Challenges come unannounced, shine and spread the sparkle
Challenges come unannounced in our life and we all have no choice but to endure them. I have been through few such patches and I always wondered — why does life present us with tough periods? In one such life situation, I found my answer.
Here is my personal story. While I was doing my PhD in Texas, USA, being an international student, I was dependent only on the on-campus jobs. After paying the fees and rent, what I was left was a meagre amount that barely met my needs. Due to this severe financial hardship and academic pressure, I was highly disturbed and in an agitated state. I did not get myself diagnosed, but if I had I am sure, I could have been diagnosed as clinically depressed.
During this period, I was filled with anger & bitterness towards myself and almost at everything, every person and every event of that period. I always questioned, “Why this?” and every other sentence that I uttered was “Life sucks!”. But then, something unexpected happened! There was an Art of Living program that was organized on campus and after a lot (really a lot) of persuasion by a friend of mine, I enrolled for the program. The course was amazing! But more importantly, I started to ponder and implement a few of the key points that was mentioned in the course. For example, one such point that they taught was — “Live in the present moment!”. Really? What does it even mean? This point was hard to decipher, I really had to introspect deep to figure out what it meant for me. But as I persisted with my inner search, I realized that for me spending time with nature is living in the present moment. I took up bird watching and astronomy. I started to learn to identify various bird species in the campus and also enrolled myself into an astronomy class. As I further developed these hobbies, my bitterness and anger started to subside. My friends started to approach me for an experience in astronomy. We could drive out of the city limits, park at a safe & dark spot and observe the zillions of stars overhead. At the first view of pristine night sky, my friends would shout-out in amazement! As I got to see more such expressions for joy and amazement in my friends, peace dawned on me and I slowly transformed from being a ME-centric person to a person wanting to make a positive difference in someone else’s life (however small it might be)!
As my awareness towards nature increased, I realised all the objects that we use, have been put through one extreme process or the other. For e.g., the wooden furniture we use had gone through one or more of sawing, drilling, hammering etc., and even the gentle fabric has to put though the scissors and needle to be of use to us. It’s not just we humans, but it’s true for all of the matter. Each has to endure unconducive situations to be of use to others. That’s when I found the answer to the question — why does life present us with tough periods — for us to grow and positively impact someone else’s life.
It is very important to be connected with the spiritual knowledge/wisdom available on this planet. The source of wisdom is immaterial — it would be through ones religious scriptures, a spiritual Guru, a self-help book/website or just a wise mentor. But the key is to first connect with the spiritual knowledge, internalize it, apply it and eventually share the knowledge with others.
I am sure you are thinking, “It’s easier said than done”. Yes, I totally agree! But the choice is between the challenges leaving more scars/blockages versus dropping past baggage and opening up, to a new self. The choice is yours! But remember, diamonds are always formed under intense heat & pressure.
(A special note of thanks to Ms. Bijal Shah for relentlessly supporting me and suggesting improvements.)