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Silent is an Anagram of Listen

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Photo credit: The Brit_2 via Foter.com/ CC BY-NC-ND

For some years now, I’ve been practicing chanting, in the presence of a spiritual master, and with a group of fellow seekers, and gained many insights from this practice. Yet I was struck recently, by a deeply profound insight, so simple yet so powerful that it just blew me away. I learnt something that can help all of us, so I’m sharing it here.

I would chant, and was always conscious of the vague drone of the voices of others, but mostly, I could just hear myself. In a recent session, I just happened to fall silent, stopped chanting for a few minutes, and for the first time in years, I actually heard the others’ voices. And there was so much to learn from listening to them. I could hear the different intonations, how some people were loud and others were soft, and the distinct tones in the group.

As my work involves leading and facilitating, it just occurred to me, that I, as a leader, if I have to truly listen to others, I have to stop speaking.

I know that a lot has already been written and said about the importance of listening, and how to be a good listener. As a matter of etiquette we know that we should stop speaking when we’re listening to someone, but I realized that ‘stopping speaking’ has to be done at two levels. Of course, we must actually stop the action of speaking, but even more importantly, we need to stop the clamour in our minds, actually shut it down.

Ask yourself, ‘do I really stop speaking mentally, when I’m listening to others?’  So often, we make a show of not speaking when another person is speaking, politely listening, but so much is going on in our minds. What’s going on? Our preconceived notions about the person and assumptions are talking, maybe even screaming!

I know that there are situations when a manager is listening to a team member, while preconceived opinions are talking in her head, ‘this guy is always late’, or ‘she always makes this mistake’. At this time, the listening is very superficial, and there is no chance for the manager to gain any real insights from the conversation.

When I decided to change things, I pushed myself, and said, ‘can you be silent inside?’ Now when I listened to my kids, I forced myself to be silent inside, and found a tremendous joy in just hearing what they were saying. In my training sessions, I started to listen to participants truly, shutting down the voice in my head that used to keep saying ‘what do I have to do next?’

My invitation to leaders is to try this simple yet profound practice. We believe that ‘listening expands the boundaries of your understanding’, but for that, you need to really listen. There is a lot to learn from every conversation, and if you’re truly quiet inside, you pick up the cues that help you learn. You can spot body language, eye contact, whether someone is fidgeting or restful. I found that I could spot things I hadn’t been noticing before and every conversation was a much richer experience.

To me, it’s a spiritual experience to actually listen to people.

As leaders and managers, when you’re meeting customers or team members, there may be a lot going on in your mind. You start an appraisal meeting, and you’re conscious that the company has given you certain directives, or you’re remembering the individual’s past records. But shut all that down, and listen to the individual, and the appraisal will go from being a painful formality to a profound experience for both of you.

In today’s uncertain and fast-changing world, leaders face challenges for which there are no standard answers. So we don’t have the answers in our own ‘database’, and we need to learn and derive solutions from others. To really learn from others, really listening when they speak is vital.

Let’s all try and become truly silent to gain the benefit of listening, to colleagues, or seniors, or customers, and very importantly, our family members. Life is just so much richer when you can absorb all they have to tell you, verbally and non-verbally.

I would love to know the opinions and experiences of readers. Did you try this, and what did you find? Do share your own, unique learning, I would love to hear from you.

By Vivek Yatnalkar

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A Journey: From Street Child to Published Author, World Traveler

Amin Sheikh, Published Author

Amin Sheikh, Published Author

I recently got the opportunity to interview three leaders. As expected, each is a unique individual. However at heart, they are alike. One of these leaders is Mr. Amin Sheikh. The following is an account of our chat.

His hundred watt smile painted a happy picture, but as our conversation wore on, I learnt so much about Amin, some incidents tore me up while some made me laugh. His life story is no less than a movie screenplay, unfortunately it is very real.

At the age of 5, Amin was living in a slum with his temperamental mother, abusive step father and 2 younger sisters; he was forced to work in order to supplement the household income. He did so by working at a tea stall ferrying cups of tea back and forth between the stall and the customers. The tea stall owner too was temperamental and soon Amin learnt not to do anything that could instigate his anger. One day while delivering tea to a nearby factory, Amin tripped and fell, bringing the cups crashing down and smashing them to bits. In a moment of sheer panic, the innocent 5 year old decided it would be best to run; for returning to the stall meant he would be taken to task. He ran for a long time without looking back. That night, he slept at a railway station.

