Know Your Thoughts

DO YOU WANT TO BE SUCCESSFUL?

Thoughts lead to Actions

Actions lead to Habits

Habits lead to Character

Character lead to Success

To be successful, we need to manage our thoughts.

Knowing the thoughts is the first step in managing thoughts.

Let this first step be the SKILL for this month… This first step has several sub-steps… ūüôā

  • Sit in a silent place or a place with least disturbance.
  • Set an alarm for five minutes (if needed).
  • Close the eyes and start observing the flow of your natural breath.
  • Now take the attention to your thoughts.
  • No interference, No judging… Just Observe Your Thoughts. Be a witness.
  • At the end of five minutes – Jot down all the thoughts that came to your mind in those five minutes.
  • You may not remember all the thoughts and that’s fine. Over time you will be able to better.

Over time you will be able to develop this as a natural skill… know your thoughts as you perform an action.

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Fortune at the Top of the Pyramid

Economics is about optimising utilization of limited resources available to generate maximum returns. We are aware of the Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Numerous approaches and theories have emerged to tap into this fortune.

What about the fortune at the top of the pyramid?

Yes!… It is a myth that Top of the Pyramid is small. There indeed exists a huge fortune at the Top of the Pyramid.¬†It is the least tapped fortune¬†and available only to humanity. This fortune is subtle and hence not obvious to all.

The next big leap in global economic growth is determined not by optimal utilisation of natural resources, but by optimal utilisation of human potential. Natural resources are already over-exploited. The most effective and economic utilisation of human potential is to tap into this subtle, untapped creative potential of human mind.

A very minute percentage of people tap into this wisdom and they emerge as true leaders influencing humanity and the world for generations even after their physical demise from this world.  How do we tap into this abundance?

Evolution of Human Brain

Courtesy : Images downloaded from various sites on the internet

If we look at the structure of the human brain, the base ‚Äď reptilian brain and the paleo mammalian brain attributes to a small fraction but is responsible for majority of the life processes, limbic and sensory functions. This is related to the highest point of brain development and evolution in reptiles. In aves and mammals the next part called as cortex is also developed. At the highest point of evolution comes Man.¬† In man neo-cortex is also highly developed.

Maslow's Hierarchical needs

Maslow’s Hierarchical Needs

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and human evolution places physiological needs at the bottom followed by safety, love and self-esteem, with self-actualization placed at the top of the pyramid.  Morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, etc are the attributes related to self-actualization.  These attributes need use of neo-cortex.

As shown in the Maslow’s hierarchical triangle Рmajority function at the basal levels of physiological and safety, for which one needs to use only the reptilian brain. Some evolve towards use of the cortical brain which corresponds to the attributes like love, acceptance and self-esteem. Rare are the few who tap into the potential of the neo-cortex which is the largest part of the brain. Experiments or studies mention that great achievers like Edison, Ramanujan, etc., utilized hardly 10% of the brain. Now it is for us to assess the immense potential lying untapped in average man.

Ancient Indians, sages and seers have developed techniques and tools to tap into the potential of the neo-cortex and gave to the world the basis for all the technological, political and economic advantages the world is enjoying today. Thus India has contributed to the world by producing giants in all fields Рastronomy, astrology, science, mathematics, medicine, architectural, poetry, artistry, economics, administration, warfare, education, etc.

Let us take a deeper look into this by understanding the Chakra Pyramid…

The Chakra Pyramid

The Chakra Pyramid

Yogic psychology describes six major chakras contributing to different attributes of human activities. The base chakras ‚Äď mooladhara and swadhishtana can be related to functioning of safety and survival and make use of reptilian brain.¬† Anahata and Manipura taps into the cortical potential.¬† Vishuddhi and Ajna chakras tap into the potential of neo-cortex.

The chakra pyramid depicts the extent to which one functions at different chakra levels. Here again, majority function at the level of base chakras. The potential of chakras at the top of the pyramid are least utilised. The beauty is these chakras do not function independently. Opening up of any one chakra has spillover effect on other chakras and help one to develop and evolve to tap into the maximum inherent potential within.

