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Lord Hanuman, Icon of Devotion

Exploring the Hanuman story this holiday season

lord-hanuman

Hanuman and Rama

During this holiday season, many Christians turn to Jesus Christ and some of the Hindu faith turn to Lord Hanuman. It seems that both spiritual figures share the qualities of devotion, surrender, service and kindness. These qualities are of course also present in many other faiths, and even in those persons who do not subscribe to a particular faith. Some of the latter might believe in consciousness. They strive to live up to the ideals reflected by humanists hoping for humans to evolve and transform through acts of service and compassion. Whatever your faith is, one can be inspired by the humility and service rendered to his god.

The story of Lord Hanuman

I particularly love the story of Lord Hanuman. He was endowed with miraculous powers and strengths. This monkey god was the most ancient and most powerful superman known to mankind. He had the ability to contract or expand his body at will and fly across long distances. Lord Hanuman is also the warrior god in the epic Ramayana, a story of fierce warriorship on behalf of Rama’s wife Sita and the eventual vanquishing of the demon Ravenna.

The character of Lord Hanuman

Lord Hanuman’s character tells us what we can do in our lives by becoming devotees to our spiritual paths. He shows us by his total devotion to Lord Rama. I am in awe by the pictures shown of him with his arms wrapped around Rama in devotion. One of these many pictures of Lord Hanuman show him like a child, gazing upon Rama with total faith and love. He becomes so absorbed in this love that he sees nothing but Rama who represents the whole of humanity whom Lord Hanuman has come to serve.

Why is Lord Hanuman in the form of a monkey?

Many ask why Lord Hanuman was born in the form of a monkey. The simple answer is that he symbolically represents man’s lower nature. When it transforms and refines, it becomes a conduit of the Divine. And isn’t that also our own spiritual paths as we struggle with ego qualities that do not serve us? As a personal experience I find that when I ask Hanuman for humility, he does indeed help me. I seem to become more aware of my ego’s presentation. I think of the “I” that covers me in my dealings with people and try to surrender to my own divine nature.

Lord Hanuman as son of Vayu

As the son of Vayu, the god of the wind, Lord Hanuman represents the subtle breath, responsible for the movement of energy or prana in our bodies. It is said to be particularly strong in those who lead pure and authentic lives, performing austerities and services.

Lord Hanuman is also said to represent the mental body with all its fickleness and movement. Just as Hanuman flew across the earth and skies, so too our thoughts move like flashes of lightening. We are reminded that when we are controlled by egos and animal passions, we too are subject to outward disturbances in our lives.

As we celebrate this holiday season, let us all be grateful for the story of Lord Hanuman.  It. teaches us that it is in true humility that we can realize our godly natures. Particularly now as we face myriad challenges, we can remember the strength and character of a lowly monkey. He is a symbol of lower nature transformed in the service of mankind. May we remember and ask for our own humility and devotion.

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New Year’s Resolutions; Do They Work?

Suggestions on how to fulfill New Year’s resolutions of dieting

New Years Resolution

As the New Year rolls around, many people are busy thinking about their New Year’s resolutions, which many statistics give about a month to break. There have been some scientific studies as to why this occurs. In fact, many medical web sites are falling in line with this new reasoning about glucose fueling the necessary will power to maintain a diet.

What studies suggest fulfilling New Year’s resolutions

This new group of studies suggest that if you set out with too much vigor to do your resolution, you could quickly eat up your glucose. They recommend that you start out slowly and give your body time to adapt to its new schedule. It is also felt that stress contributes to glucose waning. Therefore, it is wise to think of ways in which you can mitigate this stress. This is obviously a new wave theory. But I actually think it makes some sense to me.

Personal experience of New Year’s resolutions diets

Having been on many New Year’s resolutions diets, I know that I start out like a racehorse, galloping quickly towards my goal. Unfortunately, unlike a trained horse, I quickly lose steam. This is where the opinion about lower glucose seems to fit in. Because most people begin to binge around that time, perhaps they are seeking more sugar (glucose) for fuel. Unfortunately, what is sought is usually sugar in the form of pastries and other sweet items.

Story of hedge fund man who used support to fulfill New Year’s resolutions

Other people suggest that one needs a certain kind of support that lessens the stress of making New Year’s resolutions. A very prosperous hedge fund executive found himself having to go to Las Vegas for business. At that time he weighed 300 pounds. He didn’t need to endure a lot of the excesses Las Vegas provides. This time he brought with him a trainer who trained him daily plus created a smoothie for him each morning. The trainer also told this hedge fund earner what to eat daily. Once a week Mr. Hedge Fund was permitted to eat all day whatever he wanted.

Help with New Year’s resolutions

Of course, not all of us can afford this kind of assistance. However, there are available on the market or on online many virtual diet assistants who are happy to count your calories and your body fat and give you ideas and support along with your diet. This is all meant to enhance New Year’s resolutions.

Staying with the “glucose” theory, which I equivocate with running out of steam, or despairing when you feel down and vulnerable, here are some solutions that might lessen the stress of a resolution. While geared towards losing weight, you can also apply or adapt many of these suggestions to stopping smoking or ceasing other addictive behaviors.

