5 ways to develop silence

In my seminars most of the times we eventually come to a point where we realise the importance of operating from “Silence”. When we are silent inside, we are able to behave according to our true intentions. Silence helps us to make best of our decisions that help us in long-term. Opposite of this will be to take decisions based on impulse that stem from anger or greed that has a root of fear. Hence it is so very important to develop the silence within us, where our decisions will be based on freedom (simply for play) and not fear. With my current state of being here is my take of how to develop silence within us.

10 years back I had attended SSY with Sanjay Thakkar, mainly to learn meditation. Over the period of few years being with Sanjayji, I learnt 5 ways of developing silence according to teachings of SSY:

Resting beyond sleep

When we rest, we are able to generate energy to create what we want to create in our life. However, most of us are aware of only one type of rest and that is sleeping. Although sleep helps our physical body to rest, we still need cleansing and resting of our other bodies also known as Kosh. We need to clean and rest our Annamay Kosh, Pranamay Kosh, Manomay Kosh, Vigyanmany Kosh, and Anandmay Kosh.

Annamay Kosh (Food Sheath)

Annamay Kosh is matter in the form of physical body sustained by intake of food. It includes five organs of perception (sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch), and the five organs of action (prehension, locomotion, articulation, excretion, procreation). To cleanse and rest Annamay Kosh we need to practice Upavas (fasting), Asanas (physical postures), and other practices that cleanse our Muladhara Chakra (lower most chakra). Everyday basis the more Sattvic food we eat, the more silence we develop. Sattvic food means seasonal foods, fruits, dairy products, nuts, seeds, oils, ripe vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and non-meat based proteins. Check out more details of Sattvic food here. Sattvic food helps in developing rational thinking and keeps us calm. Rajasic food develops more of aggression and Tamasic food develops more of withdrawal in us. All types of food have their own advantages and can be used in right situation. Rajasic food can be used when we need to be courageous and take the risk. Tamasic food can be used when we need recovery.

Pranmay Kosh (Vital Air Sheath)

Pranmay Kosh is realised by us through breath. The more Oxygen we get, the more silence will be developed in us. So practice like Pranayama, eating pranic rich food helps to cleanse Pranmay Kosha. Any practice that helps increase our lungs capacity will also help in this.

Manomay Kosh (Mind Sheath)

The mind (thinking, feeling and willing) along with the five sensory organs (taste – tongue, smell – nose, vision -eyes, hearing – ear, and touch – skin, is said to constitute the Manomay Kosh or “mind-sheath”. The more we rest our mind, the more silence will develop. To rest our mind one can practice meditation, being in and observing nature, admiring an art form etc. It’s very important to understand the difference between entertainment and admiring an art form. Entertainment is stimulating and exhaust us where as the beauty of an art can take us in a meditative state.

Vigyanmaya Kosh (Intellect Sheath)

Vigyanmaya Kosh is our intellect, the faculty which discriminates determines or will. Our intellect that constantly keeps judging right-wrong, good-bad etc. A large part of this Kosh is in the realm, of the subconscious and is a major repository of information. Our subconscious mind is very powerful and that’s why in spite of strong will (conscious mind) we are not able to stop judging people around us. To rest our intellect and cleans it we can challenge their beliefs and acquire clarity. Constant seeking of truth and clarity of things helps in cleansing our intellect. The most effective way to rest our intellect is to live in truth. We live in truth when our thought, words and actions are in congruent. That means – we speak what we think and feel and we do what we say.

There is a number of other practices and therapies that help clear our blocks from the subconscious mind and belief system. Some of the modalities I use are Presence Process and Rebirthing Breathwork.

Anandmay Kosh (Bliss Sheath)

Anandamaya means composed of Ananda or bliss. Bliss or ceaseless joy not connected with body or mind. When this Kosh has cleansed one experiences joyfulness and bliss. Resting our Ego (sense of identity) helps in cleansing this Anandmay Kosh. When we take our roles and responsibilities too seriously we develop EGO – “the identity”. When we rest the ego, that means when we realize that life is just a game and play it sincerely and not seriously, then we rest our ego.

When we Play, we forget our sense of identity. There is the difference in matches that keep scores and Play. The play is purpose less and when we keep score in a match, we become serious, which is opposite of play. We can learn to play from children. When we do something for our inner happiness, forget time and space, and don’t want to stop, that is when we are playing. If we enjoy our work like this, even that can be a play for us. With my increasing research in parenting and play, I’ve realised that we can improve our joy, relationships and health by practising play in our life. It could be as simple as singing, dancing and drama in our life. When we follow our passion, we play.

What Next?

When we get busy with our day to day life, how one can remember all this? It is almost impossible to practice anything unless it is part of our routine. Hence to follow any practice I always suggest it to make it a routine habit or family and social culture. This way there are enough hooks we create to follow it through. For each of the Kosh mentioned above:

  • Annamay Kosh – Have 50% of raw vegetables in your meal and include lots of fruits for snacks.
  • Pranmay Kosh – Practice Pranayam at least once a day. One can also practice Presence Process and Rebirthing Breathwork (these also helps in cleansing Vigyanmaya Kosh).
  • Manomay Kosh – Practice Meditation for 15 minutes twice a day. If one is too busy then, they should meditate thrice a day.
  • Vigyanmay Kosh – Practice Presence Process and Rebirthing Breathwork. One can also attend Bhava Samadhi Training once in six months. Listening to masters’ wisdom and gaining clarity on human consciousness can also help.
  • Anandmay Kosh – Best practice is Play. Follow your passion. Dream and chase your dreams without being attached to it, like a child, ready to drop it anytime. Express your emotions in superlative ways with the song, dance and drama.  

As I was writing this I remembered one XBox advertisement that says “Life is short, Play more”. Play more to be in silence.

Why are rich children allowed to work and earn money?

Why rich children are allowed to work and earn money in the media industry and poor and needy children are stopped from working in the name of child labor?

I got clarity on this subject when I was listening to audiobook “Playful Parenting”. It gave me clarity on ‘What is Child Labor?’, ‘Why is it bad? Or is it really bad?’ most importantly ‘What is work and what is play?’

This is how it goes…

What is Child Labor?
child labor_300x

It is important to first understand ‘what is Child Labor?’ and ‘why is it bad?’ Child labor robs children of their Childhood. Childhood is about freedom, dreams, play, and playfulness. Child labor takes away the freedom and playfulness and as a result of that slowly children stop playing and dreaming. Wouldn’t you agree with me, when a child is forced to do something that they don’t enjoy, isn’t it equally bad as child labor. Things like household responsibilities, school homework, and also even for that matter going to school and sports, if the child has not enrolled into it and we need to force them, then isn’t it equally bad as child labor? In modern times we don’t force children. Instead, we use subtle forces, like “If you are not going to study this then don’t ask me anything, do whatever you want.” or “If you do good in sports, you will get a new bicycle or a shiny star.” I have done this so many times. I feel this is how we conditioning our children, don’t we? Conditioning children mean to get children to do things for some exterior motive. In child labor, it is about money and supporting the family and in the urban world, this is about that shiny star and praises.

What is work and what is play?

I have a friend who’s young school going daughter is a great singer. She enjoys singing for the media industry and also earns money. This gives her a great playground to do what she loves doing and also gives her sense of achievement and contribution. So, money or no money, as long as the child is enjoying what she is doing how does it matter if she is working or playing? If we are not enjoying a game, then can the sports be a play for us? and on the other hand if we enjoy doing something, even the work is play for us, isn’t it? When playing everything is effortless for us, that’s why children never want to stop playing because they will never get tired. There is no effort in play. Similarly, if we are enjoying our work, will we get tired?

Is child labour bad and adult labour good?

Child or adult, does it matter? Isn’t our life is just about playing? Why not do what we enjoy in our life? Many of us have stopped playing for long long time. This is due to the ‘Conditioning’ that we have gone through. We have always been doing things for exterior motives and now we don’t even know what are our inner (heart) wants. How do we know what our heart wants? Then we get into spiritual practices like Yoga, Pranayama, and meditation to un-condition ourselves. Which is good because we don’t have a choice there. But our children still have a chance, to not be ‘Conditioned’.

So let’s give our children unconditional love and engage with them unconditionally. When we do this we teach them to do things just because it feels good, because it is fun, do it for love. Let there be no ‘labor’ in the world.

Your name is your brand – Art of being Trustworthy

What’s common in these names? Amazon, Google, Walt Disney, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg, Sony, FedEx, Honda. They all are trustworthy brands. You feel assured of quality and safety. Once these names are associated with something you don’t look for anything else for assurance, don’t you? What about us? We as a person, when someone hears our name, what connotation do the people get? Wouldn’t it be great if everyone can trust us with same trustworthiness? How can we as a person become Trustworthy?

Here are 3 skills to get your name to be the trustworthy brand. After all your name is your brand.

1. Integrity – Always follow what you say. Keep your promises. This is easier said than done. We all come across a situation when we are not able to keep our promises. There could be valid reasons as we have so many areas of our life to manage. This is where it is so very important to have good communication. When you are not able to keep your promise, inform the affected party in advance. However sometimes only informing them in advance may not be good enough. This is when one need to show up and take the full responsibility. Take the responsibility for the damages done. Make sure, throughout the way we show humility. This way we will maintain our integrity.

What about our mistakes in the past? That does have some implications on our brand name. This is where it is so important to ask for forgiveness. Also offer them to make up for the damages we have done to them. It is possible that people may not forgive us so easily. This is where we become proactive and forgive people who have done wrong to us. If we want to receive forgiveness, then first we should forgive others.

2. Authenticity – Communication is the key. The quality of our relationship is dependent on the quality of our communications. To be trustworthy this communication has to be authentic. We need not always say what people like or what they want to hear. It is important to say what we feel and what we truly want. One most important thing about authenticity is our actions. As they say, actions speak louder than words, our actions must be in alignment with our intentions.

We need to make sure our opinions are heard and may or may not be considered. We need not insist on our opinions, and allow everyone to have their opinions and decision.

It’s important to be in constant communication as that gives us visibility. At the same time what gets communicated is fully our responsibility. We are responsible for what people understand out of our communication.

3. Gratitude – It’s our privilege to live in this safest world in the history of the mankind. Even then it’s easy to get into the entitlement thinking where we think that everything we have is our right. What separates Privilege from Entitlement is Gratitude. With gratitude and humility, we respect everything around us. The person who respects everyone is the one who is respected most. Respect brings trust.

There you go. Three skills to make your name a trustworthy brand. Practice them in your life and see the miracles happening.

“Don’t Make Me Angry – You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry.”

Remember what Incredible Hulk says? “Don’t Make Me Angry – You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry.”

That show, as he starts feeling the anger, he becomes aware of it. Being aware of your anger is great quality. Once you are aware of your anger, there is a great opportunity to direct that anger in a better direction. The very first thing Hulk does is that he make others aware of his anger. Which is what one must immediately do. We usually don’t do this because we don’t like to expose our vulnerable side (weakness).

By Making others aware of our anger we also give others a chance to help us deal with the situation. The problem is, instead of expressing our anger feelings in words, we suppress it till the point of threshold. Finally there is outburst of Anger that usually flames everyone around you, starting with you. Ironically this kind of gives you fake feeling of strength. It’s the same way we perceive Hulk in his incredible form ripping off everything that comes in his way. But is he really powerful? For that moment people may be afraid of him and avoid him. But what about when flames go off? What about the long-term effects? He will only be surrounded by ashes and dust.

So why not just say “Don’t Make Me Angry – You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry.” This gives us and people around us an opportunity to make amends in time. In fact, why wait till we are driven till the anger point? Anger is fairly late in its journey. We should make sure that they express their opinion time to time when it’s appropriate. Not necessarily insist on our opinions but just make them heard. If not done this will mutate to become discomforts of our lives. If you have not taken care of our discomforts on time, it will start coming out of us in the form of dislikes and complains. If we have not taken responsibilities of our dislikes, then the monster will finally grow up to become anger. So if we can watch ourselves, we would realise, god does gives us enough opportunity to prevent our anger in time.

Meditation is a great tool to increase our awareness. And if you still cannot the at least say “Don’t Make Me Angry – You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry.”

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