Should Spiritual People Get Married?

To hermit, or to co-habitat?

It is a widespread (thankfully, now becoming corrected) notion that spirituality equals renouncing everything and becoming a monk.

Should someone that’s trying to transcend the world still buy Nike shoes and go on expensive dinners?

Truth is, spirituality isn’t about resisting your life, it’s about transcending it.

How? Let’s look at a simple example – eating chips or popcorn. Most of us grab a handful and stuff our faces with the crispy goodness, not even chewing properly. Now, if you were to look at a video of yourself eating popcorn at the movies, you might be taken aback and cringe.

Conscious living is pretty much that – watching yourself like a movie, as often as you can. The behaviours you don’t like, when you see with your own eyes, will reduce and eventually stop, or transform into something better.

The desires you have, the materialism you seek must also be transcended – at your own pace.

What about marriage – can we transcend our life with a partner by our side?

With the Mirror Technique, we can.

Self-awareness would not have been possible, we would not be able to see our true nature, had it not been for others around us. We are able to reflect on our behaviour, our mistakes, our grudges and resentments, only because people give us that opportunity.

Board, Flower, Excuse Me, Sorry, I Beg Your Pardon

Yes, loving relations are the sign of a healthy and happy life, but they are not available to all of us, for the simple fact that we are yet to apply the mirror technique.

The mirror technique simply means, stop seeing the other person’s actions and instead start seeing your reactions. What arises within you whenever they act; WHY are you angry? WHY are you jealous? WHY are you insecure?

Use every interaction with another person as an opportunity to meet yourself with greater depth.

And that’s when real healing begins.

How can you know your ability to forgive if someone doesn’t hurt you?

How can you overcome your jealousy if you didn’t even experience it, if you didn’t share that kind of intimacy in the first place?

Resistance is delaying, preventing yourself from experiencing the darkest side of your being. And just like music – the deeper you can sing on the scale, the higher you’ll be able to hit on the octave too. And so is life – you cannot know your light, until you face your darkness.

And what better a way, than with a partner who you’ve committed to live with, till death do you part? If you don’t believe me, Justin Timberlake has written an entire song about it to explain this! Check it out.

Related image
Image Source : iMDB

This person will push your buttons at every step of the way – right from conflicts over room temperatures and changing baby diapers at midnight, to who-said-what’s and then some…

Come to think of it – they will really help you apply all kinds of spiritual techniques.

Thanks to all the ups and downs, you’ll remember God a lot more. I mean how often do you remember God when life’s smooth?

You’ll learn to surrender when your partner is stubborn.

You’ll trust the process when your partner is making a mess-up.

You’ll learn to co-create and co-habitat, just as humans are designed to do, thus overriding your ego.

And you’ll learn the truest form of unconditional love and devotion, when you fall in love with your partner and children, each time in a greater capacity.

Sunset, Family, Game, Silhouette, Set

To understand this better, let me quote Sadhguru, as he explains in his work, Adiyogi,

There was a difference between her [Parvati] and the sages; she was in love with him [Shiva] and the sages were in love with what he had [mastery over Self]. Because of her level of perception and receptivity, Shiva took her directly to the peak of attainment [Enlightenment through love].

Whether we go hunting for Enlightenment in a cave, or in the solitude of a room at home, the end-goal is attainable. Because it isn’t the outside dynamics that matter; it all comes down to one thing – the inner thirst for this quest.

Ofcourse, to each their own, but the kind of lives we’ve signed up for don’t exactly permit the kind of extremism anymore, which sages and monks once practised.

We’ve got to find our peace here, and now.

Quotes, Carpe Diem, Word, Diem, Inspiration, Saying

Getting married whilst on a spiritual pursuit is like a double ‘challenge accepted’.

It’s about balancing the hermit and the materialistic sides in you.

And at the same time, it is the best of both worlds. 🙂

Image Courtesy : pixabay.com, shutterstock.com

Why is Detachment So Difficult?

So THIS is why we’re always finding our happiness in other people and places.

In a recent conversation with a friend, about detachment, it felt as if a rush of answers came in the newest way, bringing clarity to the topic like never before for the both of us. Sharing the conversation as is, because the dialogue may make this more relateable.

NOTE: Personal details have been omitted to maintain my friend’s privacy.

The exchange went as follows.

But now going back [to favourite place] kind of changed things too.

Which made me question my decision to go back in the first place.
Like, should we just leave good memories pristine and untouched?

Because trying to live them again by going back only sort of tarnished it for me, as I saw everything having changed and worsened.

I think we go back because we want to relive the good times and we associate that place with good times.

