By Emil Nazaryan
When we start flowing with the river of life, we realize we are an integral and inseparable part of the interconnected opposites that make up our world.
Recently I was invited to speak on the topic of staying positive and helping clients do the same. At one point the moderator said the following phrase when he was describing me: “I’m not sure how the man never has a bad day, but I’ve never seen him without a smile on his face.” This description got me thinking…
Do I really never have bad days? Does nothing bad ever happen to me or my loved ones? Do I not have any problems? Do I not live in the same world as everyone else? Am I indeed so lucky? Is that kind of luck even possible?
Then the answer just dawned on me like an ultra bright light! It’s not what you would expect. This answer is also the key to living a happy and peaceful life. I promise, we will return to the key, but for now let’s see why most people are so unhappy, stressed and struggle all the time.
Imagine life as being the most powerful river you have ever seen. It flows constantly with a high speed and pressure that would make Niagara Falls look like a leaking sink faucet. This river of life is all there is, and we are all in it. It is the sum total of all “goods and bads”, “beautifuls and uglies”, “pleasure and pain”. All of these opposites exist together as different sides of the same coin. They can’t be separated. If you remove pain, pleasure will go with it. If you remove the ugly, the beautiful will vanish. Sounds odd and unfair? Think about it for a moment. Can you describe anything if an opposite of that thing doesn’t exist?
If there was only the “good” in the world, how would you even know that it’s good? That would have been the only thing you ever experienced, and, as such, you wouldn’t know anything different. You wouldn’t know that it was good. You would just know it as the only thing there was. The sense of pleasure associated with “the good” would vanish, wouldn’t it? How couldn’t it vanish if “the good” was the only thing you ever knew and you never experienced its opposite?
Ha! Did something just click within you? Do you now see some value in the experience of the bad, the ugly and the pain? Life, this river of life, is a sum total of interconnected opposites and that’s what makes it so colorful, vibrant, exhilarating and interesting.
Let’s turn to the suffering of people and see what causes unhappiness and stress. Is the description of the river’s power still fresh in your memory? If not, read it above again. Now consider how absurd it would be if a small pebble decided to stick its head out of the river and to oppose it, resist it and fight it. You are laughing now, aren’t you? Imagine the sight of a brave pebble standing up to the mighty river, taking a beating every single second, getting hit by crushing-force waves and believing it would win. Let me know how that works out for the poor pebble; I can only imagine all the dings, scars and bruises. In fact, I don’t have to imagine it. I know it, because I was that pebble!
Are you starting to see where this is going? We are like those tiny pebbles trying to fight the mighty river of life. Well, that sounds depressing! How are we going to win? That’s the thing: We’re not. We can’t. But what we can do is stop taking a beating, stop getting bruised, stop the suffering. And how do we do that? You guessed it: Start flowing with the river!
Oh, what a serene sight! What peace! What beauty! What perfection in all the imperfections! What relief that you don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders anymore. What liberation, when you see that the river knows what it’s doing and why, even when you don’t. You start flowing downstream with the river, and on the way you see so many other pebbles still standing up, taking a beating, thinking that they are heroically fighting life. And you feel pain for them. You want to tell them that it’s much lighter, easier and happier riding the beautiful waves of the mighty river. You want to tell them that all is well, even when it doesn’t seem to be. You want them to see that they are not separate pieces of rock existing on their own as they think they are, but they are an inseparable part of the whole river of life. As such, nothing can hurt them because there is nothing else but them, only not as separate pebbles, but as an integral and inseparable part of the whole river.
So, do I really never have bad days? Does nothing bad ever happen to me or my loved ones? Am I free from all problems? Do I not live in the same world as everyone else? Am I so lucky? Is that kind of luck even possible?
Indeed, I am lucky—but not because the same problems that happen to everyone else don’t happen to me. They most certainly do and more than you might imagine. But I’m the luckiest, because by the grace of God I became aware that I’m not the pebble I thought I was. I know that I am the pebble in the river, one with the river. I don’t fight life any more. I embrace it the way it comes. I don’t wish it was otherwise. I don’t carry guilt. I don’t carry resentment. I forgive. I love. I live.
I do my best and accept what is as it is, knowing full well that what happens is not in my control, but trusting the river completely, unconditionally and without any reservations.
Is it a surprise then, that “The man doesn’t have a bad day?” And from today on, you don’t have to have a bad day either. In the last 5 minutes you have had a peek into the true lasting happiness and all the suffering from this point forward is only optional. It’s no accident you are reading this article today. It’s no coincidence that today this pebble, you, maybe for the first time, are given the window to see the whole picture.
Now, go and flow, little pebble! Enjoy the ride!
Emil Nazaryan is a motivational writer and a contributor to the monthly Motivational Corner column of HR Realtor Magazine. He has undergone a spiritual transformation which has led the way to sharing the insights he has experienced with the others. He is well acquainted with all major spiritual traditions of the world, but it is the direct experience of the essence of these teachings that is responsible for the altered life outlook and the motivational articles that stem this. In his daily life Emil is a successful REALTOR and he resides in Norfolk, VA, with his wife and two children. Contact him by email at email@example.com.