There are two schools of thoughts about our ability to change our behaviour over our life span; one is “we cannot change as we are made that way!” and another “We can change at our will!” As pair of opposite prevails in all aspects of life such as “hot & cold”, “light & shadow”, “Pain & pleasure” and so on, we have two opposite view about our ability to change ourselves for the better. After reading and listening to great masters, I have programmed myself to be optimistic about everything in life instead of pessimistic views as it paid many dividends for me throughout my life.
There are two handles to life; one is “it is a benediction to be human” and another is “It is a load of misery”. I was recently reading the biography of Lord Buddha who was completely kept in dark about the miseries of life by his father believing that Gautama will become the emperor of Kapilavastu. Gautama became Buddha only after getting exposure to the realities of life which is the biggest change ever reported in mankind.
I am going to advocate the idea that you can transform yourself if you choose to irrespective of what is your position in life. In this article and the few subsequent ones, I am going to share the approach and inputs that made me a better soul.
Why we are what we are?
I was curious to know how and why human beings are so different from each other as compared to the other species and constantly read many scriptures and research on modern psychology. I wish to present few facts as I understood from my research:
1. All human beings have born with equal opportunities to explore their life and we are different in our IQ which is the metric that measures human ability to learn and understand complex phenomenon. Those with higher IQ learn faster.
2. Our emotional state is determined by our childhood conditioning which is often referred as EQ – Emotional quotient.
3. Our principle centring is determined by the values imbedded in our sub-conscious mind during our childhood and often referred as SQ – Spiritual quotient.
4. Our ability to maintain relationship with others is also a function of our childhood conditioning which is referred to as RQ – Relationship quotient
5. Conditioning is the process of programming our mind like a computer functions as per the codes written on it.
6. Many of us don’t even know how we are messing up our life and relationship and live in a paradigm “One who knows not that he knows not is a fool”; we can often take actions on matters which are known to us. There are many remain in “we don’t know that we don’t know” space of our consciousness.
7. When conditioning is possible, un-conditioning & re-conditioning also must be possible which the reverse of the conditioning is.
8. We don’t need to be helpless for our current stature & personality as we have not exercised our option, as human being is the pinnacle of creation. If Gautama can become Buddha, ‘Narendra can become Vivekananda; you and I can make this planet a better place not by changing others, but by changing ourselves. In my view the World reflects what we are as it has no independent reality!
Anatomy of Human Personality:
Before I could proceed with my views on how we can change our personality, it is important to understand; what is the anatomy of our personality from the Vedic point of view. Our Veda says that we are made of 4 layers of personality – Body, Mind, Intellect and Atman in their higher archival order. Let me explain what is their functions and interaction between each of them which is important before we venture on our taking charge of our life for the change management.
Body is the grossest level of our being; the word “Gross” in Veda refers to that which can be perceived by all 5 senses (touch, feel, smell etc). The body has 5 input and 5 output devices. The major function of our body is to “perceive” with 5 input sense organs (eye, nose, tongue, skin, ear) and act with 5 output device namely “hand, leg, vocal chord, excretion system and genital”. Body is like hardware of a computer system which receives signals from a mouse & key board and gives output through a monitor. Veda calls body as a “Perceiver”
The mind is a “subtler” part of our being which receives and processes the external stimuli and is equivalent to the “operating system” of a computer which understands your inputs and carries out certain computing. In Veda anything is said to be “subtler” if it cannot be recognized by our senses but its presence cannot be denied. One aspect of the mind is it “emotions” only and has no rationale (ability to distinguish good and bad). Veda calls mind as a “Feeler”. Its main function is to receive the external stimuli from body and generate emotions such as “anger, jealousy, greed, anxiety, love, compassion, etc. Science is yet to find out where the mind is situated in the human body.
Intellect is more subtle than mind and has a different function than mind; mind “feels” where as intellect “thinks” . Human beings only blessed with higher order equipment called intellect with which we have progressed in our civilization which is denied for the animal kingdom. Intellect stores wisdom and often tells us what is right and wrong. There is no equivalent example in a computer which differentiates a robot from a human.
The computer cannot function if there is no electricity even it is the cutting edge technology. Similarly there is some life force that animates us like electricity in a computer. Atman is the subtlest layer of all aspects of human personality which the scientists are exploring to prove its presence as matter in human body. Its presence cannot be denied as if it leaves the human body everything becomes non-functional. For the time being we will accept its presence and proceed to our next step of exploration.
In this episode I made a beginning to a big saga of changing ones personality for the better and could cover the structure of human personality. In the coming articles, I shall cover tips and tricks for change. I urge my readers to read my blog continuously to get a perspective of changing your personality for the better.