‘Luck Actually?’ by Ankesh Kothari

Is Luck for Real? Or is it only ‘Hard Work’ that matters?

Ankesh Kothari of Zen Strategies has these two stories to add a lucky spin to your day.

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1. The Lucky Dog Statue

Derren Brown the famous illusionist conducted an experiment once. He partnered with Dawn Porter – a journalist to go to Todmorden in Yorkshire, UK – for this experiment.

There was a small nondescript dog statue in a park in Todmorden. Brown enlisted the help of Dawn Porter to spread rumours that the dog statue was lucky. Todmorden is a gossipy town with just about 15,000 residents. So when Porter started asking a lot of people if they’ve heard about the lucky dog, news started spreading a bit.

And then, the local radio station picked the story and soon everyone in the town had a story about how they had found luck after patting the lucky dog statue. Everything from people finding their dream jobs, to getting new business opportunities, to getting well from a disease.

After 3 months of this, Derren Brown held a town hall meeting in Todmorden and revealed how the story of the lucky dog had started.

Did an ordinary dog statue make people feel luckier just because they believed in it?

Derren Brown had followed a few people who had patted the dog statue. And so, on closer inspection, he finds something extraordinary.

People who had patted the lucky dog statue started taking more risks. Started pushing themselves. Started putting in more effort and sticking with tasks longer. They started paying more attention to random cues from the environment. And that’s how they became luckier.

(The dog statue has indeed been lucky for the town because now it’s become a tourist attraction and brings more tourists in every year!)

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2. A Simple Newspaper Experiment

Richard Wiseman is the head of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in UK. He once conducts an experiment. He runs an ad in newspapers looking out for people who feel they are exceptionally lucky or exceptionally unlucky. 400 people answer that ad.

To all these people, Wiseman gives a task: to count the number of photos there are in a particular newspaper.

But here is the twist: on the 3rd page of the newspaper, Wiseman had put up a huge text ad next to a photo. The ad said: “Stop counting. There are 43 photographs in this newspaper.”

People who claimed they were lucky would usually spot this ad. Unlucky people would miss it.

Action Summary:

  • Lucky totems are important. Believing in luck is important. Because being open to luck changes your psyche. You become more open to the cues of the environment. You take more chances and risks.
  • The funny thing is luck works like ‘the placebo effect’. It works even when you know about it.
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  • One email per week.
  • With one or two stories.
  • And an action summary.
  • That will help you live a happy meaningful life.

MAY WE ALL HAVE THE WISDOM TO ASK AND ANSWER THE WISE QUESTIONS !

A young man in his mid-twenties knocks on the door of the noted Guru. He said: “I’ve come to you because I wish to study Vedas.”

“Do you know Sanskrit?” the Guru asks.

“No,” replies the young man.

“Have you studied anything from Hindu philosophy?”

“No, Guru. But don’t worry. I just finished my doctoral dissertation at Harvard on Socratic logic. So now, I would just like to round out my education with a little study of the Vedas.”

“I seriously doubt,” the Guru says, “that you are ready to study Vedas. It is the deepest knowledge ever known. If you wish, however, I am willing to examine you in logic, and if you pass that test I will teach you Vedas.”

The young man agrees.

Guru holds up two fingers. “Two men come down a chimney. One comes out with a clean face; the other comes out with a dirty face. Which one washes his face?”

The young man stares at the Guru. “Is that the test in logic?”

The Guru nods.

”The one with the dirty face washes his face“- he answers wearily.

“Wrong. The one with the clean face washes his face. Examine the simple logic. The one with the dirty face looks at the one with the clean face and thinks his face is clean. The one with the clean face looks at the one with the dirty face and thinks his face is dirty. So, the one with the clean face washes his face.”

“Very clever,” the young man says. “Give me another test.”

The Guru again holds up two fingers. “Two men come down a chimney. One comes out with a clean face, the other comes out with a dirty face. Which one washes his face?”

“We have already established that. The one with the clean face washes his face.”

“Wrong. Each one washes his face. Examine the simple logic. The one with the dirty face looks at the one with the clean face and thinks his face is clean. The one with the clean face looks at the one with the dirty face and thinks his face is dirty. So, the one with the clean face washes his face. When the one with the dirty face sees the one with the clean face wash his face, he also washes his face. So, each one washes his face.”

“I didn’t think of that,” says the young man. It’s shocking to me that I could make an error in logic. Test me again.”

