ANALYSING LOVE AND ITS ETERNAL NATURE

(Published in the Spiritually Speaking column of The Daily Guardian on February 22, 2021)

Do you believe in “love at first sight”? Why is it that sometimes you meet someone and there is an instant feeling of familiarity and attraction towards that person? Love is something that is difficult to define.

Love is a feeling of belonging, acceptance and wellbeing. When two people are in love there is a feeling that transcends description. There is something about love that seems eternal. If somebody loses the one they love there is always a feeling, even if buried deep within, that longs to be with that someone again. Is that possible? If somebody loses their loved ones, it is possible to be with them again in a future life or even the life between lives in the spiritual realm.

 Love itself never dies. It is one of the few things that we take with us when we leave this world and move into the next. Along with love, we take our karmas and our thoughts, feelings and emotions.

There are many ways to define love. One of these is that love is a positive energy associated with a wish of unification and well being. The aspect of unification transcends physicality. It is equally a meeting of minds, hearts and spirit, as it is a desire to be physically one.

We all like to talk about, think about and dream about love. It is an essential part of our humanity. No matter how many times we “fall” in or out of love, we still feel a powerful urge towards it. Our desire to love and be loved is deep rooted in our consciousness.

The positive perception that we have about someone or something is a form of energy which is called love energy. This love energy works differently between different people. You may be in a room full of strangers and someone walks in and there is an instant feeling of attraction, recognition and familiarity that transcends physical attraction or interest. There is an instant desire to become one with that person. Not everyone will feel this way about that person. The love energy that exists between two people reacts differently than it would between someone else.

One would feel love with a positive perception whereas others may feel neutral or even negative and regard that person with disdain. The point is that the person exuding that energy has a subconscious choice about the positivity or negativity of the energy they emit. We can give love energy and receive it as well. So, different people will feel different types of “vibes” from the same person. It is literally a form of energy chemistry. Different energy sources and types react with others differently and each human being exudes different types of energies that react with other people’s energies differently.

 So coming back to the original question—does love transcend death? Can you be reunited with soul mates after death?

Are there eternal lovers or soul mates with whom we have relationships that span across many lifetimes? The answer is yes. Love can and does extend across multiple lifetimes.

 Energetically we are all seeking a soul mate. But these soul mates are part of a larger group called our Soul Group or also referred to as Soul Families.

There are certain souls that have been with us throughout many incarnations and therefore there is a lot of karmic history between us. This karmic interaction creates a karmically magnetic effect. You will feel an instant recognition, attraction or a feeling of longing for a person. It can be in the form of physical attraction, but that is not necessary. It can also be a feeling of deep love or interest in someone without a physical attraction.

Many of the souls that we are interacting with today were with us in a past life but in a different relationship. For example, our spouse today may have been our child in a previous life, our parent may have been a sibling, a sibling may have been a lover in a previous life and so on. There is no limit to the various dramatic roles our souls play together in this eternal earthly drama that we are partaking in.

What role will be played by whom is decided by our souls in the ‘life between life’ phases between physical incarnations during the life we live in the spirit realms.

You meet the soul mate that you are meant to meet, when, where and how you are destined to meet, for a divine purpose that involves our spiritual growth and development.

When you have spent many lifetimes loving another person, you will have a powerful connection that is recognised immediately as and when it happens. Also, because your love never dies, it is possible to pick up where you have left off in a previous life. Even though you will have some catching up to do concerning your comings and goings the last few hundred years, your soul mate relationship has a story to it, and you have a history together. So, maybe what we call “love at first sight” is really just a love reunion.

 This type of a soul mate with whom you have loved and lost over many centuries will feature an eerie sense of familiarity, like you have known each other before, and sometimes even an uncanny innate understanding of each other. And, this connection will become more and more intense with each lifetime that a couple spends together.

Though we have had many lifetimes and many loving soul mates there are always the loves that lie ahead, yet to come into the path of our lives. These lost loves have dreamed of you, searched for you, and have waited centuries for destiny to allow your paths to cross once more.

When these soul mates once again cross our path we need to be ready for them. This can happen by working on giving and receiving love. When two ready soul mates are reunited, the love energy of this union is unparalleled. Because they didn’t fall in love, they simply remembered that they loved each other already.

Practicing the Attitude of Gratitude

(Published in the Spiritually Speaking column of The Daily Guardian on February 8, 2021)

Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.

— Oprah Winfrey.

Practising the attitude of gratitude can and will change your life! Many times people keep complaining about things that they don’t have or things that they don’t like or things that are happening to them that they are not happy about. Oftentimes we complain about things, many times. But it is very important for us to show gratitude.

We are hopefully in the last phase of a global pandemic. If you are reading this article that means you are alive and that you have survived. That in itself is reason to be thankful. We must always thank God for everything that we have and in that thanking, more blessings will come.

If we keep complaining all the time—I don’t have this or I don’t have that—things become more difficult. You become more and more unsatisfied with yourself and your surroundings and that unsatisfaction or dissatisfaction, creates negative vibrations or negative energy. It creates resentments. It creates jealousy. It creates all sorts of things that are not positive in nature.

We have all heard the saying “I cried because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet”. This is something that makes us realise that we have a lot to be thankful for and things could have been worse. Constantly complaining or self-pitying is very negative and creates negative energy that blocks and diminishes our progress.

On the other hand, when we are grateful and thankful, it creates positive vibrations and positive energy. It makes us see things more clearly and makes us thankful for the things that we have in our life.

If you ever feel that you don’t have what you are looking for, always count the blessings that you have. Do you have a family? Do you have good health? Do you have a home? Do you have a job or a business? If you have any of these things, you are better off than many other people in the world.

When we take the time to focus on all the good in our lives, from the people we love to our most treasured possessions, we become happier and more positive people. And when you’re living and acting in positivity and happiness, you have the ability to impact the people around you to do the same.

Positivity breeds positivity. Showing gratitude feels good but on a deeper level, gratitude has the very real ability to positively affect your physical health for the better. Think about the last time you felt happy and positive. Whether you took a deep breath of fresh air or cuddled your baby after a long day, chances are these little moments of happiness not only made you feel more optimistic, but more energetic and productive as well. When you’re feeling grateful, positive, and happy, your brain and body are more efficient. You feel good physically because you feel good mentally.

Even in the darkest moments of our lives, it is possible to find goodness. It is in these moments that it is the most important to be grateful. At such times, it is sometimes difficult to see the silver lining of the dark clouds. Negative thoughts and attitude breeds more negativity and this can consume a person. With effort, we can overcome these moments of negativity. Practicing gratitude can help us to overcome negativity and become happy and positive again.

Be grateful and thankful and let your thankfulness towards God be a way for you to realise how blessed you are and how much life needs to be celebrated and needs to be enjoyed and use that positive vibration to bring positive vibrations in the world. Gratitude shall multiply things even further for you. And even if you don’t have something right now, work towards it in a positive way, being thankful for every moment along the way. Do not be jealous of people who have the things you want. Celebrate others success and soon success will come knocking at your door. Celebrate others happiness and soon happiness will come knocking at your door.

Some things you can do to make gratitude your daily routine:

Express gratitude to yourself. Expressing gratitude to others starts with accepting yourself. Practice saying thank you to yourself for who you are. While doing so, look deep into your eyes in a mirror.

Practise gratitude affirmations. Saying, ‘’I’m thankful for …’’, to everything that surrounds you is a great and easy way to focus on appreciation. Use the affirmations every day to strengthen the power of a gratitude journal.

Keeping a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal is one of the most useful techniques for practicing gratitude. Spending a few minutes in the morning or evening reflecting upon the things you are grateful for will bring a lot of benefits to your well-being. According to research, regularly taking reflections on moments you are grateful for can improve satisfaction and your psychological health.

Say “Thank you” to your meal. Taking things for granted, sometimes we forget that many people on this planet are starving and suffering from hunger. If you can choose what to eat for breakfast, lunch or supper, you are very lucky and that’s why you should express your gratitude for the food you are going to eat.

Begin and end your day with gratitude. In order for us to focus on our achievements, it is important to engage in daily self-reflection every morning. This helps in letting our creative juices flow and keeps us energetic throughout the day and also helps in getting a good sleep at night.

Compliment others every day. Compliments can make other people feel good. Telling someone about his or her good qualities will make both the receiver and giver of the compliment happy. Practice giving at least one sincere compliment a day!

Make a habit of thank you. We say thank you to our colleagues and others, but sometimes we forget to do it for our family. Make saying “thank you” a habit and use it for noticing even little things you get used to taking for granted.

Celebrate the moment. Finally, enjoy every moment you live and be grateful for the good things that happen to you. Take at least a few minutes a day to stop and enjoy the beauty of nature and other things around you.

You can think of gratitude as an emotion or mental state, but whatever you might choose, gratitude is something that will bring you closer to a better well-being.

Being grateful, especially in the tough moments, isn’t something that is always easy to do. But if you learn to make gratitude a habit, you will have an impact that spans wider and longer than you could have ever imagined.

The Power of Prayer and Thoughts

(Published in the Spiritually Speaking column of the Daily Guardian on January 25, 2021)

Every prayer, thought, word or deed involves a flow of energy. This energy has the power to lift us, heal us, comfort us, inspire us on the positive side. But it can also deflate us, hurt us, anger us, or make us afraid on the negative side. One of the best ways for us to build good energy is to pray and meditate. In these times, praying together is the best way to stay together. As the old saying goes, ‘a family that prays together, stays together’.

Every thought produces a vibration in the universe. The energy of the vibration produced increases as the intensity of the thought increases. These vibrations have power. They can change their surroundings and ultimately make the world a much better place.

Have you noticed that when you enter a room where there has been a fight or argument, you can ‘sense’ the tension in the air? Have you ever been in a place where you have had an eerie or uncomfortable feeling? We have all felt this some time or the other. It is natural for us to be able to sense vibrations.

Similarly, there must have been times when you have gone to a holy place where many come to pray or meditate and sensed a powerful feeling of love, peace, serenity and safety.

All of this shows that the ripples or vibrations produced by thought and intense awareness have an impact on their surroundings and produce vibrations that over time are absorbed in the place. The place then retains the energy of the vibrations.

Thought is powerful. So are its byproducts—words and deeds. A nice word can and does have a powerful impact on its recipient.

A word filled with love, kindness and compassion can create a powerful vibration of goodness that if powerful enough can change the way people around think. The power of mantras has been known for thousands of years.

There is a lot of power in thoughts and prayers. Thoughts are a form of energy and prayer is a form of communication with the Infinite source of all energy, or God; through our thoughts. Thoughts are like seeds which require nourishment to grow into fruit-bearing trees. The nourishment of thoughts is in the form of affirmation, concentration and attention. Prayer need not necessarily involve the usage of pious phrases.

Norman Vincent Peale describes a three-fold approach in his best-selling book, ‘The power of positive thinking’—1) prayerise, (2) picturise and (3) actualise. The first step involves simply thinking and talking to God informally, which is prayer. The next step is picturising or visualising it mentally. Create in your mind an image of the desired result: a healed love one, a more prosperous life, a happy marital life, a more healthy or confident self. Whatever you seek, pray to God and then visualise it to be so and then just say to God, “I have put it in Your hands, Lord.” After this, the actualisation will come in time either by the desired result or guidance.

Peale gives a glorious example of how we can spread love and goodwill throughout our daily lives. Just say a little prayer for anyone that you see. These are called flash prayers “shot” out towards people. Just send out thoughts of love and goodwill. There have been cases where the recipients of such prayer “shots” could feel a physical manifestation of the energy.

