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7 Daily Habits that Bring Results Immediately

Inspired by the motivation-packed book on habits called Atomic Habits, I couldn’t resist coming up with my own suggestions after seeing the changes it brought in my personal experience.

This array of habits is targeted at your mind, body and soul. How many of these do you already do? And what are some more habits that aren’t on the list, you think really make a difference in your life?

#1 – Start your morning on YOUR terms.

Our time is divided between career, family and friends. While talking about self-love, I think the best piece of advice I’ve heard and would like to share on the topic is to start your day on your terms. This simple practice helps you fill your cup up first, as Iyanla Vanzant says, and then you overflow with love for the world.

In other words, you become more capable of taking care of others, when you’ve first taken care of yourself. And unwinding the day with ‘me-time’ just isn’t enough, you need to also wake-up to be with yourself.

This may mean different things for everyone, but the idea is to ENJOY your start to the day by doing what you like. It might be an early morning jog, meditation or an extra 5-minutes enjoying your breakfast. Whatever it is for you, give yourself enough time in the morning to start on the right note, usually possible if we’re not snoozing the alarm.

(love yourself)

#2 – Intermittent Internet

We’ve all heard of intermittent fasting from food, but it’s essential that we start detoxing our mind too – from the internet! Why? Because the information overload is leading to many things, not limited to bad sleeping habits, anxiety, inferiority complex, peer pressure. And this needs to stop, for your own sanity’s sake.

A few tricks that work, from which you may want to try some too, are:

    • One hour before bed, keep your phone away from you, preferably with the internet turned off. The next time you should use your phone, is in the morning to shut the alarm off. This simple practice will slow your mind down and get your mind prepared for bed-time.
    • Use the DND feature on your device at night, to ensure you are not being disturbed by notifications and tempted to check your phone.
    • Don’t turn on the internet until AFTER you’ve done your morning rituals of self-love (read point #1).
    • Have dedicated periods of use, such as lunch break or while you’re chilling. This prevents mindless fiddling.
    • In general, turn off all the notifications that cause distraction and keep your phone out of sight so that you’re not eager to keep checking it every time it lights up and you spot it from the corner of your eye!

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#3 – PRACTISING A Self-Care routine

Self-care is like rolling out the red carpet for yourself, as you walk into your own glory.

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It’s like having your own cake.

It is perhaps the most gratifying of all, in this list, because when you feel good, you are motivated to keep doing things to make yourself feel even better. This is different from self-love, in the sense that this is more towards what you NEED to do versus what you LOVE to do.

    • I believe the first challenge lies in not remembering to do something. Whether this involves brushing your teeth before bed, working out more often, following a skin-care routine or remembering to stay hydrated, make a list of the actions you need to do in but have been neglecting, and stick notes in the respective place – bedroom/bathroom/kitchen so that you remember to do it. You are more likely to do something if you are directly or indirectly given a ‘cue’ for it.
    • And second, is not feeling motivated to carry the task through. A simple piece of advice can help you do this, without fail. Make the first two minutes of your habit EASY by having a ritual that preceeds your habit. For example, if you need to workout, just change into your workout clothes. If you need to read, keep the book next to your bed. If you need to stay more hydrated, have more water bottles lying around your space.

#4 – Get Your Beauty Sleep. Twice a day.

Did you know, that a sleep-deprived person driving is more likely to have a fatal accident, versus a drunk driver? This fact, and countless other convincing studies were shared in the best book I’ve read this year – Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. And ever since I’ve read this book, I’ve been walking around like an old granny, asking everybody if they’re getting enough sleep, whenever they tell me about their hectic lives.

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And the crux of the matter is –

    • Yes, 8 hours a night is mandatory, and no we have NOT evolved from this necessity yet. Also, NO, sleep is NOT for the weak. The consequences of less than 8 hours a night is not limited to long-term memory loss and heart attacks. Don’t take this idea casually.
    • ATLEAST give your body 8 hours to be in bed. Please note – this doesn’t mean you are still able to sleep the required 8, so be generous with yourself here!
    • Taking a nap in the day significantly reduces heart problems, improves brain function and makes you feel better.

You can ridicule this all you want, but if you want to change your mind (and your life), I’d say give Matthew’s work a read. You will go back to bed right away, for good reasons.

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#5 – Give your Mind Time to wander

Essential so that you can regather your thoughts, think through what has happened over the last couple of hours, and gain some clarity. When your mind is constantly running, it can become ‘saturated’ and clouded. Wandering is the quickest way to hit the refresh button.

Meditation may not be the only way to achieve a clear mind. Here are some other suggestions:

    • Take a casual stroll around the block. Alone. Without using your phone. Though listening to music is absolutely fine!
    • Write it down. It doesn’t have to be a 3-page mindless rant, though Julia Cameron’s advice from the Artist’s Way is definitely worth exploring (personal recommendation – it works!). Just writing down the person/event’s name, and a few emotions that were triggered can be enough to get your mind off of things, and onto the paper, literally.
    • If however, you WANT to meditate but are unable to, I’d recommend exploring some new techniques. As Osho says, and I paraphrase, there’s a method [of meditation] for everyone, most of us are just yet to find it.

