Does Perception Influence Suffering? (Part 3)


Dreams seem to be real whilst they are happening but when they are finished, we say,  “Oh this was just a dream!” When you change from youth to adulthood, isn’t youth like a dream, because it will come back no more?  Wouldn’t you say yesterday was like a dream because today is different? How can that which is changing ever be real? Isn’t it dream-like? Tell me now, all of these realities that we hold on to, how real are they?

Could we take suffering in the same context, that suffering is an experience that is not real but is perceived? If I were to change my interpretation of an event, can I change my suffering? For example, if I am having an experience of pain, can I see that pain is creating a transformation in me and I am learning something? When I go to the gym and I work the body, I want to push the exercise a little further, it is painful but I am doing it because I know it is a sweet pain because the muscle is going to become stronger and tougher.

Or if someone is changing their diet because they know that the body is going to be far better, but it is painful to do because we are addicted to food. Once they keep the image of where they want to go, suddenly it feels like it is not an issue at all. “I can do this!” The interpretation of the event changes the experience. That’s why we say what can be painful for someone, might be joyful for another.

If we have an ailing relative and the person is going through severe pain and subsequently passes away. If we think that they are relieved from the suffering, and they are continuing on their journey, then our interpretation of the event frees us of suffering. Somebody could misinterpret our response, thinking that we are happy because the person passed away. Another person will see our response as not right and they are totally sad, depressed because the person passed away. You see different interpretations of the same event?

Is it possible then that we can transform the interpretation of any kind of suffering because we have a divine self, “This is happening but it is not totally real.”  If we could interpret the event in terms of it being transformative then would we ever see suffering?

If we are to interpret change as being good for something then when change is happening we will not have an issue with it. If I have the awareness that I am going to live beyond the life of the body, and I can feel that deep within my being and it resonates powerfully within me, then there is absolutely no fear of death. There is no suffering in terms of that. Is it possible then that the consciousness could shift and go to a place where there is never suffering because we can reinterpret events in the way of learning, growing and evolving? We will only continuously see the blessing of transformation.

Is it possible then that the only one who is suffering is the ego which is not divine self? It is false self. If we can come back to that place of pure being where we can reinterpret events and see everything as being transformative, every experience in the consciousness as helping the ego to evolve and finally become free, then would life be free of suffering?

That’s what Buddha found out. He speaks only of pure consciousness; no God, no angel, no event, simply that which is not impermanent. He speaks about this consciousness space that is the basis of everything. Everything else is changing, transitory. Sri Vasudeva


Take Initiative in your Transformation


As a seeker, we have a number of things to do. We have to catch up on our act. If we sit still, nothing is going to happen. The past karmas would just push us, here, there and everywhere, so we really need to take initiative. We need to hold the rope firmly. Swami Vivekananda said to let go of the rope, but first we have to hold the rope; the rope of that desire that will help us to transform. Ultimately we will let it go. The rope that Swami Vivekanda was saying to let go was really the detachment; detach yourself, let go of that which binds you, but do not let go of the desire to transform yourself, to stay on the path and to sustain your discipline. This is what we need to do as a seeker. Sri Vasudeva

Flexibility & Being Centered in the Source

It’s the second day of this year and I feel there is great momentum for personal transformation in this day. How can I maximize on the energy in my world today?

In reviewing my plans for this year I notice there are many qualities I need to cultivate further in order to fulfill my intentions, chief among these qualities is flexibility. According to the online free dictionary, flexibility is defined as:


a. Capable of being bent or flexed; pliable.
b. Capable of being bent repeatedly without injury or damage.
2. Susceptible to influence or persuasion; tractable.
3. Responsive to change; adaptable: a flexible schedule.
Synonyms: flexible, elastic, resilient, supple
These adjectives refer literally to what is capable of withstanding stress without injury and figuratively to what can undergo change or modification.”
I look to this day to see the opportunities that will present themselves as invitations to develop flexibility in my body, in my beliefs, in my relationships with myself and those around me. I recognize that stress will be part of the learning package as I meet with situations that prompt me to look from a different point of view.
I will try to recognize stress as opportunity knocking. It is my resistance that brings the pain. Part of my resistance stems from my fear that I will have to give up my core beliefs. I remind myself today that giving up is not the same as flexibility. It is more about how can I incorporate or expand my understanding of what I mean about those core beliefs and how I manifest those beliefs in my outer world.
Image source www.lifetree.comFlexibility is about expanding. Cultivating an attitude of flexibility is one way for me to seek an expanded awareness, to be more connected to the Source of my being. As I look to nature there are many models of flexibility; the graceful large trees, the water flowing in the streams. It is flexibility and adaptation that allows a species to evolve and flourish.
In thinking about flexibility in nature I become aware of the aspect of stability. If the tree isn’t strongly rooted then that affects it’s capacity to be flexible. Ah so my ability to be flexible is a reflection of how strongly centered I am in that infinite Source of peace, love, goodness and wisdom!
Please share your thoughts on the importance of flexibility on the spiritual journey and how you cultivate flexibility.

