Life can never be completely free of problems. When only one person lives there will be no problem but when there is more than one person, problem becomes a given. No two persons think alike, look alike or have similar tastes. So there are bound to be differences and judgements born thereof. This creates disharmony and tension. What is the solution to live a life of Peace?
Truth is multi dimensional. Truth has also so many perspectives. Through our eyes we can see anything, either this or that. With the possibilities of different perceptions there is always scope of difference of opinion and conflict. It is difficult to understand the truth. The greatest truth is the truth of conduct.
There is a fear in the world. We are scared of sorrow. When there is possession, there is fear. Where there is no possession, there is no fear. Giving up possession and observing restraint is the solution to today’s problems. The essence to a fearless life, a peaceful life is through restraint.
The human being has to set limits to all activities. Observe limits to consumption, possession. Limitless consumption is the reason for our problems. Anger, delusion, ego and greed are veiling the truth from our vision. All these passions are born with the desire to possess beyond our limits. Let us try to overcome our greed for possession.
Compassion is not an attribute of any one religion. It is a universal principle for happiness and peace. In a world torn by conflict and strife where violence and not love dictates people’s action, what every person at every age needs to learn is the art of nurturing compassion within. Whoever you may be, you need compassion. Compassion should no more lie in the ideologies of Philosophers or in the lucrative rewards of theologians (in after life). The voice of compassion needs to be heard in every household, educational institution, office, mall and theatre besides other places and circumstances.
Compassion begins with empathy. Empathy is the ability to feel for another. Those who are sensitive to the motions of life, to the experience of pain and pleasure are capable of empathy. Those who have paid attention to their emotional upsurges, the unintelligent ways of anger, hurt or hate, the irrationality of fear, feel empathy for another who is going through a similar emotion. Empathy and compassion thus born would naturally blossom into acts of kindness to reach out to others.
Well being of the other is the highest priority for a compassionate person. Hence his/her actions would reflect tremendous intelligence, fortitude and discretion. Compassion is not the armour of the weak. It is a weapon of the strong. To believe that anger and violence can solve our problem is a mistaken belief. Problems at micro as well as macro level arise because of lack of understanding and love between people. Situation based problems need better strategy and skill to solve them but emotion based problems need people who are involved, in moving out of those negative emotions that are causing them.
That is why any constructive change can never be effected through anger and violence. Compassion is the answer. Let us nurture the noble virtue of compassion with dedication. Let us see the faces of people who walk into our world with smiles, tears, affection and wrath. Let us mediate on their feelings to let compassion blossom.
All of us have an idea as to what needs to be improved in ourselves. Based on this realization, we constantly plan to bring various small and big changes in our life. Some changes that people desperately try to bring in themselves include quitting vices such as addictions, rage, greed and envy, developing healthier habits of diet control and physical exercise, improving one’s intimate relationships, enhancing efforts to achieve desired goal and being calm in the face adversities and so on.
Usually a plan to execute change is made and carried out but success is often elusive. Even changing the smallest habit appears to be a mammoth task. Why do we fail even after the best of intentions and efforts? This is when people blame the circumstances, fate and lack of support as the main culprits. After a deep introspection, one realises that the answer lies within. How easy is it to change oneself? We understand the barriers to change that exist within and deal with it appropriately.
The first barrier to any change is our tendency to deny or downplay the problem. When we become aware of a problem in ourselves, it injures our self love and brings pain and fear. In order to restore self esteem and eradicate fear people take refuge in denial and trivialisation. Thus they convince themselves that the problem does not exist or it is not important. However, if people can understand the process of denial and face the pain and frustration, the urge and effort to change will come automatically.
The second important barrier to change is lack of self confidence. While people want to change, they don’t feel confident enough that they will be able to carry it out. Therefore, either they shy away from making an attempt or even minor setbacks devastate them. They give up easily and do not try persistently. They keep on telling themselves “you are no good”, you will not be able to do anything. If these people can constantly reassure themselves that change will come if they start believing in themselves. Their journey towards change and self growth will be miraculous.
The third crucial barrier is drift in focus of attention. Attention is the base and yet the most significant cognitive capacity to achieve anything. We are product of our attention. Our attention helps us in registering our problems, understanding it, making a plan and working through it. To solve any problem, whether big or small, our attention is needs to flow in that direction adequately. Due to information overload and excessive need to indulge in pleasure, our attention goes haywire. We acknowledge, but soon get distracted and forget the problem at hand. In order to change we need to free ourselves from unnecessary things or engagements and redirect our attention to the right direction. This will ensure that the problem is resolved.
All of us complain one time or another. But, there are some people who complain regardless. Complaining is a way of life with them. They cannot stop cribbing wherever they are, whatever they are doing or whatever is happening to them. They keep complaining. The traffic is bad, telephone lines are congested, people are rude and indifferent, servants are lazy, nobody appreciates me and nobody cares or helps me. Those who complain constantly do not wish to take responsibility for themselves and their actions. Ask them why their goals are not accomplished and they will come up with excuses. Their energy and intellect are so focussed on finding faults that they cannot focus on achieving their goals.
How tedious and futile their constant complaints are. They have effectively undermined their power and efficiency. They retain control only by constant complaining. Let us stop focussing on all that is wrong and focus instead on all that is right. Lets us stop cribbing about what we don’t have and look instead at what there is for us. Let us take time to appreciate people for what they are and what they can do instead of focussing on their defects. When we complain and criticise constantly, we are inviting negativity into our lives. Each time we utter something negative about life, we actually begin to believe it more and more and make it come true. Over imagined ills become our reality. But, the reverse is also true. When we believe things are good, they become better. When we visualise success and talk about all that is positive, success actually begins to take shape for us.
When we thank God or another, your heart expands. This strengthens the immune system. Positive systems like life and gratitude enhances the immune system. Our mental attitude has a direct bearing on the immune system. Positive feeling of joy and gratitude releases endorphins into the bloodstream, the body’s natural painkiller. They are said to stimulate dilation of blood vessels and relax the cardiac muscles. Gratitude release happy hormones and inhibit unhappy hormones in our system. Become less of a complainer and more of a thanks giver. Then your problems will get managed. So, why not invite good things into your life.
Why remember those who never value us in the first place? Why recall repeatedly all those occasions when we were slighted or overlooked. We were never meant to take these things to heart. There is something inbuilt into life itself that could help us overcome trials and difficulties, a kind of survival mechanism that supports us, teaching to keep boosting ourselves and our self-esteem particularly when faced with flak. People are often judging us from perspective that is narrow. So what if the first draft did not make the mark? What if I failed in a task or if I did not measure up to the expectations of my colleagues. What if I was not as successful as others would like me to be?
The calm measured life that I have chosen to lead, no matter if it appears drab and dull to some may have been rich in content in ways that is not comprehensive to them. May be I am not right on top in my career and may be my ambition did not drive me to always be on top. Perhaps, I was like a neutral figure in the organisation that made heroes of showmen. Perhaps, I am remembered for other more enduring qualities like kindness and compassion. It was that rebuff that made me work harder and with greater concentration. It was the downgrade I received that made me assess myself more realistically and helped me build on my real individual strengths and resources. It was the unkindness of others or the cutting remarks made that made me value myself even more.
Life has so many facets and we do our best to simplify our responses and to unravel its complexities. The process is sometimes long and we are prone to discouragement on the way. But, as we travel and journey alone, we become more hopeful. Human mind can look at string of positives, building up faith and hope. Life calls all of us to be encouragers. We are after all co-travellers on the voyage of life. What would have happened if life did not survive the thousands of trials and errors that have gone into making of it?