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)
The Gita pointed to the need to eat well, to eat moderately, and to exercise appropriately as well as to take sufficient rest. This, we saw, was for the path of shreyas. Conversely, to be careless in our diet, to be gluttonous, to be slothful and to 'burn the candle at both ends' is to be following the path of preyas. The first is clean, clear and disciplined; the latter is less inclined to such. Given that shreyas gives a more sustaining lift to life, what can we expect in the various aspects of living (family, profession, economic, social/national) if we adhere to that intelligent choice?
We all want members of the family to be close-knit and happy. A home with an atmosphere of loving, harmony, solace and security is very desirable. It is possible to have such a place when all members of the family within that home have a mutual Love and Respect; when all learn to share and care, give rather than demand, take responsibility where pertinent, display tolerance and displaying compromise where required.
In such a home, all members would share 'quality time' all together; elders being good role models for the younger generations, the younger acknowledging the benefit of having the elders' wisdom and Love to support them. Values in such homes are lived and are not simply paid 'lip service'. Family history, culture and traditions are best handed down this way; differences solved through listening and considered discussion; bonds strengthened. In such an atmosphere, each individual finds personal growth and a freedom, even whilst maintaining discipline.
All too often we see families under strain. Relationships are slack and harsh words are exchanged. Love and Respect get given short shrift - if they exist at all. There is the idea in such groups that 'freedom' means to have no discipline applied… or there are groups where the idea of 'discipline' is violence. In the first instance, it is not freedom but licentiousness which is being fought for; and the second instance, discipline is being used as an excuse for abuse and lack of the very self-control which true discipline is about. Bear in mind that this can all happen very quietly and coldly. There are parents who pour money upon their children but without an ounce of genuine Love or any meaningful communication, then wonder why the children are troublesome when the 'act out' for attention.
Care must be taken, also, for parents not give mixed messages; for example, condemning politicians or local public officers for taking bribes and then turning round and 'bribing' their son or daughter with promises of things in return for their good grades at school. "Behave this way and you get material benefit" is the signal. How much better and enduring would be the approach of, "How can I support you in your study to help you achieve your best?" Instead, counsellors and friends are called upon to patch up breakdowns in understanding. The family puts up a united front despite all the internal fractures.
To achieve the closest we can to the first family, we must decide that shreyas is our path of choice. Else we are destined to lumber along preyas, thinking it will satisfy desires when all it does is frustrate them.