True happiness is being in a perpetual “Is That So” frame of mind.

Just be a witness to your Life; be an observer. If you choose not to try to control your Life, you will always be happy and at peace with your Life and yourself!
Here’s a short Zen story that illustrates this point. It teaches us three new, magical, words that can bring us happiness now and always. All we need to do is to say them as nonchalantly, as effortlessly as we would have said “Hello”! Saying these three words in every situation, in each moment, can deliver peace, meaning and bliss to your Life instantaneously.
The three words are – ‘Is That So?’
The Zen Master Hakuin Ekaku (1686~1768), one of the most influential figures of Japanese Zen Buddhism was revered by his neighbors as one living a pure Life. A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. One fine day, the girl’s parents discovered that she was pregnant. This made her parents very angry. She initially would not confess who the man__who had got her pregnant__was. But after much forcing, she, at last, named Hakuin. Horrified, the shocked parents went to the Master, blamed him, berated and threatened him with dire consequences if he did not “own” their daughter’s child.
“Is that so?” was all that Hakuin said, smiling.
After the child was born, it was brought to Hakuin. By this time he had lost his reputation, as people shunned him for his “immoral” conduct. The barbs from, and being ostracized by, the people did not trouble him at all though. Instead, he took very good care of the child. He obtained milk from some of his more forgiving and tolerant neighbors and provided for everything else the little one needed.
A year later, the young girl could stand her own lie no longer. She told her parents the truth – that the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the local fish market. The mother and father of the girl were even more horrified this time. They at once went to Hakuin to ask his forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get their grandchild back again.
Hakuin was both forgiving and willing. In yielding the child, all he said again, smiling, was: “Is that so?”

The moral for all us is to just be like Hakuin. Let us learn to be just witnesses of whatever happens to us in Life. In fact, that’s what we really are __ mere observers. In joy or in sorrow let us not get attached to the events, people and circumstances of our lives. This, and this approach alone, can guarantee us the happiness that we all crave for, work hard for, but never really manage to find. True happiness is being in a perpetual “Is That So” frame of mind. You too can switch to that thinking right now. It’s a personal choice!

You can brave any storm in Life if you find its epicenter – which is within you!

Life’s full of storms. Some are personal __ health-related or relationship-focused. You or someone you know is battling a deadly ailment or someone walked out on you, leaving you numb, alone and suffering. Some are professional __ your career just doesn’t seem to settle down, you get laid off or your business keeps making losses leaving you without clients, without cash and with a mountain of losses and debt. You lose someone dear. And you feel you can’t go on in Life. A friend once recounted how he felt when his father died suddenly, when he was barely 19. “It was like the roof over your head being blown away by a raging storm and you are there, alone, drenched to the bone, cold, lonely and scared!” he described.
Maybe you too have felt this way. This feeling invariably leads to anxiety and hopelessness and agitation. You desperately want the reality to change__and NOW! But why? Because you feel you will be destroyed, annihilated.
That’s such a naïve perspective. Let us understand how storms work. In the eye of the storm, the epicenter of a cyclone, there is no destruction. Because there is no chaos. There’s only peace. And the strength of a storm emanates from its core. The epicenter of the storm is also its power center. This is science. Apply the same logic to Life’s storms also. If things are happening around you__you lose a job, your health suffers, a relation dies, you lose money__know that they are not happening to you. You are not your job, you are not your body (and therefore not your health!), you are not losing a relation__you are merely losing the body in which the soul you related to was housed, you are not your money! At the core, you have the opportunity to be peaceful and feel empowered instead of feeling helpless. You are indestructible. So, why flap your wings and kick your feet in distress?
More often than not, we are operating on the surface of Life. The waves are on the surface and on the periphery of the ocean. They are never inthe ocean. All that we are experience in today’s world, in this lifetime of running the rat race__protecting our incomes, securing our deposits, saving to invest in real estate and worrying endlessly about our children__are all surface level activities. To find peace__and our true selves__we must brave the waves, we must go beneath__and past__Life’s storms. Dive into the storm. Go deep. Drop anchor by practicing silence periods daily. ‘Mouna’ or the practice of silence periods will take you to your center, and to the real you. And the Life storm you find yourself in the middle of will blow over, leaving you unscathed, stronger, wiser, saner__and awakened. 

