In a moment, the whole world changed! Have you or someone around you experienced something like that? Here are few examples to give you an indication:
a) An entrepreneur works his guts out for a long time without much success. But because of his good nature and intentions he has helped some people who have become successful. One of these people suddenly pops up one day and offers him a million dollar deal – which has never seen or even aspired for! He has been seeking only a hundred thousand deal and he is now faced with a million dollar deal. He gets anxious and worries himself to breakdown with the upside possibility. Many people have told me this is not possible – it’s good when we are not the protagonist. We always feel we would have managed it better.
Go ahead and read a few more situations where there is more downside. Is it that we can handle that better than the individual protagonists as well? I am sure our minds will tell us it won’t happen to us and even if it happens we will manage it a lot better than others.
b) A young man, extremely successful right through school, college and work is working on a really important engagement / initiative that can elevate him 5 levels. He is just a few days away from the end of the project and all of a sudden his health gives way – he is diagnosed with blocks and advised restrictions (food and work) and extensive rest.
c) An entrepreneurial man with a PhD working as a researcher develops headache. He googles and identifies possible root causes. He takes some online tests. He tells himself he has anxiety disorder since the test says so! Within 3 months he is at the psychiatrist taking help to recover.
d) A young boy who tops his class continuously and has number of good friends suddenly realizes that he does not have a girl friend. This is because most of his friends have one. Peer Pressure? He then forces himself into one and eventually gets serious to such an extent that he disconnects with all his loved ones. He starts getting angry when he does not get attention from that girl and eventually break down emotionally. He takes tests online which only aggravates the anxiety and stress. His whole academic career is now staked against something that started all of a sudden!
Innumerable cases like these exist. Why do people get attached to objects and beings knowing fully well that life is full of surprises? Learning to handle surprises is learning the skill of right living. Every religion in the world has scriptures and they teach the human being the meaning of right living. But man fails to get attracted to it early, looking up to it only after living life. In the ancient times young people were first sent to this ashram of a realized teacher who will teach them all skills for life and how to live life as well. They will then be sent to live in the world happily and peacefully. But somewhere we reach out to religion only towards the end of our lives – isn’t it the reverse of what should be actually done?
In a beautiful poetic composition of the 8th century saint Adi Sankaracharya he describes this instability of life with this metaphor: “Life is like a dew drop on a lotus leaf” – no, don’t think this is a pessimistic attitude to life. In the next week’s Vedantic Wednesday post i will detail how this understanding can help us lead a positive, peaceful and happy life. Till then think on this and similar situations that you have come across.