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Who Am I – An Image, Identity Or A Being?

Written by: Santosh Naidu, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Namaste. Bonjour. Hola. Halo. Greetings!

The summer Olympics continue to inspire us, this time around we celebrate the achievements of the specially-abled athletes; who with their wonderful performances demonstrated what it takes to really re-invent themselves to perform so brilliantly. As I said before we in India are at a cusp of sporting renaissance, the past couple of weeks we bagged the largest medal haul in the Paralympic games 19 medals with 5 Gold, 8 silver and 6 Bronze, outstanding achievement. A big shout out to all the participants for their inspiring accomplishments.

“You fill every one of us with Aspiration and Hope”

Today the 5th of September, we celebrate Teacher’s day in India and this is dedicated to everyone in my life who has been instrumental in my learning process. One of my teachers said to me “Unknown Forces, Unknown Sources” as a metaphor to point out that one can learn from anyone or any situation. Also, September marks the beginning of fall, the countryside is beautiful, and it’s a wonderful time to connect with nature.

An early morning barefoot walk in the grass with dewdrops, the sound of birds chirping along with flowing water and a breath of fresh air is so uplifting. Add a mountain, a warm sunrise, the presence of a loved one and the feeling is that much more augmented. Later this week, I am off to the Holy Mountain to get spiritually recharged.

What is it about nature that revitalises us or touches us at the core, our spirit?

As I assured you all in July, I continue with my topic of wellbeing and this month the focus is on spiritual wellbeing.

So let’s begin with the question:

What is spirituality?

A simple search on the internet renders us with multiple definitions but the one that I would indicate here is “the meaning of spirituality has developed and expanded over time, and various connotations can be found alongside each other”. In some parts of the world, there is a strong religious flavour associated with spirituality and what makes this definition special is its personal nature and that it is evolving. For me, it started with curiosity and after years of practice it’s that one essential element that’s made a substantial difference to my overall wellbeing, set me on the path to thrive.

I believe the curiosity and subjectivity should prevail until each of us undergoes that intimate experience. An inward journey to realise and manage an ENERGY that is significantly influenced by the body, mind, climate, nutrition, a guide, a Guru or a Coach or a Teacher and our anatomy which includes the physical, chemical and biological aspects. Therefore it’s about a unique, complex system and its existence in the cosmos

Impelled by the Universe, cultures have taken shape around the world which demonstrates the diversity in our methods and practices but what binds us all together is the way humans have been engineered, with an evolved system including the brain. The human brain is the most complex and advanced natural organ on the planet.

What we call the brain is the physical organ and the mind is the mental equivalent. The brain can be touched, whereas, the mind cannot be touched, recognise them as two distinct components.

Some cultures have discovered the understanding of this complex system over time and created specific practices after delving deep into the human composition. These set of practices have emerged as a confluence of physical and mental states, as a discipline to identify the inner energy and transcend beyond the bodily experience to achieve a state of Nirvana, Zen, a consciousness, a meditation to achieve the state of bliss, mindfulness that no external stimulant can provide. This specialisation is Yoga.

Yoga in today’s world is quite synonymous with human wellbeing, has been practice in the eastern hemisphere of the globe for times immemorial. Several Gurus, Yogis, Monks and Saints have developed and passed on this knowledge over thousands of years and we see many disciplines of yoga in practice today.

As per yogic culture there are up to 16 dimensions of the human mind and for ease of understanding I am highlighting them in 4 broad categories and they are:

  • Buddhi: the intellect – that which powers our progress globally

  • Ahankara: the identity – what we have come to identify ourselves as

  • Manas: memory that which gives the species its edge, carried on from generation to generation (conscious memory, subconscious memory, genetic memory, etc.)

  • Chitta: pure intelligence – that which is universal and that is beyond us

The first three dimensions keep us in a cyclical mode in the state of samsara which translates to “the cycle of death and rebirth to which life in the material world is bound”. In order to go beyond this one needs guidance from someone enlightened and that is the Guru, or a teacher to show the path.

As indicated above there are various disciplines and schools of Yoga today, millions around the world have benefitted from this. I am a student of this subject and imbibe all the knowledge I can get irrespective of the source.

Following are a list of institutions I recommend:

  • Sri Ramakrishna Mission (centres all over the world)

  • Isha Yoga foundation (online)

  • Ramana Ashrama (Tiruvannamalai, India)

  • Sri Aurobindo Ashram (Auroville, Puducherry, India)

  • Yogiville – (UK, India, and Croatia)

All the places above are proficient in enabling your journey for learning and discovering one’s true self and purpose beyond the materialistic world. These are places that have helped me in my spiritual journey that started when I was a child <5 years old and continues after decades helping me achieve my wellbeing ominously.

What is consciousness?

