Look back to look forward


One month into 2017; an appropriate time to review our resolutions. Realistic, achievable and still alive? Need some tweaking? If Plan A is falling apart don’t worry – there are another 25 letters in the alphabet! In fact, modern-day motivators reassuringly remind us that the most successful people in the world are those who wholeheartedly embrace and execute Plan B. Chop and change, experiment and innovate, somehow or other, find a strategy that works. Keep progressing forward, and avoid dying a slow death through stagnation and frustration. Plans sometimes need an overhaul, but the goal must be cemented into our consciousness, constantly tugging on our hearts and mind.

That said, I’ll throw another ingredient into the mix. The bog-standard motivational pep talks focus on the potentiality of the bright future, conjuring up inspiring visions to grab our attention and drive us forward. This buoyant approach, however, is too one-dimensional. It needs, in my humble opinion, a little more substance and grounding. While looking forward to upgrade our existence and enhance ourselves, it’s imperative to simultaneously look back and reflect on the journey thus far; a few thoughtful moments to take stock of what we have, how far we’ve come, aspirations now realised, and transformation that has occurred. Unless we can truly appreciate progress and evolution achieved, can we really accomplish more?

Imagine you gifted a friend one of your cherished possessions, and their response was one of neglect, disinterest and indifference. To be on the receiving end of such ingratitude is truly painful. Would you really be inclined to wholeheartedly give more? In the same way, how can we qualify ourselves to receive increased grace and blessings on the journey forward, if we’ve failed to internalize our current fortune? The sanskrit word for gratitude is “krta-jna” – literally meaning “to know what has been done for you.” Truly valuing the miracle of our present state, opens the doors to limitless and abundant potential. With genuine gratitude comes enthusiasm, optimism, confidence, desire and hope. While I have too many flaws to feel myself perfect, I’ve simultaneously been empowered by too many blessings to feel ungrateful. No doubt, we are wholly products of grace. Falling short, but feeling hopeful.

Sutapa has studied ancient Sanskrit texts in depth for the past 15 years, particularly the Bhagavad-gita, and has a passion to share the insights and worldviews these texts offer. Himself from London suburbs, Sutapa was always attracted to the idea of ’simple living, high thinking’. In 2002, after graduating from UCL with a BSc in Information Management, he adopted full-time monastic life to further his knowledge, deepen his spirituality, and share these timeless principles with the wider society.

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