Understand the nature of, and reason for, your creation

All of us have been created equal. No one is superior. And none is inferior.
When we understand why we have been created, we will find meaning in our lives. It is in comparing ourselves with others that we lose the essence of creation and the awareness of the opportunity in front of us. Comparisons lend us to believe, for example, that just because Sachin Tendulkar is a great batsman, your child, who like most others has an above-average interest in the game of cricket, must become a cricketer. Or someone who can recite a few couplets mustbecome Javed Akhtar. Or because your neighbor has acquired a new Toyota Altis, you must get yourself a big car too. Abandon these comparisons, strip yourself of your desires to become something. Just be. Realize the power within you. Maybe the Sachin wannbe is actually an A R Rahman in the making. Or the part-time poet is actually someone endowed with leadership skills that may be more useful in a corporate role. Understanding the Self, your Self, can awaken you to THE truth: that you have all the energy that powers the Universe within you, and that it will all be available to you when you discover the reason for your creation.
In Hindu mythology, in the Ramayana, Lord Rama asks his Mr.Jeeves, Hanuman, “Who are you?”. Hanuman’s answer is not stemming from a theological and literary perspective. It comes from his being aware of his own Self.  His reply can be understood as follows: “You are the creator and I am the created, You are the Master and I am the Servant, You are the Teacher and I am the Taught, but at a soul level, You and I are one.”  This oneness needs to be discovered and understood, for each of us to live in bliss. In a recent Bollywood movie “Mausam”(2011; directed by ‘Karamchand’Pankaj Kapur and starring his son Shahid Kapur and Sonam Kapoor), the hero is a Sikh and the girl is a Kashmiri Muslim. When professing her love for the hero, the girl fears how her father will react to the relationship. The hero replies: “At the core of it, beneath the layers of religion, communities, color of skin, we are all human. That humanity will make way for us, uniting us.”
The problem therefore is not creation’s or Life’s. It is arising from a fickle human interpretation of this lifetime that has been gifted to us. Instead of understanding why you__and I__have been created, we are interpreting it basis religion, race, color, brilliance, money, assets, class of travel and such. We are missing the opportunity to live__therefore! Let’s awaken from this deep slumber. Let us know who we truly are. All else will follow.

