At the heart of everyone, everything, is goodness. And this is true of every experience, howsoever unpleasant it may appear to be. Life is a mixture of the “pleasant” and the “unpleasant”, of joy and sorrow. Joy and sorrow follow each other as day follows night. But when suffering comes, the period of tribulation appears to be interminably long. A year of joy is but as a day: and a day of suffering appears longer than a year.
Suffering is a part of life, and suffering is a teacher. We would miss some of the best lessons of life, if suffering did not come to us. Many of us, alas! Do not recognise this truth and do all we can to avoid a seemingly painful experience. When trouble approaches, we try to run away from it: but trouble can never be dodged. The unpleasant experience recedes, only for a while, to return to us again, wearing a more formidable form. By avoiding trouble, we invite greater trouble, at a later stage.
There are some who, knowing that trouble cannot be avoided, resign themselves to the experiences which fall to their lot. They do not resist: they become resigned. Often times, such persons are heard to say: “What cannot be cured must be endured!”
But there is a third way of meeting trouble, it is the only right way. The first way, the way of avoiding trouble, is folly. The second, the way of becoming resigned, is avidya, ignorance. The third is the way of greeting every unpleasant experience as a friend. Do not try to run away from trouble: you cannot do it. Do not let in trouble, simply because you must.
But move forward to met trouble, to greet it with the words: “Welcome, friend! What message do you bring to me from God?” And you will find that every trouble is a soiled packet, soiled on the outside, but which contains a precious gift. Every unpleasant experience is a package which hides a wealth of wisdom and strength. The person, who knows this, greets suffering with a smile. He is a true victor, and his way is the way of victory.
(Dada J.P. Vaswani is humanitarian, philosopher, educator, acclaimed writer, powerful orator, messiah of ahimsa, and non-sectarian spiritual leader.)