Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Power of Words

I feel blessed to have been exposed to Appreciative Inquiry at the turn of the century and over the past 12 years this philosophy has overshadowed my other propensities.  This life-glue has provided a number of opportunities to experience the impact in my personal and professional life.  I wish to discuss one profound facet of positive psychology and other strength based approaches (like AI) here.  The choice of our words – expressed or otherwise often determines our well-being or otherwise.  This has been reaffirmed repeatedly for me as a parent, sibling, and a friend or as a Leadership & Business Coach and Organization Development catalyst. 
I have seen that the word-choice – howsoever, unconscious (or conscious) alters the happiness quotient or stress quotient in one’s life.  The choice of words adjusts the cellular signals emergent in body, feelings, thoughts, and opinions; also, of course the judgements about people/ situations.  The word choices made (or triggered unconsciously) modify our emotional being and the decisions we take.  Further, through mirror neurons[1] that we possess, to a large measure, our choice of words influences people around us, the environment and eventually many an outcome that we achieve/ miss-out.  The gift that every one of us has is – the ability to cultivate an orientation for desirable words; upshot being -- power to create contentment at will and when one is persistent enough to make this a habit, it raises the joy & fulfilment index.
Before offering examples to understand this phenomenon and share experience of how to harness this power, let me share with you a link to a video that helped me imbibe this principle viz.  historia de un letrero (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9Yttlp5F-k), a 5-minute multiple awards winning film (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1378259/).  This film made me realize the spirit embedded in the quote “Words are a form of action, capable of influencing change”[2]                                                                          
Let me share two examples from my practice last week.  Currently I happen to coach an accomplished CHRO of a company who’s committed to delivering his best for the organization.  Backed by a rich experience of over 20 years he understands the organizational nuances, be it People, their Prejudices or Politics at work. He confided his restlessness about increase in his short-temperament caused by these three Ps.  He said, after narrating a long incident “…under these circumstances there’s no way but to react like this…”. As he spoke, I sensed the change in his breathing and pain in his voice.  A nudge to reflect on his feelings in the moment revealed the impact of the word “react”, when encouraged to describe the emotions he acknowledged feeling stressed.
Before we dive deeper let me share another coaching session with a senior executive.  This executive brings impeccable credentials to her new job & role as the change catalyst of a Fortune 200 company.   She was using the coaching session to bounce-off her multifaceted situation of -- high expectations & faith of seniors in her, difficult to decipher market reality, trying circumstances in personal life, her ambivalence in dealing with a peer group dominated by male dominated older colleagues with long vintage in company and her own desire & impatience to add value.  As she described scenario, heaviness & confusion was evident in her quip, “…it’s all very overwhelming”.  My nudge to reflect revealed to her that her choice of the word ‘overwhelming’ had accentuated her feelings of helplessness & anxiety
In both the above examples as you see, the choice of words had produced emotions that appeared energy draining.  As a coach what I did in both those situations was to ask the person, if (s)he were to replace that word (“react” and “overwhelm” respectively) with another word what would that be.  The words which emerged in these situations were “respond” and “challenge” respectively.  As soon this dawned and they rephrased their statements their exhausting feelings got replaced with the more refreshing and bouncy ones of keenness, anticipation, curiosity and interest.  As these separate explorations progressed further one couldn’t but notice the common thread of buoyant emotions and a ‘can do’ approach with locus of control firmly with the person.  Not only had their inner emotion changed but even the outer one as well.
Over the years, I have experienced, experimented with and guided others to cultivate a muscle memory that helps one to change conscious and unconscious vocabulary spoken or otherwise.  We can certainly draw an inspiration from a 200 years old poem by Letitia Elizabeth Landon[3]
 ‘Tis a strange mystery, the power of words!
Life is in them, and death. A word can send
The crimson colour hurrying to the cheek.
Hurrying with many meanings; or can turn
The current cold and deadly to the heart.
Anger and fear are in them; grief and joy
Are on their sound; yet slight, impalpable:--
A word is but a breath of passing air.

