Right decisions lead to the right actions and the right actions to succeed in our endeavours. Actions also determine our karma, whether good or bad. These karmas then shape our prarabdha and sanchit karmas, which partly determine our fate in this and the next birth. So, our decisions go a long way in shaping our future in the present and future lives. Let us now understand how to make the right decisions by pondering upon their very origins.
Balancing Values and Choices in Life
An individual’s value system triggers decisions. What value we accord to various things in life, like family, money, knowledge, fame, comfort, religion or God, determines our decisions. Some people prefer a comfortable life, which makes them lazy. Some are industrious and wish to achieve fame; in the process, they neglect their family. Some are so inclined towards their family that they neglect their spiritual selves. Some are so greedy that they accord money the highest value, and all their decisions are governed by the need to acquire more and more wealth. The most remarkable example of such a kind of person is King Midas, whose touch turned everything, including his little daughter, into gold. He only realised his foolishness when he lost his daughter and wished the boon revoked. The generous fairy granted his wish, but life often does not give us second chances to reverse our decisions. So, it becomes necessary to check our values. In our daily lives, people cheat others for money and fame. However, one must remember that even if one cheats on others, one will not be able to cheat one’s conscience, which will keep bothering them. And even if one ignores one’s conscience, no one can escape the consequences of one’s karma.
The Power of Belief in Shaping Values: Your Choice Matters
Beliefs construct our value system. Beliefs have a tremendous effect on our mind and body and can make them form and work towards a set of values. One may believe that happiness lies in material comfort, while another may believe that happiness lies in God. Beliefs are shaped by the situation in which we are born and the environment where we grow up. For example, we are born into a specific religious conviction. Beliefs are also shaped by experiences that may be favourable or bitter. However, Swamiji emphasises that beliefs do not necessarily have to determine our values. Rather, we can choose our beliefs. He gives a beautiful example to illustrate this point. He says that we all know that God is everywhere. But how many of us honestly believe it? The Vedas say that if we believed in it, we would all become God-realised.
The Power of Intellect: Shaping Beliefs and Actions
The intellect powers beliefs. If our intelligence is convinced that something is worth believing and doing, our physical and mental capabilities will make us accomplish the task. This action may either benefit or harm us. Therefore, we must build our intellect based on good, authentic knowledge. Swami Mukundananda writes in his book The Science of Mind Management, “Beliefs are the convictions of our intellect regarding things to be true or false without the need for empirical verification. They are the lens through which we understand and perceive the world. When our beliefs are uplifting, then our values are appropriate, attitudes are productive, and decisions are proper. And our life progresses in the right direction.”