Can there be only one solution to all our problems? In spite of how improbable this seems, this is exactly what I learned from some Q&A sessions with Swami Aparajitananda, a wise and pragmatic teacher of Vedanta on YouTube recently. Spiritual seekers posed questions on various Vedantic concepts.
In addition, they posed several questions on everyday life such as how to live a spiritual life, face difficulties with equanimity, accept people for who they are, deal with conflicts in relationships, and make right choices in life.
Swamiji (“ji” is added to names as a form of respect) repeatedly mentioned that remembering God, having faith in God, and surrendering to God is the way to overcome all our problems and live a peaceful, happy life.
This article is inspired by the answers to the questions that were posed to him. I have paraphrased his answers.
How to live a spiritual life amidst the challenges of daily living?
Living a spiritual life means remembering God while performing all your everyday duties and activities. This is the way to be able to meet your challenges successfully.
Act in such a way that the Lord is pleased with you. And how will you know the Lord is pleased with you? Look within. If your mind is peaceful, you are doing the right thing.
Don’t worry about what others think.
By following the righteous path and living spiritual virtues such as humility, straightforwardness, and practicing honesty without compromises, God will be pleased with you.
Never have hate or ill-will against others. Love and forgive everyone. Your mind will be peaceful, and your meditation will be fruitful.
Hold on to God. The easiest way is to chant God’s name while fulfilling your worldly duties. Whether mechanical or not, keep chanting and remembering God.
You divinise your mind by chanting. God becomes active in you. And when God is active in your mind, selfish desire, anger, greed and other negativities that are associated with the ego will not arise.
Always remain connected to God. Remembering God at all times is the one solution that will solve all problems.
How can I face a difficult situation with equanimity?
Understand that the situation that you find yourself in is from the Lord. He knows that this is the perfect environment for your growth. Whatever God is doing is right and just.
We are limited beings with limited knowledge and ability. But the omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient Lord is in charge of everything. So how can He do anything wrong? It is impossible! Nothing can happen without His command. Even a blade of grass cannot move without His will.
And so, accept everything cheerfully. Remember that acceptance must always be cheerful. It is never a pessimistic resignation.
When facing a choice-less situation, accept cheerfully. If there is a choice-ful situation, exercise your choice keeping the Lord in mind and act cheerfully.
The point is, always be cheerful. This is equanimity of mind.
How can I stop myself from seeing faults in others?
Everyone is essentially divine because the supreme Lord exists in the hearts of all. But being ignorant of the Lord within, we all act selfishly. We do and say bad things.
Remember, negativity belongs to the ego and is temporary. Our true nature is permanent.
Pay attention to the divinity in others and not their egoistic actions and words. For example, if you are given a piece of gold covered with mud, will you value it? Definitely! You know there’s gold in it. You value it because you have turned your attention to the gold and not to the mud.
Start with working on yourself and seeing yourself as divine. Tell yourself that you are not the body and mind. You are supreme consciousness.
If you see yourself as the body, you will see others as the body. But when you see yourself as divine, naturally then, you will see divinity in others.
How can I work without getting involved in office politics and conflicts and do the right thing?
Don’t think you are competing with others. Know that your ability to perform your duties comes from the Lord. It is not your ability. It is borrowed from the Lord.
Everyone and everything belong to God. Remember that you are working to please God and not your boss or company. God is your first and only responsibility.
Perform your duties as a worship of God, and to please Him. Have the attitude: “All my talents and abilities are from you, O Lord. I’m only your instrument. You are working through me.”
This attitude will purify your mind and help you evolve spiritually.
When you start working in this way, your personality will naturally become peaceful and others will come to respect you. You will become a role model and a source of strength for others. This is because peace and strength go together.
Always remember, “This is God’s work”. The moment you forget God, you become weak.
It is impossible to be connected to God and be weak. Stress and strain mean you have strayed away from God.
How can I make the right choices in life?
Ask yourself: By doing what will the Lord be pleased? Whatever is righteous, moral, and good for all is what the Lord likes. When you do that, there is a great sense of fulfillment, satisfaction, and no guilt feelings.
So, don’t live your life according to your personal likes and dislikes, but according to the wish of Lord. Stay perfectly in tune with God. This brings peace.
Peace means God, peaceless-ness means absence of God.
When something disturbs your mind, it means that your thinking is wrong. Your trust, your love and your faith are not very strong. Convert your weaknesses into strengths by surrendering to God.
Surrender to God is the highest self-effort.
Living a God-centred life
In these answers, Swami Aparajitananda gave seekers practical and sure solutions to solve their daily problems.
When we act prompted by our apparent nature, the ego personality, we come to suffer the stress and strain of life. But when we shift our focus inwards to our real nature, the Self or God within and act keeping that in mind, we start to live life in greater peace and harmony in the world.
Living a God-centred life is indeed the one solution for all our problems.
You can listen to Swami Aparajitananda’s sessions here:
Q&A – Part 02 with Swami Aparajitananda, Chinmaya Mission Mangaluru.
Q&A – Part 03″ with Swami Aparajitananda, Chinmaya Mission Mangaluru.
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