Sunday, March 28, 2010

How Will We Love?

Came across this absolutely wonderfully riveting documentary on the nature of human love. Do not miss it, it is called "How Will We Love" and it explores the idea of love and marriage in the human condition. The philosophy of love needs so much to be talked about in a world that fears commitment to anything for a long while, and where so many of us believe that marriages are not meant to last. Watch this documentary and let me know what you think!

Here are some amazing insights that I had after watching it and also truths that I had known beforehand that the documentary enforced:

1. The concept of romantic love is so recent. People did not marry for the long-term up until 100 years ago. The nucleus family is a modern concept, not something that was preached during the Prophetic ages! Back then everyone lived together in big joint families and you married into a family, not with an individual. As one expert puts it, "In those days if you got married your husband either deserted you or they died. Today that has been replaced with divorce."

2. Most people leave current relationships when it is going really really bad. And most people do not get into any relationships fearing the big bad world of monogamous commitment and as a Rabbi says, "Men are built to impregnate the world". This is a shame because most change happens in a relationship when things are bad and not many stick around to see that change happen.

3. The documentary interviews folks who've had breakups, are happy together, have been married for more than 60 years. It is surprising that the happy couples say that they have never really had a heated argument and have never yelled at each other, although disagreements occurred at some point. Two couples said that they would just forget about disagreements because they were more than just them individually. "You become one flesh". It seems to be that letting go is the way to go.

4. I was especially touched by the young woman who's parents got a divorce, and it really opened my eyes to what children go through to see their parents split up. Other young people commented, "We live in a society that disposes off anything at will. If we don't like something it is so easy to get rid of it." Another woman said, "Getting a divorce is so acceptable. It is like getting married is now dating and divorce is simply a break-up." Dr. David Harley says, "I read an article that said only 16% of divorces are amicable. The rest of divorces happen where the husband and wife completely hate each other." Why can't human beings connect in love anymore? It is a very scary prospect that most people will live out their lives in loneliness but put up a front of freedom instead.

5. The women's movement has had a big impact on the nature of love relationships. Women now have more sexual partners, they start having sex early and women are giving up the concept of exclusivity. Men are choosing to live the single playboy lifestyle which has led this is whole cycle of fear of being with one woman. The rules have changed regarding the dating game and sexual norms. "70% of men have had or will have an extra-marital affair" and a Billboard advertisement to says "Life is short. Have an affair." Its been established in research studies that the chances of infidelity are so much higher when a spouse has had multiple partners before settling down.

I might sound to you that I am making some sort of moral judgment on marriage and sexuality. But the truth is I am trying to get to the bottom of the statistics and a staggering divorce rate. What is happening here?

I do realize that we are always evolving as a human race and it is up to us what kind of world we create. But why then does it hurt? Why is it so difficult to move on for some? Why do our brain chemicals force us to think that we can win someone back after they dump us? This is what I know for sure: we all feel emotion and this will forever be part of our human experience no matter what new rules we create. And it will always hurt to lose love. And it will always make us feel outrageously joyful and alive to find and sustain love. Rules will change, emotions will not.

So what is the key to keeping it together? I still do not know! But this documentary may offer us some clues. What clues did you find?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Conversation with a Social Worker

I received this lovely email from a visitor to my personal site. Here are parts of the conversation that I hope will continue as a meaningful dialogue:

Thank you so much for your very thought-provoking email. I am so proud of people like yourself who stay on a vibration of well-being for all, the world certainly needs it. I’d like to carry on our conversation by responding to some of your points.

>During my course of study, i took a couple of courses and concluded that the western philosophical thoughts take you away from your own beliefs and one starts to question about religion. Philosophers like Nietzche, Plato, and Socretes. But i would like to say that in fact studying philosophy open new vistas to think critically about your own being and analyze one creed and society where one is living.

