Summary of “Life’s Amazing Secrets” by Sri Gaur Gopal Das

LIFE’S AMAZING SECRETS – How to find Balance and Purpose in Your Life

Sri Gaur Gopal Das’s philosophy out from his years of wisdom and thrusts it back where it belongs, in our daily lives, helping all of us approaching any problem with equanimity and poise. A kind of Spiritualistic manual for life, you will turn to it time and time again and learn to tear through any obstacle, resolve conflicts, forgive and value the relationships. An absolute must-read and I guarantee you that you’ll enjoy Gaur Gopal Das Ji’s sense of humour in every chapter as much as we cherish in his videos. There are four principles (wheels) that form the foundation of a happy life

1. PERSONAL LIFE

2. RELATIONSHIPS

3. WORK LIFE

4. SOCIAL CONTRIBUTION

I’ve written below from the book for my reference and wanted to share with my readers who may find it useful and apply some of the key teachings of Sri Gaur Gopal Das. I recommend to buy the jovial book having wisdom of life. I’ve also written down the meanings of many words which I couldn’t understand without the help of the dictionary. Hope it helps!!

Happiness does not come automatically. We have to choose to live happily, we have to choose with integrity and we have to choose to live with balance. It is this balance that will make our journey through life smooth and effective.

“Experience is not what happens to a man, it is what a man does with what happens to him” – Aldous Huxley

“If someone offers you an amazing opportunity, and you are not sure you can do it, say YES, then learn how to do it later” – Sir Richard Branson

Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul – Democritus

As you become successful, do not forget the keys to happiness

connoisseur – A connoisseur is a person who has a great deal of knowledge about the fine arts, cuisines, or an expert judge in matters of taste.

Food tastes better when you eat with your hands

Mother’s hair was always tightly tied with a bun but her arms are always open for a hug

Its all too easy to focus on external achievements and forget to assess whether we are happy with the state of our life

Behind the smiles, everyone is going through personal struggles we know nothing about

“As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself… Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility” – Nelson Mandela

deafening – A silence or lack of response that reveals something significant, such as disapproval or a lack of enthusiasm.

palatable – Acceptable or agreeable to the mind or sensibilities.

Quiver – to shake with a slight but rapid motion; vibrate tremulously; tremble. See more.

When we comfort someone, it is easy to fall into their sorrowful energy, which can perpetuate their suffering. Its important that we bring positive, non-judgemental energy into these conversations

ludicrous – amusing or laughable through obvious absurdity, incongruity, exaggeration, or eccentricity.

shimmering – to shine with or reflect a subdued, tremulous light; gleam faintly.

sweltering – Suffering from oppressive heat. Sweltry; sultry; suffocating with heat.

How can love that started so pure evaporate so quickly

Our egos are such that admitting sorrows to someone else comes when we are incredibly humble or when we are in considerable pain

The paradox of our times is that those who have the most can often be the least satisfied. We have mastered how to look successful, but not how to organize our lives so that we feel successful.

Listening to understand is more important than listening to reply.

Having a friend to listen to your problems and discuss them with you is the beginning of finding a solution

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step – Lao Tzu

Our silent presence can be more powerful than a million empty words

the answer to all problems related to the human condition seldom excludes a conscious, compassionate ear

What should I do are the four words any life coach hates

astray – Away from the correct path or direction.

We all have three things common: we are all stuck, we all have a journey to complete, and we all have a destination

There is a traffic jam within our minds, That traffic jam is stopping each one of us from reaching our true potential.

All of these cars around you have four wheels equally weighing down on the axle. The loss of air in any one of these wheels can slow you down in reaching your destination; the loss of one can be fatal. Therefore it is imperative that your wheels are regularly checked and maintained. Similarly, there are four principles that form the foundation of a happy life.

We must find positivity in the bleakest situations and live by the principle of gratitude

“We learned about gratitude and humility – that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean… and we were taught to value everyone’s contribution and treat everyone with respect” – Michelle Obama

You cannot do charity from an empty bowl

The eyes are the window to the soul

sclera – The sclera, also known as the white of the eye, is the opaque, fibrous, protective, outer layer of the human eye containing mainly collagen and some elastic fiber.

