By Ven. Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda
Worries and miseries are twin evils that go hand in hand. They co-exist in this world. If you feel worried, you are miserable! If you are miserable, you are worried. We must face facts. Although we cannot run away from them, we must not let these twin evils of worry and misery overcome us. We must overcome them. We can do so by our own human efforts, correctly directed with determination and patience. With proper understanding and carefully applied intelligence, we should be able to subdue our emotional feelings and do away with worries and miseries.
Our worries are of our own making. We create them in our own minds, through our inability or failure to understand the danger of our egoistic feelings and our inflated and false values of things. If only we could see things in their proper perspective in that nothing is permanent in this world and that our own egoistic self is our wild imagination running riot in our untrained mind, we should be going a long way to finding the remedy to eradicate our worries and miseries. We must cultivate our minds and hearts to forget about self and to be of service and use to humanity. This is one of the means whereby we can find real peace and happiness.
Many people have longings and hankering, fear and anxieties which they have not learnt to sublimate and are ashamed to admit them even to themselves. But these unwholesome emotions have force. No matter how we may try to bottle them up they seek a release by disordering the physical machinery resulting in chronic illnesses. All these can be repelled by correct methods of meditation or mental culture, because the untrained mind is the main cause of such worries.
Whenever you have worries in your mind, don’t show your sulky face to each and every person you come across. You should reveal your worries only to those who really can help you. How nice it would be if you could maintain your smiling face in spite of all the difficulties confronting you. This is not very difficult if only you really try. Many teenagers worry too much when their friendship with the opposite sex is lost. They often plan even to commit suicide compelled by the plight of frustration and disappointment. Some find place in lunatic asylums. Many such broken-hearted youths lead miserable lives. All these unfortunate events happen due to a lack of understanding the real nature of life. Somehow or other departure or separation is unavoidable. This may happen sometimes at the beginning of a life career; sometimes in the middle and sometimes at the end; it is certainly unavoidable. When such things happen one must try to find out where the cause lies. However, if the separation is beyond control one must have the courage to bear it out by realising the nature of life. But on the other hand it is not difficult for anyone to find new friends, to fill the vacuum if one really wants to.
“Wheresoever fear arises, it arises in the fool, not in the wise man” says the Buddha. Fears are nothing more than states of mind. One’s state of mind is subject to control and direction; the negative use of thoughts produces out fears; the positive use realises our hopes and ideals, and in these cases the choice rests entirely with ourselves. Every human being has the ability to completely control his own mind. Nature has endowed man with absolute control over but one thing, and that is thought. This fact, coupled with the additional fact that everything which man creates begins in the form of a thought, leads one very near to the principle by which fear may be mastered.
A noted British anatomist was once asked by a student what was the best cure for fear, and he answered, “Try doing something for someone”.
The student was considerably astonished by the reply, and requested further enlightenment whereupon his instructor said, “You can’t have two opposing sets of thoughts in your mind at one and the same time”. One set of thoughts will always drive the other out. If, for instance, your mind is completely occupied with an unselfish desire to help someone else, you can’t be harbouring fear at the same time.
“Worry dries up the blood sooner than the age.” Fears, worries and anxieties in moderation are natural instincts of self-preservation. But constant fear and prolonged worry are unfailing enemies to the human organism. They derange the normal bodily functions.
If you have learned how to please others, you always will be in a good mood. This is because your mind does not allow worries to be accommodated in it.