In today’s Podcast I share two episodes from my Life, almost two decades apart, to tell us why I believe compassion works.
Listen time: 6:12 minutes
In today’s Vlog, I share my personal experience and learning on why dwelling too much on questions relating to fate, destiny, karma and ‘naseeb’, and overanalyzing Life, can be debilitating. I strongly recommend that we live the one Life we have fully!
Viewing time: 3:25 minutes
Ask yourself, every time, if you really need to fight?
In continuation of my blogposts from yesterday and from the day before, I have an additional perspective to share on fighting the good fight while remaining unmoved and untouched. And which is to always ask yourself first, before getting embroiled in a conflict, “Do I really need to fight this person or this situation?” Assessing whether you must fight at all is a great way to retain your sanity and inner peace.
To be sure, not all situations require you to confront them and fight. In fact, on a spiritual plane, the best way to win any battle is not to fight at all. There is a way how, in Life’s scheme of things, what goes around comes around. So, cosmic retribution works – and works like a song. Even if you don’t take up cudgels against someone’s unfair methods, Life eventually will. This is how Life operates. But even if you don’t buy into this point of view, just the awareness of how much energy you will conserve by avoiding a fight should serve as motivation enough for you not to dive headlong into battle. But walking away from conflict is never easy. Your mind will keep reminding you that you must fight. It will entice you into battle. So, understanding your mind and training it to obey you is crucial. This comes, like almost everything else in Life, with practice.
I have, through training my mind, learned to look at every conflict situation dispassionately. I ask myself each time if my ego will be pampered when I fight. And if it apparently will be I don’t fight. I don’t try to teach someone any lessons either. Not anymore. I have learnt that we must press a matter only if we believe that highlighting an issue will help a larger cause or more number of people connected with the issue. So, this means, I no longer have any interest in settling scores with people who have been unkind and unjust to me. Or simply, I trust the process of Life and leave most situations, well, for want of a better word, unbattled.
This has helped me immensely in many ways. But most significantly it has helped me in my strained relationship with my mother and siblings. (Read more here: Fall Like A Rose Petal). I have learnt to be non-judgmental through the process of choosing to not fight. Being this way is truly remarkable – the amount of inner peace it has delivered unto me is immeasurable. So, now, I have developed a great detachment with these relationships – and, important, there’s no feeling of either being victimized or wanting to avenge anything or anyone!
Leaving a situation unbattled really means gifting yourself inner peace. It means choosing happiness over unhappiness and suffering. It means, simply, living intelligently!
Celebrate the imperfections in Life.
What you see as an imperfection is abstract art from a cosmic view point. Everything is exactly where it should be, the way it should be and your view of it too is exactly what it should be.
We all hate imperfections, don’t we? A rushed shave in the morning that shows up by noon as a darker, more evident stubble. Imperfection. A poor old, homeless woman on the street, out in the cold and seeking help. Imperfection. People in a corrupt administration using up government funds allotted for AIDS prevention to buy cars and furnish their apartments. Imperfection. A spouse who fails to understand you. Imperfection. A boss who hates empowering and recognizing any subordinate. Imperfection. Everywhere that you see, you will find these evident signs of imperfection. You may think that it is a cruel, sadistic world and you may wonder how the Universe thrives despite these imperfections. But if you had the capacity to understand the intelligence that powers the Universe, you will see that every little thing, everywhere, is thought through and so, everything is really in its place, the way it should really be!
This past week Chennai has been getting some very bizarre amounts of rainfall. For instance, on Tuesday night, it rained 5 cm of rain in under an hour. Everyone here, still dealing with the ghosts of the December 2015 floods, thinks something’s wrong because the North-East monsoon is still a few months away. And obviously something is wrong! Except that the actions that led to this radical climate change are not natural. They are, in fact, nature’s way of protesting that we are not being responsible. So, in effect, climate change is the price we pay for our callous attitude towards our planet. I see the whole Universe operating as a live example of ‘you reap what you sow’. Or what goes around, comes around!
And so the imperfections in your Life, in society, in the world__from a skin ailment to female infanticide to global warming__are really outcomes of our own doing. While the casual observer will not see the connecting pattern behind each imperfection, the one who is awakened, will see and seize the opportunity to learn and course-correct. This is why imperfections must be celebrated. Because they are teaching you, me and successive generations the way to intelligent living. So, nothing is out of place, nothing is out of step and all that you see wrong in your world is the Universe’s way to lead you to what’s right for you!
