As it goes in giving life, breath is one common thing that all living creatures have regardless of species, gender, color, caste and creed.
Breath is in-discriminatory in nature although it manifests differently in each, given their circumstance, situation and feelings in any given moment.
Breath – the fundamental necessity that distinguishes between life and death, an involuntary but completely taken granted for, until no more – A vital component which determines if you can move or not, if your existence is guaranteed or not – that vital component that absolutely determines and makes my mark on this planet – is so taken for granted.
You assure myself that because you can breathe now, you can in the next minute as well. You act as if it is seamless and yet between each breath lies your life’s guarantee, your story can be finished between exhale and inhale. Flared out lungs may not necessarily contract in and yet you act as though they have come with a promissory note. Well they did.
The day you were born, your lungs had a time stamped on them, a ‘best before’, or a ‘use by’ date that only the hands that printed on them can see, a shelf life that is predetermined and yet can go off any minute.
Do you need to know the exact date to determine how to live today or is it enough for you to know that there is an expiry date that could be as soon as between next inhale and exhale or as late as a billion or trillion or countless exhales later?
Countless breaths in your mind yet a count has begun with your first exhale the day you were born.
So how are you to live with this awareness?
Every breath in writes a memory only to be etched deeper with every breath out. A whole of eternity will pass halfway between exhaling at the last breath.
The tiny space between the in and out is where the world is held as memories. There is no good or bad, no right or wrong, just life coming in and going out, bringing with it stories that create memories.
When you penetrate into the space between the two breaths, you accept that pain and pleasure are inseparable, you cannot have one without the other. In that acceptance life flows. That is the truth about your need to tell our story unfolding today in its struggles and triumphs.
In Out, Expand, Contract – you need to focus only on expansion. An expansion painted on the waves of life only guaranteed until the next gushing in tide which may or may not arrive.
So how do you treat your breath? Do you take it for granted or are you consciously aware of each in and out?
It is difficult to be in that constant awareness, but a few minutes spent in silence every couple of hours during the waking time, just becoming aware of the breath and being thankful for it, brings things back into perspective.
What practice can you establish to become aware of your breath and give thanks to its presence?
How did humans become so violent – profiting from, mutilating and killing each other? To what end?
The violence I mentioned above on the global scale also plays on an individual level. Our minds are “bubbling hot baths of violence” when we
Contradict, dislike, judge each other subtly or openly,
Constantly compare with each other,
Live in the artificial world of ‘us & them’
Spew negativity in the name of wanting to understand,
Get stronger in our own convictions even if they openly hurt another,
encourage cut throat competition in the name of fulfilling ambitions
consume excessively created by extensive wants and desires…
Result is low self-esteem, over confidence, depression, fears, anxiety, scarcity thinking, hoarding, substance dependence to get away from all of that, which creates more problems.
We simply have forgotten how to live simply.
Global wars and crimes are micro played in our minds first and we become blame shifters – it is the
The law’s fault,
Police not doing enough or
Our phobias increase rampantly as we desperately isolate groups or individuals to pin blame on.
We are spending more money on weapons instead of educating people.
We spend time and effort and money on finding essential elements for survival in space (water on Mars) while actively contaminating and pilfering the precious resources here now on earth that we call home. Geroge Monbiot said in his recent article – “The richer a country becomes, the less its people care about their impact on the living planet.”
How is finding water on Mars save children who die daily because they don’t have access to clean water? How is selling guns to countries who can’t feed their population an answer to their problems?
Where are we heading collectively?
I am sure these are questions that everyone ask of themselves, shake their heads helplessly and go back to living in their safe silos and hot heads (me included) – too far away, not my problem. We have food, clothes, shelter – the basic necessities and we belong to a family, a community that is our safety net. We believe that one day someone somewhere will come up with a magic solution to all the problems…
Bonding, Belonging and Believing – three essential ingredients for human happiness.
Is it enough to have these three at individual level? Is that even happening at an individual level?
How bonded are we with each other beyond our immediate family and even within our immediate family?
Do we feel safe in belonging in our communities – of course that depends on which community or country we are talking about.
Do we believe that solutions t0 problems are other people’s headaches?
