Solitude, Silence and Soul food

Solitude, Silence and Soul food

Someone once asked me what I considered to be essential ‘ingredients’ for spiritual progress.
He was suprised by my answer.
I said, ” The only essential ingredient is you!”

We are all complete and capable of achieving realisation. As such the only essential ingredient on this journey is us.

Whether we have a ‘hunger’ for spiritual progress or not, whether we work hard at it or not, whether our values and aspirations are noble or not, one day…one fine day realisation will dawn.

You might ask “What then is the fuss about ? Why this rush, this rat race?”

I would say the rush is largely our EGO driving us. If you look back at the Eastern Bhakti or Sufi movement, there were ‘spiritual giants’ who had utmost yearning and love for GOD, for union with our creative force, for realisation. They, however, were not in a rush. They enjoyed the yearning and just exuded love….

Our job is to be on this journey.The ‘end’ is not for us to decide. As such our only aim should be to enjoy the journey.

To enjoy the spiritual journey I would suggest a ‘triple twist’ of Solitude, Silence and Soulfood.

This is largely what one should call ‘my time’. A few minutes once or twice a day for oneself. This helps in reflection, in charging one’s batteries and in assessing what has gone by during the day and focussing on what is to come. You will be surprised how just a few minutes of solitude can work wonders for you.

Silence is very powerful.
Speech is designed to communicate with the outside world, silence is to communicate with yourself. Use it.
The most profound communications are written on a blank piece of paper called ‘silence’. Get in the habit of using this gift.

Solitude and silence will provide you with food for thought. Use these ingredients to prepare food for your soul. Make sure that your soul gets some everyday. Nurture it with the light of knowledge, the water of compassion and fertilise it with joy. Don’t forget to share this soul food. Soul food comes on a miracle plate. It will never finish as long as you keep on sharing it.

Keep smiling and stay blessed.


Milestones can be counterproductive…

ImageMilestones per se are not the problem. The difficulty lies in how we use them.

Milestones become ‘destinations’ and we are conditioned to assign TIME and VALUE to them based on what is deemed appropriate by others.

1. Focus on milestones or the destination takes away the focus on the present, on experiencing and enjoying the journey.

2. Milestones are largely used in an external and generic way i.e. how you reach there, how much time it should take, what is the value or importance of the milestone, once you reach a milestone you are conditioned to have expectations attached to the milestone. If you reach your ‘destination’ this is how you are expected to feel or behave and so on.

Milestones would be useful if they were internal and specific for you; designed by you for you. How can we prescribe a milestone for someone else?

3. The past and future are both milestones and they are distractions. Undue attention to them subtracts from our present.

4. From a different perspective one might argue that one needs milestones to provide :

    a) Direction

    b) Encouragement and  prevent demotivation

I would argue that this is not useful.

a) Direction: Direction should come from your inner self or a ‘guru’. We shouldn’t be slaves to milestones as the importance lies in the journey to the milestone rather than the milestone per se.The real milestone is your inner transformation as  a result of your journey.

b) Encouragement and motivation: Having reached a milestone does not guarantee reaching the final destination ( if there is anything like that in the first place!) The transformation within as part of the journey should act as the encourgement and a motivator.

5. If we moved away from the destination or milestones we would realise that by experiencing the journey to its fullest, by appreciating each moment we achieve a meaningful journey which is the real destination.

I am not the ‘doer’!

I am not the ‘doer’!

 A look at actions and what they mean to us as humans.

a) Actions per se are neutral.

b) The context and our conditioning makes them appear good or bad or positive or negative.

c) Actions in a purist sense are not ‘in our gift’. We should focus on our intentions or aim which are ‘in our gift’.


For us , who seem to be in the thick of action, it is difficult to appreciate that we are not the doer.


Let me use an example to illustrate this point.


​A man is in the jungle. He lights up a fire and cooks a meal of himself. Once done he puts off the fire

Can we answer the following question:

Who cooked the meal?

We are like the fire and our creator is like the man in the example. 

It is not easy for the fire to understand who or what is starting it and putting it off.

