Archive for April, 2011

Another beautiful thought of the day from the great folks at easwaran.org:

Know the Self as Lord of the chariot, the body as the chariot itself, the discriminating intellect as the charioteer, and the mind as the reins. The senses, say the wise, are the horses, selfish desires are the roads they travel.
– Katha Upanishad

The Upanishads say that your body is like a chariot drawn by five powerful horses, the five senses. These horses travel not so much through space as through time. They gallop from birth towards death, pursuing the objects of their desire. The discriminating intellect is the charioteer, whose job it is not to drive you over a cliff. The reins he holds are the mind – your thoughts, emotions, and desires.

This image is packed with implications. For one, the job of the intellect is to see clearly. The job of the mind is to act as reins. When everything is working in harmony, our highest Self makes all the decisions. The intellect conveys these decisions to the mind, and the senses obey the mind. But when the senses are uncontrolled, they immediately take the road they like best: personal satisfactions, mostly pleasure. Then we are not making the decisions; the horses are.


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I was talking to BF (best friend) P today.  She asked me if I believed mantra japa would lead to Siddhis.  I said, of course, it’s the same as meditation, to develop one pointedness of the mind.  She says, but you have to sit down to do meditation, mantra japa can be done anywhere, anytime – the get rich quick equivalent 😐  Here’s the question : I take it as a certainty that there are men and women who can command fate (not just Hindus, btw).  She says how are you so sure?  I think it’s because of how/where I grew up.  Swamis were always a presence in my conscience, both fake and real ones.  The first one I recall is the one in the house two or three away from ours on RK mutt road.  I was supposed to have been revived by a muslim fakir when I was 1.  Then there’s our Periya Periyaval, a living embodiment of sacred austerity and divine power.  Sai Baba.  Hmm, not so much as I thought!  But the certainty is completely true.  Thinking about it some more (Apr 21), it’s also from all the stories I grew up with.  Kannagi, Savitri, Valmiki, Dhruva, Avvaiyar, all the pulavars to name a few, I guess.  It’s reinforced with movies, TV, slokas, songs.  She says she had nothing of the sort and hence finds it hard to believe.  I asked her what prompted her question.  She told me she read a story about Sri Ramakrishna.  Will tell you later.

Apr 21 – Later is now.  One of Sri Ramakrishna’s disciples comes to him and says “I have been with you for so many years now and still haven’t acquired any siddhis.  I quit!”  He leaves and comes back after a few years and tells SR “You’ve to come and see what I can do”.  He takes SR to a river and proceeds to walk over the water.  Comes back to SR and says, “There!  What do you think?!”  And Sri Ramakrishna hands him 3 annas.  “That’s how much you’d pay the boatman to ferry you across the river.  That’s what your siddhi is worth.”  What fantastic perspective.  And to make sure it sticks, I got this note from Thought of the day:

If thou canst walk on water
Thou art no better than a straw.
If thou canst fly in the air
Thou art no better than a fly.
Conquer thy heart
That thou mayest become somebody.

  – Ansari

Working on it.  Would like some help!!

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OMG Apr 14 was a bad day in terms of eating.  The morning began well, I woke up on time, did the meditation, deciided I was going to wean myself off tea.  By 9 am I was snarling at Vittal with no provocation.  I had oatmeal for breakfast.  Went to work, finished the pastry from the day before.  Found bagels and cake in the break room and scarf.  Lunch – scarf.  Home – crunchies,  more food until my stomach feels like it’s going to explode.  Then chowmein and egg rolls.  My head was splitting.  Headache pills and still eating.  My stomach’s protests grow gradually weaker and the other one just continues on its destructive path.  There are feeble protests – you are not hungry, why are you taking in food. The other one says it’s because the tongue’s looking for the taste.  I have a form in my imagination for the other one.  It’s from the Hayao Miyazaki movie with the little girl.  There’s a monster who comes to the bath who is just big and a blob and glistening which will swallow everything in its path.  It’s inexorable in its movement.  And it oozes like a snail from place to place.  I still had a headache the next day.  It’s like upto my mouth is one person and all parts below it are the second entity.  Nothing seems to affect the other one until one fine day, it goes into hibernation and I start slowly digging out of the leftover mess.

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This is the guy I voted for.  The President outlined his fiscal plan today and God, it was beautiful!  Start with a small joke, set up the context,  point out the utter callousness of the Republican proposal, define what he wants to do and end gloriously!   It’s probably the first speech I’ve read fully, shame on me, I haven’t read the race speech.  There were probably 5 or 6 quotes I’d be happy to put on my car as a bumper sticker. 

 We believe, in the words of our first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, that through government, we should do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves.

 Part of this American belief that we’re all connected also expresses itself in a conviction that each one of us deserves some basic measure of security and dignity.

the way this (Republican) plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we’ve known certainly in my lifetime.

 I don’t think there’s anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill. That’s not a vision of the America I know.

I LOVE this paragraph : The America I know is generous and compassionate. It’s a land of opportunity and optimism. Yes, we take responsibility for ourselves, but we also take responsibility for each other; for the country we want and the future that we share. We’re a nation that built a railroad across a continent and brought light to communities shrouded in darkness. We sent a generation to college on the GI Bill and we saved millions of seniors from poverty with Social Security and Medicare. We have led the world in scientific research and technological breakthroughs that have transformed millions of lives. That’s who we are. This is the America that I know. We don’t have to choose between a future of spiraling debt and one where we forfeit our investment in our people and our country.

We will all need to make sacrifices. But we do not have to sacrifice the America we believe in.