Monday Morning inspirations from Panchamda’s immortal music

Except what you will be remembered for, nothing is permanent. Neither your success. Nor what you call failure.
Everything changes. You too have changed. You too will lose everything that you desperately seek to protect: your name, your position, your salary, your savings, your assets. You too will move on, when your time comes. This is the Law of Life. This is the way of the Universe. If this is so, why do we fret, fume, worry, amass, control, protect, fear and feel jealous of or hate another?
Understanding the impermanence of Life itself and of each experience that comes with it in this lifetime is intelligent living. Whatever has happened, whatever is happening, whatever will happen to you cannot be changed. It is when you live with this realization that you actually live. And until you get this simple truth about Life straight, you will struggle and suffer through Life.
Last evening, I was listening to one of R.D.Burman’s compositions – Musafir Hoon Main Yaroon – (Parichay, 1972, Gulzar, Kishore Kumar). To call Rahul Dev Burman just great is perhaps blasphemous. RD or Panchamda as he was fondly called, was__and IS__one of India’s greatest music composers. Between 1966 and 1982, he ruled Bollywood. I am sure no one needs any introduction to his genre or his songs. Just a gentle reminder will get us all humming. It is said that he composed ‘Aye Meri Topi Palat Ke Aa’ for his father Sachin Dev Burman’s 1956 ‘Funtoosh’when he was hardly 9 years old! The golden years of Hindi cinema were courtesy RD: ‘Aaja Aaja Main Hoon Pyar Tera’ (Teesri Manzil, 1966), ‘Dum Maro Dum’ (Hare Rama Hare Krishna, 1971), ‘Piya Tu Ab Toh Aaja’ (Caravan, 1971), ‘Chingari Koi Bhadke’, ‘Kuch Toh Log Kahenge’ ‘Yeh Kya Hua’ (Amar Prem, 1971), ‘Duniya Mein Logon Ko’ (Apna Desh, 1972), ‘Chura Liya Hai Tumne’ (Yadoon Ki Baraat, 1973), ‘Is Mod Se Jaate Hain’ (Aandhi, 1975), ‘Mehbooba Mehbooba’ (Sholay, 1975), all songs of the musical blockbuster Hum Kissi Se Kum Nahin, 1977,  ‘Nam Gum Jaayega’ (Kinara, 1977), ‘Aaj Kal Paon Zameen Par Nahin Padte Mere’ (Ghar, 1978), ‘Piya Baawri Piya Baawri’ (Khubsoorat, 1980). The list is endless. Each of his songs can send people like me into a rapturous, emotional nostalgia trip. Yet, writes Bollywood chronicler and RD-admirer, Ganesh Anantharaman in his book ‘Bollywood Melodies’, “despite the youthful hit scores of Love Story (1981) and Betaab (1983), I believe that by the 1980s, RD was in the throes of a serious identity crisis. He had exhausted his capacity to create westernized jazzy scores. He had too many instances of his more melodious scores being rejected, mostly because the films were badly made or did not have the right star cast.” In reality this translated into RD being totally rejected by Bollywood.
Can you imagine one of the greatest music composers of all times knocking on the doors of producers and studio owners in Mumbai “asking” for an opportunity?   Where R.D. Burman had made a career from songs with a strong Western jazz influence, he found that he was repeatedly being outdone by Bappi Lahiri’s Western “inspired” disco. There were a few reprieves though from this ignominy. Notable among them, once again showcasing his genius, was the work he did for his close friend Gulzar: ‘Mera Kuch Samaan’ (Izzazat, 1987). He plodded on, hurt, humiliated, financially devastated, in pain and suffering. ‘1942-A Love Story’, Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s super hit, and whose music restored RD’s glory convincingly came, I guess, a trifle too late. Although he had poured his heart into composing the film’s music__evident with the runaway success of the numbers ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha’, ‘Kuch Na Kaho’ and ‘Pyar Hua Chupke Se’__he died, beaten, rejected, dejected on January 4th 1994, several months before the film’s release and, therefore, before seeing his last work reach cult, iconic status.
(Enjoy a review of a book on him by Aniruddha Bhattacharjee and Balaji Vittal, R.D.Burman __ The Man and Music, in the video link here)

Such is Life. You could be on top one day. And hit rock bottom on another day. Or you could be catapulted to glory from the throes of defeat, failure and frustration. The key to intelligent living is to recognize the transient nature of Life. Then you will want to live well, in the moment, doing whatever you can do__the dishes, painting, cooking, teaching, curing, leading, whatever__the best way you ever can. Don’t get carried away by fame. Don’t get defeated by insults and rejection. What lasts is the immortality of your work__when you leave behind a legendary body of art. Just the way RD’s music is. Everything else is impermanent. 

