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"Someday, I wish to have a beautiful mind" by Janani Gopalakrishnan

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Induslady, Dec 15, 2005.

  1. Induslady

    Induslady Administrator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    The Sky isn’t Limit Enough

    When I was very young, I wanted to be a teacher. I used to spend most of my after-school hours teaching in a makeshift classroom at home, with a blackboard that my grandfather made for me, teaching my imaginary students whatever little I knew. Then, when I was a little older, I wanted to be in an exotic profession, maybe a pilot, an astronaut or a scientist at NASA, no less.

    On finishing school, my main aim was to graduate from a good college. That done, by logical progression, a post graduation followed. And finally, my ambitions took on a different and more mature angle. I felt the need to stay out of the professional rat race and to follow my heart to the career that would give me immense personal satisfaction. Subsequently, I decided to pursue my hobby itself as my profession, good sense prevailed, and I became a writer!

    Ambition is a very versatile entity. It shapes itself according to the situation.
    After I became a writer, it moulded itself to suit that field. Ambition goaded to me start writing for a local newspaper and a few websites, then gradually it sent me searching for larger avenues such as national dailies and magazines, and now, at 23, with God’s grace, I am happily writing for a few publications with International circulation too.

    Dreams won’t let go of me, nor will I let them go. Next I will want to write for the Reader’s Digest, National Geographic or The Economist! But where does all this lead me? How long will ambitions keep progressing? Maybe I will go as far as winning the Nobel Prize (just kidding) but what then? In the final analysis, what do I really want?

    Mindful Insights

    While thinking on this line, it struck me that maybe there is one thing I want to achieve ultimately. Mine is a very complicated wish and difficult to achieve, especially since I am very far from it. In fact, I’ll have to positively start working towards it today if I want to realize it at all – For, beyond explicit and short-term goals my deeper and more permanent aspiration is to have a beautiful mind (in case you are wondering, I have not yet read Edward De Bono’s book ‘How to Have a Beautiful Mind’).

    In a dictionary, you will find ‘brain’ first, then ‘heart’ and only later the word ‘mind’. Was it meant to convey a logical progression? Think - It is easy to reach a person’s brain and it takes a little more effort to reach their heart. But understanding and reaching one’s mind is a tougher task because, in my opinion, the mind combines the power of the brain and the heart into one entity. It augments the power of knowledge, experience, thought and feeling into one great, limitless force.

    Obviously, to control, contain or condition such a force is difficult. And I feel it is not worth trying either, because such efforts will not take us closer to a beautiful mind in any way. It will probably result in a caged mind, certainly not a free and beautiful one.

    So, what is a Beautiful Mind?

    If ‘controlled and conditioned’ does not describe a beautiful mind to me, then what does? Powerful yet simple, free, light, uncluttered, non-judgemental, generous, equitable, peaceful, happy, contented… these are the kinds of words that do justice to a beautiful mind, according to me. A mind that can look at life objectively, one that can praise, bless, love, apologise, celebrate and dream without restraint, a mind that can pray, meditate and sleep effortlessly, a mind that can confidently say, “I am beautiful.”

    Beauty Secrets

    I have conjured up an image of a beautiful mind. That is the first step towards achieving it. What next? How do I start beautifying my mind? Honestly speaking, I don’t know! If I had known, I would have had a beautiful mind by now. However, there is one thing I know and I’ll let you in on that secret – the mind won’t become miraculously beautiful overnight, it is a slow process but we can make it happen with conscious effort.

    What kind of conscious effort? A lot of times we realise that our mind is behaving in an odd, rather un-beautiful (not ugly or bad, just not beautiful) way. When we find ourselves in such situations, we must stop for a second, give our mind a breather and try to disengage it from the tense situation. Say time out. Just stop. If required, retreat. Go back to a freer state of mind, even if it means you are back in square one. Being happier in square one is better off than being unhappy in square ‘n’.

    Let me try to cite examples of some situations which make us revaluate the beauty of our minds…

    Ever so often, I find myself arguing with somebody, trying to arrive at a consensus about the right or wrong of situations I have not been in, places I have not seen and worst of all, even about people I don’t know. More often than not, I worry about past events despite knowing that worrying can’t change anything. Sometimes, I give undue importance to what others
    might think even when their views might not really matter. Many times I tend to forget the larger picture and look at the immediate moment as the be all and end all of life. Often, I behave too human, letting pangs of anger or even jealousy overtake my good sense.

    We all find ourselves in such situations. We realise it later during a flashback, when we mull over what happened, but at that moment we do not comprehend that we are in a toxic situation. We let ourselves to be drawn deeper and deeper into the quagmire, till we hurt ourselves and others.

    I think the secret to a beautiful mind is in consciously making an effort to understand and stop, when we are in such undesirable situations. That is when we have to pause and let our minds unwind. Give it a moment to free itself of contaminating notions. Maybe the time-tested ‘Count till ten’ principle would work here.

    Devise ways or alternate routes to let your mind escape from ugly situations. When you are worried, try to concentrate on some constructive or creative activity or hobby – music, painting, books, carpentry, anything that will divert your mind. When in a fight, try to look at the situation from the other person’s position; if that doesn’t work, then assume an impersonal, third person viewpoint. When you are feeling jealous or angry, try thinking about the more beautiful aspects of life. Remember how Wordsworth realises, in his poem ‘Daffodils’, that the beautiful sight he saw did not offer just fleeting joy but rather gave him a delightful memory to fall back on whenever he was feeling low.

