Our mind can at times be our greatest enemy. It can completely deceive us by either playing the devil’s advocate or by spinning a web of rationalization. We have to tread extremely carefully and ensure that we can find our way through the darkness of our own mind. These are some of the common modes of self-deception that many of us fall prey to.
‘Tis more important to be kind than correct: Nothing, in my opinion, is more important than kindness. How often have we heard people tell us proudly that they “speak their mind”? In the minds of these people being brutally frank ranks higher than sensitivity and sensibility. You can expect these people to promptly tell somebody that they are “too fat” or “they are going to fail”. These people think that being forthright and honest is most important. But these people lack sensitivity to the feelings of others. To me honesty comes second only to tact. We must ensure that we couch our words with sensitivity. We must take into account the pain the other person may feel when we convey something. We need compassion and kindness. It does not make sense to just get something off your chest when that something can hurt others. So, be kind and be correct.
‘Tis more important to be right than stupid: This is another trap many of us fall into. A brief encounter with religion or philosophy can often leave one confused on the right course of action. We may end up interpreting philosophy completely wrong. It is true that Jesus said “If someone slaps you on the left cheek, show thy right cheek”. This does not mean that we quietly suffer all insults and indignities that come our way. I am certain that Christ intended a non-retaliatory response to those who are capable of self-reflection. If we accept everything a sadist throws our way we will always be on the receiving end.
Alternatively the call of Krishna for war against the Kauravas does not in any way justify the use of violence. Such a means can only be resorted after all other means have been exhausted. Similarly we often find people adopting a philosophical attitude towards their suffering and assume that they simply deserve it. We really need to be practical and work towards the solution.
In most cases we must ensure that we employ our reason in every situation and act according the merit of the occasion. Better to be right, than stupid!
We have to be wary of the workings of the mind and avoid the common pitfalls that occur.