Search Results

Like to listen to what goes on behind the scenes in film making or acting straight from an actor? Click here.

A Reunion Dinner with a secret to hide. Click here.

Have you taken all the modern comforts for granted? Behind every modern device there is the technology and with them comes the management and risks. Interested to find out what goes on below the hood? Click here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Maximising Your Inner Potential

This post is written by my guest writer, Christiana.

Talk held at 19:30 on Wednesday, April 22 2009

At The Peninsula-Excelsior Hotel, Singapore

By Sister BK Shivani

Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga Centre


About Sister Shivani

BK Shivani (Sister Shivani) is a popular motivational instructor and lecturer whose regular television programmes and lectures have inspired thousands of professionals, youth, and even children to change their perception of religion, spirituality, and way of life. After graduating as an electronics engineer, she went on to start up her own software companies including one to teach children robotics. Her practice of meditation for the past 12 years has enabled her to explain to her audiences how values and spirituality can be used naturally in daily life. Shivani is also a regular presenter on Aastha Channel with a viewership of over 200 million. She also appears regularly on Sony TV, Sanskar and Zee Jagran Channels which are socio-spiritual-cultural networks.


Sister Shivani: Good Evening!

Audience: …good evening…

Sister Shivani: Eh, Singapore is a bit weak eh? GOOD EVENING!!!

Audience: Good Evening!



Sister Shivani: Thank you so much for the greeting. The reason why I repeated it was because I noticed in the first time round it was quite weak. When we greet we must do it with intention. Allow me to share something with you: in Brahma Kumaris, we always greet each other with “Om-Shanti”, which means?

Audience: Peace.

Sister Shivani: Indeed. This is a constant self-reminder that I am a peaceful being, instead of reminding that I’m an angry, hot tempered, or nervous being.



The reason for this self-reminder is because for the mind, the way it works is: “As I think, so I become.” Peace/love/satisfaction are just words; the most important in the end is the experience. Therefore, we need to prepare the mind. We often forget to switch the tasks of the mind. It so happens that oftentimes for a sharing event, the sisters prepare the venue, the programme, the invitations, the cookies… we prepare everything, but the most important thing: the mind of the audience. The mind of the audience is not always prepared. I believe many of us this evening came straight from work. How many of us are still thinking about our day-time work at this very moment?

Audience: about 2 dozens raise their hands, most of them in a “half-way” manner.

Sister Shivani: Indeed, oftentimes we are not in the present, we are somehow in the past or the future. Either the past or the future are not controllable.



To try to control our thoughts, do a simple exercise now: sit back, relax… yes, that’s right. You might like to uncross your legs as this might create a little tension on the muscles. Oh, there’s no need to close your eyes, this is not yoga!

(Laughter from the audience.)

Now, feel for a few moments. What are the thoughts coming to your mind?

Now, prioritise them. Some thoughts, you’ll find out, are just not important at all.



Why can’t we give instructions to our own minds?

Lady 1: We’re not aware of our mind.

Sister Shivani: Anyone else?

Lady 2: We’re not used to giving instructions to our own mind.

Sister Shivani: Brilliant! Exactly, because we are not used to giving instructions to our own mind; instead, we are very used to instructing others. (Pointing to the right and to the left) “Do this, do that!”




So you see, there are so many useless thoughts. Do you still remember about a particular insult that happened last year? 5 years ago? 10?


Ask the thought to leave. There’s so much baggage we carry with ourselves; 2 hours, 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years, 20 years… we somehow allow these negative lines from others to stay; thus creating such heavy burden to ourselves, and filling up all the boxes in our hearts! In this way, there’s no more room for pure and powerful thoughts!


In Brahma Kumaris, we do a little exercise: every hour, we take one minute to clear the thoughts; just like anti-virus scan!


How do you think you would feel if you also did this practice?


Gentleman: Light.

Lady: I think it would be difficult to start.

Sister Shivani: Don’t say it’s difficult without trying! Maybe it will be difficult for the first time, especially if this is the first anti-virus scanning in 20 years! Imagine how many files you would have to scan through!


If we can clean our thoughts every hour, the mind will be spotless.