Treating With Limitations

I was clearing out my documents folder and came across this little nugget. It’s a note I made while Sri Vasudeva was speaking in a discussion group at the ashram. He asked, “Can I see my limitation? Does it bother me? Does it really bother me (like it did me, Vasudeva)? And am I really serious about coming out of it? Do I want to open my awareness? Do I want to see my world differently? Do I want to rise above ignorance? Do I really want to? So when we really ask the question of the Universe…How can I, an embodied soul, become free? When we really begin to ask that question, our true journey to freedom begins.” He went on to say, “ limitations and how we treat with limitations also tell who we are.”

I found this a thought provoking piece as I reflect on my response to limitations. I’ve been encouraging myself to come out of blindness to limitations by noticing when I feel uneasy, cramped, uncomfortable in any way, and to celebrate this awareness as a first step in overcoming a limitation.

I can get caught up in intellectualizing how to get out of the limitation. I can find myself rationalizing the existence of the limitation if I’m not careful. For example today I’m thinking there’s so much to do that I don’t have time to do all of it. I want to spend time in the garden, I need to catch up on emails, I have a lot of cleaning to do, I have tons of research and writing that I haven’t started…and the list goes on. I feel overwhelmed. What can I do?

I remind myself about my spiritual goals, that I will strive to see life as it is without judgment, to be a Source of love and light wherever I am, to seek to experience the fullness of Being. Hmmm! OK that brings a whole new perspective.

I stopped writing and spent fifteen minutes in the garden enjoying the sunshine, pulling the weeds, allowing myself to be reminded of the value of the mantra and the need to manage the mind and emotions just like I need to manage the weeds in the garden. As I did that I became calmer, more centered inside. I decided to give ten to fifteen minutes to each of the tasks that I consider important. I made up a schedule. Funnily enough there was time to make a start on every thing I want to do.  I’m reminded of why these activities are all important to me. I resolved that every small step is important and will be done in enjoyment and with the fullness of my Being.

I began to feel more in charge of myself once more, to feel a sense of direction, to feel great. What a transformation! Writing this post has made me aware of an important process for myself. When I notice the need to make a change then if I take a small step in the direction I want to go, that will create momentum and energy to take even more steps.

Thank you for sharing this time with me and allowing me to explore this idea. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you become aware of limitations and how you overcome them and how you think the way we treat with our limitations tell who we are.

The Need for Toughness on the Spiritual Journey

I was looking at a movie with my nephew last night. Like me, the heroine of the movie loves crossword puzzles. She says that one must be persistent in solving a puzzle. You can’t give up. That quality of determination and toughness is also needed on the spiritual journey.

I remember Gurudev saying, “ We can all declare that we are weak and we have a lot of work to do and we can all sit and share sad stories and share a cup of tea with the sad stories and then when we finish we continue to be the same way.  So we need to change the storyline, no?  We need to talk about powerful stories and talk about transformation.”

Sometimes at this time of year when the excitement of Christmas and New Year is over then there is a shift in energy in the atmosphere. Some people who are sensitive to energy may pick up this fluctuation. How we respond to these energy shifts will depend on where we are centered. Will we experience irritability, depression, short temperedness? Or will we feel inspired to bring more light into our world by sharing our victory stories? Will we seek and give support when we can?

Gurudev says, “When we admire those who are tough, then we’re inspired to become tough.  We have an example.  So we need examples of people who don’t give up, who are passionate – follow them, learn about them, learn from them and you will imbibe the quality.  You will begin to feel the quality inside of you, the quality of determination or persistence in the learning process.”



So how about sharing with me some of your moments of transformations? Who are the people you admire, what about them inspires you and how do you emulate those qualities? Lets energize ourselves and each other with our wonderful stories!