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Pooja Tolani – Bringing out the Innocence of North-East India

August 8, 2013 1 comment

pooja tolani

Source: The Art of Living

Having been born and brought up in North East India, she always had a soft side for that part of the country. In 2001, she started her venture to teach meditation to the people of Darjeeling, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Nagaland.

While on her journey to teach meditation to those people, she felt a touch of the warmth of the people there. Whether it was teaching a hardcore criminal in the jails of Kohima, a tribal leader in Arunachal Pradesh, or an intellectual politician in Shillong, she believes meditation brought out the innocence in each one of them.

In conversation with Pooja Tolani, a dynamic teacher, who is on the go to transform people’s life through meditation.

Q1 You have ventured into so many dangerous places in North East India and taught meditation to people there. Can you share some transformation stories? And what does meditation do, that people change so much?

In Shillong, I conducted a course in a drug de-addiction center. I had a group of about 15 boys, some of whom had been taking drugs ever since they could remember. On the first day of the course, they laughed and joked about what I was going to teach them. I was half their size and probably the only female in that facility at that time. They sat in front of me with blood-shot eyes, smelling of cigarettes, chewing pan. But all it took to completely transform them was one session of meditation and Sudarshan Kriya.

One of them, who had been suffering from insomnia for 13 years, slept like a baby that night. (Meditation can relieve people with insomnia). Today, one of those boys is an Art of Living Teacher! He is teaching so many others like him these days. He really set an example for other youth.

As tough as these boys looked, the child in them—an innocence—was evident right from the start. This is the core of every individual; only covered by stress in most cases. Meditation really helped them to wipe out their stress, break through the shackles of the past, judgments, prejudices, anger, and other inhibitors so that they could clearly see and be themselves, which is being in a state of love and service. They seemed to have only forgotten for a short period of time that life need not be what it was then for them. And they knew they were the only ones who could change it, and that too easily.

Q2 Sometimes the lives of people who live there is so full of challenges. How does meditation give a new direction to their life?

Yes, their lives are full of challenges, but whose isn’t? The challenges may differ from person to person, but everyone faces them. A challenge for one may be a comfort to another. Only getting non-vegetarian food in Nagaland was a challenge for me but a huge comfort for the locals.

Yet everyone who meditates feels the same relief, peace, energy, and happiness. This is what makes meditation so universal. Anyone in any situation or stage in life can do it and benefit just the same. And these benefits are a means for people to realize that life need not be a challenge with a few moments of joy—life is mostly joyful with just a few challenges. Once they see this, life takes a new meaning.

Many people have shared that they feel like they’ve been given a new life. But in reality, they have only begun to experience the newness of their very ancient lives.

Q3 Can you share what are the challenges that people face there and how meditation can help in overcoming those challenges?

Some of the challenges that I’ve seen people face in the North East are a lack of proper education, unhealthy diet consisting of meat and alcohol, and not enough opportunity for creative outlet. All this leads to extremely short tempers, stress, and violence in them and their society. Meditation seems to be the only practical solution to all of this. Our education system teaches everything but the knowledge of the mind—how to handle the mind. Meditation helps you go even beyond the mind.

They indulge in meat, alcohol, and tobacco and use it as a stimulants. Meditation gives them so much energy that they don’t feel the need for any external stimulants.

They don’t have enough opportunity for creative outlet. Meditation brings in them clarity and confidence to create these opportunities for themselves.

They become angry, stressed, and violent. Meditation makes them realize that that is not their true nature and takes them closer to what it truly is, peace and love.

Q4 We have heard that there is a lot of violence there. And Sri Sri says, “Violence ends where love begins”. So do you also think that meditation can bring more love in people?

I am absolutely, 100 percent sure that it does! I have seen this knowledge prove itself true, whether it is in North East India, courses for terrorists, or with hardcore prisoners in jails across the world.

Q5 You taught meditation to some tribes! Could you share some experiences from there?

Yes I have. These experiences for me have been some of my biggest learning experiences, the most hilarious moments, and yet the most humbling, which have left me feeling nothing but grateful.

What the rest of the country hears or thinks it knows about the North East is that it’s violent and unsafe. But I have lived there and know that it is one of the most beautiful, untapped natural beauties of our country. There is a certain innocence in the people there that is sometimes heart wrenching, a love that is so heartwarming. It just gets hidden sometimes. But all I needed to do was to make them meditate and it wasn’t long that I could see those qualities shine in them. And these qualities shine most when those people meditate.

