Leaks Vs Floods

We are all used to looking at the big stuff – stuff that
deserves to be looked at, because it is the big stuff that makes the
difference. Nobody is supposed to sweat over the small stuff, and we are
constantly mentoring our people in this way of thinking. And rightly so. Because
this is the kind of thinking that will help you grow into senior positions, help
us take bigger responsibilities, help us grow broader shoulders to take on more
weight, broaden our thinking. If we focus on the small stuff, we lose
perspective on the big picture. All good stuff.

This has occupied my thinking right through my career
too. And this is what helped me grow. And not just in my jobs, but in life too.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. I remember in my advertising days, we always
focussed on the big clients as that is where the bread and butter came from. There
were many smaller clients, who were far more interesting to work with, but we
had to rightly focus on the big clients.

When we followed up on outstanding payments, we
started from the top and spent maximum energy on them. We rarely went down to
the last line of the outstanding statement, and invariably we wrote it off at the
end of the year, as it was too small to spend energy and time of a senior

In my couple of years in banking I saw the same
principle, though with a slightly different perspective. We again focussed on
the big stuff – credit card acquisition, account acquisition – but here the big
stuff was related to revenue generation. So we always spent time worrying about
revenue, as we had recruited a huge sales force, were spending huge moneys on
their training andincentives, CRM
systems to monitor their performance, micro managing the entire system – so revenue
and top line growth was very important and the focus. Also because when you
focussed on top line growth, invariably the bottom line got taken care of.

So growth, growth, growth was the mantra – remember that
this was a growth phase for the whole world, pre recession times. Competition was
intense. You missed a breath and you missed a sale, all had to be sharp and on
the ball and inside the ball, all moving very fast. The early bird catches the worm,
and if you miss the bus, you get only the excreta of the worms.

Amid all this glorious rush and chaos, a not-so-senior
person from credit cards operations did an analysis of the attrition rate of credit
cards and told the business head that you need to focus on this, while you
focus on the card acquisition numbers.  He
was gently and lovingly dismissed with a benevolent grand pat on the back with the
poetic words “Welcome the flood coming into the parched land…don’t worry about
the small leaks at the other end of the village”. This seemed like good advice,
and was taken as such.

These words have always remained in my mind. And they
surfaced recently when I was talking to the benevolent, kind and so-concerned-about-his-people
head of HR of Titan, Mr Ramdas, affectionately known as SRD. He lamented the fact
that almost all his senior managers were negligent about their health, and whenever
he tried to raise the issue, it was not a subject that folks wanted to spend
time talking about. I was wondering if all the senior managers were silently
saying “Welcome the flood coming into the parched land…don’t worry about the small
leaks at the other end of the village”.

For most senior managers, working hard and getting revenue,
growth and money into the companies (parched land) is a far bigger priority
than worrying about their health (small leaks). Remember that they have all
been mentored on ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ and for them when something like
health is fine now (you have not been hospitalised as yet right!?), why bother
about it, and worse, why think about bigger issues like holistic health,
preventive screening, stress…all stuff that good human beings like SRD are
worrying about.

Waste of time! I even had a HR head of another company
tell me that this was not a priority for their management. I gasped in horror!

I wanted to tell them that all leaks, if neglected, will
eventually develop to a flood at the wrong end. If you do not spend time
watching the attrition rate of your credit card portfolio, it will eventually
overtake your acquisition rate.

In the same way if you do not keep an eye on the leak
of your health, it will lead to a flood at the wrong end. Premature heart
attacks, uncontrolled hypertension, fluctuating sugar levels, obesity, sleep
disorders, are all a result of those leaks turning into floods.

And if we are all so smart, we will plug those leaks
now. By spending some time every year, every month, every day on our health –
on our holistic health, so that we sail in the gentle lakes of good health.

Stages of consciousness

Whenever I had a profound experience, especially during my meditation, yoga or breath work sessions, I told myself that I was inching towards a higher awakened state of consciousness. I remember when I was going through my Reiki and Pranic healing courses and after the different levels of the Art of Living courses, all delivered phenomenal experiences. And because of these experiences, which did cause a shift inside me, I continued to diligently practice what I learnt – meditation, the Sudarshan Kriya, yoga, etc.

