Is there anything in your life that you wish you can undo?
Do you feel angry about yourself for making the wrong choices in life? Do you feel guilty about something you did, that you wish you hadn’t done? Do you regret not doing enough for someone you loved or cared for?
If you do, then we have a lot in common, and so I’d like to share with you what helps me to make the right choices in life, and what takes me closer to understand the meaning of life.
When we are kids, our parents teach us what’s right and what’s wrong to do. Then our teachers take that place. And then we rely on some mentor, coach, or self-help book, to show us the way to live.
There is nothing wrong with such upbringing, and for most of us this is how we form our definition of what’s the right way to live.
But, what I’ve learned from my own experience is that, you have to figure out your own right way of living your life. And this right way is the one which is in perfect harmony with every thing: your own nature, the nature of every living being, the nature of this world, and the nature of this universe.
You have to work hard to form this frame of mind which will guide you to do the right thing in any situation, however difficult it may be. And it almost always takes a lot of pain, depression, anger, and suffering to figure this out.
But that’s how you learn it. When you take the easy way, and look for a quick-fix solution, you halt your growth in life. If you blindly follow the advice of one person after another, you’ll never discover your own right way.
Also, the right way isn’t something you invent in your mind, but something that you discover within, and you’ll know the right answers to life the moment they come to you. You won’t have any ‘Ifs’ or ‘Buts’ about following that way.
You don’t know what’s right to do and what’s wrong to do because of ignorance. Please note, by ignorance, I don’t mean you are not intelligent or anything like that. You can be mentally superior to others yet ignorant on the basic rules of life.
Ignorance is the lack of understanding about the true nature of life. We are ignorant because we already have a perception about every thing in life, and we rarely try to challenge this perception. And because of that we can only see our life in limited ways, and not as a part of a whole. True knowledge isn’t perceptive, it’s universal in nature.
Once you have the valid knowledge you would know what’s the right thing to do under any given situation.
Now the question comes, how can you cultivate this knowledge and understanding.
You can proceed step-by-step.
First, you have to let go your ego. Your ego is the biggest obstacle to learning anything new. When your ego makes you think that you already know everything there is to know, you won’t learn anything further in life.
But, when you remove your ego, and see things without a biased mind, you see the reality of everything. You see the reality of the nature of everything around you. You see the reality of what’s meaningful and what’s not. You see the reality of your own body and mind. You see the reality of the present moment, for what it is, and not how it’s meant to be or how it should have been.
After you let go your ego, study the life of great masters. Learn about life from those who have lived it the right way. Read about the life of Rama, the life of Buddha, and similar great people who lived their whole life on strong principles of morality, kindness, and wisdom. Learn from those whom you respect deeply, and in whose footsteps you want to walk.
Study their life in detail. Study their teachings in detail. Study how they learned what they learned in their life. Study the teachings of the guru or masters that they followed. If you do all this, you’ll start to see the thinking, the feeling, and the way these great people have lived their lives, and you’ll start to realize how you, too, can walk the path that they walked, and how you, too, can live a life on the same values and principles as they lived.
This will awake a new understanding within you, that’ll help you to understand what’s right and wrong for yourself.
Then what remains for you is to deepen this understanding more and more, by reading, understanding, and practicing more and more of what you read. This will set you up with the right frame of mind.
The next step, is to meditate on their teachings. When you come across any thought that shakes you from within, then meditate upon it for a while. Try to understand that thought as thoroughly as you possibly can. Think of it for the next few minutes, or the next few hours, if you need to do so.
Meditate every day on such great thoughts. And meditate with all your heart. Meditation will help you deepen your understanding about what you read. It will also help you to discover the unknown universal truths about life on your own.
The longer you practice these three steps, (1) Letting go your ego, (2) Studying teachings of great people, and finally, (3) Meditating on these teachings, and the more sincerely you follow each of them, the faster you will make your progress in understanding about life.
To understand the right way to live, you have to begin with the right practice. The above 3 steps will take care of the right practice. You just have to do them every day now.
When we are born, we don’t know the meaning of life and the right way to live. But we can work towards understanding that, before we die.