Tag: Listen

Learn by using the power of your senses

Learn by using the power of your senses

The human race is truly blessed with the unique gift of learning and widening knowledge in a multitude of disciplines. While the plant and animal kingdom learn to adapt and adopt for survival, it is the human species that is bestowed the privilege of a brain that is able to process and imbibe a wide array of subjects not just for survival but also for personal growth and happiness. However, the unfortunate and unintended consequence has been that human beings are focused on academic learning, laying stress on an evaluation method that is not necessarily the best way of assessing knowledge and worse of all focusing on higher learning without any heed to the basic learning that of using the five senses more effectively.

What we need to focus more on, if we need to become better learners is become more aware of the basic five senses that each of us blessed with, from birth. These senses are the first touch points of learning, which is what the primitive man used, long before any formal educational structure was put in place.

Observe not just see – We see so many thing around us but do we pause to observe and examine the finer nuances of the wonders around us. Observe the various species of flora and fauna around us. See how they bloom differently, adapt seamlessly to the environment and attract different types of birds and insects. Take two leaves and observe the subtle differences. On a more personal level, have you observed how people around you respond or react to your presence and mannerisms? You will get valuable insight about yourself by merely observing responses from people you interact with.

Feel don’t merely touch – When we buy clothes from a shop do we not touch the fabric. Are you clear in your mind what you are seeking in the fabric from that touch? When your pet wants you to hug it, does it just want a symbolic hug or does it hope to feel your warmth in the touch? Are you able to convey your feelings through touch? Take a news paper, a glossy magazine, and different types of paper or cloth and feel it with your eyes closed. Take a wad of paper currency of various denominations then close your eyes and feel each note and estimate the value of the currency.

Soak in the aroma don’t just smell – How often do we gobble up our meals at home and at times criticize the food whereas we pay a fancy price at a high end restaurant praising the ambiance, the style of presentation of the food and even spare time to soak in the aroma of the food. Do you not get intrigued by the smell of the first rain on mud? Do we realize how a wonderful aroma can immediately enhance your mood and if the aroma is related to food you even being to salivate.

Enjoy the taste don’t just eat – When we talk about salivating, it is obvious that we are itching to gobble up the food. Perhaps appreciating the aesthetics of the food prepared and served can add even more value to the dining experience. However it is in savoring the food slowly, relishing every morsel and letting the taste buds soaking in the various flavors that makes the meal both wholesome and an exhilarating experience. Try the same with raw mango, tamarind, raw vegetables and you will realize that there is much to be enjoyed in tasting not just eating to satisfy hunger.

Listen don’t just hear – Take a large sea shell and hold the open side close to your ears. You seem to be hearing the roar of the sea. Go to a garden or a beach or a river side and sit silently with the focus only on hearing the various sounds around. Ideally close your eyes and just listen. You will discern sounds that you never realized before. Not just the chirping of the birds but the rustle in the wind, the gurgling sound of flow water in a nearby stream, the waves either gushing or ebbing . Listening helps you connect to the wonders around not to mention it also helps you empathize better with those who communicate with you.

Try these:          

  • Take currency of various denominations and observe the subtle differences. Pay attention to certain markings on it that will help the blind identify the value of the notes by touch.
  • Close your eyes and now try to feel the markings that you may have observed.
  • Ask a friend to get you petals of different flowers / leaves of different plants in a closed box. Blind fold yourself and try to hold each petal and identify the flower based on touch and possibly smell.
  • Get a friend to cut a small piece of vegetable and give it to you to taste and identify the vegetable. Ideally you should have your eyes closed or be blindfolded when tasting.
  • Take a music system play a song and change the various sound settings like bass , treble etc and listen to the difference.
  • Take a deck of cards and notice the subtle differences between the different kings, queens and jacks in the deck. Which king has only one eye in the deck?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Never complain, never explain

18- 18 May 17- Never explain never complainThe moment things do not go as per our plan or wishes, the tendency is to complain about something or the other that we believe, derailed our plans. Similarly, no sooner we are criticized, before we even ingest the criticisms, we are quick off the blocks with our explanations and excuses. To maintain our individuality, to become independent in thought, word and deed it is essential that we act as per our convictions and take responsibility for the consequences of our action. No matter what the outcome, there is no need to complain or explain; for it is the outcome of a responsible action.

