Possibly the biggest mistake you make in your life is to get great marks in your 10th standard board exams. In India, if you get great marks in 10th standard, you automatically study science. Mediocre marks means commerce, and terrible marks means arts. Never mind that you may be interested in Shakespeare. You got 90% in 10th. Study calculus.


You foolishly listen to your parents and the rest of your family when they press you to study hard for that most “important” year. After this, everything is set, they say. Not really. A year later you have to study even harder for the “crucial” year 12th standard. Repeat your performance in 10th. Do it even better. Then you will have nothing to worry about. Then you will be happy!

So you slog it out. 12th standard – super grades. Crack the JEE and get into IIT. Here is where the happiness is supposed to start. The first thing that happens to you when you get into most IITs or Colleges is you get 15 pairs of dirty undies to wash. As you wash those undies, a smile lights up your face as you think, next year someone is gonna wash my undies. Next year everything will change. Next year I will be King. I will be the boss. I will be happy.

It’s next year now. The authorities have made it very clear that if a senior even breathes near a freshie, they will take drastic action, which could include expulsion, even worse than that, fines of more than Rs 50k! No more Ragging is the new motto of your College.

No one to wash your undies. Doesn’t matter. You decide, College sucks anyways. I will be happy when I get out of here. 3 more years to freedom. Freedom from dumb profs, idiotic assignments, petrifying exams and most importantly horrible, terrible, appalling, grisly, ghastly mess food and not to mention the terrifying crowd!

Fast forward 4 years. The last exam in Engineering. Come back to the home in utter euphoria which quickly turns into anxiety, coz you don’t have a job, a call to an IIM or an admission in that university in the US. I will be happy if I get any one. Please God, just anything. Even Infosys or TCS will do.

Prayer answered. You got a fabulous job. Great money. In a month, you realise college was infinitely better. Your boss definitely had past lives as a prof in college. Maybe, even the food was better. I will be happy when I get my dream job.

Dream job road sign


Got it. Bad dream. Nightmare actually.

I will be happy when I get a P.hD. So apply, get into a “prestigious” institute. Slog another 5 years or so. I will be so bloody happy when people call me Doctor. They do. And then they sneer… oh, you are not a medical doctor. Not even a dentist. Hmmmm…

Need a wife/husband now. I will be happy when I can legitimately have sex. (fun part right?) I will be happy when I get married. Ok, so get married. You are deliriously happy for about 4 hours. Good food finally!!!


Then the fight happens. And another, and another, and another… There are tender moments of course, and love and all that… But the predominant question in your head is “Do mother in laws have past lives as college profs?!”

Everyday it’s the same thing. Happy for a few seconds if you are stars are behaving themselves, otherwise work, eat, sex (if you get lucky), sleep … Rinse and Repeat.


I am sure we will be happy if we have children. 3 years later, 2 bags with cute faces, beautiful eyes and an amazing smile… whose sole purpose seems to be to leak. They leak from everywhere. I will be happy when these kids stop leaking. Or at least go leak in the right places.


I will be happy when they start to walk and talk…

3 years later: Sit down. Sit DOWN!!! SIT in one place. Can’t you sit still??!!!

And keepyourmouthshutdontopenitshutshutshutshutshutshutshut.

OH GOD! I will be happy when these kids go to school and I have my life back. School is God’s gift to parents. When will they go to school?!!!

I will be happy when their homework is done.

I will be happy when they pass out of school.

I will be happy when they get into IIT or into a University in USA. I washed undies, they should wash undies.

No way young man, no way are you getting married to that girl. I will be happy when he chooses someone I like to get married to. What?? You want to get married to him? You are bisexual. Bisexual?!! Right…

I will be happy when… I retire and all this will be behind me. Woody Allen says Comedy is just tragedy + time. I want the + time NOW!


I will be happy when I have grand children.

I will be happy when they are grown. What a fine young man he is!

I will be happy when.. when… when…. How come it’s all dark?

And now it’s sooooo bright…

We have always wondered if the expression on a dead person’s face is that of surprise (wha… it’s over??!!!) or that of peace…

Be happy now. Not later. Not tomorrow. Not when you get that promotion. Not when you go on a vacation. Not after this last exam. Not after your mother in law dies;) Not after retirement… Right Now. That’s all you really have. Happiness is never in the destination. It’s in the journey.


Smile. Now! Right Now!

Let bygones be bygones:D




Posted from my MacBook


Patterns of Mind

Have you ever noticed how things keep changing and still manage to remain the same?

