Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Learning as a Journey as well as a Goal

Learning is a way of life and in this journey there are actually no leaders and no followers.Life, in its unbounded Majesty, is what we have to learn from.And that Pulsating Presence Within, our common God,our greatest friend and lover,is the only Teacher we actually need.But we ardently need to forge a relationship with this Mighty Presence Within and then witness for ourselves the ensuing joy,abundance,freedom and the amazing lightness of our beings.

Unfortunately, we pass a lifetime chasing everything but this Magnificent Teacher that remains hidden behind every breath and every pore of our being.And this is the existential tragedy of the human drama.It seeks to be free and unbounded, its essential nature,but just doesn't seem to understand the way out. And that it can be so simple, the so called "experts" and leaders and Gurus will not countenance at the risk of being driven out of their businesses and their exploitative empires.

The Four Natural Enemies on the Path to Knowledge


This fascinating article should give us food for some thought.How Clarity can Almost be a mistake.And how Power proves the undoing of many a man.And, of course, that creeping thing called Old Age,which can undo all clarity, power and knowledge.

Instead of living for the glory of That Pulsating Presence within all of us, which has been conveniently called God,we live to satiate our senses, ego and our intellects.Instead of being guided by the God Within, we place ourselves at the mercy of the so called "experts" with their bookish information about life.

If all our action is surrendered to That Mighty Presence Within, we may,perhaps,be surprised,again and again, by the Bounty and Abundance of this Majesty of a thing we have for a life.


A man of knowledge is one who has followed “ every step of learning is a new task ”

When a man starts to learn, he is never clear about his objectives. Hispurpose is faulty ; his

intent is vague. He hopes for rewards seem so nebulous.And,yet,he has no choice but to hang on with fortitude,and with unbounded hope.

Carlos Castaneda


Carlos Castaneda ( 25th December 1925 - 27th April 1998 ) was a Peruvian born American anthropologist and author.

Carlos Castaneda was the enigmatic author of several best-selling books about the mystical teachings of don Juan Matus, a Yaqui Indian shaman from Sonora, Mexico, first introduced to audiences in the year 1968’s The Teachings of don Juan : A Yaqui Way of Knowledge.

Castaneda’s other books continued the story, with don Juan ( or his companion, don Genaro ) playing the wise descendant of ancient Mexican shamans and Castaneda playing the dim but earnest student. The short version : Castaneda met don Juan at a bus station in Arizona in the year 1960 and learned that getting stoned in the desert opened doors to new perspectives on reality. Castaneda, though, had a tough time overcoming his Western rationalism and grasping ancient Mexican mystical stuff.

Starting with “ The Teachings of Don Juan ” in the year 1968, Castaneda wrote a series of books that describe his training in sorcery. The books, narrated in the first person, \relate his experiences under the tutelage of don Juan Matus. A few excerpts from the book “ The Teachings of Don Juan ”. materialize for he knows nothing of the hardships of learning. He slowly begins to learn .. bit by bit at first,

then in big chunks. And his thoughts soon clash. What he learns is never what he pictured, or

imagined, and so he begins to be afraid. Learning is never what one expects. Every step of learning is a new task, and the fear the man is experiencing begins to mount m e r c i l e s s l y ,

unyieldingly. His purpose becomes a battlefield. “ first enemy .. fear ” And thus, he has stumbled upon the first of his natural enemies : FEAR !

A terrible enemy .. treacherous and difficult to overcome. It remains concealed at every turn

of the way, prowling and waiting. And if the man, terrified in its presence, runs away, his enemy will have put an end to his quest and he will never learn. He will never become a man of knowledge. He will perhaps be a bully, or a harmless, scared man ; at any rate, he will be a defeated man. His first enemy will have put an end to his cravings. “ one must not run away ”

Therefore, he must not run away. He must defy his fear, and in spite of it he must take the

next step in learning, and the next, and the next. He must be fully afraid, and yet he must not stop. That is the rule ! And a moment will come when his first enemy retreats. The man begins to feel sure of himself. His intent becomes stronger. Learning is no longer a terrifying task.

