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Obstacles

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by Viswamitra, Jun 2, 2019.

  1. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    “If you really want to remove a cloud from your life, you do not make a big production of it; you just relax and remove it from your thinking. That’s all there is to it.”― Richard Bach

    When we focus on the obstacles in our path, without our knowledge, we empower them to control our mind. Once we learn to look past the obstacles and focus on our life’s goal, a new path opens for us. I really love these lines of the following wonderful bhajan:

    “When dark clouds fill your sky, hiding sunshine from your eyes,
    Say his name, see his form, hold on
    When things are getting rough, and you feel enough is enough
    Say his name, see his form, hold on
    When life seems so unfair, and no one seems to care
    Say his name, see his form, hold on
    Keep a smile and say "I can", love and serve your fellow man
    Say his name, see his form, hold on”.

    Those who don’t believe in God, may question, “Why should I say his name and see his form?” When we dive deep into these lines, “he” doesn’t necessarily mean the Universal Absolute but our own self confidence that our resolute attitude towards the obstacles will let us overcome any ordeal in life without any doubt. Obstacles in life are like dark clouds covering the shining Sun which is our self-confidence. Do they have a chance to cover the Sun forever? No. Eventually, the dark clouds come down as heavy rain shower making us cooler so that the mind could focus again on our shining self-confidence. Obstacles are lesson plans manifested for our own convenience to train our mind to remain calm and collected in difficult situations.

    The power of our will is filled with a lot of energy to face any obstacle in life. I am not suggesting that the obstacles will disappear on its own but worrying about them dominates our mind energizing the effects of such obstacle instead of the energy being used to empower our will. Observing the obstacles and understanding its effect in our life is essential step in the process. Our mind tends to elongate the pleasant experiences and eliminate or subside the unpleasant experiences as quickly as possible. Time is of the essence only from our mind’s perspective. Time has no relevance if our own microcosm aligns with macrocosm.

    Let things unfold at its own pace and disappear at its own pace and let us become an observer just like how we admire the nature around us. The gold that is tempered in the fire becomes a beautiful ornament and the stone that faces the wrath of Chisel becomes a beautiful statue. When we learn to become part of the happenings distancing ourselves from our troubles and tribulations, we become part of the maintenance needed to support the universe and our problems become part of the universe. The energy that supports the universe supports us automatically.

    Those who have the habit of living an observing life would understand how insects, plants, animals and all beings contribute for the well-being of the universe as part of the nature. They are all already aligned with the universal law. If we can align our mind to it, our ego dismantles, feeling of “I” and “Mine” disappear and troubles dissolve in a trice. What is manifested around us are constantly teaching life lessons and all we need to do is to open our vision to observe them.

    If we don’t face pain and suffering, we neither capture the lessons we came to learn, nor we value the pleasant experiences. The mind that projects the universe also is the one which is experiencing the pleasure and pain. We need to let it pass in order to become who we really are.​
     
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  2. kkrish

    kkrish IL Hall of Fame

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    Good words, making my Monday morning so much better.

    We, my spouse and I, look more into Indian philosophy, and particularly Sankaracharya's and Ramanujacharya's teachings for leading our lives with contentment.

    When we face adversities we have stopped asking the question "Why?"
    Instead we now accept "Perumal (God) is making us go through this for a reason." We pray for strength to face it. Somehow either the solution presents itself or the problem just goes away. Sometimes a new problem comes in making the earlier problem insignificant :)

    It is has taken me many years to come to this stage of mind though.
    Now we are trying to steer our children, who are just stepping into the true world, on how to face good and the not so good with equanimity.

    Expecting problems in life to end is like expecting the ocean waves to stop.

    Thank you for a good positive post @Viswamitra
     
  3. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @kkrish,

    Thank you for your first response. I couldn't have articulated the attitude we must have better than what your family practices when faced with adversities. The problems will not stop and it is like waves in the sea as you rightly said. Moreover, they are coming for a reason not known to us. Moreover, if we experience only happiness in life, how would we realize the value of goal of blissful existence? Every natural disaster teaches us how to prepare ourselves for the next. Similarly, every personal adversity teaches something to us.
     
  4. Thyagarajan

    Thyagarajan IL Hall of Fame

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    :hello: Thanks to Your contemplative essay - a need of the hour to many fellow IL’ites. I agree with your suggestion that instead of one stuck with obstacles, it would be necessary to see beyond obstacles and see energies are diverted constructively to evolve methods to overcome or and eliminate it from future recurrence. In the world of sports, champions attitude has always been to ignore and simultaneously plan for overcoming the obstacles.

    2. The more mind allowed to brood over the obstacles and hurdles, it only helps reinforcement at subconscious level to prepare ourselves to be more scared and mental energies expended in unproductive ways.

    3. Grand Canyon is example in Nature. Mountain was an obstacle for the river but constant bombardment by lashing water for over centuries created tunnels in the rocks for the free flow of river.

