‘Be Calmly Active and Actively Calm’

3 min read

Dr Amrita Dass, Founder-Director, ICS

In this write-up, Dr Amrita Dass, educationist & career consultant, shares the ‘best practices’ that did wonders in her life.

(Image credit: Dr Amrita Dass)

Sri Paramhansa Yogananda’s profound saying, ‘Be Calmly Active and Actively Calm’, in his best-selling book, Autobiography of a Yogi, is one of my favourites! While applying this powerful message in my daily life, I shortlisted some ‘best practices’ that have worked for me, and would like to share them with you.


Underlying this thought is mindfulness – focusing one’s awareness on the present moment and being able to appreciate every aspect of it.

Paying attention to the flow of our thoughts, feelings and emotions without forming judgements connects our inner and outer universes in a harmonious way. It enables an equipoise in our responses and is in itself a stress buster!

Yoga and Meditation enhance mindfulness. At the same time, we one can apply mindfulness approaches in all our daily activities, for example:

  • Relish experiences: While relaxing and engaging in our favourite past time, immerse ourselves totally in the activity and relish the experience consciously blocking out distracting and stressful thoughts.
  • Use our senses to absorb the beauty around us: During a scenic drive or walk, absorb the beautiful sights, sounds and fragrances with all our senses.
  • Enjoy what we do: While at work, focus on each task with a sense of enjoyment
  • Eat mindfully with awareness: During meal times, be aware of what we are eating and savour each morsel.
  • Be present in conversations that matter: While in the company of family and friends, remain connected with our hearts and minds giving our full attention to the conversation or discussion underway.

Being immersed mindfully in the present moment enhances our joy, fulfilment and successful completion of the work at hand.

Other useful approaches

You may also find the following approaches useful:

  • Respond, don’t react: Responding rather than reacting to a situation, and thinking it through for a clearer perspective on the issue, ensures that you don’t lost control and find an appropriate solution.
  • Manage time: Prioritise and manage time by jotting down a ‘To-Do’ list, and then identifying the 1) Must Do 2) Should Do and 3) Could Do. While each one has a place in our scheme of things, let’s start with the ‘musts’ and create time for the ‘coulds’, which while engaging can be ‘time gobblers’, resulting in a last minute rush to complete the essentials. This can be stressful! Remember to factor in ‘Me Time’ to just relax and pursue hobbies/interests.
  • Build meaningful relationships: Invest in meaningful relationships, both personal and professional, which are based on mutual understanding. A respectful, caring and nurturing environment makes a big difference to our collective well-being.
  • Seek help: We are not super beings and need help from time to time. Always reach out for help when required.
  • Health & Wellness: Create and embracing daily practices that promote perfect health and wellness.
  • Positivity & Gratitude: Inculcating a positive approach to life with an ‘attitude of gratitude’ will take you places!

‘A calm mind brings inner strength and self confidence’! (Dalai Lama).

It brings out the best in you, in all situations!

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16 Replies to “‘Be Calmly Active and Actively Calm’”

  1. Mindfulness, what a profound philosophy to live with . You have said it just right when you say that it is all about immersing yourself into whatever you are doing and it’s not just about indulging. I have always valued the response approach rather than reacting , fully endorse what you have said. Be calmly active and actively calm, going to practise this more and more , thanks for sharing .

  2. Love this! Honestly this comes at an appropriate time for me, I have been reading about this extensively. Of all the strategies that you listed my goal has been “connections” similar to what you mention as meaningful relationships. My takeaway would be that we are not alone even though we feel it. We only need to reach out. Thanks Amrita ma’am for the lovely article. You’re awesome as usual

    1. Thank you, Nidhi, for those beautiful and heartfelt words. We are glad that the post came out at an opportune time for you!

  3. Amrita the autobiography was one of my mothers most favourite books and it lay near her bedside table and she must have read it a million times
    Your thoughts were very enlightening , candidly and simply put forward. I enjoy your free style of expressionand the ideas you have manifested provide much food for thought….arati

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