Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2014


Just as a play or movie unfolds scene by scene, so, too, life unfolds in phases. The students of today will qualify as adult, working members of society tomorrow. What we are today will shape our next phase. It is, therefore, very important to know what our “dharma’ or body of duties is during the student stage.

In the old Vedic times, when the “Guru Shishya Parampara” existed, students were taught everything that a youngster needed to know by way of   social, economic and political knowledge, along with the etiquette of living within a family and social system, behavioral patterns, and, above all, respect and love for all. The Guru’s “Ashram” was a complete school. As a result, the student moved into the next phase of householder and earning member of the family naturally and easily. This was possible because every student conformed to a well balanced, comprehensive and wholesome system of teaching imparted by the Guru or teacher with utmost honesty and sincerity. The system was also designed to integrate and connect people as individuals, families and societies so that a common value system of mutual love and respect created a peaceful and harmonious environment and a working atmosphere of mutual  trust. The honing of emotional intelligence through understanding, acceptance and sacrifice based on compassion became the common foundation of all human behavior.

Today, those values are not taught in educational institutions. The accent is more on material success. We need to bring back our timeless but fast disappearing rich culture and traditions which we have not been able to transfer to our succeeding generations. This is where our uniqueness lies, however modern we become in other ways.

Surekha Kothari

http://www.BodyMindSoulCentre.com

surekhakothari.wordpress.com

Speakingtree Blog: www.speakingtree.in/public/surekhakothari

Advertisements

Read Full Post »


There is some God given talent in all of us. Some have been endowed with more than one. As children, we exhibit a definite aptitude for particular subjects. Going forward, however, these talents could lie dormant because of our own inability to crystallize and optimize them. Often, we don’t take them seriously enough and sometimes, we follow the pattern of specialization that is expected from us rather than that which we believe to be our calling.

 

It is important to realize that out of all the talents we possess, there is that one special talent backed by an extra zeal and passion that ultimately translates into our career path. For multi talented people, it does become a problem to make a choice between equal talents. Following the heart balanced by a practical mind would be a good way to solve this issue.

 

In any case, talent has to be honed by education and focus on the goal or goals we set for ourselves. Just having an extraordinary talent is not enough. Unless we are child prodigies, the way forward is to be a few steps ahead of our aspirations, both in academic and technical knowledge.

 

For example, to be a performing musician, one has to learn voice culture, the entire grammar of a “raga” and then practice for years to master the art.  An inherent talent only helps in grasping a subject quickly while a passion for it sustains the focus and determination to excel.

 

Specialization opens up several windows of   opportunities. Talents must, therefore, be optimized through learning. Otherwise, they will fade away gradually. There has to be sustained effort to keep them alive and functioning to maximize our potential.

 

Surekha Kothari

www.BodyMindSoulCentre.com

surekhakothari.wordpress.com         

www.speakingtree.in/public/surekhakothari

 

Read Full Post »


“I hear you” is a very common phrase. But is that enough? The counter question would be, “but are you listening?” Have you noticed that very often, when we are talking to someone, their eyes are somewhere else and their minds are visibly wandering? I have often stopped midway in my sentence and felt really foolish to realize that I am talking to myself. It is as if I have been addressing a wall all the while.

 

I wonder if people are aware of their actions at such times. Where are those simple people who genuinely care and share love, empathy and compassion only because that is vital to the quality of a human being?

 

The cacophony of sounds caused by our own screaming desires is probably sufficient to tune out any external voices. The complexities of our wants and the imbalances of our emotions are greatly responsible for our inability to rise above ourselves to focus on someone whose life can be transformed just by listening and understanding, by lending not only our ears but also our hearts to them. Only then does one actually start to “listen” to others with concern for them.

We tend to “hear” voices like we hear car horns and dogs barking on the streets, without paying attention to them. But when we claim we are “listening”, there has to be a focus, attention and caring.

 

Many of us are guilty of not listening to even our own near and dear ones who may not say exactly what is topical or relevant according to our perspective but to them, it may be vital. Today, we love to talk about Corporate Social Responsibility projects. We speak of being prominent social workers. But, it is the small acts of listening, understanding and kindness that fetch us big brownie points in the eyes of the Almighty.

 

There is no joy in living just for oneself. That was not the Grand Plan. So, the next time someone speaks to us, let us not just “hear”. Let us listen!

