Align and Shine


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Align and Shine – by Dr. Christy Johnson

During #SpiritChat on the topic of Loyalty earlier this year, I tweeted “Still not a fan of the word #loyalty, I vote for alignment – aligning to self, others, and the highest good of all“ as my answer to one of the questions. After that tweet, Kumud challenged me to host a chat about alignment, which led me here.

I believe a driving force behind each of our earthly incarnations is to embrace our authentic selves. The idea is to accept our messy, imperfect humanness despite the contrast with our soul-level perfection. Via self-alignment, we can shine more brilliantly and vibrantly as whatever may block our light gets removed. Self-alignment also illuminates the evolutionary path for those who can see and hear us, those who are aligned to us.

As part of my own explorations, I took three different extensive Mindful Self-Compassion courses starting in late 2017. I tried and tried Mindful Self-Compassion practices, believing if I just stuck with them, something would shift but finally after a year and a half I realized it isn’t something I align to deeply. Aha! So Mindful Self-Compassion joins other powerful but not aligned to me approaches like acupuncture, Ayurveda, and Transcendental Meditation.

Giving myself permission to release Mindful Self-Compassion from my daily practices relieves me from unconsciously pushing to make it “work” and frees time and energy for what does align. Now I feel lighter and freer and have found ways to apply my healing modalities to the issues at hand. Through this evolution, I’ve become more self-aligned, which is precisely the point of Mindful Self-Compassion!

As your evolution deepens and strengthens, you also align to the highest good of all. Self-aligning more fully frees energy that gets reabsorbed in the world and also models the power of alignment.

How do we find what aligns? What are the clues? How do we know what either doesn’t align or has passed its expiration date? Ever notice how effortless life becomes when you’re aligned to what you want to be doing? Alignment leads to flow and flow, in turn, supports alignment. What resonates also energizes us. When we align, we shine.

Please come to share and shine on Sunday, March 24th at 9 A.M. EDT on Twitter with hashtag #SpiritChat.

Host Bio: Dr. Christy Johnson quit her decades-long engineering career in 2010 to open her own integrative energy healing practice. She helps clients overcome life challenges and also align with themselves, others, and their highest good via soul level information, energy healing, and empowering self-help tools. You can connect with her via her website , on Twitter @IntuitiveHeal and on her YouTube channel.

Editor’s Note: Thank you, Christy, for taking up the ‘alignment’ challenge and stepping up to host the weekly chat on Sunday. I am sure that it is going to be a wonderful opportunity for many to ‘Align and Shine’! Namaste. – Kumud

On Being Irrational


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At 3:14pm on March 14th (3/14), two astronauts and one cosmonaut launched on a Soyuz rocket from a Russian cosmodrome, and began a roughly six hour trip to chase down the International Space Station (ISS) orbiting the earth. On the face of it, this was like many previous Soyuz launches over the past years on which US astronauts have been transported to the ISS.

However, this launch was unique in one particular way. Two of the three folks on this flight had been part of a virtually identical rocket launch five months or so ago. On that launch, things did not go as planned, and the launch abort safety system had to be activated a few minutes after liftoff. The abort system worked as planned, and both made a hard but safe landing back to earth.

Let me ask you a question. If you had been part of a “successful launch abort” (an euphemism for a ‘failure’ to reach orbit) five months ago, would you strap yourself into the very same launch system and be willing to be rocketed back into space? The rational being would evaluate the odds and say – heck no – or at least hesitate. However, human beings, and particularly space-faring cadets are not exactly known for being the most rational of beings.

In fact, most of us, even though we may not admit it, are largely irrational. It is perhaps this very irrationality, and the number PI, that NASA/RosCosmos were celebrating, when they picked 3:14pm on 3/14 for the launch date and time. The space-cadets probably did some probability theory mathematics and figured – what are the odds that they would be involved in two launch failures within five months? Probably zero. Sounds rational, doesn’t it?

Enough about space. Let’s get back to earth for a minute. We have all, at some point or another in our lives, made some very irrational choices. They might have seemed very rational in the moment, but in hindsight, not so logical. How many times have we (irrationally) told ourselves that the stock that we are holding on to, or the investment that is currently half its original value, will recover? Or that the book that we are lending out, the money that we are loaning to a family member or friend, will be returned to us? And so on.

