To live a happy life, know and use your powers

B.K. Brijmohan

It is said that truth is God. That which is true is eternal. The first truth is that we are immortal spiritual beings, or souls.

All material things, including our body, are resources used by the soul. Our powers come from the soul, not the body. Just as an electrical appliance works only when it is supplied with power, the body functions only if there is a soul residing in it.

The quality of our life is determined by the quality of the soul, or the mind, which is a faculty of the soul. If there is a defect in the mind, it will be manifest in our life.

One may have a pile of weapons at home, but if one is weak-minded, one will live in fear. This is why they say that victory or defeat first occur in the mind.

The soul has some innate powers, of which eight are prominent. The first of these is the power to withdraw from external situations. We use this power every day when we go to sleep, detached from the rest of the world.

When this power is lacking, one is unable to step back from situations and gets trapped, which stops one’s progress. One may become attached to a task due to one’s success and hold on to it, instead of delegating it and moving on.

The second power is the power to pack up. Just as a traveller packs up his things before his train reaches his destination, one needs to be ever-ready for the end of life’s journey, which may come at any time. For that it is best not to have desires and expectations, which lead to sorrow if they are not fulfilled, spoiling the joy of life’s journey and causing regret at the end.

The third is the power to accommodate. The ocean accepts everything that goes into it; it does not reject anything. Humility teaches us to do likewise and accommodate everyone, even if they are very different from us.

Everything and everyone exist for a reason; they are all a part of the drama of life. Understanding this helps us accommodate all kinds of people without much fuss, making life’s journey easier.

Next is the power to discern, which enables us to tell right from wrong. Correct discernment requires a clean mind, as the clutter of various thoughts will not allow us to think clearly.

Patience is also needed, as it helps us derive wisdom from knowledge. This power resolves dilemmas and aids decision-making.

Another power, of judgment, comes from a clean intellect. If the intellect has been subverted by a weakness, say, ego or greed, it will make the wrong decision. Criminals too have an intellect, but instead of guiding them to a life of honesty, it helps them plan and commit crimes because it is corrupted by vices.

A clean intellect means having no trace of any vice. I may be good to nearly everyone, but if I detest some people, I will be unable to make the right decision about anything involving them.

The power to face any situation requires courage, which comes from realising the truth that I am an immortal soul, playing my part in the drama of life with other souls. If one lives by the soul’s innate virtues of purity, peace and truth, one can face anything, because nothing can harm such a soul.

The power of tolerance arises from humility and accepting people and situations as they are. When we are humble and accepting, we will not even feel that we have to tolerate something. Ego, on the contrary, causes pain – the bigger the ego, the stronger the pain.

The eighth is the power of cooperation. Cooperation happens when there is humility, mutual respect, and goodwill. It helps achieve seemingly impossible tasks. The whole world is functioning by cooperation between people, and lack of cooperation leads to animosity and conflict.

All these powers can be developed by living by five principles:

Truth: I am a soul, not a body.

Purity: Freedom from vices, which are at the root of all sorrow.

Patience: Everything happens at the right time. Understanding this prevents worry and hopelessness.

Humility: It smoothens relationships.

Sweetness: It fosters love and cooperation.