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We have started the year with a puja so that we can have the grace of the Lord to remove all the unknown obstacles for both material and spiritual growth. We need both the grace of the Lord and our self-efforts to make our lives beautiful and meaningful. Our lives depend on external circumstances and also the way we perceive the world and respond. So, there is always an external factor and internal conditions. Like in the Ramayana were Kaushalya and Sumithra faced the separation of the sons. Event being the same, their reactions and response were totally different. Kaushalya was distraught and created a scene while Sumithra was calm and even advised Lakshmana and consoled Kaushalya. Therefore, quality of life is entirely dependent on the set-up and events but “equally” dependent on mental maturity too. The difference between materialistic approach to life and spiritual is this: in the former I totally depend on external conditions and events (the focus is on the external) while in the latter I also focus on the internal conditions to determine the quality of life. The disadvantage with dependence solely on an external factor is there are numerous elements that constitute it. And secondly I have very little control on them. In contrast, when I work on internal conditions, there are things I can change or improve. And when I work on myself, there is potential for inner growth. The skill of perceiving the world and responding in a mature manner is prescribed for inner growth in the scriptures through numerous sadhanas. Internal growth is the emphasis; what is the point of “global warming” when there is “internal warming” inside. The scriptures talk of one faculty that is universal and we are all endowed with. This powerful faculty helps us grow internally and this is the “faculty of silence”. We often talk of speech but ignore the faculty of silence. Silence is extremely effective faculty as our saints have used this to become wiser. Silence is called “maunam”, derived from the word “muni” (the state which has been used by all sages uniformly not only for inner growth but also spiritual wisdom). Lord Krishna gives the title “mauni” for a great person. Maunam is for inner refinement and spiritual progress; the way we respond and react to the world would drastically change (and improve) if we can spare effort to grow in maturity. It will in fact change the very quality of our life. There are three different principles to follow if silence is to be effectively used for inner growth. Learn to spend some time in solitude In our times, talking has become an addiction; talking on the phone, cellphones and reveling in words. There is a need to communicate in every direction; so it is worthwhile to spend some time in solitude and not interact with anyone or the world. Solitude does not mean going to the forest; any set-up where we cannot talk or need not talk as in a library. Or take a long solitudinal walk without the cell phone and it is beneficial exercise once in a while. Why is solitude recommended? When I am interacting with the world all the time, I am using body-mind for contacting. The world is the object and B/M the instrument of transaction. In solitude there is no object and so the body-mind becomes an object of experience. So, from an instrument they become an “object of experience”. But generally, we are not able to confront our B/M. Majority are skilled in the affairs of the world, totally flummoxed or unprepared handing the B/M; confronting them requires tremendous maturity. Immaturity to handle one’s own B/M is LONELINESS, it creates fear, depression, and frustration to the mind. But when I learn to confront my B/M in solitude; I become more and more adept to handle the fears of loneliness (fear, depression, and frustration). This is particularly useful for old people who are saddled with a lifetime of experience and not many to share their thoughts. When external world creates problems, I can escape from it, Say a movie, or party, or music etc. But when I cannot confront my own B/M, I have no place to escape. Even if I go to Mount Kailash, I will still carry my sick mind with me. Therefore “silence and solitude” is a wonderful rehearsal for ageing for gaining inner maturity. I can confront or face my own B/M better in the process. So, practice silence in solitude, every once in a while. I encourage others to talk more and more; I encourage myself to listen more and more. We can be in the midst of people and still practice the faculty of silence. The benefits are manifold: a) When I listen more and more, I follow silence and not the power of speech.
