Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Who (Am I)

Namaste readers! Here is a late night blog post by yours truly.

I am subscribed to a particular Bharatanatyam dancer on YouTube, and her name is Savitha Sastry. Recently she has put up a video preview of an upcoming dance performance of hers called The Prophet, which, if the video is to be believed, addresses the question of "who am I."

Seeing this preview has given me cause to ask this question myself. Believe it or not, it's still a question I struggle with.

I tend to be a people-pleaser most of the time, and often that results in me "going with the flow," agreeing with whoever on the issues of the day if they present a convincing enough argument. As a result, how I really feel on certain issues is obscured to me. In fact, my therapist has often said that is the reason why I get so upset about such things - because I am not in touch with how I really feel.

However, I can safely tell you right now that me starting on the Hindu path, on the path of Sanatana Dharma, is the most "me" thing I've ever done. The system of thought that Hinduism prescribes certainly wasn't authored by me, of course, but so much of Hinduism genuinely appeals to the "me" that I've denied the opportunity to let out for so long!

Sanatana Dharma truly speaks to what I want out of life...what I believe a "religion" should provide me with. That may sound self-centered at first, but what would you rather have - someone like me converting just to please others and be more "correct" in some way, or someone who is sincere in following the faith, albeit for self-centered reasons? If I know most people, they would probably want me to be sincere.

After all, I can't please everyone. I might as well please Shri Ganesha and Shri Hanuman!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

And Now for Something Completely Different

Namaste readers! I know video games aren't the posted subject line of my blog, but after my last post I think it'll be good to liven up the mood with something different from my usual posts. And I do love my video games.

I wanted to take a break to tell you about SuperHot, a first-person shooter...wait, it gets better, honest! It's a first-person shooter where time moves when you do.

It's the most unique first-person game mechanic I've ever seen. Hopefully this video will do it justice:

To be honest, I find this mind-blowing. It kind of gives me hope for the future of video games, as I think it proves that there's areas of the realm of video games we have yet to explore.

Anyway, that's enough off-topic veering for now. Back to your regularly scheduled spirituality. ;)

The Other Extreme

Namaste readers - there was another post I wrote with this same title that I subsequently took down because, well, it was me at my most inflammatory and angry, and I said some things in it I probably should not have said.

That said, I feel I need to write a post with this same title again because I feel it's a duty that I should explain to my readers what I sometimes go through. When it comes to emotions, I feel them more intensely than most people, at least it seems to me. Sometimes these extreme emotions in my mind manifest themselves in negative ways...some of you have probably already seen the results.

Controlling my emotions and my impulses has been on top of my list of things to learn how to do. It keeps feeling like I fail miserably, though, and sometimes what I have learned about life and dealing with these emotions goes right out the window when my brain keeps upping the signals to "do something!" Maybe there's something medical behind this phenomenon, but this wouldn't be the place to discuss it.

Anyway...what originally got me going in the first place were the racist comments made towards the Indian descent Miss America winner. There are some calmer things I wish to say about it now that I've regained control of my anger.

First of all...well, sadly the side effect of free speech in the United States of America is that we have to deal with the bad speech as well as the good. While it's not all correct or good, it is almost all legal. So as far as these spewers of hate go, we can't really shut them up...but what we can do, is counter their hate speech with speech of our own.

See, there's a difference between critical speech and censorship, and what's needed to combat these hate spewers is critical speech. We need to criticize these people. Thankfully some American organizations are already doing so, such as the Anti-Defamation League.

The point is, what I did last night with my initial post was sort of akin to letting them get under my skin so much I became like them momentarily - intolerant and irrational. And being that way is not going to solve anything, I've learned.

So I would say just keep up the fight against racist ignorance like we've always done. This particular event has become a lightning rod, but the goal of fighting against racist ignorance is still there, and it's still needed. We should fight this ignorance not with more fire, but with water.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Definitely a Miracle This Time

Today, I honestly believe I have evidence that Shri Hanuman was looking out for me.

At the Hindu Temple of Rochester, the last of the pujas for the installation of the murthy of Shri Hanuman were going on this morning. I sincerely wanted to go, but for reasons that weren't clear to me at the time, I could not find a ride to go there this morning. (I don't have a car.)

Later, for the closing cultural program that went on this evening, I actually did manage to find a ride to get there. However, when I got there, I found out something that genuinely astonished me, and made me believe a miracle had just happened.

