Conscious Self-Development

Leadership Seminar at CNS Sweden
given by Dada Lokeshananda 
notes of Rasamayii and Iishiika

The central theme of the 4-day seminar by Dada Lokeshananda was how to move forward on the path of conscious self-development in a faster and better way. It included:
1. Five pillars, foundation for becoming a sadvipra.
2. Tools for conscious self-development.
3. Effective written communication


Five Pillars, Foundation for Becoming a Sadvipra

What is a sadvipra? A sadvipra is a person who is developing him/herself in all area’s of life, physical, mental and spiritual and is engaged in a mission rendering service to society.

The key for becoming a sadvipra lies in conscious self-development in all the areas of life. The foundation of progress on all levels lies in the 5 principles: responsibility, causality, philosophy, sa’dhana and surrender.1. Responsibility Principle
The starting point for all self-development is a complete and unconditional acceptance of full responsibility for all of your actions. . Progress stops when the mind falls into one of the psychological traps, in attempts to avoid responsibility or the five weapons of mind destruction:
A. Alibis – Rationalisation; “I do this because others also do it.” (“Nobody works hard, why would I?”)
B. Blame – Put blame on others; “It is their fault, not mine.”
C. Criticism – Putting attention on others faults; “He is doing it wrong.”
D. Denial/Delusion – Escaping from reality; “It is not my fault.”
E. Excuses – “It is not my fault, because so and so.”
We have to become aware of these destructive mental expressions. Awareness, Consciousness is the cure. We have to start thinking: “I am responsible for all my actions.”
2. Causality Principle
The law of cause and effect is the other side of the coin. We have to deeply understand and accept that this universe is based on cause and effect. There is no such thing as something for nothing. Two guidelines that will help:
1. Decide what you want,
2. Pay the price in advance. To make a fire you will have to put the wood in the oven first.
You can’t cheat though sometimes it seems to work to get something for nothing, but in the longer term reality will set in. This is the principle of causality or more commonly well known as law of karma

Disaster – A few errors in judgement repeated everyday.
Success – A few simple disciplines repeated everyday.

3. Philosophy Principle
Philosophy is the collection of the real reasons why you do something. When you ask yourself why you do the things you do, there will be two reasons. The first reason is the one that looks good, the second reason is the real reason. Your philosophy, your set of sails, will determine where you will end up. By taking more control over this philosophy we can change the course towards our goal “It does not matter what happens to us, what matters is what we do with what happens to us.”
4. Sadhana Principle
Sadhana means any sustained effort to achieve the goal. On the path towards a goal, the question is not “Can I do it or not?” Instead the question is “What are the necessary steps to achieve the goal?” Thesadhana principle is taking that action. By doing the proper action, anything can be done.5. Surrender Principle
You have to surrender your actions. There is a paradox visible here. You are required to choose, to be responsible and at the same time you have to surrender. Normal instinct is to hang on to our ego and try to escape the results of actions. The spiritual path tells us that we must own up to all our responsibilities and surrender the I-feeling.Tools for Conscious Self-DevelopmentTo help us in establishing ourselves as sadvipras we need to develop ourselves in many areas. Here’s an introduction to a few principles and skills that will help us in our conscious self-development.
A few inspirational phrases
shared by Dada Lokeshananda

Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.

There is no something for nothing

It does not matter what happens to you. What matters is what you do with what happens to you.

Every spectacular success is the result of long unspectacular preparation

Preparation is the key to success

Winners are those who are willing to prepare themselves until failure is impossible

“The word impossible only exists in the dictionary of fools” (Napoleon)

No matter what you do, you can always do it better or more.

If you want to fly with the eagles, don’t spend time scratching with the chickens.

Formula for Disaster: A few small mistakes repeated every day

Formula for Success: A few simple disciplines repeated every day

“You should forget what you do not want”

You will be the same person 5 years from now except the people you meet and the books you read.

The first sign for success is the confidence that it will bear fruit.

