Saturday, December 26, 2009

‘The Art of Living’: Keeping the Faith

I was 12 or 13 years old when I was gifted a book called ' The Art of Living' on Vipassana Meditation by William Hart. I had already done the Transcendental Meditation course and as children my age would do, never practiced it again, though I still remember the mantra I was given!! :)

I must say, that all through this journey called life, spiritual books have found their way into my life.. :) All this talk these days, about attracting things into life, going by that philosophy, maybe I must have wanted them in some previous birth :)))) I have a story for each one entering my life in very interesting and sometimes, not so happy, circumstances. Always making me realize the presence of the divine around, taking care of me! :)

Coming back to the book 'The Art of Living'! It's a beautiful book on Vipassana Meditation with an outline of the basics of Buddhism, short stories and an ‘Intellectual Commentary on Experiential Wisdom.’ I loved reading that book, especially the short stories, every now and then. Must have read it 30-40 times but I never understood parts of the ‘Intellectual Commentary,’ and I wished I could find someone who would explain the meaning of quite a few things the book mentions. In vain!! I found no one near me who could understand it, or for that matter, was willing to read ‘SUCH BOOKS’ at my age :))) Definitely none of my friends, classmates or even elders.

Though I enjoyed the book immensely, I could not relate to all the experiences narrated in the book. However, I did not associate that with any form of disbelief on the writer, or Vipassana or Buddhism, nor did I ever doubt any of the experiences. I always felt there was truth behind those words. I knew that somewhere something in my own experience was lacking that prevented me from understanding the book completely. I always thought I would go to a Vipassana centre someday to experience it myself…

However, instead of Vipassana, something else happened!!! “The BEST thing that could have ever happened”!! After I began practicing meditation regularly, that ‘Intellectual Commentary’ has become an ‘Experiential Reality.’ (An everyday affair) Transformed my life, attitude, thinking and continues to do so.. And now when I read that book, or other books on spiritual experiences, I comprehend a lot more of what they imply.

The Limitation of Words
Words sometimes (or maybe most of the times) fail to reflect experiences. (Try explaining the pain in your head, to someone who has never experienced any pain. Can you find words to express it.....We all want easy answers, but nothing can ever satisfy our highest quest, if it is genuine, except our own experiences. To add, Meditation is not a one day affair, although I have seen and continue to see hundreds of first time phenomena and miracles all around me.

The Cure for Restlessness
Most people say they are unable to close their eyes and relax even for a few moments. The absence of a person or thing that we love or want can definitely make us restless and feel lonely, but imagine, if that’s the restlessness in and around us, where we cannot sit with ourselves for some time, why would people want to be with restless people like us?
We are all energy transmitters, so it’s very important to see what kind of energy we are emitting.. :)

Not to say, that there are no restless moments, but mindfulness, the very awareness that we are restless, works to bring us out of it. The very moment we become aware of it, we begin to break the cycle and understand that ‘being alone’ and ‘being lonely’ are two completely different perspectives. In simple words, just a conversion!! The ability to experience the difference, may come after a period of practicing mindfulness or meditation, or can happen in a fraction of a second. :)

All is ‘Energy’
The quantum physicist and the saint say the same thing – All is ‘Energy.’ The former talks from a scientific and experimental perspective and the latter from an experiential perspective! Feeling the vibrations, electricity and energy in and around him! While there is no change in the temperament of the quantum physicist when he makes this proclamation, a true saint’s mere presence reflects the bliss, radiance and resplendence that comes from experiencing reality as it is!

Remembering Celine Dion’s song –
‘….When you wanted the most, there’s no easy way out,
When you’re ready to go, and your heart’s left in doubt,
Don’t give up on your faith,
Love (I call it the highest possible manifestation of energy) comes to those who believe it,
And ‘That’s the way it is’!! :)


  1. Welcome Back...

    We ll have something good to read now... :)

  2. really like the way you write......its very original full of sensitivity and soothing. And this is rare. i'll be a regular reader.....!!

  3. when we say life is a journey we mean that we wanna reach somewhere. the problem starts , it is when we are given the choices of destination we do not know much about this journey , and when we know something about it we are already long way on our journey.
    you are lucky to get the right path in the initial phase of your journey.

  4. I feel it's really walking a path where one knows almost nothing.. What keeps one going is 'Faith'. Faith in the divine power... :)
    To add, it's never too early or too late to start..:)
    The right time is always 'NOW'

  5. you write very fluently. interesting autobiographical writing! impressed!