“ defeat of the first enemy ” When this joyful moment comes, the man can say without hesitation that he has defeated his first natural enemy. It happens little by little, and yet the fear is vanquished suddenly and fast. Once a man has vanquished fear, he is free from it for the rest of his life because, instead of fear, he has acquired clarity .. a clarity of mind which erases fear. By then a man knows his desires ; he knows how to satisfy those desires. He can anticipate the new steps of learning and a sharp clarity surrounds everything. The man

feels that nothing is concealed. “ second enemy .. clarity ” And thus, he has encountered his second enemy : CLARITY ! That clarity of mind, which is so hard to obtain, dispels fear, but also blinds. It forces the man never to doubt himself. It gives him the assurance he can do anything he pleases, for he sees clearly into everything. And he is courageous because he is clear,

and he stops at nothing because he is clear. But all that is a mistake ; it is like something

incomplete. “ make-believe power .. clarity ” If the man yields to this make-believe power,

he has succumbed to his second enemy and will be patient when he should rush. And he will

fumble with learning until he winds up incapable of learning anything more. His second enemy has just stopped him cold from trying to become a man of knowledge. “ clarity is almost a mistake ” He must do what he did with fear : he mustdefy his clarity and use it only to see, and wait patiently and measure carefully before taking new steps; he must think, above all, that his clarity is almost a mistake.And a moment will come when he willunderstand that his clarity was only a point before his eyes. And thus he will have overcome his secondenemy, and will arrive at a position where nothingcan harm him anymore. This will not be a mistake. It will be true power. He will know at this point that the power hehas been pursuing for so long is finally his. He can do with it whatever he pleases. His ally is at his command. His wish is the rule. He sees all that is around him. SPIRITUAL INDIA 2 4 May - June 2011 “ third enemy .. power ” But he has also come across his third enemy : POWER ! Power is the strongest of all enemies. And naturally the easiest thing to do is to give in ; after all, the man is truly invincible. He commands ; he begins by taking calculated risks, and ends in making rules, because he is a master. A man at this stage hardly notices his third enemy closing in on him. And suddenly, without knowing, he will certainly have lost the battle. His enemy will have turned him into a cruel, capricious man, but he will never lose his clarity or his power. “ one who is defeated by power ” A man who is defeated by power dies without really knowing how to handle it. Power is only a burden upon his fate. Such a man has no command over himself, and cannot tell when or how to use his power. Once one of these enemies overpowers a man there is nothing he can do. It is not possible, for instance, that a man who is defeated by power may see his error and mend his ways. “ defeating the third enemy ” If he is temporarily blinded by power, and then refuses it, his battle is still on. That means he is still trying to become a man of knowledge. A man is defeated only when he no longer tries, and abandons himself. He has to come to realize that the power he has seemingly conquered is in reality never his. He must keep himself in line at all times, handling carefully and faithfully all that he has learned. If he can see that clarity and power, without his control over himself, are worse than mistakes, he will reach a point where everything is held in check. He will know then when and how to use his power. And thus he will have defeated his third enemy. “ final enemy .. old age ” The man will be, by then, at the end of his journey of learning, and almost without warning he will come upon the last of his enemies : OLD AGE ! This enemy is the cruelest of all, the one he won’t be able to defeat completely, but only fight away. “ unyielding desire to rest .. old age ” This is the time when a man has no more fears, no more impatient clarity of mind .. a time when all his power is in check, but also the time when he has an unyielding desire to rest. If he gives in totally to his desire to lie down and forget, if he soothes himself in tiredness, he will have lost his last round, and his enemy will cut him down into a feeble old creature. His desire to retreat will overrule all his clarity, his power, and his knowledge. “ slough off tiredness ” But if the man sloughs off his tiredness, and lives his fate though, he can then be called a man of knowledge, if only for the brief moment when he succeeds in fighting off his last, invincible enemy. That moment of clarity, power, and knowledge is enough.

material excerpted from the book “ The Teachings of Don Juan ” by Carlos Castaneda .. published by Washington Square Press Publication of Pocket Books

Monday, December 12, 2011

There is More than Enough for All of Us


Many will frown in dismay over this proposition.This is natural,so used we have become to being prisoners of our ego and our intellects.And this proposition comes,not from the Intellect,but from a dimension of our Consciousness which is much deeper than our Thinking Mind.And finding this dimension frees us from the suffering we inflict on ourselves and others when the mind-made "Little Me" is all we know and runs our life.

