Life has a way of sorting itself out

No amount of worry or hard work can resolve a problem as smoothly as time and life eventually do

Do you worry a lot? Do you agonise over choices you make, opportunities you let go, heartbreaks, loneliness, ill health, or not finding the right person to love and live with? In short, do you find yourself worrying about every little thing? You worry because you believe that everything in life is the direct result of your efforts.

What if you were told that you have no control over life no matter what you do? Would that comfort you, because it takes you off the hook? You would then only be lucky or unlucky – a puppet in the hands of an omnipotent Fate against which you wage a futile battle, much like a character in Thomas Hardy’s novels.

But let us not subscribe to such a depressing and unlikely view. Using our own experiences as learning curves, it isn’t difficult to deduce that the truth, as always, is somewhere between the two extremes.

Humans are stubborn. We refuse to learn from the wisdom of lifetimes. The only knowledge we accept is what gets automatically ingested into our DNA. We rebel against the rest, till life teaches us the same lessons patiently, all over again. No matter how many maxims we hear, we need to live through the ups and downs to understand that ‘when one door shuts, another opens’; ‘whatever happens, happens for the best’; ‘everything happens for a reason’; ‘go with the flow’; ‘bide your time’, or ‘lean into the moment’.

Curiosity and doubt are the defining qualities of human intellect. No development — physical, mental, moral or spiritual — would be possible without questioning or doubting what exists. And yet we cannot let questions take over our lives. Sometimes you just have to bide your time. Believe it, life has a way of sorting itself out. Have not our own experiences taught us that?

There are times when you have to learn to live with your questions. In time you will get most of the answers. Sometimes you will also get answers to questions you never knew were bothering you. And, at times the questions themselves just fade away, become redundant – and you no longer need any answers.

A good friend who has been a diehard atheist all his life, arrogant in his belief that there is no God, shocked me recently when he sheepishly admitted that he now believes in the existence of God. And surprisingly it was his work that persuaded him to change his beliefs so drastically. While researching for a book he had virtually given up all else for, he came across unexpected materials that led him to something far more valuable than his original pursuit. The series of coincidences that led him to upturn his project in favour of this more exciting one led him to believe there has to be a greater power guiding his choices.

And what did this epiphany teach him? He says, “I have become more conscious of how little control we have over our lives. So even as I am driven by my convictions, I am humble enough to accept that life doesn’t necessarily follow my script and may often have in store things that I didn’t foresee.”

That is the most important lesson to be internalised. Though we must have faith in our convictions, and listen to our instinct, we must know that sometimes life takes us to places we neither intended nor expected to be in. Collective wisdom and our own experiences tell us that often this is a better place than what we set out for.

Worrying about anything never resolves problems. Sometimes we just have to do our best and let the rest resolve itself in time. And that is when life kicks in and smoothens out the wrinkles. So long as you remain firm to your principles and follow your instinct, you can confidently place your faith in life and where it takes you.

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