We are living in a hyper materialistic world, where living a spiritual life is very tough. Along with this our hormones also plays spoilsport. These two factors, one internal and another external, are very detrimental to spiritual life.
Our wisdom, religious books, common sense teaches one thing and we end up doing exactly the opposite because of the above two things. The conflict between who we want to be and who we are is very frustrating. Lying, cheating, and bending the rules has become our second nature.
Lower the bar
A few years ago I wanted to lead a dharmic life but soon found that one must be very courageous to lead such a life. Vow to speak only the truth is not that easy to follow and many other traits that I wanted to develop were like that. I soon realised I do not dare to lead such a life. But I wanted to do something about this. So I lowered the bar. I said to myself, let me start somewhere. I selected 3 things,
1-I should never jump signals.
2-I should never buy pirated movies.
3-I should never litter the streets.
What am I going to lose by not jumping signals? 5 minutes maximum? Should I forgo my principles just for the sake of 5 minutes? Yup, I can afford to patiently wait in signals, not honking and prompting other rule-abiding citizens to jump signals.
What am I going to gain by watching pirated movies? This was very tough for me initially. I watched movies only in theatres and missed many nice movies, but fortunately with the OTT platform evolving this is the easiest vow to keep for me.
What I am going to gain by littering the streets? Can’t I keep them with me till I reach home? Recently I did a lot of travelling back to my native place during the lockdown. We avoided eating in hotels and took our food with us. We used to park vehicles on the roadside, eat and throw the plastic bottles, aluminium foils, and other waste on the roadside and move. One day when I threw them I saw lots of garbage on that roadside. I wondered who will clean all these. At least in cities, some people clean these but on highways, how can we expect our government to clean the entire stretch which span hundreds of kilometres. This continued a couple of times and I discussed with my family. Then it struck us. How silly we were, we could just carry this along with us to the destination and dispose of it in the right place.
These were easy for me to do and I felt I could do it. This is what I call, “I can afford to do it.” Later this became a mantra for me. Wherever possible I checked if “I can afford it” and kept on doing them.
Following this was tough for me in the business where profits were involved. It took me lots of contemplation as to how I can be honest in business without compromising. Product quality, service, educating clients on usage and many more things. of course, it was just common sense.
We might be living in a hyper materialistic world and our hormones are primed to nudge us towards doing a few things which we might not want to do. But this should never stop us from living a dharmic life. Do not get overwhelmed by the number of sacrifices we need to do to live a dharmic life. Start somewhere, start small. Find where all you can afford to be honest and do it. Before we realise we would have inspired others to take up such an act and when those around us live dharmic life, we will get the courage to do things that our wisdom, religious teachings and common sense asks us to do.
Please share the principles you follow, the hindrances you face and the joy you obtain by doing them.