Overcoming dissatisfaction

Dissatisfaction is a universal human trait. But, sometimes we are not always aware how easily we can become frustrated and dissatisfied – it becomes a habit.

True, from one perspective there may be a certain justification in our dissatisfaction. But, the real spiritual life is to avoid dissatisfaction – to accept the world as it is and see the world through loving eyes.

I came across this poem by Sri Chinmoy.

Here on earth I feel
Everything is wrong,
Everything is imperfect,
Everything is undivine
If it is not totally to my liking.
Such being the case,
How do I dare
To think that Heaven
Will be to my liking?
The dissatisfaction-tiger in me, alas,
Is infinitely more powerful
Than the perfection-power
That poor Heaven embodies.

  • Sri Chinmoy, FF:2585

It is an important poem because when we are full of dissatisfaction, we think that it is the outer world which is wrong and needs to change. But, in this poem, Sri Chinmoy challenges us to be aware that if we see dissatisfaction everywhere – perhaps we will even see dissatisfaction in Heaven.

Some say that the afterlife is very much a continuation of this life. If we are judgemental, dissatisfied and frustrated, moving to a different plane or location will not solve anything. Like moving from one country to another, we can’t expect our problems to be magically solved by going somewhere else.

However, if we can learn to live and accept the superficial imperfection we see all around and instead see the underlying beauty of life, then wherever we go – then we can create our own Heaven on earth.

Seeking help and willingness to change

I often fancy myself as something of a business consultant. If I walk into a shop or business, I often notice if something is wrong or could be done better. There is part of me which wants to tell the owner how to change and increase the popularity / success of his business.

if-we-fearfully-cling-to-what-we-have

But, the British reserve rarely says anything. Instead we complain in silence and then don’t go back or just put up with it. Also, there is no point in saying anything, unless there is some receptivity to hearing suggestions. Also, advice is easy to give, but it is much more important to deal with our own problems first!

Recently, I’ve been watching a series on television about failing businesses who ask a business consultant to come in and offer advice on how to turn the business around. It is an interesting insight into human behaviour!

One episode focused on a clothes shop which was losing money and was stuck in the past. The owner was passionate about clothes, but didn’t have much business sense and a mixed consumer service, which was good in parts, but also involved insulting consumers.

The business consultant suggested many changes which would help revitalise the business and reposition it in the market.

Some notes

There is an inevitable resistance to change when we have been used to doing something in our own way for a long time.

Step by step approach. After suggesting several changes, the consultant realised it was too much. The business owner didn’t want to change the name of the shop. Although, he could see some of the benefits of changing, there was still an attachment to the previous ways of working. The consultant saw this and cut back her suggestions. Rather than make complete change, she suggested business owner make the changes he felt comfortable with. The owner had to be happy with the change they implemented.

Accentuating the positive strengths. The suggestions of change were met with resistance and uncertainty about moving out of their comfort zone. Rather than keep hitting on about the need to change, the consultant set up a day, where they would be able to show their skills of retailing in a different environment. By allowing their strong customer skills to come to the fore, the owner gained more confidence in the process of change, and how these skills could be at the centre of the business. Always we need a mixture of stick and carrot. Not just the stick! Continue reading “Seeking help and willingness to change”

How to manage life with the internet

I was born in 1976 so my life can almost be split up into half life pre-internet, and half life with the world wide web.

Sometimes I think back and, through rose tinted spectacles, remember the halcyon days of pre-internet. Playing Chinese checkers with my grandma on the lawn. No video games, no computers, no internet, the only tv a 11” black and white set with 3 channels. Those were the days! It makes me feel positively old. You certainly didn’t have to worry about whether people were liking your picture of your cat on t’internet.

Would life have been more enjoyable with the internet? I don’t think so. It would have come in pretty handy for doing my homework, but apart from that I can’t say I lie awake at night – thinking if only I’d been able to read more twitter feeds as a child…

So here are some tips for navigating the world wide web.

Don’t read the comments.

I like this twitter feed,- don’t read the comments. I shall post a couple of my favourites.

“The problem with internet comments is that you can never really know who’s saying them.”

— Winston Churchill

Continue reading “How to manage life with the internet”

Dealing with pride

One of the great heroes of the Mahabharata was Yudhishthira. Yudhishthira was King of the Pandavas and known for his adherence to dharma (right action). With the help and guidance of Sri Krishna, the Pandavas were successful in defeating the Kauravas at the great battle of Kurushetra.

It was a symbolic victory of dharma over adharma. But, after the victory, Yudhishthira confessed he was not happy, and he couldn’t understand why.

Sri Krishna told Yudhishthira that his problem was pride. His one remaining undivine quality was pride – pride in his adherence to dharma, pride in his victory.

See: Yudhishthira’s worst enemy at Sri Chinmoy Library

Commentary on the problem of pride

strength-pride-humilityThis is the great paradox of leading a good life. If we do the right thing and follow all the required wisdom and spiritual scripture, we can gain a feeling of pride from our own actions. This feeling of pride we may not even notice because it is quite a subtle feeling.

It is good to do the right thing and lead a good life. But, pride can be the undoing of our progress and efforts.

How can we avoid this pride in doing the right thing?

The inner pilot. Feel, if we have the capacity to do the right thing, there is something within us, the divine inner pilot which is acting in and through us. This is not our unique achievement but something that belongs to our bigger I.

Feel that God observes all our actions – inner and outer. If this is the case, we can’t fool God. If we are acting selflessly and with the best motivation, then God will know and this is enough. There is no need to broadcast it to the world.

Who is better than who? If the index finger is stronger than the little finger, we don’t let one finger feel proud it is stronger. All the fingers are an integral part of our hand. Similarly, if we do something good, feel that there are many others who made this possible. If is never our achievement alone, but all those who have helped teach and illumine us.

Humility alone gives joy everlasting. If we feel inner disturbance, if we lack an inner peace and poise, perhaps it is our pride which prevents us from enjoying the satisfaction yearned for by Yudhishthira. If we become aware of this, then we can make a conscious effort to let go of our pride and choose the contentment and inner peace from not valuing our pride.

When pride disappears,
Real joy appears.

Sri Chinmoy

Remember the problem of pride. If we come across someone who is overly proud, we tend to dislike this attitude. Instead, we value those who are modest and don’t boast. When we observe other people, we can choose which characteristics we would like to cultivate in ourselves.

Related

 

The message of Jesus Christ

jesus-christToday, just a quote by Sri Chinmoy about Jesus Christ:

“Jesus son of God, avatar of the Western consciousness: Jesus accepted a mortal body so he could reveal man’s immortality. Jesus accepted a man’s consciousness so he could fulfil the divine consciousness. Jesus accepted bodily pain so he could offer the world eternal joy. Jesus accepted betrayal so he could teach the world the meaning of forgiveness. Continue reading “The message of Jesus Christ”

Spiritual experiences

Once Sri Chinmoy was asked how a seeker could recognise a spiritual experience as such. The answer was not what I might have expected, Sri Chinmoy mentioned spiritual experience could involve:

  • Having a dynamic feeling to serve the world.
  • The feeling of wanted to be guided by the Supreme.

love-world-teeming-imperfections

Question: How can I recognise a spiritual experience as such?

Sri Chinmoy: “Millions of times you have had the feeling of true eagerness to help humanity, and with God’s Grace you have helped humanity according to your capacity. Then you have gotten joy.” [1]

This is interesting because I would have defined spiritual experience as something quite different. I would have defined spiritual experience as a sense of peace, a vision of spiritual light, entering trace. (I might even have included take levitating off the floor…) Continue reading “Spiritual experiences”

The problem with 24 hour news

News and the internet has become all pervasive. There is no shortage of information and opinion in the modern world, and whilst keeping up to date can have certain benefits – there is also a danger of being overwhelmed with news and articles which act as a permanent distraction.

negativitiy-poem

Thomas Jefferson wrote

“The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.”

Jefferson also illumines us:

“I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.”

How we would like the happiness of Thomas Jefferson!

Why I wanted to try take a break from the news

1. Negativity

The problem with the news is that it is mostly depressing, and accentuates the most negative image of the world and people. It can create a disconnect between perception and the reality of people’s good hearts.

The nature of the news is that it tends to focus on bad events. You can have 10,000 people leading good lives; but by nature this is not newsworthy.

2. I spend too long

The truth is I spend too long watching news, reading news online. It is too easy to fill a few minutes here and there. I can find myself checking news sites throughout the day. But, it’s not a profitable or useful experience. It’s bugged me for a long time, so I thought I would try something different over the Christmas holidays.

3. It affects me

The problem with being absorbed in a 24 news stream, is that you can end up thinking about it all day. Your mind cultivates opinions, and you can end up frustrated with the injustice of the world. Yet, at the same time, you are not doing anything to create a better world. You can’t help it, but the more time you spend on the news, the more your mind is jumping around with opinions of its own. It is an energy that is self-perpetuating. There is no peace, no connection with the heart, only opinions and endless un-winnable arguments.

Continue reading “The problem with 24 hour news”

Religious unity

Sri Chinmoy teaches that all religions and spiritual paths can lead to the same goal. Although they may differ in outer forms, they share the same underlying essence.

“Each individual seeker views the Creator and the creation according to his own aspiration and level of development. What we need is light to illumine our inner and outer differences. It is through our oneness-life that we will walk, march and run to the Supreme. We must have appreciation for and sympathetic oneness with all religions in order to create a harmony that will spread throughout the length and breadth of the world.”

– Sri Chinmoy [1]

Religious tolerance and religious oneness

Mill Hill Unitarian church Leeds

Tolerance for other religious paths is a good starting point. But, from a spiritual point of view, tolerance is only a first step, because grudging tolerance may still leave a sense of superiority. If a seeker feels his religion is superior to others, there is a sense of pride and separation. The best attitude is to feel that if the source of religious traditions is the same, there is no superiority and question of judgement. Let each go in his own way.

Continue reading “Religious unity”

Suspicion and truth

A suspicious mind can see problems where the truth is very different. If we always suspect the worst, there is a danger we will start to see a world which reflects our pre-conceived fears and beliefs.

A doubtful and suspicious mind
Must carry a very heavy load
On a very long journey.

Sri Chinmoy, No unreachable goal

When our default mode is suspicion and cynicism, we can never cultivate real happiness, because of the cloud of negative which hangs over us.

If we are suspicious, we will also alienate other people and, in turn, make people suspicious of our own motives.

tejvan-b

The alternative to a suspicious mind

If we live in the heart, we will try and see the good in other people. We will see others’ failings as only part of their being and not what they are striving to be.

Be kind, be all sympathy,
For each and every human being
Is forced to fight against himself.

– Sri Chinmoy, AP 12871

Continue reading “Suspicion and truth”

Imagining a better world

There was a great inventor, Nikola Tesla. He played a key role in inventing AC electricity; this electric system genuinely revolutionised the material world and is now used across the world. It is said that when Tesla wanted to invent something, he would visualise with his mind’s eye the working model of what he wanted to invent. He did not test by trial and error, he just tried to visualise the working model. For Tesla this capacity for visualisation was very strong and very real. At the turn of the century many thought an AC motor couldn’t be created or AC electricity would be too dangerous. But, Tesla had the faith he could make it work. It is as if he willed the invention into this world.

In the completely different world of poetry, some poets have described an experience of seeing a poem already written down. It is like the poem already exists in another world, there is just a thin veil between this world of matter and a higher world of poetry. The Seer Poet merely brings the poem into our world by his will and poetic invocation.

menaka-guatemala-sun-set

We may be neither poets nor inventors, but there is a lesson that the power of imagination, thought and will can bring things into our reality. All humans have this creative power. At the simplest level, it is often said by the great spiritual Teachers, that our thoughts will create our own reality. As the Buddha said very succinctly.

“All that we are is the result of our thoughts”

If our mind is constantly negative, then our experience of the world will be difficult, confusing and painful. If we harbour and cherish good thoughts, we will experience a much more positive and joyful life. Continue reading “Imagining a better world”