Refrain from Complaining
Examine how much we are prone to complain about something rather than surrendering our judgements to the Lord as Swami advises us to do. Let’s begin with a short story:
There once was a monastery that was very strict. Following a vow of silence, no one was allowed to speak at all. But there was one exception to this rule. Every ten years, the monks were permitted to speak just two words. After spending his first ten years at the monastery, one monk went to the head monk. “It has been ten years,” said the head monk.”What are the two words you would like to speak?””Bed… hard…” said the monk.”I see,” replied the head monk. Ten years later, the monk returned to the head monk’s office. “It has been ten more years,” said the head monk. “What are the two words you would like to speak?” “Food… stinks…” said the monk. “I see,” replied the head monk. Yet another ten years passed and the monk once again met with the head monk who asked, “What are your two words now, after these ten years?””I… quit!” said the monk. “Well, I can see why,” replied the head monk. “All you ever do is complain.”
Might someone say that about you…that you complain too much? We often feel a need to complain when we are confronted with people, things, or happenings in life that don’t correspond to the way WE want them to be. But who are we to decide how life is supposed to be? The habit of complaining arises from a wavering faith and lack of confidence in the Lord. Let’s read what Swami has said about this:
Resign yourself into God’s hands; let Him give success or failure. What does it matter? He may be bent upon toughening you, or it may be for your good in the long run. How can you judge? Who are you to judge? Do your best and keep mum. (SSS VOL III p 93)
You must surrender your judgment to the Lord; then the Lord will assume full responsibility and be the guardian, guide, and motive power. (SSS VOL VII p360)
Your faith should give you total confidence in Me. You should have the implicit confidence that I will look after you, take care of you, and provide for you. You should have the confidence that My Grace is always with you and that I am always watching over you and protecting you. You should have the confidence that I will never let you down, that I am always there beside you, helping you, supporting you, comforting you and carrying you through troubles and hardships. (SSAV p 8)
If you give up all and surrender to the Lord, He will guard you and guide you. When you complain ‘Oh He has not guarded me’ , I reply ‘You have not surrendered’. The Lord has come just for this very task. He is declaring that He will do so; that is the very task that has brought Him! Of course, you all talk of surrender, of placing all at the Feet, but you withhold a great deal. (SSS VOL IV Chap 2 p. 16)
Questions for Discussion:
Quote #1&2: In these two quotes, Swami directs us to suspend judgements and accept that whatever the Lord provides for us is for our own good. We must simply do our best and ‘keep mum’ (not complain). What kinds of things do you have a tendency to complain about? Are you willing to let them go and ‘keep mum’?
Quote #3: This quote inspires us to have TOTAL confidence in the Lord. There is no need to worry or complain about anything. Are you able to sustain this absolute confidence in the Lord no matter what happens? What habits have you cultivated in order to do so?
Quote #4: In this quote, Swami exhorts us to ‘surrender to the Lord’. Explain what this mean to you?
During the week, let’s work on refraining from complaining. Whenever you hear yourself complaining about whomever or whatever, stop and embrace the situation as teaching you something. Often, what we complain about outside of ourselves is also present within ourselves. Reflect to see if this is true for you.
(key to citations: SSS – Sathya Sai Speaks, SSAV -Sathya Sai’s Amrita Varshini)