The fire may pride itself in cooking the best meal or be devastated that it burnt a meal but the job of the fire is just to be a fire and burn. Whether the meal is very well cooked or uncooked or half cooked or over cooked or burnt is beyond the fire.

We get too entangled in the outcomes of our actions.

In a cosmic sense the outcomes are beyond us.

Once we appreciate this,  the fog lifts, the heaviness in our heart and on your shoulders goes away, our heart expands with joy and we can taste bliss. Things start making sense…

For God’s sake can anyone tell me where this train is going!

Apologies for the length. It will take some time. Please proceed only if you feel you are not rushed for time. Thanks


You find yourself on a train. You don’t know how you got there. You don’t know your destination. You don’t know where the train is going. You ask people around you and they don’t seem to know either. You look out of the window. You see time whizzing by. You haven’t seen these places before. You don’t know ‘where’ you are or ‘where’ you are going.

It is frustrating. You feel some degree of anger. Fear creeps in as well. You seem helpless…

All of a sudden you find someone talking to you.

“Who are you?” you ask.

I am your personal guide Sir.

“Why am I here?”

“To travel to your destination, Sir”

“What is my destination?”

“I am afraid that is for you to find out Sir.”


“You will know when you get there , Sir”

“Why can’t you tell me now?”

“Because it won’t make sense to you Sir.”

“Why not?”

“Because you haven’t been there before, Sir.

“How will I know when I reach my destination?”

“You will Sir, trust me.”

“What is the purpose of all this?”

“To reach your destination, Sir”

“But I don’t know what my destination is and you refuse to tell me what it is. How do you expect me to get there?”

“By this train, Sir.”

“This is all nonsense. I wish to get down.”

“You can get down at the next station Sir, if you wish but it will not be much use.”

“Why not?”

“If you get down prior to your destination Sir, you will be put back on the train. It will just be another compartment Sir.”

“Are there other compartments?”

“Yes Sir.”

“Can I see them? What are they like?”

“Sir, If you get up and look that way.”

“That looks like a better compartment. It has better seats. They have TVs as well. There is even a bar at the other end!”

“All compartments are different, Sir. They do however, go to the same destination.”

“They look better equipped. Maybe passengers there know where the destination is.”

Sir, they are on the same journey as you. They need to find their destination as well.

“Very well then. Why don’t we all get together in one compartment and try to work this out?”

“Everyone’s has to find his own destination, Sir

“But, I thought you said that we all had the same destination.”

“You do, Sir but each one of you reaches his/her destination at a different time. You have to be ‘ready’ to reach Sir.”

“That does not make any sense”

“I know, Sir.”

“You said you are my personal guide. You are not doing a good job here.”

“I am here to guide you, answer any questions Sir.”

“Why are you not ‘guiding’ anyone else?

“Each has his own personal guide Sir.”

“I don’t see anyone.”

“You can only see and talk to your own guide Sir.”

“Maybe some of the other guides are more helpful. Maybe they know more than you.”

“Interesting thought Sir but I am afraid I am all that you have. You can talk to the other passengers and check with them what their guides are saying to them but it does not really matter.”

“Why not?”

“Because we all guide the same way Sir.”

“How can I figure this out?”

“Why don’t you sit down and relax a bit Sir? Watching the other compartment or what the other passengers are doing  is not very useful in figuring out your destination Sir?”

“Why not?”

“It is your personal journey Sir. You need to figure out your destination and when you have done that you will ‘arrive’ at your destination Sir. Everyone else will have to figure out their own.”

“Why don’t I go round at least my compartment and ask others. I am sure they can give me some clues or information. This whole thing is driving me crazy.”

“I know Sir. You can try Sir but I have all the clues that you need to figure it out Sir.”

“Why don’t you get started then?”

“I have Sir. I have already given you some clues. All through the journey I will continue to give you the clues to guide you Sir. Just keep listening.”

“It is so distracting here. It is not easy to listen to you.”

“I know Sir. It will get worse as we go along. The ‘noise’ will increase and people tend to get more and more distracted.”

“Can’t you do something about it?”

“Do you want to try these headphones Sir? You should be able to hear me well with these on Sir.”

“Why doesn’t everyone wear them?”