#6 – Educate Yourself

Let’s face it, what we learn at school is not enough. It’s about time we start taking our education in our  hands, and making our highly-stimulated, highly-potent but underused, minds count. You can pick your weapon of choice.

    • Work on a DIY project that floats your boat. Whether its something techie like an IoT device, a science project, or craft-oriented for the home – anything that gets your mind to learn and do something unusual, so that you channel your creative energy in the process is crucial EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Now doing DIY’s everyday isn’t possible, so here are the next set of suggestions, you can do everyday.
    • READ. And I don’t mean fiction. I mean read something non-fiction that gives you more direct and real insight about the world. Don’t take me wrong for saying that fiction is for leisure reading, and educating yourself is incomplete until you haven’t started diving into the world of NF’s.
    • If your excuse is that you don’t “like” to read, unfortunately, it’s outdated. There are Audio Books for people that learn best by hearing, and TED Talks for the visual learners. There IS a means of learning suitable for you – find it. And use it.
    • Also, if your excuse happens to be, “I like books but I don’t have time”, there’s a solution for you. Read blogs! Most of the non-fiction book authors have their blogs – if you hear of a good book, just head to the website and see what smaller doses you can benefit from.

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#7 – INVEST IN YOUR PARALLEL UNIVERSE

I am neither for, nor against the notion of making your passion a full-time career. But I am of the belief that your passion and career can co-exist.

Most of us are are doing what helps pay our bills, but seldom are we doing it with the zeal we had when we first had that ‘Corporate Orientation’. Just because our passion may never pay us its worth, we deem it worthless in today’s world. Yet – does it stop being something your soul feels called towards?

The simplest way to overcome this mind-block is to start investing in the things you “wish” you could have been doing, had you been in a “parallel reality”. Why not make it into this reality?

Parallel World, Parallel Universe

Whether you are passionate about painting, writing, dancing or something else – you have to do it. Even if it’s 5 minutes a day. Start somewhere, do something that ignites the fire within again. Because somewhere, its linked with your purpose of being. How? Check this out.

This is outside the frame of self-love. Because what I’ve come to learn is that our passion is bigger than us, the person experiencing it.  The world is in a growing need for people doing the things they love, that’s the only way we’re going to bring the major course-correction we are in dire need of!

Yes, it is not easy forming new habits, and motivation can run out really quick. But the one thing that FINALLY helped me start changing my habits was this guy’s works in Atomic Habits, which I cannot stop talking about. What are you waiting for – go change your life!

Picture credits : Pixabay.com

10 Underrated Books Everyone MUST Read

My underrated favorites highly recommended for 2019.

Here’s my list of books that people aren’t talking about enough, have just a few-thousand ratings or even less on Goodreads, but you should definitely add to your shelves (and also read, don’t just keep them sitting there!).

1. Unthink by Chris Paley

(Goodreads average: 3.55, but it deserves at least 4/5 stars)

Genre? Psychology. Without the boring, scientific details, this short, quick book covers dozens of interesting studies on the human mind (and how it’s being heavily manipulated). Easy to read, keeps you hooked on every page, and will leave you thinking for a long time.

2. An Atheist’s History of Belief by Matthew Kneale

(Goodreads average: 3.82, Me: atleast a 4/5)

I’ll go so far as saying it’s (almost) as fascinating and resourceful as Yuval Noah’s Sapiens. But don’t take my word on it – read it for yourself.

This is an essential book to believers and non-believers alike, as this uncovers questions like, where did the idea of God really originate from? How did idol-worship begin? Why are there strange practices like sacrifices, martyrdom and witchcraft? The conception of polygamy and abstinence, and a LOT more.

Value for money, and a well utilization of 240 pages! No fluke. And you might be surprised by what you discover about your own religion. Brace yourselves, there are some bold revelations!

3. Hypnotherapy by Dave Elman

(Goodreads average: 4.4, Me: 5/5!)

What is hypnosis? Can we be hypnotized without consent? Is it possible that we are often hypnotized even without knowing it? Can hypnosis actually be beneficial? And how can we do it (if at all)?

This is one of the finest books written on the subject, and will surprise you with a ton of information. Mind-blowing!

Disclaimer – the book is rarely published anymore and will be an expensive buy. But most certainly worth it, I assure you!

4. Anam Cara by John O’Donohue

(Goodreads average: 4.31, I’d say 5/5)

Celtic wisdom. Philosophy. Mystical.

If these words intrigue you, pick this book without a second thought. In a world where you get a hundred new quotes per hour on Instagram, the thoughts and ideas in this book still remain widely untouched and uncirculated.

5. Invisible Acts of Power by Caroline Myss

(Goodreads average: 4.06, Me: definitely a 5/5)

“Faith in humanity restored!”
That was my reaction atleast after every 2 pages.

Its a feel-good yet emotion-stirring read. Thought-provoking, yet gentle. An ideal book if you’re finding yourself questioning the ‘purpose in life’, or wondering if there’s any hope left for humanity.

This is written as a series of stories with a deep message and a lot of happy endings (happy new beginnings, rather).

6. Old Path White Clouds by Thich Nhat Hanh

(Goodreads average: 4.49, Me: 5/5 undoubtedly!)

