Changing the Gears of Life

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Think of the bumpiest road you’ve ever driven on, with all sorts of crazy traffic almost coming on to you, and you being driven nuts with the non-stop exercise of changing gears, braking and re-starting. By the end of it all, you are left sweating, fuming, as you crib about how badly the world needs some management. Just like that, our inner world, which is constantly flooded with a rush of random thoughts, too needs good management. And we must master the art of steering the self for a happy journey. 

The frequency and flow of changing gears is crucial to any driving experience. To alter its pace, a car is first brought to neutral, and then a new gear is set.  Similarly, for enhancing our mood and life experience, the vehicle of our thoughts – our mind – must first be eased into a relatively stable state. Then new positive thoughts can be created and simultaneously sustained through complementing actions and activities. If we are used to overthinking, we will also find it hard to park our mind in rest at the end of the day, for a driver must slow down before bringing himself to a halt.

If we are prone to frequent mood swings, we have a rough ride. Like a learner driver we get stuck almost everywhere, and even setting our life back into ignition becomes a challenging task. We then pray for smoother, straight roads to avoid any hardship.

An avid driver, on the other hand, uses the twists and turns on his way to create a different adventure each time. Having breezed through busy highways, manoeuvred his way through rutted roads and congested by-lanes, he is thorough with altering speed and skills as the situation asks. Changing the gears is no big deal for him. He sports a ‘bring it on’ attitude not just because he is familiar with the territory but also because he knows what it means to be really out there.

Intelligent drivers take charge of their own safety on the road, where many arrogant and untrained drivers are bound to flout norms. So, if you are in the company of rashly-driven vehicles, let them zoom past. Avoiding a personality clash now using a pinch of patience and humility will save you a lot of work later.

Fretting over others’ follies steals our time and energy. It de-rails us from our path by entangling us in avoidable side scenes. So, if you spot someone driving on the wrong side of the road, don’t bother preaching him. Stay focused on your job and carry on, for any distraction could lead to an accident.

Tackling tricky traffic and terrains is not the only qualification of an expert driver. We must also develop a foresight that enables us to make quick, accurate decisions at crossroads so that we don’t exhaust ourselves taking U-turns.

Frequently setting ourselves in the reverse mode and revisiting past memories takes us farther away from our destination. And driving ahead while looking back also has dangerous consequences. We must thus be wise planners who use the front and rear views to create the best driving experience in the ‘now’.

For a smooth life journey, like what most modern auto-gear cars promise us on the road, we need to achieve a state of equanimity within. If we see things from a detached point of view and take ourselves to be actors in the ongoing world drama, the ebb and flow of life – profit or loss, victory or defeat, praise or insult – will not jolt us into heightened emotional states. Our view point will work as a shock absorber.

A practice that can lead us to such an accomplished state of self-sovereignty is ‘trusteeship’. Working as an instrument of the Supreme Father allows us to anchor ourselves in the faith that everything will be taken care of. This keeps us light, free from worry and other mental fluctuations.

Seamlessly changing the gears of our life, the right ones at the right time, we can manage our lows, accentuate our highs, enjoy the drive and accelerate towards our destination. Yet, this is all that a road trip could offer. A whole new world of possibilities opens up if we decide to change our mode of transport.

Try taking the Express Train. Set yourself on the rails of ‘God’s wisdom’ and ‘your determination to follow it’. With you seated firmly in the coach of complete surrender unto Him, the Supreme Spiritual Engine will pull you with all the might, and reach you to your destination without you having to work extra hard. Your full faith in Him is all the ticket you need for this luxury travel.

If you want to enhance your life experience further, you could even choose to fly! Our personal flight is determined by our perspective and positivity; our attitude determines our altitude. Our own thoughts can give us wings or clip them, depending on the consciousness they are rooted in. While body consciousness grounds us by attaching us to a false image of the self, and trapping us into roles, negative thoughts and compulsive behaviours, soul consciousness releases us into a space of creativity, choice and happiness.

Living in body consciousness for most of our lives, it is not easy to shift to soul consciousness on our own. We need to uplift the state of our being by recharging our spiritual battery. We can do so by connecting with the Supreme every day through loving remembrance. Making Him our constant companion on our journey keeps us safe. Knowing the lightest contours on the world map and having the highest view point in the universe, He alone can airlift us in situations that appear as dead ends to us and other travellers.