Enlightenment or Self-awakening

I stumbled upon this write-up in my archives.

This word: “Enlightenment” has always intimidated me…it has given me visions of rising up into a different world, a sphere beyond my reach and therefore I have been trying to understand it for many years now.

Buddhist interpretation of the word… “the awakening to ultimate truth by which man is freed from the endless cycle of personal reincarnations to which all men are otherwise subject” is quite overwhelming.

Then I read about self-awakening: the truth that lies within us, the emotions that guide us toward our goals, that define the purpose of our life. And I arrived at some conclusions.

Enlightenment is not just spiritual, not just a state of transcendent divine experience, which aims at liberation from self, craving, suffering and rebirth. It is the ability to comprehend ourselves, it is the power to peer into our hearts and minds and reach that state of spiritual bliss, which may or may not lead us to salvation. Within us lies a light, a light of thoughts, a light of sanity, of ethereal happiness the light that liberates, which may become divine at some point of time, if we make an effort.

Enlightenment is self-realization…knowing your true self, which may be different from the self you have been portraying to the world.

“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment” –Laozi.

How much you know about yourself? It takes us almost whole of our life to know what lies in our heart and mind; as it keeps on changing.

There are stages when we don’t know what we want. If we are smart enough to figure out, one fine day we realize that our passion is not what we have been pursuing. What we like as teenagers, we may not feel comfortable with, as we grow up.

Our taste for food, our aesthetic sense, our likes and dislikes, our friends, our perspective on life changes and we move beyond the world of appearances. We feel enlightened when our intuition starts guiding us, when we can take mature decisions, when we take pride in our achievements.

So enlightenment begins with plunging into our hearts, analyzing our thoughts and reflecting on the kind of life we have been leading.

Slowly we realize we need another kind of enlightenment: Enlightenment is to know and understand people around us.

How little we know about people around us! This culture of adopting a non-interfering attitude makes us strangers to each other, getting immersed in the sea of our own plans and pains.

Is spiritual enlightenment of any use in such a scenario? Aren’t we too selfish to crave for it?

Can we really attain it if we are oblivious of the suffering around us?

To my mind, real enlightenment comes from helping mankind, from wiping out abuse, discrimination, violence and exploitation around us. Enlightenment doesn’t make us a better person if we seek it just for us. It doesn’t erase our desires or may put an end to our own suffering. In fact it is the suffering that ennobles us.

“Enlightenment, joy and peace can never be given to you by another. The well is inside you.” – Thich Nhat Hanh.

Is enlightenment beyond the reach of common man? I don’t think so.

Would you like to be enlightened in the real sense of the word? I would love to hear from your side.

© Balroop Singh

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The Key

secret
Sue Vincent’s #writephoto

The key to his heart was always with me
But I never turned it
The secrets within – I had deciphered
Words seemed superfluous

I could hear when it spoke softly
Angst lay within
Those crevices I explored alone
To calm the crimson rims

Trust of togetherness shaped us
Even time bowed
Storms raged and lost their rancor
Hearts could conquer all

Light and darkness merged here
We welcomed both
No agony could ever efface
The love that levees our contours

Some secrets have to remain buried
Because they are ours
We do share them
But only with the stars.
© Balroop Singh

Thanks to Sue Vincent for an inspiring Thursday #writephoto prompt Secret

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Check my latest book: Moments We Love

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Religion Or Spirituality – What is Your Choice?

religion-3452582_960_720
I am veering toward the thought: “Religion is the opium of masses.” Not that I didn’t try to explore its depths. I approached it with an open mind, I have observed its nuances from a closer angle and have even discussed it with devout followers and youngsters.

Religion is confusing. I have tried to understand it in many ways, most interesting being asking the young and the free minds who thought they were religious. Why – “because they were told to believe in it and follow its rituals.” Why – because “their parents told them to.” But some of them spoke honestly and admitted that they were confused.

To begin with religion may provide emotional security, unknown anchoring may ease angst and promote hope. It may inspire to live a meaningful life. I agree that it offers solace but all that is transitory.