  • A realisation?

  • A purpose?

  • A connection?

  • or an Aha moment?

Consciousness is proof of life that we are ALIVE; a gift, to see, feel and experience this world.

We are a product of our circumstances, habits, cultural or a religious discourse, learnings etc. that we are accustomed to, collectively referred to as our experiences, mostly physical. Good or bad it’s stored by the brain as a part of our growth journey influenced by natural instincts, talents, and constitution topped by external stimuli and how we react to it.

  • What is positive and what’s negative

  • What gets applauded and what’s criticised

  • What is happiness and what’s sadness

“The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated” – William Jones

We create these unique files and store them in our memory which serve as a knowledge bank of perceptions. These subjective files stored in memory based on how they are experienced create our perceived reality. This includes our prejudices, biases, logical fallacies, likes, dislikes, etc.

This perceived reality becomes the world we create for ourselves.

A reality that becomes one's identity, awareness and ego. Greater the ego, the stronger the opinions, the lesser the tolerance, and the greater the stress in a given environment. Every new instance is measured against an existing standard perception already filed looking for familiarity. This reality, coupled with survival instincts and memory over time, matures into a foundation from which everything is processed. That forms the basis for most judgments.

Situations get exacerbated with inaccurate data, incorrect measurement, and wrong nutrition, influence of psychotropic substances, biases, fallacies, alkaloids or stimulants that lead to uncertainty, insecurity, chemical imbalances and suffering.

In simpler terms, the output is the energy generated from our lifestyles and habits.

The output is directly proportional to inputs and the process.

The energy in memory manifests itself in our behaviour subconsciously and is evident how we react to various situations in our life, in our body language, behaviours and other forms of expression.

Quite significant is the impact of natural surroundings, how additional oxygen opens up our minds, how a vegetarian diet keeps us agile and how we absorb all kinds of energy from our surroundings. There are various types of energy some which excite us, some that make us repel and some that heal. Enlightened Yogis, Saints and Monks created specially consecrated places to assist the wellbeing of the society. These hallowed places help recharge our batteries metaphorically.

Given the intense competition and hustle, most undertake to make a living, expecting any change from the usual comfort is often not as voluntary as one would like and at the same time no one likes to get forced either. However, the pandemic is forcing many to rethink their respective life journey without offering a choice. Never before has there been the kind of surge in mental health issues globally and many do not know what to do and are silently suffering.

It’s imperative for us to recognise that an informed decision is much better than a reaction under emotionally charged circumstances. In order to gain that calm, the balance, composure to achieve that ability you should begin the spiritual journey. Investing less than hour a day should benefit us qualitatively in our life by keeping stress at bay and quantitatively by helping us save millions on those bills that arise out of unhealthy lifestyles.

One recommendation that I most often give my clients is to get to a nearby green zone, forest or an ashram for a detox. A comprehensive one physical to digital, spend time soaking up the sun, getting excess oxygen into your system and start meditation beginning to explore that inner self.

Practice Silence, Listen

Ask yourself:

  • Who am I?

  • What influences me?

  • Where am I headed?

Listing a few natural energy centres around the world that might help:

  • Mount Kailash in Tibet

  • Matho Thippila in Wyoming, United States

  • The Holy Mountain in Tiruvannamalai, South India (where I visit)

Alternatively start online from where you are at home and with time or convenience permitting, visit the recommended recharge centres to enhance your experience.

I, therefore, insist you, all my readers to consider giving yourself this gift to enhance your overall wellbeing and thrive.

Best wishes!



Santosh Naidu, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Santosh Naidu is a Management Consultant and a Brainpower Coach with over two decades of international experience across Asia, N America, and Europe. At the turn of the century, he was employed with GE Capital, IBM, and Fidelity Investments and, in his last role, was heading HR S Operations Excellence for the APAC region at Deutsche bank group. He has been running his consulting and coaching practice for the last 10 years under the brand name santhnaidu®.

His objective is to facilitate relevant change and human wellbeing. He is excited about solving some of the most pressing problems, such as unemployment, mental health issues, and climate change. He is well known in industry circles for taking a stand on unethical practices. Over the years, he invested in treehouse building, soil rejuvenation and loves playing his part in innovating sustainability solutions.

As a brainpower and strengths coach, he ensures wellbeing for his clients by diagnosing and addressing various issues impacting the modern populace. This is done by using credible surveys, credible APPs, and coaching methodologies. His unique coaching approach helps clients' spot causes affecting them, especially after the recent pandemic where many are struggling and suffering silently.

Be it physical, mental, career, social, or community aspects, his unique coaching formula addresses most lifestyle aspects by helping his clients build strengths from natural talents, gain confidence from physical, mental, and nutritional methods to sustain the changes they make to successfully thrive.


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