When I have faced my share of trials and tribulations in life, I have often reacted by asking myself what I have done to deserve this event in my life. The classic question: Why? Why me? This process often follows with the individual reflecting on their past deeds and behaviour and trying hard to see if anything they have done in their past could have warranted this tragic or troubling event in life. Invariability we seek to match our past deeds to the current event and take solace in some sort of justification or as some call it Karma. But, we almost never do the same when a positive or good event occurs in our lives. We seldom find the need to match our past deeds to our gifts in life or happiness. We never find the need to justify our happiness.
We exaggerate misfortune and happiness alike. We are never as bad off or as happy as we say we are.
Honore de Balzac
We go through our respective lives facing each of our share of events, positive and negative alike, in an assumption that our deeds define the outcome of our life. If we do good, we will be rewarded and if we do bad we shall be punished. This whole life is only a payback process of our deeds. Hence we are often baffled when a negative event occurs that opposes this belief. I always did good, loved everyone, was honest in my relationships, was accommodating, when out of my way to make others happy, helped others, and was charitable in life. Then why was I cheated in love? Or why do people hurt me or care less about my feelings? Similarly, I am honest, hard working and loyal to the firm I work for, yet I am not rewarded, promoted or recognized. These are common situations we face in our lives. We expect these moral and righteous behaviours of ours to be rewarded with an outcome that we believe to be appropriate, just and timely. And when we do not receive what we expect within the time we expect it, we often retaliate by trying to do the very opposite of our good and moral deeds.
We are the only beings on the planet who lead such rich internal lives that it’s not the events that matter most to us, but rather, it’s how we interpret those events that will determine how we think about ourselves and how we will act in the future.
The truth is that the events of our lives is not defined by our deeds but it is a natural series of occurrence that is nothing more than our share of what is called “life”. And this life is shaped by our actions and reactions to the events that occur. If anything, our good deeds are the things we do in good conscience that we believe is the right thing to do and invariably place a certain amount of hope that these good deeds shall be returned to us in some form of reward or blessing during our current life or for those who believe in afterlife. And for those who do such good deeds with an expectation of a fixed desired outcome at a chosen time are often left disappointed. Good deeds in our lives differentiate us from others. They make us greater people, makes us virtuous, build our personality, develop our values in life and earn us love and respectability. Our deeds are rewarded or punished at a time and in a manner of natures choosing by certain divine blessing. It is not said that our deeds will influence the events of our lives. If this was true, then no honest man will ever be cheated, no loving person will ever be hurt in love, no charitable person will ever face hardships, and every sharing and caring person will be blessed with abundance of luck and good fortune all the time.
Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.
Bad things happen to very good people often. That doesn’t mean that it was an outcome of a bad deed of the past. It is merely their share of bad things in their life. People face many bad events due to their own stupidity. Because they are honest people overly trusting they expect everyone to be honest to them. If a person has never cheated anyone in love he or she may expect never to be cheated in love in return and place an unrealistic expectation of loyalty and trust in another person. Just because you are good it doesn’t make others good people too. Just because you are fair in your individual life it doesn’t make this world a fair and perfect place to live. Your good deeds and beliefs does not make others like you. This world is filled with different people who have different individual experiences and lessons they have learned in their lives. These experiences and events have influenced them to be who they are. You may be born with your siblings who have been raised with the same set of beliefs and experiences in their lives, yet each one of you may turn out to be different. The person beside you who helped feed a needy may do the act of charity for a totally different reason and face a totally different life and the events that are his or her share of life. Innocent children are faced with cancer or born in countries faced with famine. Several innocent people and people who do several good deeds in life fall victim to natural disasters, life threatening diseases, or the outcome of a war.
“We become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.” Aristotle
We place an unrealistic value and expectation on the things we do in good faith and conscience. We will certainly be rewarded for our good deeds. But it may not be in a form or a time as we expect it to be. Likewise, every bad thing we do, we will face the consequences of it. Again, it may not be at a time and manner we think it may happen. Nature has its own very way to balance things in life. Regardless of our good or bad deeds in life, we each will have to face our share of good and bad events of our respective lives. There is no escape from life. Life happens to everyone. Our deeds will in no way change the events in our lives, but if anything it may give us the wisdom, comfort, courage and confidence in our own goodness and help us react to the event in the best possible manner. For example, if we have spent our lives helping others in need, we shall face our times of need with a certain level of courage and wisdom that other people similar to us exist and will help us should we cross paths. But just because we have helped others in need it is no guarantee that we will never face our share of helplessness or time of need. We each have our share of good and bad to face. Our deeds help us through these times and our reactions to these good and bad events in life define the outcome of our lives. We need to continue to do good and be good human beings for the sake of our own sanity and to maintain a good and clear conscience. This will help us build our individual characters based on high moral beliefs, righteousness, pride, and self esteem. These qualities will in turn help us react to our lives and the events within with confidence, courage, faith, and positivity. Our good deeds build our self confidence, pride, self esteem and confidence. Do good for these reasons. Do not do good expecting a reward or immediate gratification by others. Do it for your inner self, peace, and for humanity regardless of caste, creed or religion by listening to your good conscience.
Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.