Gentleman: How do you define “clutter”?

Sister Shivani: Anything that feels uncomfortable to you. Every moment we are creating thoughts. How many thoughts do we create each day?




Lady: About 500?

Another lady: 1,000?

Sister Shivani: Clinically, 20-30 thoughts are created per minute. But this is just when the mind is in a “normal” state. If we are hurt or feeling strong emotions, the number goes up to 45 thoughts per minute. So do the math. How many thoughts do we create each day? Let’s say, about 50,000? Are we aware we are creating 50,000 thoughts per day? Taking a company as an analogy, it’s as if a chairman of a company didn’t know his own product. But allowing all the negative thoughts coming from others to take over our minds would be comparable to having a chairman from another company coming over and running our own company!




These past few days in Singapore we have conducted some workshops. In one such workshop, a brother came up to me and shared: It’s not that I am not happy. I’m perfectly peaceful and happy when I am alone. You see, I wake up in the morning happy, shower, have my breakfast, go to work… all in a happy mood. But the moment I step into the office, I become angry. This guy is making an error, that other guy is committing a mistake, how not to get angry?

We always say: It’s not me. It’s the situation or the people around me that is disturbing me. Somehow, we give away to others the power of control.


How many people in your life have the power to control your life? I.e. How many people do you allow to “annoy” you?


Girl: Everyone else.

Sister Shivani: Oh! Serious case eh?

(Laughter from the audience)

Ha ha, well, actually it’s quite true for many of us. How many of us have been to India? (Some in the audience raise their hands.)

If you have been to India, you certainly know about the road conditions in India. In many places, there are no “real” roads, so everybody can do whatever they want. So people are abusing each other, continuously. When I visited my brother in Mumbai, he was behind the steering wheel. In a period of 1 hour on the road, he cursed at least 10 times. So angry! Next day, I asked him to change. Was it easy?

(Many in the audience shaking their heads.)

Was it easy?

(Less people in the audience shaking their heads.)

Sister Shivani: Was it easy? EASY! Just change one thought. We are the only ones who can make ourselves irritated. We might request or ask others to do something, but if they don’t, we can change our own perspective.



When we are resisting people, what are we trying to do? We are trying to judge: Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Actually, each one is right in one’s own way. Let me give you an example: mobile phones. Have you noticed that in the beginning of this sharing session, we did not ask you to switch off your mobile phones? We used to announce before the start of the talks, but still, there would always be someone who didn’t switch off the mobile and in the middle of the talk, a musical ring tone would set off. I used to be very irritated about this, this is basic courtesy, right? How come people don’t understand? But of course, I was not showing my anger out, especially since I’m giving out these spiritual talks! (Laughter)

So I changed my perspective, and started enjoying these little ring tones as music. And I would tell the owner of the phone: oh! Nice little music you have on your mobile phone, thank you for sharing; can you sms it to me as well? (Laughter)

Another example about changing perspectives, and I believe this is a very common situation amongst all of us: the difference of opinion about parents and children. The son wants to be an artist, but the father insists the son should be a doctor. The attachment to one’s own definition is so strong, that there’s no room allowed to see that the other one’s “right” is also “right”.

No one does anything wrong because there’s always a logical reason behind why they choose to do it. This could come in the form of lying, bribing… and how about the bombings in Mumbai last year (2008)? Do you think the bombers thought they were right in doing so? That they had a reason? We might think it was a horrible tragedy, but for the bombers they had every reason to do so.

However hard it might be for me to see the other party’s perspective, it doesn’t change the fact that the other party has a different perspective. I should have the power to bend and see the other side. Sometimes I may not agree, but at least I can understand that there are differences.



Another common situation in many families: Children go home, and parents tell them: How come you are drinking/smoking/staying out late/not staying home to study hard…etc.??? (you are wrong)! With time, the accumulated result from such consistent negative energy is: resistance. Then again, with time, the resistance evolves into hostility, and this time round, it is the kid who’s going to tell the parent: you are wrong!