The Swadhishtana and Mooladhara chakras contribute to the hunger, fear, sex ‚Äď the basic existential instinctive urges common to all living organisms.¬† The Anahata is related to love and power helping one to gain acceptance ‚Äď the sense of belonging and development of positive self-esteem. Vishuddhi and Ajna chakras make one creative, spontaneous and intelligent contributing to self-actualization.

Now let us take a comparative look at the three pyramids…

Majority function at the level of base chakras, try to fulfill their physiological and safety needs which demands functioning at the level of reptilian brain. Few evolve to the level of Manipura and Anahata chakras fulfilling the needs of self-esteem, power and love utlising the cortical brain. Rare are the few who tap into the potential of Visuddhi and Ajna chakras, strive for self-actualisation tapping into the immense potential at the top of the human brain pyramid – the neo-cortex leaving a huge fortune untapped at the top of the pyramid.

The immediate question that arises in one’s mind…¬†“How to tap into this fortune at the top of the pyramid?”

How to Tap into the Fortune at the Top of the Pyramid?

…contd

One can tap into the Fortune at the Top of the Pyramid by developing the intellect – the ability of right discrimination, being conscious of and handling one’s thought process, making right communication, being intuitive and creative, heightened level of awareness are some of the manifestations of awakened Visuddhi and Ajna Chakras. These chakras pav√© the way for evolution of intellect – the differentiating factor and unique gift of humanity.

Development of the intellectual potential is determined by the level of evolution in these chakras.

The Sri Yantra described in Indian scriptures has upright triangles and inverted triangles. While the upright triangles depict the gross, the inverted triangles depict the subtle. As the gross fades and tapers at the top, the subtle power manifests stronger. ¬†By depicting both the triangles ‚Äď upright and inverted in the Sri Yantra, we are advised to keep up the balance between the gross and subtle elements in us and evolve in a holistic manner.

Sri Yantra

Sri Yantra

True intellectual development and evolution is thus determined by,

the extent to which one evolves in the subtle aspects of creativity, intuition and spontaneity…

The beginning is always at the gross level. The gross intellect supported by inquiry, reasoning and logic should pavé way to the subtle intellect which is developed based on Shraddha (faith). This makes one creative, intuitive and help think outside the box.

The gross intellect is divisive, differentiating, methodical, structured and distinctive by nature and help develop rational thinking. This divisive nature of the gross needs to be balanced by the abstract, convergent and inclusive nature of the subtle intellect.

Breaking the routine, evolution of new ways; through integrated, out-of-the-box approach is an attribute of creativity and innovation. Flying an airplane, conversing over long distances through telephone, data transfer at high speeds, etc., are some examples where man’s life-style has evolved by breaking the pre-existing limiting beliefs in a systematic way.

harmony between the head and the heart…

The general debate about balancing the head and heart is related to the gross intellect of the head and the heart. The heart by nature is all-inclusive and a symbol of love, peace and compassion.

The gross intellect being divisive and distinctive by nature is always in conflict with the inclusive aspect of the heart. By evolving the all-inclusive nature of subtle intellect harmony is established between the head and heart.

balance one achieves in external and internal environments…

external involvement with the world should be balanced with the internal environment. One need to take time to spend with oneself. A few moments of silence and self-introspection everyday helps. Daily journal, meditation and antarmouna practices enhances one’s internal clarity, creativity and spontaneity which manifests as efficient functioning in day-to-day problem solving, decision-making, stress handling, etc.,.

evolving beyond science into the domain of spirituality…

Note the terminology. It is not devoid of science, but beyond science. Rational and inquiry nature of science helps one to understand the hitherto inexplicable ways of nature. Spirituality in one sense may be defined as those aspects of nature not cognizable by senses and hence not available for scientific verification. Scope of scientific knowledge expands by inquiring and experimenting with pre-stated universal and spiritual laws.

An interesting TED talk on the subject…

Science depends on experiments and proofs. Proofs are limited by sensory limitations. To expand the horizons of science, one need to expand the horizons of sensory limitations. One need to develop subtle awareness to dwell deep and evolve beyond sensory inputs. Greatest scientific discoveries have thus happened. Quantum physics, telepathy, psychological science, etc., are some aspects of science which dwell in this space.

