Smart Working And Living In The `Now’

A wood cutter believed best day results are obtained by working hard; so he worked hard every . The first day he cut ten trees; the second day nine trees but the third day he could cut only eight trees.At the end of the week, he could cut hardly one tree despite the same six hours of hard work. Perplexed, he approached a wise man and asked him the reason.

The wise man replied, “More than hard work, what is crucial is smart working. Have you sharpened the saw?“ You have to learn to work smart, more than work hard. The brain, for ages, has been programmed wrongly; it has positioned the future to be your saviour. Hence, people think and believe, “If I get million dollars, I will become happy; if I get married, I will become happy .“

So your saviour seems to be in the future. This is the error the brain has done. The description of time is past, present and future. But the truth of time is present. Past was present, future will be present. Hence, the truth of time is present. If you do not know how to be happy now, you can never be happy. If the brain says, I will be happy in the future it is silently telling I am unhappy `now’. With such programming, when it gets the object of desire, it is experienced in the `present’ when the present has been programmed as `I am unhappy now’. So, despite getting what you want, you are unhappy .

You have to learn to be happy now in the present; and out of happiness, you have to get the object of desire and not `for happiness’. This is smart living. You have to bring in the power of `being’ and not get lost to the power of `becoming’. The power of `being’ is, I am happy `now’ and the power of `becoming’ is, I will become happy if I get this or that. How can there be growth, if there is no drive of `becoming’?

You have to look deeply into your life. The `becoming’ which appears to have brought a lot of growth in the form of development ­ has it given fulfilment? Despite achievements, there is no fulfilment. All growth is oriented towards fulfilment. When you position happiness in the future, there will be no fulfilment. So `becoming’ has not really given what is needed ­- fulfilment. Be happy now and out of joy, go about getting what you want. Get not for joy but out of joy.

Then, your work is going to be fun, your life is going to be a joy. For joy is in the `here and now’ and not in the future. The `will of wish’ makes you live for fantasy , but the `will of comprehension’ makes you see the fullness of the here and now.

Do understand that wishing to be happy in the future is different from `willing to comprehend the now’ what the `now’ is. Once this change happens, then life is always in the now. The future will happen, when it happens, it happens in the now. So the `will of comprehension’ transforms the mind. The brain, as one uses it, is creating a fantasy in the future but no fulfilment, but the moment you transform joy in the `here and now’, then the brain uses `the will of comprehension’. An appreciable revolution happens to the brain. This is smart living.

Om Namah Shivay

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मालिक

प्रश्न‒अगर कोई साधु-संन्यासी बनकर रुपये इकट्ठा करता है और माता-पिता, स्त्री-पुत्रोंको रुपये भेजता है, उनका पालन-पोषण करता है तो क्या उसको दोष लगेगा ?

उत्तर‒जो साधु-संन्यासी बनकर माँ-बाप आदिको रुपये भेजते हैं, वे तो पापके भागी हैं ही, पर जो उनके दिये हुए रुपयोंसे अपना निर्वाह करते हैं, वे भी पापके भागी हैं; क्योंकि वे दोनों ही शास्त्र-आज्ञाके विरुद्ध काम करते हैं । माता-पिताकी सेवा तो गृहस्थाश्रममें ही रहकर करते, पर वे अवैध काम करके संन्यास-आश्रमको दूषित करते हैं तो उनको पाप लगेगा ही । वे पापसे बच नहीं सकते !

प्रश्न‒अगर घरमें माँका पालन करनेवाला, सँभालनेवाला कोई न रहा हो तो उस अवस्थामें साधु-संन्यासी बना हुआ लड़का माँका पालन कर सकता है या नहीं ?