The world can be a lot happier if we all just continuously “shoot” each other with prayers of love and goodwill. Let us “shoot” out positive thoughts towards one and other. We could try to replace our hatred and anger filled thoughts with thoughts of love and goodwill. Just mentally send out peaceful and love filled thoughts of goodwill towards everyone that you see and they will feel it as well.

The energies around the whole world will change if everyone starts to do this. These energies are very powerful and the results will be seen and felt. But constant prayers are needed. Even prayers take time to be answered. Just be patient and have faith.

Prayer and positive thinking are also a very useful technique in creating a more confident and success filled life. Thoughts of success often attract success. Thoughts of failure often attract failure. Energy is like a magnet. It attracts. Positive energy attracts positive results.

Positive affirmations, especially at night time before bedtime is a very important tool to attract positive results. The age-old tradition of prayer before sleeping is so that the positive thoughts and prayers can sink into the subconscious mind during sleep.

As mentioned earlier, ‘a family that prays together, stays together’. The act of a family joining together every day at a particular time and praying together creates a loving powerful energy that strengthens the relationship between family members. This increases the loving divine energy present between you and your family and also adds positive vibrations to your house. This is a great habit that works wonders for family harmony and ultimately societal harmony. Try to do this with your family. Take turns every day. Each day a different person may pray. This increases the sense of involvement of all members, especially the children.

Avoid all forms of negativity. Nip it in the mental bud. One cannot stop negative thoughts from entering, but one can kick them out as soon as they enter. Positive thoughts can repel negative ones from establishing themselves in the mind.

Our planet today has a lot of negative energy that is manifested in the form of wars, violence, crimes, prejudices among other things. But that can change.

If enough people just stop what they’re doing for just a few moments every day and send out positive energy in the form of a prayer or mantra for love and peace into the universe. Let this positivity be guided specifically towards our planet Earth. This will begin the creation of a matrix of positive energy and vibrations.

If everybody just makes it a point to close their eyes for a few minutes and imagine our planet Earth floating in space. Imagine all the billions of people, animals and plants on Earth and just send a thought or word of love. After this, smile at the Earth and wait for the response – you will feel the Earth smile back. If you do not feel the response immediately, don’t worry. It will eventually come over time.

Soon the negative vibrations will be replaced by positive ones and this will be the beginning of a new era of positivity. Try it. Once a day for a few minutes to start with. It will make you feel great. If enough people do this, we will all change for the better and the Earth will change too.

Many of the world’s problems can be solved if there is more prayer energy generated. This energy will increase when we add prayer into our consciousness and make it a part of our daily life. Talk to God either verbally, mentally or even in written form. Yes, write a note to God. Everyday use flash prayers to increase the overall consciousness of peace and goodwill and soon if more people do it, we will transform into a much better, safer and peaceful world.

A selfless deed to serve someone else can set a very powerful example and permanently change the person helped by giving them a taste of love and compassion. An act of love or kindness makes both the giver and receiver experience a feeling of goodness and love.

Using prayer, thoughts, words and deeds—you can change the world!

The Balance of Life

(Published in Spiritually Speaking of The Daily Guardian on January 11, 2021)

Life is such a balancing act: Head and heart, family and work, business and social and the balance of our physical and spiritual worlds.

We live in two worlds at the same time: Our physical world, where the focus is on material things, money, competition, facts, organisation, planning and accomplishing. We are in this physical world, but we are actually spiritual beings who are temporarily being held here by our physical body.

A key to balance is to realise that we are eternal souls currently here on planet earth. This is not just theory or philosophy but comes from our own experiences. When we truly understand ourselves as the souls we are, we can relax and enjoy the journey. We can also learn from all the experiences we are having here. We are souls with a body, not a body with a soul. When we know and live from this understanding, life becomes more content and satisfying. We can be involved in the physical world, not controlled by its challenges but learning and assimilating all the lessons we learn.

In the end, even the physical is spiritual. Our life in this physical world is an opportunity to learn, grow and evolve.

Balancing our physical and spiritual worlds means living with practicality, with facts and organisation along with the essence of the True Self. Our true essence is the good, kind, loving, spiritual beings that we are. This True Self shines when we are relaxed and feeling connected.

The key to staying connected with the True Self is aligning thoughts and actions with our true inner being—thinking in a solution-oriented way. Do we tend to spend too much time complaining to ourselves or others when faced with challenges? Do we give up when we face a challenge, or do we evaluate the situation, tune into an inner guidance and keep moving along our path?

Living in two worlds at once means we stay tuned into our values and purpose. We know who we are, where we are, and where we are going. Through this inner connection nothing stops us from living our dreams and desires.

We have a divine inner guidance to help us create the life we are here to experience. Qualities like self-love, self-respect, perseverance, enthusiasm, joy, love, kindness, patience, discipline and faith are also strengthened through this inner guidance. Some of those qualities may be well-developed already, while others we may want to expand in ourselves.

We need to be sincere with ourselves. Consistent self-reflection, or regrouping through meditation, walking outdoors and being creative helps keep our balance and boosts our progress.

What are the aspects of a balanced person? Physical, mental, emotional, social, financial and spiritual.

When it comes to life, happiness, and well-being, there isn’t one single area of life that we need to focus on. Instead, life is multidimensional and constantly changing.

Focusing too much on one area can cause the other areas to be neglected. This is why practicing balance and having a complete picture perspective toward life is so important.

These are some of the areas of our lives that need to all be balanced as much as possible.

1. PHYSICAL

The physical aspect of life includes our health and the way we take care of our bodies. This includes what we eat and drink, exercising and hygiene.

Our body is the most precious gift we have in the physical world and without it we can’t exist here. If we are not healthy, we certainly can’t enjoy all the other aspects of life. For that reason, taking care of our physical health is the very first step on the road to happiness.

2. MENTAL

If we don’t take care of our body, then it will slowly deteriorate. And the same is true for the mind. Just because you don’t have to go to school anymore doesn’t mean you can’t keep learning new things and challenging your brain. Reading books. Learning new things. Following the news. These are all ways to keep our minds sharp and continue to update our knowledge and beliefs. Learning is something that should be a lifelong process.

