Does Everything Happen For Our Own Good?

“He washed his hands and feet, and just as he reached for his boot, an eagle snatched it away! The boot turned upside down as it lifted, and a poisonous snake dropped out. The eagle circled and brought the boot back, saying, “My helpless reverence for you made this necessary…Mohammad thanked the eagle and said, “What I thought was rudeness was really love. You took away my grief, and I was grieved! Learn from this eagle story that when misfortune comes, you must quickly praise. Others may be saying, Oh no, but you will be opening out like a rose losing itself petal by petal….The feeling of joy when sudden disappointment comes, that is Sufism…Don’t grieve for what doesn’t come. Some things that don’t happen keep disasters from happening.” –Rumi

Philosopher and poet Rumi reminds us that everything happens for ones own good. Because when **it hits the fan, it’s hard to believe that anything good can come out of that, **it is not supposed to hit the fan, isn’t it? How does one come to that understanding that everything happens for good?

That understanding comes from faith that there is something better at play than the **it we see and that faith comes from good experiences and good experiences come from a lot of bad experiences i.e. **it hitting the fan.

Mother, If Not For You I Wouldn’t Be

“I profess the religion of love, 
Love is my religion and my faith. 
My mother is love 
My father is love 
My prophet is love 
My God is love 
I am a child of love 
I have come only to speak of love.”
__Rumi

Unselfish and unconditional love can be found only in one’s mother. One cannot find this feeling anywhere else on this planet. It took me a long time to understand this truth and the terrible part is, I did not realize this while she was still around on this planet in that beautiful form. It’s not that I mistreated or disrespected her in anyway, in fact, I am very happy to have been a good son and have loved and respected her sacrifices in bringing me up to be an independent, self-confident and useful human being. I don’t have regrets that way but the world around us could teach us to realize that this beauty is so near to you, that it won’t last for ever and to recognize it and cherish that gift to the fullest possible extent while it lasts.

T.S. Eliot puts it beautifully in the following poem, mother is like the garden where all love ends.

Lady of silences
Calm and distressed
Torn and most whole
Rose of memory
Rose of forgetfulness
Exhausted and life-giving
Worried reposeful
The single Rose
Is now the Garden
Where all loves end
Terminate torment
Of love unsatisfied
The greater torment
Of love satisfied
End of the endless
Journey to no end
Conclusion of all that
Is inconclusible
Speech without word and
Word of no speech
Grace to the Mother
For the Garden
Where all love ends.
” __T.S. Eliot

One may not believe or know what God means but everyone has a mother and everyone can experience that pure unsullied love from her, that to me is nothing but God. God is neither distant nor distinct from the mother who is full of such love.

Mother’s day is coming up in a few days but we all know very well every day is mother’s day, because, if not for her I wouldn’t be here today, if not for her sacrifices I wouldn’t be where I am today, if not for her inspiration I wouldn’t be who I am today, if not for her discipline I wouldn’t be what I am today, if not for her I wouldn’t be.

Poets On Life and Death

In order to possess what you do not possess you must go by the way of dispossession

We live in a world where there is no room for a poem, no time absolutely whatsoever. Rumi and T.S. Eliot are remnants of a long gone era but rest assured their poems are forever. 

Rumi has written beautifully on life and death, he calls out what might be on many peoples’ minds, if the feast of life is not to be enjoyed why did I get invited in the first place? Death of a dear family member is one obvious  reason one might question the legitimacy of this feast that we all partake:

you have set up
a colorful table
calling it life and
asked me to your feast
but punish me if
i enjoy myself
what tyranny is this

Rumi
Rumi

If the all encompassing love of a dear one is what we miss, is that a problem we experience because we are not immersed in their love, for if we are we should not feel the void. If we are immersed in their love, how can death of that person diminish the feeling of love?

you mustn’t be afraid of death
you’re a deathless soul
you can’t be kept in a dark grave
you’re filled with God’s glow


be happy with your beloved
you can’t find any better
the world will shimmer
because of the diamond you hold

when your heart is immersed
in this blissful love
you can easily endure
any bitter face around

T. S. Eliot writes in East Coker that love is not about here and now, in fact, he says when hear and now cease to matter that is when we see true love. 

CREDIT: BORIS ARTZYBASHEFF

And the wisdom of age? Had they deceived us Or deceived themselves, the quiet-voiced elders, bequeathing us merely a receipt for deceit?The serenity only a deliberate hebetude, the wisdom only the knowledge of dead secrets. Useless in the darkness into which they peered

Love is most nearly itself when here and now cease to matter.

I particularly like this one line from East Coker, it is only when we don’t have what we crave for, we can feel its absence in every moment. Feeling its absence only increases the craving until a point when we are fully immersed in the love of that which is craved for.

In order to possess what you do not possess You must go by the way of dispossession.

And what you own is what you do not own

If I may dare to add to Eliot’s magnum opus on life and death “And what you do not own is what you own”.

If a thing of beauty is a joy forever then why brood over the lost ones? In John Keats beautiful words

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: 
Its loveliness increases; it will never 
Pass into nothingness; 

…..

And such too is the grandeur of the dooms 
We have imagined for the mighty dead; 
An endless fountain of immortal drink, 
Pouring unto us from the heaven’s brink

Seneca compares life to an inn, soon one has to leave to make room for another guest. Seneca points out that every man in this life comes with a certain lifespan, no one dies before their time or after their time, they all do on time.

We must firmly believe that loveliness cannot pass into nothingness, that is the only way I know to make sense of this thing we call life…..and death.