Where do we individuals stand on these global issues – are we not responsible individually and collectively, no matter how immediate or far removed the issues are from us?
The gadgetry distractions we have created for ourselves, the fear induced selfishness which is making us become increasingly indifferent – are these the values that we are passing on to our children?
If we feel responsible, what can we do?
What do we teach our children?
What are we teaching ourselves?
When we know this is not who we are, how do we go about finding who we truly are?
How do we put an end to, may be not possible to put an end to, but at least curb the violence we witness each day?
Here is what I think (for what it is worth)
To curb violence in the world, we need to stop violating ourselves first and foremost. We need to go back to the fundamental Human Values that are inherent in all of us. We need to actively teach our children what these values are and how it helps them grow up to be caring human beings.
Bonding and belonging is more important than any thing else. So instead of creating bonds with gadgets for our children because we are busy, can we perhaps make time to give them our time instead of a gadget and create bonds that last. Research shows that IPad usage by two year old children may harm language development which means inability to express which means inability to communicate and we know what that can lead to.
Yes, we don’t have control over global scale violence, but…
We have control over how we can
Develop the inner moral compass of our children,
Enhance their sensitivity to moral cues,
Make them become aware of our interdependence and
Teach them to live with personal integrity which helps them to take responsibility for their state of minds and actions.
Here is a free educational program that does just that for 4 to 6 year old children. Use this program for your own children or gather a group of children from your local community and teach them. Catch them young and mold their minds.
What else can we do?
We can stop being excessive consumerists and limit our desires
The older generation has so much wisdom that the young needs to learn from beyond the three R’s, in fact more than reading, writing and arithmetic, children today need to learn Resilience, Resonance and Reflection.
Retired people among us can volunteer their time with local High Schools and mentor the kids there especially the ones that are not coping with the demands of high school. Show them how valuable they are, teach them how to respond and not react, as well as the value of being kind, being healthy, being helpful, forgiving, taking care of themselves and the planet etc.
They need to understand and practice the values of Love, Truth, Peace, Right Conduct and Non-Violence. For that they need adults in their lives who practice and demonstrate those values in action.
We may not be able to solve the worlds problems, but we certainly can help in our local communities particularly children and young adults and create loving bonds and a sense of belonging that will stop them from straying away, becoming depressive and suicidal or violent like the 15 year old boy in Sydney who ended up dying.
We want a peaceful society, it is up to us to create that. We are not helpless in doing that. We need to put our own inhibitions aside, limit our desires and the resulting consumption. We need to take genuine interest in the welfare of our next generation and use the freed up time and resources for the welfare of the community that we live in.
Let us form little ‘Circles of Safety’ and bring our younger generations into those circles and equip them to become character laden citizens.
We have nothing to lose and everything to gain – do you agree?
Would love to know what you think and how we should go ahead with this…Please drop a line in with your comments and action plans
We know that the world is in utter chaos and we all crave for a world order to be brought about – by Governments, by Scientists, by others…..
Pope Francis’ Encyclical entitled “Laudato Si – On Care for Our Common Home” that sets out a program for change calls for the need to develop a “Culture of Care” in society and it starts with each individual.
A friend of mine asked “Why do we need to listen to a religious leader talking about climate change when the scientists who are the authority on the subject cannot get heard? My response – Pope’s call is not just for religious followers but for the entire humanity, because Climate Change is not just a scientific issue but it is a moral problem.
In order to fully comprehend Pope’s message, we need to first unpack what is a “Culture of Care” and how it looks like and then perhaps connections can be made how the world’s chaos needs spiritual solutions.
A ‘Culture of Care’ is based in Love. When Love permeates a human being, he/she will do nothing but care for themselves and the others, wherever they are, which has a domino effect eventually. When enough people care, societies transform. Caring nature results in beauty in character.
Sai Baba said – ” When there is beauty in character, there is harmony at home; When there is harmony at home, there is order in the nation; when there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world.”
So a Culture of Care results in world peace. Sounds far fetched? Let us explore what that Culture of Care actually looks like. A Culture of Care looks like:
Content humans with what they have, which grounds them in the present.
A grounded person in the present has a solid identity of who they are.