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Categories: Meditation

Looking For God In The Lab

August 1, 2012 4 comments

By: Osho Times.

God is not proved objectively. What is proved objectively — the electron, neutron or proton? Nobody has yet seen electrons, neutrons, protons, but the scientists say they are. If nobody has seen them why do you say they are? Scientists say, “Because though we cannot see them, we can see their effect.” The mystics say the same thing: “God is not observed objectively, but we can see the effect.”

Can’t you see the universe running so intelligently? Can’t you see tremendous intelligence permeating the whole?

It is not only the mystics who say the universe is full of intelligence. Albert Einstein’ said, “The scientist’s religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at harmony of natural law which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.”

Listen, this is not Bohme, Ramakrishna, or Rajneesh. This is Einstein saying that it is not a dead universe, that it is not a “stupid” universe, that it is intelligent.

Physics has become metaphysics again. Physicists even talk about atoms having free will. Einstein said no event can be postulated without the presence of a witness, an observer.

Molecular biology has conclusively proved that the “matter” of organic life, our very flesh, really is mind-stuff. What is the purpose of this intelligent universe? Scientist David Foster says: “To become more intelligent.” I love this answer. This is what the mystics have always been propounding. From unawareness to awareness… from unintelligence to intelligence… there is the way and there is the goal. The Upanishads say: “tamsoma jyotingamay” — “O Master of the Universe, take me from darkness to light.”

What do we mean when we say “God is”? We only mean that the world is intelligent, nothing else. God cannot be proved objectively, that’s true. Nobody is trying to prove him objectively. In fact, if God is proved objectively, he will be no longer God. Then he will become a thing. Then you can dissect God in your lab, you can analyse; then it will not be God at all.

I have again and again said that Creation is the Creator, that the world is God; that there is no separation; that it is not like a painter and the painting — in fact it is like a dancer and the dance. God is existence. There is no separation. Not that God has created it; God has become it. You cannot find God anywhere else other than in his existence, and you cannot separate them.

Can you find the dance when the dancer has gone? Or can you call a person a “dancer” when he is not dancing? They are always together; the dance and the dancer are together. They are two aspects of One energy. Creation and Creator are together.

In fact, my own choice is that I don’t like calling God “Creator”. I call God “creativity”.  It is an ongoing process. Not that one day God created the world. Creation continues. It is moment to moment, moving, it is a process, it is dynamic, it is river-like. And God is not separate. Through meditation you come to your innermost core of intelligence. Through meditation you become so silent that your own intelligence is revealed to you. In that very revelation, God is revealed.

‘The First Principle,’ courtesy Osho International Foundation, www.osho.com
The Book of Wisdom http://oshomedia.blog.osho.com/?p=2311

 

Categories: Meditation

Peace Of The Silence

May 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Posted on: Osho Times.

The most difficult thing in your life — which should really be the easiest — is to sit by the side of the flow of your mind. Your mind is just like a river. Thoughts and thoughts and a crowd of thoughts go on passing. You simply sit by the bank, unconcerned, just a witness, and you are in for a great surprise.

Slowly, as you become more and more centered and simply a witness, thoughts start disappearing. They can exist only with your identification. You give energy to your mind. When you pull yourself out, you have stopped giving nourishment to the mind. And once there is no nourishment — thoughts are very fragile things — they start dying out.

Soon there is silence, there is peace. And this peace is not the peace of a cemetery. This peace is not dead, it is not flat. It is such a tremendous experience that once you have reached the first rung of the ladder, the ladder goes to infinity. You can go on and on discovering new layers of peace. This is the real excitement, unending excitement. That’s the meaning of the word “ecstasy”: unending excitement. You cannot exhaust it, you cannot come to a point where you say, “There is no more to discover and I am feeling flat.” It has never happened. On my own authority I say to you, I have been going as fast as possible, deeper and deeper into silence, but there is no bottom, there is no limit.

Each moment of silence brings new fragrance. Peace brings new flowers. Nothing is said, but much is heard. Nothing is shown, but much is seen. Nobody guides you, but some magnetic force of peace itself takes you farther and farther away from the mind, from the body, from the neighbors, from the wife, from the husband. And the excitement is continuously deepening.

