Your Life Is Your Message

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Item Code: IHL471
Author: Eknath Easwaran
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Edition: 2009
ISBN: 108172249861
Pages: 125
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 7.1 inch X 4.8 inch
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Shipped to 153 countries
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Book Description
Your Life Is Your Message

CONSERVATION BIOLOGISTS call the elephant a "keystone" species. Just as an arch cannot stand without its keystone, many other species, and sometimes entire ecosystems, would be lost without the elephant. On the African savannah, the elephant’s foraging creates a mixture of woodlands and grasslands, making the savannah y hospitable to many more creatures, from the zebra to the giraffe to the baboon. In drier climates, it provides water y not only for itself but for all the other species by creating new water holes and even digging wells. Because of the elephant, a huge, hungry animal with gentle habits, they, entire ecosystem flourishes.

I believe that we human beings are meant for no less a role. Today, because of our skills and technology, human society has assumed the position of keystone in the vast, delicately balanced arch of nature. Like the elephants in the forest, our lives affect all the other creatures, plants, and elements around us. They all depend upon us for support and protection.

In one way, our influence now is far from benign. Rather than supporting the rest of life, human beings often seem to be at odds with it. Scientists tell us that many of our social and business activities are not only driving other species to extinction but are threatening the water, soil, and atmosphere on which our own lives depend. We seem to have trouble relating even to our own species. The tension and alienation of our inner cities, the increase in poverty and homelessness, the drug abuse and high suicide rate among our young people all suggest that we lack the wisdom to protect ourselves, let alone the rest of nature.

Yet in another sense, there is great promise today. Around the world — even in some of the countries most troubled by poverty or civil war or pollution — many thoughtful people are making a deep, concerted search for a way to live in harmony with each other and the earth. Their efforts, which rarely reach the headlines, are among the most important events occurring today. Sometimes these people call themselves peace workers, at other times enviromnentalists, but most of the time they work in humble anonymity. They are simply quiet people changing the world by changing themselves.

The purpose of this book is to encourage those people and the changes they are making. In it, I hope to under- score the tremendous potential of such "tremendous trif1es," to use G. K. Chesterton’s phrase, for improving our lives and the world we live in, and I will be offering some practical suggestions on how to make those changes more satisfying and more powerful.

Through such unobtrusive, almost inaudible work, the changes we would like to see in the world around us can begin immediately in our own lives, making us more secure, more contented, and more effective. Each of us has the capacity to become a little keystone, a healing and protecting force in the family, with friends, at work, in the community, in the environment.

Such little changes can seem painfully small when compared to the kinds of crises we read about in the headlines, but through my personal experience I have become convinced that there is no instrument of change more powerful than the well-lived life. Having had the privilege of growing up in Mahatma Gandhi’s India, walking with him, Studying his life, and trying to live by his example, I can say that his simple, loving life has done more to benefit the world than all the speeches and policies composed by politicians in this century — however eloquent, however well- meaning.

Once, while Mahatma Gandhi’s train was pulling slowly out of the station, a reporter ran up to him and asked for a message to take back to his people. Gandhi’s reply was a hurried line scrawled on a scrap of paper: "My life is my message?

This is the message which all our children are waiting and hoping for. In the coming decades they face the daunting prospect of inheriting our world, with its debts, its national antagonisms, its injured environment. What they are often trying to express through anger or rebellion is a need to be loved — not through words or gifts, but through our personal example. "Say it with flowers" is not enough. We need to say it with our lives. How else will they know that living in harmony with each other and the earth is possible?

Taken together, these small daily efforts to improve our ordinary lives add up to a very powerful force that, in the years to come, can become a kind of spiritual revolution, providing a firm foundation for the kind of political, economic, and ecological improvements we need to make.

In the past two centuries, the world has seen several revolutions. Some of them have brought salutary changes, while others have brought only suffering, but I would venture to say that none of them has brought us the peace our minds are hungering for or the love our hearts are thirsting for. Without such a spiritual foundation, I don’t think any political or economic policy, however new, however brilliant, can till the crying needs of humanity or protect the earth from the pressure those unfilled needs exert on it.

What I am referring to goes well beyond what we normally call social change. While I have the deepest respect for all those working selflessly to serve the world, many of the so-called "reformers" I have seen both in India and this country have an unpromising approach. They look down from the soapbox or pulpit and say, "Let me reform you, Diane, and you, Steve, and of course you, Bob."

If Bob says, "What about you?" they reply, "Oh, that can wait. Let me start with Diane and Steve and you." That is a familiar refrain in international politics, inter- national economics, international aid, even international education. But the great spiritual teachers of all religions — men and women who have devoted their lives to the art of living in complete harmony, like Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, the Compassionate Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi — say, "Oh no! You start with yourself" There is not much purpose served by preaching to others or by talking at them. The only way to influence people for the better — your family, your friends, your club, your class, your clinic, your society, even your enemies — is through your personal example. Harmony with the environment — the alleviation of our environmental crisis — and harmony with others — the easing of our social, political, and economic difficulties — both begin with a third harmony: harmony with ourselves.

Even though they may not realize it consciously, people absorb something deep below the conscious level when they see a man who is at peace with himself, a woman who finds her happiness in making life a little better for the community. It is the same mental dynamic as advertisers use in their roadside billboards. While you are traveling on the freeway, you may not notice the billboards consciously, but a certain part of their message seeps into the unconscious, and influences you the next time you go to the store.

