Saturday Stories 27: The True Reality

In ancient India there was a King called Janaka, who was also a sage. One day Janaka was taking a nap on his flower-strewn bed with his servants fanning him and his soldiers standing guard outside his door.

As he dozed off, he had a dream in which a neighboring King defeated him in battle, took him prisoner, and had him tortured. As soon as the torture began, Janaka woke with a start to find himself lying on his flower-strewn bed with his servants fanning him and his soldiers on guard.
Once again he dozed off and had the same dream. And once again he woke up to find himself safe and comfortable in his palace.

Now Janaka began to be disturbed by several thoughts: While he was asleep, the world of his dreams had seemed so real. Now that he was awake, the world of the senses seemed real. Which of these two worlds is the real one, he wanted to know. None of the philosophers, scholars, and seers he consulted could give him an answer.

And for many years he searched in vain, till one day a man called Ashtavakra knocked at the door of the palace. Now, Ashtavakra means “entirely deformed or crooked,” and he got that name because that is exactly what his body had been from birth.

At first the King was not disposed to take this man seriously. “How can a misshapen man like you be the carrier of a wisdom denied to my seers and scholars?” he asked.

“Right from my childhood, all avenues have been closed to me – so I avidly pursued the path of wisdom,” was Ashtavakra’s reply.

“Speak, then,” said the King.

So this is what Ashtavakra said: “O King, neither the waking state nor the dream state is real. When you are awake, the world of dreams does not exist and when you dream the world of the senses does not exist. Therefore, neither is real.”

“If both the waking and the dream states are unreal, then what is real?” asked the King.

“There is a state beyond these two. Discover that. It alone is real.”

27 Gems Of Wisdom

This post contains my personal notes from the book: The Gem Collection- A compilation of Wisdom by John T. Bismark.

1. We cannot choose the things that will happen to us. But we can choose the attitude we will take toward anything that happens. Success or failure depends on your attitude.

2.Always be grateful; contentment is the key to peace and happiness. As the Irish poem sums it: Count your blessings, not your crosses, count your gains, not your losses, count your joys instead of your woes, count your friends instead of your foes, count your health and not your wealth.

3.If you have nothing good to say to anyone, then it’s best to shut up. Only open your mouth if you have something good to say that can inspire or correct someone to be a better person.

4. Welcome people who argue with you or have a contrary opinion. Their opposing views will often broaden your perspective and help you see things from different angles and understand other perspectives.

5. Seek feedback from others and reflect on it. Challenge yourself beyond your comfort zone. Support yourself and others by encouragement and advice. These three things: assessment of feedback, challenging yourself and supporting yourself will lead to growth and development.

6. Make sure you spend time recovering. This means sleeping for 7-8 hours a day. If you just keep working, you are likely to become ill. Balance is essential.

7. Be a giver and not a taker.

8. No matter how insignificant we are, and no matter how insurmountable the challenges we face, we must never give up. Fear should not stop us. Difficult tasks become easy to execute if one has determination and remembers God. But if one does not remember Him,  even an easy task becomes difficult to achieve.

9. If we are arrogant and close minded, we will disregard anything that we have not experienced ourselves, to our own detriment. This is the process of learning through ascending. But if recognise, listen to and learn from the great authorities we can learn things that would be otherwise outside the realm of our experience and knowledge.  If we can allow knowledge to descend to us from the higher authorities, we can learn through the process of descending.

10. The earth is our temporary home and the home of our future generations. Let’s treat it with the care and importance it deserves.

11. Be like the bee which feeds on flowers rather than the fly which feeds on garbage. Focus on the good and positive things rather than the evil and negative things in life.

12. You will be judged on what you have built; not on what you have destroyed. If we achieved something and have helped, raised or built others along our way, then our achievement is truly a milestone. If we achieve something but destroy others in the process, whether it their possessions or hopes, it cannot be considered a milestone.

13. We are here for a purpose and we should embrace the search for that purpose. You must seek to fulfil your purpose. Only then will your journey become worthwhile.

14. Never be afraid to confront matters before they become conflicting issues.

15. The true significance of things that happen in our lives can never be totally understood at the time they are occurring. Every event holds elements of both good and bad, and the true implications of the event may not be truly known for many years.

16. Real success and wealth lie in nothing other than good health.

17. One should think oneself lower than the straw on the street…one should be more tolerant than a tree…one should be devoid of all false prestige. Then one can constantly think of the Divine and be happy and at peace with yourself.

18. Be loyal to true principles and not to personalities.

19. Beware of the comfort zone. Remember you can always evolve. Accept yourself but continue to aspire for greater things that will benefit you and the world around you. That will keep your drive and passion intact.

