Cricket!

When life bowls a googly
throws a curve ball,
reflect, do not fret. 
Do not throw a wobbly,
rage, slash nor hit hard.
Grip your bat light
keep your eyes on the ball
and patiently wait
bat, steady and straight.
With a feather touch
gently coax and nudge.
You may not hit a six
yet, get a run or two
or even cross the rope
for a well deserved four.
If you play it right
heed this advice
you will not lose your wicket
for life is just a game
a game of Cricket!

Nadeem

09/03/18

Daydreams.

Daydreams.

My spirit is stifled
my emotions numb
lifeless, listless
I roam this realm.
Rooted, petrified, dead
in the battle for bread.
The tyranny of monotony,
is that all there is to destiny?
Through wide open eyes
my troubadour mind flies
dancing birds and bees
fluttering butterflies.
Conjuring colourful worlds
fairies, angels, elves.
I dare not blink
lest darkness descends
happy I am
in my land of pretense.
Nadeem.
23/01/18

Imprints!

Imprints on sandy shores
memories etched on grains of sand.
Footsteps fade with rolling tide
as waves rush inland.
Memories though, carried on the wind
create new contours, sandy dunes.
Remain buried for aeons
written deep as druids runes.
Re-emerge as dark and light
ripples trapped in stone.
Tomes strewn all around
dug up from the ground.
Stories layered upon stories
revealed to the keen eye, prying mind.
From dust we come
to dust we go.
Mother’s alchemy acting on bones
turning us to gold!
Nadeem Odesmyth.
15/08/17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Democracy.

Inspired and aspiring to write like Late Sahir Ludhianvi. “Jinhe Naaz hai Hind per woh kahan hain”? I dedicate this poem to his memory.

Democracy!

Drum your chest, proclaim to the world
we are the largest democracy
stand tall be counted
at our rising GDP
ignore villages develop the city
take pride in sham diversity
age old skewed philosophy
blinding us to sorrounding poverty.

How long will we watch, Neros fiddle
drive fissures in populace
non-issues they do debate
perched high on their thrones
while the country scorches and burns
farmers kill themselves in thousands
children scour the parched earth
for a drop to quench their thirst.

Can we take off the blindfolds
recognise the rampant hypocrisy
rise up as one
get informed and gain maturity?

JayCee/ Nadeem

15/05/16

Communication the key to harmonious relationships.

