Magic of Reflections

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Meet this magic everyday
Rein your racing mind
Ask a question:
What’s more important?

Meet those million thoughts
Immerse in their intensity
Sift the positive ones –
Those that bring happiness

Nurture the thoughts
That embrace pain
Seek your real self –
Self-reflection builds personalities.

Lanes of life may be confusing
Yet traverse this maze with élan
A revisit may ravage your solitude
Some paths may harbor remorse

Reflections clear all cobwebs
Inspire intrinsic resilience
Magic unfolds
Unfettered by circumstances.
© Balroop Singh, October 2019

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Book Readers and Reviewers

e-book-1209040__340When digital devices invaded into our lives and living rooms, people thought books would lose their significance. Debates were organized to discuss and create awareness and a new generation of readers cropped up. Smart phones became their books and that was probably the turning point in the habits of readers.

There are three kinds of book readers.

First are those who read just for pleasure or to pass time. They don’t care to write woman-2701154__340reviews, as they take a book like a stranger who passes by. Characters don’t inspire them, as they look at them from imaginative perspective. They don’t dwell on their fictitious troubles, which are dismissed the moment they close the book. They don’t have any TBR list and read whatever they come across. They have a few favorite authors though.

Second are those who read a book just to review it. They are fast readers, may even skip many parts of the book, focusing on the elements that could be useful for their review. Emotions can’t sway them; words don’t move them and nuances of life fail to affect them. They can whiz through pages like a wizard; they can read all genres without a word of dissent. They can read multiple books at a time like a ball juggler. I call them super humans, with magical reading and reviewing skills. I envy them but am glad that I have never tried to be like them.

book-4133988__340 Then there are readers who approach a book like a friend. They fall in the third category. Reading is an experience for them; they connect with characters, feel the emotion of each one, savor the words and highlight what touches them. They are committed readers, in no hurry to finish a book. They choose their books carefully and don’t like to go outside their genre. Their reviews are critically framed, inclusive of good and bad aspects of author’s style and characterization.

Can you connect with one of these readers or are you a combination of all three?

Book reviews speak for themselves whether they have been written by a quick reader or a thoughtful reader; the former would just summarize a book, without going into finer details or saying anything about characters. They don’t care even if their review contains spoilers. I avoid reading any reviews of the book I pick up, as it is a pleasure to tread unknown paths and meet new people from the comfort of my favorite couch.

Do think giving one or two stars to a book is justified?

Recently I have read ‘Where We Belong’ by Emily Giffin and really liked it. But some reviewers have called it “the most appalling book”. This book has such varied reviews…from one star to five stars! I am astounded by the uncivilized language some of the readers have used while reviewing this book, which deals with emotions and relationships brilliantly.

Reviews acquaint us with our imperfections, if they are honest. They also provide a learning opportunity. I like a bad review too; if it is constructive and offers an in-depth analysis into writing. A good review is like a fragrant breeze that wafts around me for many days, boosting my creative juices.

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

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Balroop Singh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-deception And Suffering…Do we have a choice?

Self-deception and suffering

Self-deception is nobody’s intention yet we allow ourselves to live in its throes without reflecting or contemplating about it. Probably we don’t have any control over delusionary thoughts.

Self-deception may be therapeutic but only for a little while! The longer we choose to hide behind the lies we tell ourselves, the greater is the suffering.

Recently one of my friends was talking in a very depressing tone. My conversation with her revealed the same old dilemma…letting yourself into the realms of expectations and getting drowned in those thoughts.

Thoughts make us what we are. They guide us into unknown territories of depression, which starts slowly. We don’t even realize where we are going. Nobody steps into the dungeon of depression willingly. It just happens.

Most of the time others dominate our thoughts. We are worried about others – our siblings, friends and family. We try to please them when we are growing up. Failure to come up to their expectations may drive us into those moments of melancholy and loneliness. When we don’t share our frustrations, they get deep-rooted.

Those unresolved issues manifest themselves in the most surreptitious manner. We become controlling freaks and don’t even know it. We live in the world of our exquisite expectations, which are sacrosanct to us. We call them our dreams; we present them in the garb of our love and can go to any extent to get them fulfilled.

The clear victims of those expectations have to be our children as they are the most vulnerable, readily available quarries around us. We try to mold them according to our own thoughts, we try to impose our way of living on them and we expect them to follow our diktats.

We forget that they have their own mind. We overlook the fact that we resented all this when we were growing up. We disregard the importance of free thoughts and when they start taking their own decisions, we remind them of our own expectations from them. Our cravings and anger towards them makes us unhappy but we indict them, we rub it on them so much that they start drifting away.

All children drift away as they are guided by their own aspirations. It is not necessary that they should match yours. We worry more about the happiness of our children, forgetting that nobody can give happiness as a gift. Serenity and peace cannot be given, it lies in self-discovery, in acceptance but nothing sinks in when you are mired in angst, unnecessary worry, which does not lead you anywhere.Self-deception quote

Expectations are the biggest culprits as they let us believe the unthinkable. Mindful thinking can only be possible if the person concerned is ready to think otherwise.

Suffering may be inevitable and essential to understand life but self-inflicted suffering, which comes from thoughts can be avoided.

