How to deal with Grief – just never suppress it! – 12 Dec 13

I yesterday told you that I believe religious philosophies do not help at all when someone is in grief about the loss of a loved one. I told you that you just have to accept it. Of course that is the reality but there are some stages to it and I would like to tell you from my own experience how I think that process looks like.

First of all, there is a time of shock. Of course the depth and length of this shock depends very much on the question whether it was an expected or unexpected death and how close you were to the deceased.

If I speak of myself, it was one week in the case of my younger sister, who died in a car accident in 2006, while I was not even in India. For a complete week, I was like a madman, not able to accept what had happened. I did not cry and couldn’t let it out. One morning I got up and told my younger brother he should search for her on Google, we would find her there, she would be there! I was simply in denial of reality. One day however, reality reached me and I could finally cry.

After Ammaji died with all of us around her, in spite of our effort to take her to the hospital, I felt like a stone again. Since the moment we knew that she had left us forever until her cremation was over, no tears reached my eyes. Only when we came back to the Ashram, an empty Ashram without my mother in there, grief hit me and I cried. We all cried.

This is, I believe, the next step, and a very important one, too. You need to let the grief take over. Allow the sadness to pour out of you, in the form of tears and sobs, let your crying shake you. It is necessary to go through this and to not hold your emotions back!

I know that many people don’t let this step happen properly. Whether it is their own nature or their culture, they keep up that wall of stone around their heart and just don’t let the pain get out. They suppress, something which is never good. You have to allow it for it to pass. You can do it alone in your room but I tell you, nobody will judge you for those tears! Sharing the grief with someone else will not only give you faster relief but it will eternally connect you with this other person!

Life will go on. You will need to adjust and maybe that gap that this person left will never be filled. For a time I was not able to look at my sister’s pictures at all. Even with Ammaji’s pictures it was hard. But I believe it is healthy to take them out after some time and revive the beautiful memories of an earlier time.

There may be people who in our situation would never again eat Gakadiya (bread on open coal fire) or Gajar ka Halwa (a sweet carrot dish) again – because our mother made the best of the world and we only ever ate it from her hands. We know how to prepare it though and we have staff who learned from her, so we cook and eat. While we eat, we remember the taste of Gakadiya and Gajar ka Halwa made by her hands and then maybe shed a tear or two together or just eat together in memory of her love.

Life goes on and we go on along with it. We keep the memories in our hearts and feel the love. Don’t try to ban the memories from your heart. Live them, love them and feel how they bring that person very close to you again, in your heart.

Sharing Money in Family makes Life much easier – 21 Sep 12

When Ramona and I were talking a bit about money last week, I realized once more in what a nice situation we are here in our family and how unnecessarily some people get stressed about money. Let me explain you this a little bit in detail.

We live together in a family and believe that you should share with each other. This does not only mean that we share the space that we are living in with each other. It is also not only our feelings that we share with each other. We also share money.

This does not mean that we don’t have separate bank accounts – we do, but we don’t stick to the idea that the money on one person’s bank account is only his. If we need to buy something and money is needed, it does not matter for us which bank account we are taking it out from. None of us will get angry if ‘his’ money is being used. Of course we sometimes make jokes about this but in the end we all know that we have so much more simply because we don’t think of ‘mine’ and ‘yours’.

Only with this attitude I feel we can live together in peace with each other. I have seen, heard and experienced how many families had big trouble just because of money. Inheritance is one problem factor and then of course there is always the question how much one earns and the other one spends.

When I hear, especially in the west, that even married couples have separate bank accounts and find this very important, I often wonder how they manage. If I then hear that they have fights over money, I can understand that they actually don’t manage well. Who pays the rent for the house you are living in together? For the food you all eat? For the car that maybe one of you uses more than the other? The electricity, gas, oil, etc? There are so many factors where you have to exactly calculate whose money goes where.

I am so glad that we don’t have to make this calculation in our family. It makes so many things so much easier. One feels also much richer! Just think: you see the whole amount of wealth that your family has and it makes you feel good. If that amount was divided by eight or more people, you would not feel as rich. So why don’t you see it as a whole and be happy?

I know many people who think they cannot live like this because they need the security of ‘their’ money. Don’t cling to ‘your’ money because of insecurity. If you share with others, it will not make you insecure! No, it will give you security because there will always be someone on whom you can rely and who will buy the bread if you don’t have the money for it at the moment. The personal earnings of your family, everything that comes in goes into one pot and everything that goes out, goes out from that pot.

If you have fights with your family because of money, I want to suggest you to get a big more relaxed about it. Don’t have the ego of having ‘yours’ and let go of your fear.

