Mindgym

There are times, when I think of stuff that I’d have liked to do if one could set the clock back by some years. For me, these are generally not things in the material or physical sense. It is also not about opportunities missed (whether in career or relationships). They are not even experiences like travel (places I would have liked to visit) or food (that I would have like to eat or taste). But, they are usually personality traits, knowledge, practices and art of life that could have made me more of the person that I wish to be.

Psychologically, at a subconscious level, it must be stemming from from some deep seated unhappiness about my current condition. But, I have come to accept that as normal and, therefore, no longer feel the need to fret over it. The urge for self-improvement is an innate human condition embedded in the human DNA as a part of the evolutionary process. So every individual, in her or his own way, tries to develop, evolve and grow as a human being. It is a journey we are all ordained to undertake. Nothing special or unique about it.

In my case, I genuinely feel, I could have been a much better person in this life and given much more to the people around me or those whose lives I have touched, if I had learnt early enough to have better control on my emotions. Hang on, I am not blaming others for it. It is not as if people around me did not give me feedback or sensitise me on this aspect. I may not have listened or sometimes not picked up the signals. But, what is for certain is that, no one told me how to get the better of it.

Parents send their children to tuitions for studies — Maths, Science and English. Others get them coaches for games — Cricket, Football, Tennis and Swimming (now also Badminton and, perhaps, Kabaddi soon). Girls (pardon for gender typecasting) are trained in Music and Dance. Nowadays, I am told its fashionable to put kids into Hobby Classes or enrolled in Summer Camps. No doubt all these have their benefits also in developing mental discipline. But, little is done to train them for temperament.

In the pressure of today’s competitive academic environment very few schools can set aside time for the psychological development of their students. I am not talking of religious indoctrination and compulsory prayers. Only some institutions like the Krishnamurti Foundation Schools put special emphasis on the development of the person and human being. The same journey continues through college and work-life. Very little time is set aside for development of the self.

Social Media offer us a wonderful opportunity changing a bit of that. Ignoring the WhatsApp, Email, FaceBook forwards of inspirational messages, the Web presents a wealth of resources for individuals to chose from — as per their own taste and pace.

My recent discovery has been Headspace. A meditation App that can be used by the entire family including Kids. Surely, there are many other Apps of guided meditation available Google Play or Apple Store. But, as someone who has been practising meditation for a long time, what I found interesting about Headspace is its different modules (for anxiety, depression, restlessness, pain etc) that can be useful not only for beginners but also the well initiated.

Mind you, this is not to suggest, Meditation is the only way or there is only one kind of meditation, that will take us on the path of salvation, not necessarily of the spiritual kind. Ultimately, we all have to find out what works for us the best, which usually happens through a process of trial and error.

But, it is important to make a start. And I, for one, feel that I should have begun long ago. Then again, as they say there is a time for everything and it is never too late. Though it may sound like a cliche, it is true nonetheless.

And, oh — there is just another parting point that I learnt from a recent tweet of Pico Iyer. While we are progressing, it is important to remember others are changing too (hopefully for the better).

More articles on Coaching and Self-development by Sandip Ghose are available on his blog: Right Angle