyche. When we have to do something, we are constantly thinking, what will happen, what should I say, what will they think etc. You think like this because you are not okay inside, just about anything can upset your psyche. You must acknowledge that it can be healthy. You don’t have to protect your psyche. Inner sensitivity is a symptom of non-well being. You have mistreated your psyche. You have given it an impossible task. That everyone should like me. Everything I do should be acceptable to everyone. Nothing that I don’t like, should happen. Everything I like, must happen. Your mind works on it constantly. That’s why it is so active. This has broken the psyche. How do you fix this? Your mind constantly tells you to fix things outside to solve the problems inside but that’s wrong. The next promotion is not going to solve your issue because once you get it you will want the next promotion. External things are not the root cause of the problem. The root cause is that you don’t feel whole or complete. If you don’t find the root of the problem, you will hide behind finances, people, fame etc. Success means you never have to think about your psyche. You should not have to devote your entire life to your psyche. It’s an addiction and you are capable of getting rid of this addiction. You stop telling your mind to fix your personal problems. Mind cannot control anything outside. Everything will be okay if you are okay with everything. You just need to watch the mind and not listen to what it tells you to do. Like someone does not acknowledge you and your mind starts telling you all the bad things about that person. Stop, it’s okay if someone did not acknowledge you. Keep telling yourself that you are not going to get involved in the melodrama of your mind. Remind yourself of this multiple times in a day like every time you leave the house or get into a car.

Chapter 11: Pain, the Price of Freedom

One of the essential requirements for spiritual growth is to come to terms with pain. You may not like this inner disturbance but you must face it. If you try to avoid it, it builds up inside and even simple situations will cause it. You end up building protective layers around the experience in your heart forever, like a layer to get peoples acceptance, another layer to win them over. You need to get some perspective. You are a tiny blip in this universe so why do you care about what others think about you. Why does it hurt so much if they don’t like you or your dress or your car? You have 2 choices. One, leave the pain inside and continue struggling outside. Two, decide to get rid of the pain. If you did not have pain, you will be free. Don’t be afraid of the pain. It’s just another thing. It’s temporary. It’s just a feeling. Just look at it objectively. Have fun with it, laugh at it. The survival instinct is to pull away from unpleasant experiences. Psyche does the same thing with insecurity, jealousy etc. and you put a shield around you. Someone says something to you and you are hurt. You walk away thinking that you will not talk to them again ever. Now the pain will remain inside and shape your future. That’s not what you want. You must learn to transcend the tendency to avoid pain. When you feel the pain, simply see it as energy passing through you, just relax and release. Watch the place which tightens. Heart will want to pull away, close and protect. Just relax your shoulder and the pain will go away. Every single time you resist and close, you are building up the pain inside. Accept the pain and that you feel it. This way it passes through. You may feel the heat in your heart; enjoy it because it’s freeing you. Pain is the price of freedom. The moment you are not afraid of pain you will be able to face all of life’s situations without fear. If you closed around something you will be psychologically sensitive about that subject for rest of your life. If you are comfortable about pain passing through, you will be free. You will be able to walk through this world more vibrant and alive than ever before.

Chapter 12: Taking Down the Walls

Our awareness of being is living deep inside us in an artificially sealed area. It is so solid that no natural light comes in. The only light we get is what we managed to create for ourselves. If we don’t create good situations for ourselves, there is darkness. You are inside the house totally sealed off from natural light while there is an open field of brilliant light. What is your house made of? It is made of your thoughts, past experience, views, opinions, hopes and dreams. You have woven your thoughts, experiences, emotions into a conceptual world, where you live. This mental structure blocks you from the natural life outside this wall. You want to avoid running into these walls. You are locked inside. If you want to get out, you have to cross these walls. It’s not that difficult. Time and again every day the natural flow of light collides with our walls and tries to tear them down but we defend them. What you are defending is the house you built. You can step out of this house and get unlimited supply of life. You need to take down these walls. Walls are just thoughts, you can change them.

