Feb 27, 2023

The Tree of Acceptance

Do you associate yourself with any of these traits?
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of criticism
  • Desire to be right always
  • Conscious efforts to avoid situations that might lead to others finding fault
  • Pursuing perfectionism
  • Not being able to tolerate mistakes in oneself
  • Avoiding risks
  • High self-expectations

All these traits are interlinked and often come together as a package. A person will often end up having more than one of these traits. These could be considered branches of the same tree. But what is the seed of this tree?


Not really. Though conditioning plays a vital role in cementing these traits, it isn't necessarily the seed from which they might have originated. Conditioning - be it social, family, or peers - can be considered as the manure that nurtures this tree.

Is it the EGO?

Not really. The ego is an enabler of these traits, but it doesn't necessarily create them in the first place. These traits take shape from childhood, even before the ego has a firm hold on one's self. The ego can be considered as the root that holds this tree.

What really could be the seed? As I thought about this question, the answer that struck me was "SEEKING ACCEPTANCE AND AFFECTION".

A young child seeks acceptance for who he/she is, even before the ego sprouts.

When these were denied or when these were conditional during childhood, the above traits start to show up one after another.

A few example scenarios:

"You do this work properly, then I'll appreciate you"

"Wow, you won these awards. Let me hug you"

"You can't do this. Your hands are weak. Let me handle it for you"

When acceptance and affection come more from a place of "doing" than from a place of "being", we start to place more importance on what we do, how we do it, and how well we do as compared to others. As this behavior gets reinforced through conditioning, the roots of ego deepen and set a strong hold on us.

Ego isn't confined to how we relate to others but plays a significant role in how we treat ourselves as well.

Self-acceptance, allowing ourselves to make mistakes, and being kind to ourselves - are some of the ways by which the nature of this seed that was planted during childhood can be altered.

Feb 25, 2023

Book Review: Karma Sannyasa by Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati


I took time to read this book very slowly throughout Feb. As I had mentioned in the book review of "Yoga for Women", the third stage of life - Vanaprastha - is one of the topics I've been curious about. Karma Sannyasa is based on the same philosophy to suit the current reality, since abandoning our external life and retiring to the forest to pursue inner reflection - isn't practical in today's times.

Sannyasa is a word that we are quite familiar with, which refers to complete renunciation.

In Karma Sannyasa, the author recommends detachment as the basis. Detachment isn't indifference, but being able to remain unaffected in the face of trials and tribulations of life and maintaining a state of equipoise and balance.

Some of the key principles that the author highlights about adopting Karma Sannyasa way of life are:

  • Inaction in Action
  • Maintain a balance between worldly life and inner life
  • Continue with your duties and obligations relating to your Karma
  • Develop a higher awareness through life and not away from it

We move onto this stage of life automatically (not dependent on age) when we realize that the householder way of life is the means and not the end in itself. We start to experience things and people from a different perspective and a higher awareness.

"Whatever you are given and whoever you are living with should be considered as tools to discover and express your own nature."

"Life of a householder was designed, not merely to wile away the time, but to throw out the rajasic and tamasic properties, the dark properties of nature."

The author talks about three laws that are essential in this journey:

  • Every experience becomes a tool to shape your spiritual life
  • Focus on the regularity of your sadhana and not the intensity or quantum of it
  • Practice a state of detachment (like the lotus leaf in water), while leading a worldly life

There are also various questions related to Karma, raising a family, initiation, spending time in an ashram, and more being answered in this book. It's quite a dense read, but if the topic is of interest to you, you'll find a lot of valuable insights.

Favorite quotes:

"Karma sannyasa is not escapism; it is the way to fully embrace life."

"Freedom does not lie in abandoning your situation in life, but in accepting your duties and undergoing them without being adversely affected by them."

"Our senses are so extroverted that the mind is not able to experience things directly without an object."

"Karma itself is not the cause of suffering. Your identification with Karma is the cause of suffering."

"With the technological comforts afforded to us, we should not waste time, mind, and money in those ways which do not help us spiritually."

Feb 22, 2023

Embrace surprises

 A mixed bag of emotions kinda day! Some that led to deeper questioning, some that led to wondering "why on earth do certain patterns keep repeating?".

A surprise visit by a friend whom I'm meeting after 2 years cheered me up.

Later in the evening, D called me to her room and said, "Mommy, let's draw together".

