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Category: transformation

Beyond home and work – part 8 of 8

Continued from yesterday:

How has Satsang helped me?

It has brought discipline to my life.

Satsang has made me less concerned about money – not that money doesn’t matter, but my happiness doesn’t revolve around it as much.

Satsang has given me more peace, and the ability to step back and look at situations more holistically, and not being sad immediately or for too long if something doesn’t happen the way I expect it to.

Satsang has made me a part of larger community – there are so many close friends here in satsang, it is more like a huge extended family.

Very importantly, satsang has brought a noble / everlasting mission and direction to life, beyond just the mundane home and work.

Last but not least, through the Guru’s grace and blessings, satsang brings miracles not just sporadically but daily.

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Beyond home and work – part 7 of 8

Continued from yesterday:

And satsang isn’t just about singing bhajans, or chanting mantras or some other boring sounding stuff.

Then what does satsang help us give up?

Satsang helps us give up our anxiety, our stress, our jealousy, our anger, our greed, our fear.

Satsang helps us do our dharma.

How?

Most people say dharma is religion. No dharma is not religion. Dharma is really the art of balance.

How to balance all the taking with the giving, that is dharma. and that is why satsang helps us in our dharma.

Continued tomorrow…

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Beyond home and work – part 6 of 8

Continued from yesterday:

Imagine you had to setup a justice system, your own justice system. You are the Chief Judge. That’s right. You decide the law. You are the law! Would you favour the ones who are only taking-taking-taking? Probably not, right?

How does this get balanced out? Because at home we are taking-taking-taking, at work also taking-taking-taking – money, bonus, position etc. Then when to give?

That’s exactly what satsang can help with. – to kickstart our giving process, and also the giving-up process. To give-up what? Your money? No, SS doesn’t need your hard-earned money.

Continued tomorrow…

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Beyond home and work – part 5 of 8

Continued from yesterday:

So here is something for each one of us to think about deeply.

Everything we each have succeeded in today, can we really say with 100% confidence that it is all solely because of us? The marks we got in school? Yes we studied of course, but teachers helped, parents helped, someone wrote a question paper, someone wrote a book, someone invented or discovered something that could be written about in the first place – and on and on!

Same for the bonuses and promotions we got at work, somebody trained us, someone recognized us, someone provided us with a job to be, someone invented a computer decades ago, without which much of our work wouldn’t even get done!

It’s not that we should not get credit for our actions, but think about it, and we’ve really just been taking-taking-taking from day 1.

Continued tomorrow…

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Beyond home and work – part 4 of 8

Continued from yesterday:

One-and-a-half hours later, there was still no respite, and people started getting angry and stressed. Some were shouting, others were fighting, some started live-tweeting their frustration, babies were crying – it was just total and complete chaos.

And it was immediately evident, that even outside of home and work, stress and anger can cause the entire day to become unproductive.

Because yes this got sorted and people checked-in and all. But even after the flight was over and we landed at the destination, there were some people arguing with each other about having cut in front of them into the line in the morning and how they have no manners and such!

Continued tomorrow…

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Beyond home and work – part 3 of 8

Continued from yesterday:

It might seem that satsang and its benefits are important in two large parts of our lives, home and office.

This is true of course, but if you draw a Venn diagram, you’ll have one circle with Work, another circle with Home, and the part where both intersect (that post-2020 is called work-from-home!).

But even outside of that, there is life and so much stress and anxiety, and really there is no aspect of life that satsang cannot touch and transform.

I recently had to take an early morning flight. As early as 3 am, there were serpentine queues, with people of all ages waiting to check-in. There were literally 100s of passengers, and just two open check-in counters. Crazy isn’t it?

Continued tomorrow…

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Beyond home and work – part 2 of 8

Continued from yesterday:

For many of us, the question will be, “Really? Is there even anything outside of work and home?” “With weekdays and weekends both just flying past in a complete blur?”

But there still are things that frequently upset us – like:

  • struggling with our workout schedules,
  • not being able to take vacations, or even worse
  • taking vacations but mentally still being unable to relax;
  • or we may have doubts on what the right decision to make is, given a certain set of circumstances;
  • or there may be an inability to maintain true friendships – we may be online all the time on social media, and yet feel extremely lonely and disconnected,

and on and on and on….

Continued tomorrow…

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Classy

As I board a 16 hour flight for a business trip, I see people seated in different parts of the airplane.

The majority are in Economy.

The minority are divided between First and Business.

Everyone reaches the same destination, no partiality there.

But the journey? Vastly different, whether quality of service, legroom or food and beverage options etc.

No different than life outside an aircraft.

The end game is fixed. But the journey is what matters – what we do, what we make of it, and how we impact those around us.

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VVP – part 2

We looked at Vyakti Vastu Paristhithi yesterday.

