By T G L IYER :
A wife on her deathbed called her husband and whispered “Keep romance in the lives of our children”. It was an impressive parting message which, as we reflect upon it, is deep with wisdom. She knew that all who meditate seriously upon life must know that the passing years make a terrific assault upon the zest of man’s spirit unless he exercises care. Napoleon said: “Men grow old quickly on the battlefields; they do in life also unless they are vigilant. Charles Lamb once declared: “Our spirits grow grey before our hairs.
We all start out in youth with great anticipation. Excitedly, we all look down upon the approaching years with the spirit of an adventurer but before he has travelled far, life starts blowing its cold wind upon him. We should not allow romance to flee from life whatever maybe our age. The saddest thing that can happen to a person is to lose the thrill and Zest of living. There is one way to decide whether or not we are growing old. It all depends on the attitude of mind, when we get-up in the morning. A young person gets-up with a feeling of excitement and says “This is a great day and today wonderful things will happen. The secret of a successful and happy life consists of taking time to live. Life is an Art and to be successful, it is necessary to know the real from the imitation and be content only with the fitness of quality. The tragic fact is that many people are content with imitation life when they could easily possess the genuine. We should stop starving the spirit.
Do not be a slave to life’s machinery but get a song or poem and the whisper of God’s voice into your mind. Jesus said: “Man does not live by bread alone” he lives by the beauty of nature, by music and art and by the presence of the eternal. Carl Jung wrote: “The dynamic principle of fantasy is play which belongs also to the child and appears to be inconsistent with the principle of serious work. But without this playing with fantasy, no creative work has ever yet come to birth”. Each one of us is created for a purp o s e like a new computer whose operator has lost the manual. The wonderful thing is that there are no rules, procedures, law to lead a successful life. Nature will simply take away what is not used. Whatever is not used will atrophy.
Every child is born as a genius but habits become cable wire difficult to break. If we keep our values in the forefront of our mind through spiritual practice, we can notice and seize opportunities which arise. By pursuing a regular spiritual practice what we value determines at a deep level the daily choices we make. Every half truth divides us, leads to disintegration of our essential self. Every act of honesty leads to integration making us stronger and more effective. Untruths build walls between people brick by brick and divides us from ourselves. Alexander Dumas says in one of his novels “I was walking along the road one day as a child; I saw broken pieces of a mirror. I took the largest piece and started playing with it. I could reflect light into dark places, deep holes, dark closets and crevices. I kept the little mirror and I became a man reflecting light into others lives”.
There is a powerhouse working inside everyone of us. Switch it on, release the brakes, step on the gas and let the vehicle roll. Be not satisfied with what you are. The World is filled with opportunities; seize them, use them and wonderful things will happen. An explorer took two mirrors into an African Jungle. A tribal African came and getting frightened at his own self image broke one of them. The explorer set-up the other mirror and gently led him and explained that it was his own reflection.
“Don’t be afraid of your own shadow and reflection”. Charles Chaplin made millions of dollars out of a funny shuffling walk, a pair of baggy trousers and a unique moustache. He did something different but many of us do stereotype things. Be different individualistic and unique. Robert Browning calls it ‘releasing the imprisoned splendour’. Swami Vivekananda called it ‘Manifestation of perfection already in man’. My teacher used to say: “Bend with the wind and you can withstand a Hurricane. You will still be around when the Hurricane passes and the good weather returns. When you add pride to a city, you have a community. Bring learning to a pile of bricks and you have a School. Find religion in the modest structure and you have a sanctuary. Happy people don’t compete with others; they compete with themselves.