Jai Sri Hari and my wonderful evening to my wonderful OS.me family. Welcome is a monthly roundup for the Spiritual Wisdom category. I was recently contemplating spiritual journeys and how much they change people and came up with a cooking metaphor. 

We all begin like a packet of cold milk that is delivered freshly. The challenges we face in life help the milk boil, and we seek relief from the heat. The spiritual master adds some culture to the milk and cools it down to initiate the spiritual transformation. We scoop the cream from the curd for a very long time and then go through a massive churn to become beautiful white butter. The process is still ongoing. The white butter goes through the flame’s heat to become ghee, which is now ready to be offered to the gods. That’s why I told my friend today that no devotee is ahead or falling behind on the spiritual path. There are only two states. Either you are enlightened, or you are not. This is important because we have been conditioned to see our success relative to others’ accomplishments. Are you in the top three students? Did you get more marks than your friend? Are you wealthier than your peers? 

When we walk this path, we tend to make similar comparisons and suffer from a superiority or inferiority complex. It really helps to remember that you only have to be 1% better today than yesterday. How do you do that? The answer lies in something I call Applied Spirituality. Here are some fantastic posts on Applied Spirituality. 

Komal Om writes a fantastic blog on self-contemplation. She has a magical ability to make deeply spiritual points with simplicity and a sense of humor. Her use of personal examples makes this a profoundly personal and compelling post. 

Let’s say someone’s full-time job is to annoy you. Yes, there are such people. Or perhaps a specific cousin pushes you on edge every time you meet her. Whenever she asks you questions about yourself or your life, you feel irritated and would rather run away. Why do they annoy you so much? That is an undesirable situation with an unpleasant outcome (i.e. you feel uncomfortable and the outcome is almost always that you take their leave in anger). Now, compare this to a pleasant outcome (and situation). Imagine someone who you love and enjoy spending time with, it could be your best friend, your boyfriend, your parents or your siblings. Whenever they ask you a question, about whatever it may be, you are always in a peaceful state of mind and rarely get irritated. Is it them or is it you? Well, I have bad news. It’s you! But it also means that there is hope.

Niraj writes a fantastic post on shopping consciously to avoid returning things that often end up in landfills. He gives a series of six rules he will follow to ensure he is mindful of his choices. The following humorous explanation on avoiding returns is rib-tickling. 

For starters, I could have been a few inches taller, more like my dad. There are many other defects that are not so obvious. My sense of humor is annoying to many people; my weaknesses greatly outnumber my strengths. Trust me, I am a married man, and I am aware of all my faults. There is little doubt that I am descended from apes, being a living example of the theory of evolution. I observed a group of monkeys outside a temple a few years ago. As a flawed product, I would not like to be returned to the sender any time soon.

What happens when a young prodigy cannot sing anymore due to Tuberculosis? Rashmi Sharma writes a beautiful blog about the legendary singer Kumar Gandharva. He cannot sing for many years, and all he does is lie by the window and listen to Nirguni bhajans which symbolize the formless god. When he finally does sing, he is not only using his vocal cords. Every inch of his body seems to respond to his call to bind the formless divine in a rope of silken words. 

With a newly found voice, style, and expression, Kumara was unstoppable. Tuberculosis had left a long-lasting impact on him. One of his lungs was rendered useless. Consequently, he developed a unique style of singing short phrases in his high-pitched voice. Wherever he found inspiration, he embraced it unapologetically. Kumara is remembered for his innovative and adaptive attitude to classical music. He borrowed the best from all gharanas, refusing to conform to any specific music lineage. Having tapped into his truth, by becoming his own person, Pandit Kumara Gandharva became the ‘avadhuta’ he so passionately sang about.

Narendra takes lessons from a tortoise and talks about the joys of slowing down in life. He provides eight fantastic tips to lead a happier and richer life. I personally love the last one, which says don’t be afraid of yourself because you are unique. 

 When I visited the Bhadrika Ashram for a black lotus event In 2019, We were fortunate enough to have Swamiji’s company while we having our lunch. During that period, he ate calmly, happily and with undivided attention. That day, I felt grateful for this opportunity. My understanding of mindful eating was strengthened by that experience.

Alina writes the last blog in this roundup and discusses how we can reconnect with ourselves. Silence is essential to discovering ourselves, and she shares a quote by Thich Nhat Hanh that sums it up. 

Silence is essential. We need silence, just as much as we need air, just as much as plants need light. If our minds are crowded with words and thoughts, there is no space for us.” 

How could I leave you without sharing something from Swamji? Here is a beautiful video about managing time. 

YouTube video

Let me finish with a small joke written by Chat GPT.

Why did the spiritual sage cross the road?

To get to the other side of enlightenment!