People in the world are becoming lonelier despite the increasing population and more ways of making friends. Before you dismiss my assertion, you must understand that by ‘lonely’ I do not mean isolated. Actually, you can be alone but not lonely.
Loneliness is not a good experience. Can you imagine being at the centre of a crowd yet you are feeling lonely? Think about it this way: You are attending a celebratory event, partaking of all the eating and fun, yet you are not part and parcel of the crowd. You feel lost amongst friends.
The Extreme Effects of Loneliness
Did I hear you say that one can only be lonely in the remote parts of our planets? Let me startle you a bit. In one of the Koreas, it is reported that people are so lonely that they are watching videos of other people taking dinner! That is how serious loneliness is for people around the world. To aggravate matters, people that suffer from loneliness are likely to die early. It turns out being out of touch with people and social life is harmful to your health and life. Research also indicates that social circles are reducing in circumference. Today, you are likely to have fewer friends than you had several years ago.
What Causes Loneliness?
Considering the negative effects of loneliness and the interdependence of human beings, it is imperative that we find ways of averting loneliness. We need to remember, though, that loneliness begins in the mind before extending into the physical realm. The moment you lose touch with yourself, you begin to feel lonely. If people are not coalescing around and you feel like they are isolating you, more often than not it is because you have created an aura of loneliness around you. Consequently, any effort to fight loneliness must recognize the role your temperament and conduct play in creating this condition.
The moment you begin to feel comfortable and confident with yourself, you begin to find freedom from loneliness. Having low self-esteem leads one to seek validation from others from a defeatist point of view. The fight against loneliness, therefore, begins from within as it moves to the outside.
Here’s How To Overcome Loneliness
1. Appreciate Yourself: There are countless reasons to love yourself, but only you can identify and appreciate them, before others do. Within you is a great person, waiting to be expressed and to enrich the world with exceptional talents and gifts. You are valuable to the world even as you are unique. It is important for you to learn to ideologically distance your ‘self’ from you and the appreciate it. When you value yourself, you will always find something worthwhile to do, irrespective of where you are. Your thoughts will be geared towards making most of the time you have either with friends, family or yourself. You will not fear to be alone because that is when you imbibe the wisdom that you share with those you meet.
2. Create Time to Feed Your Soul and Mind: People grow emotionally and in personality when they have time with themselves. You must find time to withdraw away from the public to think and meditate about yourself in order to appreciate who you are. Moments of silence, isolation and profound reflection are crucial for people who want to overcome loneliness.
You need to occasionally hike up the hill alone. One of these fine days, take a boat and explore the deeper parts of the lake. Take time to read a book that motivates you. Go out on a date by yourself where you can enjoy a meal to celebrate who you are. Keep a journal to jot down and later reflect on your experiences.
3. Identify and Address The Cause of Your Condition: Deep inside you is a voice that you cannot silence. If you listen to it, it will tell you why you are lonely. Once you realize the root cause of your problem, address it. If the problem is related to people around you, for example those who have hurt you or you have hurt, seek for peace. If the reason you feel lonely is because you have no confidence in yourself, you may need to consult a life-coach or someone who can help you overcome your self-confidence issues. Self-pity and relocation to another city or neighborhood will not work in the long run. Confronting your fears and the people and objects that represent your phobias is a great step towards liberation from loneliness.
4.Appreciate Others and Create Time For Them: While loneliness and being alone are not the same, they are related. That is why people who travel away from home for prolonged duration’s often feel lonely. They are far removed from their loved ones and cannot participate in the rituals and excitement of friendship and family. It is for this reason that you need to create time to be with the people that value and love you. Never miss a social event deliberately. When people are celebrating birthdays, weddings, funerals and other social events, avail yourself. Make time for sick folks in hospitals and homes. Help out in community service and emergencies. Be present in good times and in bad moments.
5. Do What Makes You Happy: Loneliness is a product of disengaging yourself from that which makes you who you are. The moment you forget to pander to the whims of the kid in you, you begin to feel lonely. I am talking about that carefree fella who likes to have fun. That old self that appreciates loving and begin loved.Feed that little rascal that wants to laze on the sofa and watch television after days of work. That little ‘you’ that you are trying to stifle still enjoys taking a cup of coffee with friends. He or she loves a holiday and the occasional bungee diving or other daring sport. Be carefree at times and loneliness will take a flight.
That said, if you still feel lonely after trying these tips, get help from a professional because the problem could be deeper than we think.
Your Grace Guru
Visualisation meditation is a form of meditation that involves communicating with either spiritual guides, your higher self / subconscious mind or Supreme Being. The other form of meditation is object-focused but this one is a form of visual meditation that is subjective. Practitioners preach that meditation visualisation is a powerful tool for transforming one’s inner being and conduct.
Visualisation meditation is subjective but at the same time it involves a high level of action from the person who wants to benefit from it. The reason some people have never realised the benefits of visualisation meditation is because they often confuse it with daydreaming. To the observer, a practitioner of this technique may appear to be daydreaming but in actual sense the latter is involved in an engaging and powerful self-transformation exercise.
The Power of Visualisation Meditation
As noted earlier, visualisation meditation is regarded highly because of its powerful ability to transform lives. The following are some of the ways in which practitioners have benefited from using this technique:
- Relief from pain. People who have experienced chronic pain have reported to feel significantly better after this particular practice.