What goes around comes around.
We watched an outstanding Kannada movie U-Turn made by the very talented Pawan Kumar (who also made Lucia in 2013) yesterday. U-Turn is an edge-of-the-seat crime thriller. But it also leaves you with a spiritual perspective to ponder over – doesn’t Life always catch up, don’t your actions always come back to haunt you or bless you depending on what you have done? I have experienced this all my Life. I even talk about several instances of ‘what goes around comes around’ in my Book – Fall Like A Rose Petal (Westland). I have come to realize that all retribution and reward happens in this lifetime only. In a sense, as I see it, every moment is judgment day and the more good you do, the more abundance you attract into your Life. And the more you falter as a human being, there’s surely a price you end up paying for your actions. I don’t know if there is an after-Life. I don’t know if the Law of Karma works the way they say it does. But I know for sure that whatever you do comes back to you in equal measure.
I recall an instance from when we were visiting Guruvayur in Kerala several years ago. I had just bought a full loaf of bread so we could feed our son Aashirwad (who was barely a year old then) once we got to our hotel. But as our car backed up, a man, who looked hungry and lost, came up to my window and said: “veshakunnu”. It meant “I am hungry.” I didn’t think. I just handed him the loaf of bread. It was a spontaneous gesture. I just did it. My parents who were with us were shocked at what I had done. Vaani however smiled at me approvingly. As we drove along we stopped at a bakery and bought another loaf of bread.
I didn’t think much of the whole episode after that. In fact, I didn’t even recall it for 17 long years.
In February 2008, when our business problems had snowballed into a full-blown bankruptcy, I had to make a day trip to Hyderabad to meet a prospective customer. I used my Jet Privilege miles to buy my air ticket. We had no money. That day, in fact, the administrator from Aashirwad’s school called to remind me that his last term fees for the academic year had not been paid. It was the last day for fee payment and I was told that without it being paid he would not be allowed to sit for his 12th standard Board exams. I remember calling up our accountant from Hyderabad and asking her to sell a laptop we had in the office to raise the cash and pay the fees. I was exhausted after meeting the client and after dealing with the fee payment crisis. It was well past 2 pm. And I was hungry. In fact, I was famished. I had exactly Rs.900/- with me after paying for a full day’s parking for my car at Chennai airport that morning. Of this Rs.900/- I had to spend Rs.870/- to pay off the Indica cab I had hired for the day. I wanted to retain the Rs.30/- till I reached home – just in case! So, I decided to starve and grab whatever they would serve me on the flight – but that wasn’t going to be until after 8 pm! I told my cabbie to leave the car’s AC on and asked him to go have his lunch.
As I sat in the car and distracted myself by reading the morning’s newspapers for the nth time, my phone rang. It was a friend who I had SMSed in the morning asking if he would be free for a quick coffee as I was in his town! Now, this gentleman had not responded to my SMS. So, I did not even know if he was free, available or willing to meet when he called. The first thing he enquired was if I had had lunch. And when I told him I had not, he insisted that I show up a restaurant near his office in Secunderabad. I tried protesting feebly. But he shut me up. I went to the restaurant and we had a sumptuous meal from a buffet spread. When the check arrived, I told him how embarrassed I was that I could not afford to pay. He reached out, held my hand and said: “Listen, you have always paid whenever you have visited me. Let me do it this time. I was thinking I may not be able to see you today. But a scheduled meeting got postponed, just a few minutes before I called you, giving me this window to do lunch with you.”
I had no words to thank him. I don’t know if he saw me tearing up. When I got on the plane later that evening, I closed my eyes and reflected on the entire episode. And I wondered how we were managing as a family in this ghastly, nightmarish, cashless time. And yet we were miraculously surviving each day – soaked in abundance and blessed with the compassion of people around us, like this friend in Hyderabad. Did we deserve so much goodness in our Life, I asked myself? That’s when the hungry man’s face in Guruvayur flashed in front of my eyes. And I quietly thanked him, even as tears welled up in my eyes, for giving me that opportunity to serve him that day.
It’s been over 8 years since that awakening moment on the flight from Hyderabad. Our crisis endures. But Vaani and I continue to plough on – only because we are helped by the kindness and love of the Universe and its beautiful people. I really don’t know if Karma works. But I know compassion sure does!
|Mohammed Thahir with his parents
Picture Courtesy: The Hindu/Internet/M.Vedhan