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A Nonviolent Approach

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"Strength does not come from physical capacity, it comes from indomintable will."-Ganndhi

“Strength does not come from physical capacity, it comes from indomintable will.”-Gandhi

We all learn about the great nonviolent movements of historic figures like Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. How these movements changed history and persevered amidst opposition is eye opening.  The importance of these movements lies within the radical and defining changes they brought about in society.  Through nonviolent tactics both leaders produced prolific and resounding revolutions that we still refer to today.  However, despite being introduced to these movements early on we refuse to accept these teachings, no matter how peaceful and gentle we claim to be.

I wrote a paper on Martin Luther King Jr. when I was entering high school. It is difficult to learn about the history of America without learning about slavery.  It is hard not to see the effects Mahatma Gandhi had on the history of India and Great Britain.  The heights Gandhi’s activities reached are unparalleled and were noticed worldwide, but then what? We watch movies, read books, dwell on quotes, and praise these men, but this is all history; what does it matter now?

Learning about these movements teaches us how history was formed,

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

how revolutions were created without weapons, and the force of the multitude.  However there are some lessons that are not taught and less spoken of, lessons that reach far beyond history.  These lessons include how one man can change the world for millions, how a single belief can proliferate, and most importantly, the root of non-violence.

The root of nonviolence lies within us.  Most of us deny living violent lives; we don’t expend force upon anyone, we do not aggressively hit others, nor do we act out in ferocious behaviors. Although aggression, ferociousness, and force are very broad terms they all contain a seed of violence.  The seed of violence is planted within us at a very early age and is given adequate nourishment to grow into very bushy trees.

Each derogatory remark, criticism, and blame we place upon ourselves is a form of violence.  Starting in our early school years to when we start mimicking media: trying to get that perfect figure, getting that perfect grade, trying to perform that flawless routine; we begin pushing ourselves, slapping ourselves, and smothering ourselves.  Every time I fell in public I would call myself names and think I deserved punishment despite the fact that the fall was not really my fault.

The violence within us

The violence within us

Just as the saying goes ‘we are our company,’ we project onto others what we think and do to ourselves.  If our minds are negative, it only follows that we will become accustomed to repeating that negativity.  When we are in school most of us compare ourselves with others, and when this comparison doesn’t meet our expectation we tend to blame and find inexcusable fault with ourselves.

This is where violence begins.  When our minds become agitated and upset we inflict pain and misery upon ourselves. This pain can only be contained for a short period of time before we start projecting our internal state onto others.  When we lash out at others or share an insult with another what is it but a violent act?  Most of us equate violence with physical acts of hate, but words can hurt far more than knives.  If we know how to hate, punish, and sabotage ourselves it follows we will know how to do the same to others.

Violence is a societal phenomenon.  Violence is taught to us in schools, through the media, and via fraternities.  When I was I high school, college, and post grad school I used to pull all-nighters and stayed awake all day, all night, and all day again for the sake of a grade, scholastic learning, or official work; what is this if not violence to our bodies? My average day is 13 hours and when I run above 15 hours I start feeling achy and groggy. When I was in school I sat like a zombie if front of the computer until that 2nd kick came in at 21 hours. It is not the natural state of the body to stay awake for this long, but we feel the need to in order to feel good about ourselves, meet the deadline, or compete with others.

Through competition and comparisons, we are actually taught to commit heinous acts against ourselves, and to propel and amplify the hatred by putting ourselves down, criticizing ourselves, and doubting ourselves.  Violence, like other learned phenomenon is only as effective as the energy you put into it.  So although we are given the tools for violence at an early age, it is our continuous practice and involvement in the behavior that labels us violent creatures.

Unfortunately, we are violent beings; most of us won’t admit to it, but the torture we put ourselves through proves otherwise. Our internal monologue creates changes within our bodies and because our minds are so susceptible to subliminal messages and other forms of convincing propaganda our internal monologue creates damaging changes such as the rate of digestion, tense muscles within our body, or secretion of abnormal hormones.

Free yourself from the violence within you and bring peace to the world

Free yourself from the violence within you and bring peace to the world

The effects of violence are so pervasive so why not cut down on the violence and start leading more peaceful lives?  We watch the news and condemn the violence that we see around the world, but we neglect to see and acknowledge the violence within us.  If we are nicer to ourselves, the atmosphere of our minds will be reflected in our surroundings.

