Tuesday, August 13, 2013


A lot has happened in the past few months. In the practice of Vipassana, we are constantly reminded of the 'storms' that come up from time to time, sometimes taking us away from our practice. Indeed, it is hard to stay steadfast on the path, as life frequently throws up many challenges which can easily take us off course.

Recently, there was one such huge 'storm' in our lives--in the form of an illness which provided a testing ground for all that I learned in Vipassana. Ofcourse, I could deal with it in much better way--the practice helped me stay positive no matter how grave the situation was. I realised how much our mind creates our reality and if kept positive, situations unfold in a way that is good. Moments when I couldn't help worrying or becoming overwhelmed with sadness and tears, I just accepted---look this is what my mind state is at the moment---worried, and sad; and change was bound to come about.

And then, I came across two good books that aided and supported me in my difficult journey. I had first heard the author of one of the books on youtube. She had a near death experience and so impressed I was with her story, that I bought her book 'Dying to be me'. Her learning has been extraordinary, and so is her sharing of her experiences. She emphasizes on living our authentic self, to be centered and live a life of love. She also stresses on how magnificent each one of us is and our purpose in life is to keep realizing this magnificence in ourselves and remind others about it as well.
This resonates so well with my practice of Vipassana.

Coming from the center of unconditional love or metta has always been a lovely experience for me. When I do this, difficult situations get transformed; difficult relationships get resolved magically. Reading Anita Moorjani's book reinforced my practice and explained the processes in words.

The second marvelous book that I am currently reading and assimilating is thoroughly fascinating and exhilarating. The Book of Mirdad by Mikhail Naimy, a Lebanese writer, a contemporary of Khalil Gibran whose 'Prophet' remains my all time favourite.

The book is allegorical, narrating conversations that the person Mirdad has with his disciples. A must read for any spiritual seeker who believes in oneness of humanity and universal love. To me it is Vipassana explained.

One passage stands out and I quote here from the book:
"Man invites his own calamities and then protests against the irksome guests, having forgotten how and when and where he penned and sent out the invitations. But Time does not forget; and Time delivers in due season each invitation to the right address; and Time conducts each invitee to the dwelling of the host.
"I say to you, protest not any guest lest he avenge his slighted pride by tarrying too long, or by making his visits more frequent than otherwise he would consider meet.
"Be kind and hospitable to all your guests whatever be their mien and their behaviour; for they in truth are but your creditors. Give the obnoxious ones in particular even more than is their due that they may go away thankful and satisfied, and should they visit again, they would come back as friends and not as creditors.
"Treat every guest as if he were the guest of honor, that you may gain his confidence and learn the hidden motives of his call.
"Accept a misfortune as if it were a fortune. For a misfortune, once understood, is soon transformed into a fortune. While a fortune misconstrued quickly becomes a misfortune"

This book has to be read slowly, because one soon realizes that the words are not the only thing you are reading, you are reading the significance of the words and the layers of meaning embedded in them. One feels like going over and over again what one has already read, quite sure that there is still more to understanding them.

Few books have touched me to the core of my being in such a transformative way in recent years the way these two books have. I treasure them and the immense wisdom gained by reading them!