Life Planning, Part 1, Set Clear Goals

Nartana Ritau is a natural time for planning. Having goals for our lives. Spiritual, social, cultural, economic, educational and physiological goals. Questions to reflect upon to make sure our purpose is clear and to make it part of ourselves.

Unedited Transcript:

Nice to see you're all here.

Start a bit about our calendar. Our calendar is based on the traditional Tamil almanac called a panchangam. But, Gurudeva added a number of distinctive features that aren't in the traditional one. And one of those is that we have three seasons, called ritaus, rather than the traditional six.

Why do we have three? Because we have Dancing with Siva, Living with Siva and Merging with Siva. We don't have three more books. We had six books we'd probably have six seasons. So, there's one season for each book, very simple.

Nartana Ritau is where we are now, mid April through mid August. Jivana Ritau is mid August through mid December. And Moksha Ritau is mid December through mid April.

Last week, the current ritau, Nartana ritau, is a natural time for planning, for seeing ahead, for adding another year onto our life plan because one year has past.

So as many of you know Gurudeva loved to plan. Planning was very important to him. And to help everyone plan, to encourage them to plan, he wrote one of his Nandinatha Sutras, sutra number nine on the topic.

"Siva's devotees approach each enterprise with deliberate thoughtfulness and act only after careful consideration. They succeed in every undertaking by having a clear purpose, a wise plan, persistence and push."

This morning we're just going to look at the idea of clear purpose, the first one.

Another term for purpose is goal. Something we use more than purpose. We usually don't, we use purpose more for "What's the purpose of life?" Something like that, something a little more philosophical.

But goals, we all have goals for our life, the different aspects of our life. And, another feature of Gurudeva's emphasis was - in addition to planning - he liked the idea of planning a balanced life. In other words, most of us, left to our own devices will create an imbalanced life. There's something we like to do more than we should and there are some things we like to do less than we should. And, we'll just do them in that way. We won't discipline ourselves to really put the right amount of time and effort into the various aspects of our life to make it truly balanced.

To help in this regard Gurudeva created a five-fold division that encompasses most aspects of life. We have spiritual, social, cultural, economic and educational. And, we ourselves added one more to balance it out. The physical aspect. Physiological: to bring in health and environment.

In creating goals for these six areas of life it's helpful to ask a question. What do we want to accomplish in each of these areas of our life? What are the major goals we have that we want to accomplish over the next few years? Some of them are longer term such as goals for our children. Those aren't just two or three years long. They're twenty some years long.

So we can ask six questions. One for each.

What are our spiritual goals, social goals, cultural goals, economic goals, educational goals, and physical and health goals and write them down. Important to write them down because there will be too many to just remember. And then, you can edit the list.

We created some sample goals just to catalyze thinking in each of these areas. Since some of them may not be self-evident. Others are. Everyone always understands economic goals and financial planning. In fact, that's one of the areas that tends to get more attention then it may need verses the other ones.

Naturally, we list spiritual goals first.

A good one is a yearly pilgrimage to a temple, a holy place that's not in our immediate surroundings. In Hawaii that's harder to do; there's nothing else nearby. Thus, we may have to pilgrimage less frequently. Save up for it. Maybe every five years, eight years. We can pilgrimage somewhere and we save up for it. If it's convenient we can make a yearly pilgrimage to a different place. And, of course, that's a topic unto itself which we won't jump into. Pilgrimage and preparing for pilgrimage and so forth.

Social goals.

Extended family gatherings is one area we could all do more of. Get in touch with the rest of our family in some way every few years. Get a big, big conclave where everyone gets together and stays updated. And more special family outings. Those are enjoyable by all.

Cultural goals.

Children taking dance and music lessons is a common one. Adults attending cultural performances. And if you know how to paint, play music or sing, taking time to do that. To express one's cultural talents on a regular basis.

Economic goals.

Is one that's usually in the forefront of everyone's minds. Saving for the children's education, saving for retirement are two very important economic goals that are need to be attended to on a regular basis.

Educational goals.

Of course, the children's secular education. But Gurudeva also encouraged the adults to continue to develop skills. Keeps us alert. In modern terminology it prevents Alzheimer's. Keep the brain working; learn new things. It, it adds, what would you say? It adds new dimension to our life when we keep learning new things and adding it.

So, what are some of the new things? Well career advancement, of course, for those who are in the workplace is very important. But, such hobbies as learning about herbs, healing, preserving fruit, arts and crafts. Simple things to fill out our life in a more balanced way are useful to learn. One of the sutras indicates it's good to learn to make things with your hands. It's a wonderful refinement, spiritual refinement, to do that.

Physiological goals.

Is our last category. And, of course, that includes all health goals, exercise, diets, therapies, fasting regimens as well as improvements to the environment, your home, your clothing. To upgrade and keep it more actinic, is the word we use. Free from instinctive odic forces by having it new and clean.

Sometimes goals are developed but they're not clear enough. So, that's one of the reasons Gurudeva says - doesn't say just purpose - he says: "Clear purpose."

How do we know if we have a clear purpose? We can ask: What are we trying to do exactly? And if we can't come up with an answer maybe we don't have a clear purpose. Sometimes we take on activities because our friends are doing it. Or, we see it on television or something; it's fairly superficial. And, that kind of activity usually we can't sustain because we haven't really thought it through and made it part of ourselves. That's the idea of making sure the purpose, why you're doing this, what's the goal of this activity is a good reflection now and then. And, writing it down is a good way to be clear that this is something that I want to do. It's not something my friend is doing or something I simply saw on television.

As you might expect, there's gong to be a Part Two. Part Two is a wise plan. Something to look forward to in the next talk.

Thank you very much.

Aum Namah Sivaya

[End of transcript.]

Photo of  Gurudeva
Hell is not eternal. Nor is there a Satan who tempts man and opposes God's power, though there are devilish beings called asuras, immature souls caught in the abyss of deception and hurtfulness.
—Gurudeva