From vice to virtue

Vice to virtue

“Real happiness comes from cultivating inner contentment. Knowing that I have all that I need right here inside of me.” – Aruna Ladva
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Spirituality, the ultimate path to self-improvement, has to be one where we shift our consciousness from mortal to immortal, from being entrapped in a physical consciousness to being in soul consciousness, and ultimately from vice to virtue. Because the absolute transformation has to be one in which there is not a single destructive, damaging or detrimental thought; the ideal being we aspire to be, one who has no negative words, feelings and attitudes. The ultimate choice always has to be virtue over vice. Let’s try to understand the transformation process: Desire is the root of all our problems! There is a difference between desire and ambition or pursuing a goal. Desire is an uncontrollable craving. It is when a desire becomes a need that it spirals out of control. Inevitably this kind of obsession leads us to do anything in our power to satiate that desire. In attempting to fulfil this desire we mostly turn to the old habits of anger, greed, attachment, ego and lust.

However, to become the ideal being that we aspire to be, we have to sublimate these negative traits into peace, happiness, love, truth and purity. Turning anger into peace: We know quite a few things about anger…Anger is a secondary emotion, which, in simple language, means there is something else bugging you below the surface, which manifests as anger. It is a cry for help—we see babies getting angry when they want some attention or when they have soiled their nappy, and as adults we have continued this same behaviour believing it will get us what we want. Anger is also a form of control—a manipulative way of controlling a person or situation. Anger paralyses the person who is the object of the anger and almost always makes them give in to keep the peace.

In the presence of an angry person, one also tends to feel guilty for generating their anger, unless one has high self-esteem and can clearly see the difference between one’s own behaviour and the angry party. When we are at peace, we are in control of our inner world, which is reflected in our outer world. We need not control anything outside of ourselves—it will not/should not make a difference to our inner world. We are naturally content. Roaring exhausts, your partner slurping soup, children constantly bickering, the neighbour complaining, the weather being ‘temperamental’; most of these things can be tolerated with inner peace. We don’t try to fix people or situations but we go with the flow. We try to control the outer only when there is no inner control. A restless mind creates a restless environment. Turning greed into happiness. Greed is a kind of forgetfulness of our true self! True wisdom is when I realise that I indeed am self-sufficient; I need nothing more from outside myself to complete me. Greed creates the illusion that more is better and is bound to make me happier… but it is a bottomless pit. Accumulating further assets does not satiate that hunger. Because that is not the hunger of the soul—it would be akin to feeding someone a five-course meal when what they really wanted was a glass of water.

The euphoria we get from achieving the object of our desire quickly dissipates. We need to return to the state which is pure, unadulterated, untainted, unmixed, authentic, and original.

Real happiness comes from cultivating inner contentment. Knowing that I have all that I need right here inside of me. When we learn to be happy and content with whatever we have, then with that energy a lot more will automatically come. Attachment to love: In the name of love we are attached, clingy and get sensitive easily. True love needs to strengthen and support, not weaken. And because it is not true love but fear-based, we feel the need to hold on, or to attach ourselves to someone. Loving someone means to allow them to be, not trying to carve out and perfect them–this is attachment. Attachment to a particular image or an image you have created of them inside your head—and now you are trying to match the two. Free them from the clutches of your expectations. Where there is love, the person will return—where there is attachment, the soul will feel suffocated and look for freedom elsewhere.

Ego to Truth: Ego is a false image of our self that crumbles very easily because it has no real foundation. We create it to replace the shortage of real self-respect. We also embellish it when we feel we want to prove something or have power over someone. In various ways, we have given our power away, and thus have little power left. We have made so many mistakes that we are ashamed of now, trying to live the truth as self-doubt keeps creeping in. It’s almost as if we have to begin again—begin a new life; a life of complete truth. When we are living our truth, when we are honest, we need not prove anything to anyone. We are perfectly steadfast in our beliefs.

Lust to Purity: Lust is a dilution of the soul. There is lust for sexual gratification, lust for power, and lust for food. The important thing to understand about lust is that it is an energy that is generated from outside the self, and we rely on someone or something external to get the need met. The euphoria we get from achieving the object of our desire quickly dissipates. We need to return to the state which is pure, unadulterated, untainted, unmixed, authentic, and original. And I can only do this by utilising my own inner reserve and God’s light; not someone else’s. As I “un-pollute” the mind and heart, I clear out the old memory tracks and delete all the old files of pain and sorrow, so that only the goodness remains. It’s time… to make a shift in consciousness from mortal to immortal. It’s time to sublimate our weaknesses and aspire to live a life of peace, happiness, love, truth and purity.

We have relied on these weaknesses (anger, greed, attachment, ego and lust) for too long and received too much pain as a result. It’s now time to exercise virtue; it has a longer shelf life, and is more rewarding. Clear out the old files, the old memory track, so in response to any given impulse, you will only have the good to retrieve.

By Aruna Ladva

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