Be not Overpowered by Despair

Mar - Apr 2003

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In human life, hope and despair alternate like day and night. Hope augments our vitality whereas despair drains off our life energy, pushes us down in the dungeon of despondency and darkness. Sometimes despair even pushes a person to commit suicide. On the other hand, a terminally sick person may start healing by vibrations of prayers of hope and health. Therefore, a person desirous of health, happiness and peace must not allow himself to become a helpless victim of the dread disease of despair.

Despair, to some extent, is related to mental weakness caused by some malfunctioning in the body. Sometimes there are invisible changes in the internal harmony of the body. This in turn affects the mental state of a person. Even a minor biological disturbance may affect the mind. Chronic illness can also cause a feeling of hopelessness. Sometimes moods of despair and worry overtake us due to constipation, polluted air, lack of rest, over- busy life, etc. But causes like these can be rectified with a little common sense; for example, by following the laws of nature, taking recourse to a balanced routine and regular exercise ( deep breathing, walking, etc) in clean surroundings like parks, open areas, etc.. The latter cures the mind too.

Sometimes despair is also related to the habitually negative mental disposition of a person. Whatever the cause or causes, it is not only possible to save oneself from prolonged moods of despondency but also to keep it away altogether.

To some extent the cause of our despair is our refusal to accept the reality of hard facts of life. A person has his own likes and dislikes, but he should not expect the world to dance to his tune. Of course, one is free to have his own preferences but it is nave to expect others to behave according to his wishes, whims and fancies. This world is run by universal laws of diversity and change. We encounter situations and persons which are not always to our liking.All forms and names in this world of ever-changing flux and foam are evanascent  whether they appear pleasurable or painful to us individually. Wisdom lies in gladly or stoically accepting whatever the Godhead of life gives us: wellness or illness; pleasure or pain; profit or loss; etc and death  which is the gateway to greater life on the other side of the curtain.

We can live peacefully and purposefully only when all life situations are accepted as they are  their present moment reality. It is wellnigh impossible that during the whole span of life one does not encounter any odds. If you have been overwhelmed by adversity, have been denied the fulfillment of your desires, and see no ray of hope; then there is only one way of salvation  Get up and move ahead accepting the challenges and hardships of life. Then only you will be given the wisdom and strength to reach your goal.

Many people become chronically remorseful and unforgiving by thinking about the mistakes committed by them in the past or the disrespect shown, or harm done to them by others. Others get worried by imagining the dangers of future. But both these conditions are signs of mental ill - health. Remembering and thinking about regrettable incidents of the past and getting worried is like exhuming a dead body. The remedy lies in forgetting and forgiving. Similarly, it is also unwise to paint a horrible picture of the future in the mind. Often such negative imaginations turn out to be phantoms. Future will reveal itself in its own time. If at all, one has to think of the future, let one visualise it positively. Whatever moments of happiness and peace come in living present must be embraced and utilized fully.

It is not at all possible that a person is surrounded all the time by adversity and there is perpetual darkness. There is certainly sunny side of life. We should appreciate and concentrate on these positive aspects.. If we do so, despair will disappear. But normally we worry about the shadowy side of life and, as a consequence, what we get is dark despair.

Despair results from an attitude of crass selfishness. Those who are driven by selfish motives and those who keep themselves busy throughout life in the pursuit of their own selfish ends, become chronic victims of despair, dissatisfaction and worry. This is a psychological truth. On the other hand, people who are motivated towards welfare and service of others, are vibrantly alive with hope, enthusiasm and happiness. Therefore, we can get rid of despair by lovefully serving others and helping the needy. Despair keeps away from the life of other-centered persons. Even if one is able to grab the biggest selfish end, he will still feel a void in his life, which will give rise to despair and despondency. Selfish life is a fertile ground for despair.

Sometimes despair is also caused by a fixed mechanical routine. Often people after retiring from government jobs pass their remaining life in despair. Similarly people who are self-employed or keep themselves totally engaged in their soul-killing routine without any worthwhile, soul-nurturing interests like, art, music, literature, games, entertainment, social contact, travel, pilgrimage, religious rites, etc. also become victims of suffocating despair.

Despair is also caused by too much self-centredness and a nagging sense of self-reproach. It is just human to be lured into unethical immoral acts through ignorance or under baneful influences; and the only true repentance for these is not to repeat them by getting rid of the causes, and firmly taking to righteous way of life. Constant brooding and harbouring a constant sense of guilt and self-condemnation pushes one into the bottomless, dark pit of despondency and despair. Do not allow yourself to be a permanent hostage to the demon of despair. Be free, get going and firmly tread the path towards self-awareness and self-enlightenment.


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