Thinking of India brings up an abundance of images on women. From an urban working woman to a rural woman, they work, tend to homes, families, traditions, serve others, and also do charity work.
But women continue to face an age-old struggle between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. An educated young woman who handles her job with great success finds that the most difficult part of her life might be her mother-in-law. Ask a mother-in-law what irks her most, and she’s likely to talk about the shortcomings in her daughter-in-law.
A disagreement between a mother and daughter is seen as a simple squabble. But, if the same scenario is played out between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, it might be viewed as harassment on both sides. You have a potentially combustible situation that can negatively impact everyone in the family. Rich or poor, well-educated or not, these tensions are seen in every household throughout the country.
Light of intelligence
The good news is that there are solutions. Let’s take a deeper look at the situation to understand the under lying dynamics. Women hold the light for families and are the builders of civilization. Love is the greatest asset in women, but they are more than just that. Women are also an embodiment of creativity, active intelligence and dynamic power. These qualities are attributes of The Trinity of Power in action—the relationship between will-power, love-wisdom and creativity-intelligence. Understanding this paradigm is important because your strengths can be the source of your seeds of failure and your weaknesses can be the source of your seeds of success.
Creative intelligence is a crucial element within the Trinity of Power. In addition to analysing and fostering concrete and abstract thinking, you can also identify sources of failure from blind spots, negative influence of others, decisions made out of anger, frustration, fear, jealousy, and lower passion.
All members in a family can reduce suffering by looking inward and becoming aware of their own negative attitudes and vices. Then, it is easier to execute steps to reduce:
- Excessiveness including over attachment to ideas as well as individuals
- Harmful thoughts, words and actions including being judgmental of others
- Stealing at all levels, including ideas of others
- Falsehood or misleading others. This includes the tendency towards inhibition to avoid conflict
- Laziness and lack of discipline
- Greed or selfishness
- Self-centeredness and self-importance
- Lack of creative adaptability
- Wrong goals leading to misuse of intelligence, creativity, love or power
- Lack of creativity or right application of intelligence.
Love to wisdom
Another point in the Trinity is love-wisdom. What is a woman’s purpose in life? Yes, it is to love of her children, husband and family. But love is beyond that. There are many gradations of love:
- Instinctive love is a lower type of love, what people sometimes call ‘animal attraction’
- Passionate love is sentimental to a point where it can be imprisoning
- Intelligent love guided by the intellect is like a mother who is able to discipline her most beloved child when s/he misbehaves
- Love based on need is familiar to many
- Divine love is the realisation of divinity within each person in a family
- Spiritual group love is when people find fulfilment in relationships beyond the family that are rooted in spiritual activities.
One of the hallmarks of love transforming into wisdom is the ability to respect that people are at different levels of development. I like to say that people are like unripe fruit. They are just in the process of maturing. This is what happens—love and kindness displace anger and hatred. In the same way, anger and hatred can displace love and kindness. In fact, the inner condition attracts outer condition, thus people attract the needed lessons in relationships, within themselves or in groups. Love binds people together, unfortunately the same is true with hatred. Therefore, whatever the situation, the best prescription is to keep on forgiving from the heart. This does not mean becoming a victim of life.
Forgiveness often involves healing the past:
- An easy way to do this is to take a few minutes to sit quietly and breathe out your tension, fears, anger, guilt and grief, into an imaginary ocean
- Once you feel clearer, touch the centre of your chest and breathe deeply and slowly, recall a happy event for about two minutes
- Repeat the following affirmation several times, ‘I am a being of love and kindness. As I ask for forgiveness from people whom I’ve hurt, I give forgiveness to anyone who has hurt me. Let all be completely forgiven. Let all be free. So it is.’
Antidote to fear
At the apex of Trinity of Power is willpower. There is so much power in women but it is not fully developed because most women identify themselves primarily as loving beings. When women’s willpower is integrated with love, they demonstrate the greatest leadership on Earth during modern times. Willpower brings determination, persistence, endurance, courage, strength, will to improve life and the vitality to make it happen.
Willpower development is made simple by practicing expanding squats and push-ups:
- Expanding squats: Start with your hands in front of your heart, pointing upwards and inhaling deeply. Exhale as you bend your knees and extend your arms at the sides. Inhale as you bring your hands back in front of your heart. Repeat 20–50 times, 3 times a week or daily.
- Push-ups: They are great for willpower development too. If it is difficult to do push-ups from the floor, try doing them leaning against the wall. Repeat 10–20 times, 2–3 times a week.
Hard times also build willpower. Accepting and implementing greater responsibility at work, at home or both builds willpower. Facing hardships with an attitude, of going through life courageously helps women to avoid traps of feeling like a victim. Courage is essential to overcoming fear, which increases in the face of low willpower. What we fear most tends to materialise, so one way to overcome fear is to spend 2–5 minutes when doing the breathing out to the Ocean technique. Just visualise your specific fears being dispelled into the ocean. Make a strong intention that they be gone completely and forever.
With less fear, a greater understanding of a situation and more wisdom, it is easier to develop new eyes to see life’s circumstances from a different perspective. Even if you can’t change a situation, you can change the way you perceive it. Then, instead of dwelling on negative emotions, identify new channels for your energies and new activities that will enhance the virtues of forgiveness, vitality, good health, and group consciousness. Maintain a sense of serenity and bless people in your life with the positive qualities they are developing. This can include blessing women whose lives are more difficult, even if you don’t know them, you can also bless from a distance.
Achieving success and establishing balance and harmony within a family or organisation is optimised by practicing these virtues:
- Harmlessness and non-injury
- Goodwill and will to-do-good
- Altruism and generosity
- Industrious and disciplined
- Creative adaptability
As women develop these virtues, for they often feel a call to serve, service is an expression of inner growth and development. It is muscle building for virtues and the barometer of spirituality. With these virtues exemplified through service of family, community and humanity, women can light the way.
This was first published in the March 2009 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
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