Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida


Conquering our own mind for peaceful society


By DR. Maulik Trivedi, MD

Have you ever observed how the same situation is viewed differently by different people? It happens all the time and in almost every situation. You have to wonder how the same situation can have completely different opinion from different people. What's even more shocking is that many people get furious over this difference of opinion and some even get angry, agitated and, unfortunately, aggressive. Looking at this issue more globally, isn't that the premise for most of the societal problems and even international conflicts in the world?

From the Vedic perspective, opinions are the product of the mind (our machine for thinking thoughts) being influenced by the ego (the part of us that makes us feel that we are always right). Vedic knowledge from 5000 years ago tells us that the mind is unreliable because it is deceivingly rooted in biases. (This in fact is the reason for all of our personal suffering.) Modern psychological theories have proven this now based on research on human thinking processes and is resulting behaviors. Cognitive behavioral science tells us that we routinely make mistakes in our thinking and our interpretation of the outside world. These errors in our perception result in our false judgments. The same false judgments are applied to our opinions. It is because of our own errors in judgment that we increase the amount of outside conflicts. That’s why there is a saying in modern psychological science that relates to this. It states, don't believe everything you think!

Because we believe everything that we think, unbeknownst to us, our opinions are often faulty. These errors in thinking result in certain actions that we think are correct. But due to the underlying bias in judgment, our actions are actually adding more stress and conflict to the world around us.

So, if our own thoughts in our own mind can mislead us, what are we supposed to trust?  Well, the Vedic science advises the following; remove the ego from your thoughts, insert an attitude of compassion and do what will produce the greatest good for all. 

A simple practical way to follow this advice is to do the following. First of all, always remember that what you are thinking is only true from your own personal perspective. It applies only to you. It is not what is true for all.

Then, when you are in a disagreement where you feel your adrenaline rising, ask yourself the following three questions. 1. Is it really true? (Is it universally true... would I feel differently under other circumstances... or from a different perspective?) 2. Is it necessary? (Will the implementation of my idea benefit the most people or only the select few, or just me?)  3. Is it kind? (Is what I'm about to do being done in a sprout of kindness? Am I leaving my ego out of it?) If the answer is negative for any of these 3 questions, simply don’t listen to your own mind.

So the next time you find yourself feeling righteously correct and everyone else does not seem to get your perspective, instead of feeling angry or speaking out judgmentally with intense passion, start by reexamining your own mind. Challenge yourself to appreciate the opposite perspective. Learn to see how the other perspective is correct from the other perspective. Ask yourself, if I was the other person, why would I feel the same way they do? If you can do this, you are half way to resolving your conflict. The next step is to try to solve the problem from the other person's perspective. Yes, you read it right. Try to solve the problem from your opponent's perspective. You are sure to find a win-win solution much faster. You ate also going to find a solution that is peaceful and one that lasts.

Following this formula is sure to keep you out of many different stressful situations in your life. As you practice this method, you will get better and better at it. The more you practice or the more you will succeed in your efforts and become a natural leader. You will be able to reduce your stresses resulting from social interactions reduce. You will find that you are happier and that people with positive attitudes are drawn to you. You will become a contributor to the peaceful elements of our planet. Namaste.

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