Category Archives: Mentoring

THE ART OF BEING PARTICULAR

  Life is a tedious journey or not! After all it’s a matter of perception and our attitude and the courage of conviction, wit, a sense of confidence and enthusiasm. But this is not all! This not the end of the road.

To the lazy and the least bothered, who have no sense of responsibility and have no feeling of guilt, life is about a series of events, and they take life as it happens without feeling its burden and have no care…so one day all is fine and another day there is hell to pay followed by another upswing and so on. It’s a day to day existence and….. ‘Tomorrow is another day and we shall see when the sun rises’ …. ‘At least today has been taken care of’ …. And that is all that matters.

For some this is a matter of choice because they have good financial backing and little worries for tomorrow and someone to take care of them, at least up to a point and so well…’ let’s take full benefit of it and make hay while the sun shines ‘so to speak. For others it is due to circumstances which force them into such a life style and they get bogged down into its vicious circle.

But those that are born in a reasonably supportive environment things are different. Awareness of this fact is of utmost importance…. It’s all about being in the present and projecting it into the future to maintain a smooth functioning system.

This has to be imbibed at a very young age where the need for details are considered important, and breezing thru life like it was a joyride is definitely not an option. Of course to the young and the adult this spells of boredom and an unnecessary exercise in increasing unwanted burden and hence leads to a laidback attitude. Continue reading THE ART OF BEING PARTICULAR

BREAKDOWN

 

There is a distinct pattern in the way each individual lives his or her life. This is the consequence of many variables that go into the making of what we are at any particular time. In fact the variations are so great that it is no wonder that there are continuous dissensions and arguments that have ranged from passive confrontations which include dialogues that are either shouting matches or word fights to the extreme position of an out an out war.

While the whole situation may seem petty or even hilarious to a watcher, it’s no laughing matter for the parties concerned, they are very earnest in their arguments and each thinks he knows better and that the other is wrong. Each individuals lives by his or her  own set of codes, values and rules, some learnt voluntarily, others by following the lead and still others by force , or because there was no other alternative.

Above all is the individual ego, when one refuses to accept the wrong, and this escalates matters even further, sometimes to the point of ridiculousness and then comes the inevitable break in relations. Of course this creates a number of problems as one wants to be as far away from the problems that may occur if one were to come across such a person…the awkwardness, embarrassment, hostility, anger and a range of emotions that make the social atmosphere unpalatable, leading to tension and the spoiling of a good environment both internal and external,

Breakdowns will continue to occur as long as the mind is active and the emotions rule the day. Further our aspirations and the need to get what we want without due thought to others is bound to result in a difference in opinion.

Continue reading BREAKDOWN

RISING ABOVE YOURSELF…..THE HIGH ROAD!

The human being is an animal and is one in every respect …let there be no illusions about it. He has started so and will end so unless there is an evolutionary upheaval or the great leap forward takes place. Barring that there is only one road left and that is for man to take it upon himself to enhance and upgrade by putting in the effort on their own and thus progress to a better version than the present one.

Continue reading RISING ABOVE YOURSELF…..THE HIGH ROAD!

WHAT’S WORRYING PARENTS TODAY

There’s a definite change in the way children are brought up today. Being an educationist, I am often accosted by parents and asked for help and advice. The words often used are… “: my child doesn’t listen, or has no feeling of guilt…. Refuses to respond to my shoutings….is willful rude and arrogant….takes what is given for granted….has little value for what is given….is threatening me…..” and the like.

Now let’s go back a little to the previous generations and take a look at their reactions and what they have to say about such behavior.  One will often hear them say…” We didn’t behave this way…we respected our parents…never talked back or argued…touched their feet every day….were obedient and followed their lead…. took their advice …didn’t oppose or be belligerent and understood their wisdom…” and son and so forth.

Well both are facts that was and is the case respectively. Then what changed, what is different that has resulted in the total turnabout in the behavioral patterns and how is one to select the right pattern of bringing up children?

