• http://www.amazon.com/The-Thomases-Road-Realization-ebook/dp/B009BATQUA/

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Controls for Equilibrium (Equilibrium 6)

It is important to know what are the pitfalls possible in a spiritual search and the pitfalls are to be studied in the seekers who visibily faltered. I was really impressed by some of Osho Rajneesh’s teachings that I found in the net. I saw a discourse by Osho on dance meditation, in which he says (in essence) that spiritual experience can be achieved through dancing (after meditation) where we build up our energy , spiral it up to a climax, an experience similar to orgasm; and as we stop we draw in that energy into us, we let it engulf us, descend down upon us, into us. He spoke elsewhere that perversions arose when one indulged in desires in mind rather than in real life, and he seemed to be much against perversions from what I could gather. Then what happened? Why and how did he go so wrong as to become just a manipulator and not a real practitioner of his teachings. I read that he amassed wealth, had strange fears, wanted to be known as enlightened above all others, became a slave to desires instead of being liberated from them.

Osho believed in spontaneity and allowed each person in his gathering to follow his or her spontaneous mind. He encouraged indulging in desires and other tendencies like anger, violence, etc and believed it to be the way to be free from them. Is there really such a path? J. Krishnamurthi advocates becoming aware of one’s feelings and emotions as a witness and not suppressing them. But he does not at the same time mean deliberately indulging in them. It means that if emotions come, 'accept' them (rather than suppressing or denying them), it does not mean 'act' on them.

Spiritual experiences are possible with an external aid like a sexual partner. Tantra advocates meditating before and after sex, to use the high energy state arrived through sex to connect with the higher powers.(a corollary is that, if the high energy state is not pulled up through meditation to clear the whole channel, then the lower chakras may gain over activity and make a man more and more lustful and worldly. I would even say it is very important to meditate post sex to remain a balanced personality) Sometimes even drugs are taken to initiate into the spiritual highs. But these paths if not carried with right minds have the dangers of making you dependent on them for your experiences.These paths may lead one to explore only the highs and forget about the reason for having reached the high, that was to invoke and connect to the higher power. When the purpose becomes the "high" it can become an obsession and instead of liberating, it can make one a slave of such highs. This is a very tender area and definitely not for all, as its path is beset with dangers of becoming perverted especially when explored in a group. In fact, many of Osho’s followers have been known to have become desperate to keep the “highs’.

On the other hand, the path of detachment and turning inwards is free of such dependencies, but detachment as an approach for the beginning seeker can often lead to disinterest in life or depression. So to avoid the dangers of both, the midway of cyclic attachment and detachment can be practiced by a beginner.  The cyclic approach also has the advantage of never loosing sight of the objective, of achieving that equilibrium state where the internal powers are opened up and sustained to the optimum.

Nuclear power if harnessed with necessary controls gives us usable energy whereas uncontrolled it leads to explosion and destruction of everything that had been intended to benefit from the energy. By the same token, if the spiritual search is carried out in a controlled way, it leads to drawing in of controlled energy and leads to spiritual growth, but if we pursue it without the necessary controls, there are dangers of affecting the mind negatively, like becoming incoherent, antisocial, perverted, depressed or even an extent of madness.

Osho was also known to be proud of his so called awake state and was self promoting. Osho’s teachings(not all his words) that I have read indeed seem sound. It is said, however, that his teachings are actually influenced by lot of other philosophers. That is possible and, realistically speaking, is not a matter of concern. Where things go wrong is when there is lack of faith and practice of one's own words. Faith in one’s own words or any teaching can come only when it is an experiential understanding and not merely a read understanding.

While such experiences as Osho advocated are true and seem to have come through an experiential understanding, what went wrong, I would say, was his pride that there is nothing more to learn, that there is no more of “waking up” to happen. He faltered in his pride and disbelief in God. His pride made him conclude that he is awake and others are not, be it any other religious figure. In so doing he closed himself to lessons from the universe. If he had not closed himself to God he would not have blindly followed his theory of giving in to desires. If he had believed in God, a power that knows more, that knows all, then that humility and belief, would have led to the universal power directing his life in a way that he would have eventually learnt (and taught) that the path of exploring desires is to be matched by a phase of abstinence from desires to find the equilibrium where one no longer is slave to desires, parking eventually into the more stable and peaceful state.That if the path sought is of spontaneity, then it is a personal path to be practiced alone (with a requisite humble heart subject to a ‘higher’ God's will, phased with abstinence); and not in a group of varied minds where everybody’s spontaneity without any checks could lead to corruption of the susceptible and collective human minds.

Cleaning the mind of evil thoughts and pride, liberation from sins, faith in a God and lack of fear are the essential controls to not lose the equilibrium. This is an unavoidable first step before invoking the inner power. A group or gathering of seven days as of a Christian retreat involves first a reflecting on what are our sins and enables repentance. Next step is confession of sins and becoming clean and then the third step is invoking the spirit. In this the cleaning provides for the necessary controls to make the incoming energy beneficial for the growth of the spirit. Without this necessary cleansing, evil minds corrupt the energy by their negative intents. Even during the invocations, those who get filled with the spirit are protected by the priests with the drawing of the cross on the forehead. A faith in a protector and a consequent deliverance from fears is another necessary control to the search for the spiritual experience. Faith in a benevolent God is necessary as in a spiritual experience we are drawing in more of the spiritual connect into an instrument called the body which has its limitations which should be respected. It can only take a controlled amount of energy. An excess can damage its faculties. Faith and focus on God provides an absence of fear which is a vital control. These controls provide the necessary equilibrium inflow of energy and spirits without the damages that evil intents and fears can bring in.

But energy uncontrolled and set free to spontaneity and that too in a large gathering without an innate faith in a God, and a consequent excess of pride, is uncontrolled energy. This uncontrolled energy can be like a nuclear explosion in its aftermath. It can corrupt the human mind leading it to unreasonable fears and unaccountable acts, which is what happened eventually to Osho.

“Adhigam Amritam Vesham” An excess of good is evil. Therefore everything in moderation, including moderation”

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

“The Secret” called Duality. (Equilibrium 5)

My father in law kept saying every time we have met since the last two years, ‘Jerly get me notes or any explanations about the concept called duality’. He had given me a paper cutting but I grasped very little. Yin yang, light dark, good evil. So? I was not clear what he wanted to comprehend. Duality? I thought each time and left it at that. Two days ago in our train trip together, I was disproving his belief that ‘we wish circumstances into our life’. As I spoke out my arguements, he grasped duality! I realised that unknowingly I had been stressing to him about the truth to duality, the very thing he wanted to comprehend through me!