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In the beginning

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In the beginning

In the beginning

This first Mayan message serves as an introduction to the Mayan messages and explains how we came to be and how the Universe came to be.

Our spirits came into this world with basic knowledge of the experiences we would have; however the construct of free will made the difficulty and complexity of these circumstances unforeseeable. We directed our own existence, and with the help of Spirit guides and friends we began our journey here.

A simple version of the creation of this world can be found in the book the Little Soul and the Sun by Neale Donald Walsch, but a brief description is as follows.

In the beginning of our Universe there was Oneness; all energies simply existed without form, definition, infinitely, and blissfully.  When there was a desire for Separation, Sparklets of light left the Spirit Realm to convert themselves into physical matter. Each of these Sparklets had memory from where it came and understood this existence was only temporary.  At this time there was no individuality, but as this Universe grew further away from the original Source, the desire to create different Dimensions with different experiences grew. Each Dimension had unique aspects and laws to govern how they would operate.  At this point memories of the original Source was still prevalent and that this is only any ephemeral experience was still intact. However, many universes later our universe was created which was decided to have the inhabitants encounter experiences that are farthest from the Source and to wipe all memory of this Source. This universe is meant for the more adventurous souls who are left to find their own way back to the Source.

Each world has a different set of experiences, and although civilizations on other worlds and planets face similar circumstances it remains noteworthy that Earth civilization continues to exist despite the darkness and destruction it faces. Due to humans’ need to control and manipulate things to their advantage, humans have not only caused damage to themselves but to Earth also.  This is due to the amnesiac effect.

Those who dare not to enter the Earth realm are in awe of those souls that do enter and find their way back.

We all chose our current experiences, but due to the nuances of free will and the amnesiac effect the circumstances we face are a bit problematic.  We have the luxury to choose our experiences, and due to our amnesia we get caught up in the possession and control of these experiences; however we all have the ability to awaken and rediscover our spirit- essence.

As a race, we are starting to look within, harness our spiritual power, and make conscious decisions; this is making our collective consciousness more aware of our Higher Self the part of us that remains in the spirit realm.  We are realizing that the life we want to experience comes from ourselves.  When we experience anything, this information is sent back to the Source. No matter how far from Love we go, there is no judgment; this is simply an experience.

It is no coincidence that we are on planet Earth today. There is a huge line of souls wanting to incarnate. Among the multitude we were chosen for our special talents, because we were one of the original creators, to clean up some of our previous messes or to ride the ultimate rollercoaster. We are accompanied by at least one spirit guide when we incarnate into this world in addition to the many spirits who assist people like us on our journey; the Mayan Day Keepers are such helpers.

So go forth this day as a newborn, observing all with wonder and without judgment!

*Note that the phrases highlighted are the uplifting and philosophical messages I extracted from the original message.

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What you see is what you get

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What you perceive is what's important

What you perceive is what’s important

People wish, want, and pray real hard for that ideal partner, that promotion at work, monetary success, or a better life, but we usually don’t get it.  Despite how much we think we want something, our actions, thoughts, and energies sometimes say something different.  We dream and wish for a partner with specific traits, but when we find them we question this reality.  I always dreamt of finding someone who would love me inspire of and despite my condition, and after coming across this person my suspicions pertaining to his sincerity, loyalty, and motive grow endlessly.  I got what I always wanted, but now that I got it I am thinking and sending energies and affirmations that contradict the very manifestation that I wanted.

If you continue to see the negative then that is what you will receive.  Pessimism is vicious cycle: no matter how much one wills or wants to receive and be part of something positive their pessimicity will always come in the way.  Many of us have wanted to change jobs, maybe even career paths at some point, but when that opportunity comes we second guess it either because of security, comfort, or disbelief. If you wake up at 8 every day with a grunt to go to a job that you could enjoy, but refuse to look past the hours you are putting in, the increasing workload, or to the monotonous tasks to what you are receiving, then the first reaction to everything will be a grunt.  Most jobs are roughly 9 hours hence it is important to be comfortable when we are there as it occupies more than half our day.  So if you chose to change jobs make sure it is not your perception and negativity forcing you on, but some other motivation.

