When I look back, I can’t remember a time when I listened to my parents. Something that I’m not proud of, in retrospect. My Dad gave words of wisdom sparingly, but kept reiterating these repeatedly over long periods of time – stubborn that I was, I never listened to them. In recent times, on some of the occasions when my Dad spoke what I considered were words of wisdom, I had the foresight to write them down. When I collected all the points together, the total came up to 24! I don’t know what it is about wisdom and 24 – Dattatreya had 24 gurus, and such. With my Dad’s permission, I am posting these nuggets of wisdom. Some of them may be obvious – some of them may be brand new – and some of them you may vehemently disagree with. Which is as it should be. The italicized items are my Dad’s words. In some of the points, I have provided a brief explanation, and those words are mine. 

  1. Don’t React
    This was an advice that my Dad gave me repeatedly, all through my life. And every single utterance was much needed – for I still haven’t taken this lesson to heart – knee-jerk reactions still get the better of me from time to time.
  2. When Nature deals you a blow – accepting it gracefully is the smallest price you can pay.
  3. Take the most difficult person in your life. Do the following exercise for 21 days: Write 10 things that are good about this person.
    This advice was given by my Dad to a mentee, who followed this advice, wrote 10 things that were good about a relative who was being mean to her – the first few days where nearly impossible, she reported, but she persevered nonetheless – on the 21st day, her heart was conditioned to display love to this relative – and upon seeing this love, the relative stopped being mean! 
  4. The world revolves thanks to people who give in, not because of people who are stubborn.
    My Dad intended this in the context of family and friends. Most people want to have their way. A rare few are happy to concede to others’ preference. My Dad believed that the latter category of people are instrumental in being the pillars upon whom the respective entities – families/societies etc stand upon. I should note, however, that regarding innovation, the opposite is true – George Bernard Shaw said it to perfection: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
  5. When people are working around us (as against working with us), this is a sign that we are doing something wrong, and therefore need to work on ourselves.
  6. When you have to deal with people with whom you are in a long term relationship, ask yourself: is there a way to communicate to the other person?
  7. In the 24 hours you have, you can think correctly, do what you have to do, do good. You can’t do anything more.
  8. Will Power is doing fixed things at fixed times each day.
    Source: Will Power and its development by Swami Budhananda 
  9. Swami Vivekananda’s four point formula:
        – Have Friendship towards All    
        – Be merciful to those who are in misery
        – When people are happy, we must be happy
        – To the wicked we must be indifferent
    Source: Personality Development by Swami Vivekananda
  10. Practice deep breathing. When done regularly, past tendencies, past thoughts, past baggages go away from your system.
    Stuck at home during the covid lockdowns, inspired after reading The Art of Communicating by Thich Nhat Hanh, my Dad practiced deep breathing intensively and regularly, and reported that a lot of mind’s clutter and baggages got removed.
  11. When you make a mistake, you may very well get it back from an unexpected source when you are not at fault.
    A corollary of the law of karma.
  12. When you demand your pound of flesh from others, you are punishing yourself.
    A corollary of the law of karma.

Part two of this post can be found here.

Image Credit: Jon Tyson at Unsplash