Tag: Love

The focus of prayer

We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties. Oswald Chambers

It is typical for most people to pray either as a ritual or when I desperation and in both cases the focus is our own paranoia. As a ritual we pray because we are afraid of divine wrath that may befall us and when we are desperate we automatically gravitate to seek divine assistance. It is significant to note that in both cases it is our self centered interest that is the bait that lures us into prayer whereas real prayer is a mix of spontaneous thanks, praise and a reaching out to god. This means our focus should be on GOD and not our personal motives or hidden agenda.

Our difficulty is that we believe in a god more because of our upbringing that focused attention on GOD, but there are many times we seem to take God for granted and/ or  wonder about the truth of GOD’s existence. Most times we have that niggling doubt that stops us from freely acknowledging God’s presence in our life. We pray without faith, we pray mechanically and we pray superfluously and more often than not we simply chant in unison with no understanding of what we are saying. When we pray without feeling, we cannot hope for our prayers to be answered, we lack the faith to believe our prayers will be answered and we are often blinded to the reality that our prayers are answered in different ways.

Since prayer is a communication with GOD, it is essential that we are able to visualize the recipient of the communication. The message has to be tailored to suit the understanding of the receiver of the communication. By focusing only on our self centered message we miss out on the opportunity to interact with GOD spontaneously and share from the bottom of our hearts. More critical is the reality that with focus on our message, which mostly is all about our wants and needs, we do not LISTEN to GOD’s communication to us. Far too many times, we never get what we seek, but in the long run we realize that we got something much more valuable than what we sought. Eg. We don’t get the marks we want but as a result we take up an education which is not out first choice. Later we realize that we got the perfect career choice.

More than anything else is the reality that when we focus on God, we seem to be able to get inspired in finding solutions to our dilemma. We also realize that our problems are really minuscule as compared to those problems of others and that many solutions are within our own grasp. Instead when we focus on our difficulties, we believe that we have passed the buck to someone more powerful who is expected to solve the problem. Thereafter, our urge to resolve the problem by using our own means is not considered a very favored option. Finally focusing on GOD gives us a peace of mind that whatever the outcome it is GOD’s will.

Remember: By my definition, prayer is consciously hanging out with God. Being with God in a deliberate way.  Malcolm Boyd

Try this:

  1. Make it a point to have 3 special intentions focused on our nation, the world at large and some individual known to you in your prayers. Have new  intentions  periodically if needed.
  2. Think of 3 specific instances in the past when your prayers remained unanswered. Reflect if you focused on God or the problem while praying. How much impact did the unanswered prayers have in your life? Was the impact positive or negative in your view?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

The riches of friendship

They are rich who have true friends. Thomas Fuller

It is not said for nothing, that a dog is man’s best friend.  A dog is completely loyal, non judgmental, gives itself completely to its master and would never ever betray the trust placed in it. If there is a flaw in a dog, it is its inability to communicate in words, but there again it more than makes up by its phenomenal non verbal communication, the furious wag of its tail, snuggling up and its mournful demeanor when it senses tragedy and pain around. Can we claim to have a human friend who has all these attributes? If you can honestly say yes, then you are the RICHEST person in this world.

Our need for friendship and companionship emits from the reality that we are social creatures who cannot live in isolation. When seen from this point of view, it follows that we will naturally socialize, befriend people, perhaps dislike some and be indifferent to the vast majority. We would also identify some people with whom we share a good connect, feel comfortable in their company, trust them even though occasionally they may hurt you, rush to them when emergency calls and magnanimously forgive them when they may have wronged us. The common name given to such a relationship that evolves is friendship. It may begin as a casual acquaintance, with more interaction it can develop into a friendship, with proximity it can blossom into a good friendship and with intimacy and trust it can flower into an intimate friendship.

Most friendships would be seen as having a strong commonality like similar age group, social status, financial status, shared value systems and styles and of course common interests and strong mutual bonding. However, there could also plenty of friendships that hinge simply on the pure comfort level that people enjoy with no other major commonality to speak about. Comfort level holds the key to enduring friendships. We might have strongly differing views on many issues but if we have the comfort level and trust a strong friendship will naturally blossom and there would be strong ties that bind. In such intimate friendships there can be gross misunderstandings, deep hurts caused by one another and even the threat of broken friendship might loom in the background, but most intimate friendships over come it as long as the ego does not play spoilt sport. Saying sorry and the magnanimity of forgiveness must be embedded in an in the friendship to qualify to be called an intimate friendship.