The Guru holds up two fingers. “Two men come down a chimney. One comes out with a clean face; the other comes out with a dirty face. Which one washes his face?”

“Each one washes his face.”

“Wrong. Neither one washes his face. Examine the simple logic. The one with the dirty face looks at the one with the clean face and thinks his face is clean. The one with the clean face looks at the one with the dirty face and thinks his face is dirty. But when the one with the clean face sees the one with the dirty face doesn’t wash his face, he also doesn’t wash his face. So, neither one washes his face.”

The young man is desperate. “I am qualified to study Vedas. Please give me one more test.”

He groans, though, when the Guru lifts two fingers. “Two men come down a chimney. One comes out with a clean face; the other comes out with a dirty face. Which one washes his face?”

“Neither one washes his face.”

“Wrong. Do you now see why Socratic logic is an insufficient basis for studying Vedas? Tell me, how is it possible for two men to come down the same chimney, and for one to come out with a clean face and the other with a dirty face? Don’t you see? The whole question is nonsense, foolishness, and if you spend your whole life trying to answer foolish questions, all your answers will be foolish, too.”

May we all have the wisdom to ask and answer the wise questions

Earth Notes #2 by Rani Iyer: The Chorus

 

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Preparing for monsoon is an intense period in the forest. On the one hand the forest is parched for moisture, on the other, the intense rain will test the recovery of everyone. Every tree is swaying to the strong winds. After I calm my fears about the swaying trees and strange noises, I recognize a chorus. It is unique. Giant trees scattered across the mountains undoubtedly talk to each other…. maybe shout to each other.

The giant, hollow, bamboo strands rubbed against each other producing deep, hollow sounds, much like a tall person speaking to a midget like me. The tone is kind. The sound is gentle. There is rhythm and variation in the talk. They continue to talk to me through the dreadful drum of rolling thunder. I want to cross the rocky creek before the lightning splices through the dark cloud hanging at the mouth of the creek. I fear that rocks will split. I fear I will drown. The bamboo murmurs to me.

I hop over the rocks and scale the steep banks. I enter the forest and hit the path. I freeze. Was that the trumpet of an elephant? I sniff. I still. I hide behind a tree. One can never be sure in the wind. The large tree sways strongly. It emits a strange guttural noise. I feels the earth move under me. In panic, I hug the yellow fissure strained bark. I can’t get my arms around the tree. I sway with the tree. I scream. The tree emits another guttural growl.

I realize that I might not walk out of here to tell this experience. This could be my last conscious moment. As if in a trance, consumed by the movement and sounds, I sit at the foot of the tree. ‘Yes, you can!’ I tell the tree, punching the bark with my fist. ‘If I can, so can you! Everyone can! Don’t you dare to fall!’ The tree groans. I cover my ears and press my back to the bark and sit there, on a giant swaying root ball.

Much later I hear. The trumpet-like noise was coming from across the valley. It is another tree. ‘H…old on!’ I tell that tree. I can’t even see it. But I know that the tree knows. Nobody on my mountain will fall. Everyone will stand. It has to be.

‘Stand tall!’ I shout to the wind. I shout till I am hoarse. I shout until the wind dies. The rain falls gently. The water trickles and the soil soaks. Eventually, it forms a runoff.

‘We made it! We made it!’ I pat the bark. It has been hours since I came to the forest. There is no wind. The tree groans….not so guttural. The tenor is gentle. I hear the other tree trumpet. Others follow…..a cheerful chorus. I wait until it dies down. I feel honored by the giants.

rani iyer2Rani Iyer is the author of over ten non-fiction books and over seventy magazine articles. She writes about science, nature, culture, human-nature interactions, and natural ecosystems. Rani Iyer has visited and worked in many temperate and tropical forest systems in Asia and North America. Her favorite place on Earth is to be among the old growth mixed temperate evergreen rain-forests at the Olympic Peninsula. Her experiences as a tropical field biologist, scientist, instructor, laboratory assistant, and as an administrator inspire her to write. You can read more on http://www.raniyer.com/ and on her AMAZON page 

Weekend Story: The Talking Ganesha

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This is a truly trans-formative incident that happened to me over ten years ago in my early twenties. This was when I was wondering about the duality of material and spiritual life and how to keep both in balance.

