The message in the Bollywood flick ‘Three Idiots” was loud and clear.  Listen to your heart, follow your passion and step away from the mundane chores of life.  While we all want to make the essence of the movie our ‘mantra’, in reality, the situation is pretty different.  Believe it or not, we often love to indulge in this sin called ‘MEDIOCRITY’, as that allows us to slip into this cosy, comfort zone, which we find difficult to abandon.  Here is a sneak peak at ‘stereotypes of mediocrity’, and decide for yourself which category you identify with.

(1) The HARDWORKING mediocre : “No news is good news”.  You have often heard this proverb.  Well, a typical HARDWORKING person who is very diligent describes a perfect life with this punch-line.  Sure, in hard work, you can’t beat him. Give him a task and he meets the deadline five minutes before the stipulated time.  A ‘hardworking mediocre’ shirks taking risks and is therefore often hesitant in taking up new challenges.  He is just happy at being adept at mediocrity.

(2) The BORED & FATIGUED mediocre : This one is ‘problematic’.  These are people who are thoroughly BORED & FATIGUED with life  —— be it their mundane jobs or with their equally monotonous lives, and this combination cannot be deadlier.  They often ask this question to themselves, “Why does life suck so much ?”  Stay away from them.

mediocre-samaritan(3) The CHAMCHA mediocre : This is a rather common category.  They mould their ways to fit into everyone else’s shoes but their own.  So, more often than not, they land up becoming CHAMCHAS of other larger mortals around.  The problem with them is they have devoted too much of attention to the people around them —– be it in their professional, social or personal life.  If they want to foray into a brighter zone, it’s high time that they live life on their own terms and conditions.

(4) The LUCKY mediocre : This is an offshoot of the previous category —— the ‘chamcha’ mediocre.  In this classification, people don’t know much, they are not too adept at work (there are others who are actually far better than them), yet they are achievers in their own right, thanks to their Godfathers.

(5) The SHORTCUT mediocre : Lots of ambitions but no patience ——- this is an apt description for the people who ‘qualify’ for this category.  They are always busy  ——– busy scouting for SHORTCUTS around.  They are happy to meet people’s expectations and have no qualms about not exceeding them.

(6) The MISFIT mediocre : A lot of times, people stuck in this situation may dread to spell it aloud as it may require them to change or restructure a big part  of their lives, yet they must do it.  They should chase the muse within, mull over the things that they enjoy doing the most and carve out something that suits them.  After all, no one in this world should spend time doing things they are not good at or live in situations that are not meant for them.

So all in all, if you want to exceed your competition, make sure you pick up a fight with the mediocrity within you and take a leap forward.

——– Anisha Motwani (Bangalore Mirror)


What do people fear?

People of each age group have their own individual fear projections, though some fears are common to all ages.

The fear of losing a loved one transcends all other fears across age groups.  This is followed after a long gap by the fear of being embarrassed in public.  Then comes the fear of pain and death, followed closely by the fear of loneliness.

Each age group has its own peculiar fears, though interestingly certain fears,Gran such as the fear of heights and creepy crawlies, is consistent across age groups.  The dread of accidents, getting assaulted and natural disasters is also consistent across age groups.

fearA fear that did not crop up in any other group except the 15-25 year olds is the fear of ghosts.  Other fears of this group had to do with not being able to achieve success at work, or not finding work that challenges their mind enough.  This was followed by the fear of not being noticed or being unable to discover the purpose of their lives.  A few interesting fears that cropped up in freewheeling discussions are the fear of depression, addiction, Black Magic, terrorists, clowns, spiders, rats, impulsiveness, people and God.

What is strange is that emotional fears such as betrayal or fear of love did not find any weight with youngsters.  It is the age group 25-35 that embroils itself in emotional turmoil and fears betrayals and rejections.  Men and women in this age group also fear growing old and dying.  Fear of failure, losing control and aging are their key dreads.

FearIn the age group 50-70, people’s fears change completely as is to be expected.  The greatest fear that incumbents of this age group have is becoming useless and dependent on others, and of illness.  Women are fearful of their children being unhappy, and men worry about losing respect in the eyes of others, leaving behind unfinished business and losing friends.  Loneliness and illness are also fears of this group.

Surprisingly, fewer fear death than one expected.  That is because people seldom think of death.  It is pain and suffering that people fear more; death is oblivion.  As one person put it, “Frankly death is not my problem.  What I fear is suffering or not living a good lifestyle in the manner I wish to.”

People have several other phobias that could be the result of several factors.  Each fear has its own origin and psychological projection, and needs to be dealt with differently.

Though leader Karl Albrecht in his newsletter BRAINSNACKS explains all fears as basically falling in five categories —— Ego Death, Separation, Loss of Autonomy, Mutilation and Extinction.


What is ego?


