10: Does everything happen for a reason?

Remember the old story of the king whose minister tried to convince him that everything happens for a reason? One day as the king goes on a hunt, he is injured by a thorn in his path. He asks his minister what good could come out of his injury. The minister is proven right when the king gets lost on his way and is captured by a tribe, who want to offer him as a tribute to their gods. However, when they discover the king’s injury they let him go, as the tribute needs to be whole and healthy. This story has been told in many forms to Indian children to teach them that everything happens for a reason. The merits of this belief aside, it does offer solace during difficult times when nothing makes sense. It provides the hope that it will all make sense later. But, do things happen randomly or  is there any method to the madness?

When you meet someone special in your life, you feel that there must be a reason why you met the person. It must be because you were meant to be together. Why else would you be where you are? Sometimes, this helps to overlook the hardships which comes with the relationship. If it was pre-ordained, then you have to work it out. But when things don’t work out, and you finally decide to part ways, you wonder what could have been the point of it all. Why did you waste all those years on something which did not achieve fruition? As time passes, you begin to realize the lessons which you learned from your experiences. It starts making sense again. The more time you give it, the more it seems like it happened for a reason. So, are we merely discovering those reasons or are we just connecting the dots in an attempt to rationalize our experiences. Nobody knows for sure. But, here’s the thing. Whenever in doubt always look to nature. At the most microscopic level, all matter is a summation of randomly colliding particles. However, as we gain some perspective we begin to see shapes and sizes and color. We begin to identify objects we are familiar with. Same is with the universe. As we live, we find ourselves in a sea full of human activity and chaos, but look from the space and all you will see is a calm blue planet in its rightful place circling the sun. The truth is that distance gives us that perspective to see things for what they are rather than what they appear to be. That’s how meditation works, it helps us visualize our lives from a distance, and from that position everything happens for a reason. So, do not despair if things don’t make sense. After all, we are nothing but a summation of our random life experiences.

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2: Everyone has a purpose in this universe

What do people mean when they say, “you were born to do this”? Destiny is an illusory concept. If you choose to believe in it, it may betray you. You try to ignore it, and it catches up with you in unseemly ways. I have struggled to find my purpose in this world. Surely, it can’t be that high-paying desk job, which others can do just as well as I do. It definitely won’t be that academic position that others, more serious people, are better suited to do. I sure do pray that it is the job I covet, but don’t necessarily have the skills for (as yet).  Is the little voice in my head urging me towards my destiny or is it merely wishful thinking? It’s all very muddled.

Some of my friends suggest that there is really no answer to the question, what is your purpose in this universe. It’s all a matter of choice. My mother chose to be a teacher. My dad chose a nine-to-five government job. Their choices became their destiny. However, if you met my mother, you would immediately recognize that she was meant to be a teacher. As an energetic child, she had difficulty adapting to the patience and persistence which the education system of her time demanded. Learning was boring and required her to sit down and read books. Naturally, when she chanced upon a teaching job, she enjoyed making teaching fun and inclusive for everyone, including me. In a way, her circumstances chose the purpose of her life. So, when it comes to deciding your purpose, how much of a choice does one really have? For most of us, our destinies are sealed even before we become conscious of it. That is the reason why we keep feeling that calling in our heart. It’s like a little nudge pushing you towards something. RuPaul calls it ‘the universe’s stage direction’. Whatever it is, it draws you further and further until your actions become one with your purpose.

As I stood on my balcony one day, with rain pouring down heavily, I noticed a creeper (money plant, to be precise) firmly planted on the ropes of my sun-shades. The creeper reminded me of my biology classes, especially evolution. I remembered reading about the orchid shaped like a female bee. The male bee confuses the flower to be its soulmate, and pollinates the flower instead. Whenever, we feel totally lost, nature always provides inspiration. There is nothing wasteful in nature, everything has a purpose. Even the most mundane living beings, have an important role to play and impact the ecosystem in huge way. As much as we like to believe that we have surpassed nature and control our own destinies, we are still a part of nature. That’s an important lesson to keep in mind. Literature and mythology tell us the same thing. Everybody, has a part to play in the story sooner or later. So, for all those people who feel confused about their purpose, or are scared that they will never find what they are meant for, nature serves as reassuring reminder.