The Heart’s Quadrants

Tags

, , ,

I am not much of a sport’s watcher any more, perhaps because I’m not much of a TV watcher any more. However, this year, I found myself tuning into the Super Bowl because – actually, I’m not quite sure why, but it just happened. More than the game itself, I was actually paying a bit of attention to the ads. I have to admit, I was totally taken by the story told by the ad that talked about the four types of love… 

While thinking about the topic for this week’s #SpiritChat conversation, I knew that I would end up talking about something heart-related. February is heart-health month, and this year has that extra-special day at the end, for which I have a  special affinity (more about that in two weeks). And then, this morning, reflecting on the heart, I was reminded of the four quadrants of the heart. This made me wonder – is there a connection between the four types of love and the four quadrants of the heart?

What about love? The four types of love are deemed to be philia (love that grows out of friendships), storge (love that is founded on family relationships), eros (the romantic love) and agape (love that comes from acts of service and selfless actions). And what about the heart? The heart’s upper quadrants are the two atriums or atria  – the right, which collects the impure blood through the venous system, and the left, which collects the purified blood from the lungs. The lower quadrants are the two ventricles or the pumps. The right ventricle receives the impure blood from the right atrium, and then pumps it to the lungs for purification. The left receives the purified blood from the left atrium, and pumps it to the organs through the arterial system. 

On the surface, it doesn’t seem like there is any correlation between the four types of love and the heart’s quadrants, is there? Delving a bit deeper, I thought of people whose love resembles the quadrants of the hearts. There are the “receivers” or the atriums – always available and open to us, helping us to lighten our load in any way they can. They do not judge whether our output is “pure” or “impure” – their role is to simply be receivers. “Atrium people” are perhaps primarily engaged in the practice of philia or agape love by their actions of presence and active listening, aren’t they?

Then, there are the “givers” or the ventricles – the ones who “feed” us continuously, whether we are asleep or awake, regardless of our mental and emotional state. The “givers” help us absorb the goodness that every breath brings into our  hearts, and remind us to share that goodness with every cell in our bodies. Our heart’s two ventricles are essential to life and living. The same is true of those who are the ‘givers of love’ in our lives, isn’t it?

What would our lives be without the magic of friendships, the special bonds of family, the incorrigible romantics, or those who are ever-eager to give? Who are our heart’s atriums and ventricles, the ones who teach us about philia, storgeeros and agape? Do we not live our best life when all of the heart’s quadrants work as a unified whole for a single purpose – which is to flow higher love?

Kumud

P.S. Join us for our weekly chat, Sunday February 16 at 9am ET / 2pm GMT / 7:30pm India. We will talk about the heart and its giving and receiving of love through all its quadrants. Join us to tea and cookies. Namaste – @AjmaniK

 

The four quadrants

The Heart of Holding Space

Tags

, , ,

“Have we ever had a #SpiritChat on the idea of ‘holding space’?”

The minute Lucille asked this question as we were close to wrapping up the hour of the #SpiritChat monthly video get-together, I knew that she had brought forth the topic for the weekly chat. My immediate answer was to say, “no, we haven’t ever discussed that as a topic — but, it is one of my favorite phrases and ideas to practice!”. In fact, I had benefitted from practicing it just the previous day. 

A few weeks ago, I had received an invite to attend a meeting at 8:30am on Thursday morning. My first reaction was to respond  that I wouldn’t be able to attend because of another scheduled meeting. However, when I read the agenda, it was to review the by-laws of the Parents’ Association of my daughter’s school. I thought, this is really important, and maybe the other meeting will get moved. So, I found myself responding with — “I am not sure, but please hold space for me as I am going to do my best to attend”.

Unbeknownst to me, the organizers must have done just that. Thursday morning came and I was running behind because my daughter woke up with a nasty cold. I hadn’t even showered or shaved yet, and it was time to leave, if I was going to make it in time. As I got ready to text the organizer that I wasn’t going to be able to make it, a thought passed across my heart. What if they are actually ‘holding space’ for me, just like I asked them to?

