Saturday, 30 March 2013


Of course, this is part of old knowledge, going back at least to Plato, in the parable of the CAVE and further back to the Vedas in the image of how we mistake ropes for snakes or vice versa, and bears much reflection and many more blog entries, but I'll do just one sentence for now, again from Narby:  

"We never see reality but only an internal representation of it that our brain constructs for us continuously."


We get so bogged down by our narrow tunnel visions of our own lives that we forget the miracles that we are. I like to read material that WOWS and WAHS me. I hope my interesting fact series does the same for you.    


DNA is an ancient high biotechnology containing over a hundred trillion times as much information by volume as our most sophisticated information storage devices. It is organic and so miniaturized that it approaches the limits of material existence.

In each human cell there is the equivalent of “the information contained in one thousand five hundred encyclopedia volumes."

Wednesday, 27 March 2013


is that it makes us feel we have to be POSITIVE all the time and that it should be easy to do, very easy, and that there is something wrong with us if we can't maintain a level of positivity. And it has a very narrow definition of positivity and ignores the fact that there is no positivity without negativity. There are many shades and colors to life and a failure to acknowledge this can cause a lot of stress and unhappiness. Take me, for example. These days I am under enormous stress before leaving for India -- separation anxiety because Payson isn't accompanying me and will come later; from having to prepare for being away from home for seven months; from having a mile long list of things to do before leaving. No reminders to 'gird my loins' and do 'cavalry charge' help, though they did work then (Ah, the forever shifting world, and us shifting within it). Going to the gym regularly doesn't seem to help, either. My jaw is clenched from the stress, I have such an edge to my energy that I have to take help of certain helpful herbs and drugs, all of which are marvelous when used, not abused.
There are times when you simply have to accept what IS with no guarantees that the acceptance will alleviate your stress. You simply have to endure, which means to know that what has to be endured will end. I will be sitting on a plane this time next week, and I will take the opportunity to simply return to a more congenial tempo. Endurance without this knowledge can be hell. So it becomes necessary not just to suffer but to know that one is suffering, for this knowledge puts a distance and space around the suffering. There, I am being motivational again. But the thrust and endeavor is to be happy and calm, or at least to suffer less, don't you think?

Sunday, 24 March 2013


And when I experience what I described in my last post, God the Father doesn't do for me, it is God the Mother, and her comforting teats that I turn to.  And they are comforting, lulling, peace-feeding. Her  loving, stroking, kissing, put me in a safe place and I fall back to sleep.

I didn't have a particularly nurturing mother and I am not a lesbian (not because I think there is anything at all wrong with it but because I wasn't made that way) but I find it amazing how both sexes seek  this other mother, this feminine energy, 'Godina' I call her, for comfort in times of stress. I find Hinduism, Buddhism and Catholicism  with its  female deities more commendable in this regard, in the way they offer female archetypes for human contemplation than even Sikhism, not the way it came into being, with the Gurus calling the supreme being MOTHER FATHER GOD, but because of the patriarchal institution that it has become.


we have many faces, one each for every situation, but there is one particular one I want to mention: the face that surfaces at night when no one is watching, and pain, psychic or physical, is keeping you from blessed sleep. Your partner, too, is sleeping, and you are entirely alone, the kind of alone that is our essential being, the kind of alone we are born and die with, the kind of lonely suffering that even God can't take away or mitigate. Though we can rejoice with others, we suffer alone even though there are others who share our suffering and do whatever they possibly can to alleviate it.

The image that came to me last night -- I couldn't see this night face, just like I can't see my other life faces (isn't that an interesting fact: though we see all else, we can't see ourselves? Can't see our eyes seeing?) -- was of sitting on a very pop able bubble above a very dark, very deep abyss. And the words came to me: this is what it is to be human

Saturday, 23 March 2013



There are 125 billion miles of DNA in a human body. Our personal DNA is long enough to wrap around the earth 5 million times.  

I was specially interest by this fact when I was rolling up some yarn after having divided it into two, and having hell of time with it. DNA DOES NOT GET ENTANGLED!

"The enzymes which both repair the double helix in case of damage and correct any errors in the DNA replication process make only one mistake in ten billion letters." 

