Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sexual feelings.

Sexual activity is a very personal thing. It should be based on understanding and respect for your partner as an expression of strong feelings or love you have for that person. It is possible to have a loving and caring relationship without sex. The most important thing is to make clear what you want, and to make your own choices after thinking them through, especially if you think that the other person might have something else in mind. If you don't know what you want, say so. You need to be assertive about something as important as a sexual relationship. You have a right to make up your own mind without being pressured and no-one should force you into having full penetrative sex that you don't want or don't feel ready for.' With the changes in your body come sexual feelings. You will find you become more interested in sex and sometimes these feelings can be quite strong. Everyone's sexual feelings are different and the way you express them will depend on the type of relationship you are in and what you and your partner want. If you are a man and woman having sex it is important to be aware of the possibility of pregnancy as well as infection from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Many young people use condoms in the first stages of a relationship and then progress to using the pill only. Using the pill provides no protection against HIV or other infections. It is very important to continue using a condom, even though your relationship may seem steady .If you have sex without using contraception there is a very high risk of pregnancy. If you do not use a condom you are in danger of HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases. Some people believe that sex should take place only in marriage. Others believe that a stable relationship is the most important thing, whether you are married or not. These are issues you will have to decide yourself. Young men are often made to feel 'wimpy' or un-masculine if they can't say they've had sex. And young women can be in an even worse situation: if they do have sex they can be criticized for sleeping around and if they don't have sex then they are old fashioned. 'Films, magazines and books all seem to assume that there's only one road for a relationship to go down, and it ends in bed. This is nonsense. You are the one who decides how far along the road you want to go, and you can stop at any time. You may not want a sexual relationship yet, or not with this person. You may have strong religious, cultural and personal views about sex outside marriage and you should not be afraid to uphold these views.

Live in moment.

Many of us worry about the future, hold regrets about the past, and completely ignore the present. How many of us rush blindly through our days, fall into bed exhausted, and wake up the next morning to do it all over again? For many of us, our lives are composed of millions of meaningless moments, all strung together - perhaps with a sprinkling of sacred moments mixed in. I am sure you can think of a few sacred moments in your own life - maybe your marriage, the birth of your child, or perhaps a heartfelt moment of connection with a good friend.
These are the moments when we are consumed with joy and awe. At these moments, we are fully present in the moment. We aren't worrying about tomorrow, or trying to rush through the experience to get to the next. We are in the now, and the now is amazing. Why do we wait for major events to honor these sacred moments? Why can't every day be sacred? Each moment is sacred, if we decide to make it that way. When we give the now our full attention, even mundane tasks can take on an aura of holiness. Then our lives become millions of meaningful moments.

Nothing has changed except our perception, but it makes all the difference. How do we change our perception to one of sacredness? What does it mean to stay in the present moment? Let's use an example: washing dishes. When most of us wash dishes, we hurry through it, often thinking about the million other things we need to get done that day (or the next day). Our minds are scattered all over the place, focusing on everything but what we are doing. Who can blame us? Washing dishes is not the most exciting experience. However, if we choose to make it a sacred experience, we will want to focus on it. We want to take our time and really pay attention to how the water feels on our hands, how the soap cleanses away the grease and grime, and the sense of satisfaction we get as each dish moves from the dirty pile to the strainer, now clean and shiny. Maybe that still doesn't sound very thrilling.

Let's look at what else is happening. As we give our full attention to washing the dishes, we are not only doing, we are being. Ah, that is the key. It doesn't matter what we're doing or not doing in each moment of our lives; it matters only when we become aware of our own state of being. In those moments, we are fully alive and conscious. Imagine every day of your life holding joy, peace and meaning. Imagine miracles consistently happening all around you. Imagine being filled with awe and gratitude each day, and lying down to sleep each night feeling peaceful and relaxed. You can, if you choose it. All it takes is that tiny shift in perception. Choose to make it so, and it will be so.