Much laterwhen I going through my therapist training for Past Life Regression and for Re-birthing Breath work I had similar profound experiences – even richer than what I had ever experienced , reinforcing the feeling that I was indeed getting

And these experiences occurred even outside of any formal course that I was going through. I remember once sitting in the departure lounge of Jeddah airport, quite bored staring out into the runway, when suddenly a surge of energy went through my body, and I felt this enormous feeling of total love, peace, compassion, joy, happiness surge inside me. I smiled and smiled, and was able to identify with every soul who was there and not there. The feeling was and still is unexplainable. I was able to spend time just admiring all of Gods creations – everything, from the plastic flowers in the lounge, to the overflowing waste basket, to the stink coming from the bathroom to the overbearing police man barking to passengers in queue – all seemed so beautiful. I stayed in this awakened higher state of consciousness
for many days.

These profound and beautiful experiences were truly higher awakened state of consciousness, and carried me to a space of complete joy, peace and happiness. I had all kinds of messages and down loads during all these experiences. Most of them were higher order truths - about Universal Love, Absolute Truth, connectedness of all beings, etc. Thoughts and ideas came to my mind that were truly astounding – simple but amazing. So many aspects of Our Native Village came to me during these profound experiences, and I am convinced that Our Native Village is a result of my meditation and nothing else! And this of course deepened my passion and connection to Our Native Village.

I started becoming very intuitive, could go into my meditation and ask for and get messages. On one occasion, I was meant to take a flight to Vietnam for a consulting assignment, and a few hours before my flight realised that we could not find my passport. In my two decades of travelling around the world, I have never ever misplaced my passport and for the first time I missed my flight. And the strangest thing was this – after searching for my passport for about an hour, I suddenly had this amazing feeling of complete peace and happiness, and told my agitated wife, Lalitha to stop searching. She freaked out when she heard my next words, ‘I am not meant to go to Vietnam, I don’t know why, but I am not meant to go, so stop searching’. With a smile we opened a bottle of wine and celebrated this amazing feeling of calm, peace and togetherness. Three days later, Lalitha had a brutal and sudden attack of meningitis. And if I had not been there, she would have continued to medicate herself with paracetemol tablets to make her excruciating headaches to go away – it could have been fatal. I rushed her to the hospital in the nick of time, where after an intensive 10 day period she recovered and is well now.

The gratitude I felt towards my experience which saved my wife’s life still lives in me. After 3 weeks, I told her that today in my meditation, I will find my passport. In my meditation I got a message that said “metal and cloth”. And my wife went to her Moms’ Goderej metal cupboard, and found my passport amongst her clothes – and this blew all our minds completely!! My conviction that I was really really getting there only, obviously, grew stronger. This story was shared at many parties, at family get togethers, with friends and I had a feeling of true gratitude that all that I believed in, is true – my meditation and all my practices.

And add to all this, my ability to ‘manifest’ stuff. I wanted a new computer and I got it as a gift from my family, we did not have money to buy a new car, and we miraculously found a solution and got a fantastic Ford Endeavour, I wanted a new phone and my dear friend Sudha gifted me a fancy Black Berry. So this higher awakened state of consciousness was also working in the gross world – which is fantastic.

But there was one commonality in all these experiences over the last 15 years. These were temporary. I would feel the Universal Love in me during the experiences, I would feel the oneness in all humanity – truly feel this in my very being, but then soon it vanished!

I went back to being the same person I was, with all my pimples, blackheads and blemishes, the same temper and impatience surfaced, and there at times, all compassion and love vanished, and my dark side dominated. There were times when I lost my temper, and sense of centeredness completely vanished - and Lalitha used to question of what use is all my meditation.  As much as her words used to hurt, I knew that he question was relevant and it was so frustrating for me. Just as I thought I was getting there, I was blowing it. I contemplated this deeply.

If there has been one quest, it has been on how to be in a higher awakened state of consciousness all the time. Or at least to understand, why I could not be in this awakened higher state of consciousness all the time, and how I could stop this roller coaster ride from in and out of an awakened higher state of consciousness.

And I understood it yesterday.

