Monday, June 11, 2018

You have to meet Didi Nirmala

image from brahmakumaris


A lot of our senior yogis are coming to Manila lately it feels like Madhuban (the university of Brahma Kumaris Meditation up in the mountains of Abu, India).


I go to India year after year for my retreat and to learn from our seniors.


I save for it, take the long flights and haul a luggage full of food good for 2 weeks (I don't like Indian food)- just so I can be in their company.


And now in Manila, you have a chance to sit down with Dr. Nirmala Kajaria, the Director of Academy for a Better World (Gyansarovar), one of the campuses in Madhuban, India.


Didi is a real yogi to the core.  I love watching her reaction during cultural presentations- she has none.  She is looking but not looking.  She's not pulled by the music or the dance or the pageantry.  She's beyond this world- high above the sights & sounds, a true yogi.


Of nearly a million students of Brahma Kumaris meditation, Didi Nirmala's among the handful which our Teacher mentions in the classes. 

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"This one has a clean and honest heart.", 
our Teacher says in one class 
when I was in Madhuban.  

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Then, the camera zooms in on her- again no reaction.


She does not take in the praise or the defamation.  This allows her to see things clearly.      


In a plenary with around 500 yogis, a classmate asked, "How can I be content if everyone around me is uncooperative?".


In front of 500 other souls, Didi answered in her signature neutral tone, "Become the solution.  Don't depend on anyone."


We have a term for her in raja yoga lingo- a detached observer.  


For me, it simply means she's able to cut all ties with this old world- culture, desires, relations, possessions, and positions; and simply forge a connection with the true self and the Divine.  


Didi Nirmala talks about spirituality


But, she is loving as much as she is detached.  I usually go to her for spiritual advise about important life decisions- career, relationships and even investments.  


Even when she has a very tight schedule and meets with VIPs from all over the world, she allots personal meeting for all of us in her ward (meditation students from the Asia-Pacific region). 


Such is Didi Nirmala- detached yet loving, a powerful yogi but a nurturing mother to all of us in her care.


You have to meet her!



Dr. Nirmala Kajaria, Director of Academy for a Better World in Rajasthan, India and Brahma Kumaris Regional Coordinator for Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific Region will have a FREE talk on June 13, Wednesday, 6:00 to 8:00PM, Brahma Kumaris Quezon City, 34 T Gener Street corner Kamuning Road Quezon City.

You are warmly invited.


register online here










Sunday, June 10, 2018

I don’t know Spade or Bourdain


I’ve never bought a Kate Spade bag or watched any Bourdain show, but I know this guy who nearly took his life.

image from karrierebibel

He's funny and smart and docile and kind.  I like how he makes everyone laugh with his antics and quick remarks.  He’s genteel and always ready to help, too.  


We always talk.  Well, actually he talks and I listen.  


One day, he rolled up his sleeves and showed me the scars on his wrists- some healed slits, some fresh wounds, all ugly random attempts to take his own life.  


“I need to see blood flowing just to make sure that I’m still alive”,  he said.


I was quiet.  For once, I didn't know what to say.  I simply looked at him questioningly.


“There are times when I just want to end it but I always hear my younger sister’s cries in my head and so I’ll stop.”, he opened up.


There was a huge WHY hanging over my head.  I wanted to cry and scream and go crazy at that moment but I mustered all my strength to stay calm despite the shocking news.  


And so, I urged him to tell me his story.  I listened. I asked questions but I never gave him any advice.  

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            At that time, I knew I simply have               to be there for him.

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It went on for days, weeks, months.


So, when we were at mass and he got scared of all the strangers religiously reciting their prayers but were secretly plotting to kill him, we ran out of the church like thieves.  When he was adamant that the neighbors could hear his thoughts every time he takes a bath, I let him stink for days.  When he cut classes because black CIA airplanes were hounding him, I told him to hide inside the house.


There was nothing else I could do at that time but allow him to go through it and make sure he knows I’m on his side.  Everyone else gave him his much needed space, too.


Eventually, he allowed us to seek help.  I would go with him to every consultation.  Everyone else discretely monitored his condition.  With his consent, we also made the necessary changes.


It was a long ordeal.  Years passed.  He gradually became stronger and learned how to manage it.

image from karrierebibel

Recently, I asked him what the struggle felt like.


“I was like a sick chick battling with dear life at that time.  I felt all of you cradled me in the palm of your hands, accepted me for who I am and took care of me.”

image from youtube

I’m not one who likes to give advice.  Please let me just give this one: Be kind.  But first, to yourself so you can have a big heart to embrace others. 













