How to Succeed with People

Learning interpersonal skills

This is a write up of the talk given by Prashant Shah (http://spiritual-living.in) on several occasions and before many groups in both India and USA

WinWin

Most of our life is an interdependent reality. We have to work with people, live with people and deal with people. Further, we often share responsibility with others, but we don’t have the authority to direct them. We can work well by ourselves, but when we have to get things done through others we experience many difficulties. Hence, the common saying is: “The people problems are the worst!

Human relationships can be either enjoyed or suffered; they can be either encouraging or frustrating. What we get will always depend on how we conduct ourselves! To succeed with people, first we have to understand the psychology of the ‘other person’. Next, we have to see things from the other person’s point of view and understand what motivates their behaviour. Only thereafter we can know what we need to do to get the right response from the other person.

The skill in dealing with people can be learnt and it will be very valuable for everyone in society — for a businessman, a professional, a colleague, a housewife, and a member of any group in society. And this skill will become increasingly important as we climb up to the higher positions in our social system. The business tycoon, J. D. Rockefeller, once said: “I will pay more for that ability (to succeed with people) than for any other ability under the sun.”

Why do we neglect learning interpersonal skills?

In college we are educated to think rationally. We are trained to direct our efforts towards personal efficiency, towards learning scientific techniques, and towards earning money. But in the process our emotional nature remains uneducated. Hence, we do not easily understand the ‘psychological side’ of human nature. For this reason in modern society people’s inner life gets easily messed up. They just don’t know how to be happy by themselves or by relating with people.

Why is this subject not taught in our colleges?

There are some things that we really appreciate only after things have gone wrong in our life; after we have made a mess in our relationships. People feel the need to invest in the emotional side of life only after they have stumbled a few times. The common saying is: “Wisdom arises only after our hair has already turned a little grey with experience!”

Further, there is not much in the form of newer ideas to learn here. The bigger task is to implement these ideas in your life. To succeed in human relationships it does not matter how much you know; what matters is how well you implement what you know. Hence, it is not a matter of learning the technique. Professional psychologists will not necessarily do better than you!

What is the KEY to success here?

It is to become genuinely concerned about other people’s feelings; to change how you regard them; and to change your assumptions about other people. Without this basic change you can only make some small cosmetic changes in your relationships.

It is admitted that it is always difficult to change yourself. The normal human tendency is to want the other person to do all the changing! A course participant once said: “I’ll give you a 1000 dollars if you teach this course to my mother-in-law.” I could only smile, but in my mind I said: “You are paying me too much for that, but it’s a very small price for changing your relationship with your mother in law; and it may also not work out because she will want you to do all the changing.” To succeed with others the only price you have to pay is to change yourself. However, when you succeed here, I assure you that you’ll never be alone in your life or be lonely wherever you go!

This talk is based on some of the ideas that were originally developed in Dale Carnegie’s classic: “How to win friends and influence people”. Other topics that are discussed in our larger workshop are:

  • The art of negotiation
  • Man and woman relationships
  • The win-win option
  • The stages in maturity
  • Teamwork

To know more click here https://darshanacentre.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/introductory-workshops/

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Spiritual Yoga

This is a write up of the talk given by Prashant Shah (http://spiritual-living.in) in London on 14 April 2013, at the Discovery Day Program by Solar Events.

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Prashant’s talk in London

Yoga has been introduced in the western world as a technique for reducing our stress and improving our health. However, the traditional purpose of Yoga is to develop our spiritual life. Here we explore this ‘spiritual side’ of Yoga. First we explain the nature of the inner life and the spiritual quest; and then we show how spiritual yoga can help you in accomplishing the spiritual goal.

The Inner Life

We are born on earth with a mind that directs our attention outward towards things. Hence, we do not see the inner life and we seek our satisfaction from the outside — through the ‘things’ of the outer world. Thus, we chase comforts, pleasures and possessions in the outer world.

We pursue these things thinking that by having them we shall get the deeper satisfaction that we really want. However, when we achieve something, we do get some superficial satisfaction, which lasts for a short time. However, soon thereafter we again become dissatisfied and start to chase something else. In this way the chase goes on and on. It does not strike us that we are looking for our satisfaction in the wrong places!

Yoga considers our mind and body as instruments through which we function on earth. They are like our possessions – our house or car. Hence, by satisfying the desires in the mind and body, we can only get some superficial and temporary satisfaction. If we want deeper and lasting satisfaction, then we have to also satisfy something that is truly deeper and lasting! That something deeper or lasting is the soul or spirit.

When we satisfy our spiritual being, spiritual qualities begin to arise in our inner life. And as we organise these qualities in our nature, we develop spiritually. Let us tray and understand this development in terms of the two levels of our consciousness.

The two levels of consciousness

Throughout our life on earth two levels of consciousness (the ordinary and the higher level) are reflected in our mind. The ordinary level reflects the desires in our mind and body; and the higher level reflects the impulses got from our soul and the over-soul or God.

When we function at the ORDINARY level, we are attached to our mind and body. Then we experience ourselves as a ‘mental-self’, which is simply a self in the mind. This mental-self causes us to live mainly to satisfy the desires in our mind and body. So, we keep on looking for comforts, pleasures, possessions and recognition in the outer world: We want to own a posh house; we want to eat tasty food; and we measure our success by how well we stack up against others.

In society we experience the ordinary level as our ‘GROUP IDENTITY’. When we serve this group identity, we move beyond the boundaries of our personal selfishness and try to include the feeling of others in our group. In this way we identify with our family members, with our work associates, with the followers of our religion, and with the people of our community. The group identity enlarges our concern, and that causes us to think that we are serving the higher consciousness. That can happen sometimes, but more often the group identity merely replaces our personal selfishness. And sometimes the group identity can make us behave in ways that are more degrading than mere selfishness (as in terrorism).

HigherOrdinaryNature

What happens when we can function at the HIGHER level? It awakens our ‘sense of unity’ and the ‘voice of our conscience’. The experience of UNITY makes us feel that as human beings we are like children of the same father. Thus, we feel kindness towards others; we cannot be cruel or insensitive towards them; and we cannot solve our problems by making them someone else’s problems. Even the idea of competition makes us uncomfortable. So we try to replace it with feelings of cooperation and coexistence.

The voice of our CONSCIENCE is the silent voice from the heart. It enables us to recognise the right and the wrong in all matters concerning life; it causes us to refine the values and motives that guide our thoughts and actions in the world. When we try to follow this voice, a truth-sense develops within us.

The process of spiritual growth

Both the ordinary and the higher levels of our consciousness are always reflected in our mind. However, initially we mainly function at the ordinary level. That is, we serve the mental-self. And the mental-self in turn keeps us preoccupied with physical activity and egoistic pursuits.

Our spiritual being also has its presence inside our mind through the higher level of consciousness. However, we give so little attention to it that in most of us it has become something vague, hesitant or far removed. As a result we do not feel united; our ‘truth sense’ is weak; and we do not perceive any deeper purpose to our life.

The practice of Yoga seeks to REVERSE this situation. And it does that by changing our ‘point of view’! Instead of looking upon everything from the ordinary level, and giving an ordinary meaning to higher things, Yoga makes us look upon everything from the higher level. It changes the ‘level’ of our perception. It changes ‘from where’ we see or ‘what depth’ we see from.

Gradually we begin to see everything as a part of a much LARGER PICTURE: We can situate everything correctly or find the proper place for each thing; we can look deeper into the happenings in our life and in the world; and we can recognise the true motives behind the actions of people and the world movements. The result is that we are not easily deceived by outer appearances.

The method of Spiritual Yoga

The term Yoga is a common noun that means joining or union. In the beginning our mind is joined with the ordinary consciousness. In Spiritual Yoga we change this. We begin to detach it from the ordinary level and attach it to the higher level. And as we do that, spiritual qualities get organised in our mind.

HealingCover

The KEY idea of Spiritual Yoga is that wisdom and the higher values of life arise naturally in our mind when we are responsive to the higher consciousness. Thus, wisdom is not the result of developing our ordinary consciousness, as in modern education! It is the result of disciplining the mind and making it responsive to the higher consciousness. Then, instead of being led by the desires and tendencies of our mind and body, we shall be guided by the wisdom of our spiritual being.

The idea of unity in Yoga is similar to the ‘oneness’ that develops between a horse and its rider. However, the oneness has to be such that the will of the rider prevails! When the rider wants to go somewhere, the horse should also want to take him there. The horse should not protest or assert its independence and wander away.

The technique

We begin the practice spiritual yoga by learning to concentrate. What does that do? It brings together all the scattered forces of our attention under a higher will. It is like bringing the different chieftains under a ‘central leadership’. Gradually all the forces inside the mind are made to acknowledge the presence of the higher will and adjust themselves accordingly. When that happens, we can concentrate on our tasks without distraction; we can change our mental habits; and we can remake our values on the basis of a higher principle.

In Yoga we practice concentration by giving the mind something to hold on to, like a mantra. Then, in our task is to simply try to confine our attention to the mantra. The natural tendency of the mind is to drift onto other thoughts, particularly to thoughts of pending matters and personal concerns. So, our attention will stray onto other thoughts. However, when we find that our attention has strayed, we must continue the practice by simply returning it to our chosen theme, the mantra. The act of persistently returning our attention to the chosen theme makes all the difference: Gradually all the forces inside our mind will accept the leadership of the higher consciousness and adjust themselves to it.

Is Spiritual Yoga theistic or atheistic?

Let us consider these two different points of view. The atheistic view regards God as an imaginary concept or a belief. On the other hand the theistic view uses the ‘God idea’ to perceive the spiritual presence that exists behind all things and happenings. In the theistic view we learn to relate with the spiritual presence and try to make it a reality in our life.

It should be evident that Spiritual Yoga is a theistic pursuit. Here a personal (self-made) God is used to bring about a deliberate shift in consciousness – from the ordinary level to the higher level. When the higher consciousness gets organised in the mind, we become intuitive and begin to live at a higher level. It totally changes how we regard ourselves and the outer world. Then, instead of perceiving ourselves as a personality that has arisen out of a mind and body, we begin to see ourselves as a spiritual being that is temporarily functioning on earth through the instruments of a mind and body. Thus, it opens up the truly mystical dimension of our life.

The author is a spiritual guide for aspirants of Mantra Yoga. To know more, read the author’s book: Solving the Problems of Life’; click here: http://a.co/fDEjbYR. And for the book ‘The Art of Awakening the Soul’ the URL is http://a.co/jfAc1bf

Freedom & Contentment — how to experience them

By Prashant S. Shah; www.spiritual-living.in

The spiritual tradition in ancient India talks in terms of karma and dharma. When you act with personal or selfish motives you generate some imbalance, which is called karma. When you do what is proper and act without personal motives you generate balance and harmony, which is called dharma. Freedom and contentment are built on the foundation of Dharma.

In society the acts of dharma are fairness in dealings; balance in rights and obligations; restricting individual freedom where it transgresses the freedom of other people; subordinating personal benefit for the benefit of the team, group or unity; and serving the genuine needs of others.

True freedom and contentment are inner-life attainments. And to experience them you have to make some adjustments in your attitude and assumptions according to the rules of dharma or proper living. What are these changes and how can you make them?

Contents:

  1. Make the necessary inner changes
  2. Freedom and how to achieve it
  3. Approach life as a banquet
  4. Act well the part that is given to you
  5. All advantages have their price
  6. Our duties are revealed by our relationships
  7. Control your interpretations
  8. Serve the greater purpose

Summary

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1. Make the necessary inner changes

The ancient sages believed that there is a pre-decided element regarding all the major events of our life. The events are outcomes of past actions; other players are involved with the events; and there are hidden intelligences in the interior worlds that have their own agenda. Hence, it is said that we arrive at the events of our life. Our efforts in the present only make some cosmetic changes or adjustments.

So, whether we like it or not we have to accept the happenings of our life. We can do it in the same way as we accept other things that we cannot control – like the weather, the past, the market behaviour, etc. When we can do that, we can live peacefully and without experiencing frustration. On the other hand, if we keep on protesting or defying the situations of our life, we only hurt ourselves.

Whereas we cannot control the events that are happening now or are decided for us, there are many things that we can control. For example, we can control our expectations and how we respond to other people and events. We can always choose how we interpret the happenings in the world. Hence, instead of crying over the things we cannot control, we have to focus on controlling the things we can control.

First let us distinguish between what is under our control and what is not under our control: Our actions are always under our control, but another person’s actions are usually not under our control. We can influence other people’s behaviour by how we relate with them (by how we regard them, take interest in them, etc.) but we can never control them sufficiently. We must accept this reality just as we accept the other things that we cannot control.

When we keep our focus on controlling the things that are under our control, our attention is automatically directed to our own actions. We become more aware of our attitude, beliefs and actions; and the effect they have on other people and the happenings in our life. When we can observe all this, we become intensely aware of the inner changes that we need to make to be able to live a more peaceful and contented life.

You begin by becoming clear about what changes are under your control and what changes are not under your control. Then you accept the things you cannot change, and focus on making the changes you really need to make.

Here we explain the rules of dharma so that you can know the changes that you need to make.

2. Freedom and how to achieve it

Is freedom doing whatever we please, or does our freedom arise from understanding the limits of our power and the limits set by society, the natural law, and a higher authority?

To appreciate the idea of freedom first we have to understand how our wants control our actions: When we want something desperately, we get totally focused on having it irrespective of whether it is good for us, appropriate for us, or morally right for us. The only thing we see is the object that satisfies our want. We disregard other things or undervalue them. In this way our wants control our actions.

To experience freedom first we have to weaken our bondage (slavery) to our wants – to the cravings and compulsions that arise from within our nature. To do that, we have to deliberately regulate our wants. We have to give due regard to what is proper for us in society (according to the moral law) and what is enough (according to the natural law). We have to accept our limitations and the inevitable; and learn to work with them rather than try to fight them.

If we become easily obsessed by the desire to do things that are not right for us or which are not within our reach, our freedom is actually lost! If we cannot exercise control over our wants, the desires in our mind and body will enslave us. Then we cannot perform the duty of our roles properly. Then our actions will become out of sorts and we shall experience helplessness and frustration!

True freedom is not having ease and comfort; it is not bossing over others; and it is not doing whatever comes into our mind regardless of others. To experience true freedom you have to be able to conduct yourself according to the existing situation without giving in to your personal tendencies or temptations. You have to accept the limits of your power and the limits that are set on you by a greater authority.

3. Approach life as a banquet

Sometimes we think that if we don’t grab our share in life we shall miss out; if we don’t horde our wealth we shall get depleted. We think like this when we feel insecure; it causes us to grab things.

However, as a human being we are a part of a larger network that is governed by a greater intelligence and authority. We are connected to others on the inner planes; there is a law governing human life; and there is a greater intelligence in the inner worlds that administers justice and looks over our affairs. As a result we are only given things according to the needs of our roles or according to what we have deserved (according to the law of karma).

So, when we take the roles that we are given, we have to also trust that the greater authority will provide us with what we need to fulfil our roles. It will not make us struggle unnecessarily. When we understand this fact we can behave graciously in all situations. We know that we shall be given a part to play in the drama of life on earth; and that we shall be provided with what we need to fulfil that role or part.

When we understand this, we can approach our life as a BANQUET: When dishes are passed on to us, we take a moderate portion. If a dish passes us, we enjoy what is already on our plate. Or, if the dish hasn’t been passed on to us yet, we wait patiently for our turn to arrive.

When we choose to act according to dharma, we can never become jealous of others. When we find that someone has succeeded, we consider that today it is their time to succeed. Our time will also come. However, if we become impatient and grab for things before it is their time to arrive, we spoil everything.

The rule is: Always behave graciously in life and keep an attitude of polite restraint. Trust that what is due to you will come to you in the natural course, when your time has come.

4. Act well the part that is given to you

We get to choose only some of our roles life. Most of the roles that we have are given to us.

We are like actors in a play. A greater authority has assigned us with some roles without consulting us! Some people will act in a short drama, and others will act in a big movie. Some are assigned the part of a poor or retarded person and some are given the role of a celebrity or a leader.

Although we cannot control which roles are assigned to us, we are always responsible to act our given roles as best as we can, and to refrain from protesting them.

This brings us to the classical issue of dharma: Should we crave for different or better roles or should we seek to perform well in the roles that are given to us? Does our true satisfaction arise from getting into positions of great opportunity or does it arise from how well we perform in the roles we are given?

