Tradeoffs in Spiritual Practice

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Our daily lives are often filled with seemingly invisible “tradeoffs” or micro-decisions that we make. These decisions are partly affected by the mental and emotional state that we may be in, in the moment that we make the decision.

Do we hit the snooze button once or twice and sleep the extra few minutes, or do we decide to wake up and invest those few extra minutes ‘gained’ by setting the proper tone for our day ahead?

Do we choose to continue to add to our theretical database and knowledge of a particular field, or do we say that we now ‘know enough’ to focus more on actual practice and ‘work experience’?

Do we tend to focus more on the ‘short term’ affects of our daily decisions (do what makes us feel good NOW) or do we give more weight to the ‘long term’ impact of our choices?

Do we pay more attendtion to the means, the ways, our paths – or do we ignore the means because “the means justify the ends’, so any path is adequate?

The above are just some of the tradeoffs we often make. Depth versus breadth. Change versus tradition. Chance versus control. Community versus individual. Quality versus quantity. And there are many more that I am sure that you can think of.

It should come as no surprise that we tend to make a lot of these tradeoffs without even giving them much thought. Our habits, beliefs, values, finances and the amount of time and space available to us may determine the tradeoff. A tradeoff that we were willing ot make a decade, or even a year ago, may be unacceptable to us today.

Perhaps the same is true of our spiritual practice(s). As we (hopefully) grow through our chosen path (by paying attention to the means), our practice(s) evolve too. It isn’t that one way or means is ‘better’ than another. It is more that we may outgrow certain practices because we graduate to the next grade of practice. We may have loved kindergarten, and our teachers there, but we end up trading time and our comfort space in kindergarten for a higher grade – a bigger challenge, an oportunity to learn and practice more, to be challenged to climb to the next plateau.

Consider and evaluate. What tradeoffs have you made in your (spiritual) life over the past year that have made you, and those around you, ‘better’? Are there any tradeoffs that have had the opposite effect of ‘betterment’? What are a few habits and beliefs that you could change so that you would ascend to the next plateau? Or are you choosing the tradeoff of holding on to ‘tradition’ in favor of change?

As Swami Vivekananda once said – “We do not evolve from error to truth. We evolve from (lower) truth to (higher) truth”. The corollary is that no matter the tradeoff we choose, we are not in error. We are simply evolving from one truth to another.

And so what if one evolves more slowly than another? “The more we keep engagingwith the flowers of spiritual practice, the more fragrance shall remain in our hands…”

Namaste,

Kumud @AjmaniK

P.S. Join us Sunday, August 13th at 9amET / 1pm UTC for our weekly twitter chat in #SpiritChat – we will talk about the tradeoffs between cookies and fruit, tea and coffee, and more 🙂

Field of Flowers by Lagoon

Tall Blues by the River

On Spiritual Nutrition

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We often hear the adage that “we are what we eat”. If we believe that there is any truth in this adage, it is perhaps useful to (occasionally) examine “what we eat”. If we can honestly examine our “eating habits”, we can correlate our observations to our moods, our energy levels and our general health. An examination may reveal answers to questions like “who are we”? What are we eating? What nutrition is our ‘food’ providing us? Are our ‘food’ habits sustainable for the health of the individual, for our communities, for planet Earth?

“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

The relationship that we have with food is indeed complex. It is influenced by our upbringing and what we were fed as children. The eating habits formed during childhood can be difficult to change in adulthood. It is often a health crisis or the onset of a chronic illness, accompanied by chronic pain, that may pull us towards change. However, food and nutrition are often neglected in the healing cycle in favor of modern medical intervention. We often pay scarce attention to the nutritional profile of our food as a link to illness.

Growing up in India, a large part of my diet – almost 99% of it – was based on fruits, milk, vegetables and plant based products. As a resident of the USA, the balance of my food habits shifted. I often oscillated between ‘pure vegetarian’, ‘no red-meat’, ‘chicken and fish only’ and (currently) back to ‘100% vegetarian’. It has been a long journey, but I can say with reasonable certainty that I feel most at ‘home’ with my current ways of eating. My energy level and overall health, not to mention my emotional and mental well-being seem to be uplifted, ever since I returned home to my ‘eating roots’.