उत्तर‒माँका कोई आधार न रहे तो साधु बननेपर भी वह माँका पालन कर सकता है और पालन करना ही चाहिये । असमर्थ अवस्थामें तो दूसरे प्राणियोंकी भी सेवा करनी चाहिये, फिर माँ तो शरीरकी जननी है ! वह अगर असमर्थ अवस्थामें है तो उसकी सेवा करनेमें कोई दोष नहीं है ।

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पैसे तो काम करनेसे ही मिलते हैं; परन्तु बिना मालिकके पैसा देगा कौन ? यदि कोई जंगलमें जाकर दिनभर मेहनत करे तो क्या उसको पैसे मिल जायँगे ? नहीं मिल सकते । उसमें यह देखा जायगा कि किसके कहनेसे काम किया और किसकी जिम्मेवारी रही ।

अगर कोई नौकर कामको बड़ी तत्परता, चतुरता और उत्साहसे करता है पर केवल मालिककी प्रसन्नताके लिये तो मालिक उसको मजदूरीसे अधिक पैसे भी दे देता है और तत्परता आदि गुणोंको देखकर उसको अपने खेतका हिस्सेदार भी बना देता है । ऐसे ही भगवान् मनुष्यको उसके कर्मोंके अनुसार फल देते हैं । अगर कोई मनुष्य भगवान्‌की आज्ञाके अनुसार, उन्हींकी प्रसन्नताके लिये सब कार्य करता है, उसे भगवान् दूसरोंकी अपेक्षा अधिक ही देते हैं; परन्तु जो भगवान्‌के सर्वथा समर्पित होकर सब कार्य करता है, उस भक्तके भगवान् भी भक्त बन जाते हैं !* संसारमें कोई भी नौकरको अपना मालिक नहीं बनाता; परन्तु भगवान् शरणागत भक्तको अपना मालिक बना लेते हैं । ऐसी उदारता केवल प्रभुमें ही है । ऐसे प्रभुके चरणोंकी शरण न होकर जो मनुष्य प्राकृत‒उत्पत्ति-विनाशशील पदार्थोंके पराधीन रहते हैं, उनकी बुद्धि सर्वथा ही भ्रष्ट हो चुकी है । वे इस बातको समझ ही नहीं सकते कि हमारे सामने प्रत्यक्ष उत्पन्न और नष्ट होनेवाले पदार्थ हमें कहाँतक सहारा दे सकते हैं ।

Om Namah Shivay

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Om Namah Shivay

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Parental Compassion-2

The same goes for a parent-child bond as well. “Giving them whatever they want” does not necessarily make one a good parent. Kids want a lot of things. Everyone does. But that doesn’t mean that everything they desire is right for them. I’m not suggesting, even for a moment, that you become a harsh parent. It is, however, important to know where to be firm. If you keep children in touch with reality, it’ll be much easier for them to adjust in the real world when they step out.

Being god-fearing, moral, genuine etc. means you are a good person. If you are successful at work, that means you are a competent worker. If you love and care for your partner it shows you are a good husband or wife. Your competency in any area will bring you corresponding rewards. None of this implies that you are a good parent though. No doubt these factors contribute to the well-being of a family. When it comes to sound parenting, however, there’s certainly more to it than providing your children with whatever they want.

As in the anecdote above, a good parent must know when and where to be firm. To love is not to do whatever they want you to do. That has never made anyone happy in the longer term anyway. Instead, to love is to stand your ground where needed for the betterment of your children. They will express their displeasure and it requires a stone heart to see a sad child, but they’ll thank you later. Once again, I say, you don’t have to be harsh. There’s no need to shout, argue violently, or be mad at them. You can be gentle and still be firm.

Be compassionate, be firm, but do so mindfully. Just remember that no one wants to fail, no one wants to be angry or sad, or a loser. Kids have just as much pressure and stress in their lives as their parents. So go a little easy, but do so mindfully. While growing up, I don’t have even one recollection of my mother ever shouting or getting angry, and yet there were many instances when she was firm. One rule was that our report cards that required a parent’s signature would be signed by our father, for example. At times, like when score in maths or physics was the same as my dog’s age, we whined and complained but mother wouldn’t relent. It was non-negotiable. Father would sign. Eventually, we understood and aligned ourselves to score better.

