How to make peace with mortality

Our body is like an apartment. We don’t know how long we’ll be allowed to stay in it but we tend to live as if we’ll live in it forever. We have the tendency to abuse it as if our mortality is far-fetched. We tend to accumulate so much, forgetting the fact that we can’t take anything with us when we die.

Photo: JerryStocking.Com/Blog

Photo: JerryStocking.Com/Blog

In life, we are faced with two choices: we either build our life on a solid and deep spiritual foundation or build it on worldliness. When we go for the first option, we cultivate the relationship between the soul and the Supreme Person. When we choose the latter, we allow ourselves to be governed by materialism not really knowing that it will bring us nothing but suffering as satisfying the material body can never satisfy the needs of the soul.

The material existence is like an ocean. You’re not safe in it until you see land. The Titanic was touted as unsinkable yet it sunk and the tragedy claimed more than a thousand lives. We could die anytime from diseases, disasters and from acts of our fellow men – accidental or deliberate.  News of tragedies and our own brushes with death change our perspective and make us rearrange our priorities. We suddenly get consumed with the desire to live life to the fullest. We make amends. We become more caring. We get reminded of what’s truly important in our lives and that our day-to-day moments are priceless and unrepeatable. We make the most of each day through our encounters with our loved ones so that we would have as few regrets as possible. We commune more with the Supreme Person.

When we see hale and hearty old people, we feel happy about their being able to live a long healthy life. We’re especially impressed when we see some of them still having the strength and the stamina for running. The thought that we don’t want to entertain is that they’re actually running away from death. We don’t like to dwell on such a topic because it’s morbid and unsettling and it incites fear of the unknown. But there’s nothing to fear about death. The fear of death only identifies with the death of the material body that wears and tears and which we tend to falsely identify the soul with. We are not our material body. We are spirit souls. The soul is eternal and death is unnatural to the soul.

How do we make sure we’re prepared to face our death anytime? We prepare by strengthening our knowledge of who we are as spirit souls; hence, we should not build our life upon worldly things. What we should build is our relationship with our Maker, the Supreme Person. We should make the conscious effort to revive, renew and re-establish our connection with the Supreme Person however and whenever we can. We should cultivate spiritual knowledge and reorient our life toward spiritual living.  Our choices in life should be directed by our answers to the question ‘What is the eternal value of what I’m doing now?’ We should upgrade our consciousness, not degrade it. We should practice meditation to find an inner joy and serenity that nothing, not even physical death, can destroy. We should be at peace with the thought of the death of our material body. There is no pain in leaving the material world if we have the inner peace, freedom and readiness to be with the Supreme Person.


Stress is Good



In any situation, the right amount of stress is necessary.

Stress is needed to build muscles. Body builders start with lifting light barbells then gradually increase the weights through the process until they are able to lift a 350 pounder. A gradual increase in stress for the muscles is what builds and strengthens the muscles.

People who are way too sheltered are the ones that easily break down in the face of stress. Kids who play too much video games are the first ones to be out of breath when playing outdoor sports. Adults who were brought up in a pampered lifestyle are liable to have a nervous breakdown in instances of extreme stress. Married couples who couldn’t cope with the day-to-day stress of married life eventually separate. It’s a basic human tendency to get distressed when confronted with physical, mental, emotional, relational and financial stress.

But, we see successful entrepreneurs who manage their businesses and take care of their families like they’re just dancing through life. We marvel at the way they carry themselves in sorting out business challenges, in dealing with both peers and detractors and in keeping a healthy and loving relationship with their spouses and kids. We wonder what makes them so different that they don’t cave in despite the enormous amount of stress in their lives. The difference is that they know how to manage stress smartly and effectively.

Stress builds your character. It makes you become a better person. It sharpens you like how friction sharpens a knife. All the odds that you’ve conquered; all the rejections that you got over with; and, all the contrarians whom you’ve either won over or bowed to, have in one way or another strengthened your ability to tolerate and manage stress and pain. Every life experience has made you become more patient and resilient, more introspective and more accepting of life’s realities.

The first step to managing stress is to understand that the world is fundamentally a stressful place. Day-to-day challenges are inevitable. We either complain about it perennially or manage it and enjoy the beauty and goodness that life offers.

When we manage life’s little stresses, we prepare ourselves to conquer the bigger ones. Joining the Boston Marathon entails at least a year of intensive training. Climbing the Andes or the Himalayas requires an extensive mountaineering experience. Entrepreneurial success comes from years of hard work and headaches and the ability to not lose sight of the goal no matter what. Building an unbreakable relationship needs an enormous amount of honest conversations, compromises and making amends – these are like the strands that make up a straw rope. The more strands the rope has, the better its tensile strength.

The Samurai sword, or katana, is a Japanese weapon renowned for its sharpness and strength. The process of making it involves heating a piece of steel in a furnace, forging it, shaping the blade, treating the blade with a special clay mixture, quenching the steel, tempering and polishing the blade and securing the blade on the fabricated handle. That’s the amount of stress the piece of steel is given for it to become a formidable weapon. In life, we need the same amount of stress and the ability to deal with it in order to become strong, pliable and polished individuals.


The Ant and the Grasshopper

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The Grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. The Grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

Indian Version

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The Grasshopper thinks the Ant’s a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering Grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the Ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

Read the rest of the satirical piece here.

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Happiness is Within Us

I would like to share my thoughts on how each of us can make this new year a happy one for ourselves.

Happiness lies within us. Wherever we are and whatever circumstances surround us, we always have the choice to be happy.  We have the intelligence to discern that our personal happiness does not and should not depend on other people or things. But, when we’re sad or upset, we tend to blame others, the world and even God for our misfortunes. We may have the best things in life but if we carry grudges, resentments and the unforgiven past, we will never be happy. Happiness should be from the inside out.
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