But what does ‘food and nutrition’ have to do with spirituality? It is no secret that if we eat well and feel physically well, it can have a remarkable impact on our spiritual practice. It is very tough to focus, to meditate, when the mind is being attacked by (physical and emotional) pain signals. In addition, the states of health of our immediate family members affect our ability to create time and space for spiritual practice(s). Our state of health affects all those we are connected to. Our personal ability to maintain a good state of health frees up community resources, and we lighten our ‘footprint’ on the planet.

Please indulge me as I ask some ‘nutrition’ questions. What is the state of the quality, the vitality, the purity of our food and nutrition intake? Are we mindful of the impact of our consumption habits on our own selves? How much awareness do we have of the sustainability of our (re)sources? What aspect(s) of our ‘nutrition’ could we change to make ourselves feel physically, mentally, emotionally (and spiritually) better TODAY?

As is often the case, asking one question leads to many. The ‘easy’ way out is to simply bury that one question. But you didn’t read this far to take the ‘easy way out’, did you? Your well being, the well being of your family, your community, of the planet depends on asking the question – what am I eating?

Ask the question. Keep a ‘log’ of the answers. Change one habit. Observe. Ask the question again. Compare with your previous answers. If you observe a positive change, change another habit. Repeat the observation. Who knows. In the short span of a few months, you could create a “circle of health excellence” around you.

Namaste,

Kumud @AjmaniK

P.S. I want to acknowledge and express gratitude to @VegyPower on twitter, who inspired me to return to the 100% vegetarian habit about two years ago. Thank you. Please follow them, if you aren’t already. If you are in the Chicago area, please visit the upcoming @VeggieFest (August 12th and 13th). And yes, do join the #SpiritChat community on twitter, Sunday August 7th as we ask some questions about Spirituality and Nutrition. Perhaps this topic will become the theme for the month of August. Namaste.

Planet Earth Blooms
Planet Earth Blooms. Keep it blooming!

Earth and Lightness
Let us walk lightly, gently…

On Slowing Down – Again

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There are one hundred and sixty eight hours in a week. If we slow down to count from one to one hundred and sixty eight – slowly, deliberatelty, mindfully – we can become aware of the amount of time that we potentially have access to. Even a slow count from one to twenty four, in the moments that we first awaken in the morning, can help us to reflect upon the treasury of the new day that has been opened before us.

Those few early morning minutes can indeed be ‘trend-setters’ for the rest of the hours of the day. In those early moments of the day, our minds and hearts are like flowers laden with dew opening towards the rising sun. The dew will surely turn into vapor as the heat of the world around us rises and we plunge into our daily routine. Yet, we have an opportunity to begin our day with a few moments of slowing down, a relaxation.

In an age of acceleration, nothing is as exhilarating as going slow. – Pico Iyer (via @GaryGruber)

We often slow down, relax, unwind at the end of the day, rather than the beginning. We are usually ‘running late’ in the morning, so we tend to plunge head-first into the river of action. We often leave little time for ourselves to appreciate the interplay of fragrance, moisture and morning light. I am well aware of this ‘reverse order’ of slowing down, because I did the same for many years in my life.

And then one day, I decided that I was going to reverse the order of ‘slowing down’. All it took was ‘giving up’ some minutes of sleep in the morning. But I really didn’t give anything up because I discovered that I really loved ‘slowing down’ more than I loved ‘sleeping in and rushing into the day’. I didn’t give up ‘slowing down’ at the end of the day either. In fact, the acts of ‘slowing down’ have become the primary bookends of my days.

It has been a slow, deliberate process that has been almost eighteen months in the making. Meaningful change does not happen instantly. The decision to change may happen in an instant, but the actions necessary to effect that change in the long term takes a commitment to practice. And I wonder if that is why so many of us, including me, have a challenge with ‘slowing down’ in the long term. We may slow down intermittently when we are exhausted, tired of rushing around. We may slow down intermittently on vacations, in (spiritual) retreats or on the ‘weekends’. But the challenge is to create a lifestyle which makes ‘slowing down’ as essential as breathing.