The mind is what we use to perceive the world. We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are

The sands of time slow for no man.

See the positive

When negativity consumes the mind, not only do we lose the vision to see the beautiful things around us, but also the ability to solve the problems that confront us.

When we think negatively of people, we should immediately counteract that energy by contemplating three positive qualities they have.

Focus on gratitude – GRatitude is not a feeling; it is a state of mind that can be developed, and it allows us to tap into a reservoir of unlimited positive energy.

Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room – Jeff Bezos

I’m intensely praying for you and I am intensely praying for all of us too

We need to make time to practise gratitude

Stop and reflect on your life regularly. Pressing the pause button to practise gratitude is the way to make it a constant in your life.

I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. It’s the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, Will pursue their principles unto death ~ Leonardo da Vinci

When we are thankful for what we have, we become poised to receive more

We must prioritize our gratitude. We must press pause and stop to smell the roses

When words fail, music speaks – Hans Christian Anderson

Joshua Bell Friday 12 Jan 2007 Washington Post experiment

Context manipulates our Perspective

Optimism is a choice.

Happiness is a choice.

Giving back is a choice.

Forgiveness is a choice.

Being honest is a choice.

Spoken words are choice.

Teaching others is a choice.

Showing gratitude is a choice.

Respecting others is a choice.

Living a recommendable life is a choice.”

When things are beyond your control and there is nothing you can do, why worry?

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy – Leo Buscaglia

Most things in life are beyond our control; we should not judge any situation by its face value

When we are desperate our senses, become heightened and we become more attentive

Sometimes when we get engrossed in a problem, we feel trapped in our own minds

regurgitate – repeat (information) without analysing or comprehending it.

A spiritual process gives us the ability to come out of this mental loop and help transform the greatest difficulties into opportunities

Spiritual practice is the foundation of our happiness. It guides us in times of turmoil and grounds us in times of joy

Meditation can help us embrace our worries, our fear, our anger; and that is very healing. We let our own natural capacity of healing do the work – Thich Nhat Hanh

We are not human beings having spiritual experiences; We are spiritual beings having human experiences

It is our relationship with something higher than ourselves can give us love and allow us to give love to others

Bickering – argue about petty and trivial matters

Having fewer possessions frees one of anxiety, giving you more mind-space for the vital things in life

Everyone has a fascinating story that we know nothing about

Treat someone better than you would like to be treated. Ask yourself the question, Does my tone of voice, body language and behaviour reflect sensitivity?

Familiarity breeds contempt. When we are overly familiar with people, we forget how important they are to us and the correct way to behave with them.

When we treat inanimate objects or our possessions with disrespect or insensitivity, we will end up treating people the same

Insensitivity becomes part of our general attitude, and our Instinct does not discriminate between things and people

All aspects of our life are integrated

Everything has its utility and must be used in that particular way

The way we act in one area of life can have dire consequences in another

There are many ways to perceive others. We should start choosing the one which magnifies the positive and avoids the negative

Any one can find the dirt in someone. Be the one that finds the Gold – Proverbs 11:27

Sly – having or showing a cunning and deceitful nature.

Points in the favour of this employee

Whenever I am tempted to reprimand someone, I convince myself to sit down and write a list of all good qualities they have. This may not necessarily change my decision, but it helps me put things into perspective and control my anger

To focus on the good and deal with the bad is a principle that can save relationships and help us make the right decision

Neglecting the bad does not mean that we do not deal with it practically. It just means that we do not allow our mind to focus on and hover over the bad

Vehemently – in a forceful, passionate, or intense manner; with great feeling.

