All is temporary. All arises and passes away. All ideas arise in the mind and fall away. You are not yet in a position to see your life from a higher standpoint. If you were standing on a mountain you would be able to see all the land around you. You could observe the growth of trees and plants on one side, a dying forest on the other, a town being built on another side and a serious fire on the other. All is arising and passing away. You could see all this going on if you were to stand on the top of the mountain from a high vantage point. If you try to see all this from the bottom of the mountain it would be impossible. You would see only what is happening just near to you. You need to climb higher to have a higher and more expansive viewpoint. It is the same in your spiritual world. Loss or gain seem very real when you are attached and close to the world. As you travel higher in spiritual realms you will see the true nature of loss and gain and of life and death. All arises and falls away. Remain in yourself, do your duty and be a witness. Don’t preoccupy your mind with notions of loss and gain. Maintain equanimity.
The next most difficult enemy is the feeling of pleasure and its opposite – the feeling of pain. These occur in the mind. Your best friend is your developing sense of discrimination. Try not to react. Keep the mind still and calm and leave the situation that is causing overt pleasure or overt pain. These too will rise and then cease. If you allow yourself to succumb to excessive pleasure you will become addicted and want more and more. That is why all the masters advise moderation in all that you do – eating, sleeping, sex. Over-indulgence leads to constant desire and you upset the balance of your life. Your sadhana will suffer and maybe disappear altogether. At the same time, try not to dwell on your mental or physical pain. Call on your spiritual master for help to bring you back to your centre of peace. You can get addicted to suffering also as an excuse to take you away from your spiritual intention.
Praise and criticism should not change your mental stillness. The greatest prize of sadhana is your inner calm, your peace. Do not allow the praise of others to blow up the balloon of pride, arrogance and complacency. That is merely the opinion of another. You need to appraise and evaluate yourself. If you are honest you yourself will know whether you are worthy of praise or not. In life we will always receive criticism. My first advice is not to get annoyed or angry about it. Receive it calmly. Secondly, honestly see if there is any truth in the criticism levelled at you. Accept criticism as a really great way to learn and change. Your critics are doing you a big favour. Listen, learn and change but do not upset yourself and spoil your sadhana.
As long as you are true and honest to yourself why should you worry about what others think? If you have done your very best in a good way you cannot help it if others try to give you a bad name. In such matters, truth will win always if you have been true in your heart. Do not dwell on it. At the same time, chasing fame and name is an empty pastime. It needs great and rigorous effort to become famous and it often leads to sorrow and disillusionment. Chasing status and name is not part of your spiritual intention.
Build up a fortress of light around yourself and don’t allow these enemies to enter and spoil your great spiritual intention.