Friday, August 18, 2017

OPERATIONAL JAPA

Japa is the repetition of a syllable or word or phrase - loudly or silently.

By ผู้สร้างสรรค์ผลงาน/ส่งข้อมูลเก็บในคลังข้อมูลเสรีวิกิมีเดียคอมมอนส์ - เทวประภาส มากคล้าย - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7318085

The effect of this on the behaviour of the person very much depends on the aim and the perseverance of the person.

If my aim in repeating the name of a Deity is to make the Godhead my servant, a sort of Aladdin's lamp, it is possible I might win a lottery or obtain a promotion, or get nothing. It certainly does not help me in learning how to win the lottery or the promotion.

So I must be clear. I use this as a means of changing my behaviour into more harmonious patterns, and learning to do so, or is it another attempt on my part to get something for nothing, another variation of my greed?

If it is to change my behaviour, then I should examine the process of Japa with care.

I know what powerful effect words have on my behaviour: Come at 5 o'clock - You are a good fellow - You are stupid, etc. All these words act as key switches for a whole complex of reactions from my body. They move my body to action; they improve or distort my moods and movements. If words are the keys to my behaviour, then I should frame my own MANTRA or use the given mantras with a new look. If the words chosen have operational consequence for my body, they help better. The words may be in any language.

‘I'm happy... Happy... I am happiness…’

This phrase repeated while inducing such a state into the whole body potentiates the phrase or word. After a long period of practice, the very utterance of the phrase not only arouses this state, but helps in counteracting the opposite states of depression, etc.

The ‘old man’ inside me has been accustomed from childhood, most of the time, to be quickly responsive to expression of hate, depression, frustration, greed and jealousy; interspersed with fleeting moments of elation when some situation temporally panders to my personal fancies. These negative emotions systematically ruin my health. All of them have fear as the base and all lead to constrictive reactions at all levels.

Anyone, who cares to, can verify for himself the impact of words; and then ponder on the significance of Japa.

Of course, mechanical repetition of a syllable has its own effects. There is added advantage in assigning one's own operational significance for the body.

***

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A LIST OF ITEMS ON LEARNING

  1. Learning is constantly going on.
  2. Learning involves change in behaviour: the replacement or modification of past behaviour by a new set.
  3. A behavioral pattern becomes a habit by repetition, by practice. It may get broken by non-repetition.
  4. Behaviour has components: here are a few obvious ones:
  1. Verbal: thought/spoken or written speech. (Try thinking without words!)
  2. Autonomic or visceral behaviour.
  3. Muscular behaviour. Including mime, gesture and other expressive behaviour.
  4. All behaviour may be seen to require a stimulus (obvious or implied), a response, an effect of some kind or other on the stimulus; and wider or deeper eradication of the zone of this behaviour.
  5. Behaviour may be good, bad, purposeful or useless; creative or destructive - depending on the reporter. For the self-realisation aspirant the evaluation rests with himself.
  6. Behaviour may be within one’s own full awareness, sometimes only parts of it; sometimes parts may come to other’s awareness. Of course, such awareness by oneself or others are all subject to the processes of awareness learnt by the person.
  7. A unit of behaviour is really not a single unit, but a chain of many links; a sort of  chain of switches in time or space. Awareness of the link can give greater control in the manipulation of behaviour. A chain is as strong as its weakest link. Thus a troublesome pattern of behaviour may be tackled at its weakest link, thus breaking its hold. Charting out the series of small and big links that ultimately lead to an outburst of anger or depression may give us the handle to break up the chain reaction.
5. In the process of learning the following items may play a part:
  1. Imitation
  2. Identification
  3. A behaviour that meets with some satisfaction tends to repeat itself and get strengthened: the item of reward.
  4. Behaviour once established tends to seek and create the conditions necessary for its display. Child badly beaten for a fault my find itself creating the conditions necessary for getting beaten.
  5. Behaviour may not be changed; but the effects of the behaviour may be altered by changing the ‘object’ of the behaviour. A shrewd and aggressive antisocial person whose object is attention and ‘heroics’ may become a useful commando. A need to love something very strongly may express itself differently if the object of love - money, power, sex, humanity country or God - were to be changed.
  6. All behaviour involves energy exchanges, which can be experienced at different levels.
  7. In behavioural change, a person or a situation can act as the stimulus.
  8. Behavioral changes involve both quantity and quality. Changes that are not very obvious, might suddenly lead to a dramatic, qualitative change in a large pattern of behaviour. The student of self-awareness might also find that his prolonged attempts to change himself in one set of behaviour results in a change in a set of behaviour that he did not directly tackle.
  9. Since man is not an isolated unit, but part of a collective communicating system called the others and everything else, his behaviour influences others and vice-versa.
  10. Each component of one person's behaviour may act as an independent stimulus for another. A gentle speech of one may provoke fear or anger in another, merely because of some little gesture accompanying the speech.
  11. Within one's own self, one component of one behaviour may trigger off another set. For example, do my thoughts have effect on others? It is a good starting point to know how your thoughts affect you. If your depressive thoughts upset your digestion or appetite, is it difficult to see that your depressive face does something to the others?
  12. If I am a victim of other’s behaviour, it is obvious to me that I should take some responsibility for my own behaviour.
This very incomplete set of items has been set down to show the vast richness of response possibilities within us; and not to hopelessly complicate the issues.