    4. Huge ocean and mountains were obstacles but Lord Hanuman with strong faith in Rama, discovered his super powers to reach Sri Lanka and flew lifting the Sanjeeva Hills over his head to the site where Rama’s Army fainted.

    5. Only when walk through blazing scorching Sun will enable one to realise the value of the shade underneath a tree. Hardship is therefore an inalienable part of life and required to be encountered But ways and means to overcome it or and eliminate in future, one’s thoughts should be in evolving solutions.

    6. Centuries old civilisations have come this far only after overcoming innumerable obstacles along the way.

    7. Individuals in the past faced tsunamis but today live with knowledge to tide over such Nature’s Fury. America was discovered not without encountering obstacles. Ask Columbus or America Vespucci.

    8. Tamil poet Bharathi wrote many poems during the Indian freedom movement that exhorted the youth to stand as one against imperialist atrocities and oppressive measures. A diminutive Agasthya monk with his mind power made Vindhya mountain to come down so that he could go to the ore side. These are examples minds going beyond boundaries of obstacles.

    The essence as told by OP is to think beyond obstacles that blind one so that energies used in finding solution to cross over the obstacles or impediments.
    Regards.
    God States obstacles of this moment is stepping stone for the next moment.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
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  5. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Viswa,
    Wonderful article on 'obstacles' and how to overcome.You are right.Unless we have obstacles we may not understand the value of calm life.You can understand the value of shade only when you walk in scorching heat.Perfectly alright.
    But in joint families like that of ours,the problems faced by one affects one and all. With 25 people living together, it is more a life of obstacles than peace.
    When we live among obstacles on most of the occasions, there is no way that we think about any other thing else other than obstacles.

    My father very often advised us 'To hope for the best simultaneously prepare for the worst' so that there may not be much of disappointment.Though appears pessimistic ,it is a reality in families surrounded by problem after problem, obstacle after obstacle,tsunami after tsunami we can think about a less violent tsunami.

    Yes, God is giving us problems means either he is testing our patience or makes us have total faith in him that whatever he does is for good.
    My second sister lost her first male child, 45 days old.
    due to whooping cough.Two years later she conceived again. Another male child.It was a blue male baby and died on the 4th day.Amma used to console her saying'you have lost only the interest. As long as the principal ( the parents ) are ok, don't worry. The third male child survived upto one year. She lost five boys one after the other . This is a real sorrow, and not brooding over imaginary obstacle.
    The preaching of Gita'death is not the end. Punarapi jananam, punarapi Maranam' death is like simply changing of old torn out clothes etc etc' would look like 'dry philosophy' ( varattu vedantham' to the mother who is in real trouble.
    This fear infected all other pregnant mothers in the family, other sisters and mannis when they were carrying. Actually 1944 to 1957 was predominated by infant deaths.
    How can the mother take that God's intention is good and His Will is otherwise?

    Financial loss etc can be overcome to an extent. But we cannot console a mother.What is the guarantee that the next child would survive-whether she is not gifted with child at all?This question was lingering in everyone's mind , both positive and negative minded. For her it was a problem. For others who gave birth to healthy babies and went home with a chubby baby in arms, it was just a topic for discussion.She was longing to fondle a child. Other mothers considered it inauspicious even to hand over the babies to her for a few minutes.They thought that due to depression she will have cast evil dhrishti.
    At last 6,7 and 8th child survived after 15 years.During each delivery my mother and sister had a gloomy face and every one had intense prayers.

    There are many such instances in our family with continuous obstacles alone, not allowing to have positive thinking.
    In this situation we are forced to foresee only negative results to avoid greater disappointment.
    Though I agree that thinking always about obstacles may make us weak, in my experience of facing hurdles too often, this negative thinking makes me stronger and allows me to plan ahead for probable obstacles that stand in Q in our case.
    Just as hospitals have 'Critical care Units and ambulances expecting some serious ill nesses, and ventillator kept ready for emergencies, Just as security is beefed up during VIP visits, and Fire services kept ready during big conferences and political meetings,there is an alarm in our minds to keep ourselves ready for any eventuality.
    Even children, they say, should be made to go down in ranking once or twice as to train them for disappointments.
    Families are different, cases are different. There is no one without problems. But some are prone to more difficulties perhaps due to Kaarmic fruits.
    For them the normal advice may not suit at all. Their mental trg will be similar to military training to keep them prepared as in defense services.
    Sorry Viswa, I have to differ from you. There is a difference between facing an obstacle in a calm surrounding and trying to search for peace in a life full of actual difficulties.
    In the latter case their minds become like hard stones ,waiting for any emergency,that is normal in their life.
    Jayasala 42
     
  6. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Smt. Jayasala:

    Knowing the obstacles you and your family faced earlier, your mind should be ready and willing to confront any obstacle quickly. You have every right to differ in view having faced so many struggles in life. As you rightly pointed out, everyone face obstacles in their lives except that intensity of such obstacles differ.

