I have often wondered, as I still do sometimes, about the ‘real’ purpose of my existence on planet earth, in the particular country of my residence, in the specific city in which I dwell, with the unique set of family members and friends that constitute my social circle? Why? What is the objective? Why this particular combination of situations and people? Is this part of a larger plan or are these mere coincidences created by nature?
Why am I surrounded by people who talk and behave in a certain way? Why is there such a mix of some, whose words warm my heart and propel me to take on the challenges of the next day and some others whose indifference makes me squirm?
Keeping emotions aside and speaking rationally, the existence of any individual, say me, with pretty much the same set of family members (of course, there have been wonderful additions and painful exits) and friends and colleagues that of course, accumulate over time (thankfully, I have managed to retain most of the friends I have made since childhood), there has to be a bigger purpose to this massive drama that we are all staging. But what is that purpose?
A patient and thorough analysis of my circumstances and the almost uniquely-set patterns of behaviour of family and friends, I have come to realise that behind all this, is probably nature’s single-minded goal to facilitate ‘learning’. What kind of learning? Mathematicss, accounting and sciences? No. Something much bigger and longer term – learning from past experiences and emerging stronger and more complete day after day. The primary reason for our short or long existence on this planet is to enable us to observe, understand, deal with and finally, learn from the events and behavioral patterns all around us.
Rather than beating about the bush with abstract descriptions, let me come straight to the point.
In my own case for example, I managed to write these few lines summarising what my experiences (a lot of them unpleasant) have taught me over time.
A disclaimer here: I have not made so far, a very open book of my life, particularly about painful experiences most of which are clustered in my childhood and teenage. But as I think about these more and more, I feel that probably opening up may be a good opportunity to let go. Having held on to these experiences for decades has only generated pain and silent agony.
So here it is for me – the story of my learning:
The indifference of my father (thankfully, it’s a thing of the past now!) taught me to care for myself;
The suppressed emotions and consequent silence of my mother gave me a voice;
The loathing of few at school taught me to love myself;
Remarks about my ugliness helped me look beyond the skin;
The persistent doubts over my abilities taught me to push my boundaries;
The hardships in my marriage gave me lessons in balancing till a certain equilibrium had been attained;
My financial road-blocks taught me lessons in finance like no book could ever do!
The nerve-wracking labour pain I went through taught me selflessness;
Each temper tantrum my toddler still throws at me teaches me a new lesson in patience;
Each class I teach teaches me how it feels like to be on the other side, as a student;
My own day-to-day difficulties teach me lessons in compassion with the motivation to prevent others from experiencing the hardships I did.
If you notice the lines I have mentioned above carefully, you will realise how the toughest lessons in life are learnt in the exact opposite situations. For instance, receiving hatred teaches us to love, silence teaches us to speak, loathing fosters self-love and the list is endless.
With that thought in mind, I end with a suggestion – do not take your life’s troubles very seriously. They exist for a purpose, and that purpose shall become clearer only with the passage of time, when you shall look back and pat yourself on the shoulder. After all, you will have learnt! If it is not for these challenges, why and how will be push our own boundaries?
Coming back to myself, I am not sure what I may have achieved in life (for each one of us defines achievement differently), but I am certain that I have learnt, and learnt a lot! What keeps me alive is my desire to learn till my last breath.
Image taken from Google images.