Thursday, October 28, 2010

Celebrating Happiness! Celebrating ONE Year of Blogging

A year ago today I started blogging. I am so excited to be celebrating the first one year blogiversary!!!! I can't believe it has been a year already, it feels like I just started blogging yesterday, but at the same time I can't believe it has ONLY been a year. I feel like sooooo much has happened in just one year. My life has improved so much, and I as a person have changed, evolved and transformed even more. I have never been so much happier, never been so at peace, and never been so much in love. I am a better person because of this positive blog. I am happy constantly! It has brought so much happiness and fun to my life on one side, yet keeps me calm and grounded on the other side. I am truly discovering myself every moment with this blog.

365 days have passed since I started blogging and each and every one of these days I have only had positive creative thoughts, how to make myself as a better person, with better surroundings, creating a positive environment all around. I truly wish this kind of happiness upon everyone, I feel so blessed.

Happy blogiversary! to this positive blog! Today is my one year blogging anniversary! THANK YOU to all of my wonderful readers and supporters. You all really feel like friends to me!

Thank you so much to everyone who's taken the time to leave a nice comment- it really means a lot to me and I read and reply every single comment. I would like to thank you all who’ve helped me get this far. I look forward to an excellent 2011 and beyond with more positivity and great offerings that will continue to change the way we think.

One year ago, this blog was born! I think I’m overly excited about today, but you’ll have to forgive me, as this has been a big year for me, and creating this blog has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. Through this blog, I’ve found my passion, and I think my calling. Since its inception in one year, had more than 335 Followers all together, viewing more than 6,455 pages of the blog, crafted 61 posts over the past year.

It couldn’t have been done without you. I could write until my fingers turned raw, but if you weren’t there to read my posts, to give me feedback, to encourage me … it really wouldn’t be worth it.

So thank you, readers. This has been a wonderful year for me, and I owe that to you.
Please forgive the self-congratulatory nature of this post. But if I can’t share my joy with you guys … who can I share it with?
I can't say thank you enough!

Here I would also like to thank God, for giving me understanding and spiritual guidance, filling my heart and mind completely. His guiding Holy Spirit directs my every step. In all that I do, I acknowledge His holy presence and give thanks for the wisdom, strength, and serenity He gives me.

As I feel and experience His constant Presence in my life, God, I joyfully receive your communication, insight, and inspiration, gently guiding me on my path and making my way sure.

His guiding light illuminates my path. His voice within me gives me the understanding, insight, and spiritual guidance I need to make wise and compassionate decisions. With Your help I could create the soul of this Blog.

You, dear Father, are my Infinite Source of Peace, Love, and Wisdom. Your Holy Spirit guides and directs me. Your Love enfolds me, and Your Light illuminates me.
I am eternally grateful for your spiritual guidance, dear Father.
Thank you for always being with me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Beauty Of Uncertainty

The inherent uncertainty of life can lead to a great deal of anxiety and unhappiness, but it doesn’t have to. Oddly enough, with all the unpredictable possibilities stretching out before us—and the impossibility of preparing for even a fraction of them—there is one thing of which we can be absolutely certain and that is uncertainty itself.

“Without a measureless and perpetual uncertainty, the drama of human life would be destroyed”- Winston Churchill

We are cursed with the uncertainty of our own imaginings. Our imagination fuels our anxiety, and the only reasonable respite from this anxiety is to become comfortable with uncertainty.

Uncertainty is, after all, our constant companion, so we might as well befriend it. None of us can predict what kind of thought or memory our brain will bring to consciousness in the next moment, let alone next week. I am constantly amused by the parade of memories that my brain produces without any obvious stimulus, with no apparent purpose. “Where did that come from?” I often ask myself, and then get on with routine jobs after a moment of smiling wonder.

“Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don't let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity.” R. I. Fitzhenry

By paying attention to the moment-to-moment surprises blossoming in our heads, we can get comfortable with the idea of not knowing what’s going to happen next. Life can become a perpetual surprise party, with each of us the honored guest.With enough practice, we can develop a very tentative attitude toward all our plans for the future, with a resulting lack of distress when they are altered by unforeseen circumstances. We may also come to find humor in our unrequited yearnings for security and certainty.

“Maturity of mind is the capacity to endure uncertainty.” John Finley

God's love is always available, especially during times of uncertainty- Happiness Lies in Trusting His Wisdom! Unpredictable, But Sure is His Grace!