He continued to live at the railway station for 3 years and learned to beg or steal food. He also learnt how to fend for himself through few small tricks to sell things (such as a comb) or services (shoe shine). Amin tried returning home a few times but the abusive step father combined with a taste of the “free” life, as he calls it, prompted him to leave home each time. He made friends at the railway station and also travelled the length and breadth of the country free of cost, on the trains.

In those 3 years Amin faced the worst possible situations, physical and sexual abuse, forced drug abuse, instability, and many other atrocities. This also ensured that he lost his innocence at the age of 8 and was a cynic.  When Sister Seraphine of Snehasadan came to rescue him for the first time, he didn’t trust her and  in fact, pelted her with objects so that she would leave. However, fate was smiling kindly upon the boy and  Sister Seraphine persisted. A few days later, Amin went to live at Snehasadan.  He lived there for 8 whole years, and these were the most enjoyable and beautiful years of his life. There were hardships, there were rules, there were studies (which he disliked) and there was a time when he ran away even from Snehasadan, but he came back in a few days’ time.

Amin believes he first met angels at Snehasadan, they saved him and turned his life around. He went on to work with a newspaper vendor, then owned his own newspaper stalls and also washed cars for a living. With time, Amin saved up some money and learnt to drive, he also obtained a driver’s license. One day, one of his angels, Father Placie asked Amin to meet him at his office.

Father Placie told Amin about an employment opportunity with a man named Eustace Fernandes who needed a full time driver. Amin took up the opportunity without hesitation. His first impression on entering the house of Mr. Fernandes was that he had only seen something like this in the movies they showed at Snehasadan. Never before had he seen a more beautiful house and one so large. There were so many things, each with their own place, everything was clean and vibrant. Mr. Fernandes immediately hired him. Amin later learnt that Mr. Fernandes was a renowned artist, creator of the mascot for an extremely well known Indian dairy brand. He had a lot of visitors each day, friends and others. It was a lively home and slowly Amin became his man Friday.

Amin spent many years in the service of Mr. Fernandes and during these years he learnt English, and also received help from Mr. Fernandes to start his own transportation business. However, his calling came as a present, on Christmas day in the year 2002.

On being asked by Mr. Fernandes what he wanted for Christmas, Amin timidly asked if he could go along with him to Barcelona, where Mr. Fernandes’ sister lived and who he visited regularly. Mr. Fernandes thought it over and finally agreed.  In April, 2003 they flew to Barcelona for a vacation that lasted a month and half. Amin has flown to Barcelona and many other European cities since that first trip in 2003.

Amin Sheikh, the boy who ran away from his home in a slum at the age of 5 is now a proud owner of his own business, he owns 2 homes in Mumbai (one for his his mother and sisters; one where he lives by himself), he is a published author, having written his illustrated autobiography. His book has been translated into multiple languages such as Hindi, Marathi and French. Soon it is expected to release in 2 other foreign languages.

Amin has friends all over the world who help him on his journey to achieve his dream of providing employment to the underprivileged youth in Mumbai. He plans to open a café in Mumbai, through which he would like to connect these youth with the right employment opportunities. He is currently raising funds for this project. Through this café, he also wants to create a haven of equality where the homeless can be served along with other customers.

A leader in his own right, Amin has turned his life around, and wants to work towards helping other less fortunate souls who go unnoticed by most. His dream he says, is to change the life of at least one street child in his lifetime.

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Gyana Marga

Gyana Marga – A road to liberation.

Gyana – Knowledge in Sanskrit has been described as one of the paths to liberation.   Most knowledge is acquired for practical benefits or for worldly success.   Either you acquire knowledge to get around in the world, like knowledge of French will help you communicate with people in France and knowledge of herbs would help know which ones are useful and which ones are poisonous.  This kind of knowledge is essential for one’s survival.

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Success is often also linked to amount of knowledge one acquires.  The rush for acquiring MBA and other degrees defines the value of knowledge in the scheme of things. The current era is labeled as the Knowledge era; where knowledge is prized over capital, labour, land etc.

