Devil in detail

Tags

, , , , ,

Adviti – my daughter – is still learning to walk. She keeps on playing on the floor. What surprises every one of us is her finding smallest speck of dust or any material on floor. Otherwise, she does not eat much, but these specks are not visible to us and by the time we look at her she has already put it in her mouth. We always think where does she get such a keen eye to the detail? How can we keep our home mopped and swapped such that we can avoid such particles? In whatever capacity the floor is cleaned she always finds something, to show us our failure to clean the floor.

I started reading a management book for middle management and change management. This book is very interesting. When we grow in career, we have to let go of some details and start managing on slightly bigger scale. When one moves to this slightly higher level of execution, one tends to delegate work. The big picture, view is required some time. Additionally, when one moves to bit higher level one has to manage not do everything.

While reading this book, I was wondering about the movement to middle or higher management. When we grow up, we thinking about these movement and execution thus we – at times – miss the finer details of execution. This is exactly what happens with us at home – when we grow old, we start walking and the ground is too low for us to keep an eye on it. More precisely, the difference is 15 cm to ground vs 165 cm to ground. Adviti sees things from 11 times nearer than what we see. In management we too have a gap, if not 11 times, it is 2-5 times. We miss seeing the minor things sometimes we just overlook these.

It is said that the devil is in detail. Be it Adviti seeing small speck at floor or a senior manager missing out on the possible execution challenge. The devil is in detail, Adviti’s small actions helped me put an emphasis on this for my career and professional live.

The observer

Tags

, , , , , ,

After my regular spiritual practice of Art of living’s Yoga, Pranayam and short sudarshan Kriya, I opened my eyes. The birds were chirping, Adviti – my daughter – was playing with my mother. Our drawing room was shining with the morning Sun light.

I was sitting on my yoga mat with my eyes open. The light was falling on my eyes. Objects – the dining table and chairs – were making reflections. It was a fraction of a second that these objects were there visible to my eyes yet there was something within me that was an observer – no more than that. This observer was witnessing everything as it was. There was no filter of naming the objects, sounds were falling on the ears – sweet and pleasant – yet there was no division or interpretation of the sound. Sound was just experienced, no label on sound such as “my dauther’s voice”, kuku or pigeon or sparrow. Most intriguing of this label is the experiencer was just there, I dont remember if the word “My” was there in the dictionary at that moment.

The intelligence that defines all the objects of senses was there, yet there was only observer. There was no definition. I thought to write about it for a couple of weeks. However, it was difficult to explain and felt very small incident to write as a blog pos.

Today, suddenly this picture popped up in a Mumbai Police tweet. This made me think about the previous Sadhna incident and a possible experiment.

What if someone is sleeping and we somehow slowly – without waking that person up – open his eyes. Assume the person is still asleep, would this person – be able to see, discern and still remain asleep? What gives us power to interpret what our eyes see, ears to hear and define these?

When do we become more aware? Is it a time when the intelligence that interprets is still there inside yet someone within only observes without contaminating the observed with the biased interpretation? Is it true?

The intelligence gives us only as much possibility to interpret, as much it can fathom. A very cliché example of this in Indian spirituality is – seeing a piece of rope as a snake. Intelligence in that way seems limited in its abilities, yet the observer does not.

Disclaimer – I am a practitioner of spirituali practices, the thoughts were complicated to explain. Therefore possibly confusing.

Image source – Twitter handle of Mumbai traffic police.









I want to be the winner

Tags

, , , ,

Couple of weeks back, I was reading a psychology based assessment and relevant review of the same. In the review, I found one particular pointer – “I want to be the winner”. I read it, then re-read it. This stuck me and I paused.

Winning in corporate battle or academics

I have always been a very competitive person. However, this time when I was reading this statement it looked too complicated to define a person. So I re-read the statement – “I want to be THE WINNER”. Yes it is always a wish to be a winner, but THE WINNER! This drifted me from the overall review and psychology stuff to a general social issue.

Are we really making youngsters competitive or we are pushing them to be a “CUTTHROAT”. Just read the word again – cut throat. In another words it means kill!