To choose here we have to see things in the correct perspective. We must understand that our true happiness does not arise from the roles themselves. It arises from within us as we perform the roles.

Thus, true fulfilment arises when we perform well in the roles that we are given. The outer conditions only provide us with the situations in life. However, it is up to us to make ourselves happy or sad as we pass through these situations.

Thus, it is a deception to think that our happiness arises from getting better or more attractive roles. Further, if we keep on craving for better roles in life, we shall remain continuously dissatisfied.

Hence, seek to perform the roles that you are given as best as you can – without protesting your situation. In whatever circumstances you find yourself, give an impeccable performance. If you are a teacher, teach well; if you are a maid, serve well; and if you are leader, lead well.

5. All advantages have their price

Does somebody enjoy the privileges, the opportunities, or the honour that you desire? Does it make you feel jealous, envious, inferior, or unfortunate?

We become jealous of others when we think that they got it easier or they did not deserve what they got. However, this is a deception. It arises because we have a partial or limited view of things.

When we take a wider view of things, we can see that people get authority and resources according to the needs of their roles or they get it according to their karma. The law of justice has no favourites — it works invariably for all.

If we look at situations carefully, we can find advantages and disadvantages in every situation. Hence, no situation is absolutely more favourable or unfavourable. Further, authority is not merely a privilege. Authority and responsibility always go together. They are like the two ends of the same stick. When we pick up one end, we also get the other.

Still further, our happiness also does not really depend on the situation we are in. It depends more on what we make out of the situation that we are in. We can never earn the same reward as others without employing similar methods, or without investing a similar amount of time and effort. It is unreasonable to think that we can have the rewards without paying the price.

Hence, we should not envy those who have more than us. They had no real advantage over us. They have simply paid the price for their reward.

The true reward that people get in real life can also be very deceptive. The saying is, “The roses come with the thorns”; but the thorns are not always apparent to a superficial view. A man may have a beautiful wife, but she may crib all the time because she was used to having too much attention. An actress may have to show a happy face even when she inwardly feels degraded by what she is asked to do.

In our life it is always up to us to choose from the opportunities we get; and to decide how much we shall invest in it. For some things we may consider the price as too high: It may cost us our integrity; we may be forced to praise or appease someone whom we cannot respect; we may have to do the work for which we are not apt; or we may have to convince the people of things that we ourselves don’t believe in!

The truth is that all privileges have their price. So, before you demand something, ask the golden question: What is the price and are you willing to pay it?

6. Our duties are revealed by our relationships

In society we are not an isolated entity, but a unique and irreplaceable part of a network in a perfectly ordered human community. Hence, it is important to know where we fit into this web or network.

Our duties in society are defined by our relation with others. To know our duties we have to look carefully at the people we are connected with. Our duties emerge naturally from our family, our neighbourhood, our workplace, our community or our nation. Our role as a parent, a child, a wife, a neighbour, a manager, a citizen, etc. arises from our duty. Once we know our role to the people we are linked with, we can intuitively know what are the right things to do.

For example, if a person is our father, certain emotional and practical claims follow from this relationship. There is a natural link between us, and accordingly, we are obliged to care for him in old age; to listen to his advice even when we think differently; and to regard him with respect.

However, let us suppose that he is not a good father — that he is uneducated, crude, or holds outdated views. Then we have to ask ourselves: Does nature give everyone an ideal father, or just a father? When it comes to our duty as a son or daughter, whatever our father’s nature may be, whatever his personal habits are is secondary. The greater authority has not designed people or circumstance according to our tastes. Whether we find this person to be agreeable or not, he is still our father, and so it is our duty to live up to our obligations.

Suppose we have a brother or sister who treats us badly. Why should that make a difference? We still have a moral obligation to recognise and maintain our fundamental duty to him or her. The key to dharma is not focus on what he or she does, but simply look to ourselves and try to serve the role the greater authority has assigned to us – and to do it to the best of our ability.

True and authentic freedom places demands on you. It requires that you accept the obligations of your role and perform your duties sincerely. So, let others behave as they will; that is not within your control anyway, and so it should not concern you very much. The only question that should concern you is: “What is your duty and are you serving it?”

7. Control your interpretations

When we carry out our actions according to our duty, the greater intelligence or authority will support us. Then, we shall not feel victimised by the words or deeds of others. If others are selfish or ungrateful, we should take it that they are performing their duty poorly. Why should we let that bother us?

Except for extreme physical abuse, other people cannot hurt us unless we allow them to. If we don’t consent to be hurt, we won’t be hurt. Whatever happens in the world outside, it is always up to us to choose how we interpret it. So, our interpretation of events is a choice over which we can have absolute control!

People think of events or people as being good or bad, but we can ask: “What is a good event?” or “What is a bad event?” There is really no such thing. If there is a fire in our enemy’s camp, we may call it a good event. If there is a fire in our camp, we may call it a bad event. Otherwise the event by itself is value neutral. It simply happens. In the same way, there are really no ‘good people’ or ‘bad people’ out there. Each person has come to earth with his or her purpose. For some time destiny brings some people together. Then we find some people to be agreeable and some to be disagreeable.

Hence the rule is: Never react to events. Instead, exercise control over your interpretation of the events. When you can exercise that control, the events cannot hurt you or make you feel sad

8. Serve the greater purpose

When we consider the future, we must understand that all situations and events unfold as they do regardless of how we feel about them. Our hopes and fears sway us, but not the events!

Hence, a wise person does not project his hopes and fears onto the future. Such projections can only generate fantasies. There is a place for planning and making provision for uncertainties. But true preparation for life consists in developing self-control and good personal habits. And to make this preparation, we have to review our actions from time to time so that we can keep them free from the hold of fear, greed, jealousy or neglect.

Do not allow the happenings in your life to distract you from serving your greater purpose. To serve the greater purpose, just keep one question in your mind: “What is the proper thing for me to do right now and how can I get on to doing it?”

For information on the book: Solving the Problems of Life, click here: http://a.co/fDEjbYR

BookCoverFor details on the correspondence courses for implementing this philosophy, click here https://darshanacentre.wordpress.com/correspondence-courses/

 

Introductory (Spiritual) Workshops

SpiritualStars
Participants in New York, 2011

Conducted by Prashant S. Shah, http://www.spiritual-living.in

Contents:

  1. Understanding Karma and Destiny
  2. Concentration and Mind Training
  3. The Art of Succeeding with People
  4. Restore your Health Naturally
  5. Living by intuition
  6. The Spiritual Tradition of the Ancient Hindus
  7. The Biochemic Way to Health
  8. How to Recognise a Sage?

 

1. Understanding Karma and Destiny

People often ask: “Why are we born in a particular country or family? Why are some people healthy, rich or successful whereas some others are handicapped, poor or unfortunate? Why do we easily forge bonds with some people and find it so difficult to get on with some others? Why do some of us have an easy life while others have to struggle all the way?”

You can understand many such things by considering the Law of Karma. The law tells us that much of the destiny we experience today is the result of what we had done in the past; that we have all along been shaping our destiny, but earlier we were not aware of the process. In this workshop you understand the law of karma and how to use it to remove the unnecessary suffering from your life.

When you are ignorant of this law you make mistakes that violate the law. Then you suffer the consequences. As you develop some awareness of the law you conduct yourself better. Then you make fewer violations, and it reduces your suffering and helplessness. When you acquire mastery over this law you become the CAPTAIN of your ship. Then you can steer around the obstacles in your life and become a source of happiness to yourself.

The discussion is directed to the questions: What are the causes behind the events of my life? Is there natural justice or do I have to fight for my rights in society? When I faced with different choices, what criteria will guide me in making the correct choice? How can I learn to live a happy, meaningful and a fulfilling life?