So keep the wonder alive. It is what makes us human and keeps us marveling at this existence of ours!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013


Lying in bed this morning, in pain from inflamed gums and teeth, wishing a bomb would drop on the dentist's office, wishing I were in the dentists chair when it happened, I understood the connection between pain and violence. My thoughts immediately went out to the criminals and mass murderers that we hear so very much about in the news lately. It is pain, psychic or physical, that makes us turn our rage outward and express it through violence. It is important to be aware of this fact, and then accept our suffering with open arms. For an explication of the last sentence, read my post MAN'S SEARCH FOR MEANING, VIKTOR FRANKL


If you can change the worry around hypochondria to an anticipation and acceptance of the worst, you are cruising. An example: after a lifetime of  having no dental problems -- except the usually ones of cavities, root canals, crowns etc -- my mouth is suddenly blooming with pain. My dentist says I need one possible implant on the upper right, but at least three teeth on the lower side are inflamed enough to destroy my peace and turn me to pain killers. When this first started about a week ago, I was distraught. Having teeth extracted has always been a sign for me that old age is finally here. All during youth (I want to say 'so called' youth because I am uncertain, given the convoluted nature of time and the uncertainty about what it means and where it begins and ends) my nightmares revolved around losing teeth. Perhaps one way to define youth is by the illusion that teeth, at least, are permanent.

Lying in bed this morning my hypochondria made me go from losing one tooth to four to having cancer of the jaw (as our friend AK had and ended up losing a quarter of his face), losing my face then dying a horrible death. One can take only so much of torturing oneself with visions of the future before snapping, and I snapped into wisdom and acceptance. SO BE IT. I am not foolhardy enough to say COME, WORST, for fear of inviting it, but I want to be open to the worst in the same spirit of 'cavalry charge,' 'girding up my loins' and 'meeting it head on' that I talked about in my post yesterday. We all must perish and better to go meet this perishing bravely than whimper under the sheets.
One does not have to struggle to be wise, for time makes us so if we are open to replacing distraughtness with courage, which is one definition of wisdom.  

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


Sometimes I wonder what I am doing, posting all this motivational, self-help type of crap, instead of writing, or writing about writing, or posting my poems (which I also intend to do). But a deeper part of me knows, and knows well, that it is the inner workings of our psyches, the fine tuning of them with right thought that ensures right action, quality of life, well-being, joy and success. Success is not about how great and 'successful' -- materially, or in terms of renown and fame -- our lives are. It is not about who we are externally but how well we navigate the uncharted and often chaotic and even dangerous inner landscapes of our mind that determine how successful we are in taking full advantage of what we have been given to live and experience. And ultimately, the gift of life is life itself in its manifold experiences.


I have been dragging myself down by the weight of a necessary thing undone. I've finished my book and have been procrastinating on working on the proposal, necessary to send off to publishers. This isn't the only thing weighing me down, but many others practical, being-in-the-world chores. I found myself grumbling and whining about them yesterday. And then suddenly, everything changed with the words and determination to 'gird my loins and go to it.' Meet it head on. When I was in boarding school at Welhams in Dehra Dun, India, I was on the rugby team -- yes, rugby for girls. My team called me 'cavalry charge' because once I got the ball I made that inner switch in attitude that I wasn't going to let it go till I had reached my goal. That's what it is, a simple inner switch in attitude, a 'yes, I can and will' instead of 'no, I can't and won't' that makes all the difference. Once this switch is turned ON, believe me, the world and your life changes. I sat at my desk for five hours yesterday and feel in control of, instead of drowning in, paper.

Friday, 15 March 2013


Ongoing cogitations about the advantages of traveling: Perhaps the greatest advantage here is that in taking you out of the rut of the wonderful and constricting structure of your life, it reminds you of your mortality. There is exciting and frightening (notice dualities!) danger in every adventure, and it is the frightening part that is the most fruitful. Each time I leave for India, or fly anywhere, for that matter, I am reminded of plane crashes, hijackings. This is partly what makes me anxious before traveling, but it also reminds me of the inevitable (if not now, it is to come; if it is not to come, it is now. Readiness (or is it Ripeness?) is all, as Hamlet says). When I returned to America in Oct last year, I heard that our reclusive neighbor, Larry, had passed away. He lived alone, no one knew he had died for many days, I am told. He had no wife, no children, no friends, and the only indication of his existence was several cartons of empty wine bottles on each garbage day. (All the lonely people, where do they all come from? as the Beatles say). But Larry had the foresight to leave his multi-million dollar home to the San Diego zoo! That pleases me greatly!
The above example was a digression and had nothing to do with traveling, I know, but it does have to do with dying, which was what I was speaking about. Perhaps my point was that we are all travelers on this planet and we need to get our affairs in order periodically. So, in addition to all the other things I need to do before going away for 7 months is the task of making a will. I wouldn't want the state to get everything I own.