So, the psychology questionnaire and its review had my attention even more. What defines a person as most likely or least likely for “I want to be the winner”. If someone is reading it in a passing reference, it will be just a statement, however if you look that statement in a social, personal, academic or professional context this statement may be very fatal.

This can be fatal when we think everyone wants to be the winner. Our education system makes us compete at times when it is not required! I have written on this reference earlier – the problem of top 5%. Why top 5%? Because I was never in top position in academics :). When I look back at myself 20 years when I was in 12th, I realize that what kind of damage I might have done to the class in which I studied. Now, when I look back I feel most of the times, it is about collective growth rather than me over you. After reading about interdependent co-arising I have always believed in collective growth. Even the economy cannot survive if only some people grow – bad precedent is trickling down economy, that is a mirage.

I believe, life is like a team sport, take an example Football. When you play, you play with a team on your side, you are competing to score a goal, it is not likely that a football team goalkeeper will score, but if the team wins, the goalkeeper naturally is one of the winners.

There is no problem in being a winner, wanting to be a winner, however “THE WINNER”?

Adviti and perspective change

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Adviti is growing up, she has started turning and every now and then she turns. When feeding her, she turns that makes putting food in mouth difficult. It was surprising initially to feed her used to be irritating that she is turning in no time. Once, I was talking to a relative, she said – Adviti will keep on doing it because it provides her a different perspective to the world. As an infant, how good and easy for them to change perspective – make it exactly 180 degree and enjoy. How difficult for us to change our perspective?

This change in perspective gave me an opportunity to question my own opinions. So, first was marriage in particular caste. The other apparent Indian customs such as – girls parents to not step in her home once girl is married! Yes that I have heard in conservative families. I don’t know how much is it followed now. So, when I badgered Lingayat community for disrespectful behavior on marriage issues, today I try to look at another perspective.

perspectiveOne of the possible reason for people looking at their own community or professional background could be that a girl grown up in similar environment may find it easy to settle in new family with similar customs or work requirements. If a farmer marries a goldsmith’s daughter would not it be very difficult for her to get accustomed to the new way of living?

Second, when society used to say not to go to girl’s home after her marriage, the possible reason could be – avoiding conflicts. Indian soap opera’s show it often. Additionally, olden days, it used to be a wish that girl is married in a family of economically higher standing. So, possible that girl or her parents should not feel uncomfortable, or should not be named for their out of place demeanor by the boy’s family. My small mind could think of only these possible reasons.

Lastly, eastern religion – all have concept of rebirth and karma. Personally, I not only follow but also believe in these concepts. A different paradigm from these seemingly good concept is here. If you tell a student that you’re not good at mathematics because in last life time you moneylender and did mischievous calculations to let the borrowers keep on paying you unnecessarily, that is a bad perspective on the concept.

There are many wars, fights and arguments due to perspectives. Be it capitalism vs socialism, one religion vs the other or political biases. We can be passionate about our perspective yet should be compassionate to listen to others view too. Otherwise there will always be wars, fights and arguments.

Adviti is teaching me a lot of things with her growing up. The recent one is changing perspective and looking at the other side, even if it seems incorrect prima-facie. This is a difficult task, I am trying to learn though, she changes her perspective by 180 degree easily at this age. Are we as adults going to learn something from our next generation?

Image source – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Point_of_view_bias.jpg









Work, games and spirituality

Tags

, , , , , , ,

It was a pleasant evening of  summer vacation in 1996. We were playing cricket as usual. We were about 15-16 boys and kids of our colony. Few of us were in teens, me and my friend used to lead and divide team and lead them to play against each other. My friend – an all-rounder – was a very sincere, serious and fully dedicated to the tasks given and therefore respected by all friends alike. I knew his this nature because we were together in NCC too. This event happened 20+ years back. Yet I remember the day, because it taught me about work, games and spirituality. Though it took me 20+ years to learn the lesson.

