Creating A New Personal Paradigm.

I am in the process of reading ‘Ishmael’, by Daniel Quinn. So far, the book is an engaging, thought-provoking read. Like Byron Katie’s ‘The Work’, it invites one to break down the fundamental pieces of the world vision we have bought into, and question the veracity of these parts.  These examined parts can then be reassembled to outline a new, wholly different paradigm.  What struck me, as I read this book, was the way we could use this to find freedom from a fixed idea of our self.

Remember, the brain highlights our awareness of evidence that proves our beliefs true.
Further, the brain cannot distinguish between the real and the imagined.  We can be victims of these biases, or we can choose to use this to our advantage.

Like the protagonist in my short story, The River Sings. Listen., we tend to identify with the character/role we are playing out in this drama of life.  Self-inquiry reveals that who we are is not limited to the self-definition we usually buy into.

With ‘Unpeeling Our Labels‘, I offered an exercise to free yourself from your favourite fixed ideas about yourself. There, we focused on examining and disentangling from the character/role we are defining ourselves by.

Here, what I now propose is that we examine and rewrite the entire myth that we have built around this character.  (Our core beliefs about our individual identity frames our world-view and filters the consequent experience. Hence, I refer to this personalised narration as a movie or myth.)

Consider this Wikipedia extract from ‘Ishmael’ (that prompted this post):
“There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with people.
Given a story to enact that puts them in accord with the world, they will live in accord with the world.  But given a story to enact that puts them at odds with the world, as yours does, they will live at odds with the world.
Given a story to enact in which they are the lords of the world, they will act as the lords of the world. And, given a story to enact in which the world is a foe to be conquered, they will conquer it like a foe, and one day, inevitably, their foe will lie bleeding to death at their feet, as the world is now.”

This extract triggered the thought that often, in the attempt to shake off one role-play or dominant quality, we swing to its opposite polarity.  What we end up doing is substituting one fixed idea of a self, with another; we peel off one label, only to stick on another.
Consequently, we remain deeply entangled with the protagonist of our personal ‘movie’, albeit now a radically different one.  The environment we are drawn into remains one which perpetuates this identity: Remember, for every victim, there has to be a perpetrator, for every winner a loser, and so forth.  So every personal ‘movie’- requires a whole paradigm – of relevant characters, recurring patterns, circumstances, locations, and more! In all this, any awakening from the dream is again ignored, if not completely forgotten.

Now, what if we deliberately changed the very myth that we are enacting?
What would change if we moved our focus from the ‘person experiencing life’, to the experience of life itself?

Instead of simply rewriting the character we have identified with, what if for a moment, you thought of this life more in terms of visiting a multiplex?  A free, unlimited being walking into an interactive theatre of choice?  Deciding that having seen enough of the drama/tragedy/horror/etc. genre, One would like the experience to be of say, lightheartedness or adventure instead?

What experiences would such a setting invoke?
As a corollary, what kind of waveform of consciousness would one be and express as?

If the implication of inverting things like this interests you, here is a way to experiment:

  1. Mindfully pause and step back – from the identification and entanglement with the current character/role, it’s existing beliefs and it’s consequent perceptions of life.
  2. Anchor in the remembrance of your true, infinite nature. (As Rumi poetically surmises: “You are as you are, an indescribable message on the air.) From this viewpoint, it is clear that like the actors in the movie, who we truly are – remains untouched through all these transient, worldly experiences. Further, we are capable of all kinds of ways of being – we are not limited to the qualities we have imagined to describe us.
    Remembering this, our engagement with the movie is transformed:. The relationship changes to one of playfulness, exploration and ease. Like visitors to an Amusement Park,  we are free to explore a different ride.  But this time, without becoming lost in identification with the protagonist.
    If separation was imagined in order to know our self, express our creativity and have different experiences – then let us remember that – even as we participate in this personal drama.
  3. From this space of lightness, give yourself a different story to enact. Previously, there were fixed ideas about the governing parameters, motivations and rules of engagement of the personal world we occupied.
    Shaped by this, certain traits strengthened within us and one became identified with an archetypal role or temporary states (such as believing our self to being an ‘angry’/’unsupported’/’unloved’/ ‘not good enough’/etc… person. As we did not think in terms of say, ‘I am experiencing anger’,  a frequent, but transient state became who we saw ourselves as.)

    Now, instead of fighting, defending, fixing, or improving this habitual self-definition, envision a new possibility by answering:
    What kind of a paradigm would you like to be living in?
    Sample questions that can help you articulate the details:

    • What is the dominant theme of this new paradigm/personal movie?
      Would there be more drama? more comedy? more adventure? more romance? more music?
    • What kind of experiences would the protagonist(your role) have?
      (Eg. An Indiana Jones protagonist would routinely experience adventure, whereas the star of a musical would likely grow in musical appreciation and expertise!)
    • What qualities would this protagonist display?
      (Curiosity, bravery, willingness to learn, discipline, persistence and so forth.)
    • What kind of a world, community and culture would he/she live in?
    • How would this protagonist contribute to this collective story?
    • What values would this protagonist embody?
    • What kind of people, places and situations is such a character likely to come across?
    • What would close relationships be like? How would they behave with each other?

These questions are not manifestation exercises but pointers to discovering the way this character would look, perceive, listen, respond and behave in his/her world.  It will help you to generate the body language, tone, perceptions and attitude that one would enact in such a story.
Choose a clear summary title, and perhaps a theme song/wallpaper to represent this story. Like a method actor,  routinely spend a quiet few moments immersing yourself into this character and its world. Periodically, align yourself to this story using EFT/Now Healing and the title/song/image you have chosen for yourself.
Begin to track and appreciate what changes when you view the world operating from this frame of reference.

It takes a little practice, and of course, old habits have their pull.  But our stepping out with a new, conscious approach invariably invokes a different response from everyone and everything around us. Also, let us not forget the beneficial rewiring of our brain over time, thanks to neuroplasticity. So slowly, but surely, one does start noticing shifts within and without.

One way in which we can use such an exercise is to relax our ‘anxious’ viewpoint. To change the story from being victims battling a threatening world to easeful, able beings adeptly exploring a varied world.
ACIM says that defence is the first form of attack.  And far too many of us currently see everything as threatening.  While it is situationally true for some, for a large number it is an exaggerated, stuck flight-fight response. This exercise can help change our point of view to a more neutral, present and balanced one.

What I found fun and useful with this experiment was:
a) the lightheartedness and flexibility of it – a useful reminder not to take our temporary circumstances so very seriously, and b) how it serves as a persistent reminder to stay awake in the dream;  to remember that we are not limited to this personality we repeatedly get caught up with.

If you choose to give it a try, let me know how it played out for you 🙂
And if you liked the idea, you are most welcome to pass it on.

A new year is around the corner. Perhaps, we can all rewrite our individual and collective stories in a way that we more deeply enjoy and appreciate this gift of life.
Good cheer and happy adventures to all!

movie-choices

 Image Source: Kodi Forum

What Meaning Have You Given To This One Thing?

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I will probably continue to share more clearings, but at the moment I feel that this one concise clearing addresses the crux of any emotional difficulty we are facing.

All our troubles start and end with our identification with a limited self. Anything and everything that happens, we habitually and compulsively weave into a narrative.  We keep trying to give the happening a meaning and understand our ‘self’ in it’s context.  We then cling to our interpretation, and keep trying to prove or disprove this conclusion(more correctly, hypothesis) to ourselves and others – which leads to its growing importance in our minds.

Pretty soon, whether it be a business opportunity or failure, new job or leaving a familiar city, marriage or divorce or being single, financial abundance or scarcity, weight gain or loss, anxiety or physical disease, birth or death of a loved one – it all boils down to what we decide it means to us and about us.

Further, instead of accepting the happenings of life, the ebbs and flows, the impermanence and changeability and the laws of nature themselves, we take it all most personally – thereby creating suffering and discontent for our ‘self’.

What can help is a return to a childlike innocence, lightness and openness:  Where we engage playfully and then move on without giving any falls, or scrapes lasting importance. The trophies and peak experiences are also held lightly, and take up our attention for only about as long as do our tears.
Thus, things become more about living deeply in the moment rather than about our compelling story and its complex lead character(our ‘self’).

