November 29, 2009

Likes and Dislikes – Bagavad gita and love marriages

As a sequel to my post on Bagavad Gita, I thought I would extend the discussion on looking beyond the ephemeral body, to human relationships. In an era of consumerism we find people developing strong likes and dislikes, but likes and dislikes are themselves false. Consider for example cigarette smoking –people who love to smoke enjoy the habit, while there are others who can’t stand its nauseating smell. How is it that the same cigarette induces happiness in some and misery in others? Similarly, we find many divorcees remarrying, how is it that someone hated this person so much to warrant a divorce while someone else wanted to tie the nuptial knot? This clearly shows that likes and dislikes are born out of our senses and thus have nothing to do with the object that is being liked or disliked. Like our senses they are also temporary and are subject to change over time. What we like today, we may hate tomorrow. Therefore, likes and dislikes are attributes of an immature mind.

However, we find in the modern times that people have been increasing their baggage of likes and dislikes. It is very common find people waiting for someone with “similar tastes (likes)” to marry. If they do find such a person with a similar baggage of likes and dislikes they feel excited in finding a ‘true’ life partner. But since this association rests on a false foundation, it crumbles soon and the relationship ends. This is perhaps why majority of the marriages in western nations fail, as they are founded on false reasons such as ‘similar tastes’, ‘my kind of person’ etc.

I think the arranged marriage system in India must be rooted in the gita. In this system, you marry a person chosen by elders, sometimes without even speaking a word before marriage. Marriage in Indian culture is more out of the need to perform one’s karma yoga – that of being a ‘grahastha’( raising a family ) than out of living ‘happily ever after’ with a person of similar likes and dislikes - That’s probably why it didn’t matter whom they married. However since the situation is changing now with more ‘love’ (similar likes) marriages, the number of divorce cases are also increasing.

One of my friends, member of a certain spiritual organization, told me about a unique way of getting married in his society. The boys and girls who want to get married are randomly chosen and their marriage is performed immediately afterwards. Surprisingly, the success rate of this system of marriage is phenomenally high. Though I was astonished then, somehow it is all starting to make sense now – the ‘unique’ system is after all our arranged marriage system with a different name.

November 24, 2009

Dr Jayprakash Narayan - RTC on parlimanetary affairs

Hi all,
I felt i had to post this video series in my blog. Dr J.P is a man of substance, and has pragmatic solutions to most problems affecting the Indian polity. He has had 16 years of experience in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). He quit his prestigious job and founded the Loksatta organisation which fights for reforms in politics. Like Aruna Roy who fought for bringing in the RTI act, Dr J.P's organisation can be credited with making the declaration of assets by politicians compulsory.

Presently Dr J.P is an MLA from the Kukatpally constituency in Andhra Pradesh. I'm happy to find people of his caliber entering politics.

Here are the videos..

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

November 04, 2009

Power of Language

Former President of India Dr. Abdul Kalam on “Power of Language”

I remember my dad teaching me the power of language at a very young age. Not only did he understand that specific words affect our mental pictures, but he also understood words are a powerful programming factor in lifelong success.

One particularly interesting event occurred when I was eight. As a kid, I was always hyper-active - climbing trees, poles, and literally hanging around upside down.

So, it came to no surprise for my dad to find me at the top of a 30-foot tree swinging back and forth. My little eight-year-old brain didn't realize that the branch could break and I could get hurt. I just thought it was fun to be up so high.

My cousin was also hanging upside down from another branch of the same tree, at about ten feet below me. Her mother also noticed us at the same time my dad did.

About that time a strong gust of wind came over the tree. I could hear the leaves starting to rattle and the tree beginning to sway heavily. I remember my dad's voice over the wind yell, "Hey, hold on tightly." So I did. The next thing I know, I heard my cousin screaming at the top of her lungs, and the next moment lying flat on the ground. She had fallen out of the tree.

My dad later told me why she fell and I did not. Apparently, when her mother felt the gust of wind, she yelled out, "Tammy, don't fall!" And she did fall.

My dad then explained to me that the mind will have a very difficult time processing a negative image. In order for my cousin to process the command of not falling, her nine-year-old brain had to first imagine falling, then try to tell the brain not to do what it just imagined. Whereas, my eight-year-old brain instantly had an internal image of me hanging on tightly.

This concept is especially useful when you are attempting to break a habit or set a goal. You can't visualize not doing something.

When I was thirteen years old, I played for my junior high school football team. I tried so hard to be good, but I just couldn't get it together at that age. I remember hearing the words run through my head as I was running out for a pass, "Don't drop it!" Naturally, I dropped the ball.

My coaches were not skilled enough to teach us proper "self-talk." They just thought some kids could catch and others couldn't. I'll never make it pro, but I'm now a pretty good Sunday afternoon football player, because all my internal dialogue is positive and encourages me to win.

Here is a very easy demonstration to teach your kids and your friends the power of a toxic vocabulary. Ask them to hold a pen or pencil. Hand it to them. Now, say to them, "Okay, try to drop the pencil." Observe what they do.

Most would release their hands and watch the pencil hit the floor. You respond, "You weren't paying attention. I said “try” to drop the pencil. Now please do it again." Now they would pick up the pencil and seem to be in excruciating pain while their hand tries but fails to drop the pencil.

The point is made.

If you tell your brain you will "give it a try," you are actually telling your brain “to fail”. I have a "no try" rule in my house and with everyone I interact with. Either people will do it or they won't. You will never hear the words "I'll try" come out of my mouth unless I'm teaching this concept. So remove the word "try" from your vocabulary.

My dad also told me that psychologists claim it takes seventeen positive statements to offset one negative statement. I have no idea if it is true, but the logic holds true.

Ask yourself how many compliments you give yourself daily versus how many criticisms. I know you are talking to yourself all day long. We all have internal voices that give us direction. So, are you giving yourself the 17:1 ratio or are you short-charging yourself with toxic self-talk like, "I'm fat. Nobody likes me. I'll try this diet. I'm not good enough. I'm so stupid. I'm broke, etc. etc."

Here is a list of toxic vocabulary words. Watch out when you or other people use them.

But: Negates any words that are stated before it.

Try: Presupposes failure.

If: Presupposes that you may not.

Might: It does nothing definite. It leaves options for your listener.

Would have / Should have: Draws attention to things that didn't actually happen.

Could Have: Draws attention to things that didn't actually happen but the person tries to take credit as if it did happen.

Can't / Don't: These words force the listener to focus on exactly the opposite of what you want. This is a classic mistake that parents and coaches make without knowing the damage this linguistic error can cause.