Who am I? Why am I here? What is the purpose of my life? What is the essence of my existence? What is death? Is there life after death? Why do I need money? What do I want out of my life? Most of us ask these questions from ourselves at least once in our lifetime. We ask these questions when we look deeper into our lives, when we introspect about our state of affairs and when we seek fulfillment and wholeness. So overall we ponder over these questions when we are going through a meditative phase in our lives. If ever, we have asked then, have we ever sincerely contemplated over these questions and waited for the answer?
The funniest thing is, we seek the answers to these questions outside. We expect that somebody will come and tell us that, this is what is your life is meant for. Believe me; that is not going to happen. Except for yourself, nobody else in this world can tell you the purpose of your life. Looking for answers outside will not help. So now, the other way is to seek within. Because of our hectic daily schedules, we are so busy communicating with the external world that we completely neglect the importance of communicating with oneself. The problem that usually arises is, even if I want to ask myself, how do I ask, how do I communicate with myself?
We as humans have forgotten the ways to communicate with ourselves. We have lost our sensitivity towards nature. It’s not the work of this birth only. It is an unconscious effort, which has continued from generations aimed at conquering nature. This desire to conquer nature has made us drift away from nature and our true self. The by-product of this supposed victory by replicating nature is an inflated ego. Because of this ego we think of ourselves as the pivot of the universe and believe that we can change things, and such a belief takes us even further away from the almighty nature.
How many of us can go to sleep or piss or die whenever asked? We are not even ready to think that we are those miserable beings, who cannot go to sleep, who cannot excrete, who cannot die or who cannot defeat death as and when we want. We don’t even remember when we were born. Most of us cannot even gain control over our habits or laziness. Despite that, we think of ourselves to be great and talk about controlling nature and changing things. Things happen when they have to happen. Our presence or absence is not going to make any difference. The Universe doesn’t give a damn about any of us. This is nature’s system and natural is trying to make it work the best way possible.
So rather than fighting nature, let’s try to understand how we can get closer to nature and understand this life. Rather than solving the problems of the world, let’s solve our problems first as it is very well understood that “one beggar cannot feed another”. The most important thing missing from our lives is gratitude. Do we remember the last time when we were full of gratitude with tears of joy in our eyes?
Have we ever thanked all those people who have been a part of our life and helped us directly or indirectly? By thanking someone, I don’t mean that just saying the words, but genuinely thinking, that this particular person has made something possible for me today and I express my gratitude towards him/her from the core of my heart. Have we ever thanked our circumstances for making us what we are today? There are so many things and people and events, to which we owe an expression of gratitude because without them it would not have been possible for us to be, what we are today. This is the most common idea of gratitude that we have, to thank people around us, with all our heart.
Let us try to see it with a different perspective, have you ever touched your own feet, have you ever thanked your own body for being there. No! We get to know about our body parts when we have a problem with them. We remember our legs when we have pain in them, otherwise, we don’t even have few seconds to thank our feet who carry us all around. Think about it, our body that is helping and supporting us 24 hours 365 days a year and we don’t even thank it at all, and take it for granted.
Leave alone the body; have we ever thanked the sun for being the largest source of energy for us? Have we ever thanked this universe for being in existence and also being so considerate on miniatures like us, who are always ready to destroy nature? We as human beings have mainly produced children and waste. Wherever we went, we destroyed nature for our own comfort. Imagine somebody throwing garbage into your house, how will you react to that? I think we all will fight it out and won’t rest till the house is clean and the other person is punished. Now imagine what amount of patience this universe has. Despite us creating waste and destroying nature, it still silently gives us its resources, and that too in abundance. Do we actually have any respect for nature?
The design of the universe is perfect. At any point of time, everybody is provided with whatever they need. It is we, who are not thankful to the universe for this existence. Obviously, there is more so called “good” happening than what we call “bad”, but as humans, we always tend to focus on the “bad” rather than “good”. Rather than being thankful for whatever “good” has happened to us, we are used to cribbing about what we don’t have. The moment we are thankful for what we have, we are creating more space for the new things that universe has thought of for us. But when we crib about what we don’t have and don’t appreciate what we have, we are closing the doors for the upcoming things. We never try to see the bigger picture. We always see the workings of the universe and events like an employee in the office, rather than the CEO of the company, the idea is we draw our inferences on the basis of the micro picture that we see but we never try to see the macro picture by connecting the dots.
Let’s sit down today and devote some time from our so called busy lives to express gratitude to all the factors that have made it possible for us to see this day in the light we are seeing it. Whenever we express this gratitude we feel a sense of expansion from inside and successfully march one more step towards shedding our ego and moving closer to nature. When we have this feeling that “because of so much help and grace from the universe I am able to finish this task” we let our false ego fall down, which says “I am the one who is doing it”. Let’s take an extreme example when I say that I drove back home safely then I forget to take into account the contribution of all the other people on the road. All the people who didn’t hit me by accident or by will, I need to express my gratitude to them. It was because of the collective effort of so many people I could come back home safely.
