by Suma Varughese
When we live in the knowledge that only what is meant to come to us will come and we use it as an instrument of growth, we slip into surrender, says Suma Varughese
I am 55 years old, have very little savings and have quite a few health problems. And yet when I think of my old age (which is not too far off) I rarely feel fear or anxiety. And I can put that down to just one thing � a really deep knowing that it is God who runs my life, and not I. Every time I travel in an auto and the driver swerves just in time to avert an accident, I send up a silent prayer of gratitude for my safety. When I slip on a puddle of water and arrest the fall by clutching on to something, I feel quite sure that some angel somewhere came rushing down to my rescue. Mishaps and accidents take only a fraction of a second to manifest. Recently, my uncle went to visit his daughter in Canada, missed a step while going to church and is now laid up with a hairline fracture on his neck. Yash Chopra recently died of dengue fever. The newspapers daily stand witness to the absolutely gory things that can waylay the best of us. If I am still a going concern, then it is surely no smartness or vigilance on my side? Surely it is the grace of God that protects me? The only thing we have in our control is the present moment and the present breath. Everything else is forfeit, in the hands of God only. That does not mean, however, that we are helpless pawns in the hands of God. Not at all. For the grace of God can also be interpreted as the play of destiny or the fruits of karma. We get what we are meant to get. Every circumstance of life, whether the millions we have won, or the divorce we have undergone, are deserved, or we would not have got them. Knowing this, we do not need to double-guess fate and worry or fear about possible outcomes. What we can do though, is to work actively to void our karma by using all circumstances as instruments of growth. If fate hands us a job loss, can we learn from it on what we have done wrong? Can we use it to re-evaluate our priorities and even our livelihood? Can we use it to uproot our insecurity and detach our sense of identity from the status and position that a job gives us? If illness comes visiting, can we see it as deserved and heal whichever part of our being, whether physical, mental, emotional or spiritual that is the source of the problem? Can we use it to commit ourselves to health? When we do this, not only are we voiding our bad karma but earning good karma, and that is the best way to secure a good life for ourselves. And the sooner we work our way through our karmas, the happier the rest of our lives will be.
|The only thing we have in our control is the present moment and the present breath|
A friend of mine had a very hard childhood, growing up in poverty with a bedridden mother. But these circumstances which may have embittered someone else only helped her to flower out in competence and compassion. Today, she has everything life can give her � wealth, health, a satisfying job and great relationships; perhaps that is because she learnt her lessons early. I remember reading a story about a king and queen who fate visited and told them that catastrophe would come to them but they could choose when. The couple decided that they would rather face it now, when they had youth and health on their hands and not wait till later. They did so, found their kingdom taken over by a rival king and were exiled to the forests. But in time, they voided this karma and regained everything they had lost and much more, before the trials of old age began. This is wisdom. Let us not put off the lessons we need to learn. Let us actively seek to pay any debts we need to. Then we know we have done all we can to have a healthy, happy and secure old age.
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