In the trip I gave him the book on “The Secret” power of belief, (that I had actually given him to read two years ago as well and both of us forgot!) telling him that belief power as given in the book is truth "but not the whole truth". Life had come full circle as we met again with the same book and brought in the same concept of duality that was enquired about when the book was first exchanged. I realized he had put in a question in my mind and my life circumstances had brought to me the answer over the ensuing years and even created a situation where I answered the question he had put to me! All unknowingly…

The "whole truth" as I can state it now in a word is ‘duality’- “there is positive in negative and negative in positive”.

As I completed reading the book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, just before I gave it two days ago to my father in law, I was thinking the same thing I thought when I began reading the book …in April 2010- 'Why would I wish for positive when there is so much to gain from negative in terms of growth, spiritually and as an individual?’ I had clean forgotton that I had reached this same conclusion before! But intuition pushed me today to read my own posts on EQUILIBRIUM for no real reason and I discovered that I was only rediscovering my own earlier thoughts. (It reminded me of the earlier exchange of the book that I had forgotton…)

“The Secret” says, “we create our lives by our thoughts, so think positive, believe that you have money, joy and all the good things in life and you will attract them. And if you have negative in life then you thought them into your life, so (moron) start thinking positive” 'The Secret' is written with the assumption that positives, like Money, Joy, Success are desirable whereas; negatives like Lack, Pain, Failure etc are undesirable. Why and how do we decide that Lack, Pain and Failure are undesirable?

(Karma and its consequences can be overcome by the power of belief in a saving God. But what about collective consciousness/ thoughts of a group of related people or whole humanity(remote past or present thoughts) which often is said to be responsible for the future events? An individual's positive thought may be drowned in a collective negative thought pattern, or vice versa. Moreover some future events can be devined in what is called premonition. It would bring in the question of whether the egg came first or the hen. All this is not incorporated in a simple 'belief = reality' equation of "The Secret".)

Honestly there is power in belief but where the “cut and paste” simple truth of ‘ positive thinking’ calling in the positive circumstances fails is…in answer to questions like, ‘ what when one asks for something like wisdom; what would you expect as circumstances in such a persons life?’ Wisdom is seldom encountered on the easy path, so if your souls yearning is wisdom then do not fret if your belief in so called “good things” in life is never fulfilled. Sometimes thinking and wishing for something positive can bring in negative as circumstances. One cannot gain wisdom by merely reading theories, one gains wisdom by reaching to the same conclusions in life. So as long as you have negativity in life use it, as it is your tool to the wisdom you were calling. (refer EQUILIBRIUM 1) And do not be troubled by “The Secret” blaming you for all the negatives in your life! You wished for happiness but your soul yearned more strongly and it yearned for wisdom. No book is complete in itself and depend on your intuition more than any book in the world be it scriptures (Refer chapter 2 The Thomases Road)

This world is a duality; there is a blessing in a curse and a curse in a blessing. Why should a man then bank on his own limited understanding of what is good for him? He should know that whatever he may get in life, can have an element of blessing in it. So he should rather pray “God, give to me in life that which you feel is good for me” And then if it is suffering then face it gladly for blessed is the man who trusts in the lord and all things work together for good of those that love God.

Some choose to be dull but happy while some choose to be wiser and bear the sorrows of being able to see the truth. Jesus chose to die on the cross, Mary chose to become a virgin mother and bear the sufferings from the role God was calling her to; keeping aside her own womanly dreams to fulfill the dreams of God. Some wish to live for the one who is their creator as nothing about the world attracts them to wish anything for themselves; or they love and trust God the creator above everything else, above their human minds wishes, above the so called positives in life.

This does not mean we cannot ask for what our human mind is asking. Jesus prayed to God “ Father, remove this cup (of suffering on the cross) from me; but not what I will but what You will(be done)” So like Jesus allow your physical self to ask whatever it hopes for and let your spiritual self draw what still it wishes to draw. For we are both the body and the spirit.

“Give to ceaser what is ceasers and give to god what is gods” We have to take care of our bodily needs alongside of taking care of our spiritual needs for we cannot ignore any aspect of our self. So believe in the power of thought and ask with your body and ask with your spirit…. and hope that both wishes could converge more often! And do not blame yourself thinking, "Oh I have not transmitted my wishes correctly, my transmitter is faulty for I am asking one thing and getting another” Those whose every little material wish is fulfilled, the chances are their transmitter is controlled only by the body whereas if your belief is not bringing things you asked for, the chances are, you as a body are controlled by a very powerful transmitter called your soul which selects that bodily wish which matches its own purpose of existing in the body. So wait patiently for God to reveal your reward, for with God’s rewards there is often delay and a test of patience.

Believe in the Secret surely but when things don’t go as per the secret power of belief believe in the duality. Negative is positive and positive is negative. Good is not in the positive or the negative, good is in the equilibrium, the midway between positive and negative which is optimum for growth of the duality that we are, the body and the spirit. So you could ask and pray most aptly for “healthy and flourishing Growth” , the very basic function and purpose of every life.

My father in law, my cotraveller in the search then agreed to all this, saying,” Sanmanas ollorku samadhanam” “the good in heart is at peace no matter what”

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Love and other Lies

I heard, that the movie "The Dirty Picture" had good ratings and I was curious enough to read the review of the movie. The story line, to my surprise, was really good and agreed with my thinking, so much so that I wanted to see the movie! It is that old paradox, men want women to give them sex, but the woman who fulfils this basic want gets in return... disrespect. She might be pursued and showered with attention and care but only till she gives him what he wanted following which the man ignores her needs, puts her down in front of his family or friends and so on.

The natural make of a man is such that for him being a son or a friend may be about caring, about loving, but having sex is about dominion, about insulting, about sadism. Man’s instincts make him negative to the object of his lust, that is why the paradox that the woman who fulfils a mans lust gets nothing of his love but rather gets everything in the contrary.