Written by an Enlightened Buddhist Monk himself, this book is such an easy way to understand the Buddhist Way.

Even if not with the intention to become a Monk, or a Buddhist, read this extraordinary piece of work to gain invaluable knowledge about Buddhism, Meditation practices, spiritual discourses, and even a bit of historic recounting (disputes between the monks, rivalries, the Buddha’s passing into Nirvana etc).

7. No Good Men Among the Living by Anand Gopal

(Goodreads average: 4.45, Me: 5/5)

If you see the word ‘UNPUTDOWNABLE’ describing for a book about world history, you know this is a book really, well-written. Narrated with three, poles-apart perspectives – one from a Mujaheddin leader, second from a Taliban member and third from a local citizen of Afghanistan, this book is a personal and immersive experience of what happened to the country, and why it is suffering. Even if you know nothing about Afghanistan (as I didn’t when I read this), this is the only book you’ll need to read.

8. The Terrorist’s Son by Zak Ebrahim

(Goodreads average: 4.09, Me: 5/5 brilliant!)

Haven’t we all wondered how such families are impacted? And what happens to the kids – do they follow their father’s footsteps? This is a (very) quick but brave memoir about the story of a Terrorist’s son. Written by a TED talk speaker, this one is sure to leave a mark on your heart.

9. Return to Life by Jim B Tucker

(Goodreads average: 3.7, Me: 5/5 phenomenal!)

If you want to be challenged into reading something outside your comfort zone, try this. It will question (almost) everything you’ve believed in about life. The major theme is around cases where children’s memories of past lives could be PROVEN, and there are other compelling evidences such as famous people being reborn, animals being reborn as humans (WTF?), psychic powers, near death experiences, and more.

As eerie as this book sounds, it was a breeze to get through and really shook me to the core. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

10. The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer

(Goodreads average: 4.27, Me: 5/5, favorite book ever!)

If there is one book you need to understand how the mind works against us, how to meditate, the concepts of detachment, ego, surrendering, and a vast sea of other spiritual concepts, pick this and you will not have to look further.

This is a beautiful, meaningful and short book that merges psychology and spirituality. I know I’ve brought this one up before, in my list of spiritual favorites, but I think it’s worth mentioning again!

Happy Reading! 🙂

3 Things All Lazy Travelers Should do at Mcleodganj

Lazy or not, this became a trip worth sharing. Do read and share your experiences too!

Mcleodganj became an immersive and life-changing experience for us, simply because my friend and I were too lazy. Ironically, I feel like I should proactively talk about this, because it’s turned out to be such a good thing!

  1. Stay at a Monastery Guesthouse

After a steady 30-minute uphill climb from the bus stand, we found our way to the backside of our hotel. The entrance was blocked by huge hoardings all over the floor, that said ‘welcome’. Not very welcoming, to be honest.

With not a single person in sight to ask for directions, and not knowing what else to do, our first idea was to move some of the hoardings out of the way, and try getting in. But quickly, it became quite obvious, when we saw a few uprooted plant pots and unmanned doors, that the hotel had actually been ghosted. Had OYO conned us?

We then did something more sensible and called the hotel’s reception. So apparently, the actual hotel was another 20 minutes away and Google Maps had played a prank on us. This was a relief, as you can imagine. And so, we began to walk some more.

On the way upwards, we noticed an elderly Buddhist nun trekking down from a monastery. She looked at us with a huge, angelic smile and blew a flying kiss as well. As a stronger believer of ‘signs’, we figured that we’re meant to visit the monastery.

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Nyingma Monastery, en-route Mcleodganj to Bhagsunag

As soon as we reached the road that led up to our hotel, we knew it was going to be impossible. A car had just barely managed to climb that dirt road, its engine desperately vroom-vrooming its way up. We turned around and rushed back to the monastery. And they gladly took us in!

Our stay at the monastery guesthouse was actually quite humbling. The room compromised simply of two twin beds, and a wooden chair. The bathroom was to be shared between all the other rooms on that floor.

We were also blessed with a perfect view of sunrise, sunset and stargazing from a giant window in our room, that looked into the world. The monastery itself was minimalistic and gorgeous. Not to forget, it was unbelievably inexpensive. Just 200 INR!

TAKEAWAY : Book a hotel that allows free-cancellation, because it may not be located where the map says so, and you might find something more soulful, like staying with the monks.

  1. Ignore the ‘Lists’

We went with a list of 5 ‘Must-Try’ Cafes, and we happened to visit all ZERO of them. I have no clue if Shiva Café is overrated or not, simply because we never made it that far up!

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Other Lazy Travelers on the way to Shiva Cafe

Also, again thanks to Google Maps, we never reached Namgyal Café because the cafe has been relocated, but hasn’t been ‘mapped’ yet. Also, none of the locales seemed to know its exact whereabouts, and we ofcourse were too lazy to try finding it out on our own.

TAKEAWAY : Mcleodganj cafes serve better food than Zomato reviewers claim. All 6 of our meals ended up at underrated and sometimes non-digitally-existant places. Because these places are so good, I decided to talk more about them in another blog. Stay tuned!

