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Are we Confusing Knowledge with Wisdom?

How much attention do we pay to make our children successful human beings?

Most parents want their children to have certain basic accomplishments: prosperity, a good job, good social standing. For some, unfortunately, their ambitions stop here.

Systems of education are directed largely by what parents want for their children. Because most parents want material advantages for them, the modern system of education functions with primarily this goal in mind.

Everything that kids learn at home, in school, and from their peers impresses on them that success lies in tangible things, they remain ignorant of the benefits of spiritual gains.

Is money, prestige and power the real objects of our desire? In fact what we truly want is the inner satisfaction, the happiness that we expect to gain through them. Without it, they remain mere symbols of happiness, not happiness itself.

We need to teach our children not only how to be successful materially, but also to be successful as people, to develop their full potential as human beings.

Teach them skills more clearly focused on human needs and interests, such as how to get along well with others, and, even more importantly, how to get along with ‘oneself’? How to live healthily? How to cultivate calmness? How to develop one’s latent abilities? How to be a good friend, or a good partner? How to find a suitable mate? How to have a harmonious home life? How to acquire balance in one’s life?

According to yoga sutras, cultivating the right attitudes remove the mental and emotional blocks that veil the joy of the true self. It advocates:

Four attitudes towards people
In relationships, purify the mind by cultivating feelings of friendliness towards those who are happy, compassion for those who are suffering, goodwill towards those who are virtuous, and indifference or neutrality towards those we perceive as wicked or evil.

  1. Maitri friendliness, pleasantness, lovingness
  2. Karuna – compassion, mercy
  3. Mudita – gladness, goodwill
  4. Upekshanam – acceptance, equanimity, indifference, neutrality

Five efforts and commitments

In the Yoga Sutras five efforts and commitments are suggested as a foundation to meditation. These five principles and practices are very helpful in raising our awareness and achieving a peaceful state of mind. It is very useful to remember them and reflect on them often.

By cultivating a constant remembrance of these five forms of efforts and commitments, the life energy starts moving towards harmonizing and balancing of the mind, its thoughts, and emotions, along with other virtues:

  1. Shradha (conviction): Having faith and clarity of your direction
  2. Virya (courage): Maintaining positive energy that supports the faith.
  3. Smriti (remembrance): Cultivating a constant awareness or mindfulness.
  4. Samadhi (meditativeness): Striving to attain inner quietness and tranquility.
  5. Prajna (wisdom): Pursuing the higher wisdom.

(Reference: Yoga sutras by Patanjali and Education for life by J. Donald Walters)


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