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Sarines Amritabha

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The Business of Bringing People Joy

Writing that post On Wanting and Being Content made me think more about appreciation. To be more specific, it made me think more about the aspect of expressing appreciation, and what role it plays in the entire process of getting what we want.

I have noticed that when it comes to attracting good things into my life, they come easily when I am putting very little (or rather: very light) energy into the thought of wanting them. Almost as if I am not even really aware I want them. It’s like the thought „Oh, this would be nice“ just kind of flies by, and I only remember it when I suddenly receive whatever it was I thought would be nice.

For instance, a friend posted something on Facebook about how she had gathered so much burlap that she was able to make 6 lbs of pesto from it. That friend was nowhere in my vicinity at that time, so when I commented how cool I thought that was and how much I loved burlap, it was not a subtle way of inviting myself over for dinner. I just wrote what I thought. A few days later, another friend came to visit. She brought me a bunch of burlap. Yes, I know, it’s technically possible that she saw my comment (she didn’t mention it, though).

Still, it felt like the lightness with which I had expressed my appreciation of burlap had kind of send out a message, and someone who was in charge of bringing people joy had just picked it up, and thought „Oh, here’s someone who shows appreciation of burlap. We’re in the business of bringing people joy, so let’s send this lady some burlap.“

Maybe this all sounds very silly because, seriously, who gets that excited about burlap?! I know, but here’s what I believe: when we are able to wish for something with lightness, it’s easy to have that wish fulfilled. I believe that whoever is in charge of this Business of Bringing People Joy likes it when we ask for things out of a state of „This would bring me joy but my life’s happiness is not dependent on it. If you can do it, it would make me happy – but I’ll still be happy if it doesn’t work out“. That’s why it’s so easy to have those seemingly small and not very significant wishes fulfilled – because those are the ones I am capable of sending out there with that kind of lightness. Like expressing that I enjoy burlap.

When it comes to The Big Ones however … Not so easy maintaining that sort of attitude, that’s why they are The Big Ones, right? They are the wishes we feel are important, the ones our happiness depends on. So is the reason why it’s harder to have those fulfilled that the folks at The Business of Bringing People Joy don’t like it when we pressure them with desperate requests? Maybe they don’t like it when we burden them with the claim that our entire life’s happiness is dependent on our satisfaction with a specific order we placed? Maybe. Here is what I believe:

I believe that the communication between us customers and folks at the BBPJ is off a little sometimes. OK: a lot, and like, all the time. And like with any order we place with any company these days, we click on the button that says „Yes, I agree to the terms of service“ without actually reading the fine print. Because, seriously, who has time for that?! We just kind of trust that it’ll be alright. And it is. After all, it’s The Business of Bringing People Joy. However, if we did bother to open the file with the terms of agreement we’d find out it’s actually not that much, and the rules are very simple:

1. You get exactly what you ask for. To the t. Because the employees at the BBPJ are a very literal bunch, and they would get into serious legal trouble if they gave you anything you hadn’t asked for.

2. Your order is not just the words you use, it’s also the emotions behind it. And again: they take you very literally. If there is ease behind your request, you get your order with ease. If there is pressure in it, pressure is what you get. And so forth. You get it.

3. Maybe you’ve heard that if you want to remember something, you should tell yourself „Remember to do xyz“ because if you tell yourself „Don’t forget xyz“ you’ll actually forget because the mind doesn’t really know how to compute the words „don’t“ and „not“, and just skips them. The BBPJ works just like that. They don’t understand the words „not“ and „don’t“, so they just skip them. So always use positive descriptions to place your order. For instance: instead of saying „I don’t want more burlap“, place an order that states what it is you want instead.

4. And, the most important rule of communication: you place your order by thinking and through your actions. Your orders are prioritized, that’s why not every single thought and every single action is being answered right away. It’s all about focus. To the employees at the BBPJ „focus“ is „appreciation“. They assume that you want more of whatever it is your focusing on, so naturally those orders have top priority. Again, they take the emotions behind your focus into consideration when processing your order. That is why customers who seemingly place similar orders may receive services/products of varying quality.

On Wanting and Being Content

„It’s all here“, is what my Lemurian crystal keeps telling me. It’s an important message for me these days. I often feel that I already have everything I need to be happy. Of course, I don’t feel it all the time. Wanting, wishing, and striving for something – those are all part of us, too, and it’s completely natural.

However, it’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that there is something strained and strenuous to the wanting I often feel. It comes from a place of not being good enough, and not from the pure joy of creating something. I see this as a great indicator for whether my actions are „good“ in the sense that they support what I am really striving for (happiness! spreading joy!). For it’s not so much the action itself but rather the intention behind it which determines the outcome. Anything I do out of a feeling of not being good (enough), of „just a little more, and then …“ – those only lead to one thing: more of the same feeling, more „not good (enough)“, more „just a little more, and then …“.

Gratitude on the other hand, meaning the appreciative recognition of what already is in this moment, is a very powerful tool for attracting more good.