We want to believe that we are rational beings, and that (more often than not) we make rational choices. We want to believe that we don’t have confirmation bias or proximity bias or survivorship bias. We want to believe that our beliefs are all of our own discovery, and that they will somehow lead us to truth. I believe all of those things, although I do often wonder – can truth and irrationality coexist?

The truth is that we are better at being irrational than being rational. I posit that irrationality is what becomes us more, and serves us better. Yes. We need the fuel of irrationality – some call it belief turning into faith. How else does a parent or teacher or coach, in the midst of the state of our world, hold out hope that they are working towards creating a better world? How else does a first-responder risk their own life to try and save the life of a total stranger?

Yes. We need irrationality to launch us out of analysis paralysis. We need to believe in the infinite, non-repeatable beauty of every moment of life. Just like all the infinite, non-repeating decimals of the irrational number that we science and math and life loving folks celebrate on pi(e) day. I can’t wait to see what 3.14.2020 will bring.

My irrational hope is that it will bring a lot of chocolate silk pie, and another successful rocket launch. How about you? What’s your hope?

Kumud @AjmaniK

P.S1. Yes. The Soyuz MS-12 capsule caught up to the ISS and docked with it at 9:01pm on 3/14. Expedition 59 was ten minutes ahead of schedule.

P.S2. Why is PI irrational? It is because it cannot be expressed as a fraction. Yes, 22/7 is the common representation. But mathematically, it isn’t so. PI is actually equal to (four times the inverse tangent of 1 radian).

P.S3. Yes. We will be gathering in #spiritchat on Sunday, March 17th at 9amET on twitter. I look forward to asking some questions of all you irrational beings. And yes. There will be pie. Join us. And much gratitude to @Kalsekhar for the topic idea!

The PiDay Storm
The Pi(e) Day Storm – is nature irrational?

Spirituality at the Movies


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Welcome to the first post in our ‘mid-week’ series of guest posts by #spiritchat members, tentatively categorized, “spiriflections”. I hope that you enjoy the author’s efforts, and maybe even contribute a comment (to encourage them) and/or contribute to this series in the future. Thank you. – Kumud

Spirituality at the Movies – by David Tumbarello

I sat in the dark theater and watched a beautiful movie about growth and strength. About battling demons, learning about sacrifice, and learning about love. The main character began the story literally and figuratively without a body. She was also soul-less. By the end of the first act, she was given a body. After battling a demon, this replacement body was destroyed and she was given a second, upgraded body. This one was more mature and she integrated with this one far better than the first. In a moment, she “leveled up”. Due to her desire to fight for justice, she acquired accessories that integrated with her body. She brought these accessories to battle and “leveled up” once more.

I sat down the other day to watch another movie, this one twelve years in the making. During those 12 years, the protagonist grows from a boy to a man. As a six year old, he rides a bike, and then as a 16 year old drives a car, and when he graduates from high school, he drives off to the university. His parents divorce, they remarry, and divorce again. He struggles with his classes and learns he is an artist. This doesn’t happen overnight. It takes 12 years for him to be okay with his art. It also takes 12 years for him to grow from boyhood into something close to being an adult.

I think about maturation versus leveling up. For me, spirituality does not fit with the model of a person leveling up. A spiritual deposit today will not increase the size of my spiritual bank account tomorrow. My deposit today, however, may contribute to my growth.

It has been said, “When you open your heart and mind up to allowing yourself to experience the doubts, tension, and discomforts associated with facing fears and making changes, you allow the possibility for real growth to occur.” Should we shy away from pain, discomfort, loss, and fear? If our mindset is growth, we should find ways to embrace these difficulties because in their purest form, they are not barrier but rather gates to growth.

I recall sitting in therapy one afternoon and the therapist and I talked about trying out new behaviors. She turned to me and said, “It’s a stretch.” She wasn’t asking that I change overnight or level up. She was asking that I consider doing something just a bit outside my comfort zone. Something that would stretch my self-care muscles. Something that would help me grow.

As I write today, I embrace my flaws, blemishes, bruises, and aches. Even with these spiritual difficulties, I aspire. Without them, how would I stretch? How would I grow? I write today to address spiritual weakness. For me, writing today is a stretch. I address weakness and with this stretch, I grow. Will I have aches? Yes. Will I stretch and grow? Absolutely.

