Life Skills

The whole idea of life skills is to get your basics right. In Bhagvad Gita Lord Krishna has elaborated this topic to an extent, here we will discuss some of the modules of self transformation.

Search for the self:

The self, as we ordinarily understand it, is fluctuating every moment. Inspite of its changing nature, however it id through self alone we perceived and experience ourselves and the world. The self is the sense of ’I-consciousness’ or individuality that we all have, though initially our identity is unclear. It is only after a long, sustained effort that we will be able to realize the true nature of this ‘I’. This process of arriving at this knowledge is what we call “Self Transformation” What gets transformedis really the concept of our selves; the apparently divided self becomes whole. This is in essence the teaching of the Gita. In reality self discovery is the only quest in the spiritual life-nay, in life itself. Sometimes this quest is direct; sometimes it is indirect, but ultimately the purpose of life centers around this search for self knowledge, The true ‘I’, whether one is leading a secular or spiritual life.

To evolve into selfhood is the primary human task, It is also the primary human challenge because success is not guaranteed. At any step of the way, the process can be interrupted, frustrated,blocked or sidetracked, so the human individual is fragmented, split, alimented, stuck at one level or another of mental or emotional immaturity. To a tragic extent, most people are stranded along this path of development. Nonetheless the central goal of the maturational process is “evolution towards autonomy”

Now how to evolve towards this Autonomy ??

The Bhagvad Gita, as is well known deals with all aspects of life: physical, mental, moral, and spiritual. In this comprehensive scheme, the first step in our evolution is to develop a well defined personality. An average persons identity or personality is unstable, bewildering jumble of the external world, body and mind. As aresult of this inner disharmony many people end up living aimless, thoughtless lives. So in this process of self discovery, it’s imperative that one develops a strong character, a distinct unwavering sense of self identity and purpose. In the language of Gita become mainly ’Do not yield to unmanliness, O Partha, it is not worthy of you’ Have faith in yourself, stand up and fight the battle of life with firmness of mind, clarity and inner strength’.

This is what the step towards autonomy or becoming autonomous, thatswhy sri krishna exhorts Arjuna to be a man in the true sense of the world. Become a strong person with self respect, one who is able to defend his reputation by living upto one’s ideals and thereby maintain maintain his position in life with assurance and courage.

The Gita describes the process of self purification or transformation in terms of different conditions of the mind: tamas, rajas, and sattva. These three gunas are constituents of nature, or prakriti, in general and of the mind in particular. Our understanding and judgement are coloured by the Gunas which are characterized by certain qualities: Tamas is marked by darkness laziness, dullness; Rajas by attachment, pain, passion, restlessness; and sattva is marked by clarity,luminosity, and healthy-mindedness, prakasakam anamayam.

There is a striking parallel between the Bhagvad gita’s description of a sattvic mind and positive mental health. Bhagvad Gita has listed six indicators of a mentally healthy attitude towards self:

  1. Self acceptance: Self acceptance is the realistic perception of oneself, including awareness of one’s pluses and minuses. This assessment of oneself fosters independent thinking and self confidence.
  2. Self actualization: Self-actualization is the actual process of an individual’s growth or becoming based on certain concepts of what one wishes to be and the subsequent striving to unfold one’s inner potential (Virtue of the unfolding specific potentialities of every organism; for man it is the state in which he is most human.
  3. Integration of personality : Integration refers to the relatedness of all processes and attributes in an individual. But it also implies that individual is aware of a unifying principle underlying his personality, which broadens his outlook on life.
  4. Autonomy : Autonomy or self determination connotes an individual’s ability to deal independently with a variety of environmental factors.
  5. Perception of reality : Perception is considered healthy when it corresponds to what is actually there.
  6. Environmental mastery : Environmental mastery indicates that an individual can readily adapt and adjust to circumstances appropriate to the need or occasion.

Thus sattva is healthy mindedness which is needed not only in ordinary life, but is a sine qua non for the unfoldment of self.  A healthy mind is a friendly mind which is the basic requirement for practicing life skills. This introduction to Lifeskills goes on……..

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