Behavioral changes not a mystery, but a subject of study and practice.

This aspiration for changing one’s behaviour to fit a higher type of behaviour is the theme of all YOGA or should be.

***

Monday, August 07, 2017

CONFLICT RESOLUTION BY ACTION

At any given moment I might suffer indecision, recurring thoughts and fatigue. Here, my body is subject to many contradictory orders and my body suffers the wear and tear.

I find that close analysis helps. The example can be of a man subject to different items of information at the same time: (1) From a superior officer asking him to go on tour; (2) His relative is ill and needs attention; (3) He himself has a slight fever and headache; (4) There is a cyclone warning. He is fed up and just does not know what to do. First of all he abuses the superior officer for his heartlessness in not knowing that his relative is ill, he himself is ill, and there is to be a cyclone. Next a few side remarks are made on the relative who seems to be getting into the knack of being ill and needing attention at the wrong time. This intensifies the headache and a few curses are thrown at the heads of children who seem to be enjoying the prospect of the cyclone. Where is God! That fool arranges for a cyclone at this juncture. The whole jolly lot of them have conspired to ruin his health and smooth programmes without the least bit of concern for such an important man as himself. ‘What to do! What to do! My Fate!’, he moans.

If by some simple means he can but stop himself for a few seconds and examine the situation, he will see that this present predicament is not unique, and that he has often enacted the same drama quite a number of times in the past. This type of drama is played naturally at the cost of the body. He has been frequently ill, and also frequently used the illness as an escape from all useful work. The body is being subject to very contradictory instructions.

  1. I am on orders to go on tour tomorrow… Go!
  2. The relative is ill, must help … Don't go!
  3. I myself am going to get flu … Don't help!
  4. Must go on tour … Go!
  5. But the cyclone is coming … Don't go!
  6. I have a severe headache … Lie down!
  7. What a racket the children are raising … Better get out!
  8. Better the cyclone comes now and wipes out everybody … Come cyclone!
  9. I don’t want the roof to crash on my head … Don’t come cyclone!
And thus, this important man walks up and down wringing his hands, and all the time his body is going to dogs losing all its sensitivity.

When he says that he can do nothing, he is talking nonsense, because he's definitely doing something - walking up down wringing his hands. Only he is doing nothing constructive. If he took a piece of paper and jotted down the things which he can do, and the things which are not in his control, he could have seen:

  1. The cyclone is not in his control, and anyway it is slated for tomorrow, and it may or may not come about. Hope it won't, for it is a nuisance for many.  Electricity may go off and one can check to see if the hurricane lamps are working.
  2. The superior officer has sent an order for tour. That is his job and in any case the poor fellow is not telepathic.
  3. The train which he would have to take is slated for tomorrow afternoon, and so nothing to bother about, except packing a valise.
  4. There is a little headache now, but he is not dying.
  5. This relative is ill. All that is needed is to ring for the doctor and say a few encouraging words; and if the children are a nuisance they can be given an errand or two.
  6. He might even pray for his and other’s welfare.
  7. If all this does not help, he can swallow a sleeping tablet and stop being A nuisance to himself and others.
Whatever be the number of goals, if they are reduced to a few things that can be done, concretely done, one after another, the body can be seen to be a very precise instrument. You can train to become ill or more and more efficient.

When confronted with conflicting situations:

  1. See the concrete things to be done for each.
  2. Convert useless activity into useful activity.
  3. Take issue by issue.
  4. Take minute by minute.
(Before all this, take a piece of paper and note down the things that are in your control and things that are not; and things you must do now, and things you can hold on; tick off the list as you go through).

5. When two or more forecasts are possible about something, it is preferable to make positive wishes or none at all.

If you don't know how, then train yourself. If you wish to enjoy your martyrdom, then go ahead, though it is a misfortune for your kith and kin, and if sensible they will do something to shake you out of your miserable dramatics.

***