Diary Entry of a Labrador Pup

Here she is – adorable but lazy at times, my hooman (human).  Lately my hooman has been kind of low in energy. Sometimes I feel she is sad. Or maybe she’s what they call “bored”.

Ya, “bored”! A word I picked up from hooman vocab. When I was with my mum & bros & sis, I didn’t know the word, or what it feels like to be bored. Though one of my fat brothers did prefer sleeping , and used to get annoyed if asked to play or share his stick, everyone else was playful in my family and never compained of being bored.

We would randomly run around in circles, pulling our mum’s tail and ears, and scratching her face. A rather lil in size sis of mine was so naughty, that she literally galloped like a deer, & didn’t know how to walk like a lab girl.

To 7 of us boisterous siblings, it didn’t matter if it was a stick to chase, or a shoe ( my personal favorite), we created play out of just everything life threw at us ( A labrador’s trait) . It annoyed my mum occasionally, and dad all the time.

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Well,  my hooman was pretty lively too for the first 6 months. She would take me on awesome walks, jog with me, & play fetch (like 3 times a day).

But recently she’s been a lil low. Sometimes I see her all down and quiet, so I bark my lungs out to snap her out of it.

At times, it gets really annoying, especially  when she digs her eyes into that black toy with bright light. I literally scream at the top of my girly high pitched bark to get her to leave it.

What does she try to find in it anyway ? I just don’t like the vibes that come out of it. Anyway the stuff looks pretty toxic to me & I keep a safe distance from it.  Yet on good days, strange noise comes out of it and she dances like a happy gal! 🙂

Oh how I love her when she asks me to dance with her. Her all time favorite track is a delight to my ears, “Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase”. It’s pretty adorable when she changes it to , “Hakuna Matata what a wonderful daze”. Well that’s me, a short name for “Daisy”!

Also, I absolutely love it when she looks deep into my eyes, and tells me that I am so so so pretty. And that she loves me. And that she’ll do whatever it takes to always protect me.

Well at that moment, she seems cuddly labradorable (labra-adorable) & kissable to me. So, next day, I wake her up by planting random kisses on her face, & pulling her hair with love. It’s a pretty cool partnership going on here , with my messed up, but in a tolerable way, hooman. 😀

Mountain of Fortitude

Ugly lies.

Vacant promises.

Torn-up relationships.

Life’s a confusing mess of lies!

It’s like a magician’s maze, just when you think you’ve found the true way out, another ugly path opens up. And you’re back to where you started – no where!

But a mountain brings back sanity to your life. 

Kasol, Himachal Pradesh

It’s like meditation, when you’re on top of one – breathe in the fresh life-air, and breathe out the stifled – bad air.

There’s something about mountains that sticks with me. If it’s not the sheer size, it’s the resilience that oozes out of its pores.

A mountain, when you climb one, whispers to you like a living-breathing being. 

In its own mysterious manner, it narrates that age-old story of bravery, of always holding one’s head high, even when the cobwebs of life-circumstance try to pull you down.

A mountain to me is coolest example of eternal timelessness.

Just when you think that you’re just climbing one physically, the internal struggle-climb takes you towards a higher state of mind – where the constant wheel of thoughts takes rest, and the creative life-force pervades.

Bir Billing, Himachal Pradesh

Climb one, and sit in silence.

Shout at it if you want to!

Listen in deep meditative silence to what it echoes back.

It’ll gently whisper the secret mystery of what life is made of – fortitude , resilience & unperturbed individuality under all conditions!

My calling !

A lot remains to be said. Yet, there’s no time! No time at all to tend to the tender heart. We create a life cycle around what doesn’t matter, what won’t last long, what won’t enrich the heart.

Layer on layer, and the heart becomes a hardened cocoon.

Life becomes a living lie ! We lie every waking second of every single minute… lie on what it means to feel happy.. what it means to feel whole with ourselves and, and with existence.. not-so-innocent lies on the perfect wives and the perfect families…

The fragile heart, the ever so bold heart that smiles inwardly, is the first casualty of the concooned existence.

But it knows the truth, that it sometimes gently whispers into your ears, slowly and cautiously. And it’s blunt and casual in its judgement – you’re not happy, you’re not whole, your being is but a sad vibration of accumulated lies – from parents, loved ones, and the society.

But you go on, holding on to those lies that you now believe to be your reality.

One fine day, when the clouds are sombre, and the mood is melancholic, the quiet heart plays a note of love, of memory, of stillness, of the age gone by, when you were free. And you REMEMBER!

