Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tough Time Never Last, But Tough People Do!

Knute Rockne said it: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” When the roads are rough, the tough rise to the occasion. They win. They survive. They come out on top!

People are like potatoes. After potatoes have been harvested they have to be spread out and sorted in order to get the maximum market dollar. They are divided according to size – big, medium and small. It is only after potatoes have been sorted and bagged that they are loaded onto trucks. This is the method that all Idaho potato farmers use – all but one.

One farmer never bothered to sort the potatoes at all. Yet he seemed to be making the most money. A puzzled neighbor finally asked him, “What is your secret?” He said, “It’s simple. I just load up the wagon with potatoes and take the roughest road to town. During the eight-mile trip, the little potatoes always fall to the bottom. The medium potatoes land in the middle, while the big potatoes rise to top.” That’s not only true of potatoes. It is a law of life. Big potatoes rise to the top on rough roads, and tough people rise to the top in rough times.

Tough times never last, but tough people do.

(Robert H. Schuller)

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Spiritual Perspective

Study shows that the message of mystics of all times and places is in essence the same, irrespective of language, culture or religion. A mystic is someone who finds answers to the big questions of life by research within his or her consciousness. Through their research mystics have discovered that that there is a ‘spiritual’ world that lies behind and animates the ‘mental’ and ‘physical’ worlds. While for most of us things spiritual are no more than concepts, for the mystic they are facts of life, constantly experienced.

It is as if mystics are telling us that the human being is highly sophisticated hardware that comes with three software programs, the senses, mind and spirit. Most of us know of and use only two programs, the senses and the mind. The mystic shows us how to activate the spiritual program and make human life complete. To follow mysticism is therefore not like adopting a new religion or philosophy, which is a re-programming of our mental and physical software. Mysticism activates our spiritual software, our innate spiritual capacity, which benefits us regardless of what teaching we follow. Every human being has equal potential in this respect.

When we try to answer ultimate questions about our existence using only two of our natural software programs, we become confused and, due to our differing cultures and backgrounds, come into conflict. If anyone, whether a mystic or a priest, tells us profound truths about who or what we are, those words alone do not make us understand or feel those truths. We need, by developing the third software program through spiritual practice, to experience these truths for ourselves, to make them a lived reality. When we see the spiritual reality, our conflicts over religious dogmas evaporate. On the platform of spiritual life human beings can come together as one.


In recent centuries we have developed many complex material sciences generating
impressive bodies of knowledge about the world and human beings. But this research has been confined to the mental and physical realms. How far along is our research and knowledge about spirituality? For example, particle physics now recognizes the intricate interconnectedness of the entire universe. Mystics share this understanding, teaching that there is one divine wellspring of life, a vibrant and positive energy, a single source of all being, namely spirit. Scientists, in their search for the theory of everything, may have already reached the limits of the power of the mind to capture and describe reality using words, concepts, symbols and images. Mystics explain that for us to know about spirit we must go beyond mind and physical senses. One must use the method, the software, that is compatible
with discovering spiritual truth, which is by developing our spiritual capacity within.


Mystics describe the quest for spiritual truth as a journey we make within our own bodies, within our consciousness. To understand this journey we need first to understand where we start from, our present spiritual condition. The life of each of us, mystics teach, is projected in its perfect whole from a single source beyond time. But on planes of mind and matter, we live our lives under the illusion of time and the law of cause and effect or action and reaction.

Everything we do we have to pay for. The soul, coupled to mind and body, must reap the harvests of these sowings, and moves from life to life, form to form, living and dying over and over again. We are now caught in this cycle, called the wheel of life, the cycle of reincarnation, or the law of karma, which many of the world’s peoples have long understood as a basic fact of life.

Given this situation, how should we choose to act? Mystics urge us to wake up, ask ourselves what it is that makes us suffer and where our real happiness lies, and then make the appropriate choices. They advise us to turn our consciousness away from the pain-filled material life of ceaseless change, the spinning rim of the wheel of life, and toward the stability of life’s unmoving centre.

They explain that at the centre of life is spirit, one and indivisible. Spirit is perfection, imperturbable, the origin of all. From the one emerges all diversity, all forms from the most subtle to the most gross, all activity and complexity, the entire creation. Spirit is love. Spirit is energy. Spirit is life. Mind, matter and senses have no life of their own—they are the means by which spirit expresses and manages itself in material dimensions. Spirit comes from a source beyond mind and matter, and beyond the law of cause and effect. Soul, a drop of spirit that allows a being to be defined apart from the ocean of spirit, is the energy or power that sustains individualized life. When soul, the life force, leaves a body or living
being, that body dies, disintegrates, and reverts to its original matter, dust to dust. If spirit leaves the creation, the creation disintegrates and reverts to an earlier, less-formed reality. The mystic journey of enlightenment, then, is the expansion and deepening of consciousness from life's most transient material manifestations to the permanence of its spirit-filled heart.


