“The prerequisite to true freedom is to decide that you do not want to suffer anymore.” – Michael Singer
Imagine some of the most painful moments in your life.
Do you think about them often? Does your mind plague you with internal chatter about what happened in the past?
Do you continue to question, replay and rethink what has happened to you?
Do your thoughts (or your “inner roommate,” as Michael Singer calls them) preoccupy your mind and your life?
In The Untethered Soul, Singer shows you how to become more aware of your thoughts, acknowledge your inner being and free yourself from the trappings of your inner turmoil.
You can tone down the internal chitter-chatter and “neurotic bursts of conflicting dialogue” in your mind.
In this book, Singer offers the gift of a peaceful mind and an uncaged soul.
1. Become aware.
“You are behind everything, just watching. That is your true home,” Singer writes.
The Untethered Soul reminds you of two points: that there’s you and then there’s the sensitive person inside you. Every day, observe this internal being.
“Simply watch that sensitive part of you feel disturbance. See it feel jealousy, need, and fear…If you pay attention, you will see that they are not you; they are just something you’re feeling and experiencing,” writes Singer.
Singer reminds you that you are a different person internally than you are externally. Internally, you observe what is going on in your life. When you’re at your center or core, you can witness and even appreciate the difficult experiences you’re encountering.
You sit in a seat of awareness and watch these disturbances and emotions pass you by. You become aware of the drama taking place in the movie of your life.
“Once you learn that it’s okay to feel inner disturbances, you will be free. You will begin to be sustained by the inner energy flow that comes from behind you,” writes Singer.
By being in this state of centeredness, “you can walk in the world and the world will never touch you. That’s how you become a free being – you transcend.”
2. Decide that you do not want to suffer anymore.
You’re constantly shaken up on the inside.
External events take hold of your mind, your soul and your psyche. You regularly think about life’s disturbances.
First your thoughts bother you, continually hammering away at your peace.
Then your emotions bother you, leading your heart and soul to continuous discomfort.
Singer says that you don’t have to be a prisoner of your psyche.
You do not have to engage with your mind.
Disengage. Sit quietly and observe yourself. Become aware of your anxious psyche and thinking mind. Stop looking for solutions and stop expecting that your mind will fix your internal problems.
When someone cuts you off in traffic, is rude to you or doesn’t talk to you, free yourself by disengaging.
Do not get involved with the mechanical, droning thoughts your mind repeats.
The only action you should consciously take is to relax and release.
Singer encourages you to refrain from playing mind games.
“Just be there, noticing that you notice. It’s like taking inventory. Just check what’s going on – heart, mind, shoulders, etc.,” he writes.
“You’re just there, aware that thoughts and emotions are being created around you, while the world unfolds before your senses.”
By consciously choosing not to play mind games, you become more aware of the inner drama your mind creates. By refusing to engage, you set the stage for soul freedom.
No more engagement with your mind and psyche.
Only observance and awareness.
Your external life is a play. A movie, even.
Learn that the way you process and deal with external circumstances is also a movie – something you should watch. You’re not the actor and you don’t have a part to play.
“Right in the midst of your daily life, by untethering yourself from the bondage of your psyche, you actually have the ability to steal freedom for your soul. This freedom is so great it has been given a special name – liberation.”
3. Learn to accept.
You may have had emotional problems, childhood situations and past pain that scarred you on the inside.
Emotional damage has caused you to struggle with the events you currently face.
You won’t open yourself to the present because you fear previous circumstances.
When you live like this – clinging to the past and resisting the present – you are wasting your life.
If you learn to accept events as they develop, you won’t see them as problems.
“If you don’t have fear or desire about an event, there’s really nothing to deal with. You simply allow life to unfold and interact with it in a natural and rational manner,” Singer says.
If you refuse to compare past circumstances and relationships to current circumstances and relationships, you will have a newfound appreciation for your present experience.
It is what it is. You’re not resisting the present; instead, you’re surrendering to it.
“Learn to stop resisting reality, and what used to look like stressful problems will begin to look like the stepping-stones of your spiritual journey.”
4. Be willing to be open.
You want to protect yourself from pain.
Yet Singer reminds you that once you close your heart to pain and emotional disturbances, you spend a lot of time and energy protecting the safe place you’ve created.
Instead of holding onto things and closing off your heart, be willing to experience the disturbances. Sit fully in the pain’s depth.