Master your mind

Yoga philosophy talks about five domains of human personality ‚Äď physical (annamaya kosha), vital (pranayama kosha), mental (manomaya kosha), intellectual (jnanamaya kosha) and spiritual (anandamaya kosha).

The physical, vital and mental domains are quite well-developed in all plants and animals. While the mind is the highest state of evolution in lower beings, mental domain/mind reaches its greatest state of evolution in humans. Mastering the mind is the first step to awaken our higher potential in the intellectual domain and truly rise above other animals and plants.

Rare are those who have tapped into this potential and left a mark in this world. Sage Veda Vyasa, Sukabrahma, Adisankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Madhwacharya, Buddha, Jesus, Swami Vivekananda, Aurobindo, etc., are some of the names we can remember who have tapped into the subtle aspect of the intellect and spread awareness in spiritual and philosophical domains to various extents as relevant to the times they dwelled on this earth. King Janaka, Chanakya, Chandragupta, Ashoka, Gandhi, etc., tapped into their higher potentials for the welfare and development of society through the political and economic fields. Bhaskaracharya, Aryabhatta, Edison, Ramajuna, Sushrutha and the likes have deeply studied, understood the material world and evolved as exemplary scientists by tapping into their higher potentials.

Average man is distracted by various aspects of the mental domain ‚Äď senses, emotions, feelings, ego, etc. ¬†thereby tapping only to a negligible extent, the creative and intuitive faculties of the higher intellect. Irrespective of the field one chooses excellence can be achieved by mastering various aspects of mind. Ancient Indians have achieved excellence in all spheres of life ‚Äď economics, science, politics, astrology, medicine, mathematics, religion, spiritual, etc. by mastering their mind apart from their physical and vital domains.

To master the mind we need to understand the four basic aspects of the mind ‚Äď Chitta (memory), Manas (aspect of feeling and emotions), Buddhi (aspect of gross and worldly intelligence) and Ahankara (self-image).¬† Various tools and methods have been prescribed by those who have tread this path to master the mind. ¬†All of them proclaim that prerequisite for mastering the mind is to have a healthy physical body and high levels of pranic energy.

Life according to ancient Indian philosophy and yogic science does not start with birth nor does it end with death.¬† Life is a continuum. As the experiences and memories of childhood will affect the behaviour and personality in youth and older ages, the impressions from memories of the previous births will also have effect in the current life and affect our personality.¬† The modern psychology has also come to realise this fact – techniques like hypnosis and past life regression are scientific proofs to testify to the modern intellectual minds about this age-old wisdom. Albert Weismann refers various case studies of his clients where past life regression helped as a therapeutic tool in his famous book ‚ÄúMany masters many lives‚ÄĚ.

Human memory is thus a store house of sensory impressions, emotional impressions and intellectual impressions one has accumulated over many lives.¬† Different components of memory are tapped into in different states of mind ‚Äď wakeful state (conscious mind), dream state (subconscious mind), deep sleep state (unconscious mind) and turiya state (super conscious mind).¬† While these past impressions determine one’s current personality, expression of human WILL provides the ability to work on the impressions in the four states of memory and evolve above them.

This introduction to understand human personality is not to overwhelm the reader with the enormity of the task ahead, but to understand, what we are now is a result of the choices we have made over many lives. In the same way our current choices and expression of WILL in an intelligent way decides our future.

This is also to understand that change does not happen overnight.¬† It is a long run process. Obstacles in various forms do come and distract us.¬† Many a times we seem like failing. It is through perseverance, by standing up each time one fails, will we overcome these challenges and master the mind. As it is said,¬†“it does not matter how many times we fall down as long as we have the perseverance to rise up again”.¬† It is with this basic understanding and attitude should one approach to master the mind.

From known to unknown is the path towards knowledge – be it scientific discoveries or spiritual or philosophical growth or with mastering the mind. Initially we need to deal with the wakeful state, develop awareness and learn to manage various manifestations of the mind ‚Äď sensory perceptions, memory, emotions, feelings, self-image, etc. in this state. ¬†Purification to an extent, in this state makes one fit to work on other states.

It is pertinent to note that most of the personality development programs start and end in the conscious state.  Rare are the programs which even deal this state in a holistic manner.  This explains the abysmally low rate of success of the so-called personality development programs.  As the awareness and understanding develops in the conscious state we need to start working on the sub-conscious and unconscious states of mind. These states in fact, influence most of our decision-making process and actions.  Here are a few eg:

  1. The conscious mind, the awaken state is aware that eating right is good for health.  But our action directed by our sub-conscious or unconscious mind does not help in implementing the same.
  2. We are aware that getting up 15 minutes early in the morning helps us accomplish more things.  However, we snooze the alarm every morning.
  3. Regular exercises keep us fit.  But we fail to prioritize the same into our schedule.
  4. We walk out of a two-day personality development program with lot of enthusiasm and vigour to work on the new resolutions. But the same fizzles out soon, causing little change in us.

The lacuna is not in the efficacy of the program or understanding of the values, but the lack of energies – the energy of will, the energy of knowledge and energy of action in the participant.

Empowered with the above energies, one can gain a deeper understanding of all the four aspects of the mind, their inter-relationships and manage them effectively.

We shall discuss in greater detail about the four aspects of the mind, their inter-relationships and tools to manage specific areas like emotions, stress and thought in our future posts.

Manifesting Vitality – VQ

Vital health / high vitality quotient is reflected as effective functioning of other faculties of human personality Рbody, mind and intellect. Vital energy is the life-giving force and a means to regulate and co-ordinate between them. Vitality is manifested in three domains as:

  • Energy of WILL (Ichcha Shakthi) – endurance in the mental faculty
  • Energy of KNOWLEDGE (Jnana Shakthi)¬†– clarity in Knowledge domain, intellectual faculty and
  • Energy to ACT (Kriya Shakthi) – effectiveness in Action,¬†physical faculty.

Any work we undertake involves a goal, the means and real work done.

Goal is the function of mental faculty where the desire arises. Will Power is the ability to transcend desires arisen out of sensory impressions and manifest our deepest aspirations in action. Desires arisen out of sensory impressions are not born out of free choice. True will power is the ability to transcend such desires and obstacles, endure and persevere for attainment of the deepest aspirations born of free choice.

A well-developed Ojas (a form of pranic energy) provides for endurance and will power.  Ojas is related to the grosser water element among the five elements.  Ojas is the primal vigor or vitality energy that preserves the essence of digested foods, impressions and thoughts. It provides a sense of calmness, nourishes and supports the higher states of consciousness, thus enhancing the capabilities of perseverance and endurance. 

Once desire or a goal is established, we need to have clarity on the means to achieve the goal. This is primarily the function of intellect Рknowledge faculty. Clarity here is the intelligence or ability to discriminate the appropriate from the inappropriate towards attainment of the objective.  This clarity is provided by the Tejas element of pranic energy.

Tejas is related to the fire element and Ajna Chakra at the mental level. It is the inner radiance through which we digest the impressions and thoughts and develop higher perceptual capabilities. This is the guiding force for all the other chakras and indirectly manifests as effectiveness in all other domains of human personality.  A well-developed Tejas also help burn the inappropriate desires entertained by the will and acts as the guiding force for the will.

It is to be noted here that various domains of human personality – body, prana, etc., do not act independent, exclusive of each other. They are closely connected and the boundaries for their functionality are not clearly drawn. The classification of manifestation of vitality in different domains is done only for gaining a better understanding. Causing change in one domain will affect other domains as they function parallel. For example, high tejas enhances clarity, purifies the desires, enhances endurance and perseverance(an aspect of ojas). On the other hand perseverance in action coupled with awareness will provide for clarity and develops tejas… With this understanding let us now go ahead to discuss the third aspect where prana manifests – Energy of Action…

Once a goal is decided and there is clarity on path to be taken, the next step is to put the plan into action.  This is guided by Prana element of the pranic energy. Good supply of Prana to the organs of action will provide the physical body with energy to act. While the asana practices help in clearing the blocks along the energy pathways in the body, pranayama practices help better distribution of pranic energy to all parts of the body. Action can also mean mental action. In such case, mind is the place of action and pranic energy is diverted for its functioning. We have already seen that thoughts also consume pranic energy. 

