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 thing which must be clear to us is that we can only live our own lives and not the life of another - or have another live our life for us. This is an interesting fact, for there can be a tendency within families, or within organisations, or charities, to seek to take charge of another's life, or for an individual to surrender their personal power and believe they have no control of their own.
tÇaNySyaNyen jIvn< jIivtu< n zKyte.4.
Tatraanyasya-anyate jiivanam jiivitum na shakyate ||4||
There(fore), one cannot live the life of someone else.
No matter how close or intimate we may be with someone, we quite simply cannot live their life, neither can they live ours. For one who is hungry, the only way to quell the hunger is to eat; if the parent or best friend or the person in a faraway country paying for such meals attempts to eat with the intention of quelling the hunger of the hungry one, they will fail miserably. A mother who is feeding a child, may feel satisfied at quelling the child's hunger, but must then quell her own, which is separate from the child's. In this case, the mother must live 'for' the child, but cannot do the actual living of that child.
That latter is a clue to the importance of this point. It may seem obvious, but the subtle depth of it must not be overlooked. Surely we have all experienced a moment in our lives where we wished that someone else could enter our skin and deal with things for us? Even if briefly. Generally it is to do with the less pleasant times in life. We shrink and wish we could be elsewhere. Equally, there are times when we might want to take over for someone else that we care about, to protect them or 'rescue' them. Many parents will identify with the desire to lift their children out of paths they consider to be 'wrong' or destructive. All this can set up scenarios of disempowerment of others or ourselves; control and domination; submission and depression; defaulting and blame. Oh yes, there are many who would seek to live our lives for us, or we for them. It cannot be done. Each must live their lives and take their own decisions and deal with the consequences which arise.
Watch for it during this week; are you the one who disempowers another, or who is yourself disempowered? One of the most prevalent manifestations is those who talk on another's behalf - unbidden. Parents are particularly prone to this, but it can occur between siblings, friends or even work colleagues. They may think they know what the other thinks - and this may even be true to an extent - but it is the height of rudeness, not to mention disabling, to not permit that other to use their own voice.
The first step to repair is to be aware.