counter. it is not the occasion to talk. When people talk simultaneously. Your only expected to say. so avoid falling into this trap. marriage etc where there is no constructive agenda. Lord Krishna had to listen even to Arjuna’s lectures. d) Listening to others without interrupting to other’s speech is a vocal discipline. ensure that you don’t extend more than 3 or 5 minutes. Take precaution not to converse with anyone when caught . FOR HIS MIND IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR LISTENING. let them have some freedom. or paraphrase especially your spouse when they are talking to others. When we meet. turbulent mind.” Is it right time to talk?” You might be free but the other person may have different things. a great sin. Talking to a person ON and ON is himsa. Listening is a psycho-therapy and empathy for the others. I contradict. People caught in this mind frame tend to win their point of view by hook or crook. b) I have no right to misappropriate someone’s time without his permission and right under his nose. It takes a lot of “self-control” to listen to someone else views especially when they are contradictory. When any discussion becomes an argument. no one listens as it happens in Parliament. we must ensure that he has time and mood and energy to listen. They only seek understanding and empathy and not your comments or suggestions or solutions. not a word. It makes out to blurt one and that can cause serious damage to a relation. Most of us when we are distraught are not interested in solutions (which everyone freely give and cause more confusion). Argument Trap: It is a big trap and cause of spiritual downfall. Patient listening is effective employment and practice of silence. Whether Telgana state is required or not? If someone takes a different line to yours. it is Dus sangah. socializing. They are helpless and I am helpless too. When someone asks for water. NEVER ADVICE UNLESS ASKED. Emotional trap: When you are emotional or someone is. Gossip trap: In a party. how? They learn a lot a patient learning. This is daylight robbery. Adi Sankara talks a lot of grishta. you jump immediately to negate the view. In the first chapter of Gita. I gain inner maturity by mere listening. Otherwise. The mind is loaded with experiences gathered over a lifetime and waiting for an outlet. Many fall into the trap of parallel comparison and not able to resist. So each time you fall in the monologue trap. Through effective employment of silence I will avoid certain speak/speech traps Monologue trap: We all have a pressure of thoughts bursting to come out inside our minds. it is foolish to give dosai and adai (it will only increase the thirst). Check to see if the other person is interested for the second installment. So what is therapy for a grishta while talking to a sanyasi. But he never interrupted. Listening is one of the toughest spiritual exercises in self-control. Never control others.b) When I listen. it is a maturity for a sanyasi (even if he had the slightest doubt. Avoid such places and learn to leave asap. Lots of people from outstation wish to see you. it is himsa. Mouth restraint is the toughest thing (both the eating mouth and the speaking mouth!!!). We are so desperate to talk that we wait to pounce on anyone like a predator hunting a prey. I double the happiness of others (when they are happy) and halve their sorrows (when they are in pain). and frothing with anger and frustration. They find an escort who knows me. I learn this very clearly: I WILL NOT TALK WHEN THE OTHER PERSON IS TALKING. Violating someone’s time and energy accrues twin sins: a) Ahimsa: Each time you call someone ask. So to jump to offering advice is an emotionally inappropriate response. we try to relieve them by talking. marshal my arguments. Never forget that people want empathy and not allopathy or homeopathy. edit. Arguments produce heat rather than light. So. At least in front of others.” okay. I can learn a lot even without going through experiences. Gossip is always juicy and tasty like Filmfare. Robbing someone’s time is “asthayam”. If someone says they went to Rishikesh you immediately pounce and jump to talk about your Rishikesh experience. Unloading your pressure to talk is like having a knife and stabbing someone. Emotions are disturbed states of mind. We should only unload this pressure to an interested and willing listener. HE listened and did not advice till Arjuna surrendered. certainly” and anything more is just a vocal fritter of energy. it breeds ideal grounds for gossip. I am so intolerant to others and there is so much pressure. the escort goes on talking without giving the guests a chance. No one listens and each is preparing a rebuttal (like Big Fight on television). I have no patience to listen to other’s arguments. c) By listening to others. learn to observe silence for they strain relations. In an argument no one listens. it would dissipate).
Use silence effectively whenever you fall into any of these four traps. This new year reduce the quantity of talk and see how your life improves.in whirlpool of emotions. .
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