Opening Remarks Most of us nowadays are trying constantly to juggle the priorities in life: career, work, family, and self-care. We believe that in order to be our best selves, we should “get the most out of it”, and be on top of everything – in all fields of our lives. Yet the optimum goal is to find real balance. To have a balanced life the suggestion here is to excel in those fields where you can make a difference, so that when you pass on, you shall have left behind a better world for those who follow. This reflects well the IWD theme of choosing to challenge in the quest for gender equality in all respects.
As women we are encouraged to understand our talents more deeply than before and become more fulfilled, radiating confidence and positive energy. It is time to live our life purpose with gratitude and share our unique, beautiful gifts with all other beings. At Women in Law International and Balanced Lives we believe in positive collaboration, which can be most effective by connecting also with other positive endeavours. By way of example, the annual celebration of the contribution of women in the world is significant. As stated on the website, International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March each year is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.
The theme of this year’s IWD is choose to challenge. As IWD emphasises, a challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change; celebrate women’s achievement; raise awareness against bias; and take action for gender and individual equality. Similarly, striving for excellence means becoming the center of our own universe, and from that grounded, centered position, shining our individual light into the world. As is explored further below, our health is vital to this striving. On the IWD website it is emphasised as follows:
“IWD sees a number of MISSIONS to help forge a gender equal world. Celebrating women’s achievements and increasing visibility, while calling out inequality, is key.”
Realising our Potential At Women in Law International – and at Balanced Lives – a key objective is to realise our potential as an individual. This includes striving for excellence. To be able to strive for excellence as a women and to contribute towards such objectives and mission collectively and individually we should take time to consider who we are – our core character. We can then develop our individual strategy for self so that we can realise our true potential, especially in hectic and challenging times. To do this there are various key tips, some of which are referred to below:
Review, contemplate and meditate
Connect to others by listening more
Express oneself honestly
Face your own challenges and move on
Stretch yourself and do something difficult!
Set an example – teach by example
Forgive more easily- oneself and others
Keep a journal
Identity values and define limiting beliefs
Stand up for a cause
Understand body language
Love your mind and body
Flow with nature’s cycles and interact with the moon and seasons
Inner Peace Inner peace is vital to achieve one’s potential in life, dealing with the challenges and making positive change as women. When considering strategies to maintain peace and harmony within – and when dealing with others – self review is most important. We should bear in mind that Feminine and masculine qualities exist in all of us. This recognition enables us to deal with others in a fair and balanced,manner. As Plato guides and perceives in the maxim referred to in several of his texts: “Know Thyself”. Plato also indicated that understanding thyself would have a greater yield of understanding the nature of the human being – therefore others. Below is an interesting exercise to demonstrate where you find yourself according to the categories and approaches that emerge according to the following:
Agency Strives to achieve independence and succeed Dislikes failure “ I think, and I did” Interrupts, wants control Comfortable Excluding others Help and comraderie refused – “no I’m fine” No hard feelings over winning or losing Problems fixed alone Likes to be brought solutions not problems Comfortable with hierarchy of job title/position/power even if they are not at the top Moves easily from leadership role to non leadership role or vice versa Enjoys challenge
Communion Strives to create teams and avoid independence Dislikes isolation We approach – “we” think and “we” did Does not interrupt, listens, Uncomfortable excluding others Help and camaraderie accepted and offered Many hard feelings over winning or losing For problems invites others to work as a team Fine to bring problems without solutions Not as comfortable with the hierarchy of job/title/position/power wherever they are in the pecking order Does not move easily from leadership to non leadership or vice versa. Enjoys consensus Such exercises can be useful as a means to deal with challenges in the best possible way one can – and to remain calm and balanced in the face of difficulties, whether anticipated or not.
Traditional Tools According to the Balanced Series published under the Purna Health Management System (PHMS) there are very helpful tools that can be supportive for life management as women: further information can be found in the publications at Adhyatmik Foundation www.Adhyatmik.orgMudras Mudras -hand gestures – are very powerful tools to support us and offer effective ways to achieve inner peace in ways that overcome the nervous habits seen so often. This is a vast subject and it is intended to provide only a few examples here
Receiving (cupped hands). Then cover/protect/preserve
Kubara – mudra for wealth
To be fearless and to protect
Achieving One’s Potential: Balanced Resources and Traditional Approach The Sages and Seers have delved for centuries into the mystery of life and its meaning. Moreover the Vedas have provided perennial wisdom that can give direction in the quest for living a happy, healthy and meaningful life. This continues to ring true today as we witness the strife and unsettled circumstances that persist in many parts of the world. One of the main concerns, of course, relates to resources. What do we mean by resources? Who do they belong to? How do they relate to possessions? How do we find fairness and balance? How can we make our existence beneficial for others and not just ourselves? How can we find harmony and peace within and without? There is no doubt that for the inhabitants of this planet to have a sustainable time and future in accordance with traditional Vedic Tenets and Guidance we should review how we are dealing with our resources, individually and collectively, throughout our lives in the best way we can. We should find contentment and inner peace through practices, applying these to our day to day lives, dealings and activities so that a smooth framework for life manifests. Moreover in the context of the IWD theme Balanced resources are very important.
