When are you planning to retire?

Dadi Janki, now in her 100th year, and who will celebrate becoming a centenarian in January 2016, is actually still working full-time. I find that incredible. Her passion for what she does not only keeps her working but also on the move. This year alone she has so far clocked up 49,418 business air miles. In a world of huge challenges and great change, the wisdom that Dadi (which means Elder Sister in Hindi) can offer seems to be much in demand. Her daily routine starts at 4.00 am with a schedule packed full of meetings with both students of the organisation (Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University) as well as leaders from business, government and all walks of life.

Feminine Leadership Today

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 08.41.31Today the UN is celebrating International Day of Older Persons with this year’s emphasis being on age inclusiveness in the urban environment. It’s estimated that by 2050, people over 60 will account for one quarter of the urban population. So in an era when old age is often seen as a burden (on the taxpayer, healthcare system and social care) and we don’t expect people to work and be economically active in their later years (hence the free bus passes etc for the over 60s!) the question about when to retire is an important one.

What do you base your decision on?  The need to earn money, the desire to escape the daily grind and having to show up and clock on somewhere everyday? Some organisations and professions even have enforced retirement.

But what if you love your work so much that it doesn’t feel like work?

Oscar-winning British actress…

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Subtle ego

ego lego

Some say, you need at least a bit of ego to survive in this world. A little bit of ego is healthy. But is it really? What if it’s blocking the quality of our life?

A few years ago I attended a class by Didi Sudesh in which she talks about subtle ego. If you walk the spiritual path and have done some soul searching in your life, you may think you are free from ego but when you listen to this, you may not be so sure anymore. It’s easy to recognize the BIG ego but if you are looking for a more profound clean up, here it is.

Now why do I want to be free of ego? What’s in it for me?

ego nobodyHappiness. It’s as simple as I can put it. Imagine a weight falling of your shoulders, you can breath again, stop thinking about useless matters and feel love for those around you, no matter who they are or what they do. Could your heart handle that? Imagine you don’t feel down anymore, feeling no more failure and loss, and thinking you’re not good enough is something of the past. Experience the total relaxation by saying “Really I am nobody”.

What does ego mean?

The Meaning of ego in spiritual terms ego is body-consciousness versus soul-consciousness. It’s all that you THINK who you are or think who you have to be. Mostly who you think you are and who you really are don’t match. The bigger the gap between who you think you are and who you really are, the bigger the ego. So in short, ego is a gap in your mind. You think you are the roles that you play:

  • I am a mother
  • I am a designer
  • I am a teacher
  • I am ….

but roles are not human, they are attributes, mere temporary identities that stick to you like post-it’s. Who you think you are usually starts with I am and connects with a role that you play. Who you really are is so much more. You’re a soul with a great history and a lot of experience on earth that has encountered love, respect, wisdom, peace and silence. Because of over-identifying with the roles that we play in our current birth, the roles that are connected to our body, we have a limited vision of our selves. It’s OK to play a role, we can’t escape from that. Running away from our responsibilities that come with those roles doesn’t bring any freedom. On the contrary. Yet, the idea that we are the roles that we play is exactly what limits us, blocks us from real interaction with others and with ourselves. In the worst case it can create a wall around our heart which is the recipe for loneliness and depression. In The Drama of the Gifted Child, Alice Miller describes depression as ‘Mourning for the loss of the self’.

Digging deeper – how to recognize ego

  • ego has no heart feelings, no love
  • ego has no mercy
  • ego comes through the door of comparison, competition and criticism
    you want to show that what you are doing is better than what others are doing
  • ego can not appreciate
  • ego is ignorance
  • ego does not share your value, it compares your values with others
  • ego has expectations, which is the biggest trap in relationships
  • ego is not value based
  • ego can not tolerate praise of others, unless we are attached to those that are praised
  • ego doesn’t let go seeing the failing of others
  • ego can not receive correction, only give correction
  • ego inspects others, self respect corrects oneself
  • ego is very powerful outwardly but very week inwardly
  • ego makes it difficult to establish relationships based on love

Read the full article about ego.

Applying The Law Of Balance To Anger

anger

We are all very much aware of the law of gravity. It keeps us grounded on the earth. Gravity ensures everything returns to a state of balance. This is the law of balance on a physical level.

