Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Taoism - Living in Harmony

Recently I read a book, "The Tao of Pooh" by Benjamin Hoff, and was introduced to a beautiful concept called Taoism.

To introduce what Taoism is, it is a philosophy which emphasizes on living in harmony with Tao (meaning "path" or "way").

This philosophy connected straightaway with my inner self and I wanted to share my understanding of Taoism with the readers. What Taoism is all about and how it connects with our life, can be understood by some of these basic things which Taoism talks about:

Wei Wu Wei

Wei Wu Wei, meaning "Action without action", is one of the basic principles of Taoism. At first, the phrase may sound a bit confusing that how an action can be performed without action, but going deeper into the meaning, we can find the essence of this phrase. Every thought and every act of ours are done with so much effort that the very basic essence of life often gets neglected and and our actions often turn into efforts. The concept of Wei Wu Wei teaches us to be effortless in our thoughts as well as in our actions. The universe around us and within us always guides us to what is right and what shall be done. But the noise around ourselves is so loud that we are not able to listen to the inner guidance. Calm down and let the voice within you speak and take care of you. Once you are in a habit of following this voice, then no effort will be needed any longer in any of your actions and you can understand the concept of Wei Wu Wei.


The purpose of life is to be happy. But how can one be happy when life is full of suffering? The "Tao answer" to this question is that suffering is not bad. Suffering adds flavor to life, just as salt adds flavor to food. Sometimes the amount of salt is very high and it becomes more of a bad taste than a flavor. What should we do then? We cannot reduce the amount of salt, but what we can do is increase the amount of food to neutralize the salt. It means that we cannot reduce our sufferings but we can increase our own life to larger dimensions, expanding our mind to such a wide perspective that we are able to see that suffering is only a part of life and our life is much bigger than the suffering.

The Uncarved Block

The concept of the uncarved block teaches us to be natural and simple. Trying to be something that you are not or wanting more than what's required, are one of the main causes of suffering. Be natural like an uncarved block and don't make yourself too complicated.

This way or That way?

It is not necessary for you to choose a specific path. You may take two completely different paths and still reach the same goal. It is just which path suits you the best and which path your inner voice guides you to take. The universe is there to guide you, just let the "Effortless Action" choose the path for you.

Stop Sleepwalking!

Yes, everyone might be thinking that we are not sleepwalking and definitely we are awake. But have we ever considered are we really awake? If you are thinking about the past or the future, then the answer is No. The one who is truly awake is the person who is there in the present. And the present just doesn't mean the present day, it means this very moment you are living. Don't live your life day-by-day, live it moment-by-moment.

Honestly speaking, Taoism is not something to be talked or written about, it's something which is to be felt and lived. If it can be explained in words, then it's not Tao!

You will not be able to understand Tao, by thinking about it or talking about it. You have to live it to feel it. Words are just our helpers which can lead us to the path, following it is up to us! This article was not about making anyone learn Taoism, but I hope it gave an insight and has opened a door for someone for whom the universe was planning to follow this path!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Spend Time With Yourself

Found it on the blog "stuffnoonetoldme.blogspot.com" and it matches with one of my points in the previous post "Keep Growing". So sharing this with you:

Monday, 10 December 2012

Keep Growing!

"Never forget to love yourself."

Our everyday life has become so strained that we forget to focus on our own growth. In the beginning, it feels as if we are running along with the pace of this world, but lately we realise that we don't have enough energy to keep the same pace going and then start feeling left behind.

The urge to attend every social gathering in fear of missing something important leaves us exhausted, and as a result this low energy feeling prolongs so much that we start avoiding such situations and sit at home doing nothing at all, for hours or sometimes even waste a whole day. And in the end, when we think about our past few weeks (or months), then we realise that as a person, we have been doing nothing, not growing at all!

Yes, we rise up early in the morning, do our morning chores, go to office, do the same thing five days a week with just a slight variation than the previous day, wait for the weekend, have some fun on weekend and then same thing repeats again and again and again.

But we need to ask ourselves every now-n-then, "Am I growing? Am I learning? If not, Where are things lacking? Am I conscious about where my life is heading?"

