Life is full of ups and downs. Depending on the situation we find ourselves in, we feel upbeat or low, elated or depressed. Whatever it is, we have to keep going, keeping our spirits up. But the pertinent question that one asks oneself is, how? how to do that? How to keep one’s spirits up?
Recently, in an interview, Gyalwang Drupka, a Buddhist monk, revealed his own mantra for keeping his spirits up. That mainly includes two things – meditation and being useful to others, i.e., doing something for others, however small it may be, everyday.
Meditation is the conscious activity to train the mind. It does so by energizing the nerves and cells of the brain, activating them, and training the mind to focus itself on a thing. That is a unique neuro-spiritual process and goes a long way to look after our mental health.
Then, the other part, i.e.,doing something for others. For that, one has to step out from I to you, and look around for people/beings, one can be useful to. Charity, they say, starts at home. So why not follow the axiom. The closest one would find around may be the spouse or kids or parents and so on. One may put someone’s mobile for charging, or tenderly try to wake up a sleepy child to a slow rising, or pick the newpaper or milk pouches from the doorstep, voluntarily without fuss. The list may go endlessly, depending on one’s situations and circumstances. The underlying idea being, trying to be useful to others.
The list nevertheless does not stop there. Outside, one may offer surplus food things to stray cows or dogs. One thing I particularly enjoy doing is, at a dangerous crossing at the Moti Jheel (Kanpur) gate, offering help to some old person, standing confused, rather too scared to venture the few steps across to the other side. Guiding patiently unknown people looking for a certain place/destination is also one of my favourite activities.
That must suffice to suggest how to go about the act of being useful to others. Each one of us has our own acts of humanity we habitually do for others. You must certainly have experienced the sweet taste followed by such acts, which ultimately translate themselves into a blueprint for keeping the spirits up.
- Ashok Misra