So going is essential if you’re SO attached, so that you can release that attachment and keep it only as a memory.
All the while knowing happiness is an inside job. Not place-bound. 

For me, [my favourite place] brought that same realisation. It was special while I was there, not after I left.

So I guess I relinquished that attachment once I returned from this trip. Which I felt is a bad thing as it’s not as special to me anymore.

Well, essentially, nothing IS special, nor should be. It’s just a means for us to experience ourselves.
Whether a place or through a relationship.

What remains special to you, is attachment.

And thus we need to experience it fully, without clouded vision to be able to detach.
Usually going back to a person, or place, helps see clearly.
Free from that Illusion.

I think I’m so unwilling to detach because having those intense feelings for something makes me feel more human? As if I’ve experienced something worthy?

Isn’t that why we all are not willing to detach? We want something to cling to while we’re here.

Detachment doesn’t invalidate your experience though.
We cling if we want to be here.
We let go if we understand we’re not meant to be here forever.

I read yesterday.. someone said..
“There’s a difference between being grateful and glad.”

So I guess the idea is to always remain grateful, even if you can’t always be glad about an experience.

It’s shifting your anchor from down here on Earth, to up there, into the universe.

I understand that.

But even people who don’t, why do you think they don’t give up attachments easily? As in, not even intentionally.

For the very reason that their anchor is on Earth.
They are too identified with their human nature to realise there’s nothing to cling on to.

The more you understand, the quicker you start to remember the truth. And start to practice it. 

Every time you see a situation that makes you cling, you are able to think from the bigger picture.

So the reason I didn’t want to let go [of favourite place], is that I made it part of my identity?

Yes.

You are limiting yourself, by saying it was the source of your happiness. Your source is inside you, that place only helped you realise it.

But instead, you started seeing that place as the Source itself, and ached to go back, instead of finding it in yourself again.

End.

Though the conversation was with regard to a place, this is true for people too. Our inability to part ways or mellow-down in relationships, stems from the fact that we start seeing them as the Source of our happiness. But speaking spiritually, our happiness comes from the Universe. And the more we cling/attach/lean-on this Universe, our true Source, the easier detachment becomes.

I am firmly beginning to believe in the power of automatic writing, or channelling – it is the wondrous blessing to connect with and tap into the universe’s wisdom, subconscious, or what have you.

It feels very real, simply for the fact that I did not know, that I knew this piece of information, until it was spoken through me. And after having been spoken, it brought me clarity and peace.

Hope this gave you the AHA-moment that it gave to us. 🙂

Can Spirituality be Faked?

This one’s always a hot topic – to believe or not to believe in the credibility of the spiritual folk?

When people that claim they are spiritual, are seen arguing, yelling or being outrageous (basically, behaving like an average human), they are deemed fake. After all, how can someone spiritual be so insensible?

But have we ever taken a moment to reflect that people don’t just become saints overnight?!

And even saints don’t necessarily have it all figured out.

When you listen to a spiritual discourse, sometimes, you’ll find the answer to your latest problem and begin to put the speaker on a pedestal. Unfortunately, as soon as we hear something questionable about this person, or observe a subtle flaw (arrogance, pride or mockery are good examples) we become clouded by the authenticity of this person speaking.

Is this just a fakir faking it?

In that, we lose our focus from the true purpose.

It shouldn’t matter who spoke to you, only that what was spoken could benefit you or not. We’re not here to judge other people’s progress. We’re here to grow conscious of our own.

Think of it in this way, our temptations are like tests of our consciousness.

A temptation to gossip. A temptation to binge. To pick a fight with someone. To create drama. And so on. And at some point in life, everyone is reintroduced to the temptations they are trying to curb, to see if they can pass the test this time around.

So if you’re not conscious, you won’t even know what’s happening, you’ll keep falling into the trap, and it’ll become a vicious cycle. If you’ve just started living consciously, you may resist for a while but give-in whenever a push comes to shove. But essentially, it is every spiritual practitioner’s endeavour to overcome this temptation.

So, you see – we’re all just on varying levels of consciousness, awareness.

And in that, spirituality, or the expansion of our consciousness is not something that can be faked. There will always be people whose temptations overshadow their wisdom, claiming they know better than they really do. But isn’t that true for every face of life – there’s always someone too smart. And I agree, it’s difficult to take such people seriously. But still, here me out.

Learn from EVERYONE. Only use your discernment to gauge the credibility of the message, not the messenger. Are you doing something because you’re placing blind faith in someone else, or because what they said made sense?

Don’t focus on the temptation, whether it’s yours or another’s – focus on the wisdom.

Picture Courtesy : 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!