The simple joy of being yourself

Yesterday I had a lovely evening spontaneously with a very dear friend. There was a silent magic about it. Sitting at La Pizzeria, we ordered some Vodka with fresh lime and some finely sliced green chilly to add that subtle spice to it. And Nachos which are served with liberal quantities of melted cheese. Conversation flowed effortlessly. From here to there to everywhere and nowhere in particular. At a point she shared that in a chat with another dear mutual friend and they casually remarked, ‘We love Kiran just the way he is’ (with all my frailties, vulnerabilities and gifts, I gathered ;-)).

In between I took a few minutes to call my 7 yr old little darling Sufii which I had been ‘avoiding’ for 10 days or more- since I could not see her when I had said I would and not wanting to feel the pain. And like always, when I called her, any pain that I had imagined vanished. She was so in the moment sharing about the wonderful time she had been having- going to the beach and playing with her friends, the many gifts that she had got for Christmas and more.

With the liberal helpings they serve and not a big appetite, we skipped the main course and went for the dessert- fresh fruit assortment with ice-cream. I was eyeing a chocolate dessert a child was having on the next table. And just sharing and listening to the flow of life. Having paid the bill, I was filling the feedback form with ‘Excellent’ everywhere, I came to ‘Suggestions’. What was there to suggest after such a lovely experience. What came to me was to say.. ’Maybe you could surprise us!’ Before I could put pen to paper, the waiter appeared with some lovely chocolate preparation and a scoop of ice-cream for each of us! This ordinary miracle added more spice than the green chilly to vodka.

Talking about ice-creams, the icing on the cake was a spontaneous connection with this mutual friend who had remarked about liking Kiran the way he is. Interestingly, he happened to be in Aundh and so we met at home and the evening stretched well past midnight and the conversation flowed some more over coffee. An argument about the nature of true power. My experience tells me that real power is subtle. And the subtler and more silent we become, we have access to something vaster, grander though quieter. The Tao does nothing at all and yet everything gets done. And he spoke about gross power and she brought the two worlds together by showing how we were in some ways saying the same thing in different ways 😉

I was reminded of the opening quote from the wonderful book, ‘Power vs Force’ of David Hawkins:
“The skilful are not obvious. They appear to be simple-minded. Those who know this know the patterns of the Absolute. To know the patterns is subtle power. The subtle power moves all things and has no name”

As the conversation flowed, one of them asked me, ‘What’s the best compliment you have ever received?’ A difficult question to answer. I remembered an appreciation from a once ‘reluctant friend’ (not so long ago) who is now more accepting of the enigma that I can be- often containing contradictions that used to frustrate him. How he had expressed thanks in the recent ‘Tao of facilitation’ program that I conduct.. He said that though in some ways nothing had changed, the lens of his glasses had become cleaner. And so he felt so much more love and acceptance.

But as we were quiet I reflected and said, No! The best appreciation I have received is what you told me earlier during dinner, ‘We like Kiran just the way he is’ (an expression that included all of me especially some inexplicable weaknesses and didn’t want anything to ‘change’ in the way that we often want people to ‘change’)

And then I get a call in the morning from a friend who says- why haven’t you written a blog for so long. You must post something today- the metaphoric last straw which got me to start writing.. And it started with this little anecdote from the awesome Anthony de Mello..
Don’t Change

I was neurotic for years. Anxious, depressed, selfish. And everyone kept telling me to change.

And I resented them, and agreed with them, and wanted to change, but simply couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried.

What hurt the most was that like the others, my closest friend kept urging me to change. So I felt powerless and trapped.

One day he said, “Don’t change. I love you as you are.”

Those words were music to my ears: “Don’t change. Don’t change. Don’t change… I love you as you are”

I relaxed. I came alive. And, suddenly, I changed!
Now I know I couldn’t really change till I found someone to love me whether I changed or not.
Is this how you love me, God?
– The Song of the Bird, Anthony De Mello


Which parts of yours are you wanting to change? Can you instead love and accept them just the way they are. I can promise that they are there for a reason, for a season, for serving you and others in ways that you may not quite see yet. And a day will come when you will smile at all that you did not like in yourself and others. Why not do it now? 😉

Discover the fascinating inter-connectedness of all of life.

Heal or Awaken ;-) (evolve or be free!)

“There is a healing in the dream. And a healing from the dream” – Ananta

I have been ‘consumed’ to some degree with this question of ‘Enlightenment’. Being pretty comfortable with paradox, I see that it is not an accomplishment. I have a sense of what it is though I am not in that state (if there is something like being in that ‘state’ because that reduces it to something you have to achieve). I have experienced states of flow and glow. I don’t think suffering has ended , nor has time ended for me, for that matter! In some ways, I have relaxed my seeking, but I do continue to ‘seek’.

I was helping a dear friend, Brijbala clear her clutter, even as I struggle with my own. Sometimes the notion of – you can enable another only if you are doing that yourself – does seem false! And this book popped out. As books always do at right time 😉 – The Open Secret by Tony Parson. Had been wanting to read it for many weeks now. It had been lying on my table and I keep going back to it. And then at ‘The School of Ancient Wisdom’ I started reading it.

I was impelled to share it with dozens of my fellow travellers.. Here I share a precious portion of the book and urge you to pick up the book. It costs less than Rs. 200 on The book is all of 48 pages! Each line is a precious pearl not to be held, but to be seen. And allow the marvelling to wrap you in silent delight perhaps as it did to me.