“They can Sir. They are free and available to all passengers along with their guide. I think they worry that with the headphones on they may miss something important that the other passengers have to say or some announcements made on the public address system.”

“That seems sensible. I guess, I should take them off as well”

“You don’t need to Sir. All important information will be relayed by me as well Sir.”

“Ok then, guide me how to figure this out”

“I am Sir.”

“You haven’t given me any clues yet?”

“I have Sir.”

“I am not getting anywhere with this. I think we are wasting time.”

“I don’t think we are wasting time Sir. Time, anyways, is not an issue Sir.”

“What do you mean ‘Time is not an issue’?” I can’t be on this train for ever.”

“You don’t need to be on it for ever Sir. That is why you need to figure out your destination Sir? The train will keep going Sir. The only time limit is the amount of time you spend in each compartment. If your time is up Sir, you will have to get down and move to another compartment. One of us will be there to guide you Sir.”

“That is all right then.”

“Yes Sir, it can be. There is just one thing you need to know.”

“What is that?”

“Your arrival at your destination is being eagerly awaited Sir.”

“Awaited by whom?”

“I am sorry Sir but you will have to figure that out as well.”

“You are generating more questions than answers.”

“I am at your service Sir. I am helping you with the answers as well Sir. The right questions will get you the answers you need Sir.”

“This is difficult”

“I understand Sir. Please keep listening. Use the headphones. Otherwise you will get distracted Sir.”

“Help me out please. How can I figure out what my destination is?”

“Those are nice words that you used Sir. They seem to be better ‘heard’. Just focus on the present Sir and keep listening to me.”

“What do you mean focus on the present? I am focussing on the present, am I not?”

“You are worrying about your destination Sir.”

“But you told to me figure out what my destination is?”

“I did Sir and you have to. You have to stop worrying about it Sir. If you start thinking about the past or the future you lose the present Sir and unless you are in the present you can’t figure this out.”

“Why have you made this so difficult? I feel I am being tricked and cheated. Why can’t we keep this simple? We need to know our destination prior to boarding the train.”

“You ‘know’ your destination Sir. You may think you don’t but believe me you know Sir. My job is to help you remember what you knew all along Sir.”

“Can we please talk about the ‘focus on the present’ bit?”

“Yes Sir that will be useful.”

“Should I focus on the outside? That is the present isn’t it?”

“You don’t seem very pleased with that. Should I watch my fellow passengers? That is the present, isn’t it?”

“It doesn’t matter what you watch Sir. You can focus on the outside or on your compartment or co-passengers Sir but please stay in the present. Don’t let your mind take you to the past or the future Sir.”

“This is not easy. The more I try to experience the present, the more my mind seems to wander off to the past or the future”

“I understand Sir. It is a matter of practice. It is called meditation Sir.”

“Thank you.”

“Those are nice words Sir. Use them more often. You will find you are better ‘heard’ when you use them.”

“I can hear you more clearly now.”

“You will Sir as long as you stay in the present and don’t allow the past and future to distract you.”

“Did you notice the train slowing down Sir?”

“Maybe. I am not sure.

Thank God. Has my destination arrived?”

“Sir, your destination does not arrive. You arrive at your destination.”

“You may wish to look outside Sir.”

“What is it? Have I missed my destination?”

“No Sir. Someone is waving at you. He just got down.”

“Oh my God! That is my dad. Why did he get down?”

“Please wave back and smile Sir. He is smiling at you.”

“Why did get down?”

“He may have reached his destination Sir or maybe his time was up. It is difficult to know Sir.”

“How come I didn’t notice him getting down? He was sitting with me.”

“Yes Sir, you were sitting with him to start off with but then you kept changing your seat. You were worried about the destination Sir.”

“Is he going to be alright?”

“What do you think Sir?”

“Where is my mom?”

“There she is Sir, just getting off.”

“Mom, Mom”

“I am sorry Sir. I think she got off. Just wave to her Sir. She is smiling at you.”

“This is awful. When can I be with them again?”

“When you arrive at your destination Sir?”

“We could have gone together. Maybe I should have got down with them. My mom has never been anywhere alone. She is terrible with new places.”

