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-days 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 format of Sanskrit traditional teachings, speaks directly to this purpose. As ever, the full text may be obtained from CM Publications - or your local centre (see sidebar).
Last week we read about learning from life itself. Guru-ji continues;
jIvne iÖivx< kayR< àPtpiriSwitàitkar> Sv_aiv:yinmaR[< c.3.
Jiivane dvividham kaaryam prapta-paristhiti-pratikaaraH svabhavishya-nirmaanam cha ||3||
There are two imperatives in life - to deal with situations as they come and to create one's future.
Every one of us in daily life must face any number and variety of 'situations'. Situation does not have to be negative. The choice between eggs or cereal from breakfast is a situation we must deal with and it is generally pleasant. Situations can be anything where we are faced with choice or dilemma and can range from unpleasant to downright horrifying, or wonderful to very auspicious and profitable, from boring to exceedingly testing.
In each and every situation our response to it is what makes the difference to outcomes, for ourselves and sometimes for others. This is important to realise, because a lot of the time our 'situations' are so commonplace, that we don't think of them in this regard. However, our attitude to making decisions, adapting, engaging and so on can end up creating a favourable or a less favourable outcome - which in turn can bring about another situation. In the breakfast scenario, the decision to take the egg may mean that another member of the family misses out; especially is we choose to fry it or boil it… if we realise that another is going to lack because of our want, we can alter the situation by making scrambled egg and this can be divided more easily and meaningfully with the toast, so that all can enjoy. It may seem a small example, but this difference is between selfishness or sharing. Another outcome might be the selfless one of offering the other family member that last egg and taking the cereal instead. Not a big sacrifice, but it is the attitude with which we do even this small deed which informs our general ability to manage situations.
Attitude to facing life is a very large part of what makes or breaks it. There are those who get frustrated with folk who know how to smile or at least stay light-hearted in what can be challenging circumstances - but why make the rest of the world miserable just because you feel so?! One of Gurudev's great mottos was "Keep Smiling!" and it is one to take to heart. It doesn't mean grinning from ear to ear all the time; but if you have a smile in your heart it will show in your voice and actions and will endear others to you.
Facing situations and handling them is one thing. The other factor mentioned in Guru-ji's suutra is that one must make one's own life. There are some folk who get trapped by thinking that life is only made up of situations and spend their entire lives 'fire-fighting' - or picking fights! - almost certainly you know someone in your circle who seems to 'borrow trouble'. Such people lack ability to set goals, or the skills to carry out the necessary actions to work for any goals which do get set.
Setting goals is essential to carry us through and give a point to life. Let not the dealing with situations as an ongoing thing exhaust you or distract you from working towards a better destiny. A well thought out goal, well-managed, can provide incentive and fun along the way and even if the end is not reached, there can be no loss either. A danger for those who get worn down by life and its situations, who get trapped into negative thinking, are inclined to look outside themselves for improvements, when all that is necessary if to take charge of their own decision making and responses and begin to mend the path of life. Destiny is certainly present in life, but it is not set in rock - we can make our own destiny, alter its path, if we wake up to ourselves and make decisions in that regard. To surrender and cry "I am cursed in my destiny, good life is not meant for me!" is to disempower yourself in the extreme. We have been given free will so that we can make or break ourselves. No matter our circumstances, we can always choose to make the best of them, or allow them to swallow us. We see this all the time when international disasters take place, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and even wars. Certainly the worst of human nature can be revealed, but also the best. It comes down to the individual attitudes.
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