Aren’t you incredibly lucky already, that you are created human – the one who gets swine flu – and are not created as the swine that gives the flu? Why do you need any more luck?
At the end of my Fall Like Rose Petal Talk recently, someone in the audience, a business leader heading a large corporation, observed that Vaani and I were very lucky to be surviving this ‘treacherous’ time in our Life. He said, “I just can’t wrap my head around this. But hearing your story makes me believe that miracles do happen. I can clearly see that, every time you are both at the edge of a precipice, something, call it grace, someone, perhaps God, has come and bailed you both out financially. You both are incredibly lucky!” Interestingly, a reader of my Book Fall Like A Rose Petal (Westland) wrote to me yesterday sharing this link on how a Cornell professor has researched the connection between luck and money.
Now, I have nothing against or in favor of luck. Just as I have nothing against or in favor of money. But why aren’t we celebrating that we are human, that we are alive? Why do we need to examine luck at all, and why give it undue importance, especially from a material perspective? For instance, we consider someone ‘lucky’ if they win gold in a slogan-writing contest, but those others who competed – who could think creatively and express themselves – were ‘unlucky’ because they didn’t win!
The problem lies with the relationship we have with money. I believe we humans don’t see money as a resource that must be deployed for living Life fully. We don’t see it as a means, we instead see it as the end. Does it matter that you don’t have money or things when you have good health, you have a loving family and caring friends, when you have a home that you can come back to and when you can still sleep like a baby when you hit the pillow? This tendency to focus on what we don’t have – and if it is money in question, then no one can ever have enough of it – is causing us to remain unhappy, to suffer.
Life has to be lived celebrating what is. Not analyzing why what is the way it is. And definitely not lived by moaning about what is not. Yesterday, we were at one of the finest hotels in Chennai, talking to a couple of senior managers about our work and our Life. Neither of them were influenced by our impoverished financial status. They treated us with so much warmth, so much dignity. They heard us out and considered the value we can create for their teams, instead of evaluating our net worth. This is the kind of celebration that I am talking about – this blessing of being human, being compassionate!
And let me tell you, if you remove material reference points from your Life, if you don’t consider money to be an object, all of us are, uniformly, without doubt, incredibly, incredibly lucky to be born human. Think about it. You have been created without your asking to be born. Isn’t it possible, employing the same theory of probability that you use in other contexts, that you could have been created as something else – a swine, a reptile, a tree, a rock…whatever? The very fact that you are human, that you have a smartphone, that you can read this blogpost and internalize its point of view, in your own unique way, that, to me, is evidence of how lucky you are.
Personally, I have evolved beyond considering the luck factor in my Life. I remain overwhelmed and humbled by all the grace and abundance that’s raining in my Life – non-stop, 24×7. I believe being human, being alive, is a miracle. So, I simply experience Life for what it is, without questioning, without analyzing, anything. And in each moment, I offer a simple prayer to Life – “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Whenever you feel guilty, examine your guilt, see it clearly, learn from it and set it down.
Recently someone we know wanted clarity on how to deal with guilt. He had blown up all his money trying to set up a business that had just not taken off. Over 11 years had passed by and there were still no signs of the business paying any dividends. He was neck-deep in debt. And he felt he had neglected the needs of his wife and children for far too long. His daughter had, in this time, graduated and taken up a job. And his son too was funding his higher education by doing part-time jobs. “I feel wretched. I have been so consumed by my own goals that I have been selfish. Worse, none of my family members is complaining. They continue to be supportive. That makes me miserable and feel more guilty,” lamented the man. “Is there a way to avoid feeling guilty,” he asked.
You can’t really avoid feeling guilty. But you can certainly avoid holding on to your guilt.
Guilt is an emotion, a natural response, that will arise in several contexts in Life. You make a mistake and wake up in realization. Or someone points out your mistake and you feel they are right. Or in hindsight, you feel you should not have done what you did. So, in all such situations, and others, you will feel guilty. You can’t escape that feeling. But you must also understand that guilt is a debilitating emotion – it will pin you down and hold you hostage. So, when you feel guilty, go to its root cause. If you agree that you have made a mistake, forgive yourself. Remember that in Life sometimes sh*t does happen and sometimes you end up making that sh*t happen! So, please, please forgive yourself! And seek forgiveness from the person who you have hurt or let down. Then set down your guilt.
Carrying your guilt around is like holding on to a glass of water with your arm outstretched. The longer you hold the glass this way, the more you will suffer. Instead set it down and learn to work around it. Don’t let your guilt weigh you down. Move on! But let your guilt be visible to you. Don’t ever try to tuck it away. As long as it is visible, you will not repeat the same mistake again. And as long as you don’t pick up your guilt, you will not suffer from it!
|Ajit Singh: “Diplomats must just move on!”
Pic: Hindu Business Line
- How dare he talk about our condominium’s planning and planners when he is a rank newcomer here?
- Why did he choose to talk to the local daily when I was just living a floor above him – obviously he has a sinister agenda to paint me black?
- For all the damage he has caused, for which he feigns an apology now, I don’t want to have anything to do with him and his family – let him fend for himself!