From the Introduction
The ancient language of Sanskrit, used by the sages of India to write their poetry, epics, and works of profound wisdom, is an incomparable tool for delving into the truest knowledge. Sanskrit is not just a language to be written and spoken but is also a doorway to gaining understanding of our experience of life and truth.
The aim of this book is to welcome you to the world of Conscious Confidence, a practical way to use the wisdom of Sanskrit to find clarity and success. By reading this book, you are connecting to a thread of timeless wisdom that has guided humanity throughout the millennia. Opinions, viewpoints, and attitudes come and go, but this golden cord of conscious wisdom is ever-fresh, relevant and powerful. It is wisdom upon which we can utterly depend.
Conscious Confidence is like a great tree with deep strong roots, able to withstand storms and tempests and also provide shelter, stability and nourishment. It is grounded yet continually growing, expanding, and evolving. Sanskrit and timeless wisdom help us to plant that tree and deepen those roots. Conscious Confidence is the confidence you have when you live boldly and courageously from a commitment to giving the best of your own unique self-expression. It is the confidence you experience when you are awake and aware of your own potential and strength.
Our life is an expression of what we hold in our heart--of our understanding of things and their meaning. This book is designed for you to consciously redefine those meanings and discover new dimensions of understanding and awareness from the depths of Sanskrit wisdom. This will awaken you to your potential, your core values, and what’s really important in life. With the ancient wisdom of Sanskrit, you can learn how to transform pain and suffering to joy, freedom, and fulfilment.
From Chapter Two: Balancing the Body, Mind, and Heart
What does Sanskrit teach us about balance?
The Sanskrit word for balance is santulana, meaning to weigh one thing against another or to balance together.
The root for this Sanskrit word meaning “balance” is tul. This root means “weighing and determining the weight of something by lifting it up.”
Pāṇini’s statement for this root tul is: “That measuring is to be found in the act of measuring.”
This seems rather circular and obvious, so how does this help our understanding?
The key point of this word “balance” is measuring. Measuring means knowing when to stop one activity before embarking on the next.
An analogy may help, so imagine a set of scales.
If we intend to measure out a quantity of sand, and we want to keep the scales balanced, then we need to measure out the same quantity on each side. First, we pour an amount of sand into one side.
The scales will be unbalanced at this point because there’s nothing on the other side to counter-balance yet.
Then we start carefully pouring sand into the other side. Slowly both sides of the scales move closer to being level and balanced.
Now we reach the crucial moment, where we determine that both sides of the scales are balanced, and we stop pouring. If we continue to pour more sand, we will create another imbalance on the other side.
Achieving balance hinges on stopping at the right moment.
Thus, the essence of balance and measure is knowing when to stop. This can be obvious such as when we work too long and too hard and it is time to go home. On another level, it can be time to stop thinking and to take action, or it can be time to get our feelings under control and begin to reflect on the lesson we can learn from a challenging experience. Too much thought and not enough emotion causes an imbalance and we can be cold and disconnected. If we are overly emotional, we can be irrational and unsteady. When we are not aligned, our actions and choices do not balance our head and our heart, and the body usually bears the brunt through stress, tension, and a lack of wellbeing.
Practices for Core Values
Starter Practice: Exploring Values
In this starter practice, we’re going to use a volunteer organization to trigger our self-reflection on our own Core Values.
Think of one volunteer organization that you’ve heard about and appeals to you. Consider the values of that organization. Orange Sky for example is based on respect and dignity. Other organizations may value service, care, or compassion. If the organization that you select doesn’t have any stated values, then reflect on what you feel to be the values that underpin their mission, and what they do.
Write down three to five values of this organization. For example, in the case of Orange Sky the list might expand to include: respect, dignity, compassion, care, and service.
Research the meanings of each of the listed values of your selected organization, so you broaden and deepen your understanding of those values. There is always more to learn. This exercise helps us to transcend any assumptions. You might look up each word on quotation websites to find out how, for example, Shakespeare, Oprah Winfrey, or Martin Luther King used the word. Make some notes in your journal of your research.
Now take some time to consider your notes and think about these values. Ask yourself the following questions:
What is it about these values that draws me to them? What is about these values that makes them significant to me?
What other examples can I recall of these values in action? You might remember something you did, or some action of a family member, co-worker, neighbor or someone in your community.
The most important part of this exercise is to expand your understanding. This is achieved by delving deeper into the meaning of the values and asking questions. Answers may or may not come. The questions are what count.