Contents

  • Law of cause and effect. The necessity of making the correct choice.
  • Justice and the law of exchange. The moral law, laws of nature and man-made laws.
  • Predestination and free will. Karma in public life. Karma and the art of living.
  • Karma in relationships; nature’s memory; karma and reincarnation; the law of providence

Some Opinions received:

  1. I see some karmic debts that I have to repay and I’m going to set right some balances. Frank, nyudonne@aol.com.
  2. This course has great wisdom. It’s very well organised and you explained these very subtle issues in a very simple and interesting manner. Ludy, Ludy_mr@hotmail.com
  3. Excellent – I understand that we are not here to move around as an unwinding doll. There is a cause and effect for everything and we how we play always makes the difference. Carmen, cla516@aol.com
  4. This is my favourite course. I’ve done it again and will do it again in the future. It has put my whole life in perspective, and now I understand how to give direction to my life. David, davyc67@yahoo.com
  5. Each time I do this course I hear it from a different angle and so it has grown to be much more valuable. Bob, boblester@hotmail.com
  6. This course shows how our current thoughts and actions create our destiny. Hence, we can overcome anxiety of the future by exercising control over our present actions. The course is deep and profoundly transforming. Madanda, mgmachayya @hotmail.com

 

2. Concentration and Mind Training

The fine art of succeeding with yourself

In this workshop you learn the art of concentration and use it to develop your inner life. The inner life is important since your happiness and well-being depends more on your thoughts and emotions, and less on your external circumstances.

First, you learn to concentrate and take control over your attention. Next, you become aware of the influence of thoughts and emotions in your life. Then you exercise your control over the negative thoughts and emotions that occupy your mind. It will develop your ability to think clearly, to understand things better, and to be more focused on whatever you do.

In this workshop you learn to:

  • Concentrate the mind through chanting
  • Use concentration in everyday life
  • Develop your will-power through steady gazing
  • Deal with negative thoughts
  • Use thought power
  • Overcome negative emotions

This program is conducted in 8 hours (4 sessions of 2 hours each). If you need assistance in implementing these ideas, kindly read Mind-Training and Meditation under ‘Correspondence Courses’. We also have an interesting book on the subject: ‘Solving the Problems of Life’ by Prashant S. Shah; the URL is http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0176HQSOG. https://www.amazon.com/Solving-Problems-Life-Spiritual-Seekers/dp/1518786650/

Some Opinions received:

  1. Shah is a cheerful teacher who shares his knowledge in a light hearted and easy-to-learn manner. I highly recommend his sessions. Edrina Rush, edrina.rush@yahoo.com
  2. Shah is a true master of his teachings. You have to see to believe. Yvette Koshab
  3. I’m very happy with the delivery and content of this workshop. I got a lot of benefit from doing this workshop. Shawn Edwards, shawnallison@hotmail.com
  4. The topic was difficult, but it was delivered very simply and very well. Tokes Coker, tokeskoker@handsoflight.co.uk
  5. I thoroughly enjoyed this workshop and recommend it highly for life enhancement. Jessica Hothersall, jessicahothersall@btinternet.com
  6. This course on spiritual yoga was actually what I was seeking for furthering my spiritual journey. Now I’m really looking forward to the advanced course. Beryl Ross, brosscotton@hotmail.com
  7. Shah is the real deal. He is precise and has crystal clear clarity of thought. It is a great program for those who are ready for it. Marcus Ubl, Marcus.ubl@gamil.com
  8. The speaker was very clear and concise. I think I will be able to use these practices to bring changes in my life. Please organise other workshops with this speaker. Sri Spencer, stars659@yahoo.co.uk
  9. This was the best speaker. Dr. Shah puts over complex ideas in an interesting way that allows them to be easily grasped. Linda Camping, l.camping@btinternet.com
  10. I was surprised at how useful the course content was. The whole concept of dealing with thoughts and emotions was mind-blowing. Shana, darshana@entrevo.com
  11. This course made me appreciate many things that I used to take for granted. Elizabeth, aleliz@aol.com
  12. Now I have a clear focus — yoga is for achieving something greater than the ambitions of the mind and body. It is like going beyond the mind. Ludy, ludy_mr@hotmail.com
  13. I understood the importance of withdrawing from the outer noise and focusing on my inner life. I think now I know how to put my inner things in order. Carmen, cla516@aol.com
  14. You’ve given us a very refreshing and unusual insight into Yoga. I’m eager to put all this wisdom into practice. David, davyc67@yahoo.com
  15. This time (third) it was a relearning experience. It has inspired me to renew my commitment to my practice. Bob, boblester@hotmail.com

 

3. The Art of Succeeding with People

Learning Interpersonal Skills

Most of our life is an INTERDEPENDENT reality. We have to work with people, live with people and deal with people. At work we work with partners, in teams and with associates. Very often our situation is that we share responsibility with others, but we don’t have the authority to direct them. Hence, if we are not skilful, we experience many difficulties in getting things done through others. The saying is: “The people problems are the worst!

Skill in dealing with people is very valuable for everyone in society — for a businessman, a professional, a colleague, a housewife, and a member of any group in society. This ability becomes increasingly important as we occupy the higher positions in the social system. Businessman J. D. Rockefeller once said: “I will pay more for that ability (to succeed with people) than for any other under the sun.”

In this workshop you learn the art of dealing with people effectively to generate win-win solutions. Further, you learn to leverage your skills such that the rewards are much greater than the effort. The guidelines are easy to understand, but they will make a BIG DIFFERENCE in your relationships at work and in your personal life only when you apply them consistently.

Contents:

  • The importance of interpersonal skills
  • The psychology of the other person
  • The art of negotiation
  • Man and woman relationships
  • The win-win option
  • The stages in maturity
  • Teamwork

Some Opinions received:

  1. This was the best course. I got the most from it. It really answered the questions that have been puzzling me for years. This workshop was practical, useful and a lot of fun. (Robert Leyster of Lester Watson Inc. New York. boblyster@hotmail.com
  2. I’ve stopped wanting people around me to change to fit to what I want. Now I try to see what they want of me. I also see the importance of giving space to other people to be as they want to be. Frank, nyudonne@aol.com.
  3. This workshop goes far beyond the obvious. I’ve learnt to be more tolerant, tending and caring. Elizabeth, aleliz@aol.com
  4. This course was really empowering. All my faults in dealing with others have become obvious. Now I’m going to change some things. Carmen, cla516@aol.com
  5. This is the second time I’ve done this course and I am glad to say that it has really helped me in fine tuning my ability in deal with people. It has made me much more effective. David, davyc67@yahoo.com
  6. You really tied up these things very well. I’ve been reading this (self-help) stuff for a long time, but your course has cleared up most of my doubts. The ideas are very clear now and I feel confident that I can get them to work. (N. C. Mehta, CEO, Bell Ceramics, Baroda).
  7. I like your style of presentation — very direct, precise and to the point. You made these very complicated and confusing things seem very simple. I really enjoyed both of your programs. However, I wish I could have you convey this message to my boss! (KYA, New York)
  8. I found this course to be very revealing. I’ve read many psychology books, but the understanding that you provided here was very clear. I felt you were speaking directly to me and addressing my issues. (S. Gopalkrishana, Plant Superintendent, Baroda)

 

4. Restore your Health Naturally

A Simple Solution to your Health Problems

Your health depends mainly on you; on your lifestyle, diet and eating habits. However, these days you are given to believe that your health depends mainly on doctors and the health care system. Thus, you have become very dependent on the medical profession. And at the same time the health care system has become very expensive, highly specialised and too technical for your comprehension. So you naturally feel vulnerable, helpless, and confused.

However, there are alternatives; they always existed! Your health is not something that depends on the progress of modern science. There are much simpler ways. They talk in terms reducing the toxaemia in the body and strengthening its vital force. Here we you learn to use these alternatives. Believe it or not here you will learn how to detox your body and restore your vital force naturally – WITHOUT depending on medicines or the medical profession.

Contents:

  • Holistic healing: healing vs. curing; health in terms of the vital force; how toxaemia develops;
  • Simple ways to detox the body: Diet, nutrition and eating habits; fasting and the healing crisis
  • Water therapy; cleansing diets; and the ‘no breakfast’ plan
  • Healing the body by changing the consciousness; correcting emotional disorders

Duration: 8 hours

The workshop is based on Prashant’s book ‘Healing without Drugs’ and ‘How to Restore your Health Naturally’.

Some Opinions Received:

  1. (It was) a very interesting presentation; a most welcome and rare insight into the science of health and healing. I say it is A++. Elizabeth, aleliz@aol.com
  2. I’ve read of the concept of toxins before, but now I really understand its implications on my health and recovery. David, davyc67@yahoo.com
  3. The effect of not eating the right kind of food and the consequences of increase in the toxin level in the cells was very well explained. This certainly becomes more important in old age. Carmen, cla516@aol.com
  4. (It was) a superb discussion — very practical and accessible. Frank, nyudonne@aol.com
  5. Both the book and the course presentation were very good. However, the presentation filled in many gaps that arose when I read the book. Now the ideas have become very clear and more workable. Ludy, ludy_mr@hotmail.com

 

5. Living by Intuition

Intuition is the guiding voice of the soul. When we listen to our intuition, our life becomes more interesting; we see a purpose to everything; and we feel a sense of wonder. Although everyone is intuitive to an extent, this ability can be greatly enhanced by doing some spiritual practices.

