Pray, cry, step away, surrender – do whatever, while trusting the process of Life!

You don’t have to always have the solutions to all your problems in Life!

I visited a temple – Sai Baba’s – after a long time yesterday. I tagged along with Vaani because it was the first anniversary of my father-in-law Venks’ passing – he loved visiting Sai Baba temples, wherever they were. It was a usual Sunday at the temple. The priests were busy with the early morning aarthi service, the crowds were beginning to file in queues and the public address system played ‘om sai namo namah…’ setting the tone for devotees to enter into their personal communions with ‘their’ Baba. One lady did not join the queue. She did not even stand in front of Baba’s white marble idol. She stood in front of his portrait, in an ante-room, and wept inconsolably. It was a cathartic moment for her surely – and for us as we watched her briefly before we moved on.

I could relate to the way the lady was expressing herself. I have done that many times: I have cried at Baba temples, or at other places of worship, or when I have found myself in a private, intimate moment with nature. I have cried whenever I have felt lost, helpless and clueless about how to deal with some situations in Life. My belief that there is a Higher Energy, an inscrutable divinity that shapes our lives, led me to places of worship back then. And while there my form of prayer was to surrender to this Higher Energy. I would acknowledge my “smallness” and accept that I didn’t know what to do and offer myself to be led – by time and by my faith that if I have been created I will be looked after and cared for. The Hindu scriptures talk of this concept too and call it saranagati – total surrender. I have intuitively learnt to surrender myself. This has not always helped me find solutions to my problems but has always helped me find and retain my inner peace. I don’t visit places of worship necessarily to pray – or to surrender – anymore, because I have learnt to live – celebrate, pray, surrender – in the moment! The guiding principles of my Life are the two words that Sai Baba taught the world: Shraddha/Faith – keep the faith that you will be provided for and shown the way; and Saburi/Patience – trust the process of Life.

47761-Go-With-The-FlowI have come to believe that when you don’t know what to do in Life you must do what you can do. And one thing you can always do is to allow yourself to be shown the way, to be guided and led, by Life. It is perfectly okay if you don’t have solutions to some of the problems you are faced with. Just trust that Life will, over time, solve your problems for you or point you in the direction of solutions. As you let go, surrender to Life’s compassion. Indeed given the tough situations and contexts that Life may place you in, you may think that Life is harsh and cruel. But no, Life’s really very compassionate. Because you have always got and you will always get what you need even if you get it from unexpected quarters or through unconventional, unpredictable means. To let go and surrender, choose your own way to express yourself. If you feel like praying, pray. If you feel like crying, cry. If you feel like stepping away from whatever is making you frustrated and unhappy, step away. Basically, when you feel overwhelmed by a Life situation, let Life take over and you simply go with the flow.

Asking ‘Why’ of Life never helps!

Everything has its place and everything has a reason. So just accept what is and keep moving on…

When we ask why, we become restless, anxious, fearful and lose the game of Life. Instead when we accept things, people, events, as they are, as they happen, we find peace and bliss irrespective of the circumstance we find ourselves in.

Of course, it is normal for you to want to know why something is happening to you. But know also that Life is unlikely to give you an answer – at least immediately. As Steve Jobs famously said, “You can only connect the dots backwards.” That connection of dots too is, at best, an inference, a derived pattern. Yet, if you can accept the lack of reason in the moment, you can always find your own way to be happy with whatever is, the way it is. But if you keep asking why this and why that, you will find yourself wallowing in grief and agony and you will never be at peace. Life’s ways are at best magical and at worst mystical. Jobs further said, “…so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” Simply, never when something is happening, in the present, can you know the why of it. So, trust Life and let things be as they are.

An old Kashmiri story illustrates this best. Once upon a time, a man was resting under the shade of a walnut tree on a hot, sultry afternoon. Just nearby was a pumpkin creeper. The man thought to himself, “Why would God grow pumpkins on a creeper and walnuts on a tree when it should have been the other way round? Pumpkins need stronger support while walnuts do not- how did it not occur to God? Pretty silly!” Just when he was about to leave the shade of the tree and walk away, a walnut fell from above and hit his head. He then realized that had it been pumpkins that grew on such trees instead of walnuts, he’d be dead and that being in the shade of trees would not be safe for tired travelers, like him, at all! He then realized that there’s a lot that God knows that he did not. He concluded that God has planned everything beforehand.

To me, God is Life itself. I see Life as a thinking, intelligent teacher, who gives you each experience with a reason. Every aspect of creation is available to teach you something. Every crisis is a training ground to make you stronger and wiser. Yes, I too do feel lost sometimes. Stumped by Life’s surprises, the trials, the twists and the irrationality of it all! Even so, over the years, I have learnt not to ask why! I have learnt to accept my Life for what it is, the way it is and I keep moving on…

Move onward in faith, trusting Life

Take that first step of faith and the path will unfold, taking you where it intends to, taking you where you are destined to be.
Your path to your final destination on this lifetime’s journey is already pre-ordained. Except Life doesn’t come with Google Maps. You can’t say which way the path is going and how soon you can get to where you have to be. All you can do, and do well, is to take each step, starting with the first one, in faith. Faith comes with attendant benefits. It brings prosperity and abundance __ not of all that you want, but of everything you need! This is how Life works. It wants you to be trusting. The more you trust Life, the more it unfolds in its magnificence and splendor.
Yesterday, we met a courageous lady who had an inspiring story. Over 20 years ago, her two-year-old son was diagnosed with a rare heart condition. Her husband and she were a middle-class couple. They did not have the means to go abroad for the treatment. He worked in the Indian Army but was often on duty in the border areas. The lady had to, in a non-Google era, when pediatrics was not so advanced a field in India, work with the Ministry of Defence, with the Ministry of Health and with doctors to both organize the money required for her son’s surgery as well as to understand his medical condition better. Hearing her story, I inferred that she clutched on to the basic principle of Life – faith. I am not talking about faith in an external God – but in yourself, in the fact that since you have been created without you asking to be created, you will be provided for, cared for and given all that you need. In any situation, you have to do what you have to do. Just do it well and leave the rest to Life. And that’s how it all worked out well for the lady and her husband. Their son is a strapping, healthy 23-year-old today!
Well sometimes, what you want, wish for and work toward may just not happen. But you cannot and must not be dismissive of Life just because “it” didn’t work for you. You have to just accept what is and move on.

Life is not to be feared. Nor is it to be rejected or resisted. It is to be trusted and accepted for what it is: for its benevolence and its amazing sense of equal opportunity. How else do you think that a child, who is of the same age as your own, who lives on the streets, is also able to survive and in fact does live on too withoutanyone to even provide for her or his needs, forget wants? Now, by a sheer quirk of fate your child is not on the streets but is with you. How cool a blessing is that? That, and just that, is a good reason why you must trust Life. And take that first step in faith!