Your Life, just the way it is, fits in perfectly into the Masterplan!

Life is molding us continuously to fulfill a larger cosmic design.

Many times in Life, you encounter situations when you feel you cannot go on. You think you would much rather die than undergo this ordeal called Life. You want to give up. When every door seems to shut on you, when darkness engulfs you, when you see no way out and you are in the throes of despair and fear, check your pulse. Listen to your heart beat. Hear yourself breathing. If you are alive, it means it is not over yet. Stop looking for external signals for hope and revival. Look within. Feel Life’s energy thriving in you. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” said Friedrich Nietzsche, the 19th Century German philosopher and poet. Know that this is true. This is what Life is all about – indeed, there is a lot of Life after a crisis!

89c132ecf25593c01df1985818950d6cLife isn’t about winning or losing. It isn’t about acquiring and owning material assets. Life is an opportunity to experience uncertainty in each moment, it is an adventure. Don’t look for a pot of gold at the end of the journey. The journey itself is the reward. Every experience in Life teaches you something. Focus on the experience, focus on the learning from it, and don’t really bother too much about the result! If, at the end of the day, you have had a million experiences in your lifetime and have learnt from each of them, you are the biggest millionaire around! It is through the experiences that we are put through that Life keeps on molding us to fulfill a larger cosmic design, a Masterplan.  And remember, Life’s Masterplan for each of us has no flaws!

So, when you are enduring a difficult phase, focus on the experience and what you can learn from it. Embrace the uncertainty, don’t hate it. Only when you do this will you see how perfectly you and your Life – the way you are, the way it is – fit into the Masterplan!

Don’t fear God and be ritualistic trying to escape ‘sin’

Love the Higher Energy that powers the Universe. If you want to call this Energy God, please do. But please be God-loving, not God-fearing!

A story on Vaani and me broke on the popular media platform for entrepreneurship YourStory earlier this week. We have since been inundated with messages from people seeking perspective on dealing with their Life situations. One gentleman shared how his already struggling small enterprise got burdened with debt. His father passed away last year while visiting his pregnant daughter in the US. Traumatized by her father’s demise, the man’s sister developed serious complications with her delivery. The man said he had to travel to the US and stay on there to assist his sister. So the last rites of his father had to be performed in the US. The family decided to also do the elaborate rituals that follow a person’s demise. The man had to borrow from his family and friends and ended up spending Rs.20 Lakh on performing the rituals! One thing led to another – his business folded up, his income stream dried up and to keep his creditors at bay, the man started borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. His debt stands at Rs.1 crore now and he doesn’t have money to buy groceries!

I can completely empathize with the man’s plight. I have been there and I often end up being in a penniless state every once in a while – even now!

With due respect to the gentleman’s belief systems, I would like to question the validity of rituals and religion in Life. I wonder why we want to perform rituals for a deceased person at such high costs? I have nothing against the economic model of priests and all those who call themselves representatives of God or religion. To me, it’s a business model that must thrive like any other. So, the model’s mandarins will market rituals as a must-do and the way they convince their customers – people like you and me – is that they play up the “fear-God” angle. Especially when it comes to rituals related to someone’s death. I have heard that carefully crafted and articulated pitch: “You have to do these rituals to keep the deceased’s soul at peace, to do your duty as a blood relative of the deceased and for the welfare of the generations that will follow you in your clan. If you don’t do these rituals you will be sinning and God will punish you and your family.” The moment God’s dark – vicious – side played up, the ignorant, unawakened, gullible fellow voyager capitulates. And so rituals get done and that’s how the religion-ritual economy thrives!

love-and-fearAt this point, let’s step back to understand Life better. Obviously there’s a Higher Energy that has created all of us. That Energy, without doubt, is inscrutable. Yet there’s something definitive and visible about this Energy: it promises nothing and demands nothing. So why fear this Energy? Think about it. You have been created without your asking for it. You will live as long as you will and then you will die. Death is a certainty that you are born with. And have to live with. So why fear death? And why fear an after-Life that no one has ever come back to talk about? Similarly, when someone dies, why brood over their death or mourn endlessly? Why perform rituals fearing incurring the wrath of this Higher Energy? Why not just celebrate the Life of the deceased by doing what the person loved doing a lot? Ask yourself, if you would still do the rituals you do – or are made to do – if you were implicitly convinced that the Higher Energy, that you call God, need not be feared? If you would still do it, then go on, stay ritualistic. But if you would rather not do it, then I rest my case.

Simply, any form of fear must be dropped. You and I have been created to live a full Life and enjoy it. You are not here to fear anything – not even your impending death. So love your God, the Higher Energy that has created you, than be God-fearing! Anything that holds you hostage and makes you cower in fear must be abandoned – and that includes religion and rituals.

A moment lost to worry or fear or anger is a moment that’s not lived!

Living untouched by Life – by people, by events, by circumstances – around us is the key to intelligent living!

My post yesterday on learning to deal with everyday frustrations and anger elicited quite a response. One of the readers says that despite practicing ‘mouna’ – daily silence periods – worry arrives to destroy inner peace.

