Why is being bad so easy?

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Why is being bad so easy as compared to good? I often ponder upon it. Anger is easier than forgiving someone. Greed is easier than being satisfied with what one has. Anxiety is easier than just letting go. I think I might have found an answer. I will not get into defining good and bad here since that is not the objective here.

In my experiments with spirituality, in the search of one true peace, I have tried various meditation techniques. One of them dwells on observing the sensations that arise in the body. The technique is Vipassana – an age old meditation technique teaching the path of wisdom to those who seek it. Though I am just an initiate in this technique, what I learnt through it was quite enlightening – that each and every moment, a sensation or more arises in the body and pass away. These sensations can be categorized into two groups; gross and subtle sensations.

Now, the gross sensations are so strong and intense that it is very difficult to ignore them without reacting as is taught in the technique while the subtle sensations are so ephemeral that it takes a very concentrated mind to perceive and experience them, let alone ignore them. For example, it is easier to feel pain in your leg after sitting in one position for a long duration than to feel the play of a light breeze against your skin. The exercise is to develop a well-balanced mind that maintains its neutrality/balance in times of adversity and prosperity both. I will not expound more on the technique as I am just a layman yet.

So, where do these sensations come from? These are born of our thoughts and actions in every single moment of the day. Our daily activities and interactions with the environment around us create these non-ceasing sensations in our body. During the course of meditation, one is taught to concentrate one’s mind so that one can experience these sensations and understand their true nature. It takes years of practice to train the mind to keep it calm and focused. So what happens the untrained mind – as most of us have? The untrained mind is mostly tuned to feel the gross sensations as they are very intense and strong and then, just to react to them, to satisfy them instantly (self gratification at its fastest!). It cannot detect the subtle, ephemeral sensations as it takes a lot of efforts and these sensations get lost in the torrents of intense feelings.

The other thing that I learnt during my meditations was that most of the gross sensations are connected to negative feelings like anger, hatred, fear, anxiety, envy, etc whereas all the good things like love, peace, charity, goodwill, kindness, etc are linked with the subtle sensations. Therein, I believe lies the answer to the dilemma of why is bad so much easier than good. Remember, how strongly we react to all the wrongdoings done unto us whereas all the happy, warm memories flit away from our minds like butterflies. It is in our very nature to be easily led to vice than virtue. Our untrained minds perceive and react to the gross sensations very quickly and strongly as opposed to the subtle sensations. Thus, doing wrong again and again is easier than doing right. In other words, we can say we have a predilection towards bad things that hurt us and others. But, herein, also lies one other very significant fact – that we have highly trainable minds and we can train them to be good, happy and peaceful rather than angry, anxious and bitter. It is also in our nature to have free will, reason and the power to exert them. As with everything else in life, it is a choice. So, what will yours be?

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