My sister’s daughter started smoking, and without trying to understand the reason behind the “misbehavior”, my sister always scolded her for this, until one day my niece shouted back: “I hate you!” Can you imagine how devastating it is for a mother to hear her daughter say that she hates her? I often hear youngsters sharing with me, that they purposely return home only after being completely sure their parents have gone to sleep. (Laughter)

So you see, words don’t matter, but energy does! We are so used to being judgmental or critical towards others; the energy we project is oftentimes very negative. And imagine, we have a weird tendency of projecting this negative energy especially towards the ones we claim to love most!



How many people out there do we love/respect unconditionally?

(Some raise their hands)

Loving unconditionally means loving without trying to change the person you love; in other words, to have complete acceptance. In fact, the closest ones to us are often the ones who are trying to change us the most, and vice-versa. As such, all the negativity accumulates; because by trying to change the person, you are basically saying: “You’re wrong, you’re wrong, do it MY way, which is the right and the only way”. And when it doesn’t work, we feel frustrated and tired, and we think we need to take a break: now I’ll take a cup of coffee, or go to the spa, or go for a holiday; in the hope that these activities will clear the clutter. They don’t!

We’re just so hopeful that we’ll succeed in changing other people. Why? We all hope we’ll be successful in changing the others so they can suit our own needs and make ourselves happy; and when we fail, we feel frustrated.

How many of us are married here?

(Some couples raise their hands) Oh! For how long?

Couple: 24 years.

Sister Shivani: I’ll share with you a story about a couple. The husband never picks up the shoes, the wife insists that the husband should pick up the shoes and the couple starts fighting for this. So if this applied to you, being married for 24 years, would it mean that you’ve been trying to change your husband for the past 24 years? (Laughter)


In the case of the wife who insisted in the husband picking-up the shoes, I asked the wife: “So why didn’t you pick the shoes up yourself instead?” The wife said: 
”Because I’m afraid that once I start doing it, I’ll have to do it forever!” (Laughter)

Such hostility or fear is very common. We tend to think, “it’s not that I cannot stay steady/stable, but if I choose to keep quite or not shout back, people will see me as weak.” Do you see the absurdity in this whole inner dialogue? It’s completely based on assumptions!

It is very easy to shout back, but just because everyone else might be doing it, it should not be seen as natural. We are so used to instantly and automatically reacting to negativities that we think it is natural to be unhappy. When we react every single time negativity hits us, we are actually consuming a lot of negative energy and putting aside the potential to be happy. All emotions that are natural also make us feel comfortable and happy.



We do have a choice on what to create, even when the environment is tough. Taking for example the current financial crisis. Do you realize that now in India, there are not enough psychiatrists? Such a profession was not even important before! This shows how much people are giving up the power of choice that naturally belongs to themselves. So, if I still have a choice, what do I do? When none of my family members are emotionally well, what do I do? Sink with them? No, heal. And healing we certainly are capable of.

Let me share with you another story: I met this couple and was counseling them. The husband beats the wife constantly, and every time the wife cries and cries and cries. The wife says: “I will not stop crying if he does not stop beating me!” So much negativity, so much rejection and hostility, maybe even hatred!

On the surface, it seems like 2 different actions: violence is socially not acceptable, whereas crying is. In fact, they are both the same: they’re both emotional outbursts.

So I talked to them more, and realized that the husband grew up lonely; he was not loved as a kid. So he grows up, and suddenly has someone to control. So he was beating his wife to fill out that vacuum. When the wife understands the emotional vacuum and needs of her husband, she starts seeing him with sympathy, as a little boy who needs love.

So you see, no one else can create good or bad feelings and thoughts, only myself.



To let go of someone who hurts you is not to do a favour for him/her. It is to do a favour for yourself, so that your mind doesn’t create pain to yourself anymore. If we hold that thought, then there’s no need for the so-called forgiveness, because there’s nothing to forgive in the first place.

I remember a woman came to me and told me about her story: she was raped when she was only a little kid, and has grown to be afraid of others since then. She was over 40 years old, not married, no friends. Then, in her heart, she started letting go of the person who raped her, and she was so happy: I have not lived for the past 35 years of my life because I couldn’t let go! She had freed herself from hurt.