Go through a separation with focus, compassion and a win-win attitude

When you can’t relate to someone, just move on. There’s no point in clinging on to the relationship when there’s no relating between you and the other person.
A friend has filed for divorce. She’s taken this decision after realizing that she can’t make the marriage work. She says she gave it time and a few chances. But she only found herself growing more distant and disengaged with her husband.
I feel she has done the right thing. Her’s is a classic situation where the relating is missing in the relationship. But everyone, from her family to her close friends, is blaming her for moving too fast to ‘end the relationship’. They want her to give it some more time. Now, this is where people wanting to separate must be clear – society, family, even courts cannot be, and must not be, allowed to decide for you. To be sure, a matter goes beyond a couple and requires reconciliation by a third party only because the two people in question have stopped relating to each other and therefore find it impossible to have a meaningful conversation. So, if someone has decided to move on, they must be allowed to.
It is far more important that you are happy and peaceful within yourself than trying to sustain a relationship, for society’s or family’s sake, that has been dead for a long, long time.
When people with children are separating, they must realize and respect the fact that each of them has a right over the child’s development and welfare. You cannot let your individual differences with your erstwhile spouse drive you to deny that person visiting or parenting rights. So, when children are involved, exercise maturity. Look at the whole situation very practically. Very matter of factly. Here’s a crisp set of thoughts that you must visit: You cannot live with your spouse any more. So separate. But give your child’s other parent as much right as you would seek over your child. Agree on a workable plan involving your child with your estranged spouse. Both of you go tell the court what the arrangement is and get your divorce decree. It is as simple as that.
I guess most couples complicate the process of separation and divorce because they are still hurting over what happened. Maybe they feel rejected. Maybe they feel cheated. Or simply let down. And they want to get even. They want to avenge. Or they want the money – part of the estate or alimony. There’s nothing wrong in feeling angry and sorry with the situation. But can anger or grief help you in any way? There’s no harm also in working on the financial framework for the separation. But why fight over arriving at such a framework. Why be emotional? If you have decided to move on, let the process be shorn of anger, grief, scorn and blame. In fact, take a few weeks off. Don’t do anything. Don’t mediate. Don’t counter argue. Don’t berate. Just let things be. After a few weeks if you still wish to proceed with the separation and/or divorce process, just do it clinically, unemotionally. Consider this: isn’t it better you end a relationship that has drained you than fight over it? Isn’t it better that you and the other person give each other space and dignity – after all you spent quality time knowing each other and living with each other?
Simply, to separate from someone you can’t relate too is the most sensible thing to do. Just don’t make the separation acrimonious and miserable for everyone – especially for the children. Do it with focus, with compassion and with a win-win attitude. The best gift you can give your child is a happy marriage with your spouse. Now, if you can’t give that gift, for whatever reason, make sure you don’t take away your child’s happiness!  

No Life Defragmenter unfortunately – you have to face and endure each phase in Life!

Being rejected can be a very debilitating experience. But never allow yourself to think that you are worthless just because you have been rejected.
We met a gentleman the other day. A good HR professional and a very sensitive human being. In his early 50s now, he has been asked to leave an organization that he had barely joined a few months ago. This was the third job that he was having to quit in the last three years. We were informally counseling him on how he could cope with this phase of his Life. Although his age and experience had imbued in him the maturity to know that such phases do happen to all of us in Life, his eyes kept welling up every time he talked about the manner in which some people were treating him. He was suddenly finding that all his experience and professional abilities were being viewed warily. He had been repeatedly rejected by his last three bosses and employers. All this was hurting him and he was finding it difficult to hold himself together.
I can relate to and empathize with this person’s situation. I too have struggled with being rejected. It really, really hurts; especially when you have put in your best, when you are being pushed to a corner and are told – without logic or reason – that you are not good enough. But over the years, through severaI experiences, I have learnt to deal with the grief that follows rejection. I have realized that grief is a very self-serving emotion. All it does is that it makes you depressive. Yes, it is natural that when you are rejected by someone, you will feel sad. And depressive. But wallowing in that depression is of no use. It will pin you down. It is like being locked up in a coffin that’s dumped into the sea. Now, you – and I – are no Houdini to stage a great escape. So we sulk, pine and suffer.
There’s a way to deal with rejection though. That way is to never take the act of rejection or the person rejecting you personally. Let’s understand, accept and appreciate that everyone is entitled to their opinion, their choices and their decisions. If someone exercises their prerogative with reference to you, they have only done what they are entitled to. Their choice need not necessarily be viewed as a judgment of your ability or character. Well, it may be possible that you can learn from the experience of being rejected and you may want to improve yourself. But in any case, don’t let the experience of getting rejected get to you. It is just another situation in Life where you have the opportunity to develop and demonstrate strength of spirit and character. Don’t get obsessed with rejection and use it as a benchmark to measure yourself. “Oh! I have been rejected by 100 employers. This is the third job I am losing in as many years. I am a failure because so many people have told me so.” – all these are self-demeaning perspectives. Feeling sorry for yourself and grieving is not going to make you feel any better or even get people to accept you. What can help you is your moving on and trying again. Chances are you may get rejected again. Then you move on again and try one more time. It is as simple as that!