So where does this knowledge to liberation fit in?  Is it really relevant?  Well it is relevant, if the quest for knowledge is really there. It is relevant if we find ourselves unhappy in spite of all the progress we see around.  It is relevant if your life seems meaningless in spite of the worldly success you might have.

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Many well learned men sought what is the ultimate knowledge which man can ever acquire.  Some scientists have explored the frontiers of space and are trying to discover the Higgs Boson particle, which supposedly gives mass to the entire universe.  And billions of dollars have gone to research the origin of the universe, where and how did it all start… On the other hand psychologists, sociologists and other philosophers have examined the issues of mankind and have explored the wellbeing of human mind and what keeps us going, and where is the human race headed.

Vedas – the knowledge created by the Ancient Seers of India have described life and its abstract nature and its relation to God.   Their focus is on the ultimate knowledge which liberates us from the trials and tribulations of life.  Same is the case with Ashtavakra Gita and Bhagawad Gita.   Gita – the song of life, describes the duality which we are all sandwiched in.  Each action of ours brings forth a result and along with it, another set of problems.   No action is flawless.   And yet we need to act and be free.   Why is this knowledge so priceless?  Simply because it liberates us.   What does this liberation mean?  It means that we as individuals have a choice – a choice to see that the entire universe is our own creation and is one being.   This choice of seeing the whole instead of parts is liberating.   It transcends conventional behavior and actions. It transcends everything one sees from the plane of logic.

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It doesn’t mean that logic is not important.  Logic is very important to know the cause and its effect.  Logic allows us to organize things efficiently; it helps us to run businesses, trains and organizations.    But it stops at that.  It doesn’t offer synthesis.

In the path of knowledge – Gyana Marga, it is all about finding this synthesis and thus happiness and liberation.  This synthesis is about the source of life, the source of everything and experiencing Oneness in spite of the duality life offers.   The ability to celebrate this Oneness over duality is what Gyana Marga is all about.

How does one start about on this path?  Most of you already are on the path.  The knowledge of life is not separated from life itself.

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That is what Siddhartha, the young Buddha, sought before his enlightenment.   The ability to observe, contemplate and reflect, are the skills required on this path.  And all of us have been blessed with these skills.   So put them to use, and see the beauty of the universe through the lens of Oneness, and celebrate.

 

 

By Vikas Bhatia 

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Uncomfortable Questions

Many years ago, I was a young manager joining a new organisation. The thing I remember most from that time is the welcome I got from our Vice President. After dispensing with the formalities and getting to know me a little, he moved on to telling me how I could be successful there. He asked me to remember one thing above all – ask lots of questions. He said that he’d learnt everything by asking lots of questions. In my time there, I saw him speak many times in various meetings with his staff. His core message remained the same.

Questioning

He’s not the first one to offer that advice though. There has been a philosopher with that advice for each age. Sample just a few of them here:

Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new. ~ Og Mandino

The important thing is not to stop questioning. ~ Einstein

Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers. ~ Voltaire

Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers. ~ Tony Robbins

The Problem:

Contrast this with the other experiences that many of us encountered while growing up and continue to encounter even today. We have all met those who become uncomfortable at being asked questions – grandparents, uncles, a parent, bosses, a colleague… Those who feel attacked when attempts are made to examine their promulgations. This behaviour is at loggerheads with all known wisdom.

Questioning - scared

Recently, I heard an ISB faculty speak at a webinar on Persuasion. He said many wonderful things but the one that struck me as most significant was when he stated that, “Meaningful dialogue is at the heart of Persuasion”.

He held up the Bhagavad Gita as an example of meaningful dialogue (incidentally at the end of which Arjuna is persuaded to kill his friends and family).

In the Bhagavad Gita Arjuna asks questions in order to understand his world better. He asks Krishna questions and does not relent for 18 chapters! Krishna answers each question with patience and understanding.

Today one can’t get to 3 questions without those who quote the Gita wringing their hands in frustration or wanting to wring your neck!

arjuna questioning

There is no dearth of questioning Arjunas in our times. The great tragedy of our times is that we don’t have enough Krishnas.

This resolution through dialogue isn’t particular to India alone.

Dialectic as a method to knowledge has been used in Ancient India as well as Ancient Greece. The dialectic of Adi Shankaracharya, of the Buddhist teachers that followed in Buddha’s footsteps and of the Sophists of Greece is the same. Meaningful dialogue, debate, uncomfortable questions have all been crucial to the development, growth and establishment of any philosophy.

