Every one of us is pre-programmed, in accordance with the culture, family, society or religion we are born into and grow up with. Most of us are indifferent to the fact that we operate with little awareness. So we end up living in a self-made prison.
Once a philosopher asked a cobbler - who was himself a Sufi saint - to repair his shoes. The cobbler expressed his inability to do so as he was about to close his shop for the day. If his shoe were not repaired immediately, he would have only one shoe to wear, explained the philosopher to the cobbler. “Please, this is urgent,” he pleaded.
“You may please borrow my shoe for the other foot'', said the cobbler. ''But I don't wear another's shoes,'' said the philosopher. ''If you can borrow someone's ideas why not a shoe?'' asked the cobbler. Truly, our ideas are largely borrowed ones. Borrowed ideas have become a part of our inner programming. Myths and disempowering words and thoughts have invaded our inner engineering.
Learn to observe life deeply. If you observe yourself deeply you will find that you are not one 'I' but multiple 'I's. There is an 'I' that supports you and another 'I' that pulls you down. You should learn to de-identify from the negative 'I' and invite the positive 'I'. Can we observe how we touch the outer world with our inner thoughts and attitudes? If our thoughts and attitudes are negative, a negative system gets created. Then the negative system takes control of our life, develops its own survival mechanism and we become slaves of that system. The art of wise living is to dismantle the negative system from our lives.
We have to learn the art of inner separation and not allow inner thoughts and attitudes of negativity to eat into our lives. Negative, ignorant, addictive, narrow, foolish 'I's eat our life forces just as rats eat crops. Some 'I's in us are our friends and some, our enemies. To recognise and de-identify ourselves with the negative 'I's is 'inner separation'.
If we identify with negative thoughts and emotions coming from multiple 'I's and feel them to be our true self, it will lead to chaos and conflict. Any thought or emotion that passes through us is not ours. The traffic on the pavement does not belong to us... neither does the traffic of thoughts. We should learn to select and reject, only then we will not find ourselves in prison. Don't allow moods that emerge from the negative 'I' to overtake your life. Allow wise influences to impact your life.
Don't allow the influences of darkness impact your life. Allow the influences of the Sun to energise you. Learn to be in association with the conscious humanity and not the sleeping humanity. This will make you look at ordinary things in a new way. A new “will” will be created. A new meaning will emerge. A new understanding will guide you and give you wings to fly.
Be like the bee which goes from one flower to another, savouring the nectar from each of them. A fly, on the other hand, sits on garbage, and then flies to a sweetmeat shop and again to the gutter and back to the rose garden. The fly is alternating between goodness and toxin. But the bee picks and chooses from what is available and is attracted to the good alone and hence flies from one flower to another. Being like a bee in life, will enable us to move from one form of goodness to another, and we will be attracted to all the sacredness of existence. To be like a fly is to indulge in negativities like anger, hatred and jealousies and then visiting the temples and shrines for prayer.
By Swami Sukhabodhananda