Don’t agonize over pain; instead, celebrate!!!

If you think Life has treated you harshly, celebrate, don’t agonize!
Extraordinary pain is not a sign of your “past sins” catching up with you as we are often told it is. Instead it is a precursor to extraordinary grace that is on the way. So, if you are battered, bruised, bleeding from Life’s blows, don’t bemoan your state. Celebrate. Because you have encountered the God that you so desperately seek.
God? In pain? Indeed. The reason why you haven’t seen God so far is because you __and I__have always been told that God is in places of worship. But we haven’t been told that our pain is a place of worship, an arena to surrender to a cosmic design, the Master Plan, that which has no flaws. They say that religion is for those who want to avoid going to hell and spirituality is for those who have been there! Writing recently in The Times of India’s Speaking Tree column,  Rajshree Birla, the Chairperson of the Aditya Vikram Birla Foundation defines spirituality thus: “Spirituality is not about a religion. Neither is it about gods and rituals. Spirituality is a principled way of Life; it’s an attitude.” She couldn’t have said it better and simpler! You can’t borrow that attitude nor can you acquire it through training. You can imbibe it onlyfrom experience. That experience can come to you onlyfrom your deep, personal, pain.
When you are in the throes of such unimaginable anguish__physical, due to some health challenge, emotional, because you have lost someone, something or broken up in a relationship, or have lost your own self-respect because of an act committed in haste or in stupor__you, in your innermost, private recesses, will seek relief. You will want this Life to end. You will want this suffering to go. In that moment, when you plead, when you surrender, you will have felt a stirring in you. That, my dear friend, that’s your God within you. Maybe when you reminisce on your painful experience now, you may relate to my sharing this. When you feel this way, you will realize that your pain was a conduit, a Visa, if you may, to travel within and find the Godseed embedded in you. Just at it is in all of humanity. So, doesn’t pain, if it can take you to your Self, to your God, call for a celebration? Then, why agonize?

Comparisons ruin your inner peace

If you want to be at peace with yourself and the world around you, then stop comparing yourself with others.
Comparison is a lousy mind game. It works big time especially when someone else has got what you don’t have. When someone has a better job or car or spouse or whatever that you don’t have, your mind will keep prompting you to look at that person a bit differently. You will start imagining that this person perhaps does not deserve what she or he has and that you deserve it more. But your imagination, your wishing something alone, cannot make it a reality. As in, for instance, your imagination alone cannot get you that better job or car or whatever. So, when you don’t get what you want and instead when you keep pining for it, you suffer. Your expectations in this context are futile and are what are causing you agony. The only way then to end your self-inflicted suffering is to simply stop comparing yourself with others.
You must remember that each person’s Life is engineered differently. It is not necessary that everyone has everything at all times. And when you don’t have something, just live with that reality. Don’t pine for it, citing another person as having what you want, and believe that you are justifying your case better. Indeed, to whom are you justifying and how can any justification work with Life? For instance, a friend lamented yesterday that while he is out of job and is facing rejection from every quarter, someone who is less-skilled and less-experienced than him has bagged the CEO’s job in a company where he once worked. My friend feels ethics and meritocracy have taken a backseat in today’s corporate world. Possibly. But my friend must realize that his grief is compounded by the fact that someone else has a job while he does not. And this is exactly the point that I am trying to make. When you don’t have a job, focus simply on trying to get one. Don’t focus on analyzing why others have a job while you don’t. This analysis is worth it, if it is constructive and if it can help you prepare and present your candidature better. But it can be very debilitating and destructive if you merely choose to compare yourself with others and wallow in self-pity.

Simply, in any situation, don’t compare yourself with others. Not when you have what others don’t. And never when you don’t have what others do. Comparisons ruin your inner peace. Protect it by looking within and expunging any comparison whatsoever.

“wotsubusu” craving, feel liberated!

No object of desire is the cause of any agony in itself. It is your craving for that object that makes you suffer.

Take for instance, a hot summer day. And you are thirsty. You see nice juicy watermelons on the street and want to stop your car. But you find the parking slots by the stall crowded and you see a policeman standing under a tree nearby. You believe the cop will object to your parking your car outside of the earmarked space. You are miffed and drive away cursing the crowds and the cop, ruing the missed opportunity to take some of those melons home. Even when you narrate this experience to your wife when you get home, you are complaining and are not merely reporting. There’s a sense of loss and evidence of frustration in your reportage. Now, did the humble melon on the street cause your agony or did your craving for it__and your eventual inability to buy it__cause it?

Think about it. All of us are victims of this cravings-brings-suffering trap. What we crave for is not the cause, it is the act of craving that causes misery. We crave for attention, adulation, understanding, respect, fame, rewards, recognition, wealth, opportunity, love and followership. And when we don’t get it, we are disappointed. Now, if you are disappointed and if your disappointment doesn’t affect your Life, it is fine. But when you are disappointed, you are mourning. Your energies are low. You start operating in a low energy__scarcity__spectrum. This naturally affects the way you live and experience Life. On the other hand, consider the situation when there is no craving, and so there’s no disappointment, so there’s no suffering. In such a scenario, you are operating in a high-energy__abundance__spectrum. Remember: Wherever your attention goes, your energy flows. In Buddhist teachings, they advocate the complete cessation of craving. Which means to eliminate all craving. In Japanese, the word wotsubusu means to annihilate. When you wotsubusucraving, you feel liberated. Such freedom opens up a whole new opportunity spectrum of playing to your strengths – to what you have. Than to worry about, lament over, what you don’t have.


Simplify Life: Give up the craving. And you will immediately stop suffering!

