Week 19 💡 Our nature

2/17/21

Lavanya Rao
Feb 21 · 6 min read

Notes by Dwija Ramesh and Pari Saluja

Notes by Dwija

With the right vision, we can generate energy. This energy depends solely on our attitude before, during, and after the activity. In order to do this, keeping our mind and hands focused on the present, not the dead past or imagined future. We must channel all our energy in the present which will curb the feeling of anxiety and being overwhelmed. This has to be done NOW, otherwise, there is no point looking back and regretting.

Discourse

  • This class is focused on our true Nature.
  • Oftentimes, we think of values and virtues as the same.

Values: ideals that we aspire to be or follow to some extent

Virtues: characteristics that we embody and are our own nature

  • This distinction must be made to transition from having values to virtues.

Why is it that we do what we do?

  1. Sometimes we are predictable, but sometimes, we act out of instinct/out of our usual behavior
  2. We want to be calm and collected, but oftentimes we just become angry and agitated
  • When we see ourselves like this, we want to change — but that is often very difficult

The reason for the way we act are our likes and dislikes

  • Likes and dislikes are formed by our past repeated actions and thoughts, in this life and past lives
  • As you constantly act on these likes and dislikes, they turn into vasanas, or tendencies
  • Oftentimes, become habits
  • For example, if our phone buzzes, a lot of people have the urge to check the notification. This has turned into a habit that sucks time and productivity out of us as we are more focused on the sound of a notification rather than our work, it also affects our mood:

Positive notifications: you keep scrolling to input more, placing your happiness in other’s words and your phone

Negative notifications: you become more upset placing your emotions in other’s hands

  • We are born with a set of vasanas from previous lives
  • We have to stop forming more vasanas and change ourselves from acting on our past ones — this is the only way to be freed
  • The bravest thing is to reduce these vasanas
  • These can be reduced by engaging in our responsibilities more wholeheartedly
  • This will help us rise above what we like and don’t like because it makes us rise above getting work done and changes our attitude completely

Invoke this vision when you feel like you are stuck in the mundane, everyday tasks — you become more awesome

Activity:

First, to describe how procrastination affects your personality and your efficiency using the value, Satyam, and principles of energy conservation from our last classes. Second, to write about what keeps us from rising above the tendency to procrastinate.

This analysis helps us objectively realize how it is hurting us from a third-person point of view. In turn, it’s easier to internalize our own words and act to improve.

Previous RAW Reflection:

When you learn to invoke the attitude that allows you to happily do your responsibilities, THAT becomes instinctual — much better than having our instincts be eating ice cream after every meal. Purpose pulls performance. Our purpose should be our own peace — our responsibilities help us develop ourselves to become more efficient and joyous.

Notes by Pari:

  • Dexterity in action
  • How to make ourselves more potent and efficient
  • How with awareness, we can keep our mind where our hands are
  • Letting go of regrets of the past and forgetting all anxieties of the future
  • Seizing the day and channeling all our resources into the present
  • How it’s only in the present that our choices and actions are successful (don’t imagine all the things you could’ve done)

Class 2/17: Your nature

Values and virtues: A value is something we may appreciate intellectually , maybe practice once in a while while a virtue is something we embody and live by. (Ex. “I have/practice discipline” to “I am discipline” — virtues go all down to the very way one thinks). But, why do we do what we do? Why do we like what we like?

  • We are able to predict how others are going to act sometimes.
  • Even with us, sometimes we know better but act otherwise — what we know isn’t reflected in our actions.
  • Morals are something we “subscribe” to once in a while but we don’t embody it.
  • We want to change but change is difficult

When we take a closer look, the states our mind is often in is the results of our likes and dislikes. How do likes and dislikes form?

  • It stems from our thoughts.
  • The ones you find yourself attracted to are from past lives which then you act in accordance which becomes preferences and in turn, habits or vasanas.
  • Habits are so ingrained that we act on them without thinking.
  • Example #1: When your phone buzzes, you go to pick it up and read it (desire to know what it said), it turns out to be friends complimenting you on your newest post. Then you become happy, but now every time the phone buzzes, you anticipate happiness. Even when your phone doesn’t buzz, you still check hoping for a new message.
  • Example #2: But if you keep getting emails from teachers who are posting a lot of new tests and assignments, you start to dislike when your phone buzzes so you use it less and you might even eventually give it up.
  • But what about prodigies? That person isn’t more proficient just because — their mastery has actually been developed over lifetimes.

When we “subscribe” to these likes and dislikes, they lay tracks for us (habits) and it gets harder and harder to get off of them.

  • With a bundle of vasanas/habits and as we get older, our personality takes shape — stemming from our habits which becomes our “nature”.
  • The bravest thing any of us can do is to rise above our likes and dislikes. That’s how we change
  • Example: We know Mother Earth is suffering so we can shift to a vegetarian diet but we can’t seem to rise to that cause because we can’t let go of our taste for meat/animal products.

We can fix/get rid of our likes and dislikes through awareness. It also occurs naturally through responsibilities but it’s not about getting the responsibilities done, it’s about becoming a better you — you have to invoke and remember this vision when you are stuck in these tasks.

Activity: Describe how procrastination affects your personality and your efficiency using the value Satyam (2 classes ago) and the principles of energy conservation (last class). What keeps us from rising above procrastination?

Talking about Activity: Understanding Procrastination through the lens of our past 2 classes:

  • What happens when your friend doesn’t follow through on a commitment? It makes your friendship strained, trust falters, but overall, the quality of that relationship doesn’t improve. The more this occurs the less faith, trust and less time you want to spend around that person.
  • The first relationship you have with anyone is you. When you can’t keep promises to yourself, you sow the seed of distrust. Soon it creates micro-fractures in your personality and the more this happens, the less faith you have in yourself.
  • If living virtuously is based on an external reason, we won’t grow or develop internally. We can rise above our tendencies to procrastinate by taking the knowledge from our classes and applying them to our day-to-day lives.

Debrief on Last Week’s RAW: When you flip the switch and begin to embrace those responsibilities with ease regardless of your emotions towards the actions, any responsibility is an opportunity to become a better you.

RAW: At least 1/3 of each meal that you eat should consist of raw foods.

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