by staff of the Toronto Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
In yogic philosophy, we believe in reincarnation – after your soul leaves your current body it comes back in another form. Perhaps you believe in this too, perhaps not; regardless the insights and teachings are relevant and can be a benefit to you.
In the book Bliss Divine written by Swami Sivananda, it says it doesn’t matter what body we have, “it matters much what our thoughts are. A man of high position may have the thoughts of a beast. When he becomes a prey to lust and anger, he is worse than an animal. A cow is a thousand times better than such a man.”
If you don’t believe in reincarnation, replace the cow with a man of lowly position or anyone else of your choosing. The lesson is that it doesn’t matter who you are, what your place in society is, or how much money you have. If you have evil or impure thoughts, you will be worse off than anyone in an inferior position. Keep your thoughts pure and good intentioned.
Make the most of your life, stop the cycle of repetition. We often experience similar situations over and over again until we learn how to deal with our issues. Perhaps you have seen that over the years, your relationships with other people have developed similarities. You find that you have the same issues over and over again until you learn, then finally the next relationship is better. This concept of repetition continues not only in this lifetime, but for those who believe in reincarnation, it rolls over to the next life and the life after that, until we learn our lessons. So make the most of the situations you find yourself in and take advantage, using it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
All of the situations we face in life are given to us as a chance to learn; some will be easy and some will be difficult. Be content with these obstacles we are given and do not be angry or upset by your challenges. Be grateful you have been given these obstacles because it is a sign of your inner strength. You are given obstacles based on your strength, having challenges mean you are strong – you can handle it. Face them head on and learn from it, or you will face it again and again until you do. Don’t wish for a different life because there are always obstacles and problems, just different ones.
Develop devotion. Be kind. Do good. This is not easy to do; the ego often gets in the way. But be considerate and treat others well because they too are facing difficulties and obstacles. We all face challenges and we come out stronger as a result.