Simplify your Life: Trust only when and who you can

Each person who comes into your Life is a teacher.
Everyone is teaching you through not just what they know, but through their behavior. Some people teach you why you must never trust them. They have taught you this by repeatedly refusing to live up to the trust you placed in them. Eventually, you may have reached a point when you would have said that you can’t trust this person anymore. And yet you would have given this person one more chance. When your trust was betrayed one more time, you move from the can’ttrust to the must-never-trust zone. Please know, there is nothing wrong with you if you come to this conclusion. And there is nothing inhuman about this stance. To trust humankind and Life is indeed the best way to live. But to have your self-esteem trampled upon__that’s precisely what happens when your trust is betrayed__is foolishness. Remember if that person is a teacher, just as each person in your Life is, then you are being a bad student if you are not learning from your teacher! You don’t have to hate the person though. Just don’t trust.
When you don’t trust, there can be no relationship. You can still know the other person and not be in a relationship. Now, even if this is a parent, sibling, child, or spouse, it is imminently possible to stay this way. Because at the end of the day, the person is not trustworthy. And the person has taught you, given the empirical evidence you may have gathered through repeated patterns of behavior, that she or he is not trustworthy. Additionally, let me tell you, from my own experience, that it is also fine to let the other know that you don’t trust him or her.

So, please simplify your Life. If you have been let down repeatedly, know that you have a right to choose not to trust someone anymore. Exercise that right. Live your Life in peace and not in grief. Yet live leaving that person alone. Don’t fight. Don’t provoke. Just live and let live! 

Your pain is your teacher, your God

Pain is an important, necessary and sufficient pre-condition for your personal evolution. Don’t, therefore, hate any pain that you are put through.

Sometimes people around you put you through pain. A normal reaction would be to hate them. You may want to get even with them. Don’t. Oftentimes Life too will inflict pain on you. Don’t hate Life either! Because your hating Life is only going to make you miserable. What is the point? Who loses when you hate a teacher? Does the teacher lose anything? Or do you? Ultimately, if you don’t learn the lessons that the teacher is teaching you, you lose. Similarly, each painful event, caused by a fellow human being or by Life, is teaching you something. Don’t hate the teacher. Instead, learn the lesson and be grateful for the experience that taught you the lesson.
When you hate someone or hate Life, you are entrapping yourself in a quagmire of negative, debilitating emotions: anger, fear, bitterness, cynicism, self-pity. No event in your Life is going to make a difference to you as your Life comes to an end. Your awards, medals, successes, wealth, the career you built, all this and more will mean nothing. Your lost fortunes, the number of times you have been betrayed or let down, your lost health, your lost image – none of these will matter in the end either. When this lifetime is over, only your soul will prevail. And the soul thrives only when you are at peace. The more pain you undergo, in an accepting, non-resisting way, the more peaceful you will be. Peace is the grace that arrives when pain strikes you and you accept the pain. Most often, however, when pain strikes you, you recede into a shell, plunged in grief, letting the pain numb you. As long as you remain in the stranglehold of pain, you will feel debilitated. The moment you understand, accept and appreciate that pain is a great teacher, you will learn and you will grow. You will realize that you can live through pain, without suffering from it. You will find the world to be a beautiful place where you can be happy despiteyour circumstances.
You may sometimes wonder where is God when you are in pain? The truth is your pain is your God. Because the pain is in your Life to teach you the value of Life, the value of grace and the opportunity for your soul to grow into peace. What more do you want from your God anyway?

Pain is a great teacher, not a tormentor!

Pain is not Life’s way to torture you. Pain is not a tormentor. Pain does not cause you any suffering in itself. Your response to pain is what makes you suffer. By itself pain has an awakening tendency to it. When you accept it, you will awaken and not suffer. When you reject it, resist it, you will feel tortured and will wallow in grief.

To be sure, as human beings, all of us have an equal and natural ability to withstand any amount of pain. It is in acceptance that our levels vary and, therefore, so does, inversely, our suffering.

I recently heard the story of a lady__someone we know__who married a second time. It was a second marriage for both parties concerned. The lady has a daughter from her first marriage. Unfortunately, this second marriage too didn’t work well for the lady. She has been abused and victimized by her husband. They don’t live in India and this makes matters daunting because there are several legal implications of a separation and settlement. But she fights on resolutely for her rights as a wife, and for those of daughter’s, who had been legally adopted by her husband at the time of their marriage. Her basic existence is in question and it is a daily battle for survival. But she’s stoic and inspiring. She feels that while it is still difficult for her to come to terms that for the second time around her marriage has failed, on the other hand, she realizes that only her facing up to the situation can help her walk out and free with her honor and her settlement intact. She seemed to me to be someone who is undoubtedly in enormous pain but who may not be suffering anymore. And that, I believe, may be because she’s not resisting her pain, but may have accepted it!