That is the real meaning of family, of love, of sharing. It includes money and it makes you free.

Not only Partners, also best Friends! – 10 Sep 12

Last week I wrote that there are some friends in your life with whom you can talk for days and nights without ever feeling bored. You share everything and you feel entertained by each other. On a side note I mentioned that your partner should be one of these people – and this short sentenced stirred some thoughts which I want to share with you today.

To start with my personal experience, I can tell you honestly that my partner, my wife, is definitely my best friend. We share everything with each other and we are fully open and honest with each other. Our thoughts often travel the same way and we know each other so well that communication sometimes does not happen verbally but from heart to heart. Although we are from different cultural backgrounds, we have always shared our thoughts with each other and could thus understand also those areas of the other one’s life, heart or mind where we did not have access to until then – because it was quite foreign to us.

I believe that this is one of the basic reasons for a relationship or marriage to work – when you are friends, when you share, when you entertain each other, have common interests or points to talk about. When you enjoy listening to the other one and vice versa.

I have met many couples who tell me that they were friends first and then fell in love and became partners. It is understandable: you know the other one well. You know his feelings and how he reacts. You know what moves him and you enjoy being with each other. You trust. If love grows on this basis and you take your friendship to a new level, the level of a partnership, you will spend most of the time of your life with a person with whom you enjoy whatever you do.

In an arranged marriage however, as it is still so usual here in India, you are only playing a lottery. You don’t know the person with whom you will get old, with whom you will have children and who ideally should be the one person on this earth whom you should be closest to. Maybe you will get to know this person and feel that there is hardly a way to get close. Perhaps you realize that there is no way that you both spend an evening without getting bored if there is not the television to watch or some other people to talk to. If you have an arranged marriage, you simply have no choice. Your spouse can become your best friend if you are lucky. Or you just have a husband or a wife. That’s it. Someone who has a place in your life but not in your heart.

Try your best to make sure you have a friend as partner. Love is strong when you can share and you can share only with friends, with people whom you trust. Your partner should be the one with whom you share everything. That would make your partner your best friend. Live this idea, share with your partner!

Sharing Happiness is more important than sharing Sadness – 4 Apr 12

Now, two days after our big party on 2nd April, the Ashram is now back to normal – the tables, chairs, lights and flowers of the evening are gone and the last guests who had come from different parts of India have left.

We want to thank everyone who came, from Vrindavan, any other part of India or the whole world for their love. It is just so beautiful that you all were there and we could experience that evening together. In the same way I thank all those who sent emails, messages, letters or presents!

We had a wonderful evening and actually a wonderful time of preparation, too. It was a celebration of our happiness about our daughter and as the whole Ashram is very happy about it, we all enjoyed the time before the event and the evening itself tremendously. With all the congratulations and all the people who came to be happy with us I noticed once more how important it is to have people to celebrate with, people who share your happiness with you.

You probably know the saying that sadness is reduced by half when you share it while happiness is doubled when you share it. It is important to have people who would come to stand by your side in your hard times. There are friends who make it a point that they would be there whenever you are down. But when you are sad, you can retreat, hide yourself and cry for yourself. You will manage your sadness in this way. It is nicer if you have someone to share with, someone to tell your pain. It hurts being alone in that time.

It hurts much more however when you are alone when you are happy. When you have something to celebrate and there is nobody to share your happiness with. Imagine you want to hug someone out of joy but nobody is there. Imagine you thought you had friends but they are not happy when you are happy. Wouldn’t you feel sad because there is nobody to respond to your smile and laugh?

This is how I am just enourmously happy that we had so many people to share with. With each one of them, our happiness got even bigger!

Now Ramona and I are still in this wonderful mood after the celebration and we feel like we are on holiday. We write the diary to let you know what is going on in our minds and we reply our emails. After that we don’t spend a lot of time in the office anymore but go out and sit with our friends, talk, have a good time and just enjoy the beginning of the summer time, being with Apra and the fact that life is so beautiful!

Pictures of the Celebration

Sharing has double Effect – decreases Sadness and increases Happiness! – 8 Aug 11

Yesterday I wrote down the story of how my parents got married and I said that this was how the base for my existence was laid. Of course not only I but also my sister and my younger brother only could come to this world because our grandfathers decided to marry our parents. And on this day, exactly 31 years ago, also my youngest brother Yashendu saw the light of the day for the first time.

I was already nine years old when my parents told me and my siblings that we would have another younger brother or sister soon. I remember the 7th August 1980 clearly. We all had dinner together which my mother had cooked. When everybody was done eating she got up and said that we would now go to hospital. We got excited, ordered a Rickshaw and went to hospital. I remember waiting there until I got to know that I had another brother.

