A few years ago while I was conducting interviews for my book Tales of People Who Get It, I asked a CEO what his favourite quotation was and why? His response:
“I like ‘If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you’ from the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling because it teaches you not to panic and to stay in control when bad things happen. Don’t be impulsive and think that you have to do something. Sit in a room for a while and be quiet and let the world go by while you think about things.”
Reading the poem below is more poignant now than it was a few years ago. I have been taking Raja yoga classes, and the first three lessons are on The Art of Self Mastery, and the final five on The Ancient Study of Raja Yoga Meditation. I have taken two of the three classes on self mastery and I can feel a big difference. I am feeling calmer and more peaceful. The classes are to help me get peace of mind and much more. The big thing for me for taking the classes was to learn how to let go.
After the first class we were given a handout, Our Mighty Powers: The Most Effective Powers in our Lives for us to study the nine powers: Tolerance, Truth/Honesty, Co-operation, Humility, Accommodation, Discrimination, Love, Judgement and Withdraw. And the words and their meanings in Raja Meditation are different from their traditional English meanings. Each day I read the handout, which includes the meanings of the nine powers, and I see something that I did not see before. I feel a sense of calm wrap itself around me like a well used blanket. I am slowly letting go (Withdraw) of the things that hold me back, and the interesting thing is that I now truly understand what the other powers mean because I can feel them in my soul.
Now I truly understand what the CEO meant when he quoted an excerpt from “If.” Read the poem and just BE.
“If” By Rudyard Kipling (Poetry Reading)
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If by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!
What do you feel right now? What does this poem mean to you? How easy is it for you to sit still for a while? What techniques do you use when you want to experience a sense of peace? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Many readers read this blog from other sites, so why don’t you pop over to The Invisible Mentor and subscribe (top on the right hand side) by email or RSS Feed.