My dear friends from Dubai, Nargis and Greg lent me a book called ‘The Translucent Revolution’ by Arjuna Ardagh, a book that Nargis had wanted me to read for a long time, which Greg brought for me on his last visit recently. And I have just finished the forewords by Ken Wilber only – I have read just this section over and over again, to ensure I completely internalised what Ken Wilber was saying. And I understood why I was not able to be in an awakened higher state of consciousness all the time.

Ken Wilber talks about three things. The first is the many states of consciousness  (from page xiv) – ordinary states, altered states, stoned states, meditative states,
hypnotic states, dream states, shamanic states, formless states, non dual states, hypnogogic states, entrained states, peak experiences, flow states, awakened states. Since most of these states of consciousness and peak experiences, and variations of states of waking, dreaming, deep formless sleep and unity, they are often grouped into four general categories;

1)     Gross – Waking state

2)      Subtle – Dreaming state

3)      Causal – Formless state

4)     Non dual state – Unity state

All these states of consciousness are not permanent – they are temporary. You will swing in and out of these different states all the time. This is the roller coaster
ride that I was going through!

And then he talks about the many stages of consciousness. So what is different between states and stages of consciousness? States of consciousness are temporary, stages of consciousness are permanent. So the roller coaster ride I was going through had no permanence as these we only states and not stages!

Ken Wilber details how we all go through different stages of consciousness, which roughly co relates to Abraham Maslow’s investigation into the higher stages of human potential. Maslow first described the normal stages that humans possess, what he calls deficiency needs – physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness needs and self esteem needs. And then he describes higher stages which he calls being needs- self actualisation needs and self transcendence needs. In his research Maslow concluded that we all progressed through all these needs in a sequential manner – there was no way we could jump any of these stages – we had to progress from one to the next until we reached the self transcendence stage.

Carol Gilligan in her book ‘In a different voice’ outlined four stages of female moral development which she called selfish, care, universal care and integrate,
which Ken Wilber calls;

1)      Egocentric  - I care only for myself

2)      Ethnocentric - I care only for my tribe, my country, my nation

3)      Worldcentric - I care for all human beings, regardless of race, colour, sex or creed

4)     Kosmocentric – I care for all sentient beings without exception

Like all stages, the move from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric to kosmocentric is a sequential movement of increasing consciousness, care and development. As we pass through these stages, we should remember that these are not passing states but a permanent trait – a permanent stage of competence acquisition.

And here comes the kicker…

The third point that Ken Wilbur makes is this - in each of these stages of consciousness, we go through the different states of consciousness. You can be virtually at any stage of consciousness and have a peak experience of virtually any state of consciousness, and you will interpret the state according to the stage.

So if you are in the egocentric stage, and have a unity experience of Jesus Christ, you are likely to conclude that you are Jesus Christ. Or is you are in the ethnocentric stage of consciousness and have a unity experience, you will conclude that all in your tribe, country, nation should follow Jesus Christ and he is the only saviour for our community (this is what happens to the Born again Christians).  Or if you are in the kosmocentric stage and have a unity experience, then you will conclude that you and all sentient beings without exception are one with the spirit in the timeless here and now.

So in each of these stages of consciousness we are likely to go through the different
states of consciousness – so there are roughly 16 combinations possible and hundreds of variations within them. And it is important to remember that these
stages of consciousness are almost like waves of consciousness, fluid and flowing, and not necessarily stacked on one the other, but enveloping and embracing each stage when we move into the next stage.



Egocentric  - I care only for myself)Gross – Waking   state

Ethnocentric - I care only for my
tribe, my country, my nationSubtle – Dreaming   state

Worldcentric - I care for all human beings, regardless of race, colour, sex or
creedCausal – Formless state 

Kosmocentric – I care for all
sentient beings without exceptionNon dual state– Unity state 

So until we move on to higher stages of consciousness, we will continue to experience the rollercoaster states of consciousness. So the important thing to do is to aspire to move up the stages of consciousness.

And here is the final kicker….

The one thing that helps accelerate the movement up the stages of consciousness is meditation. According to Ken Wilber, research has proved that when you meditate, which exposes you to awakened states of consciousness, and then you are given the Loevinger test ( a famous and well documented test of developmental stages), you will move through stages at a profoundly accelerates rate.

What an amazing discovery for me. Focus on moving up the stages of consciousness – from ego centric to kosmocentric, as this is the only permanent stage. And in each of these stages you can experience awakened states of consciousness – but know that these states of consciousness are temporary only.

