Routine and Consistency (chapter from “How to Get Twice as Happy” by V.O. Ruzov)

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Today, we’re going to talk a little bit more about consistency. This is one of the most important factors for material success and the crucial factor for spiritual success. As a general rule, one develops consistency when keeping to a personalized daily, weekly, yearly routine, created in accordance with the guidelines for goodness, purity, knowledge and responsibility. All this makes a person consistent and thus, successful. This is the absolutely correct approach, although there can be some peculiarities related to personality traits of some people.

 

The point is that by no means all have the same perception of consistent routine and its link to success. For the majority of people, the strong interconnection is obvious, while for others it’s not. The latter group of people makes up about 20% of population and is outwardly no different from others. There people are not some much dependent on a strict daily schedule. It isn’t that they don’t need it. It is that they are far less dependent on it than many others. They can easily make changes to their daily routine and schedule, and it won’t exasperate them and throw off balance.

 

In this case, changes are seen as pleasing and inspiring, rather than scaring and annoying. Let’s look at the example with some unexpected bus route changes. If a bus takes a different route around the city than normal, the majority of the passengers would anxiously look out of the window, feel uncomfortable and scream, “Where are we going to?” It would be a frightening experience for them, while for some of the passengers it would seem nowhere near as bad! They would love the idea of following a different route. It would seem fascinating. They know that, one way or another, the bus will drop them off at the subway station. It just takes a new route to avoid congestion. They would feel like supporting the driver, inspiring him to follow a different route. (”Go it!”)

 

Now we can understand the psychology of these peculiar 20% of population. If they manage to act effectively, quickly and dexterously; follow things through to completion with the least possible trouble – this can be called their scheduling technique, their own level of consistency and the way they handle daily routines. How can they make the most of their personality type? They should still try their best to set a daily schedule and stick to it. Then their “out-of-the-box thinking” won’t go beyond what is reasonable. Such individuals are sometimes called “intuitives”. The main challenge is not to engage in self-justification. Otherwise, relying too much on the gut feelings may lead to egregious blunders, deviations and even tragedy. One should keep away from too intuitive thinking, e.g. presented in the following joke:

 

“Doctor, I have pain somewhere in my body.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll give you some kind of pills.”

 

Curiously enough, intuitive approach makes a certain amount of philosophical sense. Such a person can come very close to spiritual understanding of activity, or rather, the understanding that not everything rests with us, not all depends solely on our plan. Hence, a bit of intuitive, spiritual approach to action would be nice to have for any person. If one doesn’t use it at all, one is in for a big disappointment in planning as such. As they are fond of saying in the business world, “to sell the bear’s skin before one has caught the bear” is scientifically called “business planning”. If planning or using a daily schedule doesn’t involve understanding the laws of fate, this is a very rough, selfish, materialistic approach.

 

Therefore, every act of planning must leave room for hunches, which means understanding the laws of fate. And any intuitive approach must involve some planning, or acknowledging the power of goodness. This power enables to go through with the task, despite the obstacles and problems that emerge. As always, any extremity or excesses will cause departure from balanced development. For example, transcendentalists become so utterly absorbed in spirituality that they forget to plan the practical side of it. As a result, their activity stops after a while due to the lack of funds. On the other hand, materialists are so self-reliant that they forget about moral issues and sooner or later, offend against the law and go to jail.

 

By the way, here is a funny story about the intuitive approach.

 

A businessman once came to the wisewoman and asked,

“Last night I dreamt of potato. What does a dream of potatoes mean?”

“It’s quite simple,” she said. “It would either be planted in spring or harvested in the fall.”

 

Now I’d like to talk a little bit about Vedic techniques as such. These include Ayurveda, Vastu, astrology, and daily practice, as well. Yes, Vedic techniques have tremendous benefits. If their authenticity was preserved by true specialists and adjusted to the realities of the modern world, their application can be very effective. On the other hand, their authenticity could be lost or partially preserved. They might have been distorted and as a consequence of this, could lose their power. They might have not been adapted to the present-day reality, after all. So I wouldn’t idealize the situation. I’d like to say that we are interested in one and only Vedic technique that hasn’t lost its power and remains relevant to this day. This is the technique of spiritual elevation, purification of heart of all dirt.

