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.
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,