Intelligent living is all about living worry-free

Keep Life simple – in any situation, be prepared for the worst and hope for the best. You will then be free from worry!
I simply love a joke that Osho, the Master, used to narrate. A doctor calls his patient to give him the results of a crucial medical test. “I have some bad news and some worse news,” says the doctor. “The bad news is that you only have 24 hours to live.” “Oh no,” says the patient. “What could possibly be worse than that?” The doctor replies, “I have been trying to reach you since yesterday.” Osho says the best way to live is to accept that, often times, even the worst can – and perhaps will – happen to us!
It is a lack of this acceptance that causes us to cower in fear, insecurity, anxiety and worry. The human mind is very intelligent. It will paint all possible scenarios and outcomes in any event which is governed by the possibility of uncertain outcomes. Some of these outcomes may cause you to feel insecure and fearful. For instance, when someone is in hospital and the prognosis is hardly encouraging, your mind will project outcomes varying from a miraculous recovery to an inevitable loss. Every time you want to believe in a miraculous recovery, dark possibilities of prolonged hospitalization, perhaps a comatose state and even death will arise within you. When you fear those possibilities that you don’t want to accept, or even consider, you are allowing worry to consume you. You are feeding your fears. The best way to deal with this situation is to be stoic about it – be prepared for whatever you fear the most, in this case, possibly, death. And yet, hope – and if you like to, pray – for a miraculous recovery. This way you will be free from fear, anxiety and worry. And that freedom will give you the opportunity to focus on providing your patient the best possible care.

Remember some problems in Life cannot be solved. There’s no point worrying about them. And there’s no point worrying about those problems which you can solve either. So, intelligent living is all about living worry-free. Think about it: if worry can solve problems, or if it can heal cancers, or if it can get people jobs, or if it can prevent break-ups or if it can eliminate death from our lives – then wouldn’t the world be a much happier place than it is? Because, aren’t a huge majority of people on the planet investing their every waking moment in worrying? The truth is that worrying gets us nowhere. Quit worrying. Be ready to face the worst in Life and yet believe that the best will happen to you. There’s no other way to live happily! 

Celebrate Life’s chameleon nature!

The best way to deal with uncertainty is to stop fearing it.
One of the biggest fears we deal with is the fear of not knowing what will happen if__and when__we don’t have enough data, don’t have information, don’t have an idea or clue or any guarantees of what will happen. But such a fear is unfounded. Think about it. There’s uncertainty all around us, all the time, in each moment. It is only the fickle human mind that imagines that it knows what’s going to happen in the next nano-second or in the immediate future. Life can and almost always changes with no prior notice!
We have a friend who wants to postpone a vacation abroad because his son is in final year in high school. The postponement is to allow for the child to ‘settle down’ in Life. Someone else is worried about what will happen if the company he works for is acquired by a larger company in the same industry that has a notorious reputation for downsizing. An investment banker I know laments the state of uncertainty of his investments and says he has been on sleeping pills each night! All these people are postponing their present out of fear of an unknown future that they think they control. So, what is the predictability, certainty, that these people__or even you__are clinging on to? The assurance of financial security? Or perhaps the fear of its absence?
Know this: Despite all that you think you control, nothing really is in your control. Definitely not Life! Know also that dealing with uncertainty is no big deal. You__and I__have been masters at this from the time we arrived on this planet. How did we survive the years we took to make sense of the world without knowing a thing? What if our parents were child-traffickers and not the noble souls that they are? Did we worry about our future then? What if we were left to die and were not picked up each time we bawled, demanding to be fed? Did we fear uncertainty then? Can you say with confidence that you will survive the next minute? What if there’s an earthquake? Or you have a brain hemorrhage? Dealing with uncertainty is therefore easy. Because you can say for sure that you will never ever know what will happen next. Despite all the steps that you take to control all that you can__you can never be sure what hand you will be dealt next in Life or that Life will deal with you fairly, squarely and predictably!

Uncertainty is permanent. By fearing something that’s permanent, aren’t you being foolish? Instead, deploy the intelligence that’s embedded in you. Accept that your Life will change. What is now yours will be gone. What was never yours will come your way. What you wanted may go to someone else. What you never want will arrive in your Life. And even if you do get what you wanted, there are no guarantees that it will stay that way forever. So, stop suffering and fearing what you can never control or determine. Celebrate Life’s chameleon nature and revel in its possibility to change in a heartbeat!