There’s no conspiracy by Life to fix you!

Sometimes the way Life deals with you, can make you conclude that there is a conspiracy to fix you. Therefore, when you ask why something is happening to you, you have triggered off your suffering!
I was talking to a friend the other day. He reported that his business had slowed down, money due to him from various clients was not coming in and he had also lost a couple of contracts. Over and above all of this, his partner had turned cold and was refusing to take his calls and was not paying him his legitimate share of the business profits. “My monthly income has come down to a few thousands, from a few lakh of rupees, in just under a quarter. I don’t know why these things are happening to me. I am consumed by fear and insecurity. I don’t get sleep at nights. I am unable to bear all this suffering,” he lamented.
If you peel away the emotions from what my friend’s faced with, it is all pretty simple: his business is faring poorly and he is not getting enough money to run his Life. Asking why this is happening is irrelevant in the context of what is happening to him. The truth is that whatever is happening is his current reality. And he has to act on it. He must make efforts to both get new business and collect overdue amounts. Now, what happens if he makes those efforts and still does not succeed? Well, even then there’s no point in asking why. He has to try better ways and methods of doing the same thing – promoting his business and collecting his monies.
When you ask why, why me, why me now, in any context, you have invited suffering into your Life. This does not mean you must not examine and analyze any situation. By all means you must. Only an honest appraisal of any situation can lead to specific, pointed action to remedy it. But don’t make the analysis an emotional one. Don’t bring in self-pity, grief, remorse, anger and guilt into the analysis. Don’t bring in God and religion either. Don’t imagine conspiracy theories when there are none! No amount of pining, agonizing and wishing can change what is. If anything can change a situation, it is only sincere, concerted, timely and relevant action. In any situation, therefore, just do your best, and keep trying harder if you don’t succeed the first time. There is no other way.

Suffering arises when you expect things, people, events and circumstances to be different from what they are. Asking why some things happen the way they do or why some people behave the way they do is futile. Things happen so, people behave so, because that is the way it is. When you decide not to suffer and instead accept Life the way it is happening to you, you will appreciate that there is really no conspiracy to fix you. You will then realize that Life, from birth till death, is just series of events and experiences. Your task, in this lifetime, is to flow with Life while learning along the way. It’s really as simple – and choice-less – as that! 

Learn to be yourself and at peace!

Allow people to be just the way they are. And you be yourself. This is the only way to be peaceful with the world around you.
If you examine your feelings about others, especially about those who can’t get along much with, you will find that you are continuously wishing they are different from who they are. And this wishing serves up enough grief to make you feel miserable – about the other person and about yourself! But your wishing that someone is different or behaves better is of no use. Because if anyone has to realize it, it is the other person. And as long as that person does not realize this, and does not change, you are going to experience this person only this way. And, resultantly, you are going to continue to feel miserable too. So, the wisest response in any situation when someone else’s behavior is causing you discomfort and agony, is to simply let the other person be. And you too just be – yourself.
A friend, who’s over 25 years older to me, shared his experience of being in a similar situation with me recently. My friend’s brother-in-law and my friend had entered into a property-sharing arrangement several years ago. As time passed, the brother-in-law felt, for no evident reason, that he had been short-changed in the deal. But instead of addressing the issue head-on with my friend, he started to disrupt the peace in the family. For one, he started to ill-treat his wife (who is my friend’s sister). Then he started to spread canards about my friend in the family. Further, he started becoming abusive of my friend in public. Many attempts by my friend to understand what could be the issue were stone-walled by the brother-in-law. For months on end, this “stand-off” between the two continued. Finally, unable to bear the pain – and the misery – one day, my friend confronted his brother-in-law. The brother-in-law admitted that there was an issue – and it had to do with the way “he was cheated in the property transaction”. My friend says that he had no inkling this was the issue. Once he heard this, my friend spontaneously agreed to transfer the entire property in the brother-in-law’s name. “The problem ended right there. In a nanosecond,” recalled my friend.
But a different problem now arose. My friend’s wife said he (my friend) had been “stupid and foolish” to simply give up control over such a valuable asset. She demanded to know why my friend had acted hastily and why she and their children had not been involved in the decision. My friend says he explained his stance thus: “When we entered into the property-sharing agreement, it was a deal that was defined in black-and-white, in unambiguous terms, and agreed upon by both parties. By making it now seem he was short-changed, my brother-in-law is insinuating that I have cheated him. It is not in my nature to cling on to money or assets or wealth at the cost of my name and the family’s peace. He wanted the asset. And unless I gave it to him, he was not going to be at peace. And unless I gave him what he wanted, I was not going to be at peace. I was not foolish. I was just being myself – getting for myself what I valued most – my peace!”
Our lives and experiences with people around us need not be as dramatic. But in each situation that we are exposed to unreasonable people and their pettiness – by way of their tactics and attitudes, it is best to not try to change them. We can’t. Some people know what they want very well. And they will not rest until they get it. In their drive to get what they want, they will trample on people around them, they will vitiate the atmosphere and they will puncture people’s self-esteem. Reason, logic and common-sense will not work with them. It is best to just let such people be. By doing so, I am not even remotely suggesting that you be a door-mat and allow yourself to be pissed on and passed over. No. Turn around, make your point and make sure you are understood and you are being yourself. In my friend’s case he decided to give up control over the property. You decide what ‘being yourself’ means to you. If you are in my friend’s position, and if you would want to fight for the property, please do. By all means. The bottom-line is please don’t suffer someone and their machinations. Or agonize over others’ behaviour. Learn to push such people back, put them in their place and you be yourself and at peace!