According to Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, “Women can glue the differences and bring people of diverse natures together.” In my opinion, this quality is inherent in a woman and makes it easier for her to create and maintain team spirit. This strength of a woman needs to be recognized. The moral values she imparts to her children, the support that she provides to the family, all these things really matter. Women are often considered emotional. However, it is this quality that makes her gentle, soft and feminine. The delicate nature of a woman allows her to create an environment of peace and harmony wherever she goes.
The balance of delicate nature and a practical approach can happen only in a stress-free mind. In order to be stress-free, one adopts spirituality, which is the foundation for the complete blossoming of the individual potential.
Women love team spirit. Instead of indulging in small talk and gossip; gossip about nature and the meaning of life. Ask each other: why are there only a few leaves on the tree, why are the clouds so small, why is this flower so big? Don’t focus on individuals. Women are more emotional while men have a greater ego. When the wife takes care of the husband’s ego and the husband takes care of the wife’s emotions, then the relationship is a more amicable one.
Marriage is a commitment. It is a commitment to care and share – to share one’s life and to care for each other. It is the union of two hearts with one goal. If the husband’s and wife’s sole focus is on each other, then there are bound to be arguments and disagreements. However, when our goals are higher, when we are focused on something bigger -- towards serving society, towards wisdom -- then the husband and wife can move together, supporting each other on this beautiful journey of life.
Whenever you feel pressured, do not talk about it too much. Keep quiet for ten minutes and be with yourself. In busy moments, keep silent. If people at home know that you are in silence, then the demands on you will lessen. Otherwise, in a fit of anger, you may say things you do not really mean. I would say that this is especially important for a mother/wife/sister - be silent and work. Talk less, smile more. Every night, before you go to sleep, go through the day for ten minutes. Think about what were the good events? What did you learn today? Surrender everything to the divine. Say everything is because of the divine, and go to sleep with a smile. Smile more – smiling is our nature.
Praise at least five people every day. Praising is a divine quality. Praising enhances us. It uplifts the consciousness of the one who is being praised and also of the one who is praising. When we see a beautiful painting and we praise it, who does the praise go to? The painter, isn’t it? Keeping this in mind, let us appreciate the divinity in all aspects of creation and we will find that our mind is also pleasant and uplifted.
Help at least two people every day – either by talking to them or by doing something for them. Helping people will uplift you. Choose people whom you don’t know so that you can reach out to more and more people and extend your family. When each woman can extend her sense of belongingness, include a few more members in her family, then we move closer to our ancient ideal of a one-world family: “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.”
We normally think that women’s empowerment is for the monetarily less fortunate. I would say that this is not the case. There are women who are equally less fortunate – those who are impoverished emotionally, and spiritually. There are many educated and monetarily independent women facing emotional challenges, who cannot handle their life or stressful situations. Often, suicides are a result of these emotional imbalances. This is common especially among the educated and affluent society.
When we are emotionally weak, we attract negativity more easily. So, to nourish one’s soul, one needs to turn to Spirituality. Meditation alone can put you in a space that is unshakable and you can view life from a balanced angle.
When we talk about spirituality, we should remember one thing – that the spirit has no gender; it is neither male nor female. When you rise above all this – gender, caste, creed, religion and other smaller identities - only then can the true spirit blossom in you.
We work as one unit. Man is equally as important as a woman. When we say women empowerment it doesn’t mean that we exclude men. We highlight women only because that area needs attention. Today, women can equal men by being assertive, not necessarily aggressive. Women make a difference – in politics, business, education, spirituality, and at home. To make such a difference, don’t ask what others can do for you. Instead, think about what you can do for others. This is called the spiritual shift – believe me, it is simply beautiful, it is pure joy itself!
Gurudev often says that a woman is a born leader. A leader must have certain qualities. A leader must have trust and must also be trustworthy. Only then can she delegate successfully and also get the work done on time. A leader must have foresight. The lady of the house plans everything, from the daily needs of the house to save money for the daughter’s wedding. (Budgeting and managing finances is in her blood.)
A leader must have an equanimous, unbiased vision. As a mother, a woman places the needs of every member of the family before her own and she cares for all with equal love.
A leader must seek the truth in every situation. Her impact ranges from the family to the whole society. Her decision must be a combination of intelligence and intuition. A woman naturally relates to the heart level which is the realm of intuition. A calm state of mind can contribute to the intuitive factor while it can be strengthened by spiritual practices like meditation and yoga.
A leader must also have faith in the universal intelligence that nourishes the whole creation. Faith is a very powerful quality and can connect to the heart of the people.
We can see that all these qualities are innate in us as women. However, as a teacher of meditation, I can say for sure that these qualities blossom to their full potential when you meditate. Spirituality really makes the difference in your quality of consciousness, quality of enjoyment and quality of appreciation of life.
What is the true wealth/adornment for a woman? What is her true beauty? How can she beautify existence with them? There are three aspects of beauty: Saundarya, Madhurya, and Aishwarya.
Aishwarya is wealth and lordship. One may seem to have lordship through fear or power due to position but they are not pleasant. Lordship that comes out of love and respect has a different dimension to it. It is the true wealth in any relationship.
Madhurya is sweetness - sweetness in thought, word, and action. It is our nature to be Madhur, in a pleasant state of mind. When we are stress-free and centered, that sweetness comes to us naturally.
Saundarya is the beauty that comes from inner strength. This inner strength is brought out through spirituality and meditation.
The writer is the sister of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, meditation teacher, and Director of Women and Child Welfare programs of The Art of Living Foundation.