Friday, August 19, 2011

Are we Independent?

Many of us in India associate the word 'Independence' with the historic day of 15th August, 1947. We have been independent as a country for 64 years now. But how independent are we as individuals?

An owner of a company employing a hundred employees and giving them orders would say he is his own boss, so independent. A fresh college grad with a promising job offer would claim he is self sufficient and so independent. A working woman with two children would believe she can support and provide for her family without help, therefore she is independent. This signifies how often we associate independence to being financially sound.

Whereas Independence does come from having a good bank balance and your four limbs in place, it does mean more.

Being truly independent means having the ability to decide what you want to or not want to do for a living. It means speaking your mind out when others around are trying to fudge and cover up. It means wearing a dress without worrying about what people might think. It means having the courage to stand up for your belief even though you seem to be the odd one. It means having the guts to walk a path that others might not take for the fear of failure. It means doing what you want to do without waiting for a nod of approval from someone. It means having the liberty to decide right and wrong without any ‘should be this way’ syndrome.

Freedom is a state of mind. And it always leads to happiness. We are sad or unsatisfied because we have tied our well being to some person, situation or article. To be truly independent, one has to stop relying on others and start being self-dependent. Same applies to happiness.

Thought – You need to feel independent to be independent

Action – Identify three areas of your life where you think you are dependent on others for happiness. Try to bring a change for better. If this is not possible, see if you can change your attitude 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Silence is Golden

We spend a lot of time every day ‘not talking’. For example the time spent in doing routine chores – daily ablutions, eating, driving, reading, working et al. But does this mean that we spend this time in silence. Think about it.

May be not. Though our mouths are shut, our mind keeps working. We are constantly thinking, listening, judging, calculating, deciding etc.
Even when asleep, our minds remain active. Dreams are a good proof of this fact.
With so much happening in our heads all the time, it is essential for us to take a break. The best and most convenient way is practicing silence! It’s simple and can reap us several benefits.

Sitting in silence for 15-20 minutes daily can help us focus on our thoughts, purpose and true desires. This is the easiest way to establish a connection with our inner self. At first, one feels uncomfortable. The mind wanders. It runs around like an uncontrollable child. With some practice and patience, though, one can learn control and focus.
When we sit in silence, we can actually access, communicate with our inner self. Our inner self is tranquil, calm and at peace as compared to our external self which is always active.

Yoga advises ‘mauna’.  Mauna is a form of meditation where one learns to spend some time without speaking. Thus, focusing on our ‘self’, mind, thoughts and emotions. This leads to contemplation, self analysis and awareness. It also increases will power and inner strength.
So we see how silence is more important than speech.

If you love talking but feel you talk a lot or out of turn, unable to control your tongue, practice this technique. It will help you organize thoughts better and focus on the content and timing of your speech. Thus, helps you become a good listener and converse better with others.
Practicing a few minutes of silence in solitude every day can actually help you become more self-aware and a confident speaker.

To begin with, assign a place in your home/office where you can sit alone in silence for 10-15 minutes. Close your eyes and breathe slowly. Next try and remove all thoughts, in other words, silent your mind. One way to do this is concentrate on your breathing. If your mind wanders, bring it back to the breathing.

Practice this for a week and see the difference.