Each 'Choose-day' we will investigate the process by which we can reassess our activity and interaction with the world of plurality and become more congruent within our personality.
KINDLE LIFE. In the next few weeks we will explore some of the points raised by HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda-ji in the publication of this name. Remember, you can purchase, (very economically!), the book from Chinmaya Mission Publications or if you prefer, the Amazon Link. Thus you can read Gurudev's words directly and bring your own voice to the discussion.
We take up chapter four of Kindle Life; titled The Joy Of Living. Given that Man is held in the animal form called 'human', there are two instincts which drive life; abhorrence of sorrow and, its polar opposite, the craving for joy. It is natural. All creatures have this. No living thing which has any sensibility at all goes looking for the situations which bring about sadness, pain or punishment. Likewise, all such beings understand what makes them feel good. In the human being, these impulses are taken to the highest level of intricacy, given much nuance and credited with much influence.
S/he will go to no ends to avoid the disagreeable, be it social, environmental, at work or at play and will equally endeavour to reach for the pleasing, the soothing and the conducive.
Faced with the ever-changing nature of objects and the world which produces them, the human creature must also be in a constant state of flux. The more emphasis placed upon the desirability, the more appealing the object, the more desperate becomes the desirer. Every single one of us has this. The reaching out for what we want and the rejection of what we do not. We, all of us, find out the methods which work best to gain the positive results. Even within the sphere of materialism, sometimes we loose sight of the best and simply crave the rest. Quantity over quality.
One thing is certain, though. For each and every creature, the baseline desire is the pursuit of happiness.
The problem arises that, for majority people, the exact meaning of happiness eludes them. The belief is formed, due to the temporary elations and joys on receipt of desired elements, is that these constitute happiness. At this point we have to pause and think about the objects we reach out for.
No object, no situation, has joy as an inherent property. The object is inert matter, the situation is an artificial event resulting from the intersection of lives. Joy is an emotive expression. Nothing inert is capable of it. If a thing cannot express joy, then how can it be expected to impart it? The joy we perceive lies only within ourselves and is measured purely by our experience of the object/event; and that too is a variable based upon our historical experience. Which is why the food which excites one person, is obnoxious to another; the hobby, the entertainment, the choice of dwelling place… what suits one does not suit another. If the object is considered to have the ability to bring joy, then that joy ought to be available to all who come in contact with the object. It does not.
Think deeply on this! It is an essential component of understanding life motivation so that we can begin to effect a change of view which will lead to a better and truer happiness.
The Rsis pondered this state of affairs and Gurudev brings it down to a simple sentence. Happiness is measured by the tranquillity of the mind. Notice this for yourselves. When the mind is over-full with ideas, worries, projects or problems, there is no sense of peace and life becomes something of a chore. Modern life yells out slogans such as "STOP! Smell the roses"…. Or "Keep Calm and….." We are an 'uptight' race!!!
We have the capacity to change this though. Humans are rational, thinking beings, provided with an ability to alter personal circumstances. Even within wider-ranging situations (eg times of conflict or other such trauma), we find that there are those who fund an inner strength to rise above the events and make the best of things. There is a refusal to surrender to the consequences of others' actions and a determination to stand independently, to overcome and remain balanced despite everything. How much more then, in our times of relative safety and peace, with only our own personal battles to fight, ought we as individuals to be able to become the 'masters of our fate'?
The objects will remain, the situations present themselves. Our reactions to them is what determines their hold upon us.
As always, the choice is ours. The choice for more and ever more. Or the choice for better.