Putting scientifically, we can say that ‘Life is a relativity theory’. How and why, let’s try to assimilate the fact through a story. Once, there was a man who lived a peaceful, contented life with his small family, which comprised of his wife and two children. One day, he was informed that his parents-in-law were coming from abroad to stay with him for a couple of months. Things could be managed well for some time. However, as more and more days passed, the man started getting annoyed with the number of persons in the small dwelling. Things started appearing to him getting worse day by day. He, therefore, decided to seek the advice of a sage. Approaching the wise man, he complained that he had lost his peace of mind because his household had grown larger. The sage advised him to bring 6 hens in his house for a month and then seek further advice. A month later, he visited the sage only to cry even more as his life had gone worse due to the stink from the hens. The sage then advised him to buy a pair of oxen and two goats. He instructed the man to keep the animals as pets in his dwelling, and return to him after a month to seek further advice. The man followed the advice of the sage and brought the pets as told. After one month, he returned to the sage and cried even louder, ‘O Master! Life has become terrible. My house is too crowded and it badly stinks of garbage always. Please help me.’ To his plea, the sage advised him to shift the pets somewhere else and asked him to meet after a month. ‘Thank you so much for restoring peace into his life,’ the man said happily to the sage after a month. The sage smiled and said, ‘Dear son! If you recollect, there are as many members in your house as there were when you came to me for the first time. Only your perspective has changed now, after you experienced even harder situations than earlier.’Actually, this is life. When we see things relatively with tougher circumstances, we are able to cherish the way things are going on. Only after walking in the burning sun can one understand the bliss that shade is.Therefore, count the blessings of life when you find yourself knee-deep into problems. Till we encounter sorrow, we aren’t able to value the joys that God has blessed us with.
A series of commonplace factors– small, medium, large; left, right, centre; waking, dreaming, deep sleep; night, dawn, noon– indicate that the number three plays a prominent role in our lives. There are also three divisions of time– past, present and future. All human capacities can be classified into three categories– thoughts, words and deeds. On the mental plane, we have the thinker, the act of thinking, and the object of thought. In terms of composition of the human being, we have the body, mind and soul.When the idea of 'three' is transferred into a geometrical shape, it forms the triangle. In general, the three angles of a triangle represent the three-fold aspect of life, with each angle being inseparable and connected to the other. The three focal points are integral to the proper functioning or completion of anything. The triangle is a universal emblem represented in many faiths. We have the Trinity of Christianity (Father, Son, Holy Ghost); the Hindu Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh); and Kethu, Chochman, and Binah in Judaism. In various religions, the triangle is a symbol of oneness or unity. The divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for example, are the three unique facets of ONE divine entity– the underlying force behind the workings of this Universe. God also has three attributes: omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence. He is the generator, operator and destroyer: three in one. Thus, the triangle is the stamp of unity and oneness. The triangle also stands for spiritual elevation. The apex of the triangle, pointing north, symbolises the origin and destination of every soul. If you draw the image of a triangle on a piece of paper and extend the two lines from the apex downward, you in essence create duality from singularity. The duality of nature, the world of black and white, of relativity, stems from the oneness of the Supreme (the apex or point of origin). But the goal of all life is to rise above duality and once again enter the true abode of the Absolute. The holy scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji says: “O mind, you are the image of that Divine Light; know your origin.” The aim is to resurrect oneself to the apex of the triangle, further representing the power of three. Hence, 'three' is the number of resurrection, for it was on the third day that Jesus rose from the dead. It was the third day on which Jesus was “perfected” (Luke 13:32), consummating his role as the Son of God. A human being's spiritual resurrection, or elevation, is representative of the ideal 180 degree turn, or transformation, that he or she eventually accomplishes when deluged in the divine, supra-mental light during the practice of the meditation technique imparted by a Perfect Spiritual Master. Through contemplation, a person begins to transform by sharpening his or her power of discrimination, rising above selfishness, pride and falsity. A person develops the ability to shake off envy, greed, attachment, etc. because he or she views life with a broader vision– beyond the narrow boundaries of pettiness, egotism and over-extensive passions of this world. Having visions of divine light transmitted by the Perfect Master is the first life-altering experience, as it eventually leads one to other transformations. One should note that victories in moral behaviour without seeing the divine light of God are good, but small in comparison to the undivided bliss that one experiences when in communion with the light, with the Guru. Remember, bliss creates a saint out of a sinner, as one realises his own purity and strength. Not just that! The reformed ones then inspire others as well to fashion their lives in righteousness.
