BENGALURU: There is a story of a young man who went to college. He was different from the other college students in one respect. The boy had to get around college in a wheelchair. Despite his handicap he was well liked. He was a friendly person with an optimistic attitude.
The boy worked hard and won many academic honors. His classmates had great respect for him. One day a schoolmate asked him, “What has caused your physical handicap?”
The college student said, “I developed cerebral palsy as a baby.”
The friend asked him, “What is your secret? How can you live with such great misfortune yet still face the world with a smile and confidence?”
The college student replied with a smile, “You see, the disease never touched my heart and soul.”
How many times do we find ourselves or our family members complaining about minor discomforts?
Throughout life we face some physical challenges. As children we can have childhood diseases. Throughout the year, we can have many ailments. When we overeat we may get a stomach ache.
Many of us complain and whine over all these. Yet if we look around us we find many people with severe handicaps. We find people who have lost a limb, or who have a terminal illness. Among these we find people who learn to live life to its fullest even with these challenges. Like the college student in the story, they do not let the problems of their physical body affect their heart or their soul.
We are soul. Our true self is spirit. The body is but a covering over the soul. Spirituality is a process of discovering our true self with in. Meditation and prayer help us to separate our soul from the body so we can discover who we really are.
Many of us own cars. At times the car breaks down and goes into an auto repair shop. While we may be inconvenienced for a while by having to rent a car or by needing a family member or friend to drive us around, we do not feel as though our life is over. We realise the car is but a vehicle by which our physical body can get around. Similarly, the body is but a vehicle for our soul. At times it may break down. But it does not need to affect our soul. We can learn to keep our spirits high. We can make the best of life, whether we have a broken vehicle or not.
At some point in our lives, our body will show signs of aging. Although the Genome Project is trying to uncover the gene responsible for aging, and a day may come when more people live well beyond a hundred years, there will come a time when our body does not function as well as it did when we were younger. But we should not let that deter us. There are many people who suffer ill health in their aging years, but do not let that stop them from finding peace in their soul.
Similarly, we can make the best use of our life no matter what our physical challenges. By spending time in communion with God and drinking of God’s love, we can spread love to all we meet. We can do that no matter what our physical circumstance. If we are at home due to a sickness, we can still bring love into the lives of the family members who are caring for us. After all, it is but our physical vesture that is ill; our soul is always in the best of health.
If we live like the college student in the story, we will not let our physical challenges affect our heart and soul. An optimistic, positive attitude will help us overcome the challenges and we can bring joy into our life and the lives of others.