Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Peace of Mind

Swamy Vivekananda once said (on building great institutions in India): ‘Jealousy is the bane of our national character.’ We feel jealous of others’ achievements. Or at least hesitate to contribute to others’ success. We are also becoming a society of critics, where we feel we have right to criticize but no responsibility to appreciate others. We have often joked about people having Crab mentality i.e. no lid is required on Indian crab jar as the group will not let anyone climb up.
I read something inspiring in Patanjali’s Yogasutra that I found very relevant to attain peace of mind in the world today. Sutra I.33 suggests that to have blissful mind one must have feeling of Maitree i.e. friendliness towards the happy; karuna i.e. compassion towards the unhappy; mudita i.e. appreciation towards the virtuous; and upeksha i.e. indifference towards the wicked.
We mortals mostly react and not respond to others – we feel envious instead of friendliness towards the happy; apathy instead of compassionate towards people who are unhappy or needy; jealous instead of appreciative towards the virtuous; and retaliatory instead of indifferent towards the wicked. In the process, we cannot truthfully face our own conscience. The outcome is lack of mental peace and dysfunctional families or teams.
As, it is not easy to develop these High Values; a practical discipline of ‘pratipaksha bhavana’ - raising the contraries can help i.e. friendliness versus envy, compassion versus apathy, appreciation versus jealousy, and indifference versus retaliation.
These four suggestions not only provide personal peace of mind, but also nurture a healthy, energetic and powerful workplace.

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