Get drunk on Life: it gives you an unputdownable high!

Learn to postpone worry! Be in the moment!
Yesterday, I got some quiet time to myself at a café. I find it absolutely necessary to remain silent for some spells – at least one – daily. I use this time to pause, reflect – and importantly to postpone worry!
To be sure, I make a list of all the stuff that worries me – and I have enough and more to worry about, just like you have – and bucket them into two lists. Stuff that I can act on and resolve over time. And stuff that I can’t resolve. Those that I can work on and solve, I convince myself that I need not worry about them. And those that I can’t solve myself, I convince myself again, that I must not worry about them either. This is how, methodically, practically, logically, I postpone worrying on a daily basis.
The biggest benefit of postponing worry is that you are available to the now – and are present in the moment. No past. No future. Which means no grief, anger or guilt over what has happened – the past. And no fear, anxiety or worry over what may happen – the future. No past. No future. You are just present in the moment.
In the present moment there is just beauty. There is complete magic.
Last evening, while at the café, it rained like crazy for about 40 minutes. It was a very heavy downpour. It was also the day after Diwali here in the south of India. Most services were still not available as most people were on an extended festive vacation. I wanted to get back home. But no Uber cars were available. And it was impossible to step out because the rain came down pelting. I stepped out onto the balcony at the café to gauge the intensity of the rain.



A cat meowed incessantly in a corner of the balcony – perhaps feeling wet and cold in the rain. The café had festive, decorative lights running around the trees on their premises. In the rain, these lights came alive differently – they felt surreal. And the rain created a music which was at the same time intense and sublime.

I was reminded of the opening lines of a Kumar Sanu number from Sir (1993, Mahesh Bhatt, Naseeruddin Shah, Pooja Bhatt, Atul Agnihotri) which goes: “Sun, Sun, Sun Barsaat Ki Dhun Sun…”. It means, “Listen, listen to music of the rain…!”

I spent several minutes staying immersed in the music that the rain made. At another time in my Life, in such weather, I would have preferred to drink my favorite whiskey while watching Amar Akbar Anthony(1977, Manmohan Desai) – perhaps for the millionth time! But, over time, I have learned that you don’t need an induced, artificial intoxicant, to get a high. You can get an inexplicable, unputdownable high if you know how to get drunk on Life by being present in the moment. Perhaps that’s why Jalauddin Rumi, the 13thCentury Persian poet has said this of Life: “Be aware of the pure wine being poured. Don’t complain that you have been handed a dirty cup!”
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Adapt, Adjust and Accommodate: Life’s best mantra

Our lives are tailored to take the most unpredictable turns. The only way then to live your Life, if you want to be happy and peaceful, is to be willing to adapt to, adjust with and accommodate the Life that comes your way.

Someone we know recently told us that he was preparing for “exploring the unknown” next year, when he turns 49 and is in his 50th year. So he is getting ready to quit the trappings of a regular job and take “the plunge”. As I heard him share his plans, I thought to myself, while it is always good to plan the Life that you want, it also very important to be willing to accept the Life that you get. This means we must not cling on to or be rigid about our plans for our lives. Because there will be times when Life will serve you a menu that you neither wanted nor ordered!
Consider the story of Anu Aggarwal, the star of Mahesh Bhatt’s Aashiqui(1990) and Mani Ratnam’s Thiruda Thiruda(1993). Her recently launched autobiography Anusual – Memoir Of A Girl Who Came Back From The Dead (HarperCollins India, 192 pages, Rs.299; I haven’t read it yet), I believe, candidly takes us through her pretty eventful Life. She survives a horrifying car crash in 1999, which left her in a 29-day coma. She then takes sanyas – realizing in the bargain that godmen and their aura are neither true and nor do they exist. When she comes out to being her own self, “a voice from within answered”. And that’s how Anusual was born. Can you even imagine that one of Bollywood’s most successful heroines – Aashiqui which completed 25 years last month – was literally “gone with the wind”? And had it not been for a bunch of doctors and Anu’s own fight, she might have been lost in that car crash.

Anu’s story, yet again, tell us this: that you cannot plan your Life beyond a point. You simply have to live it – taking it as it comes. Planning is not a crime. But clinging on to the plan, and resisting Life’s design that often times tears your plans down – that resistance is what will make you miserable. So, the best mantra is be not just willing, but ready too, at any time to adapt to, adjust with, and accommodate what Life has in store for you! 