  1. Visit When His Holiness, Dalai Lama is in Town

We happened to visit the Dalai Lama Monastery when his Holiness was visiting. The streets outside the complex were packed with anticipating travelers and monks, beautiful decorations and chatter. You might have guessed by now how lazy we are, and after about 90 seconds of sincerity and patience, we decided to enter the premise anyway.

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Tibetan Monks waiting with flower bouquets awaiting the arrival of his Holiness, Dalai Lama

What we found then, was a completely quiet and empty monastery! Almost everyone was outdoors, waiting for his Holiness to arrive; save a few security personnel and monks on duty inside.

We were thus able to stroll around at our leisure pace, taking our time to soak in the monastery’s vibe and chuckle at the Choco-Pies and Real Juice bottles offered to the Buddha deities within the temple. How times have changed!

Did we finally get a glimpse of his Holiness? Nope. People were still waiting for him when we came back outside. Not as a sign of disrespect, but sheer laziness, we slowly walked ourselves away from the golden opportunity.

TAKEAWAY : I admit that we probably missed a lot of things that Mcleodganj is most known for. But we discovered a lot of underrated things that you won’t, unless you’re lazy too!

One thing we did do quite enthusiastically, was reach out to the locales and understand their lives. What we found out through these discussions was life-changing, and might be worth your time too. Watch this space for that post!

How Many Favors Should You Ask For, From God?

Questions, one after the other. And I’m sure, you’ve asked them too. It’s time to find some answers.

I often wonder.

Why would the Creator, the Universe, the Divine, ‘God’, who has access to everything and needs nothing that we can offer (because He IS everything) not give you what you want? What would God do by keeping everything good for Himself?

Note : I’m not declaring a gender for God, but I’m in no mood to write He/She everytime I make a reference, so let’s use He.

Is it even God, if He is some kind of sadist who enjoys seeing us ‘begging for mercy’?

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“God’s grace is only invoked through prayers, rituals, sacrifices, lighting candles, etc.”

What about the atheists? I know a few, and they don’t look miserable. God hasn’t even punished them yet, for being so bold and declaring God is non-existent.

And think of this. We’ve all met someone we can call the ‘most selfless person ever’. Then considering that God is the combination of all the highest qualities everyone has, including selflessness, does it even make sense that God would only give you something when you worship and please Her/Him with intense sacrificial rituals?

What would God get with all that glorification – who is He even competing against to prove his glory? Does God even need validation, could God be insecure?

“God needs to help other people, so maybe today’s not our turn.”

But if it’s God, if it’s the Universe, if it’s the Divine, then this is an omnipresent soul. Then there shouldn’t be a Round-Robin service, I think it should be ’round-the-clock!

But what if God gets ‘fed-up’?

Is there really a limit on how much God will do for you before He decides He’s done enough? That you’re a lost cause, and He runs off abandoning you, leaving you against this cold, heartless world, to look after yourself? What happens to such people – do they get thrown out of the Universe?

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If It Isn’t God – What Stops Us from Taking Help?

It is ego that says “I am INDEPENDENT. I will do this all by myself”.

There are people that claim they’ve never asked God for anything! There’s another growing trend of people calling themselves ‘SELF-MADE’.

So then I wonder, how much of a self-made person are you, really?

Do you harvest your own food? Stitch your own clothes from the cotton growing in your backyard? Grow your own trees for the all your well-carved furniture? You know where I’m going with this.

You see – no matter how hard you try, you cannot be a self-sufficient ecosystem. We were never made to do unnecessary heavy-lifting, we are here to come together with our unique qualities and simply help each other grow towards our Oneness with the Universe.

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By being ‘self-sufficient’ and never asking for help, who are we even trying to prove a point to?

I am not preaching here, because I came from the same mindset of self-sufficiency. And it was this huge blockage that disconnected me. After all, I was saying I am separate, and therefore I must take care of myself separately. How can such a person experience Oneness?

And finally, if you can get help and make your life move faster, why aren’t you doing that?

*Ba Dum Tss*

So What Now?

If you are looking for some comfort after having your perspective a little rattled, you should know that we are always, constantly being helped and looked after. But because things are manifesting behind the scenes, instead of counting our blessings, we’re usually questioning its occurrence at all.

The Universe is NOT beating a drum for you, every time it helps. Would you have preferred that instead? Would have been kind of annoying, honestly. We must admire it working in a wondrous silence.

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But then there are moments in life, when we are met by Divine Intervention. We know in that moment, “this couldn’t have been by chance, this wasn’t ME. This was something much bigger, more powerful”.

In retrospect, we can always agree that things worked out for the best. Why? Simply because things were working in your favor, even when you didn’t think so.

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You Are NOT Helpless; You Are a Co-creator!

So what I’m trying to put out there, is that the Universe is always working for you, whether you ask for it or not. YOU can make your life much more better, and more meaningful, if you let go of your guilt of asking for too much, or trying to figure everything out on your own, and instead working with the Universe to co-create a reality that better suits your human experience.

Now that you know this, only one question remains, “slow-motion, or accelerated living?”

Choice is yours! 😉

Picture courtesy: pixabay

Do You ‘Love Too Much’?

You’ll need to ‘see’ this post, just as much you need to ‘read’ it. Wait for the pictures to load!

“I do a lot for other people, but I never feel as appreciated.”

If this sounds like you, keep reading.

