So, there was this man and we will call him Kim. He was a 45 years old man with a wife and 2 cute kids. His wife was a very loving woman and a very tender-hearted mother. Occupationally, she was a doctor. He had a 4-years old son and a 6-years daughter. A happy family!
Now, Kim was a happy man with simple lifestyle and a job. He was an accountant in some bank. Not the most exciting job in the world but it worked for him because he loved maths. He was quite satisfied about how easily and softly his life was unfolding one day at a time. He had everything he needed. He had a loving wife, his lovely kids who would never let him be alone on Sundays and other holidays. He had a secure job and his wife, let’s call her Rim, made great money. They had an amazing duplex in the city in somewhere middle of California.
Now, it is yet another day, say 25th March of his 45th year on Earth. It’s 8 o’clock in the morning and he is getting ready for office. Rim is in kitchen preparing him breakfast – his favourite. He loved omelette and bread the most. Sometimes he would also like some orange juice but other days he would simply grab an apple and leave.
At around 9 o’clock when Kim was on his way to office, driving, thinking about all the projects and maths he had to take care of that day, the school fees that he had to pay in 5 days, the bills he had to clear and about how it came naturally to him cause it has been around 17 years and this was his life. He was on an autopilot mode you see, just like all of us! Good old mind doing the good old calculations about good old life and boom! The car got hit by a truck pulling a trailer. Kim is dead.
Don’t worry, dead but just in that physical reality. He is alive in the metaphysical and dammit he is facing God, who does not seem to be quite impressed by the resume he just handed Him. Now what resume you would think. Actually, Kim died and as expected he reached up there to God. Now God, being too particular not about how much we earn or how much material stuff we hoard, was interested in what Kim gave in his life. And Kim being naive like all of us handed his resume to God about all the bills he paid honestly and in time.
“Bill receipts?”, God was confused. “What have I got to do with these? Tell me what else good work you did to make life better?”
Our naive Kim didn’t know what was the right answer he needed to give so he went on to recite how he once helped an old lady cross the road when he was 7 years old, how he never cheated in school and college, how he gave up on his favourite job in Africa for his wife’s dream of going California, how he never scolded his kids and always bought them everything they asked for, how he sacrificed his dream of becoming a painter to keep his parent’s happy, and how he always tried his level best to keep other’s interests before his own to keep everyone happy even if it meant he was not going to be as happy.
Now, he was quite happy with the answer he gave. He knew he had passed the test. He knew God had to be impressed. He knew he had finally earned God’s appreciation and love. He was smiling goofily and knew that now in any moment God was just going to throw His arms around Kim, kiss him on his forehead, and applaud.
What happened? Nothing!
He just stood there looking utterly confused, disappointed even and Kim just could not understand where he had gone wrong. Was it shock? What kind of shock? Shock because of all the good things Kim had done or shock of how Kim had done all things wrong?
Then the expressions on God’s face changed and he smiled. “Come with me Kim. We need to talk.”
Both of them went on to take a walk somewhere in Himalayas. It was pretty cool there. They were quite at some height and Kim was lost in the beauty of the scenery that stood before him. The mountains were capped with snow and sun rose from behind them. The birds chirped happily and sky was clear. “Woah!”, Kim exclaimed.
“You like it?”, asked God smiling. “You wanted to come here when you were 25 years old. Remember?”
“Oh yes, I do. But then I couldn’t. My girlfriend wanted to go someplace more exciting, so I changed my plan.”, he said.
“Yes, and you loved her and how you wanted to marry her, have kids and be happy together.”, God said dreamily.
“Really, I did. So much. I missed her lovely brown hair for quite some time, almost 7 months even after marriage. But then I fell in with Rim so I guess what happens is for a reason and life always takes you someplace better.” Kim said.
“Oh yes you love Rim and that is why you gave up on your job in Africa and took her to California.”
“Oh yes and that did not turn out as bad as I feared. I found this job near my house, paid me better and office environment was chill and things turned out to be right.”
“Yes helped you pay the fees of your children you dearly love. But you didn’t want them for a while, you wanted to be more stable – financially.”
“Yes but Rim wanted children and my parents, her parents, everyone was happy when she got pregnant. It is not like I lost something, I had two kids and we had a duplex and life was good. We all were happy.”
Kim and God were still walking when Kim finally asked, “I did everything you have asked all of us to do – live for others and keep everyone around us happy. Then why is it that you are not appreciating me or happy about my way of life?”