To ensure one takes a good independent decision follow these rules:

Act responsibly: This is tougher than it looks because sometimes temptations, the need to act macho, the ego to prove something, the urge to defy others etc. overtakes our rationality and we act emotionally thereby opening up the risk of doing things that we may regret later. Responsible behavior is being fully aware of the consequences and being more rational and less emotional. You will never have to justify your action for you took it responsibly.

Take responsibility: There are times when you as a member of a team have to stand by your team and your leader even if you have a dissenting view about the action taken. Similarly as a leader there are times that you have to take harsh and unpleasant decisions which the majority may not favor. These are the times you take responsibility without fear or favor.

Learn from the feedback: There is always scope for improvement. Hence it is important that even if you don’t have to explain or never opt to complain, listen carefully to the criticism, the suggestions, the alternatives and the explanations given by others. Look also for examples of others; those who succeed, those who fail, those who did not act and those who sat on the fence. Everyone is offering free lessons to learn from; keep learning!

Think before you act: You should seek out the best from books, people, experiences and thought. However the decision has to be taken by you after applying your mind to the action you are going to trigger. Be aware of the velocity your action will trigger, the reactions it will generate and the goal it is set to achieve. When you are sure that there is balance between these and that it is time to be decisive act with confidence and faith. There is nothing you will regret ever.

Try these:

  • Which was the best decision that you took in your life?
  • What is the one mistake you still regret?
  • What was the stupidest decision you took under pressure from others?
  • What was the one situation you had to make up an excuse to get out of trouble?

 Did you face the following situations and how did you deal with it?

  • Your parents asking you to justify your poor scores in exams
  • Your coach benching you for a poor performance
  • Your friend / partner / spouse constantly complaining about a certain behavioral trait of yours

 List out your complains against the following people

  • Your parents / siblings
  • Your colleagues/ bosses
  • Your three best friends
  • Your neighbor
  • The last three co-passengers who disappointed you

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

The masks we wear

10- The mask we wearTruth be told; each of us wears a mask to suit the occasion. We pretend to be happy when we are sad; try to obviate all traces of our jealousy, envy, greed; pretend to like those who we hate but cannot avoid. Many a time we sheepishly smile to disguise our embarrassments and irritation. While we, as individuals use a pseudo mask that attempts to project what we really are not, the clown merely amplifies it with a physical mask, to ensure all those who see it, are in sync with the image being projected.

There is a pattern in facets of ourself that we hide, behind the masks which we put on. The reality is that  ‘Each individual is actual 3 persons. The person I think I am; the person you think I am and the real me.’

The person I think I am : Each of us has an unique identity and that is not merely because of lineage but is also the outcome of how we are shaped by the family, the social settings around us and our own individuality. So siblings could still have widely differing interests, skills, attitudes, display different traits and mannerisms. What is important is how the individual visualizes himself/ herself. Some are pragmatic; some carry the baggage of their own limitations, anxieties, experiences and thinking. There are some who are over confident while others are modest to a fault.  Some are risk takers, others cautious, some reckless and most of us simply flow with the tide. There could be varied aspects of my own self that are probably noticed by others but I remain blind to it.  There could be areas of improvement that I need to focus on or talents and strengths that I can leverage. Listening to others holds the key to understand the person I really am.