- Acceleration of healing: Individuals who are recuperating after undergoing treatment attest to the speeding up of the healing process after engaging in visualisation meditation.
- Dealing effectively with anxiety and stress: After practicing visualisation meditation repeatedly, practitioners report significantly decreased levels of tension and the increased ability to focus the mind on other productive activities.
- Generally, people are using this technique as a substitute to or to complement contemporary medicine.
- Did you also know that if people practiced this technique, they would reduce their visits to the doctor by 90% because the majority of illnesses we suffer from can in fact be cured through visualisation meditation?
- Last but not least, if you have a problem concentrating on a task, lesson or routine this technique can drastically help you to reverse the trend.
Getting Down to Business:
- Begin by looking for a quiet place and time, preferably a quiet room or at night before you sleep. However, don’t limit yourself – ensure you have enough time and will not be interrupted during the session.
- Like all meditation, visualisation meditation begins with the practitioner adopting a comfortable meditation posture.
- The next course of action is to shut your eyes. This helps you to concentrate your mind on the task at hand.
- Now breathe deeply from you diaphragm and relax your muscles gradually.
- Visualise yourself in a place where you are surrounded by a glowing white light.
- Imagine that that light is filled with peace and happiness.
- Concentrate on imbibing the light every time you breathe.
- Allow that feeling to infiltrate into your body, reaching each of your cells, organs, atoms and every other part of your being.
- Now visualise yourself getting rid of negative energy. Think of all negativity as a black smoke. Release the thick stuff from your body as you breathe out.
- After getting rid of negativity, focus on the positive. Think about that thing or state you desire and how you will feel when you eventually achieve it. With that image in mind, inhale deeply, as if allowing the dream to become a reality.
- Remember to create as clear an image as possible, complete with all the senses.
- Once the process is over, go through the normal procedures of concluding a meditation session.
- Don’t forget that visualisation meditation should be repeated regularly until it becomes a normal practice. The desired image must be called into the mind as often as possible in order to make it some kind of an obsession you must achieve.
Which kind of scenario is conducive for Visualisation Meditation to endure expected results?
- To begin with, your visualisation should involve smaller moments and not vague gigantic amounts. In other words, you cannot dream the world in one setting. You know what you want. Break it down into smaller goals and objectives. Remember the dream will be realized piece by piece, not all in one go.
- You also need to have a clear plan. Like your dream, your plan must be broken down into achievable parts. You might want to create daily, weekly or monthly tasks that contribute to the overall goal. You also need to be realistic when making your plans.
- Now put your plan into action. Be faithful to the plan you have made. You are your own supervisor. Have a To-Do list for each day.
- It will not be easy. You must have self-belief. There may be many times you will feel like giving up. You need to have self-confidence. Nothing will be achieved without your efforts. You will find obstacles throughout your journey. Let the expected outcome work as an incentive for you.
- It is the sum of small efforts that will culminate in the dream. Always see the bigger picture in the smaller effort.
Is there a Recommended Frequency?
Visualisation meditation is not about the time you spend doing it but the level of concentration and result. At the onset, it is advisable to spend between a quarter of an hour and half an hour in the exercise. This is especially when you are new to the technique.
As you become more experienced, you may want to concentrate for longer periods of time. In other words, the duration of time spent by different people depends on experience.
How many times should you do it in a day, week, month etc.? Again this is a decision to be made by the individual. Some do it twice a day while others visualise only once every week. It is only you who knows how desperately you need to make your dream come true. However, you should be careful not to overdo the exercise to the extent of it become mundane and ineffective.
Despite this, if you make it a routine and it works for you, then go ahead and practice it. For example, there are people who engage in it before going to bed or after waking up. Your bed will often provide enough comfort to visualise and meditate. This is especially effective for people who find it difficult to sleep.
Why people fail to gain from Visualisation Meditation
Visualisation meditation has been criticised by people who do not understand the rationale behind it. In recent decades, the debate on the law of attraction has attracted widespread acceptance and rejection / skepticism in equal measure. This is especially true when it comes to attracting the things, people and circumstances that one wants in his or her life.
The reason I am talking about the law of attraction is because it teaches a form of visualisation meditation that many use for material gain at the expense of their spiritual, emotional and mental development. Visual meditation acknowledges (like the law of attraction) that everything begins as an idea before it matures into reality. Everything your senses can perceive was once an idea in the mind of another person.
However, many beginners of visualisation meditation stumble when the ideas they hold in their mind do not come to achievement. What they forget is that even the best idea must be backed up by a parallel action of the technique in order to produce the desired results. As one anonymous individual said, building castles in the sky is commendable but the dreamer must go ahead and lay the foundation if the dream are to become a reality.
In essence, you must go beyond visualising what you want and create an action plan for achieving your desires. There must be some form of physical effort towards achieving the dream. Unless you act towards your goal you will be like the person who dreams he or she had won the lottery and wakes up to search for the money in the bed, only to realise it was merely a dream!
Nature has rules and laws that do not change to suit our needs. It is us who need to change to be in tandem with nature. In the case of visualisation meditation, nature demands that we align our attitudes and actions with the desired outcome. A seed that is planted but not watered will die. An idea that is visualised during meditation but is not planned for eventually becomes a distant dream or a fantasy.
Some people also fail to realise the fruits of visualisation meditation because they fail to back up the dream and action with belief. You must believe that you will achieve your dream. There are many who have an idea, create a plan for achieving the dream but fall along the way because they do not have self-belief. You need confidence and self-assurance that you are equal to the task and that the universe will help you to achieve your desires.