You may be in a situation that you don’t like. And somehow you manage to escape it. You breathe a huge sigh of relief because thankfully, now you don’t need to deal with that set of people or circumstances any more… But that sigh of relief can quickly turn into a cry of anguish because you suddenly find yourself in almost the same mess just a little later, magnified many times.

Almost as if it’s the same story, with different people playing the same parts.

The truth is, that it actually is!


You cannot really escape. There are certain things you need to deal with while you are on this planet and unless you do, and manage to diffuse the situation, it will simply keep coming back to you in ever more complicated incarnations.

You need to know that if there is a problem that you are facing right now, there is also a solution lurking around somewhere. You may need to work smart or hard or both to get to it. Once the solution is found and implemented, you will be confronted with a new challenge, quite different from the previous one. Life seems to work that way.

How do you know that you have resolved a pattern? You will feel a tremendous sense of peace and well being, a terrific sense of freedom dawns, a euphoric feeling that you have cleared a huge obstacle that will never bother you again. Very much like how the folks of the rebel alliance must have felt when the Death Star was destroyed (Star Wars)!

The next time you are in a sticky situation, stop struggling to get out. Be right there, accept it as it is, and with a calm, joyful mind seek resolution to it.

If you just cannot handle it, surrender and pray for movement. In fact maybe that’s what you do right at the start. Pray that correct intuition will come to you at the opportune time.

Have faith that you will know what to do and when to do it.

Have faith that any pattern that you may be stuck in will eventually unravel.

Have faith that you are being taken care of and dearly loved.

Have faith that this is just a game and if you wish, you can thoroughly enjoy it!

Praying, and most importantly doing what you love the most as usual are the keys to be able to forge through any tough time…



The Unbearable Brightness of Being

Every single day bursts with opportunity. So much to see, so much to learn, and so much to do! Sometimes I can barely contain my happiness — how fortunate am I to be born on this bountiful planet — that too at a time when mankind is witnessing its greatest technological advances as well as a resurgence of spiritual values.



At times it seems futile even to try and learn a single discipline — music, art, engineering, photography — each worth several lifetimes of study.

How much could I possibly grasp in this infinitesimal interval which I have been given — to play, to live, to learn, to give?

Challenges, doubts, distractions and obstacles abound; yet they pale in comparison to the overwhelming good it has been my humble privilege to witness. Helping hands in an apparently selfish world; simple, innocent love in a place where trust is reported absent; abundance and generosity where lack would seem to loom large.

And running through it all like a leitmotif — wonderful, complex music coupled with moments of utter stillness, Samadhi (higher level of concentrated meditation). The Master’s grace wafts through this existence, a fragrance of rose and sandalwood, turning each breath into intense prayer.

It’s as though a giant hand obliterates the din, the traffic, the pollution, the crime and the grime in a fraction of a second; I stand renewed, recharged and refreshed — helplessly and hopelessly unable to express my bliss.

Cheers to my beautiful life, Los Angeles and the people who have made it worth living for!



PS: Its officially Shubham Singh now…so SS made more sense;)

Posted from my MacBook Air

Qualities of a Reasonable Person!


I’m baaaaaccckkk! I haven’t had any opportunity to blog in over 2 months as i was in a transitional phase of coming from Bangalore to the best city in the world…Los Angeles…the city I always dreamt of! #californication! Hell A! And I got so used to not having a MacBook, that now having one feels like a total luxury. I have a bunch of posts and post ideas in my drafts just waiting to be written and published & photos of beautiful moments in life to share with you. I feel like over the last few months I just lost my (blog) voice. But I really miss it and just want to get it back again.

I feel grateful that there are some of you out there who follow this blog and don’t mind me sharing these things with you. I do hope you get some value from being here too.

So, I was thinking about the qualities that make a person reasonable, that gives them the force of reason. It is that force allows people to take responsibility for their life, and gives them the power to influence themselves and those around them in a positive way. Hmm, I think this is something I really need to develop in myself. Some times I don’t feel very reasonable at all -_-.


I think the first pre-requisite for building reason within ourselves is to practice honesty. Honest living. Only through complete honesty can we even attempt to see reality for it really is. Those who lie often, even about small things, over time tend to start believing in their own lies. When this happens they start to live in delusion, in their own fantasy world. It is very difficult to reason with people who are living this way, because they have their own idea of the reality, and it usually does not correspond with the truth.

