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Month: May 2024

Don’t tell you

Wise people don’t tell you they are wise.

Humble people don’t tell you they are humble.

Influential people don’t tell you they are influential.

Wealthy people don’t tell you they are wealthy.

Famous people don’t tell you they are famous.

Powerful people don’t tell you they are powerful.

And what of all the guys that just don’t stop telling…

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Blue shepherding

There’s a cool blue Netflix documentary called Living in the Blue Zones.

These blue zones are nothing but small pockets of human inhabitants, strewn across the world, and that for some strange reason, consistently manage to have their folks live well past 100!

How do these happy and healthy centerenians do it? You’ll have to watch the documentary for the real dope, but there was one amazing example on stress.

In Sardinia, which is one of the blue zones, the men would be shepherds most day. How much anxiety do they have? Very little, unless one or two sheep get away and stray a bit far!

But in who’s control is that? The shepherd’s of course! And hence if something bad is controllable, then the stress from it is minuscule.

But what of the stress that plagues us nowadays? Hmm, worth thinking about…

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Double negatives

We’ve all heard the saying, “No pain, no gain.” This timeless wisdom reminds us that growth often comes from pushing through discomfort. Similarly, “No pressure, no diamond” teaches us that great beauty and value are often forged under intense conditions.

“No rain, no flowers” speaks to the necessity of challenges in nurturing beauty and resilience. “No grit, no pearl” just as an oyster turns a grain of sand into a pearl, we transform our struggles into strengths.

“No mud, no lotus” reminds us that beautiful things can emerge from difficult circumstances. “No exertion, no strength” highlights that our challenges build our resilience.

“No friction, no fire” points out that a little resistance can spark greatness. Lastly, “No battle, no victory” captures the essence of fighting through obstacles to achieve success.

These sayings remind us that adversity is a catalyst for transformation. By embracing challenges, we unlock our potential and discover new strengths.

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Rectangular focus

In a recent yoga session, the teacher asked everyone to count all the rectangles and squares that they could see in the room.

For 20 seconds.

Get set, go!

How many did they count?

Some said 30, some 40, some 50.

And then the teacher asked everyone to count again. 20 seconds, get set, go!

The numbers were slightly higher this time. Not that it mattered.

But his next question was the clincher. Did anyone count any circles? Did anyone even notice any circles?

The squares and rectangles should be like the positive thoughts and things in our life. Our minds can focus on what we ask it to focus on!

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2 shlokas only – part 2 of 2

The 2nd shloka from yesterday was Sa tu dirgha kala nairantarya satkara sevito drudha bhumihi.

What does this mean?

Sathu dheerga kaale is for a very long time;

Sathkaarya sevita is with honor and reverence (ie, the attitude with which the exercises need to be performed)

Nairantarya is day after day, regularly, no misses

Dhridabhoomi is that it then gets firmly established.

How cool no? So relevant for yoga, and for anything else in life that is worth having. We just need to keep at it!

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2 shlokas only – part 1 of 2

A young and famous and awesome yoga teacher on YouTube summarized the key takeaways of yoga in just 2 shlokas.

1. Atha Yoga Anushasanam

2. Sa tu dirgha kala nairantarya satkara sevito drudha bhumihi

What does the first one mean?

Atha means now, and yoga is yoga. Yes, the exercise variety, not the deeper esoteric union meaning. But it could be that as well, because everything in spirituality has multiple meanings.

And anushasanam is discipline. So yoga comes to those with discipline. Yoga itself is discipline. And Atha or now could be anytime that we wish to begin. It’s never too late. Movement for the body, and no-movement for the mind, are the panacea for a happy life.

Shloka 2 tomorrow… Stay tuned!

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Nothing to be done

What is there to be truly done?

In the world that we live, no matter what we do, nothing is enough.

From a spiritual point of view though, we are told to strive for nothingness.

The nothing that has created everything, but is yet nothing.

How to understand this? Is it ever possible to demystify?

The sages say the truth is entirely experiential.

Sit and meditate. But even in that meditation, we cannot try to meditate. We cannot try to rid ourselves of our emotions. Of our mind’s thoughts. Of the various ideas that keep popping up. Nothingness, it is said, comes from acceptance of everything. Not from trying, but from trying not to.

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Feeling insulted

Insults evoke feelings of hurt and indignation, but it’s worth questioning whether these words themselves are harmful or if it’s our interpretation that imbues them with power. Often, insults are born from another’s frustration or insecurities, highlighting that our reaction is what truly defines their impact.

We deeply value others’ opinions, allowing both criticisms and compliments to mold our self-image. Yet, should this influence be so profound? Words are simply vessels; it’s the meanings we attach that stir our emotions.

Feeling insulted stems from unmet expectations of respect. By adopting a mindset of resilience and reducing these expectations, we shield ourselves effectively.

