Most of the times, we are busy managing things outside us. A student is busy trying to understand his lessons, a manager is busy in making plans and getting the tasks accomplished, a housewife is busy in preparing food and doing other house hold cores. While accomplishing all these activities, problems come in our way. What do we do next? We look for the reason outside us. Some such problems have a psychological angle and most of the time, we are not successful in solving such problems completely unless we look inwards. At least part of the problem reflects something within us.
The simple way to understand it is that if two or more people face the same type of situation, their way of dealing is not the same. For instance, if two children make temper tantrum in the presence of their father, one may simply react while the other may attract the child to talk to him and then cool him down. Thus, we are required to change our inner self to be able to manage our life successfully.
It is believed that a person’s thoughts and feelings are reflected in the environment and attract various reactions of other people or various types of life situations. Anger attracts insincerity of other people while a compassionate attitude attracts acceptance and regard. Fear of social, emotional or financial insecurity results in less probability of success whereas, focus on one’s strengths and weaknesses and clarity about future growth makes a person happy and motivated and minimizes the problems of life. Thus, whenever there is a significant problem continued for a long time, one should concentrate on and reflect the positivity within him.
Colors of Perception
Some people see peace and harmony in others and find life easy to live. Such people are generally effective. Some people, on the contrary, use their ego to look at other people. Such people are usually restless. An incident quoted by Stephen Covey in his book, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” shows how a perception colored with ego leads to unnecessary problems. This incident was originally reported by Frank Koch in Proceedings, the magazine of the Naval Institute.
Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on maneuvers in heavy weather for several days. I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell. The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities.
Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, “Light, bearing on the starboard bow.”
“Is it steady or moving astern?” the captain called out.
Lookout replied, “Steady, Captain,” which meant this ship was on a collision course.
The captain then called to the signalman, signal that ship: We are on a collision course, advise you change the course 20 degrees.”
Back came a signal, “Advisable for you to change the course 20 degrees.”
The captain said, “Send, I’m a captain, change course 20 degrees.”
“I’m a seaman second class”, came the reply. “You had better change the course 20 degrees.”
By that time the captain was furious. He spat out, “Send, I’m a battleship. Change course 20 degrees.”
Back came the flashing light, “I’m a lighthouse.”
We changed the course.
The paradigm shift experienced by the captain- and by us as we read this account- puts the situation in a totally different light. We can see the reality that was superceded by his limited perception. We are also needed to understand such realities in the form of basic principles of life. The principles of life are like lighthouses which cannot change their course. We have to review ours.
Albert Einstein observed, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Many a times, when we are overpowered with our thoughts or feelings, we unconsciously create the seeds of some unhealthy life situations which may reflect instantly or days later or years later. These seeds may be in the form of some action, some words, some thoughts or some planning which is not based on totally healthy feelings. When these problems crop up, we have to go beyond inner confusion and be in touch with our innermost core to solve them.
Focus on Rediscovering Internal Excellence
The deeper truth is that at the core, all human beings are full of potential, energy and health. The closer a person is to his original pure self the healthier he or she will be. The ancient Indian scriptures teach that everyone has a unique quality in terms of hidden potential or seed waiting to get sprouted and grow continuously in the course of life. The basic purpose of all human actions including earning a living is to ensure perfect growth or perfect revelation of one’s true self. Those who understand or realize their basic nature continuously make efforts to explore their true self and believe in internal excellence. Our various life experiences continuously provide opportunities to discover and express our natural qualities.
Thus, the secret of having a quality life is simply enriching one’s inner self. It is very easy also because to change ourselves is always in our own control. Looking out for solutions of our problems simply makes us weak internally without our being aware of this fact. Just by having a fresh and dispassionate look at the problem we can have total or at least partial solutions within us. This realization gives an “Aha!” feeling because everything is in our control.
The Hindi word for Healthy is “Swastha” which denotes Swa + Sthit, that is, being situated in self. The closer a person is to his original self, the healthier and more empowered he or she is. This Self is actually a reflection of the divinity or divine power or divine spirit which prevails in the whole universe. Our mind, body, skills and knowledge are only instruments of the Self. When we search for solutions outside, we depend on these instruments and avoid the source of power (the Self). Thus, the answer to all types of questions in life demands us ultimately to rediscover this Self or the spirit within us. The thoughts of mind, presence of body, and the feelings have to be sidetracked for a while to be in touch with the power and insights of inner self. The spirit within us connects us with the cosmic energy, intelligence and power. Moreover, it is the seat of basic human values and leads to an acceptance of all human beings by way of understanding their inner nature and thus having a faith in the humanity. This faith gives us tremendous peace and true happiness. Thus by being in touch with this inner core, we can retain tremendous energy within us, feel socially and emotionally empowered, and get natural insights by understanding the laws of nature ( both in physical science and human life).
A Spiritual life style takes us close to our soul or inner divine spirit and leads to wisdom, compassion, empathy and an ability to transcend beyond small conflicts and problems of life. It helps us in dissolving the confusion created by imperfections of mind and various life situations. Spiritual life style or spirituality leads to deep continuous growth.