On several occasions in various temples I have been asked to speak on the ways and means to attain peace of mind, the most sought after objective/commodity of human race since time immemorial. In the modern age especially in North America it would appear that most of us are in a state of perpetual restlessness despite enjoying good health care and basic economic security. Analysing the causes of this restlessness has led me to find ten solutions to attain peace of mind. I have called them “ten commandments” because they need to be followed religiously if we are sincere in achieving perfect peace of mind. Here they are with brief explanations;
Do not interfere in others’ business unless asked – Most of us create our own problems by interfering too often in others’ affairs. We do so because somehow we have convinced ourselves that our way is the best way, our logic is the perfect logic and those who do not conform to our thinking must be criticized and steered to the right direction, our direction. This thinking denies the existence of individuality and consequently the existence of God. God has created each one of us in a unique way. No two human beings can think or act in exactly the same way. All men or women act the way they do because they are prompted that way by the God within them. There is God to look after everything. Why are you bothered? Mind your own business you will keep your peace.
Do not crave for recognition – This world is full of selfish people. They seldom praise anybody without selfish motive. They may praise you today because you are in power but no sooner you are powerless they will forget your achievement and start finding faults in you. Why do you wish to kill yourself in striving for their recognition? They are not worth it. Do your duties ethically and sincerely and leave the rest to God.
Forget and forgive – This is the most powerful aid to peace of mind. We, often develop ill feeling inside our heart for the person who insults us or harms us. We nurture grievances. This, in turn results in loss of sleep, development of stomach ulcer and high blood pressure. The insult or injury was done once but nourishing of grievance goes on forever by constantly remembering it. Get over this bad habit. Believe in the justice of God and the doctrine of Karma. Let Him judge the act of the one who insulted you. Life is too short to waste in such trifles. Forget, forgive and march on.
Do not be jealous – We all have experienced how jealousy can disturb our peace of mind. You know you work harder than your colleagues in the office but they get promotions, you do not. You started a business several years ago but you are not as successful as your neighbor whose business is only one year old. There are several examples like these in every walk of life. Should you be jealous? No, remember everybody’s life is shaped by his previous Karma which has now become his destiny. If you are destined to be rich, not all the world can stop you. If you are not so destined, no one can help you either. Nothing will be gained by blaming others for your misfortune. Jealousy will not get you anywhere, will only give you restlessness.
Change yourself according to the environment – If you try to change the environment single handedly, the chances are you may fail. Instead, change yourself to suit the environment. As you do this, even the environment which has remained unfriendly for you will mysteriously appear to be congenial and harmonious.
Endure what cannot be cured – This is the best way to turn a disadvantage into an advantage. Every day we face numerous inconveniences, ailments, irritations and accidents which are beyond our control. We must learn to put up with these things. We must learn to endure them cheerfully thinking, “God will it so, so be it”. God’s logic is beyond our comprehension. Believe it and you will gain in patience, in inner strength, in will-power.
Do not bite more than you can chew – This maxim needs to be remembered constantly. We often tend to take more responsibilities than we are capable to carry out. This is done to satisfy our ego. Know your limitations. Why take on additional loads that may create more worries? You cannot gain peace of mind by expanding your external activities. If you have extra time, then spend it in an inward life of prayer, introspection and meditation. This will reduce those thoughts in your mind, that make you restless. Fewer the thoughts, greater is the peace of mind.
Meditate regularly – Meditation makes the mind thoughtless. This is the highest state of peace of mind. Try and experience. If you meditate earnestly for half an hour every day, you will tend to become calm during the remaining twenty three and a half hours. Your mind will not be disturbed as much as before. You must gradually increase the period of daily meditation. You may think this will interfere with your daily work. On the contrary, this will increase your efficiency and you will turn out more work in less time.
Never leave the mind vacant – Empty mind is the devil’s workshop. All evil deeds start in the mind. Keep your mind occupied in something positive, something worthwhile. Actively follow a hobby. Do something that holds your interest. You must decide what you value more; money or peace of mind. Your hobby, like social work or temple work may not always earn you more money but you will have a sense of fulfillment and achievement. Even if you are resting physically, occupy yourself in healthy reading or mental chanting of God’s name (Japa).
Do not procrastinate and never regret – Do not waste time in wondering “should I or shouldn’t I?” Days, weeks, months and years may be wasted in that futile mental debating. You can never plan enough because you can never anticipate all future happenings. Always remember God has His own plan too. Value your time and do things. It does not matter if you fail the first time. You can rectify your mistakes and succeed the next time. Sitting back and worrying will lead to nothing. Learn from your mistakes but do not brood over the past. DO NOT REGRET. Whatever happened was destined to happen only that way. Take it as the will of God. You do not have the power to alter the course of God’s will. Why cry over the spilt milk?
MAY GOD HELP YOU REMAIN AT PEACE
WITH YOURSELF AND THE WORLD
OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI