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When Everything Seems to Go Wrong

Everyone has days when everything seems to go wrong. Bodhinatha emphasizes that we must recognize that days like this happen and not have an unrealistic idea that all days are going to be perfect, productive, smooth-flowing days. This is the key to not getting totally frustrated. It's also good to step back if you can. Don't just push and get externalized if things aren't working out right. Allow the mind to relax and the subsuperconscious to come through.

Unedited Transcript:

One more area which is very frustrating, something I am sure we have all experienced: days when everything goes wrong. Is anyone here who has not experienced a day when everything seems to go wrong? Raise your hand. OK. This is a common experience, right? One that is called, getting up on the wrong side of the tatami mat, or the wrong side of the futon or the wrong side of the bed. Just from when you get up in the morning onward, everything seems to go wrong. Ah, one of those days. Maybe, it is ashtami! Even ashtami is problematic mostly, at least in the monastery, for communications between people. It is like, there is static in the air. The reception is not good. Somebody says something, you hear something else, you misunderstand. Communications between people get complicated, misunderstood, hurt feelings arise and so forth. It is not a good day for teaching or holding classes. That is why in the traditional Hindu study system, you don't go to school on ashtami.

Anyway these kinds of days do happen. When the day is over, instead of taking the two steps forward that you thought you were going to take, you have taken one step backwards. Things went so poorly, it would have been better if you had not done anything. It is like the data got erased. Now, you have to spend tomorrow recreating it. Whereas, if you had not done it, you would still have your data. But, what you did erased the data and you have to spend one more extra day to catch up to where you were, before you started that day.

So, definitely an excuse to feel, "I am frustrated and discontent because not enough is getting accomplished." Another reason for feeling frustrated - not enough got accomplished.

This can be very discouraging, if we get ourselves into that state of mind. The basic problem is, we are refusing to recognize that days like this happen. They just happen. We cannot prevent them from happening. We don't complain when everything goes super-well and we get twice as much done as we expect, right? Somehow that is OK. If we can get twice as much done, everything will go better than ever. But, if the opposite happens, it is like bad karma, you know. It is not supposed to happen. So, having a realistic expectation that things like that happen, is the first key to not getting totally frustrated.

A nice approach, if you are able, in the midst of something like that, is to step back. Sometimes our tendency is the opposite. We are like the charging ram or goat, butting our head against something. We want to push forward at all costs. Things get even worse when we push forward with more willpower, somehow. "This exertion of willpower is going to solve our problem. If only we keep trying and trying and trying, everything will work and we will figure it out," and so forth. But, that can be very externalized, pushing like that. We get ourselves out into external consciousness if we are not careful.

The opposite can be more helpful if we are in a situation where we can do it. Step back, step away from it. Go do something else. Take a short walk. Eat lunch early. Do something to step back from it. Avoid this tendency to just push, push into external consciousness. Then, come back to it. You may come back to it in a more intuitive flow, things may work better just because you stepped back, internalized your awareness enough, so that you are approaching it from a different state of mind. Sometimes if there is a problem you cannot solve, you just sit down and the solution is immediately in your mind from your subsuperconscious. You let external tension go enough to go inside and the inner comes out. You sit and say, "Oh" and quite easily solve something that you could not solve for hours. Just by stepping back.

So, that is a very helpful approach that Gurudeva teaches in 'Merging with Siva' for bringing through the subsuperconscious mind. We need to relax, to let the tension go.

Another approach to this kind of situation, particularly if others are involved in a group effort, is to see if there is some knowledge lacking. Maybe we don't know enough about this computer program. Somebody does not know enough. Maybe we don't understand a certain piece of machinery. One of the persons on the team does not understand enough about this piece of equipment. So therefore, we haven't used it in an efficient way because we are lacking in knowledge. Quite often that can be what is causing everything to go wrong. Either we or someone else does not understand something.

In the instance of everything going wrong, we usually don't think about things like that. But, if we can step back and ask that question, "Does somebody not understand? Do they need training in something? What kind of training is needed? Do we need to pull out a book? Do we need an instructor to come in? Do I need to teach somebody something?" To step back in the midst of that kind of frustration and ask that question and if you come up with an answer, then implement it. "Yes, we need training in this, this and this. This person is not trained, I am not trained. If we go through that training, we can prevent this from happening again." A very good approach to working through the situation, the frustration.

So, those are just a few thoughts. This is a topic under development, like website that says, "Under Construction." That is all I have for this morning.