The ancient scriptures say that we are all floating like shells in a vast ocean of life. Even though everybody is born out of the same Consciousness, no two lives are the same. As diverse as our lives are, they are inter-dependent on each other and there is something to learn from everyone.
To get an all-round exposure to life, take out five days – not too many, just five days.
Spend one day – morning to evening, with a farmer. Go with him to the farm early morning and see whatever he does all day. You will become sensitive towards the environment, towards food. A third of the food in the world is wasted and thrown. Spending the day watching the farmer will let us know the hard work and resources that go into producing food and we will think twice before wasting it.
Spend one day in jail (but without committing a crime). You will realize that the people we label as criminals and put in prisons landed there due to circumstances, due to ignorance. When anger grips a person, they are not in control of their actions. If you ask the most hardened criminal, they will say, “I didn’t do it. Something came over me and it just happened.” It will become evident that inside every culprit there is a victim crying for help. Compassion will arise in your heart. If you have hatred in your heart towards anybody, that hatred will vanish.
On the third day, become a school teacher. You will understand why a guru is needed. Wherever you are in life, there are so many that you can help and guide. It brings a deep satisfaction within. It’s not that only those with long hair and beard can be gurus. Everybody can play the role for at least some people. You don’t really need a special skill to be a guru, you need compassion. Being a teacher, you can channel that compassion to people. “I want nothing but my student should progress.” Such unconditional love comes to our life.
Spend the fourth day in a mental institution. Whatever anybody in a mental hospital says to you, whatever names they call you, you won’t take it to heart. After spending a day when anybody can say anything to you, you will develop the strength to face criticism without being shaken. Not only will you be strong enough to accept all criticism, you will have compassion for those who criticize you. We get anxious over small matters. “What does he/she think about me?” We are shaken and then we react to these things. You should have the courage to give criticism and the courage to receive criticism as well. If we teach our children this, they will grow into strong and stable members of society.
Spend one day in the cemetery or funeral home. You will have a very close and intense experience of the impermanence of life. Whatever complaints you have will vanish. Having the experience that death can come anytime will change your perspective on life for good.
Just a formal education is not enough. It is important to explore different dimensions of life to get a holistic education. When we keenly see the different facets of life unfolding around us, it makes us centered and established in our Self.
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