Respect Begets Respect

Respect Begets Respect

It’s so easy to give respect to those who are worthy of it in your eyes, but how about giving respect to those who don’t quite measure up! To give respect to all and not just those you like is the true meaning of giving respect.

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Not being able to show respect says a lot more about us than it does about the one in front of us. Sometimes we believe we should only exercise this quality of respect towards those who have demonstrated that they are deserving of it. Yet, it is possible to have regard for all human beings, despite their actions in the moment. In fact, when we don’t give regard to all, we deprive ourselves. How so? Because, in spiritual terms, to give is to receive. Therefore, waiting for others to become deserving, or withholding our respect until we feel they are worthy, deprives us of feeling and exercising this quality which is in reality a valuable treasure.

Respect, as a by-product of love, is one of our innate qualities. So in truth, we should not really need to make effort to give it. Everybody is worthy of respect simply because they exist, because they are there in front of you. You may not approve of a person’s behavior, but do not condemn the soul. They are soul beings and our brothers.

It is when we don’t realise that we are beings of love, that we go seeking love, approval, or regard from others. We only need something when we feel empty. When we are in our self-respect that automatically attracts respect from others and also helps them to engender respect for themselves.

The opposite is true also. If we don’t have something, then how can we give it? We need self-respect in order to be able to give respect to others. Only when we have self-respect, can we even begin to think of giving anything to others.

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When one has self-respect, then one need not compare or compete with another. That one can be assured that whatever is meant to come their way will do so, and in its right time. A person with self-respect understands that to compare is futile, and to compete is nonsensical.

By contrast, comparing and competing are both symptoms of a fragile, inflated ego, and ego and esteem are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Although some think they are the same, they are definitely not. Ego is always looking outward to what others are doing, wondering whether I am ‘better than…’, or ‘worse than…’ and always causes pain. Self esteem is about building our sense of self from the inside, and cannot bring pain.

Self-esteem is about self-love. When I really love myself, I will not cause harm to myself by becoming a traitor to my virtues. I will always take the side of virtue and face the enemy of the vices with insight and pure pride. In this way I will inevitably earn respect from others.

If we have love and respect for ourselves and when we can see our own beauty, only then can we see the beauty and specialties of others. Then it will be very easy to give respect and create harmony. Always remember that each one of us came onto the earth to share a particular quality with the world. So if you can’t see it, then look a little harder, for it will surely be there.

It’s Time… to stay in your self-respect and to exercise and multiply your quality of respect by giving it to another. In this way you will naturally earn respect from others. Remember respect begets respect.

© It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London

 

 

 

Be Subtle – Be ‘Avyakt’

Be Subtle – Be ‘Avyakt’

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With so much of our attention focused on everything related to our body, on the material world, and on the dramas of life, it’s so important from time to time that we practice going beyond it all. The ‘Avyakt’ stage is one of the stages yogis aspire to in meditation. Avyakt means to become subtle, spiritual, non-worldly or angelic. It is not just a state of mind, but a way of life. If u step into an Avyakt consciousness now, even these words on the page will take on a new meaning.

If we would just remember that we are spiritual beings living a physical existence and not physical beings trying to be spiritual; if our focus were more on the spiritual aspects then perhaps we would be more concerned with delving into the infinite matters of the spiritual world, and not be so caught up in the finite things of the here and now that are ultimately perishable.

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To rush is worldly, to slow down is Avyakt. To speak and come into sound is worldly, to signal with subtle nuances is Avyakt. To hold on is worldly, to let go is Avyakt. This Avyakt-ness penetrates all areas of our life, making us more peaceful and divine.

Being subtle is about knocking down the wall of body consciousness. I am a pure eternal light and as soon as my focus changes to this material body made of clay, then the light disappears behind that wall. The grossness of the body consumes the beauty of I, the inner light.

The benefit of learning to become Avyakt is that I no longer feel trapped by the world. The Avyakt is a dimension that I can fly to whenever I am feeling confined or imprisoned by the limitedness of this world. There is hope. There is light. There is another world that that is waiting to be discovered.

Brahma Baba, founder of Brahma Kumaris
Brahma Baba, founder of Brahma Kumaris

As one meditates intensely and consistently, then one’s physical body begins to become subtle also. One such example was Brahma Baba, the founder of the Brahma Kumaris. He used to sit in such deep meditation day and night, that he melted not just his ego, but the grossness of body consciousness with the intensity of his meditation. People who knew him would often say that when they held or shook his hand, it felt as soft as cotton wool. His body of light had ‘overpowered’ his physical body, so to speak. There was also no hint of body consciousness, his fragrance was a lovely pure divine one.