Another barrier to visualisation meditation is over-indulging in the exercise without the backing of common sense. Creating a mental image of what you desire is the first and very important step towards your target. However, creating mental images for the sake of it or simply because you want to escape your current position ASAP is detrimental to your efforts.
Think about it this way. If you visualise yourself getting out of poverty or some form of misfortune tomorrow yet you don’t have the means to back you up, you will be disappointed. It is important to remember that visualisation meditation is not magic. There can be no miracles if you don’t expend any efforts towards making your idea a reality. Wishful thinking is not synonymous with visualisation meditation!
I hope you do not think that I want you not to be ambitious. No. Ambition is crucial for personal success. However, your dreams must be in tandem with the universe and its workings. There are laws of cause and effect; laws of planting and harvesting, and laws for rewarding effort and not mere fantasising. To emphasise: that is how nature works and it cannot change to suit your whims.
Many of the people you will hear disparaging visualisation meditation are those who were looking for quick fixes and instant riches, contrary to rationality and common sense. They came with high hopes. They wanted a miracle. They were not willing or prepared for the mandatory effort and self-belief. When the natural and rational outcome of their meager efforts came to fruition (here I mean when they failed) disappointment and disillusionment set it and they started blaming the technique and not themselves.
The process we have discussed here is just an example. Come up with one that fits your need. Make sure the atmosphere and experience you visualise is one that brings you into the right state of mind to expel negative energy and imbibe positive energy. Make sure you do this as often as you feel you are functioning optimally.
Finally, an idea / dream, coupled with the right plan and a determination to succeed are the main ingredients for effective visualisation meditation.
Your Grace Guru
Moods are important! Emotions are part and parcel of every human being. The tradition with human feelings – these include both good and bad vibes! If anyone tells you that they only experience good moods, please realise you are dealing with a liar or a mentally disturbed person!
As fate would have it, it always seems harder to get into a good mood but always very easy to lose it. To put it differently, you are likely to change into a bad mood faster than it will take you to adopt a positive emotion. It feels like an exercise in futility, right? … Not exactly!
Why A Bad Mood Is To Be Avoided
It is important to consider the negative effects of a bad mood, hoping that this will jolt you into realising why you need strategies in order to rid yourself of a bad temperament. A foul disposition sets in motion a series of negative reactions to people, events and other external stimuli.
When you are in a foul temperament, you are likely to dent your reputation through negative talk and actions. You may say something you will regret. It is also possible to throw away opportunities and people that could have helped you. In other words, a bad mood beclouds the mind and precipitates negative conduct.
How To Change Your Mood For The Better
Here are effective actions to take when your mood goes south, as it will often do. You will realise that changing your mood to the better will demand that you address certain mental, physical, social and even dietary issues:
1. Treat the cause, not the symptoms: Your moods are indicative of a deeper problem within you. Perhaps it is self-acceptance or low self –esteem. Possibly there is an unresolved problem with someone else. It is time you took the bull by its horns. Iron out the issues with the other person, or, where necessary, seek professional assistance.
2. Set goals and priorities: Your foul mood is probably due to exhaustion and feeling that you have too much to do within a very short time. Write down all the tasks that await you and prioritize them. Identify the urgent and the important and decide what to do first.
3. Adopt a positive disposition: Whenever you focus on the bad that is happening or is likely to happen around you, you tend to feel to despondent. Focus, rather, on what makes you happy. Think about your past success whenever the present seems to be going against your present desires.
4. Grab a wholesome snack or meal: Your moods plunge when you are low on energy. The best solution is to eat healthy food like fruits, nuts, vegetables, avocado and dark chocolate, to name a few. The nutrients these foods carry will elevate your mood almost immediately.
5. Engage in an enjoyable activity: What is that pastime that brings out the best in you? Just do it. Get out there are and ride a bike. Volunteer for community service. Engage deliberately in activities that have previously lifted your moods and made life enjoyable.
6. Invest in some humour: Your mood has plummeted? Watch that favourite comedian or comedy show and bring back some excitement into your life. Call the funny friend who makes you laugh simply by being around you. Go out and meet them as this will spike your mood. How about remembering events and people that made you laugh in the past?
7. Bring a smile to your face: This is where we say you should fake it until you make it. Go before a mirror and smile at the person who is looking back at you. Act happy and you will be surprised at how quickly your thoughts pick up the happy mood.
8. Engage in a distraction: Instead of focussing on that issue that has negatively affected your disposition, look for something different but more enjoyable to do. It may not be something you have done before, but it has to help your forget your reasons for being sad.
9. Work out: It is rare to find a person who is exercising being unhappy at the same time. Exercise has a way of stimulating the secretion of endorphins thus lifting up your mood. Take a brisk walk, hit the gym or perform push-ups in your living room to drive bad moods away.
10. Practice spirituality: There is a soul inside you that yearns for connection with the Supreme Being. Nurture your soul by engaging in prayer, meditation or any other activity that nourishes the inner being. The ensuing peace of mind cannot c0-exist with bad moods.
11. Listen to your favourite music: Music, especially that cool and sentimental type and spiritual vibes, has a way of lifting up your spirit and giving you a reason to be positive and to smile again, despite the negatives around you.
