How we Handle Negative Circumstances

By Desmond Yeoh (Reproduced from the e-book ‘Candles of Celebration’)

Kriya Yoga ArticlesRavi was seated beside his Spiritual Master by a large blue lake. They had just completed their meditation together and were admiring the beautiful sunrise. The gentle breeze carried the aroma from the jasmine trees that were abundant in the area. The beautiful scenery and cool morning air was invigorating.

Ravi asked, “Master, it seems to me that everyday we are faced with circumstances that disturb our peace. What is the best way to handle them?”

The Master continued to admire the sunrise, waiting for the appropriate answer to come to him from the Divine. Two persons may ask the same question but his answer would be different. That is because they are at different points on the spiritual path although the final destination would be the same.

After a moment of silence, he said, “There are many methods that we use when faced with events or things that disturbs us. Let us start with the most common but crudest method used; ‘distractions’. Humans spend a lot of money to distract themselves. Some with untrained mind cannot tolerate boredom because their mind will torture them with unpleasant memories or create imaginary things for them to worry about. It is important to recognise that distraction merely delays one’s suffering, never solving it. Instead of accumulating wealth to buy objects of distraction, it is far better to accumulate love.”

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Ravi thought about all the things he has acquired to distract himself from his problems and started to feel a little guilty. The Master as if sensing this, continued, “I said that distraction is the crudest strategy but I did not say that it is bad. It may keep you from feeling bored but it is not effective for more challenging problems”.

Ravi could not agree with this more.  He recalled just last week when his teenage daughter was late from school. He recently read about abductions and was worried sick. He tried to call her on her cell phone but the phone was switched off. He knew he was overreacting but he could not help it. He then tried to distract himself from his worry by watching television but he could not concentrate. Eventually, his daughter returned home and was late because she dropped by the library.

“I understand”, replied Ravi.

“A more effective method is to use our wisdom. Let’s say that someone is trying to start an argument with you. At that point, you may ask yourself if that fight is worth the fight. Does it matter if you win or lose that argument? You may even come to the conclusion that winning the argument may cause you more harm because you may turn the person into a bigger enemy. In addition, winning that argument may add to your pride and hinder your spiritual progress. Sometimes it takes more strength to walk away from a fight. There are many ways to look at the situation”.

Again, Ravi felt guilty. The Master is the type that will shake you to wake you up. Just last week, he got into an argument with his friend over a trivial matter. Some unpleasant personal attacks were made and subsequently, he felt uncomfortable every time they crossed paths. They had many common friends. Eventually, he gathered the courage to apologise. Yes, it would have been best to avoid the argument at the first place by just being silent.

The Master remained silent for a moment, enjoying the songs sang by the birds nearby. They sounded like they were praising the peaceful energy that the Master was radiating. Ravi could see even the fishes swimming near to where they were seated.

Sensing that Ravi understood what he taught, he carried on, “The most effective method but less frequently used is the path of awareness. When the Divine sent us into this human life, He came with us. Every time we are aware of the present moment, the Divine reaches out to us and holds our hand. He never fails to do so. Awareness is the most powerful weapon given to us to face negative circumstances. Test it; whenever there is a negative emotion within, just watch it and it will immediately fade. If your mind is filled with angry thoughts, just watch them and they will immediately drop away. And then, there will be a silent gap. Be aware of that gap and it will become wider. When you remain in the Gap, you are with the Divine”.

At that moment, Ravi became aware that his mind was silent. It felt peaceful. He felt as if his mind was a muscle that had always been clenched tight and for once in his life, it is finally relaxing. He felt his mind expanding into a vast expanse of silence. He was one with the Divine. The songs sang by the birds were crystal clear. The air felt fresher and the breeze cooler. The smell of jasmine was stronger as if the flower was held right in front of his nose. He never felt more alive and tears began to well up in his eyes.

The Master got up gently. It was time to leave Ravi alone with the Divinity Within.

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