The other ways in which vitality is manifested are:

Handling problems:

The Prana allows the mind to move and respond to challenges of life.  Tejas handles it to perceive and judge accordingly while Ojas gives patience and endurance that provides psychological stability to overcome the problem.

Handling emotions:

At emotional level, Prana provides for emotional harmony, balance and creativity.  Tejas gives courage, fearlessness and vigor, helping accomplish extraordinary actions.  Ojas provides peace, calmness and contentment.

Imbalance in Prana, Ojas and Tejas:

Prana is responsible for enthusiasm and expressions in the psyche, lack of which leads to depression and mental stagnation.

Tejas governs mental digestion and absorption, lack of which leads to lack of clarity and determination.

Ojas provides psychological stability and endurance, lack of which leads to anxiety and mental fatigue.

River with Two-Directional flow…

A normal river carrying water flows in one direction…

The river of mind carrying thoughts flows in two directions, the direction of flow of one’s mind determine where one heads in life…

The downward flow towards destruction is the easy and natural flow, where one acts simply based on instincts.

Humans are bestowed with a special ability to act as per their WILL, commonly known as Will-Power. The upward flow is based on the extent of manifestation of this will power. This upward flow will be effective and smoother, if we direct the senses and emotions as per dictates from the higher intellect. By higher intellect we refer to the creative and intuitive powers of the intellect. The lower intellect is one which helps us deal with the day-to-day affairs effectively and survive.

It is said…

those who create changes LEAD

those who adapt well to changes SURVIVE while

those who resist changes PERISH

And…

To LEAD one need the powers of the Subtle and HIGHER INTELLECT

To SURVIVE one need to effectively use the gross and LOWER INTELLECT

To simply PERISH without getting noticed, it is enough to act according to one’s INSTINCTS.

On introspection and analysis we will understand that…

Great Leaders in all fields who inspire people for generations, effectively used Higher Intellect

Good people who make a mark during their life-time, live as per directions of the Lower Intellect

Vast majority (like animals) live subdued to their instinctual directions

This puts into perspective the cause behind stress and worry in the modern world.

Perseverance and Dispassion are the two wings of a bird which help one to flow in the upward direction of evolution making the most use of higher intellect.

Consistent practice or Sadhana as per the first two limbs of Ashtanga Yoga – Yama and Niyama help one to develop perseverance.

Development of dispassion is not getting disinterested with the day to day affairs or suppression of desires as is commonly understood. It is growing beyond these through well-developed intelligence. Such intelligence is also developed by following the principles of Yamas and Niyamas. 

Change does not happen overnight. It is a steady and continuous process. One need to first start using their lower intellect properly before moving forward to usage of higher intellect and there is no short cut in this journey. While on the journey, our past actions and their results will continue to haunt us in the form of resistance from people around and mind within. This is where perseverance comes handy. We need to be mentally prepared to face any obstacle, be resilient and rise up more swiftly than in the previous fall.

Tools for practice:

  • Asana practices with awareness help one to develop the will and awareness
  • Pranayama practices help to keep the energy levels high and activate the higher chakras
  • Pratyahara practices like antarmouna, yoga nidra, etc., help to develop awareness, control over senses, emotions and mind
  • Study and interaction with experts for gaining proper understanding of Yamas and Niyamas

One need to get the right schedule of practices for their need, as per the advice from experts

Courtesy: This insight is from a talk by Swami Muktanand Puri during World Yoga Convention 2013 in Oct 2013 at Munger

Magnetic Hill near Leh in Ladakh, India

Can anyone ever imagine the movement of a vehicle up a steep mountain, with its ignition off? Sounds quite unbelievable!  Well, this magnet magic can be experienced while you are traveling from Leh to Ladakh.

