I often tell my friends the story of the hard-working farmer who ploughed his fields deep, sowed the best seeds, used the best fertilisers and kept away insects and pests from his crop.
You would have thought he had a plentiful harvest…but no! The monsoons failed that year, and his crops dried and withered without water.
In all actions that we undertake, there is an element of adhrishta—this word is often mistranslated as luck, but it literally means a + dhrishta—that which is unseen, therefore unknown.
"The unexpected is always a possibility in life," the Wise One observed. "So what do we do when bad things, unpleasant things happen to us? Man cannot interfere with his karma. But he can surely change his attitude to life and to all that happens to him."
Here is a simple way to encounter negative situations: repeat to yourself the mantra—This too shall pass away. Allow your thoughts to turn to God, to dwell on His love and mercy.
Such thoughts will help you elevate your mind and energise your spirit. Do not dwell on the negative situation; but allow the love of God to flood your mind, to cleanse it of all negativism, to fill you with hope, faith and peace.
I remember a story that I had read earlier. A man was walking along the street when he saw a poor beggar, blind, hungry and shivering from the cold, crying for alms. The passers-by simply turned their faces away from him.
The man became angry and said to God, "What kind of father are You that You allow such misery on earth? Why can't You do something about this?"
God's answer came to him, loud and clear, "I certainly did something. I made you!"
Attitude counts! Instead of blaming others, blaming ourselves or blaming God, let us face each situation squarely, and do the best we can!
Yasa was the son of a rich nobleman. And he lived in a palace. Coming under the influence of the Buddha, he renounced all his wealth and comfort and accepted all the hardships of a mendicant's life.
He slept on the bare ground. He ate what he received as alms from charitable people. He was happy.
One day, he got a severe attack of rheumatism. At first, he took the pain in his stride. Days passed by: the pain persisted.
He could not walk with ease. At times the pain was so severe that he could not even concentrate on his meditation. He felt miserable; gone was the joy of his life. His mind became sluggish; he felt weary and exhausted.
One day, as he was out begging alms, he found a little girl playing with her friends. She was a cripple; she had but one leg and was hobbling on crutches. Yet, she was happy as a wave dancing on the sea! She shouted and laughed and made merry with the other children.
Seeing her, Yasa felt ashamed of himself. "This little girl who has only one leg is bright and happy," he said to himself. "And I, a disciple of the Buddha, am dejected by a little pain!" He turned over a new leaf. The pain could no longer trouble him. He was free!
Depression is not due to what happens to us; it is due to what happens within us.
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