Problems exist because we refuse to accept facts

Swami Dayananda Saraswati
Swami Dayananda Saraswati

You cannot manage a situation unless you know exactly what is happening. The inner responses are allowed to happen for want of a proper insight and knowledge. You want to have the capacity to manage every happening properly so that you do not deliver yourself into the hands of likes and dislikes, into the hands of anger, frustration and its roots. You are working towards that capacity.

I am absolutely helpless in the event of a reaction. I seem to have no power over this anger. Please understand that it takes a lot of courage to accept helplessness.

Unless I have the courage to accept helplessness I can never grow out of it. I will not seek help even if it is available. It is like the man who was an alcoholic.

When someone asked him, “Why do you take alcohol every day?” he replied, “I am not an alcoholic. I can give up alcohol any day.”
This response is more from the alcohol than from the person. A man who wants to give up alcohol has to first accept the fact that he has no power over alcohol.

Similarly, I must know intimately that I have no power over my anger, my sorrow, depression, and frustration. Some people advice, “Don’t get depressed”. Very often religious teachers become advisers.

Nobody seems to really understand what is going on. A person does not choose to get depressed; it just happens. Equally that person cannot choose not to be depressed. There is no point in advising someone not to get depressed.

When we advise someone not to get angry, he gets angrier because it is not that a person wants to be angry. Anger happens. We need to realize that we have no power over anger, over sorrow, over mechanical thinking because they are mechanical. If we had control over them, we would not have them in the first place.

If we understand this, a way out opens up for us.

When I am helpless in controlling my reactions, I can approach the Lord for help because everybody else is in the same situation as I am. I am sad and another person is also sad and two sad persons coming together do not make a happy lot. If a drowning person gets hold of another drowning one, both get drowned in the process.

Therefore, this popular prayer on these lines is very relevant here: “O Lord, I am helpless. Please give me the maturity to accept
gracefully what I cannot change, and the will and effort to change what I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” All of our problems are because we refuse to accept facts and very often we worry about things we cannot change.

We do not know what can be changed and what cannot be. If we knew that, we could spare our efforts and divert our energy. Our efforts can gain a direction. We can pray. The basis for any form of prayer is the acknowledgement of our helplessness and then seeking help. Prayer is born naturally when I realize my helplessness and recognize the source of all power, all knowledge.

Excerpted from Insights, Arsha Vidya Research and Publications, 2007.

Swami Dayananda Saraswati

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