Grateful for the opportunity

| 25/09/2014

Sanjiv SuriA woman once went to Buddha and said  “I  want  Happiness“.  Buddha replied  “First  remove  the  ‘I’  -  that is  ego.  Then  remove  ‘want’  -  that is desire. See now you are left only with ‘Happiness’.

I am realizing that it really can be as simple as that……and in this Newsletter I will share with you my on-going journey and 5 learnings. Also, a quote from Mother Teresa and a very inspiring children’s story from a close friend.

  • With my four children I always believed that it is not what we do for our children but what we teach them to do for themselves that makes them successful Human beings. Now I am also realising that when we have children, the love we have for the children  is  unlike  any  other  feeling  in  the world  and  unless  we  have  children,  we don’t  know  what  it  feels  like.  But  as  children grow up and start to become teenagers, sometimes we come to crossroads. It is then that we realize how much we love them unconditionally or just love them to fit  our  own  image.  Do  we  love  only  the reflection of ourselves we find in them or are we capable of unconditionally accepting them as they are even when they are very different from what we thought they would be?

In  my  case,  being  completely  empathetic and  understanding  needed  a  lot  of  work: work on myself. Changing myself, the way I look at and see things was not easy at all in the beginning but with time and practice it seems to be getting better. It is very interesting to see how much love and kindness there can be when things apparently seem to go wrong.

It is work in progress but I am not stressed. I am realising that Stress is nothing but the gap  between  expectation  and  reality.  The bigger the gap, the greater the stress. I am slowly  learning  to  accept  everything  and expect very little or nothing and as a result I am happier every day and so are my children. The love between us has grown and  there is a lot more Compassion, Patience & Kindness I am grateful for the opportunity to be on this beautiful journey.

As the famous Sufi poet Rumi said:

“Yesterday, I was clever and I wanted to change the  world.  Today  I  am wiser  and  I  want  to change myself.“

In  India  we  say:  “You  really  start  to learn when you have children.“ I have learnt  a  lot  from  my  children.  Today I will share with you one of those lessons. About  eight  years  ago  I  was  in  India with  my  older  son  Virat  and  we  went shopping  to  the  vegetable  market.  He was  about  9  years  old  then  and  may not remember but I do. I was negotiating with a lady vegetable seller on the roadside market and her one year old son  was  playing  around  in  the  mud behind. Suddenly from behind my son tapped  me  on  my  shoulder  &  said: “Daddy she needs the money more than you, please donť negotiate“ I did, but those words STILL ring in my ears, even now whenever I am deciding ON sending funds to projects in Africa or  India.  Today  my  personal  belongings besides my books can probably fit into one suitcase. Thank you Virat!
  • As I continue on my journey to change myself  positively  and  slowly  but  surely work on my Ego, I am realizing that I will always get what I need – not necessarily what I want. I can give up trying to control everything. I am learning to slow down and that it is better to STOP, LOOK & GO – just like at a Zebra crossing. So I try to STOP, get quieter, think, and then LOOK by consciously opening all my senses and having an open heart and mind each time before I GO.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

“People  are  often  unreasonable  and self  centered.  Forgive  them  anyway  (I now  forgive  people  not  for  their  sake but for my own sake). If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.If  you  are  honest,  people  may  cheat you. Be honest anyway.If you are happy, people may be jealous. Be Happy anyway.The good you do today maybe forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.Give the world the best you have and it may  never  be  enough.  Give  your  best anyway.For  you  see,  in  the  end  it  is  between you and god. It was never between you and them anyway.”

I am realising that it is the difficulties and the  failures  that  have  always  given  me  the opportunity  to  learn  and  grow.  Difficulties are now opportunities for me to rise to, learn from and grow. So when I see a difficulty or experience a failure I now say “Hurrah! What an opportunity to grow.”

  • Very often when I talk about giving up the ego or practicing gratitude or compassion, I get asked the question about my religion. I was born a Hindu but I follow no religion in particular except Humanity and my response is always:It  is  not  about  the  religion.  Religion  is  but a means. Buddha was not a Buddhist, Jesus was not a Christian,Mohammad was not a Muslim,they  were  teachers  who  taught  LOVE  and KINDNESS. KINDNESS & LOVE was their religion, so irrespective of our religions we can practice  Humanity,  Compassion,  Kindness, Gratitude and LOVE at all times.
This actually reminds me of a story that a  close  friend  with  younger  children same age as mine told me. A story she had  read  to  her  children  in  New  Zealand. ‘Starfish and the little girl ‘ A little girl and her parents were walking down a beach when suddenly they saw a large number of star fish stuck on the beach –  still  alive  but  dying  slowly.  The  little girl  suddenly  started  picking  one  star fish at a time and throwing it in the sea. The parents told her that they were too many and that she would not be able to save them all. Then the little girl replik: “I will not save them all but this one I will save as she threw one into the sea, and this one, and this one, and this one…” And so she did, one at a time the lives of many starfish although she could not save all of them.
  • I  now  understand  that  it  is  our  Ego  that wants us to try to change the whole world but  we  forget  that  if  we  change  ourselves, the difference we can make to one person at a time just by being kinder or empathetic or compassionate or loving can mean a lot.

We maybe just another person to the whole world but to some people we may become the whole world. There are opportunities in every single moment of everyday, and I am grateful & Happy for them.

Wishing you happy Summer Holidays and an enjoyable  journeys  (as  I  continue  on  mine) with  children,  family  and  friends  wherever you go.

Stay Safe, Stay Grateful, Stay Happy and Hope to see you soon. J

By Sanjiv Suri

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Category: CONTRIBUTORS, Sanjiv Suri