For instance, I recently noticed how much I have always loved music. I still wouldn’t say I am a good singer, but somehow there was this moment where I could admit to myself that I do enjoy singing. Suddenly I find myself in here in Amritabha where singing Bhajans is a weekly occurrence. Moreover, this is exactly the form of singing that suits me, for when it comes to Bhajans it’s not about talent. It’s about devotion. It’s easy to excuse yourself from anything when you can say „Oh, I’m no good at singing“. It’s more difficult however to claim „Oh, I am not good at singing passionately“. And is it possible to do poorly at something when you are passionate about what you’re doing? I guess I’ll find out soon …

If it’s not about earning something through your achievements (your right to exist, e. g.) but about the joy we find in doing something, and yes, praising God with that joy, then this is true: not being able to do something is no reason not to do it. (Those words of wisdom are not mine, btw. It’s ALF who said that – a childhood hero of mine, and when I think about it, a true master of making joy and ease the point of living.)

It’s all here. We’re already taken care of. Thus, we are free to do everything from a place of joy, and free to devote ourselves to the task at hand without worrying whether what we do is good enough. Honing our skills and mastering a craftsmanship will then come simply from doing and the time we put in, from the appreciation of what we already have and know. It can never come from the pressure of forcing ourselves to do anything, or the sense that we are not doing well enough.

Vom Wollen und Zufriedensein

„Es ist alles schon da“, ist die wiederkehrende Botschaft meines Lemurienkristalls. Das ist für mich gerade ein ganz wichtiger Schlüsselsatz. Ich habe oft das Gefühl, dass ich bereits alles habe, was ich brauche, um glücklich zu sein. Aber das spüre ich natürlich nicht immer. Das Wünschen, Wollen und Streben gehört ja auch zu uns und hat auch seinen Platz.

Mir wird allerdings immer deutlicher, dass das Wollen, das ich meist spüre zu angestrengt und zu anstrengend ist. Das es aus dem Nicht-gut-genug-Sein entspringt und nicht aus der reinen Freude daran, etwas zu erleben/schaffen. Für mich ist das das Kriterium, um zu überprüfen, ob meine Handlungen „gut“, d.h. meinem Ziel (Glücklichsein! Freude verbreiten!) dienlich sind. Denn es ist nicht so sehr die Handlung, sondern vielmehr die Intention, die das Resultat bestimmt. Alles, was ich aus dem Gefühl heraus tue, es sei so noch nicht (gut) genug, ich müsse noch mehr tun, um … – all das führt nur zu einem: nämlich zu noch mehr Gefühl von „Nicht (gut) genug“, „Noch mehr müssen“.

Dankbarkeit hingegen, also das würdigende Anerkennen dessen, was schon da ist, ist ein sehr machtvolles Werkzeug, um mit Leichtigkeit noch mehr Gutes anzuziehen.

Mir ist zum Beispiel kürzlich bewusst geworden, wie sehr ich Musik liebe. Ich halte mich für keine besonders gute Sängerin, aber ich singe sehr gerne. Jetzt bin ich „einfach so“ an einem Ort gelandet, an dem regelmäßig gesungen wird. Und zwar in genau der für mich passenden Form: es geht beim Bhajan-Singen nicht darum, dass nur die singen, die das ganz hervorragend können, sondern um die Hingabe, mit der alle singen. Das Singen bleiben zu lassen geht ja recht leicht mit der Ausrede „Ich kann nicht singen“. Aber zu sagen „Ich kann nicht hingebungsvoll singen“ klingt irgendwie nach keiner guten Ausrede, oder? Und kann man etwas eigentlich wirklich „schlecht“ machen, wenn man es mit Hingabe tut? Ich werde es wohl herausfinden …

Und wenn es sowieso nicht darum geht, etwas zu tun, um uns durch unsere Leistung um etwas (unsere Daseinsberechtigung zum Beispiel) verdient zu machen, sondern um mit unserer reinen Freude am Tun – Achtung, jetzt werde ich tatsächlich das G-Wort benutzen – Gott zu preisen, dann gilt folgendes, und zwar für alles: etwas nicht zu können, ist kein Grund es nicht zu tun. (Diese weisen Worte stammen übrigens nicht von mir, sondern von ALF, Meister des freudigen und leichten Lebens, Held meiner Kindheit.)

Alles ist schon da. Wir sind bereits versorgt. Also können wir alles, was wir tun, aus der Freude heraus und in Hingabe tun. Das Können und Verfeinern der Fertigkeit kommt dann vom Machen, von der Wertschätzung dessen, was wir bereits tun und können. Es kommt niemals vom Müssen oder Nicht-gut-genug-Sein.

About soul names

Update: I first wrote and published this post 13 June 2017, shortly after I had asked for and received my soul name.

The other day I came across a YouTube-Video with Eckhart Tolle, where he shares the story of how he changed his name to „Eckhart“. So I remembered my own story and updated this blog (I didn’t change the text, it still speaks to me, but I added some images).

In his video, Eckhart Tolle also speaks about spiritual names in general, and I found his perspective on what they are about very interesting. You’ll find a link to the video at the end of this post, if you’d like to see it for yourself.

