Step Back

Self Management – The Right Attitude to Work and Life

Nothing can be managed without first managing our own self. In modern management self-management means mainly management of the outer work-environment of the individual like for example time-management. In the Indian thought self-management means managing of our inner self. However, recent trends in management thought is veering towards this Indian concept of self-management. In an integral perspective both may be included in the ideal of self-management. But management of the inner self is or has to be the foundation for managing the outer environment. For, someone who cannot manage himself cannot manage others or the outer environment. Considering the crucial importance of this subject, we have started a regular section, which provides practical guidance on self-management. By the word “practical” we mean not only methods and practices but also a clear understanding of the basic principles of self-management and taking the right inner attitudes to life, work and action.

The first step towards self-mastery is to step back from the surface reactions and responses. It is the process of actively & consciously going within, whenever one find himself too much in the surface consciousness. In this article Mother explains how to do it.

Most of you live on the surface of your being, exposed to the touch of external influences. You live almost projected, as it were, outside your own body, and when you meet some unpleasant being similarly projected you get upset. The whole trouble arises out of your not being accustomed to stepping back. You must always step back into yourself – learn to go deep within – step back and you will be safe. Do not lend yourself to the superficial forces which move in the outside world. Even if you are in a hurry to do something, step back for a while and you will discover to your surprise how much sooner and with what greater success your work can be done. If someone is angry with you, do not be caught in his vibrations but simply step back and his anger, finding no support or response, will vanish. Always keep your peace, resist all temptation to lose it. Never decide anything without stepping back, never speak a word without stepping back, never throw yourself into action without stepping back. All that belongs to the ordinary world is impermanent and fugitive, so there is nothing in it worth getting upset about. What is lasting, eternal, immortal and infinite – that indeed is worth having, worth conquering, worth possessing. It is Divine Light, Divine Love, Divine Life – it is also Supreme Peace, Perfect Joy and All-Mastery upon earth with the Complete Manifestation as the crowning. When you get the sense of the relativity of things, then whatever happens you can step back and look; you can remain quiet and call on the Divine Force and wait for an answer. Then you will know exactly what to do. Remember, therefore, that you cannot receive the answer before you are very peaceful. Practise that inner peace, make at least a small beginning and go on in your practice until it becomes a habit with you.

The Mother, Sri Aurobindo Ashram

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