This article was previously published in the September 2017 edition of the AHYMSIN Newsletter.
Disappointments, anxieties, fears.
Fulfilments, hopes, faith.
These alternate in our lives, or the two sets even remain on parallel tracks of the mind at all times, rendering some joy and some sorrow.
These days people are often heard talking of their anxieties and fears. Why not enjoy that which you have achieved instead of regretting what has been just so far beyond reach?
Make a list of all the fulfilments, pleasures, moments of laughter, causes for smiles you have had; savour them all. Enjoy what is there to enjoy; refuse to suffer what is there to suffer.
Do not feel so helpless. Your destiny was not made by God, nor by stars, nor by tarot cards. Your sankalpas, intentions and resolves make your destiny. In last lives you made your destiny for this life. In this life you have also been altering your destiny afresh, also making your destiny for future lives.
We bear and hear of so many anxieties and complaints about these ‘modern times’, about what is happening to ‘all of us’ ‘these days’. The cycles and parallel journeys of joys and sorrows are perennial. They have never ceased. Read the ancient story books, the Jatakas, Katha-sarit-sagara and all the rest that narrate the lives of ordinary people in the olden times. They all enjoyed the same things we do; they all suffered the same things we do, and had the same anxieties. This will be so ten thousand years hence when people will feel nostalgic for our present times as ‘those good old times’. It will be so, if you are planting the sankalpa for it to be that way. Or, we can change the direction of our individual and collective sankalpas. That is the secret for your future a year hence and a millennium hence.
It is your sankalpa that determines the course of your destiny. You sow an intention, water it, make it grow, your actions follow from a determined and concentrated mind and create your surroundings as you wished for them to be. But you must learn the art of sowing the seeds of sankalpa.
Something happens in the subtle world around your soul six months before an event occurs in the visible world. The thoughts you are planting at this moment will show their result six months, or longer, from now. Have you, with a well-groomed intent, chosen the thoughts you are planting? Did you choose them two years ago so that you would not have had to regret the results of your thoughts today? Bear this principle in mind and as my Gurudeva Swami Rama of Himalayas said: You are the architect of your destiny.
A sankalpa is not a fleeting wish followed by a whole different wish and a chain of all and sundry wishes. At the moment of sankalpa there is no anxiety.
Count your breaths for a few minutes (there is an art to it that you need to learn);
Let the mind thereby become totally calm, soothed, wrinkle-free, a chamber of silence and stillness;
Then send a quiet, yes, very quiet, message to the forces of the subtle world;
Having done so, leave it there, surrender it to the forces, to the divine will, and do not struggle.
You may repeat this process daily.
You will begin to sense what your course of action should be. You will find yourself taking that course of action. The ‘forces’ will send you unexpected helpers and help from unknown sources.
Stay calm all the way through; an observer, not a doer.
Another fact of cosmic reality you need to learn is the harmony of the forces of the opposites. Take an aeroplane from Delhi, fly westwards, keep flying, you end up in the east – in China, and back to Delhi. Every force carries its opposite in its womb and nurtures it, supports it, makes it manifest.
The same applies in economics, as has happened in USA, and then adversely affecting the world economics. People and the banking systems created faux wealth. Then they could not keep up with the façade. The economy crashed. The price of petrol fell from $150.00 a barrel to $60.00 a barrel. The prices of homes and properties fell. The fall is the result of the rise. Now, we need some wisdom to control the upward cycle of the economy that will begin soon as the wheel has to keep turning, the present ‘low’ situation carries in its womb the principle of the ‘high’.
How do we balance these lows and the highs so that we are not again falling in the same trap? The answer is wisdom. Learning to balance the forces.
This requires a fresh sankalpa, that of keeping desires under control. The reason the Indian economy has been the one least affected by the worldwide slow down, started in USA, is that people here are not prone to economic extremism. The present day prevalent Charvaka philosophy of world economics is ‘rNam krtvaa ghrtam pibet’, that is, ‘borrow money and drink ghee’, ‘take international loans and build skyscrapers’. What is the reason that America’s national debt is ten trillion dollars, and the total of US citizens’ debt is fourteen trillion! It is simply this Charvaka philosophy. It was recognized by the ancient Indian sages and was rejected by them in helping develop the minds of the masses. The average Indian, unlike an American or European, considers it an ignominy to be indebted. So there is a certain amount of ‘conservatism’, a withholding, a self-restraint built into the Indian temperament and consequently in the Indian economy. The world needs to learn from this.
If we do not fall into the trap of the Charvaka philosophy on which the present world economy runs, India will sail through the current slowdown. Indian economy is affected only in the areas which are dependent on the Euro-American systems; where it is independent, it is balanced.
So, keep to the ancient tradition of a-pari-graha, keeping desire under control. If you have not the money to buy a larger car, make-do with the smaller one, and, more important, be contented with it:
santoShaad anuttamah sukha-laabhah
From contentment one receives unexcelled comfort. --- Yoga-sutras of Patanjali 2.4
What will save America is the American habit of charity. We do not have figures for this phenomenon in India but during the present slump in the U.S. economy, the level of charity has increased; people are giving away more. Those who have are sharing with those who do not have. The statistics for that have been published.
This again demonstrates the harmony of the forces of the opposites. During economic difficulties, people give more to others. The forces of the subtle world are turning the cycle around from the philosophy of ‘me’ ‘me’ ‘me’ to sharing and thereby evening out the gap between those who have and those who have not.
If Indians follow the same principle, the economy will turn around faster. [For example, if the companies can manage it, let them keep surplus staff till the economy turns around; the staff will pay for itself by hard work later.]
Savour your fulfilments, not suffer your deficiencies
Remember that you are the maker of your destiny, no other
Learn the special art of effective sankalpa
Learn how the subtle world shapes the manifest world and how we can reshape the subtle world so it would shape the manifest world to fulfil our wishes
Learn how to use the principle of the harmony of opposite forces for our benefit
Practice a-pari-graha by way of (a) desiring less for oneself and (b) sharing with others at individual and at corporate/collective level, so that
the subtle forces may bring about not an artificially heated economy and such but one that is steady and stable in the long term.
This applies to ‘restrained’ individual temperament being maintained, being applied to national economy, to influence the world economy.
Remember, an anxious mind cannot make right decisions. Above all else, learn the art of becalmed mind.