Sadhana for Week 26
Speech Level: Appreciate Genuinely
Every day GENUINELY compliment at least 3 people. Learn to appreciate.
A word of sincere sympathy,
A look of love,
A smile of true affection
Can give to the recipient
Much more than a heartless cheque,
Even if it be for a fat sum.
So, be truly charitable in this diviner sense.
PoojyaGurudev had planned to have 5 camps for 80 days at Sidhhbari on the text Vivekchoodami. For that he asked one of the devotees to tape all the discourses.The devotee took a team of 18 experts from Bombay to assist with the video recording. She managed the work despite the very cold climate they were not used to.
Once the work was done and editing was completedPoojyaGurudev wrote to the devotee, “You have done a tremendous job, I take my hat off to you. If I were wearing a hat, I would have given it to you.”
PoojyaGurudev always made sure he acknowledged and appreciated the work of devotees when they deserved it. His style of complementing them varied; sometimes it was with a sense of humoror quick wit, sometimes congratulate when they were alone and at other times in front of everyone.He always made everyone feel special and loved.
A devotee had been entrusted with the task of opening a branch office for the bank he was working in. The Minister of State in the Union Ministry of Finance was to inaugurate the branch. His Regional Manager had set a target of 1 crore as the opening balance on the very first day!
The branch was to be opened in a remote corner of Indore with a population of just 20 to 25,000. Naturally the devotee was skeptical and anxious whether he would be able to complete the entrusted task.
He wrote to PoojyaGurudev about his problemthat there was no one to back him up. Immediately a reply came from PoojyaGurudev, “To a great devotee of Narayana, a couple of crores is no problem. Goddess Lakshmi will see you through.”
The devotee recalls that it was the letter with the words of encouragement and appreciation that gave him the impetus to carry on with the work. The branch opened with Rs 1,11,56,000.
It was PoojyaGurudev’s genuine compassion and love that touched everyone’s heart. His words of appreciation and encouragementmotivated people to strive hard to achieve their goals.
At a spiritual camp a group of devotees were sitting around PoojyaGurudev, talking to him, feeling blessed to be with him, it was an informal satsang.
PoojyaGurudev said to one of the devotees, “Go to the kitchen (it was in a separate building from his) and tell the cook that the Swami sends his love.”
PoojyaGurudev had not forgotten the devotee who was so lovingly preparing his food and missing the satsang!
PoojyaGurudev had heard about a sevak who loved the Ramayan and often quotes examples from it in his study class. One Sunday this sevak went to meet PoojyaGurudev in his kutia to offer his pranaams. PoojyaGurudev looked at him with a smile and said, “This evening you are going to give an hour’s talk on the Ramayan in the temple hall.” Naturally the devotee was very nervous as this was going to be his first very public talk in the presence of PoojyaGurudev.
In the evening in the packed hall of the Jagdeeshwara Temple PoojyaGurudev asked him to sit on the “VyasaPeeth” which further increased his heat beat. With prostrations to Lord Jagdeeshwara and to PoojyaGurudev he started with slokas and musical verses of the Ramayan.
Keeping PoojyaGurudev’s advice in mind, “Close your eyes and think aloud”, the sevak began his unprepared talk which turned out to be “Ramayan, as the Essence of the Vedas”. Thus he had the experience of listening to the talk and offering it at PoojyaGurudev’s feet.
PoojyaGurudev was overjoyed. He offered affectionate words of appreciation and encouragement and took off His chain with a rare rudraksha that He had been wearing for years and put it lovingly around the Sevak’s neck and said, “Wear it always.”
PoojyaGurudev always showered praise, love and affection whenever it was due. He never hesitated to acknowledge those who deserved it. He also never failed to admonish or correct the erring devotees. It was his genuine care, compassion and love for people that flowed out from him at all times.
Why show Appreciation?
Appreciation is the recognition of good qualities of someone or something. It is the ability to understand the worth, quality or importance of something done or someone.
Everyone likes to be acknowledged for their efforts put forth or a deed done. It is a basic psychological need that each of us have.