There are no full stops in Life!

The key to intelligent living is to go with the flow of Life – savoring your successes and learning from what you fail at!
On a recent episode of the popular TV show, “Koffee with Karan”, celebrity Bollywood director Karan Johar had the two sensational young stars Parineeti Chopra and Alia Bhatt as his guests. The show’s format includes other stars giving Karan’s guests either feedback or compliments through video recordings. On this episode, Alia’s father, the famous Bollywood director, the venerable Mahesh Bhatt, had recorded a message for Alia. His advice for Alia, who’s just a couple of films old in the industry, was this: “…Remember that in this world we will be penalized when we fail and we will be applauded when we succeed. Take them both in your stride. Keep going…because in such journeys, there’s nothing like a full stop…!” Papa Bhatt was helping his daughter understand the vagaries of the movie business since she is new to it, she’s young and inexperienced. But all that he said is true for Life itself.
Most of the time, a lot of us struggle with Life because we fear failure. Even before we make efforts, we have developed an attachment to the results. We expect and want every effort of ours to succeed. While theoretically every effort, when made with dedication and precision, can be successful, in reality this is just not possible. Besides, success and failure are labels that society has created. At a deeply spiritual level, there’s only effort – there is no success or failure! This the essence of the message of the Bhagavad Gita – focus on ensuring that your motive is pure and the means are right, don’t worry about the results or the outcomes.
I took a long time to understand this truth about Life and struggled with accepting it initially. I could never comprehend why sincere effort, driven with sound integrity of purpose, should fail. For the first few years of our bankruptcy, I felt humiliated with the label of “failed entrepreneur” that society pinned on me. Every time I appeared in court, to face charges pressed by irate creditors, I would be addressed as the “accused” by the officials and the judge. It hurt very badly. I was devastated when my family called me a “cheat”. My grief was unbearable. It was my effort to get rid of my grief that led me to realize that I was allowing these social definitions (of me) to affect me. Yes, I had made mistakes in our business which had caused our challenging situation. But this was not the end-of-the-road for me, I reasoned to myself. I redefined my Life’s context – I told myself that we had to hang in there, face Life, work harder than ever before, and climb out of the situation that my family and I were in. To be able to do this diligently is what success now meant to me. Indeed, we haven’t managed to even begin turning around our financial fortunes. But we have developed this ability to keep ploughing on. This has happened because my wife and I have been able to get over the fear of failure. I believe when you are not afraid of failing in Life, you will be successful in facing Life, even if material success – as defined by society – takes a long time to arrive!
In Life, you win some, you lose some. Neither is success permanent. Nor is failure. Really, there are no full stops in Life. You simply have to keep on going – no matter what!

Whatever’s yours will come to you – no matter what!

Nobody can take away what is due to you and nothing can help you get what’s not meant for you! This is an unalterable Law of Life!
Anupam Kher – Saaransh – 1984
  
Anupam Kher’s story and Life is inspiring. Overcoming facial paralysis and a bankruptcy, he is today not just an actor and producer-director, but is also a Life coach, a motivational speaker and author. We often respond to denial by Life – through people and events – pretty much like the way Anupam did. That’s natural. And in a way, we must demand what we believe is rightfully ours. In his case, he was so convincing that Bhatt decided to cast his lot with Anupam, betting on the young man’s passion. And so it worked out for everyone – for Anupam, for Bhatt and for Barjatya – “Saaransh” was a super hit and was even India’s entry for the Academy Awards under the Best Foreign Language Film category in 1985.
Even so, there will be times, when you will not get what you want or what you believe is rightfully yours. In all such times, as in any other, it is important to know that what’s yours will always come to you – no matter who or what comes in the way. And you will never get what’s not meant for you – no matter who’s helping you get it! There’s a divinity that shapes our ends. And it goes beyond human understanding and beats all logic. So, the best way to live Life is to make your efforts, sincerely, passionately, and accept Life for what it is. That’s the essence of what the Bhagavad Gita also teaches us – “Make sure your motive is pure and the means are right, then do your best and leave the rest (the results) to Life!”