67f0fa23318df46bb1f49b6e454f3050I know what he means. I have once lived a horrible Life – worrying incessantly. To be able to handle worry, we must first understand Life and understand the world around us. Please don’t expect worry not to arise. Don’t wait for absence of worry to feel inner peace. Learn not to worry instead. Learn to be non-worrying – that’s true happiness! The ultimate goal and measure of success of intelligent living is not to change your external environment and make it incapable of causing you worry or making you feel fearful or angry. It is impossible to control Life or the actions of the world. But you can control your thoughts and your responses to how you are thinking. So, intelligent living is about nurturing your inner space and insulating yourself from the vagaries of the world. This is what the Bible says ‘living in the world but not of it’ and what the Bhagavad Gita says ‘of living in this world but being above it’.

To be sure, there are enough and more temptations and distractions out there. And we are not talking about materialistic objects of desire alone. Or of ruinous addictions like alcohol, tobacco or drugs either. While these are deterrents to intelligent living, most certainly, what we need to be wary of are the myriad ways in which we get dragged into banal situations on a daily basis. Think deeply about this. How often in a day do you worry about a future event __ someone’s terminal illness and impending passing, a child’s graduation, someone’s wedding or about loans to be repaid? How often in a day do you grieve over the past __ having experienced someone wrongly, an irreconcilable loss, a mistake you made or a hurt you caused someone? How often do you lose your patience or temper or both daily __ on a child or spouse or subordinate, with just someone on the street or even with yourself? Each of these episodes takes us away from living. Every time we worry about the future or fret over the past or get dragged into anger spells, every single time, we die a death. Ask yourself if worry or fear or anger has ever helped you solve any of your problems? If they have, please worry, please continue to cower in fear and please be angry. But the truth is these three emotions are a complete waste of your living time. They hold you hostage. And what’s worse is that you are allowing them to hold you hostage!

So, break free! Please don’t try to fix what’s happening around you, outside of you. Focus on how you are feeling. And go to work on making yourself remain calm and peaceful. Remember: a moment lost to worry or fear or anger is a moment that’s not lived!

Abandon your tentativeness, embrace Life’s uncertainties

Don’t be tentative about Life. Take the deep dive and live fully with the faith that Life will take care of you!

A manager with a large MNC met us the other day. He said he was indulging in too much negative thinking and worried incessantly about his employment contract which was due to expire next year. “I know what I am doing is stupid. But I simply don’t know how stop being anxious and worried,” he confessed.

d8cf3130ede65c1635ab4987c638fdfaThis gentleman’s predicament can be anybody’s out there. Many, many, many people are living in fear, worrying about the unborn future. And to live this way is sacrilege. We are squandering the opportunity called this lifetime if we are not living our lives fully. We must understand that the whole idea of Life is uncertainty. And our response to Life has to be to display amazement at the way each moment unfolds. Whatever happens, choose to be amazed by each moment! Life is not to be lived in fear and anxiety nor is it to be lived with prayer and hope. It must be lived with complete faith that if you have been created, if you are breathing, and therefore are alive, Life will take care of you!

The reason why you don’t necessarily believe in the view that Life will take care of you is that you have been conditioned to control your Life. The education you have comes in the way of your letting go. You think since you are educated, and you earn an income, you must know the answers to all that is inscrutable about your Life. Or you believe that you must be solving all your problems yourself. The truth, however, is that you were never in control. Life has always been in charge of you. So, when you come certain points in your Life, when you don’t know what will happen, when you don’t know how to handle a particular situation, you feel fearful and anxious. Instead of being steeped in worry, this is the time to trust Life, this is the time to be amazed with whatever is happening and to let go!

So, abandon your tentativeness, overcome your fears and embrace Life’s uncertainties with amazement! Watch then, how Life takes you to where you belong!!

 

 

The way to live through a crisis is to engage with the NOW

When you don’t know what to do, allow Life to take over!

Often Life will push you to the edge of a precipice. You will not know what to do. Fear then is a natural response. But the way to overcome fear is not to avoid it. But to feel it and face it.

6718175297_43bf1f40e5_zWhat is fear telling you? It reminds you how horrifying the situation is. And it tricks you to respond to such a situation intellectually. But the very fact that you are on the edge, at Life’s mercy, is a sign that your intellect has not worked. Because, had it worked, you wouldn’t be this way, in this place, at this moment! So please don’t intellectualize any grave situation. Please don’t respond with guilt either. ‘I caused this mess’, ‘I hate myself’ or ‘I am bad’ are wasted responses. Poor self-esteem cannot help you overcome a tough situation. And fear solves no problem; it, in fact, compounds a problem.

When you have tried everything, every solution and every approach, and when nothing seems to work, when Life’s become chaotic and turbulent, just sit back, relax and let Life take over. You must understand that you don’t necessarily have to know how to solve each problem that you are faced with. Know that Life is all powerful – more intelligent than you are. So, let Life handle situations that you don’t know how to handle.

No matter what your situation may be, remember, the simplest and easiest way to live through a crisis is to just be engaged with the present, with the NOW. Because a crisis anyway means all else is already lost or is being lost. So, prudence demands that we live with what is left, which is the present moment!