That day in the very first match of 6 overs, we’re all out at 8 runs score. This was the first match for evening, my team discussed to lose this match and we will play next better. We’d given up even before beginning our bowling. I took the first over, and bowled slow delivery to my friend. He understood our thought process, instead of playing the ball, he caught the ball and threw it at me angrily. He said – if you want to play, play seriously! If you dont, either I or my team wont continue playing with you guys. Go back bowl like you would otherwise!

Actually it hurt my ego. I felt humiliated and realized that they too deserve a fair play. So, this time around – knowing that we are going to lose – I bowled the best I could. In first over we took 4 wickets and gave away 2-3 runs. Our team size used to be 7-8 mostly. So, we realized we are in the game! But the problem was – my friend was still on the crease and we had weak alternative bowlers. We’d no chance, I gave the ball to my bowler and went to field at boundary (long on).

I don’t know what was going on in my friends mind, whether it was his overconfidence or desperation to finish the game quickly he hit a big shot. I ran like mad to catch and jumped to catch the ball, bruised myself but my friend was out. This was the moment – similar to Sachin Tendulkar’s wicket in 90’s for Australia – we realized even with 8 runs score and 29 balls spare, we can win. It was just a matter of few more balls and we won.

The lesson

I learnt a lesson when I was reprimanded to immense humiliation. Though I could comprehend the learning only now when I read an interpretation of Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4, shloka 22 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (Guruji). A friend of mine from The art of living shared this interpretation with me. I am sharing a select part of the message which can help identify inference.

यदृच्छालाभसन्तुष्टो द्वन्द्वातीतो विमत्सर: |

सम: सिद्धावसिद्धौ च कृत्वापि न निबध्यते || 4.22||

yadṛichchhā-lābha-santuṣhṭo dvandvātīto vimatsaraḥ

samaḥ siddhāvasiddhau cakṛitvāpi na nibadhyate (4.22)

“Being free of jealousy, having that equanimity of mind, Arjuna, do your job!”

…When you don’t think whether you will succeed or not, you will be able to give your hundred percent. Often it is the result which makes you not give your hundred percent… If you know you are going to lose, then you will not be sincere about playing the game... When you don’t worry whether you win or lose, or you don’t even consider its effect, you give your hundred percent, that is really playing, that is a real game.

“It is the same with work. Work has to be like a game.”

A yogi considers even his work as a game, so be a yogi. Yogi means ‘one who does things in perfection.’ Every little thing he does will be perfect because he has that equanimity of mind. Only when you consider your work as a game, can you ever be detached about whether it is going to be successful or not. It doesn’t matter anyway.

My friend taught me the above lesson – I learnt and understood that lesson recently.









Life is a celebration

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I was doing regular weekly followup at an Art of living center today morning. While breathing, I realized Something. Probably it’s nothing new for many – the moment I took the breath in, it became me! The air I breath became me and I was nothing without it. We become a part of something be it breath, food or the environment. As a kid, I enjoyed many festivals Ganeshotsva was one of them. Slowly I started feeling it is more political than social. I was disenchanted and grew over it. After coming in Mumbai, I connected to this festival once again. Slowly I this season and festival has become a part of me.

This festival has been teaching a lot of things to me. Have you observed something special? Almost whole year we have some or the other festival and celebration in India. We go out to submerge the deity with full funfair dancing. This is going to happening once again predominantly in Western India (Maharashtra). Every year during this festival I learn – and forget later – that life is celebration.

Similar worship will start in few weeks in Eastern India (West Bengal) also in Gujarat. The god on the other side would be – Devi. Imagine, a deity brought home with full reverence, worshiped twice a day and in the end submerged.

I get quiet surprised, in Indian system there is no particular festival (occasion) of mourning unlike another predominant religion. Shraddh paksh is there, but it is not exactly about mourning. Shraddh paksh is about paying respect and homage to the departed ancestors and remembering them. Probably the reason for not mourning is that we – most Indian religion – presume that there is coming back. So, why to mourn? We have to pay homage to our ancestors because of them we are here. However, they too will come back until Moksha.

