Trouble Troubles Only If One Troubles


Introduction

– An Irish Blessing

As the date of her marriage is approaching, his visits are getting more and more frequent. She fears his untimely visits. He is impolite and would knock at her door in the middle of the night or when she is alone.  She is anxious that like always he will leave her vulnerable and insecure. She has spoilt him so much that now he is uncontrollable. At times he would also bring his friends with him. Even though she wants to avoid him and she is not ready for him, she lets him in. He has gotten too comfortable with her but didn’t care how she felt about him.

On his visits, he would settle in his favorite ‘grayish – red’ recliner on the left side of the room, start the music and would kick off his torture. He would abuse her with minimal or no physical signs on her body. It was generally dialogues between the two that left her bruised and battered. Now, her bruises are becoming visible. She is getting dark circles. She is loosing her appetite and she doesn’t even go dancing anymore, which was once her passion.

May has a pretty good life and anyone in his or her good sense would be ready to step into her shoes. She has a nice job, nice comfortable accommodation and good friends. Sam is her good-looking Italian boyfriend. He is a caring and cheerful young guy and soon they would be man and wife.

I know her for years now but I can’t even help her. She is the one who can control ‘him’. May has been in this ‘unwanted’ relationship for years now. She came in touch with Depression W. Trouble, when she was in school. Yes, May is in relation with Trouble. She is prone to getting troubled and worried easily. She got into this habit when her parents went through a bad separation leading into a divorce. She blamed herself for the nasty stuff that all three of them went through. She spent most of her time being troubled. ‘He’ was her only companion during that troublesome time.

She has become one of those obsessive worrying people. She is not enjoying her wonderful present. Sometime she goes into her pasts; gets angry and sad about what happened fifteen years back. And at other times she worries about the future; if she is going to have same fate as her parents. She has gotten so used to him that even after things are better, she couldn’t help being troubled. She invites ‘him’ time and again for even trivial matters. She wants to get away from ‘him’ but she is not able to extricate herself. She is dependent on meds to get out of this tension and anxiety.

There are people who love to worry and be troubled at the fall of the needle. Worrying is a tendency which is hard to quit. It might be harder than to quit smoking. There is no patch that can help one to abandon this mal practice. One has to do it by themselves nobody else can help to recover from it. Being troubled or worried is something that destroys ones’ health and leads to many other complications like high Blood Pressure, high Blood Sugars and vision problems.

A different class of people are the ones who simply ‘flow’ with the current. My respect for my father-in-law has increased manifold since he told me that nothing has ever troubled him.  He says, “I do not remember a situation in my life that has troubled me. This does not mean that there were no problems. However, I always looked at the problems from a different angle. Whenever there was a problem, I tried to see whether a solution is possible to this problem or not? If  “Yes”, I tried to get it solved and if “No” then why even worry. I left it to God as I have great faith in Him.” I was impressed; if you do need help why not seek it from ‘The Supreme’.

Sometimes things do get out of hand and it is a reminder that we are just human beings. We cannot control everything but we can definitely help from becoming like May. Things or situation might not always be favorable. They do trouble us but only to the extent that we allow them to do so.

My Trouble With ‘It’

The United States of America is a nation, where the prefix “OVER” has become an integral part of our lifestyles. I don’t need the obesity statistics and numbers keep pouring in to start my fitness regime. I am aware of my broadening waistline and fading neckline. I am one of the sixty-one percent of Californians who is overweight. And I am also among the ones, who think of getting fit everyday. There is no need of a New Year’s Day or a Birthday to make such a resolution. Any day is good to make that promise (as there is no fees or fine for breaking it.)

Last year, I opted for the cheapest way to get to my goal of getting back to the weight I had before having my two kids. I decided that I would walk 1.5 miles, one way, to bring my son home from the bus stop.  For me a three mile walk was respectable amount to shed some extra pounds (A nice way of saying that I am not too fat) of my overweight body. If one makes some calculations (which I didn’t make at that time.) At this rate (and only if I stick to this plan) I would loose only about 10 pounds, in the time my son moved from kindergarten to first grade. So, was it practical? May be not, nevertheless I was thoroughly motivated by my friends who were running a full marathon for charity. However small my step towards the huge goal may be but I started it.

I am little touchy about my bodyweight, so I got carried away. Any ways, coming back to my real story. On the consecutive Friday, I was reasonably excited and happy. I was able to keep my promise for that week. I walked up and down the Cabrillo Avenue for all five days.  The course I follow has an overhead bridge. Everyday, I read twice, 14 Ft 10 In., printed in black font and with a yellow highlight. This bridge is home to many birds. I admired the flight and sound of these birds made, especially by pigeons. It was amazing to witness the interaction of these wonderful creatures. One bird would fly from one side of the road to the other and then with its “goo-goo” it invites the other partner, to have their private moments.

Sometimes, when I walked under the bridge, I saw the whole eggs of the birds lying on the sidewalk. Those were ones who were not lucky enough to make it through. They didn’t see the light of the sun and hear the sounds of cars and other vehicles passing by.  They were ‘served’ to be the food for the raccoons or may be bats. It was heart breaking to see the end of a life even before it could sprout out of its ground.