The basic step for becoming intuitive is to shift the focus of our life from our ordinary nature, which is governed by mental preferences, to our higher nature, which sees the ways of the soul. Once we get into a condition where we can spontaneously call for intuition, we can allow it to guide our actions and give a deeper meaning and purpose to our life.

Contents:

  • Installing the spiritual seed; creating the necessary mental space; some preparation & results
  • Considering intuition as coming from a higher intelligence; how to make your intuition reliable
  • Purifying the mind and correcting the disturbances arising from the mental-self
  • The place of self-consciousness & intuition in occult philosophy

 

6. The Spiritual Tradition of the Ancient Hindus

Traditional wisdom is concerned the knowledge of the higher worlds and its attainment; and insight into the higher purpose of human existence. This knowledge was originally uncovered through the higher faculties that were developed by the ancient Sages. They passed down this knowledge through a tradition, and the people know of it as doctrines, beliefs and practices.

The past century has seen explosive developments based on a materialistic attitude. Correspondingly, the interest in pursuing the spiritual goal of life has become lost. The light of the spiritual heritage in humanity has become dim, and it may become lost to future generations. However, what was so great about this heritage that it had been fancied by many great men through the centuries? Here we show the tradition of the men of antiquity that prevailed in ancient India.

Contents:

  • Introducing the law of karma; whatever happens is justice
  • Dharma; freedom and contentment got by practising dharma
  • The modern world as seen through traditional eyes
  • Marriages modern and traditional; the method of traditional learning

 

7. The Biochemic Way to Health

In the 18th century, Dr. Schuessler analysed the ashes of the human body and found the presence of twelve mineral salts in them. He called them the ‘biochemic tissue salts’ and showed their value in the healthy functioning of the body. Whenever a deficiency of any of these salts arises in the body tissues, certain typical symptoms arise. You can use these symptoms to identify the specific tissue salt deficiency. Then all you have to do is to supplement the tissue-salt in a dynamic form (6X potency), and the body will on its own find its way to return to natural health.

Here you learn how to use the book: The Biochemic Prescriber for finding your remedy. You can treat common everyday ailments and simple constitutional disorders with these Biochemic Tissue Salts. The method is simple and safe. You can use it to help yourself, your family and your friends and overcome your helplessness in health matters.

Contents:

  • The principles of Biochemic Remedies and Holistic Healing
  • The functional disorders of the body, and their relationship with the ‘biochemic remedies’
  • Treating constitutional disorders and some everyday ailments with the Biochemic Tissue-salts

Duration: 4 hours

The discussion is based on Prashant’s book: “The Biochemic Prescriber, https://www.amazon.Duration: 8 hours

 

8. How to Recognise a Sage?

This course is based on wisdom of the book: Tao Te Ching. The Tao is a universal awareness that underlies all things. Hence, by aligning your ways with the way of the Tao you can attain inner freedom, transcendental peace, and deep contentment in your life. However, the Tao is very subtle. It can only be grasped with a mind that is without personal motives. So, how can you pursue the Tao?

Master Lao Tzu gives the clues: First, follow the law of heaven and purify your motives. Next, find a Sage, a living master. Then, track the ways of the Sage, for the Sage naturally follows the Tao. However, there is a difficulty since the Sage does not show himself in society. So, how can you recognise the Sage? Here we address this issue.

Contents:

  • Who is a Sage? How does he behave? What are his guiding principles?
  • Why does the Sage value things differently? What is his true attainment?
  • What strategies does the Sage adopt? How are his ways different from the ways of ordinary people?

Some Opinions Received:

The old Tao translations I own come nowhere near this exposition. This is seamlessly connected with the rest of the teaching I have been privileged to attend. Frank, nyudonne@aol.com.

 

Courses for Spiritual Awakening

A Brochure describing the Spiritual Courses conducted through the Internet by Darshana Centre. Here you will get personal attention.

Contents

Introducing the inner life

The Courses:

1: Mind Training & Meditation

2: Mantra Yoga

3: Yoga-Mysticism

4: Advanced Spiritual Practice

Advantages of learning through Correspondence

About Darshana Centre

An Invitation

Guidelines for Admission

HealingCover

Introducing the Inner Life

We are born on earth with a mind that directs our attention outward towards things. Hence, we do not see the inner life and we seek our satisfaction from the outside — by having things of the outer world. Thus, we chase comforts, pleasures and possessions in our life.

We pursue these things thinking that by having them we shall get the deeper satisfaction that we really want. However, these things only give us some superficial satisfaction for a short time. Then we again become dissatisfied and start to chase something else. In this way the chase goes on.

However, our mind and body are only the instruments through which we function on earth. They are our possessions, like our house or car. Hence, by satisfying the desires in our mind and body we cannot get the deeper and lasting satisfaction that we really want. To have the deeper and lasting satisfaction, we have to satisfy something that is truly deeper and lasting!

The true satisfaction arises in our life when we develop spiritual qualities in our inner life. These qualities will transform the values and motives with which we live and act; and ultimately they lead us to experience our spiritual being.

On the Correspondence Courses

The spiritual practice is organised into four courses as follows:

Course-1 is preparatory. It will develop your concentration and overcome the wandering tendency of your mind. Then you become adequate for the spiritual pursuit.
Course-2 is the foundation course. It will set your spiritual practice and get you on the spiritual path. Course-3 teaches you have to develop your direct access to the higher consciousness. Then, instead of being led blindly by your desires and tendencies, you have guidance through intuition.
Course-4 prepares you to clear the faults in your perception that are due to the subjective nature of your mind. It will help you in overcoming the obstacles that arise on the spiritual path.

Course-1: Mind Training & Meditation

You learn to concentrate your mind and gain control over your attention. Then you use it to clear up the negative thoughts and negative emotions that disturb your inner life. This is important since your happiness and well-being depends more on how you handle these thoughts and emotions, and less on your external circumstances.

The practice of concentration will develop an alert, calm, and cooperative mind. It will enable you to think clearly, to understand things better, and to become more capable in whatever you do.

Contents:

  1. Basic Meditation
  2. Concentration in the everyday life
  3. Developing the Will Power
  4. Using Thought Power
  5. Mastering your thoughts
  6. Overcoming Negative Emotions

Course-2: Mantra Yoga

Here you learn to meditate with a mantra. Then you use the mantra to organise your inner life. The mantra technique is a unique heritage that has been passed down through a line of Masters.

Any mantra can be used as a seed for doing concentration practice, but when you want to use it to get onto the spiritual path you should take the mantra from someone who has awakened it within himself. You can light a fire by rubbing stones, but it is much easier to light a fire with fire.

Mantra Yoga is a complete spiritual practice. Once you are settled with the mantra, a spiritual presence will arise in your mind. It will assist you and guide you at every stage on the spiritual path.

Contents:

  1. Reciting a mantra (Jap)
  2. Meditating with a mantra (Dharna)
  3. The mantra practice in everyday life
  4. Opening the spiritual path

Course-3: Yoga-Mysticism

Just as behind the superficial existence of a leaf there is a greater existence of the tree, so also behind our individual and personal consciousness there is the ‘greater consciousness’ of the soul and the over-soul.

In this course you learn to install a presence of the greater consciousness in your mind and involve it in your affairs. Then, instead of being guided by your egoistic tendencies or the desires in the mind and body, you will be guided by the prompting of a higher consciousness.

Contents:

  1. Steady Gazing (Tratak)
  2. Installing a personal God
  3. Tantric Yoga
  4. Contemplation
  5. Devotional Meditation
  6. Living for God’s sake

Course-4: Advanced Spiritual Practice

The spiritual pursuit is not about worshipping Gods, performing rituals or following some moral precepts. The main aim is to clear the impurities from your mind so that you can clearly mirror the calm, intelligent and balanced state of the higher consciousness.

