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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Don’t do anything that will rob you of your sleep

Whenever in doubt, lean on the side of your inner peace. Do only that which will give you a good night’s sleep.

I was speaking to a young man yesterday who shared with me his story. Very inspiring! He wanted to be a police officer. He was selected to join the force but there was a catch. He was asked to pay a bribe of Rs.1.50 Lakh to be recruited as a Sub-Inspector in the Tamil Nadu police force. The man was in a dilemma. To be a cop was his life’s dream. Here he was on the threshold of becoming one but the demand for bribe rankled his conscience. He was raised in an upright family where they worshipped not Gods and religious texts, but worshipped Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiography “Sathiya Sothanai” (The Tamil translation of “The Story of My Experiments with Truth”). Even as he was contemplating what to do, some of his extended family members made overtures to him saying they would offer him a dowry if he married into their family – this could have helped him pay the bribe and get his dream job. But the young man asked himself some simple basic questions:

Is being a cop more important to me than being an honest citizen?
Is my dream more important to me than a good night’s sleep?
Is that dowry more important to me than really marrying the person I truly love and want to spend the rest of my Life with?

These questions gave him immense clarity. And he leaned on the side of his inner peace. He told me, “I decided that I did not want to forsake my inner peace for the sake of my dream. In fact, when I look back now, I realize I was only infatuated with wanting to be a cop. What matters most to me is being true – to myself and to all the people I know.”

Of course, this young man faced several challenges on his way to finding a stable career in an NGO, where he currently works. But he says has no regrets: “I earn enough to provide for my small family. I am happy. And content.”

I share this story for two reasons. One, we must all have the clarity in us to be discerning – to know what will give us peace and what will disturb it. The other is that we must be prepared to journey along, without regret, whatever be the path we choose. For there will be many times and situations when you will rue the choice you made. But if you believe you would have been unhappier not making that choice, then plough on. Live with your choice. And it will always end well.

Yes, in the end, everything works out just fine. So, why trade your inner peace for petty short-term material gains?

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