We all were very happy and are still to have him. I am very proud of my family and happy that we have such a close relation to each other. People here sometimes wonder about the big love and relation in between us brothers, maybe because our relation is much closer than it is normal here. Sometimes I have the feeling that they are not able to understand this love and closeness because they don’t have it in their lives. I feel just very lucky to have Purnendu and Yashendu as well as my wife Ramona. Sharing has a big part in this closeness and people here sometimes seem to think that when they share, it gets less, so they don’t. They hesitate to share whatever they have with others. But sharing brings you so much! Sadness decreases when you share it with your friends and happiness, on the contrary, increases and grows when you share it with those who love you. So don’t be shy to show a little gesture if you think it will make someone happy.

We are very happy these days and not shy to share our happiness with our friends. When we share happiness with them, it makes them happy and seeing them happy makes our happiness even bigger. I get up in the morning with the thought how beautiful the world is. I want to share my happiness, our happiness, with you so that you can take part, too! I never miss a chance to celebrate, have fun, enjoy and be happy. There are so many reasons to be happy!

Now we are enjoying our time with friends here in Germany in a very happy time. Yesterday, on the international friendship day, we already had a birthday dinner in Hamburg to start the celebration. We really feel blessed to have so many wonderful friends, not only here but all over the world. Yashendu already received so many birthday wishes and is happy about each of them. If you want, you can join and add your wishes in a comment on this page.

Being a Student is better than being a Follower – 16 Jun 11

Yesterday I described the last one of 10 types of followers whom I have written about in the last weeks. These were the ten types:

  1. Blind Followers
  2. Intellectual Followers
  3. Proud Followers
  4. Secret or Ashamed Followers
  5. Bribed or Paid Followers
  6. Strict Followers
  7. Flexible Followers
  8. Mass Followers
  9. Personal Followers
  10. Celebrity Followers

I have seen many followers in my life, during my time as a guru in India and also now on my travels in the west. This is how I could sort them into these types. Not everyone fits into one single category, most of them belong to several types at once.

What happens usually these days when I meet followers is that they don’t stay with me for a long time. The reason is that they usually search for a guru and I am just not a guru or master. Many leave because they realize it and others try to stick around, try to find a way of being my follower without me minding it and actually develop some closeness. What I do is to always try and let them experience that they are their own gurus.

I don’t really like the word ‘follower’ or ‘disciple’. I think it is good to learn from someone, to be a student and to keep on learning. Guru simply means teacher, so if you have the need for a teacher, a guru, why don’t you simply call yourself student? I think rather than being a follower who follows blindly like a sheep, you should be a student, eager to learn more, enthusiastic for getting more knowledge and experience.
Many gurus are good teachers and you can learn from them. Don’t make them holy and don’t see them as Gods. They are human, make their mistakes and have their faults. Don’t worship them. Give them respect as persons who have some knowledge or wisdom which they share with you.

Keep a realistic view, ask deeper than what is on the surface and see who that person is. Don’t get dependent on one individual and don’t get confused if you hear contradictive statements of several of them. In the end you need to see that you are your own master inside yourself. There is the truth and you can feel for any philosophy and teaching whether it is right for you or not.

Care for Love and Relations – You cannot replace Anybody – 25 May 11

In this picture, left to right: Balendu, Purnendu, Para and Yashendu

In our lives we meet many people, some are closer to us and some are not so close. Sometimes we don’t notice that we have many people around us who love us and whom we love. We are busy in our every day’s rhythm without noticing how important it is to have these people.

Give value to your relations and the people around you. See and feel their love and love them back. Store their love in your heart. Care for friendship, care for your relations, care for love.

It can happen that you sometimes need to let someone go, who does not want to be around you anymore and with whom you cannot share your way anymore. It can happen that these relations get stronger again after some time. Try not to poison a relation. If it doesn’t work, quit quietly. If you can, don’t create bitterness in between you. Anger, ego and other emotions sometimes create aggression but think how far you want to let these emotions take you. Who knows, maybe time changes and a bitter relation changes again for the better. Bitter and better is only one letter apart from each other. Maybe you don’t want that person in your life anymore. That is also okay but even then, don’t create so much bitterness that it becomes irreversible.

I have lost people in this way and I always try not to make it bitter. If it doesn’t work together anymore, I try to be in peace and retreat a bit so that our ways can separate easily. In this way I believe there is always a chance that we can find together again.