I read somewhere a question- Why do people like love and hate death? Answer- People like love and hate death because love is a lie and death is a truth...
The truth is that, truths are more painful to live with so the world lives by lies. But sometimes it is good to know the truth, especially if the knowledge of truth doesn’t stop you from being yourself, rather helps you understand the real world. One big lie is Sexual "Love" as sex has basically nothing to do with love. The purpose of nature is sustenance through procreation and nature can do anything for it, even hypnotise... All life is hypnotised by a lie called sexual love to serve natures agenda. For procreation, in human terms, man has to have a need which should be prime, like an obsession. For that men have to be basically obsessive and often that is why they are prone to various obsessions, cars, money, power etc. Therefore there is no one and only true sexual love for a man as it would go against nature’s drive of procreation. Men are attracted to all women, and the act of sex being basically an act of dominion, is sadistic and can evoke even scorn and disgust in him. That is why women in marriages often become the punching bag of the man, an object to take out all his problems and issues on. "The paradox of relationships is that men cannot imagine having sex with a women they respect too much as a friend; whereas women want as a sexual partner one who respects her and is a friend!"

'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' Matthew 19:5. In marriage, the lust and associated issues is sanctified with the demand that the man should consider his wife more important than even the oldest relation in his life of a mother and a father. Since sexual act is basically an act of dominion of man over woman, this dominion can be nullified only when it is in exchange of submission of the man to the needs of the partner in terms of giving more priority to the partner than any other relation, however much older. Women become vulnerable if they have bowed down to a man, given him sex. They are at the mercy of their lover and need reassurance that the dominion is in exchange for all of the attention and love of their man. But of course this does not often happen as instincts win over marital vows.

“Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other” This is what St. Paul says in Galatians 5: 16-17. Love of flesh and love of god cannot coexist. Despite the fact that there is something called spiritual sex and though it can unlock our bliss centres, but still it requires two participants on an equal plane of existence loving each other in spirit and not in body. This, if not possible, is not so favourable as two sexual partners are more intensely affected by each other's actions. Two people can rarely grow together in spirituality at the same pace all through their life. One may be spiritual but if the other oscillates between the material and spiritual planes, it affects the other partner more intensely as both "are one". Spirtual awakening through sex is more possible for women who unify love and sex, but as mentioned it has its risks and vulnerabilities. For the majority of the world "where sex is, there is no love"; it is blind to the other and is selfish and so "where love is there can rarely be place for sex".

That is why spiritual men (and even women) often prefer to approach spirituality by abstaining from sex. Men have to get over lust for lust is blinding, it does not see the person it only sees the body and is hypnotically blind to the needs of the person and aware of only the selfish needs of the flesh. This is the reason behind why evils abound in the world all revolving around the harm done from the obsession for the flesh.

What then is love? Have you heard of the musk deer who searches all over for the source of a wonderful smell when all the while it was emanating from its own navel? The search of love is not for something outward, we have to unlock love in ourselves realising that love is not the nature of the world we see. Love is the nature of the unseen which we have to unlock, not in others but within ourselves. It is the nature of loving even when you do not get love in return, it is giving even when you get nothing in return. One of the lies the society promotes is “Do good and you will get good in return.” In the real world the giver is scorned, the cruel respected” The giver is taken advantage of and the fear induced respect is the trophy of the cruel. If you give your portion of food to your house help, there is much likelihood that you are the one whom she will be comfortable dumping when you are ill and need more help. If you help someone with money, there is more likelihood the other will start assuming all your money is theirs for the asking. If you have a habit of giving then better know the truth and get used to suffering for the good you do, or get smarter and draw limits so you do not get abused for this habit of giving(for you have to love yourself too!). The dirty picture of love and sex is the same. "The one who gives sex is scorned, whereas one who ignores this need in him is respected and loved ....by the Man."

Also read on sacred sex in Towards building a relationship with God
instincts in sex in men-women

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Grapes were Sour...

I happened to revisit the story of the fox and the sour grapes, more than once in close succession and each time I picked again a casual thread of reflection, till the vague thoughts of my mind gave way to something vivid.

A fox was hungry . She saw a bunch of grapes. She jumped to get them. She jumped again and again but could not get them. She went away saying that the grapes are sour.

We have been brought up thinking how wrong the fox is. The grapes need not really be sour after all. So wrong to scorn, to revile something.

But does it matter if the grapes were in fact sweet? It was really sour for the fox! Something that could not remove the hunger of the fox definitely left a sourness in its heart. The grapes were sour...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Each Blessing has its Curse

Is not it true, that attached to each blessing is a curse?

For example, you might be blessed with beauty but can you be sure all the attention you get is real love? It could just be more of a desire to pluck, than to tend; leaving you with a wound to nurse. Many who are beautiful get cutting remarks and often feel hated for no reason they know of. Beauty is often cursed with undeserved hate and hurts.

Feeling love is a blessing but it often brings in possessiveness, insecurity and the likes which are horrible feelings and which make you wish you wouldn't have loved. It can gift you the worst heartache and the most terrible period called break up...Love is cursed with pain.

Talent is a blessing but cursed with loneliness. Highly talented people often don't find similar minds or understanding friends. They may find an aspect to themselves that compliments every different friend but there might not be a friend who could find a side which is able to understand or sync in to their complete self. They are cursed with loneliness in a crowd of friends.

Fame is a blessing but cursed with fake friends. People flock to those who are popular and claim them when fame knocks up to them. They may get praises and appreciation and are applauded, but they can never be sure the sources are true to them. The famed are cursed to a fake world.

You can add to this list and see the curse attached to each blessing. However, when plagued by the curses,you can  remind and console yourself with the knowing that "It is because I have/had a blessing" and so ignore the side effects or  downside. What is more, every curse can turn to a blessing...Pain can often be the best fuel to creativity, insights and higher wisdom.

On the other hand, if you don't have these blessings, you feel just a regular person with nothing much going for you; then look again! Quite possibly you have been blessed in life "with all that really matters"- such as good friends who stay by you through thick and thin, and perhaps even true love"!

Unlike the gods or angels in forever bliss, being human, we have the privilege of being able to experience various kinds of joy in innumerable aspects of what we call life. However, it comes with the promise of  being able to suffer just as much. But then, every suffering comes with the assurance of precious lessons, of a meaningful life. Just look closer......and deeper...

Life is an inseparable duality. Accepting both - 'so called' blessings and' so called' curses -with equanimity, is the only escape.....

