Dr Sumedha Kushwaha
“One day, your heart will stop beating and none of your fears will matter. What will matter is how you lived”- Henri Junttila
Last week while talking on phone with a friend, I heard her lamenting about how she hates her job and her boss always mistreats her. I kept hearing her problem, sympathized and could not do anything more than providing her solace that things will eventually get better and few advices on how to look for a new job. But to my surprise a few phone calls with friends and family over the week were about the same problem of how people around were inhibiting them to work efficiently or at home someone is being ill treated or someone feels just not alright. On my morning walk today, I thought, is it the pandemic? Or is it just a coincidence? Or have I become an agony aunt? Or is it that something is wrong with me that I am over thinking! Or maybe it was 5.30am and I am sleep deprived!
I tried to tame my mind and deviate it to another topic. But my mind is just like a dog with a soft toy. It will chew it until it rips it apart. And my fate is the same. I thought okay let’s figure out why are people so unhappy with people around them. And this includes me as well. Why do we have an excessive need for dependence on the first hand and then expect and then be sore and resentful to others? Why is it that we want to always find a scapegoat to blame our problems on? Why is it that when we even know that it's our fault, we accept it but add a line “but he/she could have acted better too”? Why is it always directed outside?
I kept brooding but I was still defining my problem better and in different words. I went home. Had my cup of tea and picked up an old book from my shelf. You might call it magic/coincidence/whatever! The lines that I read were the final message of Buddha before he left his body: “Behold , O monks, this is my last advice to you. All component things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation”. I did not read any further.
I think I received my answer. That’s how usually the universe communicates with me. So I pondered on these lines again and again until it became so clear to me that absolutely nothing that you put your attention on outside of yourself, which includes your family, friends, material possessions, work, whatever you name it, which is outside of yourself is going to change. Change is always undesirable and we hear people complain to their wives/ husbands- “You are not the same person I got married to 10 years before”! Hell yes! You are right. Not even one cell in his/her body must be the same now. Yet, we expect. And our destiny is what we put our attention on. And we put all our attention on the outside, on things we don’t want, on things which are undesirable and then crib- “Nothing is going to change!”.
The last line “Work hard to gain your own salvation”. Wonderful. The word salvation is derived from a latin word “salvation” which means “state of being saved or protected from harm”. And, why do we need salvation- may be because we should fully live the life we are intended to live.
Probably the Buddha told his disciples that no matter what path you choose, no matter which religion you follow, no matter which god you blame, no matter you are married or unmarried, employed or unemployed, rich or poor, female or male, have pets or don’t. It doesn’t matter at all because you are solely your own responsibility and no one else’s.
I understood this morning hence that it’s a futile effort to talk about how people around change, how we are treated, about everything else. The most important thing is to keep the focus right in the centre on our own selves. Self love and self protection is not narcissism. It's not luxury, its necessity.
I wrote this to share my morning wisdom with you and help you understand that when we allow people to abuse us- then only they can abuse or when we allow someone to hurt us- then only they can hurt us. If we take away that right, that power that we have given them for free- no one will be able to touch our inner happiness. Do not give people rights to your inner sanctity for free. Wish you a very happy week ahead!
Happy to share your thoughts- [email protected]