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 text which will guide the Choose-day posts is "Tips for Happy Living - jIvnsUÇai[ /jiivanasuutraani", by Swami Tejomayananda (Guru-ji). Choose-day's writings are here to prompt deeper thinking on the choices made on a daily basis and seek to provide prompts for raising the standard of one's thinking and living. This text composed in the format of Sanskrit traditional teachings, speaks directly to this purpose. As ever, the full text may be obtained from
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As humans, we are often curious about the possibilities of 'life after death' - or even if there is any such thing. It is a strange preoccupation, taking us away from living 'life after birth'! It must be said that many 'after birth' proceed through life in various levels of existence, be it simply surviving all the way through to grasping each moment and living life fully. A person may be breathing and moving his limbs about - but is he really living? We see it all the time do we not? Those who, for all sorts of reasons seen and unseen, move from one calamity to another, suffer more than others, seem to draw trouble to themselves. Others move through life with manipulative and ill-tempered approach, achieving things, but also losing much. Still others seem to spend their days in misery of complaint about one thing or other and expecting the world ought to provide for them, with little effort on their part.
Then there are those who appear to move through life with minimum hassle, engaging happily with others and dealing with situations without too much damage to themselves. People, too, who can master both themselves and others - without nefarious tactics - who provide inspiration and cheer others; people who, once met, or oft remembered.
There are folk we know we wish to avoid, and there those whose company we look forward to, according to how they live and interact. We can make choices always about the type of personality we wish to be and present to the world. Getting from who we are, to who we want to be is part of what is referred to colloquially as 'growing up'. Self-development is not easy, much of the time, because it means we have to become very honest with ourselves and truly see ourselves as others see us. Even if we think others are wrong in their impression of us, we have to think, 'if that is what has been seen, then how we are presenting is incongruous with who we think we are'.
A large part of 'happy living' is to be completely congruent in our personal being.
There are, in every culture, basic 'rules' about living which aid us in our social interaction, our general self-esteem and, thus, keep us balanced and happy in life; moving through the 'after birth' state until such time as the 'after life' state arrives. We commonly know that there is a time called puberty in which all these 'rules' are stretched and tested and it is part of the path to adulthood that we rebel. What is less commonly understood is that, though we may be considered adults according to our number of years after birth, for many and varied reasons, we actually lack skills as fully-fledged human beings. This is why we have historical texts and the need for the wisdom of elders. Furthermore, there are many levels even within the gaining of such wisdom.
Guru-ji is an elder and a wise soul. Inspired by his observations of devotees, as well as by all his learning from elders who came before him, he composed the Jiivansuutraani in 2009. It may not, currently, be logged as one of the shaastras, but it is written in shaastric form and over time may enter the annals. All shaastra (scripture) had to begin somewhere.
The form used is that of suutra. The word itself simply means 'thread'. In English, the closest approximation is 'aphorism'. A shloka is a verse with a complete message within it, whilst a suutra may only be part of a whole. Several suutra may be 'threaded' together to give a more complete teaching; single = suutra, several = suutraani, suutraani strung together = suutra. One may be many, but will be one again. Guru-ji opens his text with an exploration of what we can draw from a sutra, be it single or compilation, and we shall look at this in the next Choose-day post.
Meanwhile, simply ponder how you approach life currently. Don't over analyse it. Do your best to see objectively how you greet the morning, how you greet people, how you deal with the little frustrations which ever present themselves. Try to observe how, in this more withdrawn way, you could actually make a different choice at any given moment and change how you feel about that moment when it is later remembered. This exercise is something we all do anyway, but usually in a negative, reactive way. Turn it to purpose!