Wednesday, March 20, 2019

KNOWLEDGE AND KNOWING



"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, imagination encircles the world."

Albert Einstein



ABC Wednesday’s prompt letter K for this week made me pick ‘Knowledge and Knowing’ to discourse upon. These two interesting K words aroused my curiosity to explore the two concepts and their semantics. This doesn’t however, mean that I’m going to philosophize and talk scholarly about less traveled realms. It is nothing of the kind. I simply wish to comprehend the difference between the usage of the two.

Knowledge to my mind is the huge database stored in our minds, gathered from books, internet searches, information received during formally educating ourselves, the information imparted through print, electronic media and ever-increasing other sources being developed in the modern technological world. Knowledge though vast is taken as finite and quantifiable.

However, knowing, as I understand is entirely different. It is an experience that is personal, subjective, and infinite.  Knowing has depth and is experienced like mindfulness. It is like waking meditation. It helps to unwind, to find joy and to promote uncommon mental upswings. It is not 2+2=4.  It is very private and without boundaries.

Here I take a simple example of my special bonding with a creature, who is endearing. Surprisingly I love squirrels and keep them in high regard. They are my all weather friends. Occasionally my rendezvous with them happens when I go for a walk in an adjacent park filled with trees, shrubs, flower patches etc. Soon after I enter the park and take a few steps, invariably, I encounter a pair of squirrels hopping and frolicking on the pavement in front of me. It seems as if they recognize me and take me as their admirer. Joyfully and teasingly, they lead me bouncing and stopping alternatively to match my speed. To tease them back I make a sudden jump towards them and Lo with lightning quickness, they make an effortless and lovingly graceful long jump onto the sturdy trunk of a Neem tree.

Their frolicking and romping spree continues as if to entertain me and attract my attention further. My focus narrows down to their antics. Totally, inspired I feel feathery light. I experience their experience. My observation parameters reach optimum levels and I feel a transient seeping in of energized otherworldliness. The baggage of cynicism sweeps away. A new me enthused to make my day the most productive one emerges. The peak of gladness in the sun-filled ambiance rubs in on me. I come back refreshed, relaxed and eager to go. Such moments I think are knowing moments.

This perhaps is knowing, something very distinct from knowledge and very original.


Friends pl. share your perspective on  it! 

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Friday, March 15, 2019

JUDGING OTHERS VIS-A VIS JUDGING ONESELF






"The happiest people I know are evaluating and improving themselves. The unhappy people are usually evaluating and judging others."





Don’t you think it would be a lot proper to judge oneself rather than others? Evidently, judging others is entertaining and doesn’t require any effort. I think it is also a transitory image upliftment. But judging oneself is like questioning one’s ego, which is something unpleasant, to say the least. Our sense of self acts as a thick-skinned obstructionist when faced with censure. It tries all sorts of excuses to thwart the critic inside and outside. However; one should realize that criticizing others without knowing them fully is not something to be appreciated.

On the other hand, a healthier option is learning to assess one’s own responses while interacting with others. In fact, such an evaluation can prove to be a means of personal upward growth and the makings of a better human being.

The Wise assert the need to devote some time at the end of the day to debate internally and do self-appraisal of the activities and impressions of that day. This practice if followed earnestly goes a long way in enhancing the good and eliminating the undesirable aspects of one's personality.

To start with, becoming conscious of one's day to day dealing with the world helps in gaining self-knowledge. For example, we face numerous situations, some of which can possibly annoy us a lot, and our reaction can be anger and loud talking. If you have made self-scrutiny a habit you’d automatically follow an approach, which is less emotional and more thoughtful i.e., your previous experiences in similar situations, would guard you against harmful rejoinders.

Here, I’ll share a specific example of learning to relate to house cleaners, gardeners and garbage collectors etc., where I live. I can vouch based on my experiences, how defensive these people get if pointed out about their deficient work. With all the twists and turns in their arguments, the blame would finally rest on the perceived instructions of the house owner. My tested conclusions teach me to never argue with these people as they act ultra-sensitive. Judging them is a futile exercise and counterproductive.