And when you mature, when you truly grow, others around you will notice and in the right circumstances they are changed as well. You change, they change. Would you want it any other way?

– David Tumbarello (@davetumbarello)

David Tumbarello is a technical communicator with over 50 years in the growth industry, with 49 of those years communicative and on two feet. When he is not technically communicating, he enjoys hiking, biking, and writing. Feel free to connect with David on LinkedIn.

Spiriflections - Spiritual Reflections
Spiritual Reflections (photo by @AjmaniK)

On Spiritual Radiance


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There was no mistake about the invitation. The morning sun had finally made its way through the haze as is crested over the ridge, seemingly at the same moment that I reached the bottom of Cedar Point hill. The only question was whether I was going to turn left or right onto Valley Parkway, park in one of the alcoves, and accept the invitation to walk.

And walk into spring I surely did. Unlike the day before, when spring seemed imminent but wasn’t quite there yet because the river was firmly frozen and the wind that blew through the clearings was swift enough to crinkle your bones, today was different.

There was a certain radiance in the invitation today. A radiance that spoke through the ever so slightly higher pitch of the songs of the birds. A radiance that invited the fishermen to walk out to the middle of the river on the sheet of ice still thick with opacity. The radiance made the water flow briskly in channels between the ice floes, and also started to create pockets of water inside the thick sheets.

And so I walked, letting the radiance of it all warm me from head to heart, bathe me with the light breeze that flowed from under the bridge as I walked out on the rocks towards the middle of the river until my passage was blocked by sheets of ice laden like layers of lasagna. Right there, in that stillness amid all the music, I spontaneously started singing – a prayer that invokes health and wellness for the universe and all her beings.

An invocation for guidance in our paths, to prepare us well for our walk, to give us strength to endure winter and also give us lightness to welcome the radiance of spring. A prayer of gratitude to all those who are walking with us, have walked with us, and whose radiance continues to reach us from the wide yonder beyond. Right there, on the rock in the middle of the river, came the awareness of the beautiful, gentle energy of the divine feminine, and its influence in my life.

And so I walked some more, absorbing, healing, sending thank you notes to all the women – mothers, sisters, aunts, teachers, grandmothers, my wife and daughter, and all the ladies of #spiritchat. All of you have raised me up, and it is from you that I continually learn the singular fact that radiance requires no medium. It is an energy like love, like kindness, like the light streaming through the trees and making patterns on the melting snow, which gives your heart the distinct knowing that, yes, you too, are the spring to somebody’s winter.

There is great joy in acceptance – to accept the invitation to walk, to be That radiant spring.

Kumud @AjmaniK

P. S. Join us Sunday, March 10 at 9amET/ 630pm India (note that US shifts to daylight savings this Sunday!). We will celebrate and honor the radiance of spring, and share team and cookies for International Women’s Day. Namaste – Kumud

Witnessing radiance – standing on a rock ledge in the middle of the Rocky River, as the river melts around me…

The river flows North to Lake Erie, and small, frozen waterfalls serenade her passage

The play of light and shadows, spring radiates into winter

The halfway point… I walked out into winter… I paused… I returned with spring…

Spiritual Hospitality by @llake


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 It’s 9:00 am. The toddlers are fed and playing quietly. The entire house is spotless. I look around and feel very accomplished. Time for a shower! Dinner guests are coming tonight. I want the evening to be extra special. My plan is perfect, and I’m on schedule. 

I skoosh down to talk to my kids to let them know I’m going in the shower and I’ll be out in 5 mins. (moms and dads have this down to a science) I ask them to please play quietly, and we’ll have snack time when I get out. 

I head into the shower feeling excited and confident that tonight will be epic! I get out of the shower. Dry off. Dress. And then the surprise hits. 

I look into the dining room, and indeed all three wee ones are playing quietly and happily. My son had gotten out his matchbox cars, bull dozers, and backhoes, and all three (under the age of 5) were playing in the dirt from around my large elephant tree. They had spread the dirt from one side of the hardwood floored room to the other. Inside I was extremely upset. I quietly (this is how my kids always knew I was really mad) told the elder two to go to their rooms. I didn’t want to see them. We would talk “later.” The littlest one I picked up and put in her highchair. I told her I didn’t want to hear one word. Not one. 

I wanted to cry. How in the world would I get this room clean again? I still had dinner to make. And how would I ever have time to get those kids cleaned up? 

