Start determined,Go with the flow – Vipassana

Are you ready to live for few days without the following?

  • without mobile phone?
  • without TV, internet?
  • without wallet and credit cards?
  • without talking to others in silence?  Be in silence with group of people ? Not even use sign language or any other means of communication.
  • without reading, writing and signing or doing heavy physical exercises.
  • without food for taste. You are provided food to live.

Can one live within a bounded location  accepting to live without all the above? It will not surprise me if your answer is “No”. Sharing in this blog of having lived in bounded location for 10 days agreeing to be without all the above.

Vipassana-Grid

Enrolled myself in 10 day meditation program at Dhamma Setu Vipassana Meditation Center, Chennai. Check this link to know more about location and facilities.  Took  oath/promise to adhere strictly during course duration  for 10 days.

  • To adhere to all rules and code of conduct of center
  • To not leave meditation camp till completion of the program ( 10 days).
  • To abstain from killing any being, stealing, all sexual activity, telling lies, using all intoxicants( like alcohol, drugs, etc).
  • To observe Noble Silence from the beginning of the course until the morning of the last full day.  Any form of communication with fellow student, whether by gestures, sign language, written notes, etc., is prohibited.

Effectively rules focus to take great care of the participants so that their actions do not disturb anyone and they do not notice distractions caused by others. I attended the program(9 Aug To 20 Aug.), where I am going to learn of myself working in isolation.

Prior to start, I handed my mobile, wallet and books for safe keeping. The program & facilities of shelter, food  are offered free.  Simple vegetarian food is provided 2  times a day at 6:30 am, 11 am and snack at 5 pm, along with purified water around clock. The day schedule starts at 4:30 AM( wake by 4:00) to ends at 9:00 PM(lights off by 9:30).

During mid course duration, I realized that rather than cribbing about pain or ache, it is better to walk into the pain and watch it. The strangest thing happened. The pain/ache just melted away. Some times, the pain/ache in one body part disappears and appears in another body part. Once you watch/observe, all of them melt away.
this too
I survived 10 days of Vipasanna,  finding my answer to be “Yes” for these questions.

  • Can I walk with my minds only on our feet?
  • Can I sit with back straight and not slouched?
  • Can I sit crossed legs for 20 to 30 minutes closed eyes & not changing body posture?
  • Can I live days without dinner and also reduce my food intake?
  • Can I take time to chew food and eat, rather than gobbling food faster?
  • Are other  responsible or I   Am I responsible for my miseries and my pain?

At end of program, I felt that program helped me to observe myself better and increased my awareness. Good, I neither has expectation of becoming happier or wiser at the end. May be I am more attentive to myself. While Sunday came with a sense of calmness, I feel getting the same lost faster in last 2 days. While I still find myself in to misery due to external scenarios, absent-minded, I  seem to catch change that happens within me more quicker than before and attempt to get mind to arrive at state of equanimous.

 

allhappy

Advertisements

Ignore, Accept, Forget

1790870112
We meet different types of people in our life in diverse areas of  work, family circles, social circles or as part of community. With some people, we develop relationship and with a few it ends up as transaction . Each and every relationship or transaction comes with its own actions and interactions, added with emotions that arise in people engaged in transaction or relationship. Started to observe few scenarios in my life and my family, and shared here.

Scenario 1: While one person focus to nurture and develop relationship, the second person focus may focus on what is required to complete successful transaction. The second person may prioritize the transnational outcome of success than people working to achieve the outcome.  If you are the first person who does not like this experience, how do you put aside your feelings?

Scenario 2: Two persons focus to nurture and create  transparency in relationship  between them and other working with them.  The first person  fails to communicate some information to other person or hides information without any specific intention.  Due to destiny, the other person becomes aware about the information misrepresented to him or withheld from him. On realizing this, the first person acknowledges the miss of not sharing vital information, adds “Sorry” followed with eagerness to push things  under the carpet.

The other person feels let down or may even feel cheated.  At times, the other person cannot  afford to have conflict or walk away from the first person( a boss or customer or powerful person).   As the other person, how do you put aside your feelings?