Today, we’re going to use an analogy to understand what’s going on. And hopefully, how to overcome it.

NOTE: This analogy is not limited to romantic relationships. But we’re using it, because it’ll be easier to get. You’ll see what I mean!

Imagine that you are a shopkeeper who sells rice.

Why rice, you ask? Because that’s my food of choice. I’m an Asian. Shall we proceed, now?

Okay, so.

One day, your crush comes up to you and asks you for a small bag of rice. Trying to impress, you offer her/him a medium bag. FOR THE PRICE OF A SMALL BAG.

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She walks off happy with your extra rice and heart.

She comes back after a week. This time, she’s brought money for the medium rice. You play it cool, you only give her a medium bag of rice, just like she asked. She walks off disappointed though, and you have a feeling she’s not coming back.

“God, just please bring her back!”

You’ll ‘up’ your game the next time, you promise.

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She doesn’t come back for a couple of weeks, but when she finally does, she’s with a new guy. That’s it! You’ve got to make your best move now! You hand her the large bag of rice, for the price of a medium. New guy – 0, You – 1.

As for your finances, it’s a minus 1. But love conquers all, everyone knows that! Don’t be stingy! Money is an illusion anyway. Right?

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Over time, you both begin to build a good relationship. You share a couple of laughs, have coffee and cute moments like all rice-couples probably do. You’re ‘more than friends’. Or so, you’ve started to believe.

But one day, she’s back at your shop with new guy. And you realize, he’s got his arm around her. He isn’t new guy anymore, he’s the guy. In a moment of panic, you do what you do best. You place an irresistible offer. You offer a medium bag of rice, free with the large bag, only for the cost of a large. You’re broke anyway at this point, but if you can save this relation, things will be alright.

She’s hesitant. “That’s too much”, she says. You insist that it’s for ‘old-time’s sake’. With a cordial nod, she takes the bags, and they begin to walk away.

But what’s that? She hands the free bag to her guy. Gulp. You just got LOVE-MUGGED.

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By this point, you’ve invested a LOT of rice in this crush. And your crush has ‘used you’, ended up crush-ing you. And all that free-loading has cost you a huge loss. You are suffering, not just emotionally, but financially too.

One day, a wealthy customer comes up to your shop. Her angelic face is a reflection of her heart of gold. This could have been the love of your life, your partner in crime, the perfect gravy to your rice.

But all the stress finally caught up with you – you’re closing down.

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Does any part of this sound familiar?

I know that it’s a crude way to look at our emotional investment in other people. But unfortunately, we can’t see love like the undervalued rice. We can’t quantify it in bags, and put a price tag on it.

And thus, because of the mistreatment and taken-for-granted relationships, so many people spend their lives doing more than they need to, for those that don’t need it, and thus don’t appreciate it.

“I will never trust/love/marry again”.

By the time life gives them a chance to form better relations, they’re emotionally depleted. Scarred for life! So many people lose their focus from work, go into depression and become victims of substance abuse.

So what’s the takeaway, and how can we overcome this?

Just because you can offer more rice, doesn’t mean the other person needs it.

In reality, the best way to check this is, if you stopped doing some of your out-of-the-way gestures, would this person even notice? Probably not.

Even if they did, it wouldn’t be a deal-breaker for them. The person that’s so used to being ‘spoiled’ might throw a couple of taunts and tantrums, but trust me – they’re not going anywhere! You’ll still be happy together. And imagine what you could do now, with all that spare time/effort!

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Hang out more with the people that enjoy your rice.

Ever heard the saying, “marry someone that loves you, not someone that you love”? Ofcourse you don’t have to enter a pretentious relation where you don’t feel invested, but everyone deserves security.

Whether it’s a friend or romantic interest, if you are constantly admitting that this person is ‘out of your league’, there’s a chance that your rice is made for someone else.

Don’t quit any relations, just go spend more of your time (probably saved from doing less, from the point above) with people that make you feel more loved!

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Don’t close your shop. Use the rice that’s left for yourself. Take a break, and come back with a better brand.

Don’t become ‘cold-hearted’. Don’t become a raging alcoholic. Don’t change yourself!
Use solitude, traveling, new hobbies, new friendships – handle it maturely. Invest your rice, your love in YOU. And the best thing about self-love, is that unlike rice which requires more money and planning, self-love generates on its own overtime, within YOU.

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Self-love is a whole other topic to talk about though. If you’re looking for more ideas, take a look at this video.

This post is dedicated to every single person that’s loved a friend or romantic partner with all their heart, and still lost.

Don’t give up, it wasn’t really a loss. You just haven’t met your kind of people yet.

Keep going 🙂

Why Everything Happens, And How to Make Life Workout YOUR Way

Fate, karma, luck, the law of attraction… We’ve all heard a lot of theories, which many people live by. And these seem to work for them, in forming the philosophies of their lives. But not for me.

I could never completely resonate with the idea that we come with a predetermined destiny. Clearly, we make choices in life on a day-to-day basis, and sometimes the consequences can be significantly different, such as deciding whether or not to show up at a job interview, moving to a different city or county, or marrying someone at a whim, on a drunk night in Vegas!