3. EMOTIONAL

We also need to pay attention to our “emotional” side. Emotions can often seem like something that we have limited power over, but being a more emotionally intelligent person means becoming more self-aware and learning how to better regulate our emotions and behaviour. It is crucial that we know how to reflect and navigate through our emotional worlds.

4. SOCIAL

Healthy relationships are an essential ingredient to happiness and well-being. Having a social life and a sense of belonging is a basic human need that can’t be avoided. Even introverts need a few true friends to give them a sense of purpose and meaning. We are social animals and one of the reasons why our souls have come to Earth is to experience living with others and to learn from the lessons that relationships give us.

5. WORK/FINANCIAL

Another aspect of a balanced person that cannot be ignored is our material needs such as food, shelter, healthcare, and other basics to living a healthy and dignified life. For most people, this means having a job/career that both supports their material well-being, as well as their psychological well-being. While we don’t always get a choice in what we do for a living, there are important ways to give ourselves more power over both our work life and financial life.

6. SPIRITUAL

Spirituality can sometimes be the most overlooked aspect to life. For many people, religion is their main source of spirituality and meaning, but we don’t necessarily need religion to find a larger purpose to life.

Art, culture, philosophy, relationships, meditation and creativity can all play a role in creating more meaning in our lives and living more purposefully.

Have faith that life is good. Faith does have an important role in good living. Don’t underestimate the importance of seeing the good in things, even our very worst experiences can be valuable, as they are only lessons that make us stronger. Every moment is a source of wealth. Practice living richly.

Don’t underestimate the importance of “spirituality” or having a meaningful life. When you have a spiritual core, you can withstand almost any difficulty or hardship. It can empower you and motivate you to a whole other level.

And finally, there must always be a balance between giving and receiving. Neither extreme is good. We must do both.

Be balanced in everything that you do.

Lessons From A Rare Year

(published in Spiritually Speaking Column of The Daily Guardian on December 28, 2020)

2020 is about to end.

The cycle continues.

The end of the year is always a good time to reflect on the year gone by and to introspect on the lessons we all learned as individuals. It is also a great time to apply those lessons in the New Year that is coming in. While this year had its challenges, it wasn’t all bad. It has taught us many important lessons as well.

This was one of the most significant and eventful years in human history. The global pandemic dominated this year in every way. Whether it was the lockdowns, the economic slowdown or the race for the vaccine. New terms that were unheard of now have been sealed into our global consciousness, such as—masks, quarantine and social distancing. This year has been quite a wild ride and most of it was spent right at home. Like a global reality show we all were in tune with global events through the Internet, social media and streaming services primarily.

Millions of people have been infected by the virus. Hundreds and thousands have died globally. Millions around the world have lost their jobs and businesses. It has been a year of several challenges. But has it been only bad? 

Not at all. This has been a year of many lessons. While we all sat at home mostly in the earlier part of the year during lockdown, we also got a chance to rediscover our loved ones and ourselves. Many families have become closer to each other than before. Many people have had precious time to look inwards and rediscover themselves.

Everyone must have learned their own individual lessons. But there are some that hopefully most of us learned. One is that we are literally in ‘the same boat’. Remember all the things we have heard about a global crisis affecting us all? Well this was at least in the last 100 years the first crisis that truly affected us all. We all went through lockdowns, shutdowns and quarantines. This was not confined to some part of the world but rather the whole world and these kinds of global events happen very rarely.

So since we are all in ‘the same boat’ we can also conclude that we are truly ‘not alone’. Whether we like it or not, we are a global family. Like all families, we have our moments, our ups and downs but that does not change the fact that we are all one global family.

On an individual level, we have realised that life is a lot vaster and deeper than we thought. Life is not just about money and career. Life is about family, creative talents, relationships, introspection, health, change and adaptability among many other things.

On the global scale remember that 2020 is the year that has brought us both virus and vaccine. So while many got sick and passed on from this physical world, many more recovered and were granted a new lease of life. That is what we need to focus on and celebrate. Darkness came but the light prevailed. 

Now we are in the last week of 2020 so ask yourself the new things you learned about yourself or your loved ones this year. We all need to be thankful for our lives and those in it. Take this moment to realise that even our lost loved ones are still with us but in a different state of existence. Let us thank God for every blessing we have. Have faith in yourself that there are better days ahead. 

The cycle of time is perhaps best symbolised by New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Every year we go through this cycle—like a soul that reincarnates through a multiple series of births and deaths. December 31 is generally a day of celebration. But what is being celebrated? The year gone by or the new year coming or both? I would say both.

We look at the experiences we had in one year, introspect and process those learnings and lessons and then apply them in the next year. A lot like the cycle of karma.

We all are human and make mistakes. We all go through cycles of happiness and sadness. We all have moments of companionship and loneliness. We all go through sickness and health and so on. Life is a cycle. Nothing is permanent. This too shall pass. So don’t get attached to individual moments but enjoy them and learn from them.

Apply the lessons that you learned. This is a great time to do new things and form newer and better habits. It is also a great time to look inwards and see the glorious divine light of love inside you. By our positive and creative thoughts, words and deeds we can spread new light upon the world. These do not have to be big things. If we all just do good in our daily lives, in our normal interactions, we will be doing a great service to the spiritual development of the world. Hopefully, that will create a chain reaction or a ripple effect. 

We are living in a very significant spiritual period when we enter into what is called the ‘Age of Aquarius’. On December 21, 2020 the Great Conjunction occurred when Jupiter and Saturn appeared to be in a straight line as seen from earth and this happened in the constellation of Aquarius. It is said that this is the beginning of a new era of spirituality on earth. Let the light of the Divine shine in your hearts and souls and let us celebrate our humanity together. We have come through a challenging period together and should celebrate. 