For the practice of mysticism to be successful, a person works both on the inside and on the outside to create conditions favorable to the expansion of consciousness. On the outside, he or she minimizes the binding force of cause and effect through compassionate and mindful living: a vegetarian diet, no intoxicating or mind-altering substances, and a code of conduct that shapes positive and spiritually supportive relations with others. On the inside, time is given daily to the practice of meditation to re-orient the mind inwards. Meditation techniques engage the dominant faculties of speech, sight and hearing to focus the attention and shift it
away from the senses and towards the spirit—and from this arises a state of concentration, heightened awareness and perfect stillness. When concentration becomes perfect, dedication absolute, and yearning so intense it can no longer be supported, consciousness passes naturally into another dimension. Wisdom literature from all traditions describes this experience as blissful beyond imagination, filled with the experience of spirit as captivating sound and radiant light. Look to the writings of any mystic to learn about this ecstatic state of being!

Meditation is thus the path leading to the depths, breadths and heights of spiritual experience. Meditation enables contact with spirit, the one continuum that holds creation together, the thread of life on which creation's pearls are strung. Spirit has been referred to in the writings of religions by many names—Logos, Word, Nam, Shabd, Holy Spirit, Tao, Kalima, Akash Bani, and many other names. Once contacted consciously within, this spirit draws our consciousness, our soul, upward through ever more subtle realms to the luminous tranquility of ultimate reality. Meditation is the journey of attuning oneself with the spiritual ocean of pure being.

Only as human beings can we make this journey. Only a human being has the ability to direct consciousness to its advantage. To meditate is to install the complete human software, to awaken the spiritual capacity. Through this practice we embark on the path, the ‘middle way’of balanced living, that takes us to our ultimate destination.

Mystics down through the ages have left teachings that make us aware, inform us, about this path. But living mystics, if we can find them, perform a still more fundamental role. Because they have walked the path themselves, they can guide us personally along the way, just as they were themselves guided by their own teacher. And, because they have realized the spiritual dimension, living mystics manifest its reality even on our plane of existence, giving us immense inspiration and a powerful example to follow. Mystics explain to us that it is part of the natural order that true masters are always living on earth to guide spiritual seekers. In the Sufi tradition of Islam these teachers are called murshid or pir, in the bhakti traditions of India guru or satguru, in the hasidic tradition of Judaism, the zaddik.

To travel the path back to our divine source is the true purpose of life in the human form.Whether this divine source is referred to as spirit, God, Lord, Allah, Wahiguru, Adonai,Buddha, the One, any other name, or no name at all, is a matter of individual preference. How to describe one’s spiritual life, what outward practices to follow in support of one’s inner life, whether to belong to any religion and which one, are all equally individual choices. What is of importance is to cultivate the experience of spirit.


Mystics say that each one of us is the rightful heir to a treasure of inestimable value. We are all of one lineage and one family. But, because we have lost sight of who we are, we feel that something is missing in our lives and we suffer from confusion and conflict. The infinite wealth of spirituality is our birthright, and will be ours when we develop our spiritual capacity as human beings, awaken to our true identity and return to our spiritual source. To achieve this we need only right conduct and right spiritual practice under the guidance of a living mystic teacher.

© 2008 Radha Soami Satsang Beas. All right reserved.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Characteristics of Succesful People

What makes a person successful? What makes them motivated, prosperous, a great leader? The following is only a brief and partial list, but it may whet your appetite to discover for yourself some of the principles of success.


Optimism is power. This is a secret discovered by all who succeed against great odds. The successful ones all admitted that what got them through tough times was an ability to focus on the positive. They understood what they called “the magic of believing.” Yet great leaders also have an unusual ability to face up to stark reality, so creating single powerful attribute: tough-minded optimism.

Optimistic people tend to succed not simply because they believe that everything will turn out right, but because the expectation of success makes them work harder. If you expect little, you will not be motivated even to try.


Success requires a concentration of effort. Most people disperse their energies over too many things and so fail to be outstanding in anything. In the words of Orison Swett Marden:

“The world does not demand that you be a lawyer, minister, doctor, farmerm scientist, or merchant; it does not dictate what you shall do, but it does require that you be a master in whatever you undertake.”

