October 17, 2008
October 16, 2008
If the boss says he cannot live without you @ work, you are thrilled for his dependency creates a sense of security for you. Similarly, in personal relationships, we enhance the other's need for us through our actions for our own security. We want to be brighter, smarter, sexier,richer etc so that the other depends on us more and more. Every moment, our striving is to increase the dependency quotient of the other on us. And this is miserable, for never is such a moment achieved. It is an eternal struggle between the what is and the what should be, a product of our imagination.
Relationship is an "as is where is" and an "as is how is" phenomenon.It is experiencing and accepting the other just as s/he is, not as we would like to see them.It emerges in our acceptance of ourselves the way we are, unique and validated creations.
We do not need to validate our existence, to re-inforce our "selves". We are not on a stage where our performance is being watched, though we put ourselves in such a situation.The rose is fragrant, it does not try to be.
Caterpillars transform into butterflies in such moments of awarenes and acceptance. Great human artforms are the result.
Individual transformation is world transformation.
All of us think of changing the world around us. Sri Bhagavan reminds us that change , if any, has to only occur within ourselves.
In a beautiful event at the BSE convention hall in Mumbai, yesterday, various people shared their awakening through the Oneness process.
Yes, we are on the threshold of unprecedented changes , bringing in its wake both challenges and opportunities.
Man cannot stagnate. He evolves or decays.
Our ability and capacity to cope with change would determine the journey of the next few years. The rate of change is huge.
Anchoring in centeredness is the need of the hour.
pic courtesy: mastione.com
October 11, 2008
By Richard Black Environment correspondent, BBC News website, Barcelona
Losses are great, and continuous, says the report
The global economy is losing more money from the disappearance of forests than through the current banking crisis, according to an EU-commissioned study.
It puts the annual cost of forest loss at between $2 trillion and $5 trillion.
The figure comes from adding the value of the various services that forests perform, such as providing clean water and absorbing carbon dioxide.
The study, headed by a Deutsche Bank economist, parallels the Stern Review into the economics of climate change.
It has been discussed during many sessions here at the World Conservation Congress.
Some conservationists see it as a new way of persuading policymakers to fund nature protection rather than allowing the decline in ecosystems and species, highlighted in the release on Monday of the Red List of Threatened Species, to continue.
Speaking to BBC News on the fringes of the congress, study leader Pavan Sukhdev emphasised that the cost of natural decline dwarfs losses on the financial markets.
"It's not only greater but it's also continuous, it's been happening every year, year after year," he told BBC News.
Teeb will... show the risks we run by not valuing [nature] adequately."
Andrew MitchellGlobal Canopy Programme
"So whereas Wall Street by various calculations has to date lost, within the financial sector, $1-$1.5 trillion, the reality is that at today's rate we are losing natural capital at least between $2-$5 trillion every year."
The review that Mr Sukhdev leads, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Teeb), was initiated by Germany under its recent EU presidency, with the European Commission providing funding.
The first phase concluded in May when the team released its finding that forest decline could be costing about 7% of global GDP. The second phase will expand the scope to other natural systems.
Key to understanding his conclusions is that as forests decline, nature stops providing services which it used to provide essentially for free.
So the human economy either has to provide them instead, perhaps through building reservoirs, building facilities to sequester carbon dioxide, or farming foods that were once naturally available.
Or we have to do without them; either way, there is a financial cost.
The Teeb calculations show that the cost falls disproportionately on the poor, because a greater part of their livelihood depends directly on the forest, especially in tropical regions.
The greatest cost to western nations would initially come through losing a natural absorber of the most important greenhouse gas.
Just as the Stern Review brought the economics of climate change into the political arena and helped politicians see the consequences of their policy choices, many in the conservation community believe the Teeb review will lay open the economic consequences of halting or not halting the slide in biodiversity.
"The numbers in the Stern Review enabled politicians to wake up to reality," said Andrew Mitchell, director of the Global Canopy Programme, an organisation concerned with directing financial resources into forest preservation.
"Teeb will do the same for the value of nature, and show the risks we run by not valuing it adequately."