Thinking about all these things I came to the following two conclusions:

  1. We need to have a balanced energy flow within ourselves and around us as well.
  2. With the right energy flux, we have to give direction to this energy, so that we can grow as a person.

So how do we put these two things together and workout a way forward?

Here are a few things I came up with and I myself have been practising for past few weeks, and has helped me feel more balanced about my inner self and outer world as well :-

  • Meditate - Do it daily. I know nobody has got the time to sit idle for few minutes everyday doing nothing, when you have got so many things to do. Well, if you don't have much time, just take out five minutes (maybe in the morning or after you come back to home after your day), sit with your eyes closed, plug into some calm ambient music and concentrate on your breath. Doing this small chore daily will make you feel more calm and "in control" of things around you. Tried and Tested!

  • Exercise - Umm.. This is something we have never got time for, right? But remember, when the body is ill, everything else in your life becomes secondary. Choose an exercise schedule which suits the best for you and follow it regularly. Taking care of your body is not an option, it's a necessity.

  • Eat at least one seasonal fruit daily.

  • Take care of your digestive system. What you eat is what you become!

Now with the right energy flowing this is how you can progress a little bit daily :-

  • Read a book - Make it a target to read at least one book per month.

  • Make a list of what you always wanted to learn (playing guitar, drawing, sketching, dancing, whatever!). Now pick one amongst them and start giving it at least 4 hours a week (Not a big deal, no?) and in a few months, you'll feel the pace building up. Much better than doing nothing!

  • Keep 2 hours a week exclusive for yourself when you sit, relax and do nothing! Just lay down, think and daydream (I do it on Sundays!). This is a good way of keeping yourself close to you, your dreams and your conscious.

  • And not to forget, hang out with your friends, share your little progress with them and don't forget to have fun!

All these things are not going to change things miraculously, but surely it will give you the initial kick and help you progress as a person, little by little!

"When we are facing the right direction, all we have to do is keep walking."

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Just Do It!

"I'd rather regret the things I've done than regret the things I haven't done."

You might have got the idea what I'm going to write about in this article by the very first line written above. I'm not going to write a big lengthy essay on why we should be doing things fearlessly and why we should do more and regret less. All of us have gone through this feeling a million times, when we lay down in the night and wonder how our life would have been if we had the courage to do the things which we didn't do because of many "excuses". And no, I'm not going to talk about the YOLO bullshit, because I believe that all of us are smart enough to not drive a car at 120 mph with our eyes closed and say You Only Live Once, lets do something crazy! What's more important is focusing on more important aspects of life and doing them fearlessly.

After feeling this regret a dozen times, I finally came up with a simple logic which I every time use to convince myself whenever I have to stretch myself beyond my limit and go an extra mile, be it physically or mentally.
It works most of the time for me, so I wanted to share it with you also. Here it is:

Whenever you get an opportunity to do something which you have always wanted to do, but somehow you have been holding yourself back by some kind of fear or silly excuse, just close your eyes and ask yourself, "How bad am I going to feel later if I don't accept this challenge, cursing myself that ahhhh.. why didn't I do it?" When you have convinced yourself that not taking the challenge is bad for your future feelings, reinforce your will by asking yourself, "How good am I going to feel after all of this gets over and I've put in best of myself, whatever the result might have come?"

Be logical about your answers and don't let your fears and excuses weigh down your will.

A very simple example that I can give, where this works for me quite well is, going to a gym! All of us know that working-out is kind of a painful and boring task to do (I'm not taking the fitness freaks into consideration!), but whenever I have to buck up myself, I just say to myself, "Do it now dude!, it's going to make you feel better and more confident later." and Bam! I get the energy to do it.(at least at that moment of time!)

Same concept goes for stretching yourself beyond your mental limits and fears also. Public speaking, one of the most common fear we face, can be overcome by reasoning yourself that, "Just do it! When you are done with it, you are going to feel good and more confident about yourself."

I hope my little trick works for you as well.

Live fearless as it is very well said,

"Becoming fearless isn't the point. That's impossible. It's learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it."