Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Spirituality as part of Self-Management

Gone are the days when spirituality is considered as an activity during our last lap of our lives. Today it became quite evident that a bit of self-realization, spiritual understanding is essential to combat the stresses of our every day to day activity. Not only individuals, but also Corporates’and Government is taking measures to bring in ways and means to combat the pressures of the modern world.

Everything in this world is moving at rapid pace. Even the wait at signals for seconds, seems to be too much of a waiting for people. The countdown begins everywhere and for everything. Catching the school bus, carpool on time, swiping in time at offices on time, planned cooking or surviving in pre-cooked food, back to back conference calls and meetings, deadlines and deliverables, just like that updating attendance to social events and functions, doing hundreds of things and not giving a closer watch to anything has become a routine to many people in this modern world.

The end result: Ill-health, unwarranted lifestyles, unsatisfied relationships, broken families, below expected work performances, loss of friends and extended family, lack of social recognition, unplanned finances and meager savings and retirement plans. The outcome: Stress and Burnout.

There is an absolute need to stop. Just stop for a while and re-assess where this life is heading to. Is this stress worth? Speaking to lot of my friends who settled in west over the decades do tell me, that irrespective of the so-called hi-lifestyle and happiness they project to people back home in India, most of them go through immense stress of balancing life within very limited resources, chasing deals and second hand goods, demanding children and socialializing and expectations of the people back home to support, understand and share the wealth, which in reality is just a myth. Finally they end up feeling nowhere, not belonging to the country they left behind, nor totally absorbed in the country they migrated to, for they still want to be Indians, dress that way, eat the Indian food, follow Indian festivals and rituals. The challenge is not being able to break the bridge at some point and adopt in totality. The stress of synchronization is immense in families spread across the world.

So how does the spirituality help in this self- management? The good old rituals of getting up early, eating on time, leaving to work on time, come back by sun set., sit in the verandah and update each other the happenings in the family, spend some time together in prayers, and having family dinners together and sleeping early used to be stress-free. But now, working different time zones, different cultures and different technologies, and companies, have disturbed the whole fabric of a routine life.

Spirituality is all about self-realization. Getting more organized and believing in the strength of a super power that guides us, and reinstating the fact that, “no matter what, what is destined to happen, would happen”. Spirituality in truth understands the purpose of your existence. Visualizing what you want to be today, tomorrow, in the next few years, towards the end of your life. Spirituality is attaining an immense happiness coupled with satisfaction on the life lived...For there is absolutely no evidence that we can relive the life that once gone by?

The spiritual quest can be in any way. Some do meditation and yoga. Some go to temples and spend time. Some go to lectures and gurus for seeking guidance and setting up a path. It is not an entertainment that provides refreshment to life. It is an endeavor to make life more easy and meaningful. Re-questioning oneself time and again, on what is that we want in this life will create a pattern of understanding the urge within. The urge is absolutely connecting to the divine. Here the divine can be of any religion, any practice, any culture, any methodology, any path, but as long as the divine spells out the truth of what you want to achieve in life, it is fine.

Spirituality unknowingly brings in a disciplined way in which each one of us can lead our lives. It connects you not just to any God or Religion of your choice, but to your inner-self. All of us would accept the fact that what we portray in our professional lives, we are not the same in our personal lives. It is not a split personality. It is all about being as expected in professional lives and being natural in personal lives. For example, though I may be angry with my boss, I would still smile at him and say that I would do the task assigned for I may not like the idea of getting into the wrong books…at the same time, I take the liberty to express my anger and frustration with my spouse and do not mind fighting with him openly, for we take our own people for granted. Spirituality gives strength to gain a balance in these two ways of handling a similar issue or expectation.

I always write to myself, that “when it is beyond me, I look upon God”. This goes with the Management concept of “Line of Control”. What is within my ability and line of control can be controlled. What is external to my control, I leave it as an unknown unknown. Same time, make contingency plans and mitigation strategy to handle unknown unknowns. So acceptance of this fact becomes an important way to handle things. Stop getting frustrated for the things not in your control and making adequate space and giving thought to handle known unknowns is possible through a spiritual path. Yoga provides a way of life that helps to maintain good health, physical exercise and mental strength. Prayers provide a solace to people burdened with the day to day stress…the belief that there is super natural power that could help is always a hope and a way of leaving things to an external control and focusing on the things in hand. In one way, some of our ancient practices have a scientific reason and logical meaning to follow even today.

Thus, spirituality as a method of self-management supersedes every other management practice as this control individuals and their way of life. After all management is all about people doing different things in different ways. As long as it is in the most organized and fruitful manner, there is no harm in practicing an old trick that will do the trade :-)

Thanks to Sundar, who suggested that I should write on Spirituality and I thought I would write something that is very much applicable to me as well :-)

1 comment:

S.Sundararaja Rao said...

Thanks so much for writing a piece on spirituality. Many problematic aspects have been enumerated in a logical way to bring out the need for spirituality in our day to day life. But I would like to add a few points which are elaborated below
Spirituality is an enlightened state of mind which is essential for all human beings to lead a fruitful and meaningful life in this world. A fraction of the enlightenment the Buddha attained is enough for us to lead a good life. It is an outcome of faith and devotion to god. Real devotion to god brings about a sea change in our mental outlook. Most of our miseries are due to our ego. It is like the dust in a mirror which prevents us to see our face. Once the ego is shed we will be able to realize our self and thereby understand others too. Understanding others helps us to a great extent in our interaction with them and prevents lot of avoidable unpleasantness. Spirituality is having patience, tolerance, kindness, magnanimity, etc. which makes life worth living. We then understand the pain of others and reach out to help them. It makes us to see one in all and all in one. Abraham Lincoln to me was a highly spiritual person –he said malice towards none and charity for all, in short this sums up the meaning of spirituality. And finally a spiritual person lives without the attachments and bondage of this material world as there is no desire to accumulate wealth or yearning for fame. Hence he lives a life of simplicity, honesty, integrity, truthfulness, etc which prevent many clashes with others and paves the way for peaceful co-existence. Spirituality is very much needed at present to enlighten people to live a life of freedom, happiness and peace.