I like the story of God and Devil watching man as he discovered something beautiful in a desert. “Aha” said God to the Devil, “now that man has found truth you will have nothing to do”. “On the contrary” replied the Devil, “I am going to help him organize it.”

Whenever or wherever there is organized religion, there also can most easily flourish a rich breeding ground for our worst fears, our darkest guilt, and our ugliest conflicts, person to person, nation to nation and faith to faith. Whether we hold a religious belief or not, these wounds can lie deep within us and invade every part of our experience.

It felt unnatural and limiting to support an ethic based on such a purgative “no” and carefully considered “yes” when I intuitively recognized that what I was looking for was absolutely beyond both. In these circumstances I moved on and investigated the world of contemporary therapy and spirituality.

These approaches to fulfillment seemed to me to be so much more intelligent and accepting than anything I had previously come across, the ideas so very open and liberating.

It was tremendously exciting to be offered the means whereby I could learn to uncover heal and integrate those parts of my life which seemed to interfere with my relationships with people, creativity, health and wealth, and most importantly of all, my own sense of self-worth.

If all of us could do this, what a wonderful world it could become. It appealed to me, especially in contrast to the idea of having to shape myself to way of life based on someone else’s conceptual model of how I should be.

There were so many interesting and new processes to choose from, and so many people to share with in what felt like a twentieth century spiritual adventure. It was fascinating to be involved in shocking and illuminating breakthroughs, the rush of emotions, the fear and excitement of revealing my innermost secrets, of truly surrendering to my guru, of discovering why I was so fascinated by and so frightened of women. Sharing in other people’s agonies and revelations, past life memories, present assaults and future hopes and dreads, all was a revelation and a confirmation.

It was all so exciting, and it was all about me!

I involved myself in the deepest and most illuminating meditations, consumed the most recent and significant books, and of course threw myself with much enthusiasm into the latest therapies. They burst out of the ground like new fruits, to be sucked and digested, or tasted and thrown away… this breathing method, that affirmation, this integration, that special and significant energy…all had a fascination for me in those early days. If these activities were seen to be introspective or self-indulgent, then I had already recognized that, with one exception, all choice is generated from self-motivation.

The expression of feeling become sacrosanct together with the need to think positively, forgive my mother, heal my inner child, delve into my past, and so on. All of these things become vital and important process to follow…rather like a modern-day Ten Commandments.
I spent a year doing an intensive residential course experiencing many key contemporary therapies mixed with eastern meditations.

After a while I settled on those therapies or methods I felt suited me and brought me most benefit.

I experienced considerable movement of previously held inhibitions, and came to recognise belief systems and patterns that had strongly influenced much of my early behaviour.

In much of the work done it appears that the strengthening and reinforcement of a sense of self-identity and self-worth is the primary aim. The theory seems to be that if I can embrace and assimilate these processes, then I can eventually emerge as a more alive, balanced and effective individual, with a clear idea about relationships and my part in whole. All of that structure would need to be built on a powerful set of belief systems developed from considerable discipline and effort. But belief resides within the shadow of doubt. It only functions effectively in direct proportion to the suppression of the doubt that it seeks to override.

I began to see again that I was trying to repair and put together a set of parts in the hope that they might eventually come together to make a whole. But this approach directly contradicted my understanding that enlightenment lay beyond my efforts and expectations concerning self-identity and self-worth.

For those who seek change as individuals within the wheel of life, the contemporary therapeutic world offers tremendous scope and much deeper and accepting approach than anything that has gone before.

– Tony Parsons, The Open Secret


In a conversation with Rajesh Dalal who as appeared in another of my blogs (Simple encounters with Greatness), he made a very simple observation. He said, ‘Evolution is located in time’ And of course, awakening is outside of time. Similarly one could well say, healing is located in time. It may or may not take you beyond time. By no means, am I against healing. However, it is important to put things in perspective. And certainly, till we keep seeing reality as good/bad, right/wrong, pure/evil, light/dark, we are very much located in the dual. And interestingly also in a duel 😉 – a duel with what is.

My close friends often chide me, tease me, point out to me that I have a tendency to always look at paradoxes- and the flip side of things. I do love to look at things upside-down, backside-front and inside-out, play with thoughts, views. And do believe that when the question is ‘either-or’, the answer is ‘and’. However, there is a wisdom in either-or and some things must be seen as such. Perhaps seeing Healing as different from awakening is one such. It is possible to wake up and not be healed.

And perhaps .. healing may or may not lead to awakening.  It may even come in the way of awakening. Or not. They are two different and separate dimensions.

I thought I must update this blog post written 2.5 years back with this quote which arrived today (16 july 13) in my Inbox, interestingly, again through Briji (Brijbala) mentioned earlier:

You must decide, what do you want?
Therapy or Truth?
Searching for healing for your egoic identity
is like trying to heal a ghost with anorexia.
In the end, guess what:
you are not real!

~ Mooji

And now, another 1.5 years later (Dec 2014) .. this youtube video arrived which is also related to this theme.. giving a textured persepective..

Therapy and non-dual understanding – Rupert Spira (click the link underlined)

This came from a very dear friend, Sangeeta Bhagwat who writes a wonderful blog Serene Reflections and great poems on her timeline on facebook .. poems that weave the non-dual into daily life.

Like I mentioned Ananta’s clear seeing about the healing in the dream and a healing from the dream. Perhaps, there comes a time when even this division between the non-dual and the dual ends and healing in the dream and of the dream is happening as it needs to. Seamlessly.

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