In the Magnetic hill, you can see for yourself vehicles moving up at a speed of 20 km/ hour with the engines off.

Magnetic Hill is a gravity hill located near Leh in Ladakh, India. The hill is alleged to have magnetic properties strong enough to pull cars uphill and force passing plane to increase their altitude to  escape magnetic interference.

 image1

The local administration has also put up a bill board to help tourists recognize the Magnetic Hill. The board clearly states the whole phenomenon. So you can also enjoy a first hand experience as you reach the hill.

Place your vehicle on a specific spot on the road with its engines off and you will soon notice the vehicle moving up at a speed of 20 km/hour.

 image2

The ‚Äúmagnetic hill‚ÄĚ is located on the Leh-Kargil-Srinagar national¬† highway, about 50 km from Leh, at a height of 11,000 feet above sea-level. On its south side flows the Indus, which originates in Tibet and goes to Pakistan. The so-called magnetic hill has become a popular stop¬† for domestic tourists on car journeys.

 image3

In reality, the effect is an optical  illusion and there is no magnetic disturbance in the area at all.

According to reports, the magnetic effect results entirely from the optical illusion and not out of any magnetic disturbances. Located on  the Leh-Kargil-Srinagar national Highway, the magnetic hill is about fifty kilometers from Leh. Magnets or no magnets, the place holds a  great attraction, especially for the nature enthusiasts.

Location of Magnetic Hill:

 image4

image5

Mystery Explained:
Magnetic Hill is a place where the layout of the surrounding land produces the optical illusion that a very slight downhill slope appears to be an uphill slope. Thus, a car left out of gear will appear to be rolling uphill. There are hundreds of gravity hill locations around the world.

image6

The slope of gravity hills is an optical illusion, although tour guides may claim natural or even supernatural forces are at work. The most important factor contributing to the illusion is a  completely or mostly obstructed horizon; without a horizon, judging the slope of a surface is difficult as a reliable reference is missing. Objects one would normally assume to be more-or-less perpendicular to the ground (such as trees) may actually be leaning, offsetting the visual reference. The illusion is similar to the well-known Ames room, where balls can also seem to roll against gravity.
This is a remarkably common illusion that is found in many locations around the world. Usually it is a stretch of road in a hilly area where the level horizon is obscured. Objects such as trees and walls that normally provide visual clues to the true vertical, may be leaning slightly. This creates an optical illusion making a slight downhill look like an uphill slope. Objects may seem to roll uphill. Sometimes rivers even seem to flow against gravity.
There are several things that enable us to sense which way is up. The balance mechanism in our inner ears is one system we have, but visual clues are also important and can be overriding. If the horizon cannot be seen or is not level, then we may be fooled by objects that we  expect to be vertical but that really are not. False perspective might  also play a role. If a line of trees get larger or smaller with distance away, our sense of perspective is thrown off.  Objects far away may seem smaller or larger than they are.

Credits: Article by Mr.Ankit Srivastav in http://www.Quora.com

Insight:

Our senses and logical mind is limited in clearly discriminating and identifying Reality from Illusion; True from Untrue. Humans alone are blessed with this ability to rise above sensory limitations and tap into the resources of a highly developed cortex in the brain. This is described as higher intellect and intuition.

Wise men in the world – Charaka, Sushruta, Aryabhatta, Sankaracharya, Ramanuja, Chanakya, Asoka, etc., in ancient times to Ramanuja, Edison, Einstein, etc., in modern times have made maximum use of this higher intellect.

There are many more unsung heroes who have developed their higher intellect to varying degrees and become successful in their own fields and contributed to the overall benefit of humanity.

It is each Individual’s Choice / WILL to make a decision to evolve and tap into this higher resource which is available only to humans.

To restate… Humans are those who exercise this WILL available only to them.

3 Steps in Learning – to foster Innovation and Creativity

Almost half of Indian Graduates are unemployable in any sector. Lack of Cognitive skills and English knowledge are the major reasons cites the report. Even among those who are considered employable, a significant part is fit only for BPO segment where there is limited application of mind and analytical skills. The scenario is more alarming with technical graduates. With only about 4% of technical graduates who can take up some serious stuff involving innovation and higher-order thinking, there is a need to seriously address this burgeoning problem. Study after study reveals the same story.