12. Dance: Closely related to music is the idea of moving your body in unison with the beat and rhythm music you are listening to. Dancing, like exercise, has a positive impact on your endorphins, banishing away a foul mood and bringing back the positive vibe you need.
13. Reach out to friends and family: Some bad moods stem from feelings of disconnection from the rest of the society. That is why you need to call your friend and eat out or watch a movie together. A much cheaper option is to set out on a walk or picnic.
14. Play: Which is your favourite game? Football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, badminton? Get some friends or visit the sports club and play to your satisfaction. Bad mood will eschew you.
15. Disengage social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their cousins have a way of making you feel less successful, unimportant and less attractive, especially when you look at the posts and profiles of apparently more successful peers. Give yourself a break and focus on improving your self-esteem.
Most importantly, remember you can only get out of a bad mood by taking practical steps. Whatever works for you, bring the vibe and groove back, maximize on it, and bad moods will not dictate how you live your life!
Your Grace Guru
Happiness is something that all of us crave and search for all the time. It comes and goes, sometimes very quick and sometimes it stays a bit longer! Ask any person you meet what they want from life and chances are they will mention happiness are very high. We spend a lot of money trying to attain all that bliss, we go to great lengths – to the end of the world – just to feel that serenity and gladness that we crave so much.
So why is it that we don’t remain happy for long?
Here are 10 simple things you need to do to become happier or to inculcate an attitude of happiness:
1. Live a simple life: Most of us forget that life is meant to be enjoyed and the best way to do it is to live as simply as possible. Often, it is not the money and material things that bring happiness into life. Rather, it is the simple things that matter. Appreciate the very fact that you are alive and healthy; that you can talk to people and listen to the beautiful sound of nature. Much of these can be enjoyed away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Think about it this way: how would you live if you were taken to a world without modern technology?
2. Imbibe the fresh air from outdoors: There are few things that are as refreshing and invigorating as the outdoor. You level of happiness is likely to spike when your brain imbibes fresh air. After hours of interacting with many people and machines, some of them irritating, you need an injection of freshness and happiness from nature. Create time over the weekend or after work to visit that park or lake where nature teems. The blood in your brain needs that freshness to bring back happiness.
3. Exercise gratitude: It has been proved that people who accept themselves as they are often experience high levels of happiness compared to those who are always complaining. Learn to give thanks for the people around you like family and friends. Be happy when things go right and learn to appreciate when you don’t get your way. Instead of basing your daily disposition on the weather, train your body to appreciate all kinds of weather. Grateful people often find more reasons to become happier.
4. Engage in regular workouts: Regular exercise relieves the body from stress. It stretches out your muscles and brings relaxation. Your brain becomes invigorated because fresh air is mixed in the blood. Your mood is boosted and you begin to feel happier. Rarely will you go into the gym with a foul mood and low spirit and return with the same disposition. People who exercise regularly are among the happiest on earth.
The only bad workout, is the one that never happened!
5. Focus on the good, not the bad: To become happier, you need to identify issues that make you happy and those that sadden you. Your focus should be on maximizing on the positive issues and minimizing or eradicating the negative. In life, there will always be some things and people that exasperate you. Remember you cannot control what comes your way but you can decide how to react to all stimuli. Choose to be happy. Choose to see what is good inside you instead of focussing on the bad that some people associate with you.
6. Spend adequate time on sleep: The human body is designed with its own mechanism for happiness, and part of this is getting enough sleep. There is no way you will be happy when you deprive your body of sleep. Most of the time when you are irritable and likely to pick a fight with other people, it is because you have not slept adequately. It is important that you sleep for between six and eight hours daily since this will naturally rest your body and give you greater happiness.
7. Extend a helping hand: Human life was never designed to be a lonely and selfish affair. We are what we are because someone helped us along the way, we only become happier when we extend the same kind of assistance to other people who need it. Human nature is such that when we lift the spirits of others our joy is amplified. And there are many people in need of your help. Orphans, widows, the homeless, the sick and so on, can benefit from some of the surplus resources you have.
8. Have quality social time: Your friends and relatives play a great role in your life. They know you better than anybody else. Your good and bad moments are all engraved in their minds. Your happiness is connected with theirs. It follows that as their happiness increases, so does yours. Consequently, plan to spend more quality time with those who love you. Attend special occasions such as weddings and birthday parties to show support and enjoy these people’s company, and your happiness will increase.
9. Meditate: One of the most acknowledged strategies of making you happier is to meditate. Meditation helps you to bring your mind, body and spirit into conformity. It eliminates your inner conflicts, giving you peace of mind and contentment. The moment you give your inner nature contentment, you begin to become more positive and pleasurable to live with. Learn to spend time is silent contemplation of your life, listening to your inner voice.
10. Treat yourself well: Your happiness depends on how well you value yourself and how you treat yourself. You cannot make others happy if you are not happy with yourself. The battle must begin within you. Money may not buy happiness but you can use money to increase your happiness. Treat yourself to that special meal in the restaurant you like. Make that special trip to a place where you have always craved to visit. Buy that special smartphone or latest kind of clothing or car if you can afford it. You deserve it as this will make you happier.
When all is said and done, happiness begins with you appreciating yourself. Becoming happier is possible when you extend this love to others, appreciate what life brings your way, and find little ways to make life more bearable for all human beings.