Unquestioning acceptance of anything gives rise to many ills in society (and corporates). Superstitions, the Dark Ages, witch burnings, female infanticide, skewed gender ratios, terrorism, casteism, bribery, the cults of various babas, other personality cults, medical malpractice, insurance and securities fraud, bullying, subjugation, yes-men and the “sheep” mentality that exists in society and in organisations; all because people do not question enough.

A Solution:

If we are to live in a better world, a world we can make more sense of, a world that is fairer, I urge you all to question and question relentlessly. Why? How? What? And more.

Buddha Teaching

It’s not just me; even the Buddha encouraged his disciples to question relentlessly. He is quoted in the Ghanavyuhasutra as saying, “Do not accept my Dharma merely out of respect for me, but analyse and check it the way a goldsmith analyses gold, by rubbing, cutting and melting it.

Do not worry if it makes someone uncomfortable or makes them lose patience. They are not a Buddha or a Krishna or a Socrates.

Allow me to paraphrase another of my favourite Einstein quotes – “If they can’t explain it simply enough, they haven’t understood it well enough”.

Keep looking. Keep asking questions. When you meet someone who gives you satisfactory answers you will know that you have found your Buddha.

By Aman Zaidi

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Agni – Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya

Agni is the light that pulls us out of the abyss of ignorance, from darkness into light. It illuminates the path for the journey within. For the ancient sages the soul was the sacred fire. No philosophy was necessary to explain its self-evident luminosity. They lit its flames on their altars and in their hearts as the Divine consciousness coming forth from the material world.

Through it, they achieved a state of consciousness far beyond our current idea of intelligence as defined by the scientific mind and its interpretation of reality. Through it they touched the cosmic mind of which our human mind is but a spark.

Agni: The Flaming Godhead derives its name from a root whose quality of significance is a pre eminent force or intensity whether in state, action, sensation or movement. The sacred fire is the third eye of lord Shiva.  Agni melts, moulds and creates, never destroys but transforms. The fire was our first guru in the infancy of our species from which we learned the secrets of light and consciousness. The sacred fire, we could say, is the spiritual ancestor of all people of all races and continents. The religion of fire remains our natural religion—the very basis of our aspiration as a species to find the light.

Agni: Fire in the belly is the will to excel, to compete and emerge victorious. It propels the individual to acquire qualities needed for any transformation. He is the sheer will in the universe relentless in its pursuit. Whatever he does in his passion and power is guided by the light of the silent Truth within him. But then Agni is also merciless for it destroys those who don’t respond to its call. It propels us to destroy the ego we nurse so lovingly and transcend to a deeper consciousness. The sacred fire is the harbinger of the soul thereby delivering the “Aatma” to the “Paramatma”.

The other Gods awake with the dawn but Agni rises even in the night; he keeps his divine vision even in the darkness where there is no moon or star; the flame of divine will and knowledge is present in the densest obscurity. Even for the man sitting far off in the night enveloped by darkness of ignorance, this flame is the light which when perfectly kindled stirs the universe inside us and works its magic of growth and change. Time becomes a process of transformation, nourishing our inner light and ripening our souls.  In Dante’s “Purgatory”, fire signifies that every soul must wake through. Purgatory is the fire that purifies the process that forklifts the impurities out to leave the ‘Core Alloy” luminous.

Agni: The mysticism of the flames signify a stated condition of effective sacrifice, The sacrificial fire used in Hindu rituals is seen as an incarnation of Agni, so he serves as a conduit that “carries” the sacrifice of a worshiper to the gods or goddesses that are being worshiped. Transformations in a society, organization, family or an individual take place when the self sacrifices the ego; that is when the soul reincarnates. “Moksha” that we constantly seek is not of the other world, it exists in ours attained by our actions and thought.

Agni here being action and thought Vayu (Air). The divine force of Agni works through the vital energy of Vayu. Hand in hand they set the world on fire. All my life I’ve heard elders caution “ Don’t Play With Fire!!!”; but my life so far has been an ode to Agni which screams -”Lets Play”…!!!

…. AND YOURS???

