Inner peace depends on what you feel good doing!


Your inner peace depends on what you feel good doing. Doing good, being ethical, is a personal choice. If being good and ethical gives you joy, continue to do so, despite what the world says or how you are treated or what’s handed or meted out to you. Simply, do whatever it takes to protect your inner peace!  

You grieve and suffer when you try to be something that you intrinsically are not. If you are not unethical, then ‘adjusting’ to the ‘ways of the world’ will only make you depressed. But then you look around you, listen to the voices of ‘compromise’, almost all of them leaning towards ‘adjusting, accommodating, accepting’ the ‘worldly way’, in a seemingly insane world and you conclude that goodness, ethics and humanity are dead. So, you grudgingly join the crowd that just wants to play to the whims of the world. You don’t feel good about this at all. But still you compromise. This compromise is what will kill your soul, will squeeze your inner core and make you miserable. So, the question you have to ask yourself is: are you better off living being good, though alone in the crowd, or are you willing to compromise and live suffering, in misery?

 

Whatever you decide, just stick to it. Don’t grieve after you have made your choice. Know however, that, as long as Life has been around on the planet, and as history has proven time and again, the good will always prevail in the end. No matter what the good sides have had to go through, no war has ever been won by the unethical sides. So, if you are one of those who needs statistical evidence, you can check this premise out. You will find it to be true.

This is not about being a revolutionary. For, our ethical conflicts do not just happen at a social or national level. They happen in close, personal relationships. If you sit down and analyze each of your close relationships, you will find that several of them have been compromised__by you or by the other. Left to yourself you will perhaps not want to continue with some of those. But you have gagged your soul, thinking you have bought peace, succumbing to manipulators, to liars and to vicious and cantankerous people in your circle of influence. This could be a spouse, an in-law, a sibling, a parent, a friend, a neighbor, a colleague, a boss, a subordinate or a business partner. Ask yourself how are you feeling about each of these relationships? Do you feel you have compromised? You will invariably find that you don’t enjoy them, that you don’t belong in that company. Then, why are you there? Because it’s easier to be ‘peaceful’ when you accept the ‘way of the world’ and when ‘you join them if you can’t beat them’? Perhaps, you have not understood the meaning of peace. Peace is what you feel when you are happy within. Are you? You obviously are not. You are just avoiding a conflict by capitulating. Now, you don’t need to revolt. You don’t need to fight. You simply must choose to be who you are. As Irish philosopher Edmund Burke (1729~1797) said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” You don’t necessarily need to bring in righteousness here if you don’t want to. You just do what you think is right for you.

If being good, doing good is your way of Life, choose it. The key is to be happy. Because Life is about being happy despite the circumstances that you are placed in. Of course, if you are the sort that can be happy with a compromise, well, that’s fine too. Or if you are happy joining those who are outright unscrupulous, then so be it. Simply, be happy!

The latest Mani Ratnam film, ‘Kadal’ (The Ocean), deals with this subject of Good vs Evil beautifully. Set in the backdrop of a village of Christian fisherfolk, it explores the challenges that good people have to encounter in the face of the easy, unscrupulous ways available to them. The dilemma, the trials and the tribulations of Father Sam Fernando (played admirably by Arvind Swami), the village’s pastor and conscience keeper, reflect those we face in our own daily lives. Each moment is a choice. To do what’s right and to adjust, accommodate and do what appears to be right. Father Sam always chooses to do what’s right. And pays a price, sometimes a heavy one, every single time. Yet, he chooses not to get bitter. And keeps persevering, spreading the doctrine of good living__being good, doing good__often times, thanklessly.

This is the lesson we need to learn. If you are peaceful doing good and being ethical, then know that you will be tested, taunted, chided, trampled upon, kicked around, but the key is to continue to be who you are. Despite the provocations. In spite of your situation.Knowing fully well that in the end only goodness works, as ‘Kadal’s’ ending demonstrates one more time, in this mad, seemingly bad, world. Besides, if being good is who you intrinsically are, just be it. Because only by being yourself can you be at peace!


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Strive to be authentic, not want to be right!

Be authentic, true to yourself, than wanting to be right all the time.
Being authentic means to do what you must, knowing that, sometimes, even if you have done what you believed to be the right thing, you don’t have to accepted as having done right.
Life will place you in difficult situations sometimes. In them, you will be always faced with options of doing what is right and what appears to be right. Now, this whole concept of right and wrong is very subjective and relative. Something may be right to some people at sometimes and the same thing will appear to be wrong to the same people at another time. Or something may be right to some people and appear wrong to others.
So, how do you act in such situations? A simple way to act is to not necessarily qualify your action as right or wrong. Because that debate will rage on __ both within you and among people who will have opinions to offer. The important thing is to act. And a simple framework to help decide if your actions will be useful or not is available. Ask yourself before you act in a difficult situation:
1.     Will my action help all parties concerned?
2.     Am I acting out of care and concern or out of ego?
3.     Am I creating value in the given situation?
It is important you answer yes to all three questions before you proceed. If you answer yes, and you are willing to proceed, you must. It may well be possible that someone else looking at the situation may be answering the questions differently. So, this framework is purely for the individual intending to act in a difficult situation.
Having said that, be sure that any action always will attract attention, critique, criticism and often, unintended, equal and opposite consequences. When you act on something in favor and on behalf of another person, you will be questioned as to why you did it? The argument that it was the right thing to do won’t always work. Because the someone who you tried to help may never be seeing your action as right __ else, she or he may have done it themselves.
So, when you act, be prepared to face the consequences. If you are not, don’t act. Simple.
If as a consequence of your action, you end up doing good in your view/eyes, but causing anguish to other parties concerned, because they don’t share your sense of perspective, then apologize. Beyond that, I also follow a simple visualization exercise. I seek forgiveness from the person that I feel I have caused pain, through my actions, by visualizing that I am touching her or his feet and giving her or him a hug. The other person may not still see it your way. She or he may not even see the apology as tenable. But at least you feel the power of your intention to have both acted with purposefulness and apologized with humility.
The bottom-line is to be authentic. You can be authentic with action and authentic with inaction, depending on what kind of a person you are. Either way, strive to be authentic, than wanting to be right and be seen as right. I for one know that I can only find peace in being authentic and prefer to have acted__ always acting with the 3-step framework__ learned and apologized, than not have acted at all.