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Learn the Technique of Living

Your inherent nature is to be happy. If you are not, it means there is a disease in the mind. You need to set that right.
 

Published: 27th March 2022 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th March 2022 04:49 PM   |  A+A-

Living is an art, a skill. It needs to be learnt, practised and mastered. However talented you may be in tennis, football or music, without learning the rules you make mistakes and fail.  You embark on the journey of life without knowing the rules. The result is unnecessary trauma, stress and misery. You compound the problem by blaming someone or something in the world for your problems.

Nothing in the world can trouble you except yourself. Your inherent nature is to be happy. If you are not, it means there is a disease in the mind. You need to set that right, not go out and change the world. The mind has the tendency to project your problems on the world and you attribute your misery to your boss, the weather or country. So you change your job, move to a place with better weather and shift base to another country.

But you are still unhappy! Suppose you are watching a movie and you notice a black spot on the face of the hero. After a while the spot shifts to the wall, the garden, and other random objects. You think the screen is dirty. You wipe the screen, wash it, change it. The spot does not go because the cause is a speck of dust on the projector. You only have to wipe the lens of the projector and the spot is gone! Similarly, there is a maladjustment in the mind. Unless you tweak your attitude and refine your thinking, no improvement in the world will help.

Life is a series of experiences. As the experience, so is life. Each experience has two components—the subject, you, and the object, the world. To enhance your life you need to improve your experiences for which you have to upgrade both the world as well as yourself. The world has been greatly improved but the individual has been neglected. Vedanta bridges this gap and enriches the individual.

Who are you? What are your component parts? How do they interact with the world? When you stand before the mirror you see your body. Within this outer body, you have two amazing instruments—the mind and the intellect. The mind is your irrational component, the abode of feeling and emotion, likes and dislikes, impulse. Referred to as the heart, it is incapable of figuring out what is in your interests. Often, it leads you up the garden path. The intellect, the head, is the seat of rational thinking, discrimination, assessment, and contemplation. It weighs the pros and cons and arrives at a decision.

The first rule of life is that the intellect must control both the urges of the senses as well as the emotions of the mind. Without intellectual governance, you indulge excessively in the senses and lose your enjoyment in life. The mind opts for instant gratification and you become unsuccessful and unhappy.

While acting you can be driven by the attitude of giving or taking. Most people only think of what they can grab for themselves. Everyone works for the paycheque, profit, power or position. Shift to giving, adding value to others, contributing. Dedicate yourself to a higher cause. When you give, you gain. Grab, you lose. This is a law. Whether it is in business, sport or family life, it is the givers who succeed. All givers are happy. It is the takers who are tormented. And you grow to your potential. You cannot achieve greatness with petty thinking. Change from profiteering to offering. Then you will make spectacular profits!

When you are unable to stand on your own feet, you need a crutch. Similarly, when you lack the capacity to live by yourself you need relationships. Then you are wholly dependent on the other person. You have expectations, make demands, and when these are not met, there is bitterness and conflict. This is your life. Have you ever wondered why you have a conflict with the people you love most? Attachment is the cause. Attachment is love plus selfishness. When you become strong you do not need anybody but you have the luxury of having wonderful relationships. Your love is unconditional with no expectations or demands. And no frustration.

This is called detachment. Vedanta cautions against attachment which causes sorrow and eventual break-up. Continue the love. Drop the expectations. Love your spouse irrespective of any return, tangible or intangible. Love your kids whether they cater to you or not. Parents want their kids to be super performers in academics, sport, art as well as music. And they push them relentlessly, mercilessly. How can this be love? Allow them to grow the way they have been designed. At their own pace. 

The intellect must understand that everything in the world is passing, ephemeral, and transient. The wise do not depend on these. They seek the permanent. Lord Yama offered Nachiketa the wealth and enjoyment of heaven. He rejected the offer and asked for spiritual knowledge instead. He gained Self Realisation. Ravana tempted Sita with the best in the world. She resolutely refused and stayed in the Ashoka vanam, the zone of no sorrow. She reunited with Rama, the Spirit.  

As you practise giving, detachment and focussing on the permanent, your desires drop. Objects of desire come to you unsought. You are successful and happy. With a calm mind, you become meditative. In deep meditation, the last traces of desire vanish. You become the Spirit. And achieve the very purpose of your life—infinite Bliss.

For more, join us at Bhagavad Gita live webinars by Jaya Row every Saturday, 6 to 7 pm IST. Register for free at https://vedantavision.org/gita



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