Scenario 3: Assume  person in focus  is  good to his/her relatives, help them whenever asked for and also been a support for them in times of adversity. May be was doing a “Pay forward” expecting  support in bad times in future.  Remember that the person has no control over how others would react in his/her bad times. If you are this person, getting pushed in to bad state caused by interaction or action of people that he helped/supported earlier, how do you put aside your feelings?

Ask yourself whether you want to forget, ignore or accept situation.

What did you do when a child had a bad cut finger? Still child thought of it, it hurts and is painful. Some one distracted child with chocolate,child probably forget the discomfort. The basis instinct of your brain is to ignore pain if it can. On other hand, try removing chocolate form the child, child gets time to think about his wound and starts crying feeling the pain again.

You can distract attention away from negative energy. There is nothing to be learnt, as your brain already knows how to ignore things not important to us. On facing scenario similar to the above, Why do I suffer, feel sorry for myself  & spend the rest of my life in misery? Can I learn to accept it, co-exist with it & ignore it when I feel like it.

Forget the other person involved and look at what you feel. May the other person is happy with situation. May the other person does not want to develop relationship with you and build trust. Start to learn this as a nuisance, that interrupts your daily life and drives you up the wall. No way to force other person to return your feelings.  You have no control over how other person feels or choose to do with his or her life.

Delete old emails or remove anything that brings back old memories of the incident and stop you from forgetting the same.  In olden days without technology and people has bad conversation, there was time for them to meet again.With the passage of time, people did forget. Today, we have stored older emails and recordings to remind of the past and prevents us to move forward. Delete the person from your contacts.

Give yourself time to feel upset. Feelings don’t just “go away” if you ignore them–they come out in other. Give yourself the time and space to express your sadness. Be careful not to get caught up in your sadness. At a certain point, you need  to start making moves to heal and its time to focus on feeling better.

Give yourself much more space as possible. If possible, please take a break from this person for a while. That does not mean to cut him/her out completely. Some  distance becomes necessary for you to put these feelings to rest. if the person is part of your daily life, find ways to do everything that can minimize your contact with him. Do not visit their home or do not sit next to them at lunch, of walk away from the person. Staying away from someone you really like can be hard, but it’s an important part of putting a stop to these feelings

Make new friends One gets to think that no one else exists or no one can make you happy. Meet new people and you are reminded that this is not true. While it is okay for some time to be alone, spending time with other people speed-ens the healing process and distract you. You can attempt to talk to someone, if you cannot let it go.

Creates new hobbies or activities for life to redirect your focus and not think about your feelings for this person. Stop giving yourself time to think about it. May be concentrate on studies or work or volunteer for a cause you are passionate about

Start to have fun Laughter can make you feel good and happy. Spend time with people who make you laugh or doing things you love. Laughing relieve your heart from the ache.

Learn to like yourself There can be a major setback to your self-esteem after rejection and forces you to focus only on your perceived faults. Focus on good things that you have done, write down your achievements and write down things you really like about yourself. When you feel down, read the list you have written.

Let us accept that we face times when we need to push aside our emotions to get through a difficult situation. While no one can ask you to live in a state of pain and emotions, take interest to practice managing the pain  to get through a difficult situation. While one may not ignore pain in full , one can re-focus pain and emotions to be less negative. At end, do not  comfort eat as this would not do any good in long run and do not  expect results right away.

Move beyond competition, Create value.

competition

[For sharing with my children]

“Everything ends in competition. Hence be ready to take part in competition” seems to be what most of us are saying to ourselves. New age philosophy takes it to next level as “If you need to grow,  be ready to live a life that contradicts with what you believe. It does not matter what your values are and what is important is to win competition”

Does Clash of Opposite’s only create or lead to growth? No. Man and Women collaborate and live peacefully to give birth to a child. No proof that man and women competed and gave birth to a child.  There are more worldly examples to demonstrates that collaboration between living beings (not restricted to humans) creates more value for all

Can we think for moment what would be the result  if earth and moon decide to competes to prove whose gravitational force is best?  Close to home, How would you feel if cats, dogs and other living organism around house start to compete with humans? Did we even think in this way?  We take what does not compete to be granted.

