The job was getting too much for me. The working hours were far too long, stretching late into the evening. There were too many problems, too many issues to deal with. I had to deal with far too many people, they were becoming impossible to manage. The pay was very poor – in fact there was no pay at all. That is why I had to make this heart wrenching decision to quit.
Starting right now, I am no longer the general manager of the universe.
No one asked me to take on this role. I don’t even know how I got sucked into taking up this assignment. The job, itself, is unnecessary since there are so many other general managers of the universe, maybe just about everybody I know.
Perhaps, it came from watching too much TV or reading too many newspapers. I became so involved with the world’s problems that they started becoming my own. I started giving my opinion to friends, relatives, colleagues and even to strangers. It didn’t really help, because everyone else had their own opinion. Much to my surprise, nobody else agreed with me completely.
There is so much going on in this world, and we get enticed into giving our opinion on too many things. The media consistently reports bad news, because that is its job. About half the content in the media consists of speculations about the future. Lots of experts give their considered advice on what will go wrong in the future. It could be climate change, oil shortages, oil surpluses, rising food prices or the possible effects of a pandemic. It could be about anything and if there is enough doom and gloom in the prediction, people will read it. Nobody is going to come back later to see if the predictions were correct or not. No one cares about yesterday’s news.
A few years ago, I travelled with my wife on the morning commuter train from New Delhi to the nearby suburb of Rohtak. The journey took about an hour. There were two other passengers in our compartment, and they were debating forcefully about politics when we got on. It was obvious that they were both on opposite sides of the political spectrum. The discussion got very heated, and we were worried that they would come to actual blows during the argument. When we reached our destination, we all got off the train together. The two gentlemen smiled at each other and shook hands. One of them explained to me:
“We are actually very good friends. We live in the same neighborhood; we work in the same office, and we take this train together to go to work. We debate just for fun. Sometimes, we even switch roles. It is very good time pass for the one-hour commute”.
I realized that maybe this is all we are doing in life. We are just doing “time pass” because it makes the journey of life go by so much faster. What we feel or believe actually doesn’t matter, it is just “time pass”.
Once I decided to quit my job as general manager, I felt so much better. It seemed as though a huge burden had been lifted from me. As Kabir would have said:
“I feel so happy that my pitcher has broken. I no longer have to fill water in it every day”.
My pitcher broke on its own when I decided to stop acting like the general manager of the universe. There is no doubt that listening to Om Swami ji and watching his nine-day havan was a big help. Reading his books was also very helpful; it helped to stem the flow of a million thoughts racing through my head.
Words of wisdom from my wife are also a great support; she keeps me grounded in reality, away from the make-believe world of trying to have an opinion on everything. The husband-wife bond is very deep, it lasts longer than many other bonds that fade away with time. It is said that the husband and wife are together for seven cycles of birth and re-birth. I have no way of knowing whether this is true or not, but it is a comforting belief. We live out our lives with comforting beliefs, they make life pleasant during our brief stay on earth.
While I was the general manager of the universe, I also lived under the illusion that I could make a real difference to the world. It doesn’t really happen that way, because I am only a visitor during my stay on planet earth. Nothing here really belongs to me; I have no right to even try to fix anything in this temporary abode. I have some money in the bank right now, but it doesn’t really belong to me. If I spend it, the money will go to somebody else. If I keep it in the bank, it will, eventually, go to somebody else. It is the same with my house and other possessions, they are with me only for a while. I don’t even own this body, sooner or later I will have to look for another place else to live.
In the meantime, I cannot continue any longer with the terrible job that I chose for myself.
Effective today, I am no longer the general manager of the universe, and I am no longer responsible for all its problems.