Most of us have been in a relatable situation. We extend aninvitation. It feels right. Then when the day gets closer, we wonder “what was I thinking? My house is dirty! What will I make for dinner? We begin to feel unaccomplished and “not enough.” Where is the joy?

Isn’t there supposed to be joy in offering hospitality? Isn’t hospitality supposed to be about serving others? Sharing what we have that others may also feel joy? 

In the moment of seeing dirt spread across the room, I was not feeling joyful. But wait. 

“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9 (NIV)

I remembered the looks on my babies’ faces as they looked up at me gleefully and showed me what they had done. After all, I had asked them to play quietly. The road configuration they had created was a masterpiece! 

My heart softened.

Hospitality is mentioned numerous times in the Bible. Every religion or spiritual guidance mentions hospitality and ways of ceremoniously expressing our joy by sharing with others. Why? What do we miss about being hospitable when we become obsessed with the “Pinterest” version of sharing what we have instead of the spirituality behind being hospitable? 

The truth is we don’t have to be in a specific location or have specific food – although, both add to the moment and it’s a nice gesture. The menu does not have to be spectacular. Our homes do not have to be the “Better Homes and Gardens” version of shiny and spectacular.

The spirituality of hospitality – the true meaning of hospitality – is when we put our guest first and be present with them. We focus on them. We love on them. We cause them to feel joyful in knowing they are appreciated and are special. They relax. Their pressures melt away. Love in action.  

– Lillian

Lillian is a Maine-based writer and compassion consultantwhose topics explore everything related to food, human trafficking, and caregiving. She is patiently honing three writing projects – a “love of home” cookbook, a collection of interviews with caregivers of all ages, and inspirational cards for children. In the summer of 2018, she swam a total of 2 miles to rescue a 70 yr old kayaker and push him and his kayak back to shore.

Editors Note: I am excited and honored to invite you to join Lillian Lake (@llake) as she hosts our weekly #SpiritChat on Twitter, Sunday March 3rd at 9amET / 730pm India. Please do join, and enjoy her wonderful heart-filled hospitality. Come. Sit. Stay. Namaste – Kumud

Common Ground Spirituality


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Common ground, like common sense, is becoming increasingly difficult to find. It isn’t that common ground doesn’t exist any more – it is perhaps that it has become buried under the layers of our increasingly fragmented lives – like the bulbs we planted in autumn, biding their time waiting to spring from underneath the layers of snow and frozen earth.

When we may think we have reached the end of the line, and that we have nothing more left in common, perhaps we can dig a little wider. We can step back, take a walk, or even sit in morning meditation and ask – what is it that we may have ignored or overlooked? And the answers may surprise us…

Commonality of backgrounds (immigrants from different continents), forgotten common interests, overlap in family values, shared beliefs (in goodness and kindness), common celebratory practices (food!) – even agreement in things we disagree about, things that annoy us, our shared dislikes, and much more….

Such was the invitation this week… to (re)discover, uncover common ground. To (re)search for it and renew it yet again. And the more I stepped back and looked with fresh eyes of the heart’s light, the more I found it in my close and distant relationships, even some faded and forgotten friendships, and particularly among the few that are especially close to me.

I discovered that it is perhaps in retraversing that common ground that the heart can find new paths, and find reasons to do some (not so) random acts of kindness. It is beneath frozen lakes and lagoons that the lighted waters flow again from the spring thaw in the heart. It is tending to common ground that enables us to repair the bridges that have grown algae because they haven’t been tenderly paused on, gently walked on, lovingly talked to and softly sung to for so long…

But why would we bother to do the work to find common ground in the first place? To assuage our guilt? Or to save, heal, being back to thriving, that which is worth keeping? And why is it worth healing? Because we have invested so much in it and come so far? Or whether we still see the potential for future growth, success and expansion – the spark that can kindle a thousand more micro explosions of joy when given the proper conditions of pressure, temperature, timing and ideal mix of fuel and air in the combustion chamber that is called common ground?

Kumud @AjmaniK

P.S. Join us in our weekly twitter chat, Sunday Feb 24 at 9amET / 730pm India – walk and share some common ground (over tea and cookies) with us. Namaste – Kumud.