In the next part of this blog, we’ll tap into the neuro-psychological knowledge, to help us understand how to rewire within and achieve a positive upward spirals of thoughtsàwordsàemotionsàactionsàresults



[1] Mirror neurons are a kind of ‘neural wi-fi’ that triggers cellular activity and feelings that contagious and impact not just within a person but even in people around; we’ll cover this fascinating truth some other time
[2]   Ingrid Bengis
[3] courtesy -- https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-power-of-words/

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Discover pleasure embedded in pain

This morning a colleague shared the vision and anxiety of a newly appointed ‘professional’ CEO of a thoroughbred pedigreed family business.  This CEO working for a century old trusted business house in India, sought my colleague’s consulting support to unlock employee potential towards increasing market-share of their business.  Armed with a vision to grow and keenness to transform the organization, the CEO had only one request ‘support us to cascade my vision through our loyal people; they must change and embrace ‘the new now’, shed their inertia, increase commitment… BUT do make sure that there’s no pain’.

Compare this with what a 24 year old quipped, “I wish to sculpt my body to be beautiful, agile and strong I want to work smart and get there avoiding all the pain”.  Similarly, few months ago a friend posted on FB that, “It is an irony of human nature that sometimes we take so much pleasure to go through pain!” commenting about someone having completed a triathlon or other such effort of human endurance.  He ended the note with a resolve From now on, I’m going to volunteer only for joy and pleasure!!

My colleague’s response to the CEO, my reaction to the 24 year old youngster and some of the readers’ reactions to the FB posts carried common threads; that not every overt pain is truly painful and that many a times the pleasure underlying the transiting pain is more rewarding.   Like, when one runs a marathon she’s not shopping for pain, rather looking for joy which eclipses the pain of every aching muscle into a sweet reminder of the passion, the pursuit and the resilience to transcend beyond the known comforts. 

It appears that the pursuing Aristotelian quip, “The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain” has crippled many among us and made them lead sub-optimal lives; sometimes bringing our lives to standstill.  Idioms such as ‘don’t upset apple cart’ or ‘don’t rock the boat’ appear to have become entrenched beliefs in the psyche of many a leaders. 

In our consulting practice when we encounter situations like these, we know that for this leader or organization to truly unlock their potential, they will have to transcend pain.  Often the very first step for us is to catalyze ‘confidence building’ in that leader.  Upfront we admit and establish that ‘we cannot eliminate pain’; just as our family physician had said years ago, when I took my adolescent son complaining of body pains, labeling those as ‘growth pains’.   Likewise, consultants cannot eliminate the pains of growth; we can convert it into a pleasurable experience by facilitating the organizational muscles to develop an attitude of ‘celebrating stretch’, by preparing organizational bones to endure aches akin to an athlete anticipating to successfully completing a marathon.  Just as the bones & body of a couch potato decay at a faster pace, similarly, the organizational leaders who haven’t learnt to ‘rock the boat’ cannot hope to cross the ocean that by very nature carries the waves of possibility.

Wishing you all a happy 2017.  Hope you find the confidence to get onto a boat that may sometimes rock in your pursuit to cross the ocean.  Hope twenty seventeen helps you to discover the resilience and fortitude to turn up the boat even when it tumbles, as sometimes it will. 


Monday, 24 October 2016

...the half born child and obsessed parenting...

                         The last post http://celebratetheright.blogspot.in/2016/08/the-mother-father-midwife-and-half-born.html which was a metaphor for an existential dharma sankata[1], resulted in quite a few reactions.  There were some other interesting visualizations such as “…the baby is afraid to be born through mermaid, for it fears of a form that wouldnt be beautiful or functional and someone who was aware of my dilemma quipped “…the baby can choose another womb where it feels safe and give the hell to this mother (for not making it feel safe)…”

Most reactions wished for a healthy child being born without any harm to the mermaid, like one said “…the passion of the mermaid, the love of the man and the faith of the midwife will win and influence baby's evolution.  The moot point being, just like a bollywood movie, most people wanted a happy fairytale ending, resembling my dear friend Vidyas comment on the blogpost that reads The story will end most gloriously man's deep desire, the woman's will mid-wife's unflinching faith deliver a golden baby.

