Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Be Happy – Prepare Yourself To Face, Even The Unforeseen.

The Half Yearly examination session was over. The class of students gathered again for the preparation of the next session. The teacher came in and started to ask the experience of the students with the examination just over. “So children”, began the teacher. “How was the English paper?” Almost in unison the children replied, “Difficult master. Some questions were not even in the syllabus, like unseen”. The teacher smiled. He closed the books for the day to give them a life lesson.

It happens in our real life too when we come across some incidents we had never thought of. Such real-life situations begin to gather larger proportions as we grow older. We are completely perplexed when we have to face situations as they seem to be ‘out of syllabus’. How many situations can we foresee as a surety or occurrence? We must not hesitate to learn anything at any stage.

When a child is born, parents make all kinds of plans in terms of his schooling, education, marriage and happy settlement. Some parents even go as far as planning his/her career. However, in this euphoria of meticulous planning of seeming certainties ahead, we forget that the life of ours and that of the child we are grooming up, has a limited span of time. It is the vital truth which tends to get lost: preparation for death.

Death, the universal fact for all the mortal things including ourselves and those who are very much dear to us, is a mystery to most of us. While we are uncertain as to how and when it will come, we are certain that it will. All things compounded die to change form. The question is: are we prepared for the event? There are two options before us. First, we choose not to think about it. Second, we try and understand the prospect and when it does eventually come we reduce our suffering of facing the upheavals of emotions that come with it, for as long as the process lasts. Either way we cannot overcome the surety of the event.

There is transition and impermanence all around us. In death is creation of new life as in nature old leaves fall to give rise to new shoots. In cosmic happenings stars are collapsing every second to give rise to the new. Our own body sees constant death of cells that give way to new ones. What we perhaps fear most about death is fear of the unknown. Perhaps, no friends, family, known faces would be there, we would be alone in a foreign land. Also, what we are afraid of is the ignorance about who we really are, essentially because we live in a make-believe understanding of ourselves.

How we eventually die, and what form we assume is the result of many factors, our accumulated karma or deeds, our genuine remorse and practices in overcoming our bad karma, the intensity of intention, action and culmination of every karma, good and bad, the state of our mind of life and death. This is determined by conditioning the mind, calming it, observing closely the actual process of thoughts arising in the mind. And the responsibility we attach to dealing with each one of them. Being ever watchful of our emotions, and not merely religious rites, norms and practices, will determine how we actually live our life and how we will eventually die and be reborn like flowers.

Having explained this, the teacher said to the students: “If we are mindful of this, we would be in a position to score well in our final examination. We must always be ready to face anything which we may come across whether we have already contemplated about that or not in advance. Similarly, death and the process of it is never out of syllabus”. The students smiled and understood the essence of the lesson.

Be Happy - Prepare Yourself To Face, Even The Unforeseen.

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