« Wise Advice | Main | Personal Leadership at Work »

April 12, 2006

The quality of goals

The session started with a quote from the book, The New Earth by Eckhart Tolle:

�If you think your can�t, why think?�

Sreekanth followed it up with another quote:

�If you make people think that they are thinking, they love you; if you make them really think, they hate you.�

Vijay asked how much of the talks that we indulge in (related to human change) are really useful. He said that when a person is exposed to a few ideas related to personal change, he might be able to try them. But if he is exposed to a large number of ideas, even if they are good, much of them might go waste. If so, does it make sense to indulge in these talks?

I said that I had asked this question to myself many times and the reasons I continue to indulge are:

a) These talks create a field of awareness about what is important in life. By being in this field regularly, my attention is not distracted by many other activities I would have indulged in which would create a different field around me.

b) I participate in these talks not with a need to gain something but consider it an opportunity to give something of value to others. It helps me temporarily shift my attention from my own worries to other people�s worries and strengthens my capacity to empathize and perhaps help others.

Vijay said that directly or indirectly, in the end it is about the participant gaining something. So questioning the value of the outcome is valid.

Prasad said that it is indeed important to clearly identify what we want out of an engagement. Without that clarity, he said it is difficult to make a firm commitment because one would not know what exactly to commit to.

Vijay wondered whether it is possible to conceive goals related to personal change in concrete terms (how would one measure mindfulness?).

Prasad looked at this question through Ayurveda. He said that in Ayurveda, there are three main methods to identify a person�s prakruti (original nature) and virkruti (current state of imbalance). These are Dharshana, Sparshana and Prashna � Seeing, Touching and Questioning. Through these, an Ayurvedic physician can make accurate assessment of what is lacking in a person�s health and suggest ways to create the balance.

Likewise, Prasad said that it is possible to see or observe ones original nature and what is obscuring it by removing ones masks and daring to face oneself in the mirror.

On can get in touch with ones vedana (authentic pain) and feel the essence of ones nature through it.

One can question ones own motives, assumptions, beliefs etc and infer or deduce their validity and how they are covering or revealing ones core being.

From what Prasad said, I gather that we may be able to conceive goals for personal change that can be measured qualitatively unlike impersonal, external goals that are usually measured quantitatively. I know whether I am feeling energetic or not in terms of the quality of my current level of energy. But I cannot express it in numbers. The more I increase my capacity to see, touch and question my original nature and its current state of imbalance, the clearer will be my goal identification.

I remember last year, Jags had the same check-in for three of four sessions in a row � he was exploring what does it mean to be thoughtlessly mindful. Perhaps he was able to have a clear goal for attending the sessions.

Another interesting observation is that, Manju has mentioned a few times that even if she attends a dialogue like the Practical Vedanta session without any explicit goals, what comes up in the sessions do address her need.

Reminds me of Woody Allen who said, "90% of life is just showing up".

When I googled the quote, I found an interesting speech on what does it mean to �show up�

Practice: Try to see, touch or question yourself and find out whether that leads you to identifying a goal for personal change.

Posted by Ragu at April 12, 2006 12:27 PM