Your greatest gifts in Life come disguised as your worst nightmares

It is in your darkest hours that you are able to see clearly. This is when you truly understand your Life’s purpose and learn to live intelligently. So when it is dark, don’t despair. It is in the darkness of the night that you can see the stars!

No one loves darkness. Because we are all scared of the dark. As children we hesitated to enter dark rooms without an adult to help us turn on the light. Similarly, when sometimes Life does turn dark, with no light to guide us, no way forward that’s visible, we are overcome by fear. We start imagining that the worst is about to happen to us. That it is all over. We hate such situations don’t we?

But try loving a dark phase in Life than hating it and you will find it an extremely rewarding experience. When the chips as down and you are pushed by Life to a corner, if you actually pause to reflect, you will find a lot to learn from the situation. Ask yourself:

  1. What did I do or not do that has led me to where I find myself now?
  2. What can I learn from this experience?
  3. What must I do to change the situation and get out of the mess I find myself in?

These questions are not the only ones. But they begin a process of internal inquiry. You may not also instantly find the answers. But asking these soul-searching questions can beat depression for sure.

Remember: your greatest gifts in Life come disguised as your worst nightmares. Let me not tell you any story here. Be guided by your own Life’s experiences. Think of all the times in your Life that you have hated whatever was happening with you. Think of your evolution since. Haven’t you found opportunities that you have benefited from ONLY because of the fact that you were in the throes of those crises?

The truth is that but for a setback, we never look for newer ways of surviving, working and, therefore, succeeding. Much of our intellect comes from knowledge acquired in University classrooms, but all our wisdom, which is understanding the meaning of all that knowledge, comes ONLY from the experience we go through in the classroom called Life!

Why ask Why?

‘WHY’ is the most debilitating question in Life! The moment you ask that, your peace will be destroyed. And you will just go crazy.

For instance, just take the recent events in our world. Why should Malala Yousafzai be shot in her head when all she asked for was her right to an education? Why should an innocent lady girl be gang-raped in New Delhi, and with such beastly brutality that she fights for her Life despite her indomitable will to live? Why should 20 angels perish in a mindless bloodbath in Connecticut? Why should miscreants infiltrate the student crowds protesting peacefully in New Delhi and why should a police constable, who was only doing his duty, have to pay the price with his Life for their unjust, violent behavior?

Why do good people have to go through pain and suffering? Why does Life always work in a cycle: extraordinary pain always being a prelude to extraordinary grace and vice versa?

WHY? This one simple question really can drive you nuts.

Reading an interview The Hindu carried yesterday with music composer, the Maestro, Ilayaraja, I learned something more about the WHY question! Subha J Rao writes of the Master’s humility and wisdom saying, “….the Master musician refuses to take credit for any of his creations. “It just came. I don’t know from where. Questioning the origin of music is like asking why the breeze is soothing, why you shiver in exhilaration when the spray from the waterfall hits you. The day you wonder where it comes from, things get difficult. Sometimes, entire songs are ready in just about five minutes.

How do you explain that?””

Ilayaraja’s perspective to Life is enlightening. He has seen it all. And learned too. A simple village lad from Pannaipuram in rural Tamil Nadu, he made it so big in the south Indian film industry that films would run in the 70s and 80s only because they had his compositions in them. And then, with the advent of the techno-age in composing music, and with the rise of the prodigal talent A.R.Rahman, Illayaraja lost his relevance. He was literally in the wilderness between 1995 and 2011. Yet, he’s back now, because of the sheer quality of his work. He epitomizes the famous saying in cricket, “Form is temporary. Class is permanent.”

So, the key to intelligent living is to never ask why __ don’t ask when you are getting the Life you want and don’t ask when you are getting the Life you don’t want. Simply live __ wanting the Life you are getting!

The WHY question is also a human question. Look around you. Do you see any other form of creation questioning anything? Everything, everyone, is in a state of acceptance. Except us humans. Which is why suffering is such a unique human condition. Pain is everywhere. When a tree is cut, there is pain that the tree goes through. When there’s a drought, the earth goes through immense pain. But there’s no evidence to suggest that they suffer. Suffering comes ONLY when you ask why you are having to go through pain? Think about it. When you get a migraine or a cancer and you don’t ask why, will you suffer? You will be in enormous physical pain, alright, but you will not suffer. Suffering is born when you ask WHY and you get no reply. Because Life doesn’t give answers. It gives us experiences and allows us to learn from them.

Simplify Life. Learn to appreciate its beauty in its inscrutability. What are you going to achieve by dissecting Life and analyzing why things are happening the way they are? It would be an intelligent proposition if you could at least get half-way through to finding the answers you seek. But making sense of Life is like taking a sharp sword and hoping to cut through water. It is an exercise in futility and make you insane. Because no sword can even as much as cause a scratch on water! Lou Majaw, the pioneering musician from Shillong, who worships Life, besides Bob Dylan, teaches us to appreciate Life the best: “Life is beautiful, and the best part is you get it for free.”

So, why look a gift horse in the mouth? Why ask WHY?