E: Give up unreasonable EXPECTATIONS
How long a minute depends on which side of the bathroom you are on ??. It is relatively based on your expectations. You may order a dosa, pizza, or samosa in a restaurant as per your desire, but once you are in a hospital, you cannot place an order, like “Doctor! 2 plate syringe! Fast!”.
Hospital is a place where you are helpless and with folded hands tell the doctors,
śādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam
“Whatever you say is ok with me. I surrender.”
The Bhagavad Gita provides a unique solution to each individual, just like how doctors treat each patient differently according to their disease. Out of all unreasonable expectations, “I’m the controller of my life is the topmost. It is due to the envy over The Supreme controller, God, and is the root cause of our miserable existence, and blocks us from experiencing infinite bliss. Because of the ahankar or false ego, we think we are the controllers and develop a sense of proprietorship and doership. Eventually, such a desire and expectation mends into frustration, leading to the next stage called anger Kama esa Krodha esa.
S: Follow the right definition of SUCCESS
Life is a process and not a product. To achieve the right understanding of success, we have to have the right guidance. The right definition of success is not only in getting the best but giving the best. In the year 1936, Berlin Olympics, Hitler had one agenda, to prove that Germans were the best. Jesse Owens, an Afro-American represented the USA in the long jump. Hitler wanted to defeat him at all costs. Jesse Owens was constantly jumping beyond the marked line.
So, the German athlete Luz Long chosen by Hitler came to Owens, put his hands on Owen’s shoulder, and gave him tips on adjusting his jump to get qualified. Even though Luz Long had political backing and was competing against Owens, he showed comradeship and helped a fellow competitor. Later, Owens won gold and made the world record of 8.06 meters which stood unbeatable for the next 25 years. Back in America, at some point, to earn a living, Owens had to run behind pets. Yet, he quoted that, “Even if you melt all my gold medals, it will not equate to even a single plating of the 24-carat friendship. I had with Luz Long.”
Achievement cannot bring happiness. Only, the genuine bonds we create can provide us with true fulfillment of heart. Thus, the definition of success is not external but internal.
C: Give up unhealthy COMPARISON
HH Radhanath Swami often quotes, “False ego is the foundation of the house. You cannot see it, but it is supporting the whole house.” So, the material existence is a product of our false ego. As pride comes, one is already fallen. Whatever happens after that is simply a detail of one’s fallen condition. Other religions are teaching how to give up sin. But Srila Prabhupada is teaching us how to give up the root cause of sin -> False Ego. Ultimately, all comparisons center around false ego and false identity.
We tend to express ourselves as superior to others. It breeds envy. Envy is an indirect form of appreciation. Unless you find something valuable in others than in you, you will not feel envious to have that. So, what is the necessity to appreciate them indirectly when direct appreciation is the best way? overcome envy and directly start to appreciate that very thing you envy of someone.
Television and media have fed us with unhealthy ideals to compare ourselves. We ruin our self-worth based on a unique individual going through their life in a completely different parameter. It is foolishness. A healthy principle is to compare our older and present versions for the betterment and draw inspiration from others.
A: APPRECIATE and ACCEPT what God has given.
4 million people around the globe are suffering from some kind of phobia. So, if you woke up today without any pain or fear, try to express gratitude. Appreciating what God has given is an important factor in finding happiness in everything he has provided. Depression will cease to exist if we express gratitude for everything we have rather than worrying about what we lack. If your basic needs are covered, you are richer than 75% of the world population because the rest of them are dying of hunger. If you have some savings, you belong to the top 10% who constitute a prosperous living.
Moreover, if you have never known the danger of loneliness in a prison cell, take a moment to appreciate your luxury because you are safer than 500 million who are suffering in such circumstances.
Thus, whatever situation you are in, try to tolerate and find ways to overcome it than complaining or comparing it with others. God created this world for us to be content with whatever the provisions and appreciate the beauty of creation. Seeing and accepting every situation, be it or unfavorable as a mercy of the Lord for helping us learn the right lessons is a deeper sense of appreciation and love for him.
P: Live to be PRINCIPLED
Once during his morning walk, Srila Prabhupada asked Dr. Patel what he does first thing in the morning. He answered, “I take my breakfast”. To this, Srila Prabhupada reverted, “Even pigs do that”. Dr. Patel was shocked at the statement. Prabhupada then told him to remember and chant the Holy names of The Lord who gave him that breakfast. Discipline and having principles in one life add structure for spiritual progress. Yet, the principles can be challenging. in allowing improvements but incorporation according to time, place, and circumstances is required.
There is a thin line between improvement and deviation. For example, If you are stuck in traffic, then you are stagnated.
If you take a different to move forward, and that is improvisation.
If you change your lane, it is called deviation, and you end up in a different location.
Principles are there to help us evaluate the right lane to take to reach our goal. But, one should not have the feeling of being tied up by rules and regulations. Even kites are tied up, but they do fly high, and these ropes are not binding but help them explore their freedom without being harmed. Thus, principles help us transcend to a new sense of freedom and happiness. It comes by regulating our senses, and mind which otherwise run wild and cause perplexities.
E: ENDURE difficulties
A cake recipe has whole wheat flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, some flavors, etc., added to it. All of them individually taste unbearable. But once all ingredients come together, the result steals the hearts of everyone in the house. Similarly, when many difficult situations arise, one may find them all bitter and hard to experience. These circumstances are provisions by God as ingredients to aid us in building a future that will help us endure those moments with tolerance and patience.
The concept of gaining strength is one has to face resistance.
- You gain physical strength by facing physical resistance.
- Mental strength by resisting desires.
- Spiritual strength by tolerating difficulties.
Thus, by practicing these six factors with the acronym ESCAPE, we can all easily escape the conceived miseries in our minds and create happiness in all our lives.
Credit: Caitanya Caran Das