Sometimes it happens that you really lose people and it is not reversible in any way. Once someone leaves this world and his body behind, there is no coming back. And there is no replacement for anyone who left. If your husband dies, you can have a new husband. If you lose friends, you can make new ones. But you cannot replace the one who was there before. Who is lost is lost.

Today is the fifth year that I think of my sister Para on her birthday and she is not there anymore. Nobody can ever replace her. There were people before and after her death with whom I had the feeling of having a sister but after some times those people left my life, too. So there is no real replacement for a person whom you lost. But I have my memories of our love.

True Friends stay when your Philosophy and Belief change – 16 May 11

I have changed a lot and have written about it a lot, too. When doing this, my aim is not, to change anybody along with me. I don’t expect anyone to follow me on my way. I am not a guru and I don’t want to have followers. If my writing however makes someone think and he, from within himself, decides to change, it is also fine. I don’t however write any article with the aim of changing one certain individual whom I have met on my way. I just express what I feel and think. If this is different to what you believe, it doesn’t matter, we can still be friends!

When I told my mother and father that I am not religious anymore and that I don’t believe in any of their rituals anymore, they understood that I have changed. They did not say ‘You are not our son anymore’. They said that it was fine. If this is my way, it is okay, they will still be there as my parents, supporting and loving me.

I write about my own thinking and my opinion. I don’t force anybody to agree with me. Please don’t get annoyed if I share my ideas. Even if our ideology, philosophy and belief is not the same, we can still be friends. This is my place to share my thinking. My and your philosophy will always change but that should not affect our love for each other.

I have parted ways with many people over the course of time. I have changed and they sometimes, too. I also know why they went away: they were attached to one piece of my belief, of my philosophy, attached to one idea that I had and that changed. Without this idea, why would they stay with me?

There were many people who were my followers. They were connected with me because I was a guru. When I stopped being a guru, they left, too. There were people who were in touch of us because we did astrological counseling. When we closed this department, they left and searched somewhere else.

When someone is a friend because of a reason, they can also stop being your friend when this reason is gone. It is okay if such friends leave because they are not true friends. A true friend loves your being. And this person will stay. Those who love me because of just me are connected in love, no matter what we feel or think. My father and my mother also still hug me as their son. Please still hug me as your friend, even if our opinions don’t match anymore. Love is bigger than any philosophy or any opinion.

Real friendships get more and more beautiful the older they get. Keep them alive and enjoy the age of your friendships. I am very happy that I have a few people, not many but a few of them, of whom I can say that we have been friends for a long time. Many things have changed but their love is there for me. And this is how it should be. Simply loving the other being.

Today we have come from Wuppertal to Essen. We are happy to have found new friends in Wuppertal and are now looking forward to make some more friends here in Essen.

How to avoid stress and burnout in business life – 10 Tips – 13 May 11

Yesterday I wrote that you should allow feelings as a businessman, too. When meeting friends who are daily a part of the corporate business world, I have become familiar with their lifestyle, their workday and also their private life. I see how much stress many of them take and I have collected ten ideas of how they can remove this stress, take off pressure and thus prevent burnout and nervous breakdown. If you take care of them, you will see a significant change in your life.

– Small Meditation Breaks

Don’t worry, you don’t need to have experience in meditating for doing it. Take small breaks of five minutes in between meetings and appointments to just sit, close your eyes, breathe deeply and think of something beautiful. This can be anything you like – your family and your home, the last meeting with your best friends, a beautiful scenery with flowers and rivers or doing your favourite sport. This is meditation, easy and effective. In a normal hectic day you often breathe superficially, in this way you fill your body with oxygen, too. This practice will relax your mind and your tensed muscles and will make you ready for the next task of the day.

– Find a Meaning in what you do and love it

Businessmen tend to struggle after several years of doing business because a question comes up ‘What am I doing this all for?’ Find a meaning. In which way does what you do help people? How do you contribute in this world by what you do? And if you don’t find anything in the product that you sell, convince your company to donate to charity or do it yourself. You won’t believe it but this really changes your attitude towards your work. Love and enjoy what you are doing. Bring feelings into your business, especially joy, happiness and love.

– Delegate and share responsibilities

Don’t cling to the idea that you have to do everything yourself in order to make it work properly. There are other people who have abilities in the same field and who are capable of sharing your responsibility with you. If you delegate or share a few tasks in a team, you will feel lighter because you don’t need to take care of everything yourself anymore. You need to have trust in them of course but if you do, you will realize that it takes a lot of stress off you – and it is much nicer to work together than always alone!

– Take care what you eat and how

No matter how stressed you are and how many appointments you have in one day, never eat in standing or while walking or even running. Don’t live on fast food. It would slowly kill your intestines and you. Eat healthy in a way that gives you strength and energy for your tasks.

