Burning desire and single-minded ‘Focus’ along with consistent, continuous, disciplined struggle and planned and designed ‘Practice’, is needed to achieve consistent success in any field. Anyone who achieves perfection in anything and in any field does require and willy-nilly acquires, directly or indirectly, some degree of ability to control and manage the flow of thoughts and feelings that are continuously occupying our minds and directing them towards the goal. This can be achieved when we understand the importance and then start practices to learn how to control our sense organs, which have a tendency to fall towards temptations. Santushti, contentment, is a great help. We must have the forbearance, sraddha and a calm mind. All these abilities are to be developed by daily practice and are a guarantee for success.
Only when I have a burning desire will I strive to be better so that I can attain my goal. But when studying the Bharat’s worldview of ‘oneness’, as elaborated in the life and works of our sages, I realize that I am integrally connected with the whole, then I gradually start realizing that every moment, every choice, has to be ‘win-win’, for the good of everybody! Selfishness may guarantee success in an area but it cannot guarantee peace and happiness! Unselfishness alone guarantees success with peace and happiness. Of course, it’s very difficult, but so is the struggle for being successful, in everything else, too!
Since these abilities, supported by viveka, are needed for all people, we should ensure that they are made an integral part of schooling. And, only those who sincerely struggle to be good and better towards the best are nurtured to be teachers, policy makers, professionals, and leaders! How to nurture, identify, and place them in positions of authority and responsibility is the modern challenge, which the good, the religious leaders, the academia, must resolve!
Today, schooling does equip us with the 3R’s, knowledge and skills. Unfortunately, it miserably fails to focus on providing the time, space, environment to inspire or show us how to reflect upon the higher goals and purpose of work and life. It doesn’t show us how to acquire an intellectual conviction in the power of goodness; how to struggle to be good; how to be committed to our duties and work for good of society.
Schooling must be focused on letting us know the nature of our mind and getting us established in time-tested self-development practices which will help us manage our thoughts. Throughout schooling, and in daily work-life itself, we have to continuously learn and practice ‘Thought management’: ‘improving the quality of our thoughts, by pouring good thoughts’; ‘reducing quantity of unwanted thoughts by planning/focusing on priorities’; and, ‘directing the flow of our thoughts towards the higher, better’. Awareness of highest and best greatly helps!
The result of absence of character building focus in schools is selfishness and corruption in all walks of life leading to total commercialization of what Bharat considered as the holy professions of vidya, teaching, and vaid, healing. We see how both schooling and healing are now totally commercialized and teachers and doctors who were to serve God in man, are now exploiting man, ignorant of the fact that our very purpose of being is to serve, not exploit man. This is happening because our education system makes no attempt to establish the young in self-development processes, to acquire the virtues needed for success with peace and all-round prosperity. This lack of focus on character development has resulted in decline of happiness.
Why do we not find competent teachers, parents, citizens who can guide us towards the higher purpose of life? We all look for shortcuts. We forget that without acquiring the virtues, there is just no way of real progress. Simply by getting a degree, fighting for our rights but not doing our duties, or by having faith in any ideology or religion, practicing rituals, or in believing something, we will not acquire the much-required character and competence, adhikar.
I alone have to eat the food, get operated for an illness and no one else can do it on my behalf. I alone am responsible to learn how to handle my problems and difficulties, none else can walk for me. I alone have to eat to remove hunger! I have to struggle and strive to acquire competency; there are no shortcuts; none else, not even God can help – I alone am responsible! Of course, grace of God is needed; God will provide help but only when I really put in my efforts. When we’re not ready, we’ll get no help; so, we have to continuously strive to do what I can do, and pray always, for guidance. Let this be our vision and resolve for the new decade.
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.