Dealing with the unexpected
From the mind’s perspective, an unexpected turn of events can go one of two ways. One is for the better and the other for the worse. Unexpected good fortune is readily accepted, mostly forgotten and taken for granted, but if the unexpected turns out to be a misfortune, we find it hard to cope. Misery sets in after asking questions such as “why me, why now?” No doubt, situational adversity is hard to deal with, but if it cannot be foreseen or prevented, we can, at the very least manage our mindset during such an event. We may be helpless in many ways, but we are not helpless when it comes to taking charge of our awareness. Through awareness, we can manage our perception by which we can tide over a seemingly lousy situation. Circumstances we view as negative create a gradient for awareness to flow, either towards us or away from us. We grow in awareness when we look upon life as a gift and by remaining in gratitude that we are the beneficiaries of this great bestowal.
From the gift of life, everything else follows including whatever we own, achieve or treasure. We are here at this moment, and planet earth is for our exclusive use, and we don’t have to compete with generations that have passed on or the future generations to yet come. Time has drawn a protective barrier around life currently in operation on earth. No one can call this opportunity to experience life a misfortune. Everything in our lives carries the fragrance of this gift of life. We don’t readily experience that fragrance as the mind gets in the way. Whether or not we stop to think and acknowledge life and offer gratitude, it continues giving. When we see an unexpected event as a misfortune, viewing life as a blessing is a good perspective corrector.
There is a fine line between the experience of life and what is experienced in life. The experience of life happens in the present. It is always fresh and new, and there is no boredom. This moment has never been and will never be. Through comparison, we may come back to it in the mind, but it would have lost its freshness. What is experienced is part of the past. In the present, there is no good or bad fortune. Only when the experience recedes into the past can it be labeled good or bad.
As we move along the linear axis of time, the certainty of the past gets more prominent and the possibilities concerning the future shrink. This changing landscape of the past and the future is a function of age which no one can reverse. Where ever we are on the axis of time, the present remains as is, but may be overshadowed by the past or the future. The past and the future cannot overwhelm the present on their own strength. They gain in size and relevance when our awareness dwells on them. The past and the future carry great significance to the outermost layer of our being, the physical body and is mediated by the mind, which is a layer of our being intimately connected with the body.
The physical frame is highly susceptible to the ravages of time. The body plays host to the five senses, and in our ordinary waking consciousness, it is the principal instrument through which we transact with the world. It is no surprise that our awareness is intimately in tune with and deeply embedded within the body. The uncomfortable truth about the body is that it is time’s child, and we are merely babysitters until mother time comes back to claim her child. The mind is more "grown" and time’s hold on the mind isn’t as tight, and it is allowed to dwell in the past and dream of the future. The body also has a past, but we cannot enter the past through the body.
Pure awareness is just beyond the grasp of time, the body and the mind. Through awareness, we get in tune with life and life happens only in the present. Qualitatively, awareness does not change with time, but it varies based on the degree of association with the mind. In some ways, awareness and the present are synonymous, and it is time which moves around awareness and the present. We are born into a world regulated by time, and during our lives, we are bound by one kind of clock or another. In a clock’s circular movement, the hour hand starts at the zero hour and makes a full sweep to return to that zero hour. What happens between the two zeros is the experience of one day of life.
Existence is also a big circle. A small arc on that circle is the experience of life between birth and death. The rest remains a mystery. Where we were before birth and where we may be headed to after birth is pure conjecture, no one can say for sure. Some say, there was nothing before and there will be nothing after. Others say, there is something more significant to look forward to later. Everyone has some opinion or the other about what happens after. But what matters is that we are here now and it is a matter of great luck and grace that we can experience this moment. That is unexpected and a great blessing.