If past or present hurts have annoyed or upset you, be open and become aware of them.
“A thought or emotion emerges, you notice it, and it passes by because you allow it to,” Singer says. “This technique of freeing yourself is done with the understanding that thoughts and emotions are just objects of consciousness.”
Further, Singer says that when you experience these things you won’t continue to harp on them. You won’t become preoccupied and focused on them, repeatedly experiencing them.
“You just let go. It’s simply a matter of taking the risk that you’re better off letting go than going with the energy. When you’re free from the hold the energy has on you, you will be free to experience the joy and expansiveness that exists within you.”
In Singer’s eyes, the way to attain freedom for your soul is to let go of yourself. Whenever you experience strong negative energy because of everyday annoyances and irritations, simply relax and release.
“If you don’t hold these issues inside, you can go about your life without getting psychologically damaged. No matter what events take place in life, it is always better to let go than to close.”
5. Let go.
“The law is very straightforward: When your stuff gets hit, let go right then because it will be harder later. It won’t be easier if you explore it or play with it, hoping to take the edge off,” Singer says.
“No matter what goes on below you, open your heart and let it go. Your heart will become purified, and you will never know another fall.”
Singer encourages you to release the sensitivity and pain you’re clinging to. If you open up internally and let go of the negativity you’re experiencing, you will release the blocked energy within you.
“When it’s released and allowed to follow up, it becomes purified and merges back into your center of consciousness. This energy then strengthens you instead of weakening you.”
Regardless of what you experience or how heavy, pained or irritated something makes you feel, choose to let go. It’s the only way to grow spiritually, as it will prevent the disturbance or offense from hampering you for the rest of your life.
6. Do not fear inner pain and disturbance.
Do you try to avoid pain? Do you run away from it at all costs?
I know I do. I have tried to create boundaries so I don’t have to experience discomfort or pain.
Singer says there’s no reason to fear internal pain.
He asks you to think of pain as something temporary, simply passing through your system.
If you don’t get comfortable with pain in your life, “you will react by closing in order to protect yourself. Once you close, your mind will build an entire psychological structure around the closure.”
An alternative is to experience the pain momentarily, then release it.
View pain as energy flowing through your body. “Stay open and receptive so you can be present right where the tension is. You must be willing to be present right at the place of tightness and pain, and then relax and go even deeper. This is very deep growth and transformation.”
If you resist pain, it will haunt you even more.
Simply experience, face and release the pain you store in your heart. On the other side of that pain are beauty, love, joy and peace. So are, Singer says, ecstasy, freedom and true greatness.
When you open yourself to the pain traveling through you, you become free and pain will never again bother you. It won’t remain, but will disappear as the energy of its fire goes up in smoke.
Once you transform pain into deep love and experience – the beauty on the other side of pain – you will find soul freedom.
When you are willing to pay this price for soul freedom, you will experience great spiritual growth.
It’s easy and sometimes even pleasurable to get caught up and live in our past.
You’ve likely experienced struggle, heartbreak, loneliness, failure and loss.
But you know what’s worse than experiencing any of these events once in your life?
Painfully replaying each of these moments over and over again in your mind.
In The Power of Now, Tolle reminds us that we don’t have to replay the horror, the pain, and sorrow of our pasts repeatedly in our minds.
6 “living in the moment” strategies Tolle shares in The Power of Now:
You probably aren’t going to spend another week of your life re-reading Tolle (although I highly recommend it) and it will likely take us all a couple lifetimes to fully understand Tolle’s reflections.
I’m going to take to try to take out the Tolle-speak and seemingly dense spiritual concepts and explain The Power of Now as I understood it.
Here are 6 practical and actionable steps Tolle suggests.
If you simply implement one of the strategies below and shift your mindset, I promise you that your life will change forever.
1. Stop thinking. “What the…!?” you’re wondering as you read this line…
Tolle provides a solution to reoccurring sadness and pain in your life. Your thoughts continue to replay in your mind like your favorite iTunes track.
Each replay is a swift reminder and a continuation of past pain.
“When you listen to that voice, listen to it impartially. That is to say, do not judge…You’ll soon realize: there is the voice, and here I am listening to it, watching it,” Tolle writes.
So sit and become aware of your life’s darkest moments repeating themselves in your thoughts.
In the course of your day, when you feel sadness and loss, just call your thoughts out: “There you go again, mind! Taking me through this roller coaster of emotions. Replaying that sad and tragic past once again…”
Stop the mental replay by becoming aware of the negative.
