Written by Suraj Shah.
“Koina parn dosh jo nahi. Tara pothana dosh thi je kai thaai chhe, te thaai chhe, em maan.” = “Don’t look at anyone else’s faults. Understand that whatever is happening, is taking place due to your own faults.” – Shrimad Rajchandra, Vacchanamrut, letter 157, part 13, point 1.
In everyday life, we face a multitude of challenges, with people and situations demanding our constant attention, with mayhem rattling our mundane lives.
It’s far too cold out there, but it’s just too hot in here.
Thieves broke into my house. Some jerk rear-ended my car.
My children won’t obey me. My boss is a tyrant.
My husband is lazy. My wife won’t stop nagging.
Everybody wants a piece of me. Nobody loves me.
Aren’t we always looking for somebody or something to blame?
When things don’t go as intended, we flare up, identifying and enlarging other people’s faults, blaming them for what is happening, thinking that perhaps in some way, by offloading the responsibility onto them, it will lessen the heat.
But our situations are not due to them, their actions, their malicious intent, or their negligence. The difficulties arise only due to our own faults.
Our faults include many damaging levels of anger and spite, of endless greed for more and more, of the untamed ego wanting to protect “me and mine” and of deception through constant scheming and lies. We all do it, whether we recognise it in ourselves or not.
Karmically, it’s all your own fault
As the law of karma goes, these faults bring rise to strong emotions that send out vibrations into the universe. These vibrations attract negative clusters of karmic particles towards us that bind to the soul. At a predetermined time, these karmic clusters naturally fall off. But the eventual shedding of the karmic clusters is what brings rise to situations in our lives.
You could say that me reacting angrily to a situation today results in an unprovoked attack on me by thugs at some point in the future. At that point in the future I might think I did nothing wrong, that I was just a victim. But the truth is that I was certainly at fault, just that it was triggered by the way I behaved in the past.
So quite bluntly, our own faults are the direct reason that all painful situations, whether mild or tough, arise in our lives.
From fault to freedom
So how do we turn that around? Knowing what we know now, that our faults lead to troublesome situations, how do we overcome our faults of anger, greed, ego and deceit?
FACE-ing it: Friendship, Appreciation, Compassion and Equanimity.
Friendship cultivates forgiveness which is the antidote to anger. The power of friendship towards all people and all living beings, means that you have not even a single speck of malice towards anybody else. Through friendship, revenge is not an option. Nor is hatred. Nor is spite. Nor is any level of anger or frustration towards another living being. Instead, you only want for them to be happy and at peace.
Appreciation cultivates humility which tames the ego. Appreciation is about feeling joy at the observation of someone’s beautiful qualities. When you can see and appreciate someone’s qualities while identifying and introspecting on your own faults, it moves you away from the “look at me, look at how amazing and powerful and rich and popular I am!” It makes you humble, treat others with respect, and learn from their positive traits to help alleviate your own misgivings.
Compassion cultivates straightforwardness, which hampers deceit. Compassion is about wanting to take away the sorrow felt by others. Every single day we make up stories in our minds and through our words. We want to get ahead, so we plan and we scheme and we think of ways to show that we are better than others. Our scheming and lying causes so much harm to those around us. Instead, be straightforward. With love and care, say it like it is. Stop all the scheming and all the lying. Lets have more compassion for each other.
Equanimity cultivates contentment which overcomes greed. Equanimity is about not being swayed by our mood. It is about not being a victim to our own senses. It is about calming the greed and being content with what we have. Equanimity is about realising that we have more than enough, that we don’t need any more. The great soul L.M. Vora used to say in Gujarati “Chaalse, fawse, bhavse & gamse. Jem chhe, em.” which roughly translates to “It will do, it will fit, it will taste ok and I will be ok with it. It is, as it is.” He was not swayed by likes and dislikes. He adjusted to everything. He wouldn’t demand or ask for more. He was content with what life presented him with. Equanimity is about being calm in the face of life’s wavering situations.
With these four qualities of friendship, appreciation, compassion and equanimity, you are armed to face any fault that may arise within you, and as a result, lessen the mayhem as you move forward in life.
(Photo courtesy of Stuart Richards)