God laughed, not mockingly, he laughed how you would laugh on a kid’s innocence. He said, “Kim, when I made you, I gave you nothing different than what I gave the beggar in your lane or any other Bollywood/Hollywood star or a hermit. I make you all the same. And almost all of you come up and give me the same story. You try to tell me how you have helped others and sacrificed your wishes and dreams for others and then expect me to be happy about it. You tell me how you dropped the idea of Himalayas for your girlfriend, dropped the idea of your girlfriend for your parents, dropped the idea of job for your wife, dropped the idea of money for children, dropped the idea of painting, and so on.
But what if I tell you that those dreams that you saw and desires you wanted to chase were actually put there by me? What if I tell you that I gave you the gift of painting because I wanted you to be a painter. You were going to paint world’s most moving and profound painting that was to encourage a kid 50 years later to pursue his dreams. And now that painting is not there and so the kid, 50 years later, will not find it and end up giving up on his dreams.
What if I tell you that the Himalayan trip was for a reason. Your girlfriend was to find her biggest revelation there?
What if I tell you that the girlfriend you left is now in an abusive relationship and you could have saved her rather than a woman who is a doctor and already had everything she wanted?
What if I tell you that Rim is now a widow and you can do nothing about it? But if you had not gotten married to her, she would have met a handsome hunk in California and been married to him?
What if I tell you that you were not supposed to have children so that when you die they do not keep Rim from moving on?
What if I tell you that a painter Kim, in Africa, with his happy girlfriend would have been sipping on hot chocolate right now only if you chased your dreams?
What I am saying is Kim, you gave people what they wanted and not what they needed and they never grew. You gave yourself nothing and you did not grow either. What I am saying is that Kim, all of you are sent to be what you are not you are asked to be. You taught people that they can ask others to sacrifice their dreams and that it is okay to do so. You added to the examples in the world about how people let others dictate their lives and then keep giving cliched excuses about how “this is life”. You gave the world and people another reason to be selfish by not being selfish.
Do you see how you felt compelled to give an explanation about everything you did in life? This need to give an explanation comes when you think you are expected to give them. When you think you need an approval and permission? But did you stop in life to ask where is this coming from? Why am I scared to pursue my dreams even when they felt good and why when I was giving them up did not feel quite right? Because the fear came from uncertainty. You had no proof of how it would turn good. You could not prove to your parents that you can be a successful, financially stable painter unless you did it and you thought you cannot do it unless you have their permission and the cycle went on and you died as an accountant! And now they have lost their only son because he was an accountant on his way to office not a painter sipping on hot chocolate.
Kim was angry now. “I would not have known. It is not my fault. You could have stopped me. You could have done something if you knew – after all you put those desires there. They were yours.”
“Remember when you were going to take the exam for accountancy but felt sad? I was that sorrow trying to tell you that you don’t have to do it. Remember when you were breaking up with your girlfriend and she kept telling you it was a bad idea and you were sad again? I was that girl and that sorrow telling you to change your decision. Remember when your best friend gifted you the antique painting of Mona Lisa saying he would love to see you create such a masterpiece and you were all happy and excited? I was that excitement and happiness telling you that this is the right path. Remember when you went to that party with your girlfriend instead of Himalayas and felt like something was missing? I was that void that was telling you that something was not right that something needed to be changed. Remember your wedding when you looked at Rim and were only thinking about your girlfriend and felt despair? I was that despair telling you that this is not right. Remember when you were 7 years old and wanted to make the old lady cross the road even when you knew that you yourself don’t really know how to cross the road? But it felt the right thing to do despite the fear of not knowing how to do something? I was that telling you to do it despite the fear you felt. I was there all along Kim.
I created all of you just like I created any other species. Just like I created birds and animals and worms and butterflies. Birds and turtles still know which current to follow and reach their homes. There are turtles that lay eggs and leave and their children find their way back home without any guidance. Despite not knowing North South East and West, there are birds that fly from one continent to other. Because they listen, not to what is outside, but what is inside of them. They follow vibrations and frequencies.