Seeing an inadequate job will make that job inadequate. Once you convince your mind that your job is inadequate, your mind will reciprocate and only hone in on things that convince you that your job is inadequate.  When you constantly read about and see infidelity, your mind will take no extra time in raising suspicions and pointing out the negative qualities of your partner.   This is not to say that you should censor your mind, but if you constantly feed negativity to your mind that is what you will see and become.  Our minds are thus susceptible, but also influencable.

When your mind is positive, what you see will be positive.  Your mind controls the hue, emotion, and meaning of everything your eyes see. So even when we get what we want our minds can blur our vision so much so that it is construed as something we don’t want. Similarly,

When you can see the rainbow admist the rain, clouds, and dreariness that is what you'll get

When you can see the rainbow admist the rain, clouds, and dreariness that is what you’ll get

when we get something we don’t want our minds can construe it as something positive.  Negativity (pessimism, criticism, complaining etc.) narrows and blinds our minds whereas positivity (optimism, resourcefulness, happiness etc.) opens our minds to possibilities.

Getting what we want involves two things: first there needs to be active participation in attaining the item sought. This means that dreaming is not enough; we need to make a conscious effort towards attaining what we want. We can think about it, imagine what it would be like to have it, or act as though achieving it is inevitable.  Second, once the item is in our horizon of acquisition don’t question it. Unknowingly we question and contradict our own efforts and realizations when trying to make our dreams come true by disbelieving, being suspicious, or being afraid.

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What to expect when you are not expecting

Waiting in anticipation...
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Waiting in anticipation...

Waiting in anticipation…

Life often falls short of our expectations and as a result we are unhappy. When we set our minds on a certain outcome we are setting ourselves up for failure.  Every Saturday

I go out for lunch with me best gal pal; the one day of the week I get to feed my craving with a delectable warm fudge brownie topped with ice cream. So naturally I look forward to and expect to feed my sweet tooth while indulging in sweet company; hence I start waiting in anticipation for the day to come.  Here’s whats wrong: I am attaching unrealistic satisfaction with this event.  What happens when she or I cancel, if the food is not tasty, they are out of brownies, or she and I have an argument during the meal? There are so many variables I am hoping and praying go in my favor that my expectation for satisfaction is left to the mercy of unforeseen and uncontrollable variables.

Looking forward to something is good, healthy even, but it is when we start attaching expectations to those events that it becomrs problematic and not so healthy. If I simply looked forward to my weekly lunch date and had no expectation, I would not be attaching any emotion to event. I would simply be waiting for a date I will share lunch with that person; the moment I add expectation I start looking forward to the good company and the good food.

Adding expectation adds subjectivity to the event we are looking forward to.  Doing a cardiovascular workout for 20 minutes a day makes me feel more positive, more energetic and more agile. I have had this experience time and time again so I have started expecting to get this boost everytime I do cardio. But what happens when I can’t exercise or when I don’t get this boost from doing cardio? I will get disappointed because I have set a certain expectation that if I do this I will get that. If I simply look forward to exercising I would not necessarily get disappointed as I am not focused on the benefits I will be receiving.

These days meditation has become the new exercise fad. Everyone is talking about it and everyone either does it or wants to do it.  We hear of the benefits of meditation and expect that we will receive those same resilts.  Once we start expecting we begin focusing on the outcome rather than the meditation itself.  First, the results from meditation are individual and second and more importantly, focusing on the outcome  takes away from the results we are trying to achieve.  Expectation gets in the way of experience.  If you are so focused on the results you will miss the journey that brings you the results.  Moreover, if we do not get our anticipated results our spirits flounder.

When we focus on the expectation of the future, we miss the turn that leads to the present

When we focus on the expectation of the future, we miss the turn that leads to the present

Once we learn how to subtact expectation from looking forward to events we can be in control of our own happininess, mood, peace that much more.  We will learn how to appreciate the journey, we will allow ouselves to enjoy the experience, and we will be happier when we do get the results.  Looking forward to something rather than expecting it spares us the possible and probable negative emotion we will inflict on ourselves.