Brahma Baba worked very hard at concentrating his mind. Much like a mirror, which can concentrate the rays of the sun to create fire. It may sound like a paradox, but when there is 100 percent concentration, can one really experience the subtlety of life. Gentle focus is the key to a peaceful mind, a relaxed and calm mind. This inner peace allows us to take proper decisions for our lives, ones we will not regret later!

If we all concentrate enough, we can feel our subtle body of light. Some call it the aura, some call it the astral body, and some see it as a glow. The more we attune to this stage, the more it can work in our favour, by protecting us, guiding us and lighting up our way in hard times.

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We often talk about the immense power of yoga and how it can be used to bring about change and transformation in the world; how it can dissolve the obstacles in life. Well if it can reach that far, can it not affect this immediate matter, this body?

Becoming Avyakt is a progression. It does not happen overnight. It’s not that I am corporeal one day and then subtle the next day! It takes time and perseverance, and we metamorphose. And, in the same way as the Everest summit is the ultimate goal for the mountain climber, so too, becoming Avyakt is the summit for the Raja Yogi practitioner.

It’s Time… to become Avyakt – to slow down, to be quieter and to look through another subtler dimension of life. As we climb to this summit, we will see a beautiful panorama like never before.

© It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London

 

 

 

Even God Judged… but on the last day!

Even God Judged… but on the last day!

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There seems to be a lot of judgment going on in the world about who is right and who is wrong, and how people should live their lives and how they should not.

Does judgement of any kind bring us closer to each other, or pull us apart? Maybe this is a judgement also on my part! :-) Yet would we not fare better if we remembered, that yes, even God judged, but He waited until the last day before determining to send us to heaven or hell! Let’s therefore give each one a chance to process their life and to learn their lessons, before we damn them halfway as imperfect.

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In the bible, Matthew 7:2-5 declares, ‘For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.’ Jesus also tells the accusers of a woman said to have committed adultery and who wanted to stone her to death: ‘He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone’. And here lies the truth. Not that I am a Christian, but the thought appeals to me! Let he who has not sinned, be the first to judge, or in other words, let he who is perfect be the first to judge. Is there any one?

When we judge another, we are being arrogant, narrow minded and closed to any new form of learning experience. What we are saying in unspoken language is ‘I reject you’ or that ‘you are not deserving of my love or respect’. We believe we are the only ones who are right, and therefore everyone else has to be wrong. We forget in the moment that we only see from our one perspective. And in fact, there are many possible points of view.

Here is a story to demonstrate that. A father decided that he wanted to teach his four sons a lesson. So he sent each one off to see a pear tree. He sent one in the summer, the other in autumn, one in winter and one in spring. Each came back with a different perspective of the tree. First one said he saw it with lots of fruits, the other denied there being any fruits and said it was full of yellow leaves, the third number exclaimed there were no fruits or leaves it was very dry and barren, and the last argued, that he saw it with beautiful blossoms and a fragrance. Each exclaimed that what they saw was correct and the other was wrong. The father then had to explain that each one was right, but that they had all seen it during a different season. So too we need not judge by seeing just the one ‘season’ but by seeing the full ‘year’, so to speak.

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Yet our arrogance makes us forget that everyone has a right to their own opinion. Can we honestly believe that all the 7 billion people in the world will align their thinking to make it one? If we do, then something is wrong with our own thinking. Each person, even within one big family, has their own way of eating, speaking or walking. So if we think we can change someone by judging them, then we are walking toward a dead end.

Judgement is a tricky subject. We need enough discernment to know the difference between the angel and the devil, and yet not too much that we conjure up conspiracies about people or trust everyone blindly. If used correctly, our power of judgement can actually be a good guide for us.

But for this, our intellect, the measuring tool, has to be filled with divinity and wisdom, love and compassion. We need to be well-wishers for all. We need to exercise understanding and a willingness to be curious and accepting of other points of view. For only then will we be able to enjoy the beauty of the variety of ‘colours’ in the world.

It’s time… to give others a chance. Let me try to understand before wanting to be understood. To accept that everyone has a right to their own opinions. Let us restrain ourselves from judging others and judge ourselves first. ‘Let he that is without sin cast the first stone’.

 

Share these thoughts! ‘It’s Time…’ is spreading far and wide! Feel free to forward this wisdom, but to avoid any karmic rebound, please acknowledge its source – ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London (or, http://www.arunaladva.org)

 

You Are Priceless!

You Are Priceless!

To realise the value of one minute,
ask the person who missed the train.

To realise the value of one second,
ask the person who just avoided the accident.

To realize the value of one millisecond,
ask the person who won a silver medal in the Olympics.

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Have you ever been without a matchstick when camping?  It is unfortunate that sometimes we seem to acknowledge the value of something only when it’s not there.

