Friday, March 14, 2008

Overcoming Obstacles in Our Path - Azara Feroz Sayed

The quality time that me and Feroz spend is in listening, watching inspirational, knowledge based programs, movies. Feroz uses all these gyan in his classes. I have seen him make use of sections of movies too in his class, to bring out an idea and the students are stumped as they never watched the movie earlier with that perspective. Watching TV is Feroz's homework. I do attribute my lack of knowledge on the many things, to not watching TV enough. I might have increased my knowledge a wee bit by watching some of the programs with Feroz. These days I encourage everyone to watch TV, an oppurtunity to experience the wonders of God and Man's creation from your home on Discovery, National Geographic, Animal Planet. Feroz never tires himself of looking at the plane in the sky with the excitement of a toddler and commenting, Isn't man amazing, to make this big bird fly and I fall in love with him everytime he does that!!

We love listening to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. When we moved from India. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's CDs were the bulk of the CDs in our stack of CDs that we carried with us. Below are ideas from one of his CD. You would have to listen to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's discourse in his sweet voice to enjoy it. The words are here for the start. Recollect, the brick wall from "professor's last lecture", obstacles are there to make us realize how badly we need things. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar also conveys the same idea, "An obstacle is always related to joy, happiness, success".


I saw a presentation on PeaceTV where Dr Zakir Naik and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar presented on the same platform and I could sense the peacefulneess, the tranquility in Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's talk. I do respect Dr Zakir Naik's vast knowledge of all religions. It is just that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's calm voice, love in his talk touched me more. I know this is not the best time for Islam and we tend to get upset by the negative image created by the media about Islam. I can feel it in Dr Zakir Naik's tone. As mentioned in my earlier post, we need to package Islam well. We have the candy but need to present it well. Knowing that love is what is going to take us all through, makes me feel good about the moment.

Both in personal and social life we do face obstacles. There isn't anyone who has not faced any obstacle in thier life.

What are obstacles? Obstacle is something that doesn’t let the life energy flow easily and allows us to be in the expanded state of ourself. An obstacle is something that we want to get rid of it. An obstacle is always related to the joy or to happiness or success. We never say I have the obstacle to getting sick. And it is always related with time factor. There is a time factor to every obstacle. You can not have a single obstacle throughout the life. There is a gap. The gap makes you feel that obstacle. If someone has not been a millionaire throughtout his life, he never laments about it, there is nothing to complain about it. We complain when we don’t get the worst. Suppose we have the worst, how can we complain? Complaining is, we want to improve it, we don’t want the thing to be the way it is, it is not yet the worst, it is not yet the hopeless so we want it to be better. The wanting to be better brings out the complaint. If a baked potato is too hard, we will complain. We will never complain about a stone. We can’t say a stone is too hard, you take it. Stone is hard but baked potato cannot be that hard. When we face an obstacle, first of all we must know that it is not the worst. It is not hopeless. There is a hope that’s why we say it is an obstacle. Now, to overcome these obstacles, either we become hopeless. We know when we feel hopeless that is when a sincere prayer arises from us. A total hopelessness will bring forth two situations; one is either frustration or prayerfulness. When all doors are shut, we had done all that we could do to improve a situation and it is not happening, what do we do? We get frustrated? Want to jump into the ocean? Jump off the cliff? When situation is bothering us like that, frustration is at one hand and the other hand is a deep prayer, prayerfulness, giving the power over or recognising there is a bigger power. In fact, this word – “giving our power over” is really doesn’t mean anything. First of all you don’t have any power at all to give over the power. It’s the infinite divine consciousness which has the total organising capacity. Total organising is happening through a higher force, power. Regconising this aspect give rise a deep prayerfulness from within. So, obstacles do come, we can face it with a smile or with a frown.

There are different obstacles e.g. disease is one obstacle. We know how to take care of cough, cold, muscle pull etc these are part of life and when we violate the laws of nature, we fall sick e.g. we eat more, sleep more etc. Sleep helps us to relax but oversleeping makes us lazy, dull. One other obstacle is Laziness, it blocks our creativeness.

One obstacle is doubt about ourself, doubt about other people, doubt about happening of this moment.

This present moment is responsible for all the happening in this world, in this creation, doubt in existence of this moment, the spirit or God or something that is responsible for the all activity in this entire creation. Doubt in the existence of
this entity is common. If we overcome this doubt that this moment is perfect and it is running and it knows how to run things. There is no fear of whatsoever in life. We move with absolute confidence. Someone who knows swimming jumps into the water but someone who has not learnt swimming doesn't jumps into the water but keeps tip-toeing just like wanting to learn swiming before jumping into the water. Faith in the existence and it is running everything and it is full of love and it cares for us. This confidence makes working with obstacles easier.

Doubt in people around us. We cannot run anything with a doubtful mind. We always doubt about something that is positive. We doubt about honesty of other pepole, we never doubt about dishonesty. When someone says "I love you" we ask really", when they say "I hate you", we never ask them "really". We doubt our capabilites and never doubt incapabilities. So doubt is always about something good in life. We never doubt our depression. We doubt our hapiness. When we are happy, we are not sure. Am I really happy with my job? I am not sure. Is this what I want? I am not sure. But we are sure we are depressed. No one likes to be doubted but yet we doubt everyone else. When a shopkeeper looks at us with a doubtful eye, we hate it. Without trust, nothing in the world can run. We are sitting here with the trust that our cars would be there when we go out. We have a trust in the social structure that the car will be there when we go back.