So, I put my phone away, brushed my teeth (yes, this was an IRL meeting, not a twitter chat :)), put some clothes on and drove the short distance through the sleet that was falling quickly and icing up the roads. Four smiling faces, including the broadest of smiles of a little baby girl that one of the Mom’s had brought with her, greeted me with the words – “we are so glad you are here”. 

In that instant, I knew that they were not looking at my unshaven face or my uncoordinated clothes that I had thrown together. It reminded me of something my maternal grandmother used to say and practice — “ बेटा जी, जगह इंसान के लिए दिल में होनी चाहिए – फिर सभी अपने होते हैं, कोई मेहमान नहीं होता।” My dear one, when we learn to make space in the heart for others, then there are no guests — the whole world becomes our family. 

So much truth wisdom in Grandma’s words, don’t you think? How often do we forsake the opportunity of ‘holding space’ or ‘creating space’ for others because of how we think we may be perceived by them? How often do we forsake ‘holding space’ for own selves because of how we think about ourself? And yet, if we take our eyes off of ourselves, we can then embrace the attitude of ‘holding space’.  Our heart can open to the idea that ‘we need to take care of each other, be kind to each other’.

So, here we are. We have some decisions to make, some questions to ponder. What is it that prevents us from ‘holding space’ in our hearts for some, but not for ‘others’? Despite filling ourselves with so much, why do we occasionally feel ‘empty’? What is the spiritual benefit of holding space (and time) for each other and for our own selves?

Here are some possibilities. In ‘holding space’ in our heart, the whole world can become ‘us’, not ‘them’. When there is no separation of us and them, we are in fact creating true freedom, aren’t we? In this freedom, real exploration of the vastness of inner space can truly begin — we may yet discover that the infinite has been forever holding loving space for us.

Kumud

P.S. Thank you, Lucille Fisher (@sageandsavvy) for this week’s grand question, and inspiration for our Sunday Feb 9 twitter chat in #SpiritChat at 9amET / 2pm GMT / 730pm India. I invite all of you to join us in this community that has been holding space for each other for many years. Namaste – @AjmaniK

 

Flowers, in various stages of flowering, held by Nature’s loving space… 

Tiger Lily

The Spirit of the Game

Tags

, , , ,

Growing up in India, I was never much of a sports-playing kid in school. The emphasis was purely on academics, and any activity that distracted from “studies” was considered superfluous. It was even suggested that those who excelled in sports only did so because they were “poor” students and were probably not much interested in studying anyway!

This isn’t to say that I did not enjoy playing football (i.e. soccer), basketball, volleyball or even softball (without the gloves)  at every opportunity that I got during the daily P.T. (“physical training”) class. I even signed up to play “goalkeeper” during an inter-school tournament one year. However, my stint was short-lived because the after-school practices interfered with my “studies”. So, I decided to bide my time to play “real sports” until I got to college. 

However, all was not lost on the high-school “sports” front for me. In the ninth grade, my new brother-in-law started to teach me how to play chess. A combination of “plus points” about chess made it “acceptable” to my parents to allow me to spend untold number of hours playing the game. Firstly, I was viewed as being a good host to my brother-in-law, every time that we played when he visited us. In Indian culture, family members of the sister’s or daughter’s in-laws were always  treated with great respect and accommodation. So, this was strike one in my favor. Secondly, chess is a cerebral game, and this aligned well with the focus on “academic” activities. Thirdly, unlike football, there was no chance of getting physically hurt playing ‘chess’!

After playing diligently for a few years, studying books about chess openings, spending hours trying to solve the chess puzzles that appeared in the Sunday sports section of the newspaper, I actually started winning once in a while when I played with my “teacher”. I even started playing with my brother-in-law’s father, which was always a special occasion for me. This did land me in a bit of a dilemma as I was now finding myself in a position of asking a question. Should I be showing “disrespect” to the “in-laws” by playing “all out” and to the best of my abilities? Or should I be playing with integrity, in the “spirit of the game”, and let the pawns and rooks and knights and bishops sort it out on the board? (The dilemma sorted itself out once I graduated high-school and the opportunities to play became very rare).

