Be Calm & Follow Your Bliss

The world into which I was thrust made absolutely no sense to me. I was solemnly informed that there was a God who had created the world, but, even as a child, I considered this arrant nonsense. God, I was further told, was pure Love, which made me even more dubious about the authenticity of this wisdom. If God was pure love, I wondered, how in sweet hell could he have created a world so full of ignorance, misery, hatred and suffering? Did it give him perverse pleasure to watch babies starving, men being blown to bits in senseless wars, innocent brides burned to death for lack of a larger dowry, monstrous inequities in wealth, and a myriad other forms of implausible wickedness?

Soon I discovered that pleasure could be derived from this same world simply by indulging one’s senses and using one’s talents to become rich and famous. Yes, one could enjoy a variety of entertainments, sparkling if fickle companions, terrific parties, sex, drugs, and rock & roll. But why did a feeling of pain and emptiness invariably follow indulgence in these so-called pleasures? Instead of waking us up, I discovered too, this hollowness often drove humans to chase new forms of pleasure, which also ended up in the same dreary hell—which is why, I supposed, insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Continue reading

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On Being a Bull In A China Shop

20140509-DSC_7462America was a fabulous country for me to emigrate to mainly because it gave me the freedom to flower. Growing up in patriarchal and often repressive India, I’d often been punished for being a free spirit—but Manhattan appeared to reward those who dared to be different, and, in turn, I fell madly in love with the city that never sleeps.

Working freelance in Big Apple law firms introduced me to an array of corporate attorneys; over time, I made fast friends with some of them. Although I was a serf, and determinedly so—for I had no desire to compromise my artistic freedom for a few dollars more—they appeared to be far more relaxed with me than with their peers and seniors. I felt this was due to the whip of social and political correctness: these attorneys—who’d slogged for years to reach their exalted (or soon-to-be exalted) positions as senior partners—did not want to risk their ascent up the corporate ladder by saying the wrong thing to the wrong person and being publicly crucified for speaking their personal truth. Their caution was perhaps justified because even the most influential attorneys could be raked over the coals for a variety of evils: sexual abuse, racial slurs, verbal violence, et cetera. And so they learned to wear their masks so well that rarely did one get to see the complex human being beneath. Continue reading

Revealing Hidden Codes That Cause Suffering…

DSC_5415As a young bride in Manhattan, I spent my first couple of months shopping, cooking and wandering goggle-eyed around that fascinating city.

One day I happened to bump into my next door neighbor (we lived in a relatively small mid-town apartment building at the time). “It’s got to be you cooking all that Indian food,” he said with a friendly grin. “Spicy odors disturbing you?” I asked. “Oh no,” he said. “I LOVE Indian food…in fact my tummy growls every time I pass your apartment.” “Come get some if you’re hungry,” I said. “Plenty of leftovers.” And he did.

My new buddy turned out to be a writer who made his rent and food money working as a freelancer/temp on Wall Street and in the city’s many law firms. Under his guidance, I soon signed up with an agency that taught me the basics of WordPerfect—the software currently in use in corporate Manhattan. I had never used a computer before. In fact, the first time I hit the print button and saw a piece of paper rolling out of a laser printer with what I’d typed during my training at the agency, I shrieked with excitement—to me, a true lover of the power of words, this was pure magic! Continue reading

Demon of Eclipses & Illusions – Part 4/9

buddha_maraI got a report of their encounter with the tulku a couple of days later. Interestingly enough, Tai Situ Rinpoche had begun his interview by recounting how Mara — lord of death and sensual pleasure — had tempted Gautama Buddha on the eve of his enlightenment.

Being ultra quick on the mark, Mara was aware that this time Gautama was going to escape his oily clutches and permanently transcend samsara. What really messed with his wicked head was knowing that in so doing, Gautama would be throwing open the portals of enlightenment to countless others. In a terrible funk at the potential loss of his power over gazillions of lost and befuddled souls, Mara unleashed his army of demons on the brilliant meditator, seated calmly beneath the spreading bodhi tree.

Like Satan, Mara is a seasoned antagonist who has plumbed the essence of the human heart and devised an arsenal of lethal tactics to crumble the defenses of even the most committed spiritual warrior. Mara began his assault by promising Gautama prominence and pleasure if he gave up his quest for enlightenment. Mixed in with these enticements were dire warnings about the consequences of Gautama shying away from his duties as a prince. Continue reading

The Spider & The Blue-Throated God – Part 1/2

This post has been written in response to the WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge. This week’s challenge can be found at the following link: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/writing-challenge-health/.

eugene_oregon

I owe a colossal debt of gratitude to a woman I shall call Grace, whose kindly face, hennaed hair, hooked nose and elfin green eyes still come easily and with great affection to mind. I met her over a decade ago, at a friend’s potluck dinner in Eugene, Oregon — a fairytale town where I wouldn’t have been surprised to see a hobbit or two come frolicking down the road, yodelling a hey-ho-happy-to-be-alive kinda song.

Instead of enjoying this slice of paradise, however, my thoughts had begun to stray obsessively into the future — specifically on the looming prospect of having to leave Eugene for south India, where I’d set in motion the construction of a beautiful home for myself. Whew, was I mad at myself for taking this big step! And what the hell had I been thinking? My radical ways had taken me way out of the Indian mainstream…and when, for God’s sake, had I ever fit into my conservative community? But now it was too late — huge amounts of money had already been paid towards this dream dwelling, and this time I had no option but to suck it up and go with the flow. Continue reading