The bond of friendship transcends widely differing thought process, diametrically opposite styles and even possibly complete different value systems simply because friends find a treasure of love that tramples over these differences.  Some friendships involve tremendous sacrifices like lovers who are hounded by societal pressures or standing by a friend accused of gross misdeeds. It is these visible examples of boding that become so priceless that such friends actually believe that they have the greatest treasure the treasure of enduring friendship. In some extreme cases, friendships may have to be sacrificed for it to be really realized as it would happen if two ardent lovers have to give up their passions just so that social stigma and ostracization will not make life hell for either one or both of the parties involved. The ultimate testimony to the riches of friendships is ironically in the sacrifice that a person makes with his life to ensure longevity for the friend. The battle field is resplendent with examples of such rich and heroic friendships.

Remember: “Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.”

Try this:

  1. Can you think of the 3 greatest sacrifices you have made for a friend? Did you feel these sacrifices were acknowledged by the friend? Do you regret not having stood by your friend at any time? Do you remember the time when a friend let you down badly? How did you feel and how did you react then?
  2. Read the poignant Eulogy to a Dog by George Graham Vest by clicking this link http://www.milwinkennel.com/poems/FaithfulFriend.htm

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

God must be both an experience and an example

Talking about God is not at all the same thing as experiencing God, or acting out God through our lives. Phillip Hewett

God has been central to the lives of human kind and religion has been the vehicle used to reinforce the belief in god amongst the believers. Religion itself has evolved over time and has acquired various hues, has been instrumental in polarizing people and continues to be the epicenter of fundamentalism, bigotry and extremism.  When objectively studied from the point of view of the metamorphosis of religion over time two facts emerge – God becomes a tool in the hands of the religious and we become slaves to our religion. In effect what we end up doing is preaching and practicing as per our convenience.

To begin with almost all religions have a predominantly ritualistic bias. This is partly a social need so as to rally in numbers and become aware of our faith. Without exception each religion fiercely protects its turf from any form of thought that even remotely questions its dogma or authorities. Followers are happy in the solace they draw from the unknown power of God and rationalize their suffering, pain and fears. They will with impunity amass wealth illegally, part with the spoils under the garb of religious donations and won’t hesitate to pay obeisance at the cost of other ordinary mortals. The outward symbol of religion becomes the focus of people, while they blissfully ignore, sidestep or blind themselves to the core of religion viz. experiencing God and being a living example of God.

To experience God the fundamental requirement is deep faith, undying love and crystal clear values. When these are aligned, one can experience GOD in the wonders of the beauty that abounds in this world; be it the beautiful sunrise or sunset, the lush green meadows and flowers that bloom in spring or in the dazzle of the fireflies that light up the dark evening. One can experience it in the silence of the heart or in the chanting of the prayers; in the solemnity of the rituals or the boisterousness of festivity. The peak experience is the peace and calmness that pervades our stressful life, the joy and ecstasy in the  cry of a new born and the comfort that we get in believing that a loved has gone on to eternal reward.

The ultimate experience is in being a living example. We must be able to touch other lives with empathy and love bringing peace and hope to all those who come in contact with us. We must be prepared to sacrifice so that others can benefit; be merciful just as we are merciful judged by the God we believe in and be unbiased and fair and ensure that everyone gets justice without fear or favor.  If we truly love god we must be able to spread that love to every human being that we are privileged to reach out to through our own personal, caring and loving touch be it in words, thoughts or deeds.

Remember: “What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.” Eleanor Powell

Try this:

  1. Read the famous Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi by clicking the following link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer_of_Saint_Francis You can also hear the audio song by clicking on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRvtkZs7oNg
  2. If you are finding it hard to be at peace, not experiencing the joy and happiness of life, if every day is stressful then ask yourself if you truly experiencing God in your life or being an example to others.  Examine the inconsistencies in your life where you are often found doing what troubles your conscience be it telling lies, defaming people, being brash, rude and brazen or pilfering and robbing, being unfaithful etc.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Forgiving friends…

It is easier to forgive an enemy than a friend. Madame Dorothee Deluzy

Forgiveness does not come easily to anyone. We find it hard to forgive because often the hurt caused is too raw and painful to be condoned. Our ego and self respect won’t permit us to let bygones be bygones. We are seething with anger and revenge is uppermost in our minds and forgiveness will dilute that feeling which we see as a manly sign. There are times when social and peer pressure force us to abandon all thoughts of forgiveness lest we have to face the wrath and fury of our own supporters. Whatever the reason, it takes a large heart and plenty of love to forgive someone who has wronged us.

