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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How to be the best at anything

We are all crazy busy these days. 

But guess what? It's not good for creativity or for the brain. [READ: How to Work, Love and Play like the Danes]

This is what scientists say:

1. Your brain can stay focused on anything, even an unpleasant task, if it knows it will last only 30 minutes. [TIP: Learn to stretch it to 90 mins?]

2. A positive mood heightens the chances for creative insight, as does taking out time to relax. [Do read: Five Easy Ways to Boost Your Confidence Every Day]

3. Scientists have found that people who take time to daydream score higher on tests of creativity. [These posts will be useful too: How to find peace within and How these Game Changers CHOSE to overcome their pain]


                                              [Image: Picjumbo]

Great Performers Work More Intensely, Take More Breaks

Florida State University psychologist Anders Ericcson's research studied young violinists at the prestigious Academy of Music in Berlin to study what it takes to be the best. These are his path-breaking findings:

1. It takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice at anything to become an expert.

2. The best violinists not only played more but they practiced more deliberately.

3.  They practiced when they were freshest and typically in no more than 90 minute increments for no more than 4 hours a day.

4.  The top violinists rested more.

So, what does it take to be the best?  It is not just about practice. 

It's about deliberate practice at 90 minute increments through the day and taking enough rest.

For me, personally, balancing my priorities within a limited time frame every day is a continual work in progress. I am learning to gradually improve every day.

What helps you to excel at what you do? Is it practice or something more?

[Research Inputs have been quoted from Brigid Schulte's book Work, Love and Play When No one has the Time.]

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Conversations with Colleagues: What's the best spiritual lesson you have learned from dealing with your anguish?

In my previous blog post, I shared a conversation that I had with a colleague who asked me a thought-provoking question: "Have you ever experienced anguish? How have you dealt with it?" And in case you missed reading it earlier, this was my response to it. Do read it here.


The second question she asked me was, "What's the best spiritual lesson you have learned from dealing with your anguish?" [Do read my post on Karma]

That got me in a bit of a fix. 

In my mind, I could picture all the terrific ups and terrible downs that I have been through - and I asked myself very intensely what I had learned from the toughest test that was put to me.
  
The answer doesn't feel very pretty to share....I can tell you that much.




This was my answer: The best lesson I have learned is this -  I am full of ego - attachment to the body consciousness. This needs a powerful spiritual hammer to destroy it completely. I always thought myself to be  a good, spiritual person. The more I meditate, the more I am able to step back inside myself and be a witness to my thoughts, words and actions. What I see is that my ego needs to be worked on and I have so much to improve upon within myself on a daily basis."

These are my "spiritual" conversations that I am sharing with you. It may not help you because you are likely to be far more spiritually evolved. But it would be great to know your thoughts and experiences too. 

So, I'd love to know your thoughts on this question: "What's the best spiritual lesson you have learned from dealing with your anguish?"

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Conversations with Colleagues: This Moment is Love

This morning, a colleague asked me an interesting question, "You always come across as a very composed person. In all this time, I have never seen you become angry or disturbed about anything. I have to ask you a personal question. Have you ever experienced anguish? How have you dealt with it?"





This is what I told her, "Our life is a series of experiences that can teach us a lot about ourselves and how we behave in an environment of constant uncertainties, often these are negative and not always in our control. I do my best to take every experience as a lesson to improve myself as a person and strengthen my faith in my God and Guru - Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. 

To answer your question, yes - I have my experienced deep anguish, not jus once or twice, but throughout the different phases of my life. What I have observed is that the more I evolve spiritually, the tougher and more painful the tests become. That stops me from completely losing my sense over the problems that come my way. 

When you realize that you are  not the Doer, you give your best effort to do what you know is logical and right. But you also give up very willingly the right to control the outcome - to believe you have control over the outcome is to belittle your own sense of loving awareness of God." [Do read: Being Strong is the new Beautiful]

Then my colleague asked me another personal question but I will share it in another post.

All I want to say is this: When we see every experience from a state of love, we bring loving awareness to it. We see a bigger, better and happier perspective. We become divine and true to what we were always meant to be.