There's Something About Harry: Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix

There's Something About Harry: Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix

Law of Truth

One of the axioms of religion is, there is no religion other than truth. Another is, religion is love. And as there can be only one religion, it follows that truth is love and love is truth. We shall find too, on further reflection, that conduct based on truth is impossible without love. Truth-force then is love-force. We cannot remedy evil by harbouring ill will against the evil-doer. This is not difficult of comprehension. It is easy enough to understand.
In thousands of our acts, the propelling power is truth or love. And we therefore consciously or unconsciously apply truth in regulating these relations. If we were to cast a retrospective glance over our past life, we would find that out of a thousand acts affecting our families, in nine hundred and ninety-nine we were dominated by truth and that in our deeds, it is not right to say we generally resort to untruth or ill will.

It is only where a conflict of interests arises that there arise the progeny of untruth, namely, anger and ill will, and then we see nothing but poison in our midst. A little thinking will show us that the standard that we apply to the regulation of domestic relations between rulers and the ruled, and between man and man is based on truth.

Those men and women who do not recognize the domestic ties are considered brutes or barbarous, even though they are human. They have never known the law of truth. Those who recognize domestic ties and its obligations have to a certain extent gone beyond that brute stage. However, if they are challenged, they would only prioritize family interest and care for nothing else in the world. The measure of their truth, therefore, is less than that of a drop in the ocean.

When men and women have gone a stage further, they would extend the law of love from the family to the village. A still further stage away from the brute life is reached when the law of truth is applied to provincial life, and the people inhabiting a province regulate their relations by love rather than hatred.

In modern times, people cannot go beyond the nation stage in the application of truth. We are not free from the brute nature because we continue bearing ill towards other nations and show disregard for life, to that extent we disregard the law of truth. Still, truth is the only religion that enables us to rid ourselves of the brute nature. All religious sects and divisions, all churches and temples, are useful as long as they make us recognize the universality of truth.

Mind My Business

One of the nicer things about doing this column is that every now and then all sorts of interesting people invite me to have a look at me. Seeing my column here, month after month, they probably ask themselves why this should be so, and what exactly it is that I'm doing to occupy this high-value slot. In short: What business do I have to be in The Kathmandu Post? So, they call me over so as to scrutinize me at close quarters. For I come from a Kalwar family which for generations had engaged in business. I was the first Kalwar to go into naukri, or service. Curious family members would ask me: So what is it exactly that you do when you go to your place of work? And I'd reply that I wrote things. What things? they'd ask. So I'd show them the things I wrote and they'd shake their heads in mystification and go away to do some more lucrative business and leave me to the inexplicable enigma of my naukri. I just did not fit into the fundamentals of a successful business model, which is based on the premise of identifying a specific demand and supplying goods or services to meet that demand in return for a profit. Business, all business, So what demand did I--or rather those who employed me or still unemployed--seek to supply, and with what? And no one could figure that out. Not my employers (bless 'em), nor my readers (bless 'em even more), and least of all me. So when week before last I got an invitation from the Khowpa Engineering College, Kathmandu, to visit them and interact with some of their faculty members and students I accepted with alacrity. If anyone could set me right, business-wise, it was the KHEC. Founded five or six years ago, the KHEC is associated with the Purwanchal University.
As I don't own a tie (or Microsoft, for that matter) I had no such qualms. Toothbrush tucked behind my ear, I headed KHEC-wards. The cab rolled into a luxury resort on the outskirts of Kathmandu. A long driveway (Careful, Peacock Crossing) wound through immense grounds under a star-spangled sky. A state-of-the-art institute, catering to the career advancement of 400-plus students, ranging in age between 22 and 40-some, set in 20-odd acres of campus. In an intense one-year course, with a price tag of Rs 1-2 lakh approximate, live-in students, some with families, have their professional skills honed the better to do cutting-edge business in the world's slowest growing economy.

The next day I toured the campus, met students and teachers, and found out more about doing business than Harvard ever taught me, what with my never having been there. I came away feeling confident. And who knows? Perhaps the bright folk at KHEC will be able to fathom what's perplexed me all my life: namely, what is my business. In other words, I hope the KHEC will mind my business. Because, it is only too evident, I'm congenitally incapable of minding my own.