A number of nations, businesses and global organisations are beginning to direct funds into forest conservation, and there are signs of a trade in natural ecosystems developing, analogous to the carbon trade, although it is clearly very early days.
Some have ethical concerns over the valuing of nature purely in terms of the services it provides humanity; but the counter-argument is that decades of trying to halt biodiversity decline by arguing for the intrinsic worth of nature have not worked, so something different must be tried.
Whether Mr Sukhdev's arguments will find political traction in an era of financial constraint is an open question, even though many of the governments that would presumably be called on to fund forest protection are the ones directly or indirectly paying for the review.
But, he said, governments and businesses are getting the point.
"Times have changed. Almost three years ago, even two years ago, their eyes would glaze over.
"Today, when I say this, they listen. In fact I get questions asked - so how do you calculate this, how can we monetize it, what can we do about it, why don't you speak with so and so politician or such and such business."
The aim is to complete the Teeb review by the middle of 2010, the date by which governments are committed under the Convention of Biological Diversity to have begun slowing the rate of biodiversity loss.
October 08, 2008
In Brooklyn, New York, Chush is a school that caters to learning-disabled children. Some children remain in Chush for their entire School career, while others can be main-streamed into conventional Jewish schools.
At a Chush fund-raising dinner, the father of a Chush child delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.
After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he cried out, "Where is the perfection in my son Shaya? Everything God does is done with perfection. But my child cannot understand things as other children do. My child cannot remember facts and figures as other children do. Where is God's perfection?"
The audience was shocked by the question, pained by the father's anguish and stilled by the piercing query.
"I believe," the father answered, "that when God brings a child like this into the world, the perfection that He seeks is in the way people react to this child."
He then told the following story about his son Shaya: One afternoon Shaya and his father walked past a park where some boys Shaya knew were playing baseball. Shaya asked, "Do you think they will let me play?" Shaya's father knew that his son was not at all athletic and that most boys would not want him on their team. But Shaya's father understood that if his son was chosen to play it would give him a comfortable sense of belonging.
Shaya's father approached one of the boys in the field and asked if Shaya could play. The boy looked around for guidance from his teammates. Getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said. "We are losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can beon our team and we'll try to put him up to bat in the ninth inning." Shaya's father was ecstatic as Shaya smiled broadly. Shaya was told to put on a glove and go out to play short centre field.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shaya's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shaya's team scored again and now with two outs and the bases loaded with the potential winning run on base, Shaya was scheduled to be up. Would the team actually let Shaya bat at this juncture and give away their chance to win the game?
Surprisingly, Shaya was given the bat. Everyone knew that it was all but impossible because Shaya didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, let alone hit with it. However, as Shaya stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shaya should at least be able to make contact.
The first pitch came in and Shaya swung clumsily and missed. One of Shaya's teammates came up to Shaya and together they held the bat andfaced the pitcher waiting for the next pitch. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly toward Shaya.
As the pitch came in, Shaya and his teammate swung the bat and together they hit a slow ground ball to the pitcher. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could easily have thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shaya would have been out and that would have ended the game. Instead, the pitcher took the ball and threw it on a high arc to right field, far beyond reach of the first baseman.
Everyone started yelling, "Shaya, run to first. Run to first!" Never in his life had Shaya run to first. He scampered down the baseline wide-eyed and startled. By the time he reached first base, the right fielder had the ball. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman who would tag out Shaya, who was still running. But the right fielder understood what the pitcher's intentions were, so he threw the ball high and far over the third baseman's head. Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second."
Shaya ran towards second base as the runners ahead of him deliriouslycircled the bases towards home. As Shaya reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base and shouted, "Run to third."
As Shaya rounded third, the boys from both teams ran behind him screaming, "Shaya run home!" Shaya ran home, stepped on home plate and all 18 boys lifted him on their shoulders and made him the hero, as he had just hit a "grand slam" and won the game for his team.
"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, "those 18 boys reached their level of God's perfection."
October 04, 2008
"Are problems any different?" he mumbled to himself. He was bamboozled. He felt as if all problems in the world had connived to assault him at the same time. He was thrown out of his job when his finances were drained to its last drop, his wife blamed him for everything that went wrong under the sun, his children seemed hell bent on making him feel terrible for having begotten them, his relatives and friends loped from his sight, lest he may burden them with his quandary, mentally or materially; and added to all this was his own body, which chose to revolt back at him, at this anomalous hour.
