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!