Just when I thought I was getting really good at the game, an “International Master (IM)” from the USSR visited our high-school for a demonstration. He agreed to play “simultaneous chess” with thirty-two students and teachers. We all sat, sixteen apiece, in two long rows, and he moved from one board to the next, making one move at a time against each player. One by one we were defeated, and I was totally awed by the surgical precision with which he dismantled all but one student’s carefully crafted defenses. At the end of it that day, I wasn’t sure if I was awed by the IM’s thirty-one wins or the student who escaped with a draw! In those three short hours, I learnt a lot from the IM about the “spirit of the game”, and how much more I still had to learn about playing chess itself.

During my college and graduate school years, there was an unexpected hiatus of about ten years in active chess-playing for me. Fortunately, the love of the game did not die. In the mid-nineties, the advent of the internet and “international chess servers” opened up a lot more opportunities to play with players of different “ratings” (levels) from across the world. I even made a few friends with whom I would play fairly regularly – “friends” who I never even talked with, let alone meet in real life. Perhaps this experience was a precursor to what was to come a few years later on twitter in the form of #SpiritChat!

But what does chess, or sports at large, teach me about life and spirituality?

Chess taught me that the “spirit of the game” goes beyond winning and losing. It allows for the possibility of a well-contested, thoroughly enjoyable draw! I learnt that regardless of how “powerful” they were at the start of the game, every single piece was subject to being “humbled”. Any of the “lowly” pawns could not only humble the “mighty” king but also  become “all powerful” by being “queened”. All a pawn had to do was take one small step at a time until it reached the other end of the board! The bishops taught me about the discipline of “staying in our lane”, for they were only allowed to move diagonally on squares of assigned colors. The knights taught the power of flexibility in movement – the only pieces that can attack without being in line-of-sight of the pieces that they are attacking. The rooks taught me that long-range thinking, even if it is only limited to straight lines, conveys power only second to that of the all-powerful Queen.

One great lesson of playing chess perhaps came from learning that “the center” is all-important. A strong grasp of the center of the board, just like a powerful awareness of our heart, is essential to success in chess and life. Who is it that  controls the center? More often than not, the center is established by the “lowly” pawns, with their one or two small steps at the very start of the game. Similarly, it is with our small, pawn-like moves in our daily spiritual practice, that awakens awareness of our center. Our daily spiritual steps may seem small, even insignificant. Yet, with every heart-based move we make, we are setting up space for our center to prevail.

Looking back on all those years of chess-playing and all the games I must have played, one common conclusion stands out. At the end of every game, all of the pieces – whether they were black or white, winners or losers or participants in a draw,  pawns or queens or kings – all were put back in the box from which they were brought out, to await yet again for  their opportunity to take center-stage again.

The game taught me that winning and losing are often forgotten, but the spirit of those who taught us how to play with purity, fairness and dignity leaves an imprint on our heart. Remembrance of the game’s spirit is perhaps the best way to honor our coaches, and to be grateful for those who choose to be on life’s playgrounds with us! 

Kumud 

P.S. What is your favorite sport to watch or to play? What has your favorite ‘game’ taught you about life and living? If you were to play a position in your favorite game, what would it be? I invite you to share the spirit of the game with the #SpiritChat community on Sunday, Feb 2nd at 9amET on twitter. Maybe we can even play chess one of these days…  Namaste – @AjmaniK

 

518px ChessSet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Alan Light – Own work by the original uploader, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20299

Our Spiritual Foundations

Tags

, , , ,

Many a great structure can be built upon, if it has been built upon a strong foundation. Conversely, if the foundation is weak, many a great-looking structure can easily crumble when subject to even a small tremor.  One may posit that the long-term health and viability of families, friendships, communities, societies, countries and planets depends on the quality of their foundations.

