Get on with the business of living

Live with complete awareness of the true nature of Life – and you will be happy, no matter what you are dealing with.
Understand that one day this lifetime will come to an end. And yet you must live – and not just exist – until that end comes! This awareness is critical for you to live fully, blissfully, in continuous celebration of each moment. Celebration? When each day is a challenge to survive, how can you celebrate each moment? People, events, circumstances, financial issues, health problems, relationships, the traffic, the garbage, the theatre of the absurd – the upcoming Assembly elections (in Tamil Nadu)….do we think with so much chaos around us, we can actually celebrate? How can you even talk of a celebration, you may wonder. Indeed. Yet, it is the imponderables that make Life interesting.
We don’t see Life as interesting because we haven’t been taught to appreciate the unpredictability and inscrutability of Life. That appreciation would make living Life so much easier. Instead we are told that Life is about studying, working hard, earning money and living happily ever after. Had we been told that such a linear progression through Life would be interspersed with a zillion different challenges and that we must embrace them, live through them, learn from them, while being happy, wouldn’t we have been better off? This is the awareness that I have come to experience, understand and believe in.

This awareness is the key to happiness. According to ancient Chinese folklore, a traveler through the mountains came upon an elderly gentleman who was busy planting a tiny almond tree. Knowing that almond trees take many years to mature, he commented to the man “It seems odd that a man of your advanced age would plant such a slow-growing tree!” The man replied “I like to live my life based on two principles. One is that I will live forever. The other is that this is my last day.” The old man’s perspective is so, so beautiful. Look around you. What are the things you would like to complete if you were told today’s your last day here? What are the things you would like to set in motion if you knew you will live forever? Make a shortlist combining actions that are common to these two lists and get started. That’s how you really stop complaining, feeling lost and helpless in the humdrum of everyday Life, and get on with the business of living – fully and happily! 

Simply be. Drop this urge to constantly become this or that.

Life simply is.  There is really no objective to Life; there are no goals to be achieved, no responsibilities to be fulfilled. Nothing. You are born. You live. You die. Period. This is the truth – so simple, so uncomplicated. It is only society that brings in expectations of goals and outcomes, and labels of success and failure or joy and sorrow. You take away the social denominators from Life – starting with money – and suddenly Life simply is.
The other day, we were sitting at a coffee shop. I was thinking of something I had seen on Facebook, I was looking up from my phone and I was smiling – staring blankly into space. A friend walked up and tapped me on my shoulder and asked, “Wow! What are you thinking deeply about? What next creative idea are you pulling out of your hat?” I replied, “Hardly…No creative idea or such…I am just in the moment, enjoying it, savoring it.”
Our friend, and his wife who was with him, were hardly able to comprehend what I meant. They smiled and waved their goodbyes and walked away. I can understand what they must have been thinking about – “how can anyone not be doing anything?” And they are not alone. I believe the whole of humanity thinks this way and so is missing this beautiful opportunity to just be in the moment – because everyone is trying to become someone, by trying to do something or the other.
I am not saying you must not work or that you must not earn money or that you must not raise a family. But don’t get so caught in earning-a-living that you miss the opportunity to live itself. Look at nature around you. The trees, the birds, the flowers, the river, the ocean, all of them simply are. They have no concept of time nor do they have any targets or goals to achieve. It is only man who has time-bound goals in focus. Nothing wrong with that. But if the same goals start haunting you, when they make your Life miserable, then you have a problem. Earning money is not a problem. But complaining or worrying that you are not having enough is a problem. Working is not a problem. But feeling stressed out over your work is a problem. Having a family is not a problem. But sweating over the behavior of your family members is a problem.
Osho, the Master illustrates this point with the example of a rose and a hundred-rupee note. “Life is not a logical process. It is poetry, it is a lovesong — without any meaning, yet it is utterly beautiful. In fact, when something has a meaning, it can’t be beautiful – it is utilitarian. The rose is beautiful because it has no utility at all. Its sheer being is enough; it need not have any other significance. But a hundred-rupee note has no beauty; it has utility, it has meaning, it is a means to some end.”
The nub is this: to live your Life fully, celebrate each moment. Simply be. Drop this urge to constantly try and become this or that. Don’t try to desperately make a meaning out of your Life. Meaning is a social requirement. Life doesn’t care about any meanings. So, why don’t you also live your Life for what it is, as it is? Don’t seek meanings. Don’t get keyed up. Don’t complain. Be alive, be with your Life – as is!