Don’t resist Life – be ready and willing to flow with it!
Gauri Shinde’s new film Dear Zindagi (Alia Bhatt and Shah Rukh Khan) has suddenly revived interest in the Ilayaraaja classic “Aye Zindagi, Gale Laga Le” from Sadma (1983, Suresh Wadkar; Balu Mahendra, Kamal Haasan, Sri Devi). I am yet to see Shinde’s film, but I spent much of the weekend listening to the original song by Wadkar (the new version is sung by Arijit Singh); I simply love Gulzar saab’s lyrics…the opening line means…“Come, embrace me Life; don’t I embrace all the pain that you send my way…?”
As I write this blogpost, I remain immersed in the spiritual essence of this song…it teaches us to accept the Life we have. But unfortunately, because of our social conditioning, we don’t learn this simple lesson early enough. We live much of our Life steeped in insecurity, resisting pain, asking why, why me, and so we suffer!
I can relate to this conditioning from my own experience. To be sure, I too felt insecure when I first came face to face, nine years ago, with the reality that we were insolvent and our Firm was bankrupt (read more in my Book Fall Like A Rose Petal ). Of course, I was devastated by the gravity of our crisis and was very, very scared of where we would end up in Life. But resisting the insecurity, wishing that things were different, only made me suffer. And in my suffering I could not focus. I was always unhappy. When you don’t focus or are unhappy, how can you function? How can you think of even attempting to solve your problems? While I could make sense of the futility of my suffering, I didn’t know where to start or what to do. What do you do when you don’t know what to do?
My daily practice of mouna (silence periods) helped me understand that all Life is impermanent, that pain is inevitable, and if we choose to embrace the Life we have, then we can completely avoid the suffering. I came to realize that Life really is an “adventure”, a “deep dive”, a “bunjee jump” into the unknown. Insecurity, pain and impermanence, I discovered, are the very weaves that make up the fabric of Life. Over time, I awakened to the truth that you can’t ever “fix” your Life, you can only flow with it, and allow Life to repair and reinvent on its own.
When I started seeing Life from this new perspective, I saw that each day threw up a fresh episode of “adventure” – a legal twist here, an irate creditor who had lost patience with our situation there, bills to be paid for essential services like electricity and telephones when there was no money to even buy groceries, a health situation to be urgently addressed; yet each time we thought it was all over, help, a.k.a miracles, arrived from unexpected quarters. No day, as Vaani and I have experienced, has been the same. Honestly, not all the stuff that comes our way on a daily basis, however new or fresh it is, is appetizing. But however much we feel spent at the end of each day, we wake up revived the next day. And take that day’s “adventure” head-on. This is how we have been living, in fact thriving, this past decade. In this time, it has become clear to me that Life has all along been, and will continue to be incredible, inscrutable and, therefore, insecure. Clearly, Vaani and I don’t have that sense of security that a steady income can provide, yet when we stopped feeling insecure about it, and let go, and let Life take over, things have happened on their own. We have learnt that our duty is to make our daily efforts and let the results take care of themselves. Even so, we don’t deserve, nor do we claim, any credit for the way we have learnt to live our Life. Why would anyone want a crisis, and as in our case, a prolonged state of cashlessness and worklessness? We simply chose to accept the Life we got and we have.
This numbing phase of our Life has taught us to live with insecurity. There are days, several times in a month, when we really don’t know what will happen from an income or business point of view. But we know fully well that we will be taken care of. Maybe this is what they call faith. Not in an external God. But in Life itself – that if you have been created and you are in whatever situation you are placed in, you will be cared for, provided for and looked after. Maybe this is what Gulzar saab’s lyrics, with the song’s revival, are trying to remind us; that always be ready and willing to flow with Life! So, Aye Zindagi, Gale Lagaa Le…!
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