Thought, Information and Mind

A man was sitting by a lake. He was throwing small pebbles into it from time to time. A young boy happened to cross by. He was intrigued to see that after every few minutes or so, the man would toss a pebble into the lake.

The boy went up to the man and said, “Good pastime, this stone throwing, he?” “Hmmm,” said the man. He seemed to be deep in thought and obviously did not wish to be disturbed.

Sometime later, the man said softly, “Look at the water, it is absolutely still.”

The boy said, “Yeah, it is.”

The man tossed a pebble into the water and continued, “Only till I toss a pebble into it now do you see the ripples?”

“Yeah,” said the boy, “they spread further and further.”

“And soon, the water is still again,” offered the man.

The boy said, “Sure, it becomes quiet, after a while.”

The man continued, “What if we want to stop the ripples? The root cause of the ripples is the stone. Lets take the stone out. Go ahead and look for it.” The boy put his hand into the water and tried to take the stone out.

But he only succeeded in making more ripples. He was able to take the stone out, but the number of ripples that were made in the process were a lot more than before.

The wise man said, “It is not possible to stop the movement of the water once a pebble has been thrown into it. But if we can stop ourselves from throwing the pebble in the first place, the ripples can be avoided altogether! So too, it is with our minds. If a thought enters into it, it creates ripples. The only way to save the mind from getting disturbed is to block and ban the entry of every superfluous thought that could be a potential cause for disturbance. If a disturbance has entered into the mind, it will take its own time to die down. Too many conflicting thoughts just cause more and more disturbances. Once the disturbance has been caused it takes time to ebb out. Even trying to forcibly remove the thought may further increase the turmoil in the mind. Time surely is a great healer, but prevention is always better than cure.”

Before you allow a thought or a piece of information to enter your mind, put it through the triple filter test of authenticity, goodness and value.

Om Namah Shivay

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अमरता की चाह में बना था विष्णु का ये प्राचीन मंदिर

विश्व में अलग-अलग धर्मों और संप्रदायों को मानने वाले लोग रहते हैं। सर्वोच्च सत्ता भले ही एक है लेकिन अलग-अलग मान्यताएं होने की वजह से सभी का पूजा करने का तरीका और स्थान भी अलग-अलग हैं। मसलन चर्च में जाकर ईसाइयों को अपने ईश्वर नजर आते हैं, वही ईश्वर हिन्दू मंदिर में भी मिलते हैं। मुसलमान मस्जिद जाकर अपने अल्लाह से मिलकर आता है तो सिख गुरुद्वारों की सीढ़ियों को स्वर्ग समझता है। जितने अलग लोग उतनी ही अलग उनकी आस्था।

इन्द्र का मंदिर
खैर, जहां बात आस्था की होती है वहां किसी भी प्रकार का तर्क-वितर्क मायने नहीं रखता। इसलिए आज हम आपको एक ऐसे मंदिर की कहानी सुनाने जा रहे हैं जिसके बारे में कहा जाता है कि स्वयं देवराज इन्द्र ने महल के तौर पर अपने बेटे के लिए इस मंदिर का निर्माण करवाया था।

अंगकोर वाट
कंबोडिया स्थित अंगकोर वाट के विषय में 13वीं शताब्दी में एक चीनी यात्री का कहना था कि इस मंदिर का निर्माण महज एक ही रात में किसी अलौकिक सत्ता के हाथ से हुआ था। यह सब तो इस महल रूपी मंदिर से जुड़ी लोक कहानियां हैं, असल में इस मंदिर का इतिहास बौद्ध और हिन्दू दोनों ही धर्मों से बहुत निकटता से जुड़ा है।

कंबोडिया
अंगकोर वाट नामक विशाल मंदिर का संबंध पौराणिक समय के कंबोदेश और आज के कंबोडिया से है। यह मंदिर मौलिक रूप से हिन्दू धर्म से जुड़ा पवित्र स्थल है, जिसे बाद में बौद्ध रूप दे दिया गया।

