30 Apr EPIPHANY
“Discover your inner self to unleash your true potential because YOU ARE LIMITLESS”
Staying true to the above theme, PHASE 02 of Project HIGH FIVE named “EPIPHANY”, wrapped up in style on the 1st of March 2020! Living up to its name, this insightful session on self awareness gifted us with many life tips, most of which, had not even struck us before!
EPIPHANY was conducted by Mr. Altaf Ahmed, a culture consultant, a soft skills trainer, a dancer and a film enthusiast all in one with an energetic, charismatic personality. Thus his true versatility proved to be an asset as he effortlessly set the right tone for the session from the beginning itself. By being a part of EPIPHANY, the learning points we gathered are many. So we’ve put together as much as we can remember, in a way which we believe all of you could grasp, to be a better version of your already beautiful self.
If you always have your cup filled to the brim, there’s no point. You won’t learn anything. It might be your attitudes, past experience, tragic scenes or cultural conditioning that doesn’t allow you empty your cup but if that happens, whatever learning you try to grasp after that point, just overflows your cup and spills. (Most of us struggle to do this, because having your cup filled to the brim feels satisfying and gives you a sense of superiority, which you may secretly love.)
Dear Reader, so if you want to continue reading depends on whether you want to empty your cup or not 😉 We’d say go ahead and empty it. We guarantee, you wouldn’t regret. ( Hopefully 😉 )
EDUCATION! Well, just as much as we know that educating yourself is really important, we rarely question as to why it is important. To most of us, it’s important because someone said so or because good grades got you gifts and sweet comments. Further, the word would have reminded you of nothing else but Academics; subjects you hate and love! (If Any :P). However, true education is self-education. Invest time in studying yourself. There’s only one subject in self education and that’s YOU. It’s essential that we understand to learn about, what it is to be an individual.
In life nearly all of us have been conditioned to think that it’s always Black OR White. We have been told, “Do this. Don’t do that.” But true learning, lives in the gray area. It lives in our doubts, thoughts and questions, not in, YESses or NOs.
Growth, can even be the smallest positive change. If it takes you 10 seconds to get angry today and only 12 seconds tomorrow, that can be considered growth too. Incremental steps are what you have to focus on. That is what takes you to become that desired individual in your mind. And in this process, do pay attention to both the positives and negatives. Growth need not be something BIG enough to be noticed by those around you so that you get complimented. If nobody compliments you, you compliment yourself. It’s as simple as that.
We human beings are so used to attaching happiness to something in the future be it a bigger house or a highly paid job. Needless to say, both you and I have been there thinking like that at some point in our lives. But such happiness is very short lived and we often become unhappy very soon. It feels like you are climbing a mountain that keeps getting bigger. So if you are in search for happiness, thinking it’s something to do with your future, let go of the idea. (Not your goals! - Just that idea!) Firstly, your future can never be certain. Secondly, chasing behind a growing mountain is simply futile.
Yes. Imagination is a super power for it is what helps you to recreate the future, past and present. However, imagination does come with a sense of empathy. It gives you a sense of direction and helps you visualize. If you happen to be an undergrad pursuing management, you would be familiar with the POLC model which stands for Planning, Organizing, Leading and Controlling. The first step, "planning", in other words is “imagining!”
Unfortunately, living in a generation exposed to a constant explosion of videos, we rarely spend time doing this. The imagination has been done for us by someone else. So do invest time in imagining anything of your choice. (And if you just said to yourself, “Ahm. Nah. I’m not creative. Pointless trying to imagine!”, well there’s nothing as such. Just go ahead and IMAGINE.)
“Imagination, life is your creation!” Barbie was right after all. Jokes apart, do we always think of the end purpose of doing something? Some of you may not agree with having to think of the end even before starting. Yes, it might be discouraging by all means.
But this isn’t something to do exactly with what you will be doing at the end of whatever you set your mind on. IT’S NOT ABOUT WHAT you would do. It's about WHY you would do it, and that’s something we all need to understand as we journey throughout our lives. Mr. Altaf, bringing out his story teller at heart, made us engage in a meditation exercise, where we were asked to imagine our own funeral. He took us in time to the future with his vivid narration and fine taste of music. This segment was truly a wake-up call for we realized that our ultimate purpose in life is something we tend to miss out on, most of the time.
Dear Reader, maybe you could do the same before you read on.
Imagine your funeral. Imagine your loved ones around you. What would they say about you if they were asked to speak a few words about you? Would they speak of how much wealth you owned? Would they mention the number of degrees you finished? Would they talk of your fancy closet first? Would they talk about the luxuries you had?
Would they speak about how energetic, supportive and lovable you were?
The answer is yours and could be anything. Just one more question maybe.
What would you like to hear if you could hear them speak at your funeral? Or rather, how would you like to be remembered someday?