All our lives have fragmented phases when things don’t go to our plans. Unfortunately, there’s no Life Defragmenter that you can run to fix such phases. You have to endure such phases with patience and poise. Feeling frustrated, humiliated and sorry is of no use. Instead remember that what you are going through, whatever is happening to you, is no reflection of who you are or your ability. With time, every phase passes, everything changes and nothing lasts – not even tough times!  

Snap out of the bleeding-camel-enjoying-thorns mode

To feel Life, to live, we must stop feeling like a victim.
The more you dwell on what we don’t have, the more we will wallow in the cesspool of scarcity. Break free. The easiest way to think is that there is a conspiracy against us. Because it comes easy, this theory of victimization, we prefer being a victim, chained to imaginary circumstances, beliefs, even superstitions and, over a period of time, we actually begin to enjoy the suffering. In some ways, we are no better than the camels grazing in a desert. They feed on cacti and eat the thorns as well. Despite their mouths and tongues being constructed differently__strongly__at times, because of constant chewing of the sharp thorns, they start bleeding because the thorns have cut the skin inside their mouths. The thorns, mixed with fresh blood, create a ‘special’ taste for the camel and it starts enjoying ‘thorn-eating’! Our choosing to remain victims is no different. It is subconscious. While we bemoan our fate and lament our circumstance, in a way, as the McDonald’s ad goes, “we are lovin’ it”.
To arrest this self-proclaimed victimization theory, we must step up to the window, throw it open, and feel Life. Just as the fresh gust of wind from an open window will caress us, so will Life. Life is waiting for you to come seeking. But victims are not welcome. Life wants heroes__battle weary alright, but not grumpy, cribbing sort of folks. According to most dictionaries, a victim is “one who is harmed by or made to suffer from an act, circumstance, agency, or condition”. To stop feeling like a victim, be aware of what makes you sulk, suffer, grieve. When you analyze Life, many things, right from an insult from a colleague or family member to the scary feeling that your Life is going nowhere, are all signs of feeling like a victim. You are also a victim when you generally say: “All phone companies are milking their customers while providing lousy service.” Or “Our politicians will never pass a sensible legislation in the interest of the common people.” Or “I need more infrastructure and empowerment to do what I am doing at work.” You are a victim when you are judging a situation and thinking that something outside of you, an event, person or circumstance, is causing you grief and agony. Indeed, many, many of us feel victimized by the government, by the bureaucracy, by the condition of our roads, by the way we are brought up or by the way our employers manage our careers. For this feeling to go, you must let go of that ‘agent, circumstance or condition of pain’.
We met a friend, whose spouse asked him to leave their home over a fight. She then sold the property that was in her name, gifted by him on her birthday a few years back, and moved to another city with their young daughter. He says he was devastated. He confesses that for the first year after this happened, he felt betrayed, cheated and discarded like a ‘paper tissue’. “She used me and threw me away,” he recounts, continuing, “I was so hurt. But then I asked myself, why not look at it as I have been helpful to her. I have let her go. I have given her this property. And if she’s happy, why shouldn’t I not be happy seeing her happy? That day, I decided that I can choosenot to be the victim.” Big learning there. You__and I__too have a choice: which is, not to be victims. For this, first, we must snap out of this subconscious bleeding-camel-enjoying-thorns mode. Stopping to be a victim means stopping to blame someone else and taking charge of your Life with an inner and absolute sense of responsibility.

Inspiration from someone who ripped off the ‘bastard’ label!!!