In accomplishing this task, the objective techniques like concentration, prayer, meditation and yoga-asana can only help you to an extent. To have a breakthrough you have to overcome the forces within your nature that resist the higher consciousness! This work is more of unlearning your mental tendencies and less of learning new things.

In this course first you understand the psychological processes that are behind spiritual growth. Next, you observe the mental tendencies that obstruct your spiritual awareness. Then, you try to overcome these tendencies and clear the faults in your perceptions. It will enable you to see yourself, others and situations of life not as they show themselves, but as they really are.

Contents:

  1. The nature of the inner work
  2. Deflating the emotions
  3. The outer mind and its deceptions
  4. Self-observation and disillusioning
  5. Overcoming subconscious tendencies
  6. Awareness beyond the outer mind

Advantages of learning through Correspondence

Some people wonder how you can learn spiritual practice through a correspondence course. Hence, it calls for some explanation.

You do not grow spiritually by learning some philosophy or by following a belief system. To grow, you have to do spiritual practice under the supervision of a spiritual person. In our courses you learn the necessary philosophy and then you do the practices for implementing it into your life. In this way you build your inner life.

Our basic instruction is given to you through lessons. You study a lesson and do the given practices for a period of time. Then, you answer the questions of the lesson and mail it to us. The issues will become clear to you when you try to make out your answers AFTER doing the practises. On our part, we read your answers and give you appropriate feedback. Then, we give you the next lesson. We maintain your file and monitor your progress.

These courses are practical. Hence, you are only given the concepts and information that you need to do the practices properly. The practices will actually develop the skills and capacities that are necessary to build your inner life. On our part we ensure that you do not skip the necessary steps; for the spiritual practice is a sure process only when it is taken as a whole and not in parts.

We administer information to you in a stepwise manner so that you can accomplish the difficult things by taking small and convenient steps. You can also have your personal difficulties resolved as you go along. Further, you learn all this at your pace and have the convenience of doing it at your home. Further, you do the practice in your environment, where you will be really tested. In addition, we have a provision for a meeting with you in person or through the internet.

About Darshana Centre

Darshana Centre has been conducting these spiritual courses through correspondence since 1988. The courses are practical, practise based, and without pursuing any religious agenda. You are given personal attention and the help that you need to implement the spiritual message.

The courses have been devised and conducted by PRASHANT SHAH. He was educated in Chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (BS), and University of California, (MS & PhC), and initiated into Mantra Yoga by Shri Nyaya Sharma — a Master of Shiva-Tantra-Yoga.

About Prashant Shah: He is an author, counsellor and a spiritual guide. He also conducts ‘Spiritual Awareness WORKSHOPS’ in India, USA and UK. He writes and speaks clearly, in simple language, and from personal experience. He is the AUTHOR of the books: The Crisis of Modern Humanity (1976); The Essence of Hindu Astrology (1987); The Art of awakening the Soul (2011); Healing without Drugs (2014) Solving the Problems of Life (2015). The books are available from the Amazon bookstore.

An Invitation

Dear Reader,

After carefully reading this BROCHURE, think it over. Do you feel there is some deep mystery underlying your existence and that unless you uncover this mystery you cannot feel satisfied? Are you willing to give up some superficial things in the outer life so that some deeper satisfaction can arise from within you? Will you be able to invest a half-hour every morning and evening for doing your spiritual practice?

Please don’t entertain unnecessary doubt, suspicion or fear regarding the spiritual life. In this pursuit you do not lose anything; you only get rid of what is unwanted. Your object in taking these Courses should not be to ‘have more’ externally, but to ‘be more’ internally.

In these Courses you will learn to control your attention; to stabilise your emotions; to develop your insight; and to clear your perceptions. Further, you do the practices in your existing situation and not in some artificial set-up. And during this time we shall provide you with the instruction and guidance that you need to accomplish these things.

If you have been doing some kind of spiritual practice for some time, but you still feel the need for personal attention, then these Courses are for you.

Sincerely,

Prashant

Guidelines for Admission

  1. Some REQUIREMENTS that make you eligible to take these courses:
  2. You should believe in the existence of an intelligence and power that is higher and greater than the human mind.
  3. You should not be deeply committed to any particular religious group or institution.
  4. You should have sufficient comprehension of English language to be able to comprehend our lessons and correspond with us.
  5. You should be able to provide sufficient free time and energy for doing your daily spiritual practice. The main aim of these courses is to help you in implementing the spiritual message.
  6. You should make your application in the APPLICATION FORM that is given on our site. Fill in all the details and email it to us. We shall read it and inform you if we think the Course will be suitable for you. Then you can pay the fees and take the admission.
  7. Upon admission you will receive our instructions through LESSONS. Our next lesson will be sent to you only after you have completed the answers of the previous lesson. You can also send your personal query along with your answers. We shall help you in sorting out your personal difficulties.
  8. Each course entitles you to one PERSONAL CONFERENCE. You can ask for the personal conference anytime upon completing the third lesson. There are two options. You can arrange to visit us at Baroda with prior appointment or we can discuss on the Internet through Skype. You aim should be to seek clarifications or sort out your personal difficulties.
  9. Each Course is to be completed within 12 months. If you are unable to complete the set of Lessons of the Course within that time, you have to make an application to continue and send a CONTINUATION FEE of Rs. 600 or US $ 10.
  10. In these Courses the instruction you receive will be one on one. You will get individual attention. We shall keep your correspondence confidential and on your part you must also not to disclose, publish or distribute our lessons, instructions or replies. In addition, we require you, our student, not to become a personal guide (guru) in spiritual matters. The purpose is not commercial, but to avoid spoiling it for others. This factor is incorporated as a “SECRECY CLAUSE” in our Application Form. It requires you to keep your spiritual practice private and to treat our correspondence as confidential.

The application form is given on our site http://www.spiritual-living.in under the tab of ‘Correspondence Courses’

Living by Intuition

Blumenbaum

© June 2016, Prashant S. Shah, http://spiritual-living.in

Intuition is the guiding voice of the soul. When we listen to our intuition, our life becomes more interesting; we see a purpose to everything; and we feel a sense of wonder. Although everyone is intuitive to an extent, this ability can be greatly enhanced by doing some spiritual practices.

The basic step for becoming intuitive is to shift the focus of our life from our ordinary nature, which is governed by mental preferences, to our higher nature, which sees the ways of the soul. Once we get into a condition where we can spontaneously call for intuition, we can allow intuition to guide our actions. It will continuously amaze us and satisfy our deeper aspirations.

In this article first we characterize the two natures within our being that we call – the higher nature and the ordinary nature. Then we learn to implant a seed of the higher nature in our mind and begin to nurture it. It will show us the ‘inner work’ that we have to do to grow spiritually and live a more fulfilling life.

Contents:

  • Our higher nature and our ordinary nature
  • Installing the spiritual seed
  • Creating mental space
  • Preparatory exercises
  • The Practice
  • The steps
  • Some suggestions
  • Some results

Our Higher Nature and our Ordinary Nature

Sensual pleasures, self-preservation, and the survival instinct are the driving forces of our ordinary nature. When we follow them we become egoistic and selfish. On the other hand unity, dharma and kindness are the qualities of our higher nature. When we follow these qualities, we become ethical, kind, and act with a ‘sense of conscience’. Both these natures are active throughout our life and they are mirrored in the mind.

However, before we begin our spiritual pursuit we are largely guided by our ordinary nature. As a result our ordinary nature totally dominates our thinking today. At the same time we give very little attention to the aspirations of our higher nature. Hence, it is starved. And as a result it has become quiet and hesitant.HigherOrdinaryNatureThe aim of every spiritual practice is to reverse this situation in our mind. We have to quieten our ordinary nature and bring forward the higher nature in the mind. How can we do it? We can do it by simply withdrawing the attention we spontaneously give to our ordinary nature and its activities, and begin to give it to our higher nature. That’s it. Admitted there will be a lot of going back and forth, but if we persist with this task we can make the higher nature the default program in our mind.

Installing the Spiritual Seed

To begin our spiritual journey we have to plant a spiritual seed in our mind. We can do it by saying to ourselves (daily) as follows:

I am essentially a spiritual being;
I believe that there is a spiritual intelligence that is looking over my life; and
I am going to receive guidance and love from it.”

As you nurture this seed with your attention, it will sprout. Then your soul or the inner being will become active in your life. Then intuition and spiritual qualities will begin to arise in your mind naturally.