The person you think I am : Who I perceive myself to be is what I largely tend to display; notwithstanding the fact that occasionally we attempt to sugar coat ourselves subtly to gain acceptance and occasionally we project a tough principled disposition so that we are seen as fair, upright and no nonsensical. However, there would always be some skeletons in our cupboard that we go to great lengths to hide. It could be some misdemeanors that we do not want others to know, we obfuscate inconvenient truths so that we are perceived more favorably and many a time we tend to display our deftness in ‘running with the hare and hunting with the hounds’ just to ensure that all our interests are projected. The person you think I am may be a far cry from the real me. Yet my style, mannerisms, behavior and attitude are tuned to make others think about me the way I subtly project myself. Phrases like ‘ still waters run deep’ or ‘Janus faced’  are testimony to the reality that ‘the person you think I am ‘ may be quite different in reality. Opening up with relevant facts will ensure that others get to understand me better.

The real me : The real me is largely hidden from others. Even I would known only myself better only when put to the test.  Occasionally some hidden aspects of me are known to very close family and friends. My insecurities, my fears, my hopes, my aspirations, my anxieties, my deepest thoughts, my confidence, my exuberance, my feelings of love, hate, revenge etc are part of me that very few know about. There are aspects of me that even I have yet to discover like my true potential, my natural aptitude, my yet to be discovered talents, my weakness, my mannerisms, my body language etc. The real me may crave for attention, may seek to be understood, may yearn for acceptance or may search for companionship. The real me could be fearful but when put to the test dare to confront his fears; she may be docile by nature but her wrath could be devastating. The real me strives to maintain equilibrium amongst the chaos of life or it could crumble like a dried leaf when trampled upon.  The real me lurks within. The real me is often searching to discover myself. The quest for individuality is what makes me uniquely ME.

Try these:

  1. Read up on or attend a session on the Johari Window concept.
  2. List out the following
  • Two criticisms about the person you admire the most
  • Two points of appreciation about a person you detest.
  • Two secrets you would find it hard to share in a public forum.(just a brief one line statement would do)
  • Two of the naughtiest things you did
  • Two actions that you took that you are really proud of
  • Your biggest fear
  • Your greatest strength

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

How to make everyone your Guru…

7-12-feb-17-listen-to-the-guruTime and time again, we are admonished that we do not listen. In any communication lecture, you would invariably be told that of all the skills of communication the most vital one is the art of listening. The trouble is, almost all our life we have ended up as listeners and there is a certain amount of boredom, lack of motivation and prejudice against the speakers and or topics, that we have developed over the years. Part of the reason can be attributed to ineffective teachers who bored us to tears, part of the reason could be that we were forced into listening to boring lectures on boring subjects and the rest of the problem could be attributed to sheer indifference we have developed over the years. Criticism whether from parents, teachers, friends, well wishers, colleagues or bosses (especially at appraisal time) and worse of all from the spouse, have just hardened us to pay a deaf year to the feedback received. All in all, over the years, we have become indifferent, immune and largely deaf to any most forms of communication especially those that we dislike, disapprove or dread.

However, it is never too late to change and begin afresh.  Bear these facts in mind when focusing on listening. The first thing to remember is that listening is not a passive activity but an activity one must actively engage in. This means we need to take the effort of listening. The next thing to keep in mind is that when listening all our senses are engaged. While the ears absorb the spoken word, every other sense also absorbs the signals relevant to them. Hence any form of distraction be it noise, smell, weather changes, movement etc. influence the quality of our listening.  The third and most important element of listening is to understand the essence of listening; which is wanting to hear. Unless we want to hear, find a motivation to hear, pay attention to the entire communication and not be selective in our listening, we could misunderstand, partially understand, miss out on key information or interpret the communication conveniently.

Once we begin to appreciate and adopt good listening skills the process of our personal improvement and growth would be enhanced dramatically. This is because we learn to value the lessons, however unpleasant or critical that we interpret from the communication signals received from around us. We also begin to value and respect our strengths by listening to the positive and encouraging responses we get. The value we derive from listening is maximized when we explore opportunities, dare to take risks, begin to change, learn to appreciate and never get discouraged.

Remember that the word LISTEN comprises of the same alphabets that form the word SILENT. So the more silently you absorb the communication that is around the better your listening skills. Make the world your GURU by simply listening to everyone and everything around. Absorb, learn, implement, change !