Earlier this month, I was in a tehsil in Vidarbha, Maharashtra to address a group of 70 women who had assembled to celebrate their wholesomeness.  I started my interaction with them by narrating the metaphor of The Mother, the Father, the Midwife and a half-born Child.  Most of their responses converged around mother has to push harder and she will; it was very clear that, in their view the complete onus of bringing the child into this world rested with the mermaid.  Deeper exploration with them revealed that their only focus appeared to be the half born child.  They were completely obsessed with the childs well-being and not one of them expressed anything about the mermaid.  Along the same continuum a friends message read The child has to be born, this is the moment when their belief of creating their perfect world is being tested the world they are seeking can happen only when this child comes into being if the child does not find life, the man and the mermaid wouldnt be same again…”

What do these convey about our psyche? In these responses I find guiding beliefs and obsessions of parenting.  During the past several years, I have observed across the country - from remote parts of Telangana to industrialized patches of West Bengal; even in distinctly different cultures - working mothers in Nigeria to women entrepreneurs in London most assume an obsessive & onerous duty of bringing up their progeny.   Underlying their disposition of try harder for my child appears to be a belief that these women are solely responsible for the evolution and well-being of their children.  Often, in this belief, they sacrifice everything.  Recently, a Nielson report[2] pointed out that about 87% of the women in India are most pressured for time; embedded in that report is the dominant cause of it (pressure for time) - that has to do with the children.

Its not as if only the women are obsessed parents; even men when obsessed with the idea of a perfect/ most glorious future for their children, more often than not end up being the most significant stumbling block in their childs ability to realize his/ her true potential.  The visible characteristics of such parents appear to be
  • ·         Possessiveness
  • ·         Over-protectiveness
  • ·         Continuing to wear kid-gloves even in a childs adolescent years
  • ·         Self-sacrifice & pampering
  • ·         Yearning to control the child in her/ his teenage and
  • ·         Continuing to be preoccupied with affairs (no pun intended) of grown up children

Mostly, these parents have never recognized the ability and willingness of their child to explore and embrace the world at her/ his terms.  A flawed idea of love at the root of their behavior leads to excessive interventions, regulations and an overwhelming presence till the child suffocates. 
Every time I was able to let go of my obsession as a parent, my children delighted; but have I truly got over my preoccupation perhaps not.  However, whenever I meet a parent who truly treats their child as an equal and rejoices in her/ his explorations, I get inspired.

Last week, I happened to be conducting a program where the organizers had invited Mr Harvir Singh Nehwal, father of Ms Saina Nehwal[3] (pride of India); while responding to his audience, he narrated his own life by quoting a poem that left a deep imprint on him and am sure he would have offered the same to his daughter that made her embrace life's adventures.  This is by Hindi poet Ayodhya Singh Upadhyaya 'Hariaudh'. Bear with me while I attempt an English translation alongside -



एक बूँद
ज्यों निकल कर बादलों की गोद से
थी अभी एक बूँद कुछ आगे बढ़ी
सोचने फिर फिर यही जी में लगी
हाय क्यों घर छोड़ कर मैं यों कढ़ी
मैं बचूँगी या मिलूँगी धूल में
चू पड़ूँगी या कमल के फूल में
बह गयी उस काल एक ऐसी हवा
वो समन्दर ओर आयी अनमनी
एक सुन्दर सीप का मुँह था खुला
वो उसी में जा गिरी मोती बनी
लोग यौं ही हैं झिझकते सोचते
जबकि उनको छोड़ना पड़ता है घर
किन्तु घर का छोड़ना अक्सर उन्हें
बूँद लौं कुछ और ही देता है कर !
A droplet