Do we realise the value of our body? Would any one of us sell an arm or leg for a few million dollars? Or our eyes for a billion dollars? Probably not! In this context, the body we have is actually priceless and we are billionaires! Yet we really only notice the value of the body when it begins to break down and we can’t do the things that we used to do: then we repent that we didn’t look after it more carefully.

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Perhaps we only value time when loved ones have passed away and we regret not spending more of it with them. That also gives rise to another realisation that no matter how hard we work to earn the pennies, money cannot replace the people and time or the precious moments spent with them.

Most often we don’t value someone for just being there, present, in our lives. We seek proof of their value and worth and then weigh up in our mind how much of our love, respect and attention they deserve. And when we don’t see that evidence, we can dismiss or discard them as easily as we would our rubbish.

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We seem to miss people when they are not there and ignore them when they are present. No doubt this gave rise to the popular expression ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder’.

Like some people who have priceless antiques sitting in their attic but consider them to be a pile of be old junk, we cannot realize the value or worth of something or someone unless we have an appreciative eye. We need discrimination, wisdom and the ability to discern the truth below the surface.

It’s only a herbalist who can truly value the weeds and shrubs that grow in our back yard; for only they would recognise their full medicinal or curative properties. Anyone else would just weed them out considering them to be a nuisance. A brilliant artist can craft a valuable work of art from things that other people would consider worthy only to be thrown away.

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Actually the value of the humble matchstick remains constant, yet it seems like an insignificant item, worthy of little respect, until the absence of it makes our life difficult. Then it becomes the most important thing ever!  In the same way, the value of others is always there. They may embody many qualities and virtues, but we tend to pick and choose what we see in another person according to the situation and our relationship with them. Sometimes we would rather see their defects than their qualities… but that could change when we find out that we really need them!

It is only when I deeply recognise that every human being and every creature has worth and value irrespective of my need, that can I begin to give them their due respect and appreciate their presence.

We don’t value people and things because we have not taken the time to appreciate them. Everything in the world is serving a purpose and offering itself for our benefit.  There is nothing without purpose.  It’s just that we have not taken the time or made the effort to notice its value, or to put it to best use.

Maybe it is our vision that is a little skewed and we are unable to see clearly. Our needs and wants take over our senses. Our ego gets in the way and like the wicked queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, we can only see our own beauty and not that of anything or anyone else.

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So before we judge, it is better to be a little bit curious and come to understand another’s value and worth before we write them off as good or otherwise. Is it not possible to value everyone and everything just because they are, they exist, and they are worthy of love and respect simply because they are part of our wonderful human family? If we did, wouldn’t our lives become even more valuable?

It’s time… to stop putting arbitrary values on others and see them for their true worth. Recognise the value of each moment and each interaction, and recognize that some things, like time, health, and love, are simply priceless!

Share these thoughts! ‘It’s Time…’ is spreading far and wide! Feel free to forward this wisdom, but to avoid any karmic rebound, please acknowledge its source – ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London (or, http://www.arunaladva.org)

 

Review of 2014 – Best Wishes To All

New Year Letter 2Review of 2014

Dear Friends, Family and all ‘It’s Time’ readers,

Seasons Greetings to you all!

Each year so many of us arrive at this point in the calendar and exclaim with surprise and disbelief that another year has gone by already! Time these days’ seems to move at such speed that we hardly have time to take a breath or to reflect.

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Speed and haste have become a disease of our times, which is forcing us to react and respond ever faster. Like a car going continuously at top speed, there is bound to be an accident sooner or later.

It’s another one of those reminders that we cannot afford to delay our spiritual effort until tomorrow or even, for that matter, the next moment. If there is constant attention and awareness on our inner being then it’s as though we live in another realm and not the one the clock on the wall dictates. If we do pay attention, time really does slow down.

New Year Letter 3For me, this past year has been an effort to simplify my life and my thoughts. That does not mean to become inactive, but to slow down and minimise my thinking. Yet, in terms of action, it has perhaps been one of the busiest years ever, with a lot of travel and speaking engagements related to ‘It’s Time’. This is on top of the usual work I do with the Brahma Kumaris of running a meditation centre, organising retreats and conferences, visiting other centres and managing projects.

So it seems that time is urging me to increase my inner capacity and that is what I have also been consciously working on internally this year. And for that, one doesn’t really need to do a lot except to maintain an attitude of learning, allowing and not resisting. Notice and pay heed to the opportunities to stretch and build one’s inner powers and virtues. For example, to consciously be more patient and to pay attention to pause and wait; to resist speaking or writing on a whim and to remain silent or quiet; to keep pushing the limits of the body to do more, especially when people are wanting your time and attention. In this way we cooperate with life and life begins to cooperate with us.