“Don’t worry Sir. She will be looked after. You were in the same compartment for quite a while Sir. Did you not notice?”

“I should have sat with them all through. What a shame?”

“You have started thinking about the past Sir. Please focus on the present Sir.”

“I have just lost my parents and you are worried about the ‘present’?”

“I don’t wish to be insensitive Sir, but you need to figure out your destination Sir. You will realise their presence when you reach the destination Sir.”

“I am all alone now.”

“Yes and no Sir.”

“What do you mean?”

“On one hand you were always alone Sir and on the other hand you never were alone and never will be.”

“What does that mean?”

“You will understand when you reach your destination Sir.”

“Please leave me alone.”

“I can’t Sir but you can ignore me. Pretend I am not here. Let me know when you wish to talk again.”

“Why is the train slowing down?”

“It must be approaching a station Sir.”

“Is anyone getting off?”

“Yes Sir.”


“You Sir. Your time is up Sir. You need to change your compartment Sir.”

“I guess I could not figure it out. Thank you for all your assistance.”

“You are welcome Sir.

“This place looks unfamiliar. I am worried I will get lost.”

“Someone will guide you at the station and help you board your new compartment Sir.”

“Can I have the headphones back please Sir? You will get a new personal guide and a new set of headphones in your new compartment.”

“Here you go. Thanks once again. I am sorry I gave you a tough time.”

“Do not worry Sir. I am sorry I can’t assist you any further.”

“Good bye”

“Good bye Sir. Please leave your bag here Sir.”

“This is my bag. It has all my important things. Why should I leave it here?”

“Sir You can’t take it into your new compartment. If you take it with you, as soon as you get off the train it will be taken away from you. If you leave it here, at least someone in this compartment can use it. You will be provided a new bag when you reach your new compartment.”

“If you say so…”

“Good luck for the rest of your journey Sir. You will figure it out .”

“I hope so. Thank you.”



A roundabout view of life!


Roundabouts came onto British roads round about the same time I came about. Many a driver with an ‘L’ plate has had his heart racing and his car stalling at these ubiquitous traffic landmarks. The dictionary calls them ‘traffic calming devices’. Calming the traffic? Maybe, but at the cost of perspiration for many driving instructors. Is it a ‘roundabout’ way of getting back at these much loved professionals?


If you have conjured up a picture in your head of me as head of the ARS (Anti Roundabout Society of England) or someone who is eager to demean driving instructors then let me assure you that you are far from the truth. We are all driving instructors in our own right, much to the chagrin of friends in whose cars we choose to negotiate roundabouts on British roads.


I think I flew off on a tangent there. Let’s get back to today’s business i.e. roundabouts. I have a huge regard for roundabouts. They have taught me a lot about life. They are not just about traffic. They go much deeper. In fact, I would call them a philosophical goldmine.


The most crucial lesson roundabouts have taught me is that there is always someone to your right, someone in a better position than you. More importantly, as we moan and complain about what is on our ‘plate’ a quick glance to the left makes us feel thankful for we are always much more privileged than millions of others.


Life is not just one roundabout but a series of many many roundabouts and there will always be someone on our right and always someone on our left. The crucial question is whether it is the same people having the right of passage all the time.


Roundabouts in life may appear to slow you down. Perhaps they do, but they make life a more level playing field. They teach you to give way to what is right, to whosoever is on the ‘right’.


Exiting roundabouts may be classified as an extreme sport by insurance companies. Perhaps it is for those with an L plate! In life you do enter roundabouts and don’t know which exit to take. Do you go round again or take any exit? Before committing to an exit, it is sometimes useful to buy some more time till ‘time’ makes it all much clearer.


Beware, however, of the ones who go round and round with indecision. Life’s roundabouts provide windows of opportunity. Please grab them. If you, however, miss them, don’t despair. There are many exits to life’s roundabouts and many roundabouts to life…

Are you ready to get naked?

 Are you ready to take off your clothes? If not , what are you doing here?

 Entry to the path of ‘seeking: looking for answers’ should highlight a caution, a caution that at some stage you will have to get naked.You will have to give up the clothes you wear to see yourself as ‘who you are’. But that is not all.You will have to let the world see you ‘naked’ as well. 

