Can you love others without loving yourself?

Once in a workshop, I was speaking about loving self and one gentleman started arguing. He said, uptil now we have been taught that we should never love ourselves and we should devote our lives to the service of others. I agree we should live in service but the big question is, can you give something to someone, which you do not have yourself? When you are deprived of something, you would keep asking for yourself and when you are asking for yourself all the time, then how can you give it to others?

 Whatever problems you see in others, whatever good things you see in others, actually are a reflection of the things you find in yourself. Whatever love you have been feeling for yourself reflects in love you feel for others. A mother also gives love to the child, because this is how she has been feeling. She feels it’s my child. A person who loves himself or herself unconditionally can only love others without expectations and unconditionally. A person who has not accepted himself completely can never accept others and this world completely. Whatever faults he would find in himself, he would find in others too. A person who does not feel good about himself, would also look at the world in same mirror. For him the world also would be a bad place.

Its a very noble intention to desire to give love to everyone you meet. However, that can only happen, if you have been loved enough. However, if you depend on others you would always be insecure and you would never be satisfied. It has to come from within you to satisfy you. Spend time alone, ask yourself what factors I do not like about myself, if there are some why they are there, do they matter. How can I accept myself unconditionally. What are the things I like in myself and how can I give them as a gift to the world. How do I love myself more. More you spend time with yourself and look inside, more you would know how vast you are. How limitless you are. You would realise there has never been a reason to judge yourself or evaluate yourself. You have always been complete and perfect. When you will be able to see your completeness, then you will be able to see completeness in the others and in this world.

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Love brings perfection. The realisation that you are not just the body but you are spirit comes through love.

Om Namah Shivay

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The Secret of Healthy Relationships-2

I’ve written a fair about it in the past. On Love (here). The most common complaints I still get are that I don’t feel the same way or he’s not the same person anymore or she doesn’t respect my family or he’s really changed or he no longer understands me and so forth. I’m not surprised because there’s a common misconception about love. When two people are in love, one or both of them tend to believe that love will be enough to keep them going. The truth is love alone is rarely enough because just wanting the other person is not love.

Loving someone and living with that person are two totally different things. Just being able to love is not enough for harmonious living. Successful relationships are not built on some utopian definition of love but on simple practical aspects of living. Often when things turn sour, we compare our relationship with the ideal definition we once held. This view makes us feel that nothing good ever existed in this relationship, that the whole thing was a mistake from the start. Hold your horses at that moment. It’s your mind playing tricks. Your emotional state has taken over the reality.

Life is no fairy tale, but it’s not a horror story either. It’s neither a comedy or tragedy, it just is. When life goes jelly, we often only look at the negatives, the depressing times, the trying times of the past. Mind loses its ability to see the complete picture, to remember the beautiful moments too. When you lose a tooth, for instance, for days thereafter, the tongue keeps going to the empty space. It’s not interested in the other 31 teeth still intact. Instead, it keeps rolling on the cavity of the lost tooth. Similarly, mind is attracted to what we are missing, and in doing so, it overlooks, even rejects, what we already have.

A newly wed couple asked their master, “What shall we do to make our love last?”

“Love other things together,” he replied.

This is the secret of successful relationships: love other things together and don’t lose sight of the good you have. When you are able to love not just the person you love but what they love, your relationship reaches a whole new level. If what matters to them starts to mean something to you, living together becomes a great deal easier.

Loving and living together at the same time is only possible when two people care about what the other person loves.

Om Namah Shivay

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The Secret of Healthy Relationships-1

Two people were deeply in love with each other. They believed they were soul mates. After a courtship of four years, they decided to get married.

On their wedding, the girl’s mother gave her a passbook and said, “Think of this as your marriage account. Every time something good happens in your life deposit a small amount and make a note in the passbook. Try to put in a greater sum if the event is significant. Today is your wedding and I’ve deposited $500 in it.”

The couple had a great start to their married life. As years rolled by, they went through their share of ups and downs, of agreements and arguments, of feeling good and bad. In due course, they had two children, bought a home, built savings and so on. As they got increasingly busy with work and other responsibilities, they spent less and less time with each other. The bond began to weaken and eventually a sense of belonging disappeared. So much so, they started to feel like two strangers under the same roof.

Indifference turned into disliking and most conversations turned into arguments. Finally, they decided to throw in the towel. They had tried hard to make their marriage work, but in vain. All they could recall were moments of stress and grief. The girl spoke to her mother and said she had made a blunder by marrying this man and that they had decided to divorce.

