Let’s revisit the famous letter written by Abraham Lincoln to the Head Master, on the first day, when his son had joined the school.
My son will have to learn, I know, that all men are not true
But teach him also, that every scoundrel is not a hero,
For every selfish politician there is a dedicated leader.
Teach him that for every enemy, there is a friend.
It will take him time, I know, but teach him, if you can
That a dollar earned is of a more value, than five found.
Teach him, to learn to loose and also enjoy winning
Steer him away from envy, if you can.
Teach him, if you can the wonder of books,
But also give him quiet time to ponder,
Over the eternal mystery of birds in the sky,
Bees in the sun, and flowers on a green hill side.
In school teach him it is far being honorable to fail than to cheat.
Teach him to have faith in his own ideas,
Even if everyone tells him, they are wrong.
In school teach him, to be gentle with gentle people
and tough with tough.
Try to give my son, the strength not to follow the crowd
that everyone is getting on the bandwagon.
Teach him to listen to all men, but teach him also to filter all he hears,
on a screen of truth, and take only the good, that comes through.
Teach him, if you can, how to laugh when it is sad,
Teach him that there is no shame in tears.
Teach him to scoff at cynics and beware of too much sweetness.
Teach him to sell him brawn and brain to the highest bidders,
But never to put the price tag on his heart and soul.
Teach him to close his ears to a howling mob
And to stand and fight, if he thinks he is right.
Teach him gently, but do not cuddle him,
Because only the best of fire makes fine steel.
Let him have the courage to be impatient, let him have the patience to be brave.
Teach him to have a sublime faith in himself and mankind.
This is big order, but see what you can do
He is such a fine little fellow – my son.
Most of us are aware of the importance and benefits of the above virtues – as enumerated in the above letter. Truthfully, how many of those I still remember and how many of them, I follow myself. A difficult and a million dollar question. Why – this actually was supposed to be me – the real me – the original me.
Along with a physical body, mind, intellect and emotions there exists a force or energy – which is vibrant, living, and binds all of these together i.e. Atman. Just imagine in the absence of this energy, our physical body, mind, intellect and atman, when pull us in different directions, will we be like a triangle or an amoebae. Remember both look good but which of them is more productive.
All physical desires vanish when one harbor emotional desires and the emotional desires too vanish when one harbours intellectual desires and when intellectual desires vanish, when one experiences Atman – Consciousness – state of no desires. A state, where time is the interval between two experiences. Remember that Atman not only pervades in Physical, Mental and Intellectual desires, but it also transcends them.
I need to destroy the darkness in me that is born out of ignorance by lighting the luminous lamp of wisdom, which the Master, does for me. And they do it only, not because they want to flaunt their knowledge, but simply out of their faith in compassion and love for all.
Hence my primary objective should be to listen, observe and reflect more when the master speaks- as each word that he speaks, is the golden thought that would help evolve me to a better plane. Would assist me to assimilate it better, digest it better and then imbibe it better, and if I do so, I would evolve better and for the good. Thus I need to accept all that is happening with an open heart and mind.
Karma Yoga, Nama Yoga and Dhyana Yoga are finite Yogas that assist us to reach the infinite yoga. Finite spiritual practices like Karma, Nama, Dhyana remove the finite ignorance and once they do so, one reaches the state of infinity – a state of nothingness, a state of bliss, tranquility, thus, he experiences as virtual reality.
Remember that Atman, Divinity and Grace are universal virtues; they are like sunshine, which encompasses every one regardless of creed, caste, language, gender or social status. On the other hand we block it by constructing roofs over our heads of ego, ignorance and avarice, and then blame the sunlight for being selective. Funny isn’t it!
Desist from making this oft-quoted statement – “I am the way I am and that is it”. A statement that is sans human touch, it’s actually an animal statement. It’s like being classified as a zebra, donkey or a lion, species who live in a fixed and predetermined manner. They continue to exist in the same manner from times immemorial. Can you infer same about the human too?
Remember that none is going to be affected by this arrogant attitude except you. It simply reflects that you are blind to your own drawbacks and as such has lost the capacity to improve and evolve.
Some of our frequently used phrases are “My car, house, wife, watch, family”. My car in English grammar refers to a situation where the car and I are two different identities. Same is the case with others too, then who am I. The moment one is aware of this; he is in a state of consciousness. Pity all our lives we religiously keep harping on these phrases without understanding them.
The Hindu epic of Ramayana is a process to regain Atman, after one loses it to the worldly desire.
Sita, in Ramayana, is the individual, who was in harmony as long as she focussed on Rama (Atman). She was immune to external environs and thus was in a state of bliss and tranquility. But when she shifted her focus (Atman) to the golden fleeting deer (mind) Rama – the Atman departed, and in came the misery. Remember she was held captive by the 10-headed demon – depicting five sense organs of perception and action.
When she was desolate and loner, she now yearned to go back to the Rama. Let’s revisit how she did it:
Not to lose sight to the goal – keep consistently focussed: When Sita was held captive by Ravana – she never for a moment lost her focus from Ram and so was unaffected by the harsh realities. She wasn’t unduly perturbed by the external environ, but was simply disappointed of being separated from Ram- the Atman. A fact corroborated – that she was held captive in a garden better known as A- shoka Vana- a garden sans sorrow.
When one is in focus, one radiates exuberance: Since Sita was constantly focussed on the goal, there was no sapping of energy, instead the energy was being conserved and directly effectively. Due to this she was at peace, tranquility and at ease and was a personification of beauty, grace, divinity and purity. That was precisely the reason why Hanuman (Messenger of Rama), could locate her with ease.
Your call now, folks. Do pen down your learnings?
The author is an executive coach and mentor, Excalibre