I am babbling and must get back to my tasks!


Since I have started blogging regularly (an audience to your narcissism helps!) I haven't journaled much. This is a mistake. Blogging and journaling are expressions of two different aspects of oneself. Journaling, unbothered with audience, goes far deeper and is more honest. It gives you more insight into the workings of your mysterious and ultimately unknowable soul (after all, it partakes of the mystery of the universe), insights essential for the ongoing business of HOW TO LIVE.  


I am the living proof. Just took a vigorous (expend all that energy instead of bemoaning it, Kamla!) walk (33.55 minutes. Anal? No, precise. when you want to feel you are accomplishing something with your days, little increments help) up the hill our house is located on, saw the Earth expressing itself through exquisite color, beauty that even the fog could not obscure, and am back in my study, feeling the onset of that measured pulse that feels right.



My tempo is off these days. I am going faster than I want to, spinning around yet getting very little accomplished. This happens when I am anxious, and these days I am anxious about making my yearly trip to India for seven months. There is so much to do before leaving and together with trying to wind up my book on Guru Nanak I feel rushed when I want to rest. It affects my sleep too and that becomes a viscious circle of needing to do, not being able to, and tying myself into a knot. I go prestissimo, speed, when largo is my preferred pace, that broad, slow moving from task to task, listening only to the tempo and needs of my body for food, liquid, or rest. I have tried meditating and though it has helped, as always, I am still not where I want to be; after I am done scribbling here I will go do some yoga and go for a walk in the rain, for it is foggy and wet this morning.

Tempo is a huge topic and perhaps I will get to it a bit in later posts. Now it is time for that walk.  

Wednesday, 13 March 2013


A wonderful book, first published in 1961, the kind that broadens your perspective and makes you get out of your usual way of  perceiving existence. Here are a few quotes:

"I must seek a perspective far beyond the traditional, beyond the safe and proper, even beyond the human."

"In a very real sense it (our Earth) is alive. Like an animal it stirs in its sleep, it breathes air, it grows, its wounds heal, its juices circulate, its skin metabolizes, its nerves crackle quietly with vital messages. it even rumbles with internal gas and dreams and itches a little and (through its inhabitants) feels self-conscious."

"The present mountains are just a momentary frown on the earth's face -- passing wrinkles that have only at long intervals appeared before and will never be the same again."

"Like matter itself, terra firma thus reveals her illusory nature."

Sunday, 10 March 2013


I talk about myself ceaselessly in these posts. Call it narcism, if you must, but I know no topic better than myself, and even this, inadequately.


This has been a dilemma. I don't really need to buy anything, but I still need to shop because of the reasons I mentioned in the previous post. Shopping for new things reaffirms life and keeps the economy going (my excuse whenever Payson says, shopping again?). I have found a solution. For every new thing I buy I give one away. This is easier done in India where there are so many people you can give things away to, but in the US, too, there are many ways to recycle. So, here's another justification: SHOPPING = GENEROSITY +COMPASSION+SHARING!


GO SHOPPING! Honestly, some people might think this is a woman's thing, but  trading, buying, selling is a human thing. We are the only species that does it. And if one doesn't do it compulsively -- and it's easy to fall into that if one is not careful -- it is a joyous thing! Important phases of my life are always heralded by a shopping spree -- not exorbitant, but like yesterday, just $150 of summer clothes. I have been in a strange limbo for many weeks now, not sleeping well, or knowing what was going on,  but just a general sense of malaise, not feeling my usual self, not sick enough to rest or well enough to do my doing, but yesterday, thanks to another of my 'vices' of which I shall perhaps speak shortly, and the shopping, I have understood what is going on and am happy today.