Tuesday, May 29, 2018

#WalangForever


image from behance.net


I was at the grocery one day when I overheard a group of merchandisers (the ones lining up the stocks) arguing whether “may forever" (relationships last) or walang forever (relationships don’t last). 

It was a long debate which also got me thinking.

I couldn't pick a side though- until of late.

Recently, I’ve been listening to classes of Charlie Hogg, Brahma Kumaris Director for Asia and the Pacific.

He point-blankly declares "walang forever".  Well, not exactly in those words (For one, he doesn’t speak Tagalog. :) hehe)

He explains, 

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“Here’s a huge dilemma in human life and that is no relationship is permanent.  Whether it’s change, whether it’s time, whether it’s separation, whether it’s death- the object of my love goes."
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But, we're immensely invested in our relationships that we often dismiss the fact that these relationships end- in one way or another.  So, we feel lost or abandoned when our love ones leave us or we go in a frenzy looking for the next one (or "the one" for some) .

He suggests,

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"Explore the one relationship that is permanent- that is always there.”
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He is referring to the relationship with the self. 

However, he’s not implying that we don't get involved in any other relationship or ditch our family and friends.  He’s merely reminding us that amidst the noise of our own mind, the chaos of the world and our relentless search for true love, we forget who we really are and who we belong to.


image from us.brahmakumaris

The Soul

"Statistics show that 80% of us believe that we are more than our body.”, says Bro. Charlie.  


However, he states that we don’t often experience that and points out that we have to start by practicing self-awareness.

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“When I’m aware of my (true) self, when it seeps through my being… it's like coming home to a place inside where I feel so comfortable.” 
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“I don’t have to try to impress anybody, I don’t have to put a pressure on myself to look good, to be noticed, to be out there.”

"I just have to be aware of who I am and naturally, I begin to taste the original feeling of my self."

"I am a soul. Not really a male or female or Asian or European and all the labels that divide people in this world.  Reality is that I am a soul.", Hogg reveals

Now, this self, the soul has three faculties- mind, intellect and the subconscious.


image by kiwiTACHAN

The Overthinking Mind


"So many conversations are going concurrently in our heads… Sometimes with others- sharing our feelings with others, trying to prove my point. Sometimes with myself- you know that inner voice disapproving of myself. "Why did I say that?  Why did I do that?" Sometimes conversations with situations. “What's happening?  Why isn’t it happening.  It shouldn’t be happening."  At other times, fantasy conversation with the person in our dreams.”

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"It seems that our mind is constantly in conversation in some direction- it never stops." 
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"Seeing this mind that overthinks in these elongated conversations, I think we crave peace inside. We crave stillness.  We crave a mind that rests. We crave silence. But, I think at the same time, we fear silence." 

 
"Because the conversations have a purpose. The noise of the mind has a purpose.  It stops me from going deep into my truth- to understand really who I am.", shares Hogg.  



image from pinsdaddy

 The Intellect: the wise guard of the mind


"What I’ve found recently, I begin to think of my mind as a sacred space inside.”, Bro. Charlie goes on.


"The image that I have is a beautiful crystal bowl- absolutely clean and clear.  Full of clean, pure water.  This is the original state of my mind." 

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"Wisdom is to keep the negative and wasteful conversation out of my sacred space."
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"This sacred space has many gateways into it- one is my ears.  My pool (inside) can be so calm and quiet (but) one conversation of few words or comment, can enter through the gateway of my ears and my conversation in my mind becomes heated and angry.  I see something which is not fair or unjust, the gateway of my eyes allow the conversation in my mind to become one of great judgement and criticism."

"We need wisdom to protect this sacred space.  Then, I can have the most elevated conversation of all (with myself and the Divine)."






image from uncut-news

The subconscious:  the recordings of my past

"Have you ever wondered why even if you have a strong resolve to be peaceful or calm, suddenly anger or frustration comes out?” asks Hogg.


"Emotions are like little windows into my past.  All the experiences of the past are imprinted on my memory track.  We have millions of experiences sitting in our subconscious like packages sitting inside of me. Someone said something and it triggers this little package, it opens & rushes into my mind. It’s like you become an instrument to open something from my past"

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Emotions are like little windows into my past
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He tells a story of a woman who felt very rejected after someone commented about her life.  She was so hurt that she went quiet for months.  Then, she realized that the only thing the person did was press a button which is already inside of her. 


Hogg advises, "We need self-awareness to understand that all of us carry our history in our subconscious.  Otherwise, we wonder why a little thing happens and my reaction to it is so huge... My past is influencing my present life."


image from valuepreneurs.org

Putting it all together


Hogg explains 3 essential S in spirituality.

