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Steve Jobs with his favorite book — written by Paramahansa Yogananda

“You who are reading, and I who am writing, will exist a hundred years hence only as thoughts. Great and small, with highly sensitive bodies, must be buried beneath the grass or thrown into the hungry flames of cremation. We, who are so sure of our breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, will be unable to swallow or to speak. Our lips will be sealed forever.

We who love to listen to flattery, to the voice of the brook and the breeze, and to the sweet melody of music, and to the familiar words of our loved ones, must one day when absent, wax our ears so that we may never again hear any sound from this sad earth.

The roses and blossoms that you love, some day will send the messenger of sweet fragrance to knock at the door of your perfume-loving sense, but the door of that sense will open no more. You will never again be lured by the earthly perfume of Nature.

The day will arrive when all beautiful things and faces will stand mutely at the wisdom gate of your lotus gaze and will knock and knock to get into the chamber of your appreciation, but you will not see imperfect matter any more.

The chamber of wisdom will be left untenanted. The brain that controlled your 27,000 billion cells and your bodily factory will direct no more. The soft touches of the breeze and the warmth of the sunshine, the blessing of soft, kind hands, the raindrops, the ocean and the waves, and the cool and warm floods of water will soothe you no more, for your body will remain inert like a lifeless stone.

The day will come when you cannot see, when you cannot move your hands or feet, when you have no sense of smell, when your skin will not feel the touch of costly dresses, and when you will have neither good nor bad thoughts, neither success nor failure, fear nor bravery, life nor death, wisdom nor ignorance, excitement nor peace.

Since this must come to pass, why are you building so many bad habits and a conviction of permanent comfort around this melting butter-doll of a body? The heat of death will melt these frozen bodily atoms. Did you ever think that you have only this one life, this body only, this way to live just once, and that then you will join the shadows of millions of Souls who also have thought, hoped, lived, laughed, cried, and died with unfulfilled hopes?

If each and every Soul’s cheap garment of flesh must be discarded so that the Soul may put on the shining robes of immortality, then why should you cry? If great and small, immortality-declaring Saints and trembling-at-death small men must die, then why should you fear death? It is a universal experience through which all must pass.

Think what a mystery life is! It has its origin from the unknown, and into the unknown it merges. Think what a mystery death is! It swallows up the hard-working man and the idle man alike, as well as the good and the bad ones, and makes them change back into ether and the elements. Think how everybody fears death, and yet death comes only to give peace and relief when life’s burden seems to be extremely heavy with grief, ill-health, or apparently incurable trouble.

Why spend all the treasure of your wisdom trying to make this uncertain, perishable body comfortable? Wake up! Try to reap the harvest of imperishable immortality and lasting, ever-new Bliss on the perishable soil of the body. You will never find lasting comfort from a slowly melting body. You can never squeeze the honey of Divine Happiness from the rock of sense pleasures. Lasting comfort ceaselessly flows into the pail of your life when you squeeze the honeycomb of Meditation and Peace with the eager, powerful hands of will, and with ever deeper Concentration.

Why are you intoxicated with material desires during your death-like sleep of ignorance? Your present material activity is like walking and working in a dream of delusion during your sleep of ignorance. Why are you so sure of yourself, and why do you devote your entire time to building a material fortune which you must leave at the instant call of death? Why not prepare now for the last day on earth, when you will have to leave all the things to which you are so attached?

I do not mean that you should be a cynic and not enjoy the things of this life. All I say is, do not be so attached to anything which you enjoy here that you will feel mental agony when you are forcibly separated from it. If you do not grieve for earthly things when your bodily garment is cast off, you will then have better things hereafter.

Acquire the power of Meditation and the treasures of intuitional perceptions and ever-new peace and joy, which treasures will be of great use to you on your last journey. Forget the delusions of today.

Renunciation means the denial of the smaller things which you think are your own, for the attainment of the greater things that are truly your own. . . . If you only knew whose child you are and how much territory you own, you would give up everything else.