Your Grace Guru
Rumi was a poet of Persian origin who lived in the 13th Century. His birth can be traced to modern Afghanistan in a city called Balkh. He was born Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī on September 30, 1207. He would later migrate to a little town called Konya; in the country we call Turkey today. Don’t be shocked, therefore, if you come across Iranians, Turks and Afghans, who claim Rumi was one of their own.
According to Frank Lewis, a scholar who has written the biography of Rumi, the name Rumi actually means Rome, a reference to the areas under Roman rule that were later conquered by Turks, and where Muslims like Rumi settled. Rumi’s other name, Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī, cements his connection with his city of birth in Afghanistan.
It is this multiple identity that makes this jurist, poet, theologian and Islamic scholar a popular figure not only in Asia but also across the world. No singular religion or culture can claim to own Rumi exclusively. His works are revered among Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Jews. You will hear recitations of his poetry in mosques, cathedrals, Zen monasteries and synagogues alike.
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He is arguably the greatest composer of mystical poetry to have graced the earth. The world is more than 7o,000 poetry verses richer thanks to the creativity, ingenuity and profound philosophical knowledge of this great man. It is no wonder that his teachings have been translated into the major languages of the world.
While many in the West have come to know Rumi in the last two decades, thinkers and scholars in Asia and the Middle East have always held Rumi in high regard. His poetry covers a range of topics – some mystical – some philosophical. In his works, you will come across passion, desire, love and spirituality. Like many of the philosophers whose knowledge was revered in the past, Rumi’s counsel was timeless and is still relevant today.
It is important to note that Rumi was born in a wealthy and noble family, and though his life had the usual drama all of us ago, it was not until he met wandering holy man than life changed drastically. One wonders why the philosophy and mysticism bug had not bitten the young man before, considering his father was a mystic, jurist and theologian.
Enter Shams, the potent spiritual wanderer who was way below the social class of Rumi, and who belonged to the upper class, and the Rumi’s life took a dramatic turn. Although the two would come together as teacher and student when Rumi was around 37 years of age, Shams had noticed the younger man at 21 years of age and decided to wait until a later date to covert him into spirituality.
The bond between the wandering teacher, otherwise known as the Bird, and Rumi took time to heal. The fact that Shams was a lonely antisocial figure and below the nobility associated with Rumi, was so much of a hindrance that the older man had to leave town following death threats from the upper class.
To solve the class problem, Rumi married the daughter of his teacher thus setting off their long friendship. It is no wonder then that the first epic written by Rumi was titled, “The Collective Poems of Shams of Tabriz.” It is evident that Rumi ascribed his knowledge and philosophy to his master and teacher –Shams. His search for love and the truth under the tutelage of Shams transformed Rumi into a thinker and philosopher.
The death of Shams at the hand of the youngest son of Rumi resulted in profound grief for the latter. This, coupled with their two years of interaction, led to two collections of epics: Massnavi (Mathnawi) and Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi.
The following quotes illustrate just how deep Rumi’s philosophy of life was and how he conceptualized human existence and the experience of living:
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Rumi celebrated love:
The garden of love is green without limit
and yields many fruits other than sorrow or joy.
Love is beyond either condition:
without autumn, it is always fresh.
On love and the possibility of a disagreement between lovers, he said:
“Every day my heart falls deeper in the pain of your sorrow.
Your cruel heart is weary of me already.
You have left me alone, yet your sorrow remains.
Truly your sorrow is more faithful than you are.”
Rumi also understood what most of us have had to experience when being left by a lover and said:
You left and I cried tears of blood.
My sorrow grows.
It’s not just that You left.
But when You left my eyes went with You.
Now, how will I cry?
But he also understood the need for one to endure the pain of being rejected:
Love is best when mixed with anguish.
In our town,
we won’t call you a Lover
if you escape the pain.
Rumi also had something to say about drunkenness, the inherent dangers and the need to say ‘no’:
“I am so drunk
I have lost the way in
and the way out.
I have lost the earth, the moon, and the sky.
Don’t put another cup of wine in my hand,
pour it in my mouth,
for I have lost the way to my mouth.”
The importance of more silence and less speech was also a great concern of this philosopher:
Clam up your mouth and be silent like an oyster shell,
for that tongue of yours is the enemy of the soul, my friend.
When the lips are silent, the heart has a hundred tongues.
Rumi’s philosophy was also based on the Supreme Being:
I have seen the king with a face of Glory,
He who is the eye and the sun of heaven,
He who is the companion and healer of all beings,
He who is the soul and the universe that births souls.
On the need to seek happiness from the source and not reflectors of love, Rumi had this to say:
Sunlight fell upon the wall;
the wall received a borrowed splendor.
Why set your heart on a piece of earth, O simple one?
Seek out the source which shines forever.
Finally, do you know the value of your soul? Rumi has this challenge for you:
You know the value of every article of merchandise,
but if you don’t know the value of your own soul, it’s all foolishness.
Your Grace Guru!
According to Vedanta philosophy, there are two categories of happiness. The first type of happiness is the one that is a result of things turning out the way we want them to be. For example, we can say we are happy because of our friends, family or even children. We are happy because of certain resources that are affecting us, resources that can be taken any time e.g. they aren’t permanent by nature – You could lose your job or wife, so reasons for this type of happiness can be lost any time.
The second category of happiness isn’t as a result of something we achieve or something we do but it’s a state of being. It doesn’t depend on the outer circumstances or our moods. As a result of this state our inner self tends to become calm and exuberant. Pure joy, in this case, is a result of a connection in our deepest state of unbound awareness.
