Updated: Sep 11, 2020
Many people are finding life challenging because of COVID19. Some things are so difficult to bear. Proper understanding of the nature of life can help us.
In 2018 I attended weekly classes by an Indian swami. He is a very patient, levelheaded person. He discussed the Vedic scriptures, the qualities of a spiritual seeker. A spiritual seeker strives for equanimity in their lives and peace in their hearts. They can be a monk or a householder. We discussed titiksha: the patient endurance of suffering, forbearance, the capacity to accept things as they are.
Swami explained titiksha as the power of withstanding and accepting. In life we will go through opposite experiences. We will be praised, criticized, win, and be defeated. We all experience youth, old age, birth, and death. Titiksha is the capacity to accept things which are opposite in nature. The goal is to do this with absolutely no reaction, without getting irritated, angry, upset or frustrated.
Whether we are a king or a beggar, we all have to go through pain, failure, separation, criticism, misery, and death. The way we go beyond these things is to accept them. We cannot say, "I want the fire to be cold." Thus we need to understand the nature of the world.
Some days people will listen to us, and some days they will disobey us. Do we obey everybody? Then why do we expect others to always obey us? That is foolishness. We don’t even listen to our own mind, our intuition, our higher self!
We want freedom for ourselves, but not for others. We think, “Everyone has to listen to me, but I will do whatever I want.” We want praise, not criticism. This will not always happen.
Acceptance should not come out of vengeance or ill feeling. We strive for acceptance without any internal reaction, or even a thought arising. Not blind acceptance, because anger and resentment will come if a person feels forced to do something. And sometimes it is best to keep quiet.
Acceptance born out of understanding is titiksha. If we don’t have titiksha, we will worry, which can cause diseases and problems. So we strive to accept, observe, and diffuse situations. We try to bear with indifference all opposites. This, my friends, is titiksha.