My Book on Self Improvement

                                                                      (Background Image,Courtesy:  NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre)          


                The book is a result of my personal experience of working on the mind. It all started, when few years back I watched on the television, some self-improvement programmes telecast by renowned spiritual masters. All put emphasis on meditation. I practice yoga since last forty years. However my yoga earlier was limited to physical exercise. I was also then introduced to the other aspect of yoga, namely meditation but never took it seriously. The discussions inspired me to practice meditation, with a desire for self-improvement.

               Meditation is a part of yoga (Sanskrit: Yog), an ancient Indian practice to maintain healthy mind and healthy body. Yoga is practised in different forms, as household tradition in India. The ancient Indian scripture Bhagvad Gita discusses different facets of yoga. My liking for yoga originates in that tradition. In this book, readers will find references to ancient Indian scriptures and philosophy on the subject. Sanskrit is the ancient Indian language of those scriptures.

                 In the last five thousand years, human beings made huge progress in the outer world. In fact, it is a journey from inner “spiritual” world to outer “material” world. All that to achieve greater happiness. However in the pursuit, we have actually drifted away from the happiness. This mind-exercise is to regain that. Therefore I call it also as my journey in the reverse.

                The mind-intellect dialogue is similar to the tenet of Buddhism, which emphasises on the process of observation, introspection and self-inquiry.  Here the observer is non-reactive and knows that he is neither doer nor sufferer but only a witness to the phenomena that happen around. The aim is to realize the true nature of self: always peaceful, compassionate and joyful. When true nature of the “self” is realised, one learns to remain in “present”, at all times. The thought process is totally cut off from the past, the future and the surrounding (objects and individuals) and stays only in the “present”. That is a state of mind, which relieves one from all pains.

                In the process, I also realised that the belief system embedded in the Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, namely the law of karma and the transmigration of soul or rebirth actually help making my life cleaner and happier. These beliefs helped me getting deeper understanding of the experiences gained during the mind-intellect dialogue process. They also helped me remain calm and positive under difficult situations.  Although, I have put these belief systems and the practices as the basic premises, they are not binding on the readers. I am sure, sharing my experience shall encourage the reader to try these experiments for his own self and evolve path to bring positive change in the personality.

You are welcome to follow me on the Speaking Tree:

Some of the likely Chapters of the book:

Chapter - 1: The Nature of Self: Conceiving the Inconceivable

This is one subject, pondered and investigated by the psychologists, sociologists and spiritual personalities…. It is humankind’s most fundamental, existential mysteries …… Sociologist's View .. .. person's self grows out of society's interpersonal interactions and the perceptions of others .. .. Psychologists’ View .. .. The self defined in sociology totally depends on how a person is perceived by others.. .. description of self given in different religions basically focuses on spiritual nature of self…. Scientific View .. .. Neuro-scientists  view self or consciousness as an enigmatic beast…. The lives of spiritual personalities described in different religious texts and also of those in different walks of life reveal there is indeed a common human self. That self, revealed  in their personality, is always: empathic, pure and blissful.. .. Objective vis-à-vis Transcendental.. .. Consciousness is ultimate reality.. ..There is only one consciousness, which pervades existence….. Facts are no substitute for experience, and to say that scientific rationality will solve everything is a dangerous notion…. universe has a source, and it is consciousness.. .. Sat-Chit-Anada.. .. Vedanta philosophy explains the nature of Self (Soul or Sanskrit: jivatma) in terms of three virtues, that exhibit as one whole: Sat-Chit-Ananda (Sanskrit).. .. The do-er.. .. I need to understand who is the do-er of all actions.. .. The soul resides in the body and the body-soul duo is the do-er of all things done by an individual.. .. soul-conscious individual exhibits all original virtues of soul, namely empathy while interacting with others, purity in actions and bliss or blissfulness in the attitude.  

Chapter - 2: Meditation: Having an Appointment with the Self

The term ‘meditation’ refers to a broad variety of practices, ranging from techniques designed to promote relaxation to exercises performed with a more far-reaching goal such as a heightened sense of well-being…… The practice of meditation was first formalised and included as a part comprehensive Yoga practice (Yog Sutra) , by  Patanjali, an ancient Indian Seer….. the self in original or pure state is supreme consciousness and inconceivable.....Therefore the subjective experiences gained during meditation are bound to be different…..Once the technique is fully internalised, it is possible to choose thoughts even during the normal working, say in office....The happiness or the reverse of it, depend upon the state of mind, which in turn depends upon the quality of thoughts....

