Emotions can play havoc in one’s life. Anger has created discord among countless relationships. Jealousy, pride, fear, envy and desires create their own brand of problems. A sudden rise of desires is also a reaction to the world. Many of these are artificially created. Classic examples are publicity and marketing agencies, who through their advertisements give rise to unnatural needs. When we respond without thinking and referring to the intellect, we create difficulties. Being emotional can often lead to tragedies in life. Therefore, it is very important to understand undesirable emotions and overcome them.
Emotions are reactions to the outer stimuli, so the first thing is to construct a positive environment around oneself. If a wall is dirty, we clean it because our eyes will always focus on the dirt. Similarly, the mind will always react to outer stimuli. Hence, we must begin by changing this. To bring about transformation in life we must change, modify, and transform the environment. Our scriptures say that even the photographs we keep at home should be positive. Just looking at the pictures causes a reaction, which in turn creates an impression deep within the mind.
It is not very difficult to create positive stimuli around us. It was observed that certain schools reduced the level of disobedience and naughtiness in children by playing soft, classical, positive music during the intervals. In Japanese schools, children spend two minutes in silence before the class begins. This exercise has a positive impact on the children. They become more peaceful and attentive. In this way, we can transform the environment.
In English there is a saying, “It is better to be alone than in bad company”. In the Ramayana, Manthara spoke to Kaikeyi and her reaction resulted in the whole Ramayana. Even though she loved Sri Rama greatly, Kaikeyi reacted only after listening to Manthara, who told her that her position and role as the favourite queen would change and become insignificant once Rama become king, and Kaushalya, the Queen Mother. Kaikeyi’s jealously and insecurity prompted her to send Lord Rama away to the forest.
Since it might take a very long time to rid our system of all the accumulated negativity, we must strive to change the environment as far as we can. Change the colour of the room, the setting of the furniture, or use some nice aromatic candles to create positivity in life. Try it - it works!
Swami Nikhilananda Saraswati