Indulge me when you have a minute. Sit, and close your eyes. Start taking an in-breath. Visualize the air near your nose enter the air passageways as it makes it long way through the trachea and into each lung. It is now traveling through smaller and smaller passages until it reaches the alveoli. Here, the oxygen from the air is exchanged with the carbon-dioxide from the blood brought from the heart. This exchange happens across a thin membrane that makes life possible. Both the air stream (the purifier) and the blood stream (the receiver) have to virtually come to a standstill so that purity can be effected. You have slowed down, and yet only taken half a breath. Now, watch the air leave the lungs as it reverses path and leaves through the mouth or nose. You have completed one breath. One, slow, deliberate cycle of life.

Maybe our spiritual heart works the same way. Is it possible that the medium that purifies our spiritual heart needs us to slow down, to relax, to perhaps even surrender – so that It may do its work of purificiation and renewal?

Let us pause to consider. Let us be aware of the moments that create beauty and joy in our heart. Let our (spiritual) practice help us create more such moments for ourselves. Let us eventually create an environment for those around us that will invite them to create such moments for themselves. For it is then that ‘slowing down’ will create lasting change.

Namaste,

Kumud @AjmaniK

I invite you to ‘slow down’ with us in #SpiritChat on Sunday, July 30th at 9amET/1pmUTC on twitter. We will celebrate another year of our weekly Sunday morning conversations with the community, as we launch our seventh year of practice… Thank you, fellow travelers!

Flowers, Dew and Sunlight

A New Day

On Slowing Down

On Slowing Down

Close Encounters with Joy

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The nature of life and its living is that we have many interactions on a daily, hourly, minute-ly basis with the external world. Every sound, every visual input, every thought, every item of food and drink, every encounter that our physical senses have with the ‘world’… they all leave an ‘impression’ on us at some level of our existence. Such is the nature of our living that we tend to filter these inputs into categories of ‘positive’, ‘negative’ or ‘neutral’.

But there are some interactions that resist categorization. They are difficult to describe in words, speech or even visuals. The harder we try to describe or classify these encounters, the more they slip away from us. It is like trying to describe that feeling of pure Joy that courses through your being when you see the first dragonfly of a new summer. Or the pure Joy felt while watching the unexpected visit of a hummingbird on newly blooming flowers on the porch. Or the radiance of Joy that leaves you breathless as the sunset sends golden messengers into the evening sky.

I am sure that you have had many such experiences in your life, in your living. Many of them may have been seemingly ‘random’ encounters, a by product of being at the right place at the right time – often called serendipity. But what if we could have deliberate engagements with Joy on a daily, hourly, minute-ly basis? What if we were to approach our (spiritual) practice(s) with the Joy, the energy, the excitement, the indescribable exhilaration that we felt when we (first) realized that we were truly in love? How forward-looking were we then for the next meeting, the next conversation, the next embrace of our beloved!

Imagine what our (inner) world would look like in a month or a year if we were to rise every morning to meet every daily encounter with JOY?! What (more) could we accomplish then with our action(s)? I posit that we can (re)create an intentional close encounter with Joy in every action. And every time the world distracts us, we can immerse ourselves in the heart and declare…

I AM Joy. I belong to IT. It IS me. I AM present in IT. IT is present in me. I AM That.

Namaste,

Kumud @AjmaniK

I invite you to reunite with us in #SpiritChat on Sunday, July 23rd at 9amET/1pmUTC on twitter – share some of your personal ‘close encounters of the Joy kind’ with us. I share with you some photos of my personal ‘close encounters’…

Dragonfly
Blue Yellow Flowers
Yellow Summer
Sunset Gold

A Spirit of Reunion

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I had been so busy with writing the technical paper and then putting the presentation together for the upcoming Aerospace conference that I had not walked the forest in almost two weeks. As I waited at the light at the bottom of the hill where I would normally go up the other side towards the West Gate and in to work, I glanced to my right and saw the bridge gleaming in the sunshine. Something tugged at my heart and said, come visit. We miss you.