A person who knows who they are is not competitive or an aggressive consumer
A non-aggressive consumer does not focus on ‘getting.’
When the focus in not on getting, the natural opposite fills in the void – which is ‘Giving.’
What can a content and grounded, non-aggressive consumer give?
A natural compassion because there is no comparison or competition.
What does natural compassion look like?
A Kind, Satisfied, Happy, Caring, Sharing Person because a naturally compassionate person has
Love in their thoughts – therefore Truth prevails
Love in their actions – so Right Conduct manifests
Love in their feelings – and Peace penetrates
Love in their understanding – thus a non-violent world results.
Is this formulaic? I don’t think so. Do you see the connection?
It starts with stopping being an aggressive, competitive, jealous consumer and be content with what we have and live in gratitude. There is always someone who has less than us.
A content and caring individual recognises the interconnectedness as they see the world from within.
If contentment is an answer to create a ‘Culture of Care,’ how can we remain content when the world screams at us that we cannot be happy unless we have more?
Pope’s answer is “Growth marked by moderation” In fact this principle has been given as a “Ceiling on Desires” program four decades ago by Sathya Sai Baba.
Accordingly, Desiring is a natural human phenomenon and cannot be eliminated completely. So, we put a Ceiling on our Desires to consume, whether it is food, money, time or energy.
If we learn to stop with one piece of chocolate cake, there is more to share – Ceiling on Desire for food can be connected to relieving world hunger – you do the maths.
If we learn to use less energy, there is less burden on natural resources, which means more to share and a safer planet.
If we conserve and manage our time, we overcome unhealthy anxiety which means happy families and peaceful societies engaged in meaningful activities.
If we desire less, we don’t have to buy more, which means savings. More savings, better lifestyle and happy individuals.
Our consumption of food, money, time and energy are directly linked with our capacity to be content or discontent. Sounds simplistic? Don’t answers to large problems often have simple solutions?
So, ‘Culture of Care’ starts with an individual and can happen only if we stop excessive consumption and be content. When we are content, we create a ‘Culture of Care.’ Love blossoms as a result and Inner Peace that is directly related to care for ecology and common good results. This is each and every one of our responsibility.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I strongly believe in the above saying. However, in order to take a stand or speak up or show that things matter, it takes strength.
Yes, we need to be firm, certain, feel, endure, stand alone sometimes in order to muster courage to steer events.
“Truth lies not only in incidents but in hopes and needs” – says Essayist Rebecca Solnit.
It takes strength and courage to let those hopes and needs known. So speak up your truth not just about incidents but about your life, especially its hopes and its needs. Speak loudly and clearly so your life means something.
Sometimes hurtful truths have to be spoken out loud. Silence is not always helpful. Silence means only one thing – indifference. Indifference is the greatest sin of the 21st Century. Results are never in your hands but remaining silent will never achieve anything either.
It takes Strength……..
It takes strength to be firm, it takes courage to be gentle.
It takes strength to conquer, it takes courage to surrender.
It takes strength to be certain, it takes courage to have doubt.
It takes strength to fit in , it takes courage to stand out.
It takes strength to feel a friend’s pain, it takes courage to feel your own pain.
It takes strength to endure abuse, it takes courage to stop it.
It takes strength to stand alone, it takes courage to lean on another.
It takes strength to love, it takes courage to be loved.
It takes strength to survive, it takes courage to live.
Strength and Courage are the required potions now to speak against the atrocities of the world – from micro to macro. We need to stand together – hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder and speak with strength, with authenticity and with conviction against injustices in the world.
Let’s draw strength from each other and let us build the courage to create a world where we can love unconditionally and be loved freely.
This is a question posed at Jamie Ridler’s blog and I thought I will answer this here as she suggested.
I wish to claim:
World Peace starting from me starting from now – this means that no matter what happens in my life, I will only wish for the best outcome for all people involved including myself.
I wish to claim that I live my life based on the Five Human Values of Love, Peace, Truth, Right Conduct and Non-Violence.
I wish to claim and I know this for a fact that I am Non-Violent in thoughts, words and deeds.
I wish to claim that I love people unconditionally. Working on this, so claiming out loud will make it a reality.