Correcting Cautiously- Corrective feedback can make or break our relationships

“It is strange that sword and words have the same letters. Even more strange is that they have the same effect if not handled properly” – Anonymous

Most of the time our frustration comes from improper dealings in our relationships

Our mutual funds and our relationships have one thing in common: we must invest in both before we can withdraw

Learning the art of appreciation is vital for building healthy relationships

When we see people we love feeling upset, we naturally feel upset

True forgiveness contributes to forming the strongest bonds between friends

Only when we invest in people can we correct them

Beyond any other need, the greatest longing of every individual is to give love and to be loved

To give corrective feedback; ask four questions

1. Am I the right person to give corrective feedback?

2. Do I have the right motive to give corrective feedback?

3. Do I know the right way to give corrective feedback?

4. Is it the right time?

It is said that we can control two things in our life, our desires and our motives. Our desires govern what we want and our motives tell us why we want it

Conscientious – wishing to do one’s work or duty well and thoroughly.

We should be Conscientious that our motive is appropriate

It was not what you said, it’s how you said it. Our tone of voice, body language and facial expressions account for more than the words we use

Hot heads do not give good feedback— choose a better time

Having the knowledge of something is far from mastering it

Forgiveness is a complex concept. We must understand it thoroughly to be able to internalize it

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr

We no longer bother with the subtle intricacies and niceties in our relationships— we think about people in terms of their purpose or utility, and hence, our interactions are driven by that intention. We think about products the same way

Subtle – capable of making fine distinctions.

intricacies – details, especially of an involved or perplexing subject.

Relationships follow the same principles as growing a plant: constant care is required so that one day, it blooms.

Forgiveness warms the heart and cools the sting

Practising Forgiveness:

1. Look beyond the situation

2. Separate the Episode from the Person

3. Higher purpose

4. Justice

a moment of patience in a moment of anger can save a thousand moments of regret in the future

Equipoise – balance of forces or interests.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me

Words can leave invisible scars that can take years, or even lifetimes, to heal

Quivering- trembling or shaking with a slight rapid motion.

Forgiveness means to take note of the higher purpose

Relationships are tested during difficult times

Love is when we have every reason to breakup but we do not

The principle of forgiveness and the principle of social justice go hand-in-hand; it takes wisdom and introspection to know how they are to be used

The topic of relationships has spiritual roots. If we can understand how to create to people on a spiritual level, then we can transcend our dividing differences

Our relationships are stronger when they contain a spiritual component. There are three different ways to become good friends with someone

“Truth is, I’ll never know all there is to know about you, just as you will never know all there is to know about me. Humans are by nature too complicated to be understood fully. So, we can choose either to approach our fellow human beings with suspicion or to approach them with an open mind, a dash of optimism and a great deal of candour” ~ Tom Hanks

The principle of relationship is an inherent universal one that guides our lives.

A man or a woman is known by the company they keep

Ablutions – an act of washing oneself.

Intimacy in our association begins with giving and receiving

There is a deep emotional bonding that happens when we break bread together

When someone pours out their heart to us, we are not only understanding their point of view but subconsciously also being influenced by their values and beliefs

Intimate association is about interactions that go beyond doing the needful; beginning with sharing things moving on to sharing food and finally sharing thoughts, values and beliefs

Watch your thoughts, they turn in to words. Watch your words, they turn into actions. Watch your actions, they turn into habits. Watch your habits, they turn into character. Watch your character, it turns into your destiny.

It all begins with a thought

At work we tend to compare and compete with others, instead of comparing and competing with ourselves

Being he richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me — Steve Jobs

When one harbours I’ll feelings towards others wanting to be like them or better than them but does not act on those feelings , it is called jealousy. Jealousy turns into envy. An envy is the root cause of being competitive with others in a way where one does not mind going to any extent to take their place.

Workplace competition

People with a closed mindset want to grow by beating others in their field. Open minded people on the other hand grow by developing themselves. They know that nobody is their competition. They are their own competition.

Everyday they keep striving to become better versions of themselves, even if the growth is a tiny fragment. They feel uncomfortable if they remain the same as they were yesterday.

Matthew McConaughey 2014 Oscar Speech

We should imbibe the thought of self-competition, rather than feeling insecure about others going ahead.

Competing with others was a distraction from your own inner creativity. If we compare ourselves with others too much, we succumb to ordinariness.

