Hello and welcome to episode 131 of The Ask Sri Vishwanath Show. Today I want to talk about finding motivation in the darkest moments of your life.
Today’s question comes from James and he says “I am going through the worst period in my life. I try to do my best but nothing is working and I’m upset and frustrated.”
In the worst moments of our life when nothing works we tend to collapse but its important time and consciousness so we can get through it.
Confucius, a wise philosopher was asked if the wise ones also go through hard times. He said yes the great ones go through hard times because hard times affect both the wise and the ignorant. However, the difference between wise and ignorant people during difficult times is that ignorant people would do anything during bad times. That’s the difference. The wise ones restrain their emotions during hard times whereas the ignorant do not.
He went on to give an example. Let’s say someone goes hungry for several days. The ignorant ones would steal to get food whereas the wise ones would not. You just don’t know what to expect from ignorant people during bad times so that is why their terrible traits can come out during bad times.
All the great ones say that the definition of a bad time is a time when you don’t listen to good advice. We block the advice because our gunas, especially our tamasic gunas, is very strong. The definition of a good time is a time where we listen to good advice because our sattvic gunas is high so you accept God’s grace. During bad times we block God’s grace because the gunas clouds us.
So the first step is to keep listening to good advice when times are bad. We also need to keep doing the right things. This is what you do when times are good so you need to keep doing that during the bad times. We need to throw out the association between good times and bad times. When you keep listening to good advice you set the scene for good times to happen.
The second step is to realise that the bad times will bring out the worst in you. It bring out emotions such as anger, hatred, frustration sadness and placing blame on others. The blame game is a huge issue. During bad times we blame everyone else for our problems. These times bring the worst emotions to the surface. We saw in earlier episodes that we are known by the thoughts on our surface.
Krishna says “The sage neither hates light, action, delusion when they appear nor seek them when they disappear. Seated as if indifferent he is not disturbed by constituents. He stirs not, is of steadfast resolve holding that constituents alone prevail.”
The great ones are the same in pleasure as they are in pain because they are detached. During the bad times the great ones know that these emotions will come. It’s natural and they will always rise to the surface. The difference is the wise ones know they are not these constituents(gunas) and these gunas only appear to be real because we are held up in the container of the body, mind and intellect. You can learn more about that in episode 131.
The great ones are unaffected by these emotions because they are detached and they know they can fall back on the consciousness. So you should know that when these emotions spring up you can be completely detached from them because you are not the container, you are the consciousness.
So we should not feel bad when these emotions come. Just know they do not define you. All you have to do is be detached and control your reactions before you act like the wise one do.
The ignorant ones first act and then react but we need to be like the wise ones and reign in our reactions before we act.
Krishna says “with the senses controlled, mind controlled he commences the yoga of action with the organs of action wins serenity.” When you withdraw all of the negative elements of your reactions are washed away. Do this and you will be practising Krishna’s greatest secret.
When to pray?
I am not sure where this comes from but I want to share it with you. A lazy person once asked a wise person when he should pray. The wise person knew the attitude of the lazy person so he said to him that he should pray the day before he dies. The lazy person thought this was great that he would only have to pray once is his life. Then he stopped and thought about it. How would he know when he was going to die? He had to pray a day before so how would he know when that day would be?
The wise person said that he prayed yesterday because he did not know if he would die today. Today he is alive so he will pray today in case he dies tomorrow. If he is alive tomorrow he will pray in case he dies the day after. He did the same thing every day and ended up praying his whole life. The lazy man’s face sank because he knew he would have to pray every day.
So this is step three: pray every day whether times are good or bad. You must pray to God, have total faith in him and never doubt him. Many people only pray during bad times but this is very wrong because it defeats the whole purpose. To have a real connection with God we must pray during good and bad times. We need to think of praying like breathing. It should be automatic.
Learn something new
Step four is knowing that the bad times are actually the perfect time to learn a new skill. A lot of people do amazing things during bad times in their lives. They see it as an opportunity to try something new and they achieved great success because of it. If there is something you always wanted to do or something you always wanted to learn just go do it. Think of it as a new start.
When I was going through a hard time I took up public speaking. It was something I always wanted to do and I also decided to learn more about spirituality and it really helped me and I did very well so maybe this is a time for you to try something new.
Shoot in the dark
The last step is to follow the great ones advice by shooting in the dark during tough times. Bad circumstances really make you mentally tough. Remember when the going gets tough the tough get going. Tough times help you to become really focused on what you actually want in life because you’ll really want to get out of the situation you’re in.
Most importantly, bad times give you the chance to implement everything you have learned during the good times. If you think you have learned something good then act on it. That way you will know whether it is farce or not. You’ll only have a chance to do this during bad times.
Arjuna was one of the greatest archers in the land. His coach told him to shoot the eye of a bird. Before shooting his teacher asked him what he saw in front of him. He asked did he see the kings, he said no. He asked if he saw him, as a teacher and again Arjuna said no. He asked him if he saw the tree. Arjuna said no. He asked him if he saw the bird and once more he said no. The teacher then asked him what he saw and he replied that he only saw the eye of the bird so the teacher told him to shoot.
When we are in a dark place we need to be really focused like Arjuna was. We need to only see our goal. Be focused James and keep listening to good advice. If you can, take this time to learn something new. Pray every day and God will give you his grace. You will be OK.
I hope I answered your question. Remember you keep asking questions and I’ll keep answering them.