Friendship Lives In The Heart

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My dad who is 89 year old was recently recovering from pneumonia at home, after about a week of hospitalization. One day when I entered his room to give him medicines, what I saw made me really emotional. He was staring at a photograph, with tears silently rolling down his cheeks. When I went closer, I saw that my dad was staring at the picture of his best friend Mr. Gill, who passed away almost eight years back. He used to lovingly address him as Sardarji. They must have been friends for only a decade, but they bonded instantly because of their common interest, game of cricket. If they were not able to watch the match together, both our phone lines would be continuously engaged, as a parallel commentary and analysis of the match would go on between the two.

That day, my dad was terribly missing his dear friend. It was an unusual sight for me as I had never seen tears in my dad’s eyes. I could feel the intensity of his emotions. We all were there with him, but none could fill the vacuum that was created by a friend who left this world.

That is the role of friends in our life. They are a real treasure. Friends are the ones with whom you can share anything under the sun, be it your first crush, an argument with your father, your failure, or your success. They know most of your secrets. You know that your friend will not judge you by any of these things and continue to love you unconditionally. A true friend will stand by you even during your roughest and toughest times, fight with the entire world for you, and just be there for you. Their sheer presence gives you strength and comfort. A friend is an extended part of your own self.

When I think about friends and friendship, my childhood memories suddenly come alive. Since technology had not taken over our lives that time, playing outdoor games with friends was quite prevalent. I remember coming back from school, flinging the school bag, quickly changing the school uniform and running to play with friends. We would have fights on the playground both physical and verbal but everything was forgotten the moment we left the play ground. When it got too late in the evening, one of the moms would come and drive us all back home. Back then, we would just barge into our friends house any time, have food with them or demand something to eat, which the friend’s mother would lovingly cook. Even the simplest of foods would taste like nectar in the company of a friend. All this created an everlasting bond between friends. It created such a beautiful space that allowed you to be yourself. Thanks to the technology that kept that has kept the bond alive even today.

Relationships have always been the focus of my life. And I feel if you have even a few true friends in life, you are amongst the richest people. However, friendships do not happen overnight. You need to invest a lot of time and energy into it. I am fortunate and blessed to have wonderful friends. Some of my friendships have lasted for ages while some for a short period of time, but all of them have been truly soul-nourishing, something that I will cherish until my last breath.

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Every person has his/her own ways of developing friendship, but I would like to share few secrets from my life that may help you develop an everlasting, genuine and amazing friendship.

  1. Always Be There For Your Friend : Being there for a friend in need and during challenging times, deepens the bond. Sometimes you may need to go out of your way, walk an extra mile, do a little sacrifice, put others before you; but trust me it always pays in the long run. A relationship is always two-way. You receive what you give.
  2. Never Let Ego Come In Between : Remember, your friendship is much greater and valuable than your ego. Whenever you have an argument with your best friend and it impairs your relationship, try to mend it even if you think that you were not wrong. These kind of skirmishes are small to begin with but have the potential of becoming big spoilers and in breaking the relationships.
  3. Forgive Easily : ‘To err is human’, so forgive easily, as one small mistake or incident cannot have the power to ruin your friendship. Change your perspective of looking at the situation. Empathise with your friend and understand why he/she behaved the way they did. Putting yourself in that situation will make it easy for you to forgive.
  4. Spend Quality Time : Friendships are nurtured in the heart. In today’s technological world we are in touch with or friends on social media and phones. But on these platforms, we generally put up a façade and do not reveal our true feelings. To develop a deeper, genuine and authentic friendship, we need to break free from the façade and develop a heart to heart connection. This is only possible when we spend quality time with friends. Going out for a movie, or dinner or an outing or doing something of common interest works wonders
  5. Never Be Judgemental : Never form a judgement about your friend and assume things based on hearsay. Sometimes we can easily get carried away by an incident, or someone telling us something about our friend. That is the real test. Instead of believing them and being judgemental about him/her it is best to clear any misunderstanding there and then.

Wishing you a happy and enduring friendship, now and forever.

Question life at every step

Don’t follow society’s laws blindly. Each life is different.

At the age of 4, your parents enroll you into school. After you pass out of school, you go to college. Even if you graduate, you just have to get a masters degree because you won’t get a good job until you have one. If you can get an MBA, even better! You’ll score an awesome job! After that, you have to get married and within a few years, have children. Now get them admitted into the best schools and colleges, their life depends on it! After that’s settled, get them married. Once you have grand children, hurrah, your life is complete! You can securely retire from your job so you can rest and spend time with your grandchildren. Maybe even use this time to finally think about spirituality, God and death; until the day finally arises, where you have to leave this planet. That’s life, as society dictates it.