When you stop thinking of or re-playing painful events in your mind, Tolle says, “You’re no longer energizing the mind through identification with it. This is the beginning of the end of involuntary and compulsive thinking.”
Action: Watch your mind. Or watch for feelings of sadness and pain throughout the day. When you are feeling sorrow or pain, immediately call out the thoughts that led you there.
Thinking about your difficult childhood, the loss of a loved one, your pet dying?
Shine a flashlight on these sneaky thieves wandering around the dark alleys of your mind.
2. Be highly alert in the present moment.
Well, geez, how do you do that? By being completely present in any activity or conversation you are in.
Ask yourself, “Am I in the present moment?” in whatever it is that you’re doing.
“Am I focusing on the task at hand?”
“Am I here or are my thoughts floating in la la land?”
Give normal and everyday activities your full and utmost attention.
As an example, Tolle writes, “Every time you walk up and down the stairs in your house or place of work, pay close attention to every step, every moment, even your breathing. Be totally present.”
Do this while you’re walking around town, getting in and out of the elevator, walking to the train station or wandering around the grocery store.
Be present in every moment by paying as much attention as possible to that moment.
3. Become aware of the pain-body within you.
Tolle defines the pain-body as lingering emotional pain.
He notes that some of us live entirely through our pain-body, whereas in others, the pain-body may be asleep 90% of the time.
For example, I used to be preoccupied with the pain of breaking up about 90% of the time.
My pain-body became ever more important in my life because it gave me a troubling new sense of self.
In the past couple of years, I have spent less time thinking about and experiencing the pain-body of loss and heartache.
When you and I become our pain-bodies, we have something to identify with.
“I’m the person who suffered loss.”
“I’m that person who failed financially.”
After marinating in this identity, you get swept over by a wave of pain, sadness and sorrow, and it supplies you with your identity. Your ego identifies with this pain-body and your pain becomes your self-image. You become your past, your loss and your hurt.
“Once this pain-body has taken you over, you want more pain. You become a victim or a perpetrator. You want to inflict pain, or you want to suffer pain, or both…” Tolle reflects.
So, how do you dissolve this pain-body?
Tolle summarizes this process: “Focus attention on the feeling inside you. Know that it is the pain-body. Accept that it is there. Don’t think about it…don’t judge or analyze. Don’t make yourself an identity out of it.”
“Stay present and continue to be the observer of what is happening inside you…This is the power of the Now, the power of your own conscious presence.”
4. Be aware of the difference between your “life” and “life situation.”
Tolle makes a distinction between your life and your life’s circumstances or situations. He refers to life situations as “psychological time.” Life situations are the past and the future.
You resist what happened to you in the past, don’t accept it in the present and are anxious about the future.
Whatever is happening to you is your life situation, which happened in the past or could happen sometime in the future. Both of those places aren’t the present moment.
Tolle says you could have a lot of situational problems, and most lives are filled with them, but you should find complete comfort and peace in the present moment.
“Use your senses fully. Be where you are. Look around. Just look, don’t interpret. See the lights shapes, colors, textures. Be aware of the silent presence of each thing…” Tolle gently nudges us.
You don’t have to identify with or be defined by your past.
If you accept the present moment, you can deal with those situations as they are.
You can’t change what has happened and what is coming your way: past and future.
All you have at this exact moment is something that needs to be dealt with or accepted. That’s it! “Why make it into a problem?” Tolle inquires.
“All it takes is a simple choice, a simple decision: no matter what happens, I will create no more pain for myself. I will create no more problems.”
Although Tolle says this is a simple choice, I’m certain if you adapt this philosophy and start living it, your life will completely transform. You’ll be a new person who will no longer be crushed by the weight of the past or the future.
5. Drop negativity like a piece of hot coal.
For more happiness and peace of mind, Tolle proposes letting go of negativity.
“How do you drop a piece of hot coal that you are holding in your hand? How do you drop some heavy useless baggage that you are carrying? By recognizing that you don’t want to suffer the pain or carry the burden anymore and then letting go of it.”
You have a choice to be entrenched in your past or to live for the moment that you have right in front of you.
Often we’re chock-full of negativity in our life because we refuse to accept something that happened in the past or are resisting something occurring in the current moment.