If you would like to lead a more easeful, allowing life that feels one with the flow – try this for any situation that tends to drain your energy or captivate your attention. This clearing is equally relevant to those things that we obsessively seek for pleasure as those that we resist from fear of pain.

For best results, take one particular subject at a time. Now, placing your attention on this issue, use the clearing:

“All the meaning and undue significance that I have given this,
All the ways that I hold on to this,
All that I have decided that this says about me,
All the ways in which I have let this define, limit and contract me,
All the ways in which this has made me forget who I truly am,
I release, dissolve and let go now.

(Inhale a slow deep breath and exhale as you read the above, tap in with EFT, or use with any clearing process of your choice. You will probably immediately feel a little lighter.  If required, repeat a few times until you feel complete.)

Please don’t let the fact that this clearing is simple, focused, and free  – and not packaged as a long-drawn, complex process, nor offered as an expensive audio, workshop or webinar – make you underestimate its power and value. Do give it your fair consideration 🙂

Would be happy to hear how you feel after trying this out.
And if you feel it useful, please do share it with others.

 

13 Clearings To Address The Fear Of The Unknown

cliff edge _Fotor

The 9 Clearing Statements To Address The Fear of Uncertainty and Embracing Change provide self-explanatory assistance with those situations.  They have a slight emphasis on addressing the aspects of letting go of the past, the known and the familiar.  It is meant to do away with the ‘pull’ of the history.

This (equally self-explanatorily titled )set aims to focus on the resistance to the unknown future. For sometimes, the analogy of being at crossroads does not seem adequate.  The feeling  then is more like one is poised on the edge of a cliff and the only way forward seems to be that leap of faith.  So naturally, there can be a terror, and an attempt to ‘push’ away the inevitable.

Much of such fear is based on three things:

  1. The extrapolation of the past along with the conscious/unconscious assumption that things will not get better; indeed, that they may even get worse.
  2. Our need for control.  When rooted in our identification with a separate self, there is a need for safety and predictability. Fear drives us to overthinking, overplanning and generalized anxiety. We forget how to have faith in ourselves, a higher power, and life itself. The more we are identified with a separate self, the less palatable and feasible surrender seems
  3. Contemplating a leap off a cliff (metaphorically speaking) very likely triggers our nagging fears of death.

The latter two require a diligent inquiry into our true nature and the befriending of the inevitable death of this mind-body at some point.  The clearings included here are but one step in that direction.  

Nevertheless, these clearings should help you feel far less anxious, more ready and capable, and thus help you deal with your current challenge.  Other articles, such as How To Navigate Through Significant Change and EFT scripts, such as EFT for Overwhelm may also prove relevant and useful, so please have a look at them as well.

Simply read aloud and tap along all the EFT points as you are reading. If you are unfamiliar with EFT, download EFT in one page here .  For a more detailed understanding of EFT, you can get my book – Emotional Freedom Techniques.

Some readers may find it effective and comfortable to simply take a deep breath, read a statement, and release the breath for each statement .  Remember, that it is our intent and awareness that makes all the difference.

You may like to make an audio recording in your own voice and loop it for use with either Access Clearing Statement, EFT or breath release. Some of the sentences seem unwieldy, but they can be effective.  So let your experience speak for itself.  Run these clearings several times a day for about a week and let me know how it works for you!

