Asking ‘Why’ of Life never helps!

Everything has its place and everything has a reason. So just accept what is and keep moving on…

When we ask why, we become restless, anxious, fearful and lose the game of Life. Instead when we accept things, people, events, as they are, as they happen, we find peace and bliss irrespective of the circumstance we find ourselves in.

Of course, it is normal for you to want to know why something is happening to you. But know also that Life is unlikely to give you an answer – at least immediately. As Steve Jobs famously said, “You can only connect the dots backwards.” That connection of dots too is, at best, an inference, a derived pattern. Yet, if you can accept the lack of reason in the moment, you can always find your own way to be happy with whatever is, the way it is. But if you keep asking why this and why that, you will find yourself wallowing in grief and agony and you will never be at peace. Life’s ways are at best magical and at worst mystical. Jobs further said, “…so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” Simply, never when something is happening, in the present, can you know the why of it. So, trust Life and let things be as they are.


An old Kashmiri story illustrates this best. Once upon a time, a man was resting under the shade of a walnut tree on a hot, sultry afternoon. Just nearby was a pumpkin creeper. The man thought to himself, “Why would God grow pumpkins on a creeper and walnuts on a tree when it should have been the other way round? Pumpkins need stronger support while walnuts do not- how did it not occur to God? Pretty silly!” Just when he was about to leave the shade of the tree and walk away, a walnut fell from above and hit his head. He then realized that had it been pumpkins that grew on such trees instead of walnuts, he’d be dead and that being in the shade of trees would not be safe for tired travelers, like him, at all! He then realized that there’s a lot that God knows that he did not. He concluded that God has planned everything beforehand.



To me, God is Life itself. I see Life as a thinking, intelligent teacher, who gives you each experience with a reason. Every aspect of creation is available to teach you something. Every crisis is a training ground to make you stronger and wiser. Yes, I too do feel lost sometimes. Stumped by Life’s surprises, the trials, the twists and the irrationality of it all! Even so, over the years, I have learnt not to ask why! I have learnt to accept my Life for what it is, the way it is and I keep moving on…

Move onward in faith, trusting Life

Take that first step of faith and the path will unfold, taking you where it intends to, taking you where you are destined to be.
Your path to your final destination on this lifetime’s journey is already pre-ordained. Except Life doesn’t come with Google Maps. You can’t say which way the path is going and how soon you can get to where you have to be. All you can do, and do well, is to take each step, starting with the first one, in faith. Faith comes with attendant benefits. It brings prosperity and abundance __ not of all that you want, but of everything you need! This is how Life works. It wants you to be trusting. The more you trust Life, the more it unfolds in its magnificence and splendor.
Yesterday, we met a courageous lady who had an inspiring story. Over 20 years ago, her two-year-old son was diagnosed with a rare heart condition. Her husband and she were a middle-class couple. They did not have the means to go abroad for the treatment. He worked in the Indian Army but was often on duty in the border areas. The lady had to, in a non-Google era, when pediatrics was not so advanced a field in India, work with the Ministry of Defence, with the Ministry of Health and with doctors to both organize the money required for her son’s surgery as well as to understand his medical condition better. Hearing her story, I inferred that she clutched on to the basic principle of Life – faith. I am not talking about faith in an external God – but in yourself, in the fact that since you have been created without you asking to be created, you will be provided for, cared for and given all that you need. In any situation, you have to do what you have to do. Just do it well and leave the rest to Life. And that’s how it all worked out well for the lady and her husband. Their son is a strapping, healthy 23-year-old today!
Well sometimes, what you want, wish for and work toward may just not happen. But you cannot and must not be dismissive of Life just because “it” didn’t work for you. You have to just accept what is and move on.

Life is not to be feared. Nor is it to be rejected or resisted. It is to be trusted and accepted for what it is: for its benevolence and its amazing sense of equal opportunity. How else do you think that a child, who is of the same age as your own, who lives on the streets, is also able to survive and in fact does live on too withoutanyone to even provide for her or his needs, forget wants? Now, by a sheer quirk of fate your child is not on the streets but is with you. How cool a blessing is that? That, and just that, is a good reason why you must trust Life. And take that first step in faith! 