Balanced Resources across the Phases of Life: Self Empowerment In the Vedas, there is a clear-cut direction and understanding of the structure of society and life. This is so helpful to understand as women in today’s world. If one looks carefully at health systems, one will find no better system has developed since Vedic times originating thousands of years ago. As explained in the PHMS, the Vedas command: “You shall live one hundred or more” – “shatamjivet” – and first developed Ayurveda, the science of life. We can define each stage in great detail scientifically according to the system, which requires extensive application and understanding. Moreover, in conjunction with the four stages of life, four objectives are set:
Artha: resources or wealth;
Dharma: duty, responsibility and obligation;
Kama: fulfillment of positive ambitions and desires; and
Moksha: liberation or enlightenment.
Therefore, life is divided into four stages:
Brahmacharya: 25 years to build the body and mind and study;
Grihstha: 25 years as a householder with accompanying duties and responsibilities;
Vanaprastha: 25 years of semi-retirement and dedication to more scholarly and social work; and
Sanyasa: 25 years of total spiritual life and dedication to spirituality.
Mantras for Cultivating Resources In order to achieve our potential according to the Vedic tradition Mantras are recognised as being extremely helpful to focus and achieve objectives in life. Mantras are powerful syllables that convey concentrated energy and vibration which modern science has confirmed to be extremely effective. Through repetition and sound one can create the positive vibration for one’s life. In other words, the sound of the syllables themselves attracts the vibration of the meaning of the word. Mantras can also be used to remove blocks to resources or further cultivate resources. It has been established that one can repeat a mantra and focus on the energy it imparts to reveal a higher and fuller expression of available resources and bring greater wisdom and understanding to tasks and projects.
Traditional Wisdom and Concepts According to the Vedic tradition there are many ways to understand perennial challenges and solution through key concepts that are often explained in the tradition of divine or higher beings or deities. Many have become familiar to people who were not raised in this tradition and it is interesting that the women were often the holders of this tradition through different generations. For instance Ganesh, the remover of obstacles is a powerful symbol often used alone or in combination with other mantras to accentuate their power by removing resistance to the mantras. Like an elephant, Ganesh removes anything in its path.
Om Ganeshaya Namaha Meanwhile the principle of the Divine Mother, a concept representing many vital female qualities, is a very positive inspiration for self empowerment regardless of where we are and our individual background. While Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and beauty is often called upon to help with matters around abundance, it would be a mistake to equate resources totally with the material. This energy helps with the manifestation of abundance, prosperity and sustainability in our lives regarding all resources. Cultivating further understanding of the abundance principle can help clear blocks to abundance, issues around deserving, or negative thoughts toward money which can create blocks. We can be our own obstacle to manifesting prosperity and sustainability in our lives. One can further their relationship with the Lakshmi principle by using sanskrit mantras to evoke that energy.
Meditation In the modern world among the tools to create calm and clarity of thoughts meditation has been acknowledged as being very effective. Dr Purna has explained this in the context of a beautiful meditation – that includes mudra and Mantra – in connection with the Divine Mother Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu or Narayan as follows:
“Now we will invoke the Divine Mother in our heart so that we can attune and offer ourselves, starting with the mudra: fold both hands and open them as if you are receiving the energy onto your folded palms, joined together. Repeat the mantra to invoke the Divine Mother Goddess Lakshmi, who is ever an eternal companion of Narayan, the Ultimate Reality, Ultimate Supreme, who is the beginning, middle and end, the source of all creation, of all in the Universe. With hands joined together like a pot, ask for Grace, energy wisdom, prosperity and all good things which make life happier and much more wholesome.
Visualize Lakshmi sitting on the white lotus. She is placed on a beautiful lotus, surrounded by the beautiful elephants and carrying a golden pot. The golden pot is spilling out all the prosperity and worldly goods, as well as the spiritual and divine wealth. The pot is the symbol of ever lasting wealth: wealth in all aspects, the mundane and the divine. In one hand She holds the pot, and in the other hand, wisdom or Divine Knowledge. Visualize Lakshmi, the Divine Mother on the beautiful lotus holding the golden pot, and continue this in your heart as you repeat the mantra, asking Lakshmi to grant you all prosperity, both material and spiritual, so that your life becomes the embodiment of knowledge and spiritual pursuit, so that you never worry, you never to need and you are full of prosperity, confidence, strength, energy, security forever, free from all anxiety and fear, pursuing the Path of Narayan. Repeat as many times as you wish:
Lakshmi Mata Namo Mata Ya Devi Sarva Bhuteshu, Lakshmi Rupen Sansthita, Namastasya, Namastasya, Namastasya, Namo Nama.”
Concluding Thoughts On the occasion of International Women’s Day this year it is wonderful and thought provoking to consider how we – as women and individuals – can not only challenge but also create solutions to issues that affect the World. When we integrate our knowledge and understanding, and apply this in the way we live and be, we can make a positive contribution and difference through the achievement of greater inner peace and balance in who we are and what we do. Our good wishes for this special celebration of the gift of life as women.