Unless we can create millions of people around the earth who have experienced this kind of peace, war is inevitable, because people cannot survive flat lives. It is better to go into a war and have a little excitement, although it means death.

If a man who has not known inner peace is forced to live peacefully, he will either murder or kill himself. Even that will provide some excitement. Excitement is a great nourishment, but only the right kind of excitement is nourishment. The wrong kind of excitement is poison. And up to now humanity has been dominated by the wrong kind of excitement.

You are here with me to learn a very simple thing: to enjoy peace, to enjoy silence, to enjoy something that is within you and you do not have to depend on others for.

From Death to Deathlessness/courtesy Osho International Foundation.

Categories: Meditation

Hindu Deities, How They Helped Me, and How They Can Help You Too

February 1, 2012 4 comments

I know that this article will deny the very grounds of some religions, so if you are a strong follower and defender of any monotheistic religion, then you are better off not reading this article at all. However if you are open to a better understanding of God from the Eastern point of view, then you will benefit from reading this post.

Every person understands religion slightly differently, and my interpretation of Hindu gods is this. There is one God in Hinduism, that is the Universal Intelligence, and there are many other smaller gods, who are the aspects of the Universal Intelligence. Furthermore, if I am not mistaken, in Hinduism the One God is not called God at all, gods in Hinduism are the certain forces of the One God together with some personal elements.

This is also confirmed by Tibetan faith, the faith that is so deep and pure, yet very highly inaccessible because of the oppressions of Tibet. In Tibetan faith there are six realms a person can get to after their death, and if they were abiding the laws of the universe, they may go to the realm of Gods. (A good but boring book to read about Tibetan understanding of what happens after death is this.

The realm of gods indeed hosts gods, but these deities are still one step away from merging with the Universal Intelligence. That’s why gods are still personal in Hinduism, in my opinion. They are still committing some “sins” which stops them from merging with the Universe – mainly pride and thinking that there is no further involvement point, in the view of the Tibetans. Nevertheless gods are much more developed than humans and therefore they gladly help any person who asks for their help.

Some of the gods are very developed, but they still choose to incarnate to help the humanity evolve. And some have some distance go to completely merge with one God because they express pride, anger or other worldly passions.

What I like about Hindu deities is that each of them is the incarnation of some particular aspect of the universe (e.g. love, wealth, understanding) and if you pray to that deity to get that aspect, you will. Let me explain.

There is a well known goddess Lakshmi in India. She is the Goddess of wealth. So if you have her image in your home or pray to get wealth, you most likely will. This is because smaller gods and goddesses are still personal, whilst the universal intelligence is impersonal. And if you pray, you are transcending the laws of nature, so even if you don’t deserve to get wealth, you will, because of the help of the goddess.

I think in the West those goddesses and gods are like our saints. Each saint represents some earthly or divine aspect, and if you call for the saint, he will respond.

Some gurus of India even tell that it’s better to pray to these gods and goddesses than to one God, because most people have too hard a time to grasp the notion of God pervading everything, and they get much better results when praying to one particular aspect of God.

Praying to one particular god or goddess makes your prayer very focused, because your spiritual force targets another defined(for a lack of a better word) spiritual force.

In Hinduism there are countless gods and goddesses, and each one of them has several or multiple powers. At first, when I heard about this, I thought this was just a beautiful fairy tale. All those images of blue, black and white supernatural beings seemed pretty, but nothing more. But then I bought a sticker of a beautiful Hindu goddess which I new nothing about, and my wealth instantly boosted. I then found out that this was Lakshmi’s image, which is the Hindu goddess of wealth.

Encouraged by this discovery but still not convinced about the whole theory of powerful Hindu gods, I bought a sticker of Buddha, which is again believed by Hindus to be the incarnation of one aspect of God. When I got into my meditative position and fixed my gaze at this sticker with a candle lit next to it, I very quickly got into a deep meditation, which showed me that Buddha can be an excellent meditation teacher, and again proved to me that Hindu gods are indeed powerful and valid.

Further encouraged by this success I bought the image of Krishna, mainly because it was a really beautiful image and I wanted to again see if this aspect of God was valid and powerful. And again I wasn’t disappointed, because I got some interesting experiences as a result of this deity brought into my home (if a hotel room can be called home:))

What happens most often when I focus on Krishna’s image is that the whole room seems to be filled with smoke and only his image shines. This is a very strange experience indeed and I still need to find out the meaning of it, but this God, as I came to experience, really has some powers.