I wish to claim – my birthright to being creative and wish that everyone recognize their creativity and not shy away from it. Your scribbles, doodles, aimlessly penned words – everything you do is creative. So, go right ahead and say it loud – I am creative. Claim it and make it happen – whatever form it takes.
I wish to claim that I see goodness and kindness in people everywhere.
What do you wish to claim?
Please comment here
Until next time – remember, what you wish will come true.
Do you have constant mind chatter? Same recycled thoughts put through the tumble dryer of your mind? Spinning fast and slow, fast and slow, never stopping, same thoughts over and over…..I have that too….
Sometimes these thoughts and chatter disturb us so much that we end up losing our cool, feel tense, worried, stressed, frustrated to the point of angry outbursts until we off load these onto some other person. Once dumped, the mind quietens momentarily and it all starts again.
How do we settle this turbulence, so we can fly through smoothly without any bumps?
By saying “YES”.
That’s right – say “YES” for everything.
“Assertion Creates, Negation Destroys” When I came across this statement by Sai Baba – I had to ask “HOW?”
How does Assertion create?
What does Assertion mean? It means ‘declaration’, ‘positive statement’.
We all know the benefits of ‘positive statements’, remaining in a positive frame of mind and what it does to us in all our personality domains – physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual.
Do we find it hard to remain positive without getting consumed by negative?
Yes, we do.
But we need to remember that positive and negative are the two sides of the same coin. We cannot have one without the other. When we concentrate on one in preference to the other, that is when we stop creating.
Assertion means saying ‘YES’. We say ‘YES’ to everything.
Saying ‘YES’ does not mean we sit on the sidelines passively.
Saying ‘YES’ means we have acknowledged the things happening both positive and negative, within and without us, without judgment.
When we acknowledge, there is no internal resistance. We breathe, our internal organs are not scrunched up, our mind is not turbulent, our pulse is even, our heart beat is steady.
There is a stillness rising from deep within out of that simple ‘YES’.
That stillness – resounding in its silence, causes creative action to leap forward and we surprise ourselves how broadly and objectively we can think and how expansive we become.
“First Understanding, Then Adjustment” – says Sai Baba. Assertion creates action arising out of understanding and adjustment. Saying ‘YES’ removes the barriers from understanding. When we understand something, we then make adjustments accordingly.
If I don’t say ‘YES’, I am closed and judgmental. When I am closed, I don’t allow myself either to stand in other person’s shoes or even understand myself. This applies for minor as well as major issues.
How many times do we hear people say, “But you don’t understand……..”; how many times do we say, “You don’t understand……” It is because we are hooked to our opinions and judgments and not give permission to be open enough to listen objectively. This more so with ourselves than with others. It is a hard task to drop all the “Should not haves”, “Could not haves” and “Must have’s” and not feel guilty and anxious as a result.
Negation not only closes, it actually destroys us. We are witnessing that in our lives everyday – locally or globally, individually or collectively and yet we continue to negate.
So, if assertion means saying ‘YES’ with a view to understand and then create, I am all for it.
Do you agree?
Will you join me?
Let us say ‘YES’ just for today and see how it feels.
Say ‘YES’ for everything and I mean everything regardless of how negative it may be, without judgment, without bias, without doubt or suspicion. Just accept what is happening in your mind. By accepting first, you become more creative.
Watch your mind grow calmer and calmer, resting in its own heavenly silence, occasional waves of thoughts rising, only to drop back into its silence.
Act from that expansive silence. Our actions will be nothing but gentle, overflowing compassion towards ourselves and towards others, based on Truth and Love.
Do you know you constantly battle with 3 enemies every moment of every day?
I know I do. Those 3 enemies never leave my side. They are my constant companions, whether I am awake or half asleep.
They tempt me from every corner. They rob my physical, mental and emotional health. They create a gaping hole in my spiritual health. The more I give into those 3 temptations, the bigger is my loss of health in all the 5 personality domains – Physical, Mental, Emotional, Social and Spiritual.
The 3 enemies keep me on a roller coaster of thinking that I do and that I care, all the while tempting me to indulge because I can.
Growing impatient to know what they are? Any guesses?
Well, impatience is certainly not one of them, all though, it can be a result of one of them.