In the age of instant connection, broadband internet, smart phones, WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Facetime and no doubt a few more that I have no knowledge of, we feel we are connected with our friends, family and loved ones all the time no matter which corner of the world we live in. There is no denying that technology has indeed made it easy for us to feel a sense of nearness. We update our Facebook timeline, post photos, tweet even the most trivial happenings which gives us a false sense of camaraderie. But are we truly communicating?
What is communication?
Webster’s dictionary defines communication as ” : the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else”.
However Business dictionary defines it as ” Two-way process of reaching mutual understanding, in which participants not only exchange (encode-decode) information, news, ideas and feelings but also create and share meaning. In general, communication is a means of connecting people or places.
The crucial difference in the two definitions is the sharing and mutual understanding that is highlighted in the second, which I feel is the most important string that binds two people in true communication.
The long distance connectivity that technology provides, even though convenient is inadequate as a lot of non-verbal communication through which empathy and kindness gets expressed in interactions is not conveyed even with Skype.
Aristotle is regarded as the first proponent of a model of communication in 300BC. The model has five elements
Speaker— Speech—Occasion–Audience–Effect!
Primacy is given to the speaker as the aim is to influence and change the audiences perception and thought.
His model focuses mainly on communication at a collective level, the speaker trying to understand his audience, conveying suitable thoughts to the audience and attempting to convert them to his/her thinking.
But, it is perhaps not the goal in interpersonal communication and relationships. Interpersonal communication is not a power play but rather an attempt to understand and find “common” ground. This quest to understand, to find “common” ground should form the root of interpersonal communication. Etymologically communication is derived from– ” late 14c., from Old French comunicacion (14c., Modern French communication), from
Latin communicationem (nominativecommunicatio), noun of action from past participle stem ofcommunicare “to share, divide out; communicate, impart, inform; join, unite, participate in,” literally “to make common,” from communis”.
Note the last term “communis” literally “to make common” in other words to find commonality!
So, what are the ingredients for “communication”, for understanding, or finding common ground?
Presence, Listening and Responding are the tripod on which communication rests!
What is presence?
It is being focussed, aware, alert with all the senses alive and open, attentive in the “moment”, to the words spoken, the expressed and non-expressed feelings and emotions of the “other” and the self.
Being present is very difficult if not impossible, as it needs moment by moment consciousness, a high degree of emotional intelligence and a constant checking of the Ego. It’s especially difficult when facing seismic anger when the Ego senses danger and is looking to either “flee or fight”. Old habits learnt over a lifetime are difficult to overcome. The mind wanders off, seeking half baked answers to misunderstood questions, searching for retorts or rebuttals opening further rifts.
In a dialogue between two people with different perceptions, feelings and thoughts, as no matter how close we are, there are bound to be differences. At such times a calm, cool appraisal of the situation is required and focussing on the breath, the inspiration and expiration might calm jangled nerves and soothe the seething brain.
The second element is Listening! Conventionally what we hear with our ears is considered listening but as Deepak Chopra points out in
“The soul of leadership” listening is more multidimensional. Its necessary not only to hear the words at a physical level but gauge the thoughts behind them with the mind, connect with feelings and emotions with the heart for listening to become effective listening. Personally I am far from achieving it, but it is an aspiration, a goal!
Finally responding rather than reacting, as our lower brain would lead us to do is the final leg of the tripod. The chimp in us is still alive and is constantly on the look out for threats, real or perceived and before our cortex can figure out a rational solution our amygdala will trigger a lightning reaction perhaps causing more harm and hurt feelings. So as the Buddha said 2500 years ago!

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“Do not learn how to react, learn how to respond”

And as the Prophet Muhammad’s Hadith states “whoever believes in Allah and the last day let him speak good or remain silent” (Bukhari and Muslim).
Perhaps if we heed the wise words above and rest our communication on the tripod of “Presence”, Listening” and Responding” we can have better understanding and find common ground which will surely lead to harmonious relationships. This concept by extension to groups, sects, communities, religions, nations ….. perhaps could lead to peace which is sorely missing in the world today!

Attachment and Letting Go!

” Its natural for us to experience intense emotional pain due to the link, the bond of love we have” said Liz on reading one of my blogs!

There is no denying that. But what is this attachment, why do we love someone or something? How can we accept  to let go of this attachment?

Gregory Mize, PhD, mental health advocate states ” we become attached to people and things because it serves a perceived need which, we think, if attained will complete us somehow”.

So who is getting attached and whose needs are being fulfilled and completed?

It’s the “I”, “Self” or “Ego” in each one of us which is seeking completion and fulfillment. Does it ever get completely satisfied? Does it ever feel it has attained everything?

2000px-Maslow's_Hierarchy_of_Needs.svg

Our needs move up a hierarchy as Anthony Maslow stated in 1943, from the base of physiological through the need for security, love and belonging, esteem to reach self actualization at the top of the triangle. The more needs a person or thing satisfies from this hierarchy, the more valuable it becomes.

A mother provides for elements of our needs from the physiological, safety and love and belonging layers of the hierarchy! Perhaps at least in the earlier years of our life in case of the first two layers and throughout our life’s from the third step. The value most of us consciously or subconsciously place on this entity- our mother, is so great, that it leads to the strong bond and attachment.

The value of a thing, like money or possessions, which fulfills our need for security depends on individual perceptions. How much does an individual need to feel secure?