Another amazing woman in Orissa who was normally doing charity work for her village, had her young 2 sons murdered mercilessly by the villagers on the grounds of different religions. After the tragedy, she still kept going on with her charity work: “I let go!”

If we allow our hearts to be filled with pain/guilt/negativities… there will be no room for others or for love.

Let’s do this little exercise all together:

From now on, for 24 hours, I will not allow myself to be disturbed. Check your thought for one minute every hour.



In order to maximize our inner potential, we should be consciously creating powerful and positive thoughts:

-Look at our selves as the master of the situation.

-Check our thoughts every hour.

-Just as we do exercise to keep our bodies healthy, we should tune our thoughts first thing in the morning to keep our minds fit.

Thank you. Om-shanti.


At the end of the talk, as we walked out of the fully-packed room, the sisters from Brahama Kumaris Raja Yoga Centre distributed some home-made cookies with the little hand-made note card:

“By practicing the art of forgetting the past, you remember how to fly.”

If you are reading this on facebook and cannot see the video, click here

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Futurists 8c - Life Extension

Another talk by Dr Aubrey De Grey about 'Life Extension'. This is a similar talk to the previous one, but more details spoken.


Basically, he spoke about repairing the damages in the cells due to entropy (ageing). If repairs start when the subject is younger, say in the 30s, there are better chance of getting 'younger'.
If you are reading this on facebook and cannot see the video, click here
To read the previous posts, click here


Got this great video clip from Mastery TV.
C - Concentrate
A - Acknowledge
R - Respond
E -  Exercising Emotional Control
S -  Sensing
S -  Structure

When you listen, you offer a package of the most valuable healing gifts you can give: compassion, consolation, and forgiveness.

   --  James Kullander

Every person in this life has something to teach me -- and as soon as I accept that, I open myself to truly listening.

   --  Catherine Doucette

Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.

   --  Dr. Karl Augustus Menninger (1893-1990)

A person's real need, a most terrible need, is for someone to listen ... not as a 'patient' but as a human soul.

   --  Carl Rogers

If you are reading this on facebook and cannot see the video, click here

Depression 2 - I've Got the Power!

People in a state of depression forgets that they are not the depression itself. They are just in a temporary state. They have merely sank into a state of mind where they have given up on their inner strength. There is an inner strength from an inner self no matter what state we are in, that we all can rediscover. This inner-strength is peaceful.
One way is to have a theme song recurring in our mind. You know the kind of tune that recurs in your mind on and on that you would even find it hard to get rid of? Do you have this powerful song in you that keep you going - ie. the music in you? Here is one. I can't understand what else the lyrics mean, but got the line "I've got the power!" well. I think that is enough to remember we all got the POWER!


If that doesn't work, get up and dance like Yoda did.
If you are reading this on facebook and cannot see the video, click here

Monday, April 20, 2009

Environment 9 - Permaculture

I found a great video on Permaculture. Gardening has its psychological benefits as well. Also note that Nature loves diversity. Hence our need to be tolerant! :)


Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Futurists 8b - Life Extension

I found these two fabulous TED talks:
David Bolinsky's "Fantastic voyage inside a cell"

Alan Russell's "Why can't we grow new body parts?"

Read also: 


Friday, April 17, 2009

Remembering My Father 2

It's Ching Ming , so, we lay offerings of food that my father liked, as a symbol of respect  and a way of remembering him.

After that, we burned incense papers, fake paper money (interestingly they call them hell notes) and even the tobacco my father liked. It is a ritual. I don't think the burning will serve my father, unless he is still stuck in the astral world as a hungry ghost. I doubt that he is, because I know him to be such a peaceful soul that didn't need or want anything from us when he was with us. 
If my father is reincarnated as a human being, he wouldn't know that we are burning these incense for him - at least consciously. It is the same as that I don't know if there is a someone somewhere praying for me, be they be doing it in a Taoist shrine, Catholic church, mosque...etc.
If my father is in the heavenly realms, then he won't need us to burn those incense. He would be in pure bliss and would not have these earthly desires.
Perhaps the traditions are for the surviving offsprings, as a ritual for the living to stay as a family and offer our gratitude to the deceased.
However, my siblings who are Christians (and also my father's filial children) refused to perform the rituals.  For me, I go through the rituals. It is not going to offend my God. God cannot be offended. In other words, I have chosen to be in this world, but not of this world.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Art of Living - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar visit