When we are full of gratitude and let our “I” fall down then we come closer to nature. Now we are actually giving time to ourselves to think what we are doing and what our life is meant for. Until this time we were looking outside for this answer and that’s why every answer and every attempt was a misfit most of the times. The moment we start seeking for it inside, things start to change. So when we start seriously contemplating on the purpose of our life, leaving our ego aside and start flowing with nature, at this stage nature chooses us to give the work or the purpose that we look for our whole life. Thus, nature gives us the responsibility for what we are, on this earth. Until this time we were living somebody else’s life, were doing some work chosen by somebody else, be it parents, spouse, society but not by our own nature and that’s why we always get bored of things and work becomes a burden for us.
The moment we identify the purpose of our life, which is obviously a million dollar question, we are half way there. Now the responsibility has come upon our shoulders. It’s up to us, to either choose our purpose or get lost in the distractions of the world. Following one’s purpose for a lifetime is not an easy task. Several billion people have walked this earth, millions may have identified their purpose but only a few thousand were successful in fulfilling the same.
It’s not a joke to fulfill our purpose. We have to put in each and every bit of ourselves for our purpose. Sachin Tendulkar has found his purpose in cricket. He still learns it, practices it every day in spite of being the best in the world. Every day is a chance for us to get better at what we are doing and be the best. So just finding the purpose is not enough but to live for it and devote your life to it, makes it meaningful. Infinite madness and passion are necessary to fulfill our purpose. There should be no difference between you and your purpose. Every moment you have to live for your purpose and work for the betterment of yourself.
There is a gigantic difference between the number of people who have fulfilled and who want to fulfill their purpose. Let’s try to understand why that difference is there. First of all the want itself might or might not be genuine. Do we actually understand what we are asking? We are asking for a task, which will give us no holidays, will demand every bit of us and require life-long commitment. Doesn’t it sound too much? Leave “purpose” for now and come to the day-to-day responsibilities of a person. How many of us are able to fulfill their responsibility happily and with gratitude. Are the outputs always up to the expectations? We feel bad with the outputs because somewhere down the line we know that we could have done the job better. But we have inculcated this habit of less effort and more credit. We always want better outputs without sufficient inputs. The problem is, we are not focused. We want to do so many things at a time that we are not able to put our 100% in any of the things we do. Hence, compromising the quality of the output is the only way out.
To be focused we need self-control. Most of us want to get up in time and in spite of putting up alarm we end up getting late. This is a simple example of sleep, which we are not able to control. So first we need to learn self-control, which can help us get focused. The question arises — How do I learn self-control? How many times a smoker or people, in his life thinks of quitting cigarette or say any habit? How many out of them succeed? People who succeed generally have different reasons. Either it is the immense practice of not doing it or it is some other force, which seems to be more important than that habit. In most of the cases, the other force is love. That love can be present in your partner/spouse, children, parents, your body, your life etc. The idea is if this limited or conditional love can make you change your habits, then imagine what a pool of infinite and unconditional love can do to you. Imagine how much power you can draw from that infinite love.
How do you get infinite or unconditional love? If you have enough gratitude for whatever you are, your intent and attitude are sincere towards your responsibilities. If you are ready to work for a bigger purpose, which you think is bigger and more important than your ego. If you are ready to devote your life to that purpose, then nature chooses you to fulfill your purpose. It’s like hiring an eligible employee to perform a task in the company called the Universe. After too many tests and interviews in terms of your proficiency with self-control and devotion for your work, you get hired. Then the universe provides you a mentor (guru) as an agent of infinite love and a conductor of grace who becomes a catalyst for you to fulfill your purpose. As a Guru needs nothing from anybody in this world, so he can love you infinitely and unconditionally. Because of this infinite force of love, which is grace, you develop the capacity to fulfill the purpose. It is grace that you get such a mentor in your life.
When we put in everything to fulfill this responsibility, with the expression of gratitude towards nature, then Grace flows through us, which makes it possible for us to fulfill our purpose. But we need to find that “one thing” which we can do 24 hours 365 days a year without getting bored. And then do it honestly, by putting our cent percent into it.
Till now it was “Express gratitude, fulfill your responsibility, grace will flow” but let’s think about it in this way, without grace one cannot even think of expressing gratitude. Without gratitude, nature won’t shower grace on you. Without grace, we won’t be able to find the purpose of our lives and without finding our purpose, we won’t have the capacity to hold the grace. Thus all three Gratitude, Responsibility, and Grace are like the three legs of the tripod on which the life is standing. All three of them are independent and cannot stand without each other.
So today I express my gratitude to all those who have made it possible for me to be what I am today and will try my best to improve myself every moment.
I would like to express my gratitude and love for my Gurudev, without whom it would not have been possible for an ordinary man like me to know and understand this simple but vital sense of life.