We can expand the term EGO as “EDGES GOD OUT “.  EGO is nothing but I-ness inflated to the point of occupying one’s entire inner space and the consequent exclusion of everything other than the self.  It connotes vanity, pride and stupidity.  The same ‘i’ without vanity and arrogance is called ASMITHA in Sanskrit, meaning innocent or the very personification of innocence.  Everything is created by God.  There is logically nothing that justifies our pride.

EMPTINESS is the absence of ego, a willingness to be hollow on the inside, so as to be able to be filled with Divine Music.  If you have draw love from the Lord or music from His lips, empty yourself of all your self-centredness.  No AHANKAR or I-ness, no vanity, just remaining in a state of SHUNYA.

All of us are conscious.  The conscious mind can be considered as functioning like a filter.  When certain memories and experiences in the conscious mind pass through this filter, they become part of the subconscious.  We cannot directly access the subconscious.  Hypnosis is one way through which the subconscious becomes accessible to us.  Dreams are the other means.

Dreams are the mind’s way of reconciling with unfulfilled expectations, signals sent by the subconscious to the conscious mind.  The best way to deal with a dream is to live that dream in the waking state.

 There is a traditional way to prepare your mind before going to sleep to receive dreams and signals during sleep.  Try to recollect all that had happened from the morning till then, go over your experiences of the day in detail and reframe them with heightened awareness with deep positivity.  Then go over the previous days as best as you can.  Your mind is now in a spiritual level, and this is SADHNA that takes your mind to a greater degree of sharpness.

———— Swami Sukhabodhananda.  

Practice forgiveness


Practise forgiveness instead of revenge.  Almost every day of our lives, we face some kind of bad experience, and that is inescapable.  One has two options : either ignore it or try to take some counter measure.  The first option is a form of forgiveness, while the other amounts to seeking revenge.  WHICH IS THE BETTER OPTION ?

FORGIVENESS is the better option, for it is based on a proven formula for saving yourself from even worse experiences.  It is an instant solution to any problem.  On the contrary, TAKING REVENGE is bound to complicate the problem.  While forgiveness can buy time, taking revenge only wastes time without any benefit.

In such a situation, people are generally prone to place the onus for the predicament entirely upon others.  The better plan is to examine one’s own rule in the affair.  At many times in our lives we are faced with two kinds of choices —– ANTI-OTHER thinking and PRO-SELF thinking.  Anti-other thinking makes you descend  to the brute level, whereas pro-level thinking elevates you to a higher plane of human behaviour.

If ‘forgiveness’ is a ‘full stop’, ‘revenge’ is punctuated by ‘commas’.  Forgiveness maintains ‘positive thinking’ while revenge fosters ‘negative thinking’.

Some would argue that forgiveness does not always work, and that it is better to adopt the ‘tit-for-tat’ policy.  Forgiveness puts an end to the problem once and for all, whereas the tit-for-tat policy only aggravates the problem.  Psychological studies show that every being is born with an ego and an conscience..  The tit-for-tat policy arouses the EGO of the other party, whereas if you follow the policy of forgiveness, it will activate the other person’s CONSCIENCE.  And it is a fact that in controversial matters, the CONSCIENCE ALWAYS PLAYS A POSITIVE ROLE.

Forgiveness and revenge are two different moral cultures.  The culture of ‘forgiveness’ helps in the building of a healthy society, whereas a ‘revenge’ culture rules out the growth of a healthy society.

——- Maulana Wahiduddin Khan. 

The whole business of happiness

smart and happyRaj Raghunathan, the author of : If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy ?, was asked why smart people aren’t happy.  His free online course, A Life of Happiness and Fulfilment was rated the best MOOC of 2015.

His answer to the above query : First, some of the very things that make one smart and successful —— a tendency to over-think, to want the best out of  any situation, to e driven —— come in the way of happiness.  Second, because we aren’t educated on what it takes to lead a happy and fulfilling life, everyone, including the smart-and-the-successful ——— commit many of the same “happiness sins” (like not giving happiness a high enough priority) that the not-so-smart-or-successful commit.

The next question : Some smart people still manage to lead lives that are fulfilling and meaningful.  Isn’t it ?  —-  He said, the question is, What are these people doing that’s different ????  They do two things that are different.  First, they seem to pursue a different set of goals : goals that are more conducive to enhancing happiness ——– like prioritising relationships over status, or experiences over material possessions.  Second, you discover that their attitude to life is different.  They are somehow better able to roll with the punches.  This attitude is rooted in an implicit belief that life is good, and that good thins are going to happen to you  ——— what is called  an “abundance mind-set”.  Both the above-mentioned things can be learned.  And the better news is that adopting these tings will actually not just make you happier, it will also make you a better human being and more successful at work, particularly if your work involves creativity and managing people.

He says further : Unhappiness, or more accurately, a sense of dissatisfaction, has long been acknowledged as being fundamental to the human experience.  That is why we have always had a very deep interest in the topic of happiness, all the way back from the Buddha to Aristotle down to the modern-day scientist.  Being an unhappy person is far more difficult than it is to deal with one.  An unhappy person has to live with himself / herself 24-7, you only have to do it for a few hours a day.  So, an attempt at understanding why someone is unhappy, and if you can help them, may be worthy of consideration.

So, it is important to take the time to be nice to yourself.  Charity begins at home, and if you are not happy with yourself, you won’t deal so well with unhappy others.

So, check out this free online course

What love is all about

Love romanticThe dictionary has many four-letter words, but none as powerful as LOVE.  Love has the power to impress upon or influence almost all human beings.  Love manages to control both hearts and minds.

When in love, the most rational among us is known to do crazy things and often be told by our family and friends that we have completely lost our minds, but we are happily oblivious to these comments.  Our eyes are controlled when in love in such a way that we are blinded to not only how the one we love looks but to all the faults he/she may have.

What is obvious to most bystanders somehow misses our notice.  Our ears are controlled as well, for how else can you explain that we are selectively deaf to any criticism of the one we love ?

Let us compare love to some of the four-letter words we think may have a powerful effect on us :

HATE :  This is the exact opposite of love —— a feeling which makes us completely despise another and all we want is to destroy the one we hate.  Hate consumes us equally in our pursuit to destroy our enemy and brings depression if we fail to do so.  Love can either make you or destroy you.  Love is sacrifice and hate is revenge.

PAIN :  Love has this phenomenal capacity to both give and tolerate pain.  Love has this unique ability to give agony and ecstasy at the same time.

HURT :  It can be interpreted in two ways —– the physical component caused by injury and the emotional component caused by feelings.  It is only the ones we truly love who can hurt us the most.

SOUL :  Most religions teach us how the soul is the purest part of us, how it is released only after we die.  But, has even one of us ever seen life after death, or come back to tell the tale? If you want to see a true reflection of your soul, love someone selflessly, you shall get very close to seeing yourself in the eyes of the one you love.

HELP :  This gets the closest to love, you usually see gratitude in the eyes of the one you help.  And if you give without expectation, you shall have managed to control the heart and mind of the person you have helped for life. Unfortunately unlike love, it is unilateral in dimension and makes the giver more powerful than the receiver.

CASH :  Money can make a person feel very powerful and buys us material things.  Sadly, the best things in life do not come with a price tag and true love cannot be bought.

LUST :  This emotion is selfish and shallow.  It is momentary and has absolutely no effect on the heart.  Lust and desire are interlinked.  It is usually one-sided and never deep.

 In these comparisons, love stands above the rest.  Love can heal this world, it is probably the balm we are looking for in today’s troubled times.  As Gandhiji would say, “the day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace”.

————- Muffazal Lakdawala.

The Lotus principle

It is a well known fact that no growth, be it personal, professional, domestic or spiritual, can take place without a “peaceful mind-set”.  A peaceful mind-set is directly related to our behaviour and attitude.  Unfortunately, not many people bother to check and control them.
Lotus principle** Do not interfere in other people’s matter / business.  We usually offer unsolicited advice, irrespective whether our advice is welcomed or whether we are even qualified to offer advice on an issue.  This is often annoying to others.  It does not end there, as we also tend to monitor the implementation of our advice, embarrassing people and brewing negativity against ourselves.
** Do not crave recognition.  This creates an expectation from others and the rule of expectation is that it never gets fulfilled.  So, in the end, we are dejected.
** Do not be jealous of others.  Most people are not happy with what they have and keep craving for more.  The focus is always on what they do not have.  So, they tend to be jealous of other people who appear to be better off.  The cause for jealousy could be anything from looks to intellect, name, fame, riches, house, car, prosperity and position.  We should consciously make an effort to be happy with what we have .  We must realise that what we get in life depends on our individual karma.  We must accept everything that we have as gifts from God and know that He is the best judge in these matters.
Lotus principle** Grasp the best and leave the rest.  All around us, we have a duality of people, things and situations.   The duality is “good” and “bad”.  Generally, our focus is on the bad aspects of people, situations and things, hence we land up grasping only the “bad”.  If we start grasping only the “good” from our surroundings, we would be the happiest people around.  One particular example that often finds mention in spiritual literature is that of the “lotus”  —– how it blooms amidst all the dirt around.  It is aware of all the dirt around it, yet it just absorbs whatever it needs to from the dirt for its own growth.  Similarly, we are surrounded by all kinds of people, but it is entirely up to us to absorb the good for our own growth without constantly trying to change our circumstances.
Pointing out flaws repeatedly acts as negative affirmation in the other person’s mind and instead of changing for the better, the other person feels dejected.  Another outcome of repeated fault-finding could be strained relations and friction.  The other person will avoid our company rather than listen to constant criticism.
——– Sadguru Rameshji.