When we are uncertain about which direction we should go, if we so will it, God's love will come in and guide us and direct us in all our ways. When we make mistakes and we are uncertain if we should try again, if we so will it, God's love will come in and repair our grief. If we so will it, God's love shows us we must try and try again. When we do not know what to do, if we so will it, God's love comes in and helps us decide. If we so will it, God's love shall always guide us on our path. If we so will it, God's love shall help us find our way when we get lost. If we so will it, God's love shall grasp our hand in the uncertainty of our last hour, and when God's love shall grasp our hand and take us to Heaven, we shall meet Love, He shall embrace us, and He shall welcome us home forever and ever.

The frightening levels of uncertainty that surrounds us at times may unnerve us, but if we learn to trust His Wisdom and love His uncertainty, He takes meticulous care of everything.

As we look at our chaotic world today, we may believe that God has a plan but it has gone hopelessly awry. The Divine mystery is revealed little by little, step by step. It is like an action packed thriller movie where the suspense is dispelled only after you sit through the entire movie. It is our duty to rally around Him and join hands with Him in His glorious mission.

The play is His; the role is His gift; the lines are written by Him; He directs; He decides the dress and the decor, the gesture and the tone, the entrance and the exit.

We have to act the role well and receive His applause when the curtain falls. We have to earn by our efficiency and enthusiasm to play higher and higher roles - that is the meaning and purpose of life.

Lord please hold my hand tightly as I am still in the darkness, I might lose my way and get lost in the illusions of this world. Lead me on, guide me across, let me stand, I’m tired, I’m weak, I’m alone, Through this storm, through the night, Lead me on to the light. Take my hand precious Lord and lead me home.

Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.

“Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.” John Allen Paulos

Let us accept, however, that things will never be perfect—that we’ll gain, and lose, and grow, and regress, and smile, cry, learn, and forget—we’ll be better able to embrace the present moment. We are all ever-changing works in progress, and so are the lives we lead.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Birthday Celebrations

After celebrating my birthday this month it led me to think about birthdays in general. Why do we celebrate our birthdays?

Birthdays are days of joy and happiness everywhere. Nowadays they are becoming more and more occasions for merely outer celebrations and parties, which often externalize and lower the consciousness. On the other hand they can play an important role in one's inner growth.

A birthday is a time to celebrate birth itself, the joy of life. It is also an occasion to rethink about life: How great is the disparity between what I have accomplished and what I can accomplish? Am I spending my time properly or am I involved in things that distract me from my higher calling? How can I strengthen the thread that connects my outer life and my inner life? To recall our birth is to recall a new beginning. No matter how things went yesterday, or last year, we always have the capacity to try again. Our birthday is a refresher, a chance for regeneration--not just materially, but spiritually.

The spiritual eyesight improves as the physical eyesight declines. – Plato.
Although today parents and schools are ensuring to include spiritual education as a part of early education to small kids. 

Every birthday is a milestone in an individual's life. It not only signifies a year of our life that has gone by, but also celebrates maturity, growth and all the achievements in the past year.

One should thank God for gifting us with the precious “human life”.
Today is the day, for whatever we are here only because of this day and that‘s today (Birthday).
Today is the day when we began our journey of life, let's pray God to give us decades of such fabulous days of today.

Today is the day of celebration, day of joy, day of desiring to make life better and better to value the precious gift given by God.

What is the meaning of one's birthday, apart from its commemorative character? How can one take advantage of this occasion? "Because of the rhythm of the universal forces, a person is supposed to have a special receptivity on his/her birthday each year. He can therefore take advantage of this receptivity by making good resolutions and fresh progress on the path of his integral development."

Let this day of our birth be an occasion to give our self a little more, a little better to the Divine. Let our consecration be more total, our devotion more ardent, and our aspiration more intense. Open our self to the New Light and walk with a joyful step on the path to self realization.

What is the deeper true significance of Birthdays? Let us try and throw an entirely new light on this subject. I hope this will help us in spending the Birthdays, in the right way and taking advantage of the occasions for making a special progress.

"It is truly a special day in one's life. It is one of those days in the year when the Supreme descends into us - or when we are face to face with the Eternal - one of those days when our soul comes in contact with the Eternal and, if we remain a little conscious, we can feel His Presence within us.

If we make a little effort on this day, we accomplish the work of many lives as in a lightning flash. It is indeed a very very special day, for it is the day of decision, the day one can unite with the Supreme Consciousness.

For the Lord lifts us on this day to the highest region possible so that our soul, which is a portion of that Eternal Flame, may be united and identified with its Origin.

This day is truly an opportunity in life…It is one of those days when the Lord Himself opens the doors wide for us. It is as though He were inviting us to rekindle more powerfully the flame of aspiration. It is one of those days which He gives us. And this - this is a real chance in life - the day of the Grace."

