Friday, 25 September 2015

My YoUniverse

Meditation and contemplation have led me on new paths of discovery. Reflections on self and my connect with the universe.

As I sit meditating today, I let my mind wander before I enter the deep stage of 'no thought zone' (yes, this actually happens). Keeping routine thoughts at bay is hardly a challenge anymore, it is this inquisitive, seeking mind that prods for answers from my sub-conscious. I am rarely disappointed. And so, my mind takes me on yet another journey..this time trying to evaluate what I have learnt in the past few years.

Acceptance is one attitude that has been so unburdening for me. 'Resistance versus acceptance'. Not for a minute am I talking of a meek surrender to circumstances or persons. It is a subtle shift to being an observer, of purging emotions that hold me back. This change has been of great help during my tumultuous past decade and has helped me deal with challenges more philosophically. I now have the ability to look at the larger picture.

I am here for a reason.
What's happening to me in the now has basis in the past (Karma).
Everything is as it should be.

Appreciation of what I am endowed with, of how exciting life is. We take so much for granted, don't we? As children we grew up in wonderment ~ taking joy in little things such as bubbles, a dragon fly or shapes we 'saw' in clouds. In recent years, I have started reliving these smaller joys. The sound and sight of birds is one thing that immediately connects me to nature. Birds are a symbol of freedom to me, of adventure. I love the greens, the great outdoors, long walks on a beach and the hills. My recent ability to live my life more mindfully has facilitated this ability to live life in the moment, savour small joys of life. After all, they make for a grand life!

Gratitude ~ Aha! the magic mantra of these times. Admittedly, I was introduced to it after reading The Secret. However, I have moved on from this process of expressing gratitude as in the 'Ask, Believe, Receive', formula. It now means being genuinely thankful for just about everything~ my challenges that made me more resourceful and resilient. The thorny people who made me adapt and still ended up helping me in some way. For all my ailments which are considered crippling..I'd have never grown as a person without them. For all the goodies in my life~ from small things to my occasional indulgences. The ability to enjoy them. For the capacity to be of help. For all the fabulous people who surround me~ family, friends and Mentors who have helped shape my path. Actually, when one comes to think about it, there's so much to be grateful about, mind you, without any motive behind doing so.

God, Oh God, I ask You, aren't all these your gifts?

This incredibly complex and beautiful Universe that scientists are still trying to fathom.. I am such a tiny particle in the vastness of things. My mind stops its meandering as I settle deeper into my sub-conscious.

You are the Universe, God..the Universe is in You. You are its Creator.

A few moments later a new insight takes birth. God, You are seated in my Soul, which means the Universe is also in consciousness has the capability to span the entire Universe.

By Your Grace, God.

In Gratitude.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

When Will That Promising Sunrise Be?

When mediocrity is replaced by excellence galore

When 'will do' makes way for that one yard more

Where creativity is not bridled by fear of failure
Where innovation is unafraid of ridicule

When social interest precedes personal gains
When we reach out to reduce each others' pains

Where integrity sets the benchmarks of quality
Where each one can vie, flourish in equality

Where every child and woman is safe, is free
Where every woman expresses herself freely

When will my country that morning see?
When will that promising sunrise be?

Are you inspired to convert those 'wheres' into here?
Don't you sense that transformation is near?

Let's change the 'whens' into nows
Let's make it happen India! Let's make India 'Wow'.

Friday, 31 July 2015

The Value of Mentors

Change is a fundamental principle of life and so is learning.

From the wisest of Mentors I have been learning what to learn and how to learn.
And of course, implement the learning effectively!

Over the last decade,
one of my earlier Gurus was, Jigish Bhatt​. Beyond our professional relationship, he remains one of my most trusted friends. Always there when needed, always there to offer solutions where none is in sight, last to seek credit. A gem of a person. After having been a book worm until my early twenties, Jigish reintroduced me to the habit of reading after a long hiatus. What a wise and valuable gift that was!

Dale Carnegie, The Secret and such books were part of that period. The timing was just right for me to take inspiration from these fine books and for sure, they had a profound impact on me at a time when when I my personal progress had stalled.
I assumed these books encompassed all the knowledge that the other books from the 'Self Help' genre had.

Then, The Bhagavad Gita came my way and transformed my life. I have now read it five times. As I read glimpses from it everyday, a new revelation inspires me each time. I thought this was the the epitome of knowledge and wisdom.

The Gita seemed to say to me,
'Life is your greatest teacher. Through it you'll learn from people, books and circumstances~ both joyful and tragic, walk on, taking all that comes in your stride, with equanimity.'
Thus my journey continues..I keep reading, yes, I have had to deal with cataclysmic events as well as cherish moments that brought great joy. Each is a teacher in its own way.

And on this explorative journey, I met some people who helped shape my life.

"You are born for writing. You have the ability to change people's lives" said
Puneet Bhatnagar when I was a green behind the ears Blogger. An Innovation Coach, man on a mission, Puneet  has vast experience in the Advertising industry where he was involved in highly acclaimed campaigns. He has the knack of instantly sizing up a person's strong area and then developing it. 
By setting up BipolarIndia, he set me free. He actively mentors me in my Book project as well as other initiatives.

