Soul Reflections

By Kamal Tolia

New Year Resolutions …..Part 1. Introduction

As we celebrate the New Year with parties and merriment, let us remember that it also a time for New beginnings, New promises, Letting go of the old and Welcoming the new.

Now you will think: ‘ Oh – no! Not that again! Not New Year resolutions! …… I can never keep them for more than a couple of months, if that! …. and ….They never work anyway!’

This year let us translate the letting go of the old as ‘old unwanted patterns of thinking and behaviour’ and replacing them with ‘new life and health supporting ones’. Let us go forth bravely and shed all that has held us back in progressing emotionally, mentally and spiritually and embrace all that will support this progress. Let us make New Year Resolutions with Awareness.

I would like to share a few resolutions with you that have worked very well for me over the years. Although they are simple sentences, they have profound results. Some I have borrowed from my Reiki practice. Others I have formulated myself.  Since the space in this column does not permit me to explain all of them at once, I will elaborate them one by one in the coming weeks.

Here they are:

  1. 1.    Just for today, I will  not get angry
  2. 2.    Just for today, I will not worry
  3. 3.    Just for today, I will be honest
  4. 4.    Just for today, I will be grateful
  5. 5.    Just for today, I will show love and respect for every living thing
  6. 6.    Just for today, I will not judge others
  7. 7.    Just for today, I will let go and forgive

Repeating these sentences first thing in the morning affects our psyche deeply resulting in positive changes in our behavior and attitude. And because they are all ‘Just for today …….’ they are  exactly that: short term resolutions for that day only …… making them more easily attainable than our usual long term yearly goals which we find difficult to keep up.

There is one more thing in favour of these short term goals. As said before, you have to repeat them every day. If you are not able to apply any one of them a 100% on one day, it is not the end of the world. You always get another chance. Because tomorrow is another day …. another day to start afresh!

But the one great advantage following this method of New Year Resolutions is the fact that the results are cumulative. The fact that you have to pledge to follow it for just the one day, and then the next day, and then the next day, very soon adds up to following it EVERY DAY! Before you know it, it becomes a habit. Over time it becomes your nature!

If you wish to make changes in your life, this is a good way to start. Just repeat these sentences to yourself verbally every morning and see how your life changes for the better.

For as you think, so you will become.

Next : All about Anger


Soul Reflections

By Kamal Tolia

New Year Resolutions ….. Part 2 All about Anger

‘For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

There are 7 different types of anger:

  1. Some people avoid getting angry because they are afraid of getting angry. They are scared of losing control when they get angry. They are even afraid when others get angry around them. This bottling up of anger and fear can give them serious medical problems.
  2. The next sort of people are not afraid, but they do not let others know they are angry even if they are boiling inside. But this anger has to be let out, so they do it in different subtle ways. They sit around and do nothing, which is frustrating to their family and friends. This gives them a sense of control over their lives and because they feel they have the power to frustrate others they feel they are controlling them too. Their anger also comes out in other sneaky ways such as forgetting things or not keeping their word with the inevitable result that their relationships suffer.
  3. Some peoples’ anger arises out of insecurity. They imagine they are threatened by others, that others will take what is theirs. They harbor an irrational belief that others are out to attack them and their possessions physically or verbally. These people do not even trust their spouses or partners. They also believe everybody is like them, easily roused to anger. They misread others actions and words as expressions of anger. Any wonder that their relationships suffer?
  4. Then there are people that exhibit what is called sudden anger. They have a short fuse, their anger exploding like a thunderstorm. This can be for a short while or a long while. After they have exploded, they feel good, even great! And definitely relieved! But in the process of venting, they often hurt people, which may be their near and dear ones. In their fit of anger, they may even get violent, or say and do things which they may regret afterwards, when it is too late to take them back. In this way, they inflict long term damage to their relationships.
  5. 5.    Some people have a deep sense of shame about themselves. They feel worthless, never good enough, unlovable, always inferior. If they are criticized even slightly by others, it feeds the fear that that they are not good enough (or else why would someone try to correct them?). Subconsciously their insecurity is awakened. Their own feeling of inadequacy is reasserted and they lash out in anger, often attacking the people they love. Unlike type 4 people, their expression of anger does not make them feel good. Quite the opposite. Their anger and loss of control makes them feel even worse about themselves, reinforcing the idea that they were worthless to begin with anyway.

“Speak when you are angry – and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret” Dr. Laurence J Peter.

Next : All about anger contd.


Soul Reflections

By Kamal Tolia

New Year Resolutions ….. Part 3 All about Anger contd.