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lighting a Candle

'Gloom' itself the night, to which I suddenly woke
Fearful the sounds that crept up close,
mingled with the thump of my very loud heart;
Which sang of a terror with a thundering force.

Wet went my palms with all that I feared
I trembled and cursed until thoughts cleared;
Wasn’t there a candle and match I could find?
But the dark ate at me as the distance sneered.

I stumbled through the distance but, did find my way
I did light the candle and it leapt bright and gay!;
that the shadows that threatened were now the scared
as they fled from the fear of the truth spreading ray!

With a candle I could see all for what it was
Now nothing could pretend to be something it was not;
The ghost at the window was just a hanging branch!
And the threat at every step was merely my thought

The light that I lit was 'sight' new to see
A strength to my heart, a guide to my feet.
Lighting a candle is all that it took,
to tick at the truth and cross the “could be”...

(Topic from Roy Durham...What does the light of one candle mean to you)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rising above... On Track...

Recently, I saw the movie "Soundtrack", a remake, an inspiring story about a musician who loses the power of hearing and then makes even more amazing music than he ever did when he could hear....The philosophy that struck me most in this movie is “First accept your situation, and then discover another beauty to the world from this situation where you are” . It reminded me of what a friend said to me “zindagi jeeni hai, jaisi bhi hai”.That is, Life is to be lived however it is. You cannot choose to live only the good part” And when we live the bad part, accepting the situation it places us in,and work “with it ” that is when we discover that life has become more beautiful now, than it could have been had life been going the way it was before...

Each situation in life has a potential and the situation itself arises from our soul calling out, seeking to escape the dip it has set into. It calls out to the universe for an upheaval, something that would rouse it and liberate it from the accumulating dust of daily living. Of course “every situation can turn for good only when we make the effort to rise above it and not get washed away with it”. So don’t give up just yet, look around..the world may be changing.

How worse is your situation? The worst is you might be feeling lonely in the world. You might have been consistently abandoned always by people you depend on the most, ignored whenever you called in your need, left alone, but just check out your inner world after you accept that you are meant to depend on no one..that life intends for you to depend on yourself; you might realize that your inner strength has grown so strong that you don’t need anybody.. it couldn’t have surged out unless you experienced abandoning from every person you relied on ...Surged out because it owes you love and support.

Have you been the leaning sort by nature? Would you have ever discovered this power within you if you had found someone you could always lean on? Maybe you were meant to discover your inner strength and your trials were meant to lead you to your profound self. Just look inside you, your power might be surging and rising after each disappointment, a power that is self sufficient, a power that is complete in itself, a bliss, that needs no one to fulfill it.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

For the institution of marriage to survive...

I read a story in the newspaper about a woman, an only child of a couple, who was married off, only to get killed by her husband in a matter of 10 months from the marriage! The parents had brought a car for the groom...in which she was driven by the husband..dead, to be dumped.

Such are the possible consequences of marriage but our society does so love the institution called marriage and pushes off their darlings to experiment with dangers...without any training..

Dont all parents, all married couples know that the opposite sex is very different and very difficult to understand. Dont they remember how they struggled to understand their spouses? Probably they think, theirs was a unique case but infact the issue is not in your spouses, the real issue is lack of awareness about basic differences in the opposite sex, and lack of skills to bridge the differences. Isn't it the reason why a person who divorces once and marries again ends up divorcing again..and again. If the woman likes to communicate, the man mostly prefers quiet. If the woman likes to correct, the man hates to listen. If the woman is romantic, the man is practical..It wouldn't be wrong to say men and women are basically incompatible. Left to themselves, to their own devices, each person tries to change these differences to similarities, getting frustrated and resentful in the process.

And also, due to these differences that are not understood as natural differences, judgements are often made of the character that makes each sex become disgustful of the other in the long run, killing the very soul of marriage. If only they had known what to expect and what not to expect from the other sex....It could prevent disgust and anger from destroying the marriage by building the base of understanding that comes from being informed. Understanding and training could have given the skill to deal with differences correctly to make the marriage functional.

If society does want the institution of marriage to survive, what is it doing about it? It takes only trained people to do its engineering, doctoring, and for all sorts of institutions, but why does it not bother to train people for its much loved and fundamental institution of marriage? Is the indifference because the people in the marital institution are not paid to be in it? But isnt the exceeding number of divorce cases, the disturbed kids, the abuse, the murders in marriage, big enough reasons for worry that make the society sit up and finally do something about it.

I believe that society would benefit itself by starting a compulsory subject at graduation level that is equivalent to "Premarital councelling". All courses should have this as a compulsory subject and even the non graduates should require a certificate course in it to get married.. The subject should help in learning skills that help interact aptly with the opposite sex in marriage. It should most importantly also include sessions that involve releasing each individual from the baggage and damages of their family and upbringing, their past relationships, to prevent carrying and projecting its ill effects into their marital relation. This is important because unknowingly we live the roles of our parents and react to our spouse with the prejudices towards the opposite sex learnt unconsciously as a result of our earlier interactions with them in earlier relationships or even the view projected through the media.

There are many skills about handling relationships that cant be learnt easily without some sort of guidance. Look at marriages and you will see that 90 % of the times, the skill couples invariably learn by themselves, to deal with the spouse, is to keep distance, and with each passing year the distance builds. If society does really want the marital institution to be healthy and survive in the long run, creating balanced individuals in its offsprings, it does require a compulsory course in developing skills for marriage. I really dont think optional pre marital councelling or councelling when issues crop up is sufficient. What society currently does is like giving the car to an untrained person and asking that it be driven in heavy traffic. Is it enough to give the driving suggestions when the person and car are damaged in an accident? How would it look condemning the issue of increasing accidents when no effort to change the scenario is thought out? Yes, I am in fact saying society has been stupid and highly callous in its attitude to its fundamental institution, and what worries me is how long it will choose to stay so..

(A related post by me "Informed Love" (http://jerlyt.blogspot.com/2009/12/informed-love.html)can be viewed by clicking the title of this post)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Picture these concepts

1. The other self-The earlier post titled two worlds showed how we all live in two worlds, the sleeping-the waking; the real-the imagined. In fact we are two. One self is the space and time bound being living the earthly existence(shown in green), the other is its twin self, the seeker, the one that is detached from time or space (in Black) and seeks the experience of being the absolute self. The black depicts the darkness symbolising that seeking God or the absolute self is like entering the darkness,or the dark night with its mystery and fear of the unknown. The absolute self is depicted as the fish which is the symbol of infinity. This experience of the absolute is the experience of light and the eyes are shown as closed for there is nothing more to be known, it is the state of "being" the all seeing...