Oh, this answers so many questions for me. I hope it does so for you too….thank you Ken Wilber.

I also hope this sheds light on the 'enlightend experiences' that a lot of people go through, and belive that this is a permanent state. I hope they realise that they need to progress up the stages of consciousness, and not just rely on these temporary flashes of awakened states of consciousness.

God bless us all....

Chasing God

“Look how they have made him an ordinary human being”, were the distraught words filled with anguish, sadness, and despair from my mother. She was referring to her God – Sai Baba. She had been following the news articles that reported finding a treasure trove of crores of rupees, gold and diamonds. Not wanting to be politically incorrect, all these articles leave the ardent devotee with unanswered questions – why did ‘God’ horde all this money?

A seed of doubt has now been unfortunately planted in the fragile mind of my mother, like for millions of other devotees. This is such a dilemma because for decades my mother believed that Sai Baba is truly GOD. While she tries to make sense of all these harsh allegations about her God, she is surely and sadly caught between the devil and the deep blue sea - to believe these allegations will be a betrayal of her ‘Bhagawan’ and an admittance that she has been taken for a ride for decades. Not to believe will be fool hardy, as material evidence was found in their Gods room that looked like loot from Aladdin’s cave!

Oh, this is so sad… this is so very very sad. I wished my Mother did not have to go through this experience in this life time, only because she was so happy in her faith. It gave her so much strength, determination, and zest for life. At the age of 60 she learnt to drive a car! All so that she could go for her Sai Baba meetings and bhajans without having to wrestle with public buses or auto drivers.  She used to run 2 schools, make incense sticks for the organisation, and run a free dispensary at our home….all in the name of her God – Sai Baba. Now in her eyes he has almost fallen from the pedestal.

I must also add that this disappointment is not new. A few years back, some of Sai Baba’s devotees were told that now Sai Baba is appointing ‘emissaries’ who have powers similar to him, and that these ‘emissaries’ will be found all over. Along came this youngster called Ken who claimed he was an ‘emissary’, had some miracles ‘happen’ in his home. Suddenly he became a ‘mini God’ too – not the same status as the big God (Sai Baba), but much like the relation between Jesus and God. Sometime later, this youngster proved to be a fraudster. What followed was anguish, sadness, and despair. After this youngsters exit, another person came along, but has not fallen as yet – in her eyes at least.

I always wanted to tell my mother to stop chasing God all over outside, and that her God was inside her. But then this will not be accepted, as it is so much easier to manifest the God outside in a human form. It is so much more satisfying to have a walking, talking God, rather than a God that is somewhere, everywhere, nowhere, outside, inside, within, without – too vague! And this philosophy of the omnipresence of God is embedded in all scriptures, which even my Mother pontificates about. But still she is chasing God outside.

To a large extent I can understand my mother’s situation… she is old, weighed down with tough life experiences, weak and needs an anchor. But what about people who are much younger, still doing the same thing that my Mother is doing?

For them it may not be a Sai Baba, but is a Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, or a Nityananda…and the list goes on. Ok, this is India and we have always have had a rich tradition of God men. When will we all reach a point where we truly believe that is God is inside us?

When we will we stop chasing God outside. My poor Mother is now tired with all the chasing. Will she have not been so tired if she had stopped chasing God

Only sissies get stressed

This is the view of smart intelligent corporate CXO’s and the intelligentsia in general. Stress is for those who do not know how to cope with life. ‘They have weak life skills’, is the judgement passed by corporate HR honchos, when they see one of their wards ‘loose it’ at work. ‘Stressed out’ means you have to have a mental break
down and get admitted to the hospital…unless this happens, you are fine and ‘coping well’ with life.

You don’t have to ‘loose it’ frequently, or have a mental breakdown to be stressed. Then what the hell is stress anyway?

I have been exploring this. Everyone knows about it, and have their favourite interpretation of it, but the knowledge of stress is weak, shallow, and dangerously far from the truth.

The most inspiring, easily understandable and readily palatable explanation has been given by Deepak Chopra. It helps that he is a doctor who went on to helping
people change their life style using traditional health systems. His explanation is grounded in science and objectivity.