Surekha Kothari

www.BodyMindSoulCentre.com

surekhakothari.wordpress.com

www.speakingtree.in/public/surekhakothari

 

Read Full Post »


Memoirs are what memories create. Some happiness, some tears, some agony. As we grow older, we seem to start dwelling on the past very naturally. I always used to wonder why the older generation talks so much about their past. I guess, when we are younger, there is so much to look forward to. Our energy levels are high and life seems to stretch in front of our line of vision as having many goals to look forward to. Towards the evening of our lives, a saturation point is reached for many people. Some others retire from their workplace because they have to. Some pass on their work to the next generation. Some opt to resign and take life easy after many years of hard work.

 

For all of these people, there seem to be many experiences in the past to talk about. There is a lot of learning there for those who listen. But, to handle a phase of inactivity or less activity can get very difficult as well. Not everyone can accept this phase graciously.

 

Our sense of self esteem depends hugely on how occupied we are, and, more important, how this places us in the eyes of the world. When our identity comes from the approval of others, anonymity can be very unsettling. If life can be viewed as a series of phases, it would be easier to accept changes, both within ourselves and the external set of circumstances.

 

What is really the issue here is that there is little to look forward to. There are no new goals for many. Actually, the world has opened up so many opportunities that we can learn something new every day. Recently, I saw a computer class with seventy year old individuals and I was thrilled! When so many new vistas open up the Mind, and we have the child within us alive and motivated enough to keep learning, the present and future become so exciting that the past ceases to be a compulsive memory and remains dormant within us , to be brought up at will when lessons from it need to be remembered.

 

The productive use of each present moment is the key to living rather than existing on past memories just because we don’t see anything before us that would adorn our present and future.

 

Surekha Kothari

www.BodyMindSoulCentre.com

surekhakothari.wordpress.com

Speakingtree Blog: http://www.speakingtree.in/public/surekhakothari

Read Full Post »


Very early in life, we were taught that patience is one of the most coveted qualities and is a part of learned behavior. I have learnt that it is in proportion with our needs and their fulfillment. The law of demand and supply is directly proportionate to our levels of patience. It is a need of a baby to be fed instantaneously when it is hungry. These are called “demand feeds” because patience is an unknown word to the little baby. But as age advances, the natural needs change into wants, a scenario where patience AND ethics take a back seat many a time.

“I can’t wait “is a common phrase heard everywhere, whether it pertains to a simple need like “needing” to go for a movie, or, a more compelling one like “needing” to become a multi millionaire. Both are wants, not needs. At some point, most of us start using the words “want” and “need “ as synonyms, though they are far from being synonyms. “I “want” this because it is my “need”, is a common place feeling. Our mind cannot separate the two because our needs become wants over a period of time. What we want is not necessarily what we need. Our needs are basic to our survival while on this earth, whereas our wants are inspired by a desire for excesses, extras, and greed for “just a little more”. The latter are imbalances of ego driven insecurities and desires within us. When our wants start multiplying, it means we are indulging ourselves and craving for more than what is needed to sustain us through life.

When it is a question of wanting, we are like instant coffee. Everything must be achieved NOW. I used to teach vocal music to a few students who wanted to perform after doing four or five classes when we had practiced for years to reach a common minimum standard. It is understandable that getting an endorsement or approval from others is great feeling. But those who have their goal defined and the determination and perseverance to achieve it with patience are more likely to have the depth of knowledge to be successful. Patience is a long path to amazing rewards. “Too much too soon” does not define wisdom. I guess, the satisfaction of a need is its own reward but the satisfaction of a want breeds more and more “wanting” to which the satiation levels are not well defined or guaranteed.

At the same time, we also need to ask ourselves how much we need in order to be happy. Not much really! If we didn’t seek our identities in the eyes of other people, we would lead a much more stress free life and also be satisfied with what we have. Our “wants” are perhaps more for social recognition than anything else. Many of us have more than we need and some have much more than they will ever need.

Philosophers and Thinkers have always emphasized the concept of “simple living and high thinking” for a good reason. The more we get involved with comparisons of material gains and walk into the race for “one upmanship”, the more our wants increase, gradually becoming out of control. The imbalance thus caused shifts the focus from what we are here to achieve as spiritual beings to illusory gains in a temporary world, a world which we are actually just passing through in our journey. For a very short lived satisfaction, therefore, are we digressing from our evolutionary path?

The time for introspection is now.

Surekha Kothari

www.BodyMindSoulCentre.com

surekhakothari.wordpress.com

Speakingtree Blog: www.speakingtree.in/public/surekhakothari

Read Full Post »