A lesson in ‘trusting Life’ from an inspiring mother

Trust Life! Know that if you have been created, you will be cared for, looked after and provided for!
Malvika Iyer (L) and Hema Malini Krishnan (R)
Last evening we heard Malvika Iyer speak for the first time! Malvika – remember, I had written (some weeks back) about this young lady with an unbeatable spirit who is also a bilateral amputee – touched our hearts with her story. She left everyone in the audience with the strong message, personifying it in every sense, that the only disability anyone can have is a bad attitude. She attributed all her strength to her mother Hema Malini Krishnan, who, she says, has never made her feel deprived or disabled in any manner. “At home, I was never treated as if there was something missing in my Life, although I don’t have both my hands. I was raised as any other teenager would be in any other home. My mother always told me that I must pursue whatever I believe in and never once did she say, ‘but you can’t do this because you don’t have hands’,” says Malvika. So, naturally, the audience was in awe of Malvika for sure, but they were even more keen to hear Hema speak.
Hema finally obliged. She epitomizes trusting the Universe, the ‘Creator’ as she says, trusting Life, implicitly. “When the bomb blast happened in 2002 that took away Malvika’s hands and changed our lives completely, indeed, we were gripped with fear of the unknown. But I was sure that we will make it. Malvika was just 13 then. But I believed that she would lead a normal Life. Though at that time, her legs were also badly injured. People ask me where my courage and conviction came from. Simple – my point is that if we have been placed in a challenging situation by Life, we will also be given the means – physical, financial, spiritual – to deal with it. I simply trusted the Creator. And I went with the flow. People often ask me what will happen of Malvika after me. And I again answer that I am only an instrument to help Malvika. I am here for a fixed tenure. When my turn is over, Life will arrange another instrument. I know this will happen. I trust the Creator. I have learned to accept what I have been given.”
Everyone in the audience was moved by Hema’s perspective. Her faith is unwavering. And this must be our learning too. 
Most of our worries and anxieties come from wondering how things will turn out in our lives. We survey our own limitations – which are anyway imagined and never logically proven – and conclude that something or the other is impossible. Our perceived impossibilities dictate our attitude. Which is why we are sulking, brooding, complaining and grieving about our lives. Even for a moment, we don’t wish to acknowledge that there’s a higher intelligence that powers the Universe. Our education makes us believe that we are intelligent and creation is dumb. So we ignore the biggest miracle that we are born human, without our ever asking to be created or born, we ignore the fact that the whole, magnificent, inscrutable Universe has been created, by this higher intelligence, ahead of us and we ignore this lifetime’s blessing to explore and experience creation’s myriad miracles. All we are obsessed with is our view of our problems and our view again of our inability to solve those problems. Nothing can be deemed as more foolish an approach to living.
Every time you feel despondent over mundane, or lesser challenging, situations, think of Hema’s trust in the Universe, in her ‘Creator’, that makes us accept her child’s special condition and yet encourages her to inspire Malvika to live a full, complete Life with no limits. Every time you are complaining that you don’t have this or that, think of your attitude as your biggest limitation, your disability. Think of Malvika, who doesn’t have hands but has the zest, the will and spirit in her to live a Life without limitations! Fundamentally, we must learn, despite all our education, not to intellectualize Life. We simply can’t. Life has a mind of its own. And we must simply trust it. There are only two ways to approach Life. If there’s a problem that your education, logic or science can solve, stop worrying about the problem – because it can be solved. And if you are dealing with a problem that your education, logic and science cannot solve, stop worrying about the problem again – because you cannot solve it! Simple. What you cannot solve, trust Life to solve it. And trust Life to give you the strength to deal with the problem if it can’t be solved.
If we pause a moment and look around we will find that our lives are blessed compared to all that people are facing and enduring around us. When you appreciate and value the blessing called this lifetime, you will start living – and you too will start trusting Life.

When you trust Life, you will not suffer!

Trust Life. Know that, even in your darkest hours, you will be taken care of.
Sometimes Life will bring you to a point where everything will seem so hopeless. You may be plunged into an abyss and will be staring into the darkness. You may even wonder if your Life will ever be normal again – free from all the suffering that you are having to go through!This is when you must learn to trust Life. When nothing else seems possible, know that if your trust in Life is intact, then everything’s possible!
Here’s a Zen story to illustrate this. A warrior had just got married and was returning home with his bride. They were crossing a lake in a boat when suddenly a great storm arose. The woman was very afraid because it seemed almost hopeless – the boat was small and the storm was a mighty one. It seemed certain that their small boat would capsize any moment and because of the way the lake’s water was being churned it looked like they both would drown in it. But the warrior sat silently, calm and quiet, as if nothing was happening.

The woman was trembling and she said, “Are you not afraid? This may be the last moment of our Life! I don’t think we can make it to the shore in this kind of weather. Only some miracle can save us, otherwise death is certain. Are you not afraid? Are you mad or something? Are you a stone or something?” 

The warrior laughed and pulled out his sword from its sheath. The woman was puzzled – what was he is doing? Then he brought the naked sword close to the woman’s neck – so close that it was almost touching her neck. 

He asked his wife, “Are you afraid?” 

She replied calmly, “Why should I be afraid? If the sword is in your hands, why should I be afraid? I know you love me.”

The warrior put the sword back and said, “This is my answer too. I trust Life. The storm at this time, when we are crossing this lake, is Life’s way of testing us. My Life, your Life, everything around us, including this storm, is created by Life. So, why worry? Whatever is going to happen is going to be good. If we survive, great. If we don’t, great again – because we were given, gifted, this Life without our asking for it. So what if it is taken without us being asked?”

This is a remarkable perspective on trusting Life. If we can internalize this, then we can face and live through any storm in Life.
Life cannot be lived with logical reasoning all the time. Many a time situations will arise when you will realize that nothing’s in your control. You can cry foul, you can beat your chest, you can say that Life is unfair, you can say that there is no God and that all your faith in a higher energy was in vain – you can say whatever you want, but the Life that you are facing at that moment cannot be changed or escaped. That reality has to be faced and lived through. In such situations, the only quality that can help you be at peace within is trust. When you trust Life, irrespective of what’s happening, you can see it through or you can perish with it. Anything’s possible. But at least you will be at peace with yourself and, importantly, you will not be suffering!
                                                                              

Do whatever it takes to simply live in the now!


