One person went to a spiritual master and asked – I have understood the importance of inner peace and I feel the need to change my attitude towards life. Can you show me the path?
The master said – Win the good over the evil meaning all the evil or negative qualities can be defeated by doing more good actions.
The disciple felt good, thanked the guru and left the place.
After some days, he came back to the guru and said – I tried my best to be compassionate, caring and not expecting and giving but unable to do so. Can you explain to me in detail what are the steps to achieve goodness?
- Sat sang – try to stay in the company of people who feel inner peace is important in life rather than people who always chase merits or indulging only in sensual pleasures.
- A person was about to eat two apple pieces. Some one came to visit him. He didn’t like as he has to share the apple. He still showed the plate and offered the apples. While the guest was about the pick a piece he said take this piece showing his hand towards the smaller piece. This is the typical example of a selfish person. Even though difficult ; force yourself to give. Do it for sometime and see the difference in the inner peace.
- Give your time to others. You don’t have to got out and serve anyone. Give your time first to the people at home by happily cooking and serving, doing the daily chores etc. Inviting 200 people and always entertaining and talking with them is not giving your time to others. What I mean is helping and not entertaining.
- Read the scriptures and do meditation.
The disciple felt good and went back. He came back after sometime saying now I have good sat sang, I am also sharing my time, knowledge and material. But I am unable to read and meditate. What can I do?
The guru said watch your thoughts. The thoughts are mostly why did so and so behaved like this or spoke like this or why did I say this or fearing about future or planning the next actions etc.
Try to find the answers for these doubts of why, why? You don’t have clarity of thinking to find the answers on your own because of your clinging of your mind with the thoughts. Read scriptures to find answer to your questions. Clinging just leads to clouding of thoughts and we can never arrive at the solution. Clouding of thoughts means too many thoughts without any answer.
The disciple asked-why is my mind clinging to the thoughts? Is the mind different from thoughts? Please explain.
The guru said the mind is empty and peaceful by nature. It clings to thoughts out of ignorance and wanting. The mind should just see the thoughts coming and let go. It should not cling on to the thought and react.
Suppose I have been wanting to possess something. Whenever a thought arises about that product or thing mind will cling to those thoughts and will be fully involved in the thinking process. It will plan ideas to possess it, it will feel jealous if someone is having it, then it will not like that person and will try to push that person down etc.
Initially we had some clinging to evil thoughts and we have been suffering. Later we did some good action and the evil thoughts reduced and the mind started to cling to the good thoughts.
It started to cling to good thoughts like I am kind, I help others, I am giving and not expecting, thinking about people praise or good moments etc.
Even clinging to good thoughts also leading to suffering in a different form like wanting praise, craving etc.
Then, we need to leave even the clinging to good thoughts and be neutral. Not too happy nor unhappy. As both leads to suffering. We need to be moderate in everything. This is the middle way suggested by buddha. Don’t be careless at the same time don’t be so perfect. Medium in everything.
Watch your thoughts and see where you have attachment say with money or praise or respect etc. find all the thoughts which mostly arise in the form of doubts. Find the answer and convince yourself that your clinging is unnecessary. Once, the mind is convinced it will leave the attachment to those thoughts and feeling.
Slowly slowly we need to make the mind empty. We need to surrender to the truth that it is empty and there is only peace.
Mind is naturally empty and peaceful. The thoughts and feeling will be coming. The mind will watch it but will not cling on to it and react /judge. It will let go of the thoughts because it has understood the true nature.
The disciple was feeling contented and went back. After some days he came back and said I am unable to watch my thoughts. My mind clings to all thoughts and I am carried away with it. After sometime I realise that I was thinking and could not recollect what I was thinking? How can I watch my thoughts so that I can see my attachments and doubts in mind?
The guru said live as per morality i.e following a disciplined lifestyle suggested by your own community / environment. This will clear the delusion little bit and you will be able to watch your thoughts.
Todays youth want to work all night, eat all night and sleep all day.They are unable to follow any discipline as they have become slaves to their minds. They are pulled towards the craving of the mind. They want to be free as they cannot follow any rules. They are unable to control the mind instead the mind is controlling them.
We need to force ourself initially to follow the morality.
Once we follow the morality we will develop some virtues. At the same time we need to understand the law of karma, process of birth and rebirth.
The morality leads to concentration further leading to wisdom and peace.
The disciple as usual felt good and went back. Again came back after some days saying I am following some morality, I am doing good actions, I am in company of wise people,I am reading scriptures, I am trying to meditate still I have some anger, irritation etc. what can I do about those?
The guru said the anger is because of wanting and craving. Reduce your involvement. In sensual pleasures. This will reduce your want and craving. Don’t abruptly stop everything this will lead to too much of craving leading to suffering. Follow the middle path of having some sensual pleasures and keeping busy with good actions. If we develop the habit of good actions the want for the sensual pleasures will slowly vanish.
The path is,
- Win good over evil. Doing good actions and letting go of the clinging to the negative thoughts.
- Once, some goodness is established we need to let go of the clinging of even the good thoughts and follow the middle way. This will make us humble.
- Keep understanding about the clinging and contemplate on the doubts. Resolve it by constant reading.
- We will reach a stage where we will understand we cannot get all the wisdom just by reading. By tapping the inner peace the doubts are cleared. This leads us to practice meditation more. Till we fully realise the nature of everything and understanding the ultimate truth that there is only emptiness of the mind. There is no self. Eg. A chariot has wheels, horse etc. if we remove all parts separately there is no chariot, there is only wheel and horses. Similarly, there is a self when the body, mind, thoughts, feeling are coming together. When everything is separated there is no self.
This is the path towards the journey of inner peace with some destinations like goodness, humble, , morality, concentration, wisdom etc. we should not cling and stay at each destinations. We need let go of the destination and move ahead as our ultimate destination is complete contentment and inner peace.
It is not necessary to leave everything in search of peace. If we hurry, we feel agitated and we cannot understand the truth. We will achieve it in a moderate pace. As we don’t want to suffer too much in the journey. Buddha himself said – he took the difficult path as he was a lay man at that time. Don’t suffer too much to achieve the peace nor be too careless about it. Follow a middle way.
I hope I have made myself clear. Any complaints, questions, comments are welcome. All the very best. My good wishes to all of you.
Ignorance of the truth leads to suffering.
We are not aware that the mind is separate from thoughts and peaceful by nature.
We cling with all the thoughts and do actions without clarity leading to suffering.
If we need peace ; we should avoid suffering by removing the ignorance.
Adi Shankaracharya recited a song Bhaja govindam meaning you ignorant of the truth recite the name of god (peace) and go in search of it instead of wasting your time in learning the grammar. In English fool means stupid -what he meant was just ignorant of truth he didn’t call the layman fool.
Enjoy this beautiful song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4FUQxn4CnY