The Encounter On The Road

In the madness of
peak hour,
bumper-to-bumper
traffic;
horns blaring,
all on a edge;
trying to squeeze
their vehicles into
non-existent space;
in a rush to reach
their destination!

I had an encounter!
Caught in an unexpected space,
eyes on the road,
mind somewhere else
music in the background;
The grey monsoon clouds
threatening to rain;
the gentle swaying of the trees
in that sweet monsoon breeze!

All these
faded into oblivion
as Wisdom dawned!

I strained to hear
what It had to say;
but, I caught not a word!

Yet, in that short,
muted exchange
It left me with a
still heart and a
peace inexplicable!

It comes when It wants to
and I mostly have
a fleeting encounter;
Like a stolen kiss,
it leaves me wanting more of It!

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It now seems….

I had never written a poem in life before, and this came up as an urge and I just typed it out as it came….no idea how this happened.

Just like the incredible pain

flips over to joy in an instant in the

“Meditation in Motion” process;

 

Same way the pain and the heartbreak

Suddenly turned into joy and peace

For no apparent reason;

 

It now seems that the

pain of longing

is more joyful than

the playful pulling of cheeks;

 

It now seems that the

the ache of the heartbreak

is now more joyful

When He deliberately walks by

without giving me that look

I have been craving for,

for ages;

 

It now seems that the

feeling of utter foolishness

when running behind Him

is now more palatable when

He chooses to completely

ignore me;

 

It now seems that the

torment and the anguish we

underwent when He chose

not to visit our house

despite being

in the neighborhood

has turned to

deep acceptance with

no regrets;

 

It now seems that

the Presence has become

that much more exponential

as I churned through

the countless doubts

in my mind;

 

and

 

the joy in longing and waiting is

much more than:

– having my cheeks pulled – would love it;

– getting that special look – I would still yearn for it;

– having Him in our house – that would be a dream fulfilled

– or getting that phone call out of the blue – haven’t yet got it;

 

but I wouldn’t want to trade

it for the unmistakable Presence

and Grace

that engulfs me

when I remember Him

for that I am so grateful!

 

That joy, longing

and Gratitude

transcends to something

Inexpressible, when that

gentle fragrance

of Sandalwood

arising out of nowhere,

drifts in,

and I recognize

that it is at this precise moment

the Divine too has His aches and

longings. 

When was the last time you listened…?

Leo Buscaglia’ writing has a depth and richness that reaches out and touches you. Two books that I heartily recommend are Living, Loving and Learning and Love. In his book “Love: What life is all about”, he writes:

In fact an investment in life is an investment in change to the end, and we can’t be concerned with dying because we must be too damned busy living! Let dying take care of itself. And don’t ever believe that your life is ever going to be peaceful – life is not like that. With change taking place all around you, you’ve got to continue adjusting which means that you are going to be constantly becoming, there is no stopping. We’ re all on a fantastic journey! every day is new. Every experience is new. Every person is new. Everything is new, every morning of your life. Stop seeing it as a drag! In Japan, the running of water is a ceremony. We used to sit in a little hut when the tea ceremony took place, and our host would pick up a scoop of water and pour it into the teapot, and everybody would listen. The sound of the falling water would be almost overpoweringly exciting. I think of many people run showers and water in their sinks every single day and have never heard it. When was the last time you listened to the rain drops?

Herbert Otto says, “Change and growth takes place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life.” Isn’t the fantastic? A person has risked himself and dared to become involved with experimenting with his own life, trusting himself. To do this, to experiment with your own life, is very exhilarating, full of joy, full of happiness, full of wonder, and yet it’s also frightening. Frightening because you are dealing with the unknown, and you are shaking complacency.

The relationship between waking up early and success

During the course of conversation with a colleague today, the topic turned to waking up early. I got referred to a business insider article that talks about 23 successful leaders who wake up early. A cursory search on the web brings up lot of articles on the benefits of waking up early and how to do it. But I want to look at this topic slightly differently.

As someone who is up pretty early most of the days, here is my take on this. If we observe ourselves, we find that the body has an in-built alarm that wakes us up early in the morning. The minute we wake up naturally is an indicator that the body has had adequate rest and it is ready to get into action. We chose to ingore the signal, turn it off and go back to get additional sleep which isn’t probably required. But why do we do it? Before I answer that, let me point you to an answer someone gave and I quoted in my previous post:

I get up every morning at 5a.m. simply because it is more exciting to start working than to turn around and sleep some more. I do seem to have a lot of energy.

I guess it finally boils down to only one thing – how deeply do we love our life.

If we have a sense of deep reverence towards life and if we are deeply engaged with what is life bringing to our doorsteps, we feel the energy, excitement and passion to meet it more than half way. Those are the days that we are up and awake without the help of alarm. Contrast this to the days when we oversleep, the days we keep on snoozing the alarm, those are probably the days we are avoiding a few things that life wants us to engage in.

And this is where spirituality and associated practices like Yoga, Sudarshan Kriya technique and Meditation comes in handy. They are tools that enable us to engage with life deeply and allow us to look forward to each day with renewed vigor. The choice is in our hands.

The missing ingredient in Leadership – Love

I waited for almost a year since I first stumbled upon Love Leadership to get my hands on it. I finally ordered it online and it arrived a few weeks back and I devoured this slim 190 pages book in two sittings. On hindsight, I should have ordered this much earlier.

This autobiographical book of John Hope Bryant is a sublime account of his journey through the ups and down of his life – being born into a reasonably well off family to experiencing loss and poverty in his childhood to becoming a street smart enterprenuer and finally being the founder, CEO and Chairman of Operation HOPE. Love Leadership makes for a fascinating reading. Interspersed with anecdotes, real life stories and quotes, this book points to a fundamental truth that my Spiritual master has been speaking for years now that Love indeed moves the world.