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Launch of Book 2 in Kuwait

 

Launch of Book 2 in Bahrain in presence of Dr Ebrahim Al Dossary and Mr Adel Fakhro, Promiment figures in the Kingdom of Bahrain
Launch of Book 2 in Bahrain in presence of Dr Ebrahim Al Dossary and Mr Adel Fakhro, prominent figures in the Kingdom of Bahrain

2014 has been an eventful year for ‘It’s Time’, with the launch of a second book. As I have mentioned before, there is always a personal story that is the catalyst for the articles.

‘Fix Your Crown’ was an article inspired by a student who would often joke with me and others when he saw someone go off course, by saying; “fix your crown now”. It was funny, yet it brought the message home very vividly.

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There was the ‘Let’s Meditate’ series which included 10 articles between April to June intended to help people to incorporate meditation into their busy lives in practical way. At that time I was making the effort to wake up extra early for my first morning meditation, for example 2.30am or 3am, to deepen the experience of silence, stillness and inner power.

‘Live with the End in Mind’ in August was as a result of hearing the news of a few deaths amongst fellow students on the path.

As troubling news was emerging literally around the corner in Iraq, I was inspired to write ‘Raise the Vibration of the World’ in September.

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‘Amrit Vela – Time of Nectar’ was inspired when I was spending more than the usual amount of time in Mt. Abu and absolutely enjoying the early morning meditations on the holy mountain.

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‘Touched and Moved’ was inspired by my time with Dadi Janki, the Head of the Brahma Kumaris. At age 99, she can sit daily on her armchair and from there she can inspire and touch the lives of thousands around the world as a result of her spiritual mastery.

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Visiting Dadi in Mumbai

‘When the Honeymoon Ends’ was written after a ‘death’ of a relationship; a reminder of how every relationship goes through its different stages and how important it is to always maintain spirituality in our connections.

‘It’s Time’ is growing…

Thank you to all who take the time to visit the blog every week. The blog was viewed 63,000 times in 2014.

Recently I was in Vietnam for the launch of the translation of ‘It’s Time… for Relationships’ into Vietnamese. It was my first such experience and I was overwhelmed at the queues waiting for a signed copy of the book. I heard later that approximately 500 copies were sold over five programs in two cities.

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Public Program in Hanoi, Vietnam
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Book Signing in Hanoi, Vietnam

An agreement has been signed with Ocean Publishing in Delhi for the first book, it is already translated by Pavitra Sangwan and awaiting printing. Arabic is soon to follow with Dar Al Moulef, a publisher in Lebanon. ‘It’s Time… for Relationships’ has also been translated into Spanish and is awaiting printing. And the Chinese version of ‘It’s Time… for Change’ is due for release in the first quarter of the year.

Book 3 Coming Soon – It’s Time… for Self Empowermentbook 3 coverThe third book, ‘It’s Time… for Self-Empowerment’ is due to be released 31st Jan 2015. In it, I talk about the need to develop a spiritual attitude, awareness and then offer tools for the application of these.

 

New Year Letter 13 collage
Mt Abu, Rajasthan, India

 

I was invited to run a two-day course on Conflict Resolution at the Brahma Kumaris University on Mt Abu. As a result of that course I created and then self published the subject matter in a book format, ‘Conflict Resolution’ which I am giving as a gift to all. You can go to the blog and download your free copy. My wish is that people really benefit from some of these soft skills, and have the means to manage their difficult relationships.

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Cover of Conflict Resolution book

 

I was also really grateful to the universe to have the opportunity to visit one of my most favourite places on the globe, Tofino on Vancouver Island. It just shows that when you do what you love, and give rather than take, then the universe responds by fulfilling your purest wishes.

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Vancouver

 

So much more good stuff has happened that it’s not possible to put it all into writing. Looking back on 2014, I feel only gratitude and a true sense of fulfilling my purpose as I am able to keep doing more of what I love.

 

New Year Letter 13 collage

If ‘It’s Time’ has inspired you in any way, then my hope is that you will experiment with the ideas and put to use what you have learned in your practical life and inspire many others.

And as for doing the spiritual work, there is no time like the present so they say. So whatever you want to do, do it now! Now is the time. You have it in your hands to make 2015 your best year ever!

New Year Letter 5

Many thanks to Carol Lipthorpe, Viannie Chua, Girish Wadhwani and Jaymini Patel and other incognito helpers for their continuous support, help and dedication to ‘It’s Time’. I couldn’t spread the word without you all.

All the very best to each of you from the heart…
in the remembrance of the One above,

Aruna and the ‘It’s Time’ Team

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Soul Journey and Personal Development

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