Even as you work hard, day in and day out, many of you are probably stuck and unable to free yourself from your troubles and suffering. I want you to think deeply on why you are troubled and why you are suffering.
If you think long and hard, most likely it will come down to one point: that it is because you are trying to protect yourself. Examine and check whether a desire to defend yourself might be directing your thoughts. All living creatures have the ability to protect themselves. So, while self-protection is a natural instinct, there is an unfortunate element to it—the effect of making a person unhappy.
Ninety per cent of your suffering is caused by your instinct for self-protection. One portion of that 90 per cent is self-justification. Most likely you are trying to justify yourself by thinking: I am right.
But I am feeling hurt because of the things someone said or did. Or perhaps because of social / business conditions, family problems—they are the reason I suffer.
People seek reasons to justify their suffering and in doing so, they look outwards for the cause of their problems. You think that the reason that you are unhappy now is because of other people: the accumulation of words, deeds, and emotions of other people that you have met throughout your life. This line of thinking is actually one of the causes of your unhappiness.
Another cause of your suffering is the desire to lash out and attack others. This is more common in people who are strong-headed or competitive by nature. Such people don’t just stop at seeing themselves as victims, but hold others responsible for it. They actively despise, hate, and get angry at others.
They seek revenge and tenaciously berate others for their wrongdoings. What’s more? They pray, pull strings, and spread rumours for the destruction of their enemies. Such people are not bad; they are just ordinary.
So, I encourage you to check, through self-reflection, whether your thoughts are being directed by defensiveness. You may discover that even you have these feelings—it is these feelings that are causing you pain and suffering.
Suffering comes from your feelings of self-protection. As long as you run away from suffering, you will never be able to escape it. Stop lashing out at others or beating yourself up. Accept that everything that is happening to you at any given moment is meant to be.
Understand that it isn’t your or anyone else’s mistake or coincidence that has landed you in this situation. The problems that you are facing were meant to occur. You need to learn to see your problems this way.
Whether it is sickness, a failed entrance exam, a child born with disability, or marital problems, there is a reason for it. There is meaning. There is a lesson to be learned. Discover what the lesson is instead of using that experience to blame yourself or others.
In the professional world, people often use analytical thinking to explain, analyse, and resolve a problem. This approach to problem resolution, used regularly in the workplace, is necessary for solving the plethora of problems that occur there.
But in life, it is important to consider that these problems are happening for a reason, which is why you must avoid coming to a quick conclusion.
Instead, strive to have a mind that can quietly accept that you are finally facing one of the problems inside your life’s workbook of problems and that it is happening to you at this very moment.
Realise that there is no such thing as coincidence in this world. Not all problems can be resolved in a professional, business-like manner. Accept this and your path will surely open up.
Acceptance is a form of study. Sickness, for instance, can teach you many things. You can learn that the balance between your body and mind is out of sync or that you are overconfident about your strength. Sickness teaches you to re-evaluate your relationship with your family. Perhaps you hated your mother or father, and when they got sick, you awoke to your true feelings for them.
Sickness helps you understand others, and allows you to see your job from a different perspective. Without a doubt there is something in that problem that is essential for the progression of your spirit in this life.
We all want our lives to sail to success without any stormy seas. But there is not a single person whose life is planned that way. So, while there are many pitfalls on the path ahead of you, you will only find out about them when you arrive at them. If you knew in advance that there was a hole in the road, it would be easy to get around it, wouldn’t it? But you would not learn anything.
Stumbling blocks are for tripping over. And trip is exactly what you will do. But when you stumble and fall, consider that you did not fall coincidentally. That stumbling block was put in your path from the start. It was put there because it was necessary for you to trip on it. So, trip, fall on your behind, look up at the starry sky, and think. Your life will be sprinkled with many episodes like this.
If you do not pass through these stages, you will never know yourself, in the true sense, and you will never know others. You will never understand how others feel. Without going through these experiences, you will think that you understand much of the world, but in reality, you will be in the dark.
So spend a night in that hole in the road, trapped and lonely. Gaze at the starry night sky. Then, you will come to see just how much others have given you and how much they have supported you. You will realise just how much you have overlooked the help of others and that you have taken credit for things that you had no right to. These are discoveries that you will make when you are in the depths of abandonment.
When you find yourself wrapped in the arms of this great emotion, you will become one with the power of the universe. You will be in unity with that power. Embrace the belief that your problems are not there to make you suffer. They have been prepared to lead you to enlightenment.
You stand at the threshold of the path to salvation when you understand that your problems happen out of necessity. When you stop thinking that your problems are the fault of others, the environment, the government, your company or your family and humbly accept them as your own, then you will be one with the universe.
Entrust everything to God. You will find new buoyancy as you embrace acceptance. A great energy to live will well up inside you. Then a miracle will occur. You will realise that the world really isn’t the hell that you thought it was.
You will understand that the suffering you have endured as you have struggled on your own isn’t suffering at all and that you are not writhing in the depths of hell. If you can do this, you will, before you know, be swept with the current towards salvation.
As long as you are depending on the power coming from your ego, your own strength, and trying to protect yourself, the miracle will never happen. The miracle will happen when you become one with the mind of the universe and entrust your very self to it.
Also, try and take time to meditate. Calm your mind. Clear it of stray thoughts and stop trying to use judgment. Your efforts to judge and separate good from bad, the positive from the negative, right from left is what is causing your mind to race. When meditating, accept everything. Think to yourself that the will of the universe has been made to manifest to you. As time passes, the meaning will become clear.
So starting today, even if it is only for 15 minutes, meditate. Stop trying to resolve everything by your own devices and accept things the way they are. Embrace that which happens to you as it happens.