(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/ans15b/aug15-1.html)
India is full of sounds and colours
I am a managing director of a large company, but I had a difficult past and had little money in the past.
Before my children were born, I was drinking a lot of alcohol and feeling very depressed. I made a commitment to improve myself and my future family. I was quite successful. I stopped drinking and managed to do well at work, despite often feeling frightened or desperate.
However, I realize now I was partly holding on. I found it difficult to socialize and maintain friendships.
However, things seemed to turn out well, which were associated with my wife and me working hard and making good decisions at important times. When things didn’t go so well we dealt with them, and we made a commitment to my children who depended on us.
— Edward, England
Not only you overcame your difficulties of your past, you have done extremely well in the present. Your success in overcoming your past problems would be a great inspiration not only for others but also for yourself.
You need not socialize with others if you don’t want to. You have your own family to look after and live with.
But if you want to extend your sphere of socialization, you can socialize with your friends and other company directors. You don’t have to prove to yourself or to them that you can socialize, you do so simply because you like it. You will then find that you can let go, and not holding on.
Recently I find old patterns returning. I notice thoughts of fears of loneliness, worries about financial security, unhappiness and strong feelings of lack of motivation and pointlessness.
Our past always remains with us, no matter how successful we may be in the present. But you don’t have to recall it. If it returns to you on its own, just breathe it away, like you breathe out stale air, if you do not want it. Or, occasionally if you like, you can indulge in some nostalgia but without letting it bothers you.
In my case, for example, I had some very painful experiences when my own students whom I selflessly nurtured, and people whom I literally saved from dying, betrayed me. But I never let my past troubled me.
If the painful memories cropped up on their own, I just breathed them away. If, on rare occasions when I wanted some nostalgia, I recalled those painful memories fondly, being thankful that they were actually opportunities for my improvement.
Without those betrayals I would not be what I am now, traveling the world enjoying the best food and the best scenery, while giving health and happiness to people irrespective of race, culture and religion. I never allowed those bad memories to hold me up; in fact I am more active now than before in nurturing students and saving lives
By practicing chi kung we control our thoughts and emotions, not let our thoughts and emotions control us
I also think of people in under-developed countries where life is cheap, with problems of corrupt politicians putting their own interests before the people. This can leave me feeling hopeless for the future of the world.
It is noble of you to think of the social and political problems in under-developed countries. But the fact is that these people may not be suffering the way you imagine them to be. In fact they might be happier than many people in England.
A few years ago I was in Toronto. A shop dedicated a portion of its profit to people in Africa, and the shop owner told me how miserable the Africans were, so she thought. I thought differently. I thought that although the economic level of the African people was nothing like that in Canada, most Africans would be happier than most Canadians.
My experience in India was illuminating. The people were very poor, and their living conditions in slums were simply unimaginable to most Europeans. Many people as well as organizations in Europe were very noble in raising funds for them. But from my direct observation, I believe the people in India were generally happier than the people in Europe.
One of our instructors in England mentioned that many English people felt shameful of themselves because the English colonized many countries in the past. I contented that the English should change this perspective.
While the English gained a lot from their colonization, they also gave a lot to the indigenous people. Even everyday things we now take for granted, like pipe water and electricity, were the direct result of colonization. It is well known that expatriate companies look after the welfare of their employees very well. Indigenous companies tend to exploit their workers.
This general feeling of shame amongst the English could be a subconscious cause of your unhappiness. You need to make a paradigm shift. Be proud of what your forefathers did. Be proud of being English. Be aware that the English did bring a lot of benefits to many people in many places. The English Empire, like the Spanish Empire, was where the sun never set.
I am even worrying now that I have been a less good father and husband than I had planned or hoped to be.
The fact that you made a commitment to provide well for your children, and that you and your wife worked hard to build up your company shows that you have been a responsible father and husband.
There may still be some things you would like to do as a father and husband, but you certainly have been a better father and husband than most people anywhere in the world. Don’t be unkind to yourself.
Practicing genuine chi kung can overcome any health problem as well as homosexuality
As I write I realize there are a few problems:
I find it difficult to take joy in the world and everyday life.
I am frightened about the future as it seems my mind is telling me things will turn out badly whatever I do or try.
I feel shame about these feelings
I have no focus on what I want to do or achieve with whatever life is left to me
Whether one is joyful depends not on social, economical and geographical factors but on his mind set. The happy Indians in their slum areas are an inspiration.
If you stop worrying and stop intellectualizing, you will find it easier to take joy in the world and everyday life.
If you realize that you have a good family, are the managing director of a large company, and live in a highly civilized country, and be grateful for all these blessings, your joy in the world and everyday life will be assured.
Don’t let your mind control you. Control your mind. Things are turning out very well for you. In fact, for people living in England, things are turning out well even for the homeless and unemployed. It is the affluents who make themselves unhappy with their unnecessary intellectualization.
Make a paradigm shift. Be proud of being English. Be proud that you overcame past problems and are now a managing director of a large company. Be proud that you are wealthy, and have a happy family.
You don’t have to achieve more and join the mad, rat race. Make your life meaningful everyday. Find joy and beauty in simple things, like seeing your customers happy with your products, and your workers well paid for their job.
You have achieved much in this world. Your workers would like to exchange their life with yours, but you may not want to exchange your life with the Queen.
Feel proud instead of shameful, feel satisfied instead of being unrest.
This seems somewhat self-pitying as I am fairly wealthy and am probably in the top few percent of income in the world. I am scared because I thought these issues had passed.
All these issues had passed. You just made them up in your imagination.
From drinking a lot of alcohol, you have now overcome the problem. From being very depressed, you have become caring for people in under-developed countries. From having no family, now you have a wife and children. From having little money, you are now in the top few percent of income in the world. Count your blessings and enjoy life wholesomely.