    By consistently avoiding or overcoming such traumatic situations, we will ultimately free our mind of preconceived notions, unjustified judgements, dissatisfaction, biases, jealousy, anger, and worries, making it more and more beautiful.
    Let’s Make a Conscious Effort

    I am planning to start working towards a beautiful mind from this Diwali onwards. Why don’t all of you join me in this voyage towards happiness? I am sure you will enjoy the journey and the destination. After all, beautiful minds collectively result in a beautiful society.

    Reviews and comments are welcome.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2006
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  2. Sharada

    Sharada Senior IL'ite

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    Beautiful Mind

    Content of this article was good, but the style was a rambling, longwinded one. The latter half picked up momentum. We all should work towards making our minds receptive, accepting and beautiful. The movie "Beautiful Mind" was extremely well made and brought out the complexities of the human mind. This remark is slightly off tangent - as this revolved around a Nobel Laureate who was a schizophrenic - we surely don't have to go to that extent!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, we are all with you on this voyage...
    Sharada
     
  3. varalotti

    varalotti Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Congratulations, Janani!

    On your wonderful article. It is very heartening to note that women like you have started focussing on having a beautiful mind, while billions of women are spending their time and money to have just a beautiful body. I hope you would have read Edward de Bono's How To Have A Beautiful Mind.
    To be honest, Janani, I started to attempt in this direction by going into the Beauty Tips Forum of Indusladies and started giving tips to women on having beautiful mind. My tips appear under the heading "Beauty Tips From An Accountant" 1, 2 and 3.
    Nice reading.
    varalotti
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. ambika ananth

    ambika ananth Bronze IL'ite

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    important issue..

    An important issue you have discussed and put forth your thoughts well Janani. Knowledge, ability, experience all these may not really work truly if they are not from a 'beautiful mind'. Nothing commends itself as a beautiful mind. You have summed up the qualities of a beautful mind in your article......yes, all of us must and should strive to reach the destination on this beautiful voyage...

    thanks
    ambika
     
  5. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    You are heading in the right direction!

    Hello Janani,

    A very beautiful article coming from someone that young! You have really thought a lot about life and how one's own mind is responsible for one's happiness in life. I was just editing a research paper my daughter had written on brain and mind, and then went online . Was really fascinated to read an article on fine tuning the mind, or rather "beautifying" it as you rightly put it.

    Though all of us are aware of all these things, it is nice to hear them now and then, we can reinforce these good values in our lives again and again and thus pass the beauty to everyone around us!
    All the best for your good work!
    regards,
     
  6. kalpana

    kalpana Junior IL'ite

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    beautiful mind- excellent article

    Hi Janani,
    It was splendid...I felt a kind of liftup after I read the article....I would love to join you in that voyage...pls keep me informed...or if you don't mind...can you let me know your email...that would be great.

    love to discuss..

    keep in touch

    with luv
    Kalpana.
     
  7. prathi

    prathi Bronze IL'ite

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    An easy way to a beautiful mind!!!

    Hi all,

    We have a nice article here from Janani.

    Why struggle when we have the ways to beautify our minds with us.

    Are'nt all the holy scriptures subtly talking of the same? Be it of any religion. The whole of Bhagavadgitha where Lord Krishna preaches Arjuna on karma, jnana and bhakthi, revolves around beautifying the mind. The attainment of moksha as the main aim of all the yogas might be explicitly mentioned, but a beautiful mind is the result of that journey towards Moksha.

    He tells us to see Him in every molecule on this universe. Trying to find Him in every person whom we meet is enough for us to be pleasant and patient with everyone. It is easier said than done, I know, but one can atleast put efforts to do so. This way we can attain a beautiful mind and also an unseen goal which guarantees infinite pleasure.


    Reading the scriptures is thought to be only for the aged and the saintly. Being spiritually inclined is an easier way to have a beautiful life and also a beautiful mind. Isn't it?
     
  8. gjanani

    gjanani New IL'ite

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    Thanks

    Hi all,

    Thanks so much for posting your thoughts about my article. Your appreciation was indeed very encouraging!

    I am sorry for not having responded earlier, but I was travelling extensively and did not get a chance to log in to Indusladies for over a month! When I did login and read your responses today, I was overwhelmed and could not help posting this immediately.

    Thanks again!

    Cheers,
    Janani
    <AT><DOT>
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2006
  9. Gem

    Gem New IL'ite

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    I know this beautiful article had been posted so long ago, but I just couldn't stop myself from giving my opinion, for as a new member of IL, I just came across it.

    For such a young person as the writer, Janani, it is truly a profound observation, philosophy and piece of writing. You have a beautiful mind and spirit, Janani.

    We may have our Hindu scriptures, no doubt for guidance, but to read and to understand it is one thing, to practise it is another. And then, to be able to come up with your own meaningful idea to create a 'beautiful mind' (based on your own reflections of life) as Janani has done, is great and inspirational.

    I love this paragraph of Janani's: If ‘controlled and conditioned’ does not describe a beautiful mind to me, then what does? Powerful yet simple, free, light, uncluttered, non-judgemental, generous, equitable, peaceful, happy, contented… these are the kinds of words that do justice to a beautiful mind, according to me. A mind that can look at life objectively, one that can praise, bless, love, apologise, celebrate and dream without restraint, a mind that can pray, meditate and sleep effortlessly, a mind that can confidently say, “I am beautiful.”

    Janani, you are so young but very matured in your thinking. May you reach great heights!
     
  10. gjanani

    gjanani New IL'ite

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    Thanks so much Gem! You just made my day.

    And many more thanks - you just refocused my beautiful mind on IL. A few months passed with me shifting, traveling, being buried under work :)

    Time to restart my column on technology! Will be back soon... watch out :)

    Luv,
    Janani
     

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