This whole lifetime is, at one level, meaningless. There’s no success. And no failure. When you die, you take nothing, not even memories of your experiences.
You may wonder what’s the point in living – earning, creating, saving – when you can’t take anything or anyone with you when you die? But this is the truth. This is the way it is. None of us knows what’s after death. So, we can only ensure that we live this one Life that we have well. This means we treat everything that comes our way – sadness, joy, love, anger, fear, passion and peace – with respect, with acceptance and with gratitude. In his immortal poem “The Guest House”, Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi, the 13th Century Persian poet says, receive both Life’s sorrows and joys with respect, greeting them at the door “laughing” and “invite them in”, for each has been sent as a “guide from beyond”. There’s only one reason that I believe there is to describe why we go through so many experiences in our Life – and that reason is to teach us to be humble. What education, success, fame and money do to us is that they all make us, even if subconsciously, arrogant. We start gloating over how well we have planned out lives, how much we are in control and how well we have crafted our own tiny worlds. And then, in one fell swoop, Life changes everything. It’s like a wave that comes and sweeps away a sandcastle that a child has built on the beach. For some of us, these waves come multiple times and with each blow, with each upheaval, we become more and more humble.
|Ustad Zakir Hussain
Picture Source: Internet
Those who have understood Life and the way it works, will have learnt also to be unswayed by whatever is happening to them. Neither grief nor glory can move them. I recently read an interview that Tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain gave ‘Times Life’. He was asked how he dealt with being a celebrity and how he would deal with losing all his fame. His reply is so beautiful, so awakening: “I am a figment of everyone’s imagination. That’s what I am. And I know that I’m the dog today and I’m having my day. And there’ll be someone else to take over and really, there’s no problem in that. I’m not going to be the famous number one Tabla player all my Life. I took over from someone, did I not? And someone else is going to take over from me. And there’s no problem at all, as far as I’m concerned. Because, I am not the best. There is no best. You know, someone once told a maestro after a show ‘You were perfect today’ and the maestro replied ‘I haven’t played good enough to quit’. You know, that’s a very profound statement. In other words, if I had done what I think is the best I can do, I might as well hang up my boots. There’s nowhere else to go. So, there’s no perfect. You will never reach the horizon but that doesn’t stop you from enjoying and experiencing the journey, learning from it.”
That’s all there is to Life. Keep enjoying and experiencing the journey, learning from it, every step of the way. Don’t cling on to anything. Neither your sorrows nor your joys. Take everything as it comes. If possible, during the time that you have here, on the planet, touch another Life, make a difference. That’s the only way to create meaning in an otherwise meaningless Life! Because, when it ends, when death comes, your lifetime will be a memory for those who knew you, and for you…it may, well, just mean nothing.