‘Easier said than done’ is the constant refrain to this advice but the moment we say this phrase, we are paving the way for continued anxiety as we assume that it is difficult to attain that state of mind, which can exalt us from self-inflicted thoughts of being miserable.

“Man’s capacity for self-deception is strange.” – Mahatma Gandhi.

A beginning has to be made and only we can make it.

The choice lies with us because the thoughts and expectations are also ours. Negative thoughts take precedence. Let them. When they have poisoned your mind, it is your turn to rebuff them and replace them with generosity, humility and peace. Nurture empathy and self-love.

Some take solace in meditation, others immerse themselves in prayer and some may even derive peace from the fact…life is like that, it throws up various kinds of painful challenges and it is better to accept them than fight.

Yet we have to fight the negative thoughts, which lead us into self-deception.

Thoughts are very powerful. They create; they shape our lives and beliefs. A major part of our personality is molded by our thoughts. Our happiness and success depends on the quality of our thoughts.

Have you ever felt entrenched in the maze of your thoughts? Do you live in the world of self-deception?

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

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Balroop Singh.

 

 

Where Should I Begin?

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Last night
An angel of forgiveness
Woke me up…
I was wonderstruck to see
Blue and purple light
In my room
 
She sat by my bedside
We had a cozy conversation
Caressing my locks, she counseled…
‘Forgive them dear,
Forgive them all
Don’t carry any affliction’
 
Abrasively I looked up
The pain in my eyes dwindled
With the promise – ‘I will try.’
A strange light spread around me
Immersed me completely
And my Angel smiled.
 
But I don’t know where to begin
Should I begin with childhood robbers?
Or devils I encountered
While growing up
Or tyrants
Who tried to snatch my freedom of speech?
 
Or those hypocrites
Who took me for a ride?
Or those who feigned friendship?
The list may be long
But the purple light of forgiveness
Is all around me, encompassing all.
 
© Balroop Singh
All rights reserved.

You can click on Sublime Shadows of Life by Balroop Singh to read more such poems.

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Self-judgment Is Equally Detrimental

Self-judgment

I am sure nobody likes to be judged but what about our own judgment, which is continuous and constant?

Did I hurt him/her? Did I say something offending? Did I shirk my responsibility? Where did I go wrong?

Am I right in…there are thousands of such questions, which keep cropping up in our minds every day. We may call it self-reflection but it is self-judgment too.

The difference is just this – the former is positive and the latter is negative.

We all know that negative thoughts are overpowering and intensely pernicious. Yet we let them dwell in our minds.

They are like those moments of pain that never go. No! They are not the old ones. New keep cropping up.

Some moments, which are too personal, too close…so precious that you can’t even share them. You can’t let them go. You have to grieve over them. You make peace with that pain because it is not directly yours, not within your reach yet it is connected with you…in the form of a near one, a very dear person who considers you your confidant.

Can that pain be betrayed? Can you detach from such a situation?

Can you blame yourself?

I have written about detachment, about letting go to move ahead, about the ‘Valley Of Happiness’ that is so easy to imagine but when you try to live in that valley, somebody enters to remind that life never fails to bring up new turbulences even if you try to conquer it’s endeavors.

Those moments of elusive sleep with mind drifting into the forgotten realms return. You wonder where your promise of keeping grief at bay has vanished.

You think for hours and then remind yourself that the only way is to dismiss those despondent thoughts.

When we think for hours, searching for our own role in the whole scenario – that is self-judgment.

When we blame ourselves for something we didn’t do intentionally – that is self-judgment.

When we wallow in the grief of a near or dear one – who doesn’t possess the confidence to move on, searching our own role in the situation or failure to help, that is self-judgment.

You try to respond to a sad story in a positive manner but that lump in the throat wouldn’t let the words flow out, you want to scream yet the voice seems to fail you, you feel throttled, tears well up in your eyes but you try to hold them to show your courage and all these emotions get wedged between the struggle to grieve and let go.

People consider you a sentimental fool!

All that tall talk… ‘Count your blessings’ seems hollow at such a time.

Despite all the feelings of helplessness and anguish, we have to hold the strings of positivity to leap out of those dumps.Self-judgment quote

There is no other way. The choice is ours. Keep lying low and wallow in self-pity or grieve and be done with it.

Self-judgment makes us doubt our own intentions.

It shakes our confidence.

It lowers our self-esteem.

It pulls us back into the dumps of depression.

THE ONLY CHOICE:

Train your mind: If you tend to hold yourself responsible for the misfortunes of others who are dear to your heart, you need to train your mind. Like any other training, it would take time. It would take more time than getting a mechanical training because emotions are supple, attachments are deep-rooted and enlightenment may require a full life.

Remind yourself: It is not your problem. You can’t mitigate the pain of others. You can’t change their circumstances. You can only empathize. Don’t drown yourself in their sorrow.

Give positive support: Avoid criticism; it never helps. All we need is reassurance that we are on the right path, that we are putting in our best efforts and our love for those we value would never wane.

Do you judge yourself? Do you hold yourself responsible for the misfortunes of others? I would love to hear your views.

Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable reflections, they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this article, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.