There are roadblock to developing universal empathy, which impede the need to broaden our mindsets. The result is a limited self-knowledge.
It’s often observed that whenever people meet any spiritual personality or a learned, enlightened soul, they invariably get an expression on their face that reflects inner contentment and peace. However, hardly do these people make a sustained effort to go deeper into the factors that lead to a life of contentment, inner harmony and a state of calm and composure and much less do they make a serious attempt to attain these even though they highly value them.
A quiet reflection and serene introspection would, however, lead to the conclusion that contentment does not come from high and numerous material attainments. Contentment dawns when the dark night of ignorance ends. It is a sign of spiritual wisdom and maturity. It comes when there is the spirit of renunciation and fulfilment. So what is so special about it that it has made many great people talk or write about it?
We would first need to understand its opposite, i.e discontentment. If we look around, we would hardly find anyone who is not discontented, right? As per studies, there are numerous causes of discontentment that brings mental agitation and disturb intellectual equipoise. When he is not in a position to exercise his discrimination to find means of improving his conditions and loses the ability to act. Thus, his plans and acts go wrong and give rise to quarrels.
A discontented person has a typical habit to build castles in the air while he is as poor as he can be. Such people fail to understand that it is only by dint of hard work that a man can make both ends meet and work on the right lines. Otherwise, it is a blunder to let your reason be clouded by passion and lose your own happiness. Hence, just as food sustains the body, the mind finds sustenance in happiness. So, there is no food as good as happiness. To be happy, you’ve to be contented.
As Alfred Nobel rightly said “Contentment is the only real wealth,” we should therefore not run after securing another kind of wealth to lose it. Likewise, peace comes when one’s inner conflicts have been resolved and harmony of the mind. Peace is born when one’s anxieties and thirst for worldly possessions have ceased. One glows of purity when he has constant peace. It is truly our original nature but we act through human bodies and lose our original energy in the cycle of action, interaction with souls. When we strip off of our original positive energies, negativity manifests in our mind, then to actions that finally result in sufferings.
However, our endeavour to attain that peace is limited by certain human constraints, of which the first is the constraint of the human body. We neither know past lives nor our future. The only thing we know is what we are in our present life. Hence, we do not understand the implication of laws of karma to discipline us in the present. Apart from this, we are constrained by geographical, environmental, cultural and religious barriers in addition to individual personality traits. All these constraints make it difficult for us to develop universal empathy; as a result we cannot think or act globally, resulting in very limited understanding of our world and ourselves too.
Our skewed vision has led us to believe that the massive army and weapon built-up will make us more secure. This approach has led to an unhealthy competition, malpractices and misleading the whole generation, thereby killing our feelings of sympathy, compassion and co¬operation, the fundamental human quality. One wonders, then how can we bring peace to the divergent universe?
For that we need to first understand that peace is a composite phenomenon. Hence one cannot hope to live in peace without hoping the same for his/her neighbours. Therefore our positive actions that ensure peace for self, society and the environment alone can generate and sustain universal peace.
Contentment, purity and peace are the trio which make one’s life worth living. They appear on the life-scene after one has been pursuing one’s spiritual studies and has also been practising meditation. Without Yoga, one cannot attain and sustain inner peace. The crux of the problem, however, is that people generally think that spiritual studies are uninteresting, boring and tedious and are based mainly on faith (in many cases ‘blind faith’) and are accompanied by rituals and mantras.
But this is not true. Spiritual studies are as interesting as any other subject and meditation is neither a ritual nor does it involve the repetition of a sacred Sanskrit formula. It is as simple as reflecting, remembering and feeling. It does require guidance in the beginning. Spending some time for this should be considered as a small investment for gaining contentment and peace, which are the most valuable in life. If we look around, how many people would we find who are spending their time, money and energy for peace in society?
Unfortunately, there are not many. It’s high time that we resolve to put our time, money and energy for harmony, because if we wish to have a peaceful world around us, then it should begin with each one of us.
Writer: Rajyogi Brahmakumar Nikunj Ji
Courtesy: The Pioneer