Listed below are keys that will ensure lasting happiness in your life.
- Listen to your body’s behaviour and needs…
What are you comfortable doing and what are you not comfortable doing? When you are undertaking a task, ask yourself, “Do I like doing this?” If your body displays signs of distress and agony or anguish don’t proceed with the work. However, if you feel comfortable and eager to do the chore, please continue. Know what you love doing and what you detest doing then follow what your body says.
- Pay the most attention to the present…
Live and enjoy the present and always keep in mind it’s the only time you have. Accept what comes your way, maximize whatever it is and learn from it. Keep attention to what is on the table at the moment. The infinite laws of nature should be left the way they are, and life should be enjoyed to the fullest the way it is. The present is the way it is. The current moment is as it is because the world and universe are at is.
Ignore what others have to say about you. People may say all sorts of things because of how you look, the way you dress but you should ignore all the negative comments. Discover the infinite possibilities that you have on your hands. Look at life positively.
- Eat healthy…
Avoid alcohol and other fermented foods. Expose your body to safe and clean environments, nourishing foods, and happy and comforting experiences. Consider your life to be a life support system. It is like a transport system that will take you to where you desire to be. For you to arrive safely at a particular place, you need a road worthy vehicle. The same way, you should keep your body healthy. Avoid contaminating your body with toxins such as cigarettes, or liquor. Desist from alcoholic drinks. The human body is made up of cells that contribute to the state of comfort and well-being. Therefore, keep every single cell in your body in its purest form.
- According to psychology, the natural state of us humans is a state of love. Fear, hate and distress counter the state of love…
You should, therefore, build a “wall” that will shield all the hate and negative statements from your family and friends. Take part in undertakings that will have a positive impact in your life such as team building exercises. Take any fears you have and come up with ways of countering them with compassion and love. Instead of fearing exams, why don’t you study hard and work hard for them so that you won’t have to fear the outcome of the results. Once you read and revise, you will be happy when you receive your results. You can face threats because your inner self is invulnerable and impenetrable to fear.
- Create time for meditation and relaxation of the mind…
Meditation can be explained as the gateway to high levels of self-awareness, linking the mind to our inner power and eventually to self-worth. Look for space and release your feelings, breathe in the clean air, and discover your inner happiness and peace. You could start short e.g. with a ten-minute meditation either by listening to calming music or just relaxing over something that works for you. You could eventually lengthen the time you meditate by staying for longer periods every week.
How about you start each meditation session with a short prayer. Don’t ask for stuff, instead, connect your higher self and your source of light. Make it a habit, a daily practice. Pay a lot of attention to your inner life and shun external interpretations that aren’t good for you such as animosity and deception.
- Find a place in your heart to forgive…
Avoid reacting to opposition or anger with hatred, because through that, you will stressing yourself. You will make things worse because you will end up filling up your heart with disgust, and you will end up being furious. How about, you relinquish your anger as, through that, you will be cooperating with the universe flow of peace and tranquility.
- Show me who are your acquaintances and I will describe your character…
Such are wise words that we should always remember so as to remain happy. Your world “out there”, replicates your reality “in here”. Persons who you react with abhorrence and revulsion project your inner world. Be nice to those close to you. Whatever you love and care about most is what you wish for yourself. If you love someone and care about them, it means you would want the same for yourself. The key objective here is self-knowledge.
What Will Affect A Peaceful Mind?
- Special attachment is dangerous…
What we all call love is nothing but special attachment to someone or something. Such kind of attachment isn’t recommended.
If there is love, I will be at your service. Whatever you need, I will provide.
If there is attachment, I will look at you and ask myself, “What kind of service do you provide?”
One partner states: I deserve this because I married you.
The other half says: I deserve this because I married you.
This form of special treatment often passes off as love, because both the husband and the wife think that life is all about rights and not duties.
Affection + Egotism = Attachment | Attachment – Egotism = Affection.
Understand the statements written above. I don’t dispute love and its existence. I am just a firm believer that attachment isn’t something that should be approved.
Attachment is all about how many times you will see your partner and, therefore, there is no space for anything to blossom between the two of you. With love, you are open with each other, and there is a chance for discovery of new things between you two. Just like when flowers bloom during the spring season, your relationship will blossom, and you will be happy when there is love.
- Control your desires…
Uncontrolled feelings and desires cause mayhem. We are humans, and as humans, we can’t live without desires, needs and wants. However, the tricky part is, can we control our feelings? What happens once we let our emotions rage?
Feelings can be uncomfortable at times. Controlling what you feel doesn’t necessarily mean repressing or ignoring them all together. It means keeping them in check, the same way that thermostat keeps the room temperatures in your house in check. Doing so will help you become emotionally stable as well as bettering your health.
The best way of keeping your emotions in check is to focus more on your physical senses. For instance, is your heart beat rate faster? How are muscles behaving? Are they tense or tightened? Is your breathing shallow or rapid?
Acknowledge your emotions instead of suppressing them. Once you know they are there e.g. sweaty palms, and a faster heartbeat, you will be able to relax and heed what your body is communicating.
If you have heightened muscles, you could try PMR (Progressive Muscle Relaxation). PMR will enable you to identify any muscular tension in your body
Look for a quiet and relaxing environment and calm down. Relax for about 10-20 minutes.