Continue reading WHAT’S WORRYING PARENTS TODAY

THE CONVENIENCE OF LIVING

salalah

If one were to be left standing in the middle of a softly flowing river , not too deep and one had to choose between the banks on either side which one would you go to? What would be the parameters on which one would base their decision? This is easy you would say…one would definitely choose the greener and more fruitful and life sustaining bank. True…but what if this is the river of life and both sides look fruitful and successful what then would you decide.

We are at a point of time when there are three generations …one which is purely traditional and fast disappearing and then there is the other younger which is entirely modern and then there is the one in the middle that can see both the banks so to speak and toggles between the two. Actually this is the best position to be in. Perhaps from here matters are less clouded and one is able to see both sides of the coin at once. While the flow of the traditional life was slower than that of the modern both have much to offer and it bears to look at it in greater detail so as to get the best of both worlds. There are value additions on both sides…the trick is to balance out the two to best suit the life that we have chosen to live.

Thus the traditional has to be brought into modernity and vice versa and this will make life more balanced and enriching. Both are essential to our very being and rejecting one or the other does more harm than good. Balance is after all what life is about and extreme living patterns don’t seem to have done well. If one were to say that the traditional pattern promoted orthodoxy and the modern promotes freedom then the former saw social revolutions on many levels in the Asian and the western world and the latter is resulting in degradation of life and value system to the point where the existence of God is being questioned.

The social system and the established societal norms in either patterns didn’t do well either. These also have resulted in dissensions and have been subject to various internal pulls and pressures leading to the break of the joint family systems in the traditional and now the breakup of even the single family unit in the modern times, the last of which seems to be on its way out as well and living together has become the order of the day.

While living a life is itself a challenge, much of the rules and regulations that we lived by either voluntarily or involuntarily and were imposed or superimposed as the requirement of times and got changed or obliterated for the same reason. Acceptability of a rule or norm was not always a matter of reason or rationalism…rather it was mostly a matter of convenience to whom it mattered most or to those in power. The rest followed without being questioned by the masses thus escalating the process and bringing frequent change rendering every successive generation more confused and exposed to a flawed system full of patchwork and an eroded foundation. Are we then heading to a chaos where finally everything built up in the past becomes redundant and a new world order gets instated altogether with both the traditional and the modernity are annihilated and a new foundation of a completely new system hitherto unheard of is laid . Science fiction is not short on the various types of such systems which again project extremism in one form or the other and each having resulted in response to a dissatisfaction of the existing system for a better one.

It is therefore necessary that we get the best of both worlds and chalk out a middle path that is based more on rationalism and realism, and less on ego, desires and materialism and one which leads to true value addition rather than a game involving politics, rampant subjugation of the individual will, personal invasion, corruption of the self and a need to control at all costs.
The question here is how best to pass on and develop this attitude in the young minds so that they are given the power to judge for themselves and know the right from the wrong…perhaps the last is the very place to start…..

 

On Thought and Thinking

What is thinking?
What is valid/invalid/worthless, pure and rational thinking?
Why is it necessary to think?
How long should one think on a particular matter?
How do we decide that whatever decision has been taken is good and final?
Are there different patterns for thinking?
How does one actualize a thought to become a reality?
How much time and importance should be given to a particular thought?
What is a thoughtless state?
The above were some of the questions raised by a member during one of the discussion sessions held every Sunday. The following are my thoughts on the questions raised. Your response and further additions are welcome.
Continue reading On Thought and Thinking

THE C’S THAT MAKE LIFE….

Success means many things. It’s a culmination of the many activities and a number of elements that act and interact to finally make who you are and what you become. They are in fact the result of the number of C’s that we must allow into our life and assimilate them in a manner that it becomes second nature. It’s these very C’s that build our character and personality and open doors and pathways that finally help us to achieve our goals and reach great heights.

These are oft repeated words said day in and out by our parents, teachers, guides and advisers and business persons. We find them at every turn in our journey in the quest of attainment of knowledge and in the training received. To the young they are a burden and form a barrier to their fun filled lives……a hindrance to the satisfaction of their immediate desires and make life boring and toilsome.

The young are bold adventurous, full of energy, want to take risks and experiment with everything sometimes even at the risk of their health and life. They do not want responsibility and accountability and prefer to deal with life as it comes. They don’t care for the possible dangers and would like to carry on as if the there are no pitfalls in life.