‘Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” — Buddha

  1. 6.    Then there are the control freaks, who actually plan their anger. Theirs is not a hapless letting out. They are very much in control when they get angry. They derive a sense of power and control from knowing others fear them when they get angry. Sometimes they even use violence. Further, they get an immense sense of power over others by threatening them with a deliberate display of anger.
  2. 7.    Expressing anger can become a habit if one enjoys the emotional high that accompanies a fit of anger. Such people feel good only after they have got angry. This is addiction to anger, and like any other addiction, it is good only as long as the anger lasts. Then the person is looking for the next occasion to get angry to get his ‘fix’. Such people go about the day trying to pick fights so that they can experience the high that accompanies getting angry.
  3. Making anger a habit is the next lot of people. Such people get angry often, and about small things which may not upset other people in any way at all! This displaying of anger can go on throughout the day. They have a bad habit of looking for the worst in everything and everybody. The sad part is that such people are quite unhappy, but can do nothing about it, for their habit of getting angry about little things controls them They get up complaining, and go through the day dissatisfied with almost everything, and may end up going to bed angry. They may even have angry dreams! They are controlled by their anger, not the other way round. This can ruin their lives!
  4. Then there are people who become enraged when they feel that others are bad, evil, or have done an unpardonable sin like breaking a rule or gone against what they believe is right socially or morally. They express their disapproval in a display of rage accompanied by shouting, resulting in great damage to their relationships. Such people don’t even feel guilty about it afterwards. They always justify their ‘moral’ anger because they feel they are ‘right’ and so have the right to express their displeasure as they see fit. They have a narrow vision and a ‘black and white’ attitude with no room for grey. They have set ways of thinking and doing and are intolerant of others’ viewpoints.

10. Finally there is hardened anger – otherwise known as Hate. Unresolved  anger, over a period of time turns to hate for the other. People who hate think about punishing the offender. They can even act on their thoughts! Hate overpowers them and ruins their life. They become bitter and frustrated.

Do any of the above seven descriptions fit you? Be honest with yourself, and

Just for today, do not get angry.’

Next : All about Worry


Soul Reflections

By Kamal Tolia

New Year Resolutions ….. Part 4 All about Worry

Just for Today, I will not worry.

Worry is NEVER good for you. Some people think that if they ‘worry enough’, they can prevent bad things from happening. Besides this being a wrong notion to begin with, understand that worrying can make you ill. Even worrying a little, but often, eventually equals excessive worrying which can give you anxiety which can then give you diseases like high blood pressure, ulcers, diabetes, ….. you name it.

Do you worry? Almost everybody will say yes, at least sometimes. Read on to see the descriptions of worriers and what famous authors and wise people have to say about worrying.

  1. The ‘what if?’ worrier. You worry about the future … what might / might not happen. You also worry about the past … what you did / didn’t do. The past worry may be mixed with regret. Well, you can’t undo the past. Worrying about it will not help you to get over its imperfection. Instead, try healing methods to get over the regret. As for the future, first of all, what you fear may /may not happen. If the chances are that it will not happen, there is nothing to fear or worry about really, SO LET IT GO. If the chances are that it will happen, if you can, prepare for it ……. Studying for your exams, preparing for the interview, preparing your responses in an upcoming discussion, AND THEN LET IT GO! If it is not possible for you to prepare for the future, there is nothing to do, LET IT GO!

If you look at the events in your past, you will find that many times you worried in vain …. Things were really not as bad as they looked before! And in 99% of the cases, your worrying did not change anything!


People gather bundles of sticks to build bridges they never cross … Author unknown

Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow … Swedish Proverb

How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened … Thomas Jefferson


  1. The ‘habitual worrier’. The ‘what if’ worrying becomes a habit. You are not at peace if you have nothing to worry about. When you finish with one worry, you start looking for something else to worry about. Things and situations that are quite normal, everyday ‘run of the mill’ occurrences leave you worried. The ‘what if’ syndrome asserts itself almost constantly in your life, making you anxious all the time. You are constantly in a state of stress.

Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained ….. Arthur Somer Roche

There are people who are always anticipating trouble, and in this way they manage to enjoy many sorrows that never really happen to them … Josh Billings


Next : All about Worry contd ….

Soul Reflections

By Kamal Tolia

New Year Resolutions ….. Part 5. All about Worry contd.

