Love – no cliches please

In yesterdays Yoga Sutra class, Saurabh gave the closest definition of what love REALLY is.

The first Yama – Ahimsa.

He said if you do not hurt, harm, injure or kill someone that is love, or as the texts call it – ahimsa.

This basically goes on to say that if you practice ahimsa in your relationship with a person, then you love them.

We generally hurt those people who we claim to love the most. We load them with so many expectations and in the process hurt and harm them as well as ourselves.

We generally do not expect so much from the people who were are socially connected to otherwise like friends, teachers or other acquaintances. Hence we do not have a sour time in dealing with them.

This also makes me wonder, have we truly accepted these or are we ignorant about this aspect because we do not feel a sense of power via expectations over them?

Bollywood hasn’t helped because it has always portrayed some kind of psychosis as love – jealousy, anger, the need to possess the person or extreme sexual attraction.

We as a community need to pause and think about what love means to us.

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Love – overused word and underrated emotion

Out of all the things that have been written about, the last thing we need is someone writing on love right? Same with the last thing needed on earth is excessive humans who live and breathe day in and day out. So let’s give this blog a chance too.

The modern people sharing posts all over social media who say that never settle for a man who is less than you deserve, do not do this until he does that – are selling narcissism not love.

I read this beautiful post by Thich Nhat Hanh and he goes into the real beauty and essence of the emotion of love. He says that love is about understanding the other person completely and feeling his pain and suffering as yours.

I am not at the level where he is talking about, because I believe that to love someone else completely and to understand the other completely, first you must have a complete understanding of the person you are and love yourself. Because you cannot pour out of an empty container and you cannot give something you do not have.

We say we love the flower, but the truth is, that we find the flower beautiful and we want to possess it – by this I mean to keep this in the close proximity to ourselves. So we pluck out the flower, which is actually the death of that flower.

Same with people like me who claim to be dog lovers. We love dogs because a dog is one of the creatures who can love unconditionally and more importantly EXPRESS that love. So we love dogs because we know that the dog will love us way more than we can ever expect from average humans or other animals.

The problem with this modern emotion which we claim to be love is that – we believe we love the other person. But the truth is because he fills up something in us – whether it is our need to be desired, or wanted, or loved, or being given attention to. It is conditional. It is a transaction. And more importantly, it is not love. We will slowly get addicted to the person because of the action we are getting from him, and in the process destroy ourselves and the other person.

That is why our relationships end up tragically, because neither do we want to understand what love is nor do we want to sacrifice for the other, like people in the olden days would.

The solution could be to start knowing – really understanding and loving yourself so well that you have nothing except for love to give out.

Aparigraha – ancient Indian minimalism

It is not daily increase, but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessentials – Bruce Lee.
In a world of consumerism, some might find it rather absurd to live with the bare minimum, or to put it in better words, to live with only the things you need.
We slog our asses off to earn money, to end up buying things we do not need just because we fancy the attention that thing would bring to us.
Take the example of wanting a fancy home. Obviously, you should do the best you can in a given situation, and make sure you have the best possible space for yourself, your family. But too often, we chase something which is way out of our capacity, get into an endless cycle of a loan or an EMI. We work day in and day out to pay it off, all the while, we do not really enjoy having that house. To top that up, the maintenance and the attachment that comes with something that you perceive as so precious.
I took up a 30-day minimalism challenge where starting Oct 1, 2017, I had to get rid of one thing on the first day. On the second, two things. Three, on the third. So forth, and so on, ending with 30 on day 30!
I was able to continue to Day-22 as I had to leave for a Vipassana shibir but I realized that I threw away almost everything that I did not need.
As a part of this challenge, I also encouraged myself to get rid of the thought patterns, behaviors and people that are not serving a good purpose or place in my life. But since these are subtler, negativity comes and goes, though less frequently.
From then on, every month, I keep discarding things that I do not need and I realized since then I do not have half the things I owned!
I also sold a lot of things on OLX and people were really happy to buy some of it. Why sell it? – In my limited experience, I feel when a thing is for free, we have the tendency to just take and hoard, assuming that we may use it sometime in the future. Whereas, when a thing has a price on it, no matter how small the price is, we at least think once before purchasing it if it is really useful to us.
I also deleted apps on my phone and the digital data that I do not need.
All this while, I assumed that minimalism is a western philosophy, until recently where I discovered that it is one of the Yamas – Aparigraha.
Minimalism is not really limited to discard things you do not need, but it extends to not buying things out of a whim and being thoughtful when purchasing.
Aparigraha, of how I understand it now is very much capable of encompassing the other Yamas. Satya – being truthful about what you need and purchasing according to that. Ahimsa – making sure you try to minimalize purchasing when violence is involved in the processing or manufacture of the item. Asteya – making sure that you give the right value to the person you purchase things from – example, it is absolutely unfair for us to go to malls and buy overpriced things that we do not bargain for, versus buying fruits/ vegetables we try to squeeze in how much ever possible in a small amount of money. Bhramacharya – making sure that the items we buy provide us more value than mere sense pleasure.
It extends to discard behaviors, habits, words, relationships that you do not need or are not benefitting you.
And sometimes, you will not realize how great Aparigraha is unless you start to implement it. Like all the other good things in life.
So are you going to take up the challenge?

In the pursuit of being a minimalist

In a world of consumerism, some might find it rather absurd to live with the bare minimum, or to put it in better words, to live with only the things you need.

We slog our asses off to earn money, to end up buying things we do not need just because we fancy the attention that thing would bring to us.

I took up a 30-day minimalism challenge where starting Oct 1, 2017, I had to get rid of one thing on the first day. On the second, two things. Three, on the third. So forth, and so on, ending with 30 on day 30!

I was able to continue to Day-22 as I had to leave for a retreat after but I realized that I threw away almost everything that I did not need.

From then on, every month, I keep discarding things that I do not need and I realized since then I do not have half the things I owned!

Minimalism is not really limited to discard things you do not need, but it extends to not buying things out of a whim and being thoughtful when purchasing.

It extends to discard behaviors, habits, words, relationships that you do not need or are not benefitting you.

And sometimes, you will not realize how great minimalism is unless you start to implement it.

So are you going to take up the challenge?