Visiting some ‘common ground’ bridges and pathways… as spring broke through briefly (Friday, Feb 22 2019)

On Breathing Light


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The journey began Monday evening, when the iPad which had gone dark over the past few weeks, and refused to start up inspite of my best attempts of geekery, decided to come to life. I went searching in the library app for something good to read, and an incredible journey into breath began when I downloaded, and read, that same evening, from cover to cover – WBBA – but more about that a bit later….

Breath has come into the forefront for me this week. There is a story in the Upanishads where the student asks the teacher – who among sight, speech, hearing, touch and breath, is the most powerful in life? The teacher says – ask each of them to leave, one at a time, and you shall know. When it comes the turn of breath to leave, the student’s question is answered…

I have been led to work with, observe it, and develop a greater awareness of the physical act of breathing this week. When the emotions rise, when I feel the stress level change, I have tried to pause and check my breathing pattern and cadence. The interesting thing about breath is that it is easy to observe, because it is always with us, even when it is temporarily is taken away. My observations have been quite a revelation. It is no surprise that I have discerned a direct correlation between feeling stressed and the disturbance in my breathing pattern.

So, how do I plan to use this breath awareness? I believe that, with practice, one could modulate, if not to some degree even consciously control, the autonomous breath and the nervous system connected to it. When our new breathing practice becomes habit, we shall find an emergence of new patterns, new pathways, new possibilities.

For when breath remains, all is possible in the field of possibilities, and then some… is it not?

What began on Monday evening, came to a head this morning. I share with you, my entry from my meditation journal:

There was a such a surge… a wave as high as me… in the final ten minutes… that it literally seemed to push me sideways… the intensity and breadth of the light was such as if it became like the air around me and that I was breathing it with every breath… it held no force, it’s nature was gentleness and pure being, and I was awash in its wholeness… it felt that the white light was energizing every single alveoli in the lungs… cleaning, cleansing, oxygenating, healing, liberating, and filling me with the life force that travels between every channel of the many layers of my being… it felt like the same way that I might have felt in my first awareness of being born into this physical world… the aggregated energy of all the prayers she might have said from the instant that the was aware of me, until her last… and with that breath of first new light, I felt such immense gratitude for the experience that I was led to celebrate the breath of light and life with you… and I hope… no, it’s more than hope… it is a knowing that every breath you breathe is also filled with light… and that you are enough light in this moment, and you will be enough in the next moment… and when the breath stops and leaves, the aggregate of the light you breathed and shared would also have been enough…

for when we add or subtract the infinite from the infinite, the infinite breath of love and light still remains… and that, breath, in life and what we call death, is worthy of celebration… so, let that celebration of love continue… even when breath becomes air….

Thank you. For awareness. For breath and light. For breathing light into me.

– Kumud

P. S. Join us Sunday, Feb 17 at 9am ET / 730 pm IST as we celebrate, breath, light and breathing light. Namaste – Kumud

Breathing light during one of my walks…

The one who took eternal breath, Feb 17 2016…

Why Spirituality – I Wonder


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For those of us who have been in and around the weekly conversations with the #spiritchat community on topics related to spirituality and spiritual practice, the answer to “why spirituality” may be plain as daylight. Many of us may even think the question to be irrelevant, or take the answer for granted.

Yet, I have been wondering about this question over the past few days, with a sense of wonder, with a sense and spirit of inquisitive, curious, scientific examination.

So, let me share my sense of wonder with you, and ask the short question – “why spirituality”? What is it about your ‘spiritual practice(s)’ that sets them apart from the rest of your daily life? How do you integrate the results and outcomes of your spirituality into solving the challenges of life and living? Has your approach to ‘spirituality’ changed as your life situation(s) have changed? If yes, how so?

I have often found that the answer to the question, particularly the question that is borne of wonder instead of being borne out of doubt, is already present in our awareness. Over the past few weeks, in preparation for spring, I have been doing some ‘house cleaning’ of my books, media, music and notebooks. During one such episode this week, I came across a few books that were given to be by my mother over my past few visits to India.

As I was sorting through them, one of the ‘bookmarks’ that I came across was a trifold brochure called ‘why spirituality’! The brochure, published in 2011, contains a few quotes from the then leader (Chariji) of the ‘Sahaj Marg’ foundation ( It contained not one, but a few answers to my sense of wonder. Let me share some of them with you in the quotes below – maybe one or more of them will resonate with you.

