This is an age of consultation and counseling. We seek consulations and couseling for college applications, job search, marriage, divorce, raising children, financial growth, stress, sickness, anxieties, problems related to pats, gracefully aging and dying, and many other things. Many times we learn valuable lessons from funny stories.
The following incident was described in one of Swami Adiswarananda’s discourses.
There was a teacher who was looking for ways to make more money because he was not making enough by just teaching. He wished he would have been a businessman or in the corporate world, but he was not trained for it.
One day, he read an advertisement in a major newspaper of New York about a consulting firm that was offering its services to advise people on how to make more money with nominal fees. He was very happy and was waiting for the day that the consultations would begin.
On that day, he got up early, got dressed up, and reached the consulting firm on Park Avenue in New York. He was early, so he walked up and down on Park Avenue and started imagining himself as a rich man with a condo in Midtown Manhattan. He looked at his watch and saw that it was 9:05 a.m.
He rushed to the consulting firm’s service door. To his surprise, he was the only one there. He expected that there was going to be a big crowd waiting to get in.
With little hesitance, he went inside. Another surprise! There was no secretary to receive him. There was not a single person there. He looked around. Then, he heard a voice: “Please register on the computer.” He went to the computer and filled out the registration form. The nominal fee was $100. He paid $100 through his credit card and, as all people do, he clicked “I Accept” without looking at the terms and conditions.
Then, the computer said, “Proceed to the door on your right.” He thought this must be a big sophisticated company.
He proceeded through the door and again, to his surprise, he found no one was there. He looked up and saw two signs.
The signs read: “If you are earning $500,000 or more, enter through the right door, or if you are earning less than $500,000, enter through the left door.”
He mumbled, “I wish I was making $500,000 or more! I am here to make that kind of money.” He entered through the left door.
Again, there was no one there, except two doors and two signs.
He was annoyed by this in-humane treatment and humiliation created by the divisions of people by their salaries. Well, he was here to make more money, so he proceeded through the left door. Now, there was a greater surprise waiting for him.
As soon as he walked through a semi-dark passage, he found himself again on the Park Avenue Street!
Consultation and counseling are good as long as they help us solve our problem. However, many times we unnecessarily run to seek help from outside. I know someone who takes a handful of aspirins from his big bottle at the slightest headache. Many times we run to take a heavy dose of medicine to cure our minor bodily discomforts. The body has a mechanism to cure itself, but we do not have the patience to let it do so.
Shri Krishna in the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita says, “Rise yourself to a higher level of Consciousness by yourself. Do not lower yourself. You are your greatest friend and you are your greatest enemy.” (6.5)
Shri Krishna explains further: “When one has self-control, then one is one’s own friend. When one has no self-control, then one becomes one’s own enemy.” (6.6)
What a wonderful message! Self-control and contentment are great virtues. They bring us success, joy, and satisfaction. In many situations, with patience, self-control, and satisfaction, we can avoid running around for external help. By helping ourselves, we build self-confidence and with that we will start finding solutions from within.
(Thanks to Radha Dhar for editing this post and Sneha Shah for providing illustrations.)