An incident some time ago helped me and my friends develop an action plan to live more compatible with our inner selves.
Our bus trip to Vrindavan’s holy sites took much longer than expected. We were tired and hungry. As the sun set and the dusty roads added to our misery, the monks tried their best to look composed. Many dozed off, and as the bus twirled and honked at the rough countryside, some of us lost a sense of the where and what of our lives.
Suddenly the bus screeched and abruptly stopped to avert an accident. In an instant, the forty plus monks woke with a jolt. One of them- the silent and sober kind- at least that’s what many thought of him- went berserk. He screamed at the driver and swore; his anger and hunger overpowered him. But the language he spoke was appalling- I never knew he had that side to him! A soft, gentle monk now yelled like a street fighter, and the demon that slept inside of him woke with him.
Ten minutes later he softened up, apologized and felt ashamed at what he had done.
A few days afterward he confessed to me that he was quite a devil before he joined the monastery and worried the animal within him if unleashed, would prowl viciously and could cause massive embarrassment to him. He wished to live a more harmonious life- the values he enshrined externally should become a part of his inner self as well.
I too confessed to him, my struggles to practice integrity. We then brainstormed on how we could align our lives better to our values and moral principles.
Action 1: Under promise and over deliver
Often an advertisement promises the sky, but the reality of the product falls way below our expectations. They over promise and under deliver! Do you also make tall promises and fail to keep them? It’s not merely others who lose confidence in you when you don’t honor your commitments. On a subtle level, it would dent your self-worth even without your noticing it. You then tend to slip further and get stuck in a vicious trap of poor self-confidence and more actions that betray your values. Hypocrisy becomes second nature to one who doesn’t walk his talk. Instead, commit little and deliver more, and witness a world of difference in your sense of credibility.
To be continued…