  1. The ‘responsible worrier’. You believe you are responsible for everything good and bad that has happened / is happening / will happen to you, your family, relatives, friends, neighbours, everyone! Unbelievable, you might say. Does such a person does exist? Yes he does, although he is not as common as the No 1 and 2 worriers. In fact, a number 2 worrier can, over a period of time become a number 3 worrier. This person’s worry may be coming from a place of compassion for all at large or from a sense of deep guilt. Even when what he worried about actually comes to pass smoothly, he still entertains an unquiet feeling that it could have been better. Thus he is never satisfied, always believing he could have done more to make things go better. In short, his mind is always in a state of agitation. He is constantly surrounded by one of two clouds: ‘the worry cloud’ or ‘the unhappy, unsatisfied’ cloud. He would do well to follow this advice:

For peace of mind, resign as general manger of the universe … Author Unknown.

If you treat every situation as a life and death matter, you’ll die a lot of times … Dean Smith

Love looks forward, hate looks back, anxiety has eyes all over his head … Mignon Mc Laughlin


What then is the solution to not worrying? We must change our attitude and cultivate the habit of living in the present.

If you worry about what might be and wonder what might have been, you will ignore what is .. Anonymous

It ain’t no use putting up your umbrella till it rains … Alice Caldwell Rice.


But you might say … living in the present is easier said than done! To help you get better at this skill of living in the present, make these habits yours: There are two days in the week about which and upon which I never worry …. Yesterday and Tomorrow … Robert Jones Burdette

We have to fight them daily, like fleas, those many small worries about the morrow, for they sap our energies … Ety Hillesum

Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey … Barbara Hoffman ……

Every evening I turn my fears over to God. He is going to be up all night anyway … Mary C Crowley

Don’t hurry, don’t worry. You’re only here for a short visit. So be sure to stop and smell the flowers … Walter Hagen.

That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent … Chinese proverb.

Finally, when all is said and done, our habits and thought patterns of worrying are ingrained in our sub conscious mind. To retrain our mind, we need affirmations. And the one affirmation repeated every day, that does this trick with great success is: Just for today, I will not worry ….

Next: All about Honesty



Soul Reflections

By Kamal Tolia

New Year Resolutions ….. Part 6  All about Honesty.

When asked to define honesty, most people will say it means ‘telling the truth’. But what does telling the truth entail? Does it mean speaking the truth only when asked and that too, the bare minimum of the truth? Or does it mean speaking the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in all situations?

As children we are inherently honest. We do not hesitate to say or do what we think and mean. We are also ready to own up to any misdemeanor. As we grow up, we get caught up in our careers, marriage, children, and other responsibilities. We discover the world is not as friendly a place as we expected and we compromise our values. This affects our behavior and being dishonest becomes a way of life for us. We learn to avoid telling the truth, even to actually lie if it will gain us something.

For eg. What would you do if at the grocery store, the cashier erroneously gave you more than the correct amount of change? Would you return it? Or would you think ‘she shouldn’t have made the mistake, it is her problem, not mine’ and quietly pocket it?

Many years ago, on a camping trip in Switzerland, I had left my watch on the windowsill in the bathroom. A whole day passed by before I missed my watch. I went to the bathroom to look for the watch, not really expecting to find it. After all, the camp was a very popular one, with lots of daily traffic. Of course it wasn’t there. I went to the manager, once again not expecting anything. After listening to me, he opened his desk drawer, and held up something for me to see. ‘Is this your watch?’ he asked. Yes it was! It turned out that somebody had found it in the bathroom and brought it to him! Somebody with a great sense of honesty and integrity! How many people can we count on our fingers today that we could fit into this category?

Honesty leads to integrity. Living a life honestly needs our constant attention, as the temptations to be dishonest in life are many. We have to constantly police ourselves and make sure we are doing all that is in keeping with our moral and ethical values.

Whenever we are honest in our lives, we speak the Truth and are in tune with our own True nature which is Divine. Honesty = Truth = True Nature = Divine Self. Whenever we are dishonest, we are in tune with our false self, our ego self, which is not our True Self. Dishonesty = Lies, Fake = Ego Self, False Nature.

Dishonesty separates our soul from our True Divine Self making us uncomfortable. We have no Peace. Honesty on the other hand, does the opposite: it gives us Peace.

You want Peace in your life? Then bring Honesty into your life. Start by intending: ‘Just for TODAY, I will live my life HONESTLY.’

Next: All about Honesty contd.

Soul Reflections

By Kamal Tolia

New Year Resolutions ….. Part 7  All about Honesty contd.

Always tell the Truth. That way you don’t have to remember what you said …. Margaret Mead.

Truth spoken needs no support — It can stand by itself, alone, tall and proud. A lie on the other hand can never stand unsupported. It needs more lies to prop it up. You must have heard this: Once you lie, you have to speak even more lies to cover for that first lie.

