Monday morning. End of the weekend. Back to work. Are you happy where you are and satisfied with with what you have? At work and in your personal life too. Are you enjoying living your life wherever you are and with whatever you have got? Are you happy with your present lifestyle, standard of living, quality of life.
Are you happy and content here and now, or is happiness a goal, a distant dream, something to be achieved? Have you learnt the art of finding happiness in whichever situation you are and with whatever you are doing? In your perception, what is success?
Here is something for you to reflect on this Monday morning, a philosophical approach to life. Read it and think about it, and if it appeals to you, apply it to your own life and see if it works for you. And if it don't agree with this philosophy of life, well, just keep on running the rat race. The choice is yours - and, either way, Wish You all the Happiness and Good Luck to You and Godspeed in your endeavors.
Ou Dieu vous a seme, il faut savoir fleurir
A PEP TALK
YOU MUST KNOW HOW TO FLOWER WHERE GOD HAS SOWN YOUBy
Long back I learnt a trick from an eminent trainer on how to get the audience to focus. I too use this technique on a few occasions when I want my audience to settle down to receptive vibes.
The moment you take the stage, you tell the audience to close their eyes for one minute and think of the one person who they consider as their most important mentor.
A few days ago, one of my brilliant ex-students, who attended a motivational lecture in her new organization and was subjected to the same exercise, rang me up and told me that it was my face that came to her mind as a mentor.
Then she talked about her work, that she was not very happy with her new workplace which apparently did not measure up to her high expectations. I feel privileged that my ex-student considers me a mentor and I write this “pep talk” especially for her and all my dear mentees, protégées and protégés .
Ou Dieu vous a seme, il faut savoir fleurir
YOU MUST KNOW HOW TO FLOWER WHERE GOD HAS SOWN YOU
Every person, sooner or later, goes through a moment when it seems that he or she is on the wrong road, that his entire way of life is wrong.
Have you ever experienced this feeling...?
Think about it.
Do you find yourself stuck in an incongruous career or in an incompatible relationship or in a redundant place...?
And sadly there is nothing you can do about it, owing to compulsions and constraints beyond your control.
You cannot turn around and retrace your steps or change your road of life.
It seems you have crossed the point of no return and you have no choice but to keep on travelling on the “wrong” road of life.
Failure follows failure, and with repeated failure comes the fear of failure.
It is indeed a terrible vicious cycle which gradually overwhelms you with the chill of despondency.
What can you do in such a situation...?
Maybe the answer lies in a saying I read somewhere a few years ago and noted in my diary:
“Ou Dieu vous a seme, il faut savoir fleurir ”
which roughly translated means
“You must know how to flower where God has sown you”
“wherever God plants you, there you must learn how to bloom”.
How do you learn to flower where God has sown you?
How do you bloom wherever God plants you?
You may turn to the Enchiridion of Epictetus for guidance.
Epictetus (A.D.55 – A.D. 135), the great Stoic Philosopher, states that happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle:
Some things are within our control, and some things are not in our control.
This is the basic Stoic truth of subjective consciousness and it is only after you have faced up to this fundamental rule and learned to distinguish between what is in your power from what is not in your power, and know what you can control and what you cannot control, that inner tranquility and outer effectiveness become possible.
On analytical reflection we find that the mind alone can be brought under our control. Everything else, the world of events and people’s behaviour, is beyond the scope of our control.
What disturbs you are not events but your attitude towards them.
Don’t demand or except that events happened as you would wish them to. Accept events as they actually happen. And you will be at peace with yourself.
Except for extreme physical abuse, other people cannot hurt you unless you allow them to.
Don’t consent to be hurt and you won’t be hurt.
You must learn to approach life as a banquet and not as a buffet.
Think of your life as if it were a banquet where you would behave graciously:
When a dish is passed to you, extend your hand and help yourself to a moderate portion.
If a dish should pass you by, enjoy what is already on your plate.
Or if a dish hasn’t been passed to you yet, patiently wait for your turn.
Carry on the same attitude of polite restrain and gratitude to your children, spouse, colleagues, friends, career and money.
There is no need to yearn, envy and grab.
You will get your rightful share when it is your time.
It then becomes our paramount duty to control the mind and practice total unconcern to externals.
“When something happens, the only thing in your power is your attitude toward it ... you can either accept it or resent it.”
To accept an event is to rise above it, to resent it to be overpowered by it.
With acceptance comes happiness, with resentment comes misery.
Acceptance of an event is not to be mistaken for a life of passivity or submission to fatalism characterized by laziness and a sense of helplessness. Simply doing nothing does not avoid risk, but heightens it.
Epictetus exhorts us, therefore, to brave the storms of life with planned action born of clear thinking. He recognizes, too, the practical necessity of working for worldly gains, but cautions us only against the false belief that happiness depends on the results such endeavours.
Being an integral part of social structure, you cannot live in isolation; social interaction is inescapable.
In your relationship with others at home, at work or in society, no matter how people behave, you have to maintain inner tranquility, with unwavering attention on achieving your own merit and excellence.
People act under their own inner compulsions over which you can exercise no control. Epictetus advises: “Focus not on what he or she does, but on keeping to your higher purpose”.
If you truly live in tune with your will and resolve, and in harmony with your inner self, nobody’s words or actions (barring extreme cases) can disturb your mental equipoise.
Duty of any kind is not to be slighted.
A person should not be judged by the nature of his duties, but by the manner in which he performs his duties.
In his discourse on Karma Yoga Swami Vivekananda says:
“A shoemaker who can turn out a strong, nice pair of shoes in the shortest possible time is a better man, according to his profession and his work, than a professor who talks nonsense every day of his life”.
Remember, Fatigue lies in half-heartedness.
If we do with sincerety, with full zest and enthusiasm, the duty which is in our hands now, we make ourselves happy.
The key is to work with freedom and love and without too much expectation.
Try to accomplish something wherever you are and do not compare with others.
Undue hankering after rewards will render you akin to a slave of your expectations; you must work for your own internal satisfaction – work like a master and not as a slave.
This glorious attitude to life and knowledge of your self makes you free in a world of dependencies and enables you to flower where God has sown you, to bloom wherever God plants you.
" Ou Dieu vous a seme, il faut savoir fleurir "
Wherever God plants you, there you must learn how to bloom.
You must know how to flower where God has sown you.
I wish you, dear reader, all the luck - may you flower and bloom wherever God has sown you.