The law of balance can also be applied on a mental and emotional level, to the emotion of anger e.g.  Too many angry thoughts of revenge and animosity (hatred) inside our consciousness can emerge in two ways:

a) either externally as toxic, violent behavior, which will attract toxic, violent responses from others, or
b) if these thoughts are kept bottled inside, they will eventually, after a period of time, emerge as some disease or the other in the physical body. This is because our consciousness then tries to find a way to get rid of the mental impurity, which enters our physical body and restores balance to the mental and physical system, which has been upset due to the creation of the toxic thoughts, in the first place.

The above e.g. is an application of this law on a micro level. We can apply this law of balance on a macro level, on the world at large, where we watch groups of people, even countries exchanging negative energy. 

The same law can also be applied on a larger level. Each time a group of people transmit the negative energy of anger physically to another group of people – at that time,either:
a) one party is disturbing the balance temporarily, which will be restored sometime in the future, by the second party indulging in similar behavior, or
b) balance is being restored at the present moment (because negative energy had been transmitted from the opposite party to the first party sometime in the past). This balancing must take place, because it’s an unbreakable law. This is the law of balance.

This law that does not need to be enforced by us, the police or even by God. It is a natural law like other laws of nature. It gets enforced itself and cannot be broken by anyone. Understanding that this law is embedded in the human state of affairs at all times makes us careful and detached so that we don’t hurt ourselves with violent, toxic thoughts, when someone acts negatively.  We create these kinds of thoughts because we believe this is revenge that is justified. Also, knowing that anger that is radiated comes back doesn’t mean we don’t have any laws within society – they are required, but it helps us not to take the law into our own hands. We cannot force justice to take place before its fixed time. We cannot force the balancing of energies of anger. If we trying doing it, it is being egoistic and we only upset the balance of our energies as a result. Even to criticize those who try to take the law into their own hands is to take the law into our hands.

Positive Reflections For The Day are messages sent by the Brahma Kumaris. If you are not receiving Positive Reflections already and would like to receive it daily, from the Brahma Kumaris, please send an email to the email address awakeningwithbks@bkmail.org with – Subscribe – written in the subject.

The Spiritual Concept Of Becoming A Trustee

Thoughts

Spirituality introduces to us a very beautiful concept of trusteeship. At first, I realize that as a spiritual being or soul, I possess the treasures of my mind, my thoughts, words, actions, virtues, powers, time, physical wealth, etc. Even my physical body is a treasure. While I may have many a times misused these treasures earlier, now I learn how to use them correctly for my spiritual upliftment or the long term benefit of me, the soul. As per the Supreme Being’s instructions, I use these treasures for a positive purpose of bringing not only myself but others also, closer to a state of truth, a state in which the soul experiences its original virtues of peace, love, joy, purity, power, wisdom, etc. By doing that I, in return, experience spiritual self-growth.

Each time I deviate from this purpose, I come down spiritually, or I do not grow spiritually. This is a different type of existence as compared to before when I did not even realize that these were treasures in the first place. A treasure can be defined as something of immense value. So, these physical and spiritual energies or resources (mentioned above) which I own or possess, become treasures because by the right use of them towards myself and others, I can increase my value. Here we refer primarily to the spiritual self’s value. Once that is increased, the physical self’s value also increases as a result.

While it’s important to realize that the treasures mentioned in yesterday’s message are my treasures and they possess immense potential since they help me grow spiritually by their right use, it is also important to maintain a relationship of detachment with them, because we live with these treasures all the time and it is very easy to get caught up with them and become attached to them. Where there is attachment, there develops ego and the treasures start getting misused. An important concept in this regard is that of trusteeship. The Supreme Being while sharing the knowledge of these treasures and the method of using them, also shares, that for our benefit, once we realize what these treasures are, we should surrender these treasures to Him. This is an invisible or non-physical surrender, not a physical or visible one.

Once these treasures are surrendered to Him, unlike worldly surrenders, the treasures don’t remain with Him, because being an Unlimited Donor and being Incorporeal (bodiless), the Supreme doesn’t keep them with Himself and returns them back to us. Anyways, the surrender is deep but is on a mental level and not on a physical one. But, while returning the treasures back, the Supreme Being presents a condition in front of us. He says that since these treasures now no longer belong to us, we need to remove any sense of ownership over them and become a trustee while taking care of and using these treasures only for the purpose instructed by Him, the purpose of bringing the self and others closer to a state of truth (as explained in yesterday’s message). The word trustee comes from the word trust. In this case the Supreme Being says that He wishes and hopes that we keep His trust and don’t breach it at any cost, at any point of time, in taking care of and using ‘His’ treasures, because don’t forget, although the treasures are with us, there are no longer ours.

