In a previous post, we talked about the sattvic challenge, a relatively easy challenge to conquer. Here we talk about the second type, the rajasic challenge. The Bhagavad Gita describes a rajasic challenge as being like rust on a mirror. With hard work and determination, you can be free of them.
An everyday rajasic challenge
A friend of mine talks about how she was raised to be judgmental and critical. She could watch any situation and know that she would have handled it differently and, of course, better. She knew the right way to do things, and judgment came to her brilliantly alive and intense.
Over the years, she learned that judging others wasn’t taking her where she wanted to go. She made a commitment to set about changing her strongly ingrained habit. She chose a work situation to embark on her learning curve.
She had a colleague who was very hard to work with. He was subtly critical of others, and everyone who worked for him felt they never quite measured up. There was always an air of tension during meetings, because he would either take over the discussion and tell everyone how things should be, or would offer ideas that sounded like ultimatums. No one felt free to discuss the topic further, because he gave the impression that once he had spoken, further discussion was unnecessary and unwelcome.
My friend knew her colleague well and considered him to be a kind and honest person. She wanted to somehow help him be as good a manager as he was a friend. She decided to always give him the benefit of the doubt in any work situation, to assume the best, to treat him as the person he was trying to become, rather than the person he had been. She stopped judging him and let him be himself.
She soon realized that by treating him as the person he was trying to become, she was helping him become just that person. When she stopped treating him as the poor manager that he had always been, she stopped trapping him in that persona.
It took some work. It was hard. It was frustrating. She had to talk it through with her husband and other friends outside of work, whenever she felt like giving up. She had to rebuild her resolve to treat this man at his highest potential rather than holding him in his past where he had done all of these stupid things. Her positive determination showed up again and again, and gradually, he started to feel supported and a bit more at ease. They got to the point where he would ask for advice now and again, and she could point out this or that, in a non-judgmental way so that he could hear it.
Soon, other people started to feel safer around him, and little by little the situation improved. Once other people responded to him more openly, he relaxed into his role even better, became kinder, more open-minded, more respectful.
The best part was that along the way, my friend became less self-critical. Her inner dialogue became kinder and supportive. By helping someone else overcome their handicap, through kindness and respect, she developed the habit of being kinder and more respectful to herself, as well as others.
A rajasic challenge
A rajasic challenge is restless and turbulent in nature. You have to work at it harder, because you have to find a way to keep calm in the face of the turbulence. Working with a rajasic challenge helps you change fundamental things about yourself, things that are habitual and automatic. Working with a rajasic challenge can take you where you want to go.