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Our lives are brilliant. We are all so intimately connected, and the illusion is the separation. As we move in for a closer look and study our own lives, we can begin to see just how unique and brilliant we are.

As individuals, we tend to see our lives as success or failure. What we do not see is how magnificent it is. It's often difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you are buried in the dirt that you have created while digging it.

Reflecting on our life's circumstances takes some discipline. Most of us look only at the surface, and the results of our actions, rather than the causes and the patterns of behaviour and thought that we use to create our circumstances.

Self-analysis is difficult for us because we are so personally involved, and much of our analysis is about blaming. We consider what we do as good or bad, rather than brilliant.

Our revue has much to do with emotion or feelings rather than cold analysis of facts. While performing self-analysis, we try to justify each step, rather than just accepting it as fact and proceeding.

All of us have the ability to remove ourselves from our physical body and put ourselves in the position of the silent observer. This unseen consciousness is somewhat elevated and removed from our physical being. From this position we can clearly see where we have come from and where we are going.

We can clearly see whole patterns of movement that lead us to a result. Our thoughts become visible but clouded by emotions that obscure the true intend of what it is that we desire.

For instance, we may have a pattern of seeking relationships that are on the surface supportive, but subconsciously reinforce a root thought that we are undeserving of love.

The pattern may lead us into a relationship with a certain type of individual time and time again, that turns out to be abusive and mentally damaging to our ego, because we believe that we deserve it.

If we can take the other person out of the equation for the moment and look at ourselves from the position of silent observer, the subtle patterns of thought are revealed.

We can begin to see where we started, and the thoughts that created the outcome. They support the actions and the actions reinforce your root thoughts. "I am an undeserving person and that is why I am in this bad relationship."

So this is the root thought; now you proceed to create the obvious. You fool your ego by believing that you want a relationship that will be supportive of your desire to be deserving and you subconsciously look for a mate that will do just the opposite because you don't deserve it.

With a close look at this pattern of behaviour, you will be able to see the destructive thoughts, and you will no longer be fooled. It doesn't necessarily mean that you will stop the pattern.

If it is a thought that you have become comfortable with, you may continue repeating it. The ego does not like change, and will fight to keep the status quo. So now the thoughts have been revealed and you can see where they have lead you many times you have a choice that you never had before.

This is the brilliance that I am talking about. You are such a great creator, that you can have anything that you desire, and you know exactly how to get it.

You are one of a kind and an integral part of all things. The rest of humanity or life could not exist without you. As great or as miserable as you know your life to be you are one piece of the puzzle, and the puzzle can never be complete without you.

How you live your life is a choice you are never a victim but are creating it with the cooperation of others who interact with you. You become part of a group, a soul group which in turn is part of the whole and finally you see no connection, because there is no other one there is just you.

You are conscious and are interacting with yourself in the physical realm. You are creating an illusion of existence and you are magnificent in your creation. Life is not about you, you are life itself, and that is what you are experiencing the movement of life in all its aspects life interacting with life!

Your life is brilliant and is pure. There is only one of you and your master plan is beautiful. Subconsciously you will create all the circumstances that will bring you a desired physical experience.

Because that is what you want. When you begin to see the root cause of your circumstance, there will be no need to experience it again.


Ask the average foreign tourist about his experience in India and his answer would probably fill a complaint book. Atul Sethi finds out the reasons for this, ahead of World Tourism Day.

Some time ago, a Swiss tourist couple found themselves in a peculiar situation in Agra. After seeing the city's sights, they planned to take the Shatabdi Express back to Delhi. However, their local guide told them that the Shatabdi Express for the day had been cancelled.

But, he said, if they were in a hurry, he knew a taxi driver who could take them to Delhi for $100 each. Not knowing better, the couple agreed, took the taxi and became poorer by $200. Later, after reaching Delhi, they made enquiries and discovered that their train had never been cancelled!

There are many incidents like this which any foreign tourist who has ever travelled in India, will readily share with you. With World Tourism Day around the corner, probably it's time to take a long, hard look at why India, with its vast tourism potential, still receives far less foreign tourists than smaller countries like Singapore or Thailand.

For instance, last year, India received only 3.9 million tourists as compared to Thailand's 12 million and Singapore's 9 million. Interestingly, more Indians are now travelling abroad.

But, proportionately, lesser foreign tourists are coming into India. This is surely not good news for the tourism industry, which accounts for 6% of the country's total GDP.

Murray Jones, a UK-based tour operator who has been selling packages to India for the last 25 years, says this is because India has not gone about exploiting its potential in a tourist-friendly manner.

"Give the tourists what they want and they will come again and again. However, in India, one gets the feeling that most people are only interested in what can I get out of this tourist now and not in how can I get him to return," he says.

Agrees Rajji Rai, vice president of the Travel Agents Association of India, "The problem for tourists coming to India starts the moment they land chaos at the airport, insensitive immigration officials, the presence of touts all of this can leave a very negative impact."

Add to these high visa fees, which again gives the feeling that the country is after every dollar that tourists can dole out. Also, says Jones, most of the top hotels here tend to be overpriced because of a multitude of taxes that get added to the room rates.

Every part of the system from the airport porter to the senior-most tourism official should constantly check whether what they are offering is value-for-money for the tourist, he says.

Concurs Vikram Madhok, managing director of travel agency Abercombie & Kent, "In India, tourism is not high on the national agenda, whereas countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Macau rely heavily on tourism and, hence, they are able to sensitise all segments of the society towards the foreign visitor.

Awareness about the the role tourism can play in nation-building is yet to percolate down to the grassroots of our society."
US-based travel agent Lokesh Sharma has another interesting insight to offer. He feels that NRIs also don't do enough to promote the tourism potential of the country.

"The best way that a country gets talked about is through word-of-mouth publicity. However, an average NRI is not as enthusiastic about others visiting his country as, say, a Thai national is," he says.

Vijay Kaul, a tourism consultant based in the UK, says that another problem is that India is not seen as a children's holiday destination, and therefore, it misses out on the affluent 35-50 age group.

Most people, however, feel that the biggest deterrent to tourism is lack of infrastructure. Says Ram Kohli, founder president of the Indian Association of Tour Operators, "Lack of good budget hotels, proper roads as well as hygiene and sanitation are problems that put off most would-be travellers to India."

Another thing, he says, is that there is absence of a concerted effort to showcase the country as a whole. For instance, if a tourist travels by tourist taxi on the Delhi-Agra-Jaipur circuit, the vehicle has to stop at all the three state borders twice.

This wastes a lot of time and gives a bad impression to the tourist. This can be easily avoided if the states sort it out , since tourism is not just for the state but for the entire country.

Although the ministry of tourism's 'Incredible India' campaign has created interest in the country, and there are plans to launch a massive advertising blitzkrieg aimed at foreign markets, most experts feel that a lot more has to be done.

Rather than just being a slogan, 'Incredible India' is what every tourist should be saying to their friends and relatives when they get back home. Only then can we truly claim to be the land of people who chant Atithi devo bhava.