Living your life honestly means living more openly. Speaking the Truth will make you unafraid. How? … because it will give you strength from the depths of your soul which springs from Truth. Lieing on the other hand is a draining activity because you have to strain yourself to conjure up an answer to suit the situation without any loopholes! Then because you will now worry that the truth may be found out, or that you lied, or were dishonest, you have no peace. See? No Truth, No Peace.

Speak the Truth and the Truth will set you Free!

If we are honest all the time, our honesty will show. Others will know we are genuine and therefore can be relied upon. Nobody likes a cheat and will never trust one.

Being honest with oneself is an important requisite towards being overall honest. Be honest about your own shortcomings. For eg, ask yourself: Do I forget things? Do I hang on to grudges? Am I selfish at times? Facing the truth about yourself helps you to forgive others their flaws. For if you have shortcomings and others bear with you, well, you should do the same for them, shouldn’t you?

Be honest too, with yourself about your strengths, your abilities and talents. Look at your good points. For eg, I am patient, I am forgiving, I am a caring person, … acknowledge and appreciate your good qualities without any ego attached. You do this by saying ‘I have a lot of patience’ not ‘nobody has more patience than I’. You say ‘I am a forgiving person’ not ‘I am the only one who forgives easily’. ‘I am a good cook’, not ‘nobody cooks better than I’.

Acknowledging your good points to yourself gives you confidence which in turn builds up your inner strength to speak the Truth under all circumstances.

Sadly, in our world of today, it is no secret that qualities of Honesty and Integrity are in short supply. Gandhijis principle ‘Satya meva Jayate’ meaning ‘there is victory only in Truth’ is followed by a very small percentage of people. Author Lance Secretan believes that ‘we are suffering from truth decay’.

As socially responsible citizens of the world, let us do our part to arrest this truth decay. Let us repeat sincerely, everyday, ‘Just for today, I will live my life Honestly’ and follow it up in practice. And if enough of us do this, maybe, just maybe, we will even reverse this truth decay! More people speaking the truth, more peace in the world! What could be more important than that ?!!

Next: All about Gratitude

Soul Reflections

By Kamal Tolia

New Year Resolutions ….. Part 8  All about Gratitude.

Just for today, I will live the attitude of Gratitude.

One day, a man had some questions about being grateful. So he asked God….

Man: Why should I be grateful? And for what should I be grateful?

God: Because you have so much and you know so much! Be grateful for everything.

Man: Everything?!!

God: Yes, everything!

Man: What do you mean by everything?

God: the air you breathe, the water you drink, the food you eat, your house, your clothes, the money you have, the car you drive, or the matatu you use, your children, family, friends, relatives, neighbours, teachers, your eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands, legs, the rain, the sun, moon, the earth, the mountains, the rivers, your furniture …

Man: Hey …Wait a minute, sorry to interrupt you, but these are so many ….!

God: Yes, my dear, and I have only just started, they are only 1% of my list for you!

Man: OK, God, please tell me more ….

God: Be grateful for your health, for the knowledge you have, …..

Man: Sorry again! Please God, I am suffering from acidity, and I don’t even get good sleep. How can I be thankful for that?

God: Be thankful for the health you do have. Think of those suffering from incurable diseases and give thanks that you are healthy …. May I go on?

Man: Sorry, Sorry, God, Yes, please tell me more …

God: Be grateful for all who smiled at you today, for many go without even a loving glance in their direction day after day …. Give thanks for your salary cheque however little it is, for there are many who are penniless … Be grateful for the job you do have, however grotty it is, for there are many walking the streets day in and day out, unemployed …. Be grateful for your education, for there are many who cannot read or write. For them the written word is a closed world … Be grateful for the good times and even the bad times in your life, for they have made you the person you are today ….

Man: I get it! I get it! I have to be grateful for all that has happened and all that is happening now, right? I have to be eternally grateful for what I have received in the past and am receiving now, right?

God: Yes, my child, be grateful, for everything, the good, the bad, the ugly .. each has in its own way made you stronger. Be grateful in advance too, for the good things and the good times coming your way!

Take nothing for granted. Today you may have everything. Tomorrow it may be gone! So give thanks continually. Receiving is one side of the coin, giving thanks is the other side. One cannot exist without the other. Even as you receive, so should you give Thanks. And even as you give thanks, you will receive more!

Next week: All about Gratitude contd.



Soul Reflections

By Kamal Tolia

New Year Resolutions ….. Part 9  All about Gratitude contd.