If you ask an internet savvy youth working in a well known MNC what Team Work is, invariably the answer would be– The process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal. This is a good definition of team work but not complete. We need to go beyond the conference room definition of a team to understand the meaning of team work. What about the Indian Cricket team, trying to chase a huge total set by the opponent and then achieving it, with each team member contributing his best? Or, what about a group of 8th graders in school coming up with an amazing project on computer IVR system and winning the inter-school project on electronics? In a more domestic setup, can we think of a team comprising of a mother-in-law and daughters-in-law who toil to prepare a good meal and are successful in presenting it to the guests at the right time and in the best possible way and gather accolades from all family members! Isn't that a demonstration of exemplary team work? Apart from having the required skills and appropriate knowledge for the job, each person in the team should be well informed of the collective goal and output of the work. Whatever I am planning to do should be in line with the final output to be produced by the team. Imagine ten labourers painting a brick wall. Each one has been given a set of 10 rows of bricks to paint. Suppose the first labourer completes his work and paints the 10 rows in some flowery colour, while the second labourer comes and paints the next ten rows in solid colours. And the next painter in some other colour mismatching that of first two... So basically all painters do their individual parts well, but the collective goal of painting the wall fails. In a team, all members should have a broader perspective of doing the work best so that the team's goal can be achieved. If narrow minded people are prevalent, they will just be bothered on how to showcase their individual work as best. A team prospers through sharing– sharing of knowledge, responsibilities and credit. Broadness of mind is cultivated through selfless service, which means work done not for name, fame or money but for sheer love towards God and mankind. When individuals participate in selfless service, they nurture such qualities of sharing even at their workplace and home. Let's take one more example of team work. In a grand feast, ten helpers are given the task of chopping vegetables. The vegetables include potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, etc. There are some raw jackfruits as well which are given to two of the helpers. While the rest of the vegetables are chopped off fast, jackfruits take pretty long to get peeled and cut. So once the potatoes, tomatoes and other vegetables are cut, all the choppers get together and start peeling the jackfruits and deliver all chopped vegetables at the right time. Team work asks for such an attitude where each member considers the entire set of work as one's own. The team doesn't rest or pause till each task is completed and the team's goal is achieved. If we think on this closely, it is easier said than done. We do the task assigned to us with complete dedication because we feel there our individual recognition is at stake. However, when it comes to assisting someone else to complete the team's task, often we are not motivated enough as it's not about our reputation any more. Owning up to the team's concern requires greatness in character. And character, as they say, is not built in a day. Character is made strong and resilient by meditating upon one's soul. This gives an individual a chance to introspect and own up to one's own flaws and also those of the team. So we see that even though all our efforts go into skill-building; like, communication skills, technical skills, networking skills, management skills, etc; we somehow don't give as much importance to character building as we should. Which one do we think remains with us longer– skill or character? Let us now think of situations where a perfectly collaborated team starts to split. This is when the members start pointing fingers at each other and the blame game begins. People allege each other of misinterpretation, negligence, etc. and the task remains unresolved. In such situations, more often than not, each person involved has his own share of flaw; everyone could have saved the error if they were more meticulous and vigilant. However, none takes it up as his mistake. Because acceptance of one's own error is marked as a sign of weakness and in the cut throat competition we cannot afford to appear weak. We do not realise that what truly matters is the strength of intellect and not the mass of ego. Admitting to one's mistakes builds one's strength of mental faculty and diminishes the ego, which helps one in moving up in any sphere. Truly speaking, practical spirituality is the sole answer to the above problem. When we start taking small steps on the path of spirituality, ego weans away and gradually the inner power becomes stronger. Spirituality makes an individual resort to tolerance and constructive criticism. And, when such individuals come together as a