As I step out of the metro, having turned the last page of my newly finished book, “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl, I’m hit by a swarm of questions in my mind. At first, all my problems seem inferior compared to the horrors of the concentration camps. As the whole narrative continues to sync in, the sudden feeling of existential crisis and where am I headed in life gives way to a crystal clear realization about my reality.
What is the emotion that I experienced in that moment?
I’m grateful that I didn’t have to witness such destruction. I’m grateful that I didn’t have to live through war. I’m grateful that I didn’t lose my identity. I’m grateful that I didn’t have to constantly live in the fear of air raids and take shelter in self dug holes. I’m grateful I wasn’t a puppet in the hands of people who had lost all the sense of their humanism. I’m grateful that I didn’t live through the darkest times of world history.
As I continue to walk to my office and regaining the sense of the times I live in , the emotion of gratefulness starts to deepen and more questions come to my head. Am I grateful that I have a decent job, where I’m respected and appreciated? Am I grateful that I had the opportunity to study where I studied and that I’m capable enough of making my own decisions? Am I grateful that I have a home and family to go back to every day post office, who so patiently wait for me at the dinner table every night? Am I grateful for being healthy and capable of working and making my own choices? Am I grateful to have people in my life who care about me?
And as these questions become more pressing, thanks to the triggers caused by reading about human suffering at such fundamental levels, I realize that the answer to all these questions was a mild yes. And then I told myself, “Oh come on, are you kidding me, ofcourse I’m grateful.” But then, why is the yes so feeble?
We know it. Don’t we?
We take these things for granted. As hard hitting as it may seem, it is the truth. While reading every page of this book, I was constantly reminded of how lucky I am and how thankful I should be. How insignificant some of my problems are, and how huge I make them just by overthinking.
I’m filled with gratitude. And this sense of gratitude, has given rise to courage and strength, because it brought me closer to my roots.
I’m further encouraged by these words of Dr. Daisaku Ikeda, “One cannot become a starring player in life if one is easily swayed by one’s emotions over every little thing. Strength of character lies in performing the drama of life with courage and confidence, practicing self-reflection and self-control under any circumstances.”
So, I’m going to self reflect, and count my blessings, rather than get lost in the chaos of the usual blur.
What about you?