A Balanced living in the Materialistic World.
Today’s fast paced life is like a rat race. A race without end with ever shifting goal posts. A very few devote time for their immediate family and most of us have no calendar for our extended family. There are work pressures, peer influences, competition for materialistic possessions and host of other factors which weigh heavily on one’s mind. To top it all, in the digitally connected social world, whatever free time is available, is taken up using smart devices. I have seen couples even when physically together are only connected digitally i,e communicating by text messages or face book comments. The children are busy with their toys mostly electronic and do not eat food unless there is a smart device placed in front of them. The days of long intimate conversations amongst family members with no worry about time are rare to be seen. The concept of the week-end free time now implies going to a mall for unwarranted shopping, spending evenings in a crowded bar and next day sleeping till afternoon. Once awake, the people are back to their digital devices so engrossed in these as if the responsibility of running the entire planet has fallen on their shoulders. A few health conscious people do visit gym regularly or on and off where as majority of them are least bothered about the physical activity. The era of the fast food, fast life, flashy cars and smart gadgets is in and value based living is fast eroding. The belief that end justifies the means and thus craving for earning more and more is on the rise. We have forgotten ethics, good behavior and the purpose of life. All these things are leading to family conflicts, mental tension and finally to disease.
What is the way out? If we continue to embark on the stated life style the results would be disastrous. Thus there is a need to revisit our goals and ask one-self as to “What is the purpose of my life”. Once we identify our mission on this planet earth, we would be able to work our way towards it. I am definitely not propagating that we should all turn to be monks and renounce the world. No not at all, we have definite duties and obligations towards our family, society and the nation we live in and therefore we have to work towards achieving these. As a layman, I would recommend the following pointers towards a balanced life.
Have a reasonable means of livelihood commensurate with one’s education.
Ethical work culture as guided by our scriptures. End should not justify the means, as means are equally important.
Laying down of priorities and time for profession as well as the family including your children and parents.
A healthy and disciplined entertainment coupled with practical physical fitness regime.
Pursue a healthy mix of outdoor and indoor hobbies with participation of your family.
Imparting of a reasonable value system to your children.
A fair degree of respect and empathy for others and the society. Donate what ever you can afford for the needy.
Exhibit grace while dealing with others.
Switch off mentally, remain blank and talk to your inner-self once a while to introspect.
In short, be a reasonably good human being worthy of the light of the Divine which is present in you.
To achieve above we have to go back to the basics. The basics were being taught by our scriptures from the times immemorial. In fact all religions have laid stress on the conduct of life in one way or the other. I shall quote from Sikh scriptures (being a Sikh ). Sikh Gurus have spoken about the life conduct of a person on this Earth in many verses. To quote,
“ ਮਨ ਰੇ ਗ੍ਰਿਹ ਹੀ ਮਾਹਿ ਉਦਾਸ, ਸਚ ਸੰਜਮ ਕਰਣੀ ਸੋ ਕਰੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖ ਹੋਇ ਪਰਗਾਸ||” (Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) Page 26)
“ O my mind, remain detached in the midst of performing household chores,
Practice truth, self-discipline and good conduct and you shall become a learned person”
One should earn by ethical means and let not means justify the end. As Guru Nanak says
“ਲਬ ਕੁਤਾ ਕੂੜ ਚੂਹੜਾ ਠੁਗ ਖਾਧਾ ਮੁਰਦਾਰ, ਪਰ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਪਰ ਮਲ ਮੁਖ਼ ਸੁਧੀ ਅਗਨਿ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਚੰਡਾਲ|| “ (SGGS, Page 18)
“ Greed is like a dog, falsehood is like a street scavenger and cheating is like eating a dead body,
Slandering others is like putting filth into your mouth and the fire of anger is like a person who burns dead bodies at the crematorium”
Sikh sriptures emphasizes on the Ethical (truthful) living further:
“ ਸਚੋ ਓਰ੍ਹੇ ਸਭ ਕੁਛ, ਉਪਰ ਸਚ ਆਚਾਰ||” (SGGS, Page 62)
“ Truth is higher than everything but higher still is the truthful (Ethical) living.”
On earning one’s livelihood by hard work and charity Guru says,
“ਘਾਲ ਖਾਏ ਕੁਛ ਹਥੋਂ ਦੇ , ਨਾਨਕ ਰਾਹ ਪਛਾਣੇ ਸੇ” (SGGS, Page 1245)
“ Earning one’s livelihood by dint of hard work and donating part of the earnings for the need of the society, one recognizes the true path”
On service to the mankind (which includes one’s nation, society and family), Guru Nanak says:
“ਵਿਚ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਸੇਵ ਕਮਾਈਏ, ਤਾ ਦਰਗਾਹੇ ਬੈਸਣ ਪਾਈਏ||(SGGS, Page 26 )
“In the midst of the world do Service, and you would be given an honorable place in the court of Lord.”
The above teachings from the scriptures are equally pertinent even now towards creating a healthy life balance. So let us adopt in whatever practical measure or degree we can conveniently do it in our daily routine to make our life sublime.