Ensure you are always comfortable. Wear clothes that you like. Try to wear loose fitting clothes. Cleansing and deep breaths will help calm your mind and muscles.
Curl your toes as tight as you can for 5-10 seconds. Relax your muscles for around 20 seconds, and then move to the other foot. Do the same for all the other muscles in your body including those on your stomach, buttocks, lips, eyes, forehead, upper arms, hands, hips, thighs, feet and the forehead.
If you are always working, or if you are always busy, focus on the facial muscles. Engaging in such activities will help you relieve any stress you may have.
You could use visualization methods to relax. Picture yourself in a safe place. That place should be soothing and relaxing. That calm place could be quietest park you know, your bedroom, the spa, your worship place, or the beach. Create as much detail as you can. What do you smell, hear, feel, or touch?
You could imagine yourself as that pebble that’s thrown in the ocean. The pebble will drift away as the waves rise. Picture your problems to be that pebble. Imagine all that negativity, hate and animosity are drifting away just like a pebble. Comforting, isn’t it?
Visualization often seems weird in the beginning, but once you practice it, you will find it normal and comforting.
- What do you operate on? If they are likes or dislikes, be ready for consequences…
We are all unique in different ways. What I desire, might not be what you desire. For instance, a person might find pleasure in smoking, but another guy might not stand it. Some guy may look forward to selling his condo; another, on the other hand, can’t wait to buy it. Such happens everywhere.
What might be happy for someone may end up being sad and sorrowful for another. Therefore, it’s not a being or thing but how you relate and share with it. It’s not the external world that wrecks your peace but rather how you relate to it.
When you are operating on the mind level, it’s all about what you like and dislike and that is dangerous. For example, if you go to a certain country, and you find whatever food you like isn’t part of the menu, so what next? You will end up furious. And that will dent on the level of happiness you intend to achieve.
You should, therefore, operate on the intellect level instead of likes and dislikes as that will help you choose the correct path.
- The mind has a tendency of wandering…
Sometimes the mind rambles when you are talking to someone. It’s a little bit tough to concentrate 100%, even if you really want to. Lots of things are always running through our minds. The haunting past, anxieties about the future often affects our concentration.
Such worries tire us and tire our minds. Take time off and relax.
Avoid working on the weekends. Relax your mind, take a walk at the beach or spend your Saturday at the park. Children are most of the time happy. You have ever asked yourself why? Because they never worry about the past or future. Their minds are always relaxed and therefore, they are always joyful and happy.
Once You Change, You Will Be Able To Change The World!
Be the change that you want to see on the planet. Do things that you would want to see happen on the earth. If you decide to change your thoughts, your actions, the world around you will change.
View your environment with new lenses. I know everyone would like to see a clean and airy environment free from all filth and waste from non-biodegradable goods. I know you love it when the air is clean. Since you like it that way, then why would you want to engage in practices that will be detrimental to the environment such as unclean energy sources e.g. coal energy. Isn’t that going against what you would want the world to be? If you want a clean earth, green, use clean energy sources such as solar power. Avoid littering the environment. The main problem of changing the world without changing yourself is that you will still be you even after you change the environment that you dwell in. With all your negativity, hatred and flaws, you will stain the world with your sabotaging tendencies.
With you being in such kind of situation, you will not achieve whatever you intended because your mind is full of all that negativity.
Avoid spending so much time on other people’s mistakes e.g. “I wish he didn’t walk like that”, “I wish he didn’t drink that beer” Sometimes we end up forcing our closest friends or family members to change. The truth of the matter is, it’s a little bit challenging to change a person for who he or she is.
Instead, be an example, a beacon of hope. If you wish your spouse to be more positive, allow your positivism to permeate your relationship.
Your Grace Guru
One of the best ways to start the New Year is to let go off the past and begin on a new slate. I have in mind forgiving those who have hurt you and allowing positive feelings and thoughts to imbue you. But how easy is it to forgive? Is it even important to forgive in the first place?
Not an easy task!
Forgiving people who have hurt you, especially those who do it deliberately, is not the easiest of tasks. We are not talking about telling that person it is ok, then remaining with hurt feelings for days to come. Forgiveness is about letting out those feelings of hatred, anger and bitterness towards someone who has hurt you.
Forgiveness is not easy…
Forgiveness is more about you than it is about the person who has hurt you although some of them are hard to forgive. Think about this close friend who knows almost all your secrets and who broadcasts your dirty linen to the public.How do you forgive betrayal from a person who is not even willing to acknowledge they are wrong or that they need forgiveness? Your close friends are urging you to forgive that boyfriend who betrayed you with a close ally but now wants to come back. However, the person in the wrong has not even made an effort to ask you to forgive him.Forgiving is also not easy because sometimes the pain is too hard to bear. This is especially when the person who needs forgiveness appears to have had the motive to hurt you. It is no wonder that there are family members who can never see eye to eye. Some cannot sit in the same room or even share a table. I know some people who will get aggressive and prepare to fight when they meet their perceived enemies. Feelings of bitterness and grudges are bottled for many years waiting for the opportune time to explode. There are family conflicts that run so deep that generations of offspring who were never alive when the triggering events occurred can even kill their ‘enemies’.
But is it beneficial to hold grudges and refuse to forgive?
