Good, Bad, Beautiful, Ugly … this is the Only Life you have

People often have this question: Why do ‘bad’ things happen to ‘good’ people? And, with some exceptions, they always also ask: And why do ‘good’ things happen to ‘bad’ people?
The questions themselves need review. What is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is subjective. What you may see as the right thing to do may be wrong from another’s point of view. And what you see as wrong, may seem perfectly right to  someone else. I believe that these questions arise because of the ego being active in each of us. For instance, you are ethical, sincere and diligent. Yet, when you don’t get a promotion or a raise, your ego incites you to question the situation. It implores you to see someone else who has managed to get that raise as one who is ‘inferior’ to you on the work ethic scale. This is how this journey of demanding fair-play from Life pans out. To be sure, it did not begin at the workplace. It began at home, in school, when parents or family pointed out to you that ‘Life has not been fair to you’. Over the years, you have only been led by your ego to continue to view Life this way.
Pause and reflect a bit. Did you ask to be born? This Life was “given” to you, wasn’t it? And at the time of birth did Life make you any promises? Did it say your Life will be this way or that? Since there were no guarantees offered, no assurances given, where’s the intelligence in craving for them? The truth is Life keeps on happening. Life sees all its creations as equal. It does not choose its “targets” for “tough examinations” per income or social strata. Life does not see anything as good or bad. Ethics, or the lack of it, make no sense to Life. Whatever Life delivers at your door, you have no choice but to accept it. Your suffering begins only when you refuse or resist the Life that is happening to you!
Religion and the scriptures talk of the Law of Karma. I agree with Osho that this is but a way to ‘console’ ourselves as humanity. The Law of Karma is no scientific law, like say the Law of Gravitation. A ball thrown up in the air__whether in Chennai or Kabul or New York or Sao Paulo or Kyoto or Wellington or Kota Kinabalu or Colombo__will come down. We can argue and verify the Law of Gravitation – it can be examined. But when the Law of Karma says that we will bear the consequences of our actions in a future birth or we are bearing the consequences of our actions, from a past birth, in this one, I am not sure we can verify or examine the case being made. Who has seen an earlier Life or can be sure to experience another one in the future? In my humble opinion (in no manner do I seek to rubbish the Karmic Theory), and in the limited context of my Life experience – this is the ONE and ONLY Life we have. This is it.

Each of the events in our Life have happened because they simply had to happen. There’s no merit in qualifying and further analyzing if we deserve what we are getting or are given. Don’t label anyone or anything or any event as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Don’t compare. Don’t ask why. Life’s happening to you 24/7. Just watch it happen. You don’t like what’s happening to you, learn to accept it. You like what’s happening to you, learn to be grateful for it. The only way to live Life is to liveit happily, for what it is!

‘Just being’ is a Life-changing App

Intelligent living advocates only one principle – just being! Yet, despite it being so simple to understand conceptually, many of us find it difficult to practice. There’s way to demystify ‘just being’ though. For that, we must first understand, how we live our daily lives.

Each of us is an embodiment of the Universal Energy pulsating through us. Eckhart Tolle simplifies this further: “You are the Universe expressing itself as a human for a little while”. So, the energy in us, when intellectualized and expressed inward, manifests itself thoughts and emotions__ often as worries, anxieties, anger, guilt, fear, happiness, joy and such. When the same energy gets expressed externally we build relationships, comparing or viewing ourselves in relation to fellow human beings and with the rest of the Universe, with nature, with the world around us! When we do neither, not intellectualize and not relate, what happens to the energy? It just thrives within us, deep inside, at our individual cores.

That state is ‘just being’. When you simply are. You are not intellectualizing. You are not comparing. And not relating either.

Our upbringing and conditioning, and our education, forces us to intellectualize everything. The entire idea of education is to use the Universal Energy in us to ask why things are the way they are and how can we get them to work better to our advantage. So, people have become, and continue to become, more and more qualified, more and more knowledgeable, but their quality of ‘being’ has diminished dramatically. Society forces us to compare, to relate to ourselves in respect to others. Everything has a measure and its value is always in relation to something else, similar or otherwise, that has been there. So, while we are great at thinking we are superior or inferior, depending on who we are comparing with, we are pathetic at simply ‘being’__well, ourselves!

Nothing wrong with either our education or our society. Except that Life doesn’t conform to either. And so, when Life takes you on path you are unfamiliar with, you have to ensure neither your education, nor society, come in the way of your experience, your learning and your ‘just being’!

Simplifying this further, (education and) intellectualization happens when the Universal Energy thrives in your head. (Social) Relationships happen when it thrives in your heart. ‘Just being’ happens when that same energy does not move, and is thriving in your inner core. ‘Just being’ is a wholesome state. Where you are one with the Universal Energy.

‘Just being’ does not mean you must not live a ‘worldly’ Life. It does not mean you should abdicate. It really is about learning to ‘live in this world and yet be above it’! ‘Just being’ enhances your awareness exponentially. So, when intellectualization happens, for instance, when you get angry, your awareness sends you a signal to arrest the anger. It doesn’t stop you from thinking and feeling, it only keeps reminding you of the pointlessness of fear or guilt or worry. ‘Just being’ teaches you to be detached in all relationships by diligently, and faithfully, reminding you of the impermanence of everything.

Here’s a Zen story illustrate this learning. When you go to the Obaku temple in Kyoto in Japan you will see carved in wood, over the gate, the words “The First Principle.” The letters are unusually large, and those who appreciate calligraphy always regard them as a masterpiece. They were drawn by the Japanese Master Takushu Kosen (1760~1833) over two hundred years ago. When the Master drew them he did so on paper, from which workmen made the larger carving in wood. As Kosen sketched the letters an outspoken pupil was with him. The pupil never failed to criticize his Master’s work.

“That is not good,” he told Kosen after the first effort.

“How is that one?”

“Poor. Worse than before,” pronounced the pupil.

Kosen patiently wrote one sheet after another until 84 ‘First Principles’ had been accumulated, still without the approval of the pupil.

Then, when the young man stepped outside for a few moments, Kosen thought: “Now is my chance to escape his keen eye,” and he wrote hurriedly, with a mind free from distraction: “The First Principle.”

“A masterpiece,” pronounced the pupil.

This is the essence of ‘just being’. Kosen finally succeeded because he was one with his effort, his vision for the way the letters must appear on wood, above the gate. He was not intellectualizing his effort __ not thinking of what his pupil would be thinking when he wrote the last time. He was not considering his relationship with his pupil and wondering what he his pupil might say about a Master’s work! He just wrote. He simply was!

I hope you share my learning that this is no rocket science! You too can create your own masterpiece by ‘just being’. Truly, ‘just being’ is a high-utility, wonderful, Life-changing, App! You don’t even have to download it to install it. All you need to do to get started is, well, just be!