 We put on lots of ‘clothes’ to hide who we are and in time we may even forget who we are. These ‘clothes’ come in all shapes and forms. They are really superfluous and infact distracting but we choose to wear them. Maybe they make us feel safe or important. They hide our fears and massage our egoes.

 The clothes I am talking about are the wordly titles and the numerous prefixes and suffixes people have attached to their name. I am talking about the ‘degrees’ that not only adorn our shelves but layer our psyche and inflate our EGO. These ‘clothes’ have to come off one day. It does not matter whether you bought them at a designer shop or on a roadside sale or even if someone gifted them to you. Don’t put them on. If you do, take them off at the first opportunity.

 So, what are you waiting for?

 Are you ready to get naked?



Trees are spiritual giants. They live and die as an ideal spiritualist would wish to do.

For those of you looking for Gurus, stop looking!

Find the time to regularly lie in the lap of nature and feed on soul food from her bosom. Request a tree to be your Guru and then go and visit it regularly. Look at how it lives it’s life and how you live yours. Share with it how your day went and find out how it spent it’s day.

You will be amazed at the learning and transformation.



For the skeptics among you: God bless.


We experience the world through our senses and generate an ‘image’ of the world. This is what we perceive as our ‘reality’. Others experience the world in their own way and as such ‘multiple realities’ are generated. The presence of these ‘multiple realities’ coupled by a lack of understanding and acknowledgement of the presence of multiple realities is the basis of all the conflict in the world. This conflict manifests at individual, family, societal, national and the international level.

To add to our difficulty, the multiple realities, are not just generated within a human domain but much beyond.

Let us look at  a few examples:

1. Humans can hear frequencies mainly between 20 and 20,000 Hz. Other animals have much different ‘spectrums’ of hearing e.g. the dog. Similarly we can ‘see’ within a particular wavelength spectrum whereas other animals may ‘see’ within a different spectrum. This is what I call a PERCEPTION SPECTRUM. It is best to conceptualise these as circles and it is clear that our circle of perception is different to other species, though there is some overlap e.g. as can be seen in a Venn diagram.

Our world is thus quite different to what a ‘dog’ or a ‘bat’ might be perceiving.

2. The world can be divided into two large groups: living and non living.The living can further be divided into animals and plants. We initially thought that plants do not ‘sense’ or perceive. Now we know better. We don’t know how a tree ‘perceives’ the world. We also at present believe that non living objects don’t perceive. Yes they don’t perceive like us but they may have a perception spectrum which at present is beyond our comprehension. As a man of science and spirituality, as a sincere seeker, I would like to keep an open mind. We don’t know what we don’t know.

3. We are looking for ‘life’ in the solar system and beyond. Unfortunately we are constrained by our perception spectrum. We are looking for ‘life’ as we see it.

One might think:  We all know that! Why bother about it?

An understanding, an acknowledgement of multiple realities and PERCEPTION SPECTRUMS has huge practical value:

a) It can improve realtionships among humans, it can make humans more ‘inclusive’ towards other species and the whole world.

b) It can help us explore beyond our view or spectrum of ‘life’. This should be the focus of future scientific endeavour.

c) The realisation of all the perception spectrums, their interplay within the whole of creation and an all encompassing perception spectrum which captures the essence of all that ‘is’ is a state of ENLIGHTENMENT. That is what it says on the destination board of my train! You are on the same train as well, maybe in a different compartment…

Stardust & TIME

In this world of ‘multiple realities’ a semblance of sanity can be provided by classifying the world into ‘relative’ and ‘absolute’ categories. It is no surprise that, if we embark on this path, we find that while the ‘relative’ bucket is overflowing there is very little in the ‘absolute bucket’. However, ironically, almost all our life is spent wading through the ‘relative’ bucket.

Some of you might be thinking and rightly so -Is there anything at all in the ‘absolute’ bucket? This is the greatest mystery and perhaps the only real one we ought to solve!