Trapped in this desire to satisfy our Ego’s needs, we move up the hierarchy and feel a false sense of an inflated self esteem, based on our possessions. Driven by materialistic media machination and sycophantic “friends” who massage our false Ego’s, we hanker after more and more. But then, the Ego is a bottomless pit, which we find, no amount of riches or material comforts fill completely. We feel a sense of emptiness inside. The slow decline of religion and spirituality has left us with no other avenues to help us come to terms with this conundrum.

It’s entirely up to us which entity, our family, our relations on the one hand or the material comforts and riches on the other we place a higher value on!

Coming round to the question of attachment, the more precious the entity in our opinion, the stronger the attachment, the harder it is to sever the bond, accept the loss and let go! When we have let go of an entity, accepted things as they are, trusting the universe implicitly we have attained heaven!. Perhaps that’s the moral of the parable ” It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matt.19:24).

Buddha says “The reason that we experience suffering comes ultimately from our mind. According to Buddhism, our main mental problems or root delusions are: attachment, anger and ignorance.”

root-of-suffering-is-attachment-570x377

Human relations do produce attachments, but it’s the perspective that needs to change from a clinging on to acceptance and letting go. Each and every religion, spiritual teaching, philosophy and psychological system prepares us to do that, through rituals and rites, funerary observances and prayer for the departed soul. Ultimately we all have to work on our psyche, find an inner strength and acceptance. We will deny reality, resent the situation and get angry, will stumble and fall, grope in the darkness, shed tears and will slip and slide back many times: till finally time will heal the wounds and we find acceptance!
A few days back my friend Chandrasekhar sent me a quote from Thitch Nhat Hahns book ” Old path and white clouds”-” It was autumn and the leaves were falling. I asked a tree whether it was not afraid of falling as it’s turn will come soon. The leaf replied, I have been on this tree for the whole of summer and worked hard to nourish the tree and much of me is in the tree”.
A timely reminder and an apt analogy. There are lessons to be learnt in nature if only we have eyes to see. Surely a sign of divinity in nature as it says in the Qur’an.

“Fabi-ayyi ala-i rabbikuma tukaththiban”

Then which of the favours
Of your Lord will ye deny?

If only we can become like the leaf and with great trust and faith let go, we can find peace and acceptance easier.

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One step forward, two back!

Grief is such a personal thing! Acceptance of loss is such a strange jigsaw. I had, I thought completed the puzzle, beautiful it looked. I was about to stow it away in the attic of my mind to gather dust unaware of the missing pieces and the dark gaps. A kindly counselor shone a torch and what I had thought was acceptance turned into attempts at hiding behind a facade. The wound had not filled, only a thin weak scar had formed over a festering sore. The foundation on which my acceptance had been built crumbled and landed with a thump on the lower floor of depression and despair, making me realise that there is much work to be done.

” Lost her three years ago” she said, perhaps rightly so.

What is death?

Isn’t it a being, relinquishing a vehicle, a cover, a body to step into a different dimension? We have neither seen this dimension, nor experienced it nor have a we got reliable consistent proof. But does the absence of proof mean non-existence?

It is rather rare and difficult to contact the departed. Skeptics would dismiss off hand any claims of mediums and seances. But is there a grain of truth in such claims?

Logical Positivism argues for acceptance only of observable facts as perceived by our five senses as the only positive evidence of proof. But do our feeble senses, despite our attempts to improve nature with marvelous technological advances, give us all the knowledge of everything out there?

” There are more things in the heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”, says Shakespeare in Hamlet.

Recently driving to work, with melodious classical music on the radio, dreaming and fantasizing I was rudely brought to my senses when the brakes failed! Fortunately the brakes finally responded to the frantic pressure of my shaking foot, and the car rolled to halt without a mishap. Later a colleague on hearing this said that whenever she is in her car she feels the presence of her dad protecting her. Was my mother’s spirit looking out for me and saved me on the day? I believe she was!

Is it an irrational thought, a delusion?

At other times, meditating, especially at times of great mental turmoil, I have strongly felt the presence of my dad, who died 25 years ago, calming me, guiding me and showing me the way. My logical mind fights against this, pointing out that it is only my mind playing tricks on me. But how do I account for the peace I feel, the guidance I get?