  • All the conscious and unconscious ways in which I assume that the known is better than the unknown, I release, dissolve, and let go now.
  • All the ways in which the fear of the unknown is stored in my mind, body and energies, I release, dissolve and let go now.
  • All the ways in which I expect the future to be a repetition or worsening of past suffering, I release, dissolve and let go now.
  • All the conditioning, fixed points of view, inherited, collective and personal beliefs, trapped emotions, traumas, cellular memories, programs, and neuron firing patterns that contribute to my reactionary fighting of the unknown, I release, dissolve, and let go now.
  • Everything that contributes to, sustains and perpetuates my fear-driven, habitual demand and insistence for predictability and control, I release, dissolve and let go now.
  • All my attachment to any acquired learnings and mastery from the past that make me want things to remain the same (so that I can continue to feel safe and in control), I release dissolve and let go now.
  • All the anxiety, panic, insecurity and inadequateness triggered at the idea of making a fresh start, I release, dissolve and let go now.
  • Any past traumas, significant events, failures, and hurts that made me vow to fight the unknown, and cause me to cling to my limited historical experience, I release, dissolve and let go now.
  • Any habitual blinkers, filters, limitations that I use to keep my attention and openness on the known, whilst blinding myself to and making impossible the fresh and the new, I release, dissolve, and let go now.
  • All the conscious and unconscious ways in which I resist the unknown, I release, dissolve, and let go now.
  • All the conflicting realities I am creating from my concurrent desires for the known and familiar, AND also the fresh and new, whilst concurrently resisting the ‘stuckness’ as well as  the unknown new, I release, dissolve and let go now.
  • What would it take for me to welcome and explore the unknown with a light-hearted, adventurous, curiosity? Anything that prevents that, I release, dissolve and let go now.
  • What would it be like to consistently remember that I am not limited to this mind-body? That who I truly am remains untouched despite any and all of these transient experiences? Anything that prevents that, I release, dissolve and let go now.

 

If you find this useful, please share it with others as a lot of us seem poised on the borders of major shifts these days. Thanks.

Embracing Change (EFT Script)

One of my readers wrote in requesting for an EFT script to cope with change.  So before I share the script I wrote in response to that request, I felt it relevant to share one my recent poems from FB here:

Sometimes we pretend to ourselves
That we are waiting for someone or something
That everlasting joy will be ours then.

But, the truth is our happiness is here.
And we don’t really want anything to change
Neither us, nor our circumstance.

For with all that we want
to run from
There is also much
That which we don’t wish to end.

It is like that in a dualistic world.
Light and darkness
Always go hand in hand.

The truth is that our motivations and interests are often conflicting and or confused.  Hence, this script begins from that internal push and pull, and then move towards a greater ease and coherence that comes from us stepping out of deep identification with the persona and drama of our life.

In keeping with the subject, I have changed the formatting of the script 🙂  It assumes your familiarity with EFT(Emotional Freedom Techniques) – so please tap repetitive cycles through the Short-Cut points (Karate Chop, Eyebrow, Side of the Eye, Under the Eye, Under the Nose, Chin, Collarbone, Under the Arms, Top of the Head) as you read the statements. Repeat a couple of rounds of the script in this manner, and let me know how you feel.

(You can download EFT in one page here if required.  For a more detailed understanding of EFT, you can get my book – Emotional Freedom Techniques.)

land art

Even though I say,
I want things to change
I find myself reluctant to let go
Old habits, emotions, thoughts and patterns
Have me locked in their hold.
However challenging, upsetting or disappointing it may have been
However wonderful, enlightening and energising:
Whatever it was, it was known.
And it is hard to surrender the comfort of familiarity
For a leap into the undefined, unexplored, unseen, unknown.

But a part of me realises
That things have already changed.
I am neither who I was before
Nor is anything or anyone around me exactly the same.
Transience and transformation occur
Whether or not we flow…
It is in our hands to adapt and accelerate
Or argue, lament, struggle, refuse.

Doing the same old things
Reacting in the same old ways:
The time for that is done now
And I am willing to make headway
In being a little less rigid, a little less unsure
A little less fearful, a little more secure
To learn afresh, to experiment anew
To do what I have never done before
To be even more than I imagined I could
One step at a time, is all it takes
To discover new terrains and routes.

So I choose to release the past
Of insisting that it must intact remain
I appreciate and thank what was
As I welcome the new all the same
In this present moment
I surrender all games:
All my conscious and unconscious methods
Of proving or disproving
My cherished beliefs to date.

What if the future looks nothing like the past?
Isn’t it time to make a fresh start?

With a beginner’s mind, I see clearly again.
Without any historical perceptions weighing me down
I am no longer trapped, constricted or contained…
The dream begins to lose its hold
Joy, ease and peace awake.

Who do I choose to be now?
What new adventures will now commence?
I decide to greet their arrival
With a relaxed smile on my face…
For I now remind myself
That who I truly am
Through even the most radical change:
Untouched remains
And on this dramatic stage of life
I simply play out a fresh role
Rewritten,
To suit what I now wish
To experience, express and portray.