By trying to live an honest life and being honest at all times, you will be given the gift of clarity – to see all things, and all people for exactly as they are. When you are honest with the world, the world gives you an honest picture back. From this place you will be able to make better decisions in life. I think that when people sometimes say  “I don’t know why I keep making terrible decisions in life”  it often indicates that this person can afford to live even more honestly. Because they are not being entirely honest with themselves or with the people around them (for fear of hurting feelings, unearthing something raw, or any other reason) they are not given an honest picture back of their life. It becomes really hard to make good and smart decisions. This is one of the attributes of a reasonable person – they have a strong ability to make good decisions in life and this comes due to their will to be honest.


Another quality that builds reason is the ability to continue doing your responsibilities regardless of how you “feel”. An unreasonable person often acts out of states of mood and emotion, whereas a reasonable person acts out of a sense of duty. Our moods and emotions change constantly and consistently and if we only do things when we feel like doing them, we would hardly get anything done and we would probably end up being a pretty unreliable person. I also am a strong believer that 90% of inspiration comes after action is taken, and only 10% comes before we act. But yet we always keep chasing that 10% believing that we need to be divinely inspired before we can do anything. There are certain actions we have to take every day to feed our own souls, to help the ones around us live their life, and to help our society. To build reason we should try to do these things even at times when we don’t feel like it. After we become stronger and build greater reason within ourselves, on our low days, all the energy that we have been feeding will come back to us and support us too.


I believe that reasonable people will always take opportunities to listen to people and hear the full story. I think we have to understand that no one does things for the intention of being bad and hurting people and causing chaos. Most peoples actions fit into their story and their understanding of life. Intentions are rarely just black and white, good and evil. When someone does something that you cannot understand, it often helps to keep asking questions until you can get enough distance to see their big picture. From here you will be able to see what factors were present to lead things to be the way they are now. Over time slowly we will relinquish our desire to judge people and instead accept them as they are. We will also become very good listeners and “understanders”.

I think Lack of judgement is a very important trait of reasonable people.


I think we also have to have an inner discipline that we follow, a set of internal rules and values that we live by. When we stop breaking our own internal rules and promises to ourselves we begin to build trust with ourselves. And I believe that when we have self-trust we become trustworthy to others also.

Having our own inner discipline anchors us. It will always remind us what we must focus on right now, and that can be very helpful, especially in stormy weather, in the dark days, when our emotions pull us in all kinds of directions. It reminds us that even if things are getting all weird in life, there is something you can do right now that you know is for goodness and that will develop us.


Reasonable people have the ability to keep their awareness in the present moment, because they know that this is the only place that they have power. They don’t spend too much energy sentimentalising or regretting the past, neither do they spend their time romanticising or fearing the future. They focus only on today, and what needs to be dealt with at this moment, at what they can do today that will make a difference. Because our feelings towards the past or the future cannot help us today.

Because they are able to focus their awareness on the now, they tend to be very present people in all their interactions and dealings. When they work, they work, they are productive. When they relax, they relax fully and are rejuvenated. When they meet their friends, they can be fully present and there for them. Whatever they engage in, they can do well, because they offer all their focus and attention, instead of splitting their thoughts between the thoughts of today and the ones rooted in yesterdays and tomorrows.

They are also able to decide to not creating imaginary problems for themselves. I wrote a blog post on this before, called the Disease of the mind.  So you can read more about that there.


Finally I think that there is can be no force of true reason in a person if they don’t also possess humility. The first step of cultivating humility is being able to recognise your own flaws, either by noticing them yourself, considering it when it is pointed out to you by someone, and also by being able to decode the struggles you face in your life and accepting the darker parts of you that attracts these problems. Reasonable people are smart enough to know that they are not perfect. And as soon as a person believe that they are perfect and always right, they already begin to lose their reason. Because a person who does not have the ability to see their own bad qualities is unable to practice true compassion, understanding, and of course reason. We lose our ability to reason, understand, debate, consider – when we hold the intrinsic belief that we are unflawed, perfect, right.

That is only the first step of humility. The other aspects of humility involve the ability to respect people around you, the ability to not only listen, but also to follow the advice of wise people, the ability to be a gentle presence in life, and to not feel like the world owes you something, but rather that you must do something for this planet.

Of course this is not an exhaustive list, just a few qualities that I thought about. What other qualities do you see in reasonable, rational, strong, dependable people?

Till next time…


Posted from my MacBook

The Upward and Downward Cycles of Human Nature


Hi! I am so excited to be able to post a blog post today. I have been eye deep in studying for my winter semester finals. And they are not even over yet (sad face)…postponed rather! But, I think the worst of it is done. So let’s all wish success to everybody in my class for the next week!