हिन्दू और बौद्ध
इतिहास पर नजर डाली जाए तो करीब 27 शासकों ने कंबोदेश पर राज किया, जिनमें से कुछ शासक हिन्दू और कुछ बौद्ध थे। शायद यही वजह है कि कंबोडिया में हिन्दू और बौद्ध दोनों से ही जुड़ी मूर्तियां मिलती हैं।

बौद्ध अनुयायी
कंबोडिया में बौद्ध अनुयायियों की संख्या अत्याधिक है इसलिए जगह-जगह भगवान बुद्ध की प्रतिमा मिल जाती है। लेकिन अंगकोर वाट के अलावा शायद ही वहां कोई ऐसा स्थान हो जहां ब्रह्मा, विष्णु और महेश तीनों की मूर्तियां एक साथ हों।

विष्णु का मंदिर
इस मंदिर की सबसे बड़ी खास बात यह भी है कि यह विश्व का सबसे बड़ा विष्णु मंदिर भी है। इसकी दीवारें रामायण और महाभारत जैसे विस्तृत और पवित्र धर्मग्रंथों से जुड़ी कहानियां कहती हैं।

विश्व धरोहर
विश्व धरोहर के रूप से पहचाने जाने वाले इस मंदिर को 12 शताब्दी में खमेर वंश से जुड़े सूर्यवर्मन द्वितीय नामक हिन्दू शासक ने बनवाया था। लेकिन चौदहवीं शताब्दी तक आते-आते यहां बौद्ध धर्म से जुड़े लोगों का शासन स्थापित हो गया और मंदिर को बौद्ध रूप दे दिया गया।

आलीशान मंदिर
बौद्ध रूप ग्रहण करने के काफी सालों बाद तक इस मंदिर की पहचान लगभग खोई रही लेकिन फिर एक फ्रांसीसी पुरात्वविद की नजर इस पर पड़ी और उसने फिर से एक बार दुनिया के सामने इस बेशकीमती और आलीशान मंदिर को प्रस्तुत किया। बहुत से लोग इस मंदिर को दुनिया के सात अजूबों में से एक करार देते हैं।

भारत से जुड़ाव
भारत के राजनैतिक और धार्मिक अवधारणा के आधार पर ही अंगकोर नगरी का निर्माण हुआ था। इसके अलावा अंगकोर मंदिर के निर्माण के पीछे इसे बनवाने वाले राजा का एक खास मकसद भी जुड़ा हुआ था।

अमरता का लालच
दरअसल राजा सूर्यवर्मन हिन्दू देवी-देवताओं से नजदीकी बढ़ाकर अमर बनना चाहता था। इसलिए उसने अपने लिए एक विशिष्ट पूजा स्थल बनवाया जिसमें ब्रह्मा, विष्णु, महेश, तीनों की ही पूजा होती थी। आज यही मंदिर अंगकोर वाट के नाम से जाना जाता है।

अंगकोर की राजधानी
लगभग 6 शताब्दियों तक अंगकोर राजधानी के रूप में पहचानी जाती रही। इसी दौरान अंगकोर वाट की संरचना और बनावट को कई प्रकार के परिवर्तनों से भी गुजरना पड़ा। मूलत: यह मंदिर शिव को समर्पित था, उसके बाद यहां भगवान विष्णु की पूजा होने लगी।

आक्रमण
लेकिन जब बौद्ध धर्मावलंबियों ने इस स्थान पर अपना आधिपत्य कायम किया तब से लेकर अब तक यहां बौद्ध धर्म की महायान शाखा के देवता अवलोकितेश्वर की पूजा होती है।

संयमित धर्म
13वीं शताब्दी के आखिर तक आते-आते अंगकोर वाट की संरचना को संवारने का काम भी शिथिल पड़ता गया। और साथ ही थेरवाद बौद्ध धर्म के प्रभाव के अंतर्गत एक संयमित धर्म का उदय होने लगा।

