Personal Growth - When life gives you lemons, make lemonade
by Guru Shri Nimishananda
By merely changing the way we view the world, we can make our lives extraordinary. When we flow with the current of our personal desires, agendas, troubles and problems, our lives remain ordinary. When we realise that a higher force is shaping every moment of our existence, our lives become extraordinary. When we believe that we are extraordinary, this belief activates our powers of will, wisdom and activity, to make us truly extraordinary. We are filled with inspiration and enthusiasm, which empower us to recognise the extraordinary in the mundane and ordinary.
If we view life as a problem, it becomes ordinary. If we view it as an opportunity, it becomes extraordinary. All of us savour the ‘good’ things in life, but we must also savour life’s unexpected challenges by treating them as opportunities that foster growth and not as problems that obstruct progress. If your vehicle breaks down when you are driving, enjoy your surroundings while you are there, regardless of whether they are ugly or beautiful. Accept life and perceive the best in everything. Then you are filled with joy and zest. You cannot always control the external world – but your internal world is in your hands. Make it beautiful.
We expect life to fulfil all our expectations, but this rarely happens. Most situations come to jolt us out of our rut, teach us important lessons and lift us to higher states of being. They are manifestations of our own past karma. If every circumstance were to our liking, internal growth and transformation would never take place. Our lives would become stagnant and sub-human. When we accept all circumstances gracefully, our life stops being ordinary and becomes extraordinary.
This makes the element called tension vanish from our lives forever. Tension, depression, frustration and boredom slowly stifle our spirit and deplete the bliss of the soul. Never indulge in them. Even in a traffic jam, relax and enjoy the respite from driving. Take this opportunity to chant a mantra or sing a bhajan. When you relax and use this time to touch your inner core, you are filled with peace and bliss. If you fret and fume, you only get angry and frustrated. So accept the traffic jam as God’s will and resolve – “I will convert this traumatic situation into a blissful one.” Even if you have an important appointment, don’t get stressed. Chant the name of God and enjoy yourself. Then the person you are supposed to meet will also be delayed and your appointment will still materialise. This will be extraordinary.
When you value and savour every moment, nothing bores you. If you are singing a bhajan, just lose yourself in the fervour of your devotion. If you are preparing for an exam, cherish the opportunity to increase your knowledge. Then you will automatically score excellent marks. If we are deeply interested in whatever we do, every situation becomes a doorway to expansion and our lives become extraordinary. Never do anything in life out of a sense of comparison or competition. Do everything with enthusiasm and commitment. Otherwise, your life becomes mechanical and ordinary. Do you ever see a rose comparing itself with other flowers? No. Each flower is unique and beautiful. When we compare ourselves with others, competition or envy may spur us on, and we lose our happiness and peace of mind. A truly extraordinary life is never based on comparison. It is always the result of inner blossoming and expansion. Make your life extraordinary. Stop comparing and start living.
Remember that God is in your own heart. He is constantly saying – “My child, I am always with you. I will take care of your life. Leave everything to me. Be joyous and free.” However, we do not hear him because our desires and ambitions are jostling each other and clamouring for our attention all the time. Therefore, we identify ourselves with our body, status and possessions though we know we will ultimately leave all this behind. To make our lives extraordinary, we should always be aware that this body exists only to enshrine God as our soul. God is present in us as consciousness and awareness. He is the life force that makes our hearts beat, lungs breathe and minds think. Death will separate us from the body, but never from our soul, which will always accompany us. Forgetting this, we identify with the body and constantly oscillate between pleasure and pain. We refuse to accept life as it comes. This lack of acceptance generates conflict. Conflict generates tension. Tension causes stress and strain, which leads to depression, and this depression suppresses the spirit. It deprives us of the bliss, which is the energy of the soul. So, our existence is filled with stress or boredom.
We unnecessarily make ourselves unhappy. Sorrow is never necessary. You are born to lead a life of inner peace and bliss, but if you expect life to be rosy forever, you will be disappointed. Life will always throw out its challenges at you. It is up to you to unlock the inner fount of bliss and make your life joyous. Sorrow, worry and stress are slow poison. They cut your lifespan, erode your health and corrode your mind. This happens only because you lack the awareness of your own ability to make your life joyous. You may ask – “What if we lose our near and dear ones?” However much we grieve, they will never return. That is why the scriptures say -“Mourn for three days and then feel grateful that they have obtained an opportunity to be reunited with God before you.” They are now receiving better care than the best care that you could provide. Sorrow only makes you wallow in self-pity. You lose hope and are full of apathy. So you seek the false security of others’ sympathy. This causes depression, which depletes your willpower. Loss of willpower leads to lack of interest in life, which leads to lack of devotion. Lack of devotion causes lack of dedication. When dedication declines, enthusiasm wanes. Lack of enthusiasm leads to lack of awareness. Lack of awareness makes you forget the soul, the divine core within you. Without Divinity, your life becomes useless.
So never miss anybody and never avoid anybody. Flow like a river that neither clings to its banks nor shies away from obstructions. Life has its own rate of flow. Do not be swept away by life or rage against it. Accept and enjoy each situation as it comes. Abandon the rut that you have created. Make each day of your life a celebration by changing your mindset. Focus on your inner state of being. You have the capacity to keep your mind ever joyful. How do you do this? Stop trying to impress others. Throw away your mask and make your life transparent. Do not seek temporary pleasures. Relish things that are divine. Seek the company of the holy and wise. When this is not available, read the life stories of enlightened beings. Let the incidents of their lives be enacted on the screen of your mind.
From today, make your future blissful by assuming responsibility for your own inner state of being. Surrender to Divinity and pray – “God, I do not know what Your Will is. I offer myself to you unconditionally. Use me as you wish for your work.” This is what all enlightened beings did. Until they surrendered to Divinity in this way, they too were ordinary beings like us.
Faith and surrender are the master keys that open the door to liberation. As long as we depend solely on our faculty of logic, fate and destiny will continue to suppress and oppress us. So minimise your use of logic and have total faith in Divine benevolence. When you sit in a public transport vehicle, don’t you sit back, and surrender to the driver? In the same way, surrender completely to God and stop worrying. What does surrender mean? While watching a movie, do you check whether your heart is beating? No. You never think of this because you have surrendered to the life force in your body. When we can do this with the body, why can’t we do it with our lives? From this moment, remember that God will take care of everything for you. Stop worrying and enjoy your life. From today, tune yourself to your soul every moment. Dive into the inner world of joyful exuberance and make your life truly extraordinary.
Contact: Shri Nimishananda Ashram, Mobile: 93412 59083
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