This calls for a review and understanding of our education system and learning method. What has happened to the learning system in the country which boasts of world’s first universities like Nalanda and Taxila, that attracted pupils from across the world as early as 400 – 500 BC? Now our graduates are largely unemployable and the best talent is getting drained out of the country. They venture out for better education and end up getting settled there.

What is the key in our learning method that was lost during the colonial rule? How was ancient Indian learning system able to give and awe the world in all fields – Mathematics (Zero, number system, etc.,), astronomy, medicine, astrology, science, psychology, textile, etc.,

Ancient Indian Learning system was holistic in the sense that it employed all the three steps in learning

  1. Sravanam (Listening/reading)
  2. Mananam (Understanding)
  3. Nidhi Dhyasanam (Contemplating through deep meditation)

In this article let us try to understand why these three are essential steps in making learning complete.

The first two steps help in transmission or transfusion of knowledge from the teacher to the student. The third important step Nidhi dhyasanam results in transformation.

Sravanam involves listening or reading a particular subject. Through simply hearing / reading one will be able to store things in memory and bring them out when required. This is useful in memorising facts and figures. Rote-learning and marks oriented education helps one excel in this stage. In a world where all facts and figures are available at the click of a button, the knowledge thus gained has limited value. Excelling at this stage will help one to become a graduate / literate. The journey stops there. Most of our unemployable graduates are at this stage of learning.

Mananam involves understanding the knowledge gained through the above process. It involves development of intellectual knowledge. It helps one to understand various things that are already available in the sphere of knowledge of the world. Development of basic analytical, reasoning and critical thinking skills helps one to excel in this stage. Most of our employable graduates are at this level. They can use the already available knowledge intelligently, apply the same in their daily lives and get things going. For them life can simply go on. Recent trends in school education initiated by CBSE emphasising on this stage of learning (though there is still much work to be done), is a positive sign in achieving higher employable levels of our graduates.

For the country and world to progress… progress rapidly, we need to have more people who can move on to the next level of learning.

Nidhi Dhyasanam involves contemplating and reflection on the knowledge gained and understood through the above process. It involves intelligent integration of knowledge across disciplines. It involves experience – either directly or through reflection.

When all the rational thinking skills like analytical thinking, critical thinking, logical thinking, etc., reach an end point, there is blankness – thoughtless state. From such a state emerges creativity and innovation, which is called as creative thinking or out of the box thinking. This is the way to all break-through advancements in the world. This approach brings to the realm of knowledge in the world, the hitherto unknown.

It is believed that modern technological innovations have been possible because of scientific and technological advancements. What then explains the ancient Indian scientific discoveries? Every discovery in this world from the concept of zero, astrological and astronomical calculations of ancient Indians, ayurveda, surgery, etc., in ancient India to modern technological advancements like television, radio, computer, mobile phones, etc., has been made possible because of deep reflection and contemplation by the intelligent. Reflection and re-look of the basics can only trigger breakthrough innovations.

Modern day scientists like Einstein were also able to make breakthrough advancements in scientific field by the same approach. Here is what a contemporary of Einstein had to share:

The intensity and depth of his concentration were fantastic… Often, when we found ourselves up against a seemingly insuperable difficulty, he would stand up, put his pipe on the table, and say in his quaint English, “I will a little tink” (think). Then he would pace up and down, twirling a lock of his long greying hair around his forefinger. A dreamy, faraway and yet inward look would come over is face. There was no appearance of concentration, no furrowing of the brow – only a placid inner communion. The minutes would pass and suddenly he would stop pacing as his face relaxed into a gentle smile. He had found solution to the problem…

He once said to me, “Ideas come from God”… On the marble fireplace in the mathematics building at princeton university is carved, in the original German, what one might call his scientific credo: “God is subtle, but he is not malicious.” By this Einstein meant that scientists could expect to find their task difficult, but not hopeless: the universe was a Universe of law, and God was not confusing us with deliberate paradoxes and contradictions.