Chapter 13: Far Far Beyond

Everything is infinite but we have put boundaries on them. To go beyond you must go past the limit you have put on things. You have made up your thought model and if something does not match your model, it’s wrong. If you want to go beyond your model you have to take the risk to not believe in it. You do things for a reason. To know the reason, don’t do them one day. Like don’t comb your hair one day. See what happens when you don’t do things. Your model is your comfort zone and you are constantly trying to stay in your comfort zone. The moment someone starts ignoring your expectations, your mind starts telling you how to bring him on the right track. You can devote your life to fit your limited model or you can devote your life freeing yourself from your limited model. People feel safe inside their models, they are locked inside a cage because they are afraid of unknown beyond their model. You can hardly move in there and constantly hitting the limits of your comfort zone. You are afraid of speaking your mind, you are too self-conscious, you have to stay on top everything to be okay. Why? You have put limits on yourself. You can devote your whole life to stay in the comfort zone or free yourself. Boundaries of comfort zone make your world finite. You need to go beyond. You hit the edges of your cage every day and get hurt. You constantly plan how to stay in your comfort zone. When you reach the edges you feel insecurity, fear, jealousy self-consciousness and you stop trying. Spirituality is the commitment to go beyond every second. Just interact with the day with peaceful mind as it unfolds. If you constantly relax, one day you will go beyond.

Chapter 14: Letting Go of False Solidity

Internal psyche is constantly changing due to internal or external stimuli. It changes moods, desires, likes, dislikes, enthusiasm, and lethargy. It’s a full time task to control all this. You feel these emotions and you are the one who has all these experiences. Consciousness is the dynamic field of awareness and when if focuses narrowly, it loses broader sense of your surroundings. Your consciousness focuses on whatever catches its attention. Focusing on one object creates clinging and this becomes a building block of your psyche. If outside world does not match your model, your facade crumbles and it does not protect you anymore and you feel panic. Instead if you let go of your model, you will start to be peaceful. You will be aware of a lot of changes, which you don’t control, just let it happen and slowly you will be comfortable. Just let the life unfold moment after moment. You want your model to break. You must be comfortable with psychological disturbances. If an event is creating disturbance, and your heart tightens or heats up, just watch it, it will pass. It will be painful but face it. Don’t see the disturbance as a negative experience. When your mind is disturbed don’t ask what to do, ask who am I? Eventually the disturbance stops.

Chapter 15: The Path of Unconditional Happiness

There is only one choice, do you want to be happy or not? Once that choice is made life becomes totally clear. Your happiness is totally under your control if it’s unconditional, no matter what. Things will challenge you, it will be difficult. The purpose of your life is to enjoy and learn from experiences. Events will happen but you have to choose how you want to live. Enjoying life’s experiences is the only rational thing to do. You are here and things will happen and you are going to die but at least enjoy your life. Every time some part of you starts to become unhappy let it go. What good does it do to not have fun? Stay happy no matter what. When you are happy, heart feels open and energy flows in. Whenever your heart is closing, ask yourself if you want to be unhappy. You have that choice. You can’t base your happiness on other people’s behavior or outside events. You have limited time left in life. Just relax when your heart starts to tighten and let the event pass through.

Chapter 16: The Spiritual Path of Non-resistance

Stress happens when we resist life’s events. We use our will power to stop the experience of an event. It’s a waste of energy. We are resisting things about past, which have already happened or from future, which may not happen at all. Anything to do with past creates more disturbance. The solution is to stop resisting or at least find a good reason to resist. Resistance to life is pointless. You carry preconceived notions and impressions and resist if life does not match it. Solution is to let go of your impressions and the stress they create. Key is to accept events, relax and release. Fear and desire make things complicated. If you don’t have those, the life events will unfold and pass smoothly. If you don’t judge and resist people, it’s much easier to get along.

Chapter 17: Contemplating Death

If this was your last day, what you will do, how will your priorities change, how will your thoughts change and why are you not doing that by default death or no death. Death takes away everything from you in a flash. Regularly reflect what you need to do. Say what you need to say, do what needs to be done only then you will experience life fully and there will be no last wishes. Death does not take your life away; you do, by not paying attention to the current moment.