In the physical world, one common example of a trustee is when a multi-millionaire does not have any heirs, he or she will leave his or wealth in the hands of a trustee or a group of trustees, to ensure the right use of his/her wealth as per his/her last wish. Another common example is of trustees associated with temples and welfare organizations. All the wealth and ornaments that devotees offer in temples out of faith, love and devotion for God or all the wealth and property that people give in charity to welfare organizations is taken care of by a group of trustees. In all these cases and more, while taking care of the wealth, honest trustees always keep the consciousness that this is not their wealth or property and will always use it in the right way, as they have been directed. This is called ‘keeping the trust’ of the owner/owners of the wealth, hence the word trustee.

In this way, now as a trustee, throughout the day I keep a consciousness that the treasures of my mind, my thoughts, words, actions, virtues, powers, time, my physical wealth, physical body etc. are the Supreme Being’s property and I have been appointed as a trustee to take care of them. In this way, I will use these treasures in a positive way, for a positive purpose (as mentioned earlier for a purpose of bringing myself and other close to a state of truth) only; in a way the Supreme Being wants me to and has instructed me to do so. This establishes a relationship of detachment with the treasures I possess and also brings about my spiritual self-growth.

Positive Reflections For The Day are messages sent by the Brahma Kumaris. If you are not receiving Positive Reflections already and would like to receive it daily, from the Brahma Kumaris, please send an email to the email address
awakeningwithbks@brahmakumaris.com with – Subscribe – written in the subject.

Overcoming Fears Connected With Negative Past Experiences

Open heart

Some of our fears arise due to the situations we have lived through; for example, if you are driving a car and you have an accident. Then you take some time to drive again, because the memory of the accident awakens the fear of having another one or reliving the one you had. The person that has never had a car accident gets in the car with confidence, because they do not have that scene recorded, since they haven’t lived through it.

There are fears that we carry within us that are not of the present. Something happened to us in the dark and we are now afraid of the dark.Fears in relationships: you opened your heart, you fell in love and, after a time, you experienced pain, you felt hurt, misunderstood, manipulated, deceived or mistreated, and now you no longer open your heart for anything; it is closed off with the shields that you yourself have created. To overcome this kind of fear due to experiences you have lived through, you have to come to terms with your past and accept it fully. You cannot change your past; lamenting the past doesn’t help you; complaining about the past doesn’t benefit you. Those shields brought about by fears do not disappear unless you do a deep cleansing. Begin to heal your experience of the past. Part of the past is healed with forgiveness. Without forgiving, you cannot forget.

The work with oneself to see what aspects of your past burden you and coming to terms with those aspects, requires silence, reflection and meditation. When you come to terms with your own past, you can let go of it and be free of it, not be afraid that the past will come back to you. If not, sometimes, it is like a shadow that follows you. If your house was robbed once, the shadow follows you that, perhaps, you might be robbed again. If they hurt you, you fear it will happen again. Sometimes that experience presents itself in dreams, in the subconscious or in present attitudes. Reliving the past in your mind, you do not fully enjoy the present. You have to accept the pieces of your past so that they do not continue to generate upsets. Accept that you had to live through them and live the present with a constructive vision of the future.

In the above context, it helps to write letters to God about your experiences. The exercise of sharing them with God in writing brings clarity inside you and helps you to bring the spiritual light and might in your life in order not to be burdened by unnecessary experiences, unhappiness or grief. Have you ever written to God? You could do it at night and tell Him the things that affected you or that you have learned. You can tell Him the things or intimate feelings that other people perhaps wouldn’t understand or wouldn’t be there to listen to. You could also talk to Him about all that you question, and you do not have an answer to. And the following morning, when you meditate and study a little bit of spiritual knowledge, you often receive answers.

Positive Reflections For The Day are messages sent by the Brahma Kumaris. If you are not receiving Positive Reflections already and would like to receive it daily, from the Brahma Kumaris, please send an email to the email address
awakeningwithbks@brahmakumaris.com with – Subscribe – written in the subject.