Sadhguru says that people are stressful because they don’t know how to manage their activities. My salutations to Sadhguru. It’s so true. If one knows how to manage the activities there is no chance of any stress. When a person is going through miseries he is compelled to do whatever hard work he has to go through and he will not find it stressful because he undertakes the hardships gladly and ambitiously. It’s very important how we perceive the situation and how we relate ourselves to it. There’s no room for any negative thoughts and only negative thoughts generate stress.
It’s also a fact that we become more and more stressful because we attach ourselves to the activities so intensively that any negative perception generates stress. You set out to do certain things, and even the thought of failure makes you sad, angry and you indulge in wild reactions. You are required to concentrate on your actions to perform them most efficiently and should not maintain any expectations about the results because results are a natural process depending on the actions. It will be pertinent to note here what Lord Krishna has said that you have no right on the results because your action will produce some results and your role is to execute the activity excellently and the results are not in your hands. Though we know this very well we are stressful about the results. In fact expectations are the result of insecurity and uncertainty. If you are convinced that the results are not in your hands, you have no role to play, where is the question of disappointment.
A person visited me a few days ago, and during the conversation we told him that we are staying in a rented house. Immediately his reactions came quite spontaneously that we are all on rent in this world , who is having a permanent abode here? His statement has a deeper meaning for us to grasp. If we conduct our activities with full consciousness that we have no right on the results, instead of taking ownership in what we do, apologies to management experts advocating otherwise, or lamenting on the situations we are in, we can stay in this world as a tenant or a witness and get rid of the stress. But it is easier said than done.
I was traveling from Pune by car and when it reached Navi Mumbai my attention was drawn by a vehicle in front of us with full of chickens being carried at five in the morning for delivery to the centers for making the lives of many nastier. The chickens inside the vehicle are busy in their activities of eating, napping, and are the normal beings, completely unaware that the life of most of them will be only for hours. Why do they not have any stress? Imagine yourself in that situation, how stressful you will be? They are free from stress because they don’t have power to expect, and reason, and the next moment is not their worry. I thanked God, in my mind, for not giving them thinking power. Whenever human beings celebrate, millions of living beings like chickens, fish, and so on are lined up for executions. If they had thinking power!!!
Zen masters belonging to Buddhism say that we must live life like a log of wood in water ready to accept kicks from all sides and surely you will not have any stress in such a life. But are we supposed to live like that, and if we do what will happen. We certainly can’t live like that because we have responsibilities, ambition and goals to achieve in order to transform our life. Our life is not just for eating, mating, and surviving like other living beings. Yet, if you live like a log of wood, someone will cut it and use it as fire or furniture.
There is a story in the Hindu scriptures about a couple giving birth to 12 children one by one, and every time the mother tells the father it’s a boy, the father will ask does it have mouth, wife will say yes, they will leave the child there and move stating that God will feed it. All the twelve boys will become superintelligent personalities later. That may be relevant in those days. Today if you do like that, one of the possibilities will be the dog will use the mouth as a lavatory. Isn’t it. They are the part of a theory for relying on Destiny, but not practical except some co-incidences. Such a life will be painful for us because of our attachment, aspirations, and expectations.
It’s actually possible to lead a life without stress while we undertake our activities as a normal person, if you rely on yoga. Yoga teaches you techniques to keep yourself in action without attachment. By constant practices of yoga you can be conscious about the fact that you are not the body, mind or the intellect, and you are actually connected with a supreme energy. Then you can be blissful even in miseries, and adversities. Yoga makes you capable of living like chickens or log of wood in reality while being a normal person with emotions. Yoga is the only choice for awakening your consciousness towards such a life. All other solutions like entertainment, activities to kill time or anything else are temporary. For further details please visit, if you want, http://www.ishafoundation.com.
You need to be motivated that too internally, no doubt, otherwise it is impossible to prepare for the run in life. If you see an advertisement where Katrina Kaif, the Bollywood heart-throb, uses Lux soap, she ignites the desire in you to try the soap and be like her, rather than becoming like her it gives you a confidence for using the product, knowing fully well that the soap will not make you Katrina. You think that since Katrina is using the soap it will be beneficial to you too, it adds a reliability factor. Similarly you get motivated to eat an ice cream, a pizza, and so on, looking at the motivation the marketing communication creates, on the peripheral level of your mind. Here you make use of the top of the mind inclinations and there is no need for internal motivation with long term objectives. To achieve certain long term objectives, you need to develop certain internal drives, and in the process, you may need to disregard the peripheral motivations more often lest you may get diverted from the goal, as the ordinary activities may occupy your attention pulling you away from the goal. Of course, only a motivated person can keep on running towards the long term goal.
