Saturday, September 16, 2006

First sow then reap

When we see that we have to first sow seeds to reap, it appears obvious and natural. But, why do we seem to forget this basic principle when we have to reap rewards (or lack of them) in life. We do not seem to have patience. We like instant gratification. It's like sowing some seeds today and expecting a yield fruits next day.

It's not just sowing seeds that gets us a good harvest. It's also all the nurturing that we need to provide till the end to get a good harvest. In life, many times, we somehow manage to sow seeds but taking care of the seeds till they grow up to provide harvest seems too much of a task and effort. Look at how we many times approach relationships. The very foundation of a relationship is that we are willing to undergo short term losses or pains in the expectation that when the relationship matures, it deliverers lasting and satisfying rewards. This may be personal relationship or professional relationship. Most of the times in relationships, either we are on guard thinking that people will exploit us or we give a little and immediately expect equal or more in return immediately. Nobody says that we need to keep giving without any expectation of returns. But, expecting returns very early or being way too much calculative or feeling insecure all are like not remembering the natural law - first sow and then reap.

Another manifestation of this law is the fundamental truth that you have to first GIVE before you can receive. The principle of giving is highlighted in our scriptures and stressed by all great people. But, we still fall short of giving. Or we give something that we really don't need and giving it really does not matter to us. I think Brian Tracy says in one of his books, best way to reap the benefits of giving is by giving those very things which we ourselves short of. If you are short of time, make some time and give your time to the causes you believe in. If you are short of money, save some money somehow and give it to your favorite charity. This concept does not stop here. It's beauty is only magnified when we take it to other aspects. Short of patience, how about putting up with that annoyance or annoying person for extra 5 minutes. Short tempered?  How about managing to hold on for extra 5 minutes before blowing up? Insecure? How about feeling secure even if it is miniscule and so on. Somehow strange law of 'Karma' works and you are rewarded many more times.

Some people may totally give up on this natural law of first give and then receive for some very good reasons. We many times see some really nice people who have toiled their entire lives for the welfare of their family and friends and made some really great sacrifices end up getting nothing worthwhile at the end. People who benefited from them move away, they do not get much needed help when needed and so on. It is absolutely norma for such people to feel bitter at the end and denounce such laws and advise youngsters to care only for themselves because nobody is going to care for them when the time comes. This approach taken by elders is short sighted. Why limit the period for receiving back the favors just to this life time that too when they are almost ready to end this life and move on to another life. Isn't it much better to have all those favors reserved for next life rather than get them now and not be able to enjoy because there is not much time left. It's like someone offering you a gourmet food when you are not hungry. They say the offer is good only for next hour. What do you do? Try to gobble some food anyhow even if you can not take even one more morsel. Do you prefer a rain check? Don't you think it would be great if the other person can tell us that we can use the offer for gourmet food anytime in next 10 years or even next life.

This understanding really helps when we feel sour that we did not get what we think we deserved. Let it go. If God thought that thing that you coveted is really good for you, he would give it you at the right moment. If you don't get it in this or next or other lives, you probably did not need it in the first place. God felt you had everything you needed to be successful and this thing that you so badly wanted was not one of them. Some people who are born with some deficiencies or people who lose limbs or organs  due to some mishap who are spiritual develop this understanding very easily. Moreover, those who develop and firmly believe in God, have gone to achieve great things in life. Helen Keller, Arthur Ashe, Greg Louganis and you can name many many more people who firmly believed that what they lacked they did not really need to achieve what they were destined to achieve. Can everyone develop such a conviction? Not very easily. But, over time everyone matures and such insight comes to everyone. Taking to spirituality and becoming interested in some spiritual classic only speeds up the process and reduces much pain which people normally undergo learning these things the hard way.


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