As you might know from my personal writings, Philosophy (literally the ‘love of wisdom’) has been the way of enlightenment for me in terms of thought, action, and belief. I do not think that ‘western’ philosophical thought per se has led to a decline in religious belief. On the contrary St. Thomas Aquinas has shaped Christianity while Aristotle has influenced the Islamic foundation significantly. Islam in particular owes a lot to the ancient Greeks. Philosophy has taught me (or rather I have taken from it) that it is quite necessary to question and go away from one’s own beliefs because that makes a person come into alignment with their true self which chooses freely. As you said, philosophy definitely opens new vistas and fires neurons in your brain you never knew existed. For me for e.g. when I heard Nietzsche say “God is dead” I started to re-look at the role of God in our everyday lives, and realized how much power we have in creating our daily experience all on our own. When Plato said “We do not learn; and what we call learning is only a process of recollection” reminded me that we just might be eternal beings having a temporary human experience which reminds me of Muhammad Iqbal when he says “Be not entangled in this world of days and nights; Thou hast another time and space as well.” And when I read Socrates’ most famous statement “The unexamined life is not worth living” I knew this to be intuitively true without having to rationalize it. The philosophy behind these ideas appear to be against the norm of what we know religious dogma to be, but they’ve contributed to the understanding of my world and the embracing of my imperfect perceptions.

>It is high time and our dire need to transform our thoughts and actions to develop an understanding and sense of tolerance. I believe in equality, equal treatment, social justice and equal accessment towards resources. I believe that men and women are equal and we have to work for gender balance in our society.

I wholeheartedly agree that developing a sense of tolerance is the only way humanity might not self-destruct. Equality is a noble idea and I understand that your social work will be based on this belief. I also cheer you on your belief that men and women are equal. Yes, they absolutely hold equal value but they are not equal in every way (just research gender responses within any study). Well I personally hope that men will never be able to get pregnant and have babies anytime soon, and hope that women continue to remain the multi-taskers they’ve been for eons! That said, I am quite inspired by the idea that humans are more than their gender. I believe this to be the core mission of your social work: To delve into the true nature, and bring into conscious awareness, of what it means to be human on this earth, beyond gender. And this is the realization people must come to in order for there to be equal treatment and social justice. It may sound like a humungous task but if you concentrate on each moment, live in the NOW instead of thinking about the long way to go while doing this work, it will get easier and be more satisfying.

>I would like you to write and talk about feminism, discrimination, racism and all other faces of discrimination against women not only in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and other less developed countries, but universally in order to make it a better place to live.

I can talk and write all day about feminism, racism, and all the negative isms we experience every day. But I find that when we give more energy to it and wage war against it, it comes back at you harder and meaner. We know these things exist and we know they will never die as long as our news media is alive. Why don’t we focus more on what we CAN do. Educate, build, love, dream, act. Talking about it creates awareness but action creates change. And plus if I only talk about discrimination against women, the men will remain their ignorant selves. And let’s not forget people who have come into the world as intersexed. Let’s talk about US and the forgiveness that is needed on the part of all as a first step. But that said, I am open to discussing specific cases that arise and actions that are required.

Hope the conversation continues.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Message on Valentine's Day

It is here again, the dreaded V-Day. D-Day for many! "Will my boyfriend make plans with me to express his love or will he make an excuse of it?" or "Will my girlfriend please stop nagging me about taking her to an ultra expensive restaurant she wants to brag to her friends about?" What is this day for anyway. If you are curious about how this day got started, read about legends on why February is considered the month of romance: History of Valentine's Day.

For many Valentine's is a day of explaining your Facebook relationship status. Either you are single, complicated, in a relationship, engaged, married (are there any more options?). But what are you in real life? I personally know some of my Facebook friends who are "married" on their status but where real life stories either range from being unhappy, or the marriage has broken down within a few months but Facebook status remains the same because of shame, getting a divorce, the marriage is completely sexless, or they are indeed having an affair outside holy matrimony.

This was a side note. What I really want to talk about is why are people so disconnected is one, but also two, why are people obsessed with showing the world that they are part of a privileged group of human beings who have perfect and rosy relationship statuses? With each passing year, this is what I've been noticing Valentine's Day becoming. A day where relationships are put under the microscope and singles are supposed to feel like rejects who don't belong to a privileged group of recipients who are lucky enough to be validated by that thang called lovvvee.