Date: 12 April 2009
Place: Shangri-La Hotel Singapore.
These notes are written as in the first person for easy reading, but it is not an ad verbatim recording of what Sri Sri Ravi Shankar speaks during the seminar.
It is time to reflect on ourselves starting from today.
I remember as child, we went to the tailor shop to collect the waste to make something useful out of them - to create something. However, in today's society, we seem to be more interested in the by-product than the main product. If everyone is rushing for the scrap, nobody will buy the car.
We forget that each of us have the power to give blessings to others for their job, wealth and relationships. Everyone can do that. We can all help others to fulfill their needs. 
Worry? Why worry? How do we manage when we have tensions or problems? How many of you here worries about the economic situation now, show your hands. [There are a few hands.] How many of you don't worry. [A few other hands.] What happened to those who didn't put up their hands either way? [Laughters!] You are neutral? Or shy? There is no such thing as 'shy' in spirituality.
The economy is not in a good shape now. The world has seen worse before after the World War...etc. We must learn to handle the situation and come out successful. We can think of it that there are people much worse than we are in now, then we look at ourselves and don't feel so bad. 
Or you can take your problems and give it to the divine. That will manage. We can invoke the power within us. Not scramble over the scrap and other than making a livelihood. A bigger picture which is so fulfilling. The entire universe and nature supports us.
Question: How do I commit to God? How can I hear what God says to me?
Reply: You can meditate and improve your knowledge. You can also see the universe as a manifestation of God. The universe is vast, made of stars and many constellations. Similarly, our bodies are made of cells. Millions of cells are born and dead in our body everyday. Similarly in the universe, stars are born and dead everyday. On Earth, we have winter, spring, summer and fall. 
If you care for the Universe, you are in alignment. God is the consciousness when your mind is supple to commit. The opposite of such a state is when you have guilt, anger, tiredness, ambition/desire. God is always there. It is impossible to disconnect.
To consciously connect, you need to be serene and calm in deep meditation. Then, your intuitive power is elevated. Then, you are contentedly and genuinely happy. So take some time to be calm and serene.
Question: I am interested in the meditation field? I don't know which one to follow. 
Reply: You can take up whatever meditation, if you don't do it for 1-2 days don't feel guilty.
Question: How can I control lustful thoughts and desire?
Reply: Keep yourself busy doing something creative. Don't eat too much as your body can create havoc. Put some goals to the main product, not the by-product.
Question: What is your guidance in business?
Reply: Who would have thought the big corporations will go bankrupt? Nature has its ways to teach us. Greed! Humanism is needed in the world to make the world sane. Not Capitalism or Communism. There's enough love/resources in the world. You'll be taken care of. But you have depended on banks and currency notes instead of God.
There are somethings in life where many people think it is impossible but we can make them possible. For instance, they say that it is not possible to have 1200 sitarists playing together. The maestros said it is impossible. We made it possible after 3 days of practice.
Spiritual energy is the backbone of good living.
Question: How can we have faith as there are many people with many religions?
Reply: Honour them all, but if someone says only his religion can bring you to heaven, say goodbye to him. That heaven will be a lonely place, it lacks diversity. People who thinks that they are the chosen ones to go to heaven, create hell here. Some terrorists think only they have the keys to heaven.
Though there is no need to go spiritual shopping. :)
Question: How do I realise the purpose of life?
Reply: Ask yourself again and again. This will make you a deep person. Don't be in a hurry to get an answer. One day you will get it.
Question: If life is about unconditional love, then why are there earthquakes, disasters and so much sufferings?
Reply: If there are no sufferings...etc, then how can we express our compassion? Nature is very intelligent.
Question: What is the best way to bring up kids?
Reply: Learning from them instead of trying to teach them. Being sensitive to their observations and your behaviour. They are watching you all the time, like how much you lie and so on. A spy from God! *grin* Children watch you. Children live according to true self.  By education, culture, wisdom, environmental circumstances, we will change.
Question: Can I attract love or a job through meditating everyday?
Reply: Yes.
Never doubt the love in us.
Never question someone if they do love you.
The child doesn't ask the mother that question. The child knows the mother loves him. The child doesn't ask the mother what her 'background' is or do a background check on her. We can have the same connection with everyone.We are connected with everyone. So don't ask proof of love from anyone and you'll have peace.