Tolle’s suggestion is to choose the current moment and accept what is, choosing to let go of the heavy baggage and drop the hot coals by consciously choosing to let go of the pain of the past.
When you let go of the pain surrounding the past and the negativity associated with it, you will find an ever-present peace of mind in the present moment.
6. Let go of the future. I sure love the future, don’t you? What’s not to love about it?
In my future, there is happiness, bliss, abundance and eternal joy.
Of course, Tolle bursts all our bubbles and insists on prying the future out of our hands.
Forget the future, he says:
“‘When I obtain this or am free of that – then I will be okay’. This is the unconscious mind-set that creates the illusion of salvation in the future,” Tolle writes.
Sure, we could find peace, happiness, and fulfillment some day, or we could scratch that futuristic thinking and chose to have all of that in this very moment.
You don’t need to go anywhere to find this joyful state of being.
“You ‘get’ there by realizing you are there already,” is one of the most powerful Eckhart Tolle quotes in the Power of Now.
I devoured this book once a long while back, but this past year, I really started to understand it, and it’s been a life-changer.
You can CHOOSE to let go of your past pain and suffering.
Become aware of how those past misfortunes resonate with negative feelings, thoughts and emotions.
You suffered once, why suffer again?
The future is a whole other story that isn’t here – you can’t do anything about, can’t change it, can’t guarantee happiness in it. You don’t even know if you’ll be there when you get there. So why live for a tomorrow that may never come?
Live for the present. Live in this very moment.
Change your mindset and accept this very moment. Right now, chose to be happy, choose to let go, to lift that heavy burden off your shoulders and release the heaviness of the past and future this very minute.
Give yourself permission to breathe in and breathe out with peace of mind, acceptance and emotional freedom.
Would it be too much to call this enlightenment?
What are you doing at this very moment? Are you being fully present and going to leave a comment below ? 🙂 Tell me about your experiences or strategies for letting go of the past.
Is it too late to go back to my regular life in Brooklyn?
If you’re a spiritual-seeker hunting for the truth, you might feel like you’re regularly letting yourself down.
You don’t have enough hours in the day to play chauffeur to the kids, be a fabulous manager at work, and super-volunteer in your church and community.
You may feel like your spiritual pursuits go to the wayside. You’d like to live a more spiritual and religious life but you’re just not able to do it ALL.
Wouldn’t it be nice to give it all up, move to a local mountain-side commune and spend the rest of your life seeking self-realization?
Should you disappear into the forests once and for all until you’ve become an enlightened human?
Learn to find spirituality in the world you live in.
You don’t have to pack up the suitcases, sell the house, abandon your family and hit the closest mountain resort to live the monastic lifestyle with a religious community.
You can be just where you are and continue to seek the spiritual life.
Learn to live in the ‘real’ (ok, “illusionary”) world.
You will learn many spiritual lessons in the world you live in today.
You want to move to the ashram, mountains or cave to find enlightenment. But you’re not going to find it there. Well, you might find it there but you’re not going to get to realization if you can’t conquer living in the places you do now.
You’re not going to get traffic jams, lawsuits, suspicious neighbors, antagonistic supervisors, penny-pinching landlords and rebellious children in the ashram!
You’re not going to get offended, heart-broken, crushed, pained, lied to, saddened, depressed in a mountain setting.
No money worries, loved ones dying, divorce, bankruptcy, failure, when you’re solely in deep spiritual pursuits.
Balance your spiritual life with your material life.
Your life gives you plenty of opportunities to practice spirituality: it allows you to confront people and circumstances who will hijack your peace and test your patience.
Not wanting to punch the motorcyclist who just cut you off on the freeway is a divine practice.
Choosing to forgive the man who just duped you of your life’s savings is a spiritual exercise.
Your life allows you to tame your ego, perfect your character and make choices about how you accept your life’s circumstances.
You will also have time for inner spiritual growth, mindfulness and prayer.
You can bring in spiritual practices into your life if you simply prioritize the importance of them.
Start small spiritual habits and be consistent with them.
A little spirituality every day.
Become a better person every day. Build your character every day. Find the spiritual answers to your life’s problems and circumstances.
Take the high road. Take the spiritual road. Give. Forgive. Love.
Be mindful. Peaceful. Thoughtful. Generous. Soul-Centered.
Use every situation and encounter to practice love.
Build up small spiritual practices daily that recognizes the divine. Practices which allows you to reflect on your mind and see through the illusions of the material world.