2. Seven Heavens and the Horizon - In the second painting the yellow clouds are symbolic of the unseen worlds or seven heavens and the purple is the seen world. Many religions have the concept of Seven Heavens (and Seven Earths!) or "the many worlds of space and time" (both Abrahamic and Hindu religions). From this concept it is understood that there are unseen universes where 'form' is. Even beyond this is the state called "Nirvana" where there is no form.(This I believe is the state called the Divine Throne which is said to be in or above the seventh heaven in most Abrahamic religions). This is the one power that is coursing through the seen and unseen universes which I have depicted as a bird and its mount, the sustainer, the binding force, the overseer or maybe in one descriptive word the Horizon. The point where Earth and heavens can actually be seen as meeting...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Two Worlds

1. "The Think Sleep" was adapted from a photograph(from a photo collection of my brother which I often refer for inspiration) in which I liked the way the child seemed to be thinking in sleep. Sleep time is a world of its own, strange dreams, different lands, and often a place where the thoughts of the day are arranged and settled...all ready for the other world..the one that opens when the eyes do....
2. "The Play Universe" This is the Universe of Kids, where everything is larger, is different. The curtain may become the window to a world like the one "Alice" visited. There are fairies, there are dwarfs...

and all these are so much more fun when there is a like minded friend to travel the wonderland with... (This is a picture of my girl and her friend)

Colour Portraits I love doing faces. I love doing wrinkles too. It makes the face more fun to work on with lot of shading to do! The first colour portrait I did, I think was of my paternal grandmother and the medium was poster. That was during school. She turned out slighly dusky where she had been reasonably fair! But the wrinkles and eyes were perfect if I may say so myself. I could see her departed soul in those eyes...My mom decided it wont give her rest so I don't have it now. The next was at the wish of my much loved hostel warden during graduation, Dr Aruna Parihar, a poster colour portrait of her. But I rather liked the crayon coloured portrait of her better which I did as a parting gift for her. The next was a request for a portrait in oil and now this wasn't something I could mess up! So I learnt the basics of oil portrait for one month at a Kala Kendra and managed a good one! With regard to portrait in water, I have only the memory of a book by Milind Mullick (on water colour in general). But I have to say study of the way a medium works is necessary and I wish someday I will understand water colour better...

Self Sketch..Version I and II

Sketching faces is my favorite when it comes to the topic of sketching as there is an unparalleled joy in getting the face right. I have sketched a lot of faces over the years, but only one or two feeble attempts at self sketch. I haven't really succeeded in self sketch before this. I have a strong suspicion that self sketch is more difficult, maybe because we often correct 'that loud nose' etc and put the picture in our mind on paper which often is far removed from what we look like! I tried with a few photos of myself but this one was what I managed to get correctly, maybe it matched my view of myself! My family agreed it looks like me and so did my friend Priya.

I have a problem, I sometimes overwork and so I uploaded the first basic sketch in Tagged Artlover Group (which had required self sketch from members) and then worked on it again after another look at the original picture....Oh I don't have that tamed hair! Its more of an unruly self willed bunch which has its moods every day (and I have to go with it and set myself accordingly). The "right" picture is my hair in one of its airy moods.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Experiments with Water...

1. The depth called soul seen in the eyes- There are two pair of eyelids (red lashes and blue lashes). So its like opening another layer of the eye. Symbolically I have also intended the whole eye (shape) and the conch like symbolism (the pupil) to depict what the conch represents in hinduism- luster, brilliance, purity and auspicious beginning. It is also blown to announce arrival of a diety etc..So it is a double symbolism. The portion below the Eye, I intended to look like a mountain (..seated high up). I liked Fhers interpretation too- the All seeing Eye of Horus as it seemed to form the triangle. Depicting a concept in "Painting" I felt had the advantage of often touching the similar concepts of all societies
2. A tarred road through the thick forest-This was what I thought for the cover of my book if ever published...The Thick forest representing doubts. The road through doubts, tarred so that seeds of doubt would never take root on it, even if there might fall shadows (of doubt).And again as Fher added his perspective..A road Going to the Right...
3. Cosmic Dance- I am glad that both my abstracts were very well recieved along with the landscapes. This one "Cosmic Dance" symbolises the unity of the concept of WORD/Logos and Aum, the vibration through which all things were created. A-U-M :- Creation- Sustenance- destruction, Alpha-omega, Beginning- Middle- End. In the painting, the 'Chandrabindu' of Aum represents the eyes and Nostrils. The nostrils breathing out the word-AUM which, creates (right hand symbols) sustains (centre breath or lungs) and destroys (left hand symbolism). The cyclic movement of hands depicts the cycle of creation sustenance and destruction.All colours have been used, to show everything emerges from nothing just like all colours emerge from white light" The Forever and Ever Cosmic Dance..
4. The Red tree by the Lake- Its simply my love for the Water bodies and Nature,..and my desire to capture the translucent effect of water colour. Lack of professional training in mediums is an impediment though and water colour is not my forte, though water is quite a convenient medium to make a quick work, whereas oil is a bit lengthy work. Oil is the medium to use if the concepts in mind are half baked, the picture in mind is not totally clear while starting the painting which is often my state of mind while doing abstracts (so I did try to be as clear in mind as possible for me with art, before doing these). But I am glad and encouraged that still, all four were well received in the arty circles! ...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The First love...Oil

My Old Paintings from college days, on the walls (Oil)

The top one is Angels symbolising Love, faith and hope, depicting the verse "And Now Abideth Love Faith Hope these Three.."1 Corinthian 13:13. It is tough to have an unclear picture in mind and proceed with it. It takes long to become clear in mind and in canvas. Even now almost a decade from when i first painted it I would still want to work at it and I would have, had it not been nailed in frame...

The second one is My View of Baby Jesus and Mother Mary, Looking directly at us. Most paintings have them looking down or elsewhere and I used to feel their eyes should be on us looking with love and care..Eyes were my focus and I feel they look on in love; and it is my personal favourite.

