In crisis situations, just carry on stepping!

Don’t expect your problems or challenges to vanish into thin air. Don’t try wishing that they weren’t there. It is the nature of Life to have problems. Deal with Life, especially in a crisis, one step at a time.
Life in a crisis is pretty much like the headlights of your vehicle. You know where you want your vehicle to go. You know the destination. But in the darkness of the night, the headlight can’t get you to see the destination. But it sure can light up some part of the way, a few feet at a time, and as you make progress you get to see what lies ahead. This goes on, until of course, it is daylight or you reach the destination you were driving to. Life works exactly the same way. The night, the crisis, is not likely to go away immediately. A new dawn awaits you, but it is never dawn until daylight arrives. So, in the darkness of the night, follow the headlight principle. Don’t expect the entire road to be lit up. Be content with being able to see just a few feet at a time. In Life, therefore, when in a crisis situation, don’t expect clarity and answers to what lies a week down the road, a month, a year or in the distant future. Just believe that you will survive. Know that you will ultimately prevail. Know that you will eventually achieve your goal, reach your destination, realize your dream.
This is as true a statement as it is to say that a day always follows each night! Live each moment and each day completely__keeping your focus on where you want to go, living in the awareness that if you can see a few feet ahead, if you can survive today, you are making good progress. Don’t ask why are you in the dark phase or why you are groping with a crisis? Don’t wish and pine for the crisis not to have been there. These sentiments will cause you agony and hamper your ability to think clearly. The truth is that the crisis exists. The truth also is that you are caught in the throes of it! Accept it. Tell yourself that if you can last the next few steps of the journey, you will be blessed. Then when you pass each day, when you last that phase of the journey, work on lasting a little longer. And keep going until time relents, the crisis blows away and you are bathed in the warm glow of daylight, or what the world will call, ‘your success’! 

An old Chinese proverb reminds us that to get through all journeys, even the hardest ones, we need to take only one step at a time, but what’s important is, we must carry on stepping!

Cooperate unconditionally with the inevitable present

The present moment is inevitable. What happens in it is inevitable. So, why are we resisting the present moment?
The beauty of Life resides in the moment. In the present. Whatever you may do, you cannot prevent the present. You can grieve your past. You can worry about your future. But you can do nothing__other than live through it__about the present moment! Before you know it, it is here. In front of you. And you are in it! And then it is gone. And a new present is born. So, how can you ever avoid the present? It is impossible. As people who have gone through a basic education, who like to live Life by understanding it better, this one powerful unputdownable thought should lead you to a lifetime of peace and bliss.
Spiritualist and writer Anthony D’Mello (1931~1987) shares a parable that goes like this: 
“What is the secret of your serenity?” asked the disciple. 


“To cooperate unconditionally with the inevitable,” answered the Master.

So beautiful. And so simple. As you finish another week reflect on this thought. Resolve to accept, collaborate, partner, and be in the inevitable present. Cooperate unconditionally with it. See how it transforms your Life __ helping you stay happy and peaceful__ despite all your circumstances.

Don’t churn the past or the future – just let it all be

The human mind is powerless in the present moment. That’s why it insists on dragging you back to the past or into the future.

An important and fundamental clarity we must all have is over the functioning of the human mind. It thrives in the dead past – spewing thoughts of anger, grief, guilt over what has happened. And it thrives in the still unborn, unknown future – throwing anxiety, worry and fear over what may (or may not) happen. So, as long as the mind is controlling you, you are oscillating between the past and the future. The mind never allows you to settle. Such is its nature. 60,000 thoughts arise daily and all of them invariably dwell in the past or concern the future. This is why we often feel chewed up and are desperate for clarity. And this is where mindfulness comes in. When you are mindful of the present moment, immersing yourself in your current reality, your mind is powerless. When your mind is not controlling you, and when you are directing it instead to be in the present, there can neither be grief or guilt nor can there be worry or fear.
Once you understand this basic concept about intelligent living, you can begin the practise of mindfulness. It requires that you train your mind. And the principle to remember is that just like the human body can be trained, the human mind can be trained too. Mindfulness begins when you stop churning the past or the future in your mind. Just let it all be. You focus only on what is, on what is available, in the present moment. It may be difficult – as is the case with any new practice – but if you keep at it, you will make progress. Surely, over 21 days of daily practise, you can learn to be mindful.
I love what the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh has to say about mindfulness. He says it so simply, so beautifully: “To be mindful is to bring body and mind back to the present moment so that you do not miss your appointment with life.”

Eat the strawberry or stop complaining – either way choose to be happy!

