Monthly Archives: November 2013
It was November 14, 2004. A blustery winter evening in New York. The sun had gone down and the wind was gusting hard. My stomach rumbled relentlessly and I shivered in spite of my down parka. I sprinted briskly along West 63 St., to reach my destination near Carnegie Hall, at 25-C, the apartment/ashram of Yogi Gupta, my spiritual preceptor, as quickly as possible.
I had traveled to Manhattan from Miami primarily to do my work as a simultaneous interpreter at a board of directors meeting for a large multinational client, but I wanted to get a spiritual boost by going to the center as I didn’t often have the opportunity to attend. I had finished a 30 Day Purification Diet that day and made the mistake of going to a Thai restaurant in the city with my colleagues to celebrate a job well done and break the fast. As I greedily wolfed down my curry dish, with chicken no less, I dimly remembered Guruji’s warning that spicy foods were not good for you. But I was dying to eat something tasty after watermelon, leaves and herbs for thirty days and when someone suggested this place, I jumped at it. Not a good idea. That is what happens when we block out our inner voice thinking , “this time” I know better.
Sure enough, my body was so de-toxed that although I had specified that I wanted the spice level to be mild, eating the dish was similar to receiving a kick in the gut.
Thinking Outside the Box
Upon arrival at 25-C, I asked Swami Prabathanand, who was manning the front desk, to recommend an herb to put an end to my misery and bought some E+ to assuage the intestinal flora. It was ultimately very good but that night I had to pay for my rashness. Guruji was in India at the time but one of his senior disciples was offering a Psychic Development technique class and a Sound Meditation scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m., for which I promptly signed up. It wasn’t the Guru personally but it was the next best thing. His teachings through an experienced disciple. I am usually very organized and from my shorthand training as an interpreter, whenever I attend lectures I take down the discourse in my own diary so that I can subsequently internalize the learning by reviewing it. However by then, the food poisoning from lunch had set in. It was all I could do to try to concentrate on what the teacher was saying and I had to make a brave showing as I was the only one in attendance.
I distantly heard the instructor talk about a mythical Temple of Colors in Lemuria, a lost continent located where Japan is now, inhabited by a colony of women priestesses who were able to simply look at the astral body of supplicants, determine what colors were missing and replace them to cure problems. He spoke about the Psychic Development technique, in which I was receiving instruction, as being more powerful than Ayurveda, in that it teaches us how to communicate with the Masters, who are here to help the world advance. They are the ones who end wars and shift resources around the earth as needed. If we communicate with them our life will become much easier. In order to do the technique correctly, we need to build up prana/primal energy and not let it leak out via our thoughts. We waste time trying to mentally figure out who we are through the senses which give us wrong information. By tuning in to the Masters and through meditation, we get to the truth. It is always better to meditate in the presence of a teacher he said, because his mind is more settled and will still the restless thoughts of our “monkey brain.”
God Helps Those Who Help Themselves
In spite of my stomach woes, I had a great sound meditation with a gong, which I had not been exposed to before. But alas, it was time to get up and go home. I knew from the way I was feeling I would never be able to walk back the 15 minutes to the hotel. It was 9 o’clock and there were no taxi stands anywhere in the vicinity. I dreaded having to walk to Broadway to attempt to hail a cab for a short ride, but dragged myself to the revolving front door and stepped out. I had stood there in the biting cold only long enough to get my bearings when a taxi drove up right in front of me to drop off someone at the building. I was astounded at this “coincidence” and weakly fell into the back seat muttering “Thank you Guruji” under my breath.
The following day I was slightly better but still in significant discomfort, having been unable to sleep the night before. I took a cab instead of the shuttle to La Guardia, to board a full flight to Miami. I cringed contemplating the three hour trip in a middle seat. I had been unable to upgrade to an aisle seat to be closer to the restroom because the flight was oversold. I wouldn’t even be able to rest my head against the window to grab some shuteye. My only consolation was that I had to be burning a lot of karma with how badly I felt!
I took my seat, stowed my carry-on with the help of another passenger because I felt so fatigued, and waited for the boarding process to finish. Imagine my surprise when twenty minutes later, the stewardess started reading the safety precautions and no one had come to claim the other two seats in my row, in spite of the fact that there were no other empty seats on the plane. I knew then, as I spread out, that without a doubt, what Yogi Gupta always said: “Nothing happens as a bolt from the blue”, or “A mouse doesn’t suddenly jump out of a cupboard” (meaning there are no coincidences in life), is true. The Guru knew I was making an effort to go to 25-C and although he was not there in the flesh, his spirit was there, as he often promised. We can always maintain a psychic connection with him he told us, because “neither time nor distance are an obstacle”. By going, I was endeavoring to connect with him and his teachings, so he was taking care of me in an extraordinary way because I was actively seeking the company of the Wise Man.
