A couple of months ago I had to travel to Ahmedabad to attend a very important meeting. My flight was at 6:30 am, and as I reached the kiosk to take the boarding pass, to my shock, I realized that my ticket was not confirmed. It was the first time ever in my traveling experience that I encountered such a bizarre situation. In fact, I had not even heard about anything like this happening to anyone. My first reaction to this situation was one of anger, irritation, frustration towards the colleague who had booked the ticket and had not been responsible enough to inform me. I was thinking to call up my HR director to complain against him or shout at the agency who got the ticket booked.
But suddenly something within me said: “wait”! This is a very unusual situation and there has to be a better way to deal with this. I thought: this situation can be handled in two ways. One: to react by getting angry and take out all the frustration on the person who booked the ticket. Second: to respond following the teachings that I have been learning from the past three years. I am now happy that I opted to go with the latter option. I decided to leave my anger and frustration at bay as I completed the formality at each counter peacefully. Eventually, I could find a decently timed flight to reach well on time to attend the meeting.
As I put my effort to remain peaceful under challenging circumstances, the fruits where felt throughout the day and I could carry that feeling of peacefulness for rest of the day.
This small incidence made me realize that in every challenging situation we always have an option: either to react or to respond. Paramhansa Yogananda, has said that, “There are no obstacles, only opportunities! Circumstances are always neutral. They seem happy or sad according to the happy or sad attitudes of the mind”. It is up to us which one we choose and that is what governs our entire day and, furthermore, our entire life.
This Incidence reminded me of the time Swami Kriyananda met with an accident and his car was totally damaged. His immediate action was to be calm and centered and he did not let the circumstance gain control over his emotions. He took the next bus and went ahead towards his destination without getting anguished. He writes in his book “Living Wisely Living Well”:
“In any controversy, test the rightness of your stand by the way it affects your deeper feelings. Such feelings can be trusted, as the ever-fickle emotions can never be. Calm, joyful feelings will steer you aright. If, on the other hand, your feelings are agitated or negative, they will emphasize your lower emotions, and will almost always be wrong. Even happy emotions can distort one’s judgement. Calm feeling is the safest condition for receiving right guidance.”