The third one is the favourite in the family.Oil on Hardboard. Its quite a big one as I had a desire for huge nature paintings on the wall. I had painted from a picture which to me had conveyed feelings as Fher put it "A kind of seclusion, Oneness with self, with nature." I dont know how Fher came upon the words that had not even formed in my mind but rather I had just felt something like that... A Meditation in beauty and wilderness.....

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Truth hurt me (Lament)

Whoever said truth is good
Honesty a virtue..
Didnt see me, didnt know me
How truth hurt me..

Whatever said from my heart
was not argued
it went like a thorn and came back at me
Why! truth hurt me!

Am I loved for my truth
not for long
truth often bitter, hurts, hate me
My truth hurt me

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Angels Carry Petrol!

I was coming back from work when over the flyover my scooty slowed down. I thought maybe it was having its usual problems even after the recent repair. It went a small distance and then just stopped and to my horror I discovered that actually the petrol was over. Why didn’t I notice the petrol, I cursed myself and considered my options. The nearest pump was a good 15 minutes drive from here. Surely I cant drag the scooty till there! The only option was for my husband to bring me a bottle of petrol. A minimum of 2 hours lost I thought and I had just moved four paces with the intent to drag the scooty down the flyover, when I noticed a Man on an Activa coming from the front heading right towards me! He stopped near me and asked. “You are out of petrol? I will give u.” I was amazed! It really looked like somebody sent him. I was reminded of a scene in one of Paulo Cohelo’s books in which the author speaks about angels coming in human form to help during the most dire of circumstances. I began wondering how he is going to give me petrol and watched as he took out a bottle half filled with petrol! Now it really seemed like someone sent him!“Take enough to last till the nearest pump” he said.
“Do you always carry petrol!” I asked surprised. I offered him money for the petrol but he refused. “I am so indebted how can I thank u”. I wondered aloud. He just took his bottle nodded and went off..in the direction from which he had come! Now the haze cleared in my head. So he had crossed me and had come back wondering if it was petrol I needed!!! Hmm…yet it is very low in probability that someone carrying petrol should be passing by you just when you run out of petrol.
To me he will always be “The angel who carried petrol...”

PS- I neared the service road to the pump and was afraid I might not make it, what with an unprecedented block around the entrance to the road. I managed through to the service road and it cleared as I reached the pump. As I got the petrol filled, I looked back at the main road... It was a Jam Pack! I would really have lost more than an hour in that block! I realized that the events of the day had rather... saved me time!!

…Sometimes favourable things come under terrorizing disguises....!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

School...of Good Hope

The other day few of us, parents, were talking about the cost of education in our times. It ranged from free, to Rs 15 per month to Rs 30 per month. How the times have changed… educational institutions are now synonymous with money……"expense” to most and “making more” to some select few. Today the Mexican grass on the school lawn, the exotic food in the canteen is advertised to impress parents to empty their pockets. And guess what, it actually works!

I was talking yesterday with a former principal of a school and in a matter of time I was telling her my short experience with teaching seven years back and how frustrated I feel about the education scenario. I was telling her what I feel is required to better the situation and discussed the economics of incorporating it.

That economics should not be important in the education field cannot be justified in today's context; as Money is a priority for all private enterprises and THAT cannot be changed and better be accepted. And yet some of the consumerism plaguing schools should be removed as it goes against the very things schools are to teach like "reducing resource wastage"!. In olden times there was optimum resource utilization  In today's times Bags, Uniform, 'Adidas' white shoes, stationary and books have to be brought from the school every year.Often after giving a bag, the school wants the parent to buy smaller bags for the little kid so no one questions the load they carry! That's one time I have felt the house is full of bags; like from old schools, new school and bags as promotional gifts from consumers stores but not one to carry to school. I also wonder if there is still the concept of using old books of the elder sibling or senior students in a posh school? How many trees are we cutting, and how much resources are we wasting  to write "SAVE TREES, DON'T WASTE RESOURCES"?

 Now more on the current filthy scenario

1. Education today is not focused on bettering the standards of education but rather is focused on making money for the private owners of the institution.

a. Schools are often marketed very well but it all turns out to be a flashy crust over a highly rotting inners where a teacher in a class does not even last for more than three months (yup despite the one year bonds). One teacher lasting one year has become rare in most schools, then what can be assured about the teaching standards of a school where there are not even good, experienced, stable teachers to show off? Is the expensive grass on the lawn and the canteen food enough for the child’s development?

c. Freshers into the teaching field are loaded with as many classes possible and even classteachership (associated are meaningless paper works and record keeping) when it is well understood that loading thus would lead to lesser preparation time for each class. .(Believe me even with four hours of sleep a fresh teacher cant spare an average of 20 minutes of preparation time per period a day under the above scenario) "Teaching well" definitely does not seem to be the aim when "preparation" time is not given importance while assigning the load! The aim rather seems to be to squeeze the very life out of the teacher for the expense she is incurring on the institution in the name of a comparative pittance of a salary. And I am not much wrong in generalizing this to most schools as I confirmed from the discussion with the former principal. This is true for most schools and things are no better today than seven years back.

c. Teachers are loaded like a donkey but compared to their work their pay stays unremarkable (also compared to other less stressful professions). There was long back an article in a paper that most of the heart patients admitted in hospitals are teachers. I can believe that. My short tryst with teaching left me convinced that only someone who has no better option would want to teach under the current load scenario.

2. Bettering options for the scenario without causing a dent in the money making. Money is important agreed, but there are also possible ways of earning it by first just aiming to make for a happy teacher

a. A fresh teacher should be given less classes and facilitate a scenario where the teacher can devote atleast two hours of preparation time for each 45 minute or one hour class. When the teacher has perfected her basic subject and arrived at an appropriate teaching style in the first year, she can be slowly assigned other frill and froth work like classteachership or even more classes. The economics of this is that more breathing space would make for contented teachers who don’t run away breaking even the one year bond and thus save the school the stress of teacher hunting after every two months.

b. Facilitating the appropriate environment to hone teaching skills in the first year of a fresh teacher and making for contented teachers would lead to stable experienced teachers in a school and a good name for the school without the need for expensive marketing strategies and loads of lies. A little bit of freedom and flexibility should be allowed to the teacher, rather than deciding how the teacher should do the job (directions like -the teacher should make notes and dictate the notes, finish course by October, revise in the remaining months, apart from this,of course do what u want in the class…!!REALLY? Where now remains the time per class to do what the teacher may want to do? In fact all the inflexible directions mentioned,are a pressure to ensure conforming rather than allow creative teaching) There can be deadlines and directions but there should not be inflexibility and absolute lack of trust in the teacher's own discretion and decisions.