Agni forms the first of a five-part series by Aanchal Sethi on the basic elements and how they manifest in our lives. The articles are an attempt to inspire the reader to introspect, recognize and draw strength from one’s inherent traits which seem to embody the characteristics of each of the five basic elements.  

By Aanchal Sethi

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Advaita – An approach to Conflict Management

By Aanchal Sethi and Vikas Bhatia

Through centuries, Man has been subject to conflicts both internal and external.  Denied access to God and His Divinity, man remains a hapless victim to the forces beyond control. Pain persists due to inherent contradictions between diverse thought streams resulting in perpetual conflict:

Conflict with nature; Conflict with self; Conflict with prevalent value systems.

What is conflict?  How to we thrive in spite of all conflicts?  Is there a better way to manage conflict?   Questions for which we seek answers forever.

Unfortunately conflict is one imperative of truth which just won’t vanish as the entire universe is essentially a product of conflict itself. The dilemma being, there cannot be any creation without friction, forward movement ceases without friction.  

Conflicts originate through duality or Dvaita where duality means separation. Hence war persists on all fronts; a new Mahabharata every day. Surrounded by the Kuru warriors, each one an Abhimanyu, equipped with limited knowledge, does not know how to come out of this chakravyuh – the Chakravyuh of conflicts.

The lack of that knowledge (Advaita) does not allow the Abhimanyu in us to break free from the formation of worldly desires and embedded conflicts.  A desire to even break free from desires thus becomes a desire and hence conflicted. Man’s relentless pursuit of peace is elusive due to universal dualism (Dvaita) controlling the universe.  The apparent form and shape of the universe, including the building blocks of atom, the electrons and protons have an opposing nature. 

The opposites always create some sort of conflict, but also very necessary for the functioning of the universe.

When conflicts are not there, one notices a sense of intimacy or belongingness.  A sense of Oneness is a characteristic often seen in the states of non-conflict.  Hence one way of defining conflict is a state lacking in Oneness or Togetherness.  How does one identify with this state of Oneness and practise that to resolve conflicts.  Is that view of Advaita only useful for inner conflicts or for resolving outer conflicts in the world too?

Conflict will always exist, how we choose to deal with it often determines our destiny.

An examination of the actions by the various characters of Mahabharata reveals how our approach to conflicts often aggravates conflicts or does not fully resolve conflicts.  And thereby it also defines our character and destiny. Most significantly, Krishna’s counselling to Arjuna on the battlefield reveals interesting insights into the role of Advaita and resolving the conflict, both inside and outside.

This knowledge of Advaita (non-duality- there is NO TWO!!) is the supreme knowledge rarely applied in moving ahead in conflicts.

Each conflict situation produces its own unique response from the affected person or persons.  The ability to recognize an appropriate strategy to deal with the conflict makes one effective in moving ahead in the world and yet remaining peaceful within.

Dhritarashtra ­- blind at birth further blinded by love for his sons, does not think it prudent to counsel his sons against their rivalry with the Pandavas. Gandhari, his wife, also chooses to not see the reality of things by tying a cloth across her eyes. Blinded by a sense of misplaced loyalty, she also becomes responsible for the unnecessary saga of war.

Both parents are unable to perceive the truth, largely due to their vain desire to see their progeny succeed. They keep “Accomodating” their son’s unjust desires and ignoring the issues of ‘Dharma’ – the duty which a king must fulfil for his subjects.  

Amidst us there exists the avoiding turtle, who at the mere sign of a disagreement withdraws into a self-imposed shell. Bhishma held such an exalted position in the Kuru kingdom, had he wished he could have prevented the entire massacre of Kurukshetra. Bhishma bound himself with the vow of self-abdication and proved that even an exalted virtue like selflessness can aggravate a situation.

A leader’s reluctance to go by ‘Dharma’ – the act that must be performed and instead taking a stand that is just for the sake of pleasing the team often lets issues simmer. It is so easy to undermine the organization’s foundation by engaging in this strategy of accommodating or avoiding. Mere avoiding or accommodating does not take away the conflict.   In fact it materializes with a much greater intensity as we see later in the Great War. The comfort zone for leaders – essentially is a failure to recognize that all attachments – to people, desires and concepts come from the very nature of Dwaita.  Due to low intensity of the conflict at an early stage, the awareness and willingness of the individual to work from the space of Advaita is often limited.  This is the paradox!!  Even when the treasure trove of Advaita is readily available, we are reluctant to dive into it!!