खमेर साम्राज्य पर आक्रमण
इसी दौरान अंगकोर और खमेर साम्राज्य पर आक्रमण बढ़ने लगे। 16वीं शताब्दी के आगमन से पहले ही अंगकोर का सुनहरा अध्याय लगभग समाप्त हो गया और अन्य भी बहुत से प्राचीन मंदिर खंडहर में तब्दील हो गए।

मंदिर की देखभाल
15वीं शताब्दी से लेकर 19वीं शताब्दी ईसवी तक थेरवाद के बौद्ध साधुओं ने अंगकोर वाट मंदिर की देखभाल की, जिसके परिणामस्वरूप कई आक्रमण होने के बावजूद इस मंदिर को ज्यादा नुकसान नहीं पहुंचा।

एएसआई
बाद की सदियों में अंगकोर वाट गुमनामी के अंधेरे में लगभग खो सा गया था। 19वीं शताब्दी के मध्य में एक फ्रांसीसी अंवेषक और प्रकृति विज्ञानी हेनरी महोत ने अंगकोर की गुमशुदा नगरी को फिर से ढूंढ़ निकाला। वर्ष 1986 से लेकर वर्ष 1993 तक भारत के पुरातत्व सर्वेक्षण विभाग ने इस मंदिर के संरक्षण का जिम्मा संभाला था।

पवित्र तीर्थ स्थल
आज के समय में अंगकोर वाट दक्षिण एशिया के प्रख्यात और अत्याधिक प्रसिद्ध धार्मिक स्थानों में से एक है।

Om Namah Shivay

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What is the Meaning of Life?-2

Of course, life can have a meaning; I just don’t buy into a universal meaning or purpose applicable to all and sundry. No panacea, no pansophy. What is even the “meaning” of meaning? Not everyone experiences bliss and peace in meditation, in rituals or in pursuit of an inner calling. The meaning of life is the one you deduce from it. Its purpose is the one you assign to it.

A doctor’s could be treating patients, a general’s could be protecting the borders and a soldier’s could be combating the enemy. A painter’s could be in art, a musician’s could be in melody just like a mother’s could be in her child. If Buddha’s meaning was in meditation, Einstein’s was in Relativity, Steve Job’s was in Apple. I see little difference.

Everything I state is only my view and not the universal view. I have no absolute answers. Do we not say to children that tooth fairy exists, that Santa exists? Do we not tell them that they are a gift from God rather than saying that they were born out of a sexual act? And later, when they grow up, do we not give them the real answers?

Why? Because you care. You care about what and how much they can handle. Not everyone is ready to hear the truth, let alone practice it. Physical age or bookish knowledge has no correlation to one’s readiness. If you are willing to listen, Nature is ceaselessly offering answers to your questions. The appeal of an answer is not dependent on the answer itself but on the mindset of the questioner. Similarly, the meaning of life is not so much about the meaning itself as much as it’s about the one on the quest for it.

A German approached Srila Prabhupada — the sweet and simple saint, the founder of ISKCON.

“Why am I always sad and depressed?” he said. “Why must I suffer?”

“Because,” said Prabhupada, “you are a rascal. You did a lot of bad karma in your past life and now you are paying the price.”

Many will frown at this seemingly uncompassionate response but this seeker immediately fell at Prabhupada’s feet and became his disciple. It worked for him. He said he got the answer he’d been long searching. Go figure.

As for the question, Does God Exist? Of course. What exists other than God? Only God exists. For another time.

“How old are you really?” a man said to Mulla Nasrudin.

“I’m 42 years old.”

“How can that be? Four years ago too you’d said you were 42!”

“That’s right,” replied Mulla. “I always stand by what I say.”

