Conscious effort and awareness alone can help one remain on the right track in life. And for we human beings, nothing is as important as awareness that makes us see the good from the bad. One who is ‘aware’ gets to understand situations clearly and the consequences of any kind of thought or action.
Life is full of uncertainties even for the best of the conscious and the knowledgeable. The Panchatantra says it beautifully: In life, at times, "the true seems often false, the false seems true; appearances deceive; so think it through.” This “think it through” can be made possible only by one who is consciously aware of everything around him and knows where he stands.
However, this process can be made easier if one can make use of certain ways to guide the self. The foremost, of course, is to think straight, be positive and progressive.
Vasant Joshi, in ‘If it Could Happen to the Buddha, Why Not You?’ lists four steps to heal the self and keep it on the right track to awareness: Karuna, Maitri, Mudita and Upeksha. These are the four qualities one should develop to fulfil the purpose of life.
Karuana is deep involvement and compassion for others’ welfare by extending one’s self to others so that one feels one’s work done and achieved in working for others. It is to be kindhearted and caring so that others’ pain and burden is lessened.
The act of extension of friendship to friendliness means Maitri, and it enables one to see others as equal beings. It differs from friendship in that the latter has complicated considerations and commitments. Under Mudita, one remains cheerful and never forgets the clarity of purpose.
And, Upeksha means “complete involvement without any expectation”. Give your heart, mind and soul in whatever work you are involved in but don’t bother at all about its result. The point is to make you immune to pain and setbacks of failure.