“I got my report card, Dad,” 14-year-old Johnny said.

He had scored rather poorly and feared a severe reprimand. His father grabbed his specs to read the report card.

“And look what else I found, Dad!” Johnny handed him a soiled paper. “In the attic, I also chanced upon your report card when you were fourteen. We have scored at par!”

“Hmmm…” the father said comparing his own report card with his son’s. “You are absolutely right, Johnny. They almost look identical.”

Johnny beamed triumphantly.

“Therefore, son,” his father said reaching out to his slipper, “it’s only reasonable that I give you what my father gave me.”

No, Johnny didn’t get a candy or an Xbox. And no, this is not an example of parental compassion. Humor aside, the truth is, an unexpected punishment damages the relationship because the quantum of such penalty is always debatable. The terms of non-performance must be negotiated beforehand so both kids and parents know exactly what is expected from each other. It sounds obvious but you’ll be surprised to see how many parents rather than simply and gently stating their expectations start lecturing instead. I call it OLD – Obsessive Lecture Disorder. It has never helped anyone. Generally, more old a parent, more serious the OLD. A while back I wrote, pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. In the same vein: old is inevitable but OLD is optional. Be gentle.

If you tackle OLD with mindfulness, understanding and practicing parental compassion, the quality of your relationship will improve immensely. They will grow up to be more fulfilled adults, more together, making our world a better place. Mindful compassion or soft discipline is not enough on its own though. (No one said it was easy.)

Om Namah Shivay

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Attitude Is Everything

I can’t overstate the importance of being able to maintain a positive attitude, but I’m the first one to admit that it’s not easy.

Wait to Worry

I used to worry. A lot. The more I fretted, the more proficient I became at it. Anxiety begets anxiety. I even worried that I worried too much! Ulcers might develop. My health could fail. My finances could deplete to pay the hospital bills.

A comedian once said, “I tried to drown my worries with gin, but my worries are equipped with flotation devices.” While not a drinker, I certainly could identify! My worries could swim, jump and pole vault!

To get some perspective, I visited a well known Dallas businessman, Fred Smith. Fred listened as I poured out my concerns and then said, “Vicki, you need to learn to wait to worry.”

As the words sank in, I asked Fred if he ever spent time fretting. (I was quite certain he wouldn’t admit it if he did. He was pretty full of testosterone–even at age 90.) To my surprise, he confessed that in years gone by he had been a top-notch worrier!

“I decided that I would wait to worry!” he explained. “I decided that I’d wait until I actually had a reason to worry–something that was happening, not just something that might happen–before I worried.”

“When I’m tempted to get alarmed,” he confided, “I tell myself, ‘Fred, you’ve got to wait to worry! Until you know differently, don’t worry.’ And I don’t. Waiting to worry helps me develop the habit of not worrying and that helps me not be tempted to worry.”

Fred possessed a quick mind and a gift for gab. As such, he became a captivating public speaker. “I frequently ask audiences what they were worried about this time last year. I get a lot of laughs,” he said, “because most people can’t remember. Then I ask if they have a current worry–you see nods from everybody. Then I remind them that the average worrier is 92% inefficient–only 8% of what we worry about ever comes true.”

Charles Spurgeon said it best. “Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength.”

Most of us want to be positive. It’s advantageous to possess a sunny outlook. Doors open to optimists. They make friends, earn respect, close sales, produce loyal clients, and others enjoy and want to be like them. The question is, how can we do that consistently?

Om Namah Shivay

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Parental Compassion-1

 “I’ve always been a good parent and supported my children at every step,” a somewhat distressed parent said to me a few weeks back, “and yet, they don’t really respect me. They are struggling in their lives and tell me that I’ve been a terrible father. I don’t get it, I always loved them, allowed them to do whatever they wanted. They got the best clothes, gadgets and so on. I don’t think I cheated anyone, I’ve been god-fearing. I never thought my kids would end up like this. Where did I go wrong?”

I’ve been asked similar questions many a time. What’s truly remarkable is that most kids and parents actually only mean well. They try too hard. Kids want their parents to be proud of them and vice-versa. So where is the mismatch? I hear it all the time that such-and-such person is a bad father or mother, they are irreligious, immoral etc. and yet their families are flourishing and their kids are doing great. Where’s the justice in that?

It’s the wrong way to look at life, in my view. Having personally met a few thousand parents and children in the last few years, however, I’m happy to share some thoughts based on my observations and diagnosis of life. Let me begin with a story from Stephen Hodge’s Zen Master Class.

Several of the monks at Dogen’s monastery had noticed a deer grazing nearby. They began to feed it scraps of food. After a while the deer became trusting and would eat out of their hands. Having taken to heart Dogen’s teachings about compassion and all, the monks were pleased with themselves. However, Dogen was less happy when he heard about the deer. When a suitable opportunity arose, he threw sticks and stones at the deer, which ran away frightened.

The monks were scandalized by Dogen’s actions and confronted him demanding an explanation. “We were kindly feeding the deer, but you have cruelly thrown stones at it so it no longer visits.”

“So you think you were being compassionate, do you?” Dogen replied. “It is dangerous for a deer to become accustomed to people.”

The monks protested, “We would never do anything to hurt it. We were just feeding it.”

“No, you didn’t intend to hurt the deer, but what if the next person your tame deer met was a hunter?”

Om Namah Shivay

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भगवान् सबके हैं और सबमें हैं

भगवान् सबके हैं और सबमें हैं, पर मनुष्य उनसे विमुख हो गया है । संसार रात-दिन नष्ट होता जा रहा है, फिर भी वह उसको अपना मानता है और समझता है कि मेरे को संसार मिल गया । भगवान् कभी बिछुड़ते हैं ही नहीं, पर उनके लिये कहता है कि वे हैं ही नहीं, मिलते हैं ही नहीं ; भगवान्से मिलना तो बहुत कठिन है, पर भगवान् तो सदा मिले हुए ही रहते हैं । भाई ! आप अपनी दृष्टि उधर डालते ही नहीं, उधर देखते ही नहीं । जहाँ-जहाँ आप देखते हो , वहाँ-वहाँ भगवान् मौजूद हैं । अगर यह बात स्वीकार कर लो, मान लो कि सब देश में, सब काल में, सब वस्तुओं में, सम्पूर्ण घटनाओं में, सम्पूर्ण परिस्थितियों में, सम्पूर्ण क्रियाओं में भगवान् हैं, तो भगवान् दीखने लग जायेंगे ।दृढ़तासे मानोगे तो दीखेंगे, संदेह होगा तो नहीं दीखेंगे । जितना मानोगे, उतना लाभ जरूर होगा । दृढ़ता से मान लो तो छिप ही नहीं सकते भगवान् ! क्योंकि‒

यो मां पश्यति सर्वत्र सर्वं च मयि पश्यति ।
तस्याहं न प्रणश्यामि स च मे न प्रणश्यति ॥
(गीता ६ । ३०)

‘जो सब में मेरे को देखता है और सब को मेरे अन्तर्गत देखता है, मैं उसके लिये अदृश्य नहीं होता और वह मेरे लिये अदृश्य नहीं होता ।’

जहाँ देखें, जब देखें, जिस देश में देखें, वहीं भगवान् हैं । परन्तु जहाँ राग-द्वेष होंगे, वहाँ भगवान् नहीं दीखेंगे ।भगवान् के दीखने में राग-द्वेष ही बाधक हैं । जहाँ अनुकूलता मान लेंगे, वहाँ राग हो जायगा और जहाँ प्रतिकूलता मान लेंगे, वहाँ द्वेष हो जायगा । एक आदमी की दो बेटियों थीं । दोनों बेटियाँ पास-पास गाँव में ब्याही गयी थीं । एक बेटी वालों का खेती का काम था और एक का कुम्हार का काम था । वह आदमी उस बेटी के यहाँ गया, जो खेतीका काम करती थी और उससे पूछा कि क्या ढंग है बेटी ? उसने कहा ‒ पिताजी ! अगर पाँच-सात दिनों में वर्षा नहीं हुई तो खेती सूख जायगी, कुछ नहीं होगा । अब वह दूसरी बेटीके यहाँ गया और उससे पूछा कि क्या ढंग है ? तो वह बोली ‒ पिताजी ! अगर पाँच-सात दिनों में वर्षा आ गयी तो कुछ नहीं होगा; क्यों कि मिट्टीके घड़े धूप में रखे हैं और कच्चे घड़ों पर यदि वर्षा हो जायगी तो सब मिट्टी हो जायगी ! अब आप लोग बतायें कि भगवान् वर्षा करें या न करें ! दोनों एक आदमी की बेटियों हैं । माता-पिता सदा बेटी का भला चाहते हैं । अब करें क्या ? एक ने वर्षा होना अनुकूल मान लिया और एक ने वर्षा होना प्रतिकूल मान लिया । एक ने वर्षा न होना अनुकूल मान लिया और एक ने वर्षा न होना प्रतिकूल मान लिया । उन्होंने वर्षा होने को ठीक – बेठीक मान लिया । परन्तु वर्षा न ठीक है न बेठीक है । वर्षा होने वाली होगी तो होगी ही । अगर कोई वर्षा होने को ठीक मानता है तो उसका वर्षा में ‘राग’ हो गया और वर्षा होने को ठीक नहीं मानता तो उसका वर्षा में ‘द्वेष’ हो गया । ऐसे ही यह संसार तो एक – सा है, पर इस में ठीक और बेठीक‒ये दो मान्यताएँ कर लीं तो फँस गये !

Om Namah Shivay

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Four Aspects of Mindful Parenting-3

Here’s the secret of joy in a relationship: don’t take yourself too seriously.

Freedom (Upeksha)

Many such scholars as Thich Nhat Hanh define upeksha as equanimity or freedom. Perhaps, the true test of trust in a relationship is how much freedom it grants, and also how such privilege is used. There’s another meaning of upeksha though: patience. And, patience is something that most parents possess and lose in abundance — strangely, at the same time sometimes.

“Do you know when Abraham Lincoln was of your age he studied under the street lamps?” This was what a father said to his 14-year-old every time he scolded him, which was nearly everyday. He thought it would inspire his child. For months, the boy listened to the same argument over and over again.

One day he couldn’t take it any more and shot back. “Dad,” he said, “do you know when Abraham Lincoln was of your age, he was the president of the United States of America!”

Be patient. Understand that when you were 15 or 20, you were going through very similar challenges too as they are facing now. You also loved lazing around, getting up late perhaps, feeding on junk food and so on. Maybe there were times when you told lies, bunked classes and fooled around. This is all part of growing up.

As parents, or in love, you only mean well but you can’t teach them everything. And you shouldn’t try to. For there are certain lessons only life can impart. And, life never transmits a lesson alone. It does so with time. We can do the best we can and the rest must be left to time. The flower of life only unfolds with time. Rushing it is wrecking it.

Be patient. Be gentle. Be kind. Take it easy.

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Reading is a way for me to expand my mind, open my eyes, and fill up my heart.

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Try to disconnect from technology and sit down with a good book on a regular basis.

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Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

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Volunteer with a local reading program.

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The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

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A room without books is like a body without a soul.

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Start a collection of your favorite books, and loan them out to friends and family.

Om Namah Shivay

***Write ” Om Namah Shivay ” if you ask for God’s blessing on your life today. Please Like, Tag and Share to bless others!

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