See herein lies the problem. Human beings who are not aware of their own spiritual nature believe something unbelievable. They think that another human being would complete them and make them whole! So we are constantly in search of our 'soul mate' or a life partner who is destined to be our 'other half'. This is the biggest lie ever propagated by our socialization, our media, our movies, our romance novels, and our dating experts. My message is loud and clear: You are complete in the way you came into this world because you will be taking back just that when you depart. You will not be taking your house, your money, your career, or your husband/wife to your grave.

I was at the bookstore the other day and noticed Sylvia Browne's book 'Insight: Case Files from the Psychic World'. I was just flipping through it and randomly read a line from some page (BTW, I usually do this to see if a particular book is meant for me, pretty unscientific I admit but I'm also a spiritual warrior of some sort). It went like this: "If you ever come across someone who seems not to need a relationship or says that they don't need a man or a woman in their life, I guarantee you they end up with the most meaningful, intimate, long lasting relationships ever." Why? Because they're already complete by themselves. They appreciate everything they have and accept their strengths as gifts and know that their weaknesses are their human side.

Here is the spiritual side of things. We are more than our bodies, and we are believe it or not more than this life. So any person who wants to join us in our earthly existence is welcome to do so provided they add to, rather than take away from us, our purpose and joy. I find it frustrating when married family members advise me on needing to find a mate to be happy, or how marriage is about compromising what you would have done as a single person. Why do we need to give up our joys or purpose? It is sad that most people give up many things when they are married simply because they don't know how to arrange their time, and don't know the art of outsourcing. My sense is this is why the 60% divorce rate is not a surprise.. people giving up what they are meant to be and do on this earth.

So on this Valentine's Day whether you are single or not, I urge you to feel complete in yourself. You can never be more than what you are, because significant others are risky propositions. They change, they die, they move on, and so do you! Let your significant other realize it too so they can be complete in themselves and they can let you be you. And then experience your relationship in a new way when you tell them, "If you'd like to join me in my joyride come along but please know that I love myself first and that I am already complete."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Messages in James Cameron's Avatar

If you haven't yet undergone the cinematic experience that is James Cameron's Avatar, here are the black, white and blue messages that stood out for me.

All nature is energy. You can bond with any organic being. Iraq. Afghanistan. Gaza. Natural Resources and colonialism in the 21st century. Live with the people and know their ways to combat your racism. Unity is the best weapon even against military might. God can be female. The earth is our mother, the environment is sacred. All life is energy borrowed, one day you have to give it back but there is no death. DNA meeting virtual reality is the future. Every human being has a choice to be who they currently are OR follow their Avatar, their alter-ego, their conscience, their pure state.

I See You.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tarot Card Reading

Wow, its been a while since I blogged. Like 3 years! Welcome back to me.

I have been playing with tarot cards for a few months. I do not believe they are divine, they just assume your personal energy. It's your mind and heart that pick up on their messages. I hope you enjoy this reading I did for myself. It is a general reading using the Celtic Cross spread, the most popular tarot spread around. I have been self-learning about the tarot on It is best to read for yourself, I can't imagine reading for other people, the messages are always so unique and intuitive to the specific person. But then again I am a beginner and have a long way to go. Anyway, here goes with my generalized reading.

CELTIC CROSS READING: Saturday, September 12th 2009, 11:30 p.m.
[For background on the Celtic Cross Spread go to Celtic Cross Spread]

The Core Situation

Card 1 (High Priestess): Heart of the Matter. The central issue in the High Priestess is reflecting my innermost desire for answers to the mysteries of my life. The High Priestess always reminds me of the person I am, someone who loves and hates with the highest intensity, someone who delves deep into life’s meaning through spiritual exploration, someone who believes that sometimes the answer lies in just doing nothing. I have always looked for answers from the inside, trusting my inner voice and intuition.

Card 2 (7 of Pentacles): Obstacles and Crossings. This is a hard card to read for me in this position of the spread. Traditionally this card symbolizes hard work paying off and taking stock of your accomplishments in earthly life. It is crossing The High Priestess which might mean I am not sure about what the manifested results of all my inner searching are so far. So I take it that the heart of the matter according to this reading is that “I am looking for my life’s joy but not sure if the answers are available, not sure where to look for them in the physical world, not sure where or when to stop in the search.”