Stress occurs in human beings, when our mind and body goes into the ‘fight or flight’ (FLIFI) response. The FLIFI response is a survival mechanism that nature gave to us to ensure we stayed alive. This was first described by early 20th century American Scientist, Walter Canon. He wanted to understand why some people became ill and others even died under stress. He discovered that when you encounter a threatening situation, a part of your involuntary nervous system becomes instantly and automatically activated.

So if a wild animal came towards us and threatened us, then we will have
to either fight it or run away. To help us here, a serious of events takes
place inside our body in a burst….

Part 1 FLIFI response

Your heart beats faster >>> your bloody pressure rises
>>> you consume more oxygen >>> you expel more carbon
dioxide, you breathe faster >>> your breathing becomes shallow
>>> your heart pumps more blood >>> you sweat >>> one
part of your adrenaline glands pumps out adrenaline and nor-adrenaline which constrict blood vessels >>> another part of your adrenaline glands pumps out cortisol - a stress hormone >>> your pancreas releases more of the hormone glucagon >>> your pancreas releases less insulin >>> as a result of the increased glucagon and decreased insulin, your blood sugar rises >>>  You reduce the bloody
supply to your digestive organs and increase the bloody supply to your muscles >>> and this helps you fight or take flight >>>

In our life today in an urban setting, it is very unlikely that a wild animal will attack, so the flight or fight response is rarely useful. But it is, if in the unlikely
event that we are stuck in a building on fire, or if we are startled by a car
racing down a road and we have to jump out of the way, or if someone tries to
mug you in a dark street, or if you are a soldier in a combat situation.

The same FLIFI response activates in us when we are chasing a deadline, or stuck in traffic, having an argument with our boss or spouse, and in a hundred other situations. This is the ‘wild side’ of our lives, with no wild animal chasing us but just ourselves, and the FLIFI response fully on. Walter Cannon goes on to say that if the neurological response are severe and unrelenting, damaging bodily
changes can occur.

If the FLIFI response is unrelenting and occurring continuously in our
body, here are the effects of it;

Part2 FLIFI response

>>> You reduce the bloody supply to your digestive organs and increase the bloody supply to your muscles >>>  your pituitary gland releases less growth hormone >>>  You produce lower levels of sex hormones >>> Your immune system is suppressed >>> making you vulnerable to diseases >>> accelerating the ageing process >>> leading to tissue damage >>> leading to degeneration of the body and its organs.

Clearly the FLIFI response is being activated in us constantly, as we are all running to stay in the same place, because of the fast pace of our lives and work. In this scenario where we are continuously stressed (FLIFI), the resultant effect on the body is just too dangerous.

This will explain, why seemingly ‘healthy’ people, who have passed all medical tests with flying colours suddenly drop dead. This will explain why those with no genetic pre disposition are diagnosed with cardiac problems. This will explain how perfectly ‘normal people’ are suddenly diagnosed with cancer.

And all the above is completely avoidable, if we go about life with awareness. Awareness of the FLIFI response, will allow us to avoid situations that lead to the FLIFI response.

Stress is not just for the sissies…even the brave hearts get stressed.

Corporate India is dumb!

I have been in the corporate world for over 2 decades. And then I got out of it.
Looking at it from the outside gives me a great perspective of the world. Having
been in it for this long, also gives me the right to be judgemental also, and I
think that the corporate world in general and Corporate India is specific is

The rate of growth in corporate India is astounding. If you are in the corporate
world in India, this is the best place to be, as nowhere else in the world will
one find the vibrancy, opportunities to excel and growth prospects, like you
will find in India. But in spite of all this, it is amazing how dumb corporate
India is.

Corporate India is populated with the brightest minds in the world, minds that will flip
any situation around and deliver success and growth. These minds are better
than the best in the world. And if this bright mind is contributing to the
'dumbness' of corporate India, it is because this 'dumb' mind is ignorant.

I am talking about their capability to look after themselves, look after their

These bright minds are so intelligent and sharp enough at delivering profits, growth,
innovation, etc., but they do not show the same intelligence about their own
being. It is sad to see how ignorant they are about themselves, their state of
health, and what constitutes good health.  And the penalty is severe....death.

In the last 18 months, corporate India has lost some gems, all in the age band of
40 to 50, an age when one is most productive.