Creating Mental Space

The next step in our spiritual pursuit is to make space in the mind so that our higher nature can arise in it easily. Here are some things you can do:

  • Daily take a long walk alone or walk with someone who has friendly vibes.
  • In the evenings, avoid externalizing yourself by taking or making telephone calls or socializing.
  • Read story books regularly and reduce reading magazines and newspapers.
  • Always prefer reading and thinking to passively watching the TV (Don’t allow your attention to become passive).
  • Play with someone. You can do it with animals, with children and also with adults.
  • Daily do some work just for fun and not for earning money or getting favors.
  • Daily sit for some time near a window and just watch what is going on without being judgmental (without labeling anything as good or bad).

As you do such practices your mental habit will change. Your mind will begin to slow down; it will become calmer and at ease. It will not be like that when you are overbooked, juggling too many things at one time, or constantly playing the ‘catch-up’ game. When you rush, you simply miss the subtle insight and the healing touch that comes from your higher nature, the soul. The soul is the basis of your intuition, your joy your purpose of living. And so, if you want to live a meaningful, joyful and intuitive life you have to involve the soul in your everyday life. Let’s begin to do it.

Preparatory Exercises

a) Take Mini Breaks

Take a mini break of about 20 minutes every day to spend time with yourself. During that time you can do anything that is not ‘work related’. You should also avoid reading the news or your emails during this time since such things keep the mind occupied with personal thoughts.

b) Create some ‘sacred space’ at home

Begin by making your room clean, organised and well arranged. If you leave this space disorganized and cluttered for days, it will become a source of disturbance or negative energy in your life. So mark out some time for clearing up the mess and arranging everything properly on a regular basis. Let’s say, you will do it on Saturday morning.

c) Keep a sacred spot

Put your favorite object, photo and or talisman in your sacred place. It may be a religious icon, the photo of a saint or master, or simply a rosary – anything that lifts your spirits. Then daily make some offering to it. It may be a fresh flower, the light of a candle, or the smoke of an incense stick. Further, chant a mantra or say a prayer to charge your sacred place with vibrations of peace and tranquility. Then when you sit in this place, it will immediately put you into a receptive mood.

The Practice

  1.  In the morning, sit quietly in your sacred spot and think you are in the presence of your guiding spirit (like a master or your soul). Then some questions on what is to come during the day will come into your mind. Verbalize them and put them one at a time before to your guiding spirit. Then ask for guidance. Something will come – now or later on.
  2. During the day, pay keen attention to the world around you. At every point of choice or interpretation, don’t get to it by yourself. Instead, refer it to your guiding spirit. It will send an image into your mind which will show the matter in a different light. Persist in this practice and you will come out of the ordinary world and experience into an extraordinary one – wherein the old rules of the ego don’t apply. It will relieve you.
  3.  In the evening, mentally speak to your guiding spirit. Speak just as you would speak to a dear friend. Tell what happened and what you are thinking of doing next. Then once again ask for approval or guidance.

The Steps

  • Open yourself to intuitive guidance daily
  • Expect intuitive guidance in all matters concerning your life
  • Once you get the intuitive idea or feeling, trust it and put your reliance on it
  • Then begin to act on the intuition instead of postponing the action.

In the beginning your intuition will not be clear. It happens to everyone. It is due to mental restlessness or your egoistic considerations. However, when you act on the little intuition you have received, it will be easier to receive more of it. As you persist with these exercises the balance will change in your mind and suddenly you will find that your intuition has become more reliable.

Some Suggestions

  • You have to ask for intuition. It usually doesn’t happen by itself. You have to value it. You have to want it above all things. Then it comes.
  • When you live by intuition, being right is not the goal; being sensitive to the truth or the higher nature is the goal. Some misunderstandings and misinterpretations will arise. Consider them to be a part of your development process.
  • Try to share your intuitive insights with people who are supportive. Don’t show off. Do it to reinforce this new habit.
  • When you use intuition, you don’t try to do everything by yourself. You only focus on doing your part and the invisible helpers will bring others to collaborate with you. You have to observe this.
  • Regard your intuitive message as a directive from the boss. Try to follow it even when it inconveniences you or upsets your personal plans. Consider your success as following your intuition.
  • Use intuition to inject a sense of wonder in your life. So, when the phone rings, mentally ask who is calling? When you need to park, mentally ask where is the space kept for you? When you receive mail, mentally ask what is the content? When you meet someone, mentally ask what is the person up to? When you go for a feast, mentally ask what is on the menu?
  • Always show gratitude for receiving the intuition. Verbalize it when you sit in your sacred place. Before going to sleep you can think of something good that happened during the day. Take the opportunity (and every opportunity) to thank your guiding spirit for its support. It will enliven your intimacy with your guiding spirit.
  • Daily use your connection with the guiding spirit to send a smile to the people you are connected with. It will overcome your indifference to people and events.

Some results

Living by intuition is simply listening to our heart or the higher nature before we decide or act. What happens when we do that? We get a direction or clue for searching the truth in any real-life situation.

The insight got through intuition comes from a higher level intelligence. Hence, will be more reliable and balanced than what we can get through mere rational inference. However, initially we can get intuition only in ‘flashes’ or pieces. So, we have to put the pieces together through mental inference! This becomes the source of our mistakes. However, as our intuition develops the pieces become larger; and they fit better into the greater picture.

There is a lot of inner work that has to be done before intuition can become a fact in our life. However, as we do this work, it will totally change how we make our decisions or interpret the happenings of life. Gradually a ‘truth sense’ will arise, which will point out the difference between what is true and what is false; between what is real and what is imaginary; and between what is valuable and what is worthless in all real-life situations.

Ultimately we shall perceive the action of a higher consciousness behind all the happenings of life. Then we know that the world is in safe hands; and we will be able to serve our purpose in life with grace and ease.

To know more, click on to our page on Yoga-Mysticism

 

The Five Stages In Spiritual Practice

An Autobiography

© 2015, By Prashant S. Shah

StarpointCol

Chapter-1:

I took a walk in the street.
There was a large pothole.
I didn’t notice it in time, so I fell in.
Then I started to blame others.
I was upset, so I took time to come out.

Chapter-2:

I took a walk in the same street.
There was a large pothole.
I noticed it, but I didn’t act in time, so I fell in again.
I knew I shouldn’t have fallen in, but I still preferred to blame others.
I was upset, so I took time to come out.

Chapter-3:

I again took a walk in the same street.
The large pothole was still there.
This time I tried to walk around it, but still I fell in — it has become a habit.
I knew I shouldn’t have fallen in, so this time I accepted it as my fault.
I wasn’t upset, so I could get out quickly.

Chapter-4:

I still took a walk in the same street.
The large pothole was still there.
I was careful, so I could walk around it without falling in.

Chapter-5:

Now I take my walk in a different street.
There is no pothole.

Some Interesting Observations:

The narration of the five stages of improvement is SYMBOLIC. Read the observations by our readers:

By Ginger M:

What is so interesting about this ‘autobiography’? Well, it’s like a whack on the side of our head. It shows us what commonly happens as we try to improve ourselves! Our habits are rooted in the subconscious, and hence we are not sufficiently aware of how we act. We fall many times before we get things right.

By Frank Sanchez:

The chapters of this “Autobiography” are small, but they reveal a great truth. Here are my observations:
1. We can’t avoid what we don’t see. That is the beginner’s position. Hence, we blame other people for our misfortunes. Then our awareness does not lead us to make the necessary changes.
2. As we use our experience, we acknowledge our contribution to the making of our troubles. But still have to take the necessary action. Mere knowing does not change the reality. Hence, we keep on getting the same results.
3. In the next step we begin to make the necessary changes. However, we are so accustomed to doing things in our old ways that our patterns repeat. At this stage we know the real reason for our failure. Hence, we don’t blame others. We know what we have to do to overcome our problem.
4. Now we see the problem and we are able to overcome it.
5. Ultimately we become farsighted. Then we can avoid the problem from arising.

By Madanda Machayya:

The 1st line shows our habit.
The 2nd line shows the problems that awaits us in the outer world.
The 3rd line shows what usually happens as we try to change the habits. We keep on going back to it.
The 4th line speaks of our reaction or self-assessment as we make improvement.
The 5th line explains the extra difficulties we create for ourselves.