Levels of Consciousness

Card 3 (King of Cups): Root Cause; Subconscious. Getting this card to represent the root cause of my central issue, which is the search for joy through spirituality, gives me the chills. I guess I chose this card because it represents a person I am looking for to bring me that joy. A family man; someone who is over-protective about family and has emotional stability with all the leadership qualities of a king. Hence the endless search for someone who is willing to offer his cup of love to me. However, maybe I’m going about it the wrong way. I’m searching on the inside when maybe I should be searching out there for once. Let’s see what the other cards have to say on this line.

Card 5 (Ace of Wands): Projected Future and Aspiration; Conscious Goal. Although the King of Cups is very much in my conscious mind, it is definitely the root of my central issue. My immediate goal is quite correctly expressed by the Ace of Wands, a desire for new ideas and sparks of inspiration to fill my day. My aspiration is to probably try to seek out new avenues of where my King of Cups might be eventually. But I guess this card is also telling me to invest in my other talents like writing and painting, maybe I need the motivation to pick up my wand and diversify. So at the ultimate level “I want to find my King of Cups” but at the everyday level “I want to find inspiration and ideas for my next painting or next book to keep me going.”

Past and Future Time

Card 4 (7 of Wands): Past Influence. The card for this position correctly describes my personality and attitude in general, that of defiance, never giving up, standing my ground, and resisting what the majority has to say on many occasions. I’ve always been this way in the past, openly hanging on to things that others normally wouldn’t. The reading is telling me that maybe I don’t need to do this anymore or that I am gradually losing this quality altogether. This makes sense when the card of the present is The High Priestess who is the exact opposite. She lets things happen and be as they are. I still have ‘defiant’ written all over me, but I’ve also decided not to run after things.

Card 6 (9 of Swords): Future Likelihood based on Current. This is a distressing card for a future prediction. However it is a minor arcana card which means it will not last for the long-term, and in all honesty I probably need to go through it. I am not surprised that in the near future there will be nights filled with anxiety, worry, depression, guilt, and self-loathing. The past indicates that I so badly wanted to do something about my central issue and take control, and yet as the present indicates I feel no amount of action can help and often hope for divine intervention. The eternal free will / destiny quandary has hit me and this will lead to a tough emotional roller-coaster of being in limbo.

Relationship Between Me and My Environment

Card 7 (3 of Cups): How I See Myself. How I Present Myself. It is no surprise that I pulled out the 3 of Cups, the card of partying and celebration here. In public I’ve always managed to portray a happy self, a care-free individual who lives for the moment and enjoys being the life of the party. In fact if I can’t be the life of the party, I wouldn’t go. I am exuberant around my friends and play down my emotional turbulences. This card is in complete opposition to the 9 of Swords which indicated utter joylessness. Talk about inner and outer moods, public and private behavior.

Card 8 (The Hanged Man): My Environment. How Others See Me. This position in the spread tells me what kind of environment and context I am currently operating in, and what the public opinion is about me. It is amusing yet flattering to see that those who know me see me being perpetually in my own world. I don’t have a care about what my future holds, where my next cheque will come from, or what my hair looks like. It makes sense the way I come across in the 3 of Cups is how I’m perceived as The Hanged Man, as someone waiting without aim, living each moment, knowing all materialism is impermanent, and letting go of my ego. I really should internalize my external self.

Likely Outcome

Card 10 (Knight of Swords): What Could Happen. Outcome. The Knight of Swords is who I might have as a final outcome. I’ve known several Knights of Swords in my life, which might mean someone from the past of this personality type might show up again or I will attract someone with these qualities yet again. Characteristics of this person are all about logic and reason and on the positive side they are direct and downright honest. However these guys can be rude and inconsiderate about feelings involved because of their aggressive nature. When the time comes whenever this person manifests I will have to ask, “Is this guy hurtful or helpful?” I sense that the outcome will involve an important choice I’ll have to make about this person’s role in my life, especially because of the bleak outlook the 9 of Swords gives me as a future.

Card 9 (Justice): Guide. What I Can Do. It seems like I always attract an unfeeling, unromantic, strong-headed Knight of Swords. Maybe I put too much emphasis on intellectual rigor or firmness in opinions as qualities that I need in a man. The Justice card is clearly telling me to balance my act. Ironically this card is the direct symbol of the Libran zodiac which I am, and thus is telling me to use my own sense of balance more. Maybe it is the time to seek out feminine and caring qualities in a man, which would do me justice in how I’d like to be treated. It’s time for me to be treated differently not being bombarded with opinions and facts but rather being showered with flowers for a change.