"Spiritual intelligence is the wisdom to build a rich, loving relationship with me."

"Self-awareness is to take full responsibility for how I think."

"Spirituality is carrying this self-awareness in my life."  

"The more I practice, the more it influences everything in my life even the way I relate to people."

"Someone with self-awareness, when they meet somebody and that person does something or says something that triggers something in me, the one with self-awareness will look at the self and say, “Oh look at that, I reacted in this way. It’s increasing my learning about myself and my own story", rather than instantly jumping and projecting it back on the other person."

"One with self-awareness starts to take responsibility and begins to observe that what all relationships do is to trigger what is already inside of me."

"One with self-awareness learns that if I know the value of another, I can come close."

"It is also knowing that we have to do something for ourselves (first)," Bro. Charlie discloses.



Charlie Hogg, Brahma Kumaris Director for Asia and the Pacific will be giving a FREE talk at Onstage Theatre, Greenbelt 1 on June 5, 7:00-9:00pm. You are warmly invited!

Register online here.









Tuesday, May 22, 2018

How to be a princess without marrying a prince


image from huffingtonpost


An alternate title for this is, "How to be a prince without marrying a princess" (‘cause it can go either way). ;)


There’s a lot of talk about the recent royal wedding of late.  Well, I have news for you.  You can be a royal, too!


My Teacher tells me if I can truly understand and practice raja yoga meditation I can be the king (or queen) of my self and I can rule over my sense organs, and the faculties of my spirit: mind, intellect and nature (sankaras).  Then, I can be free of the clutches of the external or the chaos of the world. 

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“The first power you have to have
is power over yourself”
my Teacher always tells me.
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"Royalty simply means sovereignty- the ability to fully be in command of yourself.  Then, you can harness the second power- to serve."


"In essence, the function of royalty is to help others.”, my Teacher shares.


I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of a kingdom since I was young.  Little did I know that in the world of spirituality, my subjects are my eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hands and my physical body along with my inner world- mind, intellect and nature (sanskara).


Over the years, I’ve developed easy strategies to rule over my subjects:


image from lastlemon.com

1.  Let go of waste

Years ago, I’ve observed that my eyes like to watch stories of other people and other places.  Then, my mind wanders off to these visual imagery.  My weak intellect cannot discipline the childish mind so it lets it squander my time.  The lazy nature I have supports the idle mind and so the childish mind rules.


Eventually, I realized that it does not serve my spirit to let my eyes and mind rule me.  Gradually, I decreased listening to the wants of my mind which in turn made my intellect stronger.  The more I say no, the more the rational part of me (intellect) wins.  In the end, I was able to let go of my addiction.



image from chopra.com

2.  Start and end my day with a spiritual practice


“The early morning hours are the best time of the day.”, says my Teacher.

  
So, I start my day with a 30 minute meditation.  It has helped me stay grounded in the last 9 years.

  
In the same way that I take care of my physical body daily- bathing, eating and sleeping, my Teacher tells me it’s necessary to nurture my spirit every single day as well.

  
“Take a spiritual bath twice daily.”, my Teacher admonishes.

  
As such, I make it a point I wrap up the day with 30 minutes of meditation, as well.


  
image from ici.radio-canada
  
3.  Keep spaces for silence, inspiration or affirmation during the day     

  
It wasn’t easy for me to step into silence, at first.  Yes, I can keep my mouth shut in an instant but my intellect (the rational part of me) finds it hard to stop the chattering of the mind right away.  So initially, I relied on music to tie my mind and heart (also known as intellect) together.

  
When I feel weak, I remember Mulan, my favorite Disney princess.



When someone doesn’t like me, I play "Let it Be" in my head




And, India Arie's "I Am Light" can immediately transport me to that space beyond form and matter.
  


I actually have a playlist or affirmation list for all the times in between- the minutes in my day when my mind doesn’t need to focus or concentrate.

    … while taking a shower
    … while washing my hands
    … while cooking
    … while on the road
    … while walking 
    … while eating
    ... while waiting


I once clocked in all my times in between in a day.  I averaged 8 hours!  Therefore, I can never say I don’t have time to take care of my spirit.    

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"The first power is the power 
to control the self.”, says my Teacher.

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That’s the first step to sovereignty, a.k.a. royalty, a.k.a. freedom.


So, I take mindful steps to be free from the dictates of others, demands of society, turbulence of the world and even the chaos of my own inner world.  How about you?  What price do you pay to be free? 



meditation by Release Your Wings