Enjoying Aloneness, How it is not Loneliness: A Contemplation

In Deep Conversation with Her Mother 181023

Aum Sri Matre NamahA Thillai Nataraja temple, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu [photo by Santu Brahma] source: tweet by Keerthik Sasidharan @KS1729 on October 1st 2018.

by Jayant Kalawar

 

Aloneness happens when there is no dependence.

No dependence on possessing things.

No dependence on having any relationships.

No dependence on having any obligations to family, friends, community or society.

No dependence on any give and take transactions.

Loneliness happens when there is dependence on any of those things and one is deprived of them.

Dependence followed by deprivation causes loneliness.

Dependence on owning a car or home takes away from the capacity to be alone. One may own a car or home and yet not be dependent.

Dependence comes from an attachment to a particular object, whether the car or home.

Moving from owning a car today to not owning one tomorrow, in an equanimous way, requires considerable Aloneness capacity.

Aloneness can be cultivated to some extent.

But to have deep and stable Aloneness capacity requires a cognitive shift.

Cognitive shift of how you view yourself, how you view the space and time world around you.

 

Materialist view of yourself and the world leads to dependency. Dependency on the material.

Materialists cannot be alone.

Religious view of yourself and the world leads to dependency. Dependency on the material and God.

Religious people cannot be alone.

The languages that we use today have emerged from and constrained by materialist and religious views of the world.

The world of the Aloneness cannot be described in the languages we use today.

It can only be contemplated, along the way to disabling our dependencies.

It can only be contemplated as we are enabling the cognitive shift to Aloneness.

To sustain oneself on this path we need the blessings of the Devi. Aum Sri Matre NamahA.

 

This contemplative note is based on my interpretation of a discourse on certain verses of The Naishkarmya Siddhi of SureshvarA by Swami Shantananda of Chinmaya Vrindavan, Cranbury, NJ on October 25th 2018.

 

August 2018: Mars Receding, Venus Distant

Durga MAtA by Photo by Soumik Dey on Unsplash 180807

ॐ श्री मात्रे नमः (Photo by Soumik Dey on Unsplash)

The heat waves and the wild fires that seem to have gripped many areas in the last few weeks may begin to recede, as Mars begins to move out of the Rahu-Ketu field August 7the. Time to step back and assess the impact of Mars transit through the Rahu-Ketu field, acting out in different areas of your lives in June and July. Take some time by yourself to scan your physical and emotional health and that of your loved ones. We have a breather here – to calm down and heal. Those of you who have continually been connected with MA DurgA would have sensed the protection and blessings and a sense of calm, even as the fires raged, emotional and physical, in various shapes and forms, all around us.

In August 2018, Venus will be most distant from Earth. It will be seen in the sky to be transiting the zodiac of Virgo. A milder form of confusion (unlike the raging storms of Mars) is likely between August 8th and 17th, with peaks around August 10th to 13th. We may see this manifested in the social and political arenas and in turn inducing volatility in financial markets. Fashion and luxury goods sectors may be particularly impacted. The inclination, for many of us, may be towards being more analytical and less emotional – and thus out of balance in situations which require emotions to play.

Usual caveat applies: the experience may be in different areas of life for each ascendant sign and intensity depends on particular ascendant degrees. Those who continually connect with the Devi are blessed with strength and calm to better navigate through the squalls and storms of life.

Socializing, Intimacy and Privacy in the Digital Age: Socializing – Part 1

Is Your Socializing Fragrant 180701

Bring the fragrance of jasmine to your social group! (Photo by Socialpictures CH on Unsplash)

You may have noticed that when there are times we want to be alone and we give it a positive value. At other times, we may feel lonely even when we are amongst family, friends, colleagues and so on. The physical situation may be the same, but the time and place that the situation of being lonely is happening is something we do not want. Then we give it a negative value. What makes for being alone and what makes for being lonely?  I hope to write about this in a series of posts in a contemplative exploration of what being alone means, in the context of socializing, intimacy and privacy that each of us may relate to and practice in different ways.

Many people inhabiting the 21st century digital world feel that being alone provides the opportunity for rejuvenation within the boundaries of privacy. They want only a certain amount of socializing. And with certain individuals of their choice, they would like the intimacy. There is a balance between intimacy and socializing, which seems to be managed by signaling privacy boundaries.  When that balance is right, we may get to the alone time we value. When that balance is skewed, we may either end up with too little of the alone time or too much of the alone time, which at some point becomes lonely time.

This may happen both over time in different phases of our life cycle, and across the spaces we inhabit. When young, we may sense the need for more socializing and less alone time. When older we may feel the need for more alone time. It may also differ from person to person the same age group, due to a myriad of reasons. Join me in this contemplative, intuitive exploration.

