How to Celebrate Life

Each one has their own period of time on earth, their life-span. Consider a group of people who have same life-span. Each in the group chooses to spend it differently, in their own way. The ways they choose to spend this time determine their quality of life and worth. As you look back to ask, what has life given to you? Do you realise that life is asking you, what have you given me? Time and life is a common factor and has no quality on its own. One adds value and quality to it by the way they put it to use.

how to celebrate life

For example, let us consider a servant maid who earns around Rs. 1,500/- per month working an hour a day. This works out to her hour being valued at Rs.50/. A daily wager in a construction company who works 7 hours a day, and earns 500/- has his hour valued at Rs.72/-. A pump mechanic may charge Rs.500/- per hour and a trainer or counsellor may charge a couple of thousands per hour. The time, one hour is common for all, but the way they put it to use varies. We may say, the fourth person added more value to his life. Well, money alone is not the determining factor for valuing one’s worth, we have considered it here as an example.

There is an interesting feature about time. One cannot waste time in advance, as it becomes available to them only in future. Similarly, one cannot reclaim the lost time of the past. Well, if the intention is strong, one can make use of their future very effectively. This depends on whether their future is in their control, or someone else’s. One can choose to make their life a celebration or idle it away.

Some assume that there is long life ahead and idle away their present. What they fail to realise is that life is nothing but a collection of such presents. If present is neglected, life will become less-worthy. If it is put to proper use, the value enhances. In fact, each day brings to us lot of presents, pun intended.Those who realise this and put them to proper use, will experience a life that is filled with valuable gifts and life becomes a celebration.

Some say life is a drama. It is not. In drama, there are rehearsals. We can correct our mistakes before the
final show. In life, there are no rehearsals. Once spent wrongly, we cannot reclaim or correct. It becomes a matter of past. For a moment, look back and check how many valuable gifts you have lost over the years. But no regrets, you still have time ahead to make what remains, meaningful and make life worthier.

Childhood for education, Youth and middle age for accumulation of material possessions, Old age for reflection and solitude is the way suggested to us by our elders. Education starts in childhood and should continue lifelong. Based on the education, we develop the ability to discriminate our needs from wants. Need is something without which we cannot lead a meaningful life. Want is something we possess over and above our need. One generally possesses more than what they need.

Before picking up an object the question to ask is, “Is this a need or want”? Accumulation of material possessions in middle age is to be done with such discriminating inquiry. Less luggage make life journey more comfortable. More the accumulation, harder will be the journey of life.

If the childhood and middle age is spent properly, old age will not be a burden. It will be a time to prepare to get on to the death bed with the feeling, ‘I have understood what life is and lived it effectively’. Without lamentation, we will then be able to appreciate it with the understanding that I am a great force that has emerged on this planet. My life belongs to this society and till such time I am alive, it is my right to continue to make a difference to the society around. This is the way a rishi lives. Lives of such people will be filled with happiness and be an inspiration to others.

Life is a bundle of likes and dislikes. These likes and dislikes is not an attribute of time, things or situations around. It is our mental state, our ego attributed on them. By labelling something as we like, a situation as we like and a person whom we dislike, etc., we limit our mind’s potential. We need to get out of this limiting nature of mind to eliminate pain and stress in life. A simple principle can be helpful. “Increase the list of likes and decrease the dislikes”. If the ego, which is a stumbling block, is eliminated one will evolve faster and life will be happier.

As we start marching towards the east (knowledge), by default west will become farther. By starting our march towards increasing the likes, pain will recede and life will be happier. To aid us in this journey, and convert our limiting state of mind into one that is inclusive and filled with equanimity; come let us take refuge in our A:cha:rya and make life a celebration.

If limiting mental attitude is one stumbling block to a life of celebration, vengeful attitude is the second. Even if the other man, due to ignorance, utters a word that hurts us or does an act that causes pain, the mind longs for an opportunity to pay it back. Stuck in this web, we develop more enemies in life and make it painful.

At this instance, I would like to share an interesting experience. Travelling in Visakha express, once I was nearing Hyderabad and it was around 7 am. One elderly lady, a co-passenger was speaking to someone over the phone. She said, “We are reaching Hyderabad. What are you doing? Are you sleeping? No problem, you take rest. I will come home and take care of the cooking”. Meanwhile another lady was also speaking over the phone. She said, “We are reaching Hyderabad. We will reach home in an hour. Keep the breakfast ready”. The voice from the other end was dull and low. Realising the person at the other end is still sleepy, she disconnected the phone and complained to her husband, “Is this the time to still be in bed. Too much space and freedom to the wife will lead the family into doldrums”. By now you have discerned who is mother and who is mother-in-law.

Bossing over daughter-in-law is a bad quality that is common across all sections of the society. This is one example of a vengeful attitude. Venting out our anger on the most vulnerable in a vengeful approach is quite common. People do so without realising, ‘na hi vaire:na vaira:ni sa:myanthi:ha kada:chana’, enmity cannot be ended with enmity. The more we are able to expand this principle in our life, bigger will be our celebration of life.

Through this attitude of vengeance, we actually give authority to others on our life. Our sleep, hunger,
spare time, happiness, etc., gets under other’s control. All our thoughts will be filled with vengeance. Because of this we fail to relish the taste of food we eat and may even succumb to disease. If we have to burn other’s house, the stick in our hand need to be burnt first. When two lions fight, even the winning lion will end up with injuries.

That’s why it is advised, to replace the attitude of revenge with attitude of love towards those who caused us pain. Even if we are not able to come to a stage of helping thy enemy, it would do well if we are able to forgive and let go. This way we will not waste our time and money, and more importantly our health. Another easy way to get out of pain is to involve ourselves in a bigger cause. This is a beautiful gift we can give to our life. By making our life a celebration with such gifts, we will not be a burden on earth but a boon !

– Translated by Balaji Gorantla, Chennai from Telugu BN