 

All other techniques, even if they are called “Vedic”, require a careful practical approach. Do not be allured by the word “Vedic”. If some technology facilitates spiritual growth, it ought to be accepted, even if it doesn’t look too “Vedic”. I was preparing this lecture using a non-Vedic computer. I was sitting on the non-Vedic sofa, in the non-Vedic apartment of the non-Vedic house. The house was located in the non-Vedic district of the non-Vedic city. And the country was non-Vedic… But if something is called “Vedic” and you really can see that it doesn’t aid spiritual growth, it should be rejected, without any pangs of remorse…

 

For example, an acquaintance of mine recently told me about his visit to the professional Ayurvedic doctor. That doctor insisted that he start eating meat. And my acquaintance had to explain this Ayurvedic doctor the Vedic principles of healthy lifestyle.

 

Our safe lifestyle is a sensible lifestyle. In yoga, it is called yama&niyama. We accept everything favorable and reject everything which is unfavorable. This is the approach from the standpoint of reason. Hence, it’s the safest and the most serious approach.

 

By the way, we become serious when taking real responsibility for others – their lives, development, and future. You’d think one becomes responsible while thinking about oneself. Not so, but far otherwise. In fact, we don’t know how to wish ourselves well, how to wish ourselves happiness. We haven’t learned this despite many billions of years of material life. Hence, to become serious while thinking only about one’s own spiritual development is a tough thing to do.

 

When we start thinking about others, we make a more realistic assessment of our help. It awakens our responsibility. For example, if I need to get up early, and it’s only me who needs it, I can oversleep quite easily without feeling remorse. But if I have an appointment in the morning, I’ll not only get up on time – I’ll toss in my sleep, feel very restless, wake up over and over again to look at the clock.

 

Therefore, the secret is plainly simple: help someone to go back to the spiritual world, and you’ll find yourself there. However, one needs to know how to help and this is also the Vedic technique. To understand it better, let’s hear a parable.

 

Once there was a very rich man who had lots of money. And he never refused anyone his help. Whoever came to him to ask for money — be it a shoemaker who needed to buy leather or a painter who needed money for paints – was never refused aid. The rich man never turned his back on anyone and never asked for anything in return. Sometimes he would visit poor writers and artists himself and help them free. His fame as a benefactor of the whole city resounded everywhere.

 

But one day it became repulsive to him. The rich man sold his house and distributed money among the poor. He dropped everything; bundle wrapped two shirts and a pair of pants and went wandering the world.

 

Years went by. One day an old man came into the city where the rich man once used to live. He was bearing heavily on his stick. In his torn and dirty clothes, he had come a long way. He walked with a hunched back; his grey beard was as dirty as himself.

 

He went through the whole city, rambled through the centre and sat by the fountain on the central square. He was so travel-weary he could hardly breathe. He was starving but had not a red cent in his pocket. He was almost dying.

 

Just then a gentleman walked by. He was modestly dressed yet was neat and tidy. He came up to the old man to give him alms. The old man lifted up his head slowly, looked up and said,

“All my life I depended on myself. And now that I’m on my deathbed and don’t have a bean to spend, I’m still not going to take any money from you.”

 

At these words, the gentleman gave him a long look. After a slight pause, he said,

“I remember you. There was a time when you were a rich man in this city. You used to give alms. I started my own barbershop with the money you gave me. Now I can live reasonably well on the income it brings. You thought then you were helping us. But we didn’t turn down your offer to help. We allowed you to do good deeds for us. You thought you were assisting us with money. But in fact, we were assisting you with our consent. Now, be so kind as to assist me in my desire to help, as well.”

 

Hence, remember: when performing acts of kindness we shouldn’t forget that those we do something good to actually do a lot more good to us by allowing us to make ourselves useful.

