The vibrant river waters are alive. A river in flood overflows the banks and forms pools of water which later get delinked from the river. The stagnant pool water slowly gathers all kinds of scum and forgets its onetime vibrancy. Is there a message?

We have all seen the dancing waters of a river sometime or the other. There is a strange attraction towards them. They seem to have messages for us. Our life on this planet flows like a river too. That is how we can learn from the geographical river and enrich our lives beyond the limited vision and self-centered activities put forth by the ego. The rustling waters of the river have a living quality. During times of flood, the river overflows its banks and inundates the neighboring areas. Water collects in depressions as pools which become detached from the river as the flood recedes. In course of time, these pools may disappear but some may remain due to an impervious underground. They may also be fed by some occasional rain water. The fact that they are no longer in contact with the vibrant river leads to stagnation and the associated fouling due to several causes. Some scum may also form on them. The waters there seem to have forgotten their once vibrant nature while they were part of the river. In short, they seem to represent the lives of people who become settled in some ego-satisfying situations. Shall we call it the Pool Syndrome? The question is: How do we avoid getting into that unfortunate situation?

The waters on the river seem to be sedulously on their journey towards the goal – that of joining the ocean. The same way, people who understand their journey through many lives, towards perceiving and ultimately merging with the Truth, remain in constant awareness of it. They understand that life on this planet serves as a learning platform and apply themselves to it with diligence. Thus, they do not use their life merely to chasing ego-satisfaction and security. They keep the loftier purpose steadily in view. This is what prevents them from getting caught in stagnant pools caused by incessant self-centered activities. The ego wants to use everything to its end. Even when it praises the Lord, this attitude is in its background. It wants to use even God to its end! When the waking consciousness is governed by the habitual vortex of self-centered activity, it becomes the unfortunate causal factor in pushing people into the Pool Syndrome.

The dynamism of life is sustained by our being explorers; that would prevent the ego’s self-importance prevail over everything in life. Such importance would inevitably sink us in the Pool Syndrome. Many people, however, fall for it because the psychological atmosphere in which the child grows is too compelling to escape. Notwithstanding all that, some people have the necessary adventurism in them to steer clear of the habitual neurology and sustain the spirit of exploration. They would have no emotional attachment to any belief system or its opposite. Thus their life would be a constant journey of discovery until a catharsis sweeps away all mental illusions and lands them in the Ultimate. That is a kind of merger with Divinity. At no part of that journey there would be the attempt to use Divinity to one’s end.

It is interesting to note that, while being on that journey, many truly good things happen as byproducts, without our effort. Sensing this, our confidence in ourselves and in the intrinsic sacredness of life grows. Consequently, the associated mental serenity helps us and others lead an unselfish, well-ordered and useful life. The study of reincarnation helps us understand our long journey through many incarnate and discarnate periods so that the ‘limited cocoon psychology’ does not entrench us in a heavily ego-based approach. Because it makes us be aware that others are also on similar journeys, our empathy flows freely towards them. The narrow-minded sectarian attitudes no longer figure in one’s psychology. The universal nature of Near Death Experiences (NDEs) also helps us free ourselves from the divisive outlook (based on nationality, religion etc) and bring about unqualified love towards all. Those experiences expand our perspectives beyond the one-life-only myopia in psychology and the associated claustrophobia in time. The following paragraphs give some sources of the literature available; they make us sense the sacredness of the journey we are talking about.

J. Krishnamurti, the sage and philosopher of the twentieth century, illumined the lives of millions the world over – intellectuals and laymen, young and old alike. Breaking away from all organized belief systems and denying his role as a Guru, he spelt out his mission: to set man absolutely and unconditionally free. He often used the statement ‘Enquire into it’, while himself acting as a catalyst for people to take the inward journey. He also said that all truly good things of life happen as byproducts to our movement towards the Truth. His insistence was on 'choiceless awareness’ that can free the human being from the clutches of the habitual neurology. An explorer can sense the value of that awareness. Talks by Krishnamurti have been published in many books.

Brian L. Weiss, a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Medical School, is Chairman Emeritus of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami.
He is the author of the book “Many Lives, Many Masters”; it is related to our journey through many life times and the lofty purpose of our evolving through them towards the Ultimate.

Raymond Moody who did pioneering work on NDEs has published much of his scholarly research in books. The one entitled ‘The Light Beyond’ would make for a good first reading for those who want to begin exploring that topic. There are also other authors with interesting books on NDE to their credit.

Frederick Lenz wrote a book entitled “Lifetimes” after studying verifiable cases of reincarnation in the US. It is a ‘must read’ for people who are drawn to the truth of human beings living many lives on this planet. He taught people the esoteric side of meditation. Records show that self-discovery is the essential core of all his teaching. He reiterated the principle that inside of each woman and man is the Self, Nirvana, Eternity. It has been covered with layers of conditioning, lifetimes of tendencies and fear of the unknown. Through the practice of Self Discovery all these layers are peeled back eventually revealing one’s true nature: perfect pure light. This last aspect is particularly evident in the narration of many who go through NDE.

Applying ourselves to the above issues, we can sense the joy of living outside the ego-fold. It would also make us understand the pure devotion towards Divinity in which no trace of self-interest remains. Related matters are covered in the website

Author's Bio: 

Gopalakrishnan T. Chandrasekaran was born in Madras (now Chennai), India. He received his doctoral degree in Coastal Engineering from the North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA in 1978; served on the research and teaching faculty of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India, the North Carolina State University and the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, Kuwait.

Aside from his professional involvements, he was interested in the philosophic issues of life for the last forty years or so. This led him to the messages of Ramana Maharishi, Lao Tzu, J Krishnamurthy, UG Krishnamurthy, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Eckhart Tolle, Marcus Aurelius and similar Masters. His book entitled “In Quest of the Deeper Self” is the outcome of his reflections on those and his wish to share the outcome with others.

Gopalakrishnan is a member of the International Association for Near Death Studies, Durham, NC, USA. He lives in Kodaikanal, a hill town in the southern part of India, with his wife Banumathy. Blog: