I'm joining Service Space because ... it feels like my community
A good day to me is when ... good day implies there are some that are not. I must be in denial about those, for every day seems good to me.
My hero in life is ...ordinary decent folks who just persist and do the right thing day after day .... ok, the Dalai Lama, Rev Desmond Tutu and others who laugh easily also tug at my heart strings
My favorite book is ...Ten Tall Tales by Dr Suess, The Little Prince, Stories from Panchtantra and many more
One thing I'm grateful for is ... a good enough life that enables me to serve
Jun 20, 2019, 1 comments, 11 smiles At the Santa Clara Awakin Circle this week, a new-comer sat in front of me and in his share mentioned the awe he experienced at the purple blooms on trees around the Bay Area. It was as if he had read what was on my mind as all through the week, I too had been attracted to these Jacaranda trees. Everywhere I went, amongst all the green trees, there would be a shock of purple bursting forth, showing off its majestic and unique, if short lived, beauty. I had actually stopped more than once simply to get a closer look and enjoy the exuberant displays. In the presence of these magnificent trees, I could clearly hear my inner voice declaring, this was my Bodhi Tree. I could see myself happily sitting under it, endlessly, until I was enlightened to my Buddha nature. What would it take for me to offer up my gifts to the world with the same enthusiastic and uninhibited presence?
May 07, 2019, 1 comments, 9 smiles I have borrowed the practice of taking a minute of silence, from Birju that I use at the start of all classes I teach. Many students have appreciated it. Some make it their own. As I was reading the midterm reflections of the current batch of working adults in my class, here is a quote from one of them. "I have been applying the outside exercises to my daily routine. Specifically, prior to starting my day or some big task at work or at home, I will take a moment of silence to just breathe and relax and center myself so that I can focus on the task at hand and not on other distracting issues. This has been extremely helpful as it reduces the build-up of stress and allows for a more focused and deeper concentration than just performing one task after another without taking a moment for myself." Another student ... Read Full Story
May 02, 2019, 6 smiles There is a story about a forest on fire from where all animals are running away, except for one bird carrying water in her beak flying towards it, to help put the fire out. When asked how her tiny beak's worth of water will help with the large forest fire, she simply says, atleast I will be remembered for trying to save my home, rather than abandoning it. I have several small acts I practice routinely as my own way of saving the planet from the path of destruction it seems to be on due to human activity. Most times I feel like the little bird carrying the tiny drop of water towards a forest fire. I know that me turning off the water faucet when I brush, or lights when I leave a room or drying my clothes on the line in the sun instead of the dryer, or buying ... Read Full Story
Mar 09, 2019, 2 comments, 5 smiles In urdu, Raza means the will of God. A neighbor of almost two decades, here in California, called Mary, reminds me of my mother. At first we would meet in the shared park where she and her retired husband would walk in the evenings, as I would watch my little son play with his friends. From neighborly greetings we proceeded to learning that the retired couple were originally from Iran, and had moved to the US after the revolution. Over the years, the handsome man developed and battled with Alzheimer's, while his wife diligently cared for him, until he passed away. Now, she walks with a walker and only comes to the garden rarely. Sometimes, she will knock on my door for simple assistance, such as when she could not put her key in her house door, or her central heating was making strange noises, or once when her ipad was ... Read Full Story
Jan 10, 2019, 3 smiles During the recent Christmas holidays, I decided to write up my experience of everyday kindness I experienced earlier in the fall term while at work, as a professor at a Catholic Liberal Arts College. It was an act of appreciation for the joys my job brings into my life and a way to amplify what I value by bringing attention to it. I value community and like the way Nipun Bhai articulates it as 'We before Me' and encourages small acts of kindness. I shared the note with my colleague, Brother Charles, a history professor, and director of the Cummings Institute. Bishop Cummings served Oakland for 25 years and this institute named after him is one of the ways the college promotes dialog between faith and reason. Brother Charles said he would share my note with the editorial team for the Institute blog to possibly see if might be for ... Read Full Story
Dec 20, 2018, 2 comments, 6 smiles In giving, we get back. As I teach, I learn from my students. In adopting the practice of a minute's pause before class, I have learned how it ripples forward as students send back their reflections. In reading the following one from one of them, I learned, how I can add a minute's pause to getting out of my car, to set my agenda for the day, and get more done. "I have learned so much from this class that I can take back to my work and personal life. I really enjoyed the silent reflection in the beginning so that you can focus on what it is you want to accomplish. I take that to work with me. Before I even get out of my car, I take a moment to self-reflect on what it is that I need to work on and accomplish for the day. It seems to ... Read Full Story
Dec 12, 2018, 1 comments, 5 smiles I have borrowed Birju's idea of a minute of silence in the classes I teach to working professionals. I see my class as a co-created space for learning where I hold space and set the agenda, and just as the students are learning from my expertise, I am also learning from them and about them. I set up the minute of silence as the pause to decide for themselves what they want to take away from the class. I also check in afterwards as to how that minute went, and get permission for doing more in the future, if they are open to it. I asked for mid-course reflections on how the class was going, and here is what one of the students wrote, reproduced below in his own words.: "On the first day of class, I learned a valuable lesson in our minute of silence –self-reflection is important. Taking ... Read Full Story