There are many more articles and scripts relevant to this subject that can be found by using the search box on the top right of the page. 

Many of us are struggling with radical changes in major aspects of our life right now.  If you feel this useful, please do share with others.  

 

Image: Land Art by Andy Goldsworthy

 

Accepting Rejection

Rejection is something that we all experience from time to time. Some secretly believe they face it more than others, but it is actually quite universal.

The rejection I speak of is not limited to the heartbreaks of romantic liaisons.  It is the message interpreted from a parent’s dissatisfaction with your grades(despite your best efforts), their unavailability, or their judgement of your friends.  It is not getting an invitation to a classmate’s party or bearing the brunt of too much teasing/bullying. It is the aloofness of someone close or their constant reprimands.

Exclusion from a sports team, the job we didn’t get, the assignment we were refused, the book one couldn’t get published or that didn’t sell, or the entrepreneurial venture one was unable to fund – these can all add to our personal testaments to our secret sense of unworthiness.

Our reaction to all this is based on our interpretation of such events, and not necessarily the facts: The common conclusion being that who we are, or what we offer is unwanted, unloved or unacceptable.

Being rejected wounds. It hurts our self-esteem, creates self-doubts, and more often than not, leads to defensive measures such as attack or withdrawal. So we may end up criticizing, dismissing or arguing with what has come our way. Or we may end up contracting, judging ourselves (and the other), and sometimes even giving up.  The last one can cost us heavily.

A decision to no longer offer of ourselves, or honestly request what we would like – out of the fear of rejection – can result in an inauthentic, disgruntled life, and a waste of potential. 

On the other hand, when we becoming more willing to experience the discomfort of rejection, even welcome it, it makes us freer to be ourselves, to experiment, to learn, to adventure and to grow.  It dissolves our indulgence in untested, unproductive fantasies – for now, we are willing to take our boats out to sea and test them in the waters, learn from trial and error.

How many dreams are you actually forsaking by your unwillingness to accept a ‘no’?
How much would change if you could receive rejection, criticism and failure,
just the same as acceptance, praise and success?
Without making any of these significant or definitive of who you be? 

As is with most issues, the fundamental reason rejection seems so crippling is our tendency to take it personally. To let the rejection define us instead of seeing it as a temporary experience.  It triggers our basic fears of ‘not being good enough’, ‘not belonging’,  and the original wound of separation(from Source). All sense of objectivity, rationality and moderation can be lost. We end up feeling abandoned, isolated, and lonely.

What if you could view rejection as a pointer to a different route?
One more apt for you at this time?

fork in the road_Fotor

So how can we reframe rejection ?  Instead of trapping ourselves into a resigned or self-pitying state, reminding ourselves of the following can be helpful:

  1. This is neither permanent nor a definition of who you are.   Who you are is simply experiencing this.  You can choose not to see it as a setback but as an opportunity for change. And not receiving the love, validation or approval that you were seeking here does not imply that you are not worthy of it, nor that you will forever be denied the same.  If anything, it is a check to remind us to be kinder, more forgiving and accepting of ourselves.
  2. What we are seeking may not be a match to what is in our highest interest at this point:  Whether it be a relationship or circumstance, what we desire comes from our limited experience and understanding. In hindsight, we often find that what we mourned as denied to us turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  Everything comes with its pros and cons and while we are busy fixating on what we missed out on, we may fail to see the price we were saved.
  3. One may not be ready: Receiving feedback, criticism or refusal objectively can provide us gems of insights.  We may need to study/practise more, or need more exposure, or learn to be more accommodating, or set better boundaries,  or be less clingy… being willing to accept such information and working on doing the needful can lead to our own evolution and growth.  Self-acceptance and self-forgiveness does not imply stagnation.  It means a more realistic and kinder approach. Then, what you were refused today may be yours tomorrow – when you are prepared enough.
  4. The other may not be ready:  Sensing the potential in a partnership, situation or project, we may have offered or requested something that our targetted audience does not yet see, or sees, but is not yet ready for.
  5. It is not yet time:  Even if you are meant to be with that person, get that promotion, make a difference with your NGO, or have that box-office movie success – things may simply be cooking yet.  No seed transforms into a flowering tree before its time. Perhaps all that is required is patience.

