Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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Creating Problems

Hari Om

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 prasaadam pushtaka we shall puruse is 'Many Problems One Solution', from Guru-ji, Swami Tejoymayananda.

Were you able to self-observe over the past week? Was there any situation where you felt, in retrospect, you may have contributed to it being a 'problem', even if that were at purely the mental level? It's an interesting exercise and an important one for the spiritual student. Keep at it. Now let us progress with Guru-ji's teaching.

There are problems at every level; physical, financial, emotional, social… All people from young to old, from all walks of life and profession, have problems. As a general rule, it can be said the bulk of problems are of a personal nature. Indeed, if you were to sit with a group of people with no particular agenda, you are likely to find that the topics of conversation will all be brought to a personal level and almost always what will rise to the top of the list is the problems each of them is experiencing personally, rather than the positives or, greater still, the problems of society and nation. It is the human thing, based on the animal nature, to worry about the individual self and those close to it.

It is also interesting to note that a great many of the problems which get discussed are related to dealing with people. Plain fact is we must deal with others on an ongoing basis. It is also a fact that not everyone is going to be on our 'wavelength'. At a physical level, we try to seek a remedy for our ailments by swallowing pills and potions and hope for a cure-all, when all that is needed is a bit of discipline on our diet and exercise.

Financially, people in trouble try to solve the problem by borrowing money; which also goes from them because the real problem is their own lack of ability to manage it. What is required is the ability to work hard, to live within the current means of what is earned and, if we are really good, to save a little each week. The world has been arranged so that all our needs are fulfilled with minimum expense; all the essentials such as food, water, air are present by the flow of Divine Nature and are the only things, in truth, that we need. Unessential things such as gold, diamonds, and other such things, come at a premium price which has been set by artificial needs, which are actually greed. When, in our imaginary discussion group, people say that they do not have enough money for this or that, it is almost always in relation to the non-essentials of life.

Our basic needs are few and, as a rule, are inexpensive (though even food can come at a premium, such is the artificial nature of our lives now).  Inner life is enriched by values and virtues like Love, compassion and right-thinking. These things do not require money. When we give more importance to material things, this is when 'problems' start to appear. Jealousies and competition start to arise. Obsessions begin to manifest and we are driven to earn more so that can spend more and we lose ourselves in the 'valuables' - misplacing our 'values'. That is when problems become dominant.

In the field of education, there is a lot of frustration; there is a tendency to view schooling as a means towards getting a job. After all the years of study and getting the certificates and diplomas and degrees, when a person cannot obtain work, there can be a tendency to blame the education or the system - forgetting that the education is about more than a providing a key to employment. It ought to have taught us how to apply ourselves, whatever the situation. We see endless problems in the fabric of our society, starting within the family even; parents who do not know how to love their children but expect, instead, that they will be automatically obedient; poor habits of a mother or father which impoverish the family; a constant looking outwards and pining about what is not had, rather than remaining calm and collected and appreciative of what is. The difference between the two is the attitude; the way of thinking.

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