Try these:

  • What is your favorite joke that you enjoy sharing with friend’s. Did you notice that it is how keenly the other person listens to you, that makes the joke effective. More importantly the joke may have something absurd and illogical that actually triggers the punch of the joke. Conventional listening, where logic and order are essential do not trigger the response as much as the non auditory visualization does.
  • Here are some non auditory listening challenges
  1. Take a standard deck of cards and find out the only one eyed king in it. Also note the subtle differences between the Jacks as also the four different queens in the deck.
  2. Ask a friend to prepare a bag full of assorted articles. Without seeing the articles but by merely putting your hand in the bag and feeling the articles try and identify each of them.
  3. Blindfold yourself and ask a friend to hand over various currency notes into your hand. Identify the denomination of those notes.
  4. How often have you entered your house, smelled the food being cooked and decided what kind of a meal to expect?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Favorite Hello and hardest Goodbye

8 - 6 April 15-Favourite hello and hardest goodbyeVisualize the favorite person in your life. You will immediately appreciate the meaning of today’s post. What is more important is YOU attempting to be the favorite person for other people. It is possible for you too to have a positive impact on those around you or those who directly or indirectly come in contact with you. So here is what you need to do to make a difference in the lives of people who connect with you.

Smile – The quickest connect that a human being can make with another is through a smile. As they say a smile costs nothing, it adds to your own face value and it is a curve that straightens a lot of things. You would much rather meet a person with a smile than one with frown; the same is true for every individual. For sure you will then be everyone’s favorite hello.

Appreciate – By nature we often let our attention focus on what is wrong, what is missing or on what is irritating or unpleasant. We expect things to be in order, an individual to be affable and situations to be convenient. However, if we ask ourselves how we manage to keep things in order including our own mood swings we would realize that is a tough task and more importantly an unappreciated happening. Don’t you crave for a little appreciation? So why not appreciate others? For sure you will then be everyone’s favorite hello.

Listen – We all have our thoughts and would love to air our views to anyone who would listen without interrupting. Do we not seek out good listeners and gravitate towards them? Ask if many are also keen to meet up with you or spend time with you because you too are a good listener. Listening is more than just patiently hearing but genuine listening is heightened when you can disagree without being disagreeable and you seek and get clarifications from the communicator. For sure you will then be everyone’s favorite hello.

Thank – It is a genuine gesture that conveys gratitude. Good upbringing will over time train us to say thank you but it is the feeling conveyed with warmth, the emotion touching the other and the profoundness of gratitude that is felt that makes thanks more than just a formality. A hearty thanks is best conveyed through the look in the eyes, the warmth of the handshake or touch and the tone of the communication. Start the conversation with a thanks and for sure you will then be everyone’s favorite hello.

Accept – Far too often we tend to ignore those who we do not like, those who we perceive as overbearing or dysfunctional in our terms of reference or those who have physical / mental / emotional challenges. We also tend to ostracize people who do not meet our standards, those who we perceive to have an attitudinal problem or are opinionated or those who are loud, have a awful dress sense or are tardy and sloppy. In reality most of these people just need our understanding which begins with us accepting them as they are. Once you accept them then we obliterate our prejudices, our biases, our resentments and it then allows us to see them for what they are warts and all. It will give us a fresh perspective and more importantly give them hope, respectability and a feeling on kinship. Goodbyes for them will always then be hard for they are bound to miss you when the time comes to part.

Reach out – There are so many people around us who crave for attention, understanding, a sympathetic listening and a loving touch. Yet we would rather take care of our own immediate concerns and give such people a wide berth. Think of times when you felt alone, misunderstood, ignored or shunned; didn’t you yearn for companionship and understanding? Do you recollect those who spontaneously shared your troubles and halved it, those who stood by with you and made you feel stronger those who encouraged you when you felt all was lost. Do you miss them now? You too can reach out to others and just let them know you are there for them. Goodbyes for them will always then be hard for they are bound to miss you when the time comes to part.