Chapter – 3: Mind-Body Medicine for Good Health 

The stress, about which all are familiar, is generated when peace of mind is disturbed… The body redefines its homeostatic protocols and gets addicted to certain thought patterns and emotional states irrespective of feeling good or bad… Our thoughts, despite being intangible and subtle, have tangible effects that impact the gross body.  Thoughts are energy waves with a domino effect, which eventually cascade into measurable physical effects… Thus I need to constantly watch the flow of thoughts and respond instantaneously. Today, with experience, I say that is possible…..

Chapter - 4: Mantra for Success without Distress

Everyone, without exception, wants success. Success is closely related to happiness. I wish, I am always successful in relationships and achieving my goals. It is a known fact (but always forgotten) that performing work or making efforts is the only thing in my hands, success is not. Success comes from the surrounding, which is not in my control…… I need to train my mind not to tie my success with the surrounding i.e. individuals, objects, events and circumstances, so that I am always left with happiness to share with others. I have redefined the term ‘success’, for that purpose…..

Chapter - 5: Building Durable Personal Relations

Maintaining an existing  relationship is far less taxing than acquiring a new one... Relationship means the way in which two or more people or things are connected, or the state of being connected... Building and maintaining cordial personal relationships, is the one among most critical problems faced by modern man... While considerable attention is given to maintaining business relationships, it is generally seen, in the pursuit of material gains, the intangibles like love, affection, compassion have taken a back stage...fragile relationships at home, in personal life, affect efficiency at work... Trust is basic to all relationships...probability of getting cheated is rare and that would happen even if I start suspecting everyone around... facts weigh heavily in favor of trust.

Chapter - 6: Write Your Destiny

I believe in destiny... The law of karma states, what I give comes back to me, like an echo... all my actions and all my responses originate from my thoughts.... my thoughts only decide my destiny. I should perform only such actions which I will be happy to receive when they come back to me as my destiny.

Chapter - 7: Living Happily Forever

I thought things outside bring me happiness but actually it is with me, within.. .. I know past is passed, future is unknown and surrounding is not in my control... Anger spoils the relationship and spoils the atmosphere at work... anger arises with thoughts of unfulfilled expectations... belief system makes me expect many things from my spouse, my children, my boss, my subordinates and so on...

 The Book will have 7-8 Chapters 

These are the links to some of my blogs related to the subject of my book:

1. Nishkam Karma: Nishkam Karma or the actions sans desire can be performed by the one who always lives in the present. .. ..              

2. Success Rides on the Back of Failure: ..... to be successful, it is necessary, I must learn to accept failures gracefully .. ..

3. There are No Lessons from the Past:.. .. there are no lessons to be learned. The so called 'lessons' only reduce my choices and make me prejudiced .. ..

4. Guilt and Worry are Useless Emotions: .. ..these emotions are creation of my thoughts, arising from attachment .. ..

5. Karma Defines Our Destiny: .. .. there is no escape from the law of karma .. ..                                                                    

6. Enduring Difficult Persons: .. .. hurt is a creation of our thoughts. Once that is achieved, it will be easier to endure the person .. ..

7. Spirituality Goes Beyond the Realm of Science: .. .. scientific experience is 'physical' but the spiritual experience is 'metaphysical'.. ..

8. Reel Vs Real Life  ... .. Real life is at the most like a suspense movie, where hero and villain are unknown but there is no viewer.

9. The Stress Buster .. .. The harmful emotions are the cause of stress and when one gets habituated these emotions give rise to strain, mentally and bodily... ..

10. Happiness Comes by Choice .. ..  The ultimate goal of my life is to remain happy, forever if possible... ..

11. Going Well with Others .. .. Everyone is right from his perspective .. ..

12. The Nature of self .. .. As conceived by the Vedanta, Buddhist thoughts and accepted by many modern scientists, self in pure form is supreme consciousness.. ..

13. Can One See God .. .. when one becomes self-conscious, the supreme consciousness appears in the form the individual imagines. It is like filling a pot with sea water. One who never saw sea, pot becomes the sea .. ..

14. Meditation is a Tool to Achieve Self-Consciousness .. .. Under the state of focused attention, the thought process can be effectively monitored and junk and painful thoughts can be removed and minimised .. ..