So, I turned left at the light, parked in the first available space, and crossed over to the other side. On to the bridge, where now the clouds were playing hide and seek with the trusses. The lack of rain over the past few weeks had almost run the river aground, but not quite. I decided to turn right immediately after the bridge, with the idea of climbing the steep hill to walk the trail on the plateau above. But, it was not to be. The river had other plans for me. Ever so imperceptibly, she slowed down my walk, and brought me to a standstill.

And then, the flow of words began. I paid attention, listened, and wrote… I share a few of them with you.

The river runs so shallow
Yet the hill still rises steep
In walking these old trails
What new promises do I keep?

The air so still
Yet the singing of birds deep
I take in all the stillness
Into my core does the Joy sink deep; 

I stopped wondering long ago
Who is this muse that comes calling,
Amid the crescendo of the cicadas 
In the silence of the water falling; 

The invitation on some mornings
Is simply too powerful to resist
I try going towards the sun, 
but am imperceptibly lured by the mist; 

I came to walk long trails
Yet she has me rooted, standing still
Sit with me a while and visit she says 
Save for another day, the fragile hill; 

Summer is only here for so long
Like a firefly her light is fleeting
I am so honored that you invited me to stay
You raised my spirits with this brief meeting; 

If you will just stay that little bit longer 
Beneath the waters lie many a great treasure
So many dream of an endless summer
Yet of this moment they take little measure...

On this day, I experienced a beautiful reunion with nature, in a quiet oasis that invited me to be still. I arrived ‘empty handed’, yet left with a great treasure of poetry, peace, and a reminder to not stay away for too long. Have you participated in any reunions lately? Are you planning any in the near future? And how about your inner reunion with Joy, Awareness and Pure Existence? How do you experience That (re)union on a regular, even daily basis? Or have you forgotten…

Namaste,

Kumud @AjmaniK

I invite you to reunite with us in #SpiritChat on Sunday, July 16th at 9amET/1pmUTC on twitter – and particularly so if you have been away for a while. We hope you will bring some goodies to share.

A Spirit of Reunion... The nature trails called, and I answered… only to stand still in reunion

Celebrating Guides and Guidance

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We celebrate a lot of occasions in our lives. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, national holidays, international days, and much more. There is one annual celebration that is perhaps unique to Indian (vedic) tradition – it is the celebration of our spiritual guide(s) and the guidance that they provide to us. As it is with most Indian spiritual traditions, this celebration is also connected to the lunar calendar.

This year, the celebration of our guide(s), referred to as “Guru” in India, is marked for July 9th 2017. In modern times, the term “Guru” has expanded much beyond its original usage to refer to an ‘influential teacher’ or ‘subject matter expert’. The original use of the term referred to a highly revered ‘spiritual teacher’ who was trusted by royalty to provide advice, and to impart guidance to those who ‘qualified’ to be guided. And what made one ‘qualified’ to be taught or guided? Consider this:

“To him (or her) who has thus approached reverently, whose heart is tranquil, and whose senses are under control, let the wise Guru teach the real knowledge, by which the true and immortal Being is known” – Mundaka Upanishad

The Upanishad(s) are a series of wisdom “books” that distilled the essence of the ancient Vedas, which themselves contained the wisdom and traditions of ancient India. The word Upanishad literally means, “to sit near the sphere of influence of” (the radiance of the guide or Guru). There are many stories and parables about how the guide would test the student, before agreeing to accept them as a student. Think of it as an entrance examination or a college application – one had to be accepted in order to enter the “sphere of the guide”!

But, I digress a bit. Let me briefly return to the three qualifications of a student as referred to in the quote. First, “one who has approached reverently”. This implies a sense of humility, a willingness to learn, and an “emptying of the vessel” by the student. Second, “whose heart is tranquil”. This suggests a state of harmony within the student’s heart. We stand to learn and absorb much more (in any environment) if our heart is at peace – don’t you think? Third, “whose senses are under control”. To me, this refers to the state of our mind, our power of discernment, and how well we have control of the same.