Leaving the bosom of the clouds
As the water droplet proceeded a bit
She hesitated and thought
Why did I leave my home?
What’s there in my destiny -
Will I survive or disappear in dirt
Will I vaporize in a fire?
Or embrace a lotus petal
The moment brought such a gust of air
Reluctantly she drifted towards sea
Where lay a beautiful shell with open orifice
She fell there to become a pearl
People hesitate unduly
When they leave their cocoon
Yet leaving their home often
Brings them a transforming breeze


And those of us parents who do not recognize this spirit, continue to keep our child in the half born state even though the child demonstrated her/ his ability and willingness to take the biggest risk known to humankind, when as an unborn child (s)he decided to step outside the womb and embrace all the uncertainty and ambiguity. 

Amidst the scenario where, with every passing generation, the degree of obsessed parenting seems to increase, theres a need to recognize the downside of such parenting orientations.  We may not be conscious of the lopsided mental model, notwithstanding the purest of intention we carry, this triggered behavior causes immense damage to our children by denting their ability to realize their own true potential.  I do hope parents are able to see the delusional attitude they carry whether it lies in role-modeling they imbibed as a child themselves or with the fact that they are fixated with giving the very best to their children or whether it emanates from their flawed understanding of love.  

Let us bless our children to experience and receive an enlivening, spirited & sorted parenting.  As the Alchemist[4] says “…when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it…” Let us all, as parents dream of evolving to such a notch that would make sure that no child is left half born.



[1] One of my teachers Raghu Ananthnarayanan defines dharma sankata as a dilemma between two rights
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saina_Nehwal -- Born 17 March 1990 is a professional badminton singles player has been a world no. 1 and maintained her world ranking in the top ten since 2009 Won over twenty international titles has represented India three times in the Olympics  the Arjuna award winner and a Khel Ratna, the Government of India (GoI) conferred on her the Padma Bhushan - India's third highest civilian award
[4] The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The Mother, the Father, the Midwife and a half-born Child

John William Waterhouse A Mermaid.jpg
Source Wiki - A Mermaid by John William Waterhouse



A man lived an enormously satisfying life; with material comforts, a standing in society or recognition – he seemed to have it all.  People would envy him for how easy his life was and often reminded him how lucky he was to have that Midas touch.  But, deep inside he would feel lonely and in his pursuit to understand his loneliness he began diving deeper.  In this journey he discovered that descending deeper required equalizing the pressure periodically and soon enough he had transcended the initial scare and found joy in buoyancy.  Aided by aquatic inventions he began to dive deeper and his buoyancy started to provide him soul satisfying experiences of the corals, the under-sea life, hidden caves n paths and other flora n fauna. 

Immersion in dives brought him a deeper joy.  He was on a new high when one of his explorations led him to a beautiful deep sea cave and camouflaged within it, the most beautiful mermaid he had seen.  Attracted by the cave and the possibility of more sightings of the mermaid, brought him to this part of sea more often; responding slowly at first, the mermaid too was now flirting with him.  He was elated the day he discovered that she was amphibian and soon enough they built their abode on a pristine island.  Gradually they managed a few worldly comforts, attracting more seekers to enrich their lives on this island.  They were having the best of both worlds – above the sea that provided them the sun and fresh air; and subterranean world of discoveries that rejuvenated their buoyant bodies.

As time passed, their island became home for a few more people.  One of them was a midwife known for her skillful deliveries on the mainland.  She had grown tired of the mindless deliveries for people who would seek to become parents because of an ego boost and/ or ‘coz to procreate was their customary culture.  It was painful for her to see that children were first produced thoughtlessly and then brought up insensitively.  She had finally run away from these to find solace on this pristine island.