Stop the “I don’t have time excuse”
You may want to move to the ashram or commune of your dreams because you’ll have all the time in the world there to pursue your spiritual desires.
Pursue those desires right from where you are.
Make time for the things that matter in your life.
If you’d like to seek God, wake up earlier to reflect upon Him.
If you’d like clarity, be mindful throughout the day and spend a few minutes each day watching your thoughts drift through your mind.
Find the time. Make the time. Schedule the time.
Refuse to live by the “all or nothing” strategy some realized beings have taken.
You DO NOT have to go all in. You DO NOT have to spend every minute and every hour in prayer and meditation. You don’t have to do that remotely, in silence or by yourself.
You can chose the middle path. You can straddle the world you live in with the spiritual world.
You can be in the world. You don’t have to be of the world.
You don’t have to choose between the normal life of suburbia and family against the spiritual world of realized beings.
You can seek your best self and find your highest source of inspiration in daily life and everyday moments.
Forgive yourself for imperfections and keep trying every day.
If you’re human, you’ll have a bad day. You’ll fall off the fire-truck when putting out a fire.
You’ll blow half your salary on the roulette table.
Commit perjury, adultery, forgery, thievery and find yourself with all kind of other quandaries.
You might not have time today for silence, meditation, prayer, divinity.
Intentionally hurt someone else.
Refused to forgive a parent who’s wounded you.
Ignored your friends who desperately seek your help.
Refused to let go of your ego so you can salvage the friendship.
When you fall off the path to self-knowledge and enlightenment, keep going. Start over. Start again.
Do not move to the woods, mountains or your favorite religious order in search for the truth.
Friends, if you ever tell me you’re moving to the woods to spend the rest of your life trying to reach enlightenment, I’m going to do three things. First, get a hold of my ex-wife, a psychiatrist, to give you a special rate on weekly therapy. Second, contact the local police department to try to stop your planned-escape and finally, spend the rest of my time trying to track you down and bringing you back to your regular life.
Don’t take the easy way out.
Refuse to disengage completely from people, circumstances and the pressures of the world around you.
Listen, you’re hearing this straight from someone who would be first in line to join a monastery, new religious order or cult. If there’s a promise of free meals and self-realization, I’d get in line like your zealous holiday shopper, setting up a tent overnight to purchase my flat screen tv.
I’m not going to join the order. The brotherhood. The nunhood. Or any ‘hood’ with anyone wearing robes, saffron sheets or sunbathing in the nude.
I’m going to stay and fight. Fight, you say. Fight what?
Fight to come to terms with your human self. To become a better version of you.
Fight your anger, ego, desires, imperfections and all of your human qualities. Fight to become a better person.
You can’t fight in isolation without other humans, without worldly problems and without being challenged. In my opinion, that’s the easy way out.
Let’s confront our nemesis, face our ego, work on our shortfalls. Let’s work on loving our Creator more every day while we’re fighting the battles of our daily lives.
Ever thought about living the life of monastic? (Oh, you haven’t. 🙂 )
To pick up my book, Is God Listening, about God, spirituality and resiliency, click here.
Lord, shut down this blog. Then, please save this man's soul.
4 a.m.’s in the prayer room.
I’d be trying to stay awake while folded up in an uncomfortable lotus-style seating position next to my devoted grandparents.
The smell of camphor and incense sticks either put me in a dreamy daze or might have made me high. I haven’t quite determined which – did the camphor and incense sticks set up the atmosphere necessary for hallucinations or spiritual awakenings?
As my grandparents arranged fresh garden flowers upon the statutes of Siva, Ganesh and the Goddess Lakshmi, I found myself in and out of consciousness. When they noticed, I’d pep up and chant a verse or two of their morning devotionals with them. When their eyes were closed in prayer, I would be in a deep slumber.
From the earliest days of childhood through growing up in Northern California, with daily home prayers and pujas, regular visits to temples that were no closer than a 6-hour drive away by car and two Sunday school classes (nope, not just on Sunday’s either) I grew up in a strong Hindu family with a strong faith.
You grow up with your family’s religion.
Similar to your favorite foods and political views, you most likely practice the religion of your family.
Your eating preferences, life-style, health habits, and ‘eccentric’ personality were probably all shaped by your immediate family or loved one.
Now, if you grew up soaking in the Talmud and spent all your after-school hours playing chess at the synagogue, you’re most like a practicing Jew.