“Sure,” the mother said. “It’s your life. If you can’t live, you can’t live. But, make sure you go to the bank and close out the marriage account before you sign the divorce papers. Don’t leave behind a record of such a poor marriage.”

A few days later the girl was at the bank, standing in a line, waiting to be served. Fidgety and impromptu, she opened the passbook. She glanced through it in disbelief at the number of deposits they had made. There were quite a few. There were line items for her first pregnancy, their first home, first car, promotion at work, her second pregnancy, their anniversaries, birthdays, family vacations, festivals, celebrations.

She went back home without closing the account and handed the passbook to her husband.
“I couldn’t muster the courage to close this account. Please, can you do it instead?”

The husband took the passbook and, much like her, opened it to see the balance and saw all the entries they had made over the years. It hadn’t been that bad a run, he thought. They realized that their marriage wasn’t just about quarrels and arguments. There were plenty of good moments too.

Om Namah Shivay

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Are you Hurting Life?-2

You protect what you love, you naturally try to save what you love. If you hurt life, it stops belonging to you, it ceases to be your life. If given the choice, who do you think the swan would like to be with — Devadutta or Siddhartha? The bird would always be happier with Siddhartha, it would want to live with him because the prince tried to protect him.

Similarly, your life has a life of its own. If you love it, value it, protect it, it would want to be with you. It will becomes yours. But, if you are going to hurt it, it will fly away from you, far, far away. Be kind, be gentle like the prince in our story and the swan of life will come alive in your hands.

As you are hurt when the other person doesn’t appreciate your efforts, life is hurt too when you keep on resisting rather than appreciating what it’s doing for you.

Life is frightened and hurt, when you shoot arrows of jealousy, complaints and selfishness. Every time that happens, it distances itself from you. And, when your own life moves away from you, no one or nothing in the world can make you happy then. Not for long anyway. By life, I’m not talking about the physical breath, but the essence of life that is, a sense of peace and bliss. No point in mistreating or neglecting your life, because nothing hurts like neglect.

An overseas visitor met with a Zen monk who offered him tea. The handle of the tiny cup, paper thin, broke as soon as the visitor grabbed it.

“Why do you make your cups so delicate?” he asked the monk a little frustrated and embarrassed.

“It’s not that the cups are delicate,” the monk replied while sipping his tea. “You don’t know how to handle it.”

It’s all about how you handle life as opposed to how your life ought to be. Life is what it is. If you deal with it compassionately, gratefully, delicately, you will discover that it’s every bit beautiful, that it belongs to you wholeheartedly.

Learn to love life for what it is, for every bird sings a different song. Learn to listen to it and appreciate it. It’s funny but true that when you start adjusting around what life has planned for you, life starts to move according to you. If you keep hurting it and battling with it, life will ignore you completely and start to distance itself from you. As I said earlier, you feed life, love it, protect it and it’ll belong to you. It will move at your command then.

The answer to the question, “Why are you hurting me, Life?” begins with the question, “Why are you hurting life?”.

Don’t hurt what you want to keep. If you want to keep, that is.

Om Namah Shivay

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Are you Hurting Life?-1

Let me begin from the beginning, with a story from the life of Buddha, the Buddha, who was once known as prince Siddhartha before he renounced the material world.

Siddhartha and his cousin Devadutta planned to spend a day in the woods, resting under shady trees, playing in the pond and getting pampered by attendants and maids. A royal entourage was arranged for their comfort and safety. Devadutta also carried his bow and arrow even though they had agreed to not hunt.

While they lay near a natural pool, a swan landed nearby. Seeing golden opportunity, Devadutta immediately strung his bow and aimed at the bird. Siddhartha tried to stop him but he was adamant. A few moments passed and upon hearing the commotion the swan took flight. Devadutta was a good archer (unfortunately) and he let loose his arrow that found its target. Seeing the bird fall, Siddhartha leapt to it in quick strides.

Miraculously, the swan was still alive. But, it was going limp as life was fleeing out of the poor bird. Its eyes were closing, its wound was bloody. Gently, the prince pulled out the arrow and squeezed cool juice of some leaves on the wound to stop it from bleeding. He called one of the physicians in the entourage and applied medicinal herbs on the swan with his tender hands.

The frightened bird began to feel at ease as it slightly fluttered its wings. It was in much pain to fly away though. It lay there resting in Siddhartha’s delicate hands. Devadutta didn’t take it too kindly and felt robbed of his game.