The man, by now having a blissful life with his soulmate (the mermaid) continued to explore far & wide.  However, the arrival of the midwife on this island roused a new desire.  Despite having left the mainland long time ago, a yearning for a child began to occupy his heart. The mermaid sensed his desire.  In her unflinching devotion to him, she wanted to bear the most beautiful child for him; she knew the risks involved in carrying a child in a body that was only a half abdomen and serpent like twin fish tails.  But, who had ever seen the limits of love? She befriended the midwife.

The midwife, saw this an opportunity to catalyze and bring into this world one of the most loved child.  A child whose mother had a heart of gold and a father capable of equipping the child with valor & strength.  With the mind of its own, the child was bound to bring joy to this world.  The midwife, the ‘to be’ mother & father were most excited at the prospect of bringing this child into being.  

The ‘to be’ father & mother and the midwife were ecstatic throughout the pregnancy; notwithstanding the trials & tribulations arising from morning sickness, fatigue, unpredictable change in tastes & smells and periodic indigestion.  The joys of the very first momentous kick to the minutest activities in foetus had eclipsed all these troubles.  It appeared, that the longing to see the child made the clock tick at triple the speed.  And finally the D-day arrived.

The mermaid had been prepared by the midwife.  The midwife, to the best of her ability had equipped her with all the sensory and action-oriented information.  The urge to bear down brought about an ease in the phases of dilation for the ‘to be’ mother.  The baby seemed to reach the birth canal and the midwife thought in a moment or two the baby would pop out; the father was seeing the birth, helping with and watched the process; several minutes later when the process remained incomplete, the man got very anxious and questioned his own desire to bring baby into this world.  The mermaid was the most precious discovery of his life and he didn’t want to cause any harm to her. The mermaid in turn kept the hope that in a matter of a few more moments she would perhaps deliver the biggest joy of his life.  The midwife realized that in her lifetime of experiences, this was her most awaited baby. 

The baby was oblivious to all this.  It seemed that the baby didn’t seem to be ready to let go of the comfort of 98.6 degree Celsius. It remained stuck, and wouldn't pop out.  By now the agony on the face of mermaid had become contagious and so too the anxiety from the man,   

The ‘to be’ mother was eager to offer the most precious gift to her man.  The Man himself didn’t want anything but the safety of mermaid.  The midwife seemed to be caught between the devil and the deep sea; she knew that any intervention would imply losing either the mother or the child.  The man argued that he just wanted his mermaid back fully and nothing else mattered.  The mermaid seemed to be drowning in her tears.  All that the midwife could do was to pray and trust that the half-born child would honor his own gut, find courage and not hesitate to flex his head.

Who caused this – the man’s desire? Or was it the baby’s unwillingness to trust the nature and contract his head?  Or had the baby’s skull already been hardened and couldn’t pass through the canal? Or was it that the mermaid’s tube wasn’t big enough to let a child find his world? 

None of the three standing outside his cocooned self, seemed to have any clue. 


What do you think - how will this story end? And among the three, who can help whom to cope with the intense emotions they are experiencing?

Monday, 11 April 2016

Finding your Chi

Just as the leaf of 2015 was turning to welcome 2016, I met an amazing couple -- Dr Mrs Kinneri and Dr. Kalind Bakshi*,  master coach and an EFT practitioner... the interesting conversation that followed, lead us to organize a Tai Chi workshop at Potentia Institute last month... 

It was my first exposure to and a successful attempt at discovering Chi through this process i.e. I could sense and feel my Chi.  The nine step process introduced by Dr Kalind (Discovering, Gathering, Circulating, Purifying, Directing, Conserving, Storing, Transforming & Dissolving Chi) has stayed alive in my head.  

The Chi showed up again yesterday evening while watching Kung fu Panda-3, wherein Shifu nudges Po to break out of his comfort zone:-
Image result for kung fu panda 3
Kung Fu Panda-3
Po: Master Shifu? Good time, bad time?
Shifu:  Time is an allusion, there's only the now.
...
Shifu: If you only do what you can do, you'll never be more than you are now.
Po: But I like who I am! 
Shifu: You don't even know who you are!
...
Po:...There's no way I'm ever gonna be like you!
Shifu: I'm not trying to turn you into me; I'm trying to turn you into you.

