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).
The text has begun by challenging the notion that we cannot live for others or have others live for us. This can, at a glance, appear to be suggesting selfishness, but this is not the point. It is quite simply that, even if we have the support and help of another, when it comes to those final moments of action, we alone can 'do'… unless we surrender our power completely - in which case we are not living life at all.
Perhaps, in some exceptional cases, this is appropriate; but it is rare. The human critter, even if compromised physically, mentally or emotionally, will always have an individual awareness and that individual awareness must live its life according to its praarabdha.
Does this mean that others can play no role in our lives, or we in theirs?
prSpr< sahaYy< tu s<_avit.5.
Parasparam saahaayyam tu sambhavati ||5||
Mutual help, however, is possible.
Guru-ji goes on to say in this suutra that there is nothing wrong in assisting each other. The difference is, unlike the disempowerment which comes from seeking to direct and control the lives of another, or be controlled ourselves, with appropriate help, empowerment comes. Empowerment means that we/others can still act from our/their own volition, but have the security of knowing there is somewhere to turn in difficulty.
Indeed, socially, it is often the case that we can play an important role in others lives, or have others leave a strong and positive impression on ours. The key point, however, is that in providing assistance and guidance, we do not take the final decision or action for that other person or have it taken for us. The empowerment comes in gleaning all the knowledge we can from others, adding it to our own understanding and, if we have it, experience, then moving forward with a decision that we alone have made. Simple example might be that of an examination for, say, geography. We and we alone can sit at that desk and write that paper. How we do that, as well as what our results show, will depend how well we have listened to those in the know (our teachers), what research/study we did for ourselves and whether we carried out the exercises to provide experience in relevant sections. We also know that cheating can provide good paper results, but if we get work in that field, we will be found out for our lack of knowledge and create problems for ourselves and our employers.
Another factor to be aware of is that everybody, at one point or another, will be tested. If we have surrendered our power for whatever reason, that test will be so much the harder to pass. It is not advisable to become dependent. Even the most trustworthy colleague cannot be 100% 'there' at all events. We must be sure to have learned sufficiently well, and empowered ourselves in a suitable manner, such that we can cope, no matter what comes our way.
This also means that we need to minimise obligations and favours. Those things are fine, in small doses, but if we are locked in a web of 'you owe me' or 'look what I did for you', we are again disempowered. Very often 'help' is given or taken when it is not actually required and this builds these webs. Always assess the need for help in an objective manner.
Do not, however, withhold the giving of help or refuse to receive help in cases where it is truly warranted. Genuine needs must always be addressed and this is the mutuality being referred to in the suutra.