I will be trying to keep a 'Teach Myself Tarot' journal to delve more into the mystery of me and my own energy.. and of course just to have a bit of fun when I am not out making a living. If you are familiar with tarot and can give me an alternative reading of the spread, please let me know!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering 911

During my 6 years of studies in New York, I'd witnessed history made in the United States. I was around during the huge baseball world series, I had been around during the controversial Gore-Bush elections, and then of course 911. It was a chilling day around campus with TV screens all over showing news channels playing the scenes of 2 airplanes crashing into the World Trade Centre towers.

I remember where I was that fateful morning of September 11, 2001. I was jogging in Eisenhower Park with a friend of mine and had no idea what had happened. Back in my dorm room, I got a phone call from my aunt to check whether I was okay. I asked her why she would call so early in the morning from her office and she told me to switch the TV on. I could not believe what I was seeing and hearing. Immedietely I got the fright of my life upon hearing that domestic carriers crashed into the towers because my mom was bound that morning to New York from L.A.

Frantically, I went to work and saw a never-ending fog of deadly black smoke hover over the sky. My boss at work already started telling me that I was gonna face problems from now on whenever I travel back home, and then she asked me, "So do you think Osama Bin Laden did it?" I didn't know what the hell to say although went along with the stares of the rest of the people in the office and unconsciously said, "Yea who else could it be". Anyway, my mind was on reaching my mom and I called her countless times only to receive dead phone lines for the next 4 hours.

With the grace of God I got through to her and she told me that her flight never took off, and she was stuck at LAX. I advised her to stay on in L.A. for another week at my uncle's house and that it would be wise not to take any more chances. By the end of that day, I could not fathom it if my mom was in one of those planes and had a post-traumatic panic attack which subsided only though grateful thanks to whoever or whatever kept me and my mom alive.

911 rocked the earth and affected every life. I heard that a lot of our interns died that day and can't imagine how those people jumped off the tower to avoid being burned alive. America changed forever as we now talk about pre and post 911. From different people and organizations having a different view on what should be done to Ground Zero, to Mayor Giuliani turning from police force monster to city hero, the change was not only enormous but it was instantaneous. Organizations had to answer questions regarding the security of their employees, the FBI was no longer the intelligent agency it is supposed to be, and the Muslim community was subject to more prejudice and scrutiny than they had ever faced before. Individuals started questioning their beliefs, their values, their patriotism, and their security.

The sad but true fact is that we all start questioning ourselves only when there is significant harm done to us. Before another 911 heaven forbid, do what makes you happy right now and realize your potential today before you leave it for a tomorrow that may never be.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Find the Balance

You are more than you think. Stretch your mind and visualize all you can be in your life, what sort of relationships you have with those that matter most, and what activities you could be doing if you only managed your time better.

It is not easy to manage your life around the hours of the day when you are overwhelmed with emotional troubles or increasing pressure from all aspects of your world. So step back and make the right choices for YOU. Here are some questions I wrote about this weekend in my journal late at night:

What does "happiness" mean?
What needs to happen for me before 2010?
What do I deeply care about?
Have the last 7 days served my purpose as a human being?

If you've contemplated on the above, I salute you for your courage and discipline. If you are doing this for the first time, I'm with you all the way. Don't give up on the hope of finding your home ground truth.

It is so important to keep carving out your own philosophy of life, the way you see it from your eyes. This will give you all the self-motivation and energy you've dreamed of, so that your heart is always filled with content and satisfaction. This does not mean you can ignore being practical and realistic, as this is the other cornerstone of a successful self. Practicality without a sense of ethical purpose means very little, and having purpose without the will or the drive to execute it only means that your purpose isn't significant enough, or you have low self-worth.

You are more than you think. You have such great potential waiting to be actualized. You can do more with your life. Get more aware, get more confident, get more quality-conscious, get the love of your life, get more focused, get more of your dreams to come to life, get fitter, you can GET IT.

Find your fine balance and swing high.