This quote by Einstein¬†establishes acceptance by intelligentsia, the value of ancient Indian wisdom: “When I read the Bhagavad-Gita and reflect about how God created this universe everything else seems so superfluous”

This brings us back to nidhi dhyasanam – contemplation through deep meditation. Deep meditation on a subject of interest helps one to understand more about the subject from the unknown and bring it to the realm of known.

Left to chance and circumstances geniuses like Einstein, CVRaman, Ramanujan, Sachin Tendulkar, Lata Mangeshkar, S P Balasubramaniam, Abdul Kalam, Narayana Murthy, Ratan Tata, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Sir Visweswaraiah, etc., will emerge. Many geniuses in various fields but not so popular as above will also emerge.

But the world is in need of more of such dedicated people who would strive to give their best and leave this world a better place than they found it. Irrespective of the field of choice, we need a methodology, an approach that will foster more innovation and creativity (product, process) by bringing out the latent potential in individuals.

Yogic texts and Gita give us an answer for this. In brief this approach prescribes one to develop chitta suddhi (purity of mind) and chitta ekagrata (one pointed concentration), to be able to go through all the three steps of the learning process. These can be inculcated best in children…

  1. Serve, Love and Give РMandatory involvement of children in service projects through NSS, NCC and other clubs in schools help one develop positive attitude towards life
  2. Asana practices help one to keep the internal and external organs, the physical body fit & healthy
  3. Basic Pranayama practices like nadi sodhana pranayama, etc., help to purify the vital energy pathways and advanced practices like mudras and bandhas help to enhance, channelise and retain the vital energy levels for appropriate use
  4. Healthy physical body, right mental attitude and high vital energy levels set the right platform for one to enhance the intellectual levels and tap into the subtle intellect or universal consciousness through meditation and contemplation. Practices like Trataka, Antar mouna, etc., help one reach this stage.

The entire approach may seem long drawn and cumbersome. It is so. This explains one of the reasons to integrate it into our education system in schools, make it complete and comprehensive and help in reviving our ancient education system. This paves the way for our country to regain its lost glory and premier place in world economy.

What is Wisdom?

To see the truth in the false is the Beginning of Wisdom

To see the false as the false is the Highest Comprehension

– J Krishnamurti

Understanding Mind – An Absorbent Mind

awareness

awareness (Photo credit: tobias feltus)

Understanding comes in the space between two words, in that interval before the word shapes thought.

Understanding is not verbal, nor is there such a thing as intellectual understanding. Intellectual understanding is only on the verbal level, and so no understanding at all. Understanding does not come as a result of thought, for thought after all is verbal. There is no thought without memory, and memory is the word, the symbol, the process of image making. At this level there is no understanding.

Understanding is neither for the quick-witted nor for the slow, but for those who are aware of this measureless space.

J Krishnamurti

Understanding is being. Being in the very moment. A child from birth till about eight years of age is very understanding. Children of that age have absorbent mind declares Maria Montessori in her book The Absorbent Mind. They absorb and understand each moment of life intensely, effortlessly, naturally, like a sponge. After eight, the logical and intellectual mind takes over. The capacity to understand, creative genius is then gradually lost.

Pratyahara and Dharana practices of Yoga РAntarmouna, Ajapa japa, Breath awareness, Yoga Nidra, etc., prepare us to develop this kind of mind. They help us to develop awareness and keep the mind alert.

Logically thinking and intellectually sharp mind is required to handle various day-to-day affairs. But, the mind is most effective only when it is aware, alert, absorbent and understanding.

– If you are aware and alert to the mental chatter that happens while you are listening… true listening, devoid of filters can take place

– If you are aware of the words you are about to utter, you can be more effective in your communication

– If you are able to understand yourself, you will be able to understand others better and have better interpersonal relationships

These are but some of the benefits one gains by developing an absorbent mind.

For Adults…

Acceptance of what they are now, coupled with persistence, patience, perseverance and continuous practice under right guidance helps.

For Children…

Introducing the practices early in their life as part of the process of education helps.

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