How Hinduism helped me to understand the nature of human callings

Picture source

The essay about how the concept of Hindu societal castes can be applied to the personal philosophy

As soon I started to investigate myself striving to solve my personal issues and learn how to master my mind I became keen for understanding the human nature and the principles that govern our behavior.

I started to study different religious scriptures and philosophical works assembling my mindset as a puzzle game piece by piece.

At one point I bumped into the concepts of castes in Hinduism that completely changed my perception of the nature of human callings and the way people select their profession.

Today I want to share it with you and hopefully, it will serve you as a food for thought.

Varnas

Varṇa (वर्णः) is a Sanskrit word which means type, order, color or class.

Varna is basically a caste, a layer of societal hierarchy in Hindu communities. In Hindu literature, the society is divided into four castes: ShudraVaishyaKshatriya, and Brahmin.

The community was segregated into these 4 casts based on the profession:

  • Shudra — manual labor, craftsmen, service providers.
  • Vaishya — merchants, traders, agriculturalists (sales and services, businessmen).
  • Kshatriya — rulers, and warriors (managers, supervisors, politicians, CEOs).
  • Brahmin — priests, scholars and teachers (professors, thought leaders, people of knowledge).

I was studying about the ways this system can be applied to our modern lives and precipitated it down to the level of practicality stating three major conclusions.

Bear 🐻 with me:

1️⃣ All people are different but all are equally important.

We are different from the moment we rock up to this planet. Every mother who has more than one child will undoubtedly confirm that her children are different right from the moment they open their eyes. It’s a fact. Buddhists will adduce arguments of the concepts of reincarnation and family karma, scientists will justify it solely by what we know about genetic heritage. Both are irrelevant to the practical implication of it which is

The mindset of acceptance.

I have accepted the fact that all of the people are different. There are people who are destined to do monotonous manual work, there are people who make a fortune chasing the financial abundance, there are people who strive for power, and there are those who harness the knowledge. No one is better or worse than the other. Everyone is equally important comprising the pyramid of society.

Shudras are the legs. They are a strong foundation. No one will be able to do their work if shudras didn’t do theirs. It doesn’t matter if I am a seller, a politician, or a professor, I can’t do my job if my toilet is not working. It is as simple as that.

Vaishyas are the metabolic system. They make sure that everything is moving. The whole organism can survive only if it has food, shelter, and other products that have to be constantly produced, consumed, exchanged and eliminated when they become obsolete.

Kshatriyas are the hands. They protect the whole organism from the external threats. More importantly, they establish the rules for all of the parts of the body so that they do not harm each other accidentally. The absence of governing power causes anarchy and chaos.

Brahmins are the head. They hear things, observe things, “taste” them and make conclusions about what is good for the whole body. They accumulate and transfer knowledge increasing the efficiency of the organism and select the direction beneficial for everyone.

All people are equally important as they have their specific set of functions and responsibilities that ensure the survival of the community as a whole.

The understanding of this is crucial because it has two very important implications that could be applied to the personal philosophy:

It makes you worthy.
Knowing that you have your own defined sector of responsibilities in this world gifts you the understanding that regardless how minor your contribution to the goodness of humanity is, it is important to do your best with what you have, where you are. Your work is always valuable.

It makes you humble.
I became more observant of the moments when I fall into the fallacy of thinking that I have a right to look down on people with professions I would previously call “low”. I harshly scold myself when I become so foolish.

2️⃣ Elevating consciousness is an individual mission of every person.

Although it is true that all castes are equally important in the society, in Hinduism all 4 varnas have ranks. Logically, Shudra is placed on the lowest level, with Vaishya, Kshatriya, and Brahmin building up correspondingly on top. It was a hierarchical system where a person found his place based on his inherent motivation.

Shudras do not have extraordinary ambitions. They can get fulfillment and happiness from simple life, good relationships and do not object addressing routine tasks mainly associated with manual work. Their inherent motivation lies in the perfection of their craft and doing their job well serving the others.