If you grew up with rosary-chanting grandparents, daily Mass attendance and spent a good portion of the year sacrificing hard liquor, horse betting or Cappuccinos , you’re most likely a practicing Catholic today. Or at least, go to Mass on Christmas eve 🙂 and call in your prayers when Notre Dame takes on the Wolverines every year on the football field.
What if the religion you grew up with doesn’t fit you?
We grow up with the faith and religious traditions of our families but they may not necessarily be yours.
Once you start confronting your faith and resolving if it’s a right fit for you, like those high school jeans you still try to fit into but have clearly outgrown, you wonder if the religion of your parents is the one for you.
Does the God and tradition of your faith resonate with you? Are you going to find enlightenment here? Do the scriptures seem palatable to you?
Experiment your way to your faith.
While your parents and family may think this practice I’m about to suggest is bizarre or blasphemous and I’m anticipating bans of this blog by most major world religions – why not give other traditions and religious practices a fair shake?
1) Visit other houses of worship. If you’re not familiar with church-hopping, I highly recommend you give it a try. Not just a church, but maybe a temple, synagogue or gudwara. And of course this is only for those of you not practicing your faith, may not believe in or have lingering questions about your faith.
2) Take other friends with you who can explain their faiths and traditions to you. I started going to church with friends who were familiar with the traditions and the practices. That’s the main reason I didn’t take money out of the tithing plates or ask for a second glass of wine at Mass. You need to attend the new place of worship with someone who can lead the way.
3) Use opportunities you meet with leaders and practicing members of other faiths to question (cross-examine) them. If you see folks wearing robes of other religious traditions, like Buddhist monks or Jain priests, do not, I repeat do not, call Homeland Security. Instead, befriend them and ask about their faith, practice and beliefs. You can determine once and for all, if they’re in la la land or they’re sitting on ancient truths and wisdom you should look into yourself.
4) Start practicing and attending their regular worships. If you find a faith that interests you, start going regularly and try to find out if this is some kind of secret cult or your quickest path to salvation. If they ask you to stand upside your head, empty your wallets and money and hand out bottles of Ciroc Vodka, you’re likely in the wrong place.
5) Read their books and scriptures. No better way to get the lowdown on a religion than see what their prophets, devotees, or spiritual leaders had to say. If the book puts you to sleep, put the religion down and move ten feet back. If the good book transforms your life, you may have the found a religion that fits.
If you’re looking for salvation or just peace of mind and devotion, don’t give up. If the faith you grew up with doesn’t resonate with you, be open to learning about other faiths and beliefs.
Hindu philosophy says get with the God that makes you holler. Not exactly in those words but you get what I’m saying.
Christianity says let the holy spirit win over your soul. Again not exact words, but who’s keeping track here?
You may feel like you’re back-stabbing your family and abandoning your faith but are you really? Aren’t you finding the practice that suits you better? Unearthing the short-cut to the G.O.D?
While your parents may include scotch and liquerish chocolates in their regular diet, don’t you have your preferences in regards to wine, men and dairy-free organic chocolates?
Our mind often seeks what is familiar to us, my friend Tim Brownson regularly points out and even wrote a book about it, but your faith doesn’t have to operate by familiarity – it’s a choice.
Find the God, scripture and traditions which suit you.
Jesus is making a big play for my heart and soul. The scripture, the poetic Psalms and His life sacrifice have brought me to the pews of the Church.
While I wait for the holy spirit to instruct me further, I ask you friends – are you ready for a conversion?
Ok, fine, are you willing to give another religion a shot? Are you happy in your faith? Was it because of your parents and traditions or did your faith grow out of your own choosing?
“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” the Dalai Lama
Do you think about happiness much?
Like why you’re unhappy all the time? Or why your life is as happy as bottomless Mimosas, advertisement-free television and 3-day weekends?
Or are you like most people out there, having experienced brief periods of bliss, but generally searching for that elusive concept called happiness?
If you’re searching for happiness like a banker searching for sunny tax-shelter islands or the Bachelorette searching for the man of her dreams, then you’ve got to watch this video above.
As you watch this video, you’ll ask yourself a number of questions.
Vishnu, what do you know about happiness?
Very little, my friends. That’s why I followed Gretchen Ruben’s advice to imitate a spiritual master and picked up this book by the Dalai Lama called, The Art of Happiness. I dug into the nitty-gritty details and pulled out the pearls of wisdom the Dalai Lama shares on the subject of happiness.