When we Awake from this Dream of Incessant Thinking,and become Aligned with the greater Consciousness,we free ourselves from the Tyranny of Logical Thinking and awake to a greater Freedom of Living.It is,perhaps, time to awaken to an Evolving Sum rather than to the Zero Sum game of Life.If we Allow ourselves to be surprised by the Bounties of Life, we will gasp in awe how Abundant Life can be,indeed.But,instead of aligning ourselves with this pulsating brilliance,we remain trapped in the prison of our intellects and the stuffiness of our egos.

This joy we owe to ourselves and to people we interact with in the daily business of living.

--- On Tue, 12/6/11, The Center for Personal Reinvention wrote:

Dear Avinash,

This is Joe Rubino and I'm writing today to focus your awareness on

the source of your actions. As human beings, we operate daily

reflecting a wide range of emotions with a multitude of motivations

fueling our behaviors. All too often, we react emotionally to what

others say or do. If our reactions are preceded by the emotions of

fear, anger, or sadness, we forfeit our ability to act with

personal power and effectiveness in lieu of a knee-jerk response.

This reaction is all too often sourced in fear and low self-esteem.

We may focus on what's wrong with us and our lives or fear being

controlled, hurt, or taken advantage of. We may overlook the many

things we have in our lives for which we should rightly be

grateful. When we doubt our ability to thrive and access the

abundance we see all around us in the world, we react instead from

the concern of scarcity and the expectation of failure, hurt, and

disappointment. We may see ourselves in competition for the world's

resources and the love and attention of others rather than

realizing that there is more than enough of all that is good to go

around. We forget that we manifest what we expect rather than

needing to compete for limited resources.

Whenever we forget that we are magnificent beings and that there is

plenty of wealth, happiness, fun, and fulfillment to go around, we

might feel the need to protect ourselves from what we perceive to

be a dangerous world. We likewise tend to forget that others

operate from the same lacking self-confidence, scarcity of

gratitude, and deficient self-love that we often do. So, whenever

two or more individuals see themselves as not good enough to tap

into the world's abundance and get all their needs met from a

physical, social, mental, and emotional perspective, conflicts are

likely to arise. The result is broken relationships, strained

communication, emotional pain, struggle, and suffering. All of

these are needless and optional for those who realize their ability

to detach from the struggle and master their emotional response.

When we stop to realize that everyone else suffers from the same

self-doubt and fear of being dominated and cheated out of getting

their fair share of love, fun, money, possessions, and security, we

can break the vicious cycle of endless competition and continual

striving for domination. We can realize that cooperation and

communication is more effective in producing harmony than

competition and a focus on self-interest based on fear. We can

intentionally choose to trust that others are doing the best they

know how to do based upon how they see the world. We can assume

that they act from good intentions, even when we fear the opposite.

We can hold them as worthy, competent, loving, good natured and

capable of creating win-win relationships rather than fearing them

as hateful, ill meaning, incompetent, unworthy, selfish opponents.

When we decide to champion others by looking for the best in them

and interact with them out of an attitude of gratitude for their

gifts, strengths, and positive qualities, in such as manner that

they are clear that we hold them as intrinsically good and worthy

of our love and respect, we provide for them a new and exciting

opportunity for them to show up for us in this manner. Our decision

to hold others as great (because they really are when we strip away

their anger, fears, and insecurities) allows them the freedom to

rise to our expectations. By operating from love and gratitude for

the wisdom and empathy we develop as a result of our interactions

with others, we see their mistakes as temporary indiscretions

producing valuable lessons from which to learn and grow rather than

reflections of a fundamentally defective being.

The key to bringing out the best in others is non-attachment. When

we realize that we have total control over our response to any

situation, and we give up our right to be invalidated by others or

control them, we will possess a newfound freedom that allows us to

exit the drama of conflict in favor of understanding, compassion,

and love. Decide now to be grateful for the challenges you will

encounter in your life and business. See the problems that arise as

opportunities for your personal development. Look for these

challenges as you go about your day, be grateful when you encounter

them, and seek out the gifts awaiting your discovery.

Exercise for Expanding Gratitude and Shifting Your Reactive Nature

1. List all the things you have decided to be grateful for in your

life and business.

2. In your daily journal, record each time you fail to express

gratitude for a challenging situation.