Drawing, sketching, coloring, painting - These activities are quite scary for me since childhood🙂

I remember outsourcing my "record notebook" drawing work of Amoeba to my uncle in 5th grade🙂 Such has been my relationship with anything remotely related to art.

D is my exact opposite, she loves all things art & craft.

I usually give her some lame excuses to escape from drawing, but today, I consciously decided to "resist less" (remember the earlier post!). I went with the flow, she picked a kitty unicorn drawing tutorial video from youtube. We sat next to each other and started to sketch.

 The next 30 minutes felt so connected. We drew, colored, and talked about various topics and how our kitties on paper resemble our in-house 2-year-old kittens (they are fully grown cats now but will always be kittens for us!). The activity lightened up my mood and helped me unwind from the myriad of thoughts running through my mind.

After dinner, there came another surprise. Started watching "Vaarisu" on a whim (though reviewers gave a poor review) and surprisingly I seemed to like it. Watched only an hour of the movie so far and it takes me back to the 90s movie storyline with predictable scenes.

Feb 12, 2023

The Power of Trust

 "The opposite of anxiety is TRUST" - I recently stumbled upon this statement and it gave me goosebumps.

As I pondered over this statement, I understood this simple truth and how it resonates so strongly in my life and with my family members.

I'm not an anxious person by nature, but the few times I felt this emotion, it was primarily due to a lack of trust in someone.

Lack of trust is a learned trait through our interactions with certain people around us and our past experiences.

If our close family members disappoint us, we find it difficult to trust others so easily. It takes time to build and nurture trust in any relationship.

Some of us don't trust ANYONE whatsoever. This deep sense of mistrust leads to constant worry, doubt, and fear, leading to insomnia, high blood pressure, and severe anxiety. This eventually leads to continuous dependence on anti-anxiety pills. As we become older, the same thought patterns repeat and we get stuck in the rabbit hole of mistrust.

The earlier we realize this nature, the better it is for us to take corrective steps.

I believe that if we remain dependable and trustworthy for others, the Universe will also respond with people who can be trusted in our lives.

Trust in people, trust in the Universe, trust in the Divine => the more consciously we build these, the more peaceful our lives become.

P.S. Cats show their belly only in front of people whom they trust completely!🙂

Feb 9, 2023

Least Resistance mindset

"Try to experience the daily demands of life with the least resistance" - this statement surfaced up in my conscious mind while going on a contemplative walk a few days back.

Our daily lives are filled with demands - from ourselves, our family, our workplace, traffic woes, and much more.

Every such demand is an experience in itself. And our days are a summation of those experiences. Some experiences are memorable and pleasing, while some leave behind a bitter taste.

Last week, I was tired one evening and we decided to order dinner. D was waiting and getting "hangry". The delivery person took more time than expected. After almost an hour, I called him to figure out his whereabouts. He was near my apartment and rushed to my doorstep. He insisted that he rang the bell multiple times, which we never heard, though we were sitting at home. He also sounded a bit aggressive, claiming that he had been trying to reach my number many times. He didn't listen to my arguments and was defensive that we made him wait. I received the order, without arguing back with him. Though it felt unjust, I decided to let go of this experience and not spoil my mood on a Fri evening. 

D asked me, "Are you angry with the uncle because he shouted at you, mommy?"

I replied, "No, that's okay. It's not a big deal."

More than the experience, it is our resistance to that experience that causes greater pain and struggle.

Instead of viewing resistance and acceptance as binary parameters, let's consider them on a spectrum where one end is complete resistance and the other end is total acceptance.

The state of Total acceptance isn't easy to achieve for normal humans. It is more suited for evolved souls with multiple decades of practice.

The state of Complete Resistance is the one that causes severe stress and leads to destabilizing our state of mind for the rest of the day.

In the spectrum,

there are multiple points where

There is resistance, but not at extreme severity.

There is acceptance, but not to the point of total surrender.

Those points where we "resist less" can help us sail through moments of uncertainty, and manage situations beyond our control.

The keyword here is "Try". As we consciously make efforts to "resist less", it slowly becomes a habit.

Feb 4, 2023

Ishta Devatas

 En route to my primary school, there used to be this little Muruga temple. I used to stop there while returning home and offer a quick prayer. Along with his brother Ganesha, they have always been my Ishta Devatas.

