Insights and Inspiration for a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful You


Insights and Inspiration

For a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful You

Home » Drive this C-A-R to transform your life

Drive this C-A-R to transform your life

by Gaur Gopal Das
1 comment

Without quoting the scriptures, this modern monk is able to transmit timeless wisdom. Here is an edited transcript of the talk on dealing with life’s challenges that he gave at the Ideas of India Summit in Mumbai last March.

I look like a monk. So I am frequently asked, what is the relevance of religion in contemporary times, particularly in relation to the pursuit of happiness. Let me answer the question by talking about how to deal with life’s challenges.

If you have seen the popular 1975 Hindi movie, Deewaar. I had this iconic dialogue between two brothers played by Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor. The Bachchan character says, “I have a car and a bungalow, what have you got?” And Kapoor’s character retorts, “I have mother (staying with me).” Now cut to today and the dialogue will change. Bachchan: “I have a Lamborghini and an Audi, what have you got?” In a megacity like Mumbai or Manhattan, Kapoor can say: “I have parking space!”

C for Change, what you can change

Jokes apart, whatever car we drive in the city there is one CAR that we must all drive in our life, and that CAR is an acronym. The first letter, C stands for change,  what you can change. You have problems in your life and you do what you can do to sort out those problems. For instance, I have had this pain in my temples for the last 29 years. I have tried everything – allopathy, homeopathy, naturopathy, and even tried Tirupati (a pilgrimage place!)  Somehow nothing worked. So, at the end of the day, it’s not that I don’t try. I keep trying my best. If somebody suggests to me any modality of treatment, I’ll go for it.

So, number one, the C in C-A-R  is to change what you can change.

A is for Accepting what you cannot change

But to be honest, there are things in life that we can’t change. Imagine a terminally ill patient at home and the doctor says, only two months to live. Imagine a couple born with a child with special needs. You can’t change everything.

Therefore, A in C-A-R stands for accepting what you cannot change.

One of the fundamental aspects of spirituality is acceptance.

If I’m not able to accept things the more I struggle fighting those things that I can’t change, I’m losing my time and my mental energy on what is beyond me. Therefore, coming to terms with the fact that this is how much I can change, but there are things that I can’t. So, the second aspect is acceptance.

R for Remove yourself from what is unacceptable

But there are going to be things that I can’t even accept them. For instance, I have a friend, who got married and in six months she found out her husband was gay. I personally don’t have any problem with anybody’s sexual preference, it’s a very personal choice. But for this woman to be in that relationship was extremely toxic. So, then that brings us to, she couldn’t accept it as she is so hardwired, and she couldn’t change it. That brings us to the third thing — R in C-A-R. R is actually two things. The first aspect of R is to remove yourself from a situation that you can’t accept. My friend didn’t have any other resort, any other way out, but to remove herself from that relationship. She did, she did seek a divorce and the divorce went through.

R for Rise above what you cannot accept

But there are so many situations in our lives where you can’t even remove yourself. There are people I know who are working a job and the bosses are bloody toxic. But you can’t get another opportunity, so you’re stuck there. You cannot change the boss, he or she is what it is. You cannot even accept him or her. You can’t even remove yourself. So, then R stands for rise above what you cannot accept. 

I was once in New York, and I was flying to Chicago. Just the day before, my friend and I went to see the One World Observatory (on top of the One World Trade Center) in Manhattan. We went up and looked down. It was fantastic. The 102-floor building is humongous. But the next day when we flew, the flight took off and gained altitude, I saw the very same building. The building hadn’t changed, it was as huge but because I had risen above, it started seeming to be insignificant and small to me. Not because it became insignificant, but because I rose above.

So, change what you can change, accept what you can’t change. Remove

yourself when you can’t accept but can move away. And when you can’t even remove it, then you must be there but learn how to rise above.

Call it religion, or spirituality. That is the contribution of spiritual culture in the modern world where we find ourselves in extremely helpless situations at times. Situations where nothing outside can help us and there’s no other way but to rise above. I think that is a key role that spirituality or religion can play. The problem with religion, however, is that faith has boundaries. Whereas when you talk about spirituality, spirituality is universal beyond any boundaries of faith.

Related Articles

1 comment

arish sahani May 3, 2023 - 1:30 am

This truth many know but never think about it. Every part of human body is connected with our head, and brain. It’s time every human should learn and control how the mind works.
Truth is no one can change others in 21st century, only if one desires to change, change is possible.