The remembrance strikes a hammer into the hardened cocoon, and creates a small crevice… Small enough to let fresh air in..

The innocent heart catches a beat of respite again & plays that LOVE SONG again, the one we forgot while “growing up”. The delight is same, the excitement is same.

Wrinkles on the face may hide the delight. The light in the eyes shows so.

So, whenever that moment catches on to you, it’s your “calling”. In that moment, run away from anything that binds you from that ancient call. Run away from everything that bound you in the name of duty or convention or even love.

For there’s no age to be perfectly free, and happily joyous!

No age to release the soul-butterfly out of its caged cocoon!

Copyright © [Meru]. All rights reserved.

I used to want buyers for my words

A handful of people are known ‘Sufis‘ – mystics who rather prefer to live in seclusion.

A small percentage of Sufis become revered Sufi saints.

And an even smaller percentage of Sufi saints are known worldwide for their poetry.

Mevlana Rumi is among the smaller percentage of Sufi mystics, whose mysticism tears down the walls of religions, whose poetry inflames a deep fire we run away from daily, whose love for God and his master is deep and soulful.

Simple, to the point, and lyrical, the fountain of poetry exploded in Rumi’s heart when he came in contact with his master, Shams-e-Tabriz.

As it turns out, Rumi was a popular scholar turned poet, whose poetic genious was revealed to him after his unquenchable thirst for God was ignited by his master.

“I used to want buyers for my words,

  Now I wish someone would buy me away from words”.

– Rumi

Story-telling, a craft used by Sufis, offers an amusing lesson to the reader, in the most shocking way.

Here’s an interesting poem picked up from “The Essential Rumi” by Coleman Barks .

It is about a Sufi mystic who is overtly worried about his old donkey, and requests the servant repeatedly to give the donkey a proper meal and care.

The assurances given by the servant were all in vain, when the Sufi later realizes that the donkey wasn’t tended to as promised.

The ordinary story is not so ordinary.

It is the lesson in the ordinary things in life that’s become the essence of Sufism.

And here’s how the poem unfolds, giving the reader an advice on life:

“There are such vicious and empty flatterers in your life.

Do the careful, donkey-tending work.

Don’t trust that to anyone else.

There are hypocrites who will praise you, but who do not care about the health of your heart-donkey.

Be concentrated and leonine in the hunt for what is your true nourishment.

Don’t be distracted by blandishment-noises, of any sort.”

– After the Meditation, Rumi 🙂

(Note: The picture has been sourced from the net. No infringement intended.)

 

Copyright © [Meru]. All rights reserved.

Poetry is what we live for!

Nostalgia is a sweet ailment. Only twisted minds savour the bitter-sweet taste of past. But, sometimes, it is all you can do. Especially when you get to stay in your home town again.

Staying in this idyllic city of Nangal made my childhood an extraordinary experience.

Naya Nangal, Punjab
The Satluj river, Nangal

But, I didn’t know it at that time. I was busy daydreaming about the “perfect adult life”. Yet, I still had moments of absolute calm and happiness:
an adventurous hike to the school, cycling around the beautiful town lined by the gigantic river Satluj, the hospital nearby where we played hide and seek (maternity ward is the safest spot!), a passionate Biology teacher who took us to multiple bio-hikes (he could tell the name of each and every plant in the town and beyond), and a teacher of English literature who didn’t just read poetry.

He savoured every word of a poem, created a big spectacle out of it, and made me fall in love with English literature every single day.

I remember a poem that he narrated to us. It felt like the poem was the only thing that mattered at that moment.

The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes:

“The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees.   
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas.   
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,   
And the highwayman came riding— …”

“The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor”, has stayed with me for longer than I imagined. But the best was yet to come;

“One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I’m after a prize to-night,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,   
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.”

I can still hear the suppressed giggling of my classmates when he decided to dramatically blow a kiss.

I guess that’s what nostalgia is all about! Many of my classmates have gone ahead, and became engineers and doctors.

Yet I still find myself there, sitting in that class over and over again : awestruck, giggling, trying to memorise every single word in the “Oxford dictionary”, and falling in love with poetry as we know it.

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Model School, Nangal

The epic movie “Dead poet’s society” is as close as it can get, to the kind of passionate childhood we got to live. Sir Prasad to me, is an epitome of the art of teaching, and in his own ways, he clearly conveyed the “secret” to those of us who were listening:

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute.

We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race.

And the human race is filled with passion.

And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.

“To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’

Answer. That you are here — that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.

What will your verse be?”

The question is still relevant,.“What will your verse be?”