Pain is a great teacher. A brilliant coach. When pain affects us, physically or emotionally, it shocks us out of our comfort zone. It shakes us awake from our stupor. Without a wakeup call, there will be no awakening. So, we must be grateful to pain than hating it. The other day I accidentally drank some hot soup. It was very, very hot. Because the first contact I made with it, scalded my lips and tongue, I put the soup down to cool before I had the rest of it. The first contact, the shock, reported to me that it was hot. Yes the scalding was painful. But the pain, the shock, made alert. It made me focus on the temperature of the soup for as long as I drank it. This is how pain works. It alerts you. Alertness means mindfulness. It means awakening and awareness. The awareness you get through pain, when you accept it, and not resist it, transforms your entire being. It cleanses you. And makes you understand the true nature of Life.

When everything is going fine, when you keep getting all that you want, you do settle into a comfort zone. The comfort zone spawns ruinous habits at times or makes you develop an ego, makes you arrogant perhaps or simply makes you a laggard, a dullard. But in a comfortable scenario, if pain is introduced__maybe someone dies or you lose your job or someone betrays your trust or your health suffers a serious setback__you wake up with a start! You begin to examine your Life closely. If you ask “why me?” and grieve, the pain will continue to haunt and torture you. But if you accept the pain, and ask “what can I learn from the moment”, from the experience, the pain may still be there but your ability to deal with it goes up phenomenally.

Look at your own Life. Haven’t you already withstood an unbelieveable amount of pain? Perhaps you have suffered a lot of it too. It may also be possible that you currently are going through a painful phase that’s testing your tolerance limits beyond your own imagination. If that were indeed so, stop looking at pain as a tormentor. Accept it instead as a teacher. And watch your suffering immediately disappear even as you learn from your painful situation! Remember pain comes into your Life only to awaken you, not to cause you any suffering. When you are awake, when you are aware, the suffering always disappears.

What the jackfruit tree taught me

The human mind is so fickle. It simply does not trust. I am sure this has happened to you too. That when you are beaten in Life, cannot go on any more and feel defeated, you often wonder why are you treated this way by Life? You wish at such times that Life was more understanding, compassionate and intelligent! You are suddenly aware of your mere, mortal, human nature and wonder if all the pain that you are being put through can even be endured by you__any more? The truth is however just the opposite. Nobody is ever given a situation in Life that she or he cannot handle. It’s the mind that says it can’t. What the mind protests, causing you untold misery and suffering, the spirit indefatigably accepts__always without protest!

Such is Life. Such is the beauty of creation.

The Teacher
There’s a jackfruit tree outside my balcony. In the last several weeks it has been bearing fruit. And is looking luscious, beautiful and inviting! Yesterday, I spent several minutes just staring at it. I noticed it held a very aesthetic charm __ a very poetic appeal! Right at my balcony’s level several fully-grown jackfruit hung. That’s when I noticed__and learned__the intricacies of how nature, how Life, created and provided. Jackfruits can grow up to 36 kg in weight. The branches and the stems that harbor fresh leaves look normal. As in they are green too and look vulnerable. They will break away from the tree even if a small weight is placed on them. But the fruit-bearing stems are strong, thick and hard. They are distinctly different from those bearing the leaves. It appeared to me that a Master Designer had taken adequate care to ensure that the heavy fruits that the tree bears are not falling off unless they are specifically plucked. In a special, masterful, way although each fruit is heavy, its stem is strong enough to hold it up.

I connected that learning to our own lives. We may not see it this way at all but our own burdens are possibly directly proportional to our ability to be able to bear them! If you sit down and reflect on your Life so far, you will discover that you have been able to eventually overcome every challenge, leap across every chasm, carry any burden or face any situation despite your initial doubts about being able to do so. Every time you have felt you had too much to do and too little time. Or each time you felt you will not be able to handle something. Or when you wished you could die than live and face a situation. Every such time, when you look back now, you will agree that you actually made it.

If you are faced with another such time, learn from the metaphor of the jackfruit tree. And remember that Life is both intelligent and benevolent. Remember also:

  • You have been given a situation only because you can and must handle it.
  • You have been given a burden only because you can and must carry it.
  • You have been given a test only because you can and must learn from it.
  • You have been given a challenge only because you can and must emerge stronger facing it.

And you have been given this Life only because you can must live it!