How I learnt to live with insecurity

All our insecurity is a direct outcome of our conditioning. If we drop our conditioning and accept the Life we have, we will at peace with the insecurity that abounds!
A friend called me this morning to congratulate me on my forthcoming Book – “Fall Like A Rose Petal – A father’s lessons on how to be happy and content while living without money” (Westland, August 2014). After he wished my book all success, he remarked, “AVIS, you have learnt to live without money. But don’t you ever feel insecure?”
I found my friend’s question very pertinent. Here’s what I told him.
To be sure, I too felt insecure when I first came face to face, eight years ago, with the reality that we were insolvent and our Firm was bankrupt. Of course, I was devastated by the gravity of our crisis and was very, very scared of where we would end up in Life. But resisting the insecurity, wishing that things were different, only made me suffer. And in my suffering I could not focus. I was always unhappy. When you don’t focus or are unhappy, how can you function? How can you think of even attempting to solve your problems? While I could make sense of the futility of my suffering, I didn’t know where to start or what to do. What do you do when you don’t know what to do?
That’s when I came across Osho’s, the Master’s, view of insecurity. He has said: We are all trained in the wrong way. Otherwise, security is something to be afraid of, and insecurity is something to be rejoiced. What exactly is insecurity? It means tomorrow is not going to repeat today. It means tomorrow you may not even be alive. It means that one has to live each moment as if it is the last moment. A Life of security will be simply boring. It will be like seeing the same movie again and again and again — knowing every detail of what is going to happen. Insecurity is the very fabric of Life. If you don’t understand insecurity, you can never understand Life. Everything will go on changing, nothing can be taken for granted; this is insecurity. You want everything to be certain, permanent. But have you ever thought what will be the outcome of it if everything is permanent? You eat the same food every day, you say the same things every day, you listen to the same things every day. Insecurity keeps people fresh, alive, adventurous — knowing that things can be changed. Even without their changing them, they are going to be changed. So there is great scope for change, for transformation.
Osho’s perspective indeed changed my entire outlook to Life. I decided to play the game of Life – rather than see it as a complex problem that I didn’t know how to fix. Soon, the game became an adventure. I saw that each day held something new – a legal twist here, an irate creditor who had lost patience with our situation there, bills to be paid for essential services like electricity and telephones when there was no money to even buy groceries, a health situation to be urgently addressed; yet each time we thought it was all over, help arrived from some unexpected quarter. No day, I discovered, was the same. Honestly, not all the stuff that came our way on a daily basis, however new or fresh it was, was appetizing. But however much I felt wasted at the end of each day, I woke up afresh and anew the next day. And took that day’s challenges head-on. Over time, it became clear to me that Life has all along been, and will continue to be, insecure. Now, I didn’t have that sense of security that a steady income could provide, yet when I stopped feeling insecure about it, and let go, and let Life take over, things happened on their own. I have learnt that my duty is to make my daily efforts and let the results take care of themselves. Even so, I don’t deserve, nor do I claim, any credit for the way I have learnt to live my Life. I just chose to accept the Life I got and I have. Why would anyone want a crisis, and as in my case, a state of acute cashlessness and worklessness – especially over the last 24 months?
This numbing phase of my Life has taught me to live with insecurity. There are days, several times in a month, when we really don’t know what will happen or how we will be able to provide for basics like groceries or public transport?  But we know fully well that we will be taken care of. Maybe this is what they call faith. Not in an external God. But in Life itself – that if you have been created and you are in whatever situation you are placed in, you will be cared for, provided for and looked after. This faith makes me – and my wife – last one day more, sleep well, and wake up the next day hopeful and ready to work harder at turning our situation around. This faith helps me be at peace with myself despite all that the insecurity that surrounds me.

