The only way to heal is to share, be open and not worry about being vulnerable!

You are not alone. Everyone has problems. So, stop obsessing over your problems and start living.
Our daughter has enrolled for a Creative Dance Movement Therapy Program. She intends to make a career out of practicing dance movement therapy. We asked her how her Program was coming along. Over some soup and pasta, she explained to us how the Program’s instructor insisted that they employ the therapy techniques on themselves first. She said: “It was a therapeutic, healing experience. As each of my class fellows shared their Life stories, I realized that we are not the only ones facing problems. Everyone is. And the only way to heal yourself is to be open, to share what you feel and to not worry about being vulnerable.”
I am delighted our daughter at 20-something has understood the futility of keeping things bottled up. I learnt this only when I was 35. Sadly, many people still don’t get it.
All our suffering comes from wanting our lives to be different from what it is now. And because it is not always possible to change what is, we spend our lives pretending that everything’s normal. For instance, people carry on with broken marriages because they worry about social approval, people live beyond their means because they want to maintain a public profile, people don’t speak their mind because they want to be nice to their oppressors and people are refusing to forgive themselves for what they have said and done only because they are still clinging on to anger and guilt. Here’s the nub: As long as we live, we will face problems. Some of the problems will cripple us physically, some will drain us emotionally. In either context, we must be willing to let go of past experiences, hurts, insults and opinions, and, in many cases, even people – we must simply move on. Anything and anyone that makes us unhappy must be avoided – like plague, even if it is our own thoughts, or even if it is someone with whom we have a biological connect! The past serves only one purpose: it teaches us lessons from what we have been through. Beyond the lesson, we have must have no attachment to a past event, person or experience.

If you are clinging on to someone or something and are suffering, then open up and share. When you share, you may be vulnerable. But you will also heal. You fear being vulnerable only because you think people will take advantage of you. If they do, that’s a learning too – that you can’t count on such people. Believe me, I have been wearing my Life on my sleeve for over 15 years now. And so far, none has exploited my vulnerability. Because, contrary to what we all think, this is a wonderful world, with beautiful, compassionate people! 
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Until your time comes

Dealing with death requires a deeper understanding of Life – through an awakening from within.

Our most normal reaction as children to death is total puzzlement. When we asked someone in the family why someone is ‘not waking up’ or ‘not coming these days’, we were told ‘the person has become a star in the sky’ or ‘gone to God’. Therein begins our misunderstanding of death. Slowly, as we grow older, while we begin to appreciate, albeit subconsciously, the certainty of death, and its tendency to arrive unannounced, we loathe it, we fear it. Anything that we fear will torment us. And death is no exception.

A friend passed away yesterday – consumed by cancer of the stomach. He was in his late forties. Seeing his picture in the obituary of The Hindu this morning, an eerie feeling crept into me. Is this it, I wondered. One day, you are there; and the next day you are gone? If this is an unchangeable reality, an eventuality, about Life, why and how is it that some are able to handle death, when it comes calling in their families, calmly while some others suffer endlessly in sorrow?

The answer lies, like with Life itself, in accepting Death for what it is. Osho, the Master, as always, is helpful in promoting our understanding: “Death is always close by. It is almost like your shadow. You may be aware, you may not be aware, but it follows you from the first moment of your life to the very last moment. Death is a process just as Life is a process, and they are almost together, like two wheels of a bullock cart. Life cannot exist without death; neither can death exist without Life. Our minds have an insane desire: we want only Life and not death.”

All desires will bring agony when they are not met. You ask for a cappuccino in a restaurant and you get an espresso instead. You are angry. You want a raise. And your boss says no. You are angry. In the case of desires such as the cappuccino and the raise, your anger__and resultant agony__may result in your desires being fulfilled. But let us say you live in Chicago and you desire that there be no winters? Or you live in Chennai and desire that there be no summers? Is there any point in having desires that are NEVER going to be fulfilled? To have a desire that death must not visit you, your family and your social circle is meaningless, absurd and sure to cause you a lot of suffering. Instead of fearing it, accept, embrace and welcome death. This is the only certainty that Life can offer you. The only guarantee. That you will die. So, what this knowledge calls for is celebration. Not grief. Each time you encounter death around you__to someone you knew, or knew of, or just heardabout it in the news__remember that it is Life’s way of nudging you awake, to remind you how precious, how fragile and how impermanent your own Life is. It is a wake up call to live fully and intelligently. We will do well to know that, as departures keep happening in our lifetime, we are all in the same queue, and until our time comes, we must live, share, love and serve.