OK!! No more suspense – Here they are. Ready???
The 3 enemies that rob your health are………………..(drum roll)
HURRY, WORRY & CURRY
It’s not a joke. You read it right. Hurry, Worry & Curry are the 3 enemies that rob your health. Those are not my invention. They are as said by Sai Baba. All I am doing is trying to elaborate on them – one by one.
Enemy No.1 – HURRY
Hurry – robs me of my physical and mental health. How?
When I hurry……..
I make mistakes
I can trip and fall and injure myself
I am impatient
I am frustrated
I get anxious
I get irritated at little inconveniences
Love is a distant companion.
Truth tangos between little white lies and blatant lying to outright exaggerations.
Right Action and Peace jump out of the window due to anxiety and fear.
And – Mild Violence will be a happy comrade.
Yes, Hurry does all that and more. Hurry keeps me in a constant flurry of activity and I collapse at the end of the day exhausted physically as well as mentally, only to start all over again the next day.
I hear you say – but we have to hurry to keep up, to do everything that we HAVE to do. If we don’t hurry, life will run us over and shove us aside.
We have to hurry to…
catch the next bus/train/appointment
finish the next thing
Because, we don’t have time. We are late etc etc
Hurry to catch up? does it make sense – NO.
But we do hurry – if not physically, mentally. When we are a zillion miles far mentally, but physically here, do I need to describe the impatience, irritation and frustration that results in exhaustion, energy depleted and ultimate breakdown?
So, is there an antidote to this. Of course there is.
I know you are hurrying to get to the end of the post, so you can find out what remedy I have to suggest.
Slow down………. I am going to show you the remedy
S L O W D O W N
Yes, that is the remedy.
Deliberately, Consciously, Intentionally –
S L O W D O W N
B R E A T H E – DEEPLY IN………………… EXHALE OUT LOUD (PHEW……………………….)
Sorry, if I am deliberate in writing this. But the only remedy for hurry is slowing down. Is that enough? Its a start.
We need to slow down physically as well as mentally and plan ahead.
Nothing new here but we don’t make time to do it because if we are not hurrying we are not accomplishing.
When our bodies are tired, we don’t have the energy to get up earlier than necessary, we don’t have the energy to plan ahead and so the cycle continues.
So, first steps:
Deliberate and conscious deep breathing will ease the hurry mentally. Meditation of course will yield enormous benefits. But deep breathing is a start.
Planning as we all know, gains us time. With easy breathing, plan the next day before hand. This gives control and help slow us down physically.
The benefits of these will flow on to help with the other 2 enemies
Stay tuned for Enemy No. 2 – WORRY.
Now don’t hurry in your waiting for the next post – will you.
Have you risen publicly? I have and masses of people have risen throughout the world as a response to a direct call of “One Billion Rising” – Men, Women and Children in 197 countries stood shoulder to shoulder in solidarity – a call to Strike, Dance and Rise, to demand to put an end to violence against women.
A fantastic result for a fabulous call to put an end to one of the world’s most pervasive, most hidden, rarely brought to full justice, human rights abuse. We have risen against violence. We know the statistics now. We know the urgency to stop this because we understand that abuse of a woman and the results of it do not affect just the one person, the abused – it affects the whole fabric of the society. Jean Kilbourne describes abuse of women as a public health issue.
Systemic abuse has now become a weapon of war in countries like Democratic republic of Congo which is dubbed as the Rape Capital of the World, Somalia, Sudan and many other countries.
Sathya Sai Baba said
“Politics without principles, Education without character, Science without humanity, and Commerce without morality are not only useless, but also positively dangerous.”
These are the exact phenomenon we are witnessing in today’s society. We crave for change. We crave for a new order. We crave for morality in society. We are crying out for change and standing against something that is destroying the fabric of our society.
This rising is only a beginning towards that change.
What else can we do after having stood up against the wrong?
Socrates said –
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but building a new”
The new that we want is in our hands to build.
What is the NEW that we want?
This ‘Rising Against’ is also a call for a new time and a new way of being to herald the Human Values of Love, Truth, Peace, Right Conduct and Non Violence.
