The Fragrance of Spirituality

The Fragrance of Spirituality

Fragrance of Sp body-odor-wheel
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Not surprisingly, body odour has a lot to do with what we eat and drink. But did you know that it is also affected by the way we think. Just as meat, onions and the pungent spices of chilli and garlic can create a… well… foul odour in the bathroom, so too, simple eating and high thinking can create a fragrance of simplicity and spirituality. The essence of everything we eat excretes through our pores. Every cell of our body is affected by our thoughts, they also transmit the essence of those thoughts, in the form of higher vibrations.

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Fortunately our level of personal hygiene has increased over the centuries. In the past, even royalty did not bathe often despite having opulence and wealth. Queen Victoria of England famously bathed once a month, which was thought to be highly extravagant in those days! Most people didn’t bathe more than once a year. They believed that water spread diseases through the pores of the skin, infecting the bloodstream. Carlyn Beccia, author of ‘The Raucous Royals’, says that in France in Louis XIV’s day, people thought a good, thick, grimy layer of filth would keep one healthy and strong. To combat the smells, the men and ladies in Louis’s court would douse themselves with perfumes and powders.

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But back to the present day… have you observed the square footage of space that is taken up in department stores and duty free sections with the enormous selection of perfumes and colognes? I find this absolutely amazing. Designer fragrances have us hooked. We spend so much on them to smell good and attract others when we are supposed to smell good naturally. We are completely out of touch with our own innate ‘diffuser’!

And these aren’t the only fragrances available in the stores, there are oil burners, pot pourri, house sprays, toilet deodorisers, household cleaners, clothes softeners… everything to make our home and body smell good. What a long way we have come from our natural selves! But most perfumes today are a mixture of chemicals, they are toxic, allergy-causing, possibly carcinogenic or even designed to mimic human hormones to arouse others!

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These are so poisonous, that although we may smell nice for the other person, it won’t be for very long! If you suffer, just remove some of these from your dresser or bathroom and then check the difference. Some workplaces in North America even have no-scent policies, due to the amount of allergic reactions.

Fragrance of Sp natural2We all enjoy the natural fragrance of trees and flowers as we walk through a garden, which illustrates how we are attracted to the simplicity of natural nature.

Fragrance of Sp natural

The fragrance of spirituality is also something different and very natural, it is a unique blend of simplicity, cleanliness and inner power combined. It can be sensed rather than sniffed. As yogis become pure in their heart and head, they begin to emit a spiritual fragrance, like a subtle aura, that is perceptible to those who are tuned in.

As we return to more of a natural way of being, we will also introduce natural and healthy items into our life such as deodorants and creams. As we eat a more plant-based diet our odour will change for the better.

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It’s time… to begin to introduce a more pure and positive diet of our thoughts, which will also release and radiate a pure fragrance, one that is priceless and can never be bottled or bought!

© It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK 



Busy-ness is Laziness

Busy-ness is Laziness

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Laziness and its companions, lethargy and sloth are such paralyzing habits that they can make a highly intelligent, a very rich, or even a very religious person completely destroy their life and fortune. Laziness can take many forms, such as idleness, apathy, procrastination and inertia amongst others. It may stem from boredom, tiredness or world-weariness, but underlying all of this is fear. Paradoxically, laziness can be a form of inner restlessness and peacelessness, a lack of purpose, direction and meaning. Thus, conquering this merciless habit is the key to happiness and inner contentment.

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Laziness as explained in Wikipedia is ‘a disinclination to activity or exertion despite having the ability to do so’. Retired people who sit in an armchair on the beach all day would not necessarily be deemed lazy, they are reaping the reward of a lifetime of activity and their old age somehow gives them permission to sit back and enjoy the sea and sun! Yet if a young person were to be sitting in his place, most would question why he was a lazy bum!

Yes, it is interesting how we all seem to want a carrot every morning to wake us up. Not a carrot as in your morning juice, but a carrot of enticement as in some kind of motivation that pushes us out of bed and out of our homes. Perhaps it is that hefty pay packet, or perhaps it is the sheer joy of fulfilling your passion and dream. Yet just think: if that were not there, would you still be motivated to jump out of bed so early in the morning?

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Some think that laziness is about bad time management, but really it’s about self-management. To overcome laziness, I need to create a high sense of self. I need to do it for me. When I make my bed in the morning, I do it for me because I deserve and desire to live in a tidy environment. When I wash and place the dishes away, I do it for me, because I deserve to live in a clean place. I do these things from a place of self-respect and not just because of what others might think.

