Keep Walking.

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Keep walking, what went before is behind and who can say what lies in wait? Keep walking, having unburdened yourself of inessential belongings that weigh you down. Keep walking, whatever the weather, with a body made strong, a mind made sharp and a will firm. Keep walking, across mountains and streams, lending a hand to fellow travellers. Keep walking, losing yourself to the panorama before you, becoming at once nothing and one with everything.

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A Lifetime of Fear!

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Fears take root at an early age and then we carry these into our adult life. Parents for instance can be over protective, warning children against this or that and asking them to be careful. Then again you obey your parents and teachers. You do not question them. You want to please them. You believe this is being good and any transgression will invite punishment. The other thing is that a child’s mind oftentimes exaggerates or even mistakes a threat. What perhaps was a mild chastisement, can be experienced and remembered as something huge. This then becomes a willingness to submit and a fear of authority. Or the fear of not matching up to the expectation of others or of making a mistake. Or you felt a certain way when admonished by a teacher in class or when teased by friends and you did not want to feel that way again. So, you insulated yourself. You made yourself small or did not express your views or did not participate (unless you were perfect at it and perhaps even then not). And you do this again and again till it became a habit – selling yourself short. What is more, showing yourself is central to forging relationships. Besides now you’ve come to see failure as something bad and for that reason do not put yourself into anything that is challenging. When it is okay to fail and failing is part of the process to eventually succeeding. Or you were bullied in school and now seek power and wealth so that you never have to face that kind of vulnerability and humiliation again. Or you are unwilling to follow your heart or break loose from a bad situation, all because you fear uncertainty and want to be in control of things. We all carry unknowingly in our subconscious a burden of fears that weighs us down. Our lives are directed by fear of this and that. All you are ever doing is following instructions or doing what is expected of you. What will so and so say or think. I might not get this opportunity again. If not now, it might get too late. This is the way it has always been. What if things don’t work out or I don’t make it. What if this or that happens…. You study, get married, your career choices, what and how you lead your life and the rest of it are all for the most part out of fear. Surely fear has its place. It keeps us from harm’s way. But now it is everywhere, in your relationships… you even pray to a God that you fear. There is the constant undercurrent of fears. There is no free-will. Now imagine a mind free of fear, clear of anxiety of any sort. That is real freedom. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Put yourself out there. Embrace uncertainty. Who can say what leads to what or what will happen? Leave it to Him.

The Great Magnifier.

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How much one suffers rests on the individual. We have limited control over what happens, but we do determine our response to it. Pain it is said comes as two arrows. The first is the source of pain and the other is the narratives that we spin around the event. Most of us are in the habit of brooding. Chuck the past. Nobody can say what’s in store in the future. In this manner train the mind to be more and more in the here and now. The other thing is attention. Attention is the great magnifier. What we direct our attention on becomes our experience of life. The rest is background. You might for instance miss a glorious panorama or a virtuoso performance if your attention is somewhere else. Or you might lie in bed frightened all night mistaking a shape or a sound for an intruder. Enjoy the joy that this moment brings, and the next, and the next…

The Hold Of Identity.

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This is my country, this my ancestry and this the custom, this is my religion, and so on. To tell the truth, we hold these in high regard for the most part only because we were born into them. And then to gain recognition and admiration of others we carry on adding – I am an alumnus or member of such and such, this is my title or standing, and the rest of it.

Creating an identity is an accumulation and something we wear. We must make this distinction. The problem is that we get so wrapped up in these that we come to believe this is what we are. Should anyone fault any of these we feel threatened and get very defensive. Besides our affections get restricted because in the process we erect walls of us and them, ours and theirs.

Hold the notion that I am so and so loosely and you feel that connection once more. It also sets you free to truly savor a diversity of cultures and philosophies. And what is more in the absence of all this labeling, you might just find yourself.

Who Can Say?

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We would all be a lot happier for the most part were it not for the habit of being anxious about the future. In a sense, the future is only imaginings. It has its uses, but must not be permitted to take over our life. The problem is when you open the mind’s door to this, you also allow in worry and fear and we are doing this all the time. Certainly, there will be times when you face difficulty and challenges. But then you will be around and do what you must at the time to overcome them. Besides who can say what is good or what will follow.

There is a wonderful Zen story where a farmer’s horse runs away only to return the next day with a herd of wild horses it had come upon. The following day the farmer’s son attempts to ride one of the wild horses, falls off and breaks his leg. And a few days afterwards soldiers arrive at the village drafting for the army and the son does not have to go because of the broken leg, and so on.

Mind Control.

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Just how we respond to a situation is a habit. Our way of thinking is a habit. Personality is a habit. Something transpired in the past and this influences the manner you behave the next time around and over and over again. And each time this conduct is reinforced until it becomes a habit. You are then predisposed to acting this way without knowing why and you think it is what you believe and how you are. Your thoughts take the existing much travelled path rather than clearing new ones. We are most of the time reacting rather than reflecting. In this way, we are inclined towards some suggestions and hesitant and at unease with others.

What all this means is that you can consciously nurture ideas – give them greater weight – till eventually they become a big part of the way you think. What is more, sometimes something that perhaps ought to be inconsequential can become a big part of us. A line of thinking that is without rationality and possibly damaging. When you understand and are mindful of the mechanism at work it is possible to take charge of your thinking. Like tackling any habit, you need only to consciously do the opposite. As you are going against the flow, it takes some effort at first. When consciously repeated and reinforced, you will in time rewire your mind.

Forgetting Yourself.

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One person is arrogant and another is terribly shy. Both these individuals are full of themselves. Whereas happiness comes from self-forgetfulness. For most of us this happens only sometimes when we are absorbed in work or playing a sport or listening to music, or when we connect with other people. Most of the time however, we are comparing ourselves to others, imagining what people are saying about us, thinking about what kind of impression we’re creating. And then we are all the time trying to be like other people, seeking to please them, always endeavoring to be regarded highly.

In the Mahabharata Arjuna asks Krishna why Karna and not he-Arjuna is held in higher esteem. Some days later to show why, Krishna gives Arjuna a mountain-load of gold and asks him to give it to a village. Over the next few days Arjuna personally goes about distributing the gold amongst the villagers deciding who gets how much. The villagers were thankful and happy and sang praise of Arjuna’s generosity. And Arjuna gave perhaps a little grudgingly for at the end of it all there is still a great deal left to give out. So, Krishna calls Karna and assigns him the task. Right away Karna on spotting a group of villagers gives away all the gold and asks that they share it with the rest of the village. After that he walks away unaffected just like that unconcerned about what people think and perhaps wary of praise that could lure him out of his peace and composure.

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