Chapter 4 of Isha’s new book opens with the story of a young boy asking his grandfather the secret of life. The grandfather explains that within each of us are 2 wolves fighting. One is the protector, angry, fearful and controlling. The other is mischievous, full of love, joy, and peace. Which wolf wins? The one we feed.
Such is the nature of life. We all want happiness but do we culture that which brings us joy, or do we focus on the problems that confront us? Do we culture sufficiency or neediness? Do we focus on what is right or what is wrong? The difference may seem subtle. Our problems require attention – but are we focusing on the fact of the problem or the possibility of a solution? If we dwell on the problem, we make it bigger. If we look to the solution, we dissolve it.
The first hint of what we dwell on is in our life – do we have a rich, rewarding and happy life? Or are we beset by problems? Are certain areas of life running smoothly while others are fraught? The cure is to simply pay attention. Observe what we dwell on habitually, especially in those troublesome areas. Listen to the story the mind tells.
When we practice it for decades, the story becomes habit and we cease to see we’re making a choice. Indeed, many people who consider themselves “positive” actually culture the opposite. The key is in understanding that what you put your attention on grows stronger.
Certain practices like meditation can help connect us to inner peace, reducing the tendency to dwell on the down side and increasing our internal clarity so we can more clearly see the dynamics at play.
Some people wait for life to happen. They wait for the relationship, wealth, or work to drop out of the sky. Sometimes, this sort of thing does seem to happen. Or we may not see a solution other than the lottery. But do you want your life to depend on a crap shot?
In India, they have a term, tapas, which in this case means warming. It is actions which “warm up” or prepare the ground for results. We begin to step towards what we seek. Everything arises in our lives from attention and from action, although the field of consequences may seem obscure and random.
Consequences are never random. The trick is that the field of action is too vast to comprehend. With everything reverberating off everything else, the play is complex. But the principles remain simple. Nothing is separate. It always comes back to balance, the consequence comes back to the source.
Many spend their minds regretting what has been, worrying about what might be, and fighting what is. The solution is to simply begin to use your attention for yourself. If you want happiness, put your attention on what brings you joy. Of course, we cannot depend on outer things for this joy or we would be flitting from experience to experience as so many do. Instead, we must look for that joy within, under the mask of our long suffering person.