In times when it seems our entire world is falling apart, there is a great need for us to stop and take note of where we are. Things can happen around us and things can happen to us, but the most important things are those that happen within us — in our thoughts and perceptions.
It is true that each and every one of us, at one time or another, has faced problems of major complexities. Some have had to deal with matters of health or relationships, whereas others may have dealt with problems pertaining to money. Some of us have had to deal with all three. As long as we are on Earth, we’ll have to deal with problems of one sort or another.
Yet, strange as it seems, it’s generally not the problems themselves that make for success or failure. It goes far beyond the mere appearances. It’s generally the perspective we have on the problems that “make” or “break” us. It’s the way we look at things. It’s what we think about what’s happening to us.
Sometimes good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. But the opposite is also true. Good things do happen to good people and bad things do happen to bad people. There is no need for us to go into long philosophical ramblings about why such things occur. We’d probably never be able to find out. It would be much more practical to learn how to deal with both good and bad experiences.
I have learned that one of the best things to do when events seem out of control is to stop and take stock of where we are and who we are. By this, I mean we should step back from the problem for a short while and realize that the problem came to us to teach us something. We may never be sure of what that “something” is, but rest assured that we will be stronger and better for it. You may not see it while you’re going through the trials and tribulations, yet slowly but surely, a better and stronger “you” is being born if you keep a proper perspective.
And don’t think for an instant that the Universe has singled you out for trials and suffering. We all have our burdens to bear — some heavier and others lighter. But we can overcome, or as I am fond of saying, we can “come over”.
As an example, let me share what happened to me over the past few weeks . I was standing by the door, ready to leave to go to a friend’s place for dinner. It had been raining constantly for a few hours and there was intermittent lightning and thunder. Suddenly, there was a giant flash of lightning, followed almost immediately by a deafening explosion of thunder. The house shook, the electricity went out and the acrid smell of smoke could be detected.
I was rooted to the floor for a split second before I realized what had happened. For the first time ever, my house was struck by lightning. Cold fear engulfed me and I could feel the sweat pouring down my face. I knew there was damage, but I also realized that I was not injured. For the latter I was grateful. For the former I was angry.
How dare the lightning do this to me? I have always felt safe and protected, no matter what has happened around me. I have survived major hurricanes, terrible storms and tornadoes and was pulled from the ocean when everyone thought I had drowned. I even escaped being trampled by an angry elephant in Asia and gored by wild water buffalos in Africa. I escaped being attacked by a group of bandits in a third world country. I had survived many life-threatening situations, and now to have lightning strike my house? Yes, I was angry, very angry and disappointed.
What? John Harricharan was angry and disappointed? Isn’t he the person who wrote such books as, “When You Can Walk on Water, Take the Boat”, “Morning Has Been All Night Coming” and “The PowerPause” and others? Isn’t he the so-called, highly-evolved personality who tries to live what he teaches? Yes, the very same.
That’s right, but here’s the difference between the “me” of today and the “me” of yesteryear. There was the initial shock of what had happened and there was fear as well as anger. But I only tolerated such feelings for about five minutes. I did not dwell on them. I quickly went about making sure that there was no fire in the house. Then I left and went to dinner. I had changed my perspective.
When I returned, I found that my communication systems were destroyed. The modems, routers, hubs, telephones, and much of the electronic stuff were literally fried. It took days to get back to almost normal. Then it happened again. A week later, tragedy struck once more and the new phones, modems and such things were again disrupted. Twice in a few days? Again, I was overcome with anger and frustration. Once more, and with difficulty, I sought balance.
The telephone company, the cable people and the repair personnel from the electric company were constant visitors to my home during this period. One of the electricians pointed out to me that the surge suppressors and lightning protector did work and that the damage would have been much more extensive had they not been in place. A brand new router for the internet went down again and had to be replaced — the second one in two weeks. No email, no phones, no work on the computer.
There were quite a few moments of ranting and raving, but there were also moments of quiet and peace. I made sure that the angry moments were short and temporary. During the moments of peace, I felt an overwhelming gratitude for not being injured and for all the good things that remained. I examined all the external wiring that led to the computers, TVs, DVD and CD players and other electronic equipment and found some that had to be replaced. Had I not discovered those, there could have been a serious fire, perhaps while I was sleeping.
Was all this trying to teach me patience? I don’t know, but I can tell you that I lived through it and it all is just a memory now as I write this article.
React to situations, if you must. We are human beings and that will happen. But do not keep reacting over and over again. Come back to center and regain perspective. Become quiet within and return to a place of quiet within your soul and the problems will not seem as terrible as they once did. We are not just human — we are more than human. The spark of tremendous power and the gift of overcoming lie within our souls.
We will, of necessity, meet many ups and downs in life. With the proper perspective we can make the “ups” higher and the “downs” not quite as low. Keep on keeping on with trust and hope and you’ll find that an uncommon strength comes upon you. You will find a peace unknown in ordinary times. You will discover that you are far bigger than any problems that come your way.