We live in a complex world. Judging or deriding others pollutes the mind.  To steer life in the right direction by adhering to one's core values is itself a matter of joy.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

NATURE HAS AN INFORMAL PERSONA.






“Spring is the time of year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade.”
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations.





Nature is informal:
 Early spring blooms.
Nature is informal and yet committed to perform its acts most diligently.
It has its own perfect calendar. It manifests itself accordingly, without any coercion or coaxing. The sun regularly rises in the morning and sets in the evening. We hardly give it a thought. Everything happens spontaneously. Empty formalities have no place in its workings.  Nature is colossal of inconceivable substances.

 Clicked autumn colors during a visit to the US.

Nature has a unique persona. Seasons change without any ceremony. No chance ever of irreparable disruption in its track record. Rather it is so benevolent that it takes on itself to entertain us with its mind-blowing variety. There is no dull moment in its template. Its infinite benedictions create positive orientation in our lives.  Its oceans, rivers, streams, canals and a network of all sorts of water bodies; its mountains, hills and awesome gorges, its forest wealth and its enchanting flora and fauna have, in fact, made possible human evolution to its grandest proportions. 


 Winter scene but for mynas it hardly matters.


Nature is a great educator. Our lives pass through a medley of situations. Some joyful and, some highly provoking and worrisome. Nature teaches us to persevere and be patient.

    Flowering Gulmohar in our neighborhood.


We relate to nature in all its phases. Summers open doors for adventure and outings, spring provides immense joy and riot of colors, autumn offers a fantastic spectacle of golden burnished leaves. Winter stands for hope and renewal.

Nature’s philanthropy has no boundaries. Everything it projects is a gift. It cares not for any reward. It cements our faith in ourselves amidst deceit, lies, and selfishness proliferating around. It personifies all that is wonderful in life.

If there are some negative episodes, like natural calamities, they are minuscule compared to its infinite boons.


Friends welcome here as always. 



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Thursday, February 21, 2019

GREEN IS GREAT










All four major colors highlight the world so beautifully in their multiple shades.  Yet I’d say green is my favorite. Whenever I buy clothes for myself, I examine my shopping first thing on reaching home. It always surprises me to find the prominence of green tints in most of them. Then I realize I instinctively love green hues more than any other color.

Green is a vibrant color loaded with luster and freshness. It is the creation of the merger of two greats: yellow and blue. Green is special because of its versatile symbolism and widespread usage in our daily life. It is the color of nature. It signifies renewal, rebirth, and brilliance. Imagine the intoxicating emergence of greenery showing its lush wealth of myriad shades after the arrival of spring’s queenly presence. The jaw-stopping spectacle of soothing and bright ambiance, which follows, generates an unexplainable tug at the heartstrings.  


The charm of the resurgence of greenery after the merciless onslaught of winter inebriates the senses of the initiated. When the vegetation thrives with the benedictions of spring, the lush greenery gives the message of eternal hope of better days, which always lie in wait. For humanity, green surroundings work like magic to revive the sagging spirits. Forgetting all disappointments the mood is charged with exuberance for the life process.  Plants, trees, flowers and all vegetation buoys our resolves while soothing our perceptions and diluting our prejudices.
.....

Here are some instances of how the color green participates in our cultural paradigms. Green’s inferences are an important part of our phraseology with interesting semantics.

Indian national flag called the tricolor (Tiranga) has three horizontal bands. Topmost is saffron, the middle is white with a dharma chakra in its center and the last is green. Here green embodies fertility, growth, and sacredness.
 
google images both.
Medical research has made us aware that green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, mustard greens, kale etc. are a reservoir of micronutrients essential for our good health. They contain potent antioxidants, which strengthen our immunity against many serious ailments.

'Go green' is a campaign to preserve and safeguard our environment and plants against dreadful emissions.

'A Greenhorn' is the one who is yet raw and inexperienced. These days business houses train the greenhorns according to the requirements of the job.

The somewhat negative implication has the expression ‘to be green with envy’.  Not a great feeling of course.


You get the 'green light' when authorities give permission for starting some new project to the concerned company.

'Go green or turn green' is a look of sickness needing attention.

'The village green' is an area in the periphery of the village, which is not supposed to be disturbed with any building activity.

'Greenbacks' the name of the currency, which is always in the ascendancy, is slang for the US dollars.

'Green card' to acquire which gives sleepless nights to aspiring immigrants in the US.

I must mention the emerging preference for green tea all over the globe. Its anti-oxidant properties are making it a winner in the fraternity of various varieties of teas.

I admire the perseverance of the people with a 'green thumb' who create beautiful home gardens with utmost dedication.

There’re many more phrases but I feel this much will suffice for now.


Friends welcome here as always! 

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

MARIGOLD FLOWERS SIGN IN FOR SPRING







Waiting for the colors of spring to inundate our lives with beauty and joy!


On February 10, here in India, we celebrated "Basant Panchami”. It is one of the sacred days in the yearly calendar. People weather cold wintry conditions to take dips in holy rivers and offer prayers to goddess Saraswati.

In northern India, young boys fly kites and make merry as the educational institutions are closed. People wear yellow colored dresses in tune with the golden spectacle of sheets of blooming yellow mustard plants in the fields. The spirit of joyful abandon is palpable in the air. Sweet rice prepared with yellow food color and saffron threads is a traditional dish associated with this festival.
Mustard blooms, courtesy Wikipedia
Culturally it signifies the preparation for the advent of spring and marks the lessening of winter’s hold. People wait for signs of warmth in the air. There is a saying “ae Basant pala udant.” That is when ‘Basant’ comes cold disappears.
Here are some images of marigold flowers attired in their very best to welcome spring, the queen of seasons.









         Image above was captured at 'Nature cure Institute' in Banglore, India.



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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

EATING WISELY MATTERS





To keep  the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.      -  Buddha


To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. Buddha
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/good_healthT



Worryingly a significant number of global populations are in the throes of the epidemic of obesity. It is a modern phenomenon and a huge one. There are hosts of health issues, which are in some way, or the other related to this. In terms of financial, drain on health care systems of the nations it needs prioritized attention.

This leads us to the need for a serious look at what we eat. There is a plethora of websites and medical reports underlining the measures to control and prevent this debilitating disorder. People are becoming conscious but the problem remains unabated. The knowledge regarding the problem is abundant on the internet but the willpower to follow the necessary preemptive actions is lacking. Strangely, a mindset is taking root all over the world of utter irresponsibility on the part of the citizens, while expecting quick fixes from the government or some other agencies.

Popping pills will not work here. It is a complex issue. An observable fact is that people with disposal incomes worldwide are new entrants to the burgeoning numbers of affected people. Unknowingly they promote the spread of this malaise. This segment of society performs stressful jobs and feel exhausted at the end of the day. As a routine, they bring restaurant meals on the way back home. Or simply place an order for a pizza. Now, these restaurant meals loaded with an excess of oils and harmful additives eaten day in day out can ruin your liver, gut health, and cardiovascular system. This apart, rampant alcoholism with its high caloric value, sans nutrients contributes to a host of issues including drunken driving leading to fatalities. The challenge of the living process has been taken over by thoughtless instinctive pleasures.

The question arises what to do about it. The answer lies in drastic lifestyle changes. The urgency of zeroing in on the concept of eating wisely needs to be understood more than ever.

Here are some general guidelines regarding eating a well-balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight. These are the ones garnered from my experiences, observations, google research and above all my mother's traditional wisdom.

A balanced diet promotes overall good health and protects us from various diseases.  Broadly, a healthy diet constitutes fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, whole grains, beans and legumes, low-fat protein and dairy products.