Consistency of beliefs is burdensome. How will you experience the beauty and depth of the ocean without undocking your ship? Give yourself room to learn, to play, to explore, to experience, to be. Come anew. Holding on to a belief may be comforting, compelling, even energizing, but letting go is liberating. It’s okay to prefer comfort over liberation if you so wish, it’s a question of choice, a matter of temperament. Take your pick.

Om Namah Shivay

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Normal Age-Related Vision Changes-2

Age-Related Eye Change #2

The lens of the eye begins to lose elasticity.
Impact: In the same way that losing flexibility in tendons and muscles makes it more difficult for the body to move, losing lens elasticity also makes it harder for the lens to bend in order to focus on closely held objects. This loss of focusing power, or lens accommodation, is known as presbyopia.

Compensation: Investing in certain sight aids can help compensate for losses in up-close vision. Try these sight aids if you’re having trouble seeing close up:
See your eye specialist regarding corrective devices such as reading glasses, bifocals, trifocals, progressive lenses (no lines), or possibly contact lenses to help you correctly see objects at close proximity.
Have your eyes rechecked and reading lenses adjusted every 2 or 3 years; changes in lens elasticity typically occur progressively between the ages of 45 and 65.

Shine additional light on close work materials to enhance your near vision; lights with adjustable necks are best for directly targeting work.
Consider simple, over-the-counter reading glasses for up-close work if you do not need corrective lenses to see distances. The typical range of magnification needed is from +1.00 to + 3.00. Choose a weaker glass for computer work or a stronger glass for reading.
Researchers are studying new surgical interventions and devices that could restore at least some amount of near vision. However, these techniques are experimental, and given the tendency of the eye structure to constantly change, the long-term success of such interventions is unknown.

Age-Related Eye Change #3

The lens of the eye gradually yellows with age.

Impact: The yellowing of the eye lens affects color perception. For example, the yellowing lens tends to absorb and scatter blue light, making it difficult to see differences in shades of blue, green, and violet. Colors may seem duller, and contrasts between colors will be less noticeable. This may cause confusion when picking out clothes or performing other tasks that require color perception. It also may become difficult to tell where an object ends and its background begins, making it difficult to see curbs or steps, for example.

Compensation: A few specific adjustments to lighting and color choices should help alleviate the effects of minor lens yellowing. Try this:
Choose halogen or fluorescent bulbs specifically designed to improve color rendering. Bulbs with a color-rendering index (CRI) above 80 may best help older eyes with color definition.
Use warm contrasting colors, such as yellow, orange, and red, in your home to improve your ability to tell where things are and make it easier to perform daily activities.
Put colored tape on the edge of steps to help make them easier to navigate.
Eventually, the underlying process that causes lens yellowing may lead to cataracts. Surgical procedures are available for people whose degree of vision impairment due to cataracts is severe enough to interfere with safety or quality of life.

Give Your Eyes a Boost

Creating an eye-friendly environment is only the beginning of boosting your vision. Studies show that certain lifestyle habits and dietary choices may help protect the lens of the eye and reduce the risk of certain lens conditions that diminish sight.
For example, a study published in the American Journal of Nutrition reveals that a diet rich in vitamin C and foods containing plant pigments, or carotenoids, may help protect the lens of the eye and reduce the risk of cataracts. A lack of these nutrients appears to speed cross-linking, a process in which proteins in the lens form unwanted links or bonds, making the lens thicker, more rigid, scattering even more light than it would otherwise.
Carotenoids exhibit antioxidant properties. Examples include beta carotene, lycopene, and lutein. There is no recommended daily allowance for carotenoids, but you can get your fill by eating lots of produce. Carotenoid-rich foods include sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, spinach, tomatoes, kale, and mangoes. Aim for four servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables per day to help ensure you get the nutrients you need to maximize your eye health.
In addition to certain nutritional deficits, other lifestyle choices may speed up cross-linking and put lens health at risk. These include smoking and excessive exposure to UV rays from the sun.