When things get so tough that you can't bear the anguish tumbling out of you, remind yourself gently, "This too shall pass. This moment and experience is Love."

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Being strong is the new beautiful

When you go through heart-wrenching pain and you feel tempted to give up on life, remember this: God is your Light and being strong is the new beautiful.





Discover your Light. It's part of this Life.


Friday, June 12, 2015

What happens within you when you meditate

Long before sitting in meditation became something fashionable as it is today, meditation was a way of life for spiritual souls who longed to still the restless mind.

The Rishis sat in meditation for hundreds and thousands of years so that they could listen to the Word of God from within them. From the Word of God they heard, we received priceless gems of spiritual treasures in the form of Vedas, Upanishads, mantras.

It is said that even Lord Buddha had experimented with over ten thousand techniques in meditation! Okay, I must say that I don't have any "proof" but that's the buzz in the spiritual realm.

While many of us struggle with it, it helps to understand what happens inside us when we meditate. 

Whenever I meditate, my experience varies from day to day. There is just one exception though. I always see a lotus with baby pink petals blossom in my heart region and as I meditate, the petals turn a pale, beautiful gold. Following this, I see very clearly a smiling vision of my God and Guru - Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

What surprises me is that this repeats itself every day. I have not understood the "spiritual" significance of this experience but I feel the "sweetness" of it around my heart. And I wanted to share it here for those who  mediate. [Do read: Meditation: Signs of Progress & How to identify a Real Vision from a False One]
 
And here's a quote from a highly revered Siddha Yogi - Baba Muktananda - about what happens within you when you meditate. [Also do read: How Raja Yoga unites mind power with cosmic power]



How do you meditate? What challenges do you face in keeping the mind still and how do you tackle it as you continue meditating? Do share your thoughts & meditation experiences here...it will definitely inspire many others on the spiritual path.

Monday, June 8, 2015

How to Find the Peace Within You When Your Plans Go for a Toss


You think you have all that it takes to reach the most important milestones that you have set for yourself. You have planned everything, done the work that is needed to get you (in the logical scheme of things) to reach exactly where you want to be in life and yet, surprise!

Your plans go for a toss! 

You feel that every relationship you worked hard at has also flown out of the window before you could even say, "Hey, what's happening?" 

It happens all the time.



So, does it help to cry, scream, shout names and tear your hair out over it?

Not really.

But there's one thing that helps - stay calm, don't panic.

Nothing that has happened was ever in your control. There is always a greater force that tosses our carefully laid out plans into some wild, remote place.

Not your fault. Not your failure.

Tell yourself constantly, "I am at peace."

Say it a hundred times if you have to. Maybe more. 

The more you say this to your heart, the faster it works like magic!

Peace is what you get when peace is all that you can think of.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

After a gap of 25 years Nitish Bharadwaj makes a brilliant come back in a play ‘Chakravyuh’

Who can forget Lord Krishna as portrayed by Nitish Bharadwaj in the famous Mahabharata series that used to be shown on national television? 

And most people still say that he is an ideal choice as Krishna.

Nitish Bharadwaj also starred in a Malayalam movie called ‘Njaan Gandharvan’ which created ripples in the film industry right from the time its much acclaimed director Padmarajan announced it. I believe that the director could pull it off mostly because of one person’s amazing presence and acting – Nitish Bharadwaj.


And so, it happens that after a gap of 25 years Nitish Bharadwaj acted in a play titled ‘Chakravyuh’ written and directed by Atul Satya Kaushik. Of course, i was excited and thrilled to get an opportunity to watch him! Counted every minute to the play! 

And when I got there, it turned out that I was in the third row! Could see 'Lord Krishna' real close!!! Okay, stop, stop, I am getting goosebumps on my skin!

About the Play ‘Chakravyuh’

‘Chakravyuh’ is an attempt to present the glorious tragic fall of Abhhimanyu, the brave son of Arjuna and Subhadra and nephew of Lord Krishna. The hidden meanings of this episode in the Mahabharata is presented with thought-provoking dialogues between Lord Krishna and the others. 


