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Shun the beaten track and face the turmoil

'Ekla Chalo Re.' This is what Rabindranath Tagore said. And Leo Tolstoy added: "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." All one needs is a smile of happiness and peace to sustain, writes VN Chhibber.

india Updated: Nov 12, 2010 00:49 IST
VN Chhibber

'Ekla Chalo Re.' This is what Rabindranath Tagore said. And Leo Tolstoy added: "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." All one needs is a smile of happiness and peace to sustain.

On uncharted terrain, each decision taken is a unique one as it has no precedence. So it is a challenge. It calls for tremendous courage and conviction in one's own capability. Conflicts in the mind arise where there is a gap between what was expected and what is happening.

What is the best way out? The Buddha's Second Noble Truth — Dukkha Samuddaya — dwells on 12 quantifiable characteristics of the system. Buddha's process of deduction provides a logical outlook. ut the disturbance and uncertainty that follows invariably is as we identify our emotions with what is going on around so fully that all rational thinking is lost to the wind.

Because of its simplicity, Buddha's teachings attract us and help overcome self-doubt and dissatisfaction. For applying his practical notion to our daily life, we need to understand the following.

First, nothing is permanent, so accept where we are now and not stick to the effects that are thrown our way. We should be practical and study why we are in turmoil. We ought to take it one notch higher and introspect and see if we are really in a state of continuous change.

Walking alone is not a problem, but to stay on course, and face challenges therein is the real test. It would help then to look at achievers who have reached the pinnacle of excellence in their chosen fields.

All great leaders were like you and me, but they had the wisdom to shun the beaten track. Hadn't they set examples that are beyond the mundane?

The difference is that though they walked alone, they did so with confidence and commitment. Take the case of the Buddha of early Buddhist philosophy, who was an individual in pursuit of a way out of the daily impediments to freedom of action, of dauntless living, and charting one's own course.