A man goes to Mullah Nazaruddin, and says:
“I have the worst stomach problem. I want this to go away at any cost.”
The Mullah takes a big rock and hits the man’s his knee with it.
The poor man starts to cry in agony and exclaims, “Why did you hit me on the knee?!”
Says the Mullah to him, “Now your stomach isn’t bothering you anymore, is it?”
This is how we are living our lives. To avoid one problem, we are taking on bigger ones. A drunkard is trying to avoid the pain and suffering in his life by taking on the habit of alcoholism. Don’t think sorrow is very bad. The Lord says in the Bhagavad Gita, that every time there is a sorrow, learn to be open to it. There is a programming in you that needs to be corrected. Be open and receptive to that. Every drunkard is telling you how he is wasting his life.
When duhkha (sorrow) comes, it is a message from the divine, telling you to audit yourself and re-programme yourself. In every difficulty, God is telling you to wake up. We are very forgetful, so God has to shake us up and whip us up. When you have duhkha, you start to look inward; circumstances force you to do so. It is a symptom telling you to watch yourself and observe what you are doing wrong.
In such moments of pain, anchor your centre. When your centre is not shaken, you will find all difficulties are a divine pathway to your own understanding. They are a way to unite you with the true, ever-blissful nature of the Divine. A sleeping consciousness in us develops an Ego that thinks it is separate. Whenever the Lord gives you difficulty, it is to show you that your programming needs to change; there are lessons for you to learn. When you are open to this kind of understanding, even a difficulty is teaching you something.
If someone insults you, for example, you should focus on the person who is insulting you. Really look at them. Don’t react. Be completely open to their words. When you look deep within, you’ll see why he or she is insulting you. Their actions are an extension of their misery. They are giving pain because they are in pain. They can only give what they have. Just feel the person. They, themselves are feeling very insulted and in pain. God has given you an opportunity to be cool and centered, in spite of the tornado of their words. Take this opportunity to practice coolness, centre yourself in the midst of insults. Afterall, this person is only throwing garbage because there is garbage in them. You check your Ego. If you don’t have a wall of Ego, the insults will pass through you, without affecting you. Be open. Be calm. Don’t participate in their reaction, but be a good on-looker. Don’t get identified with anything and certainly don’t get identified with their insults.
If Duhkha comes, see it for what it is. If Sukha (contentment) comes, see it for what it is also. Be open to both. When you are not participating, you are understanding. And then you are a witness. You are open. In that openness, magical insults can come into your life. There is an outburst of energy. And then you will learn to drop your agenda and allow God’s agenda to fill your being.
The Existential Lab (ELab) is one of Swami Sukhabodhananda’s flagship residential programs. In it, he uses the wisdom of the Gita to help us see existence as it is, provides ancient Vedic tools and techniques to live a truly fulfilling life.