From a spiritual perspective, the strength of our foundation can be equated to the sum (or product?) of our values, beliefs and practices.

Our foundational values are often formed by those actions which have ‘risen to the top’ of our attention pyramid over time. These are the actions that attract the best investments of our time and energy. We often look forward to opportunities to sharing time and space with those who strengthen our core values. Conversely, we may find ourselves walking or drifting away from those who negatively affect the health of our foundation. This concept forms the foundation of the idea of  sangha or togetherness. Commonality of values infuses joy in our walk together. We learn to find joy in their joy, and they in ours. 

The second basis of a strong foundation is an awareness of truth. Where does this awareness come from? It comes from (spiritual) practice. If I regularly walk a particular path in the forest and I see the same white flowers bloom in the same culvert at the same time every year, my direct experience would plant a seed of truth in me. My practice will have thus informed my awareness, which would in turn have established a foundational truth for me.

The beauty of the blooming flower of awareness is that it need not be unique to me. When someone else has the same direct experience of the flower blooming in the forest, it plants a seed of truth in them too. When their seed of truth grows, it attracts my truth, it becomes stronger, and begins to matter. When two people share an awareness that the truth matters, it becomes the foundation for friendship.  

Our shared values, beliefs and practices can thus create a basis for joy (ananda), and a shared awareness (chitta) of truth (satya)When we walk in truth, awareness and joy, we can have direct experience of the Oneness that is the foundation of the Universe. 

Kumud

P.S. Join us for our weekly gathering, Sunday January 26th at 9amET / 730pm India. We will share on foundations, friendships and the truths discovered on our walks. Namaste – @AjmaniK

Forest Flowers Blooming...

On Dreams and Reality

Tags

, , ,

There is a certain energy within the heart of a dreamer which attracts the dreams that can define their purpose at a given stage of their life. When the defining dream does arrive, it often brings it with the resources that can help the dreamer to accomplish it — or at least the energy to magnetize a group of people towards its accomplishment. 

It was this resource-filled, truth-inspired, time-sensitive energy that was perhaps the defining characteristic of Martin Luther King Jr and his dream. The energy of that dream forced reality – whatever it meant in the context of his life purpose in that time and space – had to get out of his way. It stood no chance. 

This is not to say that MLK Jr and his dream have been fulfilled to completion. Far from it. If nothing else, the need for kindness, empathy, justice, and greater understanding of our fellow human beings is only the greater at the inception of this new decade. Isn’t this the reality we currently live in? Isn’t that dream even more relevant? Does that dream not need to stay alive?

When my neighbor sees that my snow blower will not start, and he decides to come over and lend a helping hand, the dream is still alive. When fire-fighters from halfway across the world converge on a continent to help fight wildfires, the dream is still alive. When we decide to speak up with softness yet firmness for those whose nascent vision is buried by purveyors of reality, the dream is still alive. 

We may not have received our own energizing, magnetizing, world-changing dream yet. Perhaps the absence of a huge dream is in itself an opportunity for us to bide our time, even a lifetime, and become instrumental in keeping someone else’s dream alive. To help them accomplish their kindness-elevating, empathy-spreading, truth-promoting dreams — can that not become a worthy life-purpose for us? Is that not the reality dreamed and lived by the sun, moon and stars in every single day of their existence?

Kumud

P.S. Join us for our weekly gathering, Sunday January 20th at 9amET / 730pm India. We will share on dreams, on reality, and everything in between. I look forward to seeing you with tea and some goodies. Namaste – @AjmaniK

Dreams and Reality on a Winter Walk

Day-dream-waking on a beautiful winter day…

On Creating Clarity

Tags

, , ,

Over the past twenty four hours or so, a warm front sitting over the state has removed all the signs of winter from the landscape. Fierce winds and rain have lashed the west-facing windows and sidings as a reminder of the transition. The “wind tunnel” effect that pulls the wind off of the lake and guides it in the space between the back of the house and the forest, has created a continuous roar for two straight nights.