On our Birthdays, we feel very happy to receive gifts. But there is one major gift that we receive every year that most people forget about. And that is the gift of life. God has given each of us the gift of life! It is very easy to forget that. We become so involved with our trials and tribulations that we forget who we are and why we are here. Our birthdays are a celebration of the gift of life, given to us by the Universal Spirit. It is a time to reflect on who we are, what we have been given and what we plan to achieve. It is a time to be grateful to God for our very existence. Thank you, God!
Happy Birthday!

We must add one more positive quality to ourselves. That will give us greater happiness than any other celebration. Let us decide to add one good quality to us on our birthday and let us celebrate it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

London- Bustling real estate

London is an exciting and cosmopolitan city; home to such a wealth of attractions, a few words couldn't hope to do it justice. If one wants can write a complete book on this vibrant city, but would share few words and more pictures, to catch the essence of the city.

London is a large international and diverse cultural centre, with art and music present throughout the city. It is home to numerous museums, art galleries, theatres and cinemas. More than 300 nationalities contribute to the diversity and liveliness of London's cultural events.

The diversity of London begins with its architecture. The city features abundance of historic buildings, but at the same time keeps up with the latest trends in modern structures. However, as a tourist one is more interested in the old buildings, especially since six of London’s most significant cultural landmarks received international recognition and were given the status of World Heritage Sites: The Tower of London, Kew Gardens, St Margaret’s Church, Westminster Abbey, the Palace of Westminster and Maritime Greenwich.

Kew Gardens

 The Palace of Westminster

The Tower of London, which was built in 1100 by William the Conqueror, is a fine example of the capital’s Medieval architecture. In London one finds many examples of other styles, many times right next to each other. The Gothic style is exemplified in the architecture of the Westminster Abbey, which was erected in the 13th Century during the reign of Henry III. The Tudor style is represented by the Hampton Court Palace and, to an extent, by the reconstructed Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, which was originally built in the early 1600s and represented the English Vernacular style of the day, but was slightly modified due to the renovation. In the 17th Century, Inigo Jones introduced yet another style to the British architecture − the Palladian style.

Hampton Court Palace
Globe Theatre London

St Paul’s Cathedral
In 1666, after the Great Fire of London destroyed much of the city, authorities reacted immediately and appointed Christopher Wren to design and oversee the rebuilding of the fifty-one burnt-down churches. Most of these churches, especially St Paul’s Cathedral, which was Wren's masterpiece, were built in the English Baroque style with the characteristic intricate ornamentation and curved lines. In the early 19th Century, English Baroque was replaced by the Regency style which left its trace on many a building throughout central London. Although new styles kept appearing, the old ones weren't entirely forgotten. Gothic architecture, for example, saw its revival with the construction of the Houses of Parliament.

Outside the Buckingham Palace, one can see guards dressed in their trademark bright red uniforms accompanied by bearskin hats. These guards are the bodyguards of the Queen. Every day, a new troop of thirty guards march to the palace and replace the old guards. This is called the Changing of the Guards ceremony. This ceremony was started in the year 1660, since which time the King or Queen of England have been guarded by the Household Troops.

Interiors- Buckingham Palace
To experience and understand London, One should stop by at least one of the 240 museums in the city. Among the most significant are the British Museum, with antiquities from all over the world, the Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Imperial War Museum, the Science Museum, the Museum of London and the National Maritime Museum – there's plenty to choose from! The best way to discover London!

British Museum- Egypt- Mummies
Natural History Museum
London is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. To provide an overview of London culture, we would have to define culture. Culture defines an accumulation of knowledge, experiences, beliefs, values, attitudes, meanings, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, roles, spatial relations, concepts of the universe, and material objects and possessions acquired by a group of people in the course of generations through individual and group striving.

Thus, London’s culture defines not only the patterns and traditions of the British people, but a rich history of a developed country, a significant power and the union of four countries each of which have distinct customs and symbols. The mix of cultural traditions and beliefs that add to the atmosphere of London is electrifying.

London Buses
Telephone Booths

London would not be London without its diverse mixtures of cultures under the umbrella of a strong British heritage. London could not be London, without Buckingham Palace, demonstrations in front of Houses of Parliament, Carnival, and London buses, telephone booths the Irish Pubs, parties and festivals in Hyde Park, Art exhibitions in the East End showcasing creative talent in Brick Lane or even Chelsea Flower show.
 Irish Pub- Covet Garden, London
Chelsea Flower show
London culture is fluid with a continuous amalgamation of people from different countries to create a vibrant city that is open to change but upholds cultural traditions.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Navratri - A significance

The whole of India is immersed in the devotional fervor of Durga Puja. What better way to begin this series than by dwelling on the spiritual significance of the Navaratri celebrations?