What precipitates this is the fact that companies tend to shy away from ‘forcing’
employees to look after their health, saying this is a personal issue. Their
role seems to end when they give their employees a generous insurance policy,
and a mandatory free medical check up once a year. There should be nothing personal
about health, when it comes to employees. Their health should be of deep
concern to companies.

The airline industry demonstrates this, by insisting that all pilots should be in
good health to fly aircrafts. This is because pilots carry a huge
responsibility, and they need to be in good health to carry out their
responsibility. The question s we need to ponder is this: are pilots carrying
more responsibility than senior management personnel of companies?

And it is very clear that senior executives in corporate India are ignorant of what
constitutes good health. They get clean chits at their medical checks, even
exercise every day, and think they are in good health, and this is what happened
with Ranjan Das of SAP. These senior folks do not realise that they are more
than just a bag of fluids, tissue and bones. They are a mind and a soul too,
and they have no clue about the role played by their mind and their soul plays
in their existence. And for a super intelligent corporate world – this is dumb!

Corporate India has to start to wake up to this very urgently, and put in measures to
ensure that these senior executives look after their body, mind and soul. Looking
after ones health should become mandatory, should be built into the KRA’s,
should reflect in promotion and increment discussions, and should become an ‘official’
issue and not personal. This is one of the ways CEO’s will demonstrate responsibility
to their shareholders and to the employees, besides the families of the employees.
And the ultimate beneficiary of this approach will be the companies, their
share holders, employees and the families.

So will corporate India stop being so dumb, and realise that they can move towards
this win-win-win situation. I truly hope so.

A sense of renewal

Today is a new beginning. I just feel this way today….a renewal that is intimate and full of emotion and passion. And several hints of this sense of renewal continued to happily punctuate my day.

Through the day I went through a series of events, none interconnected, yet at a deep level completely connected at an energetic level…

While the day began quite ordinarily this morning, I unusually sat down to continue reading the fabulous book I had started a couple of days back – Journey into Forever by Kiara Windrider. (I also had the honour of meeting Kiara when he visited Our Native Village last week and gift me this book.) I just finished a very interesting chapter and this sense of renewal started to intensify.

Soon after I finished my breath work and meditation and had to attend an unusual number of phone calls and messages before breakfast. I then sat down for breakfast, and had a profound and meaning full sharing with my family. And this sense of renewal got deeper and deeper.

At work, today our new web site also went live (www.OurNativeVillage.com). Our Face Book page is also ready to receive guests (www.FaceBook.com/OurNativeVillage), and so is our YouTube channel (www.YouTube.com/OurNativeVillage). All this we have been working on and intending for years. And it had to be complete today! Another hint of the sense of renewal.

Four unusually energising telephone conversations before I got to work….never happened before

In the office, for the first time I had an amazing conversation with the Chief Manager HRD & Training of Corporation Bank, Mr. Satyanarayanan, who is trying to develop a short programme for some employees who are retiring from the bank. He was quite thrilled to hear about our ‘Purpose of life’ programmes under our Heal Your Life banner. Most importantly, he and his organisation seemed so concerned about the people who were retiring, and their primary concern was if they are letting these people retire with enough inputs for them to cope well after retirement. This is the first time that I was hearing such concern for people leaving an organisation. What an amazing concern for an organisation to have! This seems new too…

It is mid day and Kapila from Our Native Village posts this on her FB page “Yogananda guru says: "Repeat after me.." and I repeat "I shall remold my consciousness. In this new year I am a new person. And I shall change my consciousness again and again until I have driven away all the darkness of ignorance and manifested the shining light of Spirit in whose image I am made." It is March 8th today and a message for the New Year comes up today…another hint of renewal!

It is evening now and as I finish my last meeting of the day an hour ago, the wonderment of the day continues to delight me. I had a long conversation with someone I have been trying to talk to for many weeks, and realised that this person is so close to the work we are doing in spirit, and in mind and in soul, it was truly fantastic. And add to ythis, we have almost finalised another person to join our organisation who will be helping our efforts to spread the message of holistic health.

Renewal the whole day…renewal of hope… of belief in the human beings sense of higher order emotions like compassion, love joy and gratitude, renewal of the total being.

And this is my first blog….something I have been attempting to do for the last 5 years! What a beginning!