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.
There is an Indian dessert called the gulab jamun. It is like a donut hole of a very soft consistency, that is deep fried, and then immersed in a vat of sugar solution. It is ideally eaten warm, so that the sweetness of the solution thoroughly pervades the senses. In the ideal gulab jamun, there is very little to distinguish the solidity of the “donut” from the liquidity of the solution that it is immersed in.
Our lives are a little bit like the gulab jamun. We are immersed in the sweetness of our attachments and desires. And yet, we claim “freedom”, even celebrate it on an annual basis, while we continue to get more and more entangled in the web of our own creation. Our social and work commitments, our hobbies, our networks seem to keep expanding. The result is that we keep finding ourselves starved for time and energy for (inner) growth that can lead us to real freedom.
So, perhaps this Independence Day (July 4th in the USA), we can choose to re-examine our attitudes towards real freedom. We are all born with certain attitudes, qualities (gunas) and energies. These are the attitudes (or aptitudes) of activity or aggression (rajas), of lethargy and heaviness (tamas), and of purity or lightness (sattva). Our overall attitude in life at any given time, can be said to be a dynamic mixture of the proportion of these three energies within us.
It is when the attitudes of individuals (and societies) trend towards agression, overactivity, and heaviness, that we tend to move away from freedom. Our inner core of softness starts to melt away, and our attitude trends towards accepting less and less freedom. We rationalize to ourselves that this state must be the “new normal”. But it does not need to be so!
A true celebration of independence means that we make a decision to change our attitude towards freedom. We decide to balance our commitments, and discard those which further enslave us. We commit to those actions that tend to increase inner purity, lightness, softness and kindness, or sattva. It is in becoming receptacles for grace, by lowering the heart’s barriers to love, that freedom can come home to us.
Yes, warm gulab jamnun, like apple pie, is one of my favorite desserts. And I have discovered that it is particulary good when eaten over ice-cream, with moderation. This new attitude is unfolding the path of freedom dessert-sattva for me. How is your path unfolding?
P.S. Join us for our weekly chat, Sunday July 1st at 9amET / 630pm India in #SpiritChat ~ I will bring some gulab jamun and ice-cream to share, and we shall share some stories about real freedom… Namaste.
Attitudes to Freedom – Pausing and Celebrating on the Path
The idea of harmony is well known in the field of music. It is perhaps best described as “the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions having a pleasing effect”. According to many experts, harmony is referred to as the “vertical” aspect of music, as opposed to melody, which is the “horizontal” aspect of music.
Let us take this idea of harmony into our everyday lives. The combination of “simultaneously sounded thought processes”, which produce a current of harmonious thought to elevate our thinking, could be considered as harmony. However, if we do not have, or develop the patience, to listen to these diverse thought processes, we may fail to tune into the underlying harmony of the lessons that are being directed our way.
The philosopher, Lao Tzu, has stated the importance of harmony very elegantly:
When we live in complete integrity,
We will be innocent like newborn babies.
We will sing all day without being hoarse,
because we will be in full harmony.
To be in harmony is, is to live in the Great Integrity, the ultimate wisdom.
When harmony reigns, and we rule ourselves with felicity, everyone gains, and we will all live in simplicity.
– Lao Tzu ( Tao Te Ching)
The ideas of integrity, simplicity, innocence and wisdom – all of them seem to emanate from the elevating idea of harmony. So, whether it is listening to a piece of classical music, or paying attention, being fully present to the one who is communicating with us – we can seek and find harmony. My good friend, Wayne Mcevilly reminds me:
an ear need not be “trained” in order to distinguish harmony from its opposing forces – an infant has this capacity –
So, perhaps, we need a return to “infancy”, in order to rediscover harmony? Will we rise to the challenge? Will we find harmony within the discordant notes of our “life noise”? How will our concerted, conscious movement towards harmony uplift our spirit? What are some ways that we can find harmony within diversity?
I invite you to join the #SpiritChat community on Sunday May 19th at at 9amET. Let us share together with our thoughts on twitter, and create a spirit of harmony that will resonate in the great integrity… As always, your thoughts are welcome in the comments. Namaste.
Update: Here is the html transcript for our twitter chat. Here are the questions asked during the live chat on Harmony. Thank you, and Enjoy! 🙂
Q1. Visualize #harmony ~ what does it sound and look like to you? #SpiritChat
Q2. What brings you closer to a sense of harmony? What takes you away from it? #SpiritChat
Q3. What is the connection between harmony and diversity? How do we honor it? #SpiritChat
Q4. “Aim at complete harmony of word, thought and deed” – Gandhi. Is this practicable? How? #SpiritChat
Q5. Forgiveness is one key to achieving inner harmony. Agree or disagree? Why? #SpiritChat
Q6. What can younger/older generations teach each other about harmony? #SpiritChat
Q7. How does harmony (or the lack of it) impact our relationships and communities? #SpiritChat
Q8. Let us send out a message… We can create more harmony of Spirit by… #SpiritChat
Bonus Q9. What action(s) will bring you closer to harmony this week? Reflect and/or share 🙂 #SpiritChat