As I watch the film, one more time few of the existential questions pop up --
  • Who am I? 
  • Am I living my potential? 
  • How/ what do I celebrate? Given that, every time I'm about to celebrate, the sand shifts.
These have not only been questions I grapple with but also those of my co-travelers; my co-travelers offer me a rare opportunity in letting join their explorations as I coach them. In the past few years, I have been fortunate to see people find their Chi even amidst shifting sands. 

During last ten years' coaching/ consulting practice I have discovered that, the single-most differentiator that triggers a net positive outcome in one's life is the "mindset". Our experience has sprouted a belief that the "Chi" that helps one to leave the joyprints on the sands of their heart emanates from mindset.  We have developed bias towards characteristics that help one nurture such a mindsetThese characteristics are -- abundance, curiosity & openness, incompleteness, and a pursuit larger than self. 

Abundance: Do you bring an attitude of abundance or you believe that life is a zero-sum venture.  The zero-sum mindset tends to develop beliefs such as 
  • loving someone more implies taking away love from someone else 
  • pursuit of (say) a hobby entails compromise in one's career 
  • quest for knowledge denotes ignoring one's family
  • ...
The underlying assumption is that of scarcity in different spheres of life including one's own capacity.  The attitude of abundance on the other hand --- helps you find energy -  multiplying options & opportunities for you, builds deeper connect with others making you even more resourceful and secure even in the face of opposing forces. 

Curiosity & Openness: Curiosity opens doors of newness and experimentation in your life. An inquiring mind and interest to explore, opens doors for you to uncover novelty in life, forge new alliances, and discover your hidden potential. It makes you adaptable by making it easy for you to embrace diversity and adjust effortlessly to the ever changing world.

Incompleteness: An attitude of incompleteness reminds you that you're an evolving 'work-in-progress-self', not a flawless being and possibly ignorant about much of the world.  This helps you to be comfortable in your own skin notwithstanding the embedded imperfectness.  It cultivates humility, helps appreciate others' perspectives and makes you humble.

A pursuit larger than self: Living for a cause larger than oneself makes your life better. It need not be an earth shattering pursuit; however, it ought to be something beyond your immediate circumstances and/ or beyond your own needs. In absence of this, one becomes self-obsessed and self-absorbed just as the character Kai in Kung Fu Panda.  As Kai, the dragon warrior assumes identities of -- the Jade Slayer, the Master of Pain and the Beast of Vengeance.   

Do share your experience how do you find Chi or Prana -- the life giving vital energy that unites body, mind and spirit and propels you to 

  • Discover - 'Who am I'?
  • Unlock your potential and
  • Celebrate Life




*About Dr. Kalind
Dr. Kalind Bakshi (retired vascular surgeon for 28 years) is a board certified coach and coach trainer for Circle of Life and Master coaching academy. He has been instrumental in guiding and helping people achieve their health goals. He believes that there is a remarkable healing capacity through holistic and energy programs. Dr. Kalind and Dr.Kinnari (his wife also a master coach) IIQTC teacher and trainers are trained by Dr. Roger Jhanke OMD, who is the author of the book ‘The Healer Within: Using Traditional Chinese Techniques to Release Your Body’s Own Medicine’.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

The Power of Intention

As I connect the dots spread across fifty years of life and my quest for higher purpose, joy and meaning - one powerful construct that stands out as life’s lesson is -- the power of intention

Every day I come across the powerful link that connects an Image with Thought; Thought with Action; and Action with Outcome.  Not just my life, but have seen many people achieve peak accomplishments just as they had intended.  The power of intention being such that all the universe conspires[1] to help one fulfill that intention.  Past few years of teaching Appreciative Inquiry and coaching executives has further enhanced my belief.  My last blog (story of marathon -- http://www.celebratetheright.blogspot.in/2013/08/my-first-attempt-at-full-marathon.html) is an example of my intent that saw me at the start line and the finish line.

