Question: I am a college student. My problem is that jokes of my friends often pinch me. Their fun seeps into my heart and thereafter I brood over it for days together, fret and fume… Please tell me what do I do?
Answer: On the one hand, you say it's all fun and jokes among the friends; at the same time, you take the issues so seriously that your sentiments are hurt. After all, why to take what is said in lighter vein so seriously! Why are you touchy about such talks? At best, adopt the policy of tit for tat - let your quick repartee be such that it evokes laughter and contributes to the over all situation of mirth. If you can't 'hit' back at them with the arrow of humour, then simply give them a soft smile, thinking that why to waste the precious thinking power over frivolous issues by giving them undue importance? Benjamin Franklin also faced such a situation at the young age of 7, which drilled into his mind and he remembered it well till the age of seventy! A young boy then - he visited a toyshop. He broke open his 'Piggy Bank' and arrayed the coins on the counter of the shop. In exchange, he purchased a small whistle - without making any enquiries about its cost! Whistling with joy, he gambolled, jumped, skipped, and reached home. When his elder brothers/sisters came to know about the deal, they all rebuked Franklin, "Idiot, for this small whistle, you paid such a big sum!" Franklin was taken aback!
Youngsters, like you, handle situations in the similar manner. "You pay too much for a whistle" - For the sake of small whistles, you readily pay heavy sums like peace-of-mind, happiness and gaiety - these precious assets of yours are wasted by giving undue importance to silly issues! You worry over matters for which you should not worry at all! Even when you are confronted with sarcastic remarks, keep your cool and reciprocate in a lighter vein! Take it easy!
You may say, "It is easier said than done! Unwittingly, but at times, we happen to give strong reactions." Yes, you are right! Surely, mere efforts at behavioral level to change your attitude are not enough! There needs to be some practical way out. What is that practical solution then? Let's understand through an analogy.
This is the real-life incident of Thailand. A statue of Buddha was being transported from one temple to another. En route, a heavy downpour began. The devotees tried to cover the statue with umbrellas and the leaves of the coconut tree. In spite of their sincere efforts, the giant statue got drenched in rainwater. On account of this, the earth (mud)-covering of the statue began to get washed away- and soon it ran out completely. Do you know what happened due to this?
Surprisingly, one could see a sparkling, golden statue of Buddha beneath! In fact, years ago, this earth-covering was deliberately created to detract the thieves. Devotees, who were unaware of this fact, took it as a mud-statue and worshipped it.
Dear youngsters- in reality, this is your story. Your personality, as well, consists of several layers. Those related to your body, mind, brain etc. But you are not aware that beneath all these layers, there lies your golden Real Self. You go on leading your life solely on the basis of these outer layers! And, it is due to this that these insignificant trails of day-to-day living easily carry you away. You feel sorry and agitated. Suppose you have a bicycle, and you use it for your day-to-day travelling. Now, if somebody dashes his vehicle against your cycle and creates a dent, then? Naturally, you will become agitated and burst out in anger. Now, let's say you have a beautiful car. You use it for your routine trips. Along with the car, you have a cycle too, but you don't use it much. Mostly it remains parked in the corner of your courtyard. Now, if someone hits at that and creates a dent, what will be your reaction? Will you get angry and react in a similar fashion as you did earlier? No, perhaps! You will not take it much seriously. Why? Precisely because you travel on a vehicle which is much more superior to the cycle, viewed from any angle and on all accounts.
Try to understand the issue. Be it the sarcasms of your friends or the real-life situations - these are just like the 'dents' inflicted on your personality. Moreover, these dents affect only the outer layers of your personality - your body, mind, or brain! Now, since you always ride on these lower levels only, therefore, even the slightest of dents at these levels hurt you, and you are highly agitated. But once you learn to travel on your 'precious' Real Self (i.e., remain established at the soul level), small dents, the trifling happenings in life, will not cause any agitations at all! They will not influence you for better or worse! You will maintain your equipoise in all situations! … Will always remain cool!
However, to remain established in that eternal state, you need to realise "the golden Buddha" - the hidden treasure within you. When you know your Self, you value it as more precious than the outer layers. The brilliant golden light within you will engulf your personality. - That is the real you! Your own soul! For this to happen, allow yourself to be drenched by the blissful and gentle rain of Brahm Gyan (Divine Knowledge)!