When we feel wronged by an unknown person we are quick to take affront simply because we believe the other person is careless, inconsiderate and deserves punishment rather than mercy and forgiveness. We would rarely venture to find out the real cause of the problem or misunderstanding which possibly could throw up new revelations. Yet by nature we are quick to condemn and almost reluctant to admit our mistakes if we realize it. If the wrong is done by someone whom we do not get along with or dislike or someone we consider an enemy our immediate reaction is that the deed was done deliberately with wrong intent and with full knowledge of the perpetrator. Our immediate  thoughts are to get even and possibly extract revenge for what we visualize as deliberate acts. At this point forgiveness is far removed from our minds and our fury and rage blind us to any possibility of reconciliation.

Nothing can be as hurtful as realizing that someone who is a friend has betrayed us or let us down deliberately. The hurt stems from the fact that we never expected someone who is close and intimate with us to become a villain in our lives. On one hand we cannot imagine such a situation and on the other hand the reality hits us hard and hurts us deeply.  At this point we believe that an enemy can be forgive because we expect only such behavior but that it would be stupid and spineless to forgive a friend who betrays us.  More than anything else we feel foolish that we have trusted the friend, are embarrassed that we could not see the friends nefarious intentions and connive ourselves that he deserves no mercy and definitely no forgiveness.

If we pause and let our rationality talk to our senses we would slowly realize that by not forgiving all we end up doing is wasting our energies hating someone, constantly imbibe negative thoughts of getting even and taking revenge and perhaps waste our life in the pursuit of an imaginary pleasure got by doing harm to avenge our hurt. On the other hand if we allow ourselves to be pragmatic, down to earth and sensible, forgiveness will knock the sails out of the person who expects nothing remotely as this gesture for his / her deeds. In fact it might shock them into realizing their grievous fault and they in turn could seek pardon. In the end both the person forgiving and the person forgiven would have unburdened their heavy hearts and lightened their conscience and enjoy the rest of their lives.

Remember: “There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.” Bryant H. McGill

Try this:

  1. Ask yourself if you have the tendency to be sarcastic, caustic in your comments, foul mouthed in conversation or extremely critical about others. This could cause a lot of unwitting hurt to people who are close to you but who cannot really express their hurt to you. Next time be aware of such behavior and check yourself. If by chance you realize your mistake apologize for such behavior and you will find that you will be better accepted and appreciated.
  2. Ask yourself if you still dislike and distrust some of your classmates for some of their comments or behavior that had caused you hurt then. Perhaps they have forgotten those incidents but it is you who is carrying it with you still. Can you make an attempt to meet up with these people or begin communicating with them as if nothing ever happened. You will realize that you feel much more relaxed and relieved when you let go the past hurt.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Degree of forgiveness

One forgives to the degree that one loves. Francois de La Rochefoucauld

An interesting aspect of forgiveness is highlighted by La Rochefoucauld, when he proclaims that the ability to forgive is directly proportionate to our ability to love. If we stop to pause and examine our own behavioral pattern we might find that his observation is almost spot on. The most simplistic example is the mother’s ability to forgive her child whatever the crime and that is just reflective of the deep love she has for her child.

We may be tempted to state that we have experienced sharp jibes, a nasty scolding and perhaps a caning in extreme cases from those who love us very very deeply and so we wonder if that is their way of expressing their love? There may be exceptions like some people having a quick temper or others adhering to near impossible moral / behavioral parameters and then can be pretty sharp in their outburst. Yet, the vast majority of those whose forgiveness includes appropriate punishment actually are expressing their love and seek to provide the deterrents to ensure that you are aware of the mistake and will make efforts to correct yourself. A good teacher who is relative strict, is in fact a blessing for many, for we value the discipline much later in life, though during our school days we may have taken a complete dislike and antipathy to him/ her.

