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?

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.

May 2009 – a personal update – celebrations, bereavements, career & preparation

Dear family and friends,

The month of May has so far been one of celebration, bereavement, remembrance, family closeness, career progress and preparing for this summer’s events.

In the early May bank holiday weekend, Heena and I spent 3 days in Brighton to celebrate her birthday, where we feasted at several of Brighton’s many vegetarian / vegan restaurants. If you’re going to Brighton, I highly recommended the vegetarian restaurant Terre à Terre.

We held bhakti (devotional prayers) on Saturday 16th May in memory of Heena’s father who passed away 9 years ago and in memory of Heena’s kaka (father’s brother) who passed away 6 years ago, and a sadadi /prathna sabha (prayer meeting) on Saturday 23rd May for our dear nanima (my mum’s mum) who passed away in Nairobi earlier this month.

On Monday 25th May, a few of the family got together to write kankotris / invitations for my brother Sawan’s wedding which is taking place in August. It was a productive day, and with the recent bereavements in the family, it was wonderful to have the warmth of the family come together.

Preparation is coming along well for the session titled “Revealing the Gremlins” which I’ll be presenting at the Young Jains International Convention this July. It’s about recognising the barriers we face when working towards our goals, and explores what karma is really about. If you want to know more about this, you can read an introduction to the session ‘Revealing the Gremlins’ .

The convention is taking place on the weekend of 17th to 19th July in London, and is open to all ages (aimed mostly at age 16 to 35 and beyond, although there’s a special kids convention taking place alongside it). Do register to attend if it sounds interesting – the cost is heavily subsidised, and registration includes delicious Jain vegan meals! Let me know if you’d like to know more, or see www.youngjains.org.uk/convention for details.

Public speaking is also becoming an important element in my career, where last week I was invited to a conference to speak about digital marketing strategies to a room full of university marketing and communications professionals. This is really important for me because my role at Chameleon Net focuses on building relationships with existing clients and attracting more clients from the higher education sector. I received some very constructive feedback from the session I presented, which will help to make me a better public speaker over time.

Next month, Heena and I will be celebrating six months being married (and incidentally a year since I proposed to her). It’ll consist of more preparation towards the Young Jains Convention in July and Sawan’s wedding in August. Of course, June is also the month in which I’ll be growing a year older / wiser!

As you can see, the next few months will be quite action-packed, so thanks to all who have been patient with me about arranging to spend some quality one-on-one time together – this will happen September 2009 onwards…

With love,
Suraj

Svatantrya Divas – Independence Day

This morning I received a beautiful message from a friend about the relation betwen the celebration of India’s independence and our own inner journey to freedom…


Jai Jinendra
Jai Satgurudev Vandan

Today India, the Mother country, celebrates independence, the end of an era of foreign rule which arguably began more than a eight hundred years ago for North India.

As the country modernises and westernises, there is a great challenge to the innate spirituality, the soul, if you will, in her culture.

But then the king within is also dominated by foreign matter – both gross external objects and subtle karmic matter.

At the heart of the Satyagraha of Gandhiji lies the idea that we are letting ourselves be suppressed and we can rise against this, resist it, not co-operate with it, for without our help, the oppressor can do oppress us, as we are providing the means.

Just as this insight freed 470mm from foreign domination, by a handful of rulers, so this great majestic soul can throw of the shakles of its own bondage by becoming awake and arising.

With the blessings, guidance, example and living presence of a True Guru all this is easy.

Happy Independence Day
Happy journey to Independence!

It May Be Hidden, But It’s Still There

Right now, the sun is shining. Nothing special – it’s a gorgeous afternoon, and the light of the sun is penetrating through the large window and illuminating my whole bedroom. This morning the sun wasn’t shining. Nothing special – the clouds were hiding it, and it looked quite gloomy outside. Tonight the sun will stop shining. Nothing special – the Earth will have rotated so that we won’t be able to see the sun, and so we’ll be in darkness.

Interesting how the sun was still there, doing it’s job, radiating as it was meant to. The sun will continue doing it’s job, radiating as it’s meant to. The sun will continue shining. At times there will be clouds or the Earth covering it up, hiding it from our view, and although it will look like the sun has stopped shining, it’ll just be that our view of the sun has been obscured.

Our experience of the rest of the world is kind of like that. Everything that we could ever want, that we could ever hope to get, is permanently there. Everything that we hope never to get, to never be a victim of, is also permanently there. What happens is that our past actions cause certain things to be hidden from our present view.

Karmically speaking, our previously bound paap karma hides all the things that make us feel good, and reveals those very things that make us feel bad. In the same context, previously bound punya karma hides all the things that we could never want, and reveals the very things that make us feel better.

Of course all those bad things and those better things are just momentary. We want to remove all karma so that we can see our world as it is, completely unadulterated, being aware of all the good and all the not so good, without really reacting to it.

So the next time you’re looking for that perfect parking space, remember that it’s just there where you want it, even if it appears to be momentarily hidden. The next time you want to go on that playful date, remember that the right person is right in front of you, even if they appear to hidden from your life. The next time you want the sun to shine, remember that it will, although it may just be hiding behind the clouds.