Imbibe the virtue of tolerance

Baba says, ‘Imbibe the virtue of tolerance and you will not have to take the support of falsehood.’

It is said: When there is truth, the soul dances. But when I take the support of falsehoods, however small or big, it becomes a burden on me and weighs me down. Then, I spend time trying to defend myself, justify myself and sadly, the more I try, the worse I feel. When I am soul conscious, there is truth. Anything that is based on body consciousness is a falsehood.

When I am soul conscious, I am stable in my form of truth and I then create thoughts, speak words and perform actions based on my truth. I don’t make excuses. Nowadays, people in the world say: ‘well, it’s difficult to be honest and move along. In business, you do have to speak a few lies.’ But it’s not just limited to worldly people, even Baba’s children think that one does have to be ‘clever’ in moving with others. I may not speak big lies like the worldly people but I still do speak little lies and things that aren’t based on truth. For example, I don’t really want to attend that meeting at work- it’s a big waste of time and nothing productive ever comes out of it. So I start thinking of excuses to get myself out of the meeting: ‘I am feeling unwell today’, ‘I have a conflict with another appointment’, ‘I had a flat tire’…. I have plans for my evening and I hear the doorbell ring. I tell my kid: ‘tell them I’m not at home…’ Baba says, ‘imbibe the power of tolerance and you won’t have to take the support of falsehood‘. The meeting might be a waste of time for me, but it is important to someone else. I may have plans but a little flexibility might help someone else, help maintain relationships. When I am tolerant, I rise above the perceived inconveniences to myself, above the inherent selfishness and engage with life while keeping a good attitude. When I am intolerant, I have to resort to taking the support of falsehoods.

Sometimes, I’ve had a bad experience with someone in the past and so I have now walled them out of my life. I make up excuses to avoid going to places where I know they will be present, if I hear a common acquaintance complimenting them, I feel an urge to share my version of the truth: ‘let me tell you my experience, let me tell you about who they really are..’. Tolerance is love, it is brotherhood. Maybe they did indeed make a mistake in the past, but when I am tolerant, I rise above others’ clumsiness, I forgive and let go. I don’t hold grudges and I certainly don’t spread stories to make myself feel validated in holding the grudge.

Sometimes, someone is angry and I immediately take offense, feel insulted, and then feel obligated to tell them off. Tolerance is good wishes and acceptance. When I have the power of tolerance, I feel mercy for the soul who is in the grip of Ravan. I realize that it isn’t the soul, but rather Ravan or the vices that are acting through him. So I reject Ravan by accepting the soul. I stay silent, let the moment pass and then sort things out at a later, more opportune time. When I remain silent, I find that the other soul also becomes aware of their own behavior and quietens down pretty quickly. They become liberated from the clutches of Ravan. But if I instead get angry myself, I might feel a false sense of power for a few fleeting moments but in reality, I have checked into the prison of Ravan myself. Then, I try to justify myself by saying: ‘I didn’t mean what I said in my heart but I had to say a few words…’. Baba says, ‘in order to imbibe the power of truth, the power to tolerate is essential. You have to tolerate, you have to bow down, you have to accept defeat. However, that defeat is not defeat even though it might feel like it at that time. It is in fact victory for all time.’

Sometimes, it’s fear of losing so-called ‘friends’ that causes me to take on the support of falsehood. I start to follow Baba’s Shrimat but it makes my friends uncomfortable and they start to distance themselves from me. So, in fear of losing them, I retreat to my old lifestyle. Brahma Baba had to withstand opposition, criticism, judgment from many, many people both within the family and outside. There were many who advised him: ‘Don’t tell people they have to remain pure, just tell them they need to remain a little pure’ But Brahma Baba wasn’t afraid of losing ‘friends’, he didn’t mix his own dictates or those of others with God’s Shrimat. When I have the power of tolerance, I rise above the discomfort and how ‘I feel’, to stand up for the truth because I know: The boat of truth may rock, but it will not sink.

On this spiritual path, there will be many tests – through people, situations, the elements- but you must never lose to Maya by taking on the support of falsehoods, teaches Baba. If for the sake of truth, you have to tolerate something, then that is not really tolerating, but you are in fact accumulating in your account, the power of tolerance. So imbibe this virtue well, He instructs, otherwise, if you are even a little weak in tolerating something, then you will have to take the support of falsehood. The basis for cultivating the power of tolerance is renunciation. If I am still holding on to the body conscious ‘I and mine’, still view name, respect, honor, reputation etc. as a means of self-worth, then anytime anyone says or does something, I will immediately get my defenses up and talk back or act in ways that are seeking to protect these false supports. When I let go and liberate myself of these falsehoods, I am able to imbibe the virtues of tolerance and easiness, become light and make others light. I will then be seated on the lotus seat and be a constant yogi.

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