When you allow yourself to expect something you are setting a standard that you believe will be met, if it is not met there is a disappointment that naturally arises.  As our bodies experience disappointment we undergoe psychosomatic changes that may promote aches, immune dysfunctionality, and  decreased activity.  Disappointment can be externalized as when we get angry at others for falling short of our expectation or internalized, as when we become frusterated with ourselves for not performing up to par. In both cases we are allowing external stimuli to create agitation within our bodies.  When a student expects to get the A he is already setting that benchmark, when he looks forward to it he will study hard to achieve it.  When a kid conveys sickness they expect to be excused from physical chores, when they are given other responsibilities they may become disappointed.  When a child expects an after school snack to be ready for him, he will be displeased when it is not there.

Trying to lower our expectations in life will make for a more stress- free life.  Expectations lead to unnecessary disappointment which it turn propogates negative emotions such as anger, frusteration, and sadness.

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Meditative mantras: the modern modality

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When we have a job we are generally allotted vacation time; why? When we go to the gym or do some repetitive strength exercise we do a certain number of sets and rest in-between, why? After running all-

Our bodies need rest and will take it wherever it can find it

Our bodies need rest and will take it wherever it can find it

nighters we often feel groggy and sleep deprived, why? The answer to these questions involves some scientific explanation, but the bottom line is that the body wants and needs rest.  A grinder, iron, car or any other type of machinery will eventually lose functionality if left on all day every day. We know this so either we pull the plug or somehow switch off the machinery when it is not in use; shouldn’t this reasoning be extrapolated to the

We know how to rest our bodies...

We know how to rest our bodies…

body and mind also?

When the body is pushed too far it shows signs of needing and wanting rest.  Our muscles may start shaking, our body speed (reflexes, movements) may slow down, or our eyes and other organs may start lagging or dozing off.  What happens when the mind is pushed too far? Of course it manifests itself in physical fatigue, but when we rest our bodies we do not necessarily rest our minds.

Sleeping is a way to rest the mind; while sleep replenishes our energies leaving us refreshed when we wake studies have shown  that meditation not only augments the benefits received during sleep, but also increases positivity, decreases negativity, and boosts our health systems.  Meditation is a practice that gives the mind a rest from the constant activities it is involved in: thinking, analyzing, deliberating, conspiring, etc. The constant chatter that fills our minds causes disease and restlessness to the body and mind. Quieting the mind serves not only as an exercise in relaxation, but also replenishes our vaults of energy and peacefulness.

Typically, when one thinks of meditation a Buddha like figure pops into mind: a calm and serene person sitting under a bamboo tree in lotus

The right way to meditate?

The right way to meditate?

position with their eyes in a closed state.  Most of us aren’t able or willing to substitute ourselves for that Buddha like figure either because meditation is too time consuming or has always been reserved for the more ‘conscious’ souls.  Meditation involves quieting the mind which is harder to do in public places, when you are doing some non-automated movement, when you are doing some mental exercise, or sitting idle.  We have conditioned our minds to believe that meditation is possible for supreme souls and is therefore difficult as the mind’s natural state is to think, deliberate, ruminate, analyze, and wander.  Our senses constantly provide the brain and mind stimuli to decipher and judge, thus public places hinder the attempt to quite the mind; when doing a movement our minds must put some thought into the subsequent movements, thus quieting the mind may be harder task when performing some movement, although the body is at rest when playing a game like crossword or Sudoku, the mind is busy formulating and thus prevents a quieting of the mind; an idle mind conforms into its natural state and is so not conducive to quieting the mind. As with anything changing the natural state of something (gasàsolid, fatàthin or negativeàpositive) requires some effort and time.

mantra3

You are meditating when your mind is focused, alert, and tranquil

When in a state of meditation the mind is at rest, it is at peace.  It has no stimulus to analyze, judge, or register and no room for thoughts.  It is helpful to visualize something, chant something, or listen to something whilst trying to meditate; our focus and attention eliminates any additional thoughts. We generally block our senses i.e. shut our eyes and sit in a quiet place.   Visualizing entails focusing your attention on a mental image. Chanting entails concentrating a repeating a mantra. Mantra is a Sanskrit word meaning to liberate the mind.  Yoga nidra and the like are spoken meditations that induce the student into the desired state.

