Iam glad to see the number of questions being raised. While I am happy to answer as many as I can, I would like to reiterate that I am not an expert or a person who can help people find the right answers to their personal or professional issues. I am writing the articles to share my understanding and experiences in the hope they are useful to others to have an inner pursuit of happiness while being still outwardly engaged in worldly actions. Ideally these articles should develop a positive attitude in all of us. I am therefore restricting my answers to questions which arise from an understanding or interpretation of my articles.

For us, emotions like anger, excitement, sorrow etc. are manageable by balancing our thoughts and by slightly changing our attitude towards life. But what to do when a person very close to us betrays us? The formula to focus inwards is very difficult and doesn’t appear to solve the problem instantly. Is this the only way to ecstasy? How can we help ourselves? What should we do to return to the right track?– Arun Kumar V,and,

I am undergoing an emotional turmoil and while I have been a very nice, and independent person all through my life, I do not know why such a hardship is happening to me at such an young age. I question myself and even question God as to what is an answer- AP

When the intensity of the emotion is less or we are strong enough not to identify with the thoughts which accompany that emotion we think we have managed the problem. However when the intensity becomes too much then it is not possible to divert or control one’s thoughts and emotions. This makes us lose ourselves in the emotion and get carried away deeper into that emotion. What you say is perfectly correct, i.e. when identified with that emotion and accompanying thoughts it is no doubt difficult or even impossible to be calm and focus inward. Again, unfortunately no practice can solve the problem instantly. In these situations, the only way to help ourselves is to let go off the emotion or go to someone who you can trust and who will not add fuel to the emotion or thoughts by fanning it but absorb it by calmly listening and slowly correct the negative energy of sorrow or anger to a positive state of acceptance of what has happened Then use that opportunity to further move inward and give up all emotions to the Inner source of calmness.

In fact, all practices of spirituality indicate that the negative emotion is caused so that one turns inward and if an opportunity is missed, more such situations could arise so that one has no escape but to turn inward.

In this context, I recall one of Kabir’s doha, which translates to ‘in suffering everyone prays and remembers Him, in joy no one does.

If one prays and remembers Him in happiness, why would sorrow come?’

Thus while any emotional disturbance is very difficult, to overcome the root cause of the disturbance is our identification with the same. To tackle this situation, a trust in a higher power and a complete faith at least in the surface has to be built whenever the Mind can concentrate. Whenever the identification arises, the Mind has to be made calm through Meditation, prayer or chanting with concentration. The disturbances may keep coming back but ideally the same practice of prayer, meditation etc., has to be followed. Many persons of weak nature actually wallow in the emotional state by repeatedly talking or reinforcing the reasons which they believe caused it. Sometimes they will justify and glorify the effect the actions of others had on them (betrayal etc) without understanding that they are actually strengthening that reaction in themselves rather than letting go. Self-doubt, anxiety, fear, depression are all labels used to justify our inability to rise above our past habits. The strength has to come by trusting ourselves or others who love us unconditionally and surrender to the power within all our disturbed thoughts. The Mind uses lack of will as a logical answer to avoid moving beyond the state of self-pity or doubt/anger it wants to hold on to. This process may take some time but the effort, faith, trust and prayer will lead one there ultimately. Therefore, if seen from a positive perspective, these disturbances present a rare opportunity to turn more inward.

Why are we thinking that what we do is right? Also, why we are looking only for an answer rather than getting a permanent solution. Is it because we are not planning properly or we start cultivating the habit of getting answers instantly / immediately for the situation, rather getting a solution to arrest the problem completely, if so why?– M Praveen Kumar

This is a very profound question, the answer to this has to address the root of how our lives are structured which is covered at least to the limited extent of my knowledge or experience in the next article. We are thinking what we do is right because we are thinking! The real problem is the thought and judgment of right or why we cannot be wrong. This was explained in the earlier two articles. We want to be told what we do or think is right rather than face whatever is the outcome of our action. However, the reason why we don’t want to find the real solutions and what can be a permanent solution is covered partially in next week’s article.

What impact does the upbringing and the environment not just that of the home, family but also of the environment in the city, state, region and even the nation one lives in has on the Mind? Does it not influence the state of the mind and quality and texture of thought in the Mind to a large extent? and What should one factor in and what are the precautions and the nuances should one keep in mind with respect to influence of the environment on the Mind, if any– Rasesh Doshi

The first question is very relevant. As mentioned in one of my earlier articles, the Mind gets conditioned by one’s habits. The habits arise out of the environment one lives in. In fact, many learned persons say the soul chooses its place (country etc.) of birth based upon the experiences it wishes to undergo. It is very clear that one’s upbringing and culture one is exposed to conditions one’s Mind greatly. Similarly, the company we keep – friends, associates etc. do influence a person’s habits significantly. However, we also do find that a few persons irrespective of the environment or the persons they associate with turn out quite different. Therefore, circumstance in the family is first and foremost, next would be the persons we associate with and finally the city, country etc.

As for the second question, the general principle is that any influence which is not positive has to be if possible avoided. More than anything, a need to accept and wish the best for everyone is the best attitude for one to cultivate. Therefore, if one has a choice to choose one’s environment, the ideal one is where there is a positive vibration, happiness (at whatever level) and ideal would be if there is an inward seeking rather than excess of externalization.

Is the happiness we are talking here also about our ability to love all other human beings and other living beings. I sometime think true internal happiness reflects in our love for any living or non-living being– M S Krishnan

This is a beautiful and correct point. As mentioned in my earlier answers, a person cannot be happy if he hates others or envies others. I would say a person who is truly happy (i.e. happiness arising out of realizing his Inner Self) will naturally love all other beings unconditionally. However, a person who claims to love all, need not have tasted true happiness. The difficulty arises because the outward action of one who has realized the Inner Self may even be the same as one who has not done so but acts so to project an image. Thus, in my view the primary and first goal of Life has got to be for each one to search inward to find Himself and the true Happiness that he is already. Once that process starts, automatically, he would start loving others and his actions would genuinely arise from that Love than an image he wants to project.

(The writer is the Joint Managing Director of TVS & Sons Ltd., and MD, TVS Logistics)

Keywords: life-motivation