If we have to compare ourselves with others, we should compare positive attitudes. That person’s attitude to tirelessly keep working or grinding at their skills is inspiring

Rather than being political, it is better to constantly work hard on self improvement to achieve excellence

To find your purpose in life, you must go on a journey of self-discovery

Sometimes the warrior feels as if he were living two lives at once… there is a bridge that links what I do with what I would like to do, he thinks. Slowly, his dreams take over his everyday life, and then he realises that he is ready for the thing he always wanted. Then all that is needed is a little daring, and his two lives become one

— Paulo Coelho

Every individual has something unique in them. God covers our talent, skills and potential only so that we have the chance to discover it.

Self-Discovery is not a onetime event but an ongoing evolution, and as life goes on we discover how much we are capable of achieving

If you do what you love, you will never have to work a day in your life

Purpose of life

What do you love?

What are you good at?

What does the world need?

What can you get paid for?

You have to act on two things, first is love what you have to do and second thing is make time in life for what you love to do.

Earn with integrity, spend with compassion — Radhanath Swami

Spirituality helps to declutter your mind. This clarity gives you the ability to understand your purpose at a deeper level. You don’t have to become a monk like me to practise spirituality

The service you do for other is the rent you pay for your room here on Mother Earth — Muhammad Ali

Opulence – great wealth or luxuriousness.

unscrupulous – having or showing no moral principles; not honest or fair.

Spiritualists should be happy with the bare minimum, when it comes to working hard with the aim of serving others , they should be not satisfied

Spirituality does not kill our ambition; it redirects it towards the service of others

The important asterisk after “living in splendour” is to access if we are giving back proportionately

We should not only increase the standard of living but also the standard of our giving

Humility or meekness does not mean you are a pushover, it means you understand how to behave properly in all scenarios.

Be straightforward in two things; business and eating

Good character is a shiny light to show us how to live our life

Spirituality helps develop good character. It is character that shines bright when words fail to do so.

Live your life in such a way that those who know you but don’t know God, Will come to know God because they know you – Anonymous

We feel inspired by those who live with the right conduct, character and integrity

Philosophy without a good character is of little or no value

You can be completely selfish, completely selfless or any of the combination in between. Life is a journey from being selfish to becoming selfless

Act without expectation — Lao Tzu

Painful situations are easier to deal with when you have friends by your side to support you.

Thoughts travel faster than words and they are not always in the right order

The ideology behind the ice cream is; enjoy your life before it melts. To savour every moment of your life through personal enjoyment.

On the other hand the candle is to give light before it melts. selfless nature of the candle is to burn to give light for other people to see. The journey of life is moving from being an ice cream to being a candle. This is the purpose of everyone’s life at the core: to share, give and contribute to others.

We can love others only if we know what it feels like to be loved. We can only bring hope to others if we feel hope for ourselves. To sum up, we can only give to others what we possess.

Compassion fatigue is a state of stress experienced by those who help others to the extent that they start suffering because of their preoccupation with the suffering of others.

The first step in selflessness is to practise with your family.

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them — Desmond Tutu

Relationships at home can work well only if all parties have low expectations of each other, but high expectations of themselves to help the other.

Selflessness starts with our family, but it should not just end there. To expand our circle of selflessness we should help those outside of our immediate care and affection too

We can increase our scope of selflessness beyond our family by serving our community, city or even nation.

You need an attitude of service. You’re not just serving yourself. You help others to grow up and you grow with them — David Green

It’s in the moment of deep grief that we understand what people mean to us

The service you do for others is the rent you pay for your room here on Mother Earth – Muhammad Ali

When we practice spirituality sincerely, we obtain a higher perspective of life.

Hedonistic- engaged in the pursuit of pleasure; sensually self-indulgent.

Love for God is composed of three things

  1. Right action- we must express our love through the correct action. We must behave and act in a way that is in line with spiritual principles 
  2. Right intention- our intentions must be selfless. 
  3. Right mood- we must serve in a way that is favourable for our growth

When we have deep love to the God, it becomes natural for us to want to share that with everyone 

The highest commandment is to love thy God with all thy soul and all thy might and all thy heart.

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