New Delhi : Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional; loss is unavoidable; grief isn't; death is certain. And life? Well, life isn't certain. Its uncertainty, unpredictability, even its irrationality, make it what it is -- particularly in these troubled times with the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world and showing no signs of letting up.
Himalayan mystic and former IT honcho Om Swami's new book, "The Big Questions Of Life" (HarperCollins), now available on Kindle, couldn't have come a day sooner as millions around the world wonder: "What have I done to deserve this?"
Often, we run blindly into fire, we step on snakes, we get entangled in snares -- these are the fires of desire, the snakes of attachment, and the snares of jealousy and covetousness. If we are bitten, burnt and hurt, we call it suffering, and believe it to be the way of life, when, in fact, we are mistaking our pain for our suffering. We have little control over the former but the latter is almost entirely in our hands. We can take things in our stride or be tossed on the tide. All it takes is to be able to open our eyes. This choice, we must remember, is ours; always.
He has a mantra for this: "If your own thoughts cannot provoke you, nothing external can provoke you either. Every external occurrence triggers an internal thought that may alter your state of mind. If you can just be the spectator and not the reactor or an adaptor of the thought, the thought becomes powerless."
Educated at the Western Sydney University and University Of Technology, Sydney, the Patiala- born Sawmi, now 40 was a millionaire at 26, having founded and ran a multimillion-dollar software company with offices across the world, before he realised his calling lay elsewhere and renounced it all to live in the Himalayan foothills.
He is also the author of the bestselling books "If Truth be Told: A Monk's Memoir" (2014), "The Wellness Sense: A Practical Guide to Your Physical and Emotional Health Based on Ayurvedic and Yogic Wisdom" (2015), "When All Is Not Well: Depression, Sadness and Healing- A Yogic Perspective" (2016), "The Last Gambit" (2017), "Mind Full to Mindful: Zen Wisdom from a Monk's Bowl" (2018), "The Children of Tomorrow: A Monk's Guide to Mindful Parenting" (2019), and "The Book of Kindness: How to Make Others Happy and Be Happy Yourself" (2019) -- all published by HarperCollins.