As we were growing up, especially during the graduation years, we would often hear our parents say “it’s your responsibility to study hard and get a good job.” While working our bosses and even colleagues would say “it’s your/our responsibility to meet or rather over achieve the targets.” Then comes the big push when you get married, you feel very cohesively responsible for others.
Why is it so that no one not even we ourselves talk about the responsibility towards SELF.
Dharma Bhava says that the first responsibility is towards self, family, work, society and then the nation. Then why do we let the SELF take a back seat and the dump it under the pile of so called “Bigger Responsibilities.”
We are born with five structural defects of the mind, known as the kleshas. These are Avidya (ignorance), Ashmita (ego), Raag (attachments), Devesh (aversion) and Abhinivesh (fear of change, death). The seed cause of all our tension, stress, anxiety, ill health etc. are because of these five factors. Yoga says, the one who intends to attain Samadhi, should burn the kleshas. For us mortal beings, let’s see how we can control it (why so, well how many of us have still not given away that t-shirt from our college days – our materialistic attachments, let’s not even go towards the emotional side. How many of us can completely let go the likes and dislikes in terms of food the very next second, difficult right?). So first let’s see how to control it.
As per the Patanjali Yog Sutra : “maître karuna mudita upeksanam sukha dukha punya apunya visayanam bhavanatah cittaprasadanam” i.e., by constant feeling, thinking of friendliness, compassion, complacency and equanimity in happiness and misery, virtue and vice, the chitta (mind) becomes pure.
Maitri (friendliness), Karuna (compassion), Mudita (joy in joy of others) and Upeksha (acceptance) are the Parikarmas. Parikarmas – our behavior towards others to overcome jealousy, spread goodwill, brotherhood etc. Today when everyone wants to change something about themselves, not happy with what they have, how they look etc. Why not the Parikarmas for self? Yes it is important to know ones negatives, but it should be by accepting it to work on it rather than just to criticize about it.
Maitri: Learn to love yourself, be your own BFF. Don’t get caught up in the whirlwind of what you would want to look like, rather value the way you are.
Karuna: Yes it is good to know the health status. But instead of criticizing self for being overweight or comparing to someone else, be compassionate towards yourself. I mean eat right, eat good, eat on time, rest and not just go on some crash diet or starve oneself or put yourself into meaningless workout strategies till you drop.
Mudita: Celebrate yourself, pride yourself on who you are. Be happy, celebrate good health and a balanced mind.
Upeksha: Aversion towards self is the worst crime you can do. Yes we are aiming for good health, that doesn’t mean you hate yourself for the figures shown on the weighing scale. Rather learn to listen to your body. Be faithful to yourself, your body will speak honestly and together you can work towards optimum health.
Thus rather than saying change yourself, change the way you think for yourself and rest of the responsibilities will follow.