The Major Disease Today

Dr. Usha Sundaram (Dharmakeerti), Bangalore

Today, the major disease facing the world is an ignorance of one's limitless potential for joy. There is so much negative conditioning all around that we even hear people glorifying and justifying being unhappy or sick. Let me illustrate.

Not so very long ago, a gentleman looking very happy passed my clinic. Seeing the board, he came in and asked if I could check his' blood pressure. Feeling that it was a very valid request, I checked it and found it to be normal. I expected that this man would be happy to know the results and told him so. However I suddenly found that his whole face crumpled and he looked worried. He then said : 'Perhaps something must have happened. You see, I am a B.P. patient,' and suddenly he beamed all over again, as if the voicing of this had given him a new identity. He added, 'I am a B.P. patient - you know how difficult and stressful times are' and as he elaborated, he looked sullen, annoyed, disgruntled. So then I said: 'But you seem to have done a wonderful job in managing things in spite of this.' 'Oh yes,' he said cheerfully again: 'But you see, the financial conditions,' and his face dropped all over again.

It would be interesting to note within ourselves how often in a day we convey negativity: 'I cannot do anything about my temper because it is part of me.' 'The only place I can really be myself is at home, so I do not try putting on a polite front,' and 'The situation has never been so bad at any time in history.'

All of us who have studied history know that in all ages, wars, famines, floods and illnesses swept away civilizations. And yet, we glory in talking of situations as being impossible. Let me give it another dimension. We are unhappy not because of wars. We are sick not because of political or economic conditions. We are depressed because we do not dare to be different. How many of us who grumble about the political system really care or do anything about it? This attitude of success versus failure in materialistic terms has been so ingrained in us by ourselves that we do not dare to face the wonder, within and without, lest we lose our 'Edens' of illusion. We do not look for it and therefore do not find it. How many of us have passed a flower garden, paused for a second and said within ourselves 'how beautiful' and then almost guiltily looked at our watch and told ourselves 'it is getting late' and rushed away; what were we getting late for?

Sometimes if one cares to examine oneself at such moments, one finds it is really a shutting out of things that move us, because we are afraid to be happy. How often does a man come home and tell his wife 'the sunset outside is lovely' and get snapped at: 'The price of sugar has gone up and you talk of sunsets.' Now, this man often lapses into a guilty silence. Why? Because within himself he does not dare to say 'the sunset is as real as the spiralling price of sugar.' He does not say this because a voice within says 'a sunset will not feed the family- sugar does.' This is the voice of the ego. Let me dare to say here that the sunset feeds- perhaps more than sugar. Happiness burns fewer calories than frustrations, destroys less tissue than misery or boredom does. This is a scientific fact. Let me be provocative here.

We do not dare to do without our cars, our posh houses, our middle class concepts of 'needs', our rising sugar prices and our 'terrible' political system. We do not dare, because we have so identified ourselves with them that losing them seems a loss of ourselves. We think we would be empty. Let me add that it is the empty pot that can be filled- perhaps with joy.

It is so easy to introduce adventure into everyday 'routine' activity- to dare to listen to the chirp of birds, to look at little flowers at our feet, to see the colours in pebbles, to watch people and see joy flit across their faces. These are inexpensive delights. To think we are small or restricted is an illusion. The choice is ours today as never before. Every day millions of cells in our body die and are being born. We take this so much for granted that we think we die only when all breath leaves the body. And yet the body is dying and being born every minute. Why do we think our minds are different? If our concepts do not serve us, let us be prepared to cast them aside and take up newer ones. We are not afraid to die- we are afraid to be born!

We hold on to decaying ideas, concepts, ways of living, when we can open out our hearts and minds to grandeur- one does not have to view a mountain range or an ocean for this. Grandeur is within each little cell in us that wakes every minute to the wonder of creation if we care to perceive it, independent of whether one is rich or poor, educated or illiterate, in distress or not.

To put it in concrete operational terms, look around for little things every day which give you a tiny bit of joy, think of it every night as you sleep. Feel your vantage points of perception changing. Find yourself growing beautiful- awake to the miracle of rebirth within. Let the political system, economic condition or blood pressure continue. They are not you.

You are the seed in which is contained the thrill you felt when you first saw a butterfly, when you first smelled the rain on the dry ground, when you first wrote the alphabet and found that sound has a shape; look around for this wonder again and you will find it. Remember that it was not a flippant man or a dreamer who said: 'The kingdom of heaven is within you.'

(Courtesy : Bhavans Journal)