Lighting Up the Mind at Diwali

A couple of years ago I received the famous spiritual book “Autobiography of a Yogi” as a gift from a friend. I wasn’t delighted and my immediate response – why have you given me this; what am I supposed to do with this; I am not interested; maybe when I am in my 60s – was well camouflaged behind a polite smile and a thank you.

However, things changed much sooner than I had expected as I discovered not just this book but also many others. Each book that I read influenced me deeply and left me yearning for more. Thankfully, I did not have to wait until in my 60s.

This weekend I attended a Satsang (a spiritual discourse or gathering), which was conducted by the author of one of the books I had read. I had never attended a Satsang before, at least not one that I remember. I might have casually been to one two but I really do not recall attending any deliberately. It was a wonderfully spent three hours spread across three day leaving behind a sense of peace and clam.


The place of these sessions was substantially far from my house and I surprised myself with the enthusiastic anticipation I had each day. The ill-famous Bangalore traffic, which is always a big put-off, also did not seem to bother me. Stuck at a traffic signal, I wondered if someone would have asked me to do something like this even two years back I would have snapped back giving them a piece of my mind thinking that they are out of their minds.

It’s amazing how times change faster than we think while often times we continue living in the illusion of permanence.

Concentration and focus are not easy to find today with all the distractions at our fingertips. However, I found myself mindfully present, consciously aware, and very carefully imbibing every little message that came along with the stories and anecdotes. Ever since I have been feeling very positive and happy.

The Satsang also reminded me of a time in office when I was part of a team that was designing leadership trainings and one of those was about mindfulness and the neuroscience behind it – how our brain responds to positivity and mindfulness. The nuggets of knowledge that I had gained during that time stayed with me and I have practiced many of those effectively in my daily life. It is the connection of science and spirituality in a well-meaning way and the very little exposure I have had makes me feel immensely grateful.

With Diwali celebrations underway there are lights everywhere, I thought how wonderful it would be if we could ‘lighten’ our minds as well! With this thought in mind, I am jotting down five key takeaways from the Satsang that I hope I can implement in my everyday life:

  1. Differentiate between good and pleasant. Always choose good over pleasant. While some good things will be pleasant as well but not all pleasant things are necessarily good.
  2. Lead a life of awareness and strive to remove the ‘I’. Be aware of yourself – aware of everything you say, do, or think.
  3. Practice mindfulness and do everything you do with complete focus and concentration.
  4. Set aside 10 min each day to sit quietly and do nothing. Reflect and practice thoughtlessness during that time.
  5. Live a life of moderation and aim to touch the divine essence in you, that which is limitless, that which is real, and that which lies within you.

Author: neelstoria

Traveling, Gardening, Trekking, Hiking, Storytelling, Writing, Nature, Outdoors, Yoga, DIY

52 thoughts on “Lighting Up the Mind at Diwali”

  1. A very mindful and thought provoking post. I was in my twenties when I met An Autobiography of a Yogi. Read it, packed up my bags and moved to the Swami Paramahansa Yogananda Fellowship in Encinitas, Ca. Funny how when one becomes committed to a heartfelt purpose the universe opens up and guides you. I never looked back. Blessings to you in this lightful Diwalli celebration! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Namaste🙏

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s amazing! You are blessed to have have discovered something so wonderful early on in your 20s. Thank you, Jordis for reading and leaving behind a tiny little anecdote about yourself. And, wishing you a happy and prosperous Diwali too 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Are you referring one of many Ashrams located near Bangalore? I remember having visited Sri Sri Ravishankar’s ashram last year. The volunteers handed me out a leaflet which mentioned short programs.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I had gone 3-4 years back and in a touristy mode so I don’t remember. However, now that you say I do recall the places of stay, shops and all. I am also reminded of some nice bhajans we had heard.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Hmm.. Great tips for mental peace and inner development. Each point however, will take a lot more than what someone might perceive at the first look.. to properly understand and implement. Most people can’t follow even a single one of those points.. in a lifetime!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy belated Tihar, we call it Tihar in Nepali, and you know I really like this idea of giving it 10 mins in peace and doing nothing, thoughtlessness – I think I will struggle with that but I will try to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Yes, I have heard Tihar. There is a significant presence of Nepalis in Shillong. And I remember just before Diwali, young kids dressed in traditional costumes would go home to home singing and dancing and collecting donations. Not sure if that is specific to our place or it is part of some tradition.
      As for 10 min of thoughtlessness, all you need to do is just focus on the breathing in and breathing out, basically giving the mind something to be occupied with. And, if thoughts come, let them come and go, don’t dwell on them. Eventually can have thoughtless moments. I am no expert but that’s what i have learnt and am doing quite successfully 🙂


      1. Its not just the young kids, adults are involved too, normally we perform sing or dance or anything that entertains, after that the host offers some food and money, the money that is collected is either distributed among the participants or used for some cause. It is an interesting event.

        You know I forgot to practice it today. I will try to follow your instruction. I’ll try that tonight.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Very beautiful words Neel, and so thoughtful and relatable. The book is among the best for beginners to get an inkling if Indian spiritual possibilities, and Satsang is another form of mindfulness that is so much in need these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for visiting and reading this post. This book is truely awesome. So are some others that I have discovered. Just glanced over your blog, will go and read your posts , they seem to be of my interest 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A really good read. Hope to imbibe at least some of the points. Interest in such things is good actually.

    In case you are interested, there’s a TV channel called Peace of Mind, run by the Brahmakumaris, which gives a lot of common sensical advice about how to deal with everyday issues, about mindfulness and other stuff you described here. My parents watch it regularly.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Another thing, point number 4 at the end – should it be ‘thoughtlessness’ or ‘thoughtfulness’? If it’s the former, you possibly meant ‘suspension of all thoughts’ (implying total peace/relaxation of mind).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Very nice article. Its good to know that you got the realisation at the right time. It is good for the human beings to cultivate the mind early in their life to have a fulfilling life at the later stage.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for recommending this one for me. I love how reading the book in the first place really changed your attitude, and it’s inspiring to know how you persevered toward your growth so far away from home, I think more people need to be aware like this that growth actually takes quite a bit of effort.

    One of my favourite take away messages from this would have to be removing the ‘I’ and being aware of how I interact. To remove ego and act as part of a larger process. Thanks for inspiring words and best of luck in continuing to ‘lighten up your mind’.


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