If there is no end, why be sad? Why be disappointed? Why not celebrate every moment? Had there been Ganesha, he would have loved these last 10 days, and would have danced on the way for submerging – he too would know – life is celebration. Life is a celebration, better we realized it earlier in our life time. A celebration with awareness, if not realized, “life is a trouble… death is not“.

Whatever, good or bad I / you take in (be it food, thoughts or breath) becomes me / you. So it is a good idea to “be a celebration”.

Moksha – attainment of self-realization, liberation from the cycle of life and death.









Adviti and genes of generations

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

As I shared last week, we are blessed with a baby girl – Adviti. Our daughter has just turned 6 months. With her coming in, and our near and dear visiting us, comparison of “who does she look like?” started. Some say she looks like me others say she looks like my wife. Yet others say, her face will change for first couple of years and we cannot make a final judgement until then.

Besides her looks, we have observed a peculiar behavior of Adviti. She has a sideways smile. This smile resembles bit of my smile. It surprised us in the beginning. Initially we brushed it aside as a random observation. However, when we saw Adviti smile often sideways, plus stretching herself after waking up, we realized that she probably has got some behavioral traits resembling mine. We started asking ourselves, besides the physical appearance does baby have behavioral similarity too with parents? It is not some behavioral trait at a later stage of (learnt by) the baby but an infant as young as 3 months.

When my wife and I had this question, we realized the value of building ourselves into a better person. We are not only building ourselves but also our coming generations. This brings me back to spirituality and meditation. You can read an interesting article on advantages of meditation at this link. Have you ever questioned how does your present life impact your offspring (born or unborn)? Perhaps meditation has some keys of evolved future generations.

Now, I am firm believer that we must teach meditation and spiritual practices to our kids, these are more likely to impact our coming generations positively. At times, when I see kids playing violence based games or watch gory movies I feel that we need to put some discretion somewhere.

I believe Sri Sir Ravi Shankar (or some other spiritual master), said somewhere once – “…meditation done by a person impacts his ancestors as well as coming generation…” When I see Adviti’s some behavioral traits I have no doubts about the impact now.

Instead of writing / reading about meditation try one (and many others), here

 









Teaching virtues to Adviti

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

We were blessed with a baby girl a couple of months back. We have named her Adviti. Adviti from a Hindi / Sanskrit word Advitiya which means unparallel, peerless or no other can be like her (him). As they say in Chinese catch them young, now, I am parenting Adviti and teaching her virtues.

In last couple of months life has changed. A lot has changed for me and specially for my wife – Simple. Having a baby is a huge responsibility and taking care of her has changed us both in many ways. A dimension is added in all these personal, psychological and emotional changes – how do we provide good upbringing to Adviti?

Being bit spiritual, though she is just turning six months, I started reading Jatak tales to her. At times I laughed at myself – I am reading these stories to her in English. I wonder if she understand Hindi (native language) forget about English (non native language). Isn’t it difficult to figure out approach for correct (better) upbringing of kids? Has anyone figured it out?

When I started reading these stories to her, I asked myself, should I teach certain virtues – taught in the stories – to her? I wonder in next couple of years how our society will change.

As a kid I lived around a lot of Jain followers. During those days not eating onion and garlic was natural to me. In fact I am trying to practice their eating habits now too. Besides other concepts, the Jain philosophy teaches a concept – Asteya meaning non stealing. However, in today’s society where morally corrupt make the law and loot are mostly legalized, what is the meaning of a parent teaching such lessons to his/her children?

I have examples of previous 70 years of corruption cases of India alone, forget about the rest of the world. The law gets bent such that corruption – even though it is evident – of these lawmakers become legally correct. It is so difficult to prove – something that looks so evident – that many corruptions happened but we cannot prove it easily – case in point is – case on son of previous finance minister. Our (specially Indian) legal system is so slow and lopsided that it takes 20+ years to get someone jailed (read Sanjay Dutt or Lalu Prasad Yadav) and prove someone innocent (A postman).