Duryodhana’s flaming ambition ( read Ego – the component of our existence fuelling duality ) compels him to weave webs of deceit, treachery and lies.  His ambition is so sinister and grave that he builds a Lakshagrah (Palace of Wax) to burn his own brothers.

This is Competitive conflict at its fiercest. A hyper-inflated Ego doesn’t even allow the being to even contemplate about Advaita.  In its re-inforced belief that I am the winner or I deserve to be the winner of the world which is separated from me (the limited identity caused by ego). The inflexibility demonstrated by Duryodhana in his demeanour towards Pandavas is due to his strong Ego-sense.  Most of the conflict situations in the world do arise due to a very strong Ego-sense.  The dissolution of the Ego-sense leads to experiencing Advaita.  Unfortunately the dissolution itself cannot be carried out by the mind-Ego complex. This is only possible due to divine grace, which Duryodhana does not even care about.

A compromise solution is often perceived as an easy way to resolve conflict.  Here the apparent voice of reason is born out of a desire to end conflict but at the same time it is not rooted in Advaita. Here the assumption is – we are separate and we need to come close. The coming closer is just temporarily to alleviate pain or conflict.  Yudhishtira, conscious of unending conflict bends down and dangles the compromise with five villages only to have lost his dignity in a game of dice.  This is a beautiful example of an inner painful Conflict between temptation & Dharma. This compromise solution is just temporary.

A real win-win Solution is only possible with a being who is an embodiment of Advaita himself. Krishna, the master collaborator always has the right solution for the moment.  Note that, the right solution does not mean end to conflict but letting things unfurl the way they are supposed to be.  With war clouds looming large, both Arjuna & Duryodhana seek Krishna’s support. The master collaborator lends Narayani sena to the Kaurava’s and Narayan (himself) to Arjuna.  Now, that is letting a solution emerge as per the Dharma and also befitting the Karma of the individual. There is absolutely no Ego-sense interference in the working of the Advaita…the complete, perfect and all inclusive!!  Satyam, Shivam and Sundaram.

Human life is rooted in the duality of mind-ego complex which makes life a constant stream of conflicts.  In this imperfect world, the duality is embedded and perpetual.  On the plus side, we are all blessed with seed of Advaita, to end this constant Dwand of Dvaita….

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti…

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The 3 laws of E-motion

By Vikas Bhatia

Sir Isaac Newton defined the laws of motion that form the basis for classical mechanics. They describe the relationship between the forces acting on a body and its motion due to those forces. They have been expressed in several different ways over nearly three centuries and can be summarized as follows:

  1. First law: The velocity of a body remains constant unless the body is acted upon by an external force.
  2. Second law: The acceleration of a body is parallel and directly proportional to the net force F and inversely proportional to the mass m, i.e., F = ma.
  3. Third law: The mutual forces of action and reaction between two bodies are equal, opposite and collinear.

 The three laws of motion were first compiled by Sir    Isaac Newton in his work Philosophiæ Naturalis   Principia Mathematica, first published on July 5,  1687. Newton used them to explain and investigate  the motion of many physical objects and systems

For centuries thereafter, the basic principles of engineering were based on the Newton’s 3 laws and every high school science student would know the three laws.    Until quantum mechanics and the new framework of relativity was unveiled in the 20th century,  the laws of classical mechanics were the ones through which we understood the world we see.

Have you ever wondered that there could be an equivalent framework of laws for our own Emotions?  On similar lines to the 3 laws of Motion, we present here the 3 laws of E-motion!!

First Law:  Emotions continue to be in a state of flux unless acted upon by an external stimulus called Awareness

Second Law:  The intensity of the Emotion E is directly proportional to the importance given to the situation, divided by the level of Awareness,   the value of Awareness ranging from 1 to infinite.
In short, Ei =  S/A  where  S  is the degree of Significance and A is the level of Awareness

Third Law:   Every emotion (positive or negative) released or expressed (consciously or unconsciously) will trigger an equal and opposite response from the universe.