– Do Regular Workout

Especially if you spend long periods of time sitting in a chair at the computer or a conference table, your body needs to stretch and bend sometimes. You should take some time for yourself, either in morning or evening, and run, swim or do any sport that you like, that makes you sweat, that strengthens your muscles and brings them in another position than the one that you are in the rest of your time. Yoga is a nice way to flex your muscles and can additionally to your daily routine be done while in the office and on a chair. Do whatever you like but move your body! This reduces stress and tension both from your muscles but also from your mind because it gets free for some time and concentrates on other things. Additionally your workout stimulates the blood circulation to your brain and helps you concentrate even better!

– Don’t be afraid of failure and don’t be a perfectionist

Perfectionism creates a lot of pressure. You cannot be perfect because no human is. I have written about this topic before, too. Perfectionism makes you afraid that you could make a mistake and that you could not be perfect. If someone is afraid of failure, he is always in stress and under pressure. Don’t take this pressure. See the bigger picture and understand that even if you do a mistake, the world will keep on turning and you will survive.

– Spend time with your family

Don’t let work be the only thing in your life. If you are not married and have no children yet, visit your parents, aunts, uncles, cousins or people whom you see as family. It is important to have connections with people who have nothing to do with your business. They will certainly be happy that you keep the relation alive and you can relax, enjoy and also have the feeling of security that there is someone else, a support and someone there who loves you.

– Take several short or even longer holidays throughout the year

Take a break. Take time for yourself. If you are self-employed or in a very high position in a company, you may say that there is no way for you to take time off. But there always is a way and you have to do it, otherwise you will ruin yourself. If you cannot take holidays for two weeks in a row, make it one week or even only a prolonged weekend. Make sure not to take work-related things and that you will only be contacted in emergencies. And then lean back and trust that your co-workers or employees can take care of matters for a few days.

– Share your feelings with your friends and your wife or husband

Talk about what you do in your work and let out all the feelings that you could not during work due to the circumstances there. Tell them what you liked and what made you angry. Explain what you like to do and what you don’t like to do. Your friends and your partner will be there to support you and just to listen to you. It will actually make them happy that you let them take part in this and share your feelings. And you will get rid of those feelings instead of suppressing them and risking a big explosion one day.

– No business in the bedroom

After sharing some stories or your work-related problems and topics with your husband or wife, don’t bring business talk everywhere. Really, stop it, at the latest when you go into the bedroom. No business is allowed there anymore, just love and the relationship of you and your partner. Here you should really concentrate on other things! That is why this rule should be strictly followed: no business in our bedroom!

A Healthy Relationship with Equal Partners – 5 May 11

In the last week I described what can happen if your husband acts like your father or your wife turns out to be more and more like your mother. Today I would like to focus on how a balanced relationship should look like, so that both partners feel good in their role as man and woman.

The partners need to be in a balance with each other. We all have both, male and female energy, in us and in a relationship we need to find a balance of our energy and the energy of our partner. You could make a big analysis of whether you are more female or male and what your partner should be like accordingly. The truth is however that this is a matter of feeling, not of your thoughts or any calculation.

Don’t think too much about which energy is good and which bad but feel into it and be in love. If both partners are in their balance, they don’t start switching from one role to another, don’t pretend to be someone else than who they are and they don’t have to search in their partner anything else than he actually is. They feel secure because they know and trust each other and their love for each other. They don’t need to pretend because of this knowledge and feeling.

When a couple is in balance, the two partners are equal in importance for each other and both are in their full power. When out of balance, both are unhappy and struggle. Often one carries all responsibility while the other one is insecure and unable to manage things alone. But when both, man and woman, are in their full strength, they share their responsibilities and they both depend on each other with a trust that the other one will fill in his skills where they are lacking them. They respect each other for their qualities and here the man can respect the woman’s motherly ways without relying on them too much. The woman in turn can enjoy it when her husband takes things in the hand, in a male way of leadership, without feeling that she is incapable of doing things on her own.

This does not mean that the man always has to be dominant in his male energy. Of course it is nice for both sides when the man has the feeling he protects his wife and a woman feels protected by a strong husband. It is a natural and ancient instinct. Sometimes however the woman takes charge and lets him lean back with the feeling of having a safe haven where she is taking care of things.

It is the mixture that makes it balanced. Then nobody has a big burden because both of them are sharing it, carrying it together and helping each other out. Decisions are taken together and you literally go through good and bad times together.

The main thing was, is and remains love. If you have a deep love for each other, you want to see the other one happy and you get happy through his happiness and love. Love each other and be there for each other’s needs.