Yes, you can spend 7 hours reading this book or 7 minutes listening to me tell you what I learned from the Dalai Lama’s handbook on happiness.
What I learned from this book, Eckhart Tolle’s book, and my friend, Galen Pearl’s book on happiness, is that happiness is really an inside job. We can change our mindset and take practical actions to strive towards more happiness in our lives. I share at least 6 of the Dalai Lama’s strategies in this post.
Why in God’s name are you in front of a Christmas tree?
I was going for the Santa Claus look then realized that I had neither the costume, the beard or the hat.
Actually, this video was made during the Christmas holidays — what better backdrop for your viewing pleasure than this decorated Christmas tree?
What’s up with the lighting and why does this video look like some low-budget movie production?
Simply, cause that’s what it is my friends. Me, my flip cam, the bad lighting, the Dalai Lama and you. I’m no professional and this is one of my first videos. Until I get the lighting down or hire Oprah’s cameraman, bear with me.
Watch this video, then please share your thoughts with me in the comments below. I want to hear from you – yes, you! Tell me, what makes you happy? What are your rules for happiness?
If I don't eat you in .04 seconds, there is a God!
Piercing almond-shaped eyes.
Crushing-molars being sharpened like knife blades preparing to indulge you like a sumptuous delicacy.
Orange striped carnivorous animal, lying in wait to pounce at you at a moment’s notice.
The majestic Bengal tiger of South India.
Named Richard Parker.
Well, Richard Parker, the name of the Bengal tiger in Yann Martel’s book and now movie, may have a funny name but is not as casual of a creature as his name makes him out to be.
If you’ve read the book or watched the movie, you’ll be familiar with the fictional story of the Patel family moving their zoo animals from South India to Canada. The Japanese cargo ship the family is traveling on capsizes in a violent storm and Pi Patel spends the next 200 + days of his life on a small life boat with a Bengal tiger, named Richard Parker.
Which God saves Pi’s life?
Throughout the novel, we learn Pi’s epic venture is both a religious and spiritual one.
Prior to Pi’s epic journey, Pi is toying with the idea of being a Muslim, Hindu or a Christian. In fact, he practices all three religions angering the local clergy of all faiths.
“But he can’t be a Hindu, Christian and Muslim. It’s impossible. He must choose” the religious clergy declare as they congregate in his house, at the same time.
With the eyes of a minister, a priest, the Imam and both his parents on him, Pi blurts out “Bapu Gandhi said ‘All religions are true’ I just want to love God”.
After months of consternation and feeling the glaring eyes of the spiritual crowd in his house, Pi’s father chimes in to offer his support, “I supposed that’s what we’re all trying to do – love God”.
Throughout the book, Pi reaches out to God and we can only imagine that it must been some phenomenal power that keeps Pi alive. And carries him across the Ocean for more than 200 some days. Oh yeah, with the company of a BENGAL TIGER!!
Was it the miraculous power of God, of all faiths and religions, which saves Pi’s life?
Pi was indiscriminate in his preference for a particular God – in fact, he believed in the God of all faiths equally.
Is there only one God?
According to Hindu traditions and dogma, there is also one universal God or ‘Brahman’. Hinduism actually believes that there are many paths to reach this God.
The Hindus believe that there’s no need to get into the details of how you reach the divine – as long as you’re trying to reach enlightenment through the path or religion that serves you best.
You don’t have to go with Ganesha, Shiva or Vishnu (the God, not the blogger) to attain salvation – you can just as well get there through Jesus or the teachings of the Buddha.
Which religion has the truth? Which one does God prefer?
Those of other religions and faiths would most likely call the Hindus universal acceptance of all religions and Gods ridiculous, even blasphemy.
Many religions want a mandate – that heir faith and their faith alone will get you to enlightenment, realization, divinity.
But could the God of one religion be the God of all religions?
Could there be only one God like there is only one sun? For example, people viewing the sun from different locations all around the world. Everyone will have a different perception/angle from where they stand on the planet but ultimately they’re all only viewing one sun?
Is God present in all religions?
Does God cozy up to anyone seeking Him and trying to live more divinely?
Or does God have the ins with your religion and planning to help you get on the VIP list to the club called salvation?
What do you believe? Please leave a comment below and chime in.