Swami ji said …

For a moment, let us recall the manner in which we react, on seeing a person with an exceptionally strong appearance – who ‘appears’ to be physically fit , exudes power and courage – is in complete command of himself and things around him. Naturally, we are so greatly enamoured by his tough external appearance – that while admiring him – we forget to dwell on an attribute that is most relevant and applicable to his day to day life…’ उस व्यक्ति में ‘शक्ति’ के साथ ‘सहनशक्ति’ भी है या नहीं… शारीर के बल के साथ मनोबल भी है या नहीं !’ Appearances can certainly be deceptive – and we shouldn’t be surprised to find his tough exterior, house within it – a soft, molten, wax – like heart and mind – incapable of bearing , tolerating and accepting the swirling tides of time. Physical strength in all likelihood will weather down with age, but , ‘सहनशक्ति’ – once cemented in us, stays with most of us for ever.

How often have we heard ourselves rant , complain or say angrily – ‘यह मैं सहन नहीं कर सकता !’ Our intolerance level can fluctuate at the silliest of reasons – someone’s arrogant way of speaking with us ; at the thought of someone doing better than us ; it could be due to the heat or excessive cold ; when life shocks us with some heart – breaking news. Why is it that we are unable to take things in our stride ; fail to make an effort to remain unaffected by them and focus on developing mental strength within us ?

The never ending stream of unwanted incidents and happenings in our life can make us feel drained and certain that nothing can ever go right for us. We need to ward off all those weakening thoughts that make us feel – that no one has a life as inconsequential and useless as ours, and, thus , nothing – no amount of effort from our side can ever improve our condition.

But, the truth which we might find difficult to acknowledge, is that, almost all of us have the same misconception. In reality, it is the mind which dictates to us this narrative. It is the mind which puts on its ‘grey ‘ sunglasses to darken our view of life and makes us feel weak and helpless. ‘ उस समय ऐसे लगता है जैसे हम ‘मनोबल और सहनशक्ति’ जैसे शब्दों से परिचित ही नहीं है … हम एकदम हिम्मत हार जाते हैं…’ Life is a constant struggle – sometimes to achieve something in our personal or professional lives; sometimes to improve our health or wealth; sometimes to repair or improve relationships. But, what we need, first, and, foremost to attain any of the above is a lot of mental strength.

It is the mind which detects why something is not right ; why a certain situation is not conducive and what is the reason for us to be miserable about. It is the mind’s perception of the world that is dark and dreary – and not one of the world itself.

So, the question that arises then is – How does one get out of the trap that is laid by the mind ? The answer is quite simple – as is often the case with most battles with the mind. It can be reined in through patience and reflection.We must learn not to ‘react’ but to ‘act’ in the face of any unexpected situation. While a reaction could be emotion fuelled, an ‘action’ will be thoughtful and measured. While one will possibly do nothing to address a situation, the other will make us proceed towards a ‘solution’.

To do this, we must harness tolerance in ourselves. We must learn to accept the ever changing nature of life. We must learn to expect the unexpected and not be surprised by anything. We must tame the ego and submit that the world is not going to change for us; and it is for us to make the most of what we get at any moment or at any time. The more we teach ourselves to be accepting of the world around us, the more we will be at peace.The ups and downs of life will gradually cease to surprise us, and we will gradually build the mental fortitude to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances of life. Meditation makes us immensely strong – mentally and equips us to face challenges with equanimity.

It is only when we have imbibed such an attitude towards life, will we stop ‘suffering’ our lives and start ‘living’ it. We will begin to treat life like a game, created by God – the moves and result of which are already known to Him – and where ‘winning’ is simply doing the best we can at any moment. We will cease to be irritated and irked by anything, but , simply smile at the sudden surprises and shocks that life throws at us.

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