There once lived a poor farmer in a village. His elder brother was a rich merchant and his younger brother was an equally rich landlord. His everyday routine included tilling new soil, watering the fields, grazing his owner's cattle and cursing God, life and himself.
One day his mind switched into a prayerful mode. With deep pain he spoke to God, "I have never enjoyed anything in life as my brothers did. I haven't experienced the love of my mother as my brothers did. I don't have a roof over my head, which I can call my own, as my brothers do. I don't have the money, name and fame that my brothers enjoy. Why are you so biased?"
His prayers were heard and God spoke from heaven to all the villagers. "I am going to emancipate all of you. Till all your problems into a bundle and bring it to the village temple. There you can exchange your bundle for any other bundle of your choice. Henceforth your life would change according to the bundle you choose."The jubilant farmer packed all his problems into a bundle and marched out of his house with dreams of a colourful future. He freezed in disbelief as he stepped out. His elder brother was carrying a bundle five times the size of his own bundle. Following him was his younger brother who had employed a servant to carry two of his extra bundles not able to carry them himself. Thus swaggered the whole village, each one looking at the other in disbelief. When everyone had gathered at the temple the most unexpected thing happened. No one came forward to exchange their bundle with anyone else, however big their bundle was.Well, why would a rich merchant want to exchange his bundle with a poor cobbler, though the cobbler's bundle was much smaller? With the problems would leave his hard earned comforts and possessions. It was a tuffle between attachment and liberation. Each bundle was a package, and had desirable and undesirable state of affairs. No one could find a bundle that best matched his or her fantasy. Everyone returned home in contemplative silence and joyful acceptance. The farmer returned home merrily, never to lament again."
There are two ways to end a problem." says Sri Bhagavan. "It could either be solved or dissolved."The first method is to find a solution for the problem in the external world. If you have a big nose and a dark skin, of which you are embarrassed and cursing your stars for, the external solution would be to shell out money and set it right by doing a plastic surgery. There is also a straight forward and painless alternative that comes free of cost, simply to accept it! The problem remains externally but ends internally. The problem ceases to be a problem.Peace and happiness are the two things that one aims to achieve by solving a problem. Sadly, man is stuck with the idea that an end to his problem is possible only when it ends externally, least aware that an external solution is not the only criterion for a peaceful and happy living. A solution may put an end to the problem, but it may not bring permanent joy, as life is ready to bowl another problem. It is like a man trying to battle the waves of the ocean. No sooner than one subsides, the other is ready to swoop any minute. Anticipating a 'one-day-I-will-be-problem-free' thing is ignorance. If one cannot be happy in the 'now and here', one can never be happy anywhere. Happiness is an internal state. It does not depend on external situations. This is the reality of an enlightened person.It was this state of Enlightenment that kept Ramana Maharshi and Ramakrishna Parmahamsa equanimous inspite of their cancer. It was this state that kept the Buddha stress free in spite of facing lot of troubles from the king and his monastery. It was this state that made Christ say "Lord! Forgive them for they know not what they do" even he was tortured.
Enlightenment could make one either into a saint or a sage. It is a state where one lives and enjoys life completely without the burden of thought. For an enlightened person, his very existence is joy, unlike an unenlightened person who searches for umpteen reasons to be happy.
But this state cannot be attained by spiritual practices, penance or severe austerities. When you do get enlightened it is only through Divine grace.
Even for the Buddha, Mahavira and other enlightened masters, it was only a benediction.
October 01, 2008
"In a single moment, in one stroke, you can become enlightened. It is not a gradual process, because enlightenment is not something that you have to invent. It is something that you have to discover. It is already there. It is not something that you have to manufacture. If you have to manufacture it, of course, it will take time; but it is already there. Close your eyes and see it there. Be silent and have a taste of it. Your very nature is what I call enlightenment. Enlightenment is not something alien, outside you. It is not somewhere else in time and space. It is you, your very core."