 

 

Determination to Finish What You Start (chapter from “How to Get Twice as Happy” by V.O. Ruzov)

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For a modern man, the major problem is not to decide on things, but to see them through to completion. If one gives up before they finish what they start, this can hardly be called determination. It’s more of a commonplace dissatisfaction. One lacks happiness and tranquility, and therefore spreads oneself too thin, tackles too many things at once, hoping to get a least some enjoyment. Such attitude to life, however, more reminds of shopping without money. One may spend much time choosing good clothes, may try them on, ask what they cost, imagine wearing them… But if one lacks money, it all makes no sense. It’s nothing but disappointment. Similarly, a person doing things by halves is like the one without money. One tries different things, but there’s not the slightest use in doing so. One becomes a complete failure in life, sinking deeper and deeper into depression.

 

Hence, today we’re going to go over several important rules that will help us to bring that deadlock to the end.

 

The first rule sages remind about sounds unexpectedly. Do not reveal your intentions to people; keep them secret, being determined to carry them into execution. This point is insufficiently understood nowadays. Some announce large building projects and timelines for them; others demand that all the details on construction be reported and unveiled in advance. As a result, everyone is dissatisfied. Has anyone ever managed to deliver their project on time and within the allocated budget? Big building plans are being announced, rigid timelines are being established. But everyone goes mad from that later. People are kicking themselves for getting involved in that.

 

It is quite common for all the spheres. Some announce deadlines for overcoming crisis, others –for development of a new drug or for opening a restaurant on Mars…

 

As a result, work is done hastily and carelessly, with the sole aim of meeting the tight deadline. Yes, the great expert can do it effectively and on time. But where can we find so many great experts? If an inexperienced employee is faced with the rigid deadline, the quality of work will inevitably suffer. It will only bring problems because such work will need to be redone anyway. Why is so much emphasis put on time? It happens because no one cares about the worker as a person. Work has become impersonal these days. Everyone is interested only in the end result. Hardly anybody cares about what personalities stand behind these achievements. If an expert cook can make 10 pies in half an hour, he can certainly make 100 pies, if you force him, but that would no longer be the same perfect pies. Just look at the foodservice system and you’ll understand everything. It has that problem: an attempt to cook satisfactory meals in as short time as possible. As for me, I would never eat at such a place.

 

Therefore, the sages don’t recommend setting official deadlines. Time limits must be set with due consideration of those who carry on with the work. If there are changes in the staff, the timeframes must also be changed. If timeframes are rigid and officially set, it makes an inexperienced worker tricky and cunning. Finally, it leads to the loss of quality and even total failure.

 

In a word, the secret is simple: external timeframes must be broad, while internal timeframes must be individually-set and precise. What a former worker could do in a day a new employee would probably accomplish only in a week. You can certainly make him perform this job in one day, but it’s going to be sheer drudgery. And remember: there’s nothing more unprofessional than to accuse a new employee of being slower than the ex-worker. By doing so, you don’t help him to become professional. It would only make him cunning and nervous.

 

This awfully reminds of a well-known parable of the scorpion and the frog.

 

The frog was once walking along the bank of a large deep river when the scorpion approached her. He wanted to get to the other side.

 

“Could you give me a ride on your back across the river?” he asked.

“I haven’t gone crazy yet,” replied the frog. “You’ll get on by back, but as soon as we’re in the water, you’ll sting me.”

“My dear frog,” said the scorpion politely, “if I sting you, we’ll both drown for I cannot swim. And I don’t want to die either.”

 

The argument seemed reasonable, so the frog agreed to help him across the river.

But in midstream the scorpion did indeed sting the frog.

 

The dying frog gasped, “Why have you done that? You will die too…”

The scorpion said, “Yes, I don’t want to die. But because I’m a scorpion, I couldn’t help but sting. This is my nature…”

 

Cooperation means we should complete assigned tasks together with people whom we can change inasmuch as they are able to change at this moment. Sometimes one doesn’t see any point in changing oneself at all. A thief continues to steal, a cheat continues to cheat, a fault-finder severely criticizes everyone, a lazy person leans away from work even at the crucial moment. But together we must go towards our goal, making the best use of our weaknesses and drawbacks. It’s quite impossible to put together a team of faultless people. Faultless people won’t be eager to participate in our project – they’ll start their own. What’s more, there are no absolutely faultless people in this world. There’s nothing to do here for them.