Laziness is not simply inactivity. The spiritual aspirant may not appear to do a lot sometimes, but please do not confuse sitting for hours in meditation on some holy mountain as a form of laziness. Those who have found their calling, and can sit still with a purpose are not lazy, but instead they realise that ‘being’ is a most important precursor to ‘doing’, if your ‘doing’ is to be of significance in the world. However, just as outer laziness can ruin a life, so spiritual laziness can be an even greater downfall.laziness 6

In Hindi, the term for making effort, ‘pursharath’ literally means ‘for the sake of the soul’. Hence, when I do something, let it be for the sake of the soul and not just as a chore or labour.

In religions, laziness is considered to be one of the major vices. Christianity tells us that sloth is one of the seven deadly sins as it can breed poverty as well as wickedness, for we all know an empty mind is a devils workshop.

In the Quran the Arabic term كَسَل (kasal) meaning laziness and inactivity is the opposite of ‘jihad-al-nafs’, the struggle against the self. In other words, against one’s ego.

In Buddhism, the term Kausidya is commonly translated as ‘laziness’ or ‘spiritual sloth’, meaning that even though one may be a workaholic and spending 16 hours a day at work, yet, if that one gives little or no time to cultivating virtue or purification of mind, then he is said to be lazy.

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In fact, a wise old lady once told me ‘busy-ness is laziness’, which after some reflection I found to be true. When we want to avoid doing the inner work we get busy in the mundane.

So let ustake a reality check on our spiritual journey: Are we not doing certain things despite knowing, and despite being able to at this point? How enthusiastic are we about cleaning up our soul? Are we procrastinating in this very important activity? And if so why? Is it due to some fear or pain?

laziness 5Take time in meditation to have a look at the dark side, ask some deep questions of yourself, and shift your focus to something meaningful and exciting that will stir you out of your stupor and sluggishness.

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To end with some humour, a wit by the name of Hal Cranmer writes, ‘For all these arguments against laziness, it is amazing we work so hard to achieve it. Even those hard-working Puritans were willing to break their backs every day in exchange for an eternity of lying around on a cloud and playing the harp.’

It’s time… to get ‘busy’ in overcoming laziness!

© It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK

(All pictures courtesy of google images)


Attitude of Gratitude

Attitude of Gratitude


I recently had the experience of being suddenly plunged into darkness for a few hours only to find out later that a broken electricity cable had outed the electricity in the whole area. It was evening time in winter, so it was crucial to have some light and heat. It would also have been nice to have been able to make a cup of tea, cook dinner, and do some work on the internet, but all of that was out of the question! When I returned home to Kuwait expecting all to be ‘normal’ I found that we were out of running water because the pump had broken and the tank had not filled up. It was a double lesson from the ‘drama of life’ to remind me just how little we appreciate something – until it’s not there!

And another interesting thing was… that even though I knew that there was no water or light, I still went, out of habit, to ‘switch on’ the lights and ‘turn on’ the taps! It’s as though the mind was in denial refusing to accept the reality of the situation. It just shows how much we take for granted, and how much we assume that things will always be there at our disposal.

These incidents made me question: Am I appreciative about other things in my life? Having hot running water and electricity are important in our privileged modern day lives, but what about the ability to walk and move freely without pains and strains? Or to be able to see the world with our amazing eyesight? Or to be able to hear the world outside your window.


All of these things are so natural to us that we do not even think about them until they are not there. Only then do we lament.

When we begin to appreciate the beauty and richness of the treasures in front of and around us, then they take on a new and deeper meaning in our lives. There are so many aspects of nature to appreciate. If you can see some green grass and a few birds fluttering and singing, you are lucky – not everyone has this privilege. Hearing a running stream is also a privilege. Still better, if you are able to put your feet in it!

Changing the way we view the world around us, will change us, and change our world! It all begins with appreciating the little things in life.

There is a person who calls our meditation centre every day from prison. He has been an inmate for two years, and not a day has passed that he has not called for a chat and some positive thoughts. If I happen to answer his call it makes me so appreciative of the freedom of movement that I have. I admire so much that he stays happy and positive. He passes on these positive thoughts to others in the prison and creates motivational discussion forums! He is amazing! He has turned a negative situation into a positive one by just being grateful for what he has.


We can also be thankful for all the characters in our lives, the good, bad and the ugly. Each one is teaching us something. It’s not a question here of thanking each person or each thing… just to be able to cultivate a consciousness of gratitude is enough. It’s a state of mind, a way of being, a way of thinking. For example, even if you are held up in a queue you can be thankful for the opportunity to enjoy a few moments of tranquility.

Business Guru Steven Covey said, “We see the world, not as it is, but as we are…”

Gratitude5With so much apparently working against us in the world, and so much negativity in the news, we really need to make a list of all the good things that we have in our lives if we want to remain sane and happy. Once we are positive, we start sending positive energy out into the world, which then boomerangs back. The universe responds by saying; give it to this one, he/she will appreciate and value it!