Here, it is needless to say that Indian film industry tried proving Sanjay Dutt innocent with all the flaws. Isn’t it possible someone in future will try to paint these current politicians also as innocent? If our culture is getting a narrative that is distorted parents may have doubt in teaching virtues to their kids. Asteya – non stealing – is it just a good concept in books or religious sermons? Does it make sense to teach virtue’s to our next generation?









A conversation

Tags

, , , , ,

My friend called me and said I want to talk to you. I said go ahead we can speak. He asked for specific time as his conversation was likely to be a longer one. So, we decided to speak after office hours on a Friday evening.

He called me and said – “You know what? I always took your opinions constructively and learnt from it. Whenever you spoke with me and at times when you badgered me for my naivety or mistakes it was learning. Now when I recently had a very bad such opinion from someone, I felt like getting buried in sand.”

I was surprised. I am bit harsh some times, however I never knew that I am pursued like this by someone. Yes, intentions were most of the times for helping the person. So, I asked for more details of the recent incident. He obliged and gave me a detailed account of what has just happened with him.

My friend was visibly upset. I knew he was kind enough not to give as good as he had got. Possibly he was not upto it, or he was not in such position. I sensed he was unhappy and this recent incident was depressing. So, I shared the following story with him –

———————

Happiness

Traveller; “What kind of weather are we going to have today?”
Shepherd: “The kind of weather I like.”
“How do you know it will be the kind of weather you like?”
“Having found out, sir, that I cannot always get what I like, I have learnt always to like what I get. So I am quite sure we will have the kind of weather I like.”

Happiness and unhappiness are in the way we meet events, not in the nature of those events themselves.

————————

We concluded the call, I said lets try to look at brighter side you learnt something. So, he himself concluded few points. One point was – next time if something goes beyond the agenda of discussion, I would bring it on agenda or I will stop digression. This is a common problem with many of us today. The digression was the culprit for my friend predicament. Not just digression but also little attention span. Well, I have to learn a lot before becoming such a coach to someone. My friend was kind enough to think I can be of any assistance.

Story sourcePrayer of the frog book by Fr Antony DeMello, the book is available in two volumes Volume 1 and Volume 2.









Mumbai and ego

Tags

, , ,

Mumbai is a unique city. I was talking to a friend of mine and had a eureka moment. There is a relationship between Mumbai and ego. One can learn a lesson or two on spirituality from Mumbai.

Ego puts itself at center and everything – including the world – around itself. Similar thing happens in Mumbai. Geographically Mumbai is in length, unlike many other cities. There is no way you can be in center of the city if you are in a corner.

Map of Mumbai, Mumbai and egoMumbai has three railway lines – Central, Harbor and Western. Western line is of affluent people, Central line people feel they are in the center of city. Harbor line is of Navi Mumbai, one of the largest planned city in the world.

Western line is very crowded, at times if you are stuck in traffic on western express highway you are immobile for an hour or so. When you talk to people of Western line, you will hear oh “western” is far better. It is centrally located, I get everything in my locality. Standard of living are simply incomparable with rest of Mumbai.

Similar logic you get when you talk to people of central line. They will say trains run fastest on our line, eastern express highway is really a highway. We are centrally located and can reach anywhere easily. When you talk to people living on harbor line you will hear almost similar good reasons to be on harbor line. It is far more planned has a lot of space, wide roads and planned neighborhood unlike mainland Mumbai. Standard of living are far better than any other part of Mumbai – at least we have some space to live at home. These points are mostly by those who live in Navi Mumbai.

Our ego also works in the same manner. We are centrally located, everything is centered around me. Ego tends to look at sunny side of self and possibly shortcomings of others.

Whether you talk to a person living in Borivali (Western), Bhandoop (Central) or Chembur (harbor). Borivali is in north – similarly Bhandoop or Chembur. This is a unique learning you have from Mumbai. You consider yourself as the center and whole world is circling around you irrespective of whether it is so. It is like Shashi Throor hidden in all of us.

Ego and Mumbai are one to one mapping, both of these show us how our mind manipulates us. We need to stop manipulation of self by the self.