The Three Modes of Material Nature

As preposterous as the world may seem at times, what’s truly important is how we feel about ourselves and the lives we live.  Everything else is just our actions and reactions to that world and circumstances. I thought about this after reading chapter 14 of the Bhagavad Gita (The Forces of Evolution).

In the chapter (14), the topic of Prakriti is discussed with it’s three qualities known as gunas (elements): sattva, rajas and tamas.  They are the three powerful forces that influence our behavior and reactions.

All embodied souls are under the control of the three modes, or qualities, of material nature: goodness, passion and ignorance. Lord Krishna explains what these modes are, how they act upon us, how one transcends them, and the symptoms of one who has attained the transcendental state.

Chapter 14 of the Bhagavad Gita

We are not taught about these qualities as we grow up as texts like the Bhagavad Gita simply do not fit into our current western modality of education or thought.

So how else do we explain or understand what happens to us when we become amerced in deep emotional states like bliss, rage or despair?  I think about what this concept means to me and how these forces influence my life.  I also ponder how they affect the rest of us (think about headlines in the news).

Here is the complete chapter 14 from the Bhagavad Gita.   Let me know what you think.

Peace

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 14: The Three Modes of Material Nature.

 

 

Tech Keywords You Should Know

Welcome to the World of DX

Where I come from, we call DX or Digital Transformation the next major revolution confronting mankind.  Like the printing press and the industrial revolution, DX will change the world as we know it…only this time, faster and more disruptive than before.

You see regardless of your background or where you maybe going in life, DX is going to impact on you.   In fact, it actually already is.

When I said “where I come from” I am referring to the fact that I am the COO at DX Planet 4.0, a digital media group (and soon to be foundation) that follows and writes on digital transformation.  We look at these emerging technologies to see how they benefit mankind and what potential pitfalls might come from their development.

So today’s blog is about important tech keywords I believe everyone should know.  But instead of giving you both the terms and a definitions, I’m only giving you the keywords.  I want you to define them for yourself.  This will give you a better understanding of these new technologies and how they might impact on your life directly (think social media ads or robotics).

Tech words everyone should know:

AI (Artificial Intelligence)

Machine Learning

Cryptocurrency

Blockchain

Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality

Bots

Fintech or Financial Technologies

Autonomous Vehicles

IoT

Cloud

Digital Nomads

There are more terms on DX for sure, but if you have a basic understanding of these keywords, you’ll be in the DX game and better prepared to make decisions going forward.

The DX revolution will undoubtedly be one of the most exciting transitional periods in mankind’s history.  I believe we all should be on-board.

Here are some helpful links for your research.  If you’re involved with digital technologies or work for a SME, please visit the DX Planet 4.0 newsletter and website for continuous updates on the world of DX

Cheers!

DX Resources:

Medium or Date Driven Investor

Get Pocket

MIT Technology Review

Wired Magazine

 

Yoga vs. the Board of Education

Dear readers,

The article linked in this piece really troubled me this morning. So much so, that I wanted to share it with you, my readers.

For the record, I am a big believer in public discourse.  I believe the more we come together to discuss what troubles us, in a civil manner, the better for all.  But when we make decisions based on “beliefs”, versus real personal experience/knowledge or a viable eminent threat, we tread down a rabbit hole…quickly.

This article was written by Ali Wong in The Atlantic, published on Medium.com.  Take a read and share your thoughts with me.

Be well

Guillermo

Why Schools Are Banning Yoga

Finding Inner Peace in the Digital Age

We are the most connected society ever. We can communicate across the globe in seconds. We have more money, possessions, and options than ever before. Yet, we are a society in distress. For all of our advancements, we fail to bring balance, ease, and most importantly, inner peace into our existence. 

So how do we find inner peace? What are the reasons we so quickly lose our balance? What are the changes we must create to find more ease and less stress? Is it possible to have inner peace in the age of digital?

I have been there and occasionally still find myself tumbling out of control in my daily (although less and less) pursuit of personal equilibrium. What has changed most for me is how I handle these upside-down episodes.

Here are a few quick tips that will help you move toward more inner peace in your life.

