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.
THE WISE AND THE OTHERWISE (cont'd)
Last week we learned of shreyas and preyas. We have the choice of which path to follow. Majority of us fall into the preyas category - even if we have bursts of shreyas, making attempts at change, there is a tendency to end up following the path of least resistance. This week we begin a look at different aspects of life and how this plays out.
We all want to be physically healthy and strong. We live relatively long lives and without a degree of fitness, the later years can be a complete misery. The only person who enjoys diseases is the doctor! Along with the desire for a fit body, we are inclined to want a clean, fresh environment with a degree of aesthetics to suit our personality; remember that our psyche is a part of the BMI matrix so emotional and mental well-being fall into this category, although it is fair to say that the other categories will figure on the psyche also.
In the Bhagavad Gita, there is a 'formula' for a physically healthy life;
yu´aharivharSy yu´> ce:qSykmRsu,
yu´SvPnavbaexSy yaegae _avit du>oha.
Yuktaahaaraviihaarasya huktaH cheshtasyakarmasu,
yuktasvapnaavabodhasya yogo bhavati duHkhahaa.
One who eats, entertains, acts and sleeps appropriately lives a happy life.
This is reference to other scriptural advices about what is 'appropriate'. One ought to eat healthy foods, in correct measure, with a regular amount of exercise. Entertainment ought to be uplifting, refreshing, creative. Our actions should be controlled and spiritual habits regular. We know all this and yet we do not follow it. In this day and age we are constantly bombarded with information on how to make better food choices - nothing to do with any spiritual matters, it is just plain good sense for the community! Yet still, we eat for taste of fat and salt or sugar and rarely with our health in mind. Our exercise is centred on shopping, operating our various bits of electronic equipment or running for the bus. We sleep late and get up tired. We smoke. We drink alcohol. It seems that we thrive on thrill and tensions and are fascinated by glitz and glamour. Our children get bored with watching a sunrise and turn to their video games. We have become disconnected from the fullness of Nature. The environment for most of us has become polluted; the air, the water even the earth are unclean. All this adds to our burden of dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
Making intelligent choices, we can improve our lot. There are things we cannot change as individuals, certainly. However, if we make the changes that we can do for ourselves, collectively there is only a beneficial effect also. This heralds the great quote of Mahatma Gandhi!
Even if you don't want to make changes for spiritual reasons, at the very least do so for health and wellbeing in order to be able to better cope with what life throws at you. All the great philosophies of the world request of their adherents that they live cleanly. Basic social interactions are much improved by clear-thinking, healthy ways.
Resisting peer pressure is one of the great hurdles - but again this comes down to making choice. Is that the way one wishes to behave or is there another way? Seek role models for 'shreyas'. Even if the logic is not always clear to you, at least give shreyas a chance; once you start to feel healthier, there is a natural kind of happiness, a buoyancy of being, which comes and we are encouraged to continue improving our habits.
Begin with small changes; two cups less of caffeine replaced with herbal teas, for example. Little by little in your diet, eliminate the less beneficial foods and replace with healthier alternatives… in majority cases, there is still texture and taste and it can be surprising how we start to look forward to our fruit and veg! Each day, take ten more steps than the day before and gradually build up that exercise regime. You don't have to become a marathon runner, just get out and about. This has the added benefit of taking us to parks and countryside and reconnecting with Nature… thus we let our lungs recuperate with fresh, clean air.
Resolve to make at least one key change per week. Shreyas is not a fast path, but it is a solid and meaningful path and demands intelligent choices.