These are the traditional ways to reach a meditative state, but many of us find this practice weary and grueling.  Meditation should not be forced, but should be sought out for its peaceful qualities: not as a means to an end but an end itself.   If sitting quietly under a tree while cutting off sensory stimulation to your brain seems too tedious and daunting consider engaging yourself to find your Flow.  One can enter the state of Flow by doing what one enjoys. Dr. Martin Seligman referred to someone who experienced Flow by entering into the stock exchange.  Artists, entrepreneurs, scientists enter Flow and have made many creations and discoveries this way.  Consider determining your own strengths at authentighappiness.com and constructing your work and play activity according to them.  Finding a balance between what you are skilled at and what challenges you is key synergy to finding your Flow. Interest and understanding what you are doing goes without saying.

Doing something you enjoy makes it easier for the mind to enter into the state of Flow.  Find what you are good at, what interests you, and what intrigues and excites your mind and there you will find a door that will direct you to the experience of Flow.  It is in this experience that you can reach the meditative state.  In the state of Flow your mind is on auto-focus negating any idling or observatory thoughts and on autopilot cutting out (most) of the thought process involved.  So get in tune with you Flow today, and experience meditative sanctuary.

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When the World becomes a More Inviting Place

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Knock. knock. The world wants to play with you

Knock. knock. The world wants to play with you

All of us have been annoyed with the proceedings of our lives, at one point or another.  Some more than others, but we all feel like helpless victims at some point.  We are slaves of karma, servants to our children, and robots in a commercialized culture; sometimes we just want to break free and do what we want when we want.  When I was in law school there was a shirt that I used to wear very frequently because it was comfortable. One day while I was waiting for class to begin, I read the outside tag of the shirt; it said ‘Do what you like and like what you do.’ I was thrilled at reading this, for two reasons: I practice this philosophy and I was wearing/ showcasing this enlightening slogan, which made me cool by default.   This eloquent yet simple phrase is a philosophy to live by; we spend 75% of our lives working, and if we actually enjoy what we do rather than working to meet an ends, we will find ourselves in a much happier

People who are passionate about what they do everyday have less of a chance to greet the morning in a grumpy state.  If you enjoy what you do, where you go, and what you are working on your body and mind will have less of a reason to be negative.  When I went to work I would wake every morning enthused.  My mind didn’t find excuses to delay going to work such as oversleeping or a phantom ache.  Of course work comes with stress and other issues that can create negativity, but enjoying what you do means not forcing your mind and body to be in a place it doesn’t want to. As children we make a face and mope when told to do something we do not want to: our bodies will lag and our minds will start searching for excuses. As adults, we understand responsibilities, so feel compelled to force our minds and bodies, but our bodies still start to lag (ulcers and other disorders) and our mind tries to find excuses (making unintentional mistakes).

Why do children seem to be in a happier state than adults? Yes, they have their parents to worry and take tension for them; but more it’s than that.  Children are not bound by the responsibilities and restrictions adult learn to adopt. Children do what they want regardless of etiquette or consequences.  For example I wanted to watch a movie that would’ve ended at 1 AM the other night but weighed the cost and immediately reconsidered; had a child wanted to watch that same movie they would have regardless of the repercussions i.e. late for school, less sleep and would have dealt with them as they came. I ended up regretting not watching the movie the next day. If we do something we enjoy, we can save the extra energy our bodies and minds use to engage in tasks that they do not want to.

This way to a more delightful journey

This way to a more delightful journey

Finding a profession that we are passionate about is not an easy task. After all, we don’t learn passion, we emote passion. In this culture, the ultimate aim is a higher paycheck, not the simple feel good job.  However, every job can elicit some passion if we can change our perspective:

  • Instead of complaining about the hours, responsibilities, coworkers, etc. take a more active role and try owning some aspect of your responsibility; bring your initiative, creativity, and think of ways to enhance whatever it is that you do
  • If you think it is a practice run for the promotion, you will shine harder.
  • Every job is a learning experience; somewhere, somehow we pick up a few tricks of the trade
  • It is our prescribed duty and we will be graded on how dutifully it is carried out.

So go into work with a smile instead of a frown.  Don’t go in with anticipations and expectations. Change your perspective and let the prospects change for you.

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