Today is another VVP. Something called a Value Validation Project.

I came across this awesome concept online. It’s amazingly helpful if you want to land a new job. It’s also amazing if you want to know if you want that job in the first place.

What does VVP involve? If you are applying for a job as a coder (say), the easiest thing is to click the ‘Apply’ button, ship your CV to the recruitment team, and hope for a response, just like a million other applicants.

But how to stand out? By validating your value, via a project. Use the opportunity to code something now itself for your prospective employer, so they see what you can do for them once you join.

This is not limited to coding of course, but can be used in any field. Value validation is not easy, but worth it. Shreyas over Preyas.

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Extreme meditation

Chapter 6 of the Gita is all about meditation. Funny then, that verses 16 and 17 would talk about moderation in food. Is there really any sort of connection?

A very deep one in fact.

A spiritual aspirant may think that “we are all Brahman, we are not the body”. And such a person might decide to eat too much or too little, and in general become careless about his/her health.

As we very well know though, if we are sick, then there is little ability to get any work done – whether material or spiritual (including meditation progress or prowess).

That’s why Krishna makes it very clear in this verse, that extremes won’t do. The body is the tool and vehicle provided to us to achieve our spiritual objectives. The mind might like extremes, especially good ones, but the body thrives on moderation.

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Changeless

Change is the only constant. We’ve heard this ad infinitum. Be ready for change. Be prepared for change. Be adaptable.

Yes, it’s all true, and necessary.

And yet, when Jeff Bezos was asked many years ago, “What do you think will change 10 years from now?”, he coolly flipped the question.

“Let me tell you what won’t change 10 years from now. That customers will want discounts. And that they will want fast delivery.”

That’s pretty much what has happened now, many many years later.

Focusing on what won’t change is a stellar strategy. Spirituality says the same thing. There is only one thing that is truly changeless. Nothing else needs any attention.

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Spiritual desires

A recent visit to the mountains provided me the opportunity to bump into a Tarot card reader.

We were discussing a few things, generally.

And then I asked her a question. “When will I evolve spiritually? When can I have some spiritual experiences?”

Pat came her answer.

“If you are living in the moment, if you are enjoying your work, if you are happily supporting your family, then that is no different from a spiritually evolved soul. You only need to answer to yourself, if you are living this way.”

Simple, yet profound, no?

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Chanakya Neeti – part 1 of 3

Just a few lovely takeaways from The Real Chanakya! (a book published by a Dheeraj Publications, and it does not name an author)

  1. The tongue is the greatest war monger. Silence is another name for tolerance, and a guarantee for peace.
  2. There is no question of putting faith in a bad friend. Even a good friend should be kept away from your personal and business secrets. These secrets can be used against you anytime.
  3. One must always assess oneself frequently. This practice will help the person take corrective actions in time to avoid any crisis.
  4. Troubles should be feared till they don’t come in front of us. Make efforts to avert them. But if they come, forget fear, and fight instead.
  5. A frank person can’t be a cheat because cheating needs secrecy and double talk. Polite talking needs cleverness cultivated through education.

Some more brilliant Chanakya thoughts tomorrow!

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Calcoolus

That title is enough to give me goosebumps. Reminders of several nightmares. What a mess those few years at school were. I couldn’t help but wonder why this topic was ever even included.

But in the real world, Calculus is what has made much progress possible. Without going into the examples (and even worse, the equations!), there is apparently little we could have achieved without Integration and Differentiation.

Despite my struggling to solve Calculus in school and college, it’s got amazing lessons for real life problems.

What is differentiation if it’s not about breaking complex problems, repeatedly, into smaller and smaller problems, until the smallest problem is solved. Integration is the reverse. Take those solved small problems, and keep building up from there.

What can we learn from this? That while we look for big solutions to our life problems, it’s the small good habits that really change our life. Fix the small (differentiation), and then aggregate those fixes to the large (integration).

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White hair

Everyone detests white hair right?

It’s the surest sign of aging, and of course no one wants to grow old.

I got my first white hair pretty early on, and it’s not like we have a choice in this anyway.

But there’s youngsters on social media who actually color their hair white. Apparently it is a fad, a new style trend. It’s odd seeing these people, such young faces coupled with old-people hair.

An ex-boss of mine once told me that white hair is a good thing. Why? Because in business settings, the other person tends to take you more seriously. Would you believe a 50 year old CEO or a 20 year old one? No matter what their actual capabilities are, the mind would naturally gravitate towards the one with white hair.

Lastly, whenever my Guru used to have some outstanding insights on anything, and would see the stunned look on my face, he would casually remark, “the hair on my head has turned white for a reason…”

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Repetition

My Guru in his Amazing Simple Gita has encapsulated many outstanding truths of life. One such truth comes in chapter 1 itself.

