The ethical behavior is an important aspect of life. It is like a navigator which will show you the right direction so that you can have sustainability in life. It is also true that every time you cannot be governed by the defined rules of ethical behavior, but at that time you need to use your judgment to comply with the rules of ethical behavior. When you are in any type of dilemma to take the correct path for moving forward, it depends on your cognitive capacity, particularly if the situation does not match to your ideologies, then you are in ambiguity what need to be done. At that point in time, the cognitive intelligence helps you to process information because, through this process, you will be able to pinpoint moral reasoning behind your decision. This particular aspect is regarded as a principal force of a person’s correct and ethical behavior. You can get a reflection of your this behavior on three levels. One is pre-conventional, and the other two are conventional and post-conventional.
When a person operates at the pre-conventional level, he considers any decision on an ethical dilemma. The reason behind this is that he does not want to enforce personal harm or loss. He will be searching for personal gain, but not on the basis of loss or harm. When a person is operating at the conventional level, he always accepts the norms of the group, or the family, or the culture in which he belongs to and he accepts the fixed pattern of the rules and regulations. At times, he deviates, but when he understands that his deviation from the ethical and moral behavior is not correct, he changes his mind. In a similar way, when a person operates at the post-conventional level, he will face a dilemma from various angles related to human values like love, truth, and goodness. He will consider all these values for a better perspective. A person when operates in this post-conventional stage will question before coming to the conclusion. He thinks that if the other people do the same thing in a similar type of situation, will the world of my surroundings be a better or worse place? It is a subject of debate.
We have observed that the businessmen, industrialists, academicians and also the professionals take various decisions in the course of their action plan throughout their career and tenure. We have found that they are operating either at a lower or higher level of moral reasoning. Moral reasoning is not a very new concept because it is known to social scientists and developmental psychologists since long. They take this moral reasoning as a basis of ethical behavior. For example, if you find a bag full of cash or utensils and jewelry and somehow you recognize that it belongs to one of your neighbors, you will take all necessary steps to return the same. It is basically a part of your ethical behavior. Now, the pertinent question comes that can moral reasoning be developed or it is a spontaneous action of cognitive reasoning? People who have enough wisdom believe that mindfulness living and the practice of yoga will help them to move philosophically from lower to a higher level of moral reasoning and ethical behavior.
If you analyze any person’s behavior psychologically, you will find that all of us have lower and higher levels of moral reasoning, but the only thing, the percentage varies. If you go through the books related to mindfulness breathing, mindfulness walking, mindfulness eating, and even mindfulness relaxing, the eastern philosophical traditions and also Buddhism narrates this concept of mindfulness. What does it mean? It says that whatever you are doing at any particular time, you must do with your full focus which normally we are not able to do. As stated above, when you practice yoga exercise, this function of mindfulness gets increased. The mindfulness provides you the state of mind. It also represents the open mind, it removes ambiguity from your mind, and it provides you more awareness and attention to inner experience through which you are supposed to take action. Openness and unbiased assessment of the circumstances and being aware of inner experiences form the basis of moral reasoning. If you want to become an expert in mindfulness meditation, you may have to carry out Pranayama. It will help you to reduce your unbiased assessment of the circumstances. It will also help you to move towards a higher level of moral reasoning. Generally, mindfulness works in two interesting ways in order to influence moral reasoning. Firstly, it lessens the self-advocating tendencies that prevent individuals from looking beyond their immediate personal benefits and losses. Further, mindfulness reduces our egocentric bias or the tendency to interpret things for self-benefit and gratification. Secondly, mindfulness processes facilitate the noticing of the suffering of others and increase your characteristic trait towards compassionate and loveable approaches. As per the published research findings which were conducted in topmost IIT organizations of India, two groups of participants were formed with a distinct identity as ‘experiment group’ and ‘control group’. The experiment group was taught the practice of mindfulness meditation along with their regular classes and assignments offered to both groups. Thereafter, a psychometric assessment was conducted on mindfulness, egocentric bias, compassion, and moral reasoning. It was done at the beginning of this teaching and at the end of this course. The experiment group clearly surpassed the control group on all the parameters when the practice ceases to end after 8 weeks.
In a typical business meeting also, the concept of moral reasoning was conducted before all the participants, the findings utilizing the above technique of training, the group who were taught mindfulness, scored better in decision-making abilities. But many a time, we are in the dilemma when a large number of decisions in our lives we face and we need to tackle based on ethical dimensions and propositions. The question comes how we reason it out? How to tackle the situation which is a challenge? Every time, we cannot call for a training to get help impromptu. We have to analyze the particular situation with mindfulness thinking and take decision based on our judgment.
Finally, if our values fall in the ethical dimensions, we need to consider more and more correct perspectives compassionately and we must try to move up on the ladders of moral reasoning and ethical behavior.