Anyways, life goes on. I went on with my life as well. Very diligently for about two weeks I continued to walk those miles to fulfill my promise but one day I was deterred to take those steps forward.  It was the day, when I saw a lifeless pigeon lying on the road in the pool of blood under that same bridge. I felt sick to my stomach at the thought that it might be the one whom I saw goo-gooing the other day. It might be some other one too but there was not much of a difference. By now I had formed a relation with those members of avian family. And today one member was gone. It was a loss. With heavy steps I kept walking. I could not let my five-year old waiting and wondering, “Why mumma is not here to pick me up?”

On the way back, I was quiet and kept thinking about that dead bird. My inner peace was gone. I was in turmoil. It was hard for me to decide, whether I should bury it or leave it like that. Finally, I could not muster the courage to pick it up and perform the last rights for ‘it’. Actually, I didn’t even look at it when I passed under that bridge. I saw that bird for the next few days, sometimes in the middle of the road, sometimes on the yellow divider line or sometimes by the sidewalk. Each time its condition was worse than the last time. I kept thinking how long the cleaning crew would take to come and take it away. That didn’t happen and ‘it’, the dead bird, stayed there. And then it was on the sidewalk from where I used to pass. It had started to stink badly. It was bad and shapeless.

I decided to walk on the other side of the road but I kept an eye on that bird whenever I passed by. ‘It’ was still there.  The day three of changing the side, en route to the bus stop, I met another hurdle. I saw a dead cat on my side of the sidewalk. Somehow, I passed through it on my onward journey but on my way back I had to make a choice. What is better? To walk by a week old dead bird or freshly killed cat (remember I am walking with an infant in a big stroller and 5 year old.) I gave a silent verdict to myself and decided to cross the dead bird again. And again, I was appalled by the sight of ‘it.’

The next day when I was about to reach the bridge, I was struck by lightening. Oh, not the real lightening but the smaller version of the kind that Buddha had when he was sitting under the Peepal (Ficus religiosa) tree in Bodh, Gaya, India. A thought entered my mind,  “It’s just a body and there is nothing to feel bad about it.” And that was the end to my grievances. The bird was still there in its most grotesque form. I saw it, gave it a slight nod and passed by. It was not at all difficult. Do you think that was the end of story?

No, of course not. After about ten or fifteen minutes, when I came back, I looked for the dead bird and it was not there. I looked again and again and everywhere but ‘it’ was gone.

Power of Prayers

Serenity Prayer…

God, grant us the…

Serenity to accept things we cannot change,

Courage to change the things we can, and the

Wisdom to know the difference

Patience for the things that take time

Appreciation for all that we have, and

Tolerance for those with different struggles

Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the

Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the

Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless.

By-Reinhold Niebuhr

Sometimes even little things, however insignificant they might appear, happen for a reason. I have learned my lesson.During the difficult times, we need the power to endure it. We just need to be aware that the power is within us. Sometimes, we are aware of the said fact but we tend to forget about it in the times of need. A learned and realized man of ‘Yogi’ cadre Shri Paramhansa Yoganand, who started the Self Realization fellowship in USA, when faced with difficulty prayed to lord, the way Paul Apostle did.

“Don’t change the situation but change me ”

...It's Effective

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2 comments on “Trouble Troubles Only If One Troubles

  1. A very thought provoking description indeed. Trouble Troubles Only if One Troubles is a true description as to how you approach to a problem. In case of May, it was she who was responsible for all that what happened to her. She could have put her foot down to stop her friend to mend her ways, but she preferred to be in her self created troubles. In such a situation no one can help except oneself. Similarly, you also kept on pondering over the same dead bird and the dead cat for a long time and put yourself in unnecessary mental torture. One should try to come out of the trouble rather than getting deeper and deeper into it. The great poet Rabindra Nath Tagore has written:

    Let me not pray to be sheltered from the dangers
    But to be fearless in facing them
    Let me not beg for stilling on my pain
    But for the heart to conquer it.

    This has been translated by my father in urdu as:

    RAHOON MAHFOOZ KHATRON SE NAHIN YE ILTJA MERI
    KAROON HIMMAT SE UNKA SAMNA HAI YE DUA MERI
    NAHIN YE CHAHTA HARGIZ KI MERA DARD MIT JAYE
    ATA KAR ZABTE DIL AISA JO BAN JAYE DAVA MERI

    However, it is just the contrary to what you wrote as opening lines:
    May your troubles be less
    And your blessings be more….

  2. What a noble idea-Do not change the situation but change me- easy to say difficult to practice, yet it is a fact of life.If a fish wants to drink water,she has just to open her mouth, it is so simple. If you want to overcome your troubles you have just to open your inner window and the joy will just enter your soul like water gushes in when a river is in floods. When you are sitting in your room you do not know what is happening behind the wall of the room, but if you take the stairs and go on the first floor, then you can see what is happening behind the wall. Similarly,if you just rise slightly above, spritually, you will be free from all these troubles. As it is rightly said by Lord Krishna in Gita-

    VASANSI JEERNANI YATHA VIHAYE NAVANI GRIDATI NAROPARANI
    As we change our clothes every day , the soul also change the old body and enters into a new body.

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