Therefore to focus on the long term objective of getting yourself adequately educated, to make yourself fit enough to accept higher responsibilities, in order to advance in a career, became the primary objective of my life, and I succeeded in creating adequate internal motivation, discipline and above all the drive for action, adopting an attitude of come what may. The fact that there was no means to pursue higher education, often blocked my thinking process, and I was not able to make up my mind what to do. When I was roughly 14, there was a lesson on the life of Gopal Krishna Gokhale, the person who was instrumental to bring Mahatma Gandhi to the freedom struggle of India, who undertook his studies below the street lights, and this made me compare myself to the situation he was in. I asked myself if he can do why not me? Why am I getting dejected on the situation I am in? I made a commitment to myself that I will never lament on the lack of facilities in life and repeat what Mr. Gokhale has done. The thirst for knowledge, to educate myself to the maximum extent possible, using the night college facilities available in Mumbai came as an idea into my mind before boarding the train for Bombay.
Life sent by in Mumbai, to get myself into a job very soon, I opted the career of a Stenographer, which was a hot career in those days and tried to settle down on a permanent job, which was imminent before joining the college. However, the ambition to take admission in night college remained at the back of my mind, kicking and alive, and it took me 4 years to settle down on a job in a limited company, and it did not take time for me to take the jump. My salary was Rs.400/- out of which Rs.100/- used to go for my mother, and with the balance sustaining in Mumbai, and college expenses were very difficult. However, the life continued smoothly, it became a routine to move directly from office to attend college from 6.30 to 9.30 p m in the evening, and when I come back from college by 10 p m, being a bachelor, the room mates used to be playing cards, and myself being the person on the move, with a different set of objectives in life, had to enter kitchen to prepare food rather than complaining. In fact, I never used to play cards, even for fun, I developed a dislike for it not because I never used to enjoy, I purposely wanted to refrain from it as a necessity, to avoid diversion of attention. By the time the food was ready, it will be about 12 in the night.and after super, I used to study for an hour or two before going to bed, during the normal days and in case of special assignments, only midnight lamp was the option available.
On refusal to accompany on hangouts, I remember my friends telling me that I am having a village culture, and don’t have forward thinking, especially in case of girl friends, but finally I was sad to know that most of those forward thinking friends failed in the exams, basically because of wasteful activities being indulged in rather than focusing on utilization of time with proper time management skills. I used to be very strict on avoiding wastage of time, never used to go for movies, or hang outs, and all holidays were full and fully spent with my books and notes, mostly in the college library as the environment at home was not conducive for undertaking my studies. The words of my professor of mathematics always resounded in my ears, he had said “if you want to educate yourself with night colleges, you have to get wedded with the college. How true it was, there is no doubt.
Another habit I was fortunate to develop was love for books and the habit of reading, initially on fiction and later on to self development and biographies. I used to enjoy, and still enjoy reading biographies of great achievers, which suited my temperament and imaging process. One day I was on my way to my office, and as usual, being a busy person, was reading while travelling in order to utilize the travelling time. The book I was reading on that day was “Awaken the Giant within” by Anthony Robins. I realized that two persons standing nearby were observing me attentively, and from their conversation I could realise that they were from the police force. One was telling the other “look what a big book he is reading”, the other replied “I will never give so much trouble to my brain, why should I?”. Obviously he was contended with the Police job he was having, and what more motivation does he need, I muttered myself. I remembered, “necessity is the mother of inversion” and reiterated in my mind that only a motivated person runs actually, and reaffirmed my relationship with books.
It all depends on you, your perceived need, your internal motivation, your communication with yourself, your ability to convert your plans into long term goals, and pursuing your goals like a mad cow, while keeping all the negativities out of reach of your mind. All of us have sparks in life, one way or the other, all of us have dreams, and all of us want to become someone recognized in the society, and among friends and family. Unfortunately most of us remain at the planning stage only and terribly fail on implementation. Here I remember what Swami Vivekananda has said “sitting still and making wishes makes no man great, we must put the bait in water in order to get the fish”.
Here I remember the story of a devotee and the God. He used to pray every day and used to request God to make him rich. He was requesting “Oh God, I am praying so much every day, why don’t you open your eyes and do something for me? At least make me win a lottery. He felt like God telling him “Oh dear son, at least, go and buy a lottery ticket”. We fail to take even that much initiative and put all the blame on God, our parents, our teachers, friends, and so on, and we often forget to count ourselves in the list of people responsible for our failure. Nevertheless, I used to commit myself that I will never lag behind in taking initiative.