 🙂

 

Copyright © [Meru]. All rights reserved.

The Osho Experience: In the Foothills of The Himalayas

A whirling dervish… Ecstatic music… A state of no dimension !

I never thought I’ll ever witness a whirling Dervish  for real. Let alone, whirl myself!

Least of all, didn’t expect it to happen in Osho’s meditation center.

But wonderful things happen, especially, when you least expect them!

On the last day of a 4-day camp at Osho Nisarga center, the instructor, Pragya Ma, introduced us to the techniques of “No Dimension” meditation.

“Using the breath and a series of coordinated body movements followed by whirling, your energy becomes centered in the hara, the “life energy” center below the navel. From there you can watch the mind and experience awareness and wholeness – the body moving in all directions, the center unmoving.” – osho.com

Not only could I whirl without feeling dizzy, I felt a new connection with the universal energy; a connection which was always there in the first place!

It felt like a “spring of awareness” has blossomed in my heart, pushing away the dark wintry clouds of “chain of thoughts”.

Tears of gratitude flowed from my eyes, realising, for the first time, that the only hinderance between me and the universal energy is the entity “me”. Once “me” leaves the place, only God resides, even if, momentarily. 🙂 

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A moment of unbridled laughter near Osho Nisarga, Dharmshala

Osho Nisarga Meditation Center, Dharamshala, India

Located in foothills of The Himalayan range, Himachal Pradesh, Osho Nisarga is a lush green meditation commune. Vibrant flowers, gentle murmur of the river water, and the enchanting view of Dhauladhar mountain range, Osho Nisarga’s vibes surely takes the meditation experience to another dimension!

Dhauladhar Range Dharamshala
The Dhauladhar Range as viewed from the Osho Nisarga Center, Dharamshala

“The whole existence is a temple.
The trees are continuously in worship,
The clouds are in prayer, and
The mountains are in meditation… ” 

– Osho

Copyright © [Meru]. All rights reserved.

Rumi: Then I Left Everyone, Myself As Well!

“Doing as others told me, I was blind.
Coming when others called me, I was lost.
Then I left everyone, myself as well…
Then I found everyone, myself as well.”

~ Rumi

 

Osho Meditation Center Dharamshala
A moment of unbridled laughter near Osho Nisarga Meditation Center, Dharamshala, India

Vipassana: The Essence of all Meditations

Vipassana is an ancient meditation,  re-discovered, & preached  by Gautama, the Buddha in 2550 B.C.E.  A connoisseur of peace, Buddha transcended the realm of mind,  and attained “nirvana” or “enlightenment”.

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“Vipassana is the essence of all meditations” – Osho.

A curious agnostic, I believe something when I see it from my eyes, feel it in the depths of my soul, figure it out through rational mind. So, I took Vipassana course as a scientific experiment on myself, a challenge to conquer, a test of my extremes.

That’s when I landed in Jaipur!

 Dhamma Thali Vipassana Meditation Center Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

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Located at a distance of 15 Kms from Jaipur airport, the Dhamma Thali Vipassana Meditation Center is easy to reach from station and airport.  A 10-day residential course, a group of dedicated volunteers, veg wholesome meals, the simplicity of 10 days routine is a window to simplicity of the technique.

What is Vipassana? Is it for me?

The word “Vipassana” means to “see things as they are, not as they appear to be” or “to see clearly” in Pali language. I’ve been lucky enough to attend the course thrice. A lot of people ask me if it is for them. Well, put simply, there’re three things that you need to consider if you want to go ahead.

  • An open-scientific mind that is ready to explore a new idea:

My rational mind never agrees with traditions or conventions.. The technique doesn’t require you to do so… The high-point of Vipassana? Equanimous observation of reality, as it is. No visualization or verbalization. No chants, no mantra, and no dress code…No mention of God, soul, or religion…  An open mind is all you need.

Fear not, no one is going to “convert” you ! It ain’t a religion! 🙂

  • Intense curiosity & a sense of respect for meditation and spirituality:

A curiosity for spirituality, life, & mind is how I landed there. So, can you! Don’t go if you want to convert it into another social media debate between your beliefs & Buddhism. It isn’t about Buddhism. It is a technique that came back to India through Mr. S.N. Goenka in 1969, after it vanished from India, few centuries after its re-discovery by Gautama, the Buddha. 

The toughest, yet, most challenging part is adherence to “The Code of Discipline”. A 10-day routine, noble silence, abstinence from liquor, sexual conduct, purely vegetarian meals, starting the day with a wake up bell at 4:15 AM, can get a little intimidating. But the code of discipline is important. It is a part of the whole process

The technique of Vipassana:

Noble Silence: 10 days “moun”: Silence of speech, mind, and body.

