Arrogance born out of Ignorance

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This has always been at the back of my mind, which made its appearance now and then. It all started when I was conversing with a student of mine in his early twenties. He comes forth as an arrogant person and claims himself real and thus spiritual.There had been a lot of complaints on him. When I asked him to reflect upon his behaviour. To be thankful and happy with what he has and that will reflect in his personality. He replied being arrogant is being real, which made me think. when I asked the class about their thoughts on being happy and giving happiness.

For some, happiness means meeting their demands first. The thought should be that I can’t make anybody happy if I am not happy

Some started asking questions such as what is happiness. Where does it come from? Is it worthwhile to disappoint someone when I am in capacity?

Few said they feel happiness when they share it with others.

But all agreed upon a common idea that the happiness they knew only stays with them till another sad thought takes over the mind. They said it would be great if they could experience continuous flow of happiness.

What does arrogance, spiritual or being authentic have in common? What is Spirituality?

Is it about me being happy and ignoring others and their feelings because nothing here is good or bad?

Is it to be in our ‘Happy’ state and not to check on our interactions with the world?

Is it the fear of dissonances which makes them averse and scorn the world and walk?

But History says otherwise, all Seers have lived a selfless life. Something to ponder is it not! Bhagavad Gita says “Namostute  Vyasa Vishala Buddhe”. We were told to salute and respect those who are knowledgeable as Vyasa whose intellect is vast and inclusive of all.

Spirituality is about living in bliss. To be like a river nourishing everything that it comes in contact with.

Spirituality is about giving. Understanding the impermanence of this world and practising satvik detachment.

Spirituality is about being humble. Uplifting others by acknowledging the Real ‘YOU’ in them. Patience, love and honesty should reflect in your thoughts, talks and actions.

Now that is the difference, between being spiritual and just being religious. Spirituality doesn’t belong to any religion, sect, caste or creed. It’s open for all who have the courage to change themselves then the world. It is about Living with a Positive Mind.

Can Modern Education be called Wholesome?

Education is just not about making us economically independent but in shaping us become better individuals with strong character. We sure are acquiring skills to make advanced machines which are fetching us more money but living without a moral code.

A recent research of the NCRB report reveals that 81% of literate committed suicide compared to 19% of illiterate people. What good is our education when most educated end their lives in a bitter way?

If we question what has education bestowed us with, we might really not have an answer.

  • Has it made us a sensible person?
  • Did it give us the flexibility to manoeuvre comfortably in a stressful phase?
  • Had it made us powerful enough to control our emotions?
  • Did it make us passionate about driving the change we would like to see in the society?
  • Had it contributed to strengthening our resolve?

What can we expect from our youngsters with such education system? Look how ugly the JNU controversy is shaping our Nations image to the World. Our youngsters unsure how to identify good leaders and who to follow. The schools and colleges which were to impart knowledge and sharpen our faculties in making better decisions are just doing the opposite.

Modern education has become the breeding grounds to spread hatred. We are on the path to self-negation and every expression of our self-expansion is repressed. Until the system changes, we cannot hope to create good leaders. Let us hope and keep faith in our system to realise the drawbacks and bring back the education we once had.

Let our Life Preach what our Lips can’t

On my train journey to Chennai, I happened to listen in to the conversations of two boys and their fathers. We shared the same compartment. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. I do not enjoy listening in to others conversation, but it was too loud and I couldn’t but be a witness to the drama that unfolded.

In both the parties, one seemed to be quieter than the other. One spoke, spoke and spoke, the other would reply only if he found sensible else nodded and smiled. Nonverbal communication can save our energy and face from many such conversations and people alike, don’t they? The father who wasn’t talking much, his boy was his replica. He was quiet and did not interrupt when the other person spoke. We think kids aren’t noticing but they are and they learn from us.

Interesting thing that I noticed is all the four were talking about what they have and where others stand. Drawing comparisons and critical at judging others. Kids were flaunting and bragging about the toys and looking for faults at what the other had. Men did the same but the discussion surrounded around their jobs and looking down at others who were either doing bad or better.

Walt Whitman once said “This world is big enough for both the talkative and the un-talkative; for both the complainers and the non-complainers.” He is right. Many of us fall under the category of complainers. Men or women, we all do the same. Judging others is an easy exercise and again how do we judge people, on our perceptions. We look down equally upon people who are doing well compared to us or vice versa. What makes us unhappy? Is somebody’s success bringing us unhappiness? Is our happiness dependent upon others success or failures? And, What are we preaching our kids when we exhibit such behavior?

Did your kid ever walk-in to you complaining about something that he didn’t have or how bad he felt when he lost to his friend? Do you remember what you said to your kid? Many of us would have asked our kids to take it easy and be grateful with what they had in life. Even go a step further, and point on to the underprivileged ones who can’t even afford one square meal. Oh, my dad has done that many a times when I was growing up.

