The White Hindu has moved

The White Hindu has moved! This blog is no longer updated, but Ambaa is still writing The White Hindu every weekday at

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Good and Bad Qualities -Different Sides of the Same Coin?

Here is something that I observed recently.

Patience is often considered a virtue. My boyfriend has a lot of it (one of his many great qualities). I have almost none of it.

For a long time I've seen my lack of patience as a fault, but now I'm starting to see that both patience and lack of patience have benefits and both have drawbacks.

It is because of his patience that my boyfriend is able to remain calm through difficult situations and take steady, well planned steps into the future. But because he has patience he also weighs and measures what he's going to do slowly and carefully, perhaps wasting time or opportunity.

It is because of my lack of patience that I am able to improve myself and my life so rapidly. As soon as I want to try something, change something, do something new, I am acting on that impulse within a few hours. Once I have a thought, that thought becomes a plan before the day is over.

So, I don't miss out on opportunity and am able to improve my life quickly. And I think the downsides to a lack of patience are well known! I sometimes have a manic quality because I want to do everything and do it right now. I have trouble with impulse control and delaying gratification (studies have shown that children who are able to delay gratification grow into more stable and happy adults). Also, I might leap into things I'm not ready for or that turn out to be a mistake because I didn't consider carefully.

What other virtues or faults do you think encompass both a good side and a bad side?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ambaa Hinduism

Recently this comment was left on one of my posts...
The problem with Hinduism is that it has been very Indian in it character. Here I mean that Hinduism is often associated with India. We have to understand that Hinduism which is practised in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Cambodia is not exactly same as the one which in followed in India. There they have developed their own ways and methods of practising and developing Hinduism. The White Hindus living in North America and Europe have got an opportunity to develop their own forms of Hinduism. They can and should link Hindu ideas and ways with their own culture and surroundings. They should not be dependent on Indian Hindus to guide them what Hinduism is or not. Instead them they should make their own Hinduism, let's say, American Hinduism or French Hinduism. For me, Hinduism is an individual journey. I don't need others to tell what to do or what not to do. I can explore it on my own. Bhavya Ketan 

It got me thinking that really a religion is so very individual. I don't mean whether or not it's a more community oriented culture or not, but rather that we each process and understand the world around us differently.  Even believing exactly the same guru, being in the same lineage, I will understand the teachings slightly differently from how you will.

There's no such thing as "Indian Hinduism" because there's as many different Hinduisms as there are individuals.

Over the years of writing this blog I have become more and more secure in myself and my practices. I am very comfortable with my place as a Hindu in this world. I no longer feel that I need anyone's permission to practice it.

I also practice it in my own ways. I leave out rituals that don't have meaning for me. I am confident that my practices are leading me on the path towards enlightenment.

I recognize that my path is unlike any one else's path. My religion is filtered through me and will always have my own unique take on it.

It really is true, I think. No one person's Hinduism is going to look exactly like another's.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Connotation of Hippies

For the past couple of weeks I've been struggling with a cold. It eventually morphed into a sinus infection and I went looking for a doctor. I am terrible about seeing doctors regularly and I never pick a new primary care doctor until I actually really need something. As usual,I had changed insurance companies about a year ago and never updated any doctor information.

Long story short, I went on the insurance website and picked a new doctor based on the fact that she was close to me. I also noticed that her name was Indian and her profile said she spoke Hindi. Not that there's any shortage of potential Indian doctors to visit.

It was a tiny practice and I sat for a long time in the waiting room while the nurses tried to sort out my insurance information. A Christian rock station was playing in the background, and most of you know how much that grates on me. But I remained peaceful and didn't let it get to me.

The doctor herself was a delightful little middle aged woman. She was sharp and fun to talk to. When she asked me about what medical care I had recently, I told her that I went to see a doctor and got everything up to date in February 2010 for my trip to India (Can you believe my trip to India was more than a year ago now? I can't!)

She was very excited to hear that I'd been to India and wanted to know more about where I went and what I did. She was not as familiar with the South, but of course she knew the Chankaracharya. She was pleased with me for being a spiritual individual (and also heaped praise on me for not being a smoker!).

She asked how I came to be in India and I gave my pat response that I give most of the time. I have this one quick sentence because most people do not expect or want me to launch into a whole long explanation about my background.So I just say, "Because my parents are hippies."

Usually that causes people to nod knowingly, but this time the doctor was very upset when I said that. "No," she said, "Don't call them hippies. They are spiritual people, the highest aim in life. Do they sit around without jobs?"

"Well, no."

"Do they move around all the time never taking responsibility?"


"Then they are not hippies.You should never call them that."

It was interesting because I could see how her idea of what hippies are and my idea of what they are seem to be quite different. Her idea is, admittedly, more valid than mine. I was born in 1982 and had no direct experience of the 70s.

And she's right that I should not be so dismissive of the long, hard work my parents have done to improve their souls. For nearly 40 years they have been dedicated to meditation, mindfulness practice, and studying ancient wisdom.

In the future I will find a new way to explain my Indian connections.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Why Being in the Present Moment is Hard

Life has been very good to me recently. I met and started a relationship with an absolutely wonderful man who is my perfect match in every way. I feel total peace and trust in our relationship and there is no need to push towards any next goal. What we have now is perfection and what ever we have in the future will also be perfection. There's nothing I would change.

Which brings up something very interesting for me.

I inherited from my mother, as many of us do, a tendency to worry. To worry over things in the future that I have no control over! I'm also addicted to achieving. I love video games because I enjoy that little rush of getting to the next level, unlocking the next achievement. My knitting is symptomatic of this too. I feel like I'm being productive, I'm accomplishing something as I turn string into sweaters.

With the relationship, though, there is no rush towards anything, no stepping stones to get to, nothing to try to achieve. And it's making me feel slightly weird.

Not that there's anything wrong, I just noticed this vague uncomfortableness in myself because I don't need to *do* anything.I just have to *be*

Why is that so difficult?

A while ago I noticed that staying present eliminates a lot of the pain and stress from life. A little bit of concern and plan for the future is good, but most of what we do is useless and only serves to make us tense. Is it a problem today? No? Don't worry about it.

And then you can keep breaking that down. Is it a problem this hour? This minute? This moment?  You'll find that in the actual moment you are currently in, there is virtually no stress, no worry, and even no physical pain.

Knowing that, how is it that we don't spend all our time in the present moment?

I think it's because of that addiction to achieving. We enjoy the stress because it leads to those little endorphin rushes when we feel like we've fixed something or done something useful.

Learning to recognize the joy and peace in just being and not having to do, do, do all the time, is quite a challenge!