One day I was wondering if Krishna ever existed at all whilst meditating and looking at the image, and it fell down. And then I started one day praying whilst looking at the Krishna’s image after a day of my anger, and then the image fell down, as though Krishna was disappointed in me. Thus these events seem to confirm my theory of deities being personalized aspects of God.

Once whilst looking at a Krishna’s image I expressed a wish to find out more about who this deity was, and only now I realise that a few days after my prayer one Hindu man told me a story about Krishna being incarnated in this world only for one mission – to fight the evils of this world. Krishna brings joy and happiness to the homes of those who choose to worship him.

(And now whilst I’m editing this post for the final publishing, I will add another thing that happened. Yesterday I bought a Hindu sacred book Gita. I just chose it randomly, without knowing what it’s about. It turns out it’s about the philosophy of Krishna.)

In every Hindu’s home there is a sacred place with the images of all the gods and goddesses she chooses to worship. Some pray to only one god, but usually people worship multiple gods. Businesses are likely to have the image of Lakshmi, women in India like worshiping Krishna, and Ganesh, the remover of obstacles, is also widely worshiped.

There are even temples in India for the god of wrath and the god of death, which people choose to worship to please them and thus keep the aspects they represent away from them.

These gods, in my opinion, are powerful focused energies representing some earthly or godly aspect, who choose to incarnate from time to time, or not incarnate at all. They respond to our prayers but their blessings are limited to what they represent. For example, if you pray to the god of dance for a better health, you may not get the result you want.

I think these gods are helping us along the way, they are like walking sticks when you need them, but at the end you should drop them and walk alone. Because that’s the only way to realise the pure universal intelligence that is you.

So if you feel you need those “walking sticks”, praying to gods and goddesses is perfect. Of course these gods might be completely unfamiliar to you, because they are Eastern, so you might be better off praying to Western saints, like St. Paul an so on, if that’s the case with you.

Some people are capable of seeing God in everything, and if they have very small egos, they can even choose to worship a person, because indeed everyone of us has God inside. (And if you are capable of worshiping another person this means you are highly spiritually developed and pride is long gone from your life. This also applies for people agreeing to work for free, like cleaning the floors in temples.)

If you choose to worship nature, people or anything else you see the God in, you are likely to progress spiritually quicker, whilst worshiping particular aspects of God will fill your life with the blessings those gods give, be it peace, sound health or anything else.

It’s very sad that during the Middle Ages due to the persecution and killing of  ”heretics”, people became scared of worshiping nature,  going back to the past lives and other spiritual practices which used to fill them with the knowledge of God and soul immortality. The effects of the witch hunt are even felt today, when people scoff at pagans or those who choose to worship God in their own ways. Gladly in India Hinduism preserved the conscious connection to God, and thus we can learn from this religion a great deal about this all-pervading intelligence.

Even today people laugh at things like palm reading, healing with herbs and acupuncture, which shows how deep a damage has been done when power thirsty people chose to wipe out the innocent practices for the conscious connection to God from our lives.

Praying to Hindu gods and goddesses is one of the ways to gain this connection to God and understand God better. There are many more ways, of course, to know God, but this is a very effective one.

Below I list some of the Indian gods and goddesses you can pray to to receive their blessings:

Krishna

Krishna is the god of joy and happiness. He is one of the most worshiped gods in India and is considered the avatar of Vishnu. He is depicted in pictures as playing flute or as a small child. Krishna’s story is very interesting and worth reading to understand this god and his blessings better.

 

Ganesh

Ganesh, the elephant-headed god, is the remover of obstacles and the god of success. He is widely worshiped in India. This god is also the destroyer of vanity, selfishness and pride. He is the son of Shiva and Parvati.

Lakshmi

Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth. She is also worshiped as a Goddess of fertility and wisdom.

Dhanvantari

Dhanvantari is the God of health and Ayurveda medicine. He can be called forth for better health, understanding of natural medicines or any other matter relating to medicine and health.

Kali

Kali is the goddess of death of the ego and the goddess of time. Worship her to overcome the “I am the body” idea. She is the destroyer of the illusion that this world is. For the people with big egos Kali seems very frightening and they will not be able to worship her. Her dress of human skulls and arms is the symbol of winning over the material form and realising the spiritual form.