In the doubt about self which also brings in lot of inferiority complex. Doubt in the self and self's connection with the totality of existence will lead us to sort of paranoia and we will come back to sickness. To overcome this doubt, we have to understand doubt. That doubt is about something good and about being alert. When life force in us is low that is the time we have doubts. By raising the life force, the vital energy in us, doubt vanishes.

Another obstacle is disintrestedness in anything we do. We like a job for few months than it loses its charm and we look for another job and than there too the same thing happens. We are, unable to find satisfaction in anything, is an obstacle by itself. These obstacles in a way help us to move ahead. Obstacles are not just impediments they are step towards progress. Like a stone in running water, water will flow over the stone. When we have the connection within us, with ourselves, the confidence that this existences loves us, god loves me, nature loves me than you will find no obstacle is our real obstacle, it just makes our life more beauiful.

If we look back and see events in our life 15yrs ago, 10yrs ago, 5 yrs ago past. There are times when we thought this is the end of the world. We can't take it any more. We are still existing. Those moments have passed. We don't know from where the strength came and somewhere we got the strength too. An Indian proverb, "Every animals tail is measured. Nature doesn't gives elephants tail to lion". Each one is given a measured tail. As much as he can carry and wag it. So our load is measured and blessed to us, so that we can carry it i.e. it is not a problem to carry the load. Mostly the problem is in our mind we think it is a big problem.

Another Obstacle is inability to enjoy anything. We always think of last year's vacation was better and next year we will regret last year was better. We keep switching channels without enjoying a single program. We keep thinking another channel has better program and so on. Same in Job, Marriage etc Where is the joy? It is in the the object or in situation. It is the change which brings joy. When we are doing something new, the change brings thrill. What happens during this change is, our mind has left one object and it has not got used to the second one and in between it experiences the gap and joy comes from within the gap and we think it is because of the second thing. We associate the joy to the that thing. But soon we don't find the joy there. Then we want to jump on another thing and another thing. Joy is nothing. Joy is "no thing". It is the "no thing" that we experience between things that brings us Joy. The experience of "no thing" is spirituality, meditation.

When we have obstalces and we sit with eyes closed and one hundred thoughts come, all unwanted images, all the past, all the future plans, they bombard our mind. Watching TV is much better as we are not there in the soap opera but not watch the same repeats in our mind, where we are not even watching, we are part of it. We need to rely on breath. When we can't attend to the mind directly, relying on breath makes it easier as breath is the link between mind and body. Another way is to do something that brings boredom. We resist boredom. Boredom is the key to love. One thing that is common between love and boredom, repeatation. When someone is in love, they keep saying, writing I love you, I love you...hundred times. Love is not satisfied by saying one time. Repetition is the nature of love and it is part of boredom too. If we live with boredom a little longer and deep dive into it, we reach the other end of boredom which is love. That is the secret of Rosary. We keep chanting the Rosary till we get so bored and then that boredom brings in or opens a flood of energy which makes us feel we are nothing but love, we are fountain of love, we are made of love and when there is love there is obstacle
whatsoever. Love is the sustaining power which talks us through all obstacles.

When we want a situation to change or someone to change, just look at it with Patience. First thing to overcome an obstacle is not to be shaken by the situation. The moment we get shaken by it, it takes longer for us to get back. Just stick on to whatever we want. Go deep within, meditate.

Know that finally we will say good-bye to all the stuff. Know that we will go eventually maybe we will not get a chance to say good-bye but we will go for sure. This knowledge gives us enormous strength. The feeling of divine, that which energizes our system also helps.

Inhibitions in the mind can be healed by our life force. Mind is energy and body is also energy and breathe is also energy which can be used to heal. We have sickness to make us aware of health. Opposites are there to make we aware of the other e.g. health and sickness, light and darkness, good and evil. They make sure we are aware of the other. Insteading of asking why they are there, we need to know how to deal with them. This is wisdom, using our freedom we can deal with the situation. Animals don't have a freedom, the nature runs their life. Knowledge that every moment runs by itself and we don't make it run. The choice comes into the mind between bad and worse, good and best. The choice is never between good and bad. The choice of wanting to always get more. It is good to have this "wanting more" till certain limits, beyond that, it becomes tension. Knowing that when we have a choice between good and best, the worst is anyway good makes it easier.

Self piety is bad and it is wrong to encourage self peity in others. When we are adamant about the way things we want and things should work. We become frusterated. If we slightly tweak ourselves, calm ourselves then things start resolving. Every obstacle can bring something great out of a person like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandel. When we sustain and go through obstacles, something big comes come out of it. This confidence and this faith brings the knowledge that obstacles are transitory.

We convey much through our presence than through our words. We need to cleanse our presence. Child has love in its presence. No good in talking about love it should be in our presence. Same is true for everything, our presence of angry, cleanliness
etc. As we grow old, we face more obstacles, the more we set goals and patterns in our life. As we become more intelligent we tend to lose innocense. And also innocense which is devoid of intelligence is also of no use. Life is a skill of combining intelligence at the sametime not losing innocence.

Obsession of pleasure can be obstacle. We close our eyes when we experience pleasure e.g. when we hear good music, when we smell. It indicates the joy is coming from somewhere within. We seldom look at the source. We look outside. When we are obssesed with a pleasure and it becomes a habit i.e. we no longer enjoy pleasure just like smoking doesn't gives pleasure or bliss but dropping the habit of smoking gives discomfort. Openness in mind and heart is essential for one to experience pleasure.

We can make anything an obstalce and we can attribute anything to the obstacle. Just being playful now will help us be playful when the moment arrives. Fear is the base of all obstacles. Fear is lack of love. There is no point in getting frusterated. When we are really composed, there is a possibility for a miracle!!


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