The Secret of Happiness

In a world that is perpetually searching for Happiness, he teaches me about finding joy in simple things every day – a hug, a kiss, a long walk, running barefeet in the grass, a whiff of fragrance from the evening primrose..

He shows me each day what living life to the fullest means, why trust is synonymous with love and belonging, that friendship is acceptance and how words are an unnecessary ingredient when there are soul connections….

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The ‘If Only’s of daily life

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The city is dry, parched, thirsty for rain.  The colours of March are long gone.

The red, pink and the occasional purple geraniums and the orange nasturtiums have given way to greyish green leaves that fall ever too soon to the ground only to be raised by the hot winds from the west in a dusty swirl.

The Met department had predicted rains on Thursday evening. The clouds dutifuly gathered on the horizon darkening the evening skies and encouraging many a hopeful city dweller. But like the promises that are made but never kept, they floated away almost as quickly as they had come.

And we woke up Friday morning to yet another dry, dusty, hot day looming ahead of us.

This doesn’t seem to have deterred the forever hopeful met department from cheerfully making more enthusiastic predictions of rain for the weekend!

 

I often wonder how many of us are actually thankful for the constant supply of cool fresh water that (still!!) flow out of our taps all throughout the 24 hours of the day. And the electricity that keeps our air-conditioning running.

There are hundreds and thousands out there for whom these are  luxuries they can only dare imagine.

Like that group of impish little children at the inetersection a little distance away from my hospital. On regular days, they’d diligently pester each driver to buy whatever trinklet they were taking turns to sell in the few minutes till the light turned green or they got shooed away. Since the past two weeks, however, they’ve taken to asking for cold water.

It makes me incredibly sad….

 

It is amazing how cruel as a race we humans have become!

The other day I had a passionate verbal altercation with Mr.X ( For the lack of a better term, I call him my colony-mate)

X is of the opinion that the water bowls that the likes of me leave on the footpath outside our colony gates attract stray dogs, which are a menace to the humans. According to X, helping animals is ‘ fine and fashionable’ but humans are a far superior race and when it comes to the interests of humans, animal needs are to be sacrificed.

Hence the water bowls must go!

 

To say that the likes of him awakens my primitive destructivel instincts would be an understatement!

Leaving aside water bowls and stray dogs, it escapes me how a person can go through life living with a notion of such audacious superiority!

Of course it is entirely a wastage of one’s energies to reason with such a man about the number of thirsty living creatures ( in addition to the dogs that he hates) that would drink out of a small bowl of water – the small squirrels, birds, a line of bees that always line the rim and sip water unmindful of the crow that drinks from the same bowl, perched on the other side of the rim.

But I being me, did not let the opportunity pass by and mercilessly imparted a good amount of education on the necessity of being kind to ‘all living creatures great and small’, much to the chagrin of X.

The result?

He now pretends to be busy with his phone, the button on his cuff or the imaginary speck of dust on his shirt  whenever I ( or anyone remotely resembling me, I’m sure) cross his path..!

Instead he has taken to admonishing the security guards for filling the water bowls!

I wonder if it is the kindness that these simple uneducated men carry in their hearts, or my threat that I’ll call animal-abuse groups if anyone dares hurt these dogs that make them ignore Mr.X.

Anyway, for now, the arrangement is working!

The bowls have remained where they are. In spite of Mr.X!

 

 

 

22 Zen Wisdom You can laugh at!

Zen Laughter

1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.

2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire.

3. It’s always darkest before dawn. So if you’re going to steal your neighbor’s newspaper, that’s the time to do it.

4. Don’t be irreplaceable. If you can’t be replaced, you can’t be promoted.

5. Always remember that you’re unique. Just like everyone else.

6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.

7. If you think nobody cares if you’re alive, try missing a couple of car payments.

8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.

9. If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.

10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.

11. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

12. If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.

13. Some days you’re the bug; some days you’re the windshield.

14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.

16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.

17. Duct tape is like ‘The Force’. It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

18. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.

19. Generally speaking, you aren’t learning much when your lips are moving.

20. Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.

21. Never miss a good chance to shut up.

22. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night

All things beautiful…

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“In short, all good things are wild and free.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

It rained.
Just a drizzle, but enough to settle the dust and the dry dead leaves that the March wind raises up in a flurry…
Sunday morning dawned nice and clear, a cool breeze ushering in the smell of the wet earth through the open window..

In the midst of the concrete jungle we live and work in it is the simple little things in life that keep us sane.

One of them is this..the smell of the earth after a splash of rain has pierced its parched surface…

The flowers are looking prettier, more colourful, and the leaves greener now that the dust layer has been washed off of them.

We all, however, seem to have slept through a dust storm of sorts preceding the rains last night, usual at this time of the year here in Delhi.

The tell tale signs were everywhere – pigeon feathers, dry leaves and twigs flown in by the wind all over my balcony now soggy from the drizzle, muddy shoe prints on the corridors leading to the lifts and pawprints on the parapet alongside the stairs.
The resident ginger-cat enjoying a nightly prowl!

My thoughts flew to the enchanting tree of red flowers in that nursery I had discovered the other day!

A pretty little place alongside the busy highway! I had never noticed it earlier till P mentioned it the other day. It’s at the corner of an intersection I always zoom past ! (the red lights have been out of order for a while now and the police apparently makes a rare appearance, for I haven’t encountered any yet!! )

This tree – there were hardly any leaves on any of its branches. Instead it had burst forth into a brilliant shade of red with innumerable closely knit large flowers !!

It was taller than all others around it. And as if this was its cue to protect all smaller trees around, it had spread it’s branches above them all like an enchanting red umbrella embracing them in it’s shade.

They were everywhere, these flowers…
All over the grass, on the pots below, on the flower beds and even on the branches of other trees….they seemed to let go their hold and fall down to their death ever so easily.

As I had walked about the nursery that evening trying to make up my mind about which plants I wanted to bring home, I found myself repeatedly getting distracted by these lovely red flowers.

They made me sad..so lovely, yet so short lived.
Maybe like all things beautiful, they chose to be ephemeral..

‘Are they still holding on?’, I wondered as I took in the remainder of last night’s storm, ‘ Or did they yield ever so easily to it’s devastation?’

Musings

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2:23 AM, 6th Jan 2016

“Sometimes little things that someone says, by way of regular conversation, sticks to the subconscious mind. And then at some unconnected time, space and context, resurfaces with a new meaning.
It often helps, guides, calms and inspires”.
…I was in a reminiscent mood,when I told K this today.

We were in yet another one of what we label
‘spiritual discourses above the comprehension of many around us’, with an arrogance that we instantly agreed only proved how far we still had to travel before leaving ‘the Id and self’ behind!

But then, isn’t the very fact that one realises this, the first step towards whatever?
We are certainly at least scratching the surface of a spiritual transformation.

Anyway, I can’t quite recall what exactly it was K had said at some point in the past that came back as the answer I was seeking last week.
It was something he had uttered quite unmindfully.
So much so that I didn’t myself realise I had stored it in my “subconscious drawer”!

And on a note of déjà vu, I realised today I was finding yet another answer in yet another one of such unmindful comments my mind had fished out of my “S.drawer” !

” We have all the answers we seek inside us”,  he had said. ” You just have to be quiet enough to hear them”.

Practicing being quiet…Easier said than done!! Enlightenment under a Banyan tree, or otherwise, can’t be that easy! But then one must try.

Maybe today’s highly spirited discussion will one day be the source of an answer. Maybe I have added many answers to my “S. Drawer”.

There’s this book that he mentioned…he had been guided to it by someone..the stories and legends associated with Sage Vashisth’s advice to Rama. The more we delved into its teachings, the more it led us deeper into the similarities with Zen philosophy and Sufi Tasawwuf.
And how every philosophy, religion and belief system, though designed for peace can only lead to it by renouncing the fixed mindless ritual systems for spirituality …
The only true way to peace..the practice of Mindfulness, Living in the NOW, the Power of the present.

If only this was as easy….

One whole week of the new year is passé…in a blink!
As I turned the leaf of my daily calender today, I realized how much has changed between now and 365 days ago.

For a moment I wondered if,given a chance, I’d chose to erase and restart at 31 Dec 2014. Or maybe earlier.

My very own “back to the future time machine” !
What exactly would I do differently, at what decisive moments or would I even realise those were decisive moments?
And at what cost?

And wouldn’t going back to the future to restart defeat the very notion of mindful living..the Power of Now?

Is that why we are designed to live forwards, without a rewind, pause and erase button?