We recently showed the movie Finding Happiness to a group of about 150 students of the Sadhana Centre for Management and Leadership Development in Pune, India. These idealistic youths loved the movie, clapping spontaneously several times during the showing. Afterward they kept us for nearly two hours, chatting and asking questions. They are planning to make a field trip to our community here.
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But this isn’t a report about the evening. Rather it is about a practice begun by the wonderful founder of the school, Prof. Pillai. The students all begin their day with group meditation. Occasionally he gathers them together and asks one of them to step to the front. Then each student comes up, holds that person’s hand, looks him in the eye, and says three good things about him. As loving thought after loving thought is spoken the recipient often begins to weep. By the end everyone in the room has heard 450 positive statements. What a wonderful way to approach life!

We, too, can practice this in our school of life. Connect with the elements of your day, look them in the eye, and say three good things about them. It might be a person, your job, some routine task, or an aspect of your spiritual practice.
Appreciation is one of the very best ways to combat the downward-pulling tendencies that cause negative thoughts. Single out, especially, those parts of your life about which you chronically complain and find something positive to say. Those dark corners will vanish when the lights are switched on.
A friend told us about a time when he was working on a job with a partner who was a longtime meditator. They had no sooner finished their morning meditation and arrived at the worksite when our friend started to complain. His partner simply looked at him, smiled wryly, and said, “Let the whining begin.”
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna addresses his dear disciple, Arjuna, as “you who have overcome the carping spirit.” One of the best ways to overcome our own carping spirit is to replace complaints with positive thoughts.
Experiment, just for today, with this idea: When faced with a situation that would normally make you reactive, look it in the eye, and say three good things about it. See if it improves your day. If it works, make “three good things” a life strategy.
In divine friendship,
Nayaswami Jyotish

18 Comments

  1. I think I understand.
    But I am confused!
    What happens when one “looses” his BEST friend in all senses (passes away) out of the blue in a matter of days?
    How can one overcome the “grief”!

    1. Debabrata, my heart goes out to you. I can only share from what I know from the sudden death of my sister when she was 24. The shock and grief were overwhelming, yet I saw her in the brilliantly painted sky that night, I heard her voice when my shock subsided, and I hear her laugh in delight.
      At the chapel before the service I heard her voice say, “Sissy, hey sissy, please fix my hair and makeup, you know I never looked all fussy like that.” There was laughter in her voice, a lightness that overlook me, yet I froze because of the grief of my family that stood beside me– “what do I do?’ I asked. Just then the mortician walked towards us and my words came out without thought. “May I please fix her hair and makeup?” “yes, of course!’ he responded, ‘follow me’. I ignored my stunned family and followed as he wheeled the casket to the back room. I heard her voice say, “Touch me!” I did, and I know it was not her and only a vehicle she used this life. I then heard this delighted and joyous singsong voice tell me all about her new adventure. She shared that she had only signed up for 24 years and now she was meeting with ‘her group’ on a divine project that they had agreed upon. She told me to remember all the fun we had, and to look at it as if she had just won a trip to an splendid location, and how joyful I would have been for her.
      When I returned to my family, I felt guilty that my heart was so light, and I was so filled with joy for her that I had to wear dark glasses to hid my delightful knowing.
      I never miss her as I could meditate and then sit down with a pad of paper and ask question and profound answers always came. She proved to me many times that what I was experiencing was true. Every time I questioned, and then followed through with her request, it was correct, and the chills through my body spoke volumes –(and anyway, now she is back now and it is so delightful to watch her! She asked that I only tell one other person as validation (before she came in to prove it to me it was her –with the gender and an exact birth mark) that I had not made it up. So now we are both in awe. She asked that we did not share her identity with many as she wants to live this life and not be tied to her past.
      Blessings in healing your heart.
      I hope this was a little bit helpful.

    2. Thank you for sharing that story, Angelica. What a phenomenal and inspirational story. Hopefully this helps you, Debabrata.

    3. Thank you Angelica and Connor! I lost 2 loved ones around 10 years ago now, and while the pain was intense, and at times excruciating, meditation, satsang, and time were the ingredients necessary for these wounds to heal. I still think about both of them on a daily basis, but now without grief or blame…I hope this helps some, Debrabrata…

  2. Yes, such a lovely way to start the day or anytime, especially when someone or self feels a bit down. Although the story of the response, of the partner, ‘ “Let the whining begin.” seemed just as negative as the whining, maybe to stop and look his partner in the eye and ask him if he could think of 3 things to be grateful for might have broken a negative habit or at least allow him to become aware of what he was doing? I like the point of the story, as I have meditated with people that have meditated for 30-40 year and the minute they leave the temple start complaining how little money they have or something about their health, job or another person– It made me realize, just because they spend hours in meditation, doesn’t mean they know how to apply that divine connection and abundance it to the world of form.

  3. Jyotish,
    You are always kind – which makes us all feel good about ourselves.
    You never stop encouraging us – which gives us hope.
    Your ability to explain to us in ways that we understand deepens our understanding.
    We are forever grateful.
    Timothy

  4. What a wonderful idea and one I plan to begin immediately. I shared this on my Facebook pages so more people can learn this very positive and uplifting habit.
    Angelica, thanks for sharing with Debrabrata. This is a wonderful reminder that we are not our bodies. Yes, we can grieve the loss of our loved ones but realize they live on and we can still communicate with and love them and vice-versa.
    Joy to all,
    Krysta

  5. Thank you, Jyotish. That is a wonderful idea. And reading the comments that have gathered so far, all I can say is how grateful I am to be connected with so many beautiful souls. Thank you, Swami. Thank you Master. Thank you God.

  6. Upon finishing the article, I thought, “Absolutely brilliant.” Then I came to find ‘brilliant’ was already used – twice. Three good things: brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. However, Jankidevi said it beautifuly, giving three good things, not for the day, but for eternity: Thank you Swami. Thank you Master. Thank you God.

  7. A good practice,as anything positive is a great help to counter our enemy of negativity,or the “carping spirit”,which can so easily and all too often does become a destructive habit for so many.Also a good practice is to always remind oneself,’this difficult time,as is this entire incarnation,is but a temporary dream..what is most important is the spiritual path which leads to awakening; to experience and ultimately become identified or one with our true Self,the always peaceful, immortal,ever blissful Soul and God.’

  8. Always a helpful topic because the carping never ends, it seems it is always around us and in our own thoughts. But, we don’t have to endure the carping of others or in ourselves. It is an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade, and practice uplifting thoughts and words. the opportunities are endless. thank you!

  9. Very helpful insight Jyotish. Thanks so much for your wonderful blog !! 🙂

  10. This text is inspiring… and so are the responses. Thank you… to all of you! Blessings with love!

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