We are all a product of the time we go through

The situation that you are dealing with is your God. This is where experience comes from, this is how you learn – and unlearn.
The other day a cousin visited us. She’s been fighting cancer and has lost all her hair consequently. But she was her usual cheerful, well-groomed self. She’s been through a lot in her Life apart from her own health situation. And it was inspiring to see how she had coped with cancer with equanimity and cheer. We got chatting a bit on her positive attitude being her biggest asset. She corrected me – she saw it as her only asset! I agreed wholeheartedly. I told her: “The crises we go through in Life are our teachers. They are the God we seek. Because only through them, do we learn and unlearn to live inspired and intelligently.”
This morning’s story in Chennai Times on the Tamil star Simbu (Silambarasan) only reiterated this perspective. Simbu confessed to TOI’s Janani Karthik: “I have had no (film) release for the past two years. But personally, in the last two years, I have learnt a lot about Life. I have had personal experiences that have tried me… I might have been born with a silver spoon, but I went through a lot. I lost everything. I lost films, I lost money; it hurts when I go and ask for money from my mother for my daily expenses. When I lost money and films, I thought that, at least, I have someone who loves me, who I was in love with too, by my side. But now, the girl (Hansika) also has gone. Throughout that period, I thought that I would get married one day, have children of my own… But that too is not happening now. It was when I lost everything in Life, that I realized that I have only my breath with me. I am still alive, and I believe that I am alive for a purpose on this earth… That’s a very evolved Simbu talking there. And that’s what Life’s situations do to you.
You, me, everyone – all of us, are a product of the time we go through. Our situations mold us. They make us the people that we are now. And they will further make us who will be in the future. So, in effect, in reality, each situation is God. To be sure, situations are just events, mere happenings, in Life. You can go on and label them as good, bad, testing, whatever, but you can’t change a situation. Only time can. In going through any situation, you can learn – or unlearn – from it or you can resist it and so suffer. When you accept a situation and learn from it, you evolve. It is as simple as that. So, to me, God is not in a temple or a mosque or a church. The God we seek is right in us, with us, in each situation we experience in Life.

When you reach this state of understanding of Life, you are unmoved by the situations. Nothing can rattle you anymore. You remain anchored in your inner peace. You have then realized that everything is transient and impermanent. Why worry about anything that will go away from you certainly some day? Without exception, each of us has to go – empty handed. So, the best way to live is to live intelligently – learning from each experience and going with the flow of Life!

When you are not playing well, go back to the basics

You may not always get what you want in Life, but happiness is wanting what you get!
Last evening I attended an interesting event. It was conversation between three writers – two of whom are former cricketers and have written books on learnings from, and memories of, playing the game. They are V.Ramnarayan (Third Man: Recollections from a Life in Cricket, Westland) and Harimohan Paravu (50 Not Out: Powerful Life Lessons from Cricket to Excel in Our Lives, Jaico). The third one was the moderator and anchor for the evening Krishna Shastri Devulapalli (Ice Boys in Bell Bottomsand Jump Cut, Harper Collins). So, as the conversation between the three men progressed, a question that Krishna asked, prompted Ram to talk about Life as a cricketer. He said, “There’s nothing called ‘out of form’ in cricket. A good cricketer is never ‘out of form’. If you believe you are ‘out of form’, you are actually playing bad cricket. And when you are not playing well, you need to go back to the basics. You need to examine how you are playing the ball, how you are delivering it and how you are picking it up.” I was amazed with Ram’s perspective that basically debunked the popular notion that cricketers do tend to go ‘out of form’ – at least once or twice in their careers. But when I mulled over his view, I not only agreed with it, I also found a deeper, spiritual, insight to dealing with Life in what he had to say.
When are you ostensibly ‘out of form’ in Life? When you don’t perform to your potential, when you don’t get what you want and are depressed and when, despite your best efforts, the results or outcomes don’t add up to what you had envisioned them to be. This is the time, to borrow from Ram’s cricket analogy, to go back to the basics. And the most basic, the fundamental, truth about – and in  Life is that Life happens on its own terms; it happens in spite of you and never because of you! Not realizing this, we go on questioning what is happening to us, we go on resisting the Life we have and so we keep suffering. This suffering manifests itself as depression, as bodily ailments, as poor performance at work and as breakdown in relationships. Going back to the basics in Life will help us also awaken to the reality that everything in Life is impermanent. As in cricket, in Life too, both success and defeat are imposters. This entire lifetime is transient. So, why cling on to anything that is impermanent? Why fear losing anything that we can’t take with us when we depart? This going-back-to-basics may not necessarily change the situations we are placed in, but our attitude of acceptance and non-clinging, of let-go, will help us deal with the situations better. It will help us play the game of Life better.

And playing the game of Life better simply means accepting what is, choosing to enjoy or endure what is, with equanimity. What you resist persists. When you stop resisting, the pain may be there, but there is no suffering. When you don’t suffer, your quality of Life improves dramatically; you are happy, despite the circumstances!