Treat each happening in your Life as just another event. And move on. Don’t bemoan it. Don’t analyze it beyond a point.
A story in the papers this morning caught my attention. A man buys a new Ford car and takes it to Armenian Street (in Chennai) to show it to his friends. Since he is an inexperienced driver, while starting to drive back home, in the traffic chaos that prevails in that part of Chennai, he presses on the accelerator, instead of the brake, and mows down several pavement shops injuring many people. The police have booked a case of rash driving and impounded his new vehicle. Now, this is an event that could have happened to anybody. Just because it is an event that shocks and numbs you, if you start over-analyzing it, you will only cause yourself much misery and suffering. If the man starts wondering if the car came into his Life at the wrong time, if he must do something to propitiate the Gods to ward off the ‘evil eye’, if he starts imagining that he is cursed and so on, he cannot function. He bought a car, he’s still learning to drive, an accident happened. Period. Too bad. Settle the claims. And move on. Over-analysis of a situation will only lead to paralysis and cripple you.
Now, I don’t know the gentleman. But his story reminded me of my friend. She once came back from a movie to find a dead cat in her car park. She was rattled. Her mother told her that spotting a dead cat in your home was a bad omen. Two weeks after the incident, her son broke his leg. And she connected the accident back to the dead cat. Another week later she was transferred to a branch in rural Karnataka by the bank she worked for; but she didn’t want to leave Chennai. She connected it back to the dead cat. Soon, she was organizing a huge prayer, a homam, at her home to ‘wash away her bad karma’ and to bring peace and abundance to her family. A month after the homam, her mother passed away! Narrating the series of events, my friend said she was petrified of what was coming up next. She lamented that she could not understand ‘why she was being punished by God’. She asked me if I knew anyone who can ‘ward off evil spirits’. I said, I did. And I pointed back to her. I said, “You and only you can help yourself. Cats will die. It just so happened one of them lay dead in your car park. Children will get into accidents as part of growing up. Any organization will demand that its people are willing to relocate. And all of us will eventually die, it so happened it was your mother’s turn recently. To imagine that these events point to a bad time in your Life is what is making you feel vulnerable and fearful.”
The lady internalized my perspective and eventually shed her insecurities. But I don’t think everyone is able to do this. The reason why people struggle with Life, and often suffer through it, is that they expect Life to only work the way they want it to. Of course, we know that such an expectation will never be met. I have myself learnt not to attach meanings to Life events or to over-analyze them. For years I have lived in fear, I have been plagued by self-doubt and I have tried to figure out why ‘bad’ things happen to ‘good’ people. But I have discovered that, if you look at Life very objectively, there is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Life just keeps on happening. Defining something as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is a human choice. I don’t think we ever question anything that we deem as ‘good’ in our lives. I don’t think we bring in God to examine or analyze the ‘good’. It is only when something happens that is not what you wanted, that you analyze, that you label it as ‘bad’ and grieve. But why do we even analyze Life? No matter what you label Life as – ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or ‘ugly’ – it is what it is. You cannot, I cannot, no one can, either escape from or stop Life. So, you have to roll with the punches. You have to go with the flow. So, why not flow with Life, without over-analysis, without fear, without insecurity and just take it as it comes?