Just today morning I was reading an interview in the newspaper where the interviewer says that corporate culture in India has undergone a sea change in the past few years and not necessarily for the better…expectation of organizations are becoming unrealistically high, which in turn forces people to become aggressive and use inappropriate means to succeed…what has changed fundamentally in our system is that the end is becoming far more important than the means.

John pin points this to where it all starts from from – Leadership. Leadership qualities that are FEAR based have characterisitics such as Coercion, Repression, Exclusion, Anger, Entitlement, Cynicism, Expediency etc. in contrast to LOVE driven leadership that includes Inspiration, Empowerment, Inclusion, Forgiveness, Opportunity, Idealism, Compassion, Spirituality etc.

It delights me no end to read about Spirituality and Love mentioned in the context of corporate world? Oh and that too from the Mecca of Capitalism? Awesome!!

I have been searching for examples of business and books written by people who have been in the shoes of CXO’s and have faced the day to day challenges of running and growing a business based on true spiritual principles. With my limited knowledge and exposure to books in this category, very few come to my mind – Ken Melrose writes about his experiences as CEO of Toro’s in his book Making the Grass Greener, James Autry draws about his experiences as president of Meredith Corporation in The Servant Leader and Thitch Haht Nahn’s book, The Art of Power, carries an article written by the CEO of Patagonia. Not to mention other outstanding books such as Conscious Business by Fred Koffman and One by Lance Secretan. Where John’s book stands apart is that he intersperses real life stories, interviews, quotes and incidents to bring to life what could have a very sermonizing and preachy subject.

I had already written about the Five Fundamental laws of leadership on which this book is based in my previous post, In this post, I will share a few quotes that resonated with me.

As someone who is deeply passionate about spirituality and its implementation in day to day life, this book by John makes a delightful read of how to build teams and organizations based on true north principles.

You rock, John!!

  • Loss really does create leaders. It puts you on the path towards love leadership – leadership based on the strength born of struggle.
  • I would learn to talk without being offensive, to listen without being defensive, and to leave my adversaries with their dignity. I would learn to love those I did not like. I would love those who did not deserve love in return.
  • It takes the power of love to banish fear.
  • If you lead with love for the long term, people will follow you forever, wherever – for their own good as well as yours – and you will be remembered as a person of greatness.
  • Networking is a one-way relationship, building relationships is two-way.
  • I don’t believe that you can love unless you do the hard work of circulating that love. Love follows one of the primary laws of money: currency without circulation has no value. Likewise, love without circulation has no value. Love is an action. Love is doing. The action necessary is doing good.
  • If you can put love into circulation, you can achieve not just the accummulation of money but also true wealth, which I define as spiritual wealth, intellectual wealth and emotional wealth – plus some money, which tends to naturally follow the other qualities of true wealth.
  • Admitting weaknesses and owning upto mistakes have counterintuitive benefits. When you are honest, people are more likely to forgive you any weaknesses and mistakes. You are also able to make stronger connection with others That ultimately gives you an ability to persuade and influence people, which in turn strengthens your ability to lead.
  • Vulnerability shows that you are human, and it makes you loved – and all great leaders are, at their core, deeply human and much loved. That’s why people follow them.
  • Coercion gains you only compliance, but influence is about gaining real, sustainable power in the world and above-the-line performance from people
  • True leaders are ladder builders, not ladder climbers. [Art of Living teachers, do you recall the 2009 TRM??]
  • The path to love leadership is not through a closed fist of battle, It;s through an open hand of giving.
  • Love leadership of your people begins with love leadership inside of you.
  • If you want to have a prosperous, sustainable life, you will find it cheaper, smarter and easier to do the work of love leadership.
  • Life is made up of little moments that most of us never notice or acknowledge.
  • A saint is a sinner who got up.
  • We don’t love because of, we love in spite of.
  • We shouldn’t leave saving the world to saints, and we shouldn’t leave capitalism to sinners.

You can follow John on Twitter at @JohnHopeBryant.

12 reasons we need Love at Work

Cross posted from my other blog – Love and Leadership:

Because….

  • Otherwise narcissism, control, domination, unhealthy competition, selfishness, isolation, suspicion, and mistrust will dominate our work-life experience.

for other 11 reasons head out to my other blog

Two alternative life paths

We take one of the two paths in life as shown below:

  • Do what you don’t like, but should
  • Get experience doing this
  • Become great at doing what you dislike
  • Gain opportunity to do more
  • Live life empty of meaning.

or

  • Do what you love and find meaningful
  • Get experience doing what you love
  • Become extra good at you doing what you love
  • Gain more opportunity to do what you love
  • Live life full of purpose and meaning.

Doing someone else’ dharma well starts when you do what society says to do so, even though it is not something you like. Over time you get experience with it and get good at it. So you get opportunities to do more of this work. You get promoted. You become the boss, the partner or the top executive. Everyone honors you and wants you to do more of something that isn’t right for you. And you experience your life getting more and more meaningless and unsatisfying.

The path of doing your own dharma starts with doing what you love and what is meaningful to you. In time you gain both experience and skill. You get very good at it. And, because of that, you get more opportunity to do the kind of work that represents who you really are. Even though you might get the trappings of success – money, fame, promotion and awards – the work itself remains its own reward. Your life keeps getting more and more fulfilling. And your satisfaction gives blessings to your friends, family, community and the world.

– Michael Ray in The Highest Goal