Let me say where we created competition more than anywhere. It is creation of food. The more we consume the food created through competition, more sense of competition is developing among humans.

Nature has provided good to humans, insects and worms.  Corp-orates produce fertilizers and pesticides and also made us to believe that insects and worm’s are our competitors. Humans have become pawn in the competition with insects and worms in farm, equipped with fertilizers and pesticides to eradicate insects and worms.  What happens to activities that insects and worm were doing to maintain balance in the environment? May be plants that die get decayed and enrich the soil as natural manure for plants.  How will soil get enriched when there are no worms and insects? Corporates have helped humans with easy answer ” User more fertilizers and pesticides”.

Observer that humans with 6 senses have attempted to eradicate insects and living creatures with 3 senses and still have not succeeded  in eradicating insects completely. Instead of accepting our failure in competition, we try to compete by using even more fertilizers and pesticides. Effectively, We are responsible to expose our food to more and more chemicals and our land has lost its original richness of minerals and We have worked to make our land to become barren or dependent on chemicals.  Do we realize this?

All living beings mostly live together as group or herd and also live dual approach of both being together and being alone. They share beyond what is needed to survive for that day and have not build any physical or artificial walls. A tiger eaten its prey to its full is not eager to attack deer or cattle walking closeby for next day good, next week food and next year food.  May be that is what makes animals to coexist together in herds or groups.

While animals with less senses live together, humans with six senses find more and more difficulty to live together. In a century, brothers and sisters have started to live separate and in last 2 or 3 decades, parents and children have started to live separately. Competition between their egos has caused separation in relationship. Do we realize that we have lost the benefits of being in stronger relationship ? May be we need to think how will it be if our 5 senses compete with each other?

Let us remind our-self that we have things to receive from people both similar to us and who are opposite’s to us. There are things that we can provide/give to other people, including people from whom we receive.  Only humans defined that two things are opposite’s. Nature did not define them as opposite’s. Nature wants them to coexist.

We do not need to agree with opinions, judgement and wishes of another person?  There is not need to agree. We can disagree and still live with differences and create growth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make World Do Work for You

[ Copied from equitymaster email on investment, as it applies to a wider horizon]
Have you ever tried to make a toddler listen when they’re cranky? Trust me, there’s no more difficult job on planet Earth. No matter how hard you try, everything will come to a naught if the kid’s mind is made up.

But what really gets my goat is when the mother comes up, indulges the kind in some sweet talk and voila, the kid is literally eating out of her hands. Instructions, any mother will tell you, never work with a child. You can never expect a child to do what you want him to do. If you really need him to comply, first, be really patient. And second, clearly spell out what’s in it for the kid. Unless the kid sees some benefit in what we are asking him to do, you’ll never get anywhere.
This makes a lot of sense. In fact, it has much wider implications. It will not only help you persuade a child but also achieve success across many walks of life. Joseph Tussman, the prolific American educator, is responsible for one of my all-time favourite quotes:
 
What the pupil must learn, if he learns anything at all, is that the world will do most of the work for you, provided you cooperate with it by identifying how it really works and aligning with those realities. If we do not let the world teach us, it teaches us a lesson.
 
The success mantra
So, what’s the mantra for success? The idea is to find rules that tell us how the world really works and build models around them. You see, there are general principles that have consistently given the desired results going back thousands of years. These are timeless rules that can help us make better decisions. 
If your principles aren’t in sync with reality, you are unlikely to be successful. All you’ll end up with is failure and frustration, like when you give instructions to recalcitrant toddler without explaining what’s in it for him.

What does a Great Father Do?

Today my daughters wished for Father’s Day. It raised question how should father be to children. Sharing  real life story observed and asking myself “How will I behave with my children in adverse condition where I have no control?” and “Can I be father to my daughters like the father to his son in the story?”

“This is the price you pay for having a great father. You get the wonder, the joy, the tender moments – and you get the tears at the end, too. “

Once upon time, there was father and mother. The retired father had a son and daughter. The son went to engineering college.The son was healthy guy, involved in sports and leading social-curricular activities at college.  The son was college students chairman and coordinated placements also. In his final year, the son got placement in non-IT firm, which was very much aligned to his passion and got placement in IT company.

