How India Helped Me Find My Purpose in Life

July 1, 2009

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by Sharell, an Australian who married an Indian, at WhiteIndianHousewife.com.

I was reading a feature in the Mumbai Mirror yesterday, about six people who left their high paying professional jobs to follow their passion and pursue a career in cinema.

It made me start thinking of myself and the giant leap of faith I took. However, the big difference between me and those people was that I had no idea of the direction I wanted my life to go in when I left my job. And I was hardly enthusiastic about creating my new reality.

I had to be pushed by a crisis of mass proportion.

2005 wasn’t a very good year for me. In fact, it was the toughest year of my life. I’d been working in the same government office for 10 years. I was unfulfilled and unmotivated by my choice of career as an accountant, but I tolerated it because it paid very well. The only thing I enjoyed about my job was writing reports. In order to break the monotony of my life, I spent too much time partying, shopping, and taking long lunches. Life had fallen into a very predictable and unproductive pattern.

Then, my long term relationship came to a traumatic end. Along with it went all my plans for the future.

I was completely lost. Nothing of what remained of my life inspired me. I had no choice but reinvent myself. How though? My situation was made even more difficult by the fact that I hated change.

I decided that the only solution was to completely throw myself out of my comfort zone, open myself up to new possibilities, and accept every opportunity that came my way — no matter how much it scared me. And the best way to do it would be to go to India. Having travelled there twice already, I knew of no place that could challenge me more. To take my mind off my woes, I resolved to do community work for five weeks. I chose Kolkata simply because it was a place in India that I hadn’t been to.

I took six months long service leave from my job, left a friend in charge of my home, packed my bag, and boarded a flight.

Then, fate stepped in. Along with it started the long chain of events that led to me to be where I am today — living in Mumbai, married to an Indian guy, and writing about India travel for a living.

I met my husband-to-be within a week of arriving in Kolkata.

Story continues here.

Who Says Magic Powers Don’t Exist?

June 30, 2009

Wim Hof (born April 20, 1959, Sittard) is a Dutch man, commonly nicknamed Iceman. He holds nine world records including a world record for longest ice bath.

In 2007, he attempted, but failed, to climb Mount Everest wearing nothing but shorts. Hof has been criticized for his stated justifications for this attempt, “Edmund Hillary’s ascent of Mount Everest was a testament to human achievement, my climb of Mount Everest in my shorts will be a monument to the frivolous, decadent nature of modern society.”

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Wim broke his previous world record by staying for 1 hour 13 minutes and 48 seconds immersed in ice at Guinness World Records 2008. The night before, he performed the act on the Today Show.

Dr. Kenneth Kamler monitored the event to explain the effects of using the Tantric practice Tummo to control your body temperature. Tummo has been practiced by Yogi monks in Tibet. Apparently Wim is the only known non-monk to have mastered Tummo.

Wim describes his ability to withstand extreme cold temperatures as being able to turn his own thermostat up by using his brain.

Wim Hof has recently broken the ice endurance record by standing fully immersed in ice for 1 hour and 31 minutes in Lelystad in May 2008.

In February 2009, Wim Hof reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in his shorts within 2 days. It took him only another 2 days to climb down.

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His next challenge will be to do a marathon of 50 kilometres above the polar circle filmed by an English from firecrackerfilms, who work for both BBC and National Geographic.

He has four children with his late wife, and one child with his present girlfriend.

Michael Schumacher unveiled as Top Gear’s ‘Stig’

June 22, 2009

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Formula One legend Michael Schumacher was on Sunday unveiled as “the Stig”, the mystery man who test drives cars on British cult motoring show Top Gear.

The identity of the white-clad driver is kept a closely guarded secret, but Schumacher, who was Formula One world drivers’ champion seven times, finally revealed himself in the first of a new series of the show on Sunday night.

Presenter Jeremy Clarkson pretended not to recognise him at first, asking him what he used to do before he became famous as the Stig, but then excitedly shouted to the studio audience: “It’s Michael Schumacher!”

Interesting Book

June 20, 2009

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I have just read The Smartest Investment Book You’ll Ever Read by Daniel Solin. In this book he highlights the case against active investment in the sharemarket and instead advocates investing in passive index funds.

He makes a lot of very interesting points – especially how many active fund managers fail to beat the market and deliver poor returns for their clients.

It reminds me of an article I read many years ago about an Australian fund manager known as Mr. $54 billion – because that was the size of his fund. After he retired he said that for all the work and effort and analysis his fund did it was not worth it. His fund managed to outperform the market by only 0.5%.

The books also has many interesting quotes from Nobel Prize winning economists and other qualified investment professionals, but the one I liked best is from Warren Buffett in his 1996 Shareholder Letter:

Most investors, both individual and institutional, will find the best way to own common stocks is through an index fund that charges minimal fees. Those following this path are sure to beat the net results (after fees and expenses) delivered by the great majority of investment professionals.

Barack writes note to teacher

June 12, 2009

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Ten-year-old Kennedy Corpus has a rock-solid excuse for missing the last day of school: a personal note to her teacher from President Barack Obama.

Her father, John Corpus of Green Bay, stood to ask Obama about health care during the president’s town hall-style meeting at Southwest High School on Thursday. He told Obama that his daughter was missing school to attend the event and that he hoped she didn’t get in trouble.