Now if I wanted you to be all spiritual and religious and all of the times, do you think it would take shit loads of science to figure things out? If I wanted you to give up everything in your life, do you think I would give you a mind or heart to create your own dreams? I gave you fear so that you use it to grow not to make excuses. I gave you fear to be afraid of wasting time, wasting life, wasting your own good self. You could have risked to give up acceptance to chase your dream but you risked to leave behind your dreams for the sake of acceptance. By you, I mean, all of you. To risk is to live, son. Now I don’t ask you to hurt people to get your ways in life but demand. Demand and speak your mind without being afraid of whether others will understand why something makes you happy. Your teachers, that old lady, Rim, your friends, your cousins, your parents, your enemies, your collegues, your girlfriend, your children – every one of them are on a journey that is entirely their own. If you left Rim, she would have been sad. I would go to her in the form of her own sorrow to tell her that this was not what she was meant to do, that a handsome hunk was waiting for her to show up in California. That she did not need to ask for that trip cause that hunk shared the same dream. If you became a painter, I would go to your parents as disappointment to tell them that look you are not the in charge of his life.
Everything is connected Kim. I could answer all your questions about the people whose lives you effected and about others who effected yours. But what would that serve? You are dead!
But, here is another chance Kim, go live. You will again start as a clean slate but this time look within not without Kim cause that is where you find me and true happiness. Success lies in being true to yourself and living life on your own terms. All progress comes from unreasonable people, people who follow their hearts and the instructions of their consciences rather the commands of the crowd. All progress has come from risk-takers. Happiness arrives once you refuse to buy into what others see as impossible. You are what you think about all day long.
Now Kim was attentive but a word caught his attention and he asked God, “You ask me to follow my consciences but isn’t that what I did all my life? Conscience means to be able to differentiate between what is right and wrong. I found hurting my parents and my wife wrong so I did what I thought I could in my power to keep them happy.”
To which God answered, “Yes that is true. Conscience does mean the ability to be able to differentiate what is right and wrong. But more often, this concept comes from years of conditioning and you fail to see the bigger picture. People come and teach you. They decide on a set of code they think would fit any given situation. But let me tell you son, right and wrong are relative concepts. What is right for a police officer is not for the common man to do. You can not fit the same equation everywhere or in any given situation. You require to reflect on it and then decide without the need to feel accepted. To be right, sometimes, you need to be able to break all the rules Kim. When you wanted to paint, you knew it was your calling but did not acknowledge it. The easiest way to figure out is to ask yourself if you made a decision based on “what would people say”. Ask yourself what’s stopping you? What could stop you anyway?
You never tried putting forth your own wishes in front of your parents and wife or anyone else thinking it would make them happy. But Kim there is a fair chance that you didnt do it cause you were almost certain that it is only rejection that will come from them or disappointment. You started from understanding why would they reject and came to several conclusions that seemed and felt almost right. When you thought like Rim, you were Rim. But the world didn’t want another Rim, it needed Kim. And in that moment you gave yourself away.
“But what about the idea of understanding other’s percpective?” asked Kim
“Understanding from your point of view Kim not theirs cause they already have it. You understand other’s perspective and respect it then add to it. You could tell the man on the road about how it is better to drive with the seat belt on. And he would tell you it is uncomfortable. What do you do? You add to the perspective and tell him how he can go from uncomfortable to dead in no time. How it is better to be uncomfortable than dead. Then it’s entirely on the man whether he wants to buy your perspective or not. That’s free will Kim. You give others but without others getting permission to take yours away.”
“And what about the idea of ‘trust that life will unfold in our best interests’? asked Kim.
“Oh yes that! The popular cliché. That is true. This happens when you are able to change according to the circumstances. No matter where your life takes you Kim, you will always have two choices – to do what you want and to do what you think you should cause you have been told to do so. I am not talking about the petty issues about a little 14 years old girl who wants to bunk school and should go anyways cause her parents said so. Which of course is not such a bad idea once or twice a month. But we are talking about real choices that shape your world and the world of others around you. Bunking a class is not a passionate desire Kim, but choosing on a career or a life partner is. When you make the right choices, you can feel yourself growing and you see others growing as well. When you make the wrong ones, they feel as easy as gliding down a rabbit hole. But what comes out of them? Nothing new! It is the same old you, same old life with same old sacrifices and one day you die and nothing ever changes. Change is inevitable Kim. The kid, who was supposed to find that painting may one day decide to get up and paint it himself for another kid to get inspired. A girl might decide to write a story to inspire herself and others just because someone before her did not write it for her to read.
Life goes on Kim and people go on but none of them is you and that is your power. It is better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.
Now Kim was sad and said, “But, how does it matter God now that I am dead?”
“I can fix that. You are going back.” said God.