Karma too, seems insufficient to summarize life on its own, because a lot of crooked people get through life much better than the honest ones. And how are we to really believe if they are ever ‘sent to hell’ in the afterlife? Not to forget, it isn’t fair, because they’ve already made a lot of lives miserable while we’re all here – what’s the point of waiting for death, to get justice?

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Neither was I ready to believe that we “attract” all the joys and struggles into our life. There are dozens of things we worry about, sometimes constantly for several days on end, but not all of them happen to us. Thankfully, most of them don’t.

Yes, optimism keeps us going, but even the most optimistic person can’t claim that there is never a thing wrong with life. Infact, if you’re forcing yourself to feel good, it’s just being paranoid with the belief of ‘creating your own unhappy reality’. I’m pretty sure that’s not the point of life, and you’ll be coming across as an annoying, delusional psycho to the rest of the world.

So – could I find something that made sense to me? Moment of truth – YES!

I stumbled upon Caroline Myss on YouTube one day, whose spiritual ideas made it easier to recognize, why do things happen, the way they do. Shortly after that, many spiritual books that I began to read also strengthened my understanding. Here’s an outline of the ideas I came across, blended with my interpretation.

The ‘Before-Life’

So, before we take birth, there is a certain incubation period. Imagine that in this period, you huddle together with your companions for a meeting. These are the people you share your life with today – from a person you talked to for a brief moment in the lift, a beggar on the street, your parents, your ex, to your life partner, and everyone else in between. The purpose of this spiritual round-table conference, is to decide the lessons you will learn in the life to come. These are spiritual contracts, being written for you as you pursue the next ride to Earth.

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Everyone’s Role in Your Life

Ofcourse, you cannot do this alone. To learn the act of forgiveness, someone must take the responsibility to deeply hurt you, thus providing you the choice to forgive them or to stay resentful. To know how to be independent and strong, someone must ensure they abandon you at your worst hour, giving you the opportunity to stand up for yourself, or to fall down and succumb to your circumstances.

Rest be assured, anyone you meet has signed-up to help you enhance your skills or get rid of behavior that limits you from being your absolute best. YOU have signed-up too, to deal with them. Even if someone in this lifetime has treated you horribly wrong, knowing that everything is an elaborate play (in the words of Shakespeare), you can allow yourself to grow instead of focusing on the pain and heartbreak that would be caused from trying to rationalize someone’s behavior.

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The process of building yourself in this way, is called Ascension. As the name itself suggests – ascending or rising above the current state. The more you move up the ladder, the more you are able to see the bigger picture of life. You become detached, but much more loving towards everyone, because you begin to see, we’ve all decided to do this together – to build each other up, even if it means to ironically break each other down sometimes.

Why is everyone’s “story” different?

The interesting part is, the way in which you learn things will be unique, designed to suit your soul’s personality and requirements, as you progress.

You may become the parent to a differently-abled child, so that you can learn to take care and love someone unconditionally even if they may never be able to pay you back, and you might have to keep taking care of them for several years, before you truly understand this. On the contrary, someone else might learn the lesson of unconditional love by having to deal with difficult siblings or a stubborn partner that makes a lot of bad choices.

That’s why someone might have a financially booming career without putting in much effort but suffers from acute illnesses and dies early, while the other person barely makes it through the days with a loaf of bread and water, yet manages to stay alive decades longer.

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Not every experience is for you to have within one lifetime – there are somethings you have already mastered in the past, and there are others that will come to you when it is your time.

Have you ever felt like your parents or someone much elder than you is acting irrational, and that you’re the one parenting them? Yeah, souls have different maturity levels, don’t be fooled by the human relationship or age you’re in! Really, your soul has taken many lifespans, to acquire a holistic and all-encompassing flavor of humanity.

All that’s great – but where’s the proof?

I hear you! And the good news is that these theories have been scientifically backed by decades worth of great research conducted on voluntarily regressed patients, under the care of renowned hypnotherapist, Dr. Michael Newton. The concept of before-life and afterlife are very fascinating and extensive subjects on their own, and what better a book to read, then Journey of Souls?

Likewise, Dr Brian Weiss has done extensive work in exploring our soul contracts, the effects of our choices, life lessons, and so-on, through books such as Many Lives, Many Masters and Only Love is Real.

How knowing all this can help you transform your current reality

Analyze for your present situation – is there someone who’s difficult to deal with? Are you stuck in a circumstance and have no clue how to bring change in spite of all the praying and venting?

You must go deep down, and try to find the root cause. What haven’t you learned yet? What must you understand, so that you can stop running around in circles, and move forward to newer experiences?

When you become conscious that you are a soul in a human body here only for the soul’s growth, it becomes really easy to move yourself out of drama, and into a more deliberate way of living.

What if you don’t want to learn?

It is often said that if you keep resisting a lesson, it will resurface over and over again, every time with a higher intensity, higher urgency. If you manage to let the lesson pass you by altogether, you’re going to have to take it up in the next lifetime. This is one way to look at innocent children who take birth and die soon after, from grave illnesses. Perhaps they had to grasp how to be taken care of when they are absolutely helpless and crippled, because they held too much pride in the past life to take favors. So let’s put it this way, the only way out of it, is going to be through it.