The son wanted to be in India, with responsibility of taking care his retired parents. When son submitted his medical checkup for non-IT firm, the company send him an email that they are withdrawing the offer and the reason was that he has only one kidney. Yes, one of his kidneys was removed when he was less than 2 years old. The son was broken and could not comprehend the reason, as he never have thought someone would reject him based on physical ailment and have involved in lot of automotive work with passion.  The son went to attend the initial training for IT firm and realized his mind not ready for IT job.

Here comes the real test for father. Your son was confident with his success and for no logical reasons, he has been thrown away from pedestal and how do you  support him. The father supported his son and asked him to do what is best for him. The son joined a job in his area of interest  paying him salary less than Rs 10,000 p.m. This job was a really tight job being on the shop floor and hectic interacting with lot of people.

The father motivated son to appear for GRE/TOEFL. The father enabled son with internet dongle( not common in those days) month, downloaded application, printed them, filled them and got pay order for application fees and send application to colleges, travelling where needed.  The son got admission in to college in USA and had no scholarship.  The father said that he will support with his means. The son quit his job to come and prepare and the father has bought one-way ticket. When you leave job, you lose your medial insurance also.

Here comes the second test for  father. The son plays volleyball every day and one day he slips and his ribs are broken. His visa interview is around. The father and his friends admit him in hospital and they perform minor surgery.  The father acknowledge that falling in sports was natural.  when your children make mistake that impacts their life, as parents we get annoyed and hurt them with our words. The father did not say anything and spend a lot of money, which was limited at his life stage.

Here comes the third test for father: After 2 weeks, they find that surgery has not healed and the surgery needs to be repeated. The father was broken in heart. Visa interview is coming, tickets are booked, son does not have job and son is in hospital, need to spend money, which is  limited and they have to repeat surgery.

The father ran around found an elderly doctor waiting till late night. His only priority was his son life and not him. The elderly doctor said that he would take care  son’s priority and not others. The son may attend visa interview and will not be able to travel on booked date and can travel after week of the booked date.

Before his retirement, the father  bought car and he loved driving  the car. He sold the car and paid for second surgery. He explained others that there is problem with his ears and does not want to drive and hence he is selling his car.  As there was no money to get another fresh ticket, he ran around  and literally pleaded/ requested many people and  with doctor’s  letter was able to get ticket transferred to later date without additional payment.

Readers can see connect between this story and Sujatha‘ story, which I have read also. When I observed this father-son journey, it came across as new age variant and decided to write and wish all fathers Father Day.

Can I Keep off FaceBook & LinkedIn?

My last  week experiences and yesterday acquisition news and article “The One Question That Matters in Microsoft’s Acquisition of LinkedIn”  got me in to mixed feelings and started look inward to find my one question.

I was shocked to see a message on last Thursday ” Dr. Ravindran expired” send by another college mate of mine. First  big shock was a person who studied with me for 2 years has expired. Then I could remind myself of visiting his house,talking to his wife and children. Then I was reminded of the discussion at their home about children. My mind started thinking what will children do? What his wife who has experience in nursing and hospital care do? Will she get a job after break? How will family survive without money?

The second big shock was that message was delivered via Facebook by another classmate of mine working with Dr.Ravindran at REC- Trichy. My buddy has send message earlier and I have seen message after 13 hours. I talked to my buddy and was not sure of going to Chennai to respect deceased soul.

First time,I felt pathetic of our dependency on FaceBook and distance we have created within us in disguise of social connections. Two questions raised.  the first was Why I did not see Facebook for 13 hours?. The second was Why did my friend not send me SMS?

The weekend was quite a very disturbed one. Spend time with children and my family. I saw the movie”iraivi” with my wife and read this review Iraivi: A film about women who bear everything and put up with anything . Started thinking how much time I spend with social networks, where I am just a consumer of content. How much time I am losing to social networks that I can sleep or  spend with family and friends? When I looked at my time of posts and tweets, they were all present in night time. 

I writ blogs. I do not publish my blogs to LinkedIn and publish them to Facebook and twitter. Some time I check how many people have visited the blog and it seems increasing. Do I need to check stats of my blog every day? Am I wasting time there?

