The Power of Sound and Harmony

Before COVID struck, it was the last in-person meet of Saahityikee. Saahityikee is a women-only literature group in Kolkata. In that meeting, members were, in turn, coming to the dias and reading out what they’d written.

Then a lady came, and she sang. I distinctly felt the air in the room change. The air became cleaner. This is not merely an mental-emotional impact I am talking about. The air physically became cleaner. I know because I have experienced that kind of transformation before.

Way back when I was living in Charlotte USA, a friend had come to my apartment. The apartment was somewhat musty. Vacuuming the carpets was overdue. When he experienced the somewhat-unclean mustiness of the apartment, he visited again with an oxygen machine. He plugged the machine into the wall electricity socket. As it ran, it pumped sucked in air, transformed it, and pumped oxygen back out into the air. The air in the apartment became cleaner. That is the way the air became cleaner when that lady sang at Sahityikee.

That is the most potent, beautiful impact of sound I have experienced till now. That is the power harmony has. It can clean air.

A REPLACEMENT FOR THE SWIMMING POOL

Talk about first world problems in third world countries. A significant “loss” for me during this COVID time was that I was unable to go swimming.

Swimming is important to me. I feel “at home” in the water. It is direct experiential evidence to me that we evolved from the oceans. When I swim more, I can feel my muscles heat up. However being in water, I can feel it simultaneously cool too. This enables me to move more. Also, just floating in water is like floating in a pool of love. Just being. Essentially it is a way of cooling inflammation. Physical, emotional, mental, social inflammation.

When I am faced with challenges, I become very silent. It is a way of preserving energy, and letting the internal process do its thing. This is not a chosen strategy. This is how I have been manufactured. However, being too intensely “locked” in silence is unhealthy. Then my inner intelligence pushes me to break that silence, while still being tuned into the internal thing. Normally that breaking naturally happens in the form of art (drawing, painting). This year, it broke in the form of singing – but not quite so naturally. I was ridden with doubt initially.

I am not a singer, i.e. I do not naturally break into song. In fact part of my intense internal processing via silence includes not even listening to music. Sometimes for years at a stretch. Again, not a deliberate choice. It’s the way it happens. This year, the inner impulse told me to seek out a singing teacher – and the same intelligence that created the inner impulse arranged for online classes with a very understanding teacher in Durgapur (what is distance to the internet?). I realize that it is the intelligence-from-beyond’s gift to me to cool inflammation. A replacement of the swimming pool. It is also a way to connecting with the less-material more-formless, which is an exquisite experience.

This is a new journey I have embarked upon – connecting to the formless via singing. I hope I will write to you more about it, because its all too fascinating. Not just singing, but all the innumerable different ways of experiencing the dance of energy. Right now, food and tummy are getting impatient to meet each other, so this is it for now. Ciao!

AI / ML for Peace, Beauty and Joy?

I like technology. I like doing something with technology. AI and ML (Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning) seem to have pushed aside just about everything else in the technology world. I tried many a times to immerse my fingers in some AI / ML project. Each time I came away wondering. One reason is the headache of messing with elaborate technical stuff. The other reason is a philosophical conundrum which stands before me every time I start doing something with AI / ML.

AI / ML learns from past data points. It learns from the attributes fed into the black box. It teaches itself to emulate the past learning samples given to it. And the objective is categorization (racism as a child rightly said 🙂 ). This is the way conventional human psychology works too. However, despite the tendency of human psychology to work in this manner, an intelligence from beyond does manage to penetrate the human psyche at times. That intelligence from beyond gives the message of integration and oneness. It tells us that all attributes are too superficial.

How can I use AI / ML to honor integration, oneness, and the message that ultimately all attributes are too superficial? I want to design a project and objective that honors that, while engaging myself in the childlike activity of doing something with the hot thing of today’s world (AI / ML). The other issue is data. This integration and oneness would emerge if one threw enough data, and enough disparate data at it, and the objective not be categorization but integration. But if the “correct answer” is always only the one same answer then do we need any AI / ML in the first place?

Maybe I should create a project where the objective is not categorization but peace, beauty, joy. A system where whatever data point you throw at it, the learned system shows the user how that data point = peace, beauty, joy.

There’s A Creature on My Bookshelf

I came out of my bedroom and discovered there is a new clock on the book shelf. As I sat across it on the sofa, looking at it with no particular concentration or focus, happy and content with my morning time with myself, I realized — that is not an object, it is a creature. With its second hand moving around, (and its minutes and hours too, which was not visibly moving, but I know it moves), suddenly it looked like a small pet to me. The seconds hand like a wagging tail, the slow-moving minutes and hours hands sleeping like a python, and the clock itself like a small bunny rabbit or something. And I sensed the intelligence, that gave it form and birth. The intelligence by which it is an integral part of the universe.

It’s all alive. Everything around us. Individually and collectively. A single breathing combined organism, of which we too are a integral part.

