A man used to pray the same prayer every night. Again and again he would ask, “Lord, do one favor for me, at least one favor — and I have been asking my whole life. As far as I can see, I am the most miserable man on earth. Why have you chosen me to be the most miserable? I am ready to exchange my miseries with anyone else, anyone will do — just let me exchange my miseries with someone else. I don’t ask for bliss. Can’t you give me only this single opportunity to exchange my miseries with someone else? This is not asking much!”
One night in a dream he saw God speak. A great voice came from the heavens saying, “Gather all your miseries into bundles and bring them to the temple hall.”
So, the whole town gathered their miseries into big bundles and brought them to the temple hall.
This man is tremendously happy: “So the moment has come! It seems something will happen now!”
He rushes with his bundle. On the way he finds others also are rushing. By the time he reaches the temple he becomes scared, very scared, because he sees people are carrying bigger bundles than his. People that he had always seen smiling and thought them to be happy — the rich, the successful, the celebrities, the popular and the famous, men and women, young and old, — in beautiful clothes and always saying nice things to each other, and they are carrying bigger bundles! He starts becoming a little hesitant whether to go or not to go, but he has been praying his whole life, so he says, “Let us see what happens.”
They enter the temple. The voice says, “Put your bundles around the hall.” They put their bundles. The voice says again, “Now you can choose any bundle that you like.”
And the miracle of miracles happens: everybody rushes to his own bundle! This man also rushes so fast towards his own bundle, afraid that if somebody else chooses it then he will be at a loss. Everybody has chosen his own bundle, with great relief and they are all happy, carrying their bundles back home.
Even this man is very happy, for the simple reason that “Who knows what is in the other’s bundle? At least we are aware of our own bundle and what it contains. Moreover, we have become accustomed, we have become adjusted to our miseries. Over a period of time, somehow we have learnt to manage them.” A known devil is better than an unknown one?!
Grass always appears greener on the other side.
From the standpoint of the law of karma (action), the good and bad experiences or happiness and miseries in our lives are as a result of our own past karma-s, either in this life or some past life. In a way, we have chosen the positives and negatives in our present lives by performing the relevant karma-s which would give such results in the present life. We have no one to blame.
The karma-s of our past lives have become the blue print for the present life. So, if we want a better next life, we need to improve the quality of our karma-s in the present life, that will give a better blueprint for our next life.
Miseries and sufferings along with failures, frustrations and disappointments in life are inevitable. But on that ground man should not sink in an endless sorrow. He is to outgrow anguish as quickly as possible. For it eats up the personality as a whole. Affliction with anguish is a destructive force. It shatters the personality, clouds the understanding and ruins the talents.