Monday, April 27, 2015

Helping Nepal

Namaste readers,

As you might know already, there has been an earthquake in Nepal, that has had a devastating toll of lives. It's been estimated over 4,000 lives have been lost as a result of the earthquake.

The most pressing question for those of us outside Nepal, right now, is: how can we help?

I know many people will say "pray for Nepal." If you want to pray for Nepal, that's all fine and dandy - sometimes prayer is all one can do in the face of disaster. Prayer can give those who otherwise can't help situations like this at least some comfort that they're keeping these disasters in their minds and the minds of others.

Still, prayer should be backed up by action. I'm not one to say that prayer does nothing...honestly, I'm no expert on prayer whether it helps or hurts situations like this. What I will say is that there is real action you can take, and should you be able to take this action, you should, as a supplement to your prayer.

One action is to donate to Global Giving's Nepal earthquake relief effort. Global Giving is among the most reputable sources of charity that one can donate to, as they are very transparent about their efforts and where the money goes. Donating to them can help them give to emergency services in the region that are otherwise stretched.

Another place to donate to is a Nepali immigrant association in New York City that is called Adhikaar. They have direct connections to organizations that are aiding Nepal on the ground right now, and they've started an Indiegogo campaign for helping them out.

Again, I will say this - pray if you can't do anything else, for at least that keeps the victims in your mind and the minds of others. But back it up with real action if you can. Anything can help at this point.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fighting My Own Brain

Namaste readers...

Yet another long gap in my posting to this blog. I really don't have any excuses at this point... Some good things have happened. Some bad things too. But there seems to be one truth about myself that I have yet to come to terms with.

That truth is not straightforward, and definitely not simple. But it's a truth that's become apparent to me these past few weeks. It may not seem true to others, but it's true to me.

My brain is trying to kill me.

Why would I say something like this on the internet, where my words are free and open for anyone to twist around and use against me?

Because I want to prove a point.

The point I want to prove is one that took me a long time to figure out, and I want others to benefit from my experience. This point is that one should not hate oneself under any circumstances. You can be your own worst critic, and yes, criticizing and questioning oneself is a good thing.

But you can't let that turn into self-torture. As for what that has to do with my brain trying to kill me...I've come to terms with that fact, that my brain isn't necessarily faulty, but it's separate from my soul. That is a very Hindu teaching, that the mind and soul are separate entities. The mind is part of the body, and one should take care of body and mind. But the soul is something completely different, and it is the most beautiful part of ourselves.

I know I'm sounding like a cliche New Age hippie here, but these facts I listed above are what kept me alive as I studied Hinduism and yoga these past few years. And they've helped me accept myself...including the part of my brain that wants me to die.

In order to prevent that part of my brain from killing me, I had to accept that it was there. I couldn't simply push it out, because it would bounce back stronger than before. I had to acknowledge it, and then ignore it.

Yes, I have had help from psychiatric medicines (I take a list of them that's a mile long) in doing this...and that has been part of the acceptance (and subsequent ignoring) of this evil part of my brain. Sometimes psychiatric medication does help. That doesn't mean it will help everybody (and that's why I object to the marketing of anti-depressants, and not anti-depressants themselves - ads for those make it seem like everyone would benefit from them, when that is simply not the case), but it's good that it's there for the people that do need it. Like me.

I know I'm rambling at this point, but I wanted to share what I've learned so that others can benefit. I'll stop this post with one simple statement:

There's hope for all of us.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Am I Good?

Namaste readers...this next post might sound slightly narcissistic, but...I think it's for a good reason. Or at least a reason that makes sense to me.

Sometimes I wonder what good I have done in this world...or even if I've done any good at all. Obviously I know better by now than to think I can change the world by myself. But...sometimes I feel I can't even change the world of my immediate surroundings. And sometimes I feel like I haven't been good for any positive change. Like I'm just...ineffectual, even maleficent sometimes.