They Came Flying From Far Away

It’s because of this doll-like thingy that she is holding and listening intently to — that’s why I chose this jigsaw puzzle that I’m doing these days.

No, it’s not about romanticizing depression. It’s about that tiny voice of light and guidance that comes and speaks to you from out of nowhere, within the deepest darkness.

(article continued below the image)

“They came flying from far away, now I’m under their spell
I love hearing the stories that they tell
They’ve seen places beyond my land and they’ve found new horizons
They speak strangely but I understand

As all good friends we talk all night, and we fly wing to wing
I have questions and they know everything”

(from the ABBA song “Eagle”, which is so very much my song)

They: Angels
(Angels are the thoughts of God ~ Marianne Williamson)

They: Who tell you, “You are valuable and beautiful irrespective of how things may seem to be.”

They: Who tell you, “You are lovable because you exist” (Louise Hay)

This is a huge sentence. Imbibe the depth and matter-of-fact truth of what it says. Read it slowly —

You are lovable because you exist.

You do not have to become a particular way to become lovable. You already are lovable. Irrespective of your thoughts, actions, and state.

You exist. That alone makes you lovable. Because every tiny iota of this universe is lovable and worth going into raptures over.

They: Who tell you, “I don’t get depressed about depression. Depression is a biological response, and the body’s mechanism for processing stress” (Vinod Tewary). They say, “you are pure”, when you unburden yourself about your problems and feelings about yourself. There by they free you, without minimizing or negating what you are experiencing.

And little by little, that tiny voice of light and guidance becomes a part of you. It always was in the first place. That is why what it said resonated with you, you listened to it intently and made the message your own.

And soon you are not scared to look at the darkness and barnacles of the remaining picture. You sit beside the morning window, and fresh morning air, and put the pieces together by sun light. The sun of our solar system, and the sun of our being.

The larger picture becomes more and more beautiful. You take breaks from putting the pieces together, simply to look at it in rapture.

When the picture is done, you spread your black wings
(as in the superb psychological movie The Black Swan), and acknowledge your darkness as a beautiful part of yourself.

Then, with the power of your mind, and the sun that shines on it, you soar
“Like an eagle that rides on the breeze”

The power of decision is my own

Tell me the LAL story.

This is a true story of a lady who founded an organisation to help people with psychological matters. You Yourself told me about her one day.

“There is an air pocket in your brain. It can go and block transmission any time. We don’t know how long you will live,” she was told.

That was the end of the matter.

She, her family members, went to a man for help. The kind of man who had acquired the reputation of being a go-to man when there were no other options left. At the time when this lady and her family members reached him, he was flying a kite.

They told their problem and asked for help.

He gave the lady the kite string and asked her to fly the kite.

She lost her cool.

“I’m talking of life and death here and you’re asking me to fly a kite? I don’t know how to fly a kite.”

“You don’t need to know how to fly a kite. Commit to flying the kite and you can fly the kite. It’s just a question of commitment. Commit to living and you shall live.”

What the man said, impacted the lady deeply. She lived.

The internal transformation she went through impacted her family members first, then she founded an organisation to share what she had discovered within.

Eventually, after several years, she did land up in the ICU. It was the air pocket that had acted up. She was writing a book at that time. Even in the ICU, she decided she will finish the book. So she did finish writing the book. Only then, she died.

Why have you been wanting to share this story?

It is this coronavirus thing going on. Obviously death must’ve crossed people’s minds. I see this as pralay in slow motion – a great time to become more aware of what we hold within. And that thing You said, “And no one dies without his own consent,”* rings true in me.

For me, how I came back to live in Kolkata with the family members is the most telling evidence that corroborates what You say — the power of decision is my own.

How did you come back to live in Kolkata with the family?

It’s a somewhat long story.

OK fine. You can tell me tomorrow. I’m glad you came for a walk.

I am too. Thanks for letting me go for today.

I never bind you.

I know.

You came because you wanted to, you wrote because you wanted to.

I know. And You know I am scared to write what is within me.

“No one dies without his own consent,”* is huge stuff. Who am I to write about such stuff.

It is huge if you consider it huge. Else, it is merely interesting – like physics, quantum computers, data visualization, coronavirus data… No difference whatsoever.

Yes.

Conversation (and discovery behind the mind)

So what did you discover behind the mind?

Myself.

It is thanks to Mummy and a tremendous conversation I had with her yesterday evening. But then who is Mummy and who am I? There is no place where Asha Murarka ends and Vani Murarka begins.

There is one place in our conversation yesterday (life happens in the synapses, in conversations) where she pointed to her third eye and then to mine meaning this communication is happening from here to here. That was so powerful.

What did Mummy say?

She said, “Use your mind.”

All this while I have been thinking that You have to use my mind. I tried aligning the scattered mind into a laser beam, but didn’t succeed. So I gave that responsibility to You too – conversion of the mind into a laser beam to be then wielded by You as You deem fit. But what Mummy told me yesterday, “I must use my mind,” puts me in the active role in my life. This clearly shows how passively I was approaching life till now. This ties so well with what You had said the other day –

“Accept your rightful place as co-creator of the Universe.” *

So behind the mind I discovered myself. The entity that must use the mind.

But I should also mention awareness here. When I discovered the very potent power and subtle existence of awareness, I used to think I am awareness. But that is not so.

Awareness is also a tool, a power given to me, to be used. So behind the mind there is awareness and behind awareness, there is me. Right now this is how it looks to me —

One might think awareness is a capability of the mind, but I would like to make a distinction. Awareness is far more subtle, far more powerful than the mind. Also, there is a non-doing in awareness, whereas the mind is all action (often frenzied, monkey-like)

Well so I have herewith used my mind and that is how I have walked this morning walk. This pen that Dhruv helped me buy is also much better.

And what was that Mummy said about maintaining a distance?

Oh that was utterly fantastic. It is the aliveness of the synapse. It is tomaaree mukh loibo cheene. It is snehaatirek se bachein. It is something that deserves a walk of its own.

In all of this, do I get any credit?

Listen, You know, I know, You came to me in the form of Mummy and said what I was ready to hear. Need that be said?

I like hearing it. Give credit where its due.

Talking of giving credit, I am really grateful for this direct interaction with this layer of Mummy, beyond her role as mother, caretaker of my physical well being.

OK enough. I don’t want to walk anymore. Over and out.


From the coronavirus, beyond the One Mind

The coronavirus has made all wars between all various names within humanity vanish. What is ours, what is theirs — all that silliness has vanished. Suddenly no dharma needs any upholding, sanaatan or otherwise, because indeed it never did.

Yes, now there is a war between one biological organism and another. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit…”

The difference between the mind and body is becoming more apparent as humanity learns to live all the more online. The One Mind became apparent to me pretty soon when the internet came into my life. Now I am feeling there is something beyond (behind) even this One Mind and myriad bodies.
 
There is no point latching onto words coined by thinkers without any direct appreciation for what the words refer to. So aatmaa, parmaatmaa, soul, God all get tossed out, not to be considered. 

Why does God get tossed out? We all have a sense of God, independent of what has been ‘taught’ (fed) into us. Forget about rituals and practices, we have all turned to God privately. The reason why God is also tossed out, not to be considered is because most of that turning to God is essentially a गिड़गिड़ाना — a beseeching out of fear – “I can’t handle this, ‘you’ please handle it”. Not out of any direct knowing.

Yes, we meditate. We all meditate. We all turn to some activity that soothes and eases our mind. Meditation is not just sitting cross legged with eyes closed. Sometimes in meditation we feel quieter, more peaceful. That is just a relief and respite from a frenzied mind. It is just a mind that has slowed down somewhat. Indeed that is valuable.

OK, so I come back to the proposition of seeing beyond the One Mind and myriad bodies. Point is, I don’t know how to see beyond this. Absolutely no clue whatsoever. The only option is to wait — to keep ‘seeing’, even if into what seems like nothingness, cluelessness. The one thing rooting for me in all of this is the power of intention. If you place your intention into something, it has direct impact. This I know for sure.

From My Office Window

Flowers abloom outside my office window today. 6th March 2020.

Take in the beauty. Let it nourish your heart. Come on, look at the photo just a bit longer, before you read on…

And then when you feel a bit stronger (Happier? Peaceful? Its all the same. All forms of strength) by that nourishment, laud not the flowers alone. For this is not an achievement of the flowers alone. This is the handiwork of the leaves, stems, tree trunk, roots, earth, rains, sun, air, space and time together. Each of them crucial in the scheme of things. None lesser or greater than the other. Each of them existing and dancing their dance together due to that same Intelligence and Life that permeates them all. Made complete by you who has appreciated the beauty of it all.

Savita, Jigsaw Puzzles, and I

I ordered a jigsaw puzzle today. Maybe you know that I like to do jigsaw puzzles. It is healing, peace inducing.

Savita liked to do jigsaw puzzles too. So that was one of the several things that we connected over. Today, when I decided to order a jigsaw puzzle, she came to mind.

She liked to remake the ones she owned (after some time gap). So she had some with her when I was in Manipal, and she lent them to me. That was good. When I do a jigsaw puzzle, I don’t like to do it again (even after a gap of several years). So I give them away, hoping that someone else will also experience the healing, peace, and beauty.

Now maybe I should tell you about the other things we connected over, Savita and I, some other things I found beautiful in her. Or maybe I should tell you about the jigsaw puzzle I ordered just now, and how black and white both play a significant role in that image, why I chose that image, what it speaks to me. But I don’t feel like doing either.

So just one closing note: why did Savita come to mind when I ordered the jigsaw puzzle today? Because a friend told me recently that Savita has passed away. Well, that is perfectly fine — that she has passed away. Then, when I got to know, and now, as I write, I wish her the best on her onward journey. And I look forward to receiving the puzzle I ordered.


Related post: a poem on jigsaw puzzles