Earlier Facebook lured me to connect connect with all my school and college friends. I developed a good profile. Facebook  went for IPO and made money in their IPO. I had one question “Did our friendship really improve?” The answer was NO.

Earlier LinkedIn lured me to connect with all my colleagues and thought it might help me in my career. My profile is 100% complete. When people connect on LinkedIn, I gave them an appropriate response and have rarely got a response back and people who connect with me rarely write back to me. I also find followup based on LinkedIn is tricky. When I searched for a job after my startup, I got little or no help.

On another note, I realized that I am spending more time on the articles posted on LinkedIn. I have already subscribed to the guys/authors who matter.Why do i still spend time reading articles at LinkedIn? I also realized that my time with books is coming down compared to digital media and see decrease in my log count per month.

While educating my children not to become consumers of internet and become creator,  I have fallen to be consumer of social networks. Without content consumers and publishers and people who have 100% profile, why will Microsoft pay and buy LinkedIn? Though I never paid for LinkedIn, I have been good content consumer of LinkedIn and helped them get better valuations. In process I have lost my personal time.

I have suspended my  Facebook account and I decided to log out of LinkedIn account and put myself under observation for one month. I am going to be on twitter. This means I cannot login to websites that  make use of FaceBook or LinkedIn. I will share my  experience in this blog.

Is it fair to ask “Married or Single?”

Read article Married or Single?  posted by Punit Soni. In recruitment process, candidate asked this question”Married or Single?”. I was surprised to see this article. May be I did not expect an article on women rights from Punit Soni (sorry?) and was happy that he was ready to scratch upon the tip of the iceberg. Made me think my IT Career experiences.

Been for more than decade in IT industry, I agree that huge effort is needed from new manager to follow fair approach towards women and differently able people.   Not only large companies can create a fair environment for women, small companies and startups can do also. What is needed is a positive mindset and that comes from positive interactions experienced by male employee early in career in his team or by his supervisor Did they have right experiences that influences them on being manager to  create positive environment for women?

Here my experiences and learning that has helped me to create my perspective towards women employees. sharing the same to say it is possible to create positive mindset.

In my second job, the only Tech Lead I worked for long duration and was friend was women. One day, she had to leave late and she comes by 2-wheeler from south Bangalore. My manager Asif had called for a taxi. On her leaving, he asked her to go home safe in taxi. She went in cab leaving her 2-wheeler. These are times when team worked using desktops and  cab means private card called in advance and we worked in Central Business district. Thanks Asif to help me get right perception to support female employee.

When we went to USA, we had our first daughter born and we were only two of us. Not knowing what to do in new city, I asked my female lead engineer(45 years old) and she was extremely helpful to make me see the responsibility to take care of my wife and my child.   At the same time, She raised question to my  company manger “what will Srini do if baby is born and project is over previous week”. My manger neither gave her proper answer and also came and polished asked “How does she know that your wife is pregnant? I responded that this is our problem and we will handle”.

This lead engineer c and manger shared  how my manger responded and  shared that we take steps to ensure that  your family will not be in zombie state and know what to do. Surprised that how Mid-West Americans supported, contrary to my past wrong belief ” Americans do not care”, both men and women. When baby was born, support received from everyone in Milwaukee, made me humbler and also make me to think of “Pay backwards”what I received. Our manager  attitudes gets developed when we are engineer and the positive it is towards women, it remains positive later. 

In my third job at startup, it was multiple experience. As company, women were treated well. Company bought 4 wheeler and hired driver for company owned 4 wheeler and employed the driver.Officially the driver becomes escort for female employee going late. After Prathibha case, female employees were asked to go home by 8:30 pm and we had a cab at 8:30 pm . Another trip at 7: 30 pm to drop employees to closest bus-stop. My friend Sudhakar showed that we can  balance diversity and being frugal and it is mindset.

On my end, I hired women employee for short term. she was quick learner, well skilled and went for higher studies later.  Thanks to V who  was my first female team member.  She shared how guys behaved, remarks shared without bad intention and why it hurts. My patient listening to her geared myself to hire women employees and understood their needs from manager.

