Saturday, 15 April 2017

The Pilgrimage continues...

The Pilgrimage continues...

I feel very fortunate to be part of the Avyakt Project.  Here are a couple more videos created recently.

#1, Sharing and Listening,

#2, Perspective,

Thanks for watching - enjoy!

Thank you for reading. For more information on Raja Yoga philosophy see

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Introducing the Pilgrimage

Introducing the Pilgrimage

Om shanti.

Blogging has taken a back seat to my other priorities lately. I notice it's been over a year since the last post.  It is something I still intend to give attention to. I have even dabbled in video blogging with not much success, being hindered by the technical know-how.  

Recently, however, a friend of mine started a YouTube channel and was looking for contributors. It's a collection of videos of a spiritual nature called the Avyakt Project.  I have decided to join the group adding my own series called The Pilgrimage​.

If viewers find it useful, I'll continue posting more - I hope to add some interviews, meditation commentaries and also happy to consider any requests.

The link for the introductory video is below.  Do send me your feedback. Thanks!

Thank you for reading. For more information on Raja Yoga philosophy see

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Silence As Fasting

*this was too good not to re-post

Silence As Fasting
Sister Mohini at the
Call-of-the-Time, Experiment in Silence Retreat
August 6, 2015

In some ways having a period of silence is like fasting.  In India there is fasting for many occasions, such as for holidays, but also if there is some kind of an obstacle. They pray and they worship.

The Hindi word for “fast” is upvas and it means to stay in a higher space.  For upvas you have to have pure feelings or a clear purpose so you have the strength to stay without food.  The kitchen is very attractive during a fast. Even as people are fasting they may be thinking of what foods they are going to make and offer to God when the fast is over. 

These days we tend to be intellectual about silence, but actually a period in silence is like a fast from thinking too much.  It’s a decision not to allow our minds to go on and on.  There are certain spiritual practices that help us to change the habits of the mind.  One of them is “the 3 points”:
·         The first point is the awareness that “I am a point of light” beyond the pull of the sense organs.  This is a way of thinking about the true self.
·         The second point is that “the Creator” is also light.  This awareness allows my consciousness to go higher, to go beyond.
·         The third point is to bring a “full stop” to whatever has happened.  Past is past.  It is one thing to be aware of lessons learned, but to continue to revisit the situation and the story I have made about the situation is something else.

It is possible to go beyond practices and to move into a natural silence.  People sometimes speak about “dead silence,” but beyond that there is sweet silence.  In this state we are contented.  It is the way we feel after we have eaten a good meal and are completely satiated. A critical mind is not a peaceful mind.  Subtle negativities arise from being critical.  In sweet silence we are beyond desires.  I am not thinking of peace, I am peaceful.  So there are spiritual practices, but when you go beyond them, you move into natural silence. 

As we move into this time of silence, we should have an aim.  What am I looking to develop within me in silence?  To face the challenges in our lives, we need power, strength.  We want to be firm and to be stable.  In silence, there should be a lot of realizations for us to work on. 

We talk a lot about habits.  It’s very natural to do this kind of fasting of thoughts in silence.  We can be natural, not forceful.

You can be in contemplation while you are walking.  Many have a habit of going for long walks.  You can combine walking with your spiritual practice.  Notice the habits of your mind.  You may notice that the computer is a pull or that food is a pull.  Life should not be governed by habits but by awareness.  Every physical habit has a related habit of thinking.  If you react to something, it’s a habit.  For us to progress, habits have to be changed.

For example if someone has a nature of being attached, then throughout his whole life there will be a series of attachments.  Check internally and change the habit of the mind.  Change the mental attitude.  The purpose of silence is to cleanse the soul.  Fasting is cleansing.  Feelings come, for instance when we react to something.  Thoughts also come.  Remove the habitual feelings and thoughts and ask, “What should be my feelings and thoughts in this circumstance?”  If your response was not the right response, change your response.

With silence power you can be in the midst of things but be very silent inside.  Silence is solitude, ekaant.  It is concentration, ekagrata. Silence will increase our focus and concentration.  These days the biggest problem, even for those on a spiritual path, is fickleness of focus, a lack of concentration.  In our physical and in our spiritual lives we need to look at deficiencies, for example a lack of focus or concentration.  With physical deficiencies, your immune system is compromised and you are vulnerable to attacks of diseases.  With spiritual deficiencies, you are vulnerable to attacks of negativity.

Catch yourself when you’re doing something unnecessary.  Be sensible.  This is how you create and maintain energy.  When your energy is low, you pick up on tension and negativity quickly.  When something happens – say someone leaves – it is not something to worry about in itself, but it is a signal.  Realize that when we are making good spiritual effort 98% is good and only 2% needs a little attention.  Never criticize.  98% is good.

Om shanti.

Thank you for reading. For more information on Raja Yoga philosophy see

Friday, 7 August 2015

The season of renunciation...

