Monday, April 27, 2015

Life and Life-Style!

We are frequently faced with the question “What is this life?” To understand this question we need to first distinguish between Life and ‘Life - style’. There is an distinction that between the two. Most of the time we think that life style and life are one and the same, when they are not! Life-style is associated with the external while Life is associated with the internal, which is within one.

We often are in the quest of looking to make our lives happy, and seek external sources to quench our thirst. In wanting to make life happy we seek from our material surroundings. We think we will be happy when we have a secure job, we will be comfortable when we have a shelter above our head.
When we achieve that, we are not satisfied and we look for enhancing what we have got, thinking “this will make us happy”. We look for promotions within the job, are it in position or monetary increment and we look to renovate our houses thinking the extra room or a better kitchen is what we need.
Thus this spiral of wanting more which we conveniently term need, leads to greed, while all the time we are still in search of that elusive happiness, which is within. Thus we need to understand that what we think will make us happy in life, is actually our ‘Life-style’ which only provides a temporary illusion of happiness till we start wanting more.

Life on the other hand requires one to go within and live in the moment, in complete faith that one will be provided for without wanting or asking, it prompts one to learn that happiness is not a destination that we seek but the stations that you get along the path. Being present in the moment and appreciating the thoughts in the present thereby freeing us from the thoughts of the past or the future.

Life teaches simplicity which no longer is a convention but an invention! ‘Life-style’ is getting caught in the outer noise!, While life is listening to the inner voice. ‘Life-style’ recognizes the one who has the most, while life supports one who needs the least.
Looking outside we dream, looking within we awaken, looking outside we analyze, looking inside we realize. We need to understand that the eyes offer sight while the heart offers insight.

The next time that you are faced with the question “What is this life”? Distinguish between ‘life – style’ and ‘life’ before looking for the answer, and seek answers from within rather than from the outside.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Compassion at the Heart of Emotional Intelligence!

I am certain that a lot of us have heard this before by Maya Angelou, ‘It is my observation that in the future, they will not remember what you said or did, but they will remember how you made them feel’.

Feelings are a part of the emotional repertoire and the next step after feelings are emotions, i.e. when I put that feeling into motion.

At the heart of Emotional Intelligence is Compassion. When we understand what compassion is in contrast to Compulsion, we understand what Maya Angelou says.

Compassion has an emotion attached to it and this emotion is different from the ‘think emotion’ that we so incessantly have all the time. When we think that we need to do something, it is not Compassion but compulsion and that is where most of us are caught up in, in today's world.

According to Wikipedia: ‘Compassion is the emotion that one feels in response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help’.
And to that I add, ‘make a difference’!

Compulsion means: the action or state of forcing or being forced to do something’. Many a time, I attend functions that I don’t want to, do something that I don’t feel like or comply with actions that are not necessarily mine.

The force that Compassion has is internal, it is something from within that makes me want to make a difference and this gives me tremendous energy! When I am told to do something against my will the force is external, I do it more as a requirement and obligation rather than free will and this drains me.

This external force might be family, social pressures, environment, a boss or whoever!

From this we understand that both compassion and compulsion have a bodily response to an emotional action. I can differentiate my actions by the output that my body generates at the end of that action. I can feel the output through my body!

While this is applicable personally, the person on the other side of the fence who is a recipient of doer’s behaviour is also capable of recognizing whether the doer is being compassionate or is doing it out of compulsion.

All of us have in us the infinite wisdom to recognize motives; we can instinctively feel whether it is heart felt or head conceived!

When we act in compassion, we are acting from the spirit, when we act out of compulsion we are acting from the EGO.

Go ahead and make a conscious choice to celebrate the joy of the spirit rather than be bound by the drama of the EGO!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Integrity and Emotional Honesty

What you think, that you say; what you say, that you do; what you do, that you speak; and what you speak that you think.

What the above phrase is saying in short is: One thing in action, one thing in speech and one thing in thought. These form the true nature of conduct for any one of us. When thought, speech and deed are in sync; we can say that we are in integrity.

Change this a little: one thing in their action, one thing in their speech and one thing in their thought and the meaning changes completely of being totally out of integrity.

How many times everyday are we faced with having to choose from the space of Integrity or otherwise? That is the question.

Corporates and individuals pride themselves when setting vision and mission statements personally as well as for the organizations and very often words like honesty and integrity act as foundational pillars to define themselves.

These words trickle down to individuals as well as the teams that proclaim the values of Integrity in their day-to-day work. Change the scenario a little where the interests of bottom lines are involved, very many a time the same individual, boss or teams, put the foundations aside for the sake of business or personal interests.

When questioned, the answer is a typical ‘Get smart, we are in business’ answer.

This often leads to a perplexity in the minds of the individual/s involved and soon enough they find that their personal values seem to be drifting away from professional needs and disillusion sets in terms of right and wrong. The more often this discrepancy occurs the bigger the separation, and this becomes one of the major causes for high attrition.

Over a period of time, even the perpetrator/s of the get smart brigade also start to feel the disconnect.

The major pain point for individual/s in teams today is that when a compromise is asked for, a valid reason is not given.

Logic may say that these individuals who feel short changed should obey the order, as from the outside no major compromise on the part of the organization is being made and it is finally for the collective good.

This rarely works as these little compromises add up over a period of time and then there is a distinct departure that is established.

When the courage of establishing a need for the said change is developed, and the truth behind is revealed, it releases an enormous burden for both sides and this practiced over a period of time lead to an open environment where there is mutual trust and integrity is never questioned.

This power to reveal the truth is called ‘Emotional Honesty’ and it originates in the heart. Remember, when we are honest, we have nothing to remember.

When we are honest, we heal relationships and build trust.

When will we get the courage to develop this Emotional Honesty is a question individuals need to answer for themselves first before it can be scaled to a higher level.

In the current context, it’s a walk down a very lonely path!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Of Silence and Listening...

On Saturday evening we witnessed a magnificent spectacle in the sky: the lunar eclipse. What amazed me that evening was the absolute silence that prevailed all around, even the silence of nature. The complete silence that lasted the duration of the eclipse was indeed an amazing experience. I felt that we experience the glory and beauty of celestial grandeur only in moments of complete silence.

Today, if you look around you find that all we have around us is noise. It’s noisy in the streets, it’s noisy in the restaurants, it’s noisy on the television, it’s noisy everywhere. Even schools today teach the young to read, write and recite, but never to listen — not only to listen externally but also internally. We are in times when, even while working, walking, jogging or simply sitting, we have a constant companion called noise.

In fact we have reached a stage where silence is scary and hence there’s a need for noise as a constant companion.

When we are silent, the mind starts talking to us and it can be extremely difficult to listen to our own mind.

Ask yourself this question: “Will I be my best friend?”. The answer in all probability will be “no!” That is because we are constantly self-critical.

In order to escape this self-critical person in us we find various ways not to listen to the mind.

While the self-critique in us can make us quite uncomfortable, it is the storehouse of information. It can give us an insight into how we are currently thinking and feeling.

When we become aware of our thoughts and feelings, we can go about understanding and healing the inner critique. And one of the ways we can understand and heal the inner critique is by remaining silent, by listening and experiencing everything around us, accepting the views of others, listening to the thoughts of others.

We find difficulty in following it, because as soon as we are subjected to any feedback, our defense mechanisms, built up unconsciously since childhood, spring to our apparent rescue.

When we become defenseless and operate through silence we discover a new self, a self that is happy and in sync with its surroundings. In the self that has divinity within we can find the glory and beauty of celestial grandeur.

As Rachel Naomi Remen has said: “The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. “Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.

“A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words”.