 

When dealing with a person, we must understand from the very beginning that he/she is not perfect and as a matter of fact, is not going to become as such in the near future. Therefore, we should take an individual approach and engage everyone according to their abilities. A thief should be appointed a guard and charged with the task of preventing theft from happening. A cunning person should be appointed as senior and given the task of preventing trickery and deceit in workplace. A lazy fellow should be assigned tasks that must be executed in a way that nothing gets done, as a result. There are pieces of work like that. If we understand the purpose of work perfectly well, we can utilize anyone’s good and even bad sides to achieve it. The Vedic astrology deals precisely with that. A good astrologer is able to comprehend the inward nature of a person and their hidden abilities. However, not everybody needs to know how precisely we meet our goals.

 

So let’s get back to the instructions given by the sages. They admonish us again and again: don’t put your trust in a bad companion nor even trust an ordinary friend, for if he should get angry with you, he may bring all your secrets to light. This world is by definition the world of duality. Any good achievements are accompanied by an array of problems and shortcomings. Beginner seekers of truth, as they join the spiritual movement, think that it must be perfect. But they find themselves plunged into the depths of despair. The spiritual movement taking place in the material world has all the disadvantages of the material world. Spiritual movement is valuable not because it is devoid of shortcomings, but because it takes us out of the material world. A life jacket is wet when you wear it on the water, but it keeps you from drowning. A fire extinguisher can spoil all your things, but its task is simply to choke a fire.

I’d like to make you aware of the following. He is a friend in whom we can confide even our deepest, darkest secrets, and she only is a wife in whose company the husband feels contented and peaceful. Both a wife and a friend never speak ill about you behind your back. In the Vedas a hypocritical person is compared to a pitcher of poison with milk on top. As soon as you realize that someone says bad things behind your back, you can no longer consider that person a wife or a friend. In fact, you have to start over with him/her, if you can.

 

Well then, we have the goal at hand and people who can help achieve it. We make a true estimate of our own abilities and that of each and every individual we cooperate with. We are not rigid with timelines and we don’t promise wonders to outside observers. At the same time we set accurate timelines for all our helpers with due regard to their personal characteristics.

 

There’s one more point here that needs to be emphasized. Goals should be accomplished in the mood of making a present or surprise. A true goal is selfless by nature. It is accomplished to make another person happy. And we feel the most happy when we receive a present or a surprise gift.

 

Hence, goals should be pursued in the gift-giving mood. We reach our goals to make others happy. Don’t let them know about a coming present in advance. It should be a surprise. Then we are sure to get the best result. First of all, it’s the present for God because we understand that we obtain results not by our efforts alone, but by the mercy of the Absolute Truth. We are like kids who buy a present for a mother with her own money or money stolen from dad’s pocket. Everyone knows about the origin of this present, but it’s no less pleasant. We give away not only the final result, but our pure and humble mood, free from bitter taste of self-complacency and selfishness.

 

There’s no need to get upset if we are not good at something — that we’re not people of extraordinary talent. Special skills and talents are not necessary for happiness. To attain happiness, one needs to be humble. This is the desire to think more of others than oneself. Talents would be more of a hindrance than a help on this path.

 

And lastly, here is an interesting parable.

 

Three fairies were invited to the christening of a baby prince. They all bestowed gifts upon him. One of fairies blessed the prince to find his true love. Another fairy blessed him to have as much money as he could want. The third fairy gave him the gift of beauty. But as is usually the case with fairy-tales, a witch turned up. She was so angry she hadn’t been invited that she spitefully declared: “You already have everything, but I’d like to give you something more. You would be skilful in everything you do.”

 

The prince grew up handsome, rich and beloved by all. He was a perfect painter, sculptor, musician, and mathematician. But he couldn’t follow through with anything because he easily got distracted and always wanted to start something new. So he died unhappy because he did everything by halves.

