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 little prasaadam pushtaka we are purusing is 'Many Problems One Solution', from Guru-ji, Swami Tejoymayananda.
METHODS OF RIGHT THINKING
Here's the thing. Everyone, from the toddler in the chocolate shop to the international terrorist thinks that he is right! Every one who professes an opinion is of the opinion that their opinion is the right one. Anyone who believes in anything, does so because they think that it is right. Within families, the elder thinks they are right and the youth are in error; but the youth think they know it all and the elder has no idea… it is said that by the time a man thinks that perhaps his father was right after all, he has children who now think he is wrong!
Many people are proud of the fact that they are 'rational', that they have strong intellectual capacity, but frequently fall short of that rational and intellectual thinking. Voicing ideals is one thing. Living up to them is quite another. In Taittiriiya Upanishad we find a description of the intellect;
Shraddhaa is the crown of the intellect
Rtam is its right hand
Satyam is its left hand
Yoga its trunk
Total intellect (mahat) is its feet.
Shraddhaa is commonly translated as 'faith', but it is much more than that. 'Shradh' means Truth/Belief and 'dha' means to hold fast, stability. The compound word 'shraddhaa' therefore indicates that we have understood there is a Truth to be held to which is greater than we are and we must seek always to work with a degree of faith in outcomes. Thus, the text does not exclude anyone. Even the aethiest has faith - faith that there is no god. The point is, we need faith in something beyond our physical and intellectual being in order to drive that very intellect. Mere logic cannot actually drive us anywhere. Certain basic premises have to be accepted before we can proceed with enquiry; we must therefore have faith in the valid means of gaining knowledge of any form. If we do not believe in anything, thinking becomes pointless and erratic.
The Sanskrit word 'Rtam' means correctness, 'rightness' and the 'satyam' means truth; in applying our thinking to any given problem with correct and dependable shraddhaa, we cannot help but come to an understanding of truth (according to that problem). Yoga is used here in terms of absorption; unless we inculcate the knowledge gained and unless we become absorbed by the Truth, then the working out we have done in Rtam and satyam will again have been pointless. Knowledge is nothing until it is applied somewhere in life. By having conviction of the use of the knowledge and finding ways to apply the results of the learning in daily life, we can claim intellectualism… the world is littered with 'intellectuals' who can spout on many a philosophy but, on checking, we find they have no belief nor application of these philosophies and do not have any of the poise of true knowing.
Individual thinking must be rooted in the totality - the mahat. A physicist may have wonderful and individual theories which can take us ever further in our understanding of the universe and the workings of physical life; but that knowledge she or he has is not theirs alone. They had first to learn from those who came before and from the pool of established and proven knowledge which is the science of physics. Further, anything they postulate, no matter how wild, must ultimately attach itself again to that greater pool of thinking. In a social context, individual thinking is selfish, but in order to operate well within the wider society, we must think outside of ourselves and consider the welfare of others, this too being 'mahat'.
In relation to 'right thinking' we must come to understand that the whole world is our family, and that to identify with that mahat, that totality, is 'right'. We can all have the individual differences that we do, but ultimately, to be comfortable and at peace in life, we must come to see that we are part of the whole and that individuality - holding fiercely to it - will only cause pain and discomfort.
In individual life, we must seek to integrate all aspects of our personality and become congruent in thoughts, words and deeds. Then we must learn to look at life as a whole and seek to be a useful part of that whole. In society, identifying with the people around me will keep my thinking correct. Acknowledging that there are differences and learning to absorb them will keep my thinking correct. This may seem too idealistic, too difficult - and it will be, for as long as we insist on being 'the individual' and adopting a 'me and them' attitude.
To sum up; we are inclined to think that life is filled with problems. Situations only become problems according to how we approach them mentally, intellectually. If we learn to use our thinking in a healthy and positive manner, situations are handled and problems never arise. Yes, the rest of the world may not have this advantage that you now have to apply their knowledge differently and seek better and more peaceable solutions to their problems. Unless, however, you have the capacity to help the rest of the world to change (which, let's face it, no individual has), all you can reasonably expect to do is lead by example. There is a very famous quote to end this on…
"Be the change you wish to see in the world!"