I wonder what stops us from applying the same principle in our lives as adults. What we preach and expect our kids to apply in his life doesn’t seem to work for us. Why? Are our problems real than theirs? Are ours more important than theirs? Please think. As kids we felt our problems were as real as our parents. We felt unhappy and dejected when they gave a deaf ear to our problems. For some, it might have shaped their life differently from the happy kids they were.

There is a lot of research around people who have selflessly given themselves to society and to those who have brought the society down. Psychologists have identified root cause of both these to their upbringing. Deep rooted emotions without a vent, suppressed which turned them to criminals that society had to pay a big price for. The same for the ones who were altruists.

Bhagavad Gita in Chapter 16, shl 6 and 7 tells us that men (human beings) are of two types. One who are of Daivah gunam(divine) and others of Asura gunam(demonic). Gita describes those who are of Asura gunam as the ones who do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper conduct nor Truth is said to be found in them. We have been given a choice to choose between these.

If I may say, we are the role models to our children while growing up. If they do not see us act upon our preachings. They will never inculcate it into their lives. We have to reflect the good things that we want our kids to learn in our lives first. Then we don’t have to even remind them, they will not only learn from us but also spread those good things to whoever they come across.

Fortunately we are in midst of a paradigm shift, parents are now paying more attention than ever. We should focus more in building at least a few from the below Daivah gunams. I mean, instead of ruminating over and over our past and future , that time can be spent in freeing our mind of those Asuric qualities. When you slowly free the mind of those negativity then it will be ready to imbibe those daivic ones(Bhagavad Gita Chapter 15, shl 1,2,3).

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we can live a positive life only with a positive mind. And, let our kids learn from our positive outlook towards life. Truly, then our lives will speak louder than our words.

Be a Goal Getter than a Goal Setter

We have all tasted failure. In spite of having a brilliant goal in mind, there were times when I couldn’t bring it to life. Only upon reflection, understood I lacked some of the very important ingredients to the recipe called Success.

It is a natural instinct to desire success. To succeed we need to take care of the following…

What I lacked primarily is focused thinking. I was more identifying with the final outcome. Alas, Self-fulfilling prophecy would have worked beautifully only had I focused at the journey than the outcome alone.

We could harness all our mental energy towards a desired goal, if we could do focussed thinking. Good example is laser, being a weak source of energy can still drill a hole in a diamond when focused.

Set clear immediate goals to realize the big picture, whether they are weekly, monthly or daily. Plan to reach these within time allotted.

What stops us from achieving our goal is the thought that’ I know it all’. Thereby there would be no learning and we tend to become stagnant. Only an immature mind would make such statement. I feel there is so much to learn here that one life wouldn’t be enough.

A mature mind is always ready to listen. Isn’t there a saying that you learn more when you listen? Everything around, I believe can teach you something good or bad. We just need to be smart to pick the ones we need.

Be sure to spend time in the company of experts .We can end up getting some good insights in our research.

Experimenting always helps. Charles Kettering said’ All human developments, no matter what form it takes, must be outside the rules; otherwise we would never have anything new.’ So do not be afraid to tread the unusual path.

Success or failure both in business and life should be attributed to our Mental Attitudes than to our Mental Capacities. Since we are all blessed with the same mental abilities, we can reach great heights if we believe.

Hard work Hard work and Hard work. Take any success story; you will see huge sacrifices that have lead to their success. Shortcuts will only make us obsolete.

Last but not the least, timely meeting of the milestones set by us will help us see through the journey.

If you look at the workflow below, one leads to another towards your goal.

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Year on Year, I see my 1st year Grad students, all full of energy wanting to get A+ in their subjects. But with each passing semester the determination gets lost somewhere. Self-Determination Theory explains how to overcome this. It is about a healthy way to connecting to both our intrinsic and extrinsic motives towards effectively achieving our goals

Of course, failures do happen. There is nothing to be dejected about. If we haven’t failed we haven’t learnt. It’s good to reflect upon our past mistakes but should abstain from staying there. We might risk the goal itself if we tend to look into the past too much.

Most people often fret over the results, but how you handle it matter just as much. This is where positive thinking would do us good. Every action is bound to have some results. Don’t superimpose your happiness on that. Indentifying self with success or failure will only make you anxious. It’s okay to fail but that should make us more focused to reach that goal in mind.

If we reflect upon our scriptures, they also have the same thing to say.

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We really don’t want to pile up all those negative thoughts. We have enough evidences of go-getters around us. Hard work and perseverance have helped them reach their goals. So, lets stay positive and get what we want in life.