The problem here is that what is not liked is the very thing necessary because these are the very things that can and should be assimilated when one is young for it is at this very time that there is the required energy and enthusiasm to inculcate these in the daily life. Later down the line it becomes too late as habits and routines and the way of thinking gets set and the mindset gets congealed and one becomes inflexible.

the cs

First and foremost it’s necessary to develop clarity both in thought and action, without which one will be unable to proceed further. Clarity will help in proper planning which in turn will aid execution. However to get clarity one needs to gather sufficient data and analyze it using proper tools. This requires that due thought be given to the matter in hand. This is achieved through contemplation. One has to sit quietly and look at the matter from every angle and dimension and create possible scenarios and think on them further individually and holistically to create a connective link of cause and effect. This will progress into clarity of thought which will then translate into clarity in action as well. Once this is done the relevant planning can then be done with finesse and a reasonable degree of surety of the outcome. Then now once one has made a commitment to undertake this job and to finish it.  Once this is done the implementation process can then commence. This will now require a proper attitude that will entail the use of your skills in cooperation and co-ordination. Both of these will require good communication skills that will facilitate the smoothness in the process of implementation and the attainment of success in shortest possible time. Of course there has to be continuity and consistency in the actions during the implementation. This will necessitate that one will have to put a clamp on unnecessary activities and wasteful thought processes and actions.  The natural result of all this and which is the most desired result will be cost saving.

 

The Maintenance and Destruction of Ego.