So to be successful, you must have higher aims and goals and doggedly pursue their realization.


Successful people are willing to engage in drudgery in the cause of something marvelous. The greater part of genius is the years of effort invested to solve a problem or find the perfect expression of an idea. With hard work you acquire knowledge about yourself that idleness never reveals.

A law of success is that, once first achieved, it can create a momentum that makes it easier to sustain. As the saying goes, “Nothing succeeds like success.”


Enduring success is built on discipline, an appreciation that you must give yourself orders and obey them. Like compound interest, this subject may be boring, but its results in the long term can be spectacular.

Great achievers know that while the universe is built by atoms, success is built by minutes; they are masters when it comes to their use of time.


Successful people have a good relationship with their unconscious or subconscious mind. They trust their intuition, and because intuitions are usually right, they seem to enjoy more luck than others. They have discovered one of the great success secrets: When trusted to do so, the nonrational mind solves problems and creates solutions.


Look into the habits of the successful and you will find that they are usually great readers. If you can read about the accomplishments of those you admire, you cannot help but lift your own sights. Anthony Robbins remarked that “success leaves clues,” and reading is one of the best means of absorbing such clues.


The greater the risk, the greater the potential success. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Be action oriented.


Successful people expect the best and they generally get it, because expectations have a way of attracting to you their material equivalent.

Since your life corresponds pretty much to the expectations you have of it, the achiever will argue, why not think big instead of small?


Advanced beings can turn any situation to their advantage. They are “masters of their souls, captains of their fate.”

When other parties are involved, they will seek solutions in which gains are maximized for all. In the words of Catherine Ponder:

“You do not have to compromise in life, if you are willing to let go of the idea of compromise.”


Achievements mean little if we are not a success as a person. The capacities to love, listen, and learn are vital for our own well-being, and without them it is difficult to have the fulfilling relationships that we need to both renew us and inspire achievement.

(From : 50 Success Classics: Winning Wisdom for Work and Life from 50 Landmarks Books. By Tom Butler-Bowdon)

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Among the persons who have developed an interest in “comparative religion” many will have discovered that between the vast array of myths, dogmas, and rituals characterizing the various religions there exists a common denominator, a deep affinity resulting from the central point toward which all the sacred paths aim at leading their followers. And these same persons may also have recognized that, within the framework of Islam, Sufism represents this inner dimension, the way opened to those who aspire to reach the realm of the Divine Presence. This is why a good number of contemporary thinkers who are “seekers of Truth” – and all the contributors to the present anthology belong to that category – recognize Sufism as being not only the very heart of Islam, but also a key that gives access to the deepest meaning of other sacred traditions (specific references to this recognition may be found, inter alia, in the articles by Geoffroy, Lings, Macnab, Nasr, Shah-Kazemi, and Schuon).

To avoid any misinterpretation of what is implied by the words “Sufi” and “Sufism”, it is important to note that both terms have been used since the first century of the Hijra (eighth century C.E.), when “Sufism” (in Arabic: tasawwuf, the fact of wearing a garment made of wool – suf – as an emblem of purity) was adopted to designate the quest for spiritual illumination, while “sufi” was applied to characterized the person who had attained an obvious degree of proximity to God. This indicates that Sufism has always been embedded in the texture of Islamic creed, representing an ideal mode of worship derived from the Quranic Revelation and from the customs and sayings (sunna and hadith) of the Prophet Muhammad, and then transmitted without interruption throughout the centuries.

As a way of access to the divine love and wisdom, which are the universal components of mysticism, Sufism has given abundant proofs of its authenticity and its supernatural efficiency and fecundity. This is so from the very beginning of the Revelation, when Muhammad’s Companions sat with him during night-watches filled with the recitation of the holy verses and the invocation of the divine Names, up to the present time when thousands and thousands of devotees affiliated with Sufi brotherhoods throughout all corners of the Islamic world aspire to the purification of their souls and follow the way of their saintly ancestors under the guidance of a spiritual master.

Sufism, then, has nothing to do with sectarian movements which, mostly in the Western world, have used its name, fame, and even some of its psycho-spiritual practices to attract a naïve clientele with the promise of quick spiritual advancement without any religious obligation. It is gratifying to note that many publications now exist, notably translations of treatises on Sufism written in Arabic or Persian by the most eminent Sufi masters, which may constitute a counterweight to the fallacious hopes nurtured by those who would, according to a phrase appearing several times in the Quran (e.g. 2:86), “purchase the life of this world at the cost of the Hereafter”

(Cited from : Sufism: love & wisdom. Edited by Jean-Louis Michon, Roger Gaetani)