Overcoming Distractions with Awareness

Why does life get so overwhelming?

We try so hard to do the right thing, follow the right path, and make soulful progress, yet it feels like the world around us is doing everything in it’s power to trip us up.

Occasionally we get a forwarded email that is precisely what we need to read that day.

I was blessed to receive such an email today. The source is unknown but the message is essential. It mentions Satan vs. God, but you could easily exchange these with paap (deluding and destructive karma) vs. Atma (the Soul and it’s nature of abundant, infinite and eternal good and happiness).

Use the message to build your awareness about the distractions and hurdles we face in our Soul’s evolution and through that awareness how to conquer the ‘Devil’s Plans’.

Let me know how you get on…

SATAN’S MEETING!

Satan called a worldwide convention of demons.

In his opening address he said,

“We can’t keep people from going to pray.”

“We can’t keep them from reading their holy books and knowing the truth.”

“We can’t even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their God “.

“Once they gain that connection with GOD, our power over them is broken.”

“So let them go to their prayers; let them have their covered dish
Dinners,BUT steal their time, so they don’t have time to develop a
Relationship with GOD..”

“This is what I want you to do,” said the devil:

“Distract them from gaining hold of their GOD and maintaining that
Vital connection throughout their day!”

“How shall we do this?” his demons shouted.

  “Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent innumerable
Schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered.

“Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow.”

“Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles.”

“Keep them from spending time with their children.”

“As their families fragment, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work!”

“Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice.”

 “Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive.” To keep the TV, VCR, CDs and their PCs going constantly  in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-religious music constantly.”

“This will jam their minds and break that union with God.”

“Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers.”

“Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day.”

“Invade their driving moments with billboards.”

“Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering
Free products, services and false hopes..”

“Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines and TV so their husbands will believe that outward beauty is what’s important, and they’ll become dissatisfied with their wives.

“Keep the wives too tired to love their husbands at night.”

“Give them headaches too! “

“If they don’t give their husbands the love they need, they will begin to look elsewhere.”

“That will fragment their families quickly!”

“Give them distractions to distract them from teaching their children the real meaning of life.”

“Even in their recreation, let them be excessive.”

“Have them return from their recreation exhausted.”

“Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God’s creation.   Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, plays,
Concerts, and movies instead.”

“Keep them busy, busy, busy!”

“And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences. “

“Crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from GOD.”

“Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause.”

“It will work!”

“It will work!”

It was quite a plan!

The demons went eagerly to their assignments causing people everywhere to get busier and more rushed, going here and there.

Having little time for their God or their families.

Having no time to tell others about the power of GOD to change lives.

I guess the question is, has the devil been successful in his schemes?

Alternatives to Mealtimes in Front of the TV

When a bachelor friend recently visited us, he was saying how, even though he’s bought a dining table and chairs, he has most of his meals in front of the TV.

Until recently, Heena and I have spent most of our mealtimes glued to the TV set too. Such a convenient distraction from life, and a shameful waste of valuable time.

It got me thinking about alternatives to the television during mealtimes either alone or with a partner:

– have a conversation at the dining table
– learn about each others’ day
– picnic in the garden or local park
– eating slowly paying full attention to each mouthful
– listening to music
– listening to inspirational audio
– reading a book
– reading a magazine
– writing lyrics to a song
– writing a blog post
– looking through a photo album
– watching a slideshow of treasured memories on a digital photo frame

Which of the above do you already enjoy doing? What alternatives would you suggest?

How Good Neighbours Become Good Friends

Neighbours over a Fence

What have you done for your neighbours lately?  Perhaps you’ve collected a parcel on their behalf while they’ve been out, or helped them fit a lightbulb that they can’t reach.  Perhaps you’ve asked them what they need from the shops as you’re going to the supermarket anyway.

While I was living at my parents’ house before I got married, there were plenty of opportunities to help the neighbours, say hi, or have banter out in the middle of the street, at any time of the day.

Since moving into a flat with my wife, we haven’t really been engaging with the neighbours as much.  However, by working from home and spending so much time at the flat, I have been picking up on my neighbours’ patterns.