The floors and carpets all over the temple were wet. I had no idea why. I went upstairs to see Shri Hanuman in his newly installed glory, and after a little bit of mingling, I managed to find the one who usually coordinates getting me a ride to and from the temple.

He told me the reason he couldn't get me a ride this morning was because during the pujas, the fire for the havan (I think that's what it's called) actually rose high enough to trip the fire alarm and cause the sprinklers to go off.

My first thought upon hearing what happened was, "I'm glad I wasn't there for that." After thinking about it for a little bit further - and thinking that the sprinkler incident would have definitely triggered anxiety for me - I came to a realization. I finally realized what had really happened.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe the below video can clearly summarize what I realized had happened.

As for the rest of the devotees in the temple, they are all okay of course, but they were calm about the whole event and also regarded what happened as a miracle, as it meant all the elements were present for the glory of Shri Hanuman.

And as for myself...I am eternally thankful to Shri Hanuman that I avoided what could have seriously triggered my anxiety. I don't think I am overanalyzing it this time - I honestly believe a miracle happened.

Jai Shri Hanuman.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Jai Hanuman!

Namaste and old! Apparently I got a lot of new readers as a result of my blog being mentioned on Western Hindu. You can check out Western Hindu's piece on my blog here:

In the mood department, the depression appears to have lifted, and not a moment too soon. Yesterday was a day of strange luck - not necessarily bad luck, but rather bad balanced with good. And today I attended some pujas in honor of the Hanuman Murthy Sthapana at my local temple. Today was also the day my blog got name-dropped at Western Hindu...with the resulting traffic spike.

Somehow I don't think this is coincidental. Maybe, just maybe I have the attention of Lord Hanuman?

Regardless, I want to thank Lord Hanuman. He has given me strength in these recent times, at least in spirit. Jai Hanuman!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Keeping the Pain at Bay

It's been another day since the last post, and the emotional pain is still there. I don't know why it is, to be perfectly honest...I know I have good things going for me. I'm studying the Ashtavakra Gita with friends from the Art of Living. I wrote something for the brochure that my local temple, the Hindu Temple of Rochester, is going to hand out as part of the Hanuman Murthy Sthapana, or installation of the new Hanuman murthy they have received (pictured below).
There are plenty of other good things going for me, and if I was really thorough, the resulting post would be several walls of text. So why do I still feel this anguish, this misery?

Sometimes I get a reprieve. Sometimes it's in the form of distractions, or simply my brain having enough of one feeling. But it doesn't last for long. I would try some meditation right now, but in the past, when I've tried to meditate under similar circumstances, I ended up feeling worse. Seems like I can only meditate when I'm already happy and/or motivated.

I should be happy...after all, I am going to the above event I mentioned. Therefore it's baffling why I feel so emotionally awful.

I know everyone has highs and lows. Perhaps I shouldn't analyze every single time I have such a change in emotion, and just accept it and move on. Still, for such a long period of sadness to come out of nowhere like this...I have to ask what is going on...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I've Tried Everything

While I don't know who reads this blog regularly anymore, I do apologize for the lack of content over the past few weeks. I've been immersed in real life things, including other writing projects, some self-imposed.

I know life has its ups and downs. But...well, I've written about this before, but when I encounter a downer, I don't just feel down emotionally, I downright crash. And these emotional crashes can come from anything - a conflict I see happen in front of me between two people. A negative Facebook post or Internet article. Even an errant thought that pops into my head for no apparent reason. Any one of these can send me on that downward spiral. Once I get onto that downward slide, there's no going back up for quite some time.

I won't hesitate to say that these down periods are ruining my life. They can turn the happiest of days for me into the most crushing. They can turn me from happy-go-lucky and cheering up everyone around me into the negative vortex sucking everyone else down with me. They turn my smile upside down, quite literally.

I know everyone feels sad and depressed sometimes. But can't I just feel sad or depressed without going into hysterics and near-suicidal melancholia?

I've tried what seems like so many things in attempts to fight these abysmal lows. From medication to meditation, from diet change to exercise, it feels like I've tried everything. But nothing stops these pits from becoming bottomless.

The only solution I've been able to practice so far is avoidance - attempting to avoid that which can sink me. Unfortunately, that involves avoiding some of the lows necessary to live a productive, independent life.

Bruce Lee once said, "do not pray for an easy life; instead, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one." Well, I've prayed for that strength, and it never showed up. I've tried to work for that strength, and it never showed up.

God(s), where is my strength? Can anyone answer?

Lord Ganesha?
Maa Saraswati?
Shri Hanuman?