Similarly, when you are able to live with joy, giving your time and energy to improving the quality of life for all, you are not only fulfilling your highest destiny, you are also helping all those around you to grow to their full height. As you will see from the challenges outlined in this book, this is not an easy path. Self-transformation is arduous work, especially at first; but each tiny change brings with it the joyful awareness that your life is gradually becoming a force for peaceful change.

Nothing is more important today. Much effort is going into the search for substitutes for environmentally harmful products, like the chlorofluorocarbons which damage the ozone layer or the chemicals which pollute our ground- water, but what we need just as urgently is a substitute ‘for the real culprit — a way of life which demands ever- increasing amounts of material resources while providing ever—decreasing satisfaction. To replace it, we need more than just a plan for efficient energy use or designs for solar- powered cars, although these are always welcome. We need a way of life which gives back more than it takes, enhancing the world around us rather than exploiting and polluting it. So, while the chemists search for substitutes for CFCs and the engineers seek to make solar and wind power profitable, the environmental crisis is challenging us all to undertake an even more important search: the search for a sustainable, fully satisfying way of life, based not on exploiting the external environment, but on taking full advantage of the riches inside us — the nobility, compassion, and desire for peace that lie hidden in every heart. This is not work that can be done for us by corporations or governments; we each have to do it ourselves.

Yet we do not have to do it alone. My grandmother, who was my spiritual teacher, always used the tamarind is tree to illustrate the power of ordinary people. The tama- rind is a big tree, with very small, thin leaves. On a hot day, the people of my old state of Kerala like to sleep in its shade. The leaves are so numerous and are packed so close together that they protect us from the tropical sun just as if they were one large canopy. "Little Lamp, you don’t have to look for big peop1e," Granny would tell me. "Look for little people like yourself, then band together and work together in harmony.”

So don’t be intimidated by position or power or wealth. If little people like you and me work together, we can do a great deal to transform the world.

Back of the Book

Eknath Easwaran has healed thousands of people by teaching them how to live at peace with themselves and their world. your Life Is Your Message is his seminal work, offering a vision of personal growth that brings together the quest for inner fulfillment, the desire to contribute to the world, and the need to enrich personal relationships. By showing us how interconnected these three are, Easwaran persuades us that making small daily changes in the way we think and live can change the world around us.

Practical and inspirational, humorous and profound, Your Life Is Your Message shows readers they can be more loving, more focused, more capable of living out their ideals by providing a set of practical spiritual disciplines to bring about these changes. It is a book that will transform the lives of all who read it.

About the Author

Eknath Easwaran is respected around the world as one of the great spiritual teachers. He was Professor of English Literature at the University of Nagpur, India, and an established writer, when he came to the United States on the Fulbright exchange program in 1959. As Founder and Director of the Blue Mountain Center of Meditation and the Nilgiri Press, he taught the classics of world mysticism and the practice of meditation from 1960 till his death in 1999.

Your Life is Your Message 7
Reading This Book 13
Shedding an Old Skin 16 The Pauper Becomes a Prince 17, The Little Musk Deer 18, Meditation 19, Nature with a Capital N 21 Turning Inward 22, A Continuing Source of Joy 23 Inner Simplicity 24 You Are Not What You Wear 25 The Buddha’s Fragrance 26 Light the Lamp Within 27 The Second Half of Life 29 Harnessing Anger 31 Repetition of the Mantram 32 The Space Between Thoughts 33 Living to Be One Hundred and Twenty 34 Patroling the Mind 36 Changing Gears 37 Slowing Down 38 Parking the Mind in Kindness 38 Fine-tuning the Mind 39 Transforming Greed 40 Patience 42 Keep Chewing! 43 Proud Humility 44 Be a Work of Art 45
Happiness 48 Living at Life’s Center 48 Storm Windows 50 putting Others First 52 Changing Channels in the Mind 52 Listening 54 It Takes Two 55 “I Love Me” 57 Expand Your Capacity to Love 59 Family Yoga 61
Spiritual Companionship 62 Vaccine for Depression 63 Dharmaputra and His Dog 64 A Little Gesture 65 Likes and Dislikes 67 Training the Senses 68 Juggling 68 One Thing at a Time 69 One-Pointed Attention 71 Filling the Inner Needs 71 Eating in Peace 73 Whosoever Saves Time Shall Lose It 74 Finding Time 75 Tender and Tough 76 No Longer Ruled by Fear 77 Learning to Hiss 78 The Marriage of True Minds 80 Romance 82 A Bridge 83
Waking Up 86 From Wasteful to Simple 87 Seeing the Unity of Life 88 An Expression of Love 90 Seeing Love in the Sun 91 At Home in the Universe 92 Your Essence Is Kindness 93 Ahimsa 95 A Life of Peace 96 “They Ain’t Makin’ Real Estate No More” 97 Possessed by Love 98 A Garbage Experiment 99 Contentment 100 “Heart Roots” Revolution 101 Getting Out of the Fast Lane 102 Slow, Simple, Beautiful, Loving 103 Two in a Car 104 Allah’s Bounty 105 Speed 106 The Two-Thirds World 107 The Divine Self 109 Reading the Mystics 110 Gentleness 110 A Healthy Profit 111 Every Child Will be Your Child 114 Mother Earth 115 Take a Chance on Kindness 117 Peacemaking 118 A House United 120
Afterword & Index to the Eight-Point Program 124
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