Man: Thank you God …. for showing me what I should be grateful for and why. Please, tell me how do to go about putting it into practice.

God: Make a list first. Include in it anything and everything from your past, your present and your future. You know the list will be inexhaustible, so keep it open ended.

Man: Yes dear God, just thinking about all that I have to be grateful for …. It’s overwhelming to say the least ….. but I will start! Dear God, please tell me, how do I give my thanks. Do I do it silently in my mind, or do I speak it out loudly?

God: My dear child, give your thanks silently … I will hear you! But also give your thanks openly, so others can see and follow.

Man: what do you mean by ‘see and follow’?

God: Well, when you show your gratitude by bringing Prasad to the mandir or lighting a candle at church, others see it, it gives them hope and strengthens their faith, and they too are reminded to be grateful.

Man: Thank You, God. What else should I know about being grateful?

God: Complete the cycle of receiving and giving by showing your gratitude openly. Do not be shy about it. for eg. If someone does something nice, it makes you happy …. well, show your happiness by giving thanks ….. If your prayer has been answered, or you overcame an illness, give your thanks and then share your gratitude with others … talk about it openly to your friends and family and any other person that prayed for you and helped you …

Then there is Gratitude on Action … do you want to know about this now, or are you too tired?

Man: No, please God, I am not tired …. I wish to learn more and more ….

God: Giving thanks silently or verbally is the first part of being Grateful. Follow it up with the second part with your Actions. Are you grateful to Nature for its bounty? Then show it….. how? … feed the birds … look after its resources, ….. plant more tress, preserve its environment …. Are you grateful for the health you enjoy, the roof over your head? … then show compassion for the sick, the homeless by giving them your money, AND your TIME … and so on ….this is called Gratitude in Action. It supports and strengthens your relationship with others and with ME ….

Man: Oh my God! I didn’t know any of this! Thank you, Thank you, for teaching me! I am overwhelmed once again! This time by the beauty of Giving Thanks! If only I had known this before! …..

God: my dear child, it is never too late to start! Start Today. Start Now! Think Speak and Act Gratitude. Continue tomorrow and the next day and the next. And before long, your life will be one continuous Song of Gratitude …..

Next: All about Love and Respect


Soul Reflections

By Kamal Tolia

New Year Resolutions ….. Part 10  All about Love and Respect

Just for today I will Love and Respect every living thing.

On the surface, this is a very simple sentence, quite easy to understand. Yes, sure, we must love and respect every living thing. But what exactly, does it mean? It means we have to show compassion, patience, understanding, acceptance and tolerance of everything alive i.e. people, plants, animals, etc.

But to understand is one thing, to put it into practice is quite another thing.

Do you love and respect all living creatures? Here are a few questions which will help you rate yourself. Be honest with your answers!

With your family,

  • do you respect other family members wants and needs and desires as much as you do your own? Eg. Do you share your TV time with them?
  • Do you give in willingly to your family members wishes in regard to choice of restaurants to go to and where to spend your holidays?
  • Are you sensitive to your wife’s / children’s / parents needs, not only the physical ones of food, shelter, clothing , but also to their emotional needs? eg. Do you show them that you love them?
  • Do you physically / emotionally abuse your children / wife / parents?
  • Do you or have you insisted that your children pursue their school / college subjects / careers choices according to your preferences, ignoring their wishes, talents, strengths?

With neighbours:

  • Do you respect your neighbours and care for them?
  • Do you play loud music, knowing full well that it disturbs them?
  • Do you have noisy parties late into the night, without any concern about the comfort of your neighbours?
  • Do you park your car without due regard to other people’s parking spaces in your compound?
  • How about disposal of your rubbish …. Does it inconvenience your neighbours?


With Friends:

  • Do you buy them something that you would never buy for yourself because it is of poor quality?
  • Do you gift them something that’s been lying with you for years, gathering dust …. the unused toaster, the shawl which you do not like …regardless of whether the person needs it or wants it?


With househelps:

  • Do you give them food which you would not eat yourself …. Eg stale leftover food?

When you give to Charity:

  • Do you give sub standard food ….. thinking that ‘they should be grateful for WHATEVER they receive …… ?
  • Do you donate clothes in very poor condition …… torn or faded …. Thinking that ‘Beggars can’t be choosers’?


With others

Do you pass on to others the dirty half torn currency note which you hated receiving yourself?


If your answer to any of the above questions is YES, you need to rethink your original statement. Do you really love and respect others? Do you as Jesus Christ tells us: Love thy neighbor as thyself? Do you do unto others as you would have others do unto you?

Next week: All about Love and Respect contd


Soul Reflections

By Kamal Tolia

New Year Resolutions ….. Part 11  All about Love and Respect contd.

Once again, do you show love and respect for all animals and plants, and the Earth? Yes, even the Earth, because She too is a living being! She too needs our love and respect!

Here are some questions:

For animals:

  • Do you love your pet as unconditionally as he loves you?
  • Do you or have you sometimes kicked animals or chased them or thrown stones at them?
  • Do you believe that all animals have a right to exist, exactly as humans have a right to exist?
  • Do you believe that they have to be culled (their population controlled) by humans as they see fit?
  • Do you love wearing or using animal products that have come from killing animals?
  • Have you killed an animal for fun or for food?
  • Do you eat meat?


For Plants:

  • Have you cut down plants and trees indiscriminately?
  • Have you planted a tree seedling and then neglected it and it has died?


For the Earth:

  • Do you disregard the Earth’s resources by wasting water, using too much petrol, polluting the atmosphere, dirtying the rivers, lakes and seas, using non biodegradable materials like plastics?

If you have said yes, … well then, you have not shown love and respect for the animals, plants and the earth. You have most likely inflicted pain on them. Then how can you say you love and respect them?


Here is a poem by Cecil Frances Alexander we had to recite at school:

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all


Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.

The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.

The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset, and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day;–

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.


All creatures great and small …. That means us and the tiniest of living things. We are all made by God and have come from Him. Loving all creatures is equivalent to loving God and respecting all He has made.


Man actually is the crown of creation, for he is closest to God in his capacity to love. He was created to be the custodian of the Earth and all that lives and breathes. He was not created to kill others, be it humans, plants, animals for whatever reason! So remember your true calling … and Just for today, show love and respect for every living thing!

Next: All about Judging others.


Soul Reflections

By Kamal Tolia

New Year Resolutions ….. Part 12  All about Judging others.

Just For Today, I Will Not Judge Others.

Do we judge others? Yes we do, all the time. We measure their behaviors and appearances with our own yardsticks, judge them as good or bad, right or wrong. And after judging them we condemn them or praise them.

Now, this would work, if every body’s yardstick had the same measuring scale. But the problem is that there are many yardsticks around … as many people, that many yardsticks and not all of them concur on what constitutes good and bad, right and wrong.

Often we pass judgment on people and situations without knowing the full story. We look at the situation and make a hasty judgment based on appearances.

Even in a court of Law, the judgment is given only ‘after taking into consideration all evidence …..’ Even the sentence meted out is given out carefully, keeping many factors in mind. Further, the sentence is meted out only after judgment is made. He is not condemned right at the start. Shouldn’t we do the same in our everyday lives?

Is there a difference between speaking out a judgment and only thinking it? The fact that you have judged someone in the privacy of your head is bad enough. To speak it out is worse, as it gives a finality, a seal to your judgment, implying that the person you have judged is doomed.

A long time ago, when I was growing up in India, there used to be a lady by the name of Ishwari staying in my building in Mumbai. She was not married even at the age of 40 years. In the 1950’s, that in itself was enough for all the neighbors to talk behind her back. Everybody agreed she must be a woman of loose character ….. oh, she must be having many boyfriends , for who ever heard of a single woman staying all by herself and being happy without a man?

Then it became known that she used to go to the ‘red light area’ of Mumbai. More food for gossip in the community! The neighbors kept tabs on her. She was spending her morning there every day! Rumours flew thick and fast! She was a prostitute! She was a slut! She was a disgrace to the neighborhood! Unknowingly, she was being judged and condemned.

Only years later, did we discover, that she had been writing her thesis for her doctorate. The topic of the thesis? The lives of prostitutes, how they had been duped or kidnapped and forced into prostitution, their hopes, their dreams for their children that were born out of forced sex in the red light district!

How wrongly had Ishwari been judged! In fact, she had been doing a noble task. Instead of condemning her, she should have been admired and praised for her bravery and daring to become the voice of the suppressed and downtrodden. How many of us could take her place?

Next week: All about Judging others contd.



Soul Reflections

By Kamal Tolia

New Year Resolutions ….. Part 13  All about Judging others contd.

Here are a few other instances when we can mistakenly judge people.

A 16 year old girl is seen walking with her 2 year old son. The first thought that comes to people is: she was promiscuous, or how else would she be a mother so young? Little do they know that the poor girl was raped at age 13 years, became pregnant, chose not to commit the murder of abortion and have her child instead!