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." - Ecclesiastes 3 v1

In the last few days I've taken to quiet reflection, a sort of sweet renunciation.  It came about in a funny way.  Facing indirect accusations about my character, I grew frustrated in trying to 'prove' myself.  
Of course, this was getting me nowhere.  One can not prove themselves virtuous.  You either live it or you don't.  And even if you choose to live it, it doesn't mean you're without blemish - it can only mean that you are dedicated to constant refinement.      
It's a funny old world, and there are days when no matter how much you try to do right, someone will still blame.  The ego doesn't like this blame.  The ego wants to appear blameless.  And any suggestion otherwise the ego will fight.  So when I find myself wanting to fight, to defend 'my honour' (aka my EGO), I know this is the season for renunciation. 
Renunciation is not easy.  If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.  :)   But when you realize that 'proving and defending' is pointless, then it's time to turn to the power of silence.  
The interesting thing is, when taking the path of silence and allowing others their opinion, when the choice is taken to not fight and defend there is a deep peace and a deep love that follows.  Ego wants to deny other's their own opinion, but the benevolent soul wants only peace and is willing to 'pocket the insult', in Gandhi's words. 
I want to give power to that benevolent soul.  And so, what am I really renouncing?  I'm merely renouncing the misguided desires of ego.
Om shanti.

Thank you for reading. For more information on Raja Yoga philosophy see

Monday, 13 January 2014

Perfectly Speechless: Describing the Indescribable

Perfectly Speechless: Describing the Indescribable

Consider for a moment a time before the invention of dreams.  And the first person who ever experienced a dream - of course, the word 'dream' would not have existed yet - would then try to explain his experience to someone else.  It might sound something like this:

'I was in a place, which at the time seemed familiar, but now I can't understand why it was familiar.  I was talking to familiar people, but I couldn't tell you why they were familiar or what their names were, and then I remembered I had to be on the other side of town at that very moment.  I panicked, I started running, but I couldn't get though the crowds.  And then I was lying in bed.  It's as if the whole situation didn't really exist - that place didn't exist, those people didn't really exist, and I didn't really have to be somewhere else.  My mind thought it was real, but it was all imagined.'

Now, for a bit of fun, let's imagine that the person dreaming came out of his dream, briefly, and then went back into his dream and went to tell someone IN THE DREAM about the experience!  'Why would someone do that?'  you ask.  I don't know, but let's see where it leads us.  The explanation might sound like this:

'I was talking with some friends when I realized I had to be on the other side of town that very minute.  I started running, but I couldn't get through the crowds.'  The listeners nod - they've all been there before.  'Next thing I knew I was lying in a bed.  I had the strangest feeling, it was as if I was somewhere familiar - my bed, my house - but not my bed and house as I know it here.  It was beyond this world, it was from another place.  And this whole life - this here, this now - appeared strange, unreal, as if none of you really existed.  And I thought perhaps you didn't exist except as a distant memory.  But then, somehow I came back, and here you all are.  Here you are, the same, but different.  Different, because I think of you now as part of this world, this world which is fleeting, temporary.  But the world beyond, well I don't know much about it yet.'

I expect that those enlightened spiritual leaders might sound something like this when they speak about transformation or enlightenment.  It's not something easy to explain to someone who has not yet had the experience.  A new jargon is created to define new experiences.  Then those following try to get the same experience, they try to learn from the 'enlightened one'.  They try to achieve what he has achieved - that waking up into a new world.

We have dreams, we know about dreams and so we use dreams as an analogy.  I suppose analogies is all we have in trying to describe those 'a-ha' moments.  But analogies don't take the listener to the enlightened stage.  How do teachers describe the indescribable?  How do they take the students to that stage of enlightenment?  Is it even possible?  Or does the student have to find their own way there?

Om Shanti

Thank you for reading. For more information on Raja Yoga philosophy see

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

The Quest

The Quest

In my search for spiritual/philosophical enlightenment, I was hungry for discourse.  I enjoyed those brief moments where I had opportunity to discuss a probing question and maybe get a little closer to those hidden truths.  But I also found that when I had opportunity to bring questions to the table, I was completely dry and void of any.  Somehow I knew that dialogue will bring us closer to our spiritual aims, but I didn't know how to start, I didn't know how to seek.  I was content with the answers I had and so poor on the question front.  

Richard Rohr, a Franciscan friar, reminds us in his daily meditation the value of 'quest'.  That is, the process of asking questions, seeking deeper insights and understandings, engaging in discourse to emerge the truth.  He points out that this tradition of discourse has been replaced by the ego's need to have all the answers and therefore we have lost that powerful tradition.  

I appreciate his reminder and understand better why I lack that questioning spirit - I just wasn't taught that way, I was taught to have all the answers!  So Fr. Richard gives me something to think about - what are the big questions, the important questions, the questions that are going to lead to spiritual insights.  And with these questions I can keep the mind busy on spiritual attainments rather than waste thoughts.

Om Shanti.

Thank you for reading. For more information on Raja Yoga philosophy see

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Simple Formula for Happiness

Simple Formula for Happiness
It makes me happy to give happiness to others, and so, my friends, I present to you a simple formula for happiness.

Those who are happy, know what they have.  

It all comes down to where you focus your attention.  Do you focus on what you have?  Or what you feel is missing?  It comes back to that proverb, "The grass is always greener on the other side."  If you adopt this attitude, that there is something better around the corner, you can never be content, never happy.  Constantly focusing on what you don't have, you never learn to appreciate what you do have.  By chasing that next million, that next cause, that next job, that next holiday, you end up spending your life chasing, not enjoying.  

Take heart, dear friends.  Count your blessings and be happy!

Om shanti.

Thank you for reading. For more information on Raja Yoga philosophy see