The lessons we learn from being on the receiving end can also serve as pointers to kinder and truer ways of turning others down.   The cliched “It’s not you, it’s me.” rarely rings true and can often seem condescending.  At a deeper level, it is still making things personal – we are targeting the blame and invoking guilt in ourselves, if not the other. Bearing in mind points 1-5 above, we can do our best to communicate our rejection in a way that simply acknowledges the current mismatch of things.  How it lands is in the recipient’s hands.  But, we can at least ensure that we have not turned this into an intentional or accidental personal attack to the best of our abilities.

As always, I write from personal experience.  Having had my fair share of rejections on both the personal and work front, I have found the above approach to have been useful and liberating. I find that the greater my comfort with facing rejection, the more authentic and explorative I have become. There is a lightness and ease that is not there when one is resisting rejection.

Drawing on this experience, I have helped many sensitive and artistic people address this subject.  Here is a link to some clearings that I had recorded for one such client.  Perhaps some of you, especially those in the creative fields, may find them helpful:  Listen here.

If you find any of this useful, please share it on.  The more of us singing our own song uninhibitedly, the more joyful the world becomes.

 

Image: Google Plus

‘Life Amusement Theme Park’: Travel Information.

Welcome!

  1. Essential supplies– Include a sense of humor, tissues and eyeglass cleaners.
  2. Know that it is impossible to cover all of this vast and diverse terrain in a single trip.
  3. The landscape is changing all the time.  Your choices and actions also contribute to this change.
  4. Routinely consult a map to understand your current position and reorient yourself.
    (Updated, local area maps are available at all pit stops.)
  5. Whether long, short, direct, winding, easy, or difficult, all roads eventually lead home. 
  6. Expect to feel pain at times. Design excellence ensures that this discomfort feels real and true. It is an essential component of the acclaimed reward-punishment matrix. (But be assured that at the end of your journey, you will find you actually came through unscathed.)
  7. You may proceed at a pace of your choice.
  8. Different routes will appeal to different individuals. To each his own.
  9. You are free to experience as much as you can, or as little as you want.
    (Cautionary Note:  Some popular attractions can be captivating. High Drama, Romcom, Monopoly, History Repeats, Gurudom and Lost are addictive rides and may consume all your time and attention.)
  10. You are free to change direction and speed at any time. However, consequences of these changes are non-negotiable: costs and benefits are both to be borne in full.
  11. Co-travellers are free to part ways, as also to regroup.
  12. Mirrors are present everywhere for your convenience. Simply pause if you wish to reflect.
  13. Speed breakers are in place to remind you to slow down, enjoy the scenery and smell the flowers.
  14. When the nights are darkest, the light shines the brightest.  Look to the skies for highlighted signs.
  15. Travel logs are optional. Your observations and reviews may be curated for those seeking travel assistance.
  16. Innumerable treasures have been hidden in obvious sight. Be attentive or you will miss these.
  17. Frequently, you will encounter forks in the road. Rely on your subjective inner navigation programs at such times. (Integrating these with your personal value system is helpful in ensuring optimal functioning.)
  18. Befriend your shadow. It never leaves your side, hints at your true immenseness and points back towards the light Source.
  19. Dive into your experience fully and whole-heartedly.  This mind-body will pass through just this once.
  20. Help-lines are open at all times.  Ask and you shall receive. (The messenger may be different from what you expect, but the answer arrives.)
  21. This beautiful place is nothing if not unpredictable.
    Hence, some or none of the above may apply.

Enjoy the rides, surf the waves and leave the world a better place!

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Outer Travel And Inner Journeys

 

Musical_Pillars_at_Vittala_Complex-bicubicMusical Pillars at Vitthala Complex, Hampi, India.

In this last year, I have been fortunate to have visited several UNESCO World Heritage sites and other energetically powerful places. These trips are an integral part of my work as an earth sensitive (see Are You An Earth Sensitive And Why You Need to Know).  However, apart from the energy work involved, these journeys also enable rest and introspection.

