May 11, 2012
Is Spirituality Opportunistic?
Wasting an opportunity is stupid; waiting for an opportunity is lazy; looking for an opportunity is smart; creating an opportunity is genius. Can one get any better? Yes, converting all circumstances into an opportunity is spiritual. The events and circumstances of life are often not under our control, but how we look at them always is. Spirituality gives us a way of looking at life that converts all circumstances into opportunities for spiritual growth.
Spiritual growth is the very purpose of life. Thus, the spiritual viewpoint makes it possible to use everything that we do, and everything that happens to us in life, for moving towards the goal of life. To illustrate this point, let us take three major aspects of life -- the work that we do, the people in our lives, and the happenings in our lives.
The work that we do is a privilege. It has been given to us because we are dear to God. God has no shortage of instruments, and with eternity at his disposal, He is not in a hurry. Therefore, it is an expression of God’s love that he gives us the ability to do something, and the circumstances in which that ability can be used for doing something. Looking at work in this way makes the work that we do an opportunity for spiritual growth.
The superficial way to look at people in our lives is to classify them into those whom we like, and those whom we dislike. A deeper way to look at both these categories is as manifestations of the Divine. It is easier to see those whom we like as manifestations of the Divine than those whom we dislike. If we can see the Divine in those whom we dislike, we can see the Divine in anybody. Seeing the Divine in all is a part of spiritual growth. Thus, the people whom we dislike are an opportunity for spiritual growth. Therefore, we should welcome the Ravana in our life -- be it the spouse, the mother-in-law, or the boss!
The superficial way to look at the happenings in our lives is to classify them into fortunes and misfortunes. A deeper way to look at both these categories is as conditions that have been given to us for spiritual growth. We can grow through fortune by being grateful, by sharing our fortune with our fellow beings, and by continuing to be humble and just in spite of the power that our fortune gives us. We can grow through misfortune by being graceful, by continuing to have faith in God and His love for us, and by not becoming so self-absorbed as to forget our fellow beings.
Thus a spiritual seeker is a great opportunist -- he converts all life into a set of opportunities for moving towards his goal. This he does primarily by looking at life in terms of the spiritual worldview. When the worldview changes, the world itself changes. How we look at life is always in our hands. That is one freedom nobody can take away from us. As Dr. Viktor Frankl, who suffered the worst of indignities in concentration camps discovered, “Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way”.
Dr. Ramesh Bijlani is a medical doctor, educationist, writer, inspirational speaker, teacher, scientist, and above all a person committed to using his unique blend of talents for touching the hearts and lives of his fellow beings.