Vaishyas follow the money. Getting rich is what they strive for. They put their financial prosperity as their number one priority and dedicate their work to multiplying their assets and growing their wealth.

Kshatriyas are hungry for power. They want to be in control and govern the processes that involve people’s lives. Constant expansion of their Circle of Influence is chosen by them as a personal objective.

Brahmins dedicate their life to serve as a channel of knowledge. They are lifelong students and teachers. They absorb, accumulate, transform and transfer the knowledge and value it as the highest virtue. Developing the world through the development of intelligence is their inherent motivation.

So what’s the practical implication of these castes? The answer is

The varnas represent the steps in a personal evolution.

You know yourself well and you know what is your inherent motivation. You can instantly analyze and identify your Varna. It is essentially your level of mind.

Of course, there is no one single trait in one person. Most of the time it is a mixture of one or two varnas being dominant. One can have a mind of Shudra and Brahmin and be a brilliant craftsman or an artist confining the deep meaning and knowledge inside his masterpiece, another can be transcending from Vaishya to Kshatriya after selling a successful business and looking for the ways to scale up his influence to change people’s lives.

We can take Arnold Schwarzenegger as a perfect example of the mind evolution. He started with the mind of Shudra focusing all of the work of his spirit on his physical shell and honing it to the level of iconic perfection. When he started his cinematic career he elevated his mind to the level of Vaishya earning a lot of money and learning how to invest. When he exhausted the meaning from that level he excelled on the political arena as a governor developing the mind of Kshatriya. Finally, right now he is a respected old man with a rock solid life philosophy that he’s ready to pass on to younger generations and a legacy that will be remembered for years. He is an author, a philanthropist and a thought leader. He doesn’t crave for money or power anymore. He became Brahmin.

3️⃣ Automation will cause the shift in the planetary consciousness.

AI and robotics. Potential threats or a way to liberate the humanity from mundane routines? I am not here to argue about either scenario. What I know for sure is that automation will keep eradicating the necessity of manual labor at a pace we can’t even imagine. We will witness the scale of the Internet capture and the drop in the price of knowledge that will quake the very essence of our existence.

Having a smartphone and an access to the Internet will allow people with the minds of Shudra to evolve straight to the mind of Brahmin. We will see the rise of minds. Billions of new minds.

The planetary consciousness follows the Compound Effect just like anything else. We will transcend as species when the majority of people will have the access to the majority of information. The global evolution of consciousness is gifted to us by computers and the best part about it is that it has already started.

My essay about meditations was a first small personal victory for me. Hundreds of people from all over the world read it. It was a small stone thrown into the ocean of information but it creates ripples. What if I throw one stone every day? What if I inspire someone to pick up his own stones? What if we all throw a stone at once? How big of a wave can we create?

Meditations will remind us of who we are when the robots will come. As long as we all practice meditations and anchor to our center deep inside we should cherish the technological progress and look forward to the beautiful changes it brings. As a millennial, I anticipate the brave new world that could be just 10 years away and if someone would ask me if I plan to be a part of it I will say: “Hell yeah!

How about you?

Why the Spiritual Growth is so important

What to do in the absence of meaning? Elevate your tastes and observe your consolations.

I was born in the biggest country in the world — USSR. I happened to live in it my first 3 very unconscious years since 1988 up until 1991 — the year when USSR disintegrated into smaller countries.

In post-soviet countries, people used to say that in USSR there were no sex and religion. Of course, it wasn’t true. Both existed and both were secret.

How to use personal rituals to seize the day

Photo source

The essay about the importance of the routine to live a happy and productive life.

It is a matter of shame that in the morning the birds should be awake earlier than you.
~ Abu Bakr

I am in that restless and boisterous team of people advocating for the creation of the morning routine and commitment to it. If you are like me and you read this essay, I salute you! Hoorah!

