Pic.: Anima D'Cunha
Last evening Shri Ram Mohan (Swami Brahmavidhananda) was taking a Workshop for our Young PD students. The subject was ‘Handling our Emotions’. During the Workshop, he was guiding the young-ones through various styles of distorted thinking. One of them was ‘Personalisation’… How some of us think crookedly – that, whatever others think or say has something to do with us… We personalize it… and then, brood, sulk, worry, feel angry or dejected… Yes, all because of our distorted thinking of personalisation… As if the world has no other job but to keep talking about us all day long!
“This kind of thinking stems from one’s low self-esteem,” Shri Ram Mohan told the young-ones, yesterday, “It comes from constant comparison… and not having enough confidence in oneself.” Then, he told the class a story, which made everyone chuckle…
“I had just joined the ashram to learn Vedanta under my teacher, Swami Dayananda Saraswati. One day, our teacher told in the class, ‘You will not become a scholar in Sanskrit by eating breakfast, lunch and dinner’…
Now, there was this fellow-student in our class who took it personally… ‘Teacher was talking about me!’ he rationalized in his mind. So, from that day onwards, he stopped eating breakfast, lunch and dinner! We did not know what was happening in his mind, till one day, looking at his distressed condition, I asked him, ‘What is wrong with you, my friend?’
‘Didn’t you hear, the other day, our teacher telling me, ‘You will not become a scholar in Sanskrit by eating breakfast, lunch and dinner,” poor fellow said quite seriously, “So, from that very day, I have stopped eating breakfast, lunch and dinner!’
“You donkey, our teacher was talking in general… He was talking to all of us, and not to you alone… He wasn’t talking ‘about’ you,” I tried to drill a hole in my fellow-learner’s head and put it in.’ I asked him, ‘Tell me, did you hear our teacher telling you, that by skipping breakfast, lunch and dinner, you will become a scholar in Sanskrit?’
If my thinking is not distorted… if I have a healthy self-esteem, then, even if someone calls me a ‘donkey’- the way Shri Ram Mohan actually did to his fellow-learner - I wouldn’t take it personally… I would simply remind myself, ‘Hey, it is not about me… It is about the way I think’.
“There is nothing either good or bad,” said Shakespeare long, long ago, “but, our thinking makes it so.”