We want a New World order where:
Morality in Society is present every step of the way,
Politics are run with Principles, and
End of Education is Character.
A society where women are respected, honored and cherished, not objectified and made to identify just as ‘things’ associated with beauty.
We want a New World Order where
Looks do not matter, color does not matter,
Beauty is recognised as shining from within the individual.
Our children are safe in public places,
Neighbors look out for each other,
Doubts and suspicions are not the first reactions,
There is mutual Respect that grows from Trust.
Love and Compassion rule, not Greed and Lust.
Harmony prevails within individuals, at home, in our communities and in the world at large.
We want to live in times where there is:
Love in our Thoughts
Love in our Actions
Love in our Feelings
Love in our Understanding
We want to live in a society whose motto will be “Help Ever; Hurt Never”.
We are that society and we can create that society starting from now.
We need to put aside our judgments, criticisms, first and foremost against ourselves and then towards the others.
We may think we are not, but we are violent. The violence we see out there is a collective manifestation of individual thoughts from minor criticisms to major judgments. When we are critical of ourselves, when we cannot extend love to ourselves, when we blame ourselves, we are starting the violence.
How can we possibly extend love and understanding to others when we cannot do that to ourselves?
This Rising while outwardly looks like a rising against violence in society, indirectly it is a call to Rise to stop being violent within ourselves.
It is a call to Rise to cause self-transformation.
We cannot change others, we can only change ourselves. When I become a person who is non-violent in my thoughts, words and deeds, then I have removed violence from within my circle of influence. If each one of us did that, then the circle of influence widens and soon the whole world is in that circle of Non-Violence.
Unity in Thought, word and deed is the most Non-Violent way to be. We are not at all like the rapists in the world who violate the sacred physical, however, we rape our minds constantly through thoughts that violate our own person-hood.
Rise against that Violence within!!
Every time you have a negative thought, criticism, judgment, say “STOP”.
Demand from yourself to stop the negativity rising.
“Change begins with me” – said Gandhi. So let us take a pledge here that in the coming year from today we rise against violence within us and in the society.
More than that let us make a pledge to
Risefor Love In Our
Actions which manifest as Right Conduct
Thoughts which manifests as Truth
Feelings which manifest as Peace
Understanding which manifests as Non-Violence
Let us make a pledge to understand ourselves and then understand others because as Satya Sai Baba said
“If there is Righteousness in the Heart, there will be Beauty in the Character; If there is Beauty in the Character, there will be Harmony in the Home; If there is Harmony in the Home, there will be Order in the Nations; When there is Order in the Nations, there will be Peace in the World.”
So Peace & New World Order begins with Me…. Let us Rise For That!!!!
Let us re-educate ourselves who we are –
We ARE Love, We ARE Truth, We ARE Peace, WE ARE Non-Violent by nature.
When we don’t see those out in the world, we crave for those values. Those values of Love, Truth, Peace, Right Conduct and Non-Violence are right in our hearts, inherent to our nature. We need to consciously bring them out, and make a choice to live with them in thoughts, words and deeds.
…..is the echo after the horrific shootings at Aurora, Colorado. It is the same echo heard from all around the world by people witnessing crimes of Genocide, Rape, Murder to crimes justified by superstition and religious fanaticism.
We cry out when the proportion of crime seems unfairly large whilst we are increasingly getting immune to the encroaching violence in our living rooms, on our dinner tables by the innocent sounding entertainment packed in little slim boxes that we call Laptops, X Box, IPad and IPod. Violence is also normalized by Hollywood, Bollywood, Tollywood and Video Games.
The language of Values as well as good news that is uplifting is completely eroded from media. Intentionally or unintentionally we seem to have worked up an appetite for normalized violence. Whether we remain apathetic to what is streaming or voice our justified rationalizations in our condoning or condemnation – we have come to accept that violence is going to be a good if not better part of the society that we live in whilst lamenting for Peace & Non Violence and Beauty & Goodness.
Is there a solution to this insanity – we lament. What can we do – we cry. In our desperate attempt to find solutions, we turn our heads to blame.
If only the Government ban the gun laws……….
If only there were more mental health services………
If only people were not so fanatical in their beliefs………….
If only people were more educated…………..
