Why is there so much suffering in, and around, us – despite so much emphasis on religion and rituals?
We were with some friends yesterday. And the conversation slowly wound its way to us sharing notes on the inscrutability of Life and the power of prayer and surrender.
A friend threw up these questions: “Is ritual an enabler for prayer? Is it necessary to be ritualistic to realize God – and happiness and equanimity? And does any ritual aid the process of surrender?”
Now, those are important questions. And I believe the answers, as I have gleaned from learnings from my lived experiences, lead us to a deeper, better, understanding of Life.
We must realize that we have all been created without our asking to be born. This is a choiceless birth for each of us. So, we must recognize that there is a Higher Energy, Creation, that has given us this human form and has given us this opportunity to experience this lifetime the way we are experiencing it presently.
I see this Higher Energy as Life itself. And I humbly submit to its intelligence, to its might and to its grace.
Some look upon this Higher Energy as ‘God’ – and their religious conditioning gives this ‘God’ a name, shape or form. But clearly, there is no disputing that there is a Higher Energy that powers this Universe, that has designed, and is administering, the cosmic Master Plan. Otherwise, why would you and I be human? We may well have been created as a less endowed species in the animal or plant world or even be an inanimate object – after all, they were all created too, without any of them asking to be!
So, to me, there are only two states to be in – eternal gratitude and total surrender. In fact, it is when these two states are maintained in unison, it is when they confluence, in us, in our view of our world, that true happiness and equanimity can be experienced and sustained.
Prayer is nothing but a way of expressing gratitude – Thank ‘you’, Thank ‘you’, Thank ‘you’! And prayer itself denotes surrender – I don’t know, I don’t understand, so I give myself up to ‘you’. The ‘you’ here is the Higher Energy, Creation.
This is all there is to Life. It is simple, easy to understand and easy to practise. The truth is you can never understand the mind of Creation. You simply cannot understand Life. At best, you can be forever grateful for who you are and what you have, and in complete surrender, flowing with Life for what it is.
We however complicate this process of flowing by resisting what is, by bringing in our logic, desire and expectations. Much of all human distress stems from our wanting our Life to be a certain way – to be different from what it is. As long as we want something, in a certain fashion, we will suffer. And that is what is happening to – and in – all of us.
The human mind, when it is suffering, is like a smoldering cauldron of myriad, uncontrolled, often wasteful and debilitating, thoughts. And religion, as a means of suggesting a method to calm the mind, to weed out debilitating thoughts and emotions, recommends rituals. The larger idea is that the rigor of ritual – in spirit and activity – will help you learn the value of gratitude and surrender. Deep at the core of all rituals, across religions, is this idea of complete, total, surrender. But what have we been conditioned to believe? Practise rituals to cleanse your sins; be ritualistic or you will be punished by ‘God’; if you want your prayers answered, your wants fulfilled, follow this ritual or that; rituals can banish your ‘bad’ phases and so on and on. Bottomline – we have been fed loads and loads of garbage in the name of religion and rituals. Which is why, despite all the rituals, despite all the religiosity in us, many of us are still unhappy, fearful, worried and are suffering endlessly!
So, my answer to my friend’s questions was this: “Do you normally need any apparatus to help you breathe? Not really. But, if your body systems are weak, well, you do need a ventilator. Similarly, do you need a method to practise gratitude and be in total surrender? Surely not. For, if you understand that being created in this human form is a blessing, you can only be grateful, you can only be in surrender. But if you don’t realize – or reflect on – this blessing, well, you then need a method, a device – a.k.a ritual and/or religion – to help you along. But, clearly, no method can help you live happily – in gratitude and surrender – unless you are willing to flow with Life’s Master Plan, for you, the way it is.”
2 thoughts on “Only gratitude and surrender, not religion or ritual, lead you to happiness”
Beautiful lines……Prayer is nothing but a way of expressing gratitude – Thank ‘you’, Thank ‘you’, Thank ‘you’! And prayer itself denotes surrender – I don’t know, I don’t understand, so I give myself up to ‘you’. The ‘you’ here is the Higher Energy, Creation.
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Matha,Pitha,Guru,Daivam are the four corners of your own Protrait that is mounted on the wall called LIFE.
LIFE is an opportunity blessed on you by the Creator who presented before You in the form of Matha, Pitha,Guru, and Daivam.
Since I started my career as a full time lecturer in an Arts &Science College, in Bombay, hence I tend to seek solutions to every problem through digital eyes viz through the discovery of (0) meaning the zero within by being Silent and ready to accept the status quo,in every situation.However knowing well that, If at all THERE IS ANYTHING PERMANENT IN THIS LIFE,IT IS ONLY CHANGE AND HENCE THE STRENGTH YOU NEED TOP DEVELOP TO BE HAPPY ALL THROUGHOUT YOUR LIFE IS TO ADAPT YOURSELF.
From day one of your life, you are either at the center of a circle (o) or on the Circumference of various concentric circles called stage in life from Birth(0) representing the start say Zero, to Death.(00) representing Infinity .Life to me is a journey from Zero to Infinity.From day one ,the activity that we are engaged is breathing in and breathing out.When we gasp for breath we conclude that we are Unhappy ,otherwise we are deemed to be happy.Talking digitally, let us presume that we need to plan life for 100 years. Circle has 360* and living to me is factoring 360*.I know that number *7* can not be factored into 360*,while (7.5 ) can be factored into 360* meaning that if you could discover that 0.5 to be added to your complexity of options before you,to discover that integrating factor and for brevity we call it GOD(Give Others Dues) factor which enables you factorize and to move ahead in life,meaning to be happy in life ahead.I find whenever we hit a prime number say 11.13,17,1923,29,31,37 41,43,47,49,53,59,61,67,71,73,79,83,89,,91,97,101,when we are involuntarily asked to review your progress w.r.t Past,Present and Future check points you pass by on your life ahead towards your destination.GOD REALIZATION IS NOTHING BUT BEING ABLE TO GIVE OTHER*S THEIR DUES.GIVE AND FORGIVE MUST BE YOUR YARD STICK TO MEASURE YOUR PROGRESS TOWARDS ETERNAL HAPPINESS. WHICH COMES ALONG ON YOUR EVER PROACTIVE PATH REINFORCED BY YOUR PRO ACTIVE ATTITUDE IN DISCOVERING THAT 0.5% INTEGRATING FACTOR WHICH EMPOWERS YOU TO FACTORIZE EVERY CONFRONTING SITUATION AND LEAD YOU TO THE DESTINATION CALLED HAPPINESS WHICH IS MORE INTRINSIC THAN OTHERWISE.