The unseasonal weather has resulted in seemingly erratic behavior among many birds and animals, if not some humans. Unanticipated transitions tend to remove clarity from our minds and replace it with doubt. When our outer environment is greatly disturbed or disrupted, the antennas that monitor our inner space try to recalibrate and reorient themselves.

Our spiritual practices — those that help us build reservoirs of resilience, patience, calmness, jurisprudence open-minded acceptance, and discernment — are often tested during ‘unseasonal’ weather. It is in these seasons of great disruption that the heart draws on our reservoirs of intuition to restore clarity. When we evoke the heart’s trust, it helps ensure that we remember to operate from a state of calmness in the midst of confusion.

Clarity of the heart helps us see the temporary for what it is, and remember the permanent for what It is.

The forecast is for a bit of snow to return over the next day or so. The heart awaits in the knowing that every season brings its own clarity.

Kumud

P.S. Join us for our weekly twitter gathering Sunday Jan 12 at 9amET in #SpiritChat. Bring your heart’s weather with you – I will bring some tea and we shall chat. Namaste – @AjmaniK

On Spiritual Awakenings

Tags

, , ,

On some mornings, we awaken and we are full of energy. We may not be able to explain why we are so energized, but we can feel the difference as compared to those days where we wake up all tired and wanting to stay asleep a bit longer. 

Some years are like that too. Twenty twenty is one of those years where I seem to have awakened to a new energy. Or maybe I just feel that way because I have forgotten about how I woke up to twenty nineteen and the years before that. Or maybe it is all the cumulative effect of the “work” that I have been doing in the past year that is now fueling this new awakening. Or maybe all this new energy is a result of the natural optimism that comes with the canvas of a brand new decade and a new set of coloring markers. 

For some, new awakenings comes slowly, in stages, like a slow burning log on a fire which occasionally sends forth a crackling spark.  For others, new awakenings can come suddenly, like flashes of lightning illuminating a dark forest during a thunderstorm. No matter how they come, the integrated energy delivered to us in the time span of the awakenings, is more or less equal. 

How do we know that we are ripe for a new awakening? One way we can feel an awakening is through the arrival of a new sense of clarity. A new clarity inspires newness of vision, hearing, feeling, sensing, intuition, and awareness. A new awareness leads to an elevation of our purpose, of our role in the world, and of our acceptance of accountability for our own awakening.

The result? In being open to it, a new awakening can bring  us face to face with a new commitment to goodness in our words and thoughts, healthiness in our mental and physical diets, and kindness in our actions. It inspires us towards growing our own inner peace, and we take another step towards awakening to all that which awaits us beyond the  circle of time, space and causation. Arise, Awake, my friends! 

Kumud

P.S. Join us Sunday January 5th 2020 at 9amET in our first gathering of twenty twenty as we welcome the new year and a new decade of awakening. I will bring some questions to keep us awake, along with some tea and cookies. Namaste – @AjmaniK

Awakening photo

To new awakenings – an offering of light… (2020)

On Spirituality and Planning

Tags

, , ,

I had the trip planned out perfectly, or so I thought. My mother-in-law, sister-in-law, my brand new wife of two days old, and me, were going to go on a day trip from New Delhi to Agra, to see the famous Taj Mahal. Tickets in hand, we took a taxi in the wee hours of the morning from our hotel to the train station. We had no luggage with us, so all we needed to do was to find the correct “platform” from which the train was departing, and board the train. Being the local, I was “in charge” and so I led them out of the taxi into the “grand central station” like foyer. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “Hey coolie (porter). What platform number does Taj Express leave from?”

He looked at me with a look that I will never forget. He probably didn’t know how to say it, but what he did say still resonates. 

Coolie: “Taj Express? That train doesn’t go from here! It goes from Nizamuddin station!”

