Four years ago, my husband, the sole breadwinner, came home and told me, a full-time housewife since the year 2000, that he has lost his job. Tried as he did for the next half year, he could not get another job that could give us back the kind of decent lifestyle we were so used to. On top of this, we have two young children to feed and endless bills to pay.
Friends deserted us. Relatives distanced themselves. In-laws began to interfere and provoke. Tempers flared. Tears flowed. Quarrels ensued. Our once tranquil home became hell on earth. Can you imagine how awful life was from then on? If I had wanted to, I could even write a book on all the miseries and indignities we have endured since that fateful day in December 2010.
Depression set in. Suicide did crossed my mind more than once. There were times when I wished I do not have to wake up to face another day. I knew I had lost my sanity one evening when I saw visions of a girl laughing at me from the wall of the toilet.
But I did not go to seek the help of a psychiatrist or a counselor. I knew no one could help me except myself. I think those who know me would now find it hard to believe the kind of hell my family have been through the last four years. After all, we managed to put up a brave front and smiled through the tears and pain.
Then one day, I came across a quote that would changed my life forever – “Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.” It was by Siddhartha Gautama. So, husband and I decided to find the blessings behind the pain and humiliations we were going through.
He searched high and low, and finally found a book that could help me. It was not an ordinary self-help book written by some millionaire businessman or a motivational speaker. It was written by a respected monk from Tibet called Pabongka Rinpoche and the book was passed on to another monk called Trijang Rinpoche who later became the personal tutor to the 14th Dalai Lama. It was said that Trijang Rinpoche brought the book along with his young student when they both fled to India after China invaded Tibet. This book has served the 14th Dalai Lama so well and also, millions of other human beings suffering from some kind of emotional upheaval.
The name of this book is “Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand.” From this book, I learned that no one could help me out from my miseries except myself. I learned not to rely on others but myself for salvation. I learned to take charge of my own life. I learned to depend on myself for true happiness.
Slowly, bit by bit, I began to remove layers of anger that had built up over the years. I have also learned not to hate my life anymore, or the people who have been so unkind and hostile to me in my darkest hours. Now, I see them as my teachers or gurus – they taught me not to be like them. I learned not to be greedy for things which were not meant for me. This in turn, teaches me to be contented, to be satisfied with the little things I still have with me, and they are things money cannot buy. The book taught me not to be egoistic. Instead, I learned humility. Anyway, how proud can one be when life is impermanent?
You are not suppose to read this book in a jiffy. You won’t learn anything that way. You should read it very slowly, contemplate on Pabongka’s lessons, and practice what you have understood from him. That way, you will become a better human being, and a more peaceful individual. I have found peace at last, and I felt I have grown up too. I have found the blessings behind all the tears we have shed and the pain we have gone through.
For years, I was called degrading names like potato, stupid, lazy or useless. In-laws said I only know how to eat but do not know how to earn money. I wanted to prove them wrong. Today, I am no longer just a housewife and a mother. I have become a writer too. I have written a book, and another one is coming up soon, after I have finished putting in some final touches to the contents and am satisfied with the cover design.
Am I ashamed of having gone through all these “lows” in life? Not at all. Now, I am comfortable enough to share my pain without a tinge of self-pity or resentment.
We have been knocked down very badly, but we have learned to stand up again, and continues with the journey called “life.” My husband is building up a new career again and we are beginning to see the fruits of his labor.
If anything, I am grateful for having gone through such a huge storm and came out from it unharmed. I have no regrets. I would not have it any other way.