Let’s look at the 3 laws in detail:

First Law of E-motion:  

Emotions continue to be in a state of flux unless acted upon by an external stimulus called Awareness

Every Human being since birth continues to experience various emotions.   Emotions by itself have various roles to play.  One school of thought is that emotions help keep us safe.  The study of Emotional Intelligence (EI) has brought out linkages to our evolution as a species, and the core of fight or flight response was in order to ensure survival.   Our existence as a species can be in part ascribed to our emotions!!  Our emotions which affect our well-being, oscillate in a continuum the one end of it being exuberant, lively and happy – to the other end of the continuum where we are depressed, sad or anxious.  This oscillation is triggered by various external situations and our internal conditioning.  For example even weather plays a role in our state of emotion.  The unavailability of sunlight for prolonged periods has been found to lead to depression in many people.  The multitude of events and environmental changes creates an ever changing landscape of emotions.  The rate of change in the external environment can lead to a frustrating emotional flux.  While the positive cycle of change is always welcomed, the negative cycle is often difficult to control and is very damaging for some individuals.   The key to restore balance and to make sure we are not dragged in a whirl pool of negative set of emotions is Awareness.   Awareness is a state of disassociation, a state of witnessing oneself.   The state of Awareness calms down the turbulent sea of emotions welling up in our being.  Spiritual practices like meditation lead to an increase in awareness.    Many scriptures and spiritual Masters have spoken about this Awareness.  A state of Awareness is like being Awake, and the emotional turbulences nothing but a dream.  This state of Awareness can also be described as a state of Vairagya – or Dispassion from the internal emotional response.  Hence the first law postulates that our awakening – a sense of Higher Awareness leads to the arrest of the constant flux in our emotions.

The Second Law of E-motion:

The intensity of the Emotion E is directly proportional to the significance given to the situation, divided by the level of Awareness,   the value of Awareness ranging from 1 to infinite.

In short, Ei =  S/A  where  S  is the degree of Significance and A is the level of Awareness

Now this is a fairly simple formula.   The degree of significance we have or give to a particular situation, event or person then has a direct bearing on the intensity of emotion experienced by us.  Events or people which do not relate to us, in general produce a lower or no emotional response in us.  So closer the event or the person, higher is the emotional response we are going to experience.   The closeness is in other terms is the importance or significance we have for that event.  The level of significance varies for every individual and hence the varied response; the higher level of emotional intensity can be effectively compensated by an increased level of Awareness.  Simply put, Awareness as described in the first law is also responsible for mellowing down the level of our response.  The emotional response itself is inevitable, the intensity experienced then is a consequence of the significance we have for the external stimulus and moderated by the level of Awareness.

A housewife not having a maid at help would find her stress levels elevated while that would produce no or insignificant emotional response in the husband or other house dwellers.  On the other hand an increased level of Awareness has led to one fighting even colossal tragedies with a sense of equanimity and tranquillity – or Shama.  Awareness does not reduce the significance we put on that event, it just helps us cope with it better.  Awareness can also be linked to Viveka –  the faculty of discernment which helps distinguish between the permanent and transient, between good and bad.

The high level of Awareness also moderates the level of positive set of emotions we experience through sensory pleasures or that from the ego state.  Awareness in that sense moderates our emotional response by framing the changing set of events as illusionary.

 

The Third Law of E-motion:

Every emotion (positive or negative) released or expressed (consciously or unconsciously) will trigger an equal and opposite response from the universe.

The third law of E-motion is the law of Karma.  Whatever we do comes back to us.   Emotion expressed takes the form of an action.   In fact all our actions or inactions originate from our emotions or feelings.   As one’s awareness increases, the ability to express positive emotions consciously goes up.  The wave of positive emotions then creates ripples of a beautiful response which further strengthens this wave.  The response often doesn’t come back to you directly.  It might even take several years for it to come back, but it does.   

Unlike the physical world where the action produces an immediate response, why does the emotional response meander through time and space?  We do not know fully understand the fabric of the consciousness, the space through which the emotional world works, but it does seem to have the mechanics of the response built in.   At the pinnacle of awareness, the field of consciousness is completely neutral, and all actions and their responses dissolve.   In some sense this is the annihilation of the positive and negative forces which creates the drama in human mind.

The 3 laws continue to work as long as there is some level of unawareness.   In total Awareness – the state of being immersed in Brahman, in absence of duality, these laws do not have relevance.  In total Awareness, I am that!

Aham Bramhasmi

Aum Tat Sat 

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