In 2009, after several eye surgeries, I was devastated to realize that I may not have 100% vision again. It seemed as though my life had ended at the age of twenty-nine. In fact, I believed that I would have been better off if my life would have ended, instead of having to live with low-vision for the rest of my life. I was under thirty, living in an amazing city, had a wonderful career, and great hopes for the future. All of my hopes shattered in an instance. Questions began to arise in my mind such as, how would I live a life dependent on my parents? Which company would hire me? Who would marry me? Who would take care of my parents when they age? Who would take care of me when I age? All these answers were unknown and I was feeling a deep level of uncertainty.
The repetitiveness of these questions resulted in a serious state of depression; to be more precise, suicidal depression. If I heard of any deaths on the news, I would feel so unfortunate that I wasn’t one of those victims. Over time, I passed through the different stages of grief such as denial, anger, depression, and finally acceptance. Reaching the state of acceptance is extremely difficult, and many people in similar situations either do not reach this stage, or take a lifetime to reach it.
Acceptance may sound simple, but it is not a destination to reach; it’s a journey. It is only after accepting the situation that we are able to motivate ourselves to continue. Acceptance allows us to move from the question “why me?” to “why not me?”. It empowers us to dig deep within our subconscious and far beyond the super-conscious. This means digging out limiting beliefs and fears, and searching for the truth.
I would like to focus on one common question that we all ask when we encounter unfavorable situations. The question is “Why me?”
The answer we usually hear from the world is that the unfavorable situation is due to the negative karma of the past. Moreover, the subject of reincarnation also surfaces, because we are unable to remember any negative action in this lifetime that was so intense. Society dictates that due to our positive and negative karma, we are forced to take birth on earth to suffer the consequences or enjoy the benefits. And only, after we neutralize both the positive and negative karma, we can attain liberation from the cycle of birth and rebirth.
Instead of this, another approach seemed to make more sense and offered me more clarity. The purpose of life is expansion of the soul, and this growth may only be achieved through overcoming adversity. The soul has a desire to express itself, and it can only do this through a body and the mind. This is why it chooses to incarnate on earth. It also selects the parents that will offer it the opportunity to express its desires, as well as fulfill the desires of the parents. It is a mutual understanding on a soul level. While expressing its desires through the mind and the body, it generates the positive and negative karma.
Karma is not designed to punish the soul based on its negative actions. It simply teaches the soul that some actions can cause pain and suffering; and in the future, the soul should choose to act positively. Through the lessons taught by negative karma, we gain wisdom, and cultivate love, compassion, and a sense of unity.
Consider the world as a stage and all of us actors. Would you want to play the same role in every lifetime? Of course, every actor wants to attempt a variety of roles so that he can measure his potential. This is why sometimes the soul chooses a role of a hero, a villain, a comedian, or a physically/mentally disabled person. Does this mean that because you chose the role of a hero, you have more positive karma, and because you chose a role of a physically disabled person, then you have negative karma? Haven’t we noticed in so many movies that the best actor award goes to the individual who plays the role of a physically or mentally challenged person? I invite you to consider this idea when you encounter challenges in your life. You are simply playing a certain role, and your job is to play that role in the best way that you can. I have chosen the role of an individual with low-vision, and I am going to play this role so well that I win an award for performing in the best way that I could with all the abilities and limitations that I chose.
By viewing life from a broader perspective we can also gain a tremendous amount of clarity. When we realize that we have lived many births, this one lifetime does not seem so serious. Imagine taking a test of fifty questions, and if you answered two questions incorrectly, would it be a big deal? Similarly, if you have lived fifty lifetimes, and two lifetimes did not go so well, is it a big deal?
We all face challenges in life, and will continue to do so. This is the nature of existence and the key to our expansion. However, because we do not accept our current situation, we slow our growth. I encourage you to view life from a broader perspective, and play whatever role you have chosen to the best of your ability. Through this mindset, you will find the purpose of your life and make a significant difference in your life and those around you.
“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.” – J.K. Rowling