By Jayaram V
Karma is essentially about learning lessons
in your life from your actions, imperfections and mistakes. Jayaram
My friend has a dog, a male golden retriever. Every day he takes
care of him with lot of love and attention. Because the dog is sensitive,
he needs exercise, regular food, love, and attention. He serves
him with a lot of patience as Mother Teresa would have looked after
a helpless person. I learned from him that it was initially supposed
to be his daughter's duty for which he agreed to adopt the dog.
However, it fell upon him since she lost interest in the pet, as
many children do once they reach adolescence.
My friend does not consider that the pet is a burden. Instead
he feels grateful because having the pet around him gives him many
opportunities every day to show his human side and serve him with
love and compassion. He even admits that he used to be a tough person
and pensive with people, but the dog mellowed his heart and taught
him empathy and caring.
I know another person, whose son is paraplegic. It puts enormous
strain upon her to look after this helpless child, who remains confined
to the bed or a chair and needs assistance for everything. In a
country like the USA, you can understand how difficult it is for
a person to look after a sick child, besides doing two jobs to take
care of the household expenses and the expenses for the medical
treatment. Unlike many people I have seen, who feel irritated and
angered by their children when they act unreasonably, she believes
that the child has given her an opportunity to practice patience
and unconditional love. "No school and no spiritual books can teach
you that with such directness," she says. When she goes to the Church,
she prays for her son's recovery. At the same time, she also thanks
God for the opportunity the child has given her to resonate with
Christian virtues of love, forgiveness, and compassion.
Do not be under the impression that what I have stated are exceptional
or extraordinary situations, or the people involved are special.
We all get such opportunities, millions of times, almost every day
and in every situation. We just do not recognize them or take advantage
of them. Countless people come into your life, with different mindsets,
attitudes, behavior, demands and expectations. They teach you important
lessons if you are willing to learn, and give you opportunities
to learn, to be good and do good. They are the teachers that life
throws at you to polish your mind and elevate your thinking, behavior,
strength and character.
As they interact with you differently, you may experience different
positive and negative emotions. From each of them you can learn
something about yourself and work on your imperfections. Other people's
weaknesses and imperfections do not have to provoke your weakness
and imperfections. If you are willing to learn, they can make you
a better, and emotionally stronger person.
For example, some people in your life may easily annoy you by
touching your emotional tender spots. From them, you can learn the
virtue of tolerance and patience, or the strength to deal such people
without losing your humanity. Some may make you feel small, weak,
or envious, especially if they are happier or more successful than
you. From them, you can develop strength and courage to accept yourself
and make peace with your life and achievements, without negavitely
judging yourself. You can also learn to value your own judgment,
freedom, and independence. When people betray your trust or show
the mean side of their behavior, you can learn from them valuable
lessons about studying human character and building right relationships.
Wise people and spiritual masters say that adversity is a gift
from God and you should not complain to God about the pain he gives
through various situations and circumstances in your life. While
we do not know whether God directly causes them or Nature has embedded
a certain transformative, and evolutionary mechanism in the design
of life to facilitate our mental and emotional development, the
truth is you can use the negative situations in your life to build
your character and strength. When you have a situation that emotionally
upsets you, ask yourself, "What lessons I can learn from this or
from the person who caused it." You may be surprised to know the
answers that spring from your mind.
The people in your life are there for a reason. You have a karmic
connection with them. They are meant to teach you certain lessons
with their knowledge as well as ignorance, and with their perfections
and imperfections. So are you. Therefore participate in the school
of life and wisdom like a student eager to learn and improve. Learn
from people and situations lessons about the art of living. Use
both positive and negative aspects of your life, with an open mind,
setting aside your likes and dislikes. Learn from good as well as
bad situations and interactions. Nourish your mind from both complimentary
and cross conversations, from people who love and hate you, and
from those you love and hate. When people exemplify negative qualities,
you can learn from them too by knowing how to deal with them, when
to tolerate them and when to stay away from them. They are opportunities
that life gives you to improve your character, knowledge and wisdom.
Therefore, if you have a problem right now, or if there are difficult
people in your life who are disturbing you and giving you sleepless
nights, ask yourself, what lessons you can learn from them, what
weaknesses they are provoking in you, and how you can make use of
them. This way every situation in your life becomes a positive opportunity
to learn and become a better human being.