105 Universal Laws Review

In difficult economic times like these, should I cut down on my expenses and quality of life, or should I continue to believe in the Law of Abundance and spend?
It all depends on your intention.  
Do you spend to fill in a void? A void is an insecurity - a Fear. If you do, then Abundance does not come to you, as you are coming from the thought of Lack! And so you get 'Lack'. 
However, if you spend because you believe that the Source will provide for you, then you will be provided for. Many people believe Money to be their Source. If you believe that, then when money runs out, there is Fear. However, if you believe that your source is not Money, but the inexhaustable Universal Source, then Abundance will work to continue to provide for you.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Futurists 8a - Life Extension

In the previous Futurist post, Aubrey de Grey spoke about life extension by repairing our bodies at cellular level.
Last weekend, I chanced upon two products that is said to operate at the cellular level. This is a rare commercial post in this blog, but please bear with me, as they seem to be interesting.
1. Metta

This is what it says in its website:
"A healthy body begins with healthy cells. METTA Herbal Health Tonic utilizes the healing powers of Mother Nature and helps to repair the body at a cellular level. Being a 'whole body tonic,' METTA ensures healthy cell division and repair which will help restore and maintain balance throughout the whole body system... more "
I have registered online and got myself a free bottle to try. Here are my results:
On the first day, after sipping 15ml of the tonic, I felt a sudden rush of fluid through my body and a tension around the neck, then I felt sleepy and went to bed. 
The next day, I felt this abundance of energy and (strangely) enthusiasm for everything. In the evening, I again took another 15ml. This time, I felt as if I have just done a marathon, as my legs felt that way! Again, I felt sleepy and went to bed.
Next day, again I felt this rush of energy in me. This has now gone on for four days. I will keep you posted on the results as I progress.
I spoke to the founder of Metta and he told me the sudden tension/fatigue is due to the detoxification of the cells when I consume the tonic. If my body is cleaner, then I won't have the fatigue. It is amazing to me how though cells exist separately to each other, the effect of the tonic was felt instantly when consumed. It is akin to the instantaneous pain of a needle prick on the finger tip,  although the event had to be communicated to the brain and back.

If you want  a free bottle, click here.
[Declaration: I will benefit financially if you join. Sorry, this happens to be network marketing stuff. :) But actually without the usual nastiness, as there is no membership fees, no minimum sale targets, no need to keep (buy) stock...etc.  Yet you may make money from it if you work on it.]
2. Emtech
Its website says, "Emtech uses High electric, Magnetic, Heat and Far Infrared energy source to influence the body energy balance.  It is a holistic approach to stimulate the mind and body's own healing response... more."
I tried the one my family bought, on my feet. I felt little bubbles of energy circulating in my feet and my shanks. It was a relaxing feeling, the same as in acupuncture. I didn't feel any changes after that, but my mother who uses it an hour daily has got rid of her back pains and bowel problems. My sister uses it daily and lost 3.5kg in 2 months.
I am not a member of this one, but I can get you a free 15 trial voucher  on the machine if you are residing in Singapore. I will not make any money from this one.

Friday, April 03, 2009

In Sickness and In Health 15a - Stormy Weather

Incidentally, just got this from my Daily Contemplation email subscription:
Success isn't measured by money or power or social rank. Success is measured by your discipline and inner peace.

-- Mike Ditka

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

In Sickness and In Health 15 - Stormy Weather

In a storm the weaker trees get uprooted and fall. In hard times, we get stronger against the odds. It is also a time when we know who our friends are, as fair weather friends fade away quickly. Equally, there will be pleasant surprises from people we know, not necessarily those we know for a long time, who will turn up to help. 
I have learned that the want to help, depends on the heart of the person and not the size of his wallet. A person is how much compassion he exercises, not how much money he has.