It’s time… to cultivate an attitude of gratitude… and watch what the drama of the universe unfold!

© It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK

Happy New Year – Especially to the Goats!

Happy New Year – Especially to the Goats!


Chinese New Year

As we speak, hundreds of millions around the world are celebrating the 15 day Chinese spring festival (新年Xin Nian), saying goodbye to the galloping Horse of last year’s lunar calendar, and ushering in the New Year with the gentle stride of the Goat.

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Are you a Goat? How many of your friends are Goats? Although the Goat may conjure up an image of something weak or feeble, that is not the case in the Chinese calendar. If you were born in the years of 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, that makes you a goat… or as sheep, as sometimes depicted.

The 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac represent the characteristics of humanity. Chinese folklore has it that once upon a time the Jade Emperor invited all the animals to participate in a race and the first 12 winners would earn the honour of having their name designated as one of the 12 zodiac signs. At the end of the race each animal won its place according to its strength and weakness and its wit and wile. They won in this order: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

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People born in the year of the goat are reserved and quiet, serene and calm. Therefore they have fewer health problems. Goats are known to be gentle, kind, mild-mannered, shy, stable, sympathetic, amicable, persevering, hardworking and brimming with a strong sense of kind heartedness and justice. They are creative and acquire professional skills easily. They like to be to be in groups rather than the center of attention.

Although they look gentle on the surface, Goats are tough on the inside, always insisting on their own opinions. They have strong inner resilience.

Chinese New Year yang

On the other hand, Goats may come across as indecisive, timid, vain, pessimistic, moody, weak-willed just like the animal itself!

There are other stories and Chinese New Year customs that have been passed down from generation to generation.

Chinese folklore has it that hundreds of years ago humanity was terrorized by a fearsome beast called ‘Nian’ who would come down from the mountains to prey on the villagers. One day, a wise old man gathered the villagers together and told them that the beast Nian was afraid of loud noises and the color red. Upon hearing this, everyone became courageous and prepared themselves to frighten and kill the beast during his next appearance. They prepared drums and fire-crackers, painted every house red and dressed themselves up in red – especially the children, as they were the favorite meal for the beast! The beast was defeated. Ever since, the spring festival has been celebrated in places with firecrackers, gongs, and everything red.

Chinese New Year nianThe death of the beast Nian signified humanity working together to triumph over the negative forces of the world. Once the dark forces have disappeared, spring arrives and humanity celebrates a new era of peace, happiness and prosperity. The name of the beast, Nian(年)is also the same Chinese character for year, hence the Spring Festival is also known as Guo Nian (without the ‘beast’!) or a ‘new year’.

Before the Chinese New Year, it is customary to spring clean the home and office, to clear away the old and to welcome the new energy of the New Year. Spring cleaning is always a good method to help us reshuffle the energies around us. When the physical place is tidy, our mind and spirit will also feel good and refreshed.

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During the Chinese New Year celebrations, it is customary to think of, and speak auspicious words, wear new clothes of auspicious colors such as red and orange, and eat food that bears auspicious sounding names such as mandarin oranges whose name echoes ‘gold’ and ‘luck’ in Chinese. The fruit pomelo sounds like ‘prosperity and status’ in Chinese while fish sounds like ‘wealth’. Sweet food is symbolic of invoking sweet times in the coming year.

Chinese New Year 5Traditional Chinese homes put up ‘Chun Lian’ which is a couplet of auspicious words written on red paper and pasted on doors or walls. These auspicious words are thought to bring good luck and good fortune for the New Year.

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As we are aware of the power of thoughts and words, whoever reads these words will naturally think of good wishes and good luck and very soon, such luck will surely manifest!

Though the countries and cultures may differ, yet newness in deeds and thoughts, auspicious words and images, customs and celebrations, are all part of celebrating New Year in each and every society. It reflects the human yearning for fresh experiences, hope and optimism, whilst at the same time observing the values and traditions that hold together the very fabric of society. It reassures us, and at the same time leaves us open to new experiences. And, within a diverse and ever changing world, each one of us has our own spirit, specialities and strength – and just like the goat – hold many hidden treasures.

It’s Time… to choose the positive over the negative and usher in the new year with newness, tidiness, optimism and ‘Guo Nian’ (without the beast)!

By Viannie Chua and Aruna Ladva


© It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK


The Road to Peace


Peace Within the Self – A Beginning for World Peace

‘When there is light in the soul,
there will be beauty in the person,
when there is beauty in the person,
there will be harmony in the house,
when there is harmony in the house,
there will be order in the nation,
when there is order in the nation,
there will be peace in the World’.