Let’s nor forget the real face of religion:

  • It imposes arbitrary rules and rituals
  • It thrives on fear
  • It tries to control you
  • It encourages you to follow illogical path
  • It blocks freethinking and tries to condition your mind
  • It creates divide and polarizes communities
  • It has been used for accomplishing selfish goals

Religion may be confusing but easier to follow, as it doesn’t demand any understanding.

Spirituality is easier to understand but spiritual awakening dawns slowly; it is connected with our psychological growth, which is quite natural. Within us lies a light, a light of thoughts, a light of sanity, of ethereal happiness the light that liberates, which may become divine at some point of time, if we make an effort.

Spiritual awakening starts unfolding itself when we learn to look within; sometimes it astonishes us with its presence in some unknown crevices of our heart.

Spirituality is just being in harmony with yourself, exploring your thoughts and empowering them, delving deep into what you want and not being led by the so called Gurus. It only comes with understanding people and the world. You can’t expect a teenager to be spiritual, as it is developing your intuitive power and listening to your inner voice.

When we start discarding negative thoughts, when we begin to understand the feelings and emotions of people around us, when we adapt to changes without any grunts, when we adopt a positive approach to life, when self-healing becomes our goal – we may be gearing towards spiritualism.

Spirituality

It is an accomplishment as…

  • It leads us to emotional maturity and a deeper understanding of self.
  • It acquaints us with the darker aspects of our personality.
  • We can recognize the emotions that weaken us.
  • We develop the ability to embrace pain.
  • We learn to bridge the gap between pain and pleasure.
  • We cultivate the resilience to face inner demons, which we flee from.
  • We become sensitive to disparities around us.

Spirituality, as we know today has detached itself from religion and centers around values and humanistic ideas. It concentrates on personal wellbeing and inner peace.

It emphasizes on meditation, mindfulness, tolerance and ethics.

Yes, it matures us; it keeps us grounded but it doesn’t compel us to become another Buddha or his follower.

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

© Balroop Singh.

Why Are #YoungMinds So Vulnerable?

Mentoring Young Minds
Why is it so difficult to guide teenagers?

Why do they drift away and want to take their own decisions?
Why do they trust their peer group more than their best well- wishers?
How can they be easily influenced and manipulated by antagonists?

While parents and teachers dismiss all that as irresponsible and immature behavior, it is not very easy to understand a young mind. Psychologists have been trying to do that for many years.

Researchers believe that human brain development continues till the age of 25. The complex changes that the brain undergoes make them volatile and vulnerable. Youngsters crave individualism, freedom and self-regulation but are prone to risky behavior during this growth. Their patience and self-control is not fully developed. They can’t think of the consequences.

According to Dr. Frances Jensen, a Neuroscientist, “Teenagers make much more sense when you understand that the frontal lobes of the brain – the part responsible for judgment, impulse control, mood and emotions – is the last part to fully develop. So the brain just doesn’t know how to regulate itself yet. They’re like Ferraris with weak brakes.”

Ironically when they need their parents the most, they lose connection with them. We too are responsible for this disconnect.

What alienates them?

    1. Lack of understanding by parents: While teenagers are trying to cope up with physical and emotional upheavals within them, all they need is love and assurance that they are good enough. Most of them change, adapt and respond in a positive manner but those who don’t get the right environment seek it elsewhere.
    2. Excessive control: All they need at this stage is patient hearing. The quest to explore and experiment is the highest at this phase of life. If the rules and regulations are too crippling, youngsters take pleasure in flouting them. Setting the boundaries may be essential but one has to be flexible at times and give some freedom otherwise they become rebellious.
    3. Criticism: Teenagers are very sensitive and self-conscious. Criticism affects them deeply and they might retract into their own shell, stop sharing their thoughts and desires and could develop a low self-esteem. Such minds never come out of their developmental trauma and might react violently.
    4.  High expectations: I have seen many high school students struggling to come up to the expectations of their parents and choosing the subjects due to parental or peer pressure. In an attempt to please their parents or accomplish the dreams of their fathers, they lose their own personality.
    5. Neglect: Children, who grow up in dysfunctional families or those who have not received basic emotional support at an impressionable age, carry a baggage of unspoken words, which drag them deeper into an abyss of darkness. They always carry grudges in their heart against the world and become insensitive and apathetic. All they need is help though they are unwilling to accept it.