Ultimately, mastering self-respect and confidence ensures no insult can diminish us. By reshaping our perspective, we navigate social interactions with grace and untouchable poise.

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What is spirituality really?

It’s become cool to say one is spiritual.

But what does this mean?

Is spiritual lifestyle a real thing?

Is it about going to a particular place, like a spiritual retreat or resort? There’s so many of those nowadays.

Or is it about applying scriptural knowledge to one’s profession? Or trying to use ancient wisdom to deal with family, friends and colleagues better?

Perhaps it is none of these.

True spirituality is simply about finding ourselves. The real us.

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Broken leather hearts

The recent opening of an ultra-luxury brand’s second store in a bustling city highlights a curious facet of first-world problems: the exclusivity-induced heartbreak of not receiving an invite to a high-profile event.

While apparently some longstanding customers with hefty spending habits were absent from the guest list, creating a buzz of “broken hearts,” it’s a stark reminder of the privileged nature of such woes.

In contrast, many people with far less—who face challenges that extend beyond social invitations—often exhibit remarkable happiness and contentment.

This situation underscores the importance of gratitude and perspective, recognizing that true fulfillment often lies beyond material or social accolades.

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50Bs 50Gs

A super successful professional recently recounted his route to success in LinkedIn.

Did he have it easy? Not at all.

Did he fail repeatedly along the way? Many times.

But what was his takeaway and what kept him going?

The 50B-50G attitude.

That 50% of our days will be Bad. And 50% will be Good.

On the good days, we soak it in.

On the bad days, we clench our teeth and keep going, because that’s what will cause the next good days to come.

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Ironic living

Today, I came across a lovely shloka that beautifully encapsulates the human condition:

Jananam Sukhadam Maranam Karunam
Milanam Madhuram Smaranam Karunam
Kalavashadiha Sakalam Karunam
Samyadhipateh Akhilam Karunam

Birth is joy, witnessed in the radiant smiles of newborns, and death, curiously enough, brings compassion—freeing us from the eternal burden of existence. Imagine being penalized for not “living well enough”!

This chant poignantly sketches our journey: a collage of sweet encounters and fleeting moments, all under the relentless tick of time. It’s a humorous nudge that while we meticulously plan and worry, we edge ever closer to the finale. If we could all truly grasp our ephemeral nature, wouldn’t our choices paint a world vibrant with only what truly matters?

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Aghori stuff

Was watching an interview recently where someone was questioning the beliefs of aghoris.

Like why do they do all the stuff that is generally prohibited in normal life?

Some of the unconventional rituals include dwelling in cremation grounds, smearing ashes on their bodies, using human skulls as utensils, and eating flesh from human corpses. Surely not for the faint of heart.

And there’s many that criticize such true aghoris. And “true” aghoris because there are many frauds too, apparently.

In any case, the interviewee provided an endearing point of view. He said true aghoris are full of karuna, or compassion.

That’s quite a lovely thought, isn’t it? Unless they are overcome by said karuna / compassion for creation as a whole, and are devoid of judgements like “this is good, and that is bad”, how else can they practise such rituals?

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Who doesn’t love a good pose?! Yes fine, the ones that go onto Instagram and Facebook.

But not just those poses for photography. But poses for improving life’s graph itself!

Which pose would that be? A yoga pose of course!

But even with yoga, if one can’t contort oneself to the extent a master can, does that become less impactiful?

And what is a pose, or an asana in yoga?

By definition, it would be Sthira sukha asana, which means sthira = steady, sukha = happiness, so an asana would need to not just be held steady (sthira), but also require that the yogi will need to maintain a happy composure (sukha).

The flip side is the clincher though. Because it implies that every steady and happy pose is automatically an asana, so body contortion may not be necessary!

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Imposter again

Some interesting points from another post on the much discussed imposter syndrome.

Apparently McKinsey’s “Dealing with Impostor Syndrome” live learning module is offered quarterly and always has a long waitlist. It turns out that even some of the most brilliant minds, who have faced incredible challenges and succeeded in highly competitive academic and professional spheres, still doubt their own abilities.

So, what’s the solution to this persistent issue?

LeBron James revealed on a podcast, that he watches highlights of his best performances to regain his confidence whenever he experiences a slump.

If someone as accomplished as LeBron James can feel inadequate, despite reaching the summit of professional basketball, then I must certainly manage my own doubts!

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Others don’t, so why should I?

Most people don’t know a thing about dharma. Even if they do, they don’t understand it. Even if they do, they don’t live it.

So a natural question that occurs is that if others don’t follow dharma, then why should I?

Three key reasons:

1. It’s incorrect to conclude that others don’t follow dharma. We honestly have no clue what motivates others to do what they do.

