Living unemployed is not the end of life. That is to say, a job does not define who you are. You should remember that, first of all, you are a human being with a great intelligence and many potential abilities and skills. No matter what position or responsibility you used to perform, you cannot be measured in terms of specific employment. If you are experiencing such a situation, you ought to stay hopeful and think of that as a temporary circumstance. In other words, living unemployed is an indication that God wants you to sit back, explore within, and work on your consciousness! It is an indication that God loves you! HE is giving you a very unusual opportunity to ‘STOP’, ‘REFLECT’ and ‘RESTART’! So living unemployed is not the end of life, but living a hopeless life certainly is!
Sadly, most people tend to become hopeless when they have either lost their job or can’t find a new one. When this happens, they also tend to think of themselves as useless people. That is because they are simply unaware of 3 great secrets for a successful life. These are: 1) keeping one’s hope, 2) taking risks, and 3) starting again. To illustrate each of them, let’s read the following story taken from a remarkable Hindi entrepreneur’s reflection.
An old man, co-founder of a reputed multinational company, was seriously ill in his bed, barely counting the last days of his successful life. During one of the few visits he was allowed to receive, a young man approached his bed and asked him: “Sir, what was your secret?” He said “It is too late to ask. Time is short, and I am dying”. But the young man insisted, and said “You can simply say the secret. You are still alive, you are still breathing and talking, you can simply tell me the secret.” The old man said “It will be difficult because I had thousands of secrets, and it is too late to relate all of them. But I will certainly tell you about my 3 great secrets for a successful life”.
Long ago, when I was unemployed, I had been to a small village where I lost my way. And it was there that I met a thief. It was a dark night, shops were closed, and hotels were closed. There was not a single human being on the road. I searched for somebody to ask for help. I found one man who was trying to make a hole in the wall of a house. I asked him where I could stay, and he said, “I am a thief.” And the thief said, “Right now it will be very difficult to find any place to stay, but you can come to my home. You can stay with me — if you can stay with a thief.”
The old man said “I hesitated a little bit. Then I thought that if the thief is not afraid of me, then why should I be afraid of a thief? Anyhow, I had no treasures to worry about – I was simply an unemployed man! In fact, he should be afraid of me. So I said, “Yes, I will come.” And so I went and stayed with the thief. And the man was so lovely, so beautiful that I stayed for one month! And each night he would say to me, “Now I am going to work. You rest, you pray, you do your work.” When he would come back I would ask, “Could you get anything?” He said, “Not tonight. But tomorrow I will try again.” And he was never in a state of hopelessness.
So he kept trying one day more, day after day. Then I said: “If the thief was so hopeful, with such hope and trust, I should try at least one day more. Many times I kept facing failure after failure, but the thief and the memory of him helped me to wait one more day. Then one day, it happened, it DID happen! I was offered a good job in a reputed multinational company. I was thousands of miles away from the thief and his house, but I bowed down in his direction. That was how I joined and worked in that multinational company for 10 years. Essentially, I always kept my HOPE; that was my first great Secret!
‘And then I met my second great Secret – a bold dog. I was thirsty, and I was going towards the river when a dog approached me. He was also thirsty. But when he looked into the river, he saw another dog there — his own reflection — and became afraid. He barked, and the other dog barked too (his reflection, again). But his thirst was so great that he would hesitate, and then go back. He would come again, look into the water, and find that other dog there. But the thirst was so great that he suddenly jumped into the water, and the image disappeared. He drank the water, he swam in the water — it was a hot summer. And I was watching. I knew that a message had come to me from God.’
That was the moment when I decided to quit my good job with 10 years of employment. I decided to ‘jump’, and took the risk of starting my own company. When I was on the verge of jumping into the unknown, the same fear was there. I would go to the very edge, hesitate, and come back. And then I would remember the dog. If the dog could manage it, why couldn’t I? And then one day I jumped into the unknown, and I started my own company. The bold dog was my second great Secret. Today the company that you see in existence is merely because of that Dog!
Throughout life, one has to jump into the unknown – or taking risks– in spite of all fears. The young man smiled, but still curious, he asked “And what was your third great Secret?” “A boy” the old man said with a smile. My company was now doing very well. I was almost in my sixties, and yet somehow I was not satisfied. The bliss, the awakening was yet to come! My spiritual thirst was yet to be satisfied. When one day I came across this boy whom I met in a temple. He must have been about fifteen years old. It was a Sunday, and I saw him carrying a lit oil lamp, hiding it in his hands and going to the temple to deliver the lit oil lamp.
Just jokingly, I asked the boy, “Have you lit the lamp yourself?” He said, “Yes, sir.” And I asked, “Can you tell me where the light came from? There was a moment when the lamp was unlit, and then there was a moment when the lamp was lit. Can you show me the source from which the light came? And since you were the one who lit it, so you must have seen the light coming — but from where?” And the boy laughed and blew out the candle, and said, “Now you have seen the light going, where has it gone? You tell me!” I had no answer! My ego was shattered, and my whole knowledge was shattered. At that moment I felt my own stupidity.
I realized that to experience God and his immense love, I must restart my journey towards ‘Ground Zero’. It is only when you become zero – empty yourself of all that you had gathered throughout your life, that you will able to create space for the divine knowledge that you seek in this journey of spiritual life! I learned that within the material world, your journey is towards the ‘I know everything’. But within the spiritual world, your journey is towards the ‘I know nothing’!
Now I could relate that to the great Socrates, who during the very last moment of his life said “I know that I know nothing”! Socrates was at last able to reach that very first stage of ground zero! Yes, that boy was my third great Secret! He was just an instrument in bringing that rare awareness within me. After which I handed over all my belongings, properties and company matters to my family, and started my journey to unburden all the book knowledge. To unlearn all that I had learned, so as to create space for the ‘real thing’ – the divine truth!
His eyes became wet, and the young man became speechless. So much to learn from this real life story! What more to ask? There was a deep silence. And then with a smile, the old man said “And do you know, the very turning point of this eventful life of mine?” “It was that point of my life when I was living unemployed! It all had started again.”
Indeed, behind every ending, there is always a “New Beginning”. However, new beginnings are often misunderstood as painful endings. While being unemployed, that ‘off-time’ you get is a bizarre opportunity to develop yourself, somehow, at 360 degrees. In this sense, you should make the most out of this unemployed circumstance! Because when you are at the rock bottom of your career, it can actually become a solid foundation on which you can restart out of nothing. There is always the possibility of STARTING AGAIN when you really trust the very best that GOD has saved for you!
WRITTEN BY: Abelardo Canelo