Zen and the Art of Celebrating Life

Don’t grieve anything. Celebrate everything. Success. Failure. Defeat. Crisis. Tragedy. Joy. Sorrow. Everything!

Celebrating when we are successful or happy, we all know how to do it and do it very well. But celebrating failure and defeat? Well, you first overcome the initial sense of shock and surprise from each setback in your Life and replace it with celebration. How can we celebrate a loss __ of something, someone __ you may well wonder. Here’s the nub – you don’t (have to) celebrate the loss itself. But you can always celebrate the times you had with that something, that someone. You can celebrate the learning that you are now being subjected to through experiencing this loss. You can celebrate the opportunity called this moment.

Harnish Patel, 35, was among the victims of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. A British-Indian, he was on a backpacking trip to India and was at the Leopold Cafe that evening when the terrorists struck. At least three bullets passed through his legs and chest, skimming past his bones and major organs. 7 years ago Harnish was lying in the ICU of Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital with tubes sticking through his legs and chest, not knowing if he would ever walk again. But with determination and grit, Patel, who narrowly escaped death, has not just overcome his injuries but also astounded doctors, family and friends by running in a marathon and joining the British Royal Navy. Just four years after the gruesome attack that left him debilitated, he was the flag-bearer for England in the team-welcome and victory ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympics! Simple learning: do you think Patel would have even gotten out of his hospital bed had he stayed grieving?


Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore (1861~1914), has said, “If you cry that the sun has gone out of your Life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.” To grieve is to see Life through a myopic perspective. To celebrate Life is to see it on a 70mm or an IMAX canvas! When you zoom out and see your Life from a higher plane, you see each event as a blessing!
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Move on in Life and move into perpetual bliss!


If there’s only one lesson in Life that you want to internalize, then learn to simply move on!

 

Many unwelcome, painful, unexpected things happen to us. Failure. Death. Separation. Job loss. Health crisis. Socked by the impact of such events, we are numbed. Clueless on how to cope with them. It seems almost impossible to continue to live at such times. We sulk, grieve and mourn. But living in sorrow only makes us feel more miserable.

There’s hardly any value in grieving. Yes, of course, grief makes you feel special __ temporarily. Because people will come to you and bemoan your fate alongside you. You feel important, like the star of your own tragedy show. But over time, people have their own lives to catch up with. So, they will disperse. And then your grief will only multiply, keeping your feet nailed to the ground. The best way to deal with the unexpected when it happens is to allow yourself to be shocked, allow the first wave of grief to arise, let it soak you in its depressive energy, but quickly, very quickly, DECIDE to move on. This decision is crucial. And it comes from awareness. Remind yourself that you came alone and with nothing. And you have to go alone, again taking nothing with you. So, what’s all the fuss about losing__someone or something? This realization will give your aching heart and mourning soul, a much needed, awakening perspective. You may take a few weeks, or a few months, a year, or maybe longer, but whenever you awaken to the truth that Life goes on, and that you must too move on, you will find that feeling beautiful. It will liberate you instantaneously from the throes of pain, grief and suffering!

Carnatic music lovers, and in fact the entire Indian music fraternity, was shocked when popular Carnatic vocalist Nithyashree Mahadevan, 40, lost her husband less than two months ago. He committed suicide jumping off the Kotturpuram bridge, into the Adyar river, in Chennai. The famous Chennai music season was on and Nithyashree was booked to sing various concerts through most of December 2012.This sudden development shocked everyone and most definitely Nithyashree. The pictures that appeared in the media made everyone’s heart go out to her. They showed a forlorn, distraught Nithyashree and most people, while sympathizing with her, wondered how she would cope. But just this past weekend, Nithyashree was back on the concert circuit. She was singing better than she had ever been. And, most importantly, she was not in grief. She presented a picture of complete acceptance and inner peace. The Times of India carried a picture of her singing at her latest concert. The picture was captioned ‘Like A Song’. Indeed Life’s like a song. It has to be sung, and sung well, no matter what’s going on! What she has done is truly inspiring. She has shown all of us the way that we must continue to live our lives, doing what we love doing, irrespective of what happens to us.

Each of us has a way to feeling joyous, forgetting ourselves, our worries, our problems, our grief, when we engage in doing something. It could be anything. For Nithyashree it is music and so she plunged right back into it. For Chitra Visweswaran, it is dance. For Sachin Tendulkar, it is cricket, which is why he got back to the World Cup schedule in England a few years back, soon after cremating his dad in India. Karambir Kang, the former GM of the Taj Hotel, who lost his wife and two kids to the terror attack on his hotel on 26/11 (2008), immersed himself to rebuilding the hotel and restored it to normalcy within a year of the attack. It’s not always that we have to deal with death. Many kinds of setbacks happen and await us. Irrespective of what happens, after the initial bout of depression, sorrow and grief is gone through, take Life by its horns. Face it. Find something, anything, that you love doing and just do it. Watch your feelings change. Remember, what you feel, you become.

Simply, stop asking why things happen the way they do in Life! Don’t ask why you were born and why death, or for that matter anything, happens? Simply live the Life that’s coming your way. If you don’t like what you see or get, don’t grieve endlessly. Conquer your grief with awareness. Know that the truth about Life is that everything changes over time. And that includes how you meet Life and live it! Learn to move on in Life. You will then move into a state of perpetual bliss!