Suggestions to mitigate stress of dieting

  1. Set a small goal of perhaps 10 pounds instead of a large one like 50 pounds if that’s what you need to lose. It is so easy to be overcome when you set out to lose a large amount of weight. It can quickly diminish your New Year’s resolution for sure.
  2. Focus on one New Year’s resolution at a time. Many times people are so anxious to change there lives totally, that they undertake various resolutions at once. This truly adds to a burden. A better example would be to concentrate perhaps on your weight loss routine by figuring out what to eat, what exercise you might undertake or other steps that will encourage you.
  3. An old Chinese saying says: “Instead of focusing on the evil, make energetic progress in the good.” Instead of focusing on cutting calories or portions using will power, do a bit more exercise or riding that bicycle. These things will take the focus off of feelings of deprivation and give you some success in walking or bicycling that extra step. A good way to fulfill New Year’s resolutions.
  4. Watch a funny movie or do something that breaks up your obsession with losing weight. Put some joy back in your life to counteract this discipline that you have accepted. Many people who feel there is no more fun for them since they are not allowed to eat those wonderful cookies might start looking for other ways to have a good time.
  5. Speaking about the diminishment of glucose contributing to less will power, allow yourself an apple or orange juice when you feel your energy us failing. That extra bit of sugar could enliven you for sure.
  6. Put a picture on the wall of some person at a weight that is desirable to you. Or buy a new dress at a smaller size to encourage you.
  7. It’s important to know when your stress is increasing and you are about to lose it. That’s the time to stop thinking about dieting and do something different. Get out of your house and start to walk or do some other physical activity to quiet your mind. Or go visit a park or other serene place where your New Year’s resolutions can kick in again. Or laugh your head off at some funny movie!

These are some quick suggestions to lessen the stress you might feel when starting on your New Year’s resolutions. Good luck to you.

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What is the Meaning of Forgiveness?

Exploring the meaning of forgiveness

meaning of foregivenessMany times in our lives we find ourselves in the midst of long-time battles with ourselves over forgiveness. There are many who have been hurt since childhood with abusive parents. They might find themselves longing to forgive them but found themselves unable to do so. It was not for lack of wanting to do this, but something made them continue to hold onto old bitternesses. They have asked themselves what is the meaning of forgiveness.

Some have even told themselves that they don’t even understand what the meaning of forgiveness is. They say to themselves, how can I forgive someone who has basically ruined my life or made me make choices that stood in the way of success. Trust me however when I say that holding onto the concept of “victimization” is a sure-fired way to not move on with your life.

The meaning of forgiveness

For me the meaning of forgiveness is to let go of grudges and bitterness. This might mean seeing a therapist, friend or counselor who can guide you through this process. And it is a process of letting go for sure. Sometimes the “letting go” involves letting go of the angry person you have known yourself to be. Some think that if they were to let go of their anger, this would mean they would become weak. Au contraire.

Forgiveness becomes a larger act

I think forgiveness is truly a great act. It bespeaks a willingness to get on with your life, to let yourself know that the past will not influence your present. But mostly, it means that you wish a future that is based upon choices you make now and not what you have chosen before.

Those of us who have trod the path of forgiveness know that if you do not practice it, you are the one who pays most dearly. When you hold anger inside your body, your body begins to pay the price. Even from a health standpoint, I think that we know that anger held inside produces gastrointestinal upset in some fashion.

Letting go of resentment and revenge

The meaning of forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. While the act that hurt you might always be remembered, forgiveness helps you to lessen its grip on you. You are then freer to focus on other, more positive aspects of your life. When you set out to forgive, you can begin a new path of compassion. You begin to see how this person to whom you have directed all this anger had difficulties of heir own. They perhaps did not have the insight or the ability to survive in the way you have. This view begins to empower you.

A friend explores the meaning of forgiveness with her mother

A friend of mine recently talked to me of her mother against whom she held some resentment. When she began to practice the meaning of forgiveness, she suddenly put herself in the shoes of her mother. Her mother, she realized, did not have recourse to the education or possibilities that she herself has realized. From that place, the meaning of forgiveness took on a whole new light.

Basically, it’s not that one lets go of the memory of what has been done to them. It is just that they have an opportunity to feel some peace around the problem.

Benefits of forgiveness

Here are some of the benefits of forgiving someone:

  1. Healthier relationships
  2. Great spiritual and psychological well-being
  3. Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  4. Stronger immune system
  5. Improved heart health
  6. Higher self-esteem

Meaning of forgiveness not dependent upon another’s changing

Another aspect arises when your forgiveness is dependent upon the other person changing. If that is your price, then you cannot truly forgive or understand the meaning of forgiveness. The act of forgiveness has no meaning if it depends upon another person changing. In fact, it lessens the strength upon which you must rely to forgive somebody. This requires that you move away from your victimization and release the control and power that you have given to the person whom you believe victimized you.

Peace the reward of forgiveness

Speaking to people who have been able to truly understand the meaning of forgiveness and the benefits they receive thereby, they have all told me that the peace that they have received far outshone any wishes for revenge or hate that they endured.

Forgiveness is a selfish act truly. You must enter the arena of forgiveness wholeheartedly and with no wish for outcome or change. It is you asking to be free in your life of that which you believed contributed to your lesser life. It is when you realize that you are in charge of creating your life, and contributing to your happiness that you will feel a strength abounding.

How about if you are the one who needs forgiveness?

Forgiving yourself is truly stretching the meaning of forgiveness. It sometimes is just easier to forgive somebody other than yourself. You must however avoid judging yourself too harshly. Remember, you are only human and are always trying to do better. Any type of success is dealt with making small steps first and standing on those steps before proceeding. In the same way, by admitting to yourself your faults, you can then move onto changing your behavior.

Final thoughts of the meaning of forgiveness

The meaning of forgiveness is truly about enlarging your vista from a tiny judgment of someone’s flaws into a larger vista of compassion and selflessness. It is a real journey only the spiritually minded can make for it involves an expanse in awareness and consciousness.

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