I wish you and your families a very happy, safe, healthy and insightful new year. 

As we all enter the New Year together, remember that your life is precious and you are here for an important reason: Be God’s love. Be God’s light.

The cycle continues.

2021 is about to begin.

Be The Love And Light This Christmas

(Published in The Indian Express December 25, 2020)

When Jesus was born, a great star appeared in the sky over Bethlehem to herald the coming of Christ. Three wise men from the East saw this star and came on their camels to meet and worship the newborn babe. They found him in a manger and gave him gifts. They recognised this child as a Divine soul.

This year, on December 21, 2020, a sign in the heavens was given as there was a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. The brightest seen since the year 1226. It is also said that this is heralding the Age of Aquarius, which is believed to be a new era where there will be a powerful surge of spiritual consciousness on the planet.

Christmas is a great day to look at the year gone by and process everything you experienced in that particular year. Christmas is a day that we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ but it is also a day that we celebrate the year gone by as we prepare for the coming year ahead.

Should Christmas of the year 2020 be any different?

Well it is different because the year 2020 has been an unprecedented year! It started off in a grand way. The beginning of a new decade. Like the years 1717, 1818 and 1919 before it, 2020 is one of those years that comes only once every 101 years, where the first two digits are the same as the last two. The next time this type of year comes by will be in 2121.

So right from the beginning, 2020 came with something unique in our collective minds. But what a ride it’s been. Nobody could have imagined all the things that would happen.A global pandemic spread throughout the planet and forced nations to lock down.

Covid 19 brought the whole world to its knees. New terms that were hardly of any consequence in our global consciousness last Christmas have been branded into our collective global consciousness like – masks, lockdown, travel bans and social distancing.

We all were forced to stay at home and that left us no choice but to look inwards and introspect. Many people fell into depression, loneliness and sadness. People all around the globe suffered financial challenges because of lost jobs and failing businesses. People got infected and fell sick and hundreds of thousands bid goodbye to this planet and set sail back to the spiritual realms from which we have all come.

But despite all this, there was something interestingly good about the year. 2020 was a great gift to humankind!

We all experienced something together as a species. It taught us valuable lessons. It made us realise in the most dramatic and almost cinematic way that the important things in life are our relationships with each other and that we are all literally ‘in the same boat’.

Videos and social media posts from various platforms popped up showing us how the lockdown affected people’s lives in remote corners of the world and this brought a strange type of relief, joy, happiness and camaraderie. It has shown us that we are quite literally all equally vulnerable and that as the fictional Jack Shephard from the famous TV show Lost says, “If we can’t live together, we are going to die alone!”

The virus sees not one’s religion, financial condition, gender, political views, nationality, caste, creed or colour. The virus is the great leveler.Not just the virus but many other things that happened in the world this year strengthened the bond of people all over the world. There were riots, floods, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes in various parts of the world. But despite that, there was hope! For through a mass scale global effort of science despite the odds, the year 2020 has seen both virus and vaccine!

Remember earlier when I mentioned we are all ‘in the same boat’? There is a story of Jesus in the Bible about this:Jesus Calms the Storm (Luke 8:22-25)

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

In times of crisis, it is natural to be afraid. It is natural to get negative thoughts. But this is the time to pray for faith. For faith leads to perseverance, tenacity and resolutions of the challenges we face.

Christmas is a time to reflect and process the events of the year. What did you learn spending time with yourself? What did you learn about your loved ones and family? Have you counted how many things there are to be thankful for? Going forward, how will you change yourself in order to change the world for the better? We are all very lucky to be living in these highly spiritual and eventful times. This is a year that historians will be writing about for centuries. It is a year that marks the beginning of a new era of humanity.2020 has been a year unlike no other experienced by anyone alive on this planet.

On this Christmas Day 2020, I bring you good news! We will survive and things will get better. We have all gotten through this together. We remember those who we have lost but we know they are still alive in the spiritual realms, where we will all return someday. But there is no hurry. There is much to do still.You are not alone! Even if it feels like that sometimes. The ride can be scary but we are in it together.

This year has been called by many as the ‘Great Awakening’. For many have felt our connection. We are souls who have come here to explore and bring the love and light of God to everyone else.

This Christmas let us celebrate the lessons we learned this year. Let us celebrate our connection. This year like never before, we felt connected as a global civilisation. We realised that the important things in life are not connected to material things but they are connected to freedom, to exploring, to seeking, to learning, to loving and to being one world connected together.

Like the star that shone the night of Christ’s birth, let your light shine! Let the love and light of Christ be reborn within you! Keep introspecting within and soon like the wise men found the Christ child, we may find the Divine light and love of God within us or the Christ consciousness within us.

Let us be thankful to God to be alive! Let us be thankful that we are all connected! Let us aim to do our bit to make the world a better place. After 2020, we now welcome 2021. In this new year, let us resolve to tackle our individual, local, national and global problems without being afraid and having hope and faith that things will get better.

Peace be unto you and yours! Be God’s Love! Be God’s Light!I wish you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year 2021.

Your Circle Of Light

(Published in the Spiritually Speaking column of The Daily Guardian on December 14, 2020)

Each one of us exudes a spiritual light which is an energy that vibrates according to our state of spiritual consciousness. What we do not always realise or recognise is the effect that our light can and does have on others in our circle.

 Whether our light shines bright or dim, we are unknowingly helping others around us and teaching them to become more consciously aware of their own light. Our interactions with other people create an ever changing circle of light which changes both in its spiritual luminosity and in its dimension.

This circle of light works in both ways. The light of others also can help us to gain valuable lessons in our own lives as well. The light of others can also assist in either brightening or dimming our own light depending on its quality. Remember how we were all taught in childhood to be careful of the company we keep? This is not only a subjective life lesson but it is an important spiritual truth—we absorb the light or energy of others and this includes the quality of that energy.