DrAmit Nagpal, is a vibrant, kind and highly evolved Business Storyteller and Keynote speaker. He made me believe I could be a fine storyteller and also a personal branding coach, a career which was not on my radar at all. With great dexterity of a masterly coach, he has developed flair in my writing. A person of ready wit and radiant positive energy, it easily rubs off on me! Having a thought leader like him as a mentor in my Personal Branding and Storytelling career is a blessing.

Amitji's largesse did not stop there..he introduced me to someone whose generosity is difficult to put into words. Thousands of kilometres separate India and the US, our cultures differ vastly, however how well she has understood me, is testimony to her coaching abilities.

Jennifer Sertl, Business Strategist, Keynote speaker and Global Social Media Influencer, has been a huge influence on my journey over the last year or so. Since she supports the mental health awareness cause, she relished coaching me on my pioneering and challenging path~ that of a Bipolar who sought to reach out to his community through his website and Book.

She pours in all her energy, insights and wisdom to light up my path~ my word, it caught fire! Jennifer, Soul Sis, your selfless, wholehearted commitment is worth its weight in gold.
The impact you have had on my journey cannot be described.

All I can say is that 'A Bipolar's Journey~ From Torment to Fulfillment' has your soul involved in it. Our community as a whole owes so much to you!

Deepest Gratitude to all my Gurus, also to those I have not named.

Let's Walk Together..Onward, with purpose and zest!

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Life is Beautiful

Life is beautiful
Fall in love with it.

Life flows in a rhythm
Flow along with it.
Life is full of colour
Bask in the spectacle.
Life is a miracle
Trust its magic.
Life has its own cadence
Breathe along rhythmically.
Life has plans for you
Have faith in its intentions.
Life is joy
Enjoy it!
Life is generous
Live in abundance.
Life is selfless 
Express gratitude to it.

Life is lived in this moment
Cherish it in the now.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Yoga and Me

My Yoga journey began sometime in the late nineties. My induction into Yoga practice happened more out of necessity than choice. I was a chronic, acute Asthmatic all my adult life and the asthma attacks were assuming life threatening proportions (I had been hostipalised in emergencies in intensive care twice.) It was then that my Doctor, Late Pramod Niphadkar virtually forced me to adopt Yoga and other breathing exercises to supplement my medical treatment.

It then began as a daily ten minute routine and along with my other regimen, it turned my life around. Even after Asthma was well under control, I maintained my routine since it had become a part of my system.

In May 2003 something more dramatic happened and life was never the same again. Bipolar Disorder struck and it made me dig deeper, explore all resources available to me in order to regain normalcy. I learnt a few more specific yoga asanas and breathing techniques to alleviate my new set of problems.

Serendipity brought a new twist in this journey. I was introduced to the Bhagavad Gita in circumstances strongly suggesting it was meant to be~ it had a profound impact on me and I realised that what I believed was Yoga all these years was not the real thing at all! The physical asanas which have become hugely popular in many parts of the world are erroneously termed as Yoga, instead of Ashtanga Yoga. No doubt, it does help balance the mind and body and has proven health benefits.

The other elements are Karma Yoga (doing one's duty  without any expectation), Dhyan Yoga (Meditation), Gyan Yoga (Knowledge) and finally Bhakti Yoga (Devotion and surrender to God).

Yoga is not just about asanas, it is a way of life. I would add, joyful living.

I had learnt to meditate almost two decades ago. My practice of it, however, was infrequent. Reading the Gita changed all that. Even meditation got a new purpose, a new meaning. I began introspecting a lot more, asking myself questions, seeking answers to them. I now began to understand why Yoga is described as a way of living rather than a physical practice.

As for Ashtanga Yoga, my health challenges motivated me to reach higher on the fitness scale. Last year my wife and I took our Yoga practice a step further. We engaged a trainer who taught us a whole range of new asanas. Being in our 50's, some were challenging, however with regular practice, we have mastered them all. The body's ability to adapt and regain flexibility is amazing!

My day begins with half an hour of meditation followed by fifty minutes of ashtanga yoga

mixed with a few exercises. A day without this feels incomplete. While this might sound repetitive and boring, it is not~ I can meditate for hours without feeling the need to come out of the blissful state it takes me to! As for asthanga yoga, the asanas we have learnt are so many that not all can be fitted in a session. Each day we schedule different asanas which also means that we go through the whole gamut of what's been taught to us on a rotation basis.

Ashtanga yoga and meditation are the foundation of one's path to self discovery. One can hardly go on a spiritual quest without a calm, balanced body and mind. Meditation stills the mind and prepares it for advancement to the next level. It gives us access to an infinite reservoir of wisdom and bliss.

My moment in my journey came with the realistion that there was a higher being than me seated in my Soul.

And bowing down to Him.

Surrendering to Him.

This is what truly freed me.

Touch this moment, set yourself free.

(Me in Meditative stance~ Photo Credit: Meenal Jaiswal Photography)

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