I personally don’t like the word “routine” because of obvious reason — we tend to associate this word with monotonous and boring work. I believe many creative people will agree that when they hear or pronounce the word “routine” something inside switches off.

The word “ritual”, on the contrary, has an aura of mysticism and implies deep meaning behind it. Our rituals start to have a deep meaning endow it to them. “Ritual”. I love this word. Let’s just stick with it, shall we?

Every single day I start my day with the same set of things:

5:30 am. Uplifting Content

I open my eyes and take my phone. I open Medium and start reading. I spend 15–30 minutes depending on how long are the articles that I choose.

I have the highest appreciation for all those amazing, talented and hard-working people that help me to start my day. They remind me of why I do what I do. They tell me: “Get up and deploy for your Mission.”

6:00 am. Cold shower.

Credit to Benjamin P. Hardy. He has been practicing it for years now and I read it in one of his essays a long time ago. This man is a productivity superman and a brilliant writer. I believe this ritual became an important pillar of his success.

Rapid exposure to cold is the most refreshing practice that will blow away your sleep and charge you with energy.

I can see how my body becomes red after the shower indicating that the blood rushed into every capillary to keep me warm. I feel pumped up like that rabbit from Energizer commercial 🐇. Knowing that it will feel amazing helps me to overcome the initial resistance.

Credit to Tim Ferriss for the mindset. In one of his videos, he mentioned that it really helps to think of it like jumping into the icy pool. It does indeed.

Philip Ghezelbash, a modern stoic who is educating people on integration deliberate discomfort into their daily lives recently released a very informative video on the benefits of the cold shower.

Follow him on Youtube. This man delivers value. Stoicism rocks 💪

6:04 am. Decluttering.

After the shower, I find and I throw out 1 old or useless thing from my house. Thanks to the contribution of my girlfriend who apparently made a decision to dedicate her life to fight my strive for minimalism I make a prediction that I will never run out of the stuff to toss to the trash bin. Hopefully, I am wrong.

Every object in your house is feeding on your energy — energy of your attention. By decluttering the space around you, you purify your mind. Try it. Make some space in your head. Works like a charm.

6:05 am. Protein shake.

Credit to Tim Ferriss. In his book “The Four Hour Body” Tim discusses the importance of consuming 30g of protein in the first 30 minutes of waking. According to the book, it helps to kill the carbs cravings and continue the fat burn that was initiated during the night. Second is not my biggest concern but I admit from my experiences with fasting an empty stomach can be a distraction.

I don’t eat meat so the traditional American bacon breakfast that Tim recommends doesn’t work for me. That is why I prefer a speedy option of 30g soy protein mixed with water. (Not with milk. Milk is bad 🐄 👎Don’t drink it. I am serious.)

I don’t drink coffee too. Not only in the morning, I just don’t drink it. I found out that coffee makes me anxious and I physically feel like I lose my inner balance. I used to think that it is an individual reaction but I discovered that many people report the same adverse effects. Personally, I don’t understand how people cope with it. The clarity of the brain that doesn’t rely on the boost-up substances to stay sharp is incomparable with any doping.

6:10 am. I show up.

I show up in my writing room at approximately 10 A.M. every morning without fail. Sometimes my Muse sees fit to join me there and sometimes she doesn’t, but she always knows where I’ll be. She doesn’t need to go hunting in the taverns or on the beach or drag the boulevard looking for me.
~ Tom Robbins

I read this recently in the article by Susan Brassfield Cogan and I loved it. Every time I sit down, open my laptop and stare at the blank white space I don’t know what I am about to start. But I know only one thing for sure — the Muse will show up only if I do.

I start small.

I write in my “Challenge Me” diary about 100–300 words to warm up where I write about my life and my daily challenges. Then I switch to my drafts. Sometimes I have some freelance to do.

