December 2013

Brood less; smile more. That is the way to live. – Chinmaya

Brooding is thinking a lot about something which ultimately makes one annoyed, anxious or upset.

The Lord has given all of us a powerful faculty – the faculty of imagination. The misuse of this God-given gift is called brooding.

Problems come to all of us. To find a solution, thinking is necessary and unavoidable. But when the thoughts uncontrollably run through the wrong channels, thinking degrades to brooding. A thinking man has control over his thoughts; while a brooding man remains paralyzed, possessed by his own vicious thoughts, his woolgathering mind conceiving imaginary fears and failures.

It is said that chinta (brooding) is worse than chita (funeral pyre). While chita burns down only a dead body, and that too only once, chinta burns the living ones, moment to moment.

While brooding, even our superficial smile disappears from us in a moment’s notice, engulfed by the suppressed fears and tears gurgling from our deep within. This is so because while brooding we focus too much on the negative aspects of life.

A management expert was handling a session on ‘cultivating positive attitude’. He took out his pen, and on a large white sheet of paper, marked a dot at the centre. He then asked the delegates, “What do you see?” Pat came the reply from all “Sir, a black dot”.

“This is the problem with all of us,” said the expert smilingly. “We are quick to notice that black mark; but in the process, miss out the broad white sheet!”

We complain that the rose bush has thorns; Why not rejoice that the thorn bush has roses?

No facial make-ups or cosmetic surgeries can match the beauty of a genuine smile born out of a cheerful heart abiding in peace and joy.

A world-famous beauty product company asked the people in a large city to send pictures along with a brief letter about the most beautiful woman they knew. Within a few weeks, thousands of letters were delivered to the company.

One letter, in particular, caught the attention of the employees. Soon it was handed over to the company president. The letter was written by a young boy who obviously was from a broken home living in a slum.

With spelling correction, an excerpt from his letter read, “A beautiful woman lives in our street. I visit her every day. She makes me feel like the most important kid in the world. She listens to all my problems with great patience. She comforts me in the time of distress and cheers me for every little achievement. She plays with me and loves feeding me. She tells me the stories of the great devotees and instils in me faith and devotion for the Lord.” The boy ended the letter saying “This picture shows that she is the most beautiful woman. I hope I have a wife so pretty as her…”

Intrigued by the letter, the president asked for the woman’s picture. The secretary handed over to him a photograph of a smiling, toothless woman, well advanced in years, sitting on a wheelchair. The sparse grey hair was pulled back in a bun, and the wrinkles that formed deep furrows on her face were somehow diminished by the smile on her face and the twinkle in her eyes.

“We can’t use this woman”, said the president, smiling. “She would show the world that our products aren’t necessary to be truly beautiful!!”

There is a wonderful story about Jimmy Durante, one of the great entertainers a few generations ago. He was asked to be a part of a show for World War II veterans. He told them that his schedule was very busy and he could afford only a few minutes, but if they wouldn’t mind his doing a short monologue and immediately leaving for his next appointment, he would come. Of course, the show’s director agreed happily.

But when Jimmy got on to the stage, something interesting happened. He went through the short monologue and then stayed on. The applause grew louder and louder and he kept performing. He went on and on for 15, 20, and then for 30 minutes! Finally, he took a last bow and left the stage.

At the backstage, someone stopped him and said, “I thought you would go after a few minutes. What happened?”

Jimmy answered, “I did have to go, but I can show you the reason I stayed. You can see for yourself if you’ll look at the front row.”

In the front row were two men, each of whom had lost an arm in the war. One had lost his right arm and the other had lost his left. Together they were able to clap, and that’s exactly what they were doing – loudly and cheerfully!!

An old saying goes thus:

You are as young as your faith; and as old as your doubt. You are as young as your self-confidence; and as old as your fear. You are as young as your hope; and as old as your despair.

How to brood less and smile more?

Focus on the imaginary world of ‘What If ’, and you brood; Focus on the realistic world of ‘What Is’, and you smile.

“This is no world. It is God Himself. In delusion we call it world,” so says Swami Vivekananda.

If this is difficult, then be too busy to brood at day-time; so that you are too sleepy to brood at night!

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Posted in: Chintana

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