3. Catch yourself reacting emotionally to what someone says or does

and shift your perception in that moment to appreciate the learning

experience at hand.

4. In your daily life and business, who are you not holding as


5. How can you champion their excellence and express gratitude for

the opportunity to grow in love and wisdom that they are gifting

you instead of reacting with anger, sadness, or fear?

6. Who are you seeking to control or avoid being controlled by?

Will you take on the practice of non-attachment in your

relationship with them by creating space for them to be who they

are? Do this for 30 days and record in your journal how your

interactions with them evolve. Make note of something that you can

be grateful for in each situation.

Dr. Joe Rubino is a life-changing life optimization and business

coach and the best-selling author of and 11

other transformational books available worldwide in 19 languages.

Does Walmart Equal Food Drowned in Chemicals,Pesticides, Preservatives?

Here's the wonderful thing about the FDI-in-retail debate: never have struggling Indian farmers found so many champions. They've been crawling out of the woodwork.

Foreign direct investment in retail may be on hold, but Hillary Clinton can stop worrying about Anand Sharma and Pranab Mukherjee.

“How does (Commerce Minister) Sharma view India's current Foreign Direct Investment guidelines? Which sectors does he plan to open further? Why is he reluctant to open multi-brand retail?” Those were among the questions U.S. Secretary of State Clinton posed in a cable to her embassy in New Delhi in September 2009, some months after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh began his second term. (See: Hillary checks out Pranab, and the competition, from The Hindu-Wikileaks India Cables series: March 18, 2011).

Note her pointed query on opening up ‘multi-brand retail.' She had other worries, too. “Why was (Pranab) Mukherjee chosen for the finance portfolio over Montek Singh Ahluwalia? How do Mukherjee and Ahluwalia get along?” And “does Sharma get along with Mukherjee and Prime Minister Singh?” They get along fine, Hillary, and they're all in it together, as a team.

Hillary has reason to be concerned about FDI in retail. There's the tens of thousands of dollars she earned from serving as a director on Walmart's board. And the other thousands of dollars contributed to her 2007-08 campaign by Walmart executives and lobbyists. An ABC News report on that in 2008 also observed that as a director, Hillary Clinton remained “a loyal company woman” (Clinton remained silent as Wal-Mart fought unions: ABC News, January 31, 2008).

And she surely knows the UPA's FDI retreat is tactical. Pranab Mukherjee put it with disarming candour: we don't want mid-term polls. Hillary too had flip-flopped during her election campaign, going by the ABC News report. (While on its Board of Directors, she had said: “I'm always proud of Walmart and what we do and the way we do it better than anybody else” — June 1990.)

Yet, Hillary's campaign website of 2007-08, points out the ABC News report, omitted “any reference to her role at Walmart in its detailed biography of her.” As the race heated up, she recanted: “Now I know that Walmart's policies do not reflect the best way of doing business and the values that I think are important in America.”

Perhaps Hillary's FDI concerns are loftier. She must be worried about the poor Indian farmer. The wonderful thing about the FDI-in-retail debate is the explosion of concern for agriculturists. Never have struggling Indian farmers found so many champions. They've been crawling out of the woodwork ever since the FDI announcement. From Deepak Parekh to Ratan Tata, they've suffered sleepless nights, agonising over the small farmer.

They might want to take a look at the American farm population. At their family farms, especially smaller ones, wrecked by corporate monopolies at every level, from giant agri-businesses to mammoth retail chains. Presently less than one million Americans claim farming as their occupation. That figure was over 25 million in the 1950s.

With what credibility does our regime, on whose watch farm suicides crossed the quarter-of-a-million mark, speak of helping farmers? Who knows what windfalls the deals struck with retail giants have brought to individuals in this most corrupt government in our history? We need to embrace that old journalistic principle: Follow the money. (Hillary does, though in a very different way.) Meanwhile, look at our government's claims.

Who it affects

Doing away with the ‘middleman': The first to be devastated will be that poor ‘middlewoman' — the vendor who daily provides our towns and cities with fresh produce. She did not push up the prices and has her modest margin squeezed each time they rise. That woman carrying that huge basket to your doorstep, on her feet 14-16 hours a day to feed her family. She's the first ‘middleman' target.