Om Namah Shivay

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What is the Meaning of Life?-1

Does God exist? Are we just carbon molecules and our emotions just neurotransmitters? How are we supposed to live? If there is no purpose or meaning of life, why go through the austerities of tapas or meditation? Why negate sensual pleasures?

Before I offer my view, let me share with you a short story. Buddha, the ever graceful, had just finished a discourse when a seeker approached him.

“Is it true that there is no soul?” he said.

“Yes, it is true that there is no soul,” Buddha murmured softly.

His disciples were happy to hear the answer. The Sage knew everything, they thought.

The next day, another visitor posed a similar question.

“I’ve heard that there exists in everyone an eternal element called soul. Is it true?”

“Yes, my dear, it is true that there exists in everyone an eternal element called soul. Some also call it consciousness.”

“But, soul is different from consciousness,” he argued.

“Indeed,” said Buddha.

His disciples looked at him and each other in complete disbelief. The reply today was the exact opposite of what they’d heard just the day before. Even though confused as ever, they dared not question the master.

Yet another couple of days later, a devotee from afar came to pay homage.

“I believe it is not certain if soul really exists,” he said.

“You are right. It is not certain if soul really exists,” Buddha replied.

The man left contented but the monks felt extremely otherwise. They urged Ananda, one of Buddha’s chief disciples, to question the sage.

“Why, O Venerable One,” said Ananda, “did you give three different answers to the same question? It is bothering us.”

“My spiritual sons,” said Buddha, “they were not ready for my answers. They were not even looking for an answer. They were merely looking for a confirmation to what they thought they already knew.”

What happens when someone gives us an answer contradictory to our understanding? Most of us reject it or go back to what we know to make sense of the conflicting view. Very few, the rare few, bare themselves to reflect on the new answers to arrive at a deeper insight.

I don’t ever recall saying that we are simply a bunch of molecules or an agency of hormones. I’m not a proponent of negating sensual pleasures. I believe in accepting them, experiencing them and understanding them, so you may remain unaffected by them. The purpose of any austerity or penance is self-purification, so we may be more compassionate, loving and humble.

Om Namah Shivay

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The i in Team

Missing Ingredients for Team Success

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” –Michael Jordan. 

We’ve all heard the old adage—there’s no i in team. But there are several ‘i’s that holds high-performing teams together. It’s what makes them unique and gives them a competitive edge, generating synergy that is the very power of team work. These essential i’s—often hidden from view—are exactly what many low-performing teams are painfully missing.

i is for Interdependence

One of our favorite exercises in team-building workshops is a simulated “survival” activity. We begin by having participants complete a paper and pencil instrument independently, ranking fifteen items in terms of their importance to surviving a crisis event (e.g. a crash landing in unknown territory like a desert, subarctic, or jungle region). The idea of the exercise is to examine how people make decisions, first individually and then as a team. Once everyone has completed ranking the items independently, we form teams and have them repeat the exercise using an interdependent, consensus process. In both cases, the participants select their items based on limited information and assumptions. It becomes quite clear that flawed assumptions can be disastrous in the exercise, just like in real life.

An interesting result of this simulation is that the teams consistently outperform their own average individual scores. In fact, most teams survive (according to a survival expert’s well-researched ranking), while most individuals do not. Why is this? What is the secret? It is clearly more than coincidence.

The answer is interdependent thinking—how can we help one another help one another? How can I help you help me? Where is the creative, win-win solution?

One of the most powerful creative problem-solving techniques we know is to find at least three options for each problem. It is simply too easy for someone to say, “Don’t come to me with a problem without a solution.” We all hear this from time to time. The wise leader suggests, “Don’t come to me with a problem without at least three solutions!”

Why is this important? Because when we explore additional options with an open mind, new insights appear. We may have originally assumed that option A would be best. By searching for an option B, and C, we are forced to think beyond the first “right” answer. This approach also helps teams break free of gridlock and impasse over option A or B. If we can’t agree or come to consensus, let’s look further. There are always alternatives.