 I thoroughly enjoyed the play. 

What amazed me is the effortless ease with which Nitish Bharadwaj becomes Lord Krishna even after so many years. There is magic in his eyes and in his smile. His expressions, from playful mischief to serenity to seriousness, lend depth to the character of Lord Krishna that he is playing. The play also marked the entry of his son, Lalit Bharadwaj (dressed in a pink and blue outfit as shown below, standing at his side). Many scenes played by Lalit Bharadwaj received the applause of the audience because of his acting and dialogue delivery.


Another striking character that deserves a special mentionis Duryodhan (featuring Rahul Bhuchar). In terms of screen presence, acting and dialogue delivery, he stands out too.

Music and Lights in the Play ‘Chakravyuh’

The play ‘Chakravyuh’ has impeccable lighting effects by Atul Satya Kaushik and beautiful music composed by Ravi Rao and Latika Jain.

Dialogues in the Play ‘Chakravyuh’
There are many thought provoking dialogues in this play.

In grief, Arjuna asks many questions to Lord Krishna, saying, “You are God, Guru, Father and Mother to my son. Yet you didn’t save him from death. How could you let my son die?”

Lord Krishna’s response is a heart-wrenching one. You have to watch this play to experience it.

Director of the Play ‘Chakravyuh’

Atul Satya Kaushik is an alumnus of Sri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC, Delhi) and is a qualified CA and holds a degree in law. Still to reach 30s, Atul Satya Kaushik has already written 10 full length theatre plays and produced and directed 12 theatre productions with over 150 shows in different parts of India. He is credited with pioneering modern commercial theatre in Delhi and running many ticketed plays  full houses in his theatre productions. He formed ‘The Films and Theatre Society’ in September 2009 and it is fast becoming one of the most performing theatre groups in Delhi.

After the Play ‘Chakravyuh

I was so super excited after watching the play ‘Chakravyuh’ that I couldn't help tweeting about it. The responses I got were "Most authentic enactment of Krishna" and "He doesn't even have to try, it comes naturally!" 

See, people LOVE watching Nitish Bharadwaj as Lord Krishna!
                                     

Friday, May 29, 2015

How to Chant the Gayatri Mantra with lots of love

The best way to cleanse and energize your mind is to chant the sacred Gayatri mantra. Any person can chant it with faith at any time and at any place. In case you are wondering why you should chant the Gayatri mantra, do read this post.

                               [Image credit: Unsplash]

What I love to do most is chant mantras and sing keerthans. The amazing positive energy that it brings - I can't express it in words. Your heart lifts, your body is filled with the positive energy and it clears all the cobwebs in your mind like magic. 

The Bhagavatha declares, "Sarvadaa, sarvatraa, sarva kaleshu Hari chintanam" which means "Contemplate on God always, at all places and at all times."

Have faith. Chant the Gayatri mantra with lots of love. [DO READ: How to Chant the Gayatri Mantra correctly]

Do you have a mantra that you chant regularly? Or may be you have a favourite quote or an affirmation that energizes you? Do share it here.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Conversations with Friends: Can we stop being judgmental?

This summer vacation in Kochi, I caught up with some old friends and we exchanged real life stories – of pain, struggles, heartbreak. 

One friend began her conversation like this, “I filed for divorce. I couldn’t stand the cruelty any more. I thought that filing for a divorce would ruin my happiness. But I feel happier now, than I have ever been in my whole life. I am able to enjoy my life fully and freely, without any fears and with total confidence.”

I felt the happiness in her voice. And for the first time in my life, I didn’t feel sad to hear the word ‘divorce.’

And then she said something thought-provoking, “People around me make comments when they see that I am not suffering, lamenting or ashamed of having filed for divorce. They make assumptions and shallow comments about me even after knowing all that I’ve been through...why is it that we have become an ‘educated’ society that thrives on comparisons and wants to see others ‘unhappy’ – i don’t understand it.”

Good point.




If we cannot empathize with others, can we not at least stop judging them or resenting them for their happiness? They have gone through pain, struggles and heart breaking moments.  

Does it help any one to feel happy about some one else's pain?

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