 Our goal should be to brighten and strengthen our own light through thoughts, words and deeds of kindness and cleanliness. When we cultivate our own inner light through prayer, meditation and unconditional love towards God, self and others we begin to inwardly glow with a more radiant and resplendent light that will be seen by the spiritual eyes of others and will touch the hearts, minds and souls of humanity.

It is this light that illuminates the universe. The light is brilliantly luminescent because it is God’s or our Source’s (whichever you prefer) light. Our Creator’s light lives inside our hearts and souls and has been placed there purposefully for us to seek, access and use it to benefit the world.

By connecting to this Divine source of power (fuelled by unconditional love) in our hearts, we can learn the ways of divine healing, love, wisdom and creativity.

In the beginning, God told us to “be fruitful and multiply”. This is not only about multiplying physical things but also multiplying our creativity through art, science, humanity, philosophy, economics and many other things that can be used to make this world a better place. Also we need to be fruitful and multiply in terms of our good and loving thoughts, words and deeds and further strengthen and energise our own circle of light of which we are the center point. This will then lead us into higher levels of consciousness and this is what creation is all about.

All we are doing is returning back to our Divine origin and source and learning new things along the way but at the same time remembering that which our spirit already knows and has always known but simply temporarily forgotten. The quest for meaning, purpose, maturation and evolution of our soul is a quest to reconnect to Home. It is the journey to know and awaken to our holy self.

The journey Home to God, accelerates and expands our capacity to hold and elevate light and love for ourselves and others by incrementally stripping away layers of the false ego centric self.

It takes time and practice through meditation and prayer to develop an intimate relationship with God. In fact, this transformational process is underway daily as God calls us into deeper levels of relationship which lifts more and more of the veil of unconsciousness. This veil has purposely hidden our Divine identity by keeping us focused on earthly constructs such as the delusion of material life in order to aid in the awakening process. However, this does not diminish the light and wholeness that already exists within.

Our humanity is complex; it has created barriers and resistance to searching deep within ourselves. It takes patience and commitment. As humans, we are always looking for validation, safety, self-worth, acceptance, love and connectedness. Many of us have learned to look outside of ourselves for this fulfillment, and yet we still do not feel whole or understand our true nature. It is only in connecting to our own self and developing self love that this awakening will happen. Self love is not selfish or narcissistic. It does not mean to only love yourself, rather it is about making your inner self the source of love and happiness that will then radiate outwards to everyone in your circle of light.

As part of our human experience, the ego’s role is spiritually useful in teaching lessons of contrast so that we can awaken daily and evolve. These are opportunities to experience ourselves and keep choosing love. Ego consciousness keeps us focused on the outside world and the light of others. We are attracted to the ethereal shining light of others, just like a moth to a flame. Your light is no different. You are seeing a mirror image, a reflection of yourself in your highest form, your Divinity, which is your true identity intertwined with your humanity for this particular life experience. Due to being a part of a cosmic collective consciousness, we are all privileged to the same knowledge, wisdom, love and light. Our soul recognises this light in others as a kindred spirit.

The more you search within yourself, you will understand and trust that you already have everything you will need for your time here, the more you will experience lasting peace, joy, contentment, creativity and love for your journey. The map for your journey lies within you and only you. No one else has your map or knows your path. Dive deep into the abyss of self and you will find more treasure and the brighter your own light becomes as you constantly receive gifts in all different forms. God wants to help you find these hidden treasures and celebrate them with you. God wants you to be eternally happy.

 As you learn how to sustain a deep relationship with your Creator, you will find that you lack nothing and are everything as oneness. If you rely too heavily on the light of others to guide you, you will never have enough time or enough desire to search inside yourself to learn what your own light’s higher purpose truly is. Keep turning inward to the unconditional love that awaits within you.

Then your circle of light will shine so brightly that others will be guided to God’s light in their own selves and that is the highest service you can do for humanity. Be God’s love. Be God’s light.

God is a God of small things

It is the small things that matter in life. It is often the things that we do or say in our day-to-day lives that have a large impact on those around us.

(Published in the Spiritually Speaking column of the Daily Guardian on November 30, 2020)

We all want to do great things in life! It is human nature to want success, contentment and happiness. What exactly constitutes these things varies from person to person. Some want good health, wealth, fame, harmonious relationships and the list goes on. 

Everyone on Earth must have wondered why they are here. We all feel like we have a ‘mission’ of some kind to do something big, important and significant in the world. Humans by nature generally crave excitement and this we believe will come from something big. A huge announcement or a huge event that will suddenly change the lives of billions. But reality is different. In the end of days, we will see that it is the ‘small’ things in life that are actually the ‘big’ things from the divine perspective.

Let me share with you a story I read in one of the several books about near death experiences (NDEs) that I have read (I forget the exact book, but I remember the story).

There was a lady (let’s call her Martha) from New York City who worked in a large advertising agency. She had a few degrees and was an academic topper throughout school and college. Martha worked as a senior executive and had a six-figure annual income. All the things that most professionals strive for. But luckily, she still retained a compassionate nature. One day, her colleague lost her husband to cancer and did not come to work for a few weeks. A few weeks later, the colleague came back to work but was depressed and lonely and sat and cried on her chair. When Martha was leaving office that evening, she noticed the colleague crying and gently walked into her office and softly put her hand on her colleague’s shoulder. She didn’t say a word but just the energy of compassion and consideration she exuded was enough to make her colleague feel a lot better and she actually stopped crying and smiled. 

A few years later, Martha had a cardiac arrest. She was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, but her heart stopped for a few minutes. She was declared clinically dead, but somehow in a few minutes her heart started to beat again and she was alive again. She recounted an amazing story! 