It may seem like all the qualities that ‘qualify’ us to be taught by a ‘spiritual guide’ are the very qualities that we are seeking help for from our guide in the first place! If we already had these three qualities developed within, why would we need the guide or Guru anyway? What more could the guide teach us? The answer is perhaps in the last part of the quote – “let the wise teach the real knowledge by which the true and immortal is known”.

We arrive with reverence, harmony and good discernment. We receive guidance towards truth and immortality. That is worthy of celebration, don’t you think?

Namaste,

Kumud @AjmaniK

P.S. Join us on twitter for our weekly #SpiritChat conversation on Sunday, July 9th 2017 at 9amET (USA) / 1pm UTC / 630pm (India). We will celebrate our guides and share guidance over tea, cookies, and a guided, online meditation to follow at 8pmET (contact me directly for details on this). Namaste.

Celebrating Guidance... Celebrating Guides and Guidance that arrives through many mediums, from many directions…

Update: Storify Summary of Chat – https://storify.com/ajmanik/on-guides-and-guidance

On Freedom and Reality

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Just like that, it is the first of July and we step into the second half of the year. Time has an unerring way of bringing us face to face with reality – however we may define reality. In the USA, the onset of July brings us a celebration of “Independence Day”, and our kindred neighbors to the north in Canada celebrate “Victoria Day” (Happy 150th, Canada!). On these occasions, it is natural for many of us to reflect upon our personal freedoms, and the practical realities of said freedom(s) in our daily lives and actions.

As long as we do not live alone on a deserted island, the reality is that our friends, families and communities affect our daily freedoms, and their exercise of it. This effect manifests in the decisions that we make when we live in a civil society. In order to add value to their lives, and often for greater good, we often accept the reality that our personal freedom of external action may not be absolute. It is relatively easy to make declarations of our Independence, but we need energy and commitment to fight for “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Commitment conveys our declarations from mere intellect to reality, frees us to take action.

It takes even greater energy and commitment to preserve our freedom. The freedoms gained also need a constitution – a governing agreement among people – for their preservation, in order to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”. In order to anchor themselves to reality, and recalibrate their freedom(s), organizations, communities, families and even individuals, may establish constitutions. From these frameworks can emerge the governing principles of our live, the values that fuel our actions, and measures of our personal growth.

For most of us, the demands of living in the external world subject us to space and time. Even as I write this, there are small decisions that I need to make over the next few hours that will affect what I and my family will do this weekend. These small decisions aren’t made in a vaccuum, and a give and take of personal freedom(s) of all family members is necessary in order to maintain a dynamic family harmony. Does this reality sound familiar to you?

So, where does true freedom, if it exists, exist? For the most part, our external world seems to be devoid of it. We can intellectually read about and even talk about ‘freedom from fear’ and such related things, but how much of our daily decisions are informed by fear? And how about our internal world? Is it possible that unfettered freedom exists within us? If so, have you experienced the reality of inner freedom for yourself?

As I develop my daily practice of meditation, there are occasions where I find disconnection from the transient and (re)connection with the permanent. While the state of reconnection with the permanent is often fleeting in itself, it is the closest that I have perhaps ever felt to true freedom. Even though the reconnection is fleeting, it brings one great Joy to realize that true inner freedom is indeed an experiential reality. How about you? What have your experiences of ‘real freedom’ – external or internal – been like? How do ‘reality’ affect the exercise of your personal freedom(s)?

I invite you to visit with us in #SpiritChat on Sunday, July 2nd at 9amET/1pmUTC on twitter, as we share and celebrate freedom and reality. I will bring some real questions and virtual cookies and sparklers. You are free to bring whatever you wish to share.