Fifteen Laws of Prosperity -15, by Vyacheslav Ruzov

Finally, the fifteenth law of prosperity states that fate makes a beggar a king and a king a beggar. It makes a rich man poor and a poor man rich. At the same time, those who are not shy in the acquisition of wealth, food items and knowledge, give their fortune a sign that they are ready to take full responsibility for these issues. Sages explain that poverty is set off by fortitude, like worn clothes by keeping them clean and bad food by warming up. Therefore, one need not be too shy in these matters. One should be active, practical and sensible. Wealth, like a woman, won’t choose the one who is lazy and humble. A young woman needs an active, practical and caring husband. Therefore, getting ready for prosperity is much like preparing a wedding. If there is no such mood, the wedding is most likely to be cancelled.

In addition, I’d like to specify two things. Firstly, one should remember that those who are in want of wealth are not actually needy, if they have enough intelligence to learn wisdom all the time. On the other hand, a wealthy, but ignorant person is the one who is really distressed.

Secondly, the science of prosperity does not welcome excessive honesty. As sages say, if we look at the trees in the forest, we can see that straight trees get cut down, while writhen trees are left standing. Hence, a wise man should not reveal the loss of prosperity, vexation of one’s mind, inappropriate behavior of one’s spouse, offensive words spoken by others and infamy that has befallen him/her.

Fifteen Laws of Prosperity -13, by Vyacheslav Ruzov

The thirteenth law of prosperity says that without smart and adequate planning affluence won’t make any difference either. It is said that there’s nothing more pernicious than chaotic thinking and decision-making. And there’s nothing more weird than to aspire for wealth first and be overburdened with it next, not knowing how to deal or how to cope with it. A stock of wealth is saved by spending, just as incoming fresh water is saved by letting out stagnant water. However, the point is — how to spend money. And scriptures recommend giving it away to worthy people. Just as water evaporated from the ocean, returns to it in the form of rain, so returns money donated to high- minded people, as if it were not given away at all.

Fifteen Laws of Prosperity -12, by Vyacheslav Ruzov

The twelfth prosperity law says that earning a good living is pointless if it makes relationship with family and friends go sour. Sages explain that money is the most trusted relative because even after having gone, it returns after a while. Other relatives, however, can go away and never come back. Thus, even if we place a high value on money, we should still be concerned about our family and friends more than about wealth. It is said in the scriptures that both relationship and money are preserved if we don’t horrify them with awful appearance, awful speech and awful laziness. Both relatives and Lakshmi, goddess of fortune, look with favor on those who act correspondingly. What is more, there’s a well-known law of karma saying that our life is destroyed if we insult our family members. Wealth is lost by causing offences to people around. Everything is lost when we insult a person in charge, and a family is ruined by insults aimed at sages.

Fifteen Laws of Prosperity -11, by Vyacheslav Ruzov

As far as the eleventh law of prosperity is concerned, it says that wealth does good only for those who behave decently in its absence. Scriptures say, “Just as sandalwood may be cut into pieces but doesn’t lose its natural fragrance, so the elephant does not give up sportiveness, as years go by. The sugarcane does not cease to be sweet though squeezed in a mill. Likewise, men of noble character don’t lose their lofty qualities, no matter how pinched they are by poverty.” Such people really deserve to be rich – their exemplary conduct shows that. Similarly, a husband proves that he deserves family happiness if he stays faithful to his wife in her absence.

Fifteen Laws of Prosperity -10, by Vyacheslav Ruzov

In the meantime, the tenth law of prosperity says one shouldn’t look for the easiest path to wealth. We may have hard-hitting plans, and if we don’t shrink from difficulties, even the most cherished dreams may come true. It may happen if we are ready to perform austerities and go through hardships. It is said in the Vedas, “Although the ocean, which is the reservoir of all jewels, is the father of the conch shell, and the Goddess of fortune Lakshmi is conch’s sister, still the conch must go from door to door, begging for alms (in the hands of a pilgrim).” Therefore, even if we are placed in an advantageous position, if we are in with many influential people — whatever facilities we may have — it does not qualify us for easy money. Remember: just as a jar is filled up drop by drop, a patient man is filled up with knowledge, courage and wealth, accumulating it little by little.