Sounds quite fair, if that’s what you want to do in life. But millions of people go through this pre-decided process even without giving a single thought to whether they really want to go through it. Have you ever questioned yourself about what you want?

Think about this, if you only had one year to live, what would you do? In an instant, you would forget everything that anyone has ever told you and think about yourself, your needs and goals. You’d probably make a list too. So why not think about it now?

As a past life regression therapist, I have taken people into their past lives to relieve the negative emotions of those memories. I have noticed that during these sessions, most people die with the regret that they could not do what they wanted to.

That is why it is so important to question ourselves at each and every step. Are you doing something because you really want to do it or because it’s the norm? I have myself faced such a situation and made the wrong decision.

When I was in school, I liked painting, playing cricket and singing more than math and science. After every result day, I’d spend my time cheering up friends and making them smile. I was very happy doing this. But at the end of school, when I had to make a decision about what to study in the future, I was confused. My family said that boys do not take up arts, so that was out of the question. According to them, I should become an engineer or a doctor. All my friends in school signed up for the pre-engineering test, and so did I. To my surprise, I passed the test and got into an engineering college, and became an engineer by default. After passing out of college, I was offered a job in a reputed company in Mumbai, so I took it up. After 17 years in the corporate world, I realized that I am meant to do something else. But it wasn’t too late. I made a correction and became a life coach.

Like me, there are so many people who say they took up the wrong job, made wrong decisions and ended up at the place, far away from where they wanted to be.

This is why it is so important to ask, is this really what I am meant to do? Do I really want to get married, and when? Do I really want to have children, and when? Am I studying something I am interested in? I have finished my education, do I really want to get a job now, or do something else? Don’t follow society’s law blindly. Each life is different.

As parents we need to always support our children with their decisions. The upcoming generation has the potential to break society’s barriers and dogmas which have existed for thousands of years. Don’t label children, who ask why or do only what they want to, as rebellious. They are giving rise to a more inquisitive and progressive society.

 

Meditation – A way of life

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Meditation is perhaps the most talked-about word amongst today’s ‘spiritual’ populace. The problem is that it is also the most misunderstood word. Each person will have his or her own definition or understanding about what meditation stands for. There’s nothing wrong in this as long as everyone is practicing what is being preached. However, most often the truth is otherwise.

Few thoughts on meditation we all get from time to time…

  • I know meditation is great for my mind, body, and spirit. I deeply feel the need to practice meditation daily.
  • Many times I think randomly, “I should meditate at-least sometime,” but when it comes down to it, I really don’t.
  • I strongly suspect I’m not the only one who feels this way.
  • I’ve read many books on how to meditate or I have attended many meditation classes, however it doesn’t help.
  • I also know all those ways to meditate feel like work

If you get similar thoughts as well, you are definitely not alone. In fact, you will be a part of the majority. If that makes you feel good… great! Most of us will be feeling the same way about meditation. Meditation is work; meditation is boring; meditation is time consuming; meditation is only for a few special people; it’s for people who love mysticism; Meditation is a part of religion or religious activity. These are all the examples of common misconceptions about meditation. These are also the most often used excuses for not meditating.

But let me tell you, meditation is not all that hard. Believe me. Once we make up our mind, we just need to find a quite place. That’s it. We don’t really have to do anything. As a matter of fact meditation is actually going from ‘doing something’ to ‘not doing anything’. Even if we are able to experience the present moment to its fullest by just “Being”, that’s enough. Meditation is a process which takes us from “doing” to “being”. After reading many scriptures, books, practicing various types of meditations and interactions with masters, my personal experience is that whatever is hard to do is simply not meditation. I have found that the simplest and easiest way, which is also very effective, to meditate is through introspection or “just being”. It takes away the importance normally given to the knowledge of doctrines, scriptures, etc. before starting to meditate, making it extremely simple for a first timer. I have observed that most of the time, lot of importance is given to what you know about meditation or how it is practiced, or it’s good, bad, and side effects. This really creates a false aura around meditation, which makes a new comer really think whether this should be taken up or whether this can really be followed regularly; or what if one is not following or practicing it regularly. In reality, anyone… I repeat, “anyone” can practice meditation, whenever he or she can, without any limitations of place, time, type of clothes, method, posture what so ever. It’s that easy. Let’s not make it complicated… really. Even a little child can just be… or an old person for that matter. Lao Tzu, a mystic philosopher of ancient China said, “The way to do is to be.” We can call this self observation… meaning just observing the breath for example, or the how beautifully the wind flows making the leaves of a tree sway, or the blueness of the sky, or sound of a bird. We can even observe our own thoughts, how beautifully they are woven; one leading to the other.