Ancient Proverb


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The Road to Peace can be as long or as short as we want to make it.  With just one thought, we can make a mountain into a molehill or, with a few more thoughts, we can make a molehill into a mountain.  It’s all in our hands!

Road to Peace sheikhLast week, over 300 delegates gathered in the Kingdom of Bahrain for the third Self Development Conference entitled ‘The Road to Peace’.  The patron of the conference was His Excellency Sheikh Khalid Bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, the Deputy Prime Minister.  It was organized by the Bahrain Meditation Centre for Self Development.

There were many gems of knowledge shared during the conference.  As well as talks, workshops and discussions, there were tears and laughter, songs and sharings.  People spoke about how their heads were filled and their hearts were touched, and how they would put new ideas into practice and change their lives following the two and a half days of conference.

Of course we all know that peace is not just the absence of war.  For example Canada and Switzerland are countries that rarely engage in conflict yet they would not be defined as totally peaceful countries – there are homeless people, unemployment, and many other social problems. Rather, peace is a state of mind in which we are free and yet fully engaged with our purpose.

Road to Peace michellePeace is both a journey and a destination.  Peace is a state of being where the mind is calm and tranquil.  It is a condition of inner stillness and strength that gives us the ability to remain stable even in the most difficult circumstances.

The state of imbalance within the individual is reflected in the world around us. The deterioration of human values has resulted in human beings becoming strangers to their inner peace, and to the important values of compassion and respect, equality and truth.

It is now time to reconnect with these intrinsic values, and to find a better way to live.  Only when the human mind finds alignment and arrives at peace within itself, can the process of peace begin in the world.

president Ebrahim-292x300Dr Ebrahim Al Dossary (PhD), President of Bahrain Meditation Centre and the inspiration behind the conference, stated that, “We stand at a crossroad in the history of humanity… it is no longer possible to be a bystander or spectator of the drama of life.  It is time for mankind to decide its fate.  Each one of us contributes to the greater whole, and each one of us has the capability to make a difference in the course of history.  It is not only ancient wisdom, but also modern science that is telling us that human consciousness plays an important part in the evolution of the world.  Perhaps it plays the most important part, because we cannot change the world without changing our thinking”.

Road to Peace sheikh 2During the opening ceremony, His Excellency Sheikh Khalid wrote, signed and hung a peace message onto the olive tree – it simply said the word ‘PEACE’.  He then moved over to the painting that was being painted by Michelle Pfeiffer, an artist from Canada, and added, in blue paint, a drop of water, the symbol of life, demonstrating that some things can be very simple and easy to communicate.

JayantiSister Jayanti, Keynote Speaker, Author and Broadcaster, spoke about the need to create a timetable of peace throughout the day. It is when we dedicate time, even small pockets of it, to returning to that stillness within, then we can maintain our inner peace.



MikeMike George, international Management Tutor and Trainer, Speaker, and Author of several books mentioned that there are currently over 600 conflicts taking place in the world and only about 11 countries that are free from conflict.  He went onto say that young people are addicted to video games such as ‘War Craft’, which not only desensitizes them to conflict, it becomes a means to practice conflict!  Some even go on to join in with conflicts around the world simply because they then want to experience it first-hand!

sarah-face2-202x300Dr Sarah Eagger, Consultant Psychiatrist and Senior Lecturer, talked about a scientific study which revealed a ‘holiday’ effect.  People’s chromosomes were altered when they felt relaxed and at ease. However when these same people practiced meditaion the effect on the chromosomes was much greater.  A second study was to do with rats.  When a rat pressed a button it was ’rewarded’ by a shot of dopamine – the happy hormone. The rats got so addicted to this hit of happiness, that they would press the button to the exclusion of everything else, including eating, and so they eventually died.  Dr Sarah mentioned that we also get a similar hit of dopamine each time we hear a ping on our phone, meaning we are addicts!  This explains why some of us cannot resist checking our phones every two minutes.

NevilleNeville Hodgkinson, Health and Science Journalist and Author also talked from a medical perspective, explaining a phenomenon whereby some people who had been pronounced medically dead returned to ‘life’ after some minutes or even hours. They could recall what they had been observing during this time.  He was making the point that we are beings of consciousness, much more than just our human bodies.

As well as the many fascinating lectures and workshops, there were also times for peace, meditation and self-reflection throughout the two and a half days.

The radiant, glowing faces at the end of the ‘Road to Peace’, confirmed that the event had been a big success, with many vowing to go out and spread this peace into the world.

It’s time… to walk the road less traveled… the Road to Peace.

© It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK


Soul Journey and Personal Development

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