In the Middle of Nowhere

My parents yoked me to the idea of a secular Nepal before I was even born. My mother, in a stinging refutation of Samuel Huntington's theory, named me Santosh. "Santosh Kalwar," she said. "Rolls off the tongue, doesn't it." And so it was. Without having done anything I had been born special. As my father said, "There may be many Santoshs, but hardly anyone will have the Kalwar attached to it." As far as I knew, my father was right. Puffed up like a peacock, I straddled my dual 'religiosity' with pride, along with a few fibs.
I soon realized my 'difference' came with its baggage. Did we drink at home? What 'gods' did we worship? But it didn't matter then. I flattered myself by thinking how important I was. These modern-day crusades, I sighed mockingly. But since such queries were so immature, I could never really take offence. Increasingly, I found myself having to become a spokesperson "What is your caste?" I don't know. "Are you Brahmin, or ksherti or Newar?" I don't know, and I don't see the connection. "Has your mother converted? Most people do in these mixed marriages, you know," said an elderly man learnedly. "No, I don't know! Why don't you phone and ask her?" was what I wanted to say.

But I said nothing. At first, I treated these questions as ignorant and impertinent but something I had to get used to. I followed the example of my hero Superman. He had his kryptonite and I had mine. Of course, then it didn't hurt so much. I didn't connect what was happening in the outside world with my life. Nothing anyone said or did could alter our freedom to do that, and be, just be! But things did change. Perhaps I was at fault. In my naiveté, I thought being "confused", as one Indian acquaintance put it, would carry me through. It had for 25 years of my life. I had eaten and drunk, loved and lived with people without bothering who they were. But the world, it seemed, had suddenly become very bothered with who I was.

Why wouldn't the Nepal I had held up to people abroad let me be me? I'm still angry. Some people may ask why. After all, I'm not Indian, at least not in the traditional sense. But this fact has been lost on people who by fixatedly dwelling on the Kalwar, refuse to recognize the Santosh in me.

This ensures that at times, I go along with the Indian caricature they expect me to play. One particular exchange with a colleague comes to mind. "Are you really an Indian? You don't look like one." "I'm sorry," I replied. "I forgot the dhoti to wear at home."


Anyone can be a Gautam Buddha. Spiritual realization is everybody's birthright. It is not a talent like painting, music, poetry, or dancing; it is not genius either. A genius has tremendous intelligence, but it is still of the mind. Enlightenment is not of the mind, it is not intellect; it is intelligence of a totally different order.
People like Friedrich Nietzsche who have missed the journey towards their own selves were great intellectuals, geniuses unparalleled - but all that belongs to the mind.

And to be a Gautam Buddha, Lao Tzu, or Zarathustra is to get out of the mind. It does not matter whether you had a big, small or a mediocre mind, or if you are a genius; the point is that you should be out of the mind. The moment you are out of the mind, you are in yourself. So the strange thing is that the more a person is intellectual, the farther he goes away from himself. His intellect takes him to faraway stars.

He is a genius, he may create great poetry, great sculpture. But as far as you are concerned, you are not to be created, you are already there. The genius creates, the meditator discovers. Consciousness has nothing to do with creativity, inventiveness, science or art. It has something to do with tremendous silence, peace, a centering. When an ordinary man meditates, he comes to the same space of blissfulness as Nietzsche, Einstein or Russell. That space of blissfulness will not be different; it will not be richer for Bertrand Russell because he is a great intellectual. Those values don't matter outside of the mind.

It is as if you all fall asleep here; you will be dreaming. Somebody may have a very beautiful dream, and somebody may have a nightmare. But both are dreams.

And when they wake up, they will know that the beautiful dream and the nightmare are not different - they are both dreams. They are non-existential, mind projections.

This is great and good news because it means a woodcutter or a fisherman can become Gautam Buddha. An uneducated Jesus, an uneducated Kabir, who doesn't show any indication of genius, can still become enlightened, because enlightenment is not a talent, it is discovering your being. And the being of everyone is absolutely equal. Suddenly all distinctions, talents of the mind, disappear. There is only pure sky where you cannot make any distinctions of higher and lower. Enlightenment is the very nature of things.

Mind wants for its nourishment something very difficult, something almost impossible. Only if you can achieve the impossible can you feel you are somebody special. Enlightenment is not a talent. It is not like somebody being born a painter or a poet or a scientist - those are talents. Enlightenment is simply everybody's source of life; it is realizing the fact that "I am that which I have always wanted to be, and I have never been anything else and I cannot be anything else, ever".