2. There’s plenty of research now that shows that nice guys finish first, and not last. When we do good things, then people remember us for our generosity, empathy, integrity and righteousness – all great for long term success.

3. We must follow dharma for our own spiritual progress and spiritual peace.

Any others? Please share in the comments!

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Endless boundless

In chapter 16 of the Gita, Krishna mentions “chintam pralayantam” to describe an asuric mindset.

Seems like he’s describing my mindset though!

What does it mean?

Nothing but endless worries. That the mind is constantly worried, leading to stress and anxiety.

We say that life being unpredictable is what leads to stress.

But it’s not unpredictability itself, but the fact that we allow the lack of certainty to impact our happiness.

As my Guru often says, living in uncertainty alone is spirituality.

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The nocebo effect. I swear it’s a thing. You think I’ve got it wrong? It should be placebo? Well yes, placebo effect, but did you know there’s a nocebo effect too? I’m not kidding, and even I found out just now!

What is it? Nothing much… Just the placebo effect, but in reverse.

If someone takes a pill that is a dummy, and is cured, that’s the power of positive thinking?

Likewise, if someone takes a dummy pill, but is scared of the side effects (having read about them somewhere), then and then ends up suffering the side effects… That’s nocebo!

Imagine then, the power of negative thoughts on us!

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Persimmons are super sweet on the inside. But the skin isn’t that easy to peel off.

In possibly the newest and most popular K-drama show of all time, Queen of Tears, one discussion on persimmons is food for thought.

Specifically, the fellow who just plucks some of the fruits, and then explains to another man, how this batch of fruit isn’t sweet at all.

But what is to be done?

Simple, just soak the fruit in bitter soju, which is an alcoholic beverage made from rice, and wrap it tightly in a cloth. Leave it overnight, and the fruit turns sweet!

Much like life itself, as the man notes. Life gives many bitter experiences, but if we soak ourselves in them and endure them, it’ll lead to success and sweetness eventually.

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Medal for Renaissance – part 2

We discussed the hedge fund genius Jim Simmons here yesterday.

You know how his fund became so profitable?

Because he was able to predict human nature.

He knew that whenever crises would strike, the same basic human instances would come to the fore – fear, greed and desire.

Is this rocket science? Does it sound predictable? Of course!

Jim was able to create sophisticated quant models and systems to extract alpha from such situations.

Interestingly, if we want to extract alpha from life, we can predict the same things too, in ourselves, and in others. And everything’s already predicted in our scriptures. We just need to read them!

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Medal for Renaissance

Jim Simmons, one of the greatest hedge fund investors of all time, passed away yesterday, at the age of 86.

He compounded returns for clients in his Renaissance Medalion fund at a ridiculous 66% per annum for over 30 years.

To compare, Mr Warren Buffet’s own returns compounded at somewhere between 20 and 25%.

What did Mr. Simmons say about his own life story?

"I did a lot of math. I made a lot of money, and I gave almost all of it away. That's the story of my life".

Isn’t that just an outstanding way to live? Work, earn and pass it on.

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Smiley smiley

Here’s a thought for today that I came across:

Life is not about having or achieving. It is about being and becoming!

Isn’t that just awesome?

Now how to live such an awesome life?

The first step would be to simply smile or laugh, and just enjoy the current moment.

We’ll realize that is actually not so simple to do! Because there’s so much other stuff that needs to get done, right?

Well, as a great man once said, smiling and laughter are not situations. They are decisions.

You know what we must decide to do now…

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Bookkeeping refers to maintaining one’s books of accounts.

But recently on social media, there’s a bunch of motivators and self(proclaimed)-help Gurus that does another type of bookkeeping. Which is keeping their books front and center for everyone to see and advocating reading books like there’s no tomorrow.

“I read a book a week”, says one. And a peer comments instantly, “I read two!”

“I’ve read 120 books this year!”, says another, while yet another claims to have read 2500 books in his lifetime. Phew.

It might seem like there’s no place for success in our lives unless we read 1000s of books.

If someone’s really read a 1000+ books, then they should have read about humility somewhere you’d think?

As my Guru always says, it doesn’t matter how many books you read, if you don’t implement anything from them to bring a positive change to the lives of those around us.

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Religiosity Animigion

Funny things happen around us all the time.

People love God, but they hate one another.

In the name of religion, people hate followers of other religions, but what about loving everyone? What about peace?

What really is holiness and piousness?

Are they linked to religion?

Absolutely not!

Being holy and pious is part of our innate nature. But the deluded think otherwise, and ruin their lives, and the lives of others around them.

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Axe or sword?

There’s a debate among spiritual seekers, especially on the tantric path, as to whether certain rituals, excessive as they may seem, are truly necessary.

The relatively straightforward ritual path, called dakshinachar is itself not easy to follow.

But the left hand, or vamachar, is ridiculously difficult (and also what catches most people’s imaginations).

