“Spiritual strength means sincerity and sincerity means spiritual strength.” – Srila Prabhupada (May 14, 1975, Perth)
A song from the 1954 award winning Bollywood film Boot Polish, graphically explains how empowered we are: John, a bootlegger teaches little children self-respect and asks – nane munne bacche teri mutti mein kya hai? – ‘Oh dear children, what’s in your fists?’
The children reply: mutti mein hai tagdeer hamari – ‘My fists contain my destiny’
A child today may sing, “My fists contain a smart phone.” And that means you’ve lost your destiny to someone or something else.
Our two lives – external and internal is a reality that we can’t deny. An inordinate time spent on social media (the external reality) makes our inner life – the second reality of our lives- a wreck.
Etiquettes – for social or private life?
We follow rules and etiquette for our external lives. In a social setting, you know how to sit, talk, and behave. You’ve been taught not to dig your nose – that’s dirty. ‘Don’t yawn or burp loudly – that’s bad manners.’ You sit and speak with grace. You have learnt how to be effective in your social life.
But do you know that you also need to follow rules in your private life – to be effective as you tackle your fears and insecurities? And when surprises and shocks pounce on you, what do you do? How do you maintain inner equilibrium amidst some tragic news or a betrayal or a painful situation?
How much percentage of time do you spend in a day to take care of your internal life Vis-a Vis your external roles? Fifty-fifty? Or maybe ten percent time is for your internal life and ninety percent for your external life? Is there a healthy balance? Are you equipped or trained to take care of your inner world that could get scary at times. Years pass by with no seemingly life-altering setbacks, but suddenly a crisis comes, and how well you have trained all these years to take care of your emotional world, would determine how you pass this sudden exam.
Making ourselves strong internally
Using the Body-Mind- Time (BMT) daily, sincerely, for our inner stability is like watering the root of a tree. A huge banyan tree gives shelter to many birds and insects, yet its strength is below the ground. Cyclones can’t uproot the tree because it has strong roots. Calgary tower in Canada is 191 meters long and sixty percent of it is below the ground. We may be attracted by a beautiful house and its architecture. But a civil engineer would be interested to know how we have built the foundation of the building.
A famous actor lived with chronic back pain for many years. He did genuinely work out – but he worked on the upper portion of the body; that part seen on magazine covers and advertisements. His attractive biceps, chest and shoulders had women drooling but because he ignored his legs and knees, it caused a debilitating effect on his lower back.
We work on areas that the world recognizes – our FB profile, Instagram posts, and in general our personality. In order to get more social mileage, we may ignore the important aspects of our life like our character and emotional well-being. Over time, this prolonged neglect takes a toll – despite the external and verifiable success, a bedevilling emptiness may stare at us. Core spiritual activities like prayer, meditation or journaling can help build our emotional resilience and the benefits of this initiative are reaped over time, especially during a crisis.
“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” – Edmund Hillary (with Tenzing Norgay, first to reach the summit of Mount Everest)