Today’s post is about the upward and downward cycles of human nature. It is a cycle we repeat many times during our lives, and also during our day-to-day interactions with projects and relationships. During the climb up we tend to feel motivated and inspired, we then reach a brief plateau before we begin our downward descent. I can literally look through this list and identify which stage I am on in an area of my life and see what is coming up for me soon! And then not only am I prepared but I am also aware of what is happening at each stage and how each stage feeds the next one.


Stage one begins as the last stage of your previous cycle ends. Stage one begins with the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom. It begins with us learning from out past experiences, or from being given more knowledge (perhaps from a teacher/guru). With this new knowledge we begin to plan our next moves differently. We have hope that life will be different for us, now that we know better. In this stage we begin to feel joy and empowerment. We feel empowered that now we know better. This knowledge frees us from our own prison. We feel love and appreciation for life as it is, knowing that we have the power to change it.

With this new knowledge comes passion. After a period of emptiness we finally feel ourselves filling up with passion. This passion enables us to care about something, to care about someone, to care about our lives.

After letting the passion build up for a little while we are given inspiration to take action. In this phase we get good ideas, we take initiative, we make an effort. We feel enthusiastic; we can do things without being asked, and it feels close to effortless!

When we take such initiative towards the positive development of our lives, we will naturally begin to adopt positive expectations and beliefs about it’s outcome. In this stage, we truly believe that everything is going to turn out well.

When you sustain positive expectation for a period of time, you cultivate optimism. We start to see the state of our life in an optimistic light. The positive expectation is no longer confined to our “new project”, but now overflows into our beliefs about our life and our future.

In regards to the gray areas of life (and there will always be some), we feel a genuine sense of hopefulness. Genuine hopefulness means that we have a gentle inner request that the things that our out of our grasp may just turn out well. We begin to build our goals for the future, and we build them out of optimism and not fear.

All of these steps bring us to the plateau of our upward spiral. For a period of time we feel complete contentedness for the way our life is unfolding. Everything seems to be stable. The “climb” seems to come to a pause, and we are given time to enjoy the work, both inner and outer, that we have done.


The beginning of our descent is initiated with boredom. We start to get tired of our period of contentment. We start to feel slightly unsatisfied – we feel like we would like to make even more changes, but we start to feel that we lack the energy to do that, since we spent so much of it on our climb. So we settle for being bored. Everything is good in life, but we are bored.

Our boredom provides the perfect environment for the growth of pessimism. We lack the energy to make changes, and due to the uncreative nature of boredom (“I’m bored today AND I don’t know what I want to do”) our positive expectations begin to diminish. Suddenly, what once brought feelings of harmony and contentment, begin to project into the future and the view is bleak. We gradually lose hope and confidence in the future. This is the beginning of our negative thinking.

Lack of hope and confidence in the future builds on our frustration. We start to get irritated with the state of our life, the state of our relationships, our circumstances. Through the lens of irritation we get very impatient. We start to feel that things are no longer happening as we had planned. We feel trapped.

Then comes the period of being overwhelmed. Our frustrations build up and we become overwhelmed with what life is showing us. We become overwhelmed with the lack of options and possibilities, we become overwhelmed with our deteriorating relationships and circumstances in life, we become overwhelmed by our negative thinking and pessimism.

And then comes disappointment. The culmination of our vague and unrealistic expectations not being met. We are still emotionally attached and emotionally charged so we tend to feel disappointment deeply. This phase is characterized by a strong sense of disappointment towards the people close to us, to the way our life is unfolding. We feel that we are often let down in life.

Our disappointment towards things attracts doubt. They come hand in hand. When we are excessively disappointed in something we also attract feelings of doubt in it too. For example, if you are a woman and find yourself very disappointed in the behaviour of your spouse, it won’t take long before you start to doubt them, and doubt the relationship. Doubt means uncertainty of your current situation. Doubt means uncertainty about what steps to take. Doubt means a lot of unanswered questions.

And then we start to worry. Initially doubt can be expressed in quite a detached manner. We simply become doubtful, but not necessarily concerned. In stage 14 of the downward spiral, we begin to feel very concerned. We worry about our stability in life, our security. We worry about other peoples actions towards us. We worry about lies, bad news, the worst case scenarios.