One tantric expert explained it nicely.

The left hand is like taking an expressway. Tantric deities hence have swords in their hands, because they can cut off all attachment at once.

Whereas the right hand path is slower, but perhaps more suited to most. These deities may wield axes, symbolizing that the tree of attachment needs to be cut, but maybe one blow at a time.

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It’s all about the money funny

Here’s some super stuff from the legendary Osho, on money:

  • Money is equated with power and is a common focus for most people.
  • Even those considering spiritual or otherworldly pursuits view their virtues as a form of currency that can “purchase” a better status in the afterlife.
  • Both worldly wealth and spiritual “wealth” are motivated by similar desires for security and a better position, either on earth or in heaven.
  • Money serves as a future security; people accumulate it to feel secure about their future.
  • The preoccupation with money only diminishes when one begins to live fully in the present, stepping away from concerns about the future.
  • Ultimately, money, whether in literal or metaphorical terms, symbolizes power, and this underlying quest for power is pervasive across different realms of thought.
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Enjoy meant

What is enjoyment really about?


Does enjoyment truly lead to happiness? Maybe temporarily, but permanently?

As Swami Chinmayananda says, wrong understanding of freedom leads to licentiousness. Which means that one has no self-control whatsoever.

Very soon, the diminishing marginal utility principle starts working, and the 5th scoop of ice cream and the 10th scoop have the same limited value to someone with a massive sweet tooth (like me!).

True freedom isn’t simply letting the mind and body do whatever they want. Rather true freedom, is keeping the mind and body under “our” control.

But who are we, if not the mind and body? Hmm…

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Dumbest ever AI

AI or Artificial Intelligence is just extraordinary.

Anyone who’s used chatGPT for only a few minutes even, will agree.

Whatever it does, and in the micro/nanoseconds it does it, is simply unfathomable to the human mind.

Just how can it understand anything and everything we prompt, and then create an answer or even an image (video too soon, it seems), and then format it, and send it back, in just the blink of an eye?

Almost impossible we’d have thought 2 years ago, before it was publicly revealed.

But chatGPT creator Sam Altman went on record yesterday to say that “chatGPT will soon be remembered as the dumbest AI ever used by man.”

Holy moly to whatever is coming up next. But importantly, there’s no place for ego in life. Even the best of yesterday is not good enough today. Not in human life, not in AI life.

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Waiting prayer

Prayers are a vital link to the divine, at the heart of spiritual devotion across religions, each with its own rituals. We often wait eagerly for answers after praying, but the Divine communicates in unpredictable ways, unlike showing His/Her immediate physical presence in movies like “Oh My God” and “Bruce Almighty.”

  • We seek strength, and instead, maybe rewarded with challenges that make us stronger.
  • We hope for prosperity, and are reminded to use our skills and effort.
  • We ask for courage, and encounter situations that reveal our deepest fears, that can only be overcome by inner strength.
  • We wish for divine love, and find opportunities to help those in distress, serving the divine through our actions.

Patience and awareness are essential. The divine doesn’t make grand gestures like in movies but subtly shows us paths to answer our prayers. We must recognize and seize these opportunities, maintaining our faith.

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4 muktis

So apparently there are 4 types of muktis or liberations (never a dull day in spirituality, always something new to learn!).

  1. Salokya Mukti – Residing in the same realm as the deity, contingent on the merits earned through spiritual practices like chanting. This state is temporary, with individuals returning to life’s cycle once merits are exhausted.
  2. Samipya Mukti – Achieving closeness to the deity, akin to a servant-master relationship, leading to enlightenment through divine service.
  3. Swarupya Mukti – Adopting a form similar to the divine, specifically reflecting aspects of the Divine Feminine such as Lalita Tripusundari or Bagalamukhi from the ten Mahavidya pantheon.
  4. Sayujjya Mukti – The ultimate union, merging entirely with Ishwar (God), transcending all distinctions between worshipper and worshipped. This profound state can be achieved in higher states of consciousness accessible through advanced spiritual practices.

These muktis represent stages on the path to spiritual fulfillment and the eventual dissolution into divine oneness.

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Root fruit

There’s a nice video doing the rounds on social media. It’s called the Root vs Fruit system.

The essence is a comparison of the two systems that work inside of a tree.

One is called Gravitropic, where the roots of the tree grow towards gravity. It’s dark and damp, and it takes plenty of effort to grow into the ground.

But it is 100% required. Because without the roots, the trunk and branches and leaves and fruits wouldn’t even exist.

Speaking of fruits, the other part is called Phototropic, which is the part of the tree that grows towards sunlight. And eventually leads to the blossoming of flowers and their fruits.

Life is like that, isn’t it? One needs to hunker down and do the hard work in the darkness and dampness. And only then would one really be able to shine in the light.

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