When she ‘died’ she left her body, went through the tunnel, saw dead relatives and was shown a life review by a being of light. Surprisingly to Martha, the ‘significant’ events of her life were not related to the degrees, the designation or the salary that she got. The significant events of her life were related to the so-called ‘small’ things she did. In this life review she was shown and re-lived the moment described earlier when she comforted her colleague. This was something that Martha had actually forgotten about, but in the eyes of God it was one of the most significant moments in Martha’s life. For, it was a moment when she acted compassionately towards her colleague and gave her solace and hope. In that moment of reliving, Martha was actually made to feel the joy and comfort that her colleague felt. That, in itself, was a rewarding feeling. Martha returned to her earthly life and shared this story with the world.

Each one of us has our own such moments in our lives when we may have said something kind or did something compassionate to make somebody else feel better. It is moments like this which God considers important. Never underestimate your capacity to have a significant impact in the world. By doing these small things in our daily life to those that we encounter in our lives we are making an impact in the lives of others and thereby our world.

Great souls like Jesus Christ who come to our world from time to time give us an idea through their lives about the importance of humility. God chose Jesus to be born not to a king, queen, prince or princess but to a humble carpenter and his wife. Jesus was not born in a castle or palace but in a humble manger. A manger is a place where hay is put to feed animals. So even the place of birth of Jesus was in a place of service. This is a symbol of truth that on earth we are here to serve one another through love and compassion. 

In his bestselling book, Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about how small things done repetitively over time makes a huge impact in the end. He gives the example that a flight taking off from Los Angeles to New York City has to change its heading by just 7 feet south and it will end up in Washington DC. A small deviation in direction multiplied over time will end up in landing in a place 365 km away. This is the way we should look at our thoughts, words and deeds. We do not need to do ‘big’ things to have a long lasting and ‘big’ impact on the world. Just doing random acts of kindness and paying forward the good things is enough. But they need to be done consistently over time. 

Whether we know it or not, whether we accept it or not, the truth is we are all in the same boat together. We are on this small planet at this particular moment in history for a reason. It may not be the exact reason that you have in mind but in time it will be revealed to you. God is a God of small things. It is the small things that matter in life. It is often the things that we do or say in our day-to-day lives that have a large impact on those around us. 

In today’s trying times, the world can use some goodness. You have that power in you. Nothing you do for someone is too small. It is more important to consistently do acts of love and kindness over time than to do one big act once in a while. When we keep doing good things, they become habits and having a habit of doing good is the best habit to have. Be God’s love. Be God’s light. 

Let Your Light Shine

(Published in the Spiritually Speaking column of The Daily Guardian on November 2, 2020)

Darkness is not the opposite of light but the absence of it. We are all striving for light in our lives and this is the season of the year where we celebrate light. Dussehra and Diwali are both connected intrinsically to light.

But in the process of celebrating the victory of light over darkness, we tend to forget that these are not opposites of each other but one is the absence of the other. There is no light in darkness and there is no darkness in light. But yet for us human beings to live and experience life we need both of these things.

Light and darkness happen to all of us. Generally we associate light with goodness and knowledge and darkness is associated with evil and ignorance. Every religion in the world associates light with the divine creator. We celebrate the victory of light over darkness every year on Dussehra and Diwali (which is also referred to as the ‘Festival of Lights’). We celebrate the victory of deities over demons. But the most important lesson from these annual reminders is not about that event itself but how to incorporate these into our own daily lives.

The victory of light over darkness should also be the story of our own lives and this is one of the reasons we are incarnated here in the first place. Our souls are learning lessons every day and one of the most important of these lessons is this. Let light shine in and through your lives.

When bad things happen to us, we often question fate, destiny and even God. “Why me?” We often ask. But these are moments in our life that teach us the most. If it were not for the ‘dark’ moments in life we would never grow as human beings. Difficult situations happen to us and they happen to everyone. There is no point in blaming others or destiny. These moments are meant for us to experience and learn from.

Without darkness there would be only light and nothing else. No picture would form. There would be nothing to see. No contrast. We need various levels of light and shade for any image to form. The same is the case between darkness and light in the metaphysical or spiritual sense. They can exist without each other but it is in the mixing of them that our creation exists.

Instead of asking “Why me?” when bad things happen, a better question is: “Why not me?” Isn’t it more profitable spiritually for us to experience a ‘bad’ thing and grow from it then to just keep on living a life with no challenges? Life without challenges or conflict is like a poorly written novel. No conflict means no story.

Everyone has difficulties. Just because someone has more money, fame, power or relationships than you do doesn’t mean that they do not have problems. Everyone has their own problems but they are different.

But what does all of this have to do with how celebrating festivals of light should be about our lives? The darkness within us is doubt, fear, prejudice, greed, hatred and so on. We have all read this a million times perhaps. But here is the point. The light comes into our lives not when these things disappear but it is in our correct handling of them that light becomes more powerful.

No matter who you are, darkness can enter into you. It is in how you deal with that darkness that determines how much light comes into you to fight the darkness. Everyone can be tempted—Jesus and Buddha were both tempted by darkness. Their light shined brighter as they were able to overcome the temptations.

We all fight a daily battle within us. There is a constant battle between good and evil within us. It is always about fighting temptations. But temptation is not always what it seems to be.

Temptation isn’t always about controlling yourself from doing something. It is also about how you think about and deal with hardships. More subtle temptations exist that you may not even have ever realised or acknowledged before. For example, the temptation to blame others for your own perceived misfortune, the temptation to hate others before even knowing their background or circumstances, the temptation to procrastinate and be lazy, the temptation to think you are better than everyone, the temptation to think you are worse than everyone, the temptation to think it is someone else’s responsibility to help make the world better, the temptation to be lonely and have self pity and so on.

These subtler temptations are the darkness and many others like them. They are hidden and not seen. When the ‘light’ of awareness and realisation falls on darkness, the latter is revealed and exposed. That is when they can be dispelled.

The eternal battle between light and darkness is traditionally thought of a battle of good vs evil. But it can equally be between ignorance vs awareness, dependency vs independency, sadness vs happiness, doubt vs confidence, giving up vs trying again, loving yourself vs dependency on others, and so on.