“Do you need me to write a note?” Obama asked. The crowd laughed, but the president was serious.

On a piece of paper, he wrote: “To Kennedy’s teacher: Please excuse Kennedy’s absence. She’s with me. Barack Obama.” He stepped off the stage to hand-deliver the note _ to Kennedy’s surprise.

“I thought he was joking until he started walking down,” Kennedy said after the event, showing off the note in front of a bank of television cameras. “It was like the best thing ever.”

The fourth-grader at Aldo Leopold elementary in Green Bay already knew what she was going to do with the note: frame it along with her ticket to the event. She said she’d make a copy for her teacher.

Kennedy said she had never seen Obama before. “He’s really nice,” she said.

Rapping Flight Attendant On Southwest Airlines

April 25, 2009

Not all perks are getting cut from airlines. Southwest adds a little musical bonus to trips with its rapping flight attendant. Check out the video below that has already hit over a million views on YouTube:

Try the Opposite

April 20, 2009

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Here is an excerpt from Aja Thomas’ Freedom Blog. He’s pictured above.

Essentially, any unhappiness is caused by not getting what we think we want. The sense of “I” wants what it deems as desireable and rejects what it sees as undesireable. Thus causing the unhappiness.

Nisargadatta said something to the effect of… “You are unhappy because you want what you don’t have and don’t want what you do have. Just turn that around – Want what you have, and don’t want what you don’t have.” The simplicity of it is overwhelming, however, the practice is often another thing.

So, another way of looking at Nisargadatta’s statement is switch ‘more’ for ‘less’……

The less you know, the more you know.

Want more money? Try wanting less money.

Think you are more special? Recognize you are less special.

Think you should do more? Try doing less? (Or try Be-ing more)

Want more people to like you? Try wanting less people to like you. (or want to like others more)

Think you deserve more. Consider that you deserve less. (or be grateful for the more you have).

Think you need more knowledge? Trying needing less knowledge.

I think you get the picture. Simply see when some sort of unhappiness or resistance or desire arises which says you want more (or less) of something, and try turning it around. What would it be like to have or want the opposite in some way?

Recognize who or what it is that is desiring that, and inquire into the very reality of that “I” which is desiring. Recognize that when there is no desiring, but rather a satisfaction with what is, then there is peace, and from peace comes happiness.

So, how to live happily, more or less? Try the opposite. It just might work.

Being Powerful

April 20, 2009

50048Gaining power is a desire at the core of all humans beings, whether that be power from money, muscles, beauty or knowledge. Everyone wants to be strong in their own way so they can choose their destiny.

Evolutionary biology demonstrates this natural growth in the direction of stronger and better. But there comes a point when the pursuit of power over something becomes a weakness. If we are still trying to dominate our environment, no matter how subtly it may be, then we are just fighting for survival, fighting against our fear of loss and fleeing from weakness.

True power is found in the balance of power and powerlessness, strength and weakness. Ironically, our distaste for being powerless and weak prevents us from being truly powerful and strong.

Allowing weakness, inviting fear, making friends with pain is half the path to real power. The more we can yield, the more fluid, efficient and authentically powerful we become.

From a more esoteric point of view, cosmic power is infinitely greater than any power that can be conceived of by a small human intellect. Cosmic power is beyond all dualities – it knows no opposition and no resistance. It is infinite in its potential and expresses itself as strength and weakness – yin and yang – in this divine drama that we call life.

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Quotes from Lao Tzu:

Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force.

If the force of arms is considered the only means of authority, it is not an auspicious instrument.

Force begets force.

The harder one tries, the more resistance one creates for oneself.

Glorification of wealth, power and beauty beget crime, envy and shame.

The qualities of flexibility and suppleness, especially as exemplified by water, are superior to rigidity and strength.

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Word of the Day

April 20, 2009

Benignant

Definition: exerting a good influence; beneficial: the benignant authority of President Obama (pictured with his new dog Bo).

Synonyms: benevolent, benign, generous, charitable.

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In Between Times

April 19, 2009

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Most of our time is spent in between things. This “in between” place is the area of life that has the most to offer us, but so often we run away from it to the next thing.

Our in between times occur when we are moving from one room to another, sitting in traffic, waiting for ads on TV to finish, or walking from the carpark to the shop.

If we stop and consider this ‘in between time’ we conclude that it is time wasted, down-time, useless time.

But we have it all wrong. These moments are fascinating, useful and there is always plenty going on. It’s just that we miss it because we’re distracted by some dream of the future or some memory of the past. The babbling mind keeps us out of the present.

Looking for fulfillment in some future experience is a dubious approach because our dream may or may not happen, it is usually fleeting and quickly replaced by the next dream. We are perpetually in a state of anticipation which breeds anxiety, discontent and impatience.

So what is the most profitable use of our time? The most rewarding approach is not waiting for some future event to complete us, but resting in the knowledge that everything is always already here.

If we were to stop and relax for a moment and pay attention to life as it happens around us, we will find that it is rich and full and without conflict. Nothing needs to be added or taken away to make life whole and full. In this moment we are complete.

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Confine yourself to the present – Marcus Aurelius.

Keep an eye on the future, but live in the present.

What is wrong with right now – unless you think about it?

Everything is not as it seems, but it is also not otherwise.

What is here is everywhere. What is not here is nowhere.

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