How can we help?

  • Provide them with safe and loving environment at home
  • Early bonding through open discussions
  • Listen to them calmly and patiently
  • Avoid criticism of their ideas and friends
  • Encourage regular exercise and creative channelization of energy
  • Encourage adequate rest and sleep
  • Avoid coercing them for career goals
  • Avoid stressful talk
  • Talk about your expectations calmly and logically.

Role of teachers:Children are like clay

Teachers are the role models for students. A kind and an affectionate word for the most unruly student attracts his attention and he leans towards the teacher who has a sympathetic attitude towards him. I have seen the toughest ones melt into tears of remorse when I tried to delve deeper, to probe into the causes of their violent behavior.

Little disappointments seem gigantic to teenagers. Teachers can convert those moments of disenchantment into stepping-stones by talking them out of negativity. A good teacher can also become a counselor, as she/he understands students better than parents. Teenagers feel more comfortable in sharing their problems with their teachers.

Young minds can be molded into positive and responsible individuals but the onus lies on us.

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

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Balroop Singh.

True Love Or Perfect Love?

True love is a mirage
Have you met true love? Is there anything called perfect love? These thoughts have been pestering me since I have read Vishnu’s latest book.

I don’t post all the reviews of the books I read at my blog but whenever my oldest blogger friend Vishnu (who visited my blog when it was more like a ghost abode) launches a book, he stirs my emotions and thoughts and I find a connection to say more than just about his book.

This time his book focuses on relationships, love and emotions – the topics, which pull at the strings of my heart.

The very title of his book ‘Does True Love Exist’ is thought provoking and I had a lot to say even before reading this book. I have posted my formal review about his book but some reflections that have been fluttering in my heart have to be shared before I move ahead.

True love is a mirage… it does exist. We do get enamored and infatuated by it but we have to keep following it till eternity. One of my poems glorifies true love:

True love keeps smiling in our eyes
Like a fountain that never dries
It instills hope, respect, patience
The journey of love is so elating.
Read full poem.

True love could be romantic but it wears off if it is not watered consistently with affection, care, respect and kindness. Romantic love morphs into a loving and eternal relationship if we understand what is love.

Interpretations of love differ and are as varied as people around the globe.

Vishnu talks about finding a person of your choice and developing a loving and healthy relationship, which we all yearn for. Taking a cue from his personal experiences, Vishnu’s sane advice is to love yourself before you decide about the love of your life.

Love yourself?

While I agree with the concept of self-love, I have observed so much of self-love in some cases that it makes a person self-centered, self-obsessed with one’s own needs, which leads people into their own realms of being the masters, not just of the house they live in but of the lives of persons who live in their so called home.

True love?

Vishnu says it is possible to find true love if you meet people and keep eliminating them one by one. The thoughts that still reverberate in my mind after finishing his book are…Appearances are deceptive, people put up their best behavior when they want to impress and continue to do so till their motives are accomplished.

Aren’t imperfections part of our personality?

While nobody would choose an alcoholic, a cheater or a liar consciously, you need one full life to detect a pretender or a compulsive liar who poses to be loving and truthful, denies each time that he lied and promises that he wouldn’t.True love is like ghosts - quote

True love cannot be found. It is not an artifact or a treasure, which could be discovered. It has to be learned and nurtured slowly. How rightly did William Shakespeare say: “The course of true love never did run smooth.”

Passionate love, love that claims to get the moon or the stars for us, fiery love…they are all forms of youthful, immature infatuation.

True love is a fairy tale, which can be transformed into reality by rewriting each chapter by hearing the whispers of each other’s heart, by believing in those whispers and absorbing the aches that lie within.

True love is the journey of lifetime across the rough sea, weathering all the storms on a surfing board. You may not be able to hold each other’s hand when the tide is high but you know that somebody is around to take care!

Do you believe in such love?

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

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Balroop Singh.