When s#$t happens, forgive yourself, and move on…

Don’t be too harsh on yourself. It completely ruins your inner peace. If something goes wrong, get up, dust yourself, and move on!
The other day, I left the keys to my home in an auto-rickshaw. I was holding the keys in my hand as we were nearing my home when, I reckon, it must have fallen off unknown to me. It was only when I reached the door of my apartment that I realized I had lost the keys. Luckily, the driver is known to us, so I could summon him back to hand over the keys to me. But a wave of anger and guilt rose within me. I was angry with myself. I consider myself to be very organized and responsible. Already in so many areas of my Life, things are totally, bizarrely, insanely out of control. Each day is a tightrope walk. And now, in these challenging and difficult times, I have become disorganized and irresponsible? Just this thought made me very, very, very angry with myself. For several hours after the incident I remained disturbed. I had got my keys back, but I could not accept that “I” had “become” so careless.
Then, during my mouna (when I remain silent for some time each day) session, I thought through the whole event and experience. My response of anger and guilt was but natural. I could not have and I need be suppressing that natural reaction. But to continue to dwell on that sense of rage and grief, I realized, was futile. I reasoned that no one is or can ever be perfect. The act of missing the keys was but a metaphor. It reminded me that you do drop a few catches in the game of Life. This doesn’t mean that you don’t know how to play the game. It’s just that, momentarily, your concentration may have wavered or maybe the situation you are placed in got the better of you. I decided to forgive myself. And, instantaneously, I felt my inner peace was restored.
When we cause things to go wrong, or when things don’t go our way, in either case, let’s remember that the initial wave of anger and depression that sets in is normal. Don’t fight it, don’t resist it. Depression is like any other emotion. It will rise and subside on its own. In such times, as I did over my keys episode, and as I do often, quiet reflection helps. This period of solitude is important because, otherwise, the human mind will drag you into reasoning that everything is wrong with your Life. It will quickly connect several dots backward and justify to you that you are increasingly becoming inefficient and worthless. This is when the second wave of depression will drown you – in self-pity and remorse. This is what you must be very wary of. If unchecked, this wave can push you into a long depressive spiral, recovering from which can take a long, long time.
Remember: being human you will make a few mistakes. Treat each episode in isolation. When s#$t happens, forgive yourself and move on. Don’t see patterns where none exist. Watch your anger, with yourself or with the situation or with the one who caused it, melt away with reflection. It is only through these reflections that you realize the value of the inner peace that you have and are capable of having.  

In the end, not even an entire lifetime will matter to you!

Sometimes, reflecting on Life’s true nature, from inspirations around us, can help. Yesterday I was grappling with an imponderable. I was totally clueless on how I was going to be able to handle the situation on hand. And so, as I often do, I decided to go on a long walk.
I had to drive a short distance to beat the maddening crowds and traffic, before I could get down from the car and walk. A famous song playing on a FM station caught my attention and got me thinking during my drive….It was from the Tamizh movie ‘Paada Kaanikkai’ (1962, K.Shankar, starring Gemini Ganesan, Savithri and Asokan). The song was the unforgettable and haunting number….‘Veedu Varai Uravu, Veedhi Varai Manaivi, Kaadu Varai Pillai, Kadaisi Varai Yaaro…Kadaisi Varai Yaaro….?’ Written by the legendary poet Kannadasan, and sung by the venerable T.M.Soundarajan, with music composed by the genius duo of Viswanathan-Ramamurthy, the lyrics mean: “(When you die)…all relationships end at home…the wife (or husband) accompanies the body to the street (according to most Hindu customs, women must not accompany the dead to the cremation or burial grounds)…the son accompanies the body (until he sets it afire or buries it – again per most Hindu customs the oldest son of the bereaved only can perform the last rites) to the cremation or burial ground…but not beyond…so, wonder, who is with you, the dead one, on your journey onward and till the end (that no one has seen)….” The song is a stark reminder of the impermanence of Life. It tells you coldly that you too will perish. That you will be dust soon. That all relationships, including that with your spouse or offspring end, at best, at the graveyard, and you have to journey along…depart alone…just the way you arrived here on this planet!
When you put your Life in the context of such irrefutable truth, the reality awakens you. It makes you step aside from any situation and analyze, with complete objectivity, the frivolity of all your worrying. Because, as the song points out, in the end, you are to go away with nothing – none of what you conquered goes with you, none of what you lost matters and none of what you aspired for is relevant anymore! So, why agonize? Why grieve? Why suffer?
As I walked for over an hour, the song’s essence and my reflections, healed me. I was still clueless about dealing with what I was faced with. But even the wee bit of anxiety that had surfaced, before the walk, had evaporated now. Thanks to Kannadasan’s wisdom seeping in, it was replaced by a benign calm. There was an unconditional acceptance by me that, in the end, nothing, not even an entire lifetime, will matter to you!