An overweight man is labeled as ‘FAT’. Oh he must be a glutton, no control over eating! Little do we know that he has a serious thyroid problem, causing him to be overweight. Then another similar instance: A girl who is called ‘fatso’ by all. She has been trying to lose weight, in fact has lost 10 kg in the last 6 months! A man is called ugly. No one knows a grenade blew up in his face when he was a young lad fighting to defend his country. Then how about a child who is called stupid by his teachers and class mates? He struggles for over 4 hours every day with his homework, as he has a learning difficulty.

And so we judge others … he / she is too fat, too thin, too shy, too outspoken, too greedy, too sly, too quiet, too loud, …. Always trying to measure others with our yardstick. Parents are often guilty of judging their children by comparing them with each other. Please do not fall into this habit. It can do untold damage to your children’s personality! Appreciate each child for his / her talents and abilities and be sensitive to their natures.

Then there is the other side of the equation to consider. Who are we to judge others? Are we faultless ourselves? Jesus Christ tells us … ‘Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your neighbor’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?……’

In the final analyses, there are no good or bad people, only certain behaviors. People are not inherently bad. Some of their actions can be bad. Equally, at other times, their actions can be good. So instead of judging them as bad, and keeping that label permanently, know that the label is incorrect, for they can be good as well.

There is so much tragedy in our world today. Try to avoid hurting someone else, so that you can be part of the solution rather than adding to the problem. Let us be kind in our thoughts about others. Try it one day at a time….. Just for today I will not judge others …

Next: All about Letting Go



Soul Reflections

By Kamal Tolia

New Year Resolutions ….. Part 14. All about Letting Go.

Just for Today I will Let Go and Forgive

About a year ago, I had written in this column about Forgiveness, so I will not repeat myself. Instead I will write about ‘letting go’ of the small things that hurt us each day.

First of all, let us remember one very important lesson: Life is a journey, and like all journeys, it has the good times sprinkled with the bad times. And being hurt is part of the bad times.

Have you been insulted? Then you have been hurt. Have you ever been treated unfairly? Then you have been hurt. Have your efforts not been noticed? Then you have been hurt. At the workplace, has someone less deserving been passed over you for promotion? Then you have been hurt.

At home, if you are a child, do you feel your siblings are praised more often than you? Then you know what hurt is. As a mother and wife, do you feel you are being treated unfairly, nobody cares about what you need, and everybody is taking advantage of you? Then you know what hurt is. As a father and husband, do you feel you are getting a raw deal on all fronts, the workplace and the home place, and you wish your life was different? Then you know what hurt is.

Hurtful situations are present around many bends of the road of Life. Husbands and wives quarrel, causing emotional and or physical anguish to each other. Friends let us down, often causing deep pain. Colleagues forget favours. Children don’t live up to your expectations. They can even hurt you with their remarks.

Thus we can be hurt numerous times in innumerable ways. Each time we feel the emotion of hurt, our positive vibrations are reduced. The energy in our cells is lowered. The efficiency of the cells is reduced. They cannot function properly. Over time, they fall sick, which means we fall sick! Being in a state of ‘continuous hurt’ is detrimental to our health.

So if being hurt is an integral part of living, what should our attitude be? We have two choices: We can keep on remembering the hurt and become sick, or we can put it aside. Note I am not talking about forgetting that the incident happened, or forgetting the pain. That is not possible, because our conscious mind is not programmed to allow that. But we can put the incident aside, and take each moment anew, take life afresh. What we should not do is keep the pain alive by reliving the painful incident every moment of our waking life.

Letting go starts with putting our pain and hurt aside first. Otherwise, all our actions will come from a place of pain and hurt, and only pain and hurt can come out on to others. Others will then reciprocate in kind! And voila!! We will have a hurt and pain cycle in place, each one hurting the other, which is no good for anybody!

Next week: More about letting go


Soul Reflections

By Kamal Tolia

New Year Resolutions ….. Part 15. All about Letting Go contd.

Just for Today I will Let Go and Forgive.

Here are a few reasons to ‘let go.’