The more exploitative middlemen in the chain will be co-opted by giant retail which needs collectors and contractors, though not so many. It will slash their numbers after a while. This is The Mob taking over from the little guys on the block. You're looking at massive displacement in the agricultural supply chain. Only, the new ‘middlemen' will be Cardin-clad and Gucci-shod, with better access to government than the farmers everyone's dying to save.

That poor woman vendor, whose life we need to improve, not destroy, brings you fresh produce. She has to, or she can't sell it. (Tip: big retail operators pasting the words ‘natural' or ‘fresh' against their names are selling you stuff that could have been refrigerated, even frozen, for days).

Ten million jobs: Try not to die laughing. This comes from a school of economics that has gifted the world jobless growth for three decades now. We worked hard for two of those, making a big expansion of jobs impossible within our policy framework.

From the early 1990s, fantastic claims have been made of small farmers gaining from neo-liberal globalisation. For instance: farm incomes would rise 25 per cent if Indian prices were aligned to global prices; purchasing power would shoot up.

Many steps were taken on such claims, including 100 per cent FDI in sectors like seed. All achieved the opposite. These moves helped double the indebtedness of the peasantry and further spurred the worst-ever recorded wave of suicides. Apart from which we've seen seven-and-a-half million people abandon agriculture in a decade, many driven out by policies to ‘benefit the farmer.' Now we should believe that FDI in retail will undo all the damage that these policies — from the very same authors — caused? And these guys predict 10 million jobs within a year?

The UPA wants to open up a sector that for all its awful flaws and hardships presently employs 44 million people and has total sales of close to $400 billion. (That's about 20 times the number Walmart employs on roughly the same turnover.) And gives some sustenance to many millions more if you think families. Small shops and ‘big box retail' can co-exist, so croons the corporate choir. Sure, after wiping out countless thousands of tiny shops, the survivors can ‘co-exist' with the big guys, who might even have minor errands for them to run. India's powerful will run the more important errands. That was clear from 2005 when then Walmart International Division chief John Menzer told his company's annual meeting: “In our six government meetings, we created a very positive image [of Wal-Mart]…” And: “We've energized the FDI lobby and preempted the anti-FDI lobby in India.” (Wal-Mart's Hot in India, CNNMONEY.COM, June 6, 2005)

Efficiency: The giant chains can never match the efficiency of farmers' markets selling food produced locally or nearby. Their sourcing of produce from all over the world, central warehousing systems, giant transport operations — all these are hugely energy intensive. Which means a lot of what you get is old and much-refrigerated or frozen. Know the other costs of what you pay for.

Benefitting farmers: Here's a paradox. Just when we march determinedly towards super markets, people in the homeland of Big Retail are buying more and more from “farmers' markets.” That is, the oldest form of direct marketing by small producers. More and more Americans seek decent produce not drowned in chemicals, pesticides and preservatives. Growing numbers of that nation's small and family farms are selling through farmers' markets each year. In India, every market was once a farmers' market. Over time, farmers have lost control of such markets to traders and moneylenders. Now comes the coup de grace.

The coming of Big Retail is not simply about shops in the towns of over one million. It brings a radical restructuring of the entire agri-supply chain. The kind of investments — above $100 million — will obviously not go towards labour-intensive operations. The new structures that will confront farmers are stronger than any they have ever known. As a paper on the “U.S. Farm Crisis” from the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Oklahoma, puts it: “large corporations have in recent years moved to curtail farmer independence through production contracts and other forms of vertical integration. These moves have included establishment of huge corporate-owned Confined Animal Feeding Operations, where animals are raised without farmers.”

The new middlemen the government welcomes have no regard for village and community. Maximising their own profit is their sole concern. As the number of buyers shrinks to a handful of corporations, farmers will have fewer places to sell their produce. What kind of bargaining power will they have against these mega-middlemen, some of whose worth would place them, if treated as nations, amongst the top ten economies in the world? The “contracts” in the new dispensation will reflect that power equation. The National Commission for Farmers headed by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan had observed that rushing into contract farming without ensuring the needs, safety and bargaining power of the farmer would result in major displacement in the sector. But not to worry, Hillary, your team is still out there batting. Only retired hurt for the moment.

Keywords: FDI in retail, UPA government, Commerce Ministry, Anand Sharma