Value the opportunity in (and of) this lifetime. There may not be another as far as we know it!
I met someone recently who said that while he valued being an Indian, he valued owning an American passport more. He said, “With an American passport you can travel to most places in the world. With an Indian passport, you have to keep seeking visas to enter many countries.”
I don’t disagree with his logic. Of course, he has a point.
But I guess to be born human is the biggest opportunity that we often fail to recognize, let alone value or feel grateful for. This human Life is the most valuable passport we can ever ask for. Think about this deeply. We have all been created, we are born, without our asking. For all we care, we may well have been created as the swine that gives the flu than be created as the human that gets the flu from the swine.
So, to be human, to be alive and to be able to read this post means a lot. It means that you are more blessed than several million other people on the planet – who are vision-impaired, who don’t have an education, literacy, a computer or access to internet. Your lifetime is a limited period offer. Value it, avail of it, use it, live it fully, gratefully, happily, while it lasts.
A Life challenge arrives only so that you awaken from you stupor, from merely existing, and start living!
I was asked a very interesting question by a young medical college student in Chittoor yesterday: “AVIS Sir, why do we need a tragedy or crisis in Life to start living intelligently? Can’t we in the normal course learn to live happily, accepting Life for what it is?”
I thought that was an intelligent question from a very beautiful mind!
Of course we don’t necessarily need a tragedy or crisis to wake us up from our stupor. But the problem is that most of us don’t even know we are steeped in stupor. We imagine that earning a living is what Life is all about. So we run after name, fame, money, qualifications, material things and everything else that is impermanent and perishable. We kid ourselves to believe that we can postpone our happiness, we can postpone who we are, postpone living the Life that we want to live, even while we prioritize other people and things, over ourselves. We miss the most elementary point that Life is a limited-period offer and if we don’t live a moment fully, the way we want to, then we have lost that moment forever.
So, in a way, we are lost but in a bigger way we are pretending we are lost. Don’t we all know that we will die one day for sure – sooner or later? Then why do we choose not to live fully and instead squander our lifetime accumulating things that are going to perish or are not going with us when we perish?
Therefore, it is because we pretend to be dumb that we find a Life tragedy or crisis awakening. A tragedy or crisis is nothing but an event. Just another event. Just as your graduation is an event or your marriage is an event or your vaccination is an event so is your lay-off or your divorce or your chemotherapy. But only when what you don’t want or what you don’t expect lands up in your Life do you realize that you are not in control of your Life. That’s when you reflect and realize that had you lived your Life more intelligently then when the unforeseen and unwanted happens, when pain arrives in your Life, you can at least console yourself that you lived well and happily until now.
To live intelligently you need nothing but an awareness of your Life being a gift and a limited period offer. But to awaken to this awareness, you sometimes need a reboot, a wake-up call, and that’s precisely what a tragedy or crisis does to you! They shake you and wake you up! But if you are awaken, then you don’t need a wake-up call at all, do you? Even so, you will wake up only when you are really asleep, but if you are pretending to be asleep, you may still not wake up. Think about it – it makes a lot of sense!
Your Life is ticking away and every second you don’t live, is a Life moment lost – forever!
My neighbor turned 60 yesterday. So we went over to greet and wish him. He said that all his Life he kept imagining that a shashtiabdapoorthi (the ceremony to ring in someone’s 60th) happened only to other people. “Now to have it done for me, I feel strange,” he confessed.
I thought about my neighbor’s sentiment over coffee this morning. It reminded me of something that I have only now, in the last decade or so, learned to practice in my Life. Which is to live each moment fully with whatever is.
For the longest time, I lived my Life, striving hard to make it perfect. I slaved away earning a living, hoping that some day, in the future, I will put up my feet and be happy. And then the bankruptcy happened in end-2007/early-2008. And everything material, that Vaani and I had put together, got taken away from us. It was when we were mourning our losses, grieving over our fate, that the awakening happening. We realized that because we were attached to things and we has been trying to be very good at earning a living, in trying to make our lives perfect, we hadn’t lived at all. That’s why we hadn’t seen the beauty of Life, of our lives, and we had missed all that was flowing around us. It is only when we stopped expecting our Life to be any different, that we saw the perfection in Life’s ways, its timing of our lives’ events, our experiences, our learnings, our inner growth and our joys! In fact, I am eternally grateful to our catharsis, our bankruptcy, for helping us understand that living is more important that merely earning a living. And to imagine that this awakening emerged from our deepest sorrow, from our darkest moment! Since then we have only been living in the moment, and from moment to moment!
In Life, with Life, it is always, and only, what it is. So, stop expecting your Life to be any different from what it is now. And flow with it. Over time, Life will change. Your Life will change. And when you look back, you will find that had it not been for what you have gone through, you will not be the person who you are today and you will not have got to where you are too! So, don’t insist that your Life be any different, instead live it for what it is.
The truth is every moment that you invest in anger, worry, grief, guilt, hatred, fear or in any other negative, debilitating emotion, is a moment that’s gone unlived. Please don’t think you have all the time. Honestly, you don’t have time. So, hurry! Live urgently!! Now!!! Your Life is a limited period offer and it can and must be lived only when it, the offer, your lifetime, lasts!