Chanting Kanda Sashti Kavacham regularly and visiting the temple nearby used to be a routine during my 9th-12th grades. I strongly believe in the power of this chant and have experienced its impact on my mental strength.

Sometimes, I wonder if the lines of Kanda Sashti Kavacham have a similar interpretation as that of body scan relaxation/guided meditation.

I had a small frame with a picture of Muruga that we bought from Thiruchendur long ago. The frame had rusted and I was looking to buy a new picture. While visiting Giri Stores in JP Nagar a few weeks back, I asked if they had a small picture. They brought me one that was slightly bigger than what I wanted. But the image of the Lord was so clear and beautiful that I couldn't resist. I was a bit concerned if the frame would fit in the limited space on my Pooja shelf. As I came home and placed it, it fitted so perfectly in the space that I had planned. Felt so happy that day!

I recently heard in a podcast that the devatas we pray to keep changing depending on what we seek or desire. In the past couple of years, I have started to connect more strongly with Hanuman and Muruga - both embody strength and resilience.

Today, being Thai Poosam, made sakkarai pongal for Neivedyam for dear Muruga. Chanted Kanda Sashti Kavacham and listened to Soolamangalam sisters' version of Guru Kavacham. The magic and divinity in their voice bring out powerful vibrations!

Being a Saturday, chanted Hanuman Chalisa as well.

Feb 3, 2023

Personality and true nature

 As we progress through our self-awareness journey, we sometimes tend to suppress or deny our unique personality traits when we are being "influenced" by external sources. Let me explain this with an example:

From childhood, I've always been a doer. I love setting up to-do lists, and schedules, trying out multiple ideas and keeping my mind engaged. While doing my 9th std, I took up Hindi classes in the morning hours, though my school syllabus didn't include Hindi as a subject. I completed Prathmic and Madhyama levels because a kind Hindi Pandit offered the classes for free.

I feel invigorated when I have a long list of things to do. It makes me feel energized when I'm dabbling with multiple projects (personal, home, and work-related).

A few years back, I started to suppress this nature of mine, due to information that came my way. I got misled into believing that I evolved into a doer because of conditioning and social expectations.

I started to make a few changes in my life but it didn't make me feel content. My true nature was saying, "this is not you!". My husband also pointed out the same, having known me for many years.

Slowing down and reassessing our priorities is good for our mental peace, but in the process, am I also denying my true nature?

When a personality trait is formed due to social conditioning, you'll realize at some point that it is no longer working for you. When you drop that nature, you end up feeling so relieved, that a huge burden has been lifted off your shoulders.

Since childhood, I was told that there is competition in school/college and I need to be in the top ranks to get ahead in life. I considered life as a race and colleagues and classmates as competitors until my late 20s.

In my 30s, when I decided not to participate in this race anymore, it made me feel so relaxed. The competitive nature slowly diminished, as it was NOT the real me. As I let go of this trait, it brought in a sense of peace.

Our personality and patterns - Is it ALWAYS influenced by social conditioning?

Or does our inherent nature play a role too in shaping our personality?

Let's introspect and understand for ourselves.

Feb 1, 2023

The Temple Visit

 Last weekend, we visited this beautiful Shree Ashapura Mataji temple (near Bannerghatta zoo). The evening Arathi was happening and it was such a blissful experience, singing the shlokas along with the small group of people who had gathered. Felt a lot of positive vibes and divine energy. The waxing moon on a clear sky, with Jupiter and Venus making themselves visible made the whole experience even more surreal.

As a family, we go for a temple visit every weekend. We usually go to a temple nearby, but this year, we started to explore temples in and around Bangalore.

On Jan 1st, we visited the Shrungagiri Shanmuga temple. It was crowded, being the special day, but the small climb up a flight of stairs and the darshan of Lord Muruga made it special.

On Saturdays, I have set up a routine to visit the Hanuman temple and chant Hanuman Chalisa. Ever since I read the book Hanuman Chalisa by Devdutt Pattanaik last year, chanting the verses give me so much energy and strength. The vibrations experienced cannot be explained in words, whenever I chant the same either at home or in a temple.

Divinity is within and we can experience the same through prayers and meditation while being at home. But a darshan in a temple along with other devotees in a divine setting elevates the experience even further.

Routines bring discipline and purpose to our daily lives. Having a routine to connect with the divine brings so much peace and serenity.

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