It is indeed ironic. In this age of awakened consumerism, your Life is the ONLY product that comes WITHOUT a warranty, without a service or replacement guarantee and without a User Manual. There’s a remote control device to your Life but it certainly is not in your hand!

Think about it! This is THE absolute, real, unvarnished truth!

How different, and so how much more comfortable, Life would have been had it come with a User Manual at the time of your birth? You could then have quickly learned to live and not exist. You could have avoided mishaps and wasted experiences by consulting the manual’s Troubleshooting Guide. If dissatisfied with your Life you could have sought a replacement or pressed into play a service guarantee. Interesting perspective, isn’t it? But, really, as you well know, none of this is possible.

So how do you live a Life that you have no control over, no guarantees about, and that offers no ‘easily downloadable’ guidelines teaching you to live it well?

Simple. You live it one moment at a time. Savoring what is! And yes there’s one thing that Life unwittingly guarantees__with unfailing precision__that it will continue to amaze and surprise you. No matter what you know, you will be continue to be baffled by Life! So, the best way to live is to live with greet each moment in Life with childlike amazement. With curiosity. With glee.

After all that you have tried, tested, tasted, experienced, learned, unlearned, found, discovered, lost and gained, in Life, you will come to realize that Life’s just a simple mind-game. Where the mind continuously tries to take you away from the now, into a dead past or a yet-to-be-born future. And you, through your deeper understanding of Life, must learn to bring your mind back to attend on the present. It’s a fun game. And just like you learn to play Angry Birds or Poker, better and better, with practice, you will learn to live in the moment better by simply focusing on living__again and again and again! So, the key to intelligent living is to lose the mind. Make the mind powerless by not heeding it. By not giving it much attention. Give the moment all your focus. All your attention. Order your mind, as it tries to work you up with worry and anxiety or pin you down with guilt and hurt, to focus on what is. If it is a flower you see, give that flower all you have. If it is this post, give it all your attention. Master Ikkyu defined Zen as “Attention! Attention! Attention!”. Thich Naht Hanh calls this mindfulness. Eckhart Tolle calls it celebrating the Power of Now. Osho calls it simply being. Different words. Different labels. All point to the same state of acceptance, joy and living!

Nordstrom, the global retailer, who has a matchless reputation for service quality, has a one-line standard operating process manual. It says, exhorting its team members to deliver world-class service to its customers, “DO WHATEVER IT TAKES”. Borrowing from Nordstrom, and given that Life does not have a User Manual, perhaps a good, simple, one-line, standard living process guideline for Life would be: “DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO SIMPLY LIVE IN THE MOMENT”.

There’s a story that I remember reading in a book by Osho. It is a story of Mullah Nasruddin, Osho’s favorite character! One day, goes the story, Mullah Nasruddin’s son comes home crying saying his friend, who had borrowed a toy was now refusing to return it. Mullah’s son grieves the fact that he trusted his friend and his trust now stands betrayed. Mullah comforts his son. And promising to teach him to deal with such people better, he advises his son to climb up a ladder. The boy follows his father’s instruction. When he has reached the top, Mullah asks him to jump down. The boy hesitates. But the Mullah convinces him that he will be safe because he was going to be caught in the Mullah’s safe hands. The boy jumps. The Mullah moves away just in the nick of time. The boy falls hard on the ground. In shock, in disbelief, he starts wailing as the pain tears through his leg and grips his lower back. Still sobbing, he demands an explanation from his father as to why he betrayed him. Mullah Nasruddin explains, that he moved away so that his son never trusts anyone in future. Trust no one. Trust not even your father. That was Mullah’s message to his son.

Unfortunately, we too have been brought up the same way. By both our social environments and by our parents’ compulsions. We have been taught that to be cunning, street-smart, clever is more important than being trusting, caring, forgiving and loving. So we have been living our lives this way. Without knowing, without realizing, that the absence of trust is the cause of all grief in Life. Fundamentally, learn to trust creation that if you have been created, it means that you have also been given all that you need to live a whole Life, fully, meaningfully, joyfully! But you__and I__go beyond needs and press for wants to be met. And when they are not met, you become untrusting of Life. You grieve. You seek answers, wonder why there are no guarantees, why Life is being unfair and such. To live in the moment, just trust the Life you have, for what it is, as it is, in that moment!

Gautama, the Buddha, taught the world, TATHATA. It meant acceptance of what is, of the moment. Buddha said: “Whatsoever happens, happens. Nothing else can happen, nothing else is possible. Don’t ask for it to be otherwise; be in a let-go, and allow the whole to function!”

The whole here is Life itself. It is working perfectly well. And for you. The way it must. So, let it be. Don’t ever seek guarantees from Life. Because there are none! Simply tee off, living in the NOW, every single moment!