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!
BE AWARE OF CONSEQUENCES
When we live life superficially and try to solve problems the same way, not taking into account the entire foundation and values of life, no lasting change is possible. For the situations in life which really matter, there can be no 'quick fix'. Cosmetic methods are fine for the small things and inconsequential matters but will not solve the deeper slashes and forest fires which accompany us on our journey from the shore of birth to the shore of death. If artifical needs keep growing and we give importance to symbols of social status, as discussed last week, we will find it increasingly difficult to live by higher values and without those as foundation, we also find it increasingly difficult to cope and deal with the issues we face.
Another reason for not be able to 'live our Knowledge' is that we are unable to clearly see the consequences of our actions. Often we do not fear our action because we feel that consequences can be taken care of in due course - or that no consequences will occur. All actions will have a result. To use the term 'consequences' is suggestive of a negative result, though in truth it refers to all results arising from actions taken. If we are heedless of consequences, we also become unthinking about our actions and lose any sense of self-monitoring. Thus our standards will slip without notice.
Anger is rife in our society. Many will make angry or bitter comments in response to circumstances and discussions simply because it is easier than having to think or take responsibility. Being angry, we attempt to place the burden of thought and responsibility on the other. The consequences to ourselves may not be an immediate effect, or it is one which we think we can fend off with yet more poor behaviour. If getting angry had the possible consequence of death, we would think much more about monitoring that anger would we not?! Ultimately a price must be paid, but because for the vast amount of time the consequences are not life-threatening, we do nothing to improve our actions and responses. We are inclined to say, "oh this is how life is lived these days...one cannot get on in business without being a bit of a bully/crook...to rise in society one must show who is the 'alpha'… the demands of my family mean it is necessary to be demanding oneself…" and so on.
Consequences will arrive, however, albeit some time after. We may find that friends and family start to withdraw from our company and in support, a sure signal that our personality is driving a wedge between us. We may find that business drops away, a sure sign that our unethical methods are not appreciated by customers. We may find that we have become so addicted to our negative behaviour, (gambling, drugs, alcohol), our health and indeed our life does in fact come under threat. By then it can be very difficult indeed to find help.
Then we become disillusioned and disheartened. Any concept of high values and appropriate living now seems esoteric and impossible, even though all that is required is a change in attitude and a return to the Knowledge of what is good and what is not.
If we understand the full implications of our actions, we will never be tempted to do wrong things. We have a choice.