Now the question becomes, which option are we likely to go with, A, B or C? We often ask this question in workshops and we regularly get a range of answers from A to C. The more common reality is option D, an option that was not even listed as a choice! When teams brainstorm multiple options to a problem, it is amazing how often the ideal solution is “none of the above” or “all of the above” in some hybrid fashion. Either way, this powerful team-building technique reminds us that we are better off focusing on interests and not positions. Interests are what we generally all have in common (like survival). Positions are conclusions we have made (most often based on assumptions) on how best to get there. Interdependent thinking reminds us to think we-opically and find solutions that are win-win for all. It does us little good to solve one problem and create two or three more problems in the process. High-performing teams use inter-dependent systems-thinking to unite cross-functionally, align with a shared vision and unite as one. Look carefully at great teams in action. You will see another i in play. It is called interdependence.

The i in Team will be a great addition to your leadership library. 

Tap the unique potential, inputs and talents of the individuals on your team;

Create more intrigue, involvement and interaction among team members;

Inspire true, high performance teamwork and synergy;

Cultivate an interdependent, we-opic and shared vision;

Exercise intuition to develop an environment of imagination, ingenuity and innovation;

Build team intelligence;

Foster team integrity;

Increase your return on investment.

“The i’s are like seeds. They must be planted and nurtured to take root and grow. They may not be visible at first, but make no mistake. The seeds matter. There is an i in team. Make the investment. Give your team the lift it deserves. Experience the reward that follows.”

Om Namah Shivay

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http://www.vedic-astrology.co.in/

Normal Age-Related Vision Changes-1

Not all declines in vision quality are the result of disease; certain anatomical changes naturally occur as the eyes age.

The various internal and external structures of the eyes, which all work together to help people see clearly at various distances and under different lighting conditions, begin to wear down as people get older.
Common age-related vision complaints include:
“I can’t see as clearly as I used to.”

“I have difficulty seeing objects close up.”

“Colors don’t seem as vivid.”

“It’s getting more difficult to see in the dark.”

“I’m less able to adapt to glare.”

“I need more light to see.”

The most significant age-related changes seem to occur in the lens and the pupil; these account for the majority of vision limitations people experience as they get older. The extent to which these changes affect vision varies a bit with each person. But regardless of the degree to which these changes affect you, you can compensate for them and help ensure they don’t endanger your safety or make it difficult for you to enjoy life.

Age-Related Eye Change #1

The pupil becomes smaller and less responsive to variations in light.
Impact: Because the pupil controls the amount of light that reaches the retina, age-related changes to the pupil may affect vision in many ways. First, as the pupil decreases in diameter, seeing well in dim light becomes harder. In addition, the less able the pupil is to adjust to varying light conditions, the less tolerable glare becomes and the more difficult it is to adapt from darkness to bright light or vice versa. This means as you get older, you may need more time to adjust to changing levels of illumination, such as going from bright sunshine into a dimly lit room or restaurant.

Compensation: Proper illumination can compensate for many of the changes in your pupil as you age. Try these illumination techniques:
Increase the amount of ambient light throughout your home.
Use individual lights or task lighting for specific tasks. Studies show that for specific tasks, the average 60-year-old person needs at least three times the amount of light compared with the average 20-year-old.
Use timed lighting that switches on and off at set times of the day to ensure consistent ambient lighting.

Install motion-sensor lights in your home that turn on automatically when you enter a room.

Avoid bare bulbs, clear shades, and chandeliers without shades; these produce glare that can be disorienting and uncomfortable.
Cover shiny, highly polished surfaces in the home or work areas with cloth or rugs to reduce glare.

Om Namah Shivay

***Write ” Om Namah Shivay ” if you ask for God’s blessing on your life today. Please Like, Tag and Share to bless others!

http://www.vedic-astrology.co.in/

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