I know it's not good to want a reward for being good. And I'm not asking for any. It's just...I want to see if I have done any good! All this time people have told me about bad or incompetent things I have done. And I certainly haven't seen the results of anything I've done that may be considered "good." Am I simply incapable of doing any significant good?

Being good is its own reward, I think. But...when I don't see if I'm doing any's like in my mind I am doing no good at all. It's like I need affirmation that I'm doing good to keep doing good. Otherwise it seems like, why bother?

I want to consider myself a good person. How am I supposed to do that when others don't think I'm a good person? I know I can't please everybody in terms of being good. But...why does it feel like I'm pleasing no one?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fair Weather Meditator

Namaste readers! *coughs a bit* Wow, it's dusty in here...I know, it's because I haven't updated for a long time. Let me fix that...

Things have been an emotional roller coaster for me, full of giddy highs and abysmal lows. Thankfully there are more highs than lows going for me at this point, but the lows are still significant, and sometimes debilitating. The reason I titled this blog post the way I did is because it seems like my usual meditation routine has been...affected by these highs and lows. By that I mean my meditation seems to amplify whatever I'm feeling at the time, when I get around to practicing it. For instance, I did mantra chanting to Shri Ganesha yesterday, and I was depressed already. I got even more depressed! Yet earlier this evening when I tried the mantra chanting again, although I wasn't exactly happy (I was still somewhat depressed but less so) I got the happiness boost I was looking for.

Maybe this is because I haven't been able to be regular with meditation lately, and that the effects might be more consistent if I did it more often. I'm not sure. A wise person once told me that without suffering, I wouldn't know what joy felt like. I know that's true, and I appreciate that fact.

However, I just wish I had more control over when I feel suffering or joy. I know it's impossible to feel joy all the time, but can't I have a little more control over when I suffer?

At any rate, I'll try to post to this blog more regularly. Jai Shri Ganesha!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Too Many Questions

Namaste Light Club readers. Sorry for the absence. A lot has happened in my life recently, some good, some bad. What is good is that I have a new job that I will be starting soon - I don't want to divulge any details of it, but suffice it to say it's a job I think I will genuinely enjoy. :)

I just wish that news came under better circumstances. In case you don't know or haven't been paying attention, race relations in the US took a bit of a nosedive following the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri not to indict the white officer that fatally shot Michael Brown. The link I just posted here goes to a white anti-racist activist website run by Tim Wise, who offers his own commentary on what happened.

This raises a lot of questions in my mind. Most of the questions revolve around what I can do to fix this, and, well, I don't have any answers to that. There's too many questions swirling around in my mind at present for me to effectively make sense of anything regarding these events.

However, I do know one thing - one thing not to do in light of what's happened. And that is to blame myself and smother my mind in guilt. I know as a white person I'm a benefactor of a system that oppresses other people, whether I like it or not. Therefore it's my responsibility to do something about that. But one thing I've discovered is that miring myself in blame, guilt, and other negative emotions doesn't change a thing.

That brings me to the crux of what I'm trying to say here - what one personally feels is important, but it's not as important as what one does. To use an old cliche, actions speak louder than words. Actions are also good for one's mental health in times like these. No one person can change the world. But doing something, anything to try to counter these systems of oppression can at the very least purify your soul.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Special Announcement, Now With Video!

Namaste readers - actually, you're going to be viewers today because this next blog post is a video! In case you didn't know, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, is going to be visiting New York City on September 28 to speak at Madison Square Garden. I made this video about this upcoming event, because I'm looking to attend myself. :)

Please watch, if you so desire:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mata Lakshmi

Namaste readers! This blog post will be sort of short, as it's mainly a question I wish to ask the audience.

A friend of mine recently recommended that to improve my current economic situation, I should worship and pray to Goddess Lakshmi. But my question is, what is the best way to do it? I know Goddess Lakshmi to be the Goddess of wealth and prosperity, among other things, from my preliminary internet research. However, I would like to know ways to worship Her...preferably ways that are within my meager means.

If anyone can help me in my quest to reach Mata Lakshmi, I will be in your debt. :-)