I feel that the departed ones are not completely deleted but the echos of their presence are felt if only we can trust our intuition, feelings and emotions and not dismiss off hand our experiences. They have only stepped out of a vehicle to perhaps journey in another dimension.

Did I lose my mother three years ago?

Distance, physical and emotional, diminished communication and demands of work and my own family did certainly create a gulf and perhsps I did not make enough effort to bridge this gulf. So it is true that it was a partial if not a complete loss. Regrets now, are of no avail.

It’s better not to fall into this trap. It is rather hard if not impossible to connect with our loved ones after they have departed and are off on their own travels in unknown dimensions. However it’s not difficult to connect and strengthen our connections and communications while they are still alive. It’s easier when we are travelling in the same dimension than in parallel worlds.

Meditation- The art of quietening the mind!

It’s a heart warming feeling, a boost to continue writing when words touch someone’s heart, inspire and intrigue others. Enthused by the endorsements of a few friends I wonder if that is what happens if you follow your heart and allow universe to guide your hands and show you the path!
“Meditation…. How do you learn to do this. Is it too late in later life, is it ever too late to learn something new” mused Val!

No it’s never too late. There is nothing to learn in meditation, it’s just relaxing and letting it happen! ” You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is such a defeatist, negative axiom.

I took up meditation a couple of years ago after not finding the inner peace, ” Home” through prayer and organised religion. Initially floundered, struggled and got frustrated, gave up on several occasions and started again till it became a habit. The days I ignored the routine of meditation were the hardest. At first sitting down doing nothing was hard and appeared pointless. A lifelong habit of keeping busy, chasing after deadlines, goals and dreams is indeed hard to break. In our quest for happiness we chase after money, position and everything that satisfies our Ego! But the Ego is never happy, it seeks after yet more money, yet higher position and yet more plaudits. Only by realising this and putting things in perspective and not merely chasing phantoms can we gain contentment and inner peace. Meditation helps with this!
But breaking the habit was not going to be easy I knew, but I hadn’t imagined that sitting down even for five minutes without doing anything, quietening the mind would be so hard. My mind would wander into lanes and alleys, along dark labyrinths which I had closed years ago trying to escape from the harsh realities of life. Then I chanced upon the teachings of the much misunderstood, maligned Acharya Rajneesh, who has the innate capability to speak in a language that resonates with modern, busy people. Meditation according to him, is becoming aware, being conscious of the serene blue sky and not getting distracted by the clouds that drift across it out of nowhere. Our thoughts are like the clouds, drifting across the mind like clouds drifting across the sky. To enjoy the serene blue sky or the quite mind we neither have to follow each cloud nor chase after each thought. Let them drift across as is their nature.

Mindfulness is a fairly new concept in the West, but it’s said that by practicing mindful breathing the Buddha attained enlightenment more than 2500 years ago. Is it possible for mere mortals to attain enlightenment? Yes, according to Buddhist tradition, Buddha nature is present in each and everyone and we can aspire to that state.

What is the most precious thing in the world?

Would it come as a surprise if I said that it is our breath?

We cannot live for more than a few minutes without the life giving oxygen unless we are trained yogis who remain in suspended animation for prolonged periods of time! This act we perform unawares throughout our life. If we can become aware of it and just concentrate on our most precious gem even for a few minutes, we can feel the bliss that we seek. How to bring this act into consciousness, how to develop concentration on our breath without being drawn away by our monkey minds? How to become mindful of our breath? Seems like a insurmountable mountain but practice byte size daily should eventually reward with reaching the apex of the mountain and the beautiful views from the top. Technology if used wisely could be a faithful servant and there are apps out there to help. Two particular apps I have found useful and have recommended with good results are Breathe and Qi Gong Meditation Relaxation. The first attempts to teach how to become mindful of our breath and the second guides us through beautiful vistas through visualization. I have found them very useful, hope people reading this blog would find them helpful as well.
Happy Meditation and peace to everyone!