    I had a chance to meet with wife of a priest in Tampa and she cried stating that she lost her baby premature. The priest was unable to handle that situation because it is his wife. I answered, "Every time something like that happens, we need to think that the child has no karma left to live in the outside world and all that was left for that child is to stay in the womb for 4-5 months. It is hard for any mother to lose so many children at different stages whether during pregnancy or after the full period of pregnancy. If this is the case, just imagine the plight of mothers who don't even have an opportunity to enjoy the motherhood at all due to health issues. What are the plight of mothers who have differently-enabled children?

    I can write an essay of obstacles my wife and I faced and if I had to include my extended family, I can write a book. I don't like to recall them altogether as it only ruins otherwise happy life now. But still the question we need to address is whether worrying about the obstacle solves anything. The ability to solve the obstacle occurs only when our mind diverts away from worrying about the obstacles. I honestly believe it is our will power that enables us to handle the obstacles. When the intensity of the obstacle increases, our determination to handle it increases as well. What we need to think is whether such strength comes from the resilience or obsession? When the mind is occupied with obstacles, there is no energy left for addressing them if we analyze it correctly. The negative energy of thinking about them drains our mind whereas acceptance of the obstacles brings back the energy to be resilient and gives us the ability to handle them. That also helps us to lose our identity and ego and instead understand well the interdependent universe.

    That is my humble view.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
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  7. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Thyagarajan Sir,

    I really like your way of responding to the snippet with each point mentioned separately. It makes my mind think in an organized fashion.

    You are right. Only when the mind is free from the clutches of worries about the obstacles, it gets the energy to find ways to overcome the obstacles. If we dwell too much on the obstacles, it appears larger than what impact it could create in our lives. Hanuman, Grand Canyon, exposure to scorching Sun, facing the natural calamities, Bharathi and Agasthiya examples are nice recollection of your thoughts. I frankly believe dwelling in obstacle only increases the pain and suffering and only when our mind accepts it formally, it generates positive energy to withstand such obstacles.
     
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  8. jayasala42

    jayasala42 IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you Viswa for the nice reply.As you rightly said, the intensity of grief is different for each person and the strength to handle also is different.Quite true, is that nothing will be achieved by simply brooding over obstacles.But while gaining strength to get over such problems as losing children, it is very difficult to reconcile to the fact that the foetus/the baby is lucky enough to have completed all the karma influence within a short period and it need not immerse in Samsara sagara.If this advice is given to any losing mother, pat will come the reply" Let your child be lost. Then only you will realise the mental agony".
    I feel that grieving is a part of solving the problem. Though you may brood over the crisis again and again during the period, it is in a way better to the mental health of the individual and once she is relieved she may think of other alternatives. This is better than an individual who keeps quiet and does not openly reveal about the obstacles but is worried in heart of hearts.
    Ultimately general advice and preachings in Geetha and other Neethi Shatakas have a different impact when read when we are happy/calm and altogether different influence when read in a complex situation.
    I feel that you think about the impediments that stand in the way of success and grieve for some time and then start finding out means to solve the issues.This may not apply in life threatening situations .
    All the Ithihasas and puranas are abound in dealing with complex situations.
    It is a fact that all individuals, whether intelligent or dull headed, educated or uneducated,read or unread the Neethisastras face the situations and ultimately come out of it after days/months/years.Sometimes we observe that people who lament for days come out of sorrow earlier than people who with all their knowledge and wisdom try to have composure.

    Problems are different.Dealing persons are different. There is not one tailor made solution to any problem in the world.One will decide as and when faced with obstacles as his/her mind dictates.If we have much faith in God we have to take that only God has directed them to analyse the obstacles for finding out proper solutions which they are destined to get at the appropriate hour.
    Thank you Viswa Sir.
    jayasala 42
     
  9. periamma

    periamma IL Hall of Fame

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    @Viswamitra Obstacles are Timeout given by God.It helps me to sit quietly and think to find a way to overcome it.WHY?How?What next?question arises when an obstacle occurs.
     
  10. girvani

    girvani Finest Post Winner

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    Dearest Viswa uncle,

    I mulled over this snippet and replies for a while. At first, I was reminded the below poem by none other than Tagore,

    Life's fulfillment finds constant obstacles in its path, but those are necessary for the sake of its advance. The stream is saved from the sluggishness of its current by the perpetual opposition of the soil through which it must cut its way. The spirit of fight belongs to the genius of life.

    I am nowhere closer to having a better understanding of this topic compared to the ones who have contributed. I so understand when @jayasala42 amma spoke about the losing child and grieving. I lost my first child soon after my marriage and then I couldn't conceive for the next five years. I was in pain and questioned by so many during that period. I knew how I felt the whole process during my ES's pregnancy and until I held him. However, after almost 10 years, now I knew that my two boys came to this world through me at right time and I was matured, ready to deal with issues and be able to stand on my feet.

    When I face obstacles, I still go through a process of getting hurt, thinking through solutions and then to focus on things which I have control over. However, with time and faith, the duration of feeling hurt is getting shorter. I wish and pray one day I will reach the maturity level @kkrish madam has when she faces hurdles.

    Thank you, uncle, for this wonderful post as always.
    Love,
    Vani
     
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