The mistake many make is in equating forgiveness with love.  Yes when we love we are duty bound to ensure that the forgiveness must be in inverse proportion to the crime for that is a mark of showing our deep love for the person. If we equate forgiveness with love, there is a very real danger that our love blinds us to the infractions of those we love. We would also be siding with the wrong doer and thereby stunting his/ her ability to discern wrong doings and worst of all complete forgiveness without punishment would embolden the guilty to wrong rationalize his/ her act and falsely believe that their act is legitimate.

So that bring us to another dimension of forgiveness; the correlation between punishment and forgiveness. Punishment should be in proportion to the infraction and that would be the right measure of  forgiveness which in turn is equivalent to the love that a person shows to another.

Remember: “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”Paul Boese

Try these:

  1. How would you deal with the following
  • Your younger brother is caught telling lies.
  • Your best friend gives you a black eye because of a misunderstanding.
  1. What punishment would you suggest (if you’re a teacher / a parent/ a classmate / counselor)for students who do not do their home assignment.  Would your punishments vary depending on which role you choose from the roles given in the bracket?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

New day…grateful heart

If God adds another day to our life, let us receive it gladly. Marcus Annaeus Seneca

As I write this post, I can see the news channels breaking news about the tragic air crash of the Dubai – Mangalore Flight with around 159 causalities. The irony is that they were just landing when tragedy struck. You can imagine how excited the passengers must have been on hearing the pilot announce that the seat belt be put on for landing and the ironic twist of fate that turned that moment of euphoria into a unimaginable tragedy. Life is full of twists and turns. Imagine the trauma and the strange fate of the 6 survivors, who may have escaped death but lost family and who would perhaps wonder how and why they were spared. Contrast this with the thought process of the gentleman who committed suicide which was mentioned in my post a couple of days back.

Yes life can be viewed by some as a game of Russian roulette or as a board game of snakes and ladders. Our view point makes the difference in how we accept life and its bounty or how we painfully look forward to deliverance even if it means taking our own life. When viewed as a game of Russian roulette, we tend to wake up everyday, with that terrible feeling that the trigger holds the key. Every day is a question mark and we seek to answer the question ‘Is life worth living?’ On one fateful day, the person decides that life is not worth living and then he /she pulls the trigger with a bullet loaded in the chamber, thereby ensuring that there won’t be any more personal quandary. Unfortunately this dastardly act leaves in its wake numerous questions for those left behind.

For those who view life as a board game of snakes and ladders, the fun is in waking up and seeing which way the dice has rolled. Some days we get lucky and move forward, other days we get even luckier and climb the ladder. Occasionally though, we get swallowed by the snake and come a few notches down. We may be a bit disheartened and disappointed then, but  by sunset we regroup our feelings and thoughts and get ready to enthusiastically see which way the dice rolls the next day. Since life itself gives us little warning of what it holds in store for us, it is best that we value each day and accept the good and the bad with equanimity and humility.

Remember: A bird sings because it has a song in its heart. Do you wake up everyday with a prayer on your lips and a song in your heart?

Try these:

  1. Make it a point to smile at 3 strangers everyday and if possible talk to them too. Be polite to everyone you interact with and see how you also enjoy the warmth of their reciprocal smile and interactions.
  2. As an experiment, just for one day decide to say No to all requests. Refuse to smile the whole day, sit with a stern face and attempt to be grumpy. Evaluate how you feel. Observe how others interact with you. Do they try to draw you out? Do they attempt to find out what is wrong or why your behavior is unlike you? Does this indicate people love you for your naturally pleasant and cheerful disposition? So do you have any complaints of life?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog   www.poweract.blogspot.com 

God needs you to…

Let God love you through others and let God love others through you. D.M. Street

Yes God needs you! He has no selfish reasons nor does he have a hidden agenda when he seeks to use your help. All he hopes to do is share his love with the world and what better way to do it than to spread it through his own creation – Men and Women. When God created the human race, it was  in the hope that his masterpiece would be one that would manifest itself as a replica of God himself. To attain that perfection, he chose to give the gift of LOVE to the human race so that it would make man happy, united and generous.