This list could go on forever. But that is what light and darkness is about. It is about constantly discovering and realising things and learning how to overcome the negative thoughts and energy and replace them with positive thoughts and positive energy. It is about realising that everything happens for a reason and we are meant to learn from it.

There isn’t a better example than the year we are living in today: 2020. It has been a game-changing year. The global pandemic has changed our lives, forced us into quarantine, kept us in one place pretty much, economies have shut down temporarily, many have fallen sick and unfortunately died. It seems like a dark year.

But let some light into the picture please!

For every one person who died, 95 or so have recovered. For every day that you were locked indoors you must have had some time to contemplate. For every moment away from office was a moment with your family. For every moment lost in travelling the world was a moment that you could have looked inwards into your soul. Lost business and job revenues plenty, but also new opportunities for a new world. For every day that pollution could have grown, clean air emerged, twinkling stars and snow clad mountains could be seen from the plains. So suddenly it seems like a year full of promise, a year full of light.

Let your light always dispel your darkness. Wishing you all a happy Diwali.

Prashant Solomon is a Delhi-based businessman and author.

Why it’s important to live in the ‘here-now’

Our minds are now caught in a virtual web that comprises constant
communication with other people, constant bombardment with
information, constant worrying or thinking about yesterday or tomorrow.
But very rarely is the mind focused on just being in the ‘here-now’.

(Published in the Spiritually Speaking column of The Daily Guardian on October 19, 2020)

The present moment is the only reality. Everything that is happening to you is happening in the “here-now”. Being aware and centred in this current place and time is the only reality and is the true way to happiness. How much of our time have we wasted in pondering about the past or the future? The past is past and the future is not here yet and will never be. The reason that the future will never be here is because it is always something that is unreachable. When tomorrow arrives, it is no longer ‘tomorrow’ but ‘today’. Have you ever planned a vacation and during the days leading up to that vacation felt a kind of anxiety about the days leading up to it?

 If you use your present time thinking about the upcoming vacation, then you are not experiencing the present moment effectively. You may not be able to concentrate on your daily tasks because in your mind you are constantly thinking about the upcoming vacation. Eventually the time comes and you go on your vacation and before you even realise it, it is time to go back home. Instead the moments leading up to the trip should have been savoured and enjoyed for what they are. 

They are as much a part of your life as the trip itself. In other words, do not ignore or be unmindful of the present by constantly anticipating the events of the future. The “here-now” is the only reality. Time is a precious commodity which is to be cherished, each and every moment of it. Rushing through it either physically or mentally is also wasting it. Each moment is to be experienced for what it is. Even the moments of boredom. For they too shall soon pass.  Even the slower moments in life if you are completely present and immersed in them will increase your appreciation of them and relaxation in them.

 Focusing elsewhere in time and only thinking about the past or future will lead to anxiety and stress. This will also make you feel perpetually worn out and feeling out of touch with yourself.  The cure of this is to constantly remain in the present or the “here-now”. But how can we do that? “Here-now” means being aware and mindful of what is happening at this very moment. We are not distracted by the ruminations of the past or worries about the future but centred in the here and now. All attention is focused on the present moment.  

This is the key to being healthy and happy. It fights anxiety, cuts down on worrying and rumination and keeps you grounded and connected to yourself and everything around you.  Present moment awareness is the one sure way of having a complete experience. Our minds and thoughts are mostly in a constant state of flux moving from one time to the next—back and forth— past, future, past, past, future, future. Either we spend most of our time thinking about the past or worrying or planning our future. Very rarely is our mind on where we are and what we are doing.  In each moment of our lives is a lesson to be learned. Each moment of our lives is a hidden adventure that can be enjoyed. 

A great way to experience the “here-now” is to focus and pay attention to our breathing. The simple act of breathing in and out and observing it will bring us to the present moment. This is also the most simple and basic form of meditation and will do wonders to soothe our minds of all worry, stress and anxiety. Being “herenow” through breathing is a great way to anchor us to our reality. Also, many people in today’s world have forgotten the art of simple passive observation. Try this following experiment. While going for a walk or drive turn your brain and your consciousness into purely receiving mode. Eliminate temporarily the transmission mode. This means do not ‘think’ but simply observe. 

 Suppose you are a passenger in a car. Just look outside the window and observe. No thinking, no worrying, no phones, no communicating but just observing. You will be amazed by the result! Even your daily route to work which you may have travelled hundreds or thousands of times over the years will reveal many surprises unnoticed before. You will see new alleys, lanes, signs, trees, structures and other things never before seen.

 If done for enough time you may even hear a Divine inner voice inside you that will point out this truth to you gently. It may say, “I have led you down these paths every day, but you never noticed these things till now.” The observer then realises that though she had travelled on this route perhaps thousands of times earlier, she had never noticed so many of the things she saw that day. 

The fact that she could even hear the Divine voice talk to her could also be an indication of the same phenomenon—that sometimes the mind has to be still from the thoughts of yesterday and the hopes or worries of tomorrow and just be in the “here-now”. The Divine voice itself could be calling out to us all the time but perhaps could never be heard because of this same lack of observation of what is. Our minds are now caught in a virtual web that comprises constant communication with other people, constant bombardment with information, constant worrying or thinking about yesterday or tomorrow. 

But very rarely is the mind focused on just being in the “herenow”. With all this constant race and pursuit of material things, we forget the simple things. The butterflies and flowers, the leaves swaying in the trees, children playing in the park, the setting sun, the wind blowing through your hair, the joy of seeing a baby laugh or simply to sit in the rear seat of a car and observe the world as it passes by. 

There are so many things you will notice if you just look and see. It is not a ‘waste of time’, for at the end of the day, what are we really here in this world for? Sure, it is important to do things also. It is important to work and play and laugh and cry and love and hurt, but it is also very important to process all that information. It is important to feel the moment. It is important to live in the “here-now” and just be! After all, we are all human beings, not human doings. 

Prashant Solomon is a Delhi Based author and businessman