Earlier on we had observed that forgiveness is more about you that about the person who has hurt you. There is a saying to the effect that keeping a grudge is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. In other words, failing to forgive a person hurts you more than the other person. It is ironical that the other person may not even be asking for forgiveness and has a light heart at a time when you are carrying an emotional burden in your heart. Yes, your self-mage and self-esteem were hurt by the actions of another person, but by holding on to feelings of bitterness, you hurt yourself more.
In essence, whether the other person comes to you asking to be forgiven or they simply pretend they never did anything wrong to you, you owe it to yourself to expel the hurt feelings from your heart and begin on a new slate. That burden that is weighing so heavily upon you cannot wait until a remorseful person comes to ask for pardon.I know you think that by stopping to talk to this person you are retaliating. Yes it is true that there is a form of relief from saying that hurtful word or hitting back in a way towards that evil person. However, when all is said and done, it is you who will be hurt whenever you meet this person or even hear people talking about him or her.
Health benefits of forgiving
And there is scientific evidence to back these assertions. According to the Journal of Behavioural Medicine, those who take time to forgive others enjoy better health including lower blood pressure, reduced levels of depression, less stress and a strong immune system. Forgiveness if kindness towards your soul, mind and body and giving yourself an opportunity to live wholesomely,
You also need forgiveness
Let us elevate this discussion. Are you also in need of forgiveness at one time or another? Unless you are not human, you can never avoid hurting people, whether deliberately or inadvertently. Honestly, how do you feel when you have hurt a person, and when you ask for forgiveness, the aggrieved person withholds it? Forgiveness is about empathy – walking the path of the other person and living their experiences. The golden rule urges us to do to others what we would want them to do to us.
Its normal to be hurt; it should be normal to forgive
To sum up, remember you cannot avoid being hurt by the people around you. While you should try to minimize it by being more empathetic and civil, do not hold on to hurt feelings because it is you they will destroy – not the other person. You have a choice to make; do it wisely. This New Year, determine to forgive the hurts of 2015 and begin on a new grudge-free and healthy slate.
Your Grace Guru
If you knew the potency of a smile, you would use it more often. The hearts doesn’t lie and one of the languages of the heart is your smile. Did you know that that positive reaction you craved from people, but never received, was denied because you never smiled? There is a profound science behind a smile which you should know so that you use this weapon more often to your advantage.
Did you know that a lot of the meaning we share in communication is actually non-verbal? People tend to believe more in what you don’t say than in what comes out of your mouth. One of the non-verbal cues that people resort to in order to judge your intentions and character is your smile. Even little children avoid older people who don’t smile genuinely and often!
Smiles are like communicable diseases
A smile is a contagious cue that transmits an emotion. More importantly, a sincere smile is easy to decipher and it comes our involuntarily. Your mood or emotion is like a barometer that people use to gauge approachability. Your smile represents the units of measurement. When you smile, you are telling the people around you that you are a positive minded person they should get close to you.
In addition, a smile elevates your mood and the emotions of people around you. Have you ever noticed how a smiling child brings cheer to people in the vicinity, including strangers? Try looking at a mirror and smiling at your face and you will be surprised at how your smiling mirror image will create wells of positive feelings inside you.
Research has shown that when a positive-minded and smiling person enters a room, the mood of the people in that space is transformed to reflect what the newcomer has introduced. The opposite is true. A smile is like an echo that must reflect back. The only way you can make people to view you positively is to be genuinely concerned about them to the extent that it shows on your face through your smile.
What else does research say about smiling?
• What would you feel if someone gave you a big amount of cash or you won the jackpot in a lottery? That is the feeling a simple smile will give you at no cost.
• When you smile, you help your body to fight against worry while simultaneously bringing down you heart rate and blood pressure.
• Do you love eating chocolate? A smile will bring so much happiness your way that not even 2000 chocolate bars will!
• A child will smile 400 times more than you every day. The best most of us can accomplish is 40 to 50 times, if we really love to smile.
• Endorphins, the feel-good hormones in your brain, are secreted when you smile thus increasing your propensity for positivity and success.
Let’s be more practical
When you smile often you increase your chances of succeeding in your interactions with other people and also in your individual pursuits. A smile is sometimes the differences between the job candidate who secures employment and the one who merely attends an interview. Of course you know that interviewers are human who cannot resist a smile!
A smile makes one salesperson successful while grumpiness drags the other person to failure even though the two have similar qualifications and the same products to sell. The reason some shopkeepers have a constant flow of customers and others end up closing shop in the first month is because one smiles with customers and the other doesn’t. Indeed as the Chinese say, “If you can’t smile, don’t open a shop!”
One woman has a hard time getting men to notice her despite her natural beauty and the added magic of makeup and stylish dressing. Another woman is confused on how to choose the right man for her because the number that is attracted to her warm genuine smile is too high to handle.
How then do you make smiling a natural habit?
1. Be grateful for who you are and what you have and you will realise you have something to give to the world including a genuine smile.
2. Maintain a positive mind-set and you will realize that the world has so much to laugh and be happy about.
3. Fake it till you make it. Go before a mirror and smile at yourself. Visualise yourself smiling before people and feel the positive vibrations you will create in these people.
4. Keep in mind that special person in your life. Think about the many happy times you shared together and particular events that are unforgettable for both of you.
5. Learn to see the unusual and hilarious side of life. There are many events, people, movies, songs and many other issues that should not leave you without a smile.
6. Surround yourself with positive minded people who also like to smile. Soon you will catch the smiling diseases and never get cured!
Finally, please remember to smile genuinely!
Your Grace Guru