The messages, images, thoughts and other aspects that fleet and flash through one’s mind every Nano second, is often faster than the most super of the main frame computer or the fastest advanced microchip processor.
But, once you conquer the mind, as swamis of yore will espouse – you will reach a state of nirvana or inner peace that will lead you to a Happy State of Mind. Not really unachievable, as AVIS Viswanathan proffers.
AVIS, or ‘the happinesswala’ as he calls himself, is a Life Coach, Inspired Speaker and Happiness Curator at “a v initiatives” a specialist consulting firm that inspires ‘Workplace Happiness’, as he terms it. AVIS and his life-partner, Vaani’s purpose in life is to inspire happiness by inviting people to be non-worrying, non-frustrated and non-suffering.
AVIS’s journey towards achieving this goal started way back in 2008 when he and Vaani faced bankruptcy, as their 12-year-old firm “imagequity+” went kaput. “A few strategic mistakes and the poor execution of our vision led our firm to bankruptcy and burdened us with over a million dollars in debt,” recalls AVIS.
But, faced with uncertainty, and every demeaning reaction from the outside world, AVIS and Vaani adopted an attitude of ‘never give up; face life head-on; treat every obstacle and hurdle with a smile on the face and develop a calm mind. “Life has many surprises up its sleeve,” says AVIS who has authored Fall Like a Rose Petal, a soul-searching and experience-filled book which, according to him is all about “maintaining your inner balance even when things around you come unglued”. BE talked to AVIS Viswanathan and Vaani on how they dealt with their misfortune, tackled life’s challenges and came out more resilient and on the road to success, albeit still burdened with much of the loss, materially and otherwise. Their insight to happiness is the detox that many of today’s professionals, entrepreneurs, businessmen and even housewives or working women need to adopt, in their quest to lead a stress-free, pressure-less lifestyle.
“We are all conditioned by the social environment we live in. In the process, we forget that Life itself is a gift given to us for a limited period. There are no guarantees in Life and we have to live in the moment, if we have to enjoy the best of it. When we are in a crisis, instead of wallowing in despair, if we accept the reality, our entire demeanour will change,” says AVIS. Adopting a ‘non-worrying’ attitude is the answer. “We worry if we have a problem. And, we worry, if the problem does not get resolved. Therefore, in the first place, if we do not worry at all, more often than not, a problem will resolve itself or an alternate path will be found. When we worry too much about a problem, and are unable to find a solution, more worries manifest itself, creating even more problems for the self,” points out AVIS.
AVIS further points out that every human being encounters different types of difficult situations – financial loss, health problems, loss of life, relationship issues, and monotonous career. Once these issue crop up, they are like waves from the sea – they will keep coming at you, but if you step back a bit, maybe your feet will not get wet. “There are three stages in this process. Learning to be non-worrying, is the foremost. Then, developing a non-frustrating and non-suffering mindset will ensure that extraneous problems stay a comfortable distance away, allowing you to deal with them in a structured and systematic manner, rather than trying to take all of them head-on and driving you to despair,” says AVIS.
When AVIS encountered the disastrous end to his hard work and passion-filled activity in imagequity+, he learnt the art of ‘Mouna’ or silence, which he would practice diligently for an hour a day. “This helps you to sift through your thoughts, drive the bad ones away, and retain only the happy moments in your life. Then you realise that the mind, like the body, can be trained to your liking. When you focus on abundance, the negativity will soon vanish. That’s when a Happy State of Mind emerges,” says AVIS.
Many would think it is quite difficult to devote some time for Mouna. “It isn’t, really. You can do it anywhere, anytime. For instance, a housewife can do it while spending time in the kitchen. One can observe this while commuting. Each person can find an ideal time or space to practice Mouna, and it need not be for any specific period of time. Mouna is the time when you can try to keep a blank mind, don’t think of anything in particular, try to see a blurred mental image, bring some happy moments in mind, think of positive things or something that would have made you happy in the recent past. The important thing is to keep silent and attempt to block out any extraneous sounds, if possible. Over a period of time, Mouna will make you feel peaceful, serene, calm and collected,” points out AVIS.
Dispense with ‘why’
We all have expectations in our efforts and actions. When we undertake a job or an activity, naturally, we expect the best results. “But, what we must understand is that, while we have the right to the effort, for that is within our control, we do not have a right to the result. Numerous times we have seen the best efforts come to nought – in so many fields, be it industry, sports, manufacturing, services etc. That’s when frustration sets in. Along with it comes pain. Yes, pain is inevitable, but we must realise that we suffer from pain because we ask ‘why’? Why me? Why my company? Why my product? That’s why I said, we have control over the effort but not the result. So, is there any point in getting frustrated and become stressful?” asks AVIS. “So, the simple solution is: Don’t ask why.”
Deal with stress
Stress, comes out of a situation of not pausing to reflect, says AVIS. “Circumstances are stressful. They are like unsolvable puzzles. But, they are all extraneous to the mind. Reflecting upon each puzzle or problem gives the pause effect. But you should have a trigger for pausing. Imagine yourself in a deep, dark cave. Imagine you are asleep in the cave. This takes the mind away from a stressful situation and allows the mind to pause. Now, go out there and be in the midst of all your problems and find a central point where you can remain calm and serene, oblivious to all the worries milling around you. You will then find a calmness within the chaos. This will take you to a different level of the mind, a situation that will make you feel happy with yourself. Happy that you have been able to take charge of the problems around you, or rather, deal with it. Solutions will gradually appear,” says AVIS.
Many will feel the heat of the worries and problems around you, making you feel inept at handling the situations and then, you will slowly withdraw, become introverted and slip into what is medically termed as depression. “Now there are two aspects to this situation – one is the biochemical change that takes place within the body, which can be treated with proper medication. The other is the behavioural and attitudinal change in one that makes you withdrawn and non-communicative. This can be dealt with in a two-pronged manner. One, if you do realise that there is a physical problem of depression and want to tackle it. Counselling is one option. But, if you have a life partner or a parent or sibling who understands your situation and has the patience to help you come out of it, that is even better,” says AVIS.
Talking, communicating, discussing, analysing, and identifying the feelings and actions between the affected and the friendly counsellor, along with the minimum medication required to right the biochemical change, will work wonders in those who go through a phase of depression. We have heard of celebrities like Deepika Padukone who has been quite vocal about what she went through and how she came out of it thanks to her understanding parents. “Sometimes, when you undertake an activity or involve yourself in a deed that is helpful to others, you will get a feeling of gratefulness. You will be filled with gratitude and a sense of self-satisfaction at doing something which is full of love and affection. The energy that comes back to you from the recipient of your love and actions, will instil so much of positivity in you, that the negative thoughts and feelings that drive a depressive mind, gets converted,” says AVIS. All of us hanker for deserving the best for ourselves. “But, remember, the word DESERVE has the word SERVE in it. You serve others well, and you will surely get what you deserve. And, that will always be the best!” concludes AVIS.