Focus on what is happening than on what was happening or what will happen.
Distractions in our Life come from two sources. The past. And the future. There’s no worry about the present moment. Because you are in it already! There’s no choice with the present. This is where we can be happy.
But while we want to be happy, we don’t recognize the opportunity to be happy when it comes in front of us. The truth is we don’t know how to be happy. We like to indulge in self-pity and in worrying. So, we conveniently exercise the debilitating choice of slipping into the past or moving into an imaginary future state. Neither of which is in our control. The past is over, it HAS HAPPENED. It is dead. The future is still TO HAPPEN, it is the unknown. Anything can happen and not necessarily what you imagine. So, stay in the present. Stay here knowing fully well that you CANNOTstop the worries from coming to you. What you can do is STOP WORRYING!
Worries are like waves. Their job is to keep coming to the shore. Come, crash, ebb, recede, resurge, come, crash, ebb….this is a non-stop cycle. So will your worries keep coming to you, non-stop. Their job is to keep coming at you. You will have to learn to be unmoved. Don’t try to be untouched though. Because the nature of a worry is like the wave, it will drench you if you are standing at the shore. But don’t be influenced by it. Remain unmoved. And that you can achieve by focusing on what is happening. Worrying from a guilt or a burden from the past or fearing the unknown future is going to take away the beauty of the moment you are in. 
There’s this Zen story called ‘Cliffhanger’ that should help us understand the power of being in the NOW. One day while walking through the wilderness a man came across a vicious tiger in his path. He ran for his Life but soon came to the edge of a high cliff. Desperate to save himself, he climbed down a vine and dangled over the precipice. As he hung there, two mice appeared from a hole in the cliff and began gnawing at the vine. Suddenly, he noticed, on the vine, a plump wild strawberry. He plucked it and popped it in his mouth. It was incredibly delicious, he thought, and enjoyed himself! Imagine, the man had the following options: 1. Continue to hate the Tiger, his past, at the moment, that had, in a way, led him to his present. 2. Fear the mice for what they were about to do to the vine and worry about the future__for his Life. 3. Eat the strawberry and celebrate the moment’s delicious opportunity. He chose the third. This is the secret of intelligent living. To make the right choice.
Remember: Life’s offering us delicious strawberries even as the tigers from our past are chasing us and the mice are chewing away and possibly ruining what we imagine to be our future. Know that the tigers can’t come down to the present__they are only there to haunt us. And that the mice can’t do anything to stop you from enjoying the strawberry, if you decide to eat them! The simple non-negotiable reality is that if you want to be happy, you must eat the strawberry, you must ACCEPT WHAT IS. And if you don’t like strawberries, then, please stop complaining about the lack of happiness in your Life!

Drop the guilt and simply be

Guilt prevents you from being your true self – and from simply being.
Every once in a while, you will commit mistakes. Some of them may be simple and you can redeem yourself. But in some cases you cannot go back and undo what you did. In either case, the feeling of guilt lingers on – and in the cases where the damage owing to your actions is irreparable, the guilt refuses to go away. First, know that feeling this way, is something normal. But if you understand what guilt is, you will be able to deal with it better.
Guilt is an emotion always associated with the past. Therefore, in every sense, it is debilitating. Because, no matter what you do, you can’t change the past. But because, when feeling guilt, you tend to live only the past, you are held hostage by your guilt and miss out on the beautiful present, on living in the moment. Dropping the guilt does not mean you should not recognize your mistake or learn from your actions. I am not making a case for non-accountability. Indeed every mistake you make is an opportunity to learn and/or unlearn something. So, please reflect on what has happened. Just don’t keep clinging on to it ruefully, steeped in guilt and feeling perpetually depressed for your actions.
You must realize that there’s no one who is perfect. Each of us learns through stumbling, falling, getting up and moving on in Life. Each experience is a teacher. Each failure – and each success – is a lesson. We can only learn when we realize the consequences of our actions. The problem with guilt is that it arises along with your inner realization or awakening. And because the human mind thrives in the past, it projects your guilt forcefully and your guilt overpowers the inner awakening and wrests control. So, instead of saying what can I learn from my actions or what I must resolve not to do going forward, your mind insists that you keep hating yourself for doing what you did. That feeling of self-hate is guilt. It is totally useless and entirely crippling. The more time you spend hating yourself for what you did, the more depressed you will be. The more depressed you are, the less you will enjoy the Life that is happening to you. Interestingly, no other aspect of creation has the ability to feel guilty. An animal doesn’t feel guilt. It simply is. It will eat when it wants, it will mate when it wants, it will do whatever it wants, whenever it wants to do it! Period. But we humans will analyze each action and allow ourselves to mourn and brood over our actions.

As they say, sometimes, “Shit Happens”! And it is entirely possible that you caused it to happen. Instead of holding yourself guilty forever, accept the mistake, internalize the lesson it has to offer, resolve to act differently going forward and just move on. Clinging on to your guilt is not intelligent living – because it destroys the ability to live in the now.  

Happiness is always in the present

Whatever you do, give it your fullest attention. This is the only way to stop pursuing happiness and instead be happy.
If you are brushing your teeth, make sure you are thinking about your teeth and be grateful for the millions of times they have helped you nurture and nourish yourself with good food. When you are looking out of your plane window, admire the sky, the clouds, the sun, the moon, the stars and be grateful for this opportunity to change the way you look at this world. Every time you text, WhatsApp or place a call, thank the people behind all the telecom revolutions we have witnessed: from Bell to Motorola, without whom we would not be connected in this big world. While on this Page, just admire the fact that facebook has made possible what you always sought in Life – great friendships!

Giving attention is staying in the present. As Albert Einstein said, “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl isn’t simply giving the kiss the attention it deserves”. Give Life all your attention by living for and in the moment. Watch Life roll out a red carpet for you.  It is in the present that there is happiness.