When we appreciate, we express our thankfulness or acknowledge the contribution of the person. It makes the other person feel good and encourages them too. It shows that the person is important and that you are paying attention to them, to all the small details they are involved with. It raises the morale of that person.
It also shows the love in our heart and expresses it actively. Many times it is there within but never expressed and the other person feels taken for granted. Example Mothers and homemakers are not appreciated enough.
It also builds a good relationship as it focuses on the positive strengths of the person and not merely fault finding. For a leader, its very important to motivate the team and build an inspired team.
Before we can appreciate others, we must learn to appreciate ourselves for our strengths, goodness etc.Self-appreciation is the key to appreciating others genuinely. One does not engage in victimizing mode and feel that everyone and everything is against me and the feeling of hopelessness, despair etc. don’t arise.
Dependency on other’s appreciation also reduces with this and we can focus on higher and greater things in life than feeling deprived.
It also helps to reduce our ego and acknowledge goodness or beauty or something nice that someone may be doing. It may be something big or even normal routine work.
When to appreciate?
Appreciation should be an honest, sincere and genuine gesture of acknowledgement not an act to be put on for one’s own benefit. If you really think some of the things that a person does are not important then you need not appreciate it. It should not be a fake show or flattery.
1. Here is a suggestion for appreciating different people/things for each day of the week:
a. Day 1: Appreciate the Lord, Parents,Teachers, Satguru, Family,
b. Day 2: Appreciate those who touch your life daily through small but significant ways. Eg. Driver, Maid, Milkman, Newspaper vendor etc.
c. Day 3: Appreciate the friends and relatives
d. Day 4: Appreciate your team members, colleagues at your work
e. Day 5: Appreciate the country and countrymen & Government
f. Day 6: Appreciate the Army, Navy, Air Force.
g. Day 7: Appreciate Nature / Appreciate small blessings of life / anyone or anything else
The above is only a suggestion, you can appreciate in your own order anyone you like.
2. Focus on the good.
Everyone has good and not so good traits. Our focus should be on the good, simply ignore the things you do not appreciate in a person.
3. Go and tell that person or express through a message / email / phone call etc. Let it be an active expression and not merely in the heart.
4. Make it a habit
You don’t have to wait for a big occasion to appreciate. If someone has said something nice to you, appreciate them for their gesture. If someone has done something different and that motivated and inspired you, appreciate by telling them about it. Make it a habit to appreciate daily and see how life becomes fully positive.
Showing appreciation is the easiest thing to do, it does not cost anything! A few words of genuine acknowledgement and encouragement are all that it takes to show that you care. A bouquet of flowers, gifts, are fine but not necessary. They are just the “decoration” like the icing on the cake. Be sure to have the cake! The essence of showing appreciation is to convey to the other person that you appreciate what they have done for you. Just saying it is enough. It can make someone’s day.
This sadhanabenefits both the giver and the receiver. It will purify our mind and will make one a more compassionate and aware person.
So go ahead and thank the people in your life who have added so much to your own life!
Be like a flower – Give Happiness and Fragrance to all! - Swami Chinmayananda
Beginners and Advanced:
1. Do as above
1. Appreciate as many people as you can in a day
2. Reach out to someone whom you don’t appreciate or like
Even if someone does not appreciate or like you or you don’t like them, reach out and appreciate it.
This is a great sadhana. It has many benefits:
a. It reduces the “dvesh” inside oneself for the other person. This in turn reduces the stress and strain between the concerned people as well as the turmoil in one’s own mind.
b. Over a period of time by appreciating the other person one slowly tries to understand the other, puts oneself in their shoes. The appreciation turns to respect and could even lead to admiration. Respect begets respect.
c. By that time the person has become a friend. And more importantly the “dvesh” is replaced by a sense of well being and there is harmony in the relationship and daily transactions.
d. Even if the person does not become a friend, from one’s own stand point it does not disturb the mind as one is able to rise above and genuinely appreciate when the occasion arises.
UNTO HIM OUR BEST