I say that if we truly believe in a progressive vision of our society, we have an obligation to prove that we can afford our commitments

LOVE II : But no matter what we argue, no matter where we stand, we’ve always held certain beliefs as Americans. We believe that in order to preserve our own freedoms and pursue our own happiness, we can’t just think about ourselves. We have to think about the country that made these liberties possible. We have to think about our fellow citizens with whom we share a community. And we have to think about what’s required to preserve the American Dream for future generations.

DRUMROLL : This sense of responsibility — to each other and to our country — this isn’t a partisan feeling. It isn’t a Democratic or a Republican idea. It’s patriotism.

I’m all choked up!  Is this an Obama original or speechwriters?  How many revisions did it take?  I wonder how it sounded, I only read the text.

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Still not sent to radiolab, in my defense, this is the first I’m sitting at a computer today.  I took DD and her friends to see the movie Hop today.  I took the day off, we went to the movie, I came back to hang out the clothes, we went to Subway and then went to the park.  Then icecream, some wii and the girls went back home.  Super day.  I wanted to write out  what I thought about Hop.  It was a decent movie, delivered what it promised, no idiot slapstick or talking down to the kids.  Ok, some idiot slapstick, but can be forgiven.  So the movie is almost done with the hero becoming the co-Easter Bunny.  Ok.  Quite a few people know about the talking rabbit but no one seems to bat an eyelash.  Then the very end – the family of hero doesn’t believe him.  He asks them to come to the yard to see him off.  They do and they see the EB and they go wow!  My problem here is this – If you can only believe if you can see it with eyes, you are cheapening the miracle.  Too sleepy.  Will continue tomorrow.

Am back.  There were logic holes with the movie, some folks didn’t freak about the talking bunny dressed in plaid, no less, but for others, bunny acted like a doll.  I think lazy writers in action.   So I was thinking about other animation movies – how did they do it?  I only remember one mixed animation/cartoon movie – Who framed Roger Rabbit?  The premise resolved talking animals.  But take Toy Story or Monsters Inc as examples – The toys were only animated while the owners weren’t around.  This I’m sure, has sparked so many imaginations and probably validated just as many.  The only time the toys showed their life to a human was to strike fear into Sid.  It just so completely protects the mystery and saves it for the rest of us to construct our own.  The same with Monsters Inc.  Genius folks.  Much love to you all.

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I feel incredibly guilty for not having renewed my radiolab subscription.  Please make it happen!  I need to not feel guilty when listening to them.  My favorite radio shows : RadioLab, Sez You, This American Life, Wait Wait, Car talk, Marketplace with Ky Rizdal when I’m not feeling blue, Fresh Air (most days), Forum (most days), City Arts and Lectures (Most days) – I think that covers it.  These are the programs I know the names of.  There was one about true radio, money in Brazil – I don’t know what these shows were, but they were fabulous!  Now TV? Mad Men.  That’s it.  So why is it that I spend exponentially more time on TV than radio?  Enduring mystery of why we do what we do.  Which brings me to the podcast.

The episode’s called Help.  It’s about what happens when the person whom you’re fighting against is none other than you?  Quitting smoking dieting etc – you get the picture.  I haven’t listened to the whole thing, but I was thinking a couple of hours ago – I really want to get back on FlyLady and yet I haven’t.  I really want to run in the morning, ditto.  Eat noting past 6 pm.  Hah!  I was actually doing all of this earlier.  Not watch TV – how could I forget that?!  Remember the endless argument between my two selves – “Turn it off” and “I don’t know why I can’t make mysellf do it”  For whatever reason, I have started to brush my teeth at night and wear the mouthguard.  I’m curious how long that’s going to last.  Same with Kathak.  It’s day 2.  The question is why and why now?  I don’t know the answer to it though.  I’m moved to do it and guess will continue until I don’t.  Maybe there’s the answer.  I’m always surprised when I feel like practicing and the timer set to 20 minutes gives me a concrete block to work in.  I also don’t have any expectations about the practice – not how strong it will make me, not x sets of tatkar to do.  I have to actively prevent myself from daydreaming about how fantastic Dadaji will say I am, wip.  But that’s for tatkar, how do I explain the teeth? 

The initial argument in RL was that you are multiple selves and the bum self needs to be tied down.  The guy in the Odyssey ties himself to the mast, pours beeswax in the other sailors’ ears so that they can safely move past the sirens.  Ok.  One of the people said she’d donate 5000 to kkk if she were to smoke again.  See, that wouldn’t work for me.  I’d find it too easy to be dishonest about it.  I need to listen to the rest of the podcast.  They were talking about how to continue doing something day in day out, each and every day without fail.  So curious what they find.

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Dialogue #31

The Universe seems to be trying to communicate with me.  SB has been going on about authentic style.  Forget fashion, figure out what clothes you look at and go “Ah!”, the clothes your style role models wear, your alter egos (the stylistic ones) wear. You don’t look at the cost or sizing, the point is to identify your own style first.   I notice my reactions to all these ideas of exploring my conscious are always negative.  Oh why?! can’t she get off the topic is the refrain.  I finally have ideas for what I liked in the houses I’ve lived in or visited, it’s been a couple of months that that exercise has been tootling around in my head.  Anyway, emerged from the first reaction and then realized I don’t have a style role model.  The clothes I like are ones that don’t cling to my body, silky (like my 2 party dresses).  My favorite colors turquoise, white. Loose, flowing clothes suited for a beach mansion are the mental pictures that I can come up with.  That day I got the newspaper and I found this catalog for BodenUSA with a beautiful white shirt, a really pretty raincoat.  Sky high prices, but this was just for inspiration.  Then today I get this magazine called Style Silicon Valley.  I open the book and there’s this beautiful woman in a blue cowl neck sweater, her name’s Sonia Arrison, I think.  Such a captivating picture.  And another page turquoise scarf, earrings, doodads, it looked beautiful.  So thank you U!  More where that came from and some buying opportunities too!  Wardrobe depleted!

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