When you face up to the realities in Life, and accept your Life for what it is, you will always be happy.
Viv Richards, Neena Gupta and Masaba Gupta
Picture Courtesy: Internet
I read an inspiring interview in a recent edition of Times of India. Priya Gupta, the editor of Bombay Times, talks to famous actor Neena Gupta and her daughter Masaba Gupta on their relationship with West Indian cricket legend Sir Vivian Richards. Masaba is Neena and Vivian’s daughter though the two never married. When she was asked what it meant to be brought up by a single, unwed mother, Masaba told Priya Gupta: “I was in Class VII when someone said to me that you are a bastard. I didn’t understand what it meant, but someone said it means that you don’t have a father and I said, ‘Well, I have a father. It’s just that he is not around.’ I am attached to my father, but it won’t kill me if he is not a part of milestones in my Life.” That’s phenomenal clarity of thought for a 26-year-old. Masaba adds that because she has lived away from Vivian for all these years, she does not see him in that light – as a father. “Over the last 4~5 years, I visit him for a fortnight 3~4 times a year. We chat about Life a lot and he has great lessons to give basis his experiences.”
Masaba’s spirit of acceptance, even as a teenager when she ripped off the bastard label, is commendable. She teaches us to understand that each of us has unique lives. It is only a social norm that Life must conform to certain criteria – that parents must be married, that they must live together and that the children must be raised by both of them. In reality, Life conforms to no society and no norm. Things just happen to people. From unplanned pregnancies to debilitating cancers.
Sometimes, relationships that are toasted the world-over, in all societies, are dysfunctional for some people. My chemistry with my mother, for instance, never works. The question between us is no longer about why we don’t get along or whose attitude is causing more of that poor chemistry. The point is simply that we don’t relate to each other as mother and son. Only when I accepted this truth did I encounter inner peace. I am still ‘counseled’ and ‘ridiculed’ by my family for being ‘stubborn’ and ‘egotistic’ on this matter. But I just let it be. I know how I have been treated. And I feel most peaceful now when I have no expectations from that relationship and, in fact, I don’t even think it exists for me. But that doesn’t mean I have ill-feelings towards my mother. To be honest, I have no feelings towards her. I am sure, though she may present a different view in public, in private, she too has no feelings towards me – other than of a borrower who still owes her money. 
What I have learnt from Life is this: Things are just the way they are meant to be. And if they are not the way you want them to be, then they were not meant to be so. Simple!
Examine your relationships. Take stock of your Life. Consider de-prioritizing or even dropping all relationships, no matter how close they are biologically or socially, where you have stopped relating to the other person. Stop doing, or at least move away from, all those actions or situations when you feel miserable and suffer. When you do this, you will experience a new, rare inner peace. If you like the way you are feeling, do more of it. And do it consistently. Only when you accept your Life for what it is can you be happy and peaceful. There are no two ways about this!  

What all of us need is a ‘Life Unconditioner’

