“Be yourselves, be true to yourselves. That is the path to bliss”. That’s because most of us are living lives far removed from what or who we truly are, says P V VAIDYANATHAN
We live in an organised society and from childhood, we are taught and conditioned about what is right and wrong, correct and incorrect. We are taught how to behave, talk, relate to others, be selfless, good-natured, sharing, generous, socially adept, accepting, and more, all considered good qualities. We are also taught to shun bad qualities.
However, since each of us is different, these rules don’t always appeal to us. We are blessed with our own inner guidance system — our soul or spirit. Our soul knows and tells us what we really want, what will make us happy. But before what the soul wants becomes a reality, it has to contend with the mind. Or rather, mindset!
Don’t fall into the trap of archaic mindsets that are regressive just because all you do is emulate those before you, even if they are in the wrong.
The mind, because of its innate nature and thoughts, memories, experiences and imaginations, compels us to behave in a way that has been deemed ‘right’ by others, and not always the way we really want to. Hence, most of us are living shadow lives, dictated and controlled by others, by books, scriptures, doctrines, by dogma and generally, what is politically and socially ‘correct’, all through the mechanism of our own minds. As a result, we are never ourselves, but we are what others want us to be. But it is up to us to use our mind in a manner that best suits us. That is the free will which every one is born with, and is available always.
This situation, where we are and what others want us to be, is often the root cause of our internal conflicts and turmoil, and makes us restless and unhappy. But we rarely know or agree to this fact and seldom accept that the final say or decision in every matter is ours. We usually try to put the blame of our misery on some external person or situation. And we start seeking happiness from some source in the external world, without realising that the basic problem which produces unhappiness lies within us, and unless we address that, no amount of looking outside will help.
In order to break free of regressive mindsets, we need to cultivate awareness, courage and trust. Awareness about the self, about our innermost desires, hopes and worries, is the first step.
The second step is to generate the necessary courage, to put our thoughts into action. If we have only awareness but no courage, it will become more frustrating, for we know what must be done to be happy, but cannot do it. If we have only courage, we will land up acting brashly and doing many foolish things which will be counterproductive.
And finally, we need to have complete trust in God, or in the power of existence, for only that can bring us peace and harmony.
Written By: P V Vaidyanathan