Take for example the professional couple who head out at 7am toward the station to make their daily commute to the office.  Then there’s the lively and loving Nigerian mother with four young children, who leave home at 7.30am to walk to school.  How about the gentle old Indian lady who lives in the opposite block on the second floor, hanging her clothes and sheets out to dry on the balcony at 8am.  

There’s also Tony, the chap in his 60’s, with one of the warmest smiles I’ve seen and walking with his head slightly drooped, with a thoughtful look on his face.  As I write this, I see the retired park cleaner, walking around inspecting the estate, dressed with his hat and jacket, the same hat and jacket every day.

So I see these people, day in day out, carrying out their duties and their daily patterns.  The question is, how much time have I made to get to know my neighbours?  To find out what their needs are and whether I can support in some way?  Almost none.

How Good Neighbours Become Good Friends

Do an exercise with me:

  1. Take a pen and paper
  2. List out the 10-15 house numbers or flat numbers closest to your home.
  3. For each home, write the names of the people who live there, their ages, their birthdays & anniversaries.
  4. Write their contact details – telephone, mobile, email, etc.
  5. Write contact details of their closest family or friends in case they need to be reached in an emergency.
  6. Write about their religious & cultural background, and the festivals they celebrate each year.
  7. Write about anything else you have learnt about them.
  8. Write about their most important needs and how you could lend a hand.

Have you learnt something by doing this exercise?  What one thing could you schedule in to do for or with your nearest neighbours in the coming month to improve your relationship with them and serve them better?

 

Photo credit, cowbark

Let Simple Be The Mantra

In a recent blog post by Chris Brogan, titled Simplify and Package the Sale, he stated “Let simple be the mantra. Make your contracts brief, small, simple. Make your projects short, finite, and clear. Make your deliverables obvious, simple, and measurable.”

Simplicity in thought, speech and action with everything we do is becoming incredibly important in a world where our diaries are blocked out to the max doing things that we think would make us happy, but where we are in fact squeezing away time to do the very things that will serve us long-term.

Simplicity in thought comes about through reflecting on the nature of the world around us, just how impermanent it all is, and seeking out the source of abundant bliss within.

Simplicity in speech shines through when we hear of wise people who neither speak without being asked nor interrupt when another person is speaking.

Simplicity in action is the ability to perform our everyday duties and rising above all the elements that are pleasing or displeasing to our senses. Having taken care of these simple everyday duties, our time and focus can be put towards seeking fulfilment from the treasury within.

Through simplicity, in all it’s forms, we make life a process of purification. How does simplicity apply in your life right now? What can you simplify to support your quest for permanent happiness?

Remembering Nanima One Year On

Sunday 9th May 2010 marks one year since my grandmother (mum’s mum) passed away.

She was a woman of strength and substance, someone who would fight on to do the right thing, and someone who consistently encouraged kindness, mindfulness and care.

I had the fortune of capturing a recording of her singing a hymn from the timeless Jain tradition called “Janaru Jaay Chhe Jivan”, which I’d like to share with you today:

[mp3player config=fmp_jw_widget_config.xml height=”80″ file=http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6530076/Nanima-Stavan-Janaru2.mp3]

Lyrics: Janaru Jaay Chhe Jivan

Janaru jaay chhe jivan, jara jinavar ne jap to ja
Ridai ma raakhi jinavarne, purana paap dhoto ja………Janaru

Banelo paap thi bhaare, vadi paapo kare shid ne
Sadagati holi hayyani, aare jalim! Bhujato ja……… Janaru

Daya saagar Prabhu Paaras, Uchaade gyanani chodo
Utaari Vaasna vastro, aare paamar tu naato ja………Janaru

Jigarma dankhta dukho thaya paape pichanine
Jinandarvara dhyanani masti vade ene udato ja………Janaru

Aare, aatambani shaano bataavi shaanpan taru
Hataavi juthi jagmaaya chetan jyoti jagaato ja………Janaru

Khilya je fulada aaje, jarur te kaal karmaase
Akhand aatam kamal labdhi tani laye dil lagaato ja………Janaru

(source of lyrics: http://67.252.77.106/~webadmin/lyrics.html#Janaru Jaay Chhe)

If you know the meaning of these lyrics, please feel free to share it in the comments below.

If there are thoughts you’d like to share about your grandma, I’d love to read them in the comments too.