“Spirituality is the need for an inner existence. The whole idea of spirituality is to revive in us that which is sleeping in us – the true inner being, the Self”

Why Spirituality? It is a path to an awakening within. It is a yearning for something more than the routine of daily, worldly life. In spirituality, life becomes a wondrous journey to uncover that inner Self. Wonder leads to a wondrous journey. Yes!

“As a bird needs two wings to fly, a human being needs the two wings of existence, the spiritual and the material, to lead a natural and harmonious life”

Why Spirituality? For harmony, for the restoration of balance. Balance is restored by integrating a spiritual practice into daily life. A practice that blends into our daily living like sugar dissolves into tea.

“Happiness is the natural inner condition that we will reach when we have removed all unnecessary things”

Why Spirituality? Spiritual practice leads us to find true happiness and love. Joy is the quality of the inner Self, and is nurtured in spirituality, along with other qualities of the heart – courage, hope, faith, wonder, compassion, tolerance and, most of all, universal love. By following a spiritual practice, we have the possibility to experience universal love, the divine essence, within our own heart.

The brochure holds more wondrous messages. I shared the thoughts above with you, so that perhaps, you too shall wonder with a sense of inquiry – why spirituality? What is this spiritual path that I walk in my practice? How does my spirituality grow my heart and its inherent qualities, and the sense of joy and love within it?

Let the wondering begin. Let us share our wonder, our heart, and our joy and universal love with each other. And I will keep cleaning, exploring, practicing, uncovering more wonder. Namaste.

Kumud @AjmaniK

P.S. Join the #spiritchat community in our weekly twitter conversation – Sunday, Feb 10 at 9amET / 730pm India. Bring your sense of wonder with you, as we share the answers to ‘why spirituality’, over a cup of tea. Thank you!

After the storm, a double rainbow...
After the storm, a double rainbow outside my door…

The Spirit of Loyalty


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“I am loyal to the throne. Who are you loyal to?”

It is interesting that we can watch a two-plus hour movie (during a polar vortex shut-in) filled with action, and the one fragment that adheres to us, days later. In the movie “Black Panther”, the question above was asked by Okoye (the General) of Nakia (the future Queen), in the moments after there is upheaval in the country of Wakanda.

I thought about the question that evening, and it kept returning to my brain box for a few days. I am still thinking about it. Let us begin at the beginning. What is loyalty? One definition of loyalty is a strong feeling of support of allegiance. The other synonyms are faithfulness, obedience, adherence, devotion and the like. It would seem that loyalty would be a good quality or virtue to develop in our character, yes?

Before we answer the original question (who are we loyal to?), maybe we can reflect on some related questions. Where does our sense of loyalty come from? What qualities in others incite, grow and sustain loyalty within us? What makes our loyalties wax and wane over time? Have you experienced real-world examples of long-term, unwavering, even permanent loyalty in your life? If so, how did such examples of loyalty influence you, your life?

Now that we have put the questions out upfront, we can reflect on them and probe for the answers. If we choose not to probe, we can cast the questions out like seeds, and wait for the answers to bloom in their own time. Either way, if we remain loyal to the process of asking, and then provide space and time for the answers to be received by us, the process has a chance of working. In this increasingly hurried world, we can perhaps reflect on the question – how loyal are we to the process of receiving (answers)?

But I digress a bit. As I asked myself some of the questions about loyalty, one common answer that seemed to emerge was that a lot of our loyalties, allegiances, adherences, even devotions – are transitional and transient in nature. Time and space and relationships change as we transit through life, and so do our loyalties. Even the long-term loyalties of satellites (moons) to planets are constantly changing (albeit ever so slightly) over time. (Aside: what examples of ‘deep loyalty’ may Mother Nature reveal to us?) So what chance do we mere mortals, of finite life-spans, have of developing and honoring permanent loyalty?

Maybe we need to look beyond, if we are to experience a permanent sense of loyalty. Our physical frames of existence and our actions within them, bound as they are by time, space and causation, are bound by impermanence. Hence, the resulting loyalties are (mostly) impermanent. What if we were to go beyond the physical, and into the spiritual domain? If we were to become and be meditative, examine our heartspace and feel our heartsense, what deeper loyalties may be revealed in That light?

