Ego – Edging Goodness Out

“I have absolutely no peace! I wonder why I ever got married!”
The lines of aging and strife are written all over his temple. His mouth has a permanent downward curve like it has been etched that way. He is probably only in his early forties. Yet he constantly complains:
“I have absolutely no peace!”
One may think, poor fellow, he must have had a big financial crunch and is unable to manage a family. Perhaps he is pestered by loan sharks. Or maybe he has lost his job and is struggling to make ends meet? But no, he is quite well off with ample financial security. Yet the words are clear:
“I have absolutely no peace!”
After marriage a couple would naturally long for a child. If childless some may feel sad, no doubt. This man though has two wonderful children and yet laments:
“I have absolutely no peace!”
No peace? Why?
“I wonder why I ever got married! There are constant quarrels in the family!” he adds.
Ah! Quarrels in the family. Sighhh… don’t we see that everywhere? But the answer to this is quite simple. It’s nothing but the Ego at work!
He agrees whole heartedly. “You are exactly right!” he concurs.
He knows absolutely. “I get the picture,” he acknowledges.
He understands totally. “It is such a big problem!” he accepts.
Yet, he suffers miserably! “But I cannot do anything about it,” he admits.
Why not set it right?
Well, it is the very ego which does not permit this! That is verily the problem.
So what can we do?
Seek first to understand before we are understood.
In another family the couple blamed the children. They said, “These children are the real problem. Our daughter and son do not listen to us. They are grown-ups. We do not know what to do.”
There is only one reason behind any complaint that there is no unity between husband and wife or between parents and children: they do not see eye to eye.
What does this mean? Their line of thinking is different.
A family, though only small consisting of husband and wife or parents and children, faces problems and disharmony prevails if each holds a different point of view and refuses to see the other’s view point. None in the family then enjoys peace of mind. The son and daughter complain “Our parents do not understand us.” Parents complain, “These children do not pay heed to our words.”
The line of thinking of both husband and wife should be the same. The line of thinking of parents and children should be the same. Of course, all do not think alike. But what I mean here is that each should seek first to understand what the other thinks. Each should respect the other’s line of thinking.
The husband should understand that his wife only wishes him well and the wife should understand that her husband wishes only her welfare. The same applies to parents and children.
This practice will certainly bring unity in the family. The family where each member realizes that the other wishes well for him enjoys peace and happiness.
And just as misunderstanding leads to disharmony in a small family, the individual loses his peace of mind when he does not unite in mind with God, who is the power above us. Only in unity is peace enjoyed.
How can we attain peace? All that happens in our life should be accepted positively – “Whatever God does with my life is only for my good.”
Our intellect is limited. It is not capable of comprehending everything. Is it possible for me to discern what will happen tomorrow? Or do I know what is going on in the next room? Do I know what had taken place some thirty or forty years back? Therefore, how can I claim that my intellect can discern everything? When I know not what will happen to me the next moment or what is going on in the next room how can I claim to comprehend everything through my intellect?
So the moment we understand that God, who knows everything, does everything (in our life) only for our welfare we will enjoy peace.
Until we understand this, our life will only be one big conflict. The mind will get dissipated and we will lose our peace of mind unless we are able to hold this one thought, “This problem has been bestowed on me for some good. I certainly need this. If only I am able to face this problem I will certainly benefit from it.”
If we can get ourselves to think—and eventually live—this thought every time we face something negative, then we ordinary folks too can relish that peace of mind, that deep tranquility that is untainted by ripples of sorrow or fear!

(Based on Sri Swamiji’s discourses)