Another question raised by a member in the Vashita Gyan discussion group was on the matter or Ego, its identification and removal to evolve and enhance as a human being. A humble attempt has been made to answer the same.
Ego is an oft repeated word that continues to affect our daily lives in every aspect possible. It has the ability to hover around like a shadow and to color all the actions and reactions, and the very thought processes and take over the rational thought of an individual, thus giving free reign to the mind to take over and do its very worst. The Ego has been known to make and break people. It has the capacity to take one to the very heights of success or to completely ruin the individual. So what is this Ego? Are we born with it or is it just something that is acquired during the journey of our life or is it just something that is learned from the environment and the elders in our vicinity?
The ego has been the cause of many a dissension and has led to wars and upheavals in the social, political and the economic field and has led many down a path towards self-annihilation and aimless ventures affecting many a lives. On the other hand there have been many a success stories that have gone to inspire and help the new generation in shaping their life creating new pathways of thought and action.
Let us understand what this ego really means. The Cambridge dictionary online gives the meaning of ego thus: your idea or opinion of yourself, especially your feeling of your own importance and ability: In Psychoanalysis, the part of a person’s mind that tries to match the hiddendesires (= wishes) of the id (= part of the unconscious mind) with the demandsof the real world . It further describes the various types of ego. The “alter ego” in British English defines it as…the part of someone’s personality that is not usually seen by other people . Then there is the “super ego” in psychoanalysis, which is …the part of your mind that knows what is right and what is wrong, and causes you to feel guilty when you do something wrong. (Definition of ego, super ego and alter ego from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press : http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/ego ).
The Oxford Dictionary gives the meaning of ego: A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. Psychoanalysis: The part of the mind that mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity. Philosophy: (In metaphysics) a conscious thinking and the meaning of “alter ego”: a person whose personality is different from your own but who shows or acts as another side of your personality. And the “super ego”: Psychoanalysis: The part of a person’s mind that acts as a self-critical conscience, reflecting social standards learned from parents and teachers: ( http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/ego).
Thus the Ego just considers itself with the self-esteem, i.e. what one thinks of oneself in their own mind or more simply as they see themselves in their own eyes. This in turn is a function of their own wishes and desires and projections thus made. This would mean that we presuppose that the human being is able to do this honestly and without self-deception…a tall order indeed. Further the individual may misread reactions and his or her own desires may come in the way of seeing things clearly thus adjusting the circumstance to suit one’s own purpose leading to delusions of self-importance. Further how we think of ourselves is also colored by the reactions of others to our actions and our very presence. This would mean that there is gap between what the person wishes to be and what the person really is….the former taking precedence where the ego is concerned. This works very well for the mind that enhances it even further leading to the image of the self in the mind’s eye which is far removed from reality. We form an idea of how we should look to the world and then live it and insist upon it while the rest of the world doesn’t perceive you in a similar fashion hence the dissensions, arguments and misunderstandings and vehement denials and false notions.
From a psychoanalysis point of view, if the id is the unconscious mind, then verily there is no ego to begin with at birth. Here it is the instincts that will take precedence over conscious thinking. This means it will demand the immediate satisfaction of desire. Thus the tantrums of the child, when its desires are crossed. It is therefore evident that rationalism plays no role here. Its only later when one becomes aware of one’s environment and begins to relate things and develops the idea of the self that the ego develops. This is mainly the result of external stimuli and the actions and reactions with various entities and in varied situations that the picture of the self, starts to emerge. This to some extent is logical and may even be based on reason, the last of which is based on actual experiences, which may be true or false…a subject matter of individual perception. Thus the concept of right and wrong may be adhered to, though whether what is really right or really wrong is another question that has to be dealt with a this stage. The reason for this is that the individual is still in the process of satisfying his or her desires and remove the gap between the hidden desires and the real world, and in the pursuit of so called happiness may make relevant compromises. This would mean that the ego would go to any lengths to achieve its desires and so in that sense many at times end up making irrational decisions that defy all logic and may be even given to extremes in emotional situations. This is evident if one were to observe everyday behavior when a person becomes adamant and insists on having his/her way. If the child is accessed by the adult at this time, then despite being an adult the result will of course be disastrous.
The alter ego on the other hand is one which is well hidden and presented when circumstances demand it. This alter ego could be good or bad…its subjective…..for example superman is the alter ego of Peter Parker in the famous comic book series. There are real life examples as well, as the famous singer Christina Aguilera and X Tina. It’s another self which is created to handle matters that the original personality cannot handle or to present another side of a person, perhaps more confident and outgoing as opposed to the original one. Sometimes they may end up living a double life….and is wholly in the realm of the subject of psychology.
If one goes by the Oxford dictionary then there is a more positive side to the alter ego and that is its capacity to be self-critical….this could help the original personality to to enhance or deteriorate depending on the kind of criticism. This means that there is an element of lack of sureness as far as the contribution of the alter ego to character and evolvement in the positive direction is concerned.
This leaves us with the Super Ego. This is related to you conscience and with the help of the wisdom gained from experience , yours and others, one can enter the realm of analytical thought having both width and depth, enabling the individual to have better judgement and discrimination, leading to rational thought analysis. Thus the individual will have a better concept of right and wrong. The only care that has to be taken that relativism in this respect will have to be discarded so as to maintain truth. This would mean that absolutism would rule the day making any further analysis unnecessary as where there is only one truth the question of choice does not enter and the decision taken or the solution would prevail in all space , time and conditions.
Thus while the ego can be self-deceiving in that it creates a barrier to one’s development due to false belies of the self or belief in the projections of the self that one desires to be, the alter ego goes one step further in their creation of another self . Both can be harmful for development of both the earthly and spiritual self and result in dissensions that are harmful to both body and soul. Thus the ego may stop growth and development in a variety of ways and in some instances destroy ones personality and life as well. It is best that these are destroyed and not allowed to rule your life.
The maintenance of the super ego then seems to be a better choice as it tells one to differentiate between right and wrong and a sense of guilt is good for the soul and for the enhancement of character and personality and above all growth. As it is this ego that will spend less time in trying to impress or project unrealistic ideas of oneself. Life will indeed be more easy to lead and the wrongs will be easily accept and wrong thought processes acknowledged and in short one will be able to move on and not be stuck or stagnate due to an unrelenting ego that cannot let go.
However on the other side of the picture , many a times the absolute correctness that the super ego entails and its application is mistaken for the unrelenting ego by those who fail to understand the underlying truth or rather by those who have an ego that refuses to see the light of the day. In such circumstances little can be done and time is the only solution when reality of the truth will dawn on the individual to enable the person to mend his ways.
Finally in my opinion if one were to develop discrimination and rationalistic way of thinking it will over time, do away with the ego that so much inhibits the human psyche especially in the modern times.