I am nearing the finishing of my book, just a few more strokes, and a huge vacuum is opening up in my days and I need to shift gears, which is always a difficult thing, since inertia keeps one going in the same direction, stuck in a groove, sometimes an abyss. It is the hardest thing to change gears because we are creatures of habit, which, in the best of times, is a good thing for it gives structure to our days, and structure is security and productivity. But often it becomes necessary, perhaps essential, to change directions. When writing is your whole life and you have been doing if for a long stretch, to be left without it leaves you wheeling about directionless in space. It depresses me, makes me fall sick, and I know that it can also kill me.

So, shopping, preceded by that other wise I mentioned of which I may perhaps speak later, has put it in a wonderful space. My other life has opened up. When I am in a writing phase -- which is most of the time -- I wear the same clothes over and over again, resent social activities and household chores, neglect the garden. Now all the latter things have begun to bloom. I am wearing new clothes this morning, we are going to a new place to walk today, and there is a general newness in the air. NEWNESS. My body and brain become hungry for it and I have to feed them this newness. Even in my walk yesterday I took new paths, wandered down allies never seen before, noticed trees suddenly visible in their blooming beauty. Unless we renew ourselves in spring like the earth, there is danger of falling into depression.  

Saturday, 9 March 2013


WALK! Get out of the house, without ceremony, in your walking shoes, and walk the neighborhood wherever you are. It shifts the energy in body and brain, moves it around, distributes it evenly, for what is depression but stuck energy? Even better than yoga sometimes, which requires -- for me, at least -- that you be indoors. Spring has sprung and there's no better time to be outdoors. Don't let anything deter you . . . it is a rainy, grey day today here in Del Mar in Southern California, but the walk has started off my day, albeit slowly, reluctantly. It is a great day for lying about, in bed, even, reading.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013


Sounds yukky? I loved the smell of my father's armpits when I was a child. My cats would sniff my armpits, too. Parsnips smell and taste like armpits, and I love them. So, if you like parsnips, here's a recipe. If you don't, then you can still make a delicious soup with the rest of the ingredients.

I take that back: I don't have a recipe, recipe per se but a general formula for soups in general (I feel like repeating myself this morning), a sort of basic formula for all my soups and stews, which I am told, turn out rather delicious. I'm not big on measurements and work with an inner sense, which is this: cut up parsnips, yams, zucchinis, carrots (equals amounts, if you prefer. I work with what I have). You can add an apple to it, too, and certainly the other three basics -- onion or leeks, ginger (as much or as little as your like), and garlic (I skip this because I can't digest it, but Payson loves it). Dump into a pot full of water, just enough to cover the veges, or more, if you like more broth, which I do. I'm a big fan of BETTER THAN BOUILLON (chicken or vegetable), and add a heaping table spoon of it to the mixture. When the veges are cooked, I blend it all together. If you're not counting calories, you can add cream to it, and yum, pumpkin seeds.  


Woke up tired this morning from not being yesterday all day yesterday from having gone to LA on the 3rd for the Stravinsky concert  and the reading at the Shivananda ashram to a sink full of dishes and uncut veges from the soup I had intended to make yesterday but didn’t have the energy for. I was first inclined to move away from the kitchen but realized that this was my task of the day. The soup is cooking, the dishes and table clean, and it is a good feeling. May I always be ready to take on whole heartedly the tasks presented to me during my days. 


As you can see, I'm still mulling over this book. I had an opportunity to refer to it again last night. I had driven up with Payson to LA yesterday to hear Gustavo Daudamel's FIREBIRD (Stravinsky): AWESOME, and for a Sat Sang at the Shivananda Ashram where they had invited me to read two stories about Shiva (it being Shivratri) from my GANESHA GOES TO LUNCH book. One of them, SEE HIM IN THE DARK, brought up the issue of how we can see God in the demonic and ugly. A lot of people had a hard time with it. Richard said how can you see God in the holocaust?I was reminded of Frankl's book again. This man is not just talking, he has experienced the death camps in all their horror. He says, "If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering in an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. without suffering and death human life cannot be complete."

He goes on to say "the way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity -- even under the most difficult circumstances -- to add a deeper meaning to his life."

I will talk about this some more. But do read the book for yourself. It gives you a tremendous insight into human nature and is ultimately a hopeful book.