Suffering is what I see all around. People are suffering physically, emotionally and spiritually. However, in last one year, I have had a rendezvous with people and ideas showing me flipside. Where there was suffering they found joy, where there was ignorance they found wisdom and where there was greed they found generosity. I have often wondered, how did they reach that stage?
Mahatma Gandhi practiced ahmisa by which he meant not harming anyone even in thoughts. Dalai Lama admits that he sleeps 8 hours usually but see his contribution in spreading so much peace in the world. Parmahansa Yogananda in his autobiography tells about spirituality so technically and scientifically that it can construct an absolute path to walk on for the lifetime. Gautam Buddha continuously questioned himself why there is suffering in this world. To find his answer, for years he made himself suffer by giving up his every single desire, punishing his body and facing rejection and remorse. When he found his answer, he felt the cessation of suffering. He felt joy- an absolute joy. How strange is that when he questioned suffering, he found joy!
Last three weeks have been a very testing time for me. My father almost had a date with death. My mother I found out is losing her cognitive abilities due to Dementia. She cannot eat, write, locate things, express her feelings and forgets what happened a minute ago. She cannot be cured and in fact will deteriorate further. A doctor on a single day told me the critical situation of my parents. I have been coping with both of their situations, smiling, without crying and demonstrating unprecedented strength in dealing with the situation. I see them suffering. I suffer with their suffering. I am yet to figure out the path to joy in this scenario. What could that be? Detachment? or Surrender? or Acceptance? These does not sound like paths to joy, paths to peace may be....but not path to joy.
How did Buddha found it? How did he cope up with separation from his family? How did he address his longings? Parmahansa Yogananda cried when he intuitively figured out death of his brother several miles apart. Mahatma Gandhi was torn apart when his wife died and when partition happened. They suffered. How can we be oblivion to our surroundings? How can we break free from interdependence?
I don't think so we can. In rare moments, we can find joy however and that could be our strength.
I enjoyed getting drenched in the rain yesterday. I in fact sang in the rain. I enjoyed fighting with my dad while he is still recovering and listening to my mom's singing. I love cooking for my parents and the fact that I got to spend so much time with them. That is the small joy I found. Things may not get better. But the present moment is beautiful. It has become beautiful due to one small secret - that I am focusing on it only. And no future or past can take it away from me. That is what I found underlying in teachings of these great men.
Joy. Peace. Happiness.