I understand that I started late. I am 29 y.o. and I got myself into writing. I don’t pursue any particular goal, as mostly I am driven by the ambition to master English language and become a real wordsmith who doesn’t have an “impostor’s syndrome” pulling his leg all the time. I will be happy if I could help other people who struggle with the things I succeeded to resolve on the way. I believe that the higher purpose will reveal itself if I stay persistent and consistent.

I read the articles of some very successful writers. They have a bar of 500 words per day. Stephen King is purported to have said that his bar is about 2000 words in the first work session.

I recently watched a great talk between Stephen King and George R.R. Martin. (FYI that’s the guy who wrote “The Game of Thrones just in case you are a caveman like me who never watched or read any of it 😅):

50:07

The whole talk is worth watching but I love the moment at 50:07. Stephen goes: “George, we are going to have to wrap up this pretty soon. Is there anything that you’ve always wanted to ask me? Because, George, I will.

George Martin chuckles: “Yes! Yes, there is something I want to ask you.

Alright,” Stephen leans in.

“How the FUCK do you write so many books so fast?”

(both laugh).

George carries on: “I think: oh! I’ve had a really good 6 months, I’ve written 3 chapters and you’ve…you’ve finished 3 books in that time!

Stephen replies: “Here is the thing, okay? There are books and there are BOOKS. The way that I work, I try to get out there and I try to get 6 pages a day so with the book like “The End of Watch”, and I work. When I am working I work every day, 3–4 hours and I try to get those 6 pages and I try to get them fairly clean. So if the manuscript is, let’s say, 360 pages long that’s basically two months work. It’s concentrated but that’s assuming that it goes well.

6 pages a day 😐That’s insane productivity!

How can Stephen get his writing done? The answer is

Deep work.

Deep work” is the book by Cal Newport which I will probably never get tired to recommend. It appears that Stephen Kind has his 3-4 hours of daily writing only by sessions of intensive dedicated immersion without distractions.

By waking up early and having my 4 hours I gift myself the time that I can dedicate solely to honing my skills.

The question by Peter Thiel keeps ringing in my ears:

How can you achieve your 10-year plan in the next 6 months?

I understand that if truly 1,000,000 is the nominal number of words one must have written in order to get somewhat decent at writing, and if I I set the same bar of 500 words a day it will take me 2000 days of everyday writing or 5.48 years. Damn. No way. I am not willing to wait that long.

Nicolas Cole writes 10,000 words a day. Say what?! 😱 I am not sure how is that possible but he is a living proof that it is physically possible.

By setting up the early morning rituals I am taking the direction that supposedly will get me to the desired place faster. I better keep up with my writing.

10:00 am. The normal day starts.

At this time, my girlfriend wakes up. I will cook her a breakfast. We will eat and prepare for the day. Knowing that I made some good stuff done before everyone started their day is precious. After breakfast, I still hold my vector pointed towards my goals but I am not so focused.

This is what Cal Newport writes in the “Deep work”:

A now voluminous line of inquiry, initiated in a series of pioneering papers also written by Roy Baumeister, has established the following important (and at the time, unexpected) truth about willpower: You have a finite amount of willpower that becomes depleted as you use it.

I understand this and that’s why I allow myself to rest. Somewhere during the day, I will:

  • Meditate
  • Take 20 minutes to clean my house
  • Exercise
  • Take a power nap
  • Do some work that I do for living
  • Watch a TED talk

If you are not a practitioner of rituals already, I hope by this point you wonder:

Why should I start?

Here is the list of benefits you get from the commitment to your rituals.

Rituals are predictable. You know how your day will start and how it will escalate. You decrease the entropy that may intervene in the process of the movement towards your goals.

Your body starts to work like a Swiss watch. By implementing a regime you teach your body to do certain things at a certain time. You wake up without an alarm. You get hungry or (excuse me) go to the toilet at the same time. You get sleepy at the same time. All of that helps to increase the body awareness in general.

You forge your discipline. Here is the natural evolution of any behavioral pattern: I choose a challenge. I overcome the resistance. It becomes a habit. Finally, it becomes my second nature and I can’t live without it. This is how self-discipline is formed. There is no other way.

You build up momentum. As your newly acquired rituals become as automatized as your old habits you don’t have to spend your mental energy on them and your productivity increases naturally.

You get shit done. Please welcome Stephen Duneier. This 👇 is one of those “quake-TED talks”. The guy is a beast! Just watch it.

His message is simple: You implement marginal changes that accumulate after years of practice to become something that people call “overnight” success. The art of integration those marginal changes in the daily life is a great mindset applicable to anything you do.

Night rituals

I recently realized that the rituals before sleep are just as important as the morning ones.

Delicious dinner. Stoics say that food is the means of survival, not a pleasure. But they also say that Moderation is the virtue. As long as I am not consumed by gluttony I think a delicious dinner is a good reward for the day of hard work.

Talking with my partner. Credit to Duncan Riach. Daily 30 minutes when you sit in front of your partner remaining the eye contact and talk. We talk about the events of the day, about our plans and goals. It is important to find time to connect with your loved ones and get recharged with love.

Hot shower. Opposite to morning one, hot shower helps to relax sore muscles and rinse off the energy of the day. An absolute must before sleep.

Reading. It helps to calm the mind and you just might fall asleep with the book in your hands. Alternatively, if your eyes are tired:

Listening to podcasts or audio-books. I listen to some audio-books about spirituality sometimes. It’s up to you. What I do more often is:

Relaxation meditation. I just lie on my back, close my eyes, put in the earplugs and start to move my attention to the different parts of my body observing the sensations and untangling the tension in the muscles. Several minutes in and the Morpheus comes to take me. Not the big black dude from the Matrix movie, I mean the sleep. 😑 Jeez…

What should I do now?

You know what to do.

Deploy.

  1. Identify the aspects of your life that you want to improve on. You may find the Wheel of Life useful. Give it a shot.
  2. Set up the goals in chosen sectors. Try to implement it in the form of a 30-day challenge. See what happens.
  3. Plan out your rituals in accordance with your goal and commit to them.

Your dreams don’t work if you don’t.

Change won’t happen if you don’t make it happen. Take 100% responsibility for everything that happens in your life even the external events that at the first glance don’t have any visible connection with your actions. They do. Stay focused. Rent yourself out to the process. Be a robot who’s life mission is to do the task at hand at the level of maximum performance every individually taken moment of your life. Stay strong.

I wish us luck.

I am not yet in the place where I want to be. But I have an adamant intention to do what it takes to get there. If you are going through the grinder of self-development, know — you are not alone. There is me standing next to you, and there are hundreds of others beside you on a sole mission to become the best versions of themselves and improve this world 🌎

We will succeed. Not because we must, but because we have decided to.

The writing advice from James Altucher that changed my life

The most important lesson about writing and life in general.

Written for Quora: What are one or two sentences that someone has told you that changed your life for the better?

James Altucher.

I have been following him for about a year now. And if you are a regular on Medium like me you maybe also wondering how is this guy could be so omnipresent. His voice seems to be scattered all over the internet. The simplistic almost minimalist style of his writing peeled off the layers of my stereotypical thinking about the craft of writing.

The best things in life are not things

Written for Quora: What is the best thing in life?

There are tons of “I wish I knew when I was younger” articles on the internet teaching young people about the life lessons of elders. Understanding that the best things in life are not things is one of them.

Talking to many people that are much older and experienced than me gave me the idea of what really matters at the end of life. Everyone says the same — the most important thing in life is

Transurfing of Reality in a nutshell

12 golden rules of Transurfing. How to shape your reality and make your wishes come true

There is one book I read that completely shook my perception of the world and transformed the way I operate in it. The name is “Transurfing of reality” by Vadim Zeland. It’s not one book in fact, but the whole series of books that build up several concepts into one coherent theory.

In a nutshell, Transurfing is a model of seeing and controlling the world.