Insight, Inspiration, Motivation


Have you ever gone to a conference, a leadership workshop, or a spiritual retreat, and come away totally excited, with many new, great ideas about how you would change things in your life or your work? Have you read a self-help book or a really uplifting story – and decided to do something different with your own life?  Did you ever hear a really motivating speech and decide that you were going to start exercising daily or become a better person or parent?

How long did it last? How long before  you realized that you could not sustain that newfound euphoria – that the high energy that you find in conferences and workshops do not translate to real life? Have you felt let down?

This happens in every walk of life, and people say that ‘real’ life is different, and that the principles that they learn are not ‘practical’. What happens is that when everybody in a room is thinking about the same topics, along similar lines, it is not very difficult to put into practice any new principles. Cooperation and support are more likely found in these circumstances. When one goes away from such a group, into the regular crowd where people have a multitude of priorities and differing beliefs, the energy gets diluted and it is difficult to sustain the enthusiasm, especially if there is a lack of support.

Herein lies the value of satsang. Satsang is just a method of harnessing the positive effects of ‘peer pressure’ and using it to our advantage.  In simple terms, Satsang means good (sat) company (sang). It refers to the sharing of wisdom between like-minded individuals.  

In the Indian tradition, it usually meant spending time in the company of a spiritual guru who imparts his wisdom, and also leads the followers in chanting or reading religious texts. Held at regular intervals, these satsangs help people stay on their respective paths, as much as possible. 

If we translate this to the sharing of any kind of knowledge or skill – spiritual or otherwise, that helps bring a positive change in our daily lives, one can easily see the value of holding such ‘communions’ with like-minded people on a regular basis. It helps anchor the skill or wisdom acquired, reinforce it again and again, and keep it in memory longer each time. Also, support from the others helps everyone to commit better to self-development.

This is the secret behind the buddy system that is often suggested for weight loss programs and for quitting smoking. The  ‘support groups’ for various social and medical problems also function on the basis of this principle. People come together as a group, and find comfort and a great deal of strength from one another and together, they achieve far more than any one of them can, individually.

I know that I have taken what is seen as a highly spiritual principle and brought it down to a very worldly level. But that is the beauty of Vedanta – it is indeed a way of life. It works equally well at any level of spiritual maturity – or immaturity for that matter!




February 20, 2011 Posted by | Personal Journey, Psychology, Self Improvement, Spirituality and Religion | 2 Comments


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