It sounds like the ultimate mantra and so it is. Facing the rough challenges of life with equanimity and calmness is the best a mortal can do under the circumstances. A human is helpless in the face of disease and death and it teaches you the value of so many things which we forget to value in the humdrum of life.
Disease brings you in touch with the gift of good health. Death brings you in touch with the beauty of life. When faced with disease we understand how blessed we are with the good health bestowed on us by our parents and by God. When faced with death we realise the worthlessness of the material world and the value of life itself.
I have witnessed on a longitudinal basis people known to me personally, who enjoyed excellent physical health in their youth who could be a source of envy to many and who have died prematurely due to abuse and neglect. Addictions, bad habits, stresses, emotional disturbances and toxic lifestyles and whatever you may think of, led to their unfortunate destiny of disease and gradual death. All this can be avoided and happiness can be attained if we understand the ‘right’ path to life and how it should be lived. Of course it is a continuous learning process unless we are blessed into being guided into it early in life by guardians.
One of the best arts that need to be taught to humanity is the science of positive thinking and calmness. A rational mind with a neutral thought process teaches people the art of keeping emotions under control and allowing the thought to rule. When emotions run high you create a mess in your mind and can get hijacked by them. Emotions can get you excited, agitated, angry and heated up and it can burn your body and ravage it. Keeping the mind calm under all circumstances, in good times and bad times, makes for a happy mind. There are a few requisites for this which needs to be kept in mind.
The first one could be to have a larger sense of purpose in one’s life. A meaningful life with a focus on an objective provides an anchor that grounds you to reality. Besides your survival needs a self-actualising need is important. The Vedanta thought and belief that ‘a human being is a divine entity and to manifest that divinity within is the purpose of life’ is exactly the same thought of actualising your true potential within. Achieving your true potential in the course of life is the true goal to seek. Living with just survival needs would seem a half life with less meaning and purpose.
If we begin with this belief then the next thing to do is to begin the search for your specific dimension of greatness that would make you unique and special. In spite of being an ordinary human being you would be capable of doing extraordinary things. We are not talking of material success and fame but the fact that every human being is divine and can be so in their own way if they make it their life’s goal to explore it and concentrate on it. The measure of greatness is not in the attaining of material success but in uniqueness and elevation of the mind as well. Success without an enlightened mind is worthless.
The third requisite is to know yourself and your being as much as you can. The effort in this direction has to be done regularly with honesty and sincerity. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses of your personality is a matter of deep introspection and high intelligence without bias and prejudice. Meditation and deep relaxation of the mind leading to awareness of who you are and want to become is a strenuous exercise. The desire to improve your weaknesses and build your strengths is a continuous striving and does not come easy but is necessarily a beautiful journey to connect with the self. Only when you can connect to yourself can you connect to others and humanity.
To think in a neutral way without bias and prejudice and without being too opinionated is healthy. Don’t ride on your opinions and don’t allow them to ride you. Keep neutral in your thought and accept every other thought and opinion of others going beyond caste and religions and ideologies leads to an open mind and relaxed mind for it does not resist anything and allows for the various shades of colours to exist in harmony like a beautiful rainbow.
Controlling your emotions in the face of rough and tough times and still focusing on the goodness of life is an imperative. Understanding the emotions and what causes them helps identify them. Emotions are caused by desires, expectations, attachments and greed. When we balance out these desires and expectations and accept whatever life offers us with equanimity and calmness it leads to grace. Most times we are struggling to fulfil our desires and expectations and suffer when they are unmet and unfulfilled. If we know what we want but are still willing to accept what comes our way in terms of it being the gifts of God we have settled our mind in a positive frame.
Going beyond yourself and connecting to the larger world and humanity elevates your mind to yet another level of spirituality. Only a calm and peaceful mind can connect to others in a benevolent way which leads to helping others with compassion and empathy for their betterment. It leads to expansion of the self and dissolution of the narrow ego as you practice altruism. It leads to a harmonious state of living with humanity and ultimate bliss. What better resolution than this for the new year with renewed hope, new strivings and new beginnings.