One night the answer came to me in a surprising way. I am not normally a person who visits physical temples, yet that night I saw in a dream that I visited a temple where there was Shiva’s statue and after that in an inner chamber I saw Ganesha. As I was there I closed my eyes and felt strongly a coin appearing in my palm. I could feel its metallic embossed texture and the sensation of its physicality. I opened my palms and saw it shining there, appearing out of nothing and I looked at the idol of Ganesha before me, wondering what is the secret of manifestation?

Suddenly the idol was animated to life, its mouth moved as if reading my mind and eager to answer my question. In wonder at seeing him alive, I quietly asked, “what is it that we should focus on – is it good to focus only on the spiritual, on ‘God’, or are we supposed to focus on what we want in life to manifest specific things that we need. What should the prime focus be? ” And Ganesha said, “It does not matter whether you focus on God or whether you focus on your material needs. The only thing that matters is that you are happy.”

“Tell this to everyone you know, share this with the world,” he added.

In that moment truth dawned gently upon me. It truly does not matter whether we believe or focus upon a ‘God’, or what form of God or deity we worship. It does not matter what our religion is or what techniques of prayer, rituals, or meditation we use to manifest our wishes. The only thing that will create our life is our inner state. Transform your inner state to a happy one – that is the only secret!

Hope you enjoyed this message and help us spread the light.

Infinite abundance and gratitude!

www.thepositivemedia.com

swatiprakash  Swati Prakash is a spiritual author and can be followed on www.amazon.com/author/swatiprakash

Earth Notes: Gratitude to Life by Rani Iyer

Earth Notes: 

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Gratitude to life, Gratitude to Earth

Rani Iyer

At one time, during a mega-monsoon rainstorm, I stood under a tree on a cliff. A particularly loud thunder cloud opened up and poured its energy in front of me. The rocks shook. The soil shook. I was shaking inside, visualizing an earthquake or other disasters. I held the tree and said, “I am alone here. Are you with me?”

The answer was a huge bolt of lightning, followed by a thunder that opened up the clouds. I sat under the tree and watched the rain come down in sheets. There was no chance that I would able to get out of the place in the thunderstorm.

Gradually, fear was replaced by curiosity.  I noticed the impromptu waterfall and streams of water flowing all around me. The buttress I stood on was like a throne. I sank into the throne. The chirping cicadas and calling monkeys were familiar calls. I felt very much a part of everything around me. I felt gratitude to Earth resonate in me. My heart pounded Thanks! Thanks!

The moss that trembled like my heart, the leaf that danced fearlessly in the wind, and the worms that came out in the rain and celebrate it was each a treat to watch. It was as if life was celebrating around me. For me. Me?

Some thoughts carry enormous power in them. This one word opened up the world locked within me. The walls melted and merged with the world outside. We were no different. We lived with our own rhythms. I created my own inner landscape with mountains of impossibilities and peaks of possibilities. I too had beautiful thoughts that flowered in the peaks and valleys. Anchored on the peaks were trees of intention, which were growing for many years. Some trees had thorns. Others had sweet fruits. Some had scented flowers. Each one was beautiful. Each one no different from the tree I sat under.

For some nature is a teacher. For some nature is an inspiration. Many find that nature often provides them with answers to their seeking or questions. Nature is more than all that. It is the very source of our existence. What is in nature is also within us. Whatever is within us, we inflict on nature. The two have been different until now. We can change that with our awareness.

With awareness, we can cultivate a beautiful garden in our peaks and valleys. We can offer these flowers back to nature. Our actions and gestures can heal, shower and share our gratitude and gift of life. Our worlds will merge. In gratitude, we stand, with the Earth in our hands.

rani iyer2Rani Iyer is the author of over ten nonfiction books and over 70 magazine articles. She writes about science, nature, culture, human-nature interactions, and natural ecosystems. Rani Iyer has visited and worked in many temperate and tropical forest systems in Asia and North America. Her favorite place on Earth is to be among the old growth mixed temperate evergreen rainforests at the Olympic Peninsula. Her experiences as a tropical field biologist, scientist, instructor, laboratory assistant, and as an administrator inspire her to write. You can read more on http://www.raniyer.com/ and on her amazon page 

 

 

Saturday Story: The Lego World

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Once a little kid received a gift – a brand new Lego set with pieces that could fit into each other. He was excited. He started creating his imagination out, making forests, houses, people and vehicles with his pieces. To add to the fun he started role playing with the pieces, naming all the people, even assuming an identity for himself, and making all the pieces interact with each other and their little toy world.

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This world had its own time, its own ways of operating, all created by him. As he had named one of the pieces after himself he enjoyed it even more, as if he was really in the game. He had car races with his other Lego pieces, worked in the city with them where they all had jobs. All the pieces lived with each other and talked to each other day after day. He got so engrossed and involved in his play that he forgot that the real him was not one of the pieces but the player above.legoland

Once his car crashed and broke. He was upset and the pieces blamed each other for the accident. Another time he accidentally broke parts of the city and felt angry at everything for chaotic and uncontrollable. The pieces began fighting, arguing and destroying their own world through these imaginary stories and ideas. The game had gotten ugly. All this while the child who was playing this game had totally forgotten that it was just a game and that he was the player above and not just a small part of the game below. He wanted someone to rescue the world and save the world somehow, forgetting that it was he alone who was responsible.

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Slowly he started maturing, gaining more control and skill in this game. He decided to be patient with himself, learning to grow and improve the game himself. He started rebuilding the broken pieces. When there was destruction he started creating once again, mastering the moves and playing better time after time. As he learnt more and more about his skills and his powers in this game to create and re-create the world, he started remembering and returning to be the happy child above, satisfied that he had played well.

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This game is our life and this player, this child is our true Self. All the parts and pieces of this game called the World are being handled by the same divine hands that is common to all of us. All our bodies and all the various roles we take time after time are connected with the same one consciousness. The mind that shapes and creates, remakes and rebuilds this world is ONE mind. The same one being is talking, interacting, playing and learning through all of us. The stories and myths, religions and rituals of life are all our creations. The rules and social concepts of this world are our creation. If we connect with this One consciousness above who is our real Self, we can achieve anything, creating, re-creating and healing our world with infinite possibilities. Let not the many different pieces and many different parts of this game fight, anger, get frustrated and give up on each other. Let us all remember that we are ONE. Enjoy this game of life – that’s what it is for!

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Want to share your story? You can send your articles, poems, news reports and suggestions to thepositivemedia@gmail.com

swatiprakash  Swati Prakash is a spiritual author and can be followed on www.amazon.com/author/swatiprakash

Saturday Story: The Dreamer

Once there was a person who was in deep sleep. This person was dreaming, dreams after dreams…just like all of us who dream each night. In one dream this person was a fish, swimming in the ocean…exploring the world underwater…when a bird swept down and caught her…there she met her death. But, the dream continued…she was now a bird…flying high in the sky…soaring on the clouds with her strong wings… and looking down sharply to catch a prey..and as she flew down to hunt…a leopard took a leap at her and made her his meal. That was the end of her flight and her life. Yet, she kept dreaming on. This time she was a leopard roaring around the jungle looking for a good hunt. She felt strong and powerful…almost invincible, when suddenly she was struck by the bullet of a poacher in the forest that brought her down.

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Still, she kept dreaming on….this time becoming a young man who lived a rough and weary life, struggling for money and basic necessities. Driven by the urge to feed himself and his family he joined a gang of poachers who made good money hunting and selling animal parts and skins. Then one day he was died in an accident. That was the end of that dream. Yet, he kept dreaming on into another dream. This time he was a wealthy businessman who lived a luxurious life with his wife and kids, in a large house decorated with the stuffed animals he purchased from the poachers. He ate hearty meals and indulged as much as he could. Then one day he was died of a heart attack…but the dreamer went on dreaming. This time she was a widow who was trekking through the forest, when she came across an injured animal who was struggling for life. Having been through the pain of losing her husband who had died of a sudden heart attack, she felt great compassion for the animal and the animal’s family. She thought of walking ahead and leaving the dying creature alone…yet kindness took over and she called the animal rescue team who rescued the beast and its life. She felt good. From then on she decided to be a positive person who helps everyone and hurts none. She began an amazing journey learning how to be peaceful, loving and generous. She saw how she had the power to change the world with her physical efforts, unaware that she is merely dreaming. Then one day she died and this dream was over, and another began.

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This time the dreamer was a kind and honest man who lived a simple life, teaching others about love, peace and kindness. He wished he could be everywhere helping as many beings as possible, but physically he could do only so much. Yet, he felt so much compassion that he often closed his eyes and wished that the world would heal. He imagined seeing the world as a better place and magically enough, he began changing the world with his mind. He was amazed that he indeed could wish for anything and see it happen. At first he was afraid of this power. It seemed strange and scary that anything good or bad could indeed happen at his will, not only in his life but around him too, with just the power of his mind. Then he began accepting this power as something divine that can be used for the benefit of all. People gave him titles of great respect and awe. Then one day he died and the dream ended, and another began.

All this while he was dreaming…and unaware of who he really was. In the next dream he began again, living an exalted and peaceful life with divine superpowers. Except that one day, he began to wonder…if the world can indeed change so easily with these divine superpowers and positive thinking…how real could this world be? Suddenly he felt like a fool who is unaware, sleeping and lost in illusion. He wanted to realize the truth about the universe and his existence. Who was he really? He wanted to wake up.

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This story is the story of each one of us. We are all in this dream called the world where we are learning how we all are One. It is illusion to think there is anyone else out there. Our family, loved ones, friends, pets, and all creatures everywhere…all share one single consciousness at the core. We may have many bodies but our soul is the same. This one consciousness or the soul of the universe is within us all. When we hurt any being it is our-self that we are hurting, when we help any being, it is our-self that heals. Our mind connects with everything and everyone on earth and beyond and can influence the world in greater ways that we ever knew, because we are all One.

It is through meditation, self-love and inner contentment that we heal ourselves and prepare for our awakening, all satisfied and relaxed with deep inner peace. This journey from ignorance to the ultimate truth is what our existence is really all about. Know Thyself!

Swati Prakash is a spiritual author and can be followed on www.amazon.com/author/swatiprakash

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5 Things To Love About London!

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Life in a fast-paced city is not always so stressful or a chore, especially when it is the financial capital of the world.

 

1. Close to fifty percent of London is green. The city is home to more than 13,000 species, 3,000 parks, 3 million gardens and 2 National Nature Reserves. Overall, 47 per cent of London is green space and 60 per cent classified as open space.

 

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2. To a casual visitor or viewer, any watercolor drawing of a red double-decker bus in London’s busy thoroughfare reflects the city’s iconic symbol. Last year, Transport for London (TFL) celebrated the 100th year of the bus by tracing the humble origins of the iconic bus – a fact that the ubiquitous ‘bus was once a tram, which was once a trolley, which was once a horse pulled cart. All along the same points in space…’

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You can explore that artistry here.

 

3. This year, TFL celebrates the 30th year of underground poems. Already a hit, poem cut-outs across London’s underground, can amuse and inspire in equal measure the taciturn commuter. For example:

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Feel free to browse a contemporary collection or access the archives.

 

4. Street performers singing, playing music or enacting in public spaces for gratuity is a common sight in many cities. Busking in London is not only legal, it regularly draws international media while talented and professional buskers entertain an eclectic audience and earn a living with big names to boot.

 

 

5. London is a hotbed of charities. Every other street has charities competing cheek-by-jowl with branded showrooms- recycling home, garden and office stuff at throwaway prices in immaculate condition.

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Goes to show, cities can also be positive and you don’t need to burn a hole in your pocket to enjoy it too!

 

Love your city? Tell us why on thepositivemedia@gmail.com

 

Holistic Education for Underpriviliged Kids: Premshala by Hitesh and Shubhangi Vashisht

Today’s Positive Story features young couple and twin souls Hitesh and Shubhangi Vashisht who have celebrated the first anniversary of Premshala, a school they started specially for underprivileged kids.
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Premshala is not just a school for kids of families who can’t afford education, it’s a sacred space where they get the opportunity to grow holistically.
With two children on 25th Dec, 2014, we started Premshala to follow the voice of our hearts. It feels so warming to see how this family is growing. Each and every child of Premshala is growing as a being with unique fragrance. There is no money that is being taken from any of the kids for education. It runs purely on the heartfelt donations shared by people who resonate with its vision. 

On 25th Dec, 2015, we celebrated its first anniversary and during this entire year, we got great opportunities to spend time with all these kids. It was never that they learnt, it was always ‘We learnt’!!

We are thankful to everyone who continue to inspire us in this work. Especially Dada, Dr. Newton Kondaveti, Dr. Lakshmi GV, Richa, Prawesh and all members of YGPT Group

Hitesh Vashishth is a Human Resource Professional, Meditation Enthusiast, Past Life Regression Therapist, Rebirthing Breathworker, Inner Child Worker, Tarot Card Reader, Spiritual Counselor and Motivator

His blog is https://eternalblissinyou.wordpress.com/

 

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