By Sudhamahi Regunathan


With our sense organs, we understand and experience the world. With meditation, we understand and experience the Self. It is commonly believed that to understand the world is far more important than to understand oneself. This is in spite of the fact that this is the age of self-help books.

Meditation is by far the best self-help tool. Spending a little time to know the Self, will go a long way in bringing success in all fields.

The first principle is to understand: Who are we? Ramana Maharshi encouraged meditation on this question: Who am I? The first chapter of the Acharanga Sutra dwells on this question and associated ones like, where we come from, where we go from here, and so on. Meditating on such questions will give us a larger perspective of life.

The second principle of self-management is to hold a mirror to oneself. Why do i decide thus? What makes me change my decision? We will soon find that we decide on the basis of the beliefs and opinions that we hold. We think that some things are bad and some others good, and we choose accordingly. This is based on the opinions we hold. We have to assess our beliefs and opinions. Are they well founded? Are they objective? This analysis will help to centre us.

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The third principle of self-management is not to understand oneself on the basis of other people’s opinions and views. Praise may boost one’s ego and give a false sense of superiority. Criticism can give one an inferiority complex. Do not regard yourself as either inferior or superior. Get to know yourself by yourself, not through the eyes of others.

An important principle of self-management is developing one’s competence. One has to learn to make a realistic analysis of one’s strength and weaknesses. It is important to always keep improving one’s capabilities. All ambitions should be adequately supported by competence, only then it has meaning. On the basis of your strengths and weaknesses, develop your competence, will power, imagination, cognition, memory, and insight. One should develop one’s imagination, but not abuse it. Choose the right time for the right work. All this is improved with Preksha dhyana (meditation).

Contrary to the idea of multitasking, the Thanam Sutra, another Jain text, says, let the mind concentrate on only one thing at a time. The skill to plan and manage things in this manner is best acquired through meditation. Practice only one thing at a time, but give it your hundred percent.

Weak memory is a setback. The reason lies in obstructions to remembering things, which weaken and impair our memory. In this area too, meditation helps. And focussing on one thing at a time also helps a great deal.

Finally, a life based on needs and not wants can optimize one’s energy in the right direction. Acquiring wealth is essential. So are food, water, clothing, and shelter. But along with these, the proper ordering of one’s needs is also essential. We mistake all our needs as necessities. What is the criterion for defining our necessities? A little reflection will limit our needs reasonably.

Finally, the clinching aspect is to build good communication skills so that one reaches out to the other with charm. This is the defining skill of living.




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