Before she asked that question of Nakia, Okoye actually said… “I am loyal to the throne, no matter who sits on it“. If we ask the same question of our heart, what will be the reply? Who sits on our heart’s throne? Who are we really loyal to? Does that relationship have a nature of permanence?

Kumud @AjmaniK

On behalf of the #SpiritChat community, I invite you to join us for a conversation on this topic – Sunday, February 3 at 9amET / 730pm India. We would love to know – who sits on your heart’s throne? Namaste.

Postscript: Fragments of a poem, that keep coming, as answers to the question… if you can think of additions, please share in the comments… Namaste…

There may be be love without cause,
Just because…
But what is the nature, of cause without love?

There may be clouds without rain,
With loud refrain…
But what is the worth, of rain without clouds?

There may be heat without light,
Warming the night…
But have we felt the love, of light without heat?

There can be sight without vision,
A heart’s decision…
But can there be vision without sight?

– A Traveler’s Loyalty

Nature-Inspired Loyalty

The Spirit of Mentoring


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I miss my mentors. All of those who have passed…

My Dad was perhaps my first real mentor. Long before there were those outside the home, and they were few and far between because good mentors are hard to find, Dad was there. Even though he had an inclination towards silence and stillness, it was his carefully measured, softly uttered, frugally spoken words that still linger with me.

Words uttered on a railway platform as the train was departing and I had come to bid him farewell till the next school break – “I expect nothing but the best of effort from you”. When you are in middle school, that stuff somehow stays with you for a while. In my case, it’s been a few decades and I still remember that message from my mentor. The home was always stocked with all kind of books (mostly from American fiction authors!) and music (Indian and western). It was his way of creating an environment for me to ‘learn’ outside of my education. And there was much more. That was Dad’s mentorship.

My mother’s sister’s husband, my second Dad, was pretty much cut from the same mold of silence. I got to know him well because I spent fourteen years (from age seven) growing up in his household. His mentorship to me came through his relentless devotion to providing for his family. He worked long, long hours working the family business, and you did not want to be ‘talked to’ by him after he got home after a twelve hour day. His reverence and dedication in celebrating the major Indian festivals was also a great lesson in ‘slowing down’ for me. And when it came time for me to leave his home and come to the USA for graduate studies, he was instrumental in convincing my parents that it would be okay. He was my biggest cheerleader, and that gave me tremendous belief in myself. That was Uncle’s mentorship.

When I moved to the US, his youngest brother here became my ‘American Dad’ and mentor. He and his family provided a sense of ‘home away from home’ that was vital for someone whose nearest family was on the other side of the world. An electrical engineer for Ford, he always kept a keen eye on me all through graduate school. I looked forward to meeting up with every Thanksgiving and Christmas, so that I could learn from him about how to raise a family with a blend of American and Indian values. A lot of his wonderful advice about faith, career and family, continues to linger with me. That was my Ann Arbor uncle.

And while all three of them have physically departed, I can honestly say that I often find myself asking – what would Dad (or my Uncles) do in such and such situation? I can also say that I have had a very tough time replacing them as mentors. The closest ‘replacement’ was my NASA mentor – I am greatly indebted for his decision to take me under his wing when I was first starting my career.

All this talk about ‘male’ mentors doesn’t mean that I did not have any ‘female’ role models. I have talked about them (my Mother, my Aunts, my maternal grandmother) extensively in many previous #spiritchat blog posts. For some reason, as I sat in morning #meditation this past Sunday, I was asked these questions – Who are your mentors? Who are you mentoring? How are mentors different from role models? And what about our (spiritual) guides? How do I go about identifying some new mentors in my life? What effect is the (apparent) lack of influential mentors in my life having on me and my growth?

I share these questions that were asked of me with you, with the intent that perhaps you can relate to (some of) them. Yes, we have all the power within us to do great things, but a lot of that potential lies latent – like fuel needing a spark. What if the heart-based guidance of a good mentor could ‘raise us to that stage’, and help us manifest our power, so that we may expand our experience of truth, awareness and joy?

Kumud @AjmaniK

Share your stories about mentors and mentoring in our weekly twitter conversation – Sunday, January 27 at 9amET / 730pm India in #SpiritChat. Who knows – maybe you will find a new mentor, or have an opportunity to mentor someone you haven’t even met yet? Namaste – Kumud

Swami Vivekananda in Boston
Swami Vivekananda – A mentor whom I met through his books, poetry, lectures and essays…