I used to live near Nizamuddin station. It was at least thirty minutes away from where we were standing. With the clock showing 525, it meant we had forty minutes to make it there before the train left at 605. I could see my meticulously laid plans vanishing like the early morning fog dissipates with the heat of the rising sun. But there was no going back – this was our only chance to see the Taj, because we were all leaving back for the USA the next day. I “led” the ladies out of the train station, through the throng of touts of taxi drivers offering to drive us all the way to Agra, two and a half hours away. No way I was going to admit “defeat” that easily!

Thirty five minutes later, after a taxi ride through Delhi’s early morning fog and traffic, we landed outside Nizamuddin station. Of course, the train was not on platform one, which would have meant a simple walk on to the train. We had to walk up a long set of stairs, then take another walk over multiple train tracks, and then descend to platform number nine. By the time we found which compartment we were supposed to board, the train had started to move. Twenty five years later, my mother-in-law still hasn’t forgiven me for literally dragging her, half-running in her high heels, to get on that train. I don’t think that the beauty of the Taj was enough for her to forget my immaculate “trip planning”. 

So, I have learnt that I am not much of a planner. I was never much into planning. In fact, I might be the poster child who contradicts the whole “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” adage. I have accepted the fact that my “lack of planning” isn’t setting myself up for failure. It is simply an acceptance of an alternate path through life for me. I would like to believe that I am not alone in this acceptance of life’s flow. I cannot think of a single significant “life event” in my life that was “planned out” by me. Engineering school, coming to the USA for graduate studies, meeting my spouse, buying my first home, getting a dog, starting #SpiritChat on twitter, and so many other events – all seem to have “just happened” to me. Maybe I am the poster child for “life happens to us when we are busy making plans”. Or the poster child for “delegation of planning” for many of life’s trips – in my case, to my wonderful wife. 

I am not advocating that we ought not to make plans. I am simply sharing with you that good things can happen to us and through us, even if we don’t plan meticulously. The decade of the 2020’s is upon us with great spiritual opportunity, just like the 2010’s and 2000’s were upon us ten and twenty years ago. Yes, as we embrace the new decade, it is a good time to pause and reflect on how far we have traveled this year, and in this past decade. Are we on the correct train station, the correct train? What is the journey we are taking, and does it have a purpose? What are the “constants” and the “variables” on our path? Who are our traveling companions? What are the resources that we have, and who will we ask for help or guidance when we need it? 

Yes. These questions may be worth considering as we step into the spiritual symmetry of 2020 and the decade ahead. The spiritual journey does require some commitment, and even a bit of planning on our part. Perhaps it begins with the simple commitment of buying a train ticket. Then, we can commit to be flexible, to accept change, to be the change. Then we commit to get to the train station on time — the correct train station!

And then, when the conductor blows the whistle, waves the green flag to announce “all aboard”, we can all travel together and see some of the most beautiful places in our hearts. Let’s plan the trip, shall we?

Kumud

P.S. Join us for a planning session for the next decade – Sunday, December 29 at 9amET / 730pm India – in #SpiritChat on twitter. I will bring some tea and cookies for the train ride – we can take a trip together as we ask some questions, share some answers. Namaste – @AjmaniK

From one of my travels…

On Joyous Surrender

Tags

, , , ,

The topic of “surrender” has been in and out of my brain box on several occasions as a possible subject for our weekly conversations. However, it wasn’t until this week, as I recorded and then reflected on the effects of “surrender immersed in joy” during one of my walks in the local reservation, that the subject moved from my brain to my heart. I share part of my “live recordings” in lieu of my weekly blog post… a long-form poetry, a gift wrapped and presented to all who are part of our wonderful community called #SpiritChat…

Where winter descends on water / and ice forms over the layered rocks of millennia / the slightest of warming forms cracks / like Thor’s hammer launched into a mirrored river

the river flows with a new urgency / to a different cadence and rhythm / her banks constricted by sheets of ice / floating floes create new meanderings

eddies near banks lay frozen / a slight shimmering off of their layers translucent / greeting the sun finally cresting low / over the tall trees mostly bereft of leaves

and the longest shadows of the year / draw me closer to the solstice / from whence the northern days shall only grow longer / and the lights shall only grow stronger / and the hearts shall only grow lighter

slowly, gently, softly – glowing warmth rises / rescuing my freezing fingers on the screen / welcoming the parting of the clouds / for relief to seep through them / from the late-morning sun’s emergence …