Presence

Are you in the past or future? It was Seneca who said True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.  From a place of being present, we are at the fulcrum point of life’s teeter-tooter. The mind is projecting into the future (fantasy) or caught up in thinking about the past (memories). Peace is only possible in the moments when consciousness is unified. Leave the present moment; you lose your peace of mind.

Observe

Life is overwhelming. Stress or depression are symptoms of our fast-paced world. We require a time out to reflect on what is going on inside of us. Is working 50 plus hours per week necessary?  Can we let go of responsibilities that do not feed your well being?   How present are you in your life? The key is to learn to observe yourself. Not react when confronted by your emotions. Self-observation takes practice. It is a conscious act of catching oneself in the moment. You stop before the reaction takes you over. Great spaces to practice the art of observation are practices like yoga or meditation.

Feel into your situation

There is a great deal to be learned when we take the time to feel what is present for us at the moment. If overwhelm is your space, what feelings come up? Feel into them. These emotions are expressions of the mind that tells us that things are not going well. The more you can feel and name (own), the more you will open to emotion there. Talk to a professional, a friend, or a partner. Share your feelings and thoughts with them. Do not isolate. Isolation only compounds the situation.

Conclusion

As we move into this new age of digital transformation, our ability to check-in with ourselves is more important than ever. Avoiding the spiral of future and past thinking, being an observer of your own inner space, and feeling into what is going on inside are different ways to bring yourself to the present. I make these suggestions to you as tools to cope with the pace of modern life. Three different ways to peer through the veil of confusion and mental clutter to slow down and find inner peace.

The Wisdom Path Podcast

“Stories are the message in a bottle from shores some else visited first”  Bill Moyers

Stories have been guiding us since the cave paintings of Altamira in Spain.  They are oral (and visual) representations of how we interpret our experiences in and of the world.

Here is a sample from one of my podcasts with former Santa Fe Poet Laureate Jon Davis. We spoke over coffee at the lively Sky Coffee at the Rail-yard (Santa Fe):

What are the stories you know?  Join me as I talk to artist, thinkers, and creatives about the stories of their lives and how these stories impacted on the paths they’ve chosen to follow.

 

 

 

Be Yourself!

Just don’t let anyone else see you

There are a lot of mixed messages we receive today, but one in particular really stands out for me:

“Be yourself!” or  it’s derivative “know thyself!”

Have you found yourself misunderstood, or misrepresented?  A good intention, that somehow went bad?  Here’s an old favorite – “good boys or good girls don’t do that” –  the message from our childhood that lasts in our subconscious till death.  So many ways we are told to be, yet we are somehow expected to stay connected with parts of us that are considered undesirable or unacceptable – which is usually bundled in with qualities that make us shine and feel alive.  We want to be ourselves, but really have no idea what that looks like or how to get there.

Why is this?

We are a mass of thoughts, feelings, concerns and desires swirling around in a vessel that is constantly being stirred by the people and world around us.  You add a Samskara or two (I’m being generous here) to the pot for good measure.  This complex concoction is your typical human being.  Now toss this in with another 7 billion similar specimens and you have our world.  So go ahead, be yourself.

And what is the Self?

In order for you and me to get anywhere near the Self , we need to understand how we are constructed by our upbringing, surroundings, relations, and past.  The Self (capital S) resides above us, in a space free of our senses, sense objects (desires, wants, urges, etc.) or beliefs .  The Self needs nothing nor wants.  The Self is eternal. To truly experience the Self though, we need to clear away all of the smoke and debris collected during our life’s journey.  We have to deconstruct all of those behaviors and beliefs that get in the way of inner exploration.

Can we find the Self?

 

I believe yes.  But we must first come to terms with the reality that this is our true purpose on this planet.  Not to build a legacy or amass great riches – but to deconstruct ourselves in order to move closer to the meaning of the true self.  One could say the meaning of life is the process of deep inner exploration to discover the most important, relevant purpose for our being.  This is the razor’s edge mentioned in Buddhist text.

Along the way we shed baggage that may have one time defined us.  We drop our stories of why.  We stop identifying with how others perceive us.  We look at ourselves honestly, without judgement.  Some of this stuff isn’t pretty, but we have to gather all of ourselves in before we can begin to cast off the old ways of being.

