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Personal Development

The Power of Gracefulness: Achieve Mental Fortitude

"Cheerfulness, gracefulness, silence, self-control, purity of intent, these are called penance of the mind." - Bhagavad Gita 17.16

We are going through five exercises for the mind as given in the above Bhagavad Gita sloka. Reiterating here that these are the tips for developing the mind and not for the body. There are two previous slokas in the same chapter of Bhagavad Gita on the exercises for the body and the speech (17.14 & 17.15).

How could cheerfulness and gracefulness apply to the mind? Are they not related to the body by meaning? This is a common doubt. “Is cheerfulness and happiness one and the same”? Let me clarify these doubts before proceeding further.

The Power of Gracefulness: Achieve Mental Fortitude

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Aspect of Mind or Body

Happiness is the state of mind and thus cheerful outlook is the result of cheerful mind. When the mind is not cheerful, one cannot fake happiness. Thus, cheerfulness is to the mind and the result is happiness.

Meaning of gracefulness is the act of moving in an attractive way that shows control as per Oxford dictionary. True as per the definition of the word gracefulness. Gracefulness is an art of the mind as per Bhagavad Gita. Gracefulness of the mind is in not allowing the negative emotions to take control of the mind. What are these dreadful negative emotions? Six of our prime enemies as reported in the saastras are Lust, Anger, Greed, Pride, Emotional Attachment and Jealousy. One will become graceful after controlling and overcoming all these six enemies.

It is story time now. An interesting story based on the excerpts from the book "The Habit of Winning" authored by Prakash Iyer (suitably modified).

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Who Stole My Cookies

One day a young lady was waiting in the departure lounge of an airport for the boarding announcement of her delayed flight. It was a late evening flight, and she was returning to her base after a long and tiring review meeting with a client where the client bombarded her with uncomfortable questions. To ‘add fuel to the fire’, the return flight got delayed. Just a wee bit impatient with the delay, she walked across to a kiosk and bought herself a pack of her favourite cookies!

She quickly settled in an uncomfortable seat in front of the boarding gate and pulled out her laptop, hoping to finish the project review report for the management making effective use of the waiting time. She got engrossed in her work. She took one bite of the cookie, then another . . . the cookie was quickly gone! As she reached out for a second cookie, she was taken aback to find that the man on the next seat was helping himself to one too. She looked at the man with a intriguing look, but the man was not perturbed. He smiled at her still finishing the cookie fast. She was tempted to pull the pack of cookies away and give a piece of her mind to the man.

She reasoned out “It is OK, he must be hungry. I am fine to share my cookies with a hungry man, but he could have minimum asked my permission. Country brutes”.

And this went on. She’d take a cookie, and so would he. Until it was down to the last cookie. As she eyed it, the man quickly grabbed it, split it into two and gave her a half with a big smile. That was the straw that broke the camel's back. “Who is he to give me half of my cookie?” She thought.

She was seething with anger and got up to give him a piece of her mind. Just then the boarding announcement was made. Her resolve for a fight got reduced to a scornful look. She grabbed her bag and headed off towards the boarding gate, still angry, very angry with the man. She was thankful that the announcement came just in time.

After settling in her seat in the flight, she opened her handbag to pick up her half-finished book. She left the story at an interesting twist, and could not resist the suspense. Guess what she found in her handbag? Her pack of cookies. The almond-and-raisin specials!

‘Oh no!’ she sighed. She desperately wished to apologize to the man who was gracious enough to smile and offer his cookies even after seeing her seething with anger. What a gentleman? She learnt the meaning of ‘gracefulness of mind’ from that man with all the possible manners. But the man was not to be seen in the flight.

We go through our lives feeling that other people are taking advantage of us, of our talents, stealing our cookies. Often, the cookies we think of as our own actually belong to others.

I often hear the excuse that ‘showing our emotion is better than brooding over the emotion’ as if both have to be mutually exclusive always. It is simply an excuse. The penance for a graceful mind will give you the equipoise not to show emotion as well as not to brood over emotion. That is ‘Emotional Intelligence’. Most of the time, people we think as unreasonable would have their own rationale and intelligent mind would try to find that rationale instead of taking hasty conclusions.

How to develop ‘gracefulness of mind’? Another thoughtful story for this. There is space for only one story in an article. Have to wait for one more week for this new learning.

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Jaganathan T
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Jaganathan T
CiO Klub - President of Chennai Chapter, Managing Trustee - FutureCalls Charitable Trust, Author, Exemplar Global Certified ISMS Lead Auditor
Subjects of Expertise: Technology, Cyber Security, Management Development
Featured Uplyrn Expert
Jaganathan T
CiO Klub - President of Chennai Chapter
Managing Trustee - FutureCalls Charitable Trust
Author
Exemplar Global Certified ISMS Lead Auditor

Subjects of Expertise

Technology
Cyber Security
Management Development

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