Chapter 18: The Secret of the Middle Way

Everything has two extremes – eating, heat, relationship, sex, money. Middle is a place where no energy is pushing in any direction. Everything has a yin and yang and a balance. To be efficient, you need to be centered on a path. When you stop swinging on extremes, you will be much more efficient and you will finish everything fast. It is much more efficient to deal with the body in a balanced manner than to be burdened with the effects of extremes. For example relationship in which you want to stay together all the time or never meet is not possible. It’s difficult to live in extremes, it’s very inefficient, just like a pendulum, going from left to right and back wasting energy. Pendulum can stay on extremes only for a moment but it can stay in center forever. How do you stop pendulum from swinging to the opposite? It’s easy, don’t participate in the extremes and slowly the pendulum will come to the center. Your energies will find a balance. You will become much clearer; staying in present will become your natural state. Life’s event will never overwhelm you. Life becomes simple because you are not confused and don’t react. Similarly, if you are centered, it’s efficient, no energy is wasted. The balance point is not static it’s a dynamic equilibrium. You have to let the forces move you. You must reach a point where your whole interest lies in balance and not in a particular preference. Find the balance in the center and live in harmony.

Chapter 19: The Loving Eyes of God

There is a part of being which is beyond the personal self. When you can identify with it, a natural transformation occurs within you. Things don’t touch you as much. You associate less with your physical being and more with the spirit. You stop judging everyone. You just feel love for no reason.

Ayurveda Part 5/5 – Touch

Written By: ruchi - Feb• 09•18
Ayurveda Doshas

Touch is the most nurturing thing we can do to others and ourselves. Gentle massage everyday improves BP, releases stress and enhances performance.

When Vata is aggravated, grounding effect of massage is very pacifying. It loosens toxins, softens skin, improves digestion and has lasting benefits on the immune system. Vata types should use warm, rich sesame oil in a gentle massage. Almond oil is the second choice.

Pitta types are better off with cooling oils like coconut, olive or sunflower oil.

Kapha types are best with heating oils or lighter oils – sesame, mustard or safflower oil. They can also massage without the oil.

For good general health, do a daily massage yourself before bath. Start from top going towards the bottom. Massage head and face. Spend some time on ears. It has a lot of Marma points. Marma points are vital zones of life force in the human body. They are found at the key junctions of muscles, veins, arteries, tendons and bones throughout the body. Joints should be massaged in circular motion, long strokes on limbs and circular motion on the chest and abdomen. Abdomen massage is also good for tummy aches. Massage spine. Circular motion over wrist, palms and fingers. It is very important to massage the foot. Circular motion over ankle and heel, back and forth the web between the toes and the sole. The whole massage can be completed in 5 minutes. Leave it on for at least 5 minutes and then use a mild soap and you are good to go. If you don’t have time for the whole body, at least massage your head, face, ear and the feet. If you have trouble sleeping, do massage before going to bed. Have warm milk with cardamom and nutmeg before bed.

Disclaimer: This article is based on Dr. Deepak Chopra’s book “Heal Your Body With Your Mind” as my personal study notes for future reference.

Ayurveda Part 4/5 – Biological Rhythms

Written By: ruchi - Feb• 09•18
Ayurveda Doshas

Our biological rhythms are a mirror of cosmos rhythms. Body responds to medicines very differently at different times of the day. Body is very different I the morning and the evening. These cycles are the manifestations of cosmos cycles.

Circadian Rhythm, because of the earth spinning on its axis
This causes 24 hour day, which causes circadian rhythm in the body. For example, in the morning body has high cortisol levels as opposed to the evenings. In Ayurveda, the 24 hour cycle of the day can be divided in 6 distinct stages based on the 3 modalities – Vata, Kapha and Pitta.

6 am to 10 am is the Kapha phase irrespective of your prakriti. It is the hypo metabolic phase. If you are Vata, your metabolism will come down a bit. If you are real Kapha, metabolism slows down quite a bit. This is a good time to exercise, especially for Kapha. Kapha people should take their supplements at this time. This period is good for chemotherapy because good cells are slow at this time. Chemo kills rapidly multiplying cells like cancer cells, hair cells, skin cells etc. Good cells obey the cycle and slow down in the Kapha period but cancer cells don’t follow that. If you give chemo in Kapha period, the good cells are sre spared. Ayurveda does not believe in killing cells with chemo. It believes in bringing all the cells in harmony by following the cosmic rhythms.

10 am to 2 pm is the Pitta cycle. This is the transformative state. This is the period when metabolism and digestion are most effective. A big meal should be taken during this period.

2 pm to 6 pm is the Vata cycle. Body goes into hyper metabolism. It has maximum mental clarity and maximum physical dexterity during this period. This is the best time to do mental and creative work.

6 pm to 10 pm is the Kapha phase again. Metabolism starts to decline again, being lowest at 10 pm. This is the time to wind down and go to sleep to get the best rest.

10 pm to 2 am is the Pitta cycle again. If you are asleep, digestion goes up. Body renews and gets rid of toxins. If you are Pitta and awake at this time, you will binge on food and tend to get obese.

2 am to 6 am is Vata cycle again. This is the time, metabolic rate increases. It is time to rejuvenate the subtle body. Dreaming is most active during this time. Dreaming is necessary to detoxify the subtle body. Any disturbance at this time gives rise to psychological problems. Sedatives, sleeping pills, alcohol depress this cycle, which builds toxins in the body. All the hormones go up, heart rate goes up a bit, BP goes up at this time. 6 am is the peak of metabolic rate. If you get up at 6, you will feel really fresh.

When your biological rhythm is disturbed, the first sign will be fatigue. Second phase, is discomfort and then the diseases. Jet lag disturbs the circadian rhythm. To facilitate the process, meditate, hydrate and sleep in the flight. Continuous night shifts disrupt the circadian rhythm and sooner and later your body will protest in the form of some illness.

Seasonal Rhythm, because of earth going around the sun
You have a seasonal cycle in your body also. You fall in love in spring, you get depressed in winters. This is being orchestrated in nature. Seasons affect us. Winter is a Kapha season so if you are Kapha type, you will see Kapha problem including congestive heart failure, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis etc. Summer being hot and moist, is the Pitta season, and causes more problems to Pitta prakarti, like inflammation, ulcers, skin rashes, inflammatory arthritis, and inflammatory emotions. Autumn is the Vata season and may cause migraine, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, palpitations etc. Kapha dominant people should take care of their diet more in winters, Pitta in summers and Vata types in autumn.

Lunar Rhythm, because of the earth, sun and moon movements
Lunar cycle is approximately 28 days cycle. There are lunar rhythms in the body like BP changes with lunar cycle. You should be aware of it and you might notice that your behavior changes with lunar cycle. Full moon is the Kapha period, no moon is the Vata period and somewhere in the middle is the Pitta period. If you are in balance, it does not matter. If there is imbalance then there is a problem. Imbalance is disruption of natural law that’s expressing itself thru you.

Gravitational Rhythm, ocean tides
We also get tides in our own physiology. At one point we were in ocean. In any case 80% of our body is water. The full tide is Kapha, low tide is Vata and Pitta somewhere in between.

So what do these rhythms mean? If we are in perfect balance, there is no entropy; there is perfect harmony hence no aging. But otherwise, follow a routine:

Get up at 6, brush, clean your tongue, drink warm water, eliminate, massage, bathe, meditate, yoga, exercise and eat by 8.
Eat a big meal between 12 non and 2 pm. Walk after lunch.
Meditate before sunset around 4.
Eat small early dinner.
This will result in most accomplishments with least effort.

Disclaimer: This article is based on Dr. Deepak Chopra’s book “Heal Your Body With Your Mind” as my personal study notes for future reference.