The awakened sages call a person wise when all his undertakings are free from anxiety about results; all his selfish desires have been consumed in the fire of knowledge. The wise, ever satisfied, have abandoned all external supports. Their security is unaffected by the results of their action; even while acting, they really do nothing at all [i.e., nothing producing karma]. Free from expectations and from all sense of possession, with mind and body firmly controlled by the Self, they do not incur sin by the performance of physical action.
Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 4.19-21
I have a friend who is constantly in an uproar. She had the most difficult time dealing with change, in spite of the fact that life is nothing but change. She always felt that somehow she was in the wrong place, either physically or in life. She was either angry at life, or angry with herself most of the time. She was convinced that she had landed in the wrong place and was unable to accept her life. One day, a woman, from whom she would never normally have accepted advice, told her that the reason her life seemed so miserable and mine did not was because I was able to flow. That statement hit her like a ton of bricks. I think that, at that moment, she realized that the quality of our lives has nothing to do with life itself, but how we approach it. However my life was going and wherever I happened to be, it was my belief that everything was as it should be. I felt, that if I am here, here is where I am meant to be.
I frustrated her every time that I said it. I have always considered myself to be very lazy and really averse to suffering. So, it always seemed simpler and less painful to accept my life as it is rather than to suffer, by resisting the circumstances that obviously exist. It has always just seemed logical to me to play the cards that I have been dealt rather than wasting time and energy, especially emotional energy, fighting what is, because I don’t like it. That, in my opinion, is like beating an impenetrable wall because it is in my way, rather than just looking for a way around it. My philosophy is to acknowledge its existence, and then seek a way around it, and if one cannot be found, then I accept that there is a good purpose for it being there. I prefer to use my time and energy rather than waste it. I am lazy!
The saddest thing about mankind is that we suffer our greatest pain because we won’t face, and accept the inevitable. We waste so much of our time and energy fighting against the inevitable seasons of life, that we leave little time or energy for living. We spend forty-five percent of our time regretting the past and forty five percent of our lives worrying about the future and only ten percent of our time living in the present. It’s hard to imagine what the quality of our lives would be, if only we realized that now is our life.
Each moment evaporates as soon as we experience it. Each “Now” is at once the past, present, and the future. Life is a series of beginnings and endings, some causing joy and some causing pain. Always, as long as we are on the earth, we can look forward to both joys and sorrows, hellos and goodbyes, successes and failures, rising up and falling down, and births and deaths. This will go on as long as the sun rises and the sun sets. A friend is made a friend is lost, an enemy is defeated while a new enemy is making his way to our door. A nation will rise and that same nation will fall. A race of people will rule, and that same race will serve, all in its season. A race will flourish for a time, and then it will be wiped out. Just as each species will flourish for a time and in time become extinct. And what happens has nothing to do with how wise one is, nor how righteous one is, it has only to do with their season. Here on earth, there is no justice, no fairness, but we will, in the end be judged fairly by God. There is no righteous man who has never sinned and no sinner who has never acted righteously, therefore man cannot judge man.
So, what we can do, while living under the sun, is follow the advice in Ecclesiastes 7:13-14:
13. Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight which he hath made crooked? 14. In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider; yea, God hath made the one side by side with the other, to the end that man should not find out anything that shall be after him.
Life is a rainbow of colors, some are our favorites and some we don’t particularly like, but we are here to try them all. God creates all of life for us. However many yesterdays we have had, they have mostly been forgotten. However many tomorrows we will have, they are impossible to know. Yet, what we do have is life. We have its flow, with all of the beginnings and all of the endings-all of the seasons. We do not mourn summer when winter comes, and we do not mourn spring when summer comes. This is because we are certain that they will come again. We do not mourn the sun when it sets because we are certain that it will rise, but the truth is that we cannot be certain that it will rise for us. If we believe in God, then we must know that God has no favorites. There is no life in the universe that is more or less important to God than ours. So, whatever happens in our lives is a gift from the one who loves us unconditionally. We must live with the knowledge that first: everything is good, and second: nothing dies, nothing ends, and nothing is born, except form. Spirit is everlasting. Believing this lessens pain, it lessens the sense of loss because that sense of loss is immediately replaced with the anticipation of what will be born in place of what has outworn its usefulness. Life contains no vacuums. Even a circle only appears to be solid. In fact, under a microscope it would be seen as many tiny connected dots, beginnings and endings. And whether or not we choose to accept what happens in our lives will have absolutely no effect on whether or not it happens. If we hate rain, it will still rain.
Life is meant to be lived, and living is experiencing life. Experiencing life with the firm belief that it is only real in this moment. Love with all of your heart, every moment and every experience that it contains. So often we look back at times in our past, when we were so distracted by the things that upset us that we lost those precious moments with those whom we have loved-moments that we can never recapture. Other times we look back and find that those things we were so upset about turned out to be gifts of immeasurable magnitude. We should accept the life that we have been given as being perfect, not because we are perfect, perfect implies a state of completion; and we are not required to be perfect. We are, in each moment, in the process of becoming. We should accept our lives as perfect because the Creator, who gave them to us to live -is perfect.
There are many things in our lives that we can’t change, but those things that we can’t change are meant as gifts from which to learn. Sometimes our lessons come from overcoming, and in those times we will be shown the way to overcome, other times our lessons come from simply enduring and during those times we will be prevented from finding any way to overcome. Yet, whichever way it is meant to be, in the end we will find that it is good. Each life is a puzzle, and we have to put the pieces together. What is important to remember is that life is a puzzle that comes with all the pieces, no matter how difficult the puzzle is that we have been given, we have been given all of the pieces and they will all fit. Life consists of putting the pieces together, and examining and understanding the picture as it grows with each piece. When we have finally put all of the pieces together, it is time for this life to end, so that we may be given a new life with a whole new set of pieces to put together. Each puzzle is a perfect work of art, our creation. We need to have the faith in God and in His work to flow with life and pour our joy into it without counting what we get back in return. Because what we get, is the chance to live it.