Over the Bridge

This is a surprise. Climbing the Sydney Harbour bridge. You’re living the high life, I see.

This was the whatsapp message I received from a relative. What was she surprised about? That I was in Sydney? That I didn’t tell her I was on holiday? Or that I was on holiday at all. It had to be the last one.

That tinge of envy in the message aside, I admit that I told very few people about this desire to climb the bridge. The only ones who knew were my friends in Sydney, my mother and some very close friends. Also, I got the feeling that some didn’t think I was serious about it. In fact, my editor wasn’t interested in a story because she felt that there was nothing unique about climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The first time I thought about climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, it wasn’t even possible to

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The Ultimate Guide to Creating Your First Facebook Page

By Dr. Rohi Shetty

“I’m going to open a new Facebook account named ‘Anonymous’
so all the cool quotes will be attributed to me!”
~Clinton Thomas

Your Facebook Profile is your personal account; your Facebook Page is your business account. Ideally, you shouldn’t mix the two because your Facebook friends may not be interested in your writing activities and your readers may not be fascinated by your cat.

I confess I didn’t have a Facebook Page until I was forced to create one last week. (Because you need a Facebook Page to create Messenger chatbots.) That’s when I realized that the unbelievable benefits that writers can gain from a Facebook Page.

The good news is that it’s surprisingly easy to create a Facebook Page. It doesn’t take much time either, and best of all, it is completely free. You can create as many Facebook Pages as you like for different

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Are You a Writer Without a Chatbot?

By Dr. Rohi Shetty

When Andrew Warner, founder of Mixergy, was 24 years old, he owned a company in Manhattan. The rent for the office space was a cool $1.2 million. One day, Andrew invited a direct mail marketer (let’s call him Johny) to his office to see what he could learn from him about direct mail that could be applied to email marketing.

When Johny saw that Andrew had a whole floor as his office in midtown Manhattan, he said, “Wow! Email built all this?” Later on, he admitted, “I missed email.”

Johny was great at direct mail marketing and he made a whole lot of money at it. But he got lazy and didn’t pay attention to email. By the time he realized his mistake, it was too late. He was too far behind. After he left, Andrew’s CFO said, “That was a splash of cold water. We could

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The Biggest Obstacle to Meditation (And How to Overcome It)

By Dr. Rohi Shetty

“The opposite of insight is excite.”
~Ajahn Brahmavamso

A meditator went to a spiritual teacher and asked for his advice. “My mind is never free from thoughts, though I’ve been trying really hard to get rid of them since several years. Please guide me. How do I get rid of these thoughts?”

The teacher said, “Continue your practice as usual but with one change—avoid all thoughts about monkeys while meditating. Come back after one week.”

After a week, the meditator returned and reported, “Before I met you, I never had any thoughts about monkeys during meditation. But after you advised me not to think about monkeys, I can’t stop thinking about them. The more I try not to think about monkeys, the more thoughts I get about them. I’m totally stressed during meditation.

“And this stress has affected my peace of mind. I’ve lost my appetite and I can’t sleep properly.

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Canopy of Peace

Sometimes, a conversation with a friend is comforting, enlightening and entertaining in equal measure.

The decision is made. Instead of taking a rickshaw or the car, we’ll walk. Rohi will lead the way to Shreyas restaurant (http://www.hotelshreyas.in/restaurant.php) that serves a Maharashtrian Thali. Although it is January, the mid-morning sun warms my back as we walk along Prabhat Road in Pune, India. As we amble along, cars, scooters, cycles and pedestrians race past. Perhaps, ‘race’ isn’t the right word. At most, they’re all going at 15 km per hour because the road is congested and choking with people, noise and smells.

