Whatever happens, just say, “Thank You!”

Life has this uncanny knack of befuddling you, amazing you and shocking you __ at all times! Especially, when you least expect it! In such times, you may just want to wring your hands in despair and scream your gut out. But I have learned, through experience, that “Thank You” works best!   

Yesterday was another of those days when Life decided to be reckless and clueless. We were hit from a myriad different directions. By noon I was feeling like Nana Patekar (playing Mumbai’s Joint Commissioner of Police, Rakesh Maria) in Ram Gopal Varma’s “The Attacks of 26/11”. In the film, Patekar, describing the horrific night of November 26, 2008, exclaims, “It is not whether what I plan to do is good or bad, or right or wrong, that worries me. I simply don’t know what to do!”

Surely, you too have faced such situations. It’s incredible but it is true. That when one aspect of your Life is under stress, others begin to wobble too! I dived into my arsenal of ‘mouna’. I bought myself a coffee and sat quietly for about 45 minutes. I thought deeply about each situation that confronted us and said a soft “Thank You” to Life in each context. As I proceeded from reviewing one challenge after another, expressing a deep gratitude for the experience we were going through, I found myself regaining calm. From that inner peace, I deduced that each of those challenges had to be dealt with stoically. Life had to be faced. One challenge at a time. With as much gratitude as fortitude.

We often remember or we are reminded to thank Life for our blessings. But we seldom think of thanking Life for the challenges, for the landmines that burst from beneath our feet, catching us off-guard and leaving us numb, cold, battered and bruised.

An indisputable truth about Life is that while opportunities have made us successful, our problems have made us strong. So, we can’t be reacting to Life with the same immaturity or naivete that we displayed when we faced our first Life-changing crisis. Reflect on your own Life. Make a list of all crises you have faced in the past. Recall what you were in the face of that situation and how that situation has helped you become a better manager, a better human being and a better planner. So, if something has helped you, wouldn’t you say “Thank You”? Wouldn’t you thank a person who has made a difference to your Life? If you would, naturally, why wouldn’t you thank Life for placing before you yet another experience to learn from, evolve with and grow into a better voyager?

Each of your experiences have kind of made you an expert in dealing with a problem. The second time you face a similar problem, you are always better equipped from your previous experience in dealing with it. So thanking Life and being grateful for that experience for shaping your Life makes facing and learning from that experience so much more easy. And fun!

There’s an ancient fable that I read on the internet.

Narada, the great Indian mystic, is going to see God. Playing on his Veena (a multi-stringed musical instrument), he passes a forest, and comes across a very old sage sitting under a tree.

The old sage says to Narada, “You are going to God — please ask one question from me. I have been making all kinds of efforts for three lives, now how much more is needed? How much longer do I have to wait? When is my liberation going to happen? You just ask him!”

Narada laughed and said, “Okay.”

As he progressed, just by the side, under another tree, a young man was dancing with his Ektara (a single stringed musical instrument), singing, dancing — very young. He may have been only 30. Jokingly, Narada asked the young man, “Would you also like any question to be asked of God — I am going to see God. The old man, your neighbor, has asked me to check for him with God.”

The young man did not reply. He continued his dance — as if he had not heard Narada at all, as if he was not there at all.

After a few days, Narada came back. He told the old man, “I asked God. He said three lives more.”

The old man was doing his japa (prayer) on his beads. He threw the beads. He was in a rage. He threw the scriptures that he was keeping with him, and he said, “This is absolutely unjust! Three lives more?!”

Narada moved to the young man who was again dancing, and he said, “Although you had not asked, by the way, I asked God about you too. But now I am afraid — whether to tell it to you or not? Seeing the rage of the old man, I am hesitating.”

The young man did not say anything; he continued to dance. Narada however told him what he had found out: “When I asked, God said, ‘Tell the young man that he will have to be born as many times as there are leaves on the tree under which he is dancing.’”

And the young man started dancing even more ecstatically, and he said, “So fast?! There are so many trees in the world and so many leaves… only this much? Only these leaves? Only this many lives? However, when you go to meet God next, thank him from me! Whatever is, let it be. I am grateful for what is.

The legend goes that the young man was immediately liberated. He was enlightened. Perhaps because he implicitly trusted Life (in his case, God) to do only good unto him. With such trust in Life, no more lives are needed. And a normal human lifetime morphs into an eternal spiritual experience.

So whatever happens, let it! Be grateful for what is! Because, with each experience, Life’s making you better, stronger and more experienced than you were, when you first arrived on the planet! 

Author: AVIS Viswanathan

the happynesswala - Inspired Speaker, Life Coach and Author of "Fall Like A Rose Petal"; Inspiring 'Happyness'!

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