In this Part I post I will explore socializing and what it means in the digital age. Future posts will cover socializing in the context of different degrees of intimacy and privacy factors, how we create boundaries and manage them and how it comes together in giving us positive alone time sometimes, and leaves us feeling lonely and hungry for company at other times.

Socializing

The framework I use for this contemplative exploration is from the Advaita Vedanta perspective (and this is just touching one point of the shore of the surface of the breadth and depth of the Vedanta framework on being human): the human is considered to have 4 capabilities – physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. In these contemplations I articulate that perspective using 21st century memes.

We socialize physically, by being present in a team meeting or on the playing field or at the coffee shop.  We cannot have the physical presence in our digital social interactions (yet – sometime in the future that may change given augmented reality and holograms and so on, they may be able to produce the sense of smell and touch, which is part of the core of our physical socializing).

During these social physical together times we interact emotionally, often times with the full range of emotions: from affectionately positively friendly to angrily upsettingly negative. Being in the same physical space and in a group, makes for moderating influence. We are more circumspect on both sides.  On the other hand, when we have emotional social interactions digitally, we may end up not being so circumspect. Losing some of our composure and expending physical energy in the process.

We socialize intellectually too: we have conversations about politics, education, health care, welfare. We have opinions based on our observations, we propose them using models we have in our minds. We defend and argue about our models. And learn and sometimes change our models (often surreptitiously, without admitting it) in the process, so we can argue better next time. Those are the steps of an intellectual process. Scientists and academics do that more formally. This type of intellectual socialization may work in a digital space, especially if we leave our emotional interactions at the door. That happens more in a physical setting, and not as much in digital settings, as we notice in the flame wars on social media sites.

As I have grown older, I find I value socializing less and intimacy (which I expect to explore in a future post) and alone time more. I manage it through setting privacy boundaries (which also I will explore in a future post in this series). I see a similar pattern both in those close to my age around me, as well as my children, as they get closer to 30. My work based socialization has become very focused individual or group based problem solving interactions, strategic and wide ranging as they may be. My socialization outside of work projects, coaching and satsanghs is down to a few select friends. My alone time is filled with long walks, meditation, chanting, reading, writing, doodling, sketching (and lately sporadically knitting a scarf).

I have reached over the 800 word limit already on this post, which apparently is the expected attention span of a digital interaction. I will continue in my next post.

Meanwhile, on a scale to 100, I would say I value socializing at 30, intimacy at 30 and alone time at 40 at this stage of my life. How about you?

Where There Are Many More Losers, Very Few Winners

Corporate Pyramid by Photo by Meriç Dağlı on Unsplash 180613

The Pyramid Game: Very Few Winners (Photo by Meriç Dağlı on Unsplash)

By Jayant Kalawar

Most of us are driven to act by desires much of the time. And by fears some of the time. Some mix of the two most of the time. Sometimes we act out of habit. We have an inertia about changing how we act. Even when the driving desires and fears are no longer in us. Today I am going to talk about some consequences of acting in situations when desires do not give expected results.

Many of us have the desire to acquire and maintain a certain social status. That social status requires income, assets, acquiring of objects such as houses and cars and jewelry and clothes and college degrees. Many ands can be added. Career is one way of getting social status in the corporate (and remembers it’s only a little over a hundred years old!). The career structure is a pyramid. So people compete fiercely to get to the next level on the pyramid. It’s like playing musical chairs.

When someone else gets ahead in the pyramid, some of us feel that it was unfair. They did not get a fair shake. Those who got ahead were from the ‘in-group’. The others were favored. And so on. Factually it is likely that all that is true. When the desire to get ahead in the pyramid gets doused, many of us feel frustrated. Most of us reach this stage somewhere in their 40s and 50s. After all it is a pyramid. Only a few people can get to the top. We begin to see a few of our class mates and colleagues soar. And you know from way back that you are better than them. The frustration sometimes begins to boil over to resentment.

Getting resentful about not being able to get ahead on the career and social status pyramid sets the stage for some not very sensible actions. Such actions, born out of frustration, have consequences.

These not very sensible actions may show up as objections and snide remarks at meetings. Negative water-cooler talk is another vent. It may show up in a more passive aggressive way – in the form of internal corporate survey responses for example. We may assume those survey responses are indeed confidential and not shared. Most internal corporate surveys may be assumed to be used as barometers of where an individual is in terms of being a team player. So survey responses used for venting may have negative consequences. Perceptions in HR and senior management may turn negative. A venting team member cannot be relied upon as much.

So what can we do? Life is not fair. We learned that in kindergarten. We keep forgetting it. The odds are stacked against us, all of us, as we go up each rung in the pyramid. Those of us who are lucky, and much of it may be just luck, to get to the next rung, begin to think we are really good and better than those who did not make it there. We begin to think life is fair, so we made it there! Then when we cannot make it to the next higher rung, we are suddenly shocked that life is not fair.