Scientifically, spiritually and metaphysically I would not be far from the truth if I stated that we all (including everything around us) is part of the same star-dust. Everything primarily developed from the same matter and is governed by the same basic laws. This is ‘perhaps, the basic truth that unifies the universe. So far,  so good. But, unfortunately, life isn’t so simple. What complicates and contradicts and contravenes this unifying truth is our ‘relative’ bucket which is full of what we call ‘experiences’. Understanding one’s existence through one’s experiences is tricky business. It can be done and has been done. However, it is very difficult to share or emulate this. You can’t experience someone else’s experience. The best you can do is be a part of it. 

How do we then get out this tangle of ‘relative’ buckets and experiences? The ‘enlightened’ ones find it easy to share this path of revelation with others. But, unfortunately, those who have not reached there yet, find it difficult. They may believe in it, they may pretend that they understand and experience it but the reality is that you ‘don’t get it’ unless you get there. And getting there is quite absolute. Either you get it or you don’t. There isn’t a middle ground.

We have still not answered how best to get out of the tangled mess. I think, from a scientific, spiritual and metaphysical perspective our best bet is TIME. Time is like a connecting corridor between the relative and absolute and we need to understand time to transcend the relative.

TIME is one of the biggest mysteries in the universe. Time, in the way that we use it, was created by us to bring order and clarity to what would otherwise appear like CHAOS. The way we perceive and use time generally, it is not much more than a concept. A concept that is so omnipresent and ubiquitous that we believe in it as if it is the absolute truth. Is it?

We shall explore. It needs to be a steady and patient journey. It’s about TIME! 

Let us start with some examples:

1. It takes about 8 minutes for light from our sun to reach us i.e what we see is the sun about 8 minutes back. Let us presume that from the start of the universe (the big bang or whatever we want to call it) up till now is X years and light would travel a distance of X light years (or a distance Y) during this time. From a scientific perspective an object which is X light years from us would be ‘just at the beginning of the universe’. Theoretically speaking if we had a machine good enough to ‘see’ over such a distance we could see ‘the big bang’ going on now. What that means is that all across the universe, everything from the start up till now, is all happening at the same time. What’s more what will ‘happen in the future’ is also happening right now somewhere.

I did warn you that time is a very ‘relative’ concept!

Are we any wiser? Perhaps. Are we more confused? Definitely. But that is good. Confusion (or lack of clarity) is the fuel that hungry minds like yours and mine have for breakfast.

Let us look at TIME through another example.

2. Traditionally we divide TIME into the past, present and future. The past, as demonstrated in the above example, is in the present. In a strange way, the present is actually in the past. Let me explain how. The ‘present’ comprises what is happening around us and how we perceive and experience it. By the time we see, hear (or experience in any other way) anything in the so called ‘present’ it is already in the past.

We are beginning to understand how poorly we understand TIME and that to me is a good beginning on our path to understand the world.

 We have discussed how relative the past and present are and that it is not easy to define the ‘present’. Understanding and defining the ‘future’ in terms of time is even more tricky.

Let us look at some possibilities.

1. Going back to the ‘big bang light years’ away celestial body if we had a device to watch that body from here and all the way through, we would be watching a scene from whenever ‘time ‘ began all the way to now. In such a situation past, present and future would lose their meaning.

2. Could TIME be a sensation that our consciousness has been programmed to perceive? Like our eyes see colors and our ears hear sounds and our fingers feel textures, could our mind be perceiving time as a sensation? What we perceive is quite relative and as such we perceive time that way as well e.g. when we see a red rose we perceive it in that way because our eyes and brain are programmed to perceive it as red and so on. For a creature with a different set of visual apparatus and brain it may be totally different. This means different entities could perceive the same things as different and maybe perceiving different things to be the same. The same could be happening with time.

3. What if TIME rather than being a programmable perception is actually an ‘event’ or a ‘process’? What’s more, the moment we observe TIME we change it.   We thus have a collage of TIME which has been CREATED by each individual observer and is thus unique to them. This then is our CONSCIOUSNESS.

4. Most of the matter in the universe from the smallest to the biggest is in a form of oscillation or some form of periodic motion. Could ‘life’ be one phase of this oscillation manifest through a physical body and other phases only perceptible through other manifestations or from other vantage points?