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!
RESOLVE FIRMLY TO CHANGE
We are not able to live this knowledge because of our weaknesses; the worst part of it is that we justify ourselves by our weakness… "oh that is my weakness, what to do?!" The truth of this is that we enjoy doing what we do, even when it is destructive, and simply are not prepared to make changes to improve ourselves. The more we attach enjoyment to something, the more difficult it is to detach from it. Deep down, we even attach to the big negatives of life such as anger, lust, ambition and so on. It is the nature of the negatives that they plant the seeds of hankering within us.
Not all the worldly calls are necessarily negative in themselves - what causes a problem with them is the value we attach to them, how secretive we may become about them - and the fact that we just will not face the truth about their effect upon us and, perhaps, those around us.
What is the remedy? The analysis itself. By standing back and taking a long, hard look at ourselves, seeing the negatives, we can begin to think in terms of change. Sri Krishna tells Arjuna in Gita 16:24, "Let the shaastra be your authority and in determining what to do and what not to do. Having know what is said in the scriptures, you should act in this world." Resolve to do what the shaastra says, whether or not you like it. You may not understand the full implication at first, but the wise ones are know as 'wise' simply by virtue of having lived the experience and therefore perhaps they have something to offer! In following through this way, you begin to 'live the knowledge' and change becomes easier.
Our understanding (buddhiH) of life tends to form from our actions and their results. If our actions are not in accordance with our knowledge, knowledge tends to find a way to follow the actions and thus our knowledge gets altered. For example, we 'know' we ought to rise early as it is the best time for saadhana. If we fail to rise on one day, we may resolve to correct ourselves the next day… or we find that several days in a row we simply do not rise at the appointed time. What happens is that our buddiH starts to follow suit and starts to say 'what is the point of this anyway, saadhana can be done anytime…' This may be true to a point, but centuries of wisdom says the optimum time is early morning. We have adjusted our knowledge to suit our worldly tendencies rather than raising ourselves to the spiritual standard. "Justified knowledge" is a dangerous thing.
The ignorant can be forgiven their mistakes for they simply do not know. Once we know, however, to commit actions against the grain of that knowledge becomes a 'sin'. When a literate person stoops to wrong actions, s/he becomes a problem in society. The difference between being cultured or uncouth is the congruence between our words (knowledge) and our deeds (action).
The points to remember are simple and clear.
Living life requires that we are prepared to face consequences;
Life will be what we make of it;
We cannot live another person's knowledge;
To make it our knowledge, we must live it;
To assist this process, follow the shaastras, setting aside likes and dislikes;
Do not multiply artificial needs or give excessive importance to social status;
Live a simple life in accordance with your knowledge;
True happiness will be the result!
At every moment we are in a state of choice, to act according to shreyas (the path of higher values), or to preyas (the path of ease and please). Which do you choose?