By Sanjeev Vaidya:

Initially all of us lack awareness. Hence, our habits rule us. Then we make mistakes; we blame others; and we suffer the reactions we generate! That is the human story. The autobiography illustrates the stages of improvement. The ultimate aim is to make the problem irrelevant!

If you find this article interesting, we invite you to read further; see our article/blog titled: The Magic of Quantum Learning, understanding the nature of the inner work in spiritual practice.

The Magic of Quantum Learning

SummitCopyright © 2018, Prashant S. Shah; http://www.spiritual-living.in

When we look at the world we do not see it factually like a camera picture. We see it through the lens of our MENTAL MODELS. We use these models to grasp things mentally; to interpret the happenings in the world; and to give meaning to our experiences.

However, the mental models have arisen from our personal experiences, beliefs and assumptions. Hence, what they show us is not objective or true. It is subjective and prejudiced.

When the problem situations of our life arise due to faults in our mental models, we get into stuck situations or our problems keep on repeating. We cannot get out of such situations without first correcting the faults in our mental models. Only after correcting these faults we can generate true solutions and get results we want.

Here we illustrate the role played by our mental models by considering three kinds of learning: No Learning; Ordinary Learning; and Spiritual or Quantum Learning.

CONTENTS:

  • How our mind works
  • The role of our Mental Models
  • The no-learning habit
  • Ordinary learning
  • Quantum or spiritual learning
  • The place of purification in spiritual life

How our mind works

When we look at the world we do not see it factually like a camera picture. Our mind receives only some impressions of the object and forms a ‘mental image’ of it. The mental image is usually incomplete. So the mind completes it by filling in the missing elements from our memory. This ‘filling in’ is the first source of error.

Next, we do not register this ‘completed image’ into our memory. We interpret the mental image with the help of our mental models. Our mental models are the stored assumptions, concepts and beliefs in our mind. Thus, what we register in our memory is not the original mental impression of the object or situation, but our ‘psychological remake’ of it. This is the second source of error.

The role played by our mental models

Our mind makes ‘mental models’ out of the storehouse of assumptions, concepts and beliefs in our mind. We use these mental models to grasp things mentally; to interpret the happenings in the world; and to give meaning to our experiences.

However, our mental models themselves are made from our personal interpretations. Hence, our perceptions with them are subjective and prejudiced. They show things as we imagine them to be and not as they really are.

When our mental models are faulty, we cannot generate true solutions. We can correct apparent problems but the deeper roots of the problems remain. Sooner or later they drive us into stuck situations or our problems keep on repeating. Hence, we have to correct the faults in our mental models. This is also the inner-work of ‘purification’ in any spiritual pursuits.

Here we show this need by discussing three kinds of learning: No Learning; Ordinary Learning; and Spiritual or Quantum Learning.

The no-learning habit:

In the normal process we learn through feedback. We are using feedback when our present action utilises our past experience. That is, what we do now is done after considering what happened the last time it was done. In this way we correct our mistakes and make improvements.

What happens when we DISREGARD the feedback on our actions? We repeat our actions without regard to the result. We may justify our actions by saying: “I’m like this” or “This is how I do things”. However, when we act like that we are not being intelligent; our actions are inappropriate to the existing situation; and we do not learn from past experience. Some people say: “If you don’t succeed, try and try again”. However, it would be more appropriate to say: “If you don’t succeed, try something DIFFERENT”.

People with the no-learning habit make recommendations without trying to understand the issues or situation; they make prescriptions without trying to diagnose the problem; and they reply without really listening to the question.

In most of us the ‘no learning habit’ continues in some form or another. That happens because it takes a lot of effort to be thoughtful and act intelligently.

Ordinary learning:

When we use the feedback on our actions, we improve our performance; we learn from our experiences; we can act intelligently; and we do not repeat our mistakes. This is method of ordinary learning taught in our schools.

However, this method has one big limitation. If we are searching for the solution in the wrong places, then our feedback and logic will not guide us to the solution. They actually become irrelevant. Hence, the method of ordinary learning cannot be used to ALTER the direction of our search.

Example: If a mistake or an error has arisen due to a fault in our perception, then we cannot correct it with logic. Our perception comes first; it sets the direction for our search — where we look. Subsequently we use logic to organise our thoughts around the perception. So, when our perception itself is faulty, we look for solutions in the wrong places, where they do not exist. Hence, we cannot find them. We can deceive ourselves further by concluding that the problems cannot be solved.

There is an interesting Zen STORY on this point: A monk is searching for a needle. Some people join him in the search. Then someone asks the monk, “Where exactly did you drop the needle?” The monk replies: “I dropped it over there”, pointing to a spot in a distance. Then the person remarks: “You should be looking there; why are you looking for it here?” To which the monk says: “I am looking for it here because the light (lamp post) is here”. This story illustrates how we individually and collectively look for our solutions. We look for them in the places that we are familiar with, or in places where we expect to find them. But what happens if the solution lies in a different place? Then we cannot find it through experimentation, feedback, or logic.

To put it differently, when a mistake in our perception is due to a fault in our mental models (that is in our attitudes, assumptions and beliefs), then we cannot use ordinary learning to correct it. Ordinary learning can only help us in correcting a mistake when the causes are on the ‘object side’ – that is on the outside, as in others. It cannot help us in correcting the mistakes when the causes are on the ‘subject side’ – that is within us, as in our perception. When a fault lies in our mental models, the ‘mistake factor’ is within us. Then ordinary learning cannot help us. We can only use it to make some small superficial improvements, like increasing our efficiency.

Whenever we get into stuck situations or when our problems keep on repeating, we must understand that the root of the cause lies within us, in our mindset. Hence, we cannot solve the problem or situation by trying harder in the same direction. We have to scrutinize our mental models and find the fault there. Next we have to correct it. That will radically alter the direction of our search. However, if we ignore the mental models, we continue to work with the wrong assumptions. It is like looking for our solutions in the wrong places!

Quantum or spiritual learning:

To solve repeating problems or to get out of stuck situations, we have to scrutinise our mental models. We can do it by trying to VALIDATE our assumptions, attitudes and beliefs. It will show us the part of the cause that lies within us. First we have to correct this cause. Then we can to solve the problems that arise on the outside.

Our mental models subconsciously dictate our choices. Hence, by correcting the faults in our mental models, we also clear our perceptions. It alters the ‘lens’ through which we see the world. It changes our experience of the world, our assumptions, and how we regard everything. It re-orients our mind and enables us to look for solutions in the right places. Once we have the right direction, we can use ordinary learning to make our actions result oriented and improve our performance.

Spiritual learning is not limited to correcting the mental models. We scrutinise the entire ‘subjective nature’ of the mind through which we see the world. It raises the ‘quantum level’ of our insight – from where we see. Then we can see clearly; correctly diagnose the cause the problems and generate truly lasting solutions.

The place of purification in spiritual life

In spiritual life we talk of growth in terms of clearing the ‘impurities’ from the mind. These impurities are our personal thoughts, obsessive desires and negative emotions. They create a fog in the mind that obstructs our perception through a higher faculty. Hence, we cannot recognise the true nature of things.

Purification clears this fog. Then we can see things clearly, without distortions; we can situate everything properly; we can know the right place and right order for everything.

The problems that we experience in life, individually and collectively, arise due to the faults in our mental models. The apparent causes of the problems are in the existing situations, but their deeper roots lie within us. So, we cannot generate lasting solutions by merely attending to the apparent causes. Sooner or later we have to deal with roots. To get to the roots we have to look with the right attitude and in the right places.

However, there is a LAZY SIDE to all of us that does not want to make the effort to change our ways. Hence, we keep on searching for external solutions to our problems. Hence, our problems keep on returning. It is similar to what happens when we take ‘a pill’ to solve the health problems that arises due to our faulty eating habits.

Pill-z

Most of us do not want to accept the responsibility for what happens in our life. We’d rather blame our fate or the circumstances; or we hope that the problems will simply disappear in time. Unfortunately the faults in our mental models do not autocorrect. So we keep getting into stuck situations and our problems keep on repeating. If we want a different outcome, we have to undertake purification. If we keep on postponing this task, we can wait for a lifetime.

If you want to implement the ideas contained in this article, please read our Course-4: Advanced Spiritual Practice (Sadhana) under the tab of ‘Correspondence Courses’ on our site http://www.spiritual-living.in