Divine Qualities (Part 31)

Evenness of Mind (Continued)

Being unfazed by the uncertainties of life

Life is filled with uncertainties, and we need to face them boldly. There are uncertainties at every turn: uncertainty about the results of our actions, about people's reactions, about how to handle various situations, and about what the future holds for us.

An untrained mind is always anxious about uncertainties. Anxiety prevents us from focusing on work. Lack of focus adversely affects the outcome of work. Swami Vivekananda teaches how to free the mind from the anxiety of work: "When you are doing any work, do not think of anything beyond. Do it as worship, as the highest worship, and devote your whole life to it for the time being." He further says: "Whenever failure comes, if we analyse it critically, in ninetynine per cent of cases we shall find that it was because we did not pay attention to the means. Proper attention to the finishing, strengthening, of the means is what we need....Let us perfect the means; the end will take care of itself. For the world can be good and pure only if our lives are good and pure. It is an effect; we are the means." Evenness of mind helps us remain unfazed by uncertainties, do work as worship, and practice spiritual disciplines with a focused mind.

Calmly braving the dualities of life

Life is characterized by dualities like heat and cold, pleasure and pain, gain and loss, and praise and blame. The natural tendency of the mind is to seek the one to the exclusion of the other. With evenness of mind we will accept dualities as they appear before us without being affected by them. Sri Krishna teaches us the way: "He who neither hates nor desires may be known as constantly practicing renunciation; for, free from the pairs of opposites, he is easily freed from bondage." (Bhagavad Gita, 5.3)

Overcoming dualities is possible only when we seek the Supreme Spirit, which is beyond all dualities. Says Swami Vivekananda: "After every happiness comes misery; they may be far apart or near....What we want is neither happiness nor misery. Both make us forget our true nature; both are chains-one iron, one gold. Behind both is the Atman, who knows neither happiness nor misery. These are states and states must ever change; but the nature of the Soul is bliss, peace-unchanging....Take a very, very high stand. Knowing our universal nature, we must look with perfect calmness upon all the panorama of the world....If the mind is pleased with praise, it will be displeased with blame. All pleasures of the senses or even of the mind are evanescent; but within ourselves is the one true unrelated pleasure, dependent upon nothing. It is perfectly free, it is bliss. The more we enjoy inner bliss, the more spiritual we are. The pleasure of the Self is what is called religion."

Part 32

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