~ by Paramhansa Yogananda, East-West Magazine 1934

Married with a cat

Q: Today’s youth are finding it increasingly hard to meet a life partner whom they can marry. Marriage does not seem like it used to be at the time of our parents, with the rates of divorce increasing. Please give us some advice on how to deal with this matter.

A: Marriages will survive longer if men and women understand why they should marry, not whom they should marry. Marriage is a way to expand your love. Before marriage, a young man thinks only about himself, and a young woman thinks only about herself. Before marriage, even if a girl stays next door and falls sick, the boy is not going to bother, because she is not related to him. After marriage, he starts to think, “How can I make her happy? How I can look after her better?” In this way, his love expands only from ‘I’ to ‘we’ even though it was within the family. When they have children, their love expands further to look after the welfare of the children. Before putting one morsel of food in his mouth or her mouth, the mother and father would think whether the children are comfortable, whether they are fed, and whether they are happy. This love teaches them to sacrifice, and through sacrifice alone can you become happy.

All the marriages, which are not based on sacrifice, will not survive long. True love is sacrifice, when you think of others first and yourself later. If husband and wife can think of each other more than themselves and are willing to make sacrifices for each other, then marriage will survive. All cannot take to the path of renunciation and start living for the entire world from day one. For them, the path is from the individual to the family, from the family to society, from society to the nation, and from the nation to the world. In Indian culture, life is divided into four parts: before marriage, you are just an aspirant, a person who is getting educated or learning; the second phase is married life, where you live with your wife and children and take care of them; the third stage is that of social service, where you stop thinking about your own family and start thinking about society; and the fourth phase is the spiritual state, where you only think of God and not even society.

Once you proceed step-by-step, it will happen. That is why I say, when people marry only based on attraction to outer looks, outer beauty, which disappears with time, the ‘love’ that you call love, but I call attachment, will also disappear with time. One who marries looking at inner being, goodness, kindness – that person will stay longer. Unfortunately, it is very rare to find people who are both beautiful outside and inside. That is where people make the wrong choice by considering only outer beauty and start making mistakes. Marriage is to help you learn sacrifice and help you adjust. Without that, one’s selfish nature can never carry on for long.

sathya sai

Emily Levine had stage IV lung cancer. But instead of fearing the inevitable, she decided to embrace her new reality, and face death with humor and gratitude.

In her own words: “I love being in sync with the cyclical rhythms of the universe. That’s what’s so extraordinary about life — it’s a cycle of generation, degeneration, regeneration. ’I’ am just a collection of particles that is arranged into this pattern, then will decompose and be available, all of its constituent parts, to nature, to reorganize into another pattern. To me, that is so exciting, and it makes me even more grateful to be part of that process.”

She died on February, 3 2019. Please watch this clip from her TED talk a few months before her death.

 

Research suggests that trees don’t just compete for survival, but also cooperate and share resources using underground fungi networks. A forest has an amazing ability to communicate and behave like a single organism — an ecosystem.

The fungi and the trees are in a mutually beneficial relationship: the fungi cannot photosynthesize, as they have no access to light and no chlorophyll. So they get a type of sugar produced in photosynthesis and carbon from the trees. In return for sugar and carbon, fungi release nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen, as well as water, to the trees. Furthermore, the fungi will connect one tree to another through their network, which allows them to defend themselves more effectively.

Trees that get attacked by bugs, for instance, release chemical signals into the fungi. Neighboring trees pick up these signals and increase their own resistance to the threat.

In this ecosystem the older trees, also called “hub trees”, play a crucial role. They are better connected through the fungi network and their excess carbon helps the development of seedlings. These hub trees also help forests adapt to climate change. They’ve lived for a long time and lived through fluctuations in climate. They curate that memory in the DNA. The DNA is encoded and has adapted through mutations to this environment. So that genetic code carries the code for variable climates coming up.

We must slow the rate of deforestation, preserve older trees and maintain diversity instead of going for “simplified plantations” of only one or two species. Forests are huge carbon storers, they’re our biggest assets against climate change.

Please watch this brief 3½ minutes video.

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