We might be often tempted to feel too insignificant to be a messenger of God’s love. Yet every action of ours is spreading love into the furtherest coroners of the world. Imagine the kind of love that you ignited in your mother when you were conceived and the love that you evoked when you were born. Your first baby steps , your first words, your cheery gurgling and angelic smile all brought to the fore the deep love that was stored in the deepest reserves of the heart of all who you came in contact with. In school, your parents entrusted you to teachers and they showered you with their love. Your spouse and the family you have are an offshoot of the love that you have spread and that was Gods plan for you and for me.

In a reciprocal manner, we too benefited from the love of our parents, siblings, extended families, friends and colleagues. They have stood by us in our sorrows, passionately followed our success and took pride in our achievements. Occasionally when discipline was enforced even if it was with the threat or reality of punishment was an expression of love for you by those who really cared for you. When one suffers failures, setbacks, problems, confusion or frustrations it is to our loved ones that we go seeking sympathy and empathy. Surprisingly many of our woes and worries diminish dramatically when we share it with others who love us. They give us not just a patient hearing but good counsel and assure us of their support no matter what the cost.

As the poet H.W. Longfellow in his classic poem ‘The Psalm of Life” indicates, it is this giving and taking of love is what makes our lives sublime. ( You can read the interpretation of the poem in the sister blog to this one http://poweract.blogspot.com/2009/12/psalm-of-life-commentry.html )

Remember: The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in.” Morrie Schwartz

Try these:

  1. Make a valiant attempt to find something nice about 3 people whom you detest immensely.
  2. Write down 3 innovative ways in which you will express your love to your best friend, Your sibling or cousin, your colleague at work and a beggar on the street. Eg. Giving alms to a beggar is not innovative but maybe cooking a meal for him / her would be the exception.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Truth about Love

No one has ever loved anyone the way everyone wants to be loved. Mignon McLaughlin

Love is the one emotion that is available in abundance but never enough for any single individual. It sounds paradoxical but the reality is that we always crave for more and unfortunately our greed for love has no end. Part of the answer perhaps lies in our selfishness; we want to experience the power of love without reciprocating in same measure. Take the case of our expectations from our parents, they sacrifice a lot for us and yet when they seek a reciprocal affection and sacrifice in their old age, we have a hundred excuses and rationale for not being able to meet their expectations. If we look back at your own childhood, there would be many instances which you recollect where you felt you didn’t get the care, support and expression of love that you banked upon. It could be as simple as an incident where you were quarreling with a classmate and your parents sided with your classmate and boxed your ears or it could be when you wanted to marry against their wishes and they emotionally blackmailed you into toeing their line.

Quite often, the generation gap is the one factor that leads to such a situation where the love expressed is misconstrued as interference and the expectation of love is completely different in the context of the person receiving it. E.g. We gift our children a mobile phone and they retort that they should have been consulted about the brand, type and style and they then express their displeasure at the gift. Sometimes we smother another with our love and that is resented by the other and we feel deeply hurt. Viewed from the perspective of the person receiving your affection, your expressiveness and constant concern because of your deep love is possibly too blatant and crass. E.g. concerned parents of teenagers will constantly monitor them by frequently calling them on their cell phones especially when they have late nights and the teens would resent such calls. The parents would be hurt that their concern is not appreciated.

All of us want unconditional love; alas that is the one thing that is so much in short supply. Almost all the love we experience is conditional. How often do we love a person because he/ she is a human being and not because he/ she is a friend, a sibling, a parent etc. and it is only right we love them? When we can give unconditional love there are no expectations what so ever and so we give it amply, simply and heartily. Yet there could be times when all we get in return is displeasure, ungratefulness, rebuke, scorn and sometimes hate. If you can still continue to give your love with a smile you would then have loved the way you would have loved to be loved!

Remember: To find someone who will love you for no reason, and to shower that person with reasons, that is the ultimate happiness.  ~Robert Brault

Try these:

Name 3 teachers you loved in school. Name 3 classmates from your school days that you remember with great fondness but you are not in touch with of late. Enumerate the reasons for liking the teachers and the students. Is it their ability to accept you as you are that is the one BIG reason for you loving them?

Go visit a nearby orphanage and spend half a day at least with the inmates. What are the emotions you come back with? Will you attempt an other visit there? Did you feel guilty that you had so much love from your family and they have none to call their own? What is that makes those who work in orphanages be so committed?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com