Forgive – To forgive is often considered a weakness and so thoughts of revenge and an eye for an eye often seem the logical step. Yet forgiveness is an extremely tough act for it takes a lot of resolve, a higher level of enlightenment and a very big heart to pardon a wrong doer. Pardon is what we always sought when we erred. Do you recollect the relief and exhilaration that we experienced when we let off the hook for our misdemeanors. You now know the power of forgiveness. Forgive those who have wronged you and goodbyes for them will always then be hard for they are bound to miss you when the time comes to part.

Love – Just four alphabets but they encompass life itself. Love unconditionally like a parent, love deeply like a lover and love without any bias like a pet dog would love its master. Actually true love has no shades but we imagine the hues. Love another and goodbyes will always then be hard and YET when the time comes to part we still stay connected though the bond of love.

Try these:

  1. Identify / recollect atleast one incident in your life where you experienced a few of the above emotions.
  2. Rank the following in the order of ease of forgiveness with which you can forgive the offender.
  • An urchin grabs your wallet / purse at a crowded market place and vanishes into the crowd.
  • A drunk harasses you at the railway station
  • A rash driver knocks you down and then abuses you while speeding away
  • A former classmate who you lend some money refuses to pay up and does not entertain your telephone calls.
  • You are unable to accede to request for a loan from a friend and soon you hear that she/ he has been bad mouthing you.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Guidelines to practical living…

13-8-Give_Love_Trust_Listen but

While platitudes sound very nice they are often very idealistic and thereby pose a practical difficulty in putting it in practice. Common sense would often gives us the power to discern and be pragmatic but we are prone to give in to our emotional self and thereby go overboard in sharing what we have with others. Today’s tips are guidelines to being better people, involved individuals and model citizens without feeling guilty or feeling victimized.

Give but don’t allow yourself to be used is the mantra that allows us to share all what we have in enough measure. Giving is not just about our worldly possessions or our money but involves sharing our time, our love and our talents with those around. So while we could be giving out alms, doling out for charity and helping others monetarily it should be done only after one has taken care of ones on domestic needs and responsibilities. Similarly one should not be so indulgent as to sacrifice all of one’s times and talents for others at the cost of neglecting those who are family, friends and colleagues.

Love but don’t let your heart to be abused merely focuses attention on the dangers of being blinded by our love be it for our own family members, our dearest possessions or our cravings. Many a wayward child has gone that way because of the indulgent love of their parents that prevented them from taking corrective action even if it was painful. Love is a complicated emotion that has a chamelenousque quality and can quickly change itself to lust, possessiveness, jealousy, obsession, hate to name a few. If any of the above emotions are noticed it is by and large a sure sign that the heart has been abused.

Trust but don’t be naïve is a warning that trust can be betrayed and that there is no point in feeling cheated. Con men for example operate on the theory that there are enough gullible people whose trust can be easily won over and abused. On the other hand one cannot go about suspecting everyone and thereby create an environment of distrust and suspicion. To find the balance one has to trust in another without having blind faith and be clear and decisive about when you would not allow trust to be the only measure of a healthy relationship.

Listen to others but don’t lose your own voice is a clarion call to have an independent thought process that can be articulated without fear or favor. By listening one keeps an open mind, learns to appreciate differing points of view and keeps one’s emotions in check no matter what the provocation. After all is said and done, the individuality in you should find its voice in the manner and way you demonstrate your independent thoughts, words and deeds.

Try this:

Find a way to GIVE of your time to raise funds and donate that to a charity of your choice.

List out 3 of your possessions that you LOVE very much. Now name 3 people known to you who would value any of those possessions if you gave it freely to them.

Name 3 characteristics of a person that would make you wary of them and not TRUST them. Amongst the people you interact can you think of someone you do not trust at all. Does that person demonstrate any of the characteristics you have outlined earlier?

Think of a person whom you know well but whose views you largely disagree with and someone you hate to LISTEN to. How do you express your disagreement to that persons views? How do you convey your views to that person?