Talent needs to be valued, irrespective of  men or women. My colleagues used to share with women candidates project challenges, late evening call support needed. We conveyed that we will support your well being, we have constraints and still we try our best. Planned their work  to allow them leave home by 8:30 pm or have setup to Work from Home.  We need to answer questions from male employees for this partial support to women.

For my team, there was female candidate for interview for automation engineer and I observed that she was pregnant (already father to 2 children). J performed extremely well in the interview and answered beyond my expectations and her current salary was too low with our offering.  Asking her to wait, I went to my HR(female) & recruitment mgr(child) and said “she is pregnant and she is best fit for role”. They said “Hire for talent”. HR influences in large way in creating culture of organization towards women employees. 

I went back and shared with her our interest and said ” I have seen my wife pregnant.  Are you pregnant?”. She answered yes and asked  how she can travel from Vijaya Nagar in this state. She shared that her company is in ITPL and our office was half the distance compared to her office. I asked next bold question” When is baby due date?”. This date fell 2 weeks before release, there was (>) 5 months from day she can join  I hired her.

This girl learnt learn C# and write code in C# using Visual Studio in first month. She did all this independently with  little supervision with my team lead. Her work impressed me to keep in touch for long time, even after both left company, she went abroad and searched for a job coming back to Bangalore. Today I will hire her again if she looks for a job. Jothi taught me to never look at things like pregnancy in job interview.

In my own startup. S , started as fresher, after an year she got married, she became pregnant too.. We switched off elevator beyond 1 hour in morning and evening. The pregnant employee was permitted to come to the 3rd floor office by elevator. If you are attentive to your actions, you can create exceptions every where. 

When she left of maternity leave, we paid salary across her maternity months.  Thanks to Guru who would keep S’s salary first aside, even in tricky times. When she came back, there was an unfortunate scenario for her to leave. S was given gift and asked to get things right and join back. There was clarity in thought that paying her maternity days was right thing to do as employer. Allowing her to  leave was right thing as that is what is expected from a  parent in her situations.  Being parents, we could relate to S as parents.  Your colleagues drive and influence your approach towards women. 

To end, We see more people beyond women with need on humanity to support them fairly and equally to enable them get a fair life, differently enabled people. As part of my product marketing role in 2nd startup, I proposed an innovative way to make NGOs to use our product. GN, my partner allowed creation of  campaign to provide our product offering free for differently enabled students. While we obtained a lot of learning about our learning software and it opened new opportunities, GN decided to walk the talk by hiring 3 differently enabled people in office. The whole office learnt how to work with them and how we make them feel in our interactions. Thanks GN for humble experience that gave me confidence to work with NGOs and organizations working  with differently able students.

On one side, when companies like SAP offer day care centers and special support for female employees, picture is not rosy across IT employees. These are experiences heard from employees, friends and neighbors.

Female employees, mothers in small companies are scheduled calls at 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM or from 9 PM to 10 PM. What would happen to their children sleeping habit?

Female employees in ITPL areas can be found on BMTC VOLVO buses even after 9 PM when roads get deserted. I see girls who stay in one of our apartments coming late. I am happy with women walking on road in night. If female employee is not ready to care for her safety in Bangalore famous for its Pratibha case, how will it strike to manager (male) to think of female employee needs? 

Both male and female employees in India attend calls between 6:30 PM and 8:30 PM. Assume that these Indians can attend from home, when do they spend time with their children? Mostly, you would see their American colleagues would do best to have all things to  protects his personal time. Do Indians not need personal time?.

I know houses where fathers lock their rooms because child would not allow them to take calls. when my girls were young, they come and sit on my lap across client call. I used to inform that she is listening and my daughters rarely shouted/screamed. May be a rare case. Today in home calls, when people ask to ON webcams, I do not or at times I hear that I look dull, I ignore and focus on agenda.  I and my daughter share study room. .

To note, at closing time of call at 9:30 PM, lead/manager asks team member to send minutes of meeting  or send email with some details or perform a small change and wants the same immediate, sharing that would help them be more productive. My question is ” why they fail to understand that employee took call in personal time? How fair it is of them to assign work and ask for  completion in personal time?