Silly me – I should have brought gloves / but it was perhaps for the best / for how else would I have felt the floe / in my fingers freezing and thawing

how else would I have written mundane poetry / while ascending the steep hill by the lagoon / as the winter wind blew from the other shore / over the thin layer of ice on waters stilled

how else would I have witnessed live / the last of autumn’s leaves fallen / chasing each other in play over the ice / driven by the very wind / that melted the waters in my sinuses

That shrill cold gave breath to empathy / for those who brave entire winters / huddling on street corners — waiting for grace / for they have no gloves to bring

Who knows where the sky begins / or where their earth ends / where their water begins / or where the thin ice ends / where the forest begins / or when the next call shall come

And yet this much is certain / that when we walk enough trails in faith / with hearts wide open to light / even on the darkest, longest night

we are bound to discover

that it is towards truth, justice and warmth / the radiant arc of the loving universe / shall guide us when we choose / to walk each day in joyous surrender….

and the light shall become stronger…

Kumud

P.S. Join us for our weekly twitter chat. Sunday, Dec 15 at 9amET in #spiritchat ~ And yes, those from the Southern Hemisphere are welcome too 🙂 Namaste – @AjmaniK

On Creating Contentment

Tags

, , , ,

It is perhaps not an accident that one of the newest, if not one of the youngest members of the community shared the change that a shift to abundance mentality can bring into our lives. She first joined our monthly Zoom chat in November. In the December conversation, she wisely shared:

“Every morning when I wake up, I say to myself – there is enough for everyone” – @Quratulain

This simple and straightforward affirmation reflects a profound truth that we often tend to forget. Yes, we all have our daily challenges and conflicts. On some days, it may even seem that some parts of us are living contradictions of what we were just yesterday. And yet, it is when we find the courage to be open to the big abundance that is the nature of the universe, we take a small step toward creating contentment.

How is energy of contentment different from the energies of happiness and joy? In order to create and sustain happiness, we may often invoke an energy of ‘doing’. Our accumulated life experiences inform our heart and mind that certain people, communities, things, events, actions, seasons, holidays and such tend to make us happy or unhappy. Our natural inclination to avoid pain feeds into our ‘pursuit of happiness’, no matter how temporary that energy of happiness may be. “Do that which makes you feel good” – haven’t we all heard that mantra?

Ah. I have now infused ‘feeling good’ into the energy of happiness. If ‘feeling good’ equates to ‘optimal health’, then, yes, it would indeed be a welcome infusion. The good health of our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual containers energizes and elevates us towards joy – a more permanent energy beyond happiness. We move from merely ‘feeling good’ towards ‘feeling better’. After moving from ‘good’ to ‘better’, the natural question to ask would be, what’s next? (My gratitude to @GaryGruber for asking that question in our December zoom meeting).  

Perhaps the answer to the “what’s next” question can be found in our attitude towards abundance and  an evaluation of our state of contentment. On self-examination, if we find ourselves in a better state of contentment than we were a month ago, a year ago, or even a decade ago, then we are closer to the answer. If not, then we perhaps need to examine the breadth and depth of our discontent. What is its root? Where did its seed come from? What feeds it? What feeds on it? What role do happiness, joy and abundance play in our state of contentment?

The journey to answer these questions often raises more questions than it answers. And yet, content is the traveler who remembers that joy can be infused in every twist and turn, every spring and autumn, every dawn and dusk, every breath. And that there is enough for everyone. Namaste.

Kumud

P.S. Join us for our weekly twitter gathering – Sunday, December 8 at 9amET / 730pm India. We shall share on the topic of (dis)contentment, and start planning on our “what’s next” for the forthcoming decade. Bring some answers, will you?! – @AjmaniK

A state of contentment flows from a walk along the river (Dec 6 2019)