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

Lost and found…

Look back at some of the most embarrassing moments of your life and perhaps it will evoke painful memories of ridicule, taunting and shame. Remember the first time you failed an exam or the time you came last in a race or the time the teacher humiliated you in front of the whole class or the time you were foisted with a nasty nickname. If you were subject to such abject humiliation, the one overwhelming thought could possibly have been to just disappear from the face of the earth. Surprisingly, as you would have realized, life didn’t stop then although you must have wished it ended right then. Even more surprisingly, the past didn’t haunt you nor did it drastically affect your present. Dig a little deeper into the recess of your mind and you would recollect with fondness that your were shielded by a protective, caring, affectionate, understanding and loving people , be it parents, grandparents, friends, neighbors or understanding teachers.

In a similar way there are plenty of us who are often outwardly very extrovert but deep inside lonely, dispirited, confused, wanting acceptance, seeking companionship and /or wanting understanding. Perhaps some of us want to pursue our passion but parental pressures have pushed us to pursue a career that is just another job. There could be others who have failed to realize their full potential in their chosen field either because of ill luck or because there were others far superior in aptitude and skill. For others a minor mistake or lack of judgment or sheer silliness could have led them astray and they repent for it but find no takers for their remorse. A touch of love, an iota of understanding, a word of encouragement, unconditional forgiveness and or simple acceptance would be enough to rekindle the spark of life, achievement and success in their lives.

We don’t need to look far to find such individuals. Some of us could be in the same boat. There could be friends or siblings in a similar predicament. There could colleagues or acquaintances seeking a touch of humanness. You can be the catalyst who can find such lost souls to find themselves. Ponder over these questions and act with a clear conscious and you could be savior to many including yourself.

Can we just LISTEN ?  Can we stop being Judgmental? Can we accept them unconditionally? Can we attempt to understand them? Can we guide them to the right path? Can we help take the initiative to address their concerns? Can we be more patient?  Can we just be there for them?

Action Points:

  1. Outline 3 ways you can express your appreciation to others and make them feel nice.
  2. Can you recollect the most touching gesture / compliment / gift that you have ever received?
  3. What was the biggest failure you ever encountered personally and who helped you cope with it? How did that person help you regain your confidence?
  4. Write down 3 of your favorite quotes or proverbs. Reflect on why they appeal to you.

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our Inspirational and Motivational Blog

www.poweract.blogspot.com

The art of being smart

Half of being smart is knowing what you are dumb about.Solomon Short

In our own way, each of us would have some competencies that give us the edge over others but that does not necessarily mean that we are smart. When we can recognize our competencies and simultaneously be aware of our deficiencies and work around leveraging the first and plugging the loopholes in our deficiencies, which is when we slowly become smart.

The three rules to be smart are as under:

When in doubt find it out. It is obvious that each of us will have limitations in grasping everything that we try to learn or attempt. Being ignorant is not the problem the problem is remaining ignorant. Hence it is imperative that we first realize our ignorance, find the right way to eliminate that ignorance and then systematically go about erasing that ignorance by learning and implementing the learning. A simple example is our visit to a doctor when we are ill. While we are aware of the symptoms and perhaps have an inkling of the real problem it is the expert in the form of the doctor who will diagnose it correctly and prescribe the right medication. Similarly coaches focus more on ironing out the mistakes made by players both as individuals and as a team. The net result is improved performance all thanks to learning more from those who are entrusted with helping us out.

Talk less listen more. The more we listen the more we can assimilate. This means we are taking in more knowledge and we can then utilize the learning to conceptualize, strategize and execute better. Often in the process of merely talking we give out more than what is needed, do not address the real issue since we haven’t paid attention to the receivers needs and our verbosity can confuse, conflict and camouflage the solutions. Listening also helps build rapport with the speaker, allows us time and inputs to maneuver and offers new avenues and opportunities to explore. When we leverage all this inputs we offer smart solutions.