So what can we do? The pyramid game is a finite game. There are many many more losers and very few winners in that game. Switch to playing the infinite game. The cosmos is infinite. We live and act in a microcosm of that cosmos. The microcosm has everything that the cosmos has. Remember the first verse of the Isha Upanishad:

Purnam-adah Purnam-idam, PurnAt Purna-mudachyate,

Purnasya Purnam-Adaya, PurnamevA Vashishyate

The switch from playing the finite pyramid game to the infinite game takes a cognitive shift within ourselves. Deconstruction out of the pyramid game to resonating with the cosmos.

So that we may begin hear the birds sing and flowers bloom, and notice the waxing and waning of the Moon.

Live to the rhythms of the universal clock within us, to sync with the cosmic cycles all around us.

And yes, it is very hard work to get there. But some of us may feel it will indeed work to get us there.

Are you one of those few?

(c) 21BanyanTree and Jayant Kalawar

Devi’s Magic: Do you want to Play?

Devi's Magic Photo by Madhu Shesharam on Unsplash 180526

Magic: Sun shining through in my heart (Photo of Antelope Canyon by Madhu Shesharam on Unsplash)

The first few seconds

Every morning

Floating in spandanA

Pulsations

 

And then

Insistent clamor rising

You are different from the cosmos

You are man

You are father

You are debtor

 

Things to do

Dollar to earn

Scripts to act out

Atomized

 

In modernity

Bouncing around in anxieties

Chasing goals passionately

Round and Round

Breathlessly

 

Clouds of despair

Thunder of anger

Lightning bolts of hurt

Tears of sorrow

Winds Lashing

 

I chant my DurgA MantrA

Poof

Clouds are gone

Sun shines through

In my heart

Re-connecting

 

Magic

In the infinite game

Do you want to play?!

Energy Boost from the Sun in Aries: April 14th to May 15th 2018

Sun in Aries 2018 Photo by Tanishq Tiwari on Unsplash

Glow in the High Energy of Sun in Aries (Photo by Tanishq Tiwari on Unsplash)

By Jayant Kalawar

When the Sun transits through Aries between mid-April and mid-May, most of us sense a boost of energy in different areas of life, depending on your ascendant birth sign (using sidereal, not tropical zodiac). If you are in touch with your energy flows through your inner work, this is something you will sense. You will be able to channel this burst of energy appropriately to heal yourself and others around you.

This year though, Mercury is still hanging around in Pisces (where it has been going back and forth since early March) and will be there until May 9th. Mercury in Pisces makes for generally less than effective communications for most of us. This is exacerbated for Aries (may cause some losses, increased expenses), Libra (mis-communications may lead to disputes) and Leo (may cause challenges in career and social status). Those situations may likely be resolved after May 9th.

Also, there will be one other major movement in the next few weeks. Mars will be moving into Capricorn on May 3rd and will be hanging its hat there until November 6th. In Capricorn Mars is energized and is generally positive for most signs, provided we channel its energies appropriately (so Leo ascendants may sense great energy flows which make them competitive at work and help win in disputes. Make sure to manage it with the long run in mind, not just the short run wins i.e. do not burn bridges for immediate applause, bring people along with you). This year Mars will be heading into rather rough astro weather in the June-July time frame, with the Moon’s orbit disturbing the Sun-Earth gravitational field (yes the July solar and lunar eclipses are just one measure of this disturbance). Mars energies will be weakened considerably. Many of us are likely to feel the stress of this sudden drop in energy levels in different ways. Those with Gemini, Leo and Aquarius ascendants need to be especially aware: prioritize and focus to conserve energies, to get through positively in the June-July period. I may write more about this next month.

To end on a positive note, currently, between April 13th to 20th, there is a Venus-Jupiter alignment going on, which is giving positive energies to many of us. May be a nice time to enjoy art and culture (Venus) and a general sense of well-being, blessed by expansive energies of Jupiter.

(c) Jayant Kalawar and 21BanyanTree.com

Desirous Energy: Imagining Untold Stories, Jumping Off To Fly

Inhaling Energy from Embers Jumping Off To Fly 180304

Inhaling Energy from Embers, Manifesting Space in Time (Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash)

By Jayant Kalawar

Embedded

In dense vibration

Secure

 

A spark

Of desirous energy

Rising

Shape So Beautiful.

 

Standing on the edge

Of vastness

Manifesting space

In time.

 

Imagining untold stories

Filled with rapturous desires

Inhaling energy

From embers.

 

Jumping off to

Fly

Glide

Roll

Dance.

 

So free in

Imagined space

Floating in the embrace

Of soft amnesia.

 

Enveloped

In flow of Time

No moorings

A faint

Memory of

Umbilical love

Calling.

 

A confused thrashing

Dim awareness

What?

Who?

 

Lost

Seeking

The way back.

© 21BanyanTree and Jayant Kalawar