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But don’t let that frighten you! When you allow yourself to look at everything and everyone as a catalyst for your soul’s growth, you begin to enjoy things. You become good at this, because it gets easier to identify what’s missing/lacking from your palette and improve it. You become powerful within, enough to be able to say – “okay, I am going to acquire this new badge of honor. You consciously experience whatever life brings, catch hold of the lesson, and brush off the dust from the adventure to say, “this is good enough. Now let’s explore something new”. That is where your role ends.

One Last Step

Now comes the role of the Universe – it’s going to test you. Once you believe that you’ve truly integrated a value into your life, the Universe is going to put forward new scenarios where you must display your recently acquired skill. If you haven’t learned correctly, you may respond like an older version of yourself would have. If you are able to respond differently, you have made progress.

So, if you pass the test, the lesson is complete. Even if something reoccurs, it won’t have power over you, and you will feel the freedom and transformation taking place. If you don’t succeed, try again and see where you fell short. This isn’t mockery from the Universe, it doesn’t “hate” you – it’s simply showing you that there’s more work to do in this certain chapter.

Does the suffering ever stop?

If you did your homework well for the test, then the best thing is going to happen to you – you’re going to laugh and say to the person who’s been treating you badly all this while – “hey, you don’t bother me anymore. I’m done with your BS”. And within no time, you’re going to notice them change their behavior towards you. Precisely what happens when young kids face their bullies – the bullies lose their power, and find a new target. This is very fast-paced, it doesn’t have to take weeks or months to happen for you. I have seen a lot of this happen rapidly in personal, unpleasant encounters too.

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Another point worth noting, is that you have an equally important role to play in other’s lives. A more serious example is, you might have signed up the contract to enter into a relation where there is domestic violence inflicted on you, so that you can inspire others in the same situation around you when you finally take a stand for yourself and put your partner behind bars. It makes sacrifices like Nirbhaya’s no longer go in vain – she revolutionized women’s safety for the people of India. I salute you, warrior soul. 🙂

It is your side of the contract to bring out the best in some people, and the worst in others, just like they do for you.

In Conclusion

Buddha spent a really long time, through meditation to find the end to suffering. The thing is, in this time and era, with the rise of inhumanity and atrocities, we don’t have enough time left to leave everything behind and explore our inner truth in isolation. If we want to flip life around for humanity, it needs to happen fast, and now!

Look around you – people are growing spiritual in their own, chaotic lives. They’re meditating indoors, balancing their chakras, learning healing techniques, and discussing souls a lot more freely.

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The point is – you can end your suffering, and the way is to be conscious of life itself. For minds that are curious about the ‘why’, clarity on these questions can become humbling, and becomes a great alternative to end suffering. All the best!

 

My sincere gratitude to the following key writers of some phenomenal spiritual works, which have been catalysts in the transformation of my life:

Caroline Myss

Brian Weiss

Michael Newton

Neale Donald Walsch

Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Image Courtesy : Pixabay

Universe 101: Ten Fundamental ‘Divine Laws’

To build a strong spiritual foundation, it’s important to wake up to the laws that govern our Universe, and then keep our own thoughts and actions with them in mind. Afterall, you’re more peaceful working with the universe, than against it.

Unlike societal laws, these Divine Laws are never broken. Even if you don’t believe in them, they still apply to you, and to every other form of energy, from a single atom to a giant blue whale. I would consider these the 10 Fundamentals of the Universe, the starter pack to Spirituality, the things that we’ve known all along at a soul-level but have forgotten due to the Amnesia of Human Life.

NOTE: Read with an open mind. These can be quite appalling to what we’ve been taught.

  1. Free Will

    Everyone has the right to decide how they react at every instance in life. That means, among other examples, you can NOT use the law of attraction to attract a specific person into your love life. Hate to break it to you – but you have to stop blaming the Universe, and start respecting personal choices.God does not micromanage, and we are not puppets. Which is also why God doesn’t “stop” wars or terrorism, or child trafficking – WE as a race, as a collective have allowed and brought this upon ourselves, and are thus accountable for it. It’s time we learn to take ownership of our actions.

  1. Karma is not always the bad guy.

    Karma is simply restoring balance for all So any good that’s in your life, is also karma. Your well-being, your finances, relationships, friends that share good food and music, all are a reward of the good karma. So stop being scared of it because you will always get what you deserve, the good and the bad, both. When you know you’re always being watched, you feel a growing responsibility to take better actions. As Maya Angelou says in this empowering video, just do right!

    sharingNOTE: Don’t sit around and wait for Karma to kick in against someone that’s done wrong to you. Neither should you take karma in your own hands. It doesn’t work on your timeline, but that doesn’t mean it’s not already set into motion!

  2. The Law of Divine Compensation

    You’re not wrong to expect something in return for what you do for others. You’d wonder why despite all the good you do to someone, it doesn’t come back from them, and then you’ll hate God some more. Where’d all the good Karma go now, eh?

    Remember Free Will? Well, that person is executing their free will in treating you with less love. That’s not your fault. The Universe however, will always compensate by bringing that love to you through a different means. Let go – you will quickly notice someone much more loving come in his or her place. This isn’t just about romantic relations, it’s true for everything – you will find someone else playing the role of a better sister, brother, best friend, mother, father if you can stop being stuck on the one who’s failing to.