c. In the end having contented teachers would mean requiring more teachers per subject or even class, but I don’t think it would mean more expense to the institution over time for the institution as in the long run it has to be good bargain with a good name that requires no expensive marketing and lesser stress and expense of recruiting teachers all through the year which I feel could add up to the same increment in expense as incurred to the institution by salary increments to a stable teacher over the years. (Expense in advertising for new teachers and possibly having to offer better pay scale to draw in a good teacher after every other term or year)

The former principal realized how frustrated I felt.  She agreed that my points had base but her question was who will bell the cat? Only someone who would stick the neck out and start a school because it is not the principal who decides how the school runs but the management. Moreover why would the Management try out this change when the old system is working very well in getting in the Moolah.

Maybe somebody someday would have time and patience to try out, calculate and confirm what I am suspecting…that it would be more economical if the above changes are incorporated. Till someone with enterprise does actually bell the cat, there is still something we can do as Parents to encourage good schools. That is, as parents, do not fall for advertising gimmicks-Old School, Reputed School, Flashy attractive school prospectus. (Yes, keep in mind-almost every lofty thing fanned in front of you about a school can be ascribed to mere gimmicks) So look for schools which though may be bad in their marketing, do have stable teachers who are also known to be the best and try getting kids into such schools first before trying for any other. Another thing we fall for is the belief that higher the fee of the school, the better it is, and schools cash in on that delusion. Rich and middle class parents should avoid falling into this trap and all of us should encourage the schools of substance rather than those with well bred marketing strategies. This if practiced by all who have an excess of cash to spend, in the long run could force school managements to change their tactics and bring change 'where it matters' to draw the money minters. Till someone within the institution does bell the cat…, it's for now up to all rich parents out there to bring the change we want for our kids. They deserve a better view of schools as we had...A view we miss so badly today

Friday, May 6, 2011

Evolution, a tool in creation (compilation of a discussion)

There is an arguement that favours evolution as the creator and excludes God. Science and explanations, I feel often makes naive minds blind towards the heart of matters, it makes one believe that anything explainable is science and only if not explainable is devine. How exactly does science try to explain the term divine? "That which human mind cannot explain?" Just because evolution can explain creation, is it necessary that there is nothing devine about the process of evolution

I have wondered why most animals dont seem to have the problems that humans have. The most potent example is of how they dont need a doctor to deliver their babies. How do they deliver three four babies without a difficulty! They are perfect reproductive systems. I have been having a discussion which made me think through this and conclude that our interference with nature's elimination of the unfit is responsible for it. Evolution would have eliminated the defective body type but science and surgery made those gene pools survive. It is the will, the prayer, the spirit of man that found answers to how to save the ineffective reproductive systems...in anasthesia, in operations. Why is there these defects that cause death? I would like to point out that death is a required purpose of nature to keep the population under optimum levels. It hurts mans emotions but overpopulation hurts more eventually to the natural system. There is thus also a purpose and an end to the defects and it does seem evolution is a tool of the designer God where defects control population (rather than a separating argument that evolution cannot be divine).As a priest recently very correctly answered his own ponderings of how there can be grief in some very religious families. He asked -'is there anyone who has had only grief in life? Is there anyone who has had only joy in life? Life has both joy and grief and it has to be accepted as such.'

Now to that we may ask then is there no mercy? Infact all around we can see mercy as well. Nature makes perfect by selection of the best but god is merciful on the imperfect too. Mans spirit found answers to how to cut across evolutions elimination and perfection streak. Mans spirit dived into the devine consciousness where everything is possible. All man has been able to create is not by his complex body but he willed it first in his mind and powered it with his spirit. He found answers on how to save lives that could have been lost to their imperfections,found out how to make survival of the unfit possible..That is God's mercy. You might try to turn a cover of a Jam bottle without an aid but sometimes it is easier to do with a lever. God for some works uses Man as the lever. All complex machines that God created are also tools created for finer works. Man is a tool that God created to work out some other tricks, like working against Gods own created 'nature's natural selection system', like to make a world (we call civilization) where there is not always that fear of the predator as is in the wild etc etc.(Have u seen how a wild animal always lives a life of fear from the predator, from the forces of nature..How many times do we experience fear in our civilised living away from the wild in safe houses? We have so got used to the life of no fear that we forget that living in fear is an actual everyday part of life of the living being in the wild. Could that be why men often seek out thrills and intense experiences,instincts of a wild past?)
The spirit works with and without the body. It is naive to argue that only a body can create. Even a Human body, a designer of things is nothing without its spirit. It is the spirit of man that creates not merely its complex body. Can a dead complex body create? In that respect it may not be a complex system called body that creates things but rather a 'simple system or in other words spirit' creates things through the complex system called body too just as the spirit creates even without it.

Can then mans mind be trusted in its faith in a creator God that he cannot see, that is a mind without a body? Can we trust the mind not to be delusional?

It is true that mind may some times be deluded but it is also true that mind cannot easily be deluded. How can we call 60 percent of humanity deluded because it believes in God? It is highly improbable that so many people would be deluded about one thing. I believe that if the mind does not accept all suggested answers but is definite about one inborn answer, the existence of a certain power that designed everything then the mind need not be distrusted, for the mind is not easily deluded, just as saying it is hot when it is actually cold is not comforting, religion or the concept of a creator God cannot comfort either unless there is some truth to it.

For example why does the mind often believe in a 'certain future' just because of dreams interpreted as premonitions. What is the explanation of confidence in it and what is the explanation when it actually comes true? For the self it may be considered as a self fulfilling prophecy but what when it is related to humanity on a large scale? In "Times Life" there was an article on premonition which gave many stories of how incidents like the Tsumani in Japan, the twin tower being hit by a plane was predicted or dreamt about…"Texas physician Dr Larry Dossey, in his 1989 book ‘Recovering the Soul’, mind introduced the concept of “nonlocal mind”- mind unconfined to the brain and Body, mind spread infinitely through space and time" According to him premonition was a built in feature in man. Premonition is possible in any person some may be more aware than others. People are confident about its meaning and warn others of whom they saw the premonition for example while a person was in an auto she got a call from a friend to get out of the auto....Unheeded she had an accident immediately afterwards. There must be some reason why a mind is confident of certain messages it gets regarding the future.

