A universal grace prayer

Back in 2007, I went to India to do Dyan Yatra (a spiritual trek/pilgrimage to the foothills of the Himalayas to visit ancient temples). We were a group of 120 people traveling in 4 buses containing 30 people each. We would drive to the foothills of a mountain range, then hike up around 8 to 10 km to reach a small village and the temple we wanted to visit. We would sleep in the village and hike back down the next day and resume our pilgrimage.

One day, we got stuck in a village because of a landslide blocking the road. We stayed an extra day in the village and this is when I befriended an Indian who’s both a homeopathic doctor and a Yogi. I had an extensive chat with him and he ended up teaching me a few handy spiritual practices. One of the things that I still remember and practice to this day was the prayer he taught me to say before eating. It is akin to the Christians’ grace prayer that is recited before food is consumed.

If you follow my blog, you may have noticed that I love two things: Prayers and Stories. Anyway, his version of the prayer goes something like this:

Oh my creator and God, thank you for this food. May this food nourish my body, may it be converted into blood and energy that I can use to help and serve others.

This is a very short prayer and is almost devoid of any religious affiliations. It is not a Christian prayer, it is not a Muslim prayer and it surely not a Buddhist or Hindu prayer. It is a simple remembrance that we are grateful for the grace we have in our life and how we intended to return this grace by serving others.

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Revisiting the social norms and expectations imposed upon us…

I grew up in Lebanon and spent most of my life there. One of the things I learned is to be hospitable.

For instance, if you are eating something, you offer others before you eat.

If you are thirsty at the same time as some one else, you let them drink first.

When we go to restaurants with a group of family or friends, we fight for the check. Everyone wants to pay for the whole group. The premise is that if someone pays today, another will pay the next time, etc.

All was good until I moved to Western Europe and then to North America. Continue reading

Good bye 2017, Hello 2018

Hello Readers,

The year of 2017 was mainly a transitional year where I moved from Washington State to California and started a new job, life and social circle. On a personal level, it was a positive year with little to no things to complain about and a lot to be grateful for. This year also taught me the importance of humility and appreciating the simple things in life.
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The meaning of the Chariot and charioteers in the Bhagavad Gita

In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna imparts to Arjun various important spiritual lessons.

If you have not read the Gita, then it is a good an insightful read.

In this blog post, I want to explain to you the symbolism behind the chariot picture in which we see Arjun, Krishna and the 5 horses driving the chariot.

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7 Rules of Life

  1. Make peace with your past so it does not disturb your future.
  2. What others think of you is none of your business.
  3. The only person in charge of your happiness is you.
  4. Don’t compare your life to others, comparison is the thief of joy.
  5. Time heals almost everything. Give it time.
  6. Stop thinking too much: it is okay not to know all the answers.
  7. Smile. You don’t own all the problems in the world.

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Story: Do you have an email account?

Once upon a time, a man was looking for a job. He reads about an office boy position in Microsoft Corporation. He applies and soon enough he lands an interview.
The interviewer starts asking the man some questions and then notices that the man forgot to fill in his email address.

  • The interviewer: “Oh, it seems you forgot to type in your email address”
  • The man: “No I did not forget. Actually, I don’t have an email account”
  • The interviewer: “You don’t have an email? Well sorry, you cannot work for Microsoft in that case”

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Saint Elias

This is Saint Elias (or Elijah). He is celebrated in my home country, Lebanon, on the 20th of July.

According to Wikipedia:

Elijah (Hebrew: אֱלִיָּהוּ‎, Eliyahu, meaning “My God is Yahu/Jah”) or Elias (/ɪˈlaɪ.əs/; Greek: Ηλίας Elías; Syriac: ܐܸܠܝܼܵܐ‎ Elyāe; Arabic: إلياس or إليا, Ilyās or Ilyā) was a prophet and a miracle worker who lived in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of Ahab (9th century BC), according to the Books of Kings in the Hebrew Bible.

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