Once again, the answer is yours and could be anything.
This is not to say that the materialistic goals in our life are less important. No. That’s not the point. This is to say that, there are certain things in life we would want to be and want to achieve which we may forget and therefore end up not working on them consciously. Time flies my friend. So in case there are such forgotten goals in your life, maybe it’s time you start making an effort and work on them.
To explain about PROACTIVITY which in fact turned out to be the overriding theme of the whole session, the story of Viktor Frankl spending his life as a holocaust survivor despite being a neurologist and psychiatrist, was revealed in brief. When you think everything is going fine, something happens. That is inevitable. Accept that life is designed that way. Neither do you have to be pessimistic to handle the negatives in life. This is a common misconception in society. Your life depends on how you react. In these wise words of Victor Frankl, “PROACTIVITY” echoed loud.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
The gap between a stimulus and our response is our freedom to choose our response and that’s our greatest freedom. Imagination plays a role here as you visualise the outcomes of your alternative choices with a sense of Self-awareness. EGO will get in your way and say “No” or “Later”. But it’s up to you to battle your ego and defeat it. In spite of the cruel circumstances, Victor Frankl managed to behave in a way different to what he felt. In other words, he was being PROACTIVE.
The idea of love was explored by considering 4 kinds of love that were a part of Greek Teachings as Mr. Atlaf was of the idea that the English word “Love” was very restricted in its meaning.
The moment one says LOVE, it reminds us of care. But precisely speaking, “care” is a product of love. Love is a feeling and based on that feeling you perform acts of love.
A) EROS – A form of love which heavily involves ideas of romance, desire, attraction, lust and so on. It will never be consistent for anyone. At some point you are bound to say that you don’t feel the same anymore. Well, that’s how EROS is. It comes and goes at different paces and times for each one of us experiencing it. Being reactive wouldn’t really be helpful for you here although that we always tend to be.
B) PHILOS – A form of love that predominantly exists for your friends who feel like family. You’d want to hang out often because even though you might be reluctant to accept, you know that time and distance reduced PHILOS. However, the moment that distance is bridged and you see or hear them again, PHILOS renews itself.
C) STORGE – A form of love we feel towards our family. Sometimes you may not really love or understand your family. But that sense of obligation ties you with them and keeps the bond going.
D) AGAPE – The highest form of love that comes with no conditions attached. Regardless of how you feel, you choose to behave as if though you love that person. That’s being proactive and that’s one main ingredient of the recipe to a successful relationship. Feelings will come and go. But feelings are a product of your past. The only time you can rely on your feeling with no doubt is if you are an expert in that field. For example, a mother would know her children the best. Subconsciously, they’d understand the slightest change in their behavior and most of the time they’d be right.
Seems contradictory right? Discipline to us generally means following a set of rules and indicates restricted behavior which is the total opposite of “Freedom”! Right now, your ego might say this doesn’t make sense. But let’s give it some thought. IMAGINE, a pianist playing a beautiful melody effortlessly. IMAGINE a basketball player shooting perfectly. IMAGINE a swimmer beating his personal record at the Olympics! Now that’s what FREEDOM LOOKS LIKE. But don’t you think that behind all this, there would have been HOURS OF TRAINING? In other words HOURS OF DISCIPLINE?
If you still don’t agree, forget the Pianist, Basketball Player and Swimmer mentioned here. Instead, maybe reflect on the lives of Peter Bence, Micheal Jordan and Micheal Phelps and you shall come to realize that DISCIPLINE DOES LEAD TO FREEDOM.
If your EGO was given a mic right now, it probably would have shouted “Crap!”
However, as Dalai Lama believed, you need to free yourself from the cage of EGO. Break those bars! Be Proactive! Live life and ENJOY! My friend, after all, “I” is the smallest word in the dictionary. Let’s not make it the biggest word in our vocabulary.
Before moving on to the final section of this piece of writing, we sincerely hope, by now you don’t regret emptying your cup. 😉 We hope you have experienced an EPIPHANY, like we did during this session.
The session continued with several fun segments which included a lot of Bollywood dancing and team based poster presentations. Through the posters we were supposed to summarize what we learned during the day, using parts of newspapers and of course the powers of persuasion and speech. “Oh no! This is going to be so awkward! Said our EGO to us, when we asked to dance in front of everyone and shed light on our most awkward habits! But with the determined aim to put our learning in to practice, we battled our ego and WON IT!
Our sense of fear was replaced with confidence.
We began the day with empty cups and at the end of EPIPHANY, we walked out with our cups full! While we remain thankful to everyone who made EPIPHANY a successful reality, it is certain that we’ll be back with our cups empty for a second edition of EPIPHANY next year!
Rtr. Aloka Weerawardane
( Co-Editor – 2019/20 )
Rtr. Chathuni Dias
( Member – 2019/20 )