Wayne Dyer, celebrated author and motivational speaker, in his book “The Power of Intention” explains that this is a connecting link to an infinite energy; where, all you have to do in a state of intent is to tap into that universal energy that will propel you to actualize your dreams.  While this universal energy is at the dispensation of each of us… What is it that keeps everyone from living her/ his intent?  Why sometimes one is unable to sync with this source energy? Perhaps, the answer lies in clearing or unclogging this link.

The three factors that could clog this link and take the shine off your power to intent are:

1.     Your Inner Speech: Our thoughts about self or the conversations one holds with oneself resulting in self-fulfilling prophecies. The true story of Morris Goodman captured as a short film ‘The Miracle Man’ (http://www.themiracleman.org/w_movie.htm) is a powerful example of the power of inner speech.  Psychology and business research of past few decades provide innumerable similar examples confirming Henry Ford quote, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.”  Therefore, until one aligns his thoughts with intention one cannot progress on that path. 

2.     Your level of energy: Wayne Dyer says every thought has energy that can strengthen or weaken you.  Many a times we are oblivious to the energy we hold.  A friend of mine is perennially caught with downward spiral of energy drain, caught in it and unaware about it; notwithstanding the enormous competence and skills, for several years I have seen him struggle unsuccessfully and envy others.

3.     Your Ego:  The thoughts and feelings of our self-importance.  It’s ego that allows us to be offended or makes us feel ‘superior’/ ‘inferior’.  It reduces us to being a body, a possession or an achievement.  Paulo Cohelo’s book “The Alchemist”, describes a mythical character Narcissus. How Narcissus, loved his own image so much that he spent days looking at his own reflection in a lake. One day, infatuated with himself he slipped and drowned in the lake.

In ego-centricity one gets obsessed with a sense of personal identity that every story, idea and belief feeds into that identity.  When the self becomes the focal point of our existence, we completely separate ourselves from the power of intention.

There are people though who have transcended the above factors with ease and live life at their own terms.  My friend Sreepathy’s father Swaminathan was one such soul.  Mr Swaminathan breathed his last six weeks ago.  My friend celebrated the fact that this 86 year old veteran never needed any prescription drug.  Recounting his father’s life he shared that though his father did not believe much in conventional prayers, he believed in mantra-shakti (the power of mantras) and one of his favourite shlokas was

अनायासेन मरणं, विनादैन्येन जीवनं                    
देहि मे क्रिपय शम्भो त्वयि भक्तिं अचन्चलं

anAyAsena maraNaM, vinAdainyena jIvanaM
dehi me kripayA shambho tvayi bhaktiM achanchalaM

This shloka in honor of Lord Shiva, the source of happiness by a devotee connotes ‘seeking life (until eventual death) without trouble, stress, fatigue or pain and abject poverty…’; the unwavering belief did indeed result in his wish being fulfilled.  Further, what was uncanny was an hour before he passed away Mr Swaminathan shared with his daughter ‘these days when I perform surya-namaskara, I feel little pain; perhaps one day while performing asanaa, I will leave this world’. One hour later while performing his daily routine of three surya-namaskaras, he left this world.
Exemplary and simple yet profound… reaffirming my faith in -- where the intent goes, the energy flows and outcome is just waiting to unfold. Therein lies the alchemy – the belief that each one of us holds the power to convert our wants into outcomes – The power of your intent.

To be continued... in part-2 of this blog I will attempt to cover how can we sync with this powerful energy source 


P.S. à This blogpost was made possible with support from Vidya Sanjay.  Formerly, my partner at ‘Potentia’- that has always been her third child, this joyous woman now lives in Trichur; far away from Hyderabad that was her home once. 
She volunteered to steer me into a better discipline of writing regularly. Also she has been very generous in sharing her own insights on this theme and provided well researched thoughts.  Publishing this with much gratitude to her.





[1] “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” 
 
Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist