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 next little prasaada-pushtaka (gift-book) we are studying is Sw. Tejoymayananda's "Take Charge of Your Life". Guru-ji is a wonderfully pragmatic personality and has a strongly down-to-earth approach to life and application of Vedanta. These are going to be short, sharp bursts
of applied 'shreyas-preyas' decision making!
It is surely clear, is it not, that "I" the individual cannot live the life of "you" who is another; conversely the other cannot live the life which is "mine". Certainly we all can live with the external guidance from the other, but the actual 'living of life' can only be done by the individual. Therefore, if we really want to do anything with our life the fundamental lesson we must learn is that no one else can do the work which will make that life for us; we have to take charge and become responsible for our own life.
At all times, what we make of our lives comes down to our own choice. Even in the poorest of circumstances. We can look up, or we can look down. It is all too easy to give excuses and pass blame, pointing the finger externally and justifying what 'goes wrong'. If we lose our temper, who is to blame? All too readily those carrying anger blame that anger on others, rather than taking responsibility for their own responses. This happens all the time in life. So quickly we look for excuses. Self-reformation is the empowerment we require. We have the example of Sage Valmiki. He was nothing but a common robber in earlier life. He used to loot wayfarers in the forest. One day he came across Sri Narada, who asked "why do you do these violent things? Is there anyone to share these acts with you?" The initial response of the robber was that he was doing these things to support his family and that as they benefitted, they too had a share in his evil deeds. When he got back, he joked with his wife and family about this meeting… then had the rude awakening of the wife and family saying that he alone was responsible for his deeds and that they felt impoverished having to live from such poor means. The shock of this hit deeply and that man sought ways to improve himself and therefore the status of his family. He became, eventually, Maharishi Valmiki, remembered for all time for setting the example of taking charge of one's own path!
We alone can live our lives and no one else can walk the path for us. Responsibility for my life is mine, and mine alone.
Understanding this, it equally becomes clear that life is what we make of it. The question which must follow, then, is how to do this? The analogy for is that of building a house; first we have to make sure that the foundation is firm and strong and the materials used are of superior quality. Sound foundations are the most important part of any structure.
What, then, are the foundations for building our life? What are the materials? Vision, is the foundation, values form the material. We must ensure to be realistic in vision and form sound plans to support it. We must ensure the setting of values such that they are second nature and not superficial. To say one thing but do another is often the first and most obvious shortfall in life.