Albert Einstein said once: There are only two ways to live i.e. as if everything is a miracle or as if nothing works. Often when life shatters us and sends us tumbling in terror towards the unknown, we seek comforting words to reduce our pain. When his child suddenly died, Einstein wrote to friends: “When the expected course of everyday life is interrupted, we realize that we are like shipwrecked people, trying to keep their balance on a wooden plank in the open sea, having forgotten where they came from and not known whither they are drifting?”
When I was in school, I distinctly remember a person who did odd jobs including cooking, carrying water, washing buffaloes etc. With great difficulty he educated his two sons who initially needed some monetary help but later went on their own steam, getting scholarships, prizes, and incentives at the school, college, and university. They did their engineering, went abroad and invited the parents to join them. They said: “Son, we have done our duty. We are happy to see that our children are climbing the career ladder. May God help you to progress further”. When I last saw them, they had the photographs of their late parents in the prayer room, worshipping them, for their stupendous sacrifice.
Khalil Gibran, the Lebanese poet, philosopher, and writer wrote: “You pray in your distress and in your need. Would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance? If we did, we might experience more of them”. Many of us celebrate festivals, perform rituals and remember the Lord of particular occasions. But if we remember the Lord, every day becomes a festival day.
Nature gives us the face we have when we are twenty. Life shapes the face we have, at thirty. But it is up to us to earn the face we have at fifty. As long as the face staring back from the mirror is authentic, we can call ourselves reliable and dependable. It is fascinating when we begin the excavation process, to discover how each of our different lives is buried on their distinctive shrouds.
Irene Mayer Selznick was the daughter of Hollywood’s MGM Boss Lous B Mayer. She happened to marry David O. Selznick, the reputed Producer of classics like Gone with the Wind, Rebecca, Dinner at eight and so on. But his gambling losses were 1 million dollars a year. He was addicted to Benzedrine. He had affairs with Hollywood u and coming beauties. After 15 years of marriage and remaining a celebrity, she quit at the age of 38, moved out of Hollywood and became a successful Broadway Producer in New York. Irene Mayer said: “I had three lives, one as the daughter of my father, another as the wife of my husband and third as a theater producer.
Well, all that you can do in this world is to do your best. You never know what you can accomplish until and unless you try. You can’t win a race unless you venture to run. Wishing and hoping don’t bring any results. You have to do it to succeed or fail. If it is a failure, it is good, because that is the stepping stone to success. Someone asked: “When will opportunity knock?” The reply came: “It will never knock because you are the opportunity. You yourself should knock on the door leading to your destiny”.
We are all meant to experience, interpret and unravel the mysteries of this gift called life. Luckily, most of us are born, able to perceive the world with all its gushing beauty and terror. Still all too often, we journey through our days in a dull trance, asleep to the magic of everything about us. Wild animals rely on their intuition to stay alive. Human beings have to hone and sharpen their intuition to thrive. Katharine Butler Hathaway wrote: “It is only by following your deepest instinct that you can lead a rich life. If you allow your fear of consequence prevent you from following your deepest instinct, then your life will never be safe and secure.
Army Generals, Police Chiefs, Surgeons, and Businessmen act on their instincts even when the situation is grave and critical. Planning is good in peacetime; instinct works during the crisis. Human lives are made or marred by our decision mainly coming through instinct. If you are in a building on fire and all doors and windows are locked, you will develop sufficient strength to break down the strongest door because of your intense desire to survive. Abraham Lincoln had the desire to free the slaves and he did it. Mahatma Gandhi had the intense desire to make India independent and he did it. Jamshedji Tata had an intense desire to build a steel empire and he did it. Intense desire can play miracles.
– TGL Iyer