When we were little children and felt unhappy, we naturally blamed other things or people for our gloom. As we grew up, our Intelligence Quotient (IQ) definitely increased. But did we grow in our “Emotional Quotient” (EQ) as well? So, let us understand how to grow our EQ as part of our discussion on the art of happiness on the fifth day of the Happiness Challenge.
Consider a compelling story. There was a woman who always criticized the neighbors to her husband — “Look my dear husband, the neighbor’s house wall is so patchy. They are such untidy people. Oh look, at the clothes on the clothesline there full of stains. Oh look, they have not even cleaned their car today.” However, one day she woke up and looked outside the window and said, “My dear husband, what has happened to our neighbors? Everything is clean today?” The husband responded, “Nothing has happened—the only thing I did was that I cleaned our windowpane at night.” Well, it may seem silly, but that is very often the reality of our life. Our own windowpane is dirty, and we are finding faults on the outside. If we have made it a habit to point fingers at others, we need to rethink and take a look whether we ourselves are at fault.
Consider another incident. One patient went to the doctor and said, “O doctor, my whole body is paining.” So, the doctor said, “Let me check.” He took his finger and placed the patient’s finger on his thigh and asked, “Is it paining?” The patient screamed, “Ah! so painful.” The doctor said, “Okay, let us try again.” He took the patient’s finger and put it on his forehead and asked, “Now?” He replied, “O doctor, I have never experienced such misery.” Again, the doctor took his finger and put it on his arm and asked, “Now?” The patient screamed, “Ah! doctor so much.” The doctor showed the patient his finger—there was a splinter right there. That paining finger was making it seem as if the whole body was in pain. In the same way, if it seems to us—that this world is defective, the government is a problem, the Kaliyug is a problem, etc., then we need to ponder again and see whether the problem is not within us.
There are two kinds of people in the world—those who are reactive and those who are proactive. The proactive ones know that their emotions are the choice that they make for themselves. The reactive ones do not realize this gap, and that is why they feel desperate because the external circumstances are not in their command and they feel that these situations are responsible for their thoughts. Reactive people make statements like, “I do not feel any love for my spouse any longer. I do not know what has happened. So, what to do now? I am just waiting for the love to come back.” These poor people do not realize that love is not a feeling, rather “love” is a verb. It is something that we do; to choose loving sentiments—that is the key. So, let us try to be proactive in our life.
Watch this interesting video by Swami Mukundananda –
Whatever may be our situation and the sentiments that we are experiencing, contemplate, — “Is there a higher sentiment that we can keep?” Whatever may be our feelings, let us think—”Is there a higher feeling that I can harbor within myself?” When we start doing that, we will start growing in our “Emotional Quotient” (EQ), which means we are gaining mastery and understanding of our emotions.
And then we will understand the import of the verse in the Bhagavad Gita,
उद्धरेदात्मनात्मानं नात्मानमवसादयेत् |
आत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मन: || 5||
uddhared ātmanātmānaṁ nātmānam avasādayet
ātmaiva hyātmano bandhur ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ
Uplift yourself by the power of your mind, and do not degrade yourself; for the controlled mind can be your best friend, while the unbridled mind will be your worst enemy.
That is why, let us uplift ourselves by the power of our mind; not degrade ourselves.
So, the message on the 5th day of this Happiness Challenge is to be proactive and to look inwards to see how we can make a quantum shift upwards in our emotions and our sentiments.
To take one step further in this mastery in the ascendance of the mountain top of happiness, we will proceed further on this journey—when we talk about inspiration on the 6th day of this Happiness Challenge.