When Bad Things Happen to Good People:
How to Live with Yourself, after something bad has Happened to You
In life many of us, are preparing for the best. We prepare to succeed, we prepare to get married, have beautiful healthy strong children, and live happily ever after. We condition ourselves to believe that yes, bad things do happen, but not to us. They happen ‘out there’, on CNN, BBC, in some foreign country like Afghanistan, but not under our own roof, or to any of our specially raised and protected children.
We spend years paying for our kids college education, so that one day, they can grow up and “be successful” or “be somebody”. We do our best, to control as much as we can of our lives, so that everything is peaceful and under control.
We invest so much of our entire selves and lives chasing this picture perfect life and investing in it, putting money, time and going for it with full force, pushing for it, creating a shield and barriers of protection around us to ensure that we are strong, powerful, victorious, invincible, macho, untouchable like iron man and that we can conquer it all, have it all, and even spit and look down at whomever we deem inferior to us.
We develop a sense of arrogance, about WHO we are. We have so much honour, pride and sense of superiority, and control over every aspect of our lives that we believe nothing will ever touch us.
We walk around so sure and certain of ourselves. We falsely believe in our own immortality and the fragility of life. We wake up with a clear idea of how the day will start and how the day will end. Our lives are controlled by reports, deadlines, meetings, deals, running from point A to point B, and doing more and more things that we believe will give us security and safety.
With so much control exerted, so much focus, direction, and a perfectly curated life, where there is 0 room for mistakes, failures or problems, because we are so special and our lives are so special -we are then one day caught up by an event that is bigger than our control and its effects start destroying the perfect picture we created about ourselves.
When our perception about ourselves is tied to our external achievements, we start to falsely believe, that we are what we have, or that we are what we look like, or that we are who we hang out with, or that we are the job titles that we curated for our picture perfect lives.
When an earthquake comes and starts shaking our perfectly placed pieces and everything starts falling and breaking, we begin to ask why.
Why did this have to happen, "to me" of all people on earth. I mean this earthquake could have affected other people, out there, far away, why did it have to affect me?
Your mind starts trying to make sense:
“I did nothing wrong, quite the contrary, I am a good person, I have always done the right thing, gone to the right school, had the right friends, had the picture perfect job, and just about everything under control. How did this bomb land up in my house? This doesn’t belong in my house, in my life, how did it get here?”
And no matter how you try to rationalize this injustice, it just doesn’t make sense.
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The more you try to make sense of it, the less it makes sense.
But because you are smart and intelligent, you need to have a solution for it. Because in your mind "Bad things only happen to Bad people" or to people who invoked it somehow, provoked it somehow or deserved it. And as far as you are concerned, you don't fit any of that description. And to add to the equation, you now have to live with the thing - be it a memory or a roadblock in you health, wealth, relationship, or life as a whole.
The more you try to rationalise it, the less it makes sense.
The more you try to control it, the more it controls you.
Now you pristine picture perfect house, is destroyed. You didn't destroy it - someone, or something outside of you came by and messed things up.
Your beautiful and perfect things are all on the floor...broken...some things cannot be fixed nor restored.
You are now grieving everything that you lost. You didn't even know you cared about it that much, until the day you lost it. You tell yourself to be strong, to move on, and that everything will be fine.
But a part of you, simply cannot move on. You are angry, upset, enraged, indignated, that you want to set the record straight.
Now, instead of moving on with your life, you are dealing with the broken pieces.
Months go by and you are recovering. The whole experience felt like a movie scene, a bloody one. You look around you, and everything is still broken, and on the floor.
The earthquake has passed and is long gone. But its effects, are very much alive.
You tell yourself, you have work to do. A life to live. You tell yourself you have more important things to do, than to clean up the mess someone left in your house. You feel angry and pissed.
You want your house back. As it was before.
But as you start to gain conscience from this nightmare, and begin to wake up, and start seeing the light again you realise you are now in a completely different place. And somehow, you are not the same person anymore.
You now begin to want to rescue yourself. You start saying things like “I want my life back”.
You try to find yourself in the past, where you left off before the earthquake took place, but you are no longer there.
You can’t find yourself back there. But you also can’t find yourself here.
You start wondering, what is left of you and of your life. You can no longer recognize yourself.
Instead of being at peace with yourself, you are now at war with yourself.
You realise, you need a brand new life. But you still want your old life back. So you try to find someway to bring your past life, into your present. Only everything is simply no longer the same. You are not the same.
You look up to the Light one more time, looking for a glimmer of hope, or some sort of direction, and the Light smiles back at you, telling you, that you are the Light.
It starts telling you that you can’t see yourself properly.
And it asks you to look within, and remember, how beautiful and perfect you are. It asks you, to transcend your human body and connect to your Eternal Self. It asks you to stop trying to control, and instead surrender. You look within, and you see no fault, no pain, no problem.
You get introduced, to yourself. And you realise, there is nothing wrong with you, there never was.
Now that you realise your own Divine Perfection, you are able to separate yourself from your experience. You start understanding that “ I am not this experience”. And you look at your body with a new pair of eyes, with an innate knowing, that “I am not this body”. You start feeling grateful for the beautiful body that you have chosen. Instead of disliking any parts of it, you start to look at ait with amusement and curiosity. You begin to acknowledge, the miracle that is your life. The miracle that each part of your body is. And now you are starting to feel quite special, and quite blessed.
You start understanding, that, an experience, does not define you. But that YOU define the experience.
You can either use the experience constructively, or it will use you, destructively.
You realise, that oh my god, my heart is beating, what a miracle. Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, you feel grateful to be alive.
As you now begin to wake up fully...you look up...and you realise that the sky IS blue...although some dark clouds may pass by and cover it temporarily...the sky, IS blue.
And then you notice, that the sun, despite the endless dark clouds that pass by, the sun, never once stopped shining.
And as you begin to wake up, you look back once more, only to realise, you are no longer there. There is no one there. And there is nothing to fix. The broken glass is still shattered on the floor, everything is still out of place, nothing really makes any sense at all.
And then you look around you, and you see that there is no broken glass on the floor. You look up, you see that the sky is blue and the dark clouds are gone. You feel the ground, and the earthquake is gone.
You look around, and there is no one, but yourself.
You realise that no matter how traumatizing the earthquake might have been, that the earthquake didn’t come to haunt you, it came to Bless You.
You now know that earthquakes will come and go in the lives of many, and for some it will haunt them for life and it remain alive in our memories.
But when we remember the Magnificence of our Creator, and the Magnificence of our Being, we understand that our immortality, comes not from the immunity to pain, suffering, and unwanted things, but our immortality comes from our ability to die and rise up again, in this same life time.
That each Death is a Rebirth. And like all new Birth, it must be celebrated, nurtured, loved, protected, honoured and taken care, with a lot of gentleness, softness and care.
Similarly, every death, must be mourned, and honoured, for it marks the passageway to a brand new chapter and the end of a previous chapter.
And when we are done here, we will leave behind, our experiences, our possessions, our money, our bodies, our clothes, and just about everything except, our Soul.
In the meantime, instead of speeding through life, on the Highway, we may choose to take a more scenic and gentler road. Taking time to look at the ocean, to smell the ocean breeze, to appreciate the magnificent creation that God created, to smile at the beautiful sounds of the birds singing in harmony, and to pay tribute, to all of life, in its entirety.
The road, may be long, or short, but if we take the most scenic route, it will sure be worth it.