    By holding onto toxic and less-than-deserving relations, you’re the one holding back from the Universe reaching out to you and delivering what you so desire (and deserve). This is what Marianne Williamson calls the Law of Divine Compensation.

  3. Going to churches, temples or mosques does NOT matter. 

    Praying in silence, with an honest heart does. 

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    God isn’t sitting in a temple, the Divine is everywhere and in everything, always listening to you. Let me explain with a funny story.

    A pastor and a taxi driver both died and went to heaven. St. Peter was at the Pearly gates waiting for them.

    ‘Come with me’, said St. Peter to the taxi driver.

    The taxi driver did as he was told and followed St. Peter to a mansion. It had anything you could imagine from a bowling alley to an olympic size pool.

    ‘Wow, thank you’, said the taxi driver.
    Next, St. Peter led the pastor to a rugged old shack with a bunk bed and a little old television set.

    ‘Wait, I think you are a little mixed up’, said the pastor. ‘Shouldn’t I be the one who gets the mansion? After all I was a pastor, went to church every day, and preached God’s word.’

    ‘Yes, that’s true. But during your sermons people slept. When the taxi driver drove, everyone prayed.’

    Source : http://jokes.christiansunite.com/Heaven/Taxi_Driver_in_Heaven.shtml 

  4. There is only ‘one-God’, an Ultimate Creator.

    Krishna, Buddha, Allah, Shiva or Christ are not Gods, in the sense that we’ve made them to be. They too are souls, just like us. They are however, Enlightened souls that became messengers of the Universe, spreading the message of Love and Peace, in dire times when the world was losing sight of its direction.

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    Respecting such Enlightened souls is great, following scriptures that talk of their Divine Messages is fine too, and through prayer you are simply seeking their support in your life – but no ‘God’ is better than the other. Everyone is simply following their own Spiritual path, and invoking any ‘God’ is simply tapping into their unique strengths. We are all a part of the Universe, and thus there is only One of us actually here. The Ultimate Creator, and we are Him/Her existing.

    If you’re really willing to open your mind, start praying to ALL of them. Having an entire team working with you increases your chances exponentially of gliding smoothly through life. Which brings me to the next point.

  5. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.

    No one is keeping score up there, for how well you managed doing it all by your glorious self. The only thing being tracked, is how fast you’re Ascending and how humbly. There’s no need to struggle unnecessarily, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. There are no brownie points for suffering more. That’s all there’s to it folks. Pray all you want – nobody’s judging you!

  6. You are capable of becoming just as Enlightened and powerful as the God you worship.

    You actually eventually will be, FYI. That’s the whole purpose of this journey. I can’t make as convincing a case in a few hundreds words, as a book could. So if you’re looking for a mind-blowing, compelling argument, Conversations with God is the book that will challenge your belief system about this.

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  7. Something that’s meant to happen to you, will Something that’s not meant to happen to you, will not happen.

    A major responsibility in life is to respond to such events with acceptance, faith and grace. You need to understand the underlying lesson and approach it with learning, instead of anger. By this I mean, if you’re not meant to die – you will survive that accident even if everyone else does not.

    If you’re not meant to reach somewhere, you will notice indefinite hardships which eventually stop you from getting there. These are extreme but important examples, because some events in our destiny are planned for us, to challenge our learning. Instead of denying or getting furious, it is better to quickly move into learning the lesson and growing your spiritual strength! It is also important to stop living out of fear just because you’re scared something will happen to you.

  8. There are infinite possibilities and options for you to tap on, you always have a choice – stop placing limits on your life.

    There are people who come to work everyday and crib about how awful it is. What are you doing about it?

    The same goes for relationships – you give excuses in the name of ‘no choice’ to stay in unhealthy relations. And then, you mourn how poorly you’re being treated. It is true for everything in life. Anything you can crib about, is capable of being swapped for something better. It’s available, but the question is – how bad do you want it?

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    The Universe does not want you to be unhappy. You’re the one too scared to explore, too afraid to step outside your comfort zone. And so you see, you’re the one that’s settling for less than the best. The Universe always has your back. You’re the one that needs to make a choice to want more. Once you do, it’ll come in a magnificent scale, something you won’t be able to even believe!

  9. Synchronicities are milestones to cheer you on your path, there are no such thing as coincidences.

    Have you ever experienced this, where you kept seeing, hearing and reading something from various sources? Where psychology will dial it down and call it Confirmation Bias, the Universe does not believe in coincidences.

    Pay attention when the Universe speaks to you. If you’re looking for signs – stop ignoring them when they do happen for you! I like to the follow the rule of 3-times-affirmed, which simply means that if I’ve seen/heard/read about something thrice, I will pay attention and act towards it.

    Note: I’m not talking about social media websites drawing in ads of things you browse. That’s not the Universe, that’s just a lot of creepy AI.

All that being said, if you asked me where you should start from, I’d say start from here. Allow yourself to put these laws to test for you. Let the Universe work with you, with your consciousness focused on the way it works. You won’t be disappointed.

If you’re looking for some real-life stories and snippets of how I started seeing this happen to me, I’ll be writing my next blog post on just that. Stay tuned!