“Give it to me!” he said to Siddhartha. “I shot it.”

“No way, Devadutta,” the prince replied. “I saved it.”

“That’s ridiculous,” he yelled. “It’s my bird, I brought it down with my arrows.”

“Had you killed it, it would have been yours,” Siddhartha said snuggling the swan, “But, since it’s alive, it belongs to me.”

When the argument couldn’t be settled, they consulted one of the king’s ministers who was a member of the royal escort and accompanied them presently. He suggested that a hermit lived in the woods nearby who was in a better position to give a verdict on the current matter. As was the custom, they took offerings of fruits and flowers, bowed before the sage and presented their case.

“There is no confusion,” the sage concluded. “A life belongs to the one who tries to save it. It cannot belong to the one who hurts it.”

“Therefore,” he added, “the swan belongs to Siddhartha.”

It’s a simple story, but then again wisdom lives in simplicity. In fact, it only lives in simplicity. Wise people are simple people. Personally, I find that the ultimate wisdom required to lead a beautiful life, a fulfilling and meaningful life is shining majestically like a crowned jewel in our story. Here, in one sentence:

Life belongs to those who love it.

Om Namah Shivay

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Father And Daughter

The story goes that some time ago, a man punished his 3-year-old daughter for wasting a roll of gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and he became infuriated when the child tried to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree.

Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift to her father the next morning and said, “This is for you, Daddy.” He was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his anger flared again when he found the box was empty.

He yelled at her, “Don’t you know that when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something inside it?”

The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and said,”Oh, Daddy, it is not empty. I blew kisses into the box. All for you, Daddy.”

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little girl, and he begged for her forgiveness.

It is told that the man kept that gold box by his bed for years and whenever he was discouraged, he would take out an imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each of us as humans have been given a gold container filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, friends, family and God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.

 

Om Namah Shivay

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I’ve learned

If you will take the time to read these.
I promise you’ll come away with an enlightened perspective. The subjects covered affect us all on a daily basis:

I’ve learned…. That the best classroom in
the world is at the feet of an elderly person.

I’ve learned…. That when you’re in love, it shows.

I’ve learned…. That just one person saying to me, ‘You’ve made my day!’ makes my day.

I’ve learned…. That having a child fall asleep
in your arms is one of the most peaceful feelings
in the world.

I’ve learned…. That being kind is more important than being right.

I’ve learned…. That you should never say no to a gift from a child.

I’ve learned…. That I can always pray for
someone when I don’t have the strength to
help him in some other way.

I’ve learned…. That no matter how serious
your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.

I’ve learned…. That sometimes all a person
needs is a hand to hold and a heart to
understand.

I’ve learned…. That simple walks with my
father around the block on summer nights when
I was a child did wonders for me as an adult.

I’ve learned…. That life is like a roll of toilet
paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster
it goes.

I’ve learned…. That we should be glad God
doesn’t give us everything we ask for.

I’ve learned…. That money doesn’t buy class.

I’ve learned…. That it’s those small daily happenings that make life so spectacular.

I’ve learned… That under everyone’s hard
shell is someone who wants to be appreciated
and loved.

I’ve learned…. That to ignore the facts does not change the facts.

I’ve learned…. That when you plan to get even
with someone, you are only letting that person continue to hurt you.

I’ve learned…. That love, not time, heals all wounds.

I’ve learned…. That the easiest way for me to
grow as a person is to surround myself with
people smarter than I am.

I’ve learned…. That everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile.

I’ve learned…. That no one is perfect until you
fall in love with them.

I’ve learned… That life is tough, but I’m tougher.

I’ve learned…. That opportunities are never lost; someone will take the ones you miss.

I’ve learned…. That when you harbour bitterness, happiness will dock elsewhere.

I’ve learned…. That I wish I could have told my
Mom that I love her one more time before she passed away.

I’ve learned…. That one should keep his words
both soft and tender, becausetomorrowhe may have to eat them.

I’ve learned…. That a smile is an inexpensive
way to improve your looks.

I’ve learned…. That when your newly born grandchild holds your little finger in his little
fist, that you’re hooked for life.

I’ve learned…. That everyone wants to live on
top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.

I’ve learned…. That the less time I have to work with, the more things I get done.

To all of you…. Make sure you read all the way down to the last sentence.

Om Namah Shivay

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