  1. Understand that unless someone is really evil, and enjoys hurting others, chances are that he already feels remorse at some level. Maybe he doesn’t want to admit his mistake or his wrong. So let it go …..
  2. It might come as a surprise to you, but most people don’t set out to deliberately hurt others. Their actions and / or words reflect the state they are in. If they are coming from a place of hurt, their words and actions will be hurtful to others. Understand that they are coming from a place of pain, and therefore can’t help themselves. Instead of hating them and holding onto the pain they have caused you, be compassionate and give them your love and your pain will soon disappear!
  3. 3.    Then how about the times when others feel we have hurt them. Without realizing it, we might have been insensitive or thoughtless, even though we had good intentions. In such a situation, you would want the other party to not hold it against you! You would want them to understand that you did not mean it the way it felt to them, wouldn’t you? So when the tables are turned, don’t you think that you should think that perhaps they didn’t mean to hurt you, that their intentions were good too? Give them the benefit of the doubt and let it go!
  4. 4.    Remember that letting go is not for them, it is for you. Hanging onto the anger is harmful to you. Why would you want to keep something that is slowly poisoning you? Be your best friend. Love yourself. Tell yourself, that you choose health for yourself, and you will allow NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to jeopardize it.
  5. 5.    Then of course we are all humans, and can make mistakes. I make them and so do you. You hang on to all the mistakes others have made by hurting you, and your neighbor does the same, and every person on the street does the same, and before long, we have all of society doing the same. The result? Huge unresolved grudges, nobody willing to admit their mistakes and nobody ready to forgive and let go. Do not fall into this category of contributing to societal hate! Let it go now …….
  6. Sometimes, you may feel that you just cannot find it in your heart to forgive, then do not despair. Forgive yourself first, for not being able to let go. It is ok. We are not super human. Maybe we are hurting too much right now. But do make the conscious effort to lay aside the hurt so that it does not get reflected in your relationships with others. Do this every day, until one day you will be able to lay it aside forever. You will have let it go!

Next: Conclusion

Soul Reflections

By Kamal Tolia

New Year Resolutions ….. Part 16. Conclusion

A summary of the New Year Resolutions.

  1. Just for today, I will  not get angry

Remember how it felt when someone got angry at you, shouted at you, even called you names? Not good, I bet! Remember this feeling, and do not lose your temper at others. Getting angry is a sure fire way of spoiling your relationships!

  1. 2.    Just for today, I will not worry

Worry eats away at you. Try to remember that you are a part of a Universal Whole. Everything happens in perfect timing. There is a Master Plan in place and everything is unfolding according to this Master Plan!

  1. 3.    Just for today, I will be honest

Be honest, speak the truth at all times. Remember, you can never be punished for speaking the Truth. You can only be punished for speaking a falsehood. Be Honest in every aspect of your life, and you will attract Honesty from others.

  1. 4.    Just for today, I will be grateful

If you cannot find anything to be grateful for, focus on this: Give thanks for being alive today, for the life in you to be able to enjoy another day … Do you want others to be grateful for all that you have done for them? You start the ball rolling by being grateful first!

  1. 5.    Just for today, I will show love and respect for every living thing

All living things are an extension of you, just like your arms and legs and fingers. Do you not do your best for your body parts? Then do the same for others ….. humans, animals, plants. Do you want Love and Respect? Then show the same for others.

  1. 6.    Just for today, I will not judge others

Be kind in your judgments about others. Try not to hurt others, even in your mind. Just as you would like your actions to be judged fairly, do the same to others. If you are kind in your thoughts and words about others, the same kindness will be meted out to you by others.

  1. 7.    Just for today, I will let go and forgive

For the sake of your health, let it go! Each person is responsible for their own actions and words. If you have been hurt by others, know that they were irresponsible, it is their problem, not yours! Do not make a problem for yourself by keeping the hurt and pain and grudge, let it go! Life is more than these incidents that caused you pain. Life is also Joy! But where pain is, Joy cannot be. Do you want Joy in your life? Then put the pain aside and make room for Joy in your life!

Gandhiji: Be the change that you wish to see in this world! No easier way to accomplish this than by repeating the above 7 sentences every day. Just for Today ……

If you have adopted these resolutions and found them useful, I would love to hear from you! Do e mail me!






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  1. raj says:

    Thank You Kamal, by strarting our year and many years with what we have forgotten, or choosen to forget. We tend to forget the important things in life like gratitude,despite receiving all the time. We feel we need to receive! and we are humans so we should receive! What a long way for us to realise that we receive with gratitude and breath gratitude! Thank you again.

  2. Bhavna Kassam says:

    Dear Kamal Aunty – Thank you for keeping ‘Reiki’ ALIVE in Kenya and the rest of the world …. although we try and keep up with all the healing and commitments we have made, it is always a ‘breath of freshair’ to read your weekly articles in the ASIAN WEEKLY and it always helps us – as a family – to remind ourselves of the 7 promises we have agreed to make for the NEW YEAR’s resolution …. Thank you for keeping us on track and THANK YOU for always being there for us all. Love and Light … from Bhavna, Karishma & Anoushka KASSAM

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