Oct 31, 2010

Prison-house to Playground

It isn't the things that happen to us in our lives that cause us to suffer, it's how we relate to the things that happen to us that causes us to suffer. Do you want to live life as puppet, or become master of the universe? Discover your own power. The universe will then transform from a prison-house to a playground. You will enjoy every moment of your life and gain access to the transcendental as well. As you think so shall you be. Most people change their lifestyles, clothing and food. Some might relocate to an ashram or go away to Himalayas-but pay scant regard to their thoughts which are still focussed on the world. The only thing you need to change is your thoughts. Nothing else. Elevate your thoughts to the spirit and the world will be at your feet. The fringe benefit of spiritual life is material success.
The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways.
(Source: The Speaking Tree from TOI)

Oct 11, 2010

Summary of " When Bad Things Happen to Good People"

The author is a rabbi of Jews ( Clergyman) in the USA. When he was young, he had a son who was bright and happy child. The family was a very happy one but suddenly the child was detected for a very strange disease. His hair started falling out after he turned one-year-old and stopped growing. Doctors called this phenomenon 'Progeria'. They told the author that th child would never grow beyond three feet of height, would have no hair on his head or body, would look like a little old man while he was still a child and would die in his early teens.

How does one handle news like that ? Like any other common man, the author felt deeply shocked and questioned God's fairness. He was a good man doing all that a good person is supposed to do. The question ' Why did it happen to him only ?' came to his mind again and again. He started searching for answers to it and the book is result of that search. The boy, of course, died at the age of fourteen as predicted but the thinking of the author reduced the agony of the reality to a great extent and changed his life altogether in the time to come.

The general attitude is the assumption that we get what we deserve and we always try to find reasons for justifying whatever happens to us. At times we also try to establish that the tragedy has happened for our good. While there is no harm in taking this line of thought, the problem with this reasoning is that it does not really help the sufferer or explain his suffering. It is primarily, to defend God, to use words and ideas to transform bad into good and pain into privilege. In a way, we also try to establish that God is the cause of our suffering and also make ourselves feel guilty in addition to the burden of tragedy. 

The author has taken altogether different view of the situation. He cannot imagine of a God who can be cruel at any time. He has tried to establish that life consists of good and bad things. And happening of bad things is as much a matter of chance, as those of good things in anybody's life. God does not want bad things to happen but perhaps it is not in his hands. He also does not want bad things to happen as much as we want. Some are caused by bad luck, some are caused by bad people and some are inevitable consequence of our being human and being mortal, living in a world of inflexible natural laws. 

The painful things that happen to us are not punishment for our misbehaviour, nor are they in any way part of some grand design on God's part. Because the tragedy is not God's will, we need not feel hurt or betrayed by God when tragedy strikes. Instead, we can turn to Him for help in overcoming it because God is as outraged by the tragedy as we are. 
And this is how bad things have a meaning in the lives of good people. It turns them to God all the more. The question we should be asking is NOT " why did this happen to me ?" or "what did I do to deserve this ? ". That is really an unanswerable, pointless question. A better question would be ' Now that this has happened to me, what am I going to do about it ? ".

And this where God comes to our help in the form of a good friend, a good relative, a good idea or courage. God inspires some people to help others who have been hurt by life. In the end, the author concludes that his own tragedy had a great meaning. He believes that his son served God's purpose not by being sick or strange looking, but by facing up so bravely to his illness and to the problems caused by his appearance. His friends and schoolmates were affected by his courage and by the way he managed to live a full life despite limitations.
(Source :- Extracts taken from Rakesh K Mittal's Never say no to Life)

Oct 5, 2010

There was this interview of a writer, an Indian by birth, presently staying in U.K. He was 35 yrs of age and for 35 years he had never stood on his feet, because he never could. Nor had he ever mad use of his hands because he never could use them either. He was born with a disesase which had made his bones so weak that he had to spend all his life on a wheel chair. God had just kept one thing working for him and that was his brain, and he made use of just that one asset and wrote a book, which became a best seller. But despite of his obvious handicap his book displayed a remarkably positive outlook towards life. The interviewer was most amazed by this fact and asked him ,how did he manage to have such a positive outlook towards life.

The man replied, I have no grievance against god, because atleast he gave me a chance to live. There are millions who do not get even this chance . With each passing day my knowledge grows. My intellect grows and with it grows my determination to fight with life.

He with all his difficulties could still make life meaningful because he had lived every moment of it. Life in any form has to be meaningful. It is only we, who fail to realise its importance.

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