Spiritual festivals enable us to apply a handbrake to life. They give us an opportunity to detach from everyday activities like travelling, emails, meetings, monitoring, controlling and measuring. For a short time we try to switch off from worldly problems and entanglements. They give us a chance to silence the body and awaken the spirit. The science of such festivals is universal. The mind needs a holiday to experience rest and renewal.
Far too often, even in our holidays we rush from one activity to another, and clutter our minds with plans, movement and noise. The mobile phone has become a primary instrument of anxiety today. No surprise that we have a mental health pandemic all over the world. We could do with applying a handbrake for the shower and cleansing of our inner spirit.
This year my experience of the Jain Paryushan festival has recharged my desire to meditate. A simple practice of sitting alert in one place, switching off any devices, becoming silent and then focusing on our breathing is a start to reinvigorating our spirit.
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If we are steeped in business and finance, our desire to measure, monitor and control can become so normalised that we do not even notice how we have ceded control of our own self. We increase our insecurities as we deepen our commerce and finance. The leadership that emanates becomes one of obsession with control over others, because we have lost control of our self. We become entangled even when we think we are free.
There is a very simple practical solution. Switch off for even five minutes a day. Observe your breathing. Inhale the breath that gives you life, and be grateful for that primary energy which comes to us for free. This is the beginning of an inner dialogue, a reflective journey which allows us to see and think beyond business and finance. Purpose and meaning become your new rhythms, and as you regularly practice this, you will experience a different quality of leadership, one where you reduce your expectations of others, and increase your selflessness and generosity.
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Meditation is an opportunity for us to recover our self-esteem and deeply understand the nature and limits of money. It helps us recognise our inner self and the unconditional energy and generosity it can give us. No one can take this from us, as our insecurity turns into a deeper self-belief and confidence.
Test it for yourself and experience the renewal. I have.
Professor Atul K. Shah [@atulshah] teaches and writes about Indian wisdom on business, culture and community at various UK universities and is a renowned international author, speaker and broadcaster.