The demon Mahishasura represents symbolically, the vast dense mass of darkness and ignorance, puffed up with egoism and arrogance. Similarly, the other demonic forces present in the human mind are symbols of passion, anger, self-conceit and self-deprecation, impediments to spiritual growth. There is a continuous long drawn and fierce struggle that goes on within every soul between these hostile forces and the divine powers, and then there is ultimate victory of Knowledge over Ignorance.

The Navaratri is not observed merely to celebrate the destruction of mythical demons like Mahisasura by different manifestations of the Devi such as Maha Kali/ Durga, Maha Lakshmi and Maha Saraswati. Though the Goddess is one, She is represented and worshipped in three different aspects. When it is understood in the above perspective, it stands out as a practical manual describing the various obstacles an aspirant faces in our quest for Supreme Knowledge and how these obstacles can be overcome by invoking the help of the spiritual shakti/energy latent in us. Therefore, the Navaratri celebrations are of great spiritual value, not just an occasion for social gatherings.

Navratri symbolically represents the victory of good over evil – Goddess Durga slaying Demon Mahishasura and Lord Rama killing Ravana. This same struggle is constantly taking place in human hearts. Like Mahishasura, the human mind armed with ego, anger, greed, lust and envy negate the supreme force. The nine-day Navratri fast slowly annihilates the Mahishasura in us and help us to realize us that we are part of Brahman – the supreme spirit present in all animate and inanimate.

When a person gradually gains victory over evil tendencies, there is a void or emptiness. If left empty, the new found victory over evil tendencies will be lost soon. Therefore, this void should be filled with spiritual wealth. For this a devotee approaches Goddess Lakshmi, who provides all kinds of wealth. But what is real wealth? Even if we have material wealth but no self-discipline or self-control, nor the values of love, kindness, respect and sincerity, all our material wealth will be lost or destroyed. The real wealth is the inner wealth of spiritual values that we practice in our lives, by which our minds become purified. Only when we have these noble values will we be able to preserve our material wealth and make good use of it. Otherwise money itself becomes a problem.

Goddess Lakshmi should not be merely understood as goddess of wealth or gold or money. She represents– prosperity, peace, purity and serenity. For knowledge to dawn within us, we have to prepare our minds. The mind must be pure, concentrated, and single-pointed; this purification of the mind is obtained through the worship of Lakshmi Devi.

Our wealth of virtues is our true Lakshmi. As described in shastras the six forms of wealth (calmness of mind, self-control, self-withdrawal, forbearance, faith and single-point approach) that are to be cultivated to attain wisdom. These virtues are important because our goal is victory over the mind - a victory such that we do not get disturbed by every change that takes place in our lives. This victory comes only when the mind is prepared, and this mental preparation is the symbolism of the Lakshmi Puja.

But still the true knowledge is elusive - an individual has not attained true knowledge. This is because we feel Goddess Durga and Goddess Lakshmi is outside and not within. Goddess Durga and Goddess Lakshmi remain supernatural forces. This is ignorance. The supreme wisdom is still lacking. Goddess Saraswati is worshiped to gain this supreme wisdom. Victory over the mind can be gained only through knowledge, through understanding; and it is Goddess Saraswati who represents this highest knowledge of the Self.

The following tenth day is called Vijayadasami. Vijaya means "victory", the victory over our own minds that can come only when we have worshiped these three: Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. Finally, on the tenth day the supreme wisdom dawns in a devotee. He/She realizes that Goddess Durga,Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswathi are nothing but the supreme power manifested in different ways. Then the person moves a step ahead, and realizes the ultimate truth that he/she is nothing but part of Brahman and that life is a continuity.

Scientific and spiritual truths of Navaratri:
Both the Vasantik and Sharadiya Navaratris fall in the twilight period between two natural seasons. The scientific reason for this is that during the twilight period, when one season ends and the next one begins, the position of the planets and atmosphere are both very conducive for the spiritual progress of human beings. Due to the change in seasons, the chemical compositions in the human body also change. Therefore, it is most beneficial to do various spiritual observances during this time.

Thus, at Navaratri, Goddess Durga is invoked first to remove impurities from the mind. The Goddess Lakshmi is invoked to cultivate the noble values and qualities. Finally, Goddess Saraswati is invoked for gaining the highest knowledge of the Self. This is the significance of the three sets of three nights, when all these three are gained subjectively, then there is Vijayadasami, the day of true victory!
The theme of the entire Vedas is reflected in the Navaratri festival: Purify the mind and remove all negativity; cultivate positive virtues; gain spiritual knowledge and transcend limitations. This is the real victory - the dance of joy - ritualistically performed at night, to signify our spiritual awakening.