This was further confirmed when after arriving on my night flight, tired and bedraggled, I tried to secure a luggage cart at MIA baggage claim. I needed to take a trunk with sound equipment that I had brought back with me, to the taxi stand. Since I was one of the last people to get off a full flight, by the time I picked up my box, there were no carts available, nor any skycaps to assist me. Nonetheless, in a matter of two minutes, before I could cry from exhaustion and chagrin, a lady three carrousels away from mine, spotted me, approached me spontaneously and offered me hers.
I was thusly reminded of what Guruji once said to me : “If you continue to make spiritual efforts, God’s and Guru’s help will never be lacking. God helps those who make efforts to help themselves to the best of their ability”.
I have always found this advice to be very practical because whenever you improve yourself spiritually it affects your physical and emotional bodies as well as your mind, which in turn influences your work and everyday life. In this particular case, the purification diet in question was enervating. Our bodies are like machines that after working non-stop for a period of time, need a break for rest, cleaning and overhauling. Even if we are eating the right foods, our digestive systems can use an opportunity to burn toxins or excess fat, clearing small problems before they become big ones. In addition to losing weight, this practice makes me feel so much lighter; it increases both my energy and concentration which are primary staples for interpreting of any type.
Meditation is also extremely beneficial as it allows us to detach from the constant barrage of sensory input that we receive, especially in our business, facilitating a direct connection with our consciousness that generates relaxation and lets us harness our resources more efficiently to both lead our lives and carry out our work in a better way.
To see a more comprehensive explanation of the benefits of meditation, watch this video:
Share your “coincidences” with me. We have all had those experiences where we are in the “zone”, doing something we love or care about. They are nature’s way of telling us to pay attention to what we are doing because it resonates with us and points us towards what we could be doing to improve our lives.
There are many phrases we use in English on a regular basis that don’t have a direct translation into our other working languages and we may not even know how they became part of the English language to fathom a meaning. I have chosen a few to highlight in order to enrich our understanding of how these terms came to be.
The first one is one that I ran across a few days ago when I saw a play by that name. It is “top drawer”. I intuited that it meant something that is the best, the pick of the crop. It can mean that, but it goes beyond, having social implications. Someone that is top drawer is someone that is acknowledged to be the crème de la crème in society, which is exactly what it meant in the play in question. It came into being because the social elite used to put their important papers and possessions in the top drawer of their dresser.
Then there are sayings like “it cost an arm and a leg”(when something is very pricey), you “have a chip on your shoulder”(you are holding a grudge and making no bones about it –or not leaving any room for doubt), and “it doesn’t cut the mustard” (something doesn’t meet expectations). The first one seems to have been popularized during WWII when many soldiers paid the high price of war by forfeiting a limb. The second apparently rose from a local custom in the U.S. in the early 19th century, where boys wanting to fight would dare others to physically knock a chip of wood from their shoulder to instigate a fight. Cutting the mustard was easier to envisage because of references in the Bible as to how minute the seed is, and hence difficult to cut.
“You’re barking up the wrong tree” (you’re mistaken), originated from America’s English ancestry, in which hunting was prominent. At times hounds would apparently chase their quarry up a tree and start barking at the base of the wrong one. The phrase “quick and dirty fix” (is for when something solves a problem but not in the best way). It appears to have come about in the 20th century in an environment related to mechanics or computers.
A word I often use myself is “upshot” (result). What was the upshot of the discussion? It made it into our vocabulary through the field of sports. It is the name of the last shot in an archery match. One of my favorites, although very colloquial, is “he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed” (he’s not the brightest person around).
When life does not seem to offer any viable options, we have come up with idioms such as the more antiquated “you’ve put me between the devil and the deep blue sea”, or “between a rock and a hard place”. The first is easy to figure, either we will be in the devil’s hands or at the bottom of the sea. The second, interestingly enough, arose after a union employment conflict in the US, where the miners involved were given the choice of working for vey low wages, or losing their job altogether.
I would love to hear some of your picks for a future continuation to this article, or about similar interesting phrases that have become mainstream in other languages.