Hello friends this is a beautiful take on EI explained with profound insights by my dear friend Sriram. I have transcribed it from Sri’s reply on my earlier post on Raising EI levels and its correlation with Hummingbirds.
Thank you Sriram,
“one striking quality of the humming bird – its a perfect example of ‘action’ in
‘inaction’ and ‘inaction’ in ‘action’ – Sri Krishna in the Bhagvad Gita talks about this as one of the lakshanas (hallmarks) of a Karma Yogi – in chapter 4.
The humming bird does not ‘move’ (inaction) when
it is drawing nectar from the flowers (action) though it is flapping its wings very quickly (action) creating the humming sound though it is stationary (inaction).
This important concept is important for us to understand the heart of EI as well.
For me EI refers to that quality of an individual who is able to be steady in thought word and deed even in an emotional upheaval so that he is able to ‘see’ things as ‘they’ are and take the ‘right’ action in the given circumstance.
So if we are to act ‘rightly’ (action) then we must be ‘inactive’ – not allow us to get carried away by the ‘heat of the moment’. Thus action rooted in inaction is what EI helps us to achieve.
The best example of this would be the concept of ‘flow’ as described by the great psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi. Flow is when we are at our best in terms of action, but we are so lost to the moment or lost in the moment that internally we are inactive (or hyperactive like the humming bird’s wings)!!
Extending the humming bird analogy – just as the flapping wings do not ‘move’ the bird and instead help it to ‘draw’ nectar (most productive moment-flow); so also the zillion thought-wings of ours must be ‘frozen’ for us to achieve ‘flow’. But the poor humming bird gets to do it as instinct only when there is the urge to feed itself… But we humans can ‘get ourselves’ to be in a flow without an ‘external’ driver or ‘instinct’.
Thats what it means to have a high EQ. to be able to switch on / switch off as required by the moment at the moment so as to maximise the moment!!
How does one go about developing this?
Awareness – being aware of our emotions & always taking a ‘witness’ perspective of actions
Living in the present – being focused on the NOW rather than the future or past – the future sets us off on an expectation-agitation path and the past sets off on a regret-agitation path – both lead to emotional turbulence leading to ‘active’ action – recipe for disaster. focus on the here and now – as Swami Chinmayananda always used to say – ‘are you where your hands are?’ – helps us to be ‘inactive’ and active – helping us to ‘act’.
As in 3 idiots – hum ko kal ki phikr sataati, woh to aaj ka jashan manaata, har pal khulke masti mein jeeta tha woh!
Goleman’s ‘discovery’ of EI is another example of the West saluting Eastern wisdom, but without acknowledging the source!! However it does help in understanding Eternal truth and creates a wider audience for further exploration and Discovery.
The Entire Gita is a journey of Arjuna – moving from being emotionally ‘dumb’ to becoming emotionally ‘intelligent’ from being a person overwhelmed by the situation to a person who is looking to do his best in the situation.
The Gita uses a nice word for the emotionally dumb – person who is in Moha or ‘delusion’ – only delusion makes us see what is not and confuses us, befuddles us into a make believe world of our own which comes crashing later when ‘Truth’ or ‘Wisdom’ dawns. However by then the situation gets so vitiated that there is but little we can do to undo the damage.
It took 18 chapters & some 700 verses to kill Arjuna’s delusion & the Lord himself as Mentor / Coach … so obviously its a tough ask – this transformation process ….
So let’s begin….