Don’t sacrifice your happiness on the altar of fear

To be happy in Life, you must first tame a beast called fear.
Everyone wants to pursue what they love doing most. But they remain trapped in unhappy, monotonous work and Life situations because they fear going away from the beaten path.
Yesterday, I met a very successful journalist who complimented me on my first book which is coming out next month. He then quickly added: “I have been wanting to write a book, but somehow I am unable to get myself to take a sabbatical from my role as an editor to be able to invest time in doing what I want to do. I guess I have become a slave – of the job I keep and the salary that it pays me.”
I appreciate the candor that my journalist friend displays. At least he knows what’s keeping him away from pursuing his dream – although, in my humble opinion, he’s closer, as a journalist, to writing a book, compared to so many others who are in other vocations.
Actually, doing what you love doing and want to do, is so simple if you invest a little time understanding it. Think of the situation like this: You want to be an artist. But you are a banker, in a high-paying job. So, while being a banker, if you focused your attention on the experience of being one, your Life would be different; you would be happy. But all along your mind is rueing the fact that you don’t have time for art. So, how do you expect to find happiness while being a banker? The only choice is to change your career. But you are scared. You fear what will your family, or even society will, say. You fear failure__what if you quit your job and your efforts to become an artist come a cropper! What if you don’t earn a steady income being an artist? You fear financial insecurity__what will happen of your family, your children and their needs/priorities and such? So you sacrifice yourself on the altar of fear and choose to bury your joy, your bliss. And then comes a point when society has gone its way, others who followed their bliss have found success and happiness, and your family doesn’t need you to be provider anymore. So, fear has now made way to a bitter aftertaste of the Life you have led. You have the yearning for following your bliss, but either the opportunities are not the same or your energy levels have waned with age or both.
Often there isn’t a wrong road or a right road to doing what you love__there is only the one on which you feel joy. Often also, being on the road that gives you joy has only three destinations: Success (getting to where you wanted to go), Quitting and Delayed Success (meeting with delays, frustrations, challenges but staying the course and tenure). Success and Delayed Success lead to the same destination. And Quitting sets you off on a new journey, possibly to where you once started from but you are enriched and wiser from the experience!
So, why fear? In reality you don’t lose anything, in fact, you gain__because you are happy doing what you want to. And that’s what you want in Life, don’t you?

A Break-Up is not a bad thing to happen

When you are in a relationship, you face the prospect of a break-up all the time. Just as you face death, as long as you are alive! So smile and face whatever’s there, don’t just suffer being anxious and insecure.
A young friend is going through a break-up. It’s a difficult time for him and nobody really is able to make him feel better. Honestly, there are no right ways or wrong ways of dealing with such a situation. Although today’s generation is far more open and willing to share their stories on facebook, parents and family still find it difficult to counsel young adult children on this matter. Perhaps understanding how and why break-ups happen can be useful.
Surely, break-ups are very painful. You sometimes feel you haven’t been treated fairly or that you were never allowed to share what you feel or that you were used. Whatever may be the trigger, a break-up basically signifies a difficulty to relate, to communicate, to express, to appreciate and to understand. But why grieve over this? Just imagine: for years you grow up with a different set of people and then suddenly you develop this ‘liking’ and then this ‘unputdownable longing’ for this ‘new’ person in your Life. You possibly know this person for a few weeks or months or even a year or two – but that doesn’t match the number of years you know someone in your family who you get along famously with or the time you have known your BFF! Any knowing, any relating, takes time to evolve into a seamless understanding, a companionship. And all evolution involves upheavals. There will be fights, showdowns, sulking, anger, sometimes even feelings of jealousy, that will pepper the period of evolution. But before this evolution takes place, if you place enormous pressure on the relationship, there will be break-ups. That’s precisely how and why break-ups occur.
So, the foremost point to know and remember is that a break-up is not a bad thing to happen. If it happens, deal with it by facing it. Because it was always on the cards – from the very moment you got involved!  And if it has not happened, it is still on the cards. It may never happen either. And if it doesn’t, great! But when it happens, a break-up helps a couple review where each of them is coming from and where each of them wants to go. Now, if the destination is the same and they both feel the same way about the journey and being together on it, they may still make up and reunite. Making up often is a cleansing process – it allows for candor to help build a stronger bond. But despite all the efforts they make, if they don’t feel the same way, it’s best they just go their own ways. Why agonize over and endure each other?
I watched this movie Shudh Desi Romance (2013, Maneesh Sharma, Sushant Rajput, Parineeti Chopra, Vaani Kapoor) recently. I believe the movie’s story (and its honest presentation) encapsulates the essence of “companionship” versus “falling in love” and of “bonding” versus “being tied in a relationship”. True love is far more spiritual and pure than what happens between two people at a physical level. Always, all attraction is physical in the beginning. But, over time, a companionship blossoms. There’s an unstated, inexplicable sense of trust, willingness to share and being there for each other that develops. Sometimes, it happens in a matter of weeks. Sometimes, it takes months or even years. And sometimes the companionship never happens even though the physical attraction may still exist and be strong. Life’s journey though, over the years, as you grow older and physically weaker, is best travelled with a companion than with just a bedfellow. If you really want a great companionship with someone, then go beyond the physical qualities that draw you to that someone – seek to, over time, find out if you both relate to, enjoy and celebrate each other. If you don’t it’s perfectly fine – you don’t have to necessarily be this great Jodi No.1! Maybe your partner then is someone else, waiting for you elsewhere?
Life is beautiful. Don’t let it be ruined tending to or grieving over broken relationships where there’s no scope for revival. There’s nothing wrong if, through some pain, you gain insight on what works for you and what does not. Be grateful that you now know what’s best for you. Go wherever Life takes you. Maybe that’s where you will find your true companion…