Don’t expect predictability in Life. There is no such thing. You can only be sure of Life’s unpredictability. Period.
Over the last few weeks, while watching the IPL 8 season on TV, I have seen an ad for a brand of air-conditioner that claims to have graduated to being “your Life Conditioner”. ‘Life Conditioner’, I wondered, thinking about that flippant ad for several days?
Can Life really be conditioned to perform in a particular way, conforming to your wishes and producing outcomes that you want? Of course not! Even so, the tragedy is most of us have been subjected to so much social conditioning already that we need a ‘Life Unconditioner’ more than a ‘Life Conditioner’!!! From what we must eat to what we must wear to how we must marry to what are ‘safe and predictable’ careers we have been conditioned. I read a story in this morning’s Times of India where Chidanand Rajghatta reports from Washington D.C that a professor at UC San Diego has, for 11 years, been asking his students to appear in the nude for an exam in an elective course on visual arts. When the exasperated mother of a student created an uproar on social media last week, when she discovered this “perverse practice”, the professor himself has been unfazed by the controversy it has stirred. He has said, “It’s a standard canvas for performance art and body art. If they are uncomfortable with this gesture, they should not take the course.” I am not taking either side here. I am only presenting a case for how conditioned we are as a race – what the professor is doing is that he’s simply choosing to work outside the confines of such conditioning!
All our grief and suffering comes from our wants being unmet. Now, to be sure, there’s nothing wrong with wanting. It is the expectation that our wants must be met that causes us agony. And that expectation invariably arises from a perceived sense of predictability that conditioning invariably delivers. For instance, we have all been raised to believe in truth, honesty and hard work. We have been fed one myth after another to prove this point. But when you arrive in the ‘real world’ you see that there is so much falsehood, dishonesty and ‘easy-get-luckiness’ around – and it is creating wealth too for sure – that you wonder if your belief systems are wrong in the first place. (Think of the week that was and of Salman Khan, Jayalalithaa and Ramalinga Raju!) No. Your beliefs are right. And they are still relevant. But your expectation that just because you have the right value systems, everything must go to a plan and must lead you to your just rewards, well, that expectation is wrongly placed! In Life, some times, 2 + 2 will not equal four. Life is not an input = assured output linear progression in the short-term. Eventually, Life’s math will add up, but not before going through a sea of unpredictability, highs and lows and gut-wrenching turbulence of its own inscrutable kind.

The best way to live is to not expect anything from Life. Simply do what you feel good about. And do it well. Leave the outcomes to Life. Important, please don’t be button-holed into social conditioning either. To take on that TV ad on a spiritual plane, choose a ‘Life Unconditioner’ approach to living – that alone can deliver a truly liberating, aha!, experience. 

We are all a product of the time we go through

The situation that you are dealing with is your God. This is where experience comes from, this is how you learn – and unlearn.
The other day a cousin visited us. She’s been fighting cancer and has lost all her hair consequently. But she was her usual cheerful, well-groomed self. She’s been through a lot in her Life apart from her own health situation. And it was inspiring to see how she had coped with cancer with equanimity and cheer. We got chatting a bit on her positive attitude being her biggest asset. She corrected me – she saw it as her only asset! I agreed wholeheartedly. I told her: “The crises we go through in Life are our teachers. They are the God we seek. Because only through them, do we learn and unlearn to live inspired and intelligently.”
This morning’s story in Chennai Times on the Tamil star Simbu (Silambarasan) only reiterated this perspective. Simbu confessed to TOI’s Janani Karthik: “I have had no (film) release for the past two years. But personally, in the last two years, I have learnt a lot about Life. I have had personal experiences that have tried me… I might have been born with a silver spoon, but I went through a lot. I lost everything. I lost films, I lost money; it hurts when I go and ask for money from my mother for my daily expenses. When I lost money and films, I thought that, at least, I have someone who loves me, who I was in love with too, by my side. But now, the girl (Hansika) also has gone. Throughout that period, I thought that I would get married one day, have children of my own… But that too is not happening now. It was when I lost everything in Life, that I realized that I have only my breath with me. I am still alive, and I believe that I am alive for a purpose on this earth… That’s a very evolved Simbu talking there. And that’s what Life’s situations do to you.
You, me, everyone – all of us, are a product of the time we go through. Our situations mold us. They make us the people that we are now. And they will further make us who will be in the future. So, in effect, in reality, each situation is God. To be sure, situations are just events, mere happenings, in Life. You can go on and label them as good, bad, testing, whatever, but you can’t change a situation. Only time can. In going through any situation, you can learn – or unlearn – from it or you can resist it and so suffer. When you accept a situation and learn from it, you evolve. It is as simple as that. So, to me, God is not in a temple or a mosque or a church. The God we seek is right in us, with us, in each situation we experience in Life.

When you reach this state of understanding of Life, you are unmoved by the situations. Nothing can rattle you anymore. You remain anchored in your inner peace. You have then realized that everything is transient and impermanent. Why worry about anything that will go away from you certainly some day? Without exception, each of us has to go – empty handed. So, the best way to live is to live intelligently – learning from each experience and going with the flow of Life!