There are squeals of laughter from children nearby. One man is selling vegetables by the roadside. A young girl on a scooter wraps one end of her dupatta around her head then expertly covers her nose and mouth. Once she puts on her sunglasses, there’s nothing of her face that’s visible

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The Five Enemies of Meditation (and How to Overcome Them)

By Dr. Rohi Shetty

During the ten-day Vipassana retreat, we learn how to practice three different meditation techniques. First, we learn how to concentrate the mind using awareness of respiration. Next, we learn how to develop mental equanimity based on awareness of physical sensations. Finally, we learn the practice of metta, in which we share our positive feelings of love and goodwill with all beings.

During the meditation course, we also come face to face with the five formidable enemies of meditation. These are mental obstacles that hinder the practice of meditation. After the course, during our daily meditation practice at home, learning to deal with these five hindrances becomes a part of our meditation practice.

The Buddha called them nivarana—mental factors that hinder our progress not only in meditation but also in every worthy endeavor that we may choose to undertake. So they are enemies not only of meditation but

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How Silence Benefits You in a Vipassana Meditation Course?

By Dr. Rohi Shetty

“Silence is not merely an absence of noise. Real silence begins when a reasonable being withdraws from the noise in order to find peace and order in his inner sanctuary.” ~Peter Minard

Meditation courses have become increasingly popular throughout the world. Among them are the ten-day residential Vipassana meditation retreats that originated in Myanmar (Burma).

One of the unique features of this course is the rule to observe “noble silence” for the first nine days of the course. Noble silence means that we do not communicate with fellow meditators for the first nine days of the course, neither verbally nor by gestures.

The format of the Vipassana course is designed to deliver maximum benefits in exchange for our investment of ten days. As with all the other course-rules, the rule of noble silence is flexible. Though we cannot communicate with our fellow students, we are free to communicate

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Seven Benefits of a Vipassana Meditation Course

By Dr. Rohi Shetty

Modern life can be extremely stressful. The strain of dealing with multiple conflicting demands at work and home can be overwhelming. Each person copes with this stress differently. Some choose distractions such as TV and video games or self-destructive ways such as tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. Others may need counseling or psychiatric therapy. However, more and more people are turning to meditation as an effective way of dealing with stress.

In response to this growing demand, a wide range of meditation courses are being offered worldwide. However, many people still feel uneasy about meditation and associate it with mysticism and esoteric cults. Among the various meditation techniques, Vipassana meditation is relatively unknown because it is taught in ten-day residential courses and is not actively publicized.

Vipassana is an ancient meditation technique of India, which was discovered and taught by the Buddha. Its present teacher,

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Lost and Found – A Spiritual Retreat

On 17 October last year, my father passed away. Prior to this, Swamiji and his team were kindness personified and His words gave me courage to make some of the hardest decisions ever. Because these were the right decisions, I couldn’t cry after Daddy’s death. Instead, I wrote a story which was published in the New Straits Times. Here’s the link to that story:
http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/11/190075/perfection-my-fathers-passing

The pertinent paragraph is this:

At one stage, I whispered into his ears: “Daddy, if you can see, look around you. I’m here. Mummy is here,” … I imagined that, like in the movies, Daddy’s astral being would rise up and see us all.
“Daddy, pray to Amma,” I urged him. This word “Amma” had a double meaning. For one, Amma was his ishtadevam…. It was also what we called my grandmother. He opened

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Are You a Writer Without a Morning Ritual?

By Dr. Rohi Shetty

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~Aristotle

Hal Elrod was pronounced dead after a car accident. He made an amazing recovery but then he became bankrupt. Depressed and desperate, he listened to a podcast during a morning run. The following words by Jim Rohn electrified him: “Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development because success is something you attract by the person you become.”

The next morning, Elrod spent 60 minutes in silence, reading, reciting affirmations, visualizing, journaling and exercising. These six simple activities changed Elrod’s morning and his life. He shared the “miracle morning” that had turned his life around with friends who immediately felt the benefits. The Miracle Morning movement was born…

Elrod discovered that your morning routine dramatically affects your levels of success in every area of your life. Focused and productive

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