20. Arise from your slumber. Awake from your ignorance. Aspire to ‘be’. Assimilate wisdom.Assess what you have acquired. Analyse its worth. Apply this worthy information. Then you will achieve. But do not stop there. Appreciate what you have. Attribute your success to the people and things that led you to that success. Acknowledge those who have helped you along the way. Then you will be truly applauded.

21. Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. This is the secret to happiness. You need to have a purpose and have to be passionate about that purpose. But no one can find your purpose for you. You must decide what it is you want to do. Knowing it will go a long way towards clarifying your attitude towards how you live your life.

22. Many things can change if you rise up and face your fear. Be humble enough to listen to authority and respect your leaders. Never run from challenges. Face them head on and use the knowledge of others to help you fight your own challenges.

23. Seek out a coach in your life to push you to the limits. Associate yourself with the type of person who will teach you never to give up and who will never let you give up.

24. Invest in yourself. Invest in your own name, reputation and integrity. Invest in your studies and invest time to better yourself and to absorb all the information and knowledge that you can. Invest in your appearance and image. Invest in other people. Invest in relationships. Invest in trustworthy alliances with people whom you respect. Invest in friendships.

25. When making decisions do the following:  Stay calm. Remain detached and objective. Consider all possibilities. Make decisions only when you are ready.

26. Always have the beginner’s mind and not the expert’s mind.

27. Stop complaining. Stop blaming. Look within for the change that needs to be made.

12 Guideposts To Help You Declutter

1. You have everything you need except time and space, and that by decluttering you will gain both.

2. Charity now begins at the local charity shop. Your possessions are going to those who need it even more than anyone you know.

3. Your friends come to visit you, not your best china or towels.

4. Buy things that you actually need. If you can buy them when they are on sale, then good. But blindly buying things that are on sale can lead to clutter. You have enough money to but the things you need when you really need them.

5. Don’t try to be perfect. Good enough is perfect. You are a perfectly good person even if you have a messy house.

6. Remember that “ no product” will change your life or buy your way to happiness. Remember that your house is a home and not a magazine photo.

7. By not buying it you are getting a bargain on decluttering.

8. Between the internet and the yellow pages you will always be able to find an item again if you change your mind about needing it.

9. When you are tempted to take some curb-side treasure or some other rescued item, remember that you will be able to find one, either on the verge, via freecycle, through a friend, or in a shop.

10. When you say, “ I might need that again”, remember, that mostly you won’t find yourself in this situation, and if you do, it is ok to go out and buy it again.

11. You are being environmentally responsible by parting with the things you don’t need responsibly.

12. To declutter means to get rid of possessions, not just to store them more cleverly. Storing clutter only postpones the problem for another day.

Monday Meditations 3: The Counting Breath Meditation

One of the most basic meditations is to simply focus on your breath and count. This is done as follows:

Sit comfortably on the floor or chair.

Breathe even and naturally, in and out using this count:

  • Breathe in, counting 1,2.
  • Breathe out, counting 3,4.
  • Breathe in, counting 1,2.
  • Breathe out, counting 3,4.

Do this for 5 minutes.

Once you become comfortable with this, you can extend the breathing pattern:

  • Breathe in, counting 1,2,3.
  • Breathe out, counting, 4,5,6.

You can extend this further:

  • Breathe in, counting 1,2,3,4,5.
  • Breathe out, counting 6,7,8,9,10.

Do this meditation for 5-10 minutes a day.

Saturday Stories 26 : A True Blessing

A rich man asked a Zen master to write something down that could encourage the prosperity of his family for years to come. It would be something that the family could cherish for generations.

On a large piece of paper, the master wrote, “Father dies, son dies, grandson dies.”

The rich man became angry when he saw the master’s work.

“I asked you to write something down that could bring happiness and prosperity to my family. Why do you give me something depressing like this?”

“If your son should die before you,” the master answered, “this would bring unbearable grief to your family.

If your grandson should die before your son, this also would bring great sorrow.

If your family, generation after generation, disappears in the order I have described, it will be the natural course of life. This is true happiness and prosperity.”

The 16 Rules of Investment Success According To John Templeton

I found this little gem while browsing the internet. You can read it here. I hope you find it useful. The 16 rules are:

  1. Invest for maximal total return.
  2. Invest- don’t trade or speculate.
  3. Remain flexible and open-minded about types of investments.
  4. Buy low.
  5. When buying stocks, search for bargains among quality stocks.
  6. Buy value, not market trends or the economic outlook.
  7. Diversify. In stocks and bonds, as in much else, there is safety in numbers.
  8. Do your homework or hire wise experts to help you.
  9. Aggresively monitor your investments.
  10. Don’t panic.
  11. Learn from your mistakes.
  12. Begin with a prayer.
  13. Outperforming the market is a difficult task.
  14. An investor who has all the answers does not even understand all the questions.
  15. There is no free lunch.
  16. Do not be fearful or negative too often.