Pain / Pleasure principle – Every single thought and action is motivated to avoid any pain and to experience pleasure. This is the root of all success and failure. In all actions there is an immediate result and a long term result that will either include pain or pleasure: 
1. Pain – pain: These actions we will try to avoid.
2. Pain – pleasure: This is the source of procrastination. An action might be painful but give a benefit in longer term. Here we should transform our idea of pain into pleasure, we should think of the benefits rather than the short term pain.
3. Pleasure – pain: Here generally we make a mistake; we enjoy the short-term pleasure but will have to suffer later. Here we should rewire our minds and turn the pleasure into pain and therefore avoid these actions.
4. Pleasure – pleasure: These actions will not give problems.
Tension relieving / Goal achieving – Another way to look at the pleasure-pain principle is through tension relieving and goal achieving. Tension relieving actions might be pleasurable but will not lead to big goals, it is the easy way out, reacting to our stimuli. Goal achieving will surely give pleasurable results but it might take some effort and pain to actually achieve the goal. The sadvipra movement is from tension relieving towards goal achieving.Preparation – “Every spectacular success is the result of long unspectacular preparation.” We need to study, prepare ourselves for any kind of situation. One way to learn is through “masters” that have gone the long way before; read biographies and spend time with the right people.Language (metaphors, vocabulary, questions) – We need to improve our language skills to empower ourselves.
1. Metaphors: They are the basis of language and of thinking. They create certain feelings in the mind. We should avoid using negative metaphors and replace them with positive ones.
2. Vocabulary: There is direct link between our vocabulary and our I.Q. So learning new useful words and developing the knowledge of our mother tongue and English are some of the most powerful investments we can make.
3. Questions: By asking the right questions we will empower ourselves. What is the best use of my time right now? What is not perfect yet? What am I willing to do to make it the way I want? etc.
We can study the patterns, the recipes of successful life by learning from the masters, their books and biographies. We can observe how they communicate to themselves, in the metaphors and vocabulary they use, and the questions they ask. How different is the effect of your mind if you replace the word “failure” by “outcome” and if you ask yourself “How can I do this?” instead of “Why does this happen to me?” “I want to buy a master unit, but it costs too much.” Becomes “I do not have the money yet”, and the mind remains in a resourceful state, able to take the necessary action.Financial Literacy and Intelligence
Financial vocabulary and accounting – You should be able to read and write (your own) financial picture.
Cash-flow – Movement of cash between income, expenses, assets (something that has value and puts money in your pocket (passive income)) and liabilities (something that takes away money from your pocket). We discussed 3 cash-flow patterns; poor, middleclass and rich. The most interesting cash-flow is that of the rich, he/she will use his/her skills and abilities to create assets that will provide the money for all other expenses and liabilities (a permanent income). This is contrary to the other groups where the income out of skills will be used for the expenses rather than creating assets (a temporary income).Cash-flow of service – The cash-flow principles can also be applied in the field of service or in any other field. We can generate temporary service and receive some results, or we can generate permanent service/results by creating assets. So in the field of service we should all try to create assets with lasting results.There are two ways to get more results (to become rich):
1. To compete – Trying to get a bigger piece of the cake.
2. To create – Making the cake bigger. To create value you should increase the quality and/or productivity.
“Find a way to serve the most, with the highest possible value with longest possible time.”
“Become an asset for society.”
Goal (S) Getting – Every successful person in history had a major purpose that defined their life. If your goal is clear in your mind, and you control your attention towards this goal and act accordingly, then progress is achieved. Goal setting, the art and science of developing clarity about your aims and objectives, boils down to two things:
1- Decide what you want specifically.
Ask yourself the right questions (“What activity, if done well, would bring the biggest benefit?”)The key to success in prioritising your goals lies in the ability to say “no” to the good in order to achieve the best. There are urgent and non-urgent and important and non-important things to do. Between these we have to decide whether the things we do leads towards our goals. Urgent and important things will be done, important but not urgent things tend to be left aside easily (sa’dhana, education). On the other hand non important urgent things tend to take most of our time because they put pressure (phone ringing, unimportant problems), also unimportant non urgent things take our time easily (watching mindless TV, oversleeping). Goal achieving lies in the important but not so urgent area, say yes to this and no to the not important urgent or non urgent things in life. Make sure that the most important things in your life get done. Don’t be satisfied with good, go for the best. (The enemy of the best is good).
2- Write it down. Writing is a key to success, the mind will take it more seriously. Keeping a diary is a very beneficial way to keep track of your goal getting and gives focus to your mind.In addition to clarity about our goals, we need firm determination. The first indicator of success is the confidence that it will happen. Another observation is that great people have almost always spent some time in solitude in preparation for a great achievement. It gives momentum, and increases your awareness.Life long learning – We have to feed our minds, but not with mental candy (watching TV etc.). Imagine what your health would be like if you would eat only candy. And still many people live psychologically on mental candy, which results in depression and frustration. Feed your mind by the (greatest) people you spend time with and the books you read. Utilise the time you spend travelling or waiting in queues by reading or listening to inspiring ideas and information. Don’t waste your time, utilize every minute when travelling, waiting inline etcetera. Turn this time into study time. Prepare yourself when you go out.Dream of big goals! – A final inspiring thought: What is the reason to aim at the highest goal?
Think of what you have to become to achieve it! What do you have to become in order to achieve the goal is what counts not the result.Effective Written Communication

There are several key elements in written communication such as in a message, poster, advertisement or fundraising letter.
1. Offer – What do we offer? This should be something valuable.
2. Audience – To whom do you offer?
3. Message – How does your target audience come to know about the offer? Make an offer they can’t refuse.

Generally you have to start with the end of the process and see what you have to do in order to get the end result. The end result is the “Most wanted response” ( MWR) – the action that you want your audience to take after reading your message. Once things are clear you will have to do the preparation work for the message. This includes making two lists, a list of features / facts and an audience profile. The list of features should include anything that is directly or indirectly related to the offer. The audience profile is a description of the best possible audience, but it should be one person and described in detail. The next step is to turn the features into benefits, thinking about your ideal audience. As long as you can ask the questions “So what?” and “Who cares?” the features are not benefits, so keep extracting until they are benefits to your audience. Then choose your most important unique benefits to make up your message.

To create the message we follow AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action). You want to get the attention of the audience followed by their interest to read the rest of the message that will create a desire in your audience that will put them into action. The minimum requirement of the message is a headline (your “biggest gun”), list of benefits, different benefits and the action (MWR). Of course the length can be different depending on the purpose of the message, a poster, advertisement, fundraising letter etc. Once the message is ready test it, refine it, and polish it. The meaning of communication is the result you get.