Then does mind's outreach also include a very distant past too as can be understood in the concept of a non local mind? March 2, 2011 paper had an article on 'well known tales from bible which could have a basis in science'. One among them I found particularly noteworthy. It is related to the question of "do we have a common anscestor in Eve?" ...as follows

"In his book ‘River out of Eden’, zoologist and atheist Richard Dawkins used a complicated mathematical model to work backwards through our DNA geneology, saying, “ there has to be a woman of whom this claim can be made. The fact that she did live in some place and at some time is certain. So to the extent that Eve is our common ancestor, even the Godless believe she existed."

The originator of the story about eve as the first woman, mother of all mankind had definitely no idea that it could be proved scientifically, but somehow it was told as a truth to be believed in. What made the mind confident of its truth? It seems possible that mans nonlocal mind can be aware of the distant past just as it can be aware of the future. Its an obvious conclusion...
We can conclude then that mind exists not only in the body but also non locally extends outside the body and it can be inferred from the above discussion that it extends to the future and to the past, which in fact would mean it is timeless! Isn't that what we think is God?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

One Faithful Friend

Some times the experiences in church can be truly moving! I arrived in church a bit late. The sermon was going on. "You must help when you see people who are in need." 'Oh yeah' I thought as just the night before I had commented to my friend on facebook that it is dangerous to have a good heart and one had better hide it!
"But Jesus never said you wont have troubles" continued the priest. "He would give you strength to handle the troubles of each day and he has said not to worry about tomorrow as each day has enough troubles of its own. Just don't tire of doing good."

I was mellow now but was thinking, 'What's the use anyway of any good we do, any advice we give? It doesn't seem to be interesting to anybody.'
"Many people left Jesus saying that his teachings are too hard." continued the priest."Jesus was also insecure and asked his disciples, 'Will you also leave me?' He also said, 'When I come again will I find any faith?' Jesus even felt isolated from God while on his cross and cried to Him, 'Why have you abandoned me'. It is important that we rise above our anxieties and ask God in prayer '..protect us from all anxiety...'

The priest seemed to be answering my thoughts. I had been waking up many mornings feeling very anxious and uneasy. From a spate of experiences with a number of people, I had really formed a strong belief that it was bad to be good as the good seem to be considered 'the weak' and taken advantage of. Also there usually never has seemed to be an acknowledgement or awareness of the good done but often the good was returned with bad or even abandonment especially when you were in need.

What happened in church was totally unexpected and as the mass ended there was the song, "I just keep trusting my lord as I walk along. I just keep trusting my lord and he gives me a song.......He is a faithful friend....I can count on him, to the very end." That was it, my eyes filled up. This had been my favorite song since childhood.

He really proved a faithful friend to me in church today. Even if there seem no results of doing good, moments like these are enough to inspire not to tire doing what seems good and what seems right.

Lakes and Trees

I love the sight of lakes, the natural contours of its shoreline surrounded by lush green trees and hills. I enjoyed the view of such a lake from an apartment in Puna. It was refreshing just to look out the window. Now in Bangalore I pass by a lake each day as I travel to and fro my work place. I must be so happy? Its just next to the road I travel really , but alas I cant see it!! I can glimpse portions of it if I am travelling by bus! The reason is that it is fenced, protected and there is a charge to visit it. Good thing, (considering the encroachment and deliberate filling of lakes that has been the fate of many of Bangalore's lakes), except that I can’t enjoy even the sight of it. Maybe, if fencing was unavoidable, a wired fence instead of cemented one or…well, stupid as it may seem but toughened glass fence would have been good so that people passing by could enjoy a pleasant sight to which they have every right. Am I being irrational? Maybe I should just visit the lake to enjoy it rather than cribbing that I can’t see it from the road. Well even inside, what with the construction next to it I really cant see it as a natural lake. With man having cornered lakes with constructions around it to make which allow us to sit by its side on chairs over a platform ... I really need imagination to see it as a natural lake and not a man made reservoir!(actually this lake was reduced to a puddle around seven years back due to encroachment and we have to thank fellowmen for salvaging it and protecting it, though I still believe that it should have been made to look more natural) Cant all these businesses go on but still retain the natural features around the lake to allow us to relish its full natural glory. Cant spare precious space for that I guess?

The other day I had to wait in front of a school for 20 minutues. There was a flyover work going on right in front. It was noon and I didn’t have an umbrella. I looked to the right and left for nature’s umbrellas, the trees but there were none. I was standing on the cement paving outside the school. I imagined trees being cut to pave the area in front of the school. Was it necessary to pave here? Who am I to decide it was not. Maybe it was necessary, but still ‘they’ could have paved round the trees leaving some trees for people who sometimes have to wait there in the sun? It used to be done like that in many other parts of bangalore as can be witnessed, trees standing inside concrete pavings...

An autowala who once drove me back from work, told me that when he was a kid, the area was lush with trees and the temperature never usually exceeded 20 degree. It was only after IT and the highway coming up that the temperature has been taking the upside as the trees were compromised. Well I enjoy the comforts of the highway and the accessibility but I enjoy trees and shade and 'even temperatures' too. Cant they coexist?

I had thought that it is population that is eating up the possibilities of coexistence of man and nature but I am thinking differently now. We make space and time for whatever we really value in life by compromising on things we don’t value as much. It is our misplaced priorities that are behind the mismanagement.
We value material comforts more than we value aesthetic comforts. If we had prioritized aesthetic comforts we would have thought twice and avoided the placing of structures that are currently in the vicinity of the lake and built them with the objective not to lose the pristine look of the lake. If we had valued the comfort of a tree we would have avoided our need of claiming land by paving it. Is the damage irreversible? Well, we give more priority to money, if it hadn't been so then breaking down some structures and rearranging everything so that the lake looks natural and breaking up some of the paving so a tree can some day be accessed after every few meters.. wouldnt have been a far fetched thought. On the positive side though, I must say that on my way to work there is one other lake which I can view from a flyover and it has been spared its pristine look...thankfully.

A lake to look at and a tree to stand under, if not for these little things, what really is life for?
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