Learn the trade and only then focus on the tricks of the trade. We are often in a hurry and that means we attempt to execute the tricks of the trade and hope that we can attain our objectives quickly. We also believe that by doing this we come across as smart individuals. With experience and foresight one can take the liberty of trying a few tricks of the trade .However it is always safe to understand the trade in depth before we even attempt a few tricks because if we execute half baked ideas the end result could be catastrophic and could lead to unmitigated losses and even loss of face. E.g Even the most experienced cricket batsman will think twice before attempting the reverse sweep so for a rookie to attempt it could be suicidal.

 Remember: Be smart, but never show it. Louis B. Mayer

 Try these:

  1. Learn a couple of card tricks. Then attempt them on your family and friends and see if you can do the tricks smoothly. You will realize initially you may foul up but that the more your practice the better you get and soon you can do those tricks like a pro.
  2. Try and solve the following if you think you are smart. ( The first question is solved for you to get a feel of how you need to come to the solutions)
  •  7 D in a W = 7 Days in a Week
  •  1,000 Y makes a M =
  • 52 C in a P of C =
  • 10 T on your F =
  • 5 W & 1 H =
  • 3 W on a T =

(Answers will be given in the next post)

This post is courtesy www.actspot.com

You are also invited to visit our WEEKLY Inspirational and Motivational Blog www.poweract.blogspot.com

Prayer is not optional

Don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines. Satchel Paige

Prayer is often looked upon as a critical option available to us to be used in emergencies. It is used more often like a joker is used in some card games; to add value when required.  Perhaps this accounts for the fact that most of us resort to prayer in desperation. Prayer offers us a psychological escape and comfort from the fears and worries that plague us. We seek cures from illness, a way out of our problems, expect miracles to be performed and pray fervently in hope. Prayer though really revolves around in faith. As a preacher asked a large congregation gathered to pray for rains ‘How many of you have come here with an umbrella in hand?’ ‘If you have no faith’ he went on,’ why do you expect your prayers to be answered?’

The essence of prayer though remains ‘communication with the almighty’. Since communication is a two way process, we need to listen more than we mouth our prayers. Good communication is also spontaneous and open.  Our prayers unfortunately are recited by rote, parroted without feeling and loaded with selfish intent. In the process we only seek to get favorable answers and anything short of it is seen as wasted prayer and / or unanswered prayer. Very rarely does it dawn on us that God in his infinite wisdom has chosen to deliberately not answer our prayer for he has better plans for us.  It takes a lot of wisdom and listening from the heart to hear GOD loudly proclaim his negative verdict to our ardent plea. Here is one such enlightened response, to the unfortunate early demise of a young lad in his early teens, by his distraught but God fearing family, who got the following words engraved on the tomb stone’ Being pleasing to God and beloved, he was transferred, lest wickedness chance his understanding or deceit beguile his soul’

It is essential that we appreciate and thank the almighty for all the blessings we are fortunate to have. This too is done through our prayer of thanks not necessarily verbal but in varied actions, deeds and gratefulness. A smile, a pat on the back, a few encouraging words to someone in pain, sparing time to be with the weak, the sick, the lonely are perhaps the most beautiful prayers that one can articulate effectively.  Getting control over our extreme emotions, overcoming our shortcomings and bad habits and accepting those whom we despise are prayers of a very high order for we have to make a great effort to offer those as prayers. The ultimate prayer is loving everyone including our enemy, being a loveable person and spreading good cheer, happiness and love around. Unless we can offer up this prayer, our prayers will remain incomplete and possibly remain ineffective. Recollect the anecdote of two nuns who were getting late to catch a train. Suddenly one of them told the other let us kneel down and pray that we get the train. The other nun suggested that they run towards the station while praying hard all the way and perhaps their prayers would be answered.

Remember: “All prayers are answered if we are willing to admit that sometimes the answer is “no”

Try this:

  1. Ask your friends from another religious belief to share with you some short prayers and their meanings. Compare it with the essence of your own personal favorite prayers. The most common thread would possibly be the reality that most prayers have some reference to praising GOD.
  2. Ask yourself if you ever practice prayer. This means do you patiently listen to God? Do you serve people who are in need in any way? Do you offer prayers as a ritual or out of fear? What more can you do to enhance the quality of your prayers?

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