Yama

Yama is the God of death and justice, rarely worshiped in India today. He is the one, according to Hinduism, who weighs good and bad deeds after the death of a person and decides what the next incarnation (inferior or superior) will be. You can pray to Yama to spare your life or somebody else’s.

Parvati

Parvati (the deity in pink dress) is the goddess of love and devotion. She is the wife of Shiva, the God you see behind her. Her story, like that of Krishna’s, is very beautiful and should be read in order to know this Goddess better. Her son is Ganesh (the elephant-headed deity).

 

Shiva

Shiva is considered to be one of the five primary forms of God and is worshiped to acquire all the good qualities a human should possess. He is always depicted as young because it is said that he conquered death and rebirth, and is therefore immortal.

I’m not asking you to worship any gods if you don’t want to or it seems too alien for you, but for those open enough for a different way to perceive God this experience will be hugely beneficial.

Article by: Simona Rich (Personal Development Coach)

Categories: Meditation, Spiritualism

Living With a Rebel Within

September 25, 2011 2 comments

Your true mind is a mind of joy, free from all suffering. That is who you really are. That is the true nature of your mind and the mind of everyone. But your mind doesn’t just sit there being perfect, doing nothing. It’s at play all the time, creating your world.

If this is true, then why isn’t your life, and the whole world, perfect? Why aren’t you happy all the time? How could you be laughing one minute and in despair the next? And why would “awakened” people argue, fight, lie, cheat, steal, and go to war? The reason is that, even though the awakened state is the true nature of the mind, most of us don’t see it. Why? Something is in the way. Something is blocking our view of it. Sure, we see bits of it here and there. But the moment we see it, something else pops into our mind — “What time is it? Is it time for lunch? Oh, look, a butterfly!” — and our insight is gone. […]

This busy mind is who you think you are. It is easier to see, like the face of the person standing right in front of you. For example, the thought you’re thinking right now is more obvious to you than your awareness of that thought. When you get angry, you pay more attention to what you’re angry about than to the actual source of your anger, where your anger is coming from. In other words, you notice what your mind is doing, but you don’t see the mind itself. You identify yourself with the contents of this busy mind — your thoughts, emotions, ideas — and end up thinking that all of this stuff is “me” and “how I am.”

When you do that, it’s like being asleep and dreaming and believing that your dream images are true. […]

On the one hand, we’re used to our sleep and content with its dreams; on the other hand, our wakeful self is always shaking us up and turning on the lights, so to speak. This wakeful self, the true mind that is awake, wants out of the confines of sleep, out of illusion-like reality. While we’re locked away in our dream, it sees the potential for freedom. So it provokes, arouses, prods and instigates until we’re inspired to take action. You could say we are living with a rebel within.

–Dzogchen Ponlop, from “Rebel Buddha”

 

Categories: Meditation

Why Do We Need To Meditate?

April 12, 2011 4 comments
By: Qudsiah Saba.
A devotee asked Ramana Maharishi: 

“Why do we need to meditate? I say it is “my mind” – then should it not listen to me and meditate by itself when I tell it to? Why does it keep running outside all the time?”

Ramana Maharishi kept silent at that time.

At about the same time, a squirrel had given birth in the ashram, and unfortunately a few days later the mother squirrel got eaten by a cat. Ramana Maharishi took the job of taking care of the baby squirrels. He kept them inside a cage that was kept in the mediation hall. After a few days when everyone was sitting in the meditation hall, the same cat came inside. It so happened that the baby squirrels rushed out of the cage at the same time. Ramana Maharishi got up hurriedly, caught all the baby squirrels one by one and put them back in the cage and locked the door firmly shut.

He then turned to the devotee that had asked the above question and calmly said  – “These poor little squirrels do not have the maturity to know the dangers of the outside world, that if it goes out, the cat will make a meal of them. When they get that maturity, they will go hide inside by themselves. Until they get the maturity, we have to keep putting them inside. It is the same thing with our mind. Our mind does not know that if it goes to the outside world, there is nothing but suffering. It keeps running out in ignorance. When it gets the maturity, it will go inside by itself. Until then, it is our job to put it inside with effort -which we do in meditation.”

People dont change when you give them a better OPTION,
they change when they realise that there is no other OPTION!
Categories: Meditation

Silence / The Journey Inward

February 9, 2011 3 comments

By: Mei Mei.

Categories: Meditation
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