Natural surroundings provide us with a deeply healing respite from the storms of life. Also, as we reconnect with our Self and our environment, the significance and meaning that we attach to our individual challenges undergo a sea-change.

Similarly, historical and heritage sites can also have an interesting effect on our perspectives. Each UNESCO and ASI site I have visited so far has been unique and most clearly deserving of our appreciation and preservation. The symbolism and what the makers attempted to convey highlight diverse human obsessions, from the personal ego of a ruler wanting to leave his mark, to the universal questions around the meaning of life. They indicate what was valued in the collective and was the prevalent culture at that point in time.

What is most striking is that they all remind us that great art and architecture demand immense dedication, skill, thought, unsung effort, co-operation and often, much time. The fruit of such undertakings impacts generations to come. Such projects are living testaments to the fact that man seeks to understand his role in the world; that for generations, people have attempted to do something meaningful with the time and breath gifted to them.

Whether or not we agree with the values(such as personal glorification, or idol worship) embodied here, these impressive, physical forms can easily prod us to to examine our own valuesto reassess our individual place in a far broader context, and to reprioritise our relationships with the divine, the planet, and all living beings.

How and why does travel to such sites deepen our self-inquiry?

Well, for one thing, what such structures highlight is that in other times, and in places yet untouched by the global standardisation of modern, urban life – the meaning and use of time, space and other resources can be remarkably different from what we are accustomed to.

Immediate gratification, quick results, individual credit, fame and rich returns(at least for the artisans), all these do not seem to have been prioritised as greatly as they commonly are today. In many cases, one would not even live long enough to have the satisfaction of completion and closure. (Gaudi’s ‘La Sagrada Familia’ at Barcelona is a more recent project that illustrates this. Under construction for over 132 years, it yet has a long way to go.) The focus seems to be more on continual dedication and excellence, rather than on reaping the fruits of labour.

Similarly, as objective viewers of a distant past, the disrespect, violence and destruction that we can cause in the name of our beliefs and allegiances also become clear. Seeing the consequences of the dramatic destruction of a rich city like Hampi (or the careless damage brought about thanks to the abuse/neglect by the victors at sites around the world) force us to face our own inner demons. These locations showcase the atrocities that we as humans may commit when we perceive a threat to our way of being.

As individuals, we are all capable of demonstrating similar levels of creativity and destruction. It is our awareness that determines which potential we draw forth. These places and their historical narrative naturally provoke questions such as:

  • Why are we doing what we are doing?
  • What are we doing with the time and talents given to us?
  • What would we rather be doing instead?
  • How well are we using our resources?
  • How are we impacting the world?
  • Are we leaving it a better place?
  • What do we need to stop doing?
  • What do we need to start doing now?
  • Are we in sync with our natural surroundings, our community, the cycles of life?

I could go on, but then, I am an introspective writer after all.

These days, popular travel tends to be ambitious, micromanaged and super-packed. The emphasis is frequently on quantity rather than quality, with the focus being on visiting the largest number of famous landmarks. Local flavour, ways of being and philosophies are often missed by us choosing to remain with our habits of food, language and people, even in foreign locales.

Such constraints on time, venues and local interaction cost us dearly: For too often, we return having done little more than having ‘checked-in’ at the different locations.

It is no ‘Secret’ that a conscious intent significantly influences what we notice and experience.

My invitation to you is to set out with the resolution to travel with awareness. That instead of being swept off-centre by the sensory overload, to decide to use the sights and impressions to draw out newer aspects of yourself. To open yourself to not just new sights, but new energies and experiences. To deliberately include free time in your schedule, so that when you feel called to linger in a place, you have the bandwidth to do so.

Allow yourself the luxury of contemplation, surfacing thoughts and emotions that you have been repressing or denying. Welcome the opportunities to sit in leisurely silence at sacred places, processing and evolving effortlessly. Let the meaningful questions take precedence for a change.

In my experience, such conscious travel leaves us with a far richer experience than otherwise.

External wanderings can help us discover and express newer parts of our self. I know I return changed by every trip. Perhaps this post will gently remind you to explore newer dimensions in your own travels as well.

Wishing you de-lightful and meaningful journeys!

2015-03-20 22.01.52

Stained Glass Windows at La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain.