Integrating Head, Heart and Hand – The heart of Gita

Read this beautiful interview of Michael Lerner on Dailygood and I wanted to snip a part of it where he talks of Gita and post it out here.

When I think about this, when we go back to what the great traditions tell us about what it means to be human, virtually all of them-the perennial philosophy at the heart of all the great traditions-what are we given? We’re given our heads, our thoughts, our minds; we’re given our hearts, our capacity for compassion and kindness, and we’re given our hands, which is acts of service.

If you go back, for example, to the Bhagavad Gita, what are the three great yogas that compete for supremacy? They are jnana yoga, the yoga of wisdom; there is bhakti yoga, the yoga of the heart; and there is karma yoga, the yoga of the hands. I’ve been so fascinated because this is biologically designed; we all have heads, we all have hearts, and we all have hands. And in every tradition you find those three things in one form or another. In Christianity, faith is the jnana yoga; love is the bhakti yoga; hope is the karma yoga. You find the same in every tradition.

And so to me, we each are designed with different ratios, in some sense, of the degree to which we serve with our minds, serve with our hands, and serve with our hearts. But the traditions tell us that the greatest of these yogas, at least in the Bhagavad Gita and many of the great spiritual traditions teach us, that the yoga of love, of compassion, of kindness is the greatest of all three, the yoga of the heart. The mind is a wonderful servant to that-and the hands, enacted in the world.

So to me, it isn’t how I, or others, make the leap from thought to service-to action in the world-it’s that these three things are innate in us. And we each should have different preferences, perhaps at different times in our lives. Awakin, you knopw, this wonderful idea of waking up with kin, with kindred spirits, with those who are aligned with us -when we come together in community like that, we are just impelled towards some form of service.

Meditation, Leadership & 2014 New Year Resolutions

It is that time of the year when we reflect back on the year gone by and look forward to new beginning’s. Guruji’s (Sri Sri RaviShankar) in his article on “Looking back, looking ahead” writes:

Just like we live in the outer world of events and circumstances, we also live in the inner world of emotions and feelings, which we are not always aware of. Meditation is the best tool to wipe your mind clean off all past impressions that weigh you down. The distance between the outer and the inner worlds is just the blink of an eye.

Yoga is the skill of keeping attention on the inner world while acting in the outer. When you are lost in the outside world, there is disharmony in the inner and life is like a war. When you are established in the inner world, there is clarity in the outer and life becomes a game.

And gives four mantra’s  for making 2014 a happier year:

  1. To make Meditation a part of daily life
  2. To Serve
  3. To Feel Grateful and
  4. To Spend time with Nature.

Changing tracks for a bit. I find the intersection of Leadership and contemplative practices of meditation and mindfulness very interesting. Now, there is tons of literature and books on Leadership and honestly most of them are banal and pedestrian. It took me time to realize that one has to look beyond what the Mainstream media and influential bloggers try to peddle to find authentic stuff. Bill George is one author whom I rate very highly amongst those who write authentically about Leadership and I guess the clarity and authenticity of his writings are due to the intersection of his rich corporate experience as a CEO Medtronix and his years of meditation practices.

In his article on Your #1 2014 New Year’s Resolution? He states it out in the title itself – “Resolve to live more mindfully” – and then proceeds to list eight exceptional books on mindful living that will help you become a better leader and a more fulfilled human being. One of the books “Finding the space to lead” by Janice Marturano is definitely on my to-read list.  Bill in another article titled “Five Resolutions for Aspiring Leaders“, asks them to think seriously about their development as a leader and lists out 5 to do’s for the year ahead.

But what has meditation, got to do with Leadership?

All contemplative practices start by focusing the light of awareness on within ourselves. Without looking at our own selves deeply, without getting in touch with our Self, we cannot approach authentic leadership and that is where the practices of meditation come into play and helps us in developing as authentic and effective leaders 

And for me it is a delight to see the convergence of thought from the areas of spirituality and business.

The two converging thoughts from Sri Sri and Bill (Meditation and Service) are my two top goals for the year. Or in other words Sadhana, Seva and Satsang! What are yours?

Dear Readers, Have a great 2014 !!

Happiness is Love

Via [Jayesh Parekh’s blog on ServiceSpace]

In June 2009, The Atlantic published a cover story on the Grant Study, one of the longest-running longitudinal studies of human development. The project, which began in 1938, has followed 268 Harvard undergraduate men for 75 years, measuring an astonishing range of psychological, anthropological, and physical traits.  It revealed some insight like alcohlism being the main cause of divorce; or intelligence, beyond a certain level didn’t matter; or the ‘warmer’ your relationships, the better your health and happiness levels in old age.  George Valiant, director of the study, summed it up best: “The seventy-five years and twenty million dollars points to a straightforward five-word conclusion: ‘Happiness is love. Full stop.'”

 

Two Chairs, One Table and a sign that reads….

Stillman writes about an experiment he started in April 2009 in Union Square in New York City  with two chairs, one table and a sign that reads “Creative Approaches to What You Have Been Thinking About” and a smaller one that reads “Pay What You Like or Take What You Need”.

He says, “I sit out there with no computer or cell phone. I just wait to talk with strangers about any subject at all that they are contending with and trying to offer a creative approach to it. No subject is off limit”.

I stumbled upon his blog and found his advice on theft at work to be very touching, if only we can bring our true self to work every moment of the day and look at every situation from the prism of how I can help, our workplaces would be a lot different.

How will you measure your life?

Clayton M. Christensen writes a powerful article in HBR in which he shares a set of guidelines that helped him find meaning in his own life. He summarizes:

I’ve concluded that the metric by which God will assess my life isn’t dollars but the individual people whose lives I’ve touched.

I think that’s the way it will work for us all. Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the individuals you have helped become better people. This is my final recommendation: Think about the metric by which your life will be judged, and make a resolution to live every day so that in the end, your life will be judged a success.

The article resonates deeply with me, specially the last two paragraphs.