A technical summary: Technically, Vipassana is simple. Observe the breath (Anapana)… Become aware of wandering thoughts… Focus back on breath… Slowly, the focus is shifted onto body parts…Equanimous observation of sensations that erupt in each body part… 

The technique becomes challenging when one has to do it more than 10 hours a day, for 10 days, with a light stomach, and a smile on the face. 🙂

The physical discomfort due to posture or continuous sitting is where the path of Vipassana begins! So, if you go, persist till the end, and give it your best shot.

To me personally, a course in Vipassana is a soulful inner journey: 

The first three days are tricky… As thoughts engulf the consciousness… By the fourth day, the burden we call “thoughts”,  begin to shed their weight… Mind is conditioned to be reactive… A student of Vipassana slowly learns to observe, rather than react to action happening outside and inside.  It is almost like the law of Physics: every action has an equal and opposite reaction… No reaction breaks the cycle of thoughts! 

Vipassana is just a blissful journey towards attaining “Bodhi”, or “awakening”. 

If I may say so, Vipassana to me is a  “fresh awakening”, a “rebirth”, a “renaissance of mind”!!!

A click to remember on the last day of Vipassana course!

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Goa 2: The Untameable Mobor beach

I can’t help it. The word “Mobor”  reminds me of a brilliant scene from the super – addictive “The Game of Thrones”: “Hodor, Hodor, Hodor”. An irrelevant trivia I know! 😛

hodor the game of thrones

The day we finally left Palolem, only to return back in 2 days:

It was our fifth day at Palolem beach, South Goa. The idea of the Goan adventure was to explore all the places in 11 days long vacation. But we grew too comfortable & totally cheated on our itinerary.

The idea to explore was lying in deep slumber…Like the beach itself…

There’s something about the stillness of the beach which captivates human mind. A sense of stillness of thoughts… A sense of calmness… A sense of awe for the grandeur of mother nature… This feeling takes over the senses, and the compulsive need to see it all on a trip loses its significance… 

Palolem Beach Canacona South Goa

But we did it! Next leg of the journey towards the North Goa:

Sense prevailed. We finally came out of the reverie, hired a car for the next day (Rs. 1200). And embarked on the north Goa adventure. On-route, we took a de-tour towards a high-end, not-so-crowded beach, the Mobor, Cavelossim beach. I’m glad we did it!

Mobor, Cavelossim is a high-end beach, offers private beaches & adventure sports:

Mobor, Cavelossim, a 30 Km long Southern Goa beach strip, is a high-end beach, shared between luxurious hotels and resorts, Leela Palace Hotel and Holiday Inn Resort. For someone who’s on a luxurious trip, Mobor beach is the place to book. Do it now!

Mobor Beach South Goa

The clear waters, soft golden sand, and  silence brings a sense of calm, complemented with a sense of high for the adventure sports: water skiing, windsurfing, sailing, parasailing, jet skiing, boating, and so on.

A tryst with swimming at Mobor!

I live in Punjab, North India – a region far away from oceans and shores. One can imagine the sense of pride I felt when I thought I could swim against the waves, just like any other local Goan or a foreigner.

Only, I couldn’t do it! The ocean fiercely intimidates. It is untameable. It is wild. So, it arouses curiosity. It dares you, with a wicked smirk on its face. The ocean knows it – deep down, you’re a coward. Especially, when you come face to face with your biggest fear: drowning.

If Palolem is gentle beach, owing to its crescent shape and unique location, Mobor is a monster. The waves are huge during the high tide ! But my natural curiosity pushed me to risk a plunge into the waves.

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Luckily, a local restaurant owner and an experienced local swimmer saw my dilemma, and offered help. He, along with a drunk-merry Russian couple, showed me how to swim against the waves.

Mobor Beach South Goa
A friendly Egret eating fish from my hand!

Slowly, he taught the technique of jumping into the crest of the wave, and then ride on the wave’s momentum. It was awesome! I felt invincible! And the very next wave caught me off-guard. Due to bad timing, it hit me hard & I was left dumbfounded, gasping for air on the white sandy shore. 😛

Mobor Cavelossim

The high point of the beach is less crowd. In India, it means less garbage too! As mojor part of the beach is shared by the luxurious hotels, the beach is not crowded by casual tourists. A memorable day of Goa trip, The untameable Mobor, Cavelossim, is a tale to remember!

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