During the four-day workshop, one of the significant lessons I learned was that — life happens for us and not to us. The essence of the concept being that life delivers whatever one yearns for when we focus and assume life to be benevolent. Conversely, life could prove to be a veritable hell if we reckoned life to be a vengeful avenger. Ponder back on your life, and you’ll see that this has always been true. We may call this a law of attraction or brain reticular activating system.
The valuable lesson mentioned above came in handy when I recently found myself in the vortex of a choppy life. Suddenly, too many things were happening simultaneously in my life, throwing me off balance. What was most devastating was the demise of our dog, Coco, after a long decline. The spectacle of Coco making eye contact minutes before breathing his last, flickering his winsome look as he blissfully drifted off to heaven, repeatedly flared in my mind, ravaging me with sadness. The sorrow, instead of fading away, slowly kept stacking up as various other simultaneous life happenings, both personal and professional, inundated me in pain.
Under such circumstances, when pain clasps us, we have the option to either dwell and suffer in it or conversely hunt or dig for the good it is creating in our lives. The sooner we realise that the pain is there to serve us, make us better versions of ourselves by tapping into it, the faster our reprieve from melancholy will be. When a crisis whacks us, we must take extreme ownership of the situation. Instead, our instantaneous reaction often is to blame others for the catastrophe without contemplating the good they might have unconsciously fetched into our lives. Hence, before blaming anyone, we should honour them for permeating our lives with good. My teacher once told me — we should refrain from proclaiming, ‘why me?’, simply because we never ask the same question when good stuff happens to us.
Coincidentally, we witness bad things when we don’t live up to our true purpose or capabilities. That’s when the universe yanks us out of our comfort zones and wiggles us up. This awakening is where the opportunity to grow spiritually occurs. It forces us to look within and seek answers for things that seem to unfold in our lives. That’s when we discover the silver lining if we sincerely surrender to the universe and seek the answers.
The universe offers situations and circumstances that foster growth, and hence when we believe that life happens for us and not to us; we can work miracles at any moment. Gradually, we move away from feeling angry, hurt, or sad to feeling good. Contrarily, when we react, we might end up feeling as though the universe were conspiring against us.
When we develop a feeling that the universe is conspiring against us, we stay stuck. We manifest our overriding beliefs that affirm that we will never be competent, never be successful, etc., as actuality. As a result, we go about littering negativity and wonder why life is so crummy. But once we flip the idea that we have everything we need, our life changes dramatically; we become successful and receive everything we need in abundance.
We rarely understand why things happen the way they do. But when we earn some space, time, and perspective, and reflect on the significant events of our lives. We will see how the universe led us there. If we get lucky, we can even find moments where we found ourselves precisely at the place we were supposed to be. In my own life, I have been able to connect the dots many times in my life. Out of several dots in my life, I can discern one particular dot that led me into civil services. Had I not fallen into the poor company and embarrassed myself while pursuing my undergraduate studies in Agriculture at Hyderabad, I would not have forced myself to seek my postgraduate and PhD programs outside Andhra Pradesh. As Delhi was a hub for preparation for the civil services exam, pursuing my PhD program at Delhi and my induction into the University quiz team paved my entry into the civil services.
The dot mentioned above in my life bears similarity to Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple computer, who delivered a powerful commencement address titled ‘Connecting the dots’ on June 14, 2005, at Stanford University. In the speech, Jobs explained how the nastiest points in his life — dropping out of college, being overthrown from Apple and contracting cancer — served as portals to a higher level of creativity and insight. The oration delivered timeless advice. In the same speech, Jobs also famously said: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” Finally, if there were only beautiful sunny days, we would take the sun for granted, but we also need thunderstorms and rains to break the monotony and wash things anew. For instance, if things never went wrong in our lives, how would we know when they are going right? We all have to play a role in the game called life. We will all have things happening in our lives, and we may have to do the work and explore the silver lining and never let go of it once we uncover it.
— The writer is ADGP, Idol Wing CID