Life only guarantees surprises and unpredictability

Tell Life each morning that you are waiting to be surprised and you will never be disappointed.
This is the way I have learnt to live Life. And I have also learnt that Life’s unpredictability is the only guarantee we can get from Life! True, Life’s not unpredictable. It is extremely predictable when we know that the only thing it will surely deliver, unfailingly, ceaselessly, is surprise. And the only way to respond to Life’s surprises is to be in amazement. Take delight in the continuous surprises that Life throws at you. Enjoy them.
How can you enjoy a health problem, a lost job, a misunderstanding, a loss of reputation or something that is painful __ physically and emotionally__you may ask? The truth is you can enjoy them just as you can enjoy the birth of a new child, a raise, a vacation or an orgasm. You don’t enjoy the challenges (also surprises) that Life throws at you  because you don’t see these ‘surprises’ as opportunities to learn, grow and evolve. Instead you see them as problem situations where Life has ‘put you down’. In reality, Life is actually lifting you up, raising your level of challenge so that you can rise up with it. Look at your Life so far. Despite all the hard kicking and struggle you have been through, haven’t you evolved from what__and where__you were a few years ago? That is Life. Your screaming, defying, resisting is not going to change the way Life happens to you. The best way to avoid strife, agony, grief and disappointment is to have a child-like curiosity, gleefulness toward Life.
Zen Buddhism says: “Be empty. Look without any idea. Look into the nature of things but with no idea, with no prejudice, with no presupposition.” To be empty, you must just, simply, await Life’s next surprise. If you are forever willing to be surprised, you will never be disappointed.

Get on with the business of living

Live with complete awareness of the true nature of Life – and you will be happy, no matter what you are dealing with.
Understand that one day this lifetime will come to an end. And yet you must live – and not just exist – until that end comes! This awareness is critical for you to live fully, blissfully, in continuous celebration of each moment. Celebration? When each day is a challenge to survive, how can you celebrate each moment? People, events, circumstances, financial issues, health problems, relationships, the traffic, the garbage, the theatre of the absurd – the upcoming Assembly elections (in Tamil Nadu)….do we think with so much chaos around us, we can actually celebrate? How can you even talk of a celebration, you may wonder. Indeed. Yet, it is the imponderables that make Life interesting.
We don’t see Life as interesting because we haven’t been taught to appreciate the unpredictability and inscrutability of Life. That appreciation would make living Life so much easier. Instead we are told that Life is about studying, working hard, earning money and living happily ever after. Had we been told that such a linear progression through Life would be interspersed with a zillion different challenges and that we must embrace them, live through them, learn from them, while being happy, wouldn’t we have been better off? This is the awareness that I have come to experience, understand and believe in.

This awareness is the key to happiness. According to ancient Chinese folklore, a traveler through the mountains came upon an elderly gentleman who was busy planting a tiny almond tree. Knowing that almond trees take many years to mature, he commented to the man “It seems odd that a man of your advanced age would plant such a slow-growing tree!” The man replied “I like to live my life based on two principles. One is that I will live forever. The other is that this is my last day.” The old man’s perspective is so, so beautiful. Look around you. What are the things you would like to complete if you were told today’s your last day here? What are the things you would like to set in motion if you knew you will live forever? Make a shortlist combining actions that are common to these two lists and get started. That’s how you really stop complaining, feeling lost and helpless in the humdrum of everyday Life, and get on with the business of living – fully and happily!