He has written it for all the utopians amongst us. Those who yearn for perfect harmony. For a world filled with peace and laughter.

We have everything already don’t we? Incredible changes in technology mean even some of today’s poor people might have luxuries unbeknownst to the kings and queens of yesteryear.

But still, the kings and queens and rulers of today are themselves discontent. Ever eyeing nearby lands and their resources, with not a care for its people, on they go with their plunder and loot.

Oh why can’t this change? Because of the mind. The mind is one’s own best friend and one’s own worst enemy. Consumed by greed, lust, jealousy and anger, how can this mind think of harmony and peace? No matter the reward, the mind is continuously dissatisfied. As my Guru notes, as long as the mind exists, there exists no respite.

Spirituality teaches us how to subdue the mind, and surrender the ego. When this is achieved, there is nothing but peace.

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Shyness Clinic

is the name of a real-life clinic in Los Altos, California. What does it do?

It helps its patients, i.e. chronically shy people, improve their social skills.

What is amazing is the way they go about this. They do not focus on the past at all. So it doesn’t matter where these shy people come from, what specific life experiences left them under a shell or why they struggle the way the do.

Instead, the focus is entirely on the present. Only exercises to keep improving their social skills. Forget about the bad, just keep adding the good.

One such exercise, and one of the first ones actually, is to walk up to a stranger and ask for the time. The exercises keep increasing in rigour – asking five strangers for the time, chatting with a stranger in the elevator, making random phone calls etc.

The final test is a cool one. To walk into a grocery store, pick up a watermelon, lift it above the head and purposely slam it onto the floor. That’s the easy part of course. Passing, requires enduring the stares of several strangers. Whether those shoppers will lose the taste for watermelon, I know not, but shyness is now surely out the window, one good habit at a time.

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Shouting for directions

Here’s a nice perspective I came across.

We’ve all used Google Maps. The turn by turn navigation has literally changed our lives. So much so, that we wonder how we ever managed to find our way around before it existed. It was launched in 2005, not that long ago, but those were probably very early builds. A really robust one on our phones was probably available 7-8 years later only, which is quite amazing, given it feels like we’ve been with it forever.

What’s awesome to learn from Google Maps is the guiding lady’s peace of mind.

If you ever missed a turn or a u-turn or took the wrong left or right, what does she do? Does she scream? Does she abuse you for not even understanding basic directions?

Quite the contrary isn’t it. She simply finds the best alternative route, re-routes you, and then proceeds to guide us on the new path.

Is there some learning for us from her mannerisms?

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Kids on the wall

The Ukrainian President Mr. Zelensky is being celebrated world over for his bravery and selflessness. No one knows what will happen in this terrible ongoing onslaught, but I wish there could be peace instead of war. Just imagine, we are in the year 2022, with mind boggling advancements and comforts in nearly every conceivable sphere, and yet what we see is only more greed and more desire for power.

Mr. Zelensky, when he was elected in 2019, apparently said in his speech, that he didn’t want his photos put up in the offices. “The President is not an icon, an idol or a portrait. Hang photos of your kids instead… “

Just for suspense, I’m not completing the last sentence.

My Guru used to give the following advice to parents, “Stop hanging photos of your kids on your walls at home. Because your kids will start believing that they are the centers of attention, that they are being worshipped in the house. Hang photos of Gods/deities instead.”

Is this contradictory? No no, of course not. Here is Mr. Zelensky’s full sentence. “Hang photos of your kids instead, so that you see their faces each time before you make an important decision (so that you do no wrong).”

My Guru’s tactic was aimed at the kids, while Mr. Zelensky’s message was for the adults.

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Disruption is a reality – part 2

There is no doubt that disruption is happening faster than we can imagine. I’m here sitting and blogging, but blogs are kind of outdated now no? People have moved to YouTube and TikTok and what else not!

Continuing from yesterday’s post though, here’s some of the meat on how to survive in this crazy disruptive world. These aren’t from me although I agree with them, but more on that at the end.

  1. Be courageous enough to chart your own destiny. Don’t bother about what others are doing or saying.
  2. Before we take point 1 too far, also be open to feedback from your wellwishers. A good balance between points 1 and 2 can work wonders!
  3. Leadership is a choice. Anyone can lead. Thinking big, even at a junior position, can help propel your career. But do it nicely, with the support of your bosses, not going against them to prove a point or to show that you know better.
  4. There is no such thing as work-life balance. There is only work-life choice. Choose well. Some sacrifices may need to be made.

These aren’t my ideas. These were the ideas experienced and expressed by the current MD & CEO of Procter & Gamble Mr. Madhusudhan Gopalan a few years ago in his talk at IIM Bangalore. You should definitely watch this outstanding video here at the link below.

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