Only then can we be ourselves.

 

Spirituality and the Digital Age

Can spirituality navigate the speed of digital transformation?

The stories are far too common.  High-tech leadership pushing their human counterparts beyond their limits in order to keep the company ahead of the competition.  Crushing work hours, burnout, depression and suicide – the tell-tale signs that we are moving way faster than we were built to move.

I’ve also seen the other side.  Amazing gains mankind has made toward the development of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and the speed in which we digest our data.  Self-driving cars, freeways made of solar panels, smart cities – the power of innovation that in the end will probably be our best hope to save our planet.  The duality in our modern existence.

But how do we find a balance between the thrill of innovation and the need for the contemplation required to keep us healthy and grounded?  One might find answers by revisiting the works of an ancient text – for example, India’s best known scriptures, the Bhagavad Gita.

“The battlefield is a perfect backdrop, but the Gita’s subject is the war within, the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage”

Eknath Easwaran

Set upon an ancient battlefield, the Gita follows the dialog between Sri Krishna, the incarnate God, and his friend and disciple, Arjuna.  There is an inner conflict waging within Arjuna, just as in all of us.  Conflict over who we are, the actions we must take and the way we respond to the outcomes of those actions.  Questions not only about our values, morals and judgements, but about our very essence as human beings.

Why is this important in the age of digital?  We can be so consumed with our current technological world.  Our digital world is about EX-volution (pushing or searching outside of ourselves); it’s fast-paced, hard edged and dynamic.  We act from a mental space in order to move processes and projects forward.  We rely solely on our rational mind. We shirk emotions and solitude as being passive or weak.  We don’t address the war within, because we are fully emerged in the war outside.

Selfless service and meditation, tenets of the Gita, are in direct opposite to the lifestyle of DX.  Selfless service is taking action in one’s life for the sake of action, without reward or ties to an outcome.  We are driven by a higher calling.  Meditation unifies the consciousness, helping to separate us from our senses and sense objects (the things we desire).  Through these age old practices, our awareness of the Self is strengthened and our capacity for disconnectedness, reversed.  We suddenly find ourselves grounded in spiritualism instead of embedded in materialism.

So can spiritualism exist side-by-side with our digital future?  I believe so.  But only if we put as much emphasis on becoming spiritual aspirants as we do on becoming global entrepreneurs.

The age of digital transformation is upon us.  There is no turning back.  The question is –  can we move forward, finding a balance between technology and spiritualism, so to make better decisions on the course of this revolution?  As I said before, yes.  We must continue to explore this new frontier with all of it’s potential and wonder,  but from a place firmly rooted in our traditions.  We use the wisdom, passed on by our spiritual forefathers (like the Bhagavad Gita) as a compass to navigate the coming complex issues of our brave new world.

 

To Un-Do Me

“An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied”   Arnold Glasow

I have an aspiration – an intention if you will – to find a place to live in Washington DC for a period of two weeks in August.  Here’s the catch.   I am on a very tight budget till the end of the year so I trying to keep my expenditures to a minimum.  I’d rather not have to pay to stay.

My purpose for being in DC is to spend time with my 15 year old son who lives in the greater DC area (Frederick, MD).  I only get to see him a couple of times per year, so my time in DC is important.  Current estimates for a place in DC (i.e. hotels, apartments, Airbnb, etc.) is about $1K for two weeks.  So I’m looking for alternatives.  I want to spend time with my son and not go into debt doing it.

You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you all this in a blog post..  I am writing this piece to put what I want out to the world – a free place to stay in DC.  Here’s my position:  The simple act of blogging, then sharing, will bring something to the surface (an opportunity).  Posting manifests what I want and changes my perception about what is possible for me.  To the point – if I post it, it (a place to stay) will come.   (Note: I’m also doing this to make a point about  the hyper inflated value of goods and services today.  Seriously – a studio apartment for $2500 per month? Hotel rooms for $350 per night? Crazy.)

I have come to believe that an overwhelming number of us today, are disconnected; cut-off from our emotional selves and unable to ask for what we need or want in our lives, relationships and jobs.  We avoid challenge.  We use external props to numb out the pain. “I feel stuck with no escape insight” – sound familiar?  So I write this as a motivator; for me and for those who read this blog.  To do the unthinkable. To move toward the edgy stuff that is easy to shy away from.  To reconnect with who you are and what you want.

Like the famous quote from the bible,  “ask and ye shall receive”.    There is power in getting what one wants in life.  When we get our needs met, it strengths our sense of well-being.  But we must manifest through actions – as words and thoughts will simply not do it alone.

So I’m asking.

I will also be posting an ad on Craigslist DC , blasting to social media and  reaching out to acquaintances to help further my cause. Want to know how you can help?  Share this post with someone you know.  Help me do the extraordinary.  I might do the same for you sometime.  If you ask.

Getting back on the horse

It’s has been several months (five to be exact) since I sat before a computer screen to post.  The reason for my absence is unimportant.  What matters is I’m back and it time to start writing again.

So, as I stare at this page, I ask myself – what can I contribute to the world today?

What are readers longing to read?

What is there new to say?

So much is put out on a daily basis – bloggers, podcasts, social media aficionados – that it’s hard to come up with a fresh thread that sounds original (and informative).  From spirituality to politics – we are potentially crushed by the weight of communal contributions to online readership.

(By the way, take a moment and share your thoughts with me on topics you would like to read and follow.)

 

Over the past 5 months, I’ve had many insights come to me during my time of “active contemplation”.  Now I’d like to share these insights in “One Man’s Guide to a Better World“.  Some examples of what’s to come include:

  • What it’s like to work in the service industry…at 50
  • Parenting long distance
  • Relating with others
  • The power of saying “no”; even to the ones we love
  • Building willpower at 15

And this my friend is the horse I must climb back on.

So I have my hand on the saddle, trying to calm this beast before me (inside and out).  As with all things good in life, it’s just a matter of pulling oneself up, throwing one leg over and taking the reins.

Till next time…

 

The Mask

Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth...Oscar Wilde

 

Its the holiday season.  Christmas shopping is about to hit it’s crescendo and our calendars are full of dinners and parties.  Speaking of those parties, notice the shallow, often light hearted conversations that run amok as wine is poured and lights begin to dim.  The space whirls with laughter and the spirit of the holiday.  You might notice that everyone is in character – the banker, the former cheerleader, the artist, the know-it-all, etc…Yet who many of the revelers are is and will remain a mystery.  We might be full, but we are far from satiated as we drive home later that night.

The reason for this, I believe,  is that most of us are uncomfortable in our own skin.  We have identified with our characters for so many years that we have lost contact with our true selves; only reveal ourselves, ripe with insecurity to the very few.   For some of us, we’d rather die, than be seen.

In these characters we also hide the feelings that we harbor.  Our inner most thoughts, desire and wants tucked neatly away. Whether it be a burning desire for someone across the room or a deep sorrow from years of conformity and disconnection; our true feelings almost never make it to the surface.  We allow our characters to provide the charade that ensues – a mask that hides if you will.

Occasionally we allow a little light to get through with the help of substances so that others might catch a glimpse of something real.  But, rest assured, we’ll be right back to ourselves as soon as the sun rises.  Only the ghost of last night left to linger in the after thoughts of those who where witness to the offering.

I for myself have been both the witness to and the party in such a divine comedy.  Myself, then out of my body the next.  I know first hand how quickly I can retreat into character trying to avoid a situation or conversation.  Never revealing what is alive for me in that moment.  Wishing that this person would shut up or that person would come towards me.  Wanting to punch someone, to scream at the top of my lungs or to simply walk away for a lack of knowing what to do or say.  So many funny, sometimes dark thoughts; all covered under the rouse of someone who is capable, or at the very least, in control.

So what is the answer?  If we say what’s on our mind, we are in for trouble.  Yes, being real can be dangerous, but it gives us purpose to our lives.  We feel the power in our authenticity. We have a vibrancy that resonates out; a demonstration that we are capable and complete.  Nothing can be more powerful than to be (and say) ourselves fully.  And it all starts with a  choice we make – whether to raise or lower our mask.

 

 

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