Most people live their lives in fear! What if I do not have enough money to take care of myself in the future? What if my loved ones need money? What if I fall ill? What if there is none to take care of me when I am old and infirm? What if I am alone? What if, this, what if that? The list goes on!
And for some, this is further reiterated by instances of others who have had situations befall them that have caused them misery. And this means that people choose to live constantly in fear of what MIGHT go wrong. Fear, and worry, are useful, up to a point. And not beyond that. Fear is useful when it keeps us in check and helps us keep away from reckless behaviour. And if the fear paralyses when one ought to be acting, then it isn’t useful.
Does this mean that one ought to be totally carefree and careless? Not at all. It is adopting a judicious mix of being optimistic and careful at the same time. Doing the best one can, and then living in the knowledge that the future will be well. And developing the physical, mental, emotional and maybe spiritual strength to cope with any adverse situations that one might experience. Complaining and whining never ever helps.
The truth of the life in the Universe is that when something ceases to be "useful" and contribute, it makes way for the new. When the body becomes infirm and old, it has to die. THAT is the way of the Universe. Anything that is born MUST die, and even this Universe itself maybe! So, it might be useful to understand that the ONLY thing a person HAS to do is to DIE! In everything else there is choice.
And so, instead of trying to hoard money, and belongings to safeguard against an unknown, horrendous future, it might be useful to live today in a manner that ensures that one is useful every moment of their life, to themselves, and to others.
This doesn't mean that one lives irresponsibly with regard to finances or what one needs to live life. This is about being judicious and appropriate in how one balances needs with wants. In today's hyperconnected world there's an excess of negative stimuli that bombards each of us. And evolutionarily we have 5 times more neural networks dedicated for processing negativity (avoidance of pain) than for positivity (acceptance of pleasure).
The key message is that one ought to be useful to others. Others here does not mean that everyone becomes a philanthropist – far from it. As the saying goes, “Charity begins at home!” Similarly, philanthropy also begins at home. Be useful to others at home. Start by taking care of your own needs as much as you can. Help out as best as you can, if not actively, at least by reducing the demands on others who help. Everything is difficult until it becomes easy.
The Bhagvad Gita says, "It is far better to discharge one's prescribed duties, even though faultily, than another's duties perfectly. Destruction in the course of performing one's own duty is better than engaging in another's duties, for to follow another's path is dangerous." So, before trying to become something or someone else, do your own work first, even if badly. Become better at it. Giving up is easy.
Another kind of giving – not giving up, and giving to, is probably a little more difficult, until it becomes easy! And once you start giving, you will know that there is no better happiness than the satisfaction of having contributed whatever you could to another. There are enough anecdotes about those having the least being most willing to share what they have. An anecdote that comes to mind happened during the floods in Chennai in 2015. There were two young persons who were stranded without food and water. One clearly from an economically impoverished background and another from a better off background. And then there was only one helping of food available, the person who was not well off, said, “give the food to them (pointing to the other person). I am used to hunger – they are not!” Such is the strength that one can get from altruism. And yet, one needs to be appropriate in terms of taking care of themselves.
Another fear that plagues some is about relationships and the quality of those relationships. People are afraid that either they will not have someone to be with, or that they will be alone and with none to take care of them Here again, start with loving yourself. Love and accept yourself, and work on becoming better. Work on becoming a person that people like being around. And for that, you need to accept yourself, and accept others. And be inspiring.
Give without expecting anything in return. As has been stated in all "paths" - give without expecting a reward - and if so, maybe, when one needs, then the Universe will find a way of giving. And if one does not get when one needs and has to cease to exist, accept that gracefully and move on.
Live with love, understanding, acceptance and gratitude today, and every single day of your life. And there can be no better life than that! And maybe, when you do that, life becomes easy to live! And don’t try doing it! You're trying only when you're not doing it! So, as the very famous line from Nike says, “just do it!"