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10.3.21 - Training Ourselves to be Focused and Happy

Hari Om,

We continued our immersion into Karma Yoga by concentrating on a few central issues:

  • What are the consequences of not being fully focused and engaged in the activities we do? The students noted that we miss out on vital information, we miss key moments and opportunities, and, importantly, we develop the habit of not focusing. Moreover, lack of focus is not in our best interest. Do you want to go to a doctor who is not focused on treating you? Do you want a high school teacher who is thinking about something other than teaching you? Do you want to fly in a plane with a pilot is who is paralyzed with worry about the future consequences of each decision rather than relying on his/her training? We saw this scene from the movie, Sully. Take a look here and here.

  • Why don't we focus? We discussed that we may not have the proper perspective on the activity we're doing because we lose sight of the bigger picture. We may spend time regretting something of the past which bogs us down in the present. We saw scene from the Avengers movie, Age of Ultron, that emphasized the point. You can see it here (thanks to Gaurav for the suggestion!). Similarly, a bad grade or a missed free throw cannot be what we're focused on when we take the next test or step up to take the next basketball shot. But, this doesn't happen by magic. It requires practice!

  • We explored the question of the source of happiness and how we often confuse "success" and "happiness" as synonyms. While we emphasized that while we should, of course, strive to be our personal best in whatever we do, we should be careful about thinking that happiness is the same as financial success or higher positions. Rather, happiness is an attitude we can cultivate. Ask your kids about how data shows that level of happiness affects how new employees perform in their jobs even before they started that job.

  • Next week, we'll explore how we can train our minds to create ripples of positivity and what we mean by role models. This will connect back to the essence of Karma Yoga.

  • Finally, we asked the students if they would be interested in meeting in person every few weeks. The vast majority of the students said they would like to do this, so we will plan this out and reach out to the families/students in the coming days.

Thank you and let us know if you have comments/questions and we'd be interested in any discussions you have at home related to our discussions in class.

Sujana & Suresh

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