How Can I be Less Affected By Bad Accidents I Witness, Which keep Recurring In My Mind?


How do we shake off the bad incidents we see around? I’m very sensitive and whenever I witness any accident or any other tragic situation, it affects me very deeply and I’m unable to let it all go. I’m spiritually inclined so I have that mentality that the body will get its due, but it doesn’t affect the soul, and how suffering isn’t the reality since "joy" is our birthright. But still the thought or incident keeps recurring in my mind, how do I let it go and keep my psyche clean and stable?

—Preksha, India


Dear Preksha,
Yes, heavy incidents, death, tragic scenes can be traumatic for everyone, and especially for sensitive people. What to do? The first obvious point is not to open the door for any such scenes, meaning to avoid all news, books, films which portray them.

And if you are personally involved, then you have to take it as your divine training: what is God trying to teach you? Everything happens for your best and for a purpose. Does He maybe want you to become a little less sensitive, a bit more tough inwardly? Or does He want you to look behind the outer appearances toward a deeper truth?

Your main lesson, as you say, is to be less affected inwardly. In fact Yogananda teaches us to find our center in which we can remain “unshaken in the midst of crashing worlds.”

How to do that? How to deal with horrible scenes returning to our mind? One way might be to mentally repeat an experience which Yogananda describes in his Autobiography of a Yogi, when he went to the cinema, watching the brutal scenes of war:

“One day I entered a motion picture house to view a newsreel of the European battlefields. World War I was still being waged in the West; the newsreel recorded the carnage with such realism that I left the theater with a troubled heart. “Lord,” I prayed, “why dost Thou permit such suffering?” To my intense surprise, an instant answer came in the form of a vision of the actual European battlefields. The horror of the struggle, filled with the dead and dying, far surpassed in ferocity any representation of the newsreel. “Look intently!” A gentle voice spoke to my inner consciousness. “You will see that these scenes now being enacted in France are nothing but a play of chiaroscuro. They are the cosmic motion picture, as real and as unreal as the theater newsreel you have just seen–a play within a play.” My heart was still not comforted. The divine voice went on: “Creation is light and shadow both, else no picture is possible. The good and evil of maya must ever alternate in supremacy. If joy were ceaseless here in this world, would man ever seek another? Without suffering he scarcely cares to recall that he has forsaken his eternal home. Pain is a prod to remembrance. The way of escape is through wisdom! The tragedy of death is unreal; those who shudder at it are like an ignorant actor who dies of fright on the stage when nothing more is fired at him than a blank cartridge. My sons are the children of light; they will not sleep forever in delusion.””

So I believe that if you visualize the scene which keeps haunting you together with God or a Master, and let Him gently tell you that behind this horrible accident in truth nothing bad happens, that everything is “a blank cartridge”, that nobody dies, and that every suffering has a positive purpose, then in time your mind will relax and you will be less troubled.

I hope this can help you. All the best, Jayadev