team, they do not land up in blame games in the event of flaws. One may note that practical spirituality is nothing but meditating upon one's inner light revealed by a 'true' spiritual mentor. Moreover, spirituality is not a matter of practice in a specific phase or time in our day to day life. Rather, it percolates all spheres of our lives, irrespective of whether we are alone, with family or at the workplace working in a team. The more one practices on it, the more it empowers him with the divine qualities of sharing and loving. One important factor which keeps a team together is clarity and openness in communication. Communication, as is often misinterpreted, is not just exchange of words. It is also exchange of thoughts and vibrations among all team members. If we look around, we see that almost everyone knows how to coax another with sugar coated words and tone. We often hear these phrases in the corporate world– the art of selling the client or conversational skills to use in interviews. What in reality these phrases mean is, irrespective of good or bad we may think of another person, our words and intonation should be honey-like-sweet and our body language should be impeccable. Purity and positivity of thoughts towards ones team members is never given as much importance. However, in reality, thoughts carry more value than words. If we think negatively about someone, unknowingly we send out negative vibrations to others even though we speak nice words. Vibrations reach faster and stronger and have more impact than words. So, if negativity prevails at workplace, then definitely communication is hindered. One cultivates positive thinking by accepting positive thoughts through spiritual discourses or satsangs. Spiritual discourses act like cleansing agents for our mind. They teach us how to remain humble in pain, how not to inflate the ego in affluence. This is positivity, in deeds and not mere words. When we listen to such discourses again and again, positive thoughts ooze out from us and whoever we come in contact with, receives the positivity of our minds. In reality, this is clarity and openness in communication. So we see, though communication skills classes teach us how to use words in an articulate manner, only spirituality can teach us how to attain positivity in communication. Team work demands respect for team members. In fact, respect is something natural, as all individuals respect themselves. When we say, I respect you, it means I trust you and what you say or do carries value. Each member in the team needs to value the other's words and deeds. This way mutual respect and trust are established in the team. Each member in the team feels valued and this ensures best output for the team as each member puts in his best. Divine Knowledge makes one see the light of divinity within oneself and within all fellow human beings. This suffuses respect and goodwill for all. It makes one see other's perspective first and empathise with one's co-workers. After all, aren't a team yet another version of a society? Just like we maintain camaraderie with our family members, friends, neighbours etc, we also need to be empathetic to the people we work with.
To erect even a simple mansion, the architect first of all has to construct the entire house in his mind; the location of the rooms, kitchen, washrooms, the site of the courtyard, erecting the walls, putting on the roof, settlement of all the fittings and the furniture and so on. Then, from the mind, the entire construction is poured out on a piece of paper and corrections are made. Next, erection starts at the gross level and finally the dream home becomes a reality. But from where did the construction actually begin? It began in the mind. Similarly, to raise your life high, you need to sketch it in your mind first. This preparation is nothing but dreaming. So, dream about your life as per what you really want to be! To dream doesn't mean that you move around with your head high in the sky. It actually means that you are seeking a purpose for your life. And this can be accomplished only by you. Nobody else can come to your rescue. Once, a villager was packing his suitcase. His friend asked– “Hey, what's up! Where are you going?” The villager replied– “Actually, I'm going to the town to buy some cloth from the market there. Do you also need something?” The friend replied– “Oh, I remember! Can you give measurements to the tailor there on my behalf to stitch a nicely-fitting suit for me?” The villager got puzzled and he uttered, “How can I provide the measurement for your suit? You need to do it yourself.” Similarly, to dream about your future is your forte. You are well acquainted with your capabilities, potentialities, strengths and weaknesses. Others can merely direct or suggest to you; but at the end of the day, your eyes have to capture the zenith defining your life's success. Moreover, we should not be diffident if our dreams are not in the league. In fact, our dreams should be one of their own kind. They should be matchless. Imagine if our ancestors would not have dreamt of a far more comfortable life as it is today, we