Life hasn’t promised or guaranteed anything to anyone

Life is simply at play. Whether it is playing fair or unfair is a purely matter of “your” perception.
As humans we expect Life to deal with us fairly. And when it doesn’t, as it often turns out, we feel depressed.
The other day in the IPL 7 match between Delhi Daredevils (DD) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) at the Feroz Shah Kotla, DD’s Kevin Pietersen was clearly run out by RR’s Sanju Samson. For reasons best known to him, the square-leg umpire, Sanjay Hazare, decided to rule him not out and, worse, did not think it wise to refer the decision upstairs, to the third umpire. Everyone was aghast – the RR players surely, the commentators, the spectators and, perhaps, Pietersen too may have known that he was out. Everyone held the view that it was an umpiring error and that it was just not fair.
Many believe that so is Life. A friend’s 28-year-old daughter committed suicide on Sunday. We thought our friend clearly did not deserve this. Our neighbors, a couple in their early 50s, are both struck by rare ailments and have been completely immobilized for several months now. They believe Life’s being unduly harsh on them. Someone else we know has been out of job for over two years now, though he’s among the most qualified and experienced finance professionals in the country. He thinks Life’s dealing unfairly with him. A young man I have been counselling is depressed that he hasn’t been able to find a companion in Life. And a struggling actor we know  is still battling with the various constituencies in the film industry to have one of his films, in which he plays the hero, released. He’s been at it for four years now with no success. He says, “I am already 39. I don’t know whether at all I will be able to get a toehold as hero in the industry. Life’s been grossly unfair to me.”
As much as I am able to empathize with all these people and their situations, I wouldn’t say Life’s being unfair – to them or to anyone. You can say that someone is unfair only when you have an expectation of fair-play from them. And you can expect someone to play fair only if you have been told that they will play that way. Now, think about it, has Life ever promised any fair-play? Has it given you or me any guarantees? Of course not – Life hasn’t promised or guaranteed anything to anyone! The only truth is that ever since you were born, Life’s been happening to you. One event after another. Your education and your conditioning has led you to lean on to human perceptions, aspirations and expectations – of good and bad, of fairness and unfairness, of being just and being deceitful. So, when Life didn’t promise you anything, how can you hold Life responsible for being unfair? If you continue to feel that you have been treated badly by Life, despite being aware of this truth about Life, you, and only you, are to be blamed for this feeling. And for all the depression that engulfs you.
We will all do well to remember that Life’s just a series of experiences. Sometimes, we welcome and enjoy those experiences. At other times, we dislike, despise and resist some experiences. In either scenario, there’s no point holding Life accountable. Because what you feel, how you feel, means nothing to Life. Life simply goes on happening. Your berating it or yourself makes no difference to Life. So, stop complaining, stop lamenting that Life’s being unfair – just take it as it comes. If you love what you receive, enjoy it. And if you get what you didn’t want or expect, simply accept it and learn to live with it. Only then will you live in peace and be happy!

Advertisements

Life didn’t promise fair-play or a zero-problem lifetime!


How good you are has nothing to do with what you have go through in your lifetime.
This is one paradox that flummoxes all of us: If being good, doing good is the essence of humanity, then why do I have to go through pain and suffering despite being good and doing good myself?
Look around you and you may get enough evidence of this perspective to be true. Good people are going through troubled times __ joblessness, cashlessness, poor health, broken relationships. And the corrupt, the unethical, the violent folks seem to be having a good Life. Is there any fair-play at all in Life, you may wonder?
Let’s address your concerns. First, know that Life did not promise any fair-play. It did not guarantee you anything when you were born. It didn’t say if you are good, ethical, sincere and hardworking, it assures you a problem-free lifetime. So, the expectation that you should have no problems is irrational, impractical, unfounded and unrealistic. Second, the nature of Life is that it is pre-ordained. You believe it or not. But everything that you have gone through, are going through and will eventually gone through, is cast. All you can do is to play the game of Life, every single living moment of yours, even as the joystick is in Life’s hand and so is the rule book. Life’s essence is to deal with WHATEVER comes at you! Therefore, third, don’t wallow in shallow unjustified perceptions that the unethical and corrupt,  who in your eyes do all wrong, are living it up! By imagining so, you cause yourself more grief. Fourth, if you have been created, as you have been, and you are alive, as you are, then be sure, your Life will have its share of problems. Life’s meaning is not zero-pain. Life is really about developing the ability to deal with pain, while learning to avoid the suffering that comes with it. Intelligent living, therefore, is all about being happy despite your circumstances.
Today is the celebrated Tamizh poet Subramaniya Bharathi’s 130th birth anniversary. History and the present generation will both concur that India may well not see another poet ever of Bharathi’s stature, brilliance and patriotic fervor. Yet, apart from dying young at 38, Bharathi also died with so much pain. It was so irrational. First, he was imprisoned several times by the then British rulers of India. Then he was felled by an elephant at the Parthasarathi Temple, Chennai, which, ironically, he used to feed regularly. He never really recovered from these setbacks. His prolonged bouts of ailments finally took his Life on September 11, 1921. It is both a recorded and ignominious fact that ONLY 14 people attended his funeral. Imagine, India’s most revered son and celebrated poet today, did not have more than 14 people to see him off on his last journey! How unfair and cruel is that?
So, stop expecting Life to be fair and mourning the fact that it never is. To be sure, it never promised it would be fair. So, accept it for what it is. The key is to understand this truism. And continue being good and doing good, not expecting anything in return, and to know that your goodness is good for your inner peace, and to know also that what’s embedded in your Life’s design, you HAVE to face and overcome. If you learn from that experience and, importantly, learn to be happy despite what you have to experience, well, then you will have lived your Life meaningfully!