Number 87.– Why?
According to a legend, in the North of India a woman had a baby who died soon after being born. Quite distressed, as this mother stayed near the Buddha, she went and saw him with her child, and weeping beseeched to bring him back to life again. The Buddha told her to fetch from any house every object where nobody had ever died. This young lady went hopefully from home to home asking and was unable to find anything of these conditions. She visited houses of peasants, arrived at villages, and traveled through roads; but the answer was ever the same. Tired and calmed down, now she came back home and buried her dead baby. So she understood the Master’s teaching: as a part of life, death is everywhere; it is a continuous sorrow in men until their last breath; it is a part of the Universal Law of Renunciation.
But people do not ask general questions, are not interested in dead persons in Iraq, or in suffering at hospitals, or in moral miseries causing so much sorrow. Men deal only with themselves. They wonder: Why to me; what did I do for so much suffering, for so long years? And they say: It never comes to an end. Personally they state: I have ever behaved properly, but the fate punished me with this disease with no relief. I did not steal, and did not kill anyone, I have helped my neighbor as much as possible; however, destiny punishes me with this suffering. Saint Paul of the Cross, founder of the Passionists, blamed himself and said: “I have neither light, nor help, nor relief. Annihilate me, my God; I must be quite bad and perverse when you let so many pains fall on me and on those trusting in me.” And the Master Santiago, an old pupil of a Passionist gymnasium, in the North of Italy, replies in Teaching 8, Course “The Way of Renunciation”: But I did not know what a hard way I had to travel through to be able to comply the Mystique of Renunciation; this ideal renunciation that he has been given should be a living example of Renunciation if he wanted to leave it as an heritage to his Sons”. He should learn, he should know life, and only through personal experience one knows, and suffering is transmuted into wisdom. Why to me?, a patient asks. The answer: So that you may learn to live! When shall I learn? As you understand those laws governing life, and as you accept them and make them your own. While you reject the Laws of Renunciation, you’ll go on to wonder in vain: Why to me?
If we look backwards –History, legends, Gospels of Great Masters, memories of our grandparents and parents, our personal memory– we will see how those happy moments of our past have been fleeting and rare; in happiness, at good moments we do not learn; rather we waste them by enjoying them, with no lasting effects. As we want to keep those good moments as a permanent possession, as a personal property, they slip from our hands. Why are children so blissful today, tomorrow, and the next day? Because they let life pass through them and do not stop it, but they laugh, play, enjoy and forget. Then joy returns again to that released place, and they can travel through it at will, every day. Under their desire for possessions, not only money and properties, but also happiness, wellbeing and accumulated pleasures, men miss the chance, because the place is occupied by something hard: possession. Greedy men ask, “Why to me?”. The answer: “Because your house is filled with old things: memories, objects, personal affections, and selfishness, which finally decay, and when you lose them, they hurt”.
Life is like fresh air getting in and out of open doors and windows, filling the house with scents from the fields. One feels to be unitary, and for the permanence of that imagined unity, we envelop it with dogmatic chains, by tying a bouquet of living circumstances with tight nets choking the existence. Didn’t you notice that a bouquet of flowers needs its own air and a little of water in the flower pot to last. Each flower in a bouquet lives its own air and needs space to breath; as the bouquet develops naturally, it lasts, shines, and exhales attractive scents. A soul is not a lone flower, but a bouquet of many flowers willing to express themselves. Let us gives them air, and this soul will express happiness.
Life is itself blissful, joyful, dynamic and alternative. A being should go to open fields at moments of sorrow and see a permanent expression of that natural joy, which means freedom. Look at activities of the birds and animals, even of butterflies in permanent movement, and you’ll understand that the Providence is generous with all. If in zoos animals seem to be sad and bored it is because they are cornered. If in a city the trees do not grow it is because they are distressed by the cement. And if the Riachuelo in Buenos Aires is disgusting, it is because its waters remain stagnated, rotten and stinking. Likewise, persons, the same as the calm waters, suffer from melancholy because they keep things that should flow freely. Renounce to deceiving things, do not be attached to those who possess them, and possessions won’t have power against you. So you’ll can use them and leave them behind with no regret, so as children and birds do.
The children ask continuously questions; they want to know; knowledge about themselves and about things is one of the fundamental impulses in men. But those elder people who did not learn much from their experiences, ask when the destiny is against them: “Why do these misfortunes happen to me?”. And it is a good, quite good, excellent question. Because it arrives when quite apart from his happy or sorrowful, grand or very little, criminal or legal experience, he stands before the mirror of his conscience and looks at himself entirely without prejudices, objectively, to know himself without subterfuges. “The truth shall cause you to be free”, Jesus said, and an exact self-knowledge, individually, is the beginning of freedom. Men enjoying life at any material or spiritual circumstance are hardly interested in going beyond this pleasure if they feel happy; they enjoy it and nothing else. Why should they spoil it with indiscreet questions? It is in a pain shaking every faculty and moving the foundations of the personal security that the individual being starts researching the cause of the phenomena.
There are dogmas everywhere: in religions, in politics, in economy, in moral, and in sciences. And dogmas choke the truths, the new knowledge, and any possibility of spiritual development. Theology is sustained by immovable dogmas, but Mystique has no dogmas but changing, renewing experiences. The principle of analogical contrariety is the basis of changes and of History. A dogmatic straight line leads to an outburst, in social systems, in religion, and in personal life. A person that cannot reverse those values that are encouraging his spirit will be in a permanent crisis, asking always the same: Why to me? He will carry this dissatisfaction to his own grave and to the hereafter with an enormous suffering. When he is born again will possess a seed of bitterness, and repeat experiences. Because pending problems of incarnated life are not solved in the astral; they should be solved here. So, during the last years, when everything has been done the task of the individual being is to understand his destiny, whatever be, riches, disease, failure, and loneliness. Old people should take even stock of their experiences and, without useless reproaches, remain in deep silence at the bottom of their hearts so that, when they die, can cross the threshold without burdens. God has granted them some extra years, not to go and play bowling in the park or chess with retired colleagues, but to get conclusions from their past experiences.
It is a poor old man he who wastes this so valuable time, full of experiences and vital knowledge, by complaining, programming unending tours, wasting his time before the idiot TV box, embittered by his dissatisfaction. What he has in his soul –much or little–is his own harvest; he cannot change it for anything, it is not for sale; it is his treasure, the best, what he needs to forge as a positive incarnation. Life in the next round is planned here, during the final years. There is a coherent continuity in the diverse dimensions traveled by the individual being toward his final destination; there are not irrational cuts between one time and another, but continuity.
When a fragile and forgetful being is born, as he is covering stages in his development –first infancy, second infancy, puberty, adolescence, youth– he is progressively taking a place in the plan of his destiny, by discovering it, establishing himself in the potential plan of his life, until a moment when he occupies the same site left behind at the death time and confronts again his personal problem, which he needs to solve. Some people find it in youth; Little Therese of Lissieux found it at the age of fifteen. Santiago Bovisio at the first infancy; others, like Jesus, know it always. Most people never find it and repeat again the cycle of incarnations at the same place of suffering left behind when they passed away.
Adriana, a full Buddhist soul, never asked “Why to me?” in spite of his terrible sufferings. She remained joyful, kind and diligent. She was young and beautiful, a soul of Renunciation.
José González Muñoz.