To most of us, silence only comes when we close our eyes and turn in for the night. Even when we are listening, our minds churn an inner dialogue; like, we are deciding what we will say next, contemplating the way the speaker’s mouth is moving, thinking about what is for lunch. A healthy fix of silence, whether it is a week-long retreat or a few, simple moments focusing on the breath could do miracles.
In many eastern traditions, observing silence is an integral practice. Not speaking and turning inward is thought to bring peace, clarity and spiritual purity. In the west, even during secular events, moments of silence is practiced to respect and reflect. In our hyper-connected, buzzing world where there is a constant soundtrack to our lives; be it a whizzing car, the bark of a dog or the low hum of a computer at work, you’ll have to seek silence deliberately in order to reap its benefits. Your relationship with quiet and the act of restoring could improve your skills when it comes to work, friendships and happiness.
Creative types swear by silence. It is a stark reminder of the difference between what is worth saying and what isn’t. It is the perfect editor for the creative soul. Creativity is a side effect of meditation. In silence, we gain perspective on what matters, and can more comfortably do away with the non-essentials. When you spend time just being present and observing your breath, thoughts, feelings, and moment-to-moment experience, we start to realize how trivial most of our daily worries really are. In the midst of the daily grind, one can let go of the small stuff, and keep the big picture in view.
Silence is therapeutic. We need silence for sanity. The level of noise that we live with really closes us down. We have very little peace and quiet. Silence is not just no noise; silence is peace and quiet and peace and quiet is beautiful. When we find peace and quiet, we think clearly, feel clearly and the body rejuvenates itself. We don’t know what to do with the free time that quiet offers. Our lives are busy and structured. The healing process needs a simple figuring out of how we want to spend our afternoon without distraction to fall back on.
Silence is a catalyst for focus. We have all felt the need for library-quiet when struggling to concentrate, but being in quiet, takes practice. Being quiet can make one thoughtful. In silence, we can hear our soul speak. Without the surface noise, the insignificant chatter will default to mute. It is often the quiet ones who out-produce everyone else. Silence can make one a better listener. We are losing our listening skill. There is plenty to be distracted by, and as a result our skill to really pay attention is weak. Listening is access to understanding. Just three minutes a day of silence is a wonderful exercise to reset your ears and to recalibrate so that you can hear the quiet again. If you can’t get absolute silence, then go for quiet and that is absolutely fine.
Listening is one of the most difficult skills on this planet. It is very hard to stop mind from wandering. There are lots of reasons why it is so hard for us to be silent. We can always tell when someone is not giving you their complete attention. Practicing quiet, whether through retreat, meditation or just a few minutes unplugged, can prepare you as a professional and a friend to really hear.
A mysterious question is whether a person is responsible for what he does or will everything depend upon fate or God? Religious scriptures offer one both the answers. They say person is responsible for what he does and has created a set of do’s and don’ts for them. Scriptures also states that a person who sins, goes to hell, and the person who does good deeds goes to heaven. Scriptures also say that we should surrender before God as whatever takes place in this world are the will of God and not a blade of grass moves without his will. Therefore, a person is not a doer nor responsible for his acts.
Scientifically, we find that a person is responsible for each and every action that he takes in life. We find that what we do is the will of nature or result of endless factors present within and outside of us. For an authentic comprehension, we first have to define who ‘I’ is in the body? Analyzing, we find that ‘I’ is the one experiencing all inputs from various sensory organs like eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin, etc. and is the one that commands the body to perform various functions through hands, feet, mouth, etc., in addition to making all the decisions.
To know who is responsible for karma, we have to analyze ‘I’ more deeply. On analysis, we find that on one hand, we are the ‘I’ in this body and are responsible for each and every decision or action that we take. On the other hand, ‘I’ or our body consists of trillions of microbes without which it cannot survive, in addition to trillions of cells and endless factors both within and outside the body.
Every thought that enters our mind or decision that we take is a joint effort of all these endless number of organisms and factors both within and outside our body. So, we can conclude that on the one hand, we are fully responsible for each and every action that we take and on the other hand, we have nothing to do with anything, and everything depends upon our Fate or on God. So, if any person says that he is responsible for everything or he is not responsible for anything, then both ways, he is half correct and half wrong.
In other words, Karma and Fate are like two sides of the same coin and one cannot survive without an equal amount of other side. Whatever we do in life equally depends upon karma as well as our fate. The question is, once we decide that both Karma and Fate are equally responsible for all our actions, then how should we conduct ourselves, as no human being or life form can remain without work for even a moment in this world.
The answer is, we should conduct ourselves in a manner that is considered normal or acceptable by society at that given point of time without any expectation in return, and leave the results to Fate or God. By way of explanation, we should behave in a manner in which we expect our fellow human beings to behave with us and leave everything else upon Fate or God.
Karma means action. It is also the reaction that follows on an action. The process of compensation for any given feeling, thought or deed is completely automatic. Karma in its sense of law keeps the cosmos in balance and harmony. Life in cosmos is severely restricted on some planets more than others. Here, there are both physical and personal limitations on what you can do. Karma, however, is your unrestricted power of choice, and it makes sure that for every choice you make there will be just consequence. The law of karma is often expressed with this quote: "As you sow you shall reap". Good seeds produce good fruits, while evil seeds produce evil fruits. That said, karma does not concern itself with good or evil. It simply returns what has been given. To make it slightly more complicated, karma is only produced when pain is nourished and joy quelled. If instead joy is nourished and pain quelled no karma will be produced.
