On any flight, you are informed of a `safety drill’. Before you take off, the air hostess demonstrates a few safety measures which are mandatory for all flight operators. Among other procedures, you are told that if the oxygen level dips in the air craft, oxygen masks will drop down automatically and the passenger is to put the mask first on his own face and then help one’s child or co-passengers. Prima facie it sounds very selfish. Aren’t we supposed to help others first?
If you yourself are going to faint how can you help others? In order to help other passengers, you have to be fit. In life, you can help others only if you are able yourself. You can contribute to others’ well-being if you yourself are fit, financially sound, emotionally balanced, intellectually clear and spiritually evolved.
How can a doctor take care of a patient if he himself is ill? How can a financial consultant remove your financial problems, when he himself is bankrupt? By the same token, how can you help others emotionally and intellectually as well as spiritually when you yourself are in a state of darkness?
Before you change anyone else, you have to change yourself. If you improve yourself at the spiritual level, it is easy to improve yourself at intellectual, emotional, financial and physical levels. The spiritual aspect of your life is the subtlest as well as the highest aspect. If you take the example of an organisation, then the lowest cadre of staff is equivalent to your physical body, the middle-level staff is like your mind and the intellect is like a manager and ‘Atman’ or Self is the managing director.
The body has very limited powers. The mind is more powerful and the intellect is capable of more power but the MD is all powerful. Therefore, if the MD is disciplined, as well as evolved, then evolution will trickle down to the whole organisation. But if the top level in the organisation is in laziness mode, then it is impossible for staff members to revive that organisation. Therefore, those who are at the helm of affairs have to maintain the highest standard of integrity, leadership and commitment.
If you want your organisation and the staff to improve, you have to improve yourself first.
In the Bhagwad Gita, Bhagwan Krishna says,
Whatsoever the superior person does, that alone other people do, whatever standard he sets that the world follows. (3:21)
How can one improve oneself ?
There are no short cuts in life. If you recognise and follow a few higher values, then there is hope. Some of these values are- Dynamism, gratitude and clarity of thought.
Dynamism is a state when your head and heart are in synergy. Meaning, you like to do something and your intellectual conviction agrees with it. Start enjoying your work; take it up as a challenge and not as a problem. The second quality is to have an attitude of gratitude. One should feel grateful that nature has given you these challenges. There are millions of people in the world who would love to take your position. Therefore, be grateful that you have responsibilities to accomplish.
Keep away from those who are a negative influence in your life. Keep the company of spiritual books, elevated thoughts and develop your intellect through the association of evolved people, which in Vedantic language we call `Satsang’. Finally, lift your Self to your real being then you will lift the whole world! Introspecting our own life to see where we stand is one of the most essential facets which needs to be kept in mind all the time.
In our journey of life, we will come across many hurdles but it’s up to us how we see them. Do we say Why me or Try Me?
- Acharya Shivender Nagar’s Talk