Resilient Self

20 09 2007

This is an article by Eknath Eashwaran that I wanted to share since long time and kept in back burner since IMDR days. I remember reading it in Vidyanidhi, a shared folder in our college where all those thought provoking articles are kept. It presents a beautiful perspective on rigidity and on resilience. Do Enjoy!


A tremendous amount of vital energy is squandered in the vacillation of the mind as it swings towards what it likes and away from what it dislikes. When we are caught up in likes and dislikes, in strong opinions and rigid habits we cannot work at our best and also find ourselves very insecure. At the mercy of external circumstances, if things go our way we are elated, if things do not go our way, we get depressed. It is only the mature person, who is not conditioned by compulsive likes and dislikes, habits and opinions – is really free in life. Such people are truly spontaneous.

Nothing in life is more satisfying than to be able to change our likes and dislikes when we need to. In fact, any one who has mastered this skill has mastered life and if not then they are a victim of life. When someone says “I like it so I’m going to do it” it’s a confession that, that person is not free, they are bound and have no choice. This is our conditioning, we have always been encouraged to only do the things we like doing.

People who have strong likes and dislikes find life very difficult; they are as rigid as if they had only one bone. Such people cannot bend, and if they are compelled to bend they can only break. As the Ganges flows down from the Himalayas, it uproots big trees and carries them down to the plains. A sage noticed this and asked the river “How is it that you tear out these huge trees and yet leave the willow and the reed and the tall grasses that grow by your banks?”

The Ganges replied, “The pine tree does not know how to bend. It stands rigid and won’t move out of my way, so I pull it out by the root and take it with me down to the sea. But these willows and reeds and grasses bend when I come; they do not resist me. I sing through them and leave them intact.” Just like grasses if we learn to bend too, we will find ourselves singing through life.

We can all learn to develop resilience. We can make ourselves like that Japanese doll called the ‘daruma doll’, which has a rounded base and is weighted in such a way that when you push it over, it springs back up. You can hold it down as long as you like but as soon as you take your hand away, it jumps back up again. This is the kind of resilience we can all cultivate. Whenever life tries to knock down people with this kind of precious quality, they are able to spring back; they have lost every trace of rigidity.

We should cultivate this faculty of using every rocky impediment as one more step in the ladder of our success. By sticking to our likes and dislikes, do’s and don’ts, hang-ups, bias, we only embrace rigidity; rigidity is a synonym of death. Let life flow through us with its giggling gush and make us as flexible to nourish with its vitalities, to enrich with its lessons, to sign with gaiety, as the lowly grass on the banks. Let every bit of life fill us with serenity, simplicity and beauty of its own. Let us empty ourselves of our likes and dislikes, so that life can fill us with the heavenly bliss.


Adding my own two cents.. Ideal is always different from realistic scenarios and almost in all times, hey it would never match. Often many a times when we encounter priorities, expectations, affections and afflictions, it comes back to haunt us creating a multitude of layers of depression, despondency, regret, remorse, distrust and failure. As we tussle with those myriad experiences, that’s when we should stand up and say ‘I deal’, with those ideal dreams of heart and the realistic challenges. Be resilient, open minded and adaptable to the experiences that we encounter over the sands of time.

Confessions of A Bookworm!

29 05 2007

These days my life is filled with loads of books! And am celebrating. 🙂 Its been a long time that I have consciously taken time to read good stuff and it feels as if I am falling in love with literature again!

I have always felt that these long hours at a dumb terminal did leave very little for intellectual companionship. After a tiring day, I just wanted to drop dead on my bed or wanted a predictable comfort from a mills and boon! All I wish for is some intellectual stimulation or productive engagement!

Having time at my disposal, these days I am exploring some quality literature. Trust me, they can be quite intoxicating! Being an avid backer of fiction, I checked out TIME’s All time 100 list, and the Pulitzer’s Prize Winners to check those that behold my interest. It sound’s like sheer greed, isn’t it? I agree!

Yet, my greed finds its rationalization when I wonder at the marvelous play of words in the book that I hold at night, awaiting to turn to the last page with a contended glee so that I can imprint the loving experience that I shared with it.

There is nothing like a good book or a bad book.. Each one is a new world and either you feel like a part of it or you don’t! Racing through the each page, living through the characters, you do get a vicarious sensation of living through different times! Such is the world of books for me!

Playing The role Of Organizer- Part II

1 03 2006

Yet another event organized by me! I can observe my reaction and the learning I got from organizing two major events. I was always kind of passive in organizing events was concerned. Since my childhood, I am one of those organized and obedient chaps who finishes her work in time. I rarely took initiative to organize events, and to compare. Somehow, I guess I have always enjoyed being a part of the participants or the audience. Guess, times are changing now.

When I ended up in my project in a Business Analyst role, I had no clue of what I am supposed to do! I thought its all about generating reports and presentations. Soon, I came to understand the unique culture of our project. I work in an ideation lab (a concept which is recently catching up!), so the kind of work I do is not quite imaginable at the first. I call myself as an unofficial mouthpiece and I have to interact with in numerous departments in our small office to get things done.

I have to run white paper presentation contests, and organize industry awareness sessions, discussion forums apart from the regular documentation demands from my role. Most of my work (almost 70%) goes in coordination and networking. And I love what I do (exceptions apply). Once a very good friend of mine told me that if u can give your job 6 out of 10, you should be happy. Guess I can give my role a 7. Playing my role can be fun. I know few people who play basket ball and darts in the office cubicle!

I have discovered quite a lot of golden truths along the way.
The key to make things happen is effective follow-up. (Matlab, you have to run after people until your work is done. Never trust on the memory of people, as I cant trust mine.)
Things often happens in the most unofficial way under the official cover!
Relationships matter the most in any organizing context.
However foolproof your preparation can be, there is always a thing to run in the end!
And last but not the least, Njoy what you do and the work becomes worthwhile, smile and the world smiles along with you!

Playing the role of an Organizer..

30 11 2005

Working in my project, I can never define my job in specific terms. The job description and the definition varies day by day! Guess I like it this way too. I have organized a paper presentation event in my organization and it taught me a lot of things. The first lesson is how to follow-up. I came in contact with a lot of honchos of TCS. I was a little nervous as I had no clue of the corporate hierarchy. In the end, I realized that what I was experiencing was a mental block towards authority. Somehow, it reminded me of Bhupi’s lecture on the start of Second Year. Strange are the ways of memories, isn’t it? Organizing this event brushed my co-ordinating skills for sure. It took a lot of coffee and headache to see that event happen. Well, I can’t undermine the help of my project team the day before the event. They sat with me till night 10 PM working on the minor details which even I missed. Finally the event was a great success, thanks to my boss! He did a great oration and kept everyone awake. All in all, it was sheer fun in the end!!

The Story of a Woodcutter…

20 01 2005

Hey today I read a good story in the Tata Motors employee magazine…

Its about a wood cutter who works under a timber merchant. On the first day he fells 18 trees and the boss is quite pleased. Next day he tries very hard but could fell only 15 trees, the next day 10…and the number keeps on decreasing. He feels bad and incompetent but he can’t understand the reason . So he goes to his boss and complains of his failure. Then his boss questions him, when did u last sharpened your axe? His reply was well, I was so immersed in cutting trees that I got no time to sharpen my axe…

This story hit a nerve. Many times I resolve myself to the pattern of work out here that I really forget to sharpen my axe, to use my brain and to think differently. May be everyone needs a shelter to save oneself from the tensions of the day and to unwind too. Did u sharpen your axe today?