All karma must be experienced or resolved. Karma can be resolved through understanding. Karmic seeds understood as to their consequence as they are sown as well as to their result as fully developed fruits will be resolved. Unresolved karmic seeds will develop into karmic fruits providing experience equal to that sown. Karmic fruits understood as to their cause will bring evolution away from action.
When trying to move up the ladder of cosmic existence, you will be confronted with experiences trying to keep you down. Conversely, when falling down you will face experiences trying to move you back up. Only, if you insist on changing your position it will indeed be changed. After the change a new status quo will be established. Karma in the sense of reaction is different from fate in the way that fate involves your total experience, while karma is produced from action alone and not from creation or meditation.
Karma and Fate like other dualities such as life-death, good-evil, happiness-sorrow, night-day, cannot exist without an equal amount of the other. Rise above such dualities, and perform duties without desire or hatred, and attain ultimate peace and contentment in life.
I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being. What I would not give for a few moments of silence! It’s important to take breaks, but I just don’t have time. We have all heard or made comments like these at some point. Implicit in these statements is the idea that resting in stillness is beneficial for the individual. But what if such a practice of peace is more than that? What if it’s beneficial for others in your family, your community, in every life you touch?
The thing about light is that it really isn’t yours; it’s what you gather and shine back. It gets more power from reflecting. If you sit still and take it in, it fills your cup, and then you can give it off yourself; you gather and shine back without even knowing it. Whenever we sit and reflect, whenever we surrender to stillness, we are engaging in a subversive, loving act of service.
In a world that honors productivity above peacefulness, we are choosing another way. We are appreciating the beauty that surrounds us always, and in doing so, becoming more beautiful ourselves. It isn’t always an easy choice, but it is ours to make. We can be illumined, and in doing so, who knows what we might illuminate?
We live on earth with all treasures, beautiful mountains, rivers and lakes, yet we live in perpetual conflict with environment, nature, with each other, and inwardly spiritually. We are in conflict from the moment we are born until we die. We are familiar to conflict. We tolerate conflict. We justify why we live in conflict. We think conflict, struggle, striving means outward progress or inward achievement towards the highest goal.
World is reduced to suffering, struggle, obeying, accepting, destroying each other, wilderness of wild, thoughtless human beings who do not care for the beauty of a lake, pond, and swift running river. We are obsessed with our little selves, our own little problems even after five thousand years of culture.
Life is translated into dangerous, insecure meaningless existence. We devise meanings of significance, but daily life after living for hundred years has lost meaning except to gather money, to be somebody, to be powerful.
To live without conflict both inwardly and outwardly, ask why we have not solved the problem of conflict with each other and in our own selves? Why do we succumb to conflict of struggling to become something or not to become something, to achieve result, personal advancement, and personal success!
There is conflict between man and woman at conscious level and down in the very recesses of the mind. Pretension of trying to be something which you are not is conflict. Conflict breeds trying to achieve heaven, god, or whatever you like to call that thing that you adore and worship. There is conflict in meditation, struggling to meditate, struggling against lethargy, indolence. Life is in perpetual conflict.
Life has a way of keeping you humble. Profanity, hatred, anger, jealousy, rudeness and selfishness are not pretty or attractive. Mean people are hurting inside, love them. You can’t fight anger. You must envelop it with love. It’s not a good idea to have a conversation if you are angry or upset. Wait until you calm down. People can change! But, it is up to them to make that choice. You can’t make anyone change.
When you reach a certain low, it can be rock bottom or the beginning of a spiral out of control. It’s your choice! Everyone has difficult times. You can view them as challenges, work through them and learn valuable lessons. Or you can let the struggles become overwhelming, just give up and learn nothing. If you choose the latter, these challenges will keep showing up.
It would be nice if everyone who has overcome struggles would help others facing similar ones. You are responsible for picking up all the junk that is dumped on you. Stop wasting time blaming others. We all make mistakes. We can’t erase them but can be better today than we were yesterday. It’s a brilliant idea to learn from other people’s mistakes. Don’t learn the hard way.
Gratitude brings more blessings. Charity brings more riches. Compliments make people smile. Children are wise. We can learn so much from them when we give them quality time. Constant self assessment is necessary. You become like those with whom you spend time. Compassion is in fashion. It makes the world a better place and it defies the law of supply and demand.
Discursive thoughts are a curse…freedom from them brings peace. Life is in the present moment. Be here, now. It is not our job to judge others. There is something bigger…God-Source-Universe. You can’t fool God-Source-Universe. If you think you are "getting away" with something, you’re wrong. Prayer works. Forgiveness is liberating. We all have a very important purpose. Don’t sabotage other people’s efforts. Follow your passion or you will be miserable. Your passion will lead you to your purpose.
It’s not good to do harm. It’s better to harmonize. I’m no more significant than anyone in this universe, and no one is more significant than me. Stuff really doesn’t matter. We come into this world alone with nothing except a body. We leave this world alone with nothing, not even a body.
Name: Dr. Anil Agarwal Jain
Admission To School: March of 1986
Admission To MBBS in MMC: 1998
Convocation: In Year 2003
TOFEL (Test of English as Foreign Language): 2004
Admission to University of Massachusetts Medical School: 2004
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester, MA 01655
Three-year Internal Medicine Residency Program completed in 2007
Worked in Brigham &Women's Hospital till 2010
Returned to India in 2011
Now appointed as visiting Associate Professor of Internal Medicine in Bhagwan Mahaveer Jain Hospital, Bangalore in 2011