Yes, all these ‘if only’s’ are solutions that can work provided we as individuals take responsibility and not shift the blame knowingly or unknowingly. Apathy arising due to helplessness in the face of enormity is also violence. It doesn’t harm others but the individual suffers as the despair increases with the situation and then falls back into deep discontentment. We settle.
Is there a better solution? Is there anything that we as individuals do to promote peaceful living? Is it enough if I am peaceful as an individual?
‘Yes’ and ‘Yes’ for the first two questions. ‘No’ for the 3rd question. We all know intuitively that as important as it is for us to be loving and peaceful in our own selves, we also have an obligation to become peace activists in the society that we live in .
How can we do that? What is a solution if not THE solution?
Actively/openly educate the children in Human Values of Love, Truth, Peace, Right Conduct and Non-Violence as soon as they can start talking . We do that when our toddlers are in our control. When they start schooling, the entire focus seems to shift onto academic learning so when they grow up they can have a secure career that will lead to happy, fulfilled, peaceful life.
Is the focus on exclusively secular education enough?
Is the Religious Education imparted in Public Schools to the willing participants enough? This religious education is mainly Christian oriented and other Religious teachings are excluded.
Is the Religious Education that is part of the Education System in Private Christian schools enough?
Are Religious schools like the Madrasas that drum the scriptures into the young minds and turn them into religious fanatics enough?
Clearly none of these models are serving the purpose. If educating the young minds is to grow up into healthy and holistic individuals, none of these models are working. They are not complete failures either. Successful individuals coming out of theses systems have other support mechanisms in place like a good family & community behind hem. Unfortunately, there are many number of children who don’t have that support and therefore flounder.
What is the solution?
Spiritual Education combined with Secular education – Education in Human Values is an answer for any number of social maladies that we are witnessing. Values are Universal and inherent in every human being. They are beyond the culture, religion divide.
We need to teach the children at home and at school the language of Love, Truth, Peace, Right Conduct and Non-Violence. It doesn’t end there. The teachers and parents and all the adults in the childs life need to be role models in living these values.
When children are actively taught about these values through simple techniques like Silent Sitting, Quotes/Affirmations, Stories, Music, Group Activity and Creative Visualisation revolving around one Situational Value at a time and the same Value is woven into the curriculum, demonstrated in action by influential adults in the child’s life, it helps the child grow holistic in all 5 personality domains.
The Five Human Values are the highest expressions of the 5 Personality domains.
Physical Domain is governed by the Value of Right Conduct
Intellectual Domain is governed by the Value of Truth
Emotional Domain is governed by the Value of Peace
Social Domain is governed by the Value of Love
Spiritual Domain is governed by the Value of Non-Violence.
Each of these values have situational values that demonstrate the value in action. Eg., Situational value for Right Conduct is Discipline, Healthy Living, Determination etc., Situational Value for Truth is Honesty, Integrity etc., When these Human Values become living breathing systems around the child, why wouldn’t the child develop holistically?
Isn’t that a solution?
Human Values are not just abstract concepts but they are interactional and transactional. They are instrumental in uplifting the individual and the society. Educational systems throughout the world need to make Education in Human Values a part of their curriculum as a direct and as an indirect approach. Every subject taught in schools from Science to Social Studies to Mathematics to Literature, have values incorporated into them. No subject is devoid of values. It would be our job as adults to make those connections for the child. We need to push for education systems to become integral education systems.
Education in Human Values is the solution for the societal maladies that we observe today. Sathya Sai Baba says:
“Just as the rays of the sun absorb water vapor from the sea, gather it as clouds, and drop it as rain on earth so that it may flow as rivers back into the sea, the senses of man contact the world and collect experiences, out of which the sacred and sustaining ones are selected, stored and utilized by the mind as values, as instruments for uplifting the individual and the society. Those values are Truth, Right Conduct, Peace, Non-violence and Love. For the first four, the last value Love, is the life giving spring. They can be achieved most quickly by Love. The value of love may be best expressed as an energy permeating all of life. Love in Speech is Truth; Love in action is Right Conduct; Love in thought is Peace; Love as understanding is Non-Violence.” (Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 15, Ch 13)