still had been the inhabitants of the Stone Age. Both Edison and Einstein were thrown out of their schools. They were labelled as hopeless students by their teachers. But both of them left a golden mark on the history of science. How? They chose to dream differently. Managing academic degrees and grabbing effortless jobs like others was not what they expected out of their lives. Rather, their eyes were brimmed with higher visions. Someone has rightly said– 'Our eyes make the horizon.' Those who dream big can achieve far more. In the musical South Pacific, there is a song called Happy Talk which says– 'Talk about things you'd like to do. If you don't have dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?' So, dream high, dream big. But, it is important to note that merely dreaming will not take you to the goal. If you simply keep yourself engaged in dreaming of a vivid and vibrant future, then perhaps you may succeed in becoming another 'shekhchilli' who only spun tall tales throughout his life. You will be like lottery ticketers who continue to purchase lottery tickets and wish that luck will be compassionate towards them and at some point they will win a jackpot. Great men of courage, adventure and knowledge never waited for the smile of fortune. Thus, you ought to move ahead towards the next step i.e. TO DARE. Everyone has oceans to fly, if they have the heart to do it. To dare is a precondition for every triumph. When a plant rests in a soft, comfortable and cosy small pot, its life is at ease, relaxed and happy! No fight, no struggle, no scuffle! But this way, how deeply and significantly can it stretch its roots? And, up to what extent can it spread out its branches? Noticeably not much! A plant will continue to remain as a plant and will breathe its last as a plant. It will never be assigned the title of a tree. But if it dreams of an absolute revolution from a plant to a fully grown tree, with its gigantic and mammoth branches competing with the sky, then it has to dare. Dare to throw away its small, comfy home and get rooted into the field to withstand all the unfavourable and adverse circumstances. Likewise, to fulfil high dreams and high goals that we have chosen, we too need to dare. Dare to face the challenges that come in the way of success! To go with the flow is an easy option. Even a dead fish can do that. But to swim upstream is the certificate of life. So, dare to stand against all the odds! However, an important query arises here, how can one become daring from within? This can happen only when we become aware of our inner strengths. When an individual is conscious of his own tremendous potentialities, abilities and capabilities; when he realises that he himself is the architect of his future, then nothing remains beyond his reach. Swami Vivekananda once said– 'The remedy for weakness is not brooding over weakness, but thinking of strength. Teach men of the strength that is already within them.' The world admires strength, not weakness. When a batsman hits sixes in succession, viewers give him a standing ovation in great excitement and dance in amusement. It's the adoration for the triumph of strength. Strength, energy and drive already present in a man receive universal praise. But alas! Man uses only a small portion of an otherwise unlimited expanse of his potential energy. Imagine a cow tied to a pole with a rope in vast grassland. Despite being in expansive grassland, the cow can move only in a small area around the pole to graze the grass. It further contracts its area of movement by encircling around the pole thereby shortening the length of the rope. Men too constrict themselves and act within the perimeter they themselves set, not being aware of their immense strengths, capacities and possibilities. But, those who are awake and are aware of their vast inner-storehouse of potential, they achieve towering success even in unfavourable conditions. Milton was blind, Napoleon had a skin disease, Julius Caesar suffered from epilepsy, Beethoven and Byron were deaf and the super-orator Demosthenes earlier stammered. All these personalities realised the huge potential hidden within them and then they dared to rock the world. So, dream big and then dare on the basis of your massive inner strength to progress on the path of success. That's the only way.
These are the dreams of a little kid with a limitless horizon. His dreams know no bounds. As a kid we dream big because there is no edge to what we can do, what we can have, or where we can go. But as we grow up, the people we work with, our friends, and even our own family members slowly condition us to admit the way things are and just settle. But it is truly said– “Take time to dream, it will hitch your wagon to a star.” It clearly states that dreaming is not just building castles in air; instead, your level of success is based on your ability to dream, to dream big, to work hard, to set goals and stay focused. Dream is not what comes when you sleep; dream is something which does not allow you to sleep. History proves that the intensity of dream backs the height of success for every successful man.