Our psyche is simply unable to cope with excessive amounts of worry. It springs to action. The first line of defense to protect you against powerlessness is blame. In this stage we blame everything in life for our misfortune and unhappiness. We blame friends, partners, children, work, school, the house etc. All our thoughts become rooted in the phrase “He/She/You/They/It should have…”

And deep inside we start to blame ourselves a little bit too but we keep that part hidden so that we don’t have to face our demons.

When we get in the habit of blaming and complaining about things, we attract the counter force from life – discouragement. In this stage you will speak to people who will criticism and discourage your progress. You will encounter situations and ultimatums in life that will discourage you. This is life’s response to our complaining and blaming. People do not like to be blamed for things and this is how they will retaliate – by discouraging you. You may not have even specifically blamed that specific person, but a persons rational mind can detect blame emanating from a person, whether it was directed at them or not. And they will respond.

When we become discouraged by life and by people we begin to get angry. We become defensive. Anger can be directed outwardly through violence and violence of action and speech. Or Anger can be directed internally through violence of thoughts and resentment.

From our anger comes our need to get revenge. We plan our next steps to make sure that those around us be punished for discouraging us. This can be done in a very subtle way, but it is still the same thing. It is still the concept of revenge. We plan to teach people a lesson in some way. We try to set things up so that we can say “I told you so” or to somehow put is in a more beneficial position, while making something else below us.

(**When we hear the word “Revenge” we usually think of extreme acts of cruelty that we cannot imagine ourselves doing. But revenge can have a subtle form – it can be as simple as withdrawing love from your relationships in order to make them feel it.**)

When we engage in subtle acts of revenge we develop hatred within our hearts. We engage in revenge-tactics with the hope of teaching someone a lesson, yet somehow we cultivate hatred within us. Revenge cannot be carried out with kindness or love, only out of cruelty. Acts that are carried out out of cruelty will eventually build the feeling of hatred in you. In this stage you just cannot think of any good qualities of people/things that you have directed your hatred at.

Our of hatred breeds jealousy. We start to get increasingly envious about things in life. People think envy means noticing the good in another person and coveting it for yourself, but another form of envy also lies in noticing the bad in another person (post on this coming soon). In this phase we become very aware of the bad qualities of the people closest to us.

After all these highly charged negative emotions we begin to fall into insecurity. We feel guilty for the way we have been behaving. And if not behaving – we feel very guilty for the way we have been thinking. Either way, we feel guilt. We feel such immense guilt that we also feel unworthy. We become insecure about our good qualities – because for all this time you have been showing only our negative qualities and not taking the time to cultivate the positive ones. So we start to believe in our negative qualities and feel helpless to cultivate good ones. We feel guilty about that. We feel unworthy.

The final stage of the downward cycle is when you hit the bottom. Here you experience depression. You feel powerless and feel that you have been the victim of life. That everything bad happened to you. The good times feel far away, and you do not have the energy to make your way towards them.

This is the end of the downward spiral.

So what happens next? How a person naturally comes out of depression

You begin your upward spiral. And the first step is knowledge. The only way to get out of your stage 22 depression is to receive knowledge about how to live in a better way. This may come from your spiritual guru, a good friend or loved one, spending time around happy people, perhaps from something you read, or perhaps from simply reflecting on your actions and life. Either way you can only come out of depression when you are given the correct knowledge of how to be happy. When you understand that you had been looking for happiness in the wrong places. When you understand what changes must be made in order to move forward. This is the way forward!

Thanks for reading!!



The Unbearable Brightness of Being!


Every single day bursts with opportunity. So much to see, so much to learn, and so much to do! Sometimes I can barely contain my happiness – how fortunate am I to be born on this bountiful planet – that too at a time when mankind is witnessing its greatest technological advances as well as a resurgence of spiritual values.

At times it seems futile even to try and learn a single discipline – music, art, architecture, medicine, photography – each worth several lifetimes of study. How much could I possibly grasp in this infinitesimal interval which I have been given – to play, to live, to learn, to give?

Challenges, doubts, distractions and obstacles abound; yet they pale in comparison to the overwhelming good it has been my humble privilege to witness. Helping hands in an apparently selfish world; simple, innocent love in a place where trust is reported absent; abundance and generosity where lack would seem to loom large.

And running through it all like a leitmotif – wonderful, complex music coupled with moments of utter stillness, samadhi. The Master’s grace wafts through this existence, a fragrance of rose and sandalwood, turning each breath into intense prayer.

It’s as though a giant hand obliterates the din, the traffic, the pollution, the crime and the grime in a fraction of a second; I stand renewed, recharged and refreshed – helplessly and hopelessly unable to express my bliss.


Posted from my iPad