Namaste,

Kumud @AjmaniK

A New Bridge to Freedom... A new experience of freedom this week, as I discovered a new reservation with unexplored trails and bridges…

On Spiritual Rescue and Rehab

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We are like turtles on the path of life… we often develop hard shells to protect our soft cores from life’s many attacks – sometimes our shells get cracked – we may even lose half a face and an eye, get a cracked lower jaw, barely able to eat or drink, left for dead, paralyzed and bleeding in the middle of the road that we were simply trying to cross – and then, along comes One who has the heart of a rescuer, compassion in action, who takes that extra moment to pause and examine, who does not judge whether we are worth saving or not but simply acts – and before we know it, a sling is fashioned from a scarf, we are placed on a pillow in the back of the car, and brought to the warmth and relative safety of a garage to spend the night, hopefully to rest and receive a bit of healing…

We all have felt the intervention of those who have literally rescued us from a path of self-destruction, or after being ‘run over’ by the world around us… for some of us, this ‘rescue’ has happened more than once, perhaps because we needed to be rescued (again and again)… we weren’t strong enough to get out of rehab just yet, we hadn’t healed enough, our shell was still cracked from that first battle, and we decided to take on the world again…

Morning came, and I was almost reluctant to step into the garage to check on the patient. At first glance, she looked awfully still in the open box. I walked away, to return a few minutes later. A little nudge of t5ht he box, and she poked her head out a bit from under her shell. Relief. At least she had made it through the night. The rescue work of my wife (trained nurse), ably assisted by my daughter (nurse in training) and her visiting friend (aspiring veterinarian), had bore fruit in the very short term.

It often takes a potential tragedy to bring out our best rescue and rehab skills, for us to discover our hidden strengths, and to perform actions that are in harmony, excellence and alignment with the greatest good of the moment… that is true spirit of Union, of Yoga… the moment(s) where all of our spiritual practice(s) meet higher, selfless action.

At 9am, as soon as the local Nature Center opened, we received a call in response to the message we had left last night. “Bring her in. We would love to try and rehab her”. Off to the nature center we went, for the next step – a chance at rehabilitation by trained specialists who would do their best at healing and perhaps a full recovery. We are keeping our fingers crossed for a full recovery, with a release back into the wild in our neighborhood. We hope to meet “Sally Ride” once again.

The entire rescue and rehab effort brought a lot of folks together – we (re)connected with the local science and nature center, received very good advice from a turtle rescue center in North Carolina, connected with a reptile expert in Southern Ohio, and tapped into many online resources online and YouTube movies about shell repair and restoration… my daughter is even considering to a summer project about the life of turtles (and maybe even Ohio wildlife)…

I am sure you have been witness or beneficiary of such Yoga in Action too – what was the situation? Who was the rescuer/the rescued? What resources and energies came together to affect the rescue and rehab? How did the experience affect you, your (long and short term) spiritual outlook on life and nature? Share your stories with us in #SpiritChat on twitter – Sunday, June 25th 2017 at 9amET/1pmUTC. Let us celebrate International Yoga Week with Excellence in Action.

Kumud @AjmaniK

Spiritual Rescue and Rehab...

Our Life’s Rhythms

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At a funeral service for one of my wife’s good friends this week, the priest spoke about the rhythm of our lives… and the importance of being aware of this rhythm and being in harmony with it, so that we may grow in inner peace…

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; – Ecclesiastes 3

This reminder made me reflect upon the rhythm of my own life, and my awareness (or lack) of it on a daily basis. So much of our daily actions seem to be done on auto-pilot. Many of our habits and routines serve us well as they lend structure and stability to our life, which are important for good health. However, certain life events can find us examining, questioning the habits that make up a large part of our life’s rhythms. In music, rhythm refers to a “systematic arrangement of muscial sounds according to duration and periodic stress”.

In life, rhythm refers to any repetitive pattern – the morning meditation, the lunch-time walk, the evening tea, and more. A lot of our rhythmic patterns are informed by our current goals in life, and that which we hold important in the forefront of our consciousness. If we are concerned about some aspect of our health, we may be in a a health-awareness rhythm. Education and career, relationships with family, friends and community – all have their own unique influence on our life’s rhythms. And when our rhythm is off, we know that it is time to seek out those who can help us get our groove back!