So without further ado, here is the original text about soul names and my process with it:

About Soul Names - Road to Walden - Sarine Turhede 1

I received my soul name this past weekend. It is Sarine, and it means „She who feeds the flowers of God“. I made the decision to ask for my soul name earlier this spring. Although I felt I was clear about what this meant to me, and why I wanted to do this, it is only now that I have taken this step that the full extent of my choice is becoming clear to me. I am very happy about this, and very grateful for all the insights that are coming, and I am also very excited that you are asking me about it. So here is my take on the whole thing:

What is a soul name?

The concept of soul names is based on the idea that we are more than the human being we perceive ourselves as in our everyday life. Just to be clear: this does not mean that the human being aspect is an illusion. On the contrary, it is very real, and the whole point of having a physical body is to experience ourselves in this form. But if you believe that you are also something/someone beyond that, too, then the next question is, who/what are we beyond this physical form? To stay focused on the soul name question, let’s just say that if you are among those who believe that we have a soul, and that this soul is an individual, just like our human form, then the question is: who is that soul, what are her qualities? The soul name is obviously not THE answer but it’s a part of the process of getting to know/ remembering yourself.

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Why did you decide to ask for your soul name? Your name seemed right, and you seemed happy with it?

True, when I first learned about the concept of soul names, I thought it was cool but it was nothing I considered for myself. I was very happy with the name my parents had given me. I felt that Solveig (meaning „way of the sun“) was very me. I became interested in asking for my soul name some time this spring. I realized that if the whole point is to ask for the name that represents me at a deeper level, there was no way I could be getting anything that would be less me. Since I am always interested in getting to know myself better, taking on my soul name felt like the right next step in that quest for myself.

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How did it feel to take on your soul name?

Remember that weekend in Stockholm I wrote about? Well, it was kind of like that. I went into the whole thing without doubt or fear, convinced I could only be happy with the outcome. And then it turned out that I wasn’t. I mean, I did like Sarine, and I did like the meaning very much. I just also felt That Other Thing: „Oh, but I liked Solveig so much, what about that now? What was I thinking to let go of her?!“ And, like that weekend in Stockholm, and like so many other times in my life, I just hadn’t factored That Other Thing in. Fortunately, I was able to articulate my feelings right away. I know that always helps but I am not always good at it, since I also have this part of me that doesn’t want to show weakness, that doesn’t want to admit that I can’t handle something. This part is often very quick to say „I’m fine!“ before any other feelings get a chance to make themselves heard. But somehow I managed to say that I was a little surprised to find that I wasn’t as thrilled as I had expected to be, that I was in fact feeling regret. Can San, who was present at the naming, gave a very good explanation for how my two names were connected, and how they were related to me. And that somehow led to a different conversation, and when I looked at the clock I noticed how an hour and a half had passed. My name hadn’t been the subject of the conversation at all, but somehow I was at peace with it all of a sudden. Thank you, Can San!

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Does that mean your are a different person now?

On the contrary! I was very happy that a friend asked me this question because it helped me see even more clearly what this soul name business meant to me. To be more accurate, my friend didn’t ask that question, she was brave to tell me that she felt a sort of loss. She explained that I had always been Solveig to her, and that the name change felt like that person I was to her would be gone. Frankly, I think when I made the decision to go for the soul name earlier this year, I probably had ideas like that, too. That this would be something that would change me (for the better, of course!).

I always have this yearning to „be better“ but I am seeing now that it’s a misconception. I don’t want to be a different person, someone „better“. I want to see the good in myself clearly and be that. For instance, I remember that I was not really happy with my blog anymore at some point earlier this year. I thought „Maybe it’s because this isn’t you anymore, maybe when you get your soul name, you’ll open a new blog with that name as the title, start on a blank page“. When my friend voiced her concerns, I could suddenly see that it’s the other way around: that the new name is not a renouncement of who I used to be. It is an affirmation of who I really am.

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I have many friends from different periods of my life. Whenever my interests changed, I made new friends who shared those new interests with me. Some friendships were built on common experiences. Some friendships dissolved when our interests were not the same any more, or when the experiences we shared had come to an end. But: most of my friends are still my friends despite all those changes. Sometimes this has surprised me. Now I know that those interests or experiences may have been the external reason why we found each other but they were never the reason why we were friends. No matter what changes we go through, whatever is happening in our everyday lives, I always have a certain image of each friend. That never changes, no matter what they do, and no matter what I think of what they do. That is who they are to me, and that is why I cherish them. I believe that is how it works for all of us. That is why those who are surprised by the external events in my life, by the choices I am making, are still around – even if that surprises them, too.

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My change of name may cause a brief moment of irritation, but that’s all. It will not change how you see me. This change is more important for me than for anyone else. It is a lot easier for others to see who we truly are than it is for ourselves. By calling me Sarine, you are helping me to see/be myself more clearly. You will always see me the way you see me. I will never be able to change that. If the way you see me changes, you have changed, not me.

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Here is the link to the YouTube video by Eckhart Tolle on spiritual names (and why he named himself „Eckhart“).