Proteins provide macronutrients. They are the main source of our energy needs. Lean meats, eggs, fish and fresh or dried beans provide good protein to build muscles, bones, skin, and blood

Vitamins and minerals contain micronutrients for all over good health. To eat well we should consume a variety of foods. Wholegrain bread and cereals, lots of vegetables and fruit. All colored vegetables: pumpkin, zucchini, bell peppers, broccoli, beetroots, carrots, cabbage, avocados, spinach, and leafy greens are storehouses of nutrients. These contain fiber for an easy bowel movement.

Yogurt is a powerful probiotic and helps to maintain gut health. It also helps in reducing weight. Milk and milk products provide calcium.

Stay away from bakery products as they are packed with sugar and saturated fats. Cakes, pastries and butter cookies should be avoided.

Cook with minimum salt and fat. Use herbs, and condiments for enhancing flavor and taste.

All fried stuff contains Trans fats, which are harmful to heart health and contribute to weight gain.

Keep your body hydrated with enough water and other liquids. Soft drinks only give empty calories leading to obesity.

Diet alone is not sufficient to lose weight. A strict regimen of exercise is required for the optimum functioning of our system.

Learn to practice mindfulness and yoga for a holistic approach to good health.
.........

Friends below are a few captures of my kitchen tales promoting healthy food habits and convenience. This was the cooked stuff in my fridge yesterday, which I'm sharing with you!


 Homemade butter, which I prepare each week. Boil full-fat milk. Cool. Keep it in the fridge overnight. Remove cream which forms on the surface. Churn till butter separates from the milk. Scoop out with fingers. Press gently to let the remnants of the milk drop drown. Prepare cheese with the remaining thick milk.




Buy green chilies according to need. Snip the ends. Grind till it looks like a paste. Store in ziplock bags above. Freeze.  So convenient to use the quantity according to taste. Green chilies contain Vitamin C and give a special flavor to the food.  Can use it in omelettes and marinades also.



Spinach cooked with potatoes with the seasoning of onion and garlic. Just before removing from stove sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of all spices and some coriander powder.


Zucchini chunks cooked with light seasoning to retain its original flavor.

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Thursday, January 31, 2019

DELIGHTFUL MUSINGS ON A SUNNY DAY IN WINTER







You don’t have to go out for dinner or watch a movie or go shopping to find delight and fulfillment. Exciting wonders and mysterious goings-on are happening right in your midst. Only you have to have all your senses in receptive consciousness.

Can words articulate the wow sensation of looking up at a clear, crystal blue sky waiting for your gaze of appreciation? The uniquely marvelous splendor of azure canopy above exhibits mesmerizing purity. It uplifts even sagging spirits.


At midmorning, you relax in your backyard under the warming rays of the sun. Baring your legs and feet, you roll up your shirtsleeves to allow the body to absorb the sunshine vitamin D. What a pleasurable feeling!  You sense a sweet upheaval-taking place in your skin pores as the warmth of the sun seeps teasingly in.

Next moment you happen to look right down and there is your silhouette eerily mimicking you. For a second you feel bemused on seeing the other eternally loyal you.

Suddenly your monkey mind changes the course of its thoughts. You’re reminded of a yogic practice-about which you’ve read a lot-, which involves focusing on your breathing even for the shortest time.  Amazingly wonderful experience as your heartbeat slows down and you feel serene tranquility.

A mild thudding sound from the neighbor’s backyard breaks the otherworldly reverie. You try to figure out the source of the noise. Instead, your gaze reaches the clothesline on the roof where a medley of wash is flapping in a jarring rhythm in the winter breeze- another familiar scene on a sunny wintry day.

Though it is winter, the neem tree outside our boundary wall still dons the boring brown leaves. The insect families in its crevices and chinks compensate by busily practicing their buzzing music. The warm winter day entices the sundry birds to play their orchestra now and then on nearby trees.

The delightful specimens of nature’s treasure trove are a legion if one decides to pen them for mutual admiration.

The sights and sounds of our daily life are as much a part of our survival as the modern day technological advancements. Both of them have to coexist amicably for a meaningful short journey on this planet.

Friends welcome here as always!

 
 
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