One person who was a master-tuner for me and my life’s rhythm was my Dad. A man of few words, he spoke loudly through his dedication to his family and his work. Now that I think about it, he was highly aware of the rhythm of his own life. He knew how to honor silence, to love music, to make time to simply relax with family, and not to ask too many questions. I believe I osmosized a lot his traits, but I am still working on the “don’t ask too may questions” part. I didn’t get the chance to ask him how he mastered that – maybe the secret of that rhythm is in one of the many letters he wrote to me. I need to read them again…

If we are fortunate, we have (had) warm, loving, positive associations with our fathers. And these influences have helped set (a large) part of the tone, the rhythm of our lives. But this isn’t always the case, is it? In fact, in many cases, our relationship with our fathers may be characterized by discord, discontent, disrepair and disharmony. What is one to do in such situations?

Let us not forget. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter…” – maybe it is time we can find a season of healing, of establishing a new rhythm in our heart. We may not be able to do it alone, but with the divine father’s (and mother’s) masterful tuning in our lives, all things are possible…

Namaste,

Kumud @AjmaniK

P.S. Join us as we gather for our weekly conversation in #SpiritChat on twitter – Sunday, June 18th 2017 at 9amET/1pmUTC. The USA observes the “Father’s Day” holiday on this day, and we will do our best to honor those who have played said role in our lives. I will be brewing some special Darjeeling tea and playing some of my Dad’s favorite music from the Punjab. I hope you can join in… Namaste.

Nature's Rhythms...
Walking in the forest, among familiar terrain, looking at new growth with new eyes, often resets the rhythm of my life… what are some things that help you reset the rhythm of your life?

On Spiritual Transformation

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Transformation is a BIG word. It seems to create a vision of a big mountain that we may need to climb. And we may wonder if we have the energy to do so. Particularly when we are already exhausted by the various demands of life. In addition, we have a natural inner resistance to change, particularly if it requires work for which we do not seem to have time, space and energy.

And yet, in some ways, inner transformation can be easier than change. For the work of transformation need not be work in the traditional sense of the world. It may require us to simply be in the in the field of love of someone who is doing the transforming, in the space of those who are being transformed before our own very eyes.

If it is raining outside, and we see the flowers and the grasses and the leaves on the trees getting wet, dancing in the rain, we have a choice. We can shut the window, pull the curtains, and remain dry and safe within the home. Or, we can open the window, let the wind blow some rain in, and wet us a little bit as we cup our hands around a warm beverage. Or, we can decide to experience loving power of the rain for ourselves.

We fling open the patio door, and go stand in the middle of the field and let it rain love upon us. And as the rain and the tears intermingle, and we feel pure joy surge through us, we now know the reason for the silence of those who were being transformed before our very own eyes. Now, we too are transformed by experiencing some of the surrender to love that we were only witnesses to until that point where we ourselves decided to surrender.

We did not get changed. We got transformed by the power love. It is like the story about the seeker who is seeking the trasure in the dark forest with a small oil lamp under a cloudy sky. They are earnestly working, seeking and doing what they know is best, looking under one tree at a time. And then, a flash of lightning illuminates the entire forest, transforming the landscape so that they can see and experience the entire forest at once. Such is the power of transformation.

And I hope you have experienced it, or get to experience it in the company of one like Amma, in whose rain of love I was fortunate to stand for nine straight hours on Friday. The transformation that I saw in the people at the Unity Center, whom she individually blessed with her energy in all those hours – one by one, listening, hugging, responding, wiping their tears, and bidding adieu with hershey’s kisses – was an experience that my heart will rarely forget.

On one occasion, her words to me were, simple, direct and transformative: “I love you, Kumudson”.

Kumud @AjmaniK

P.S. Join us Sunday, June 11th at 9amET/1pmUTC and share some of your experiences of change, of transformation, of love, and of surrender. I will bring tea, cookies and some questions with love. You bring some answers. Namaste 🙂

Transformation...