…And it has no flaws!
A very good friend of ours is enjoying time with his infant grandchildren. When I connected with him earlier this week, after many months, I remarked, “Wow! Isn’t it wonderful to be a grandparent? We are still getting ready to be empty nesters. But you have already been there, done that, and now, your Life has come a full circle as the family is together again with the next generation coming in as well!” My friend laughed. He then said, “AVIS bhai, one small correction. No one’s been there. No one’s done anything! Life just happens to you.”
Indeed. This has been my belief too. I may have said “been there, done that” to my friend more as a manner of speaking, but I totally, completely, resonate with the “Life happens to you” perspective.
I have another friend who is a famous CEO. He went into a depression for a few years when he lost his entire business empire and he went bankrupt. He subsequently bounced back and is a thriving business leader today. When my own business and financial challenges began (read more here: Fall Like A Rose Petal), in early 2008, I visited him in Hyderabad for getting his perspective on dealing with a bankruptcy. At the end of our conversation, as I got up to leave, he pointed to a plaque on his desk. It contained a quote from Yogavasishta Ramayana which read: “Whatever (is) to be done, I do. But in reality I do not do anything.” He told me: “Just follow this principle. You can never escape pain in Life, but, with this principle, you can avoid the suffering.”
The quote and my CEO friend’s advice did not make much sense to me then. But almost a decade down the line, I am wiser. I have come to realize that the truth of our lives is that we have to do what we have to do, and yet Life will keep happening to us; ultimately, Life’s Master Plan is what prevails and so we must learn to be unfrustrated with Life, with what we get, with the outcomes of our efforts. Or simply, Life’s Master Plan keeps happening to us, irrespective of what we do or don’t do, and this Master Plan has no flaws!
This learning is now ingrained in my spiritual DNA, if I can call it so. Even this morning, in a state of absolute cluelessness over a very urgent situation, that demands immediate hands-on leadership, which we can’t provide just now owing to lack of money, I meditated on this learning. I let go. And I surrendered. I am not just feeling a lot better, I am convinced that Life will take care of us – just as we have been taken care of all this time.
All our suffering, I have realized, is because of this misplaced notion that our Life happens because of us. I am reminded of what music maestro Ilayaraaja said once in an interview to Radio Mirchi: “Thaan sapitta unavai thaane jeernika sakthi ulla manithanai yen munnal niruthungal!” It means, “Show me a human who has the ability to digest their food through their own ability.” The import is that if you believe that Life happens through you, and not because of you, and that Life happens to you no matter what you do or don’t do, then, and only then, can you live in peace and be happy!