Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Don't Fail

In the face book era, articles are widely shared with taglines “worth a read!” and I don’t feel good about it. I know the article will be good and it will rejuvenate my brain cells by exposing me to something new but it saddens me to know that the points made in the article will be lost in my chaotic thoughts. At best, I would recall them while conversing with a friend but so what? It’s just hollow. But the time spent on reading it was real. Real change will never happen because most of us are too lazy to use the will power. We just sail in a material world with a vague notion that we are so much better than most people and morality is limited to reading about other people do good things in life.

The vastness and time period of the universe tells us we can’t fail. We can die but not fail because what is failure in such an enormous universe. We are smaller than dust in the universe and yet we think that our problems are so big. And they are, to us. The suffering is real, we all know. But whether we need to suffer is a choice. And we have to become capable of exercising that choice. That comes when we think less and do more. Mistakes are fine coz then you learn fast. I am reminded of a quote by Mark Zuckerberg, “you are not moving fast enough if you are not breaking things”.

But most of us can’t do anything because we are trapped by our habits. And changing them is painful. That’s why painful events in life change us easily. They have greater impact and in most of the cases, the change feels better, more freeing. However, it doesn’t mean that change brings happiness. Happiness is not outside but inside. Even in a concentration camp, Viktor Frankl felt free and happy. So the point is to be totally satisfied now and here and follow our dreams with a joyful zest. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Break Down 'Job'

Let’s examine the term ‘job’. After hearing this generic term, if your excitement has dipped to a level lower than the sea level of the Dead Sea, I won’t blame you. We live in a world where a plethora of things are vying to get our attention simultaneously and so we have created ready-made opinions to get us out of the chaos.
So what is a job? I would say job is a way by which people reach the fourth level in the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, namely ‘Esteem’.

In other words, it is a way by which people who don’t have a fixed purpose in life, make others believe that they are making significant progress in their lives. And this make-believe is important because it gives meaning to their lives, if any. Who wants to die a quiet life without honor, right? And accumulation of modern equipment is the signaling mechanism that there’s growth (no wonder the number of e-commerce sites is skyrocketing!).

Does this mean that people with a fixed purpose in life (like those pursuing music /business/ /sports) are better? No, as long as they too are concerned about the amassing of wealth. Some people won’t agree that accumulation of money is a bad thing which I’ll discuss in another article. But as far as people with a purpose are concerned, often passion sucks the emptiness out of their lives and gives meaning to it. Money then takes a back seat. Take any example and you will know what I mean.
For majority, job does opposite to what is conveyed by the quote by Carl Gustav Jung, “I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become”.
The irony is, when everyone around is so lost, it doesn't feel wrong to be lost anymore.  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Where did you go, true happiness?

Happiness that is pure, comes directly from within and doesn’t depend on anything. Where is that? I have lost track of it. But now as I think, perhaps I have never experienced i. Even as a child, I derived joy from buying sweet cigarettes or riding bikes. That’s how I grew up; always dependent on something for happiness.

“If you are among the top three rankers in class, you will a cricket set” was what motivated me to wake up at 4 am on cold winter mornings and mug up long answers. I got the cricket set, danced in the new found ecstasy, then tossed the cricket set in the store room and focused on the next give-and-take deal that my parents had come up with. And this game continues till today. Getting into engineering to get a job, slogging through MBA to get a hike in salary, working late nights in office to get a promotion, getting promotion to pay the education loan and then planning for marriage and a house. You know how the story goes. And when this journey of running after that elusive happiness which is never fully attained, comes to an end, we say “that’s how life is, my son!”

I’m 27. And I am fed up of this game where I am always tied in invisible fetters. I can’t believe that this is all that there is to life. I can’t believe that the intelligence that created the incomprehensible universes and everything in it, has nothing more profound than this. Was the enlightenment thing just a hoax? Since I have never really experienced pure joy (which I assume wouldn’t depend on anything), I imagine the best version I can come up with: I am lying on green grass in soothing sunlight on a mountain. I can see colorful birds soaring in the sky. My beautiful hut is nearby where I have ample food and water. Above all, I am completely satisfied in the present moment, wanting nothing, simply acknowledging the gifts given to me by nature. I feel gratitude and true joy in my heart.

This might have been the reality few thousands of years ago but not today. And the people of those times would be puzzled to see that despite having so many things for a happy life, we are anything but happy.  So what is happening? Let’s see. 

1.       1. We are born in a world where almost everything has a price.
There is a giant machinery in place that feeds on money and thus you have to earn money even for basic necessities. Today, people spend their entire lives ensuring food, shelter and clothing for themselves (home loans and so on). Not hard to imagine that if water has a price today, the increasingly rare unpolluted air can have a price in future too, considering the pollution levels.

2.       2. The business world promotes consumerism for its profit motive.  
 Long ago, mobile phones were important because they served a valuable purpose. Today, most companies have crossed the line of working for that need and have instead become profit making machines and their agenda is to sell. Period. Why do you think Samsung comes up with an upgrade every two months?

This has another side to it. The present technology we have is imperfect. The cars and ACs we use cause pollution. Thus, greater their consumption, greater is the damage to the environment (a consequence of which is global warming).

But even after that, it works in the opposite direction. According to a TED speaker Barry Schwartz, more the choices we have, greater is the dissatisfaction we experience. Strange?

3.     3. The reference point to measure how happy we are, is situated outside of us. It is continuously            changing and not in our control.
“If only I had a black BMW like that one”, “If only I became as famous as Sachin”, “I have to have that new smart phone”. This is what the marketing arm of business feeds on. Comparison to others is our default setting, thanks to our senses and our minds. And since everyone else is doing the same, it gives us authority. Nobody is even aware that there could exist a better, more controlled state of mind.
Some great men such as Buddha tried to teach us “Peace comes from within, don’t seek it without” or “let go of desires” but it seems too philosophical. Plus nobody trusts anything anymore.

Seeing all this, my heart feels heavy and intuitively tells me that there is little hope to save the planet given our increasing selfish attitudes which could culminate in environmental disaster or a mindless nuclear war between countries.  
But in the core of my being, I also see a ray of hope; the existence of an alternate version of world where everyone shifts from mindless ownership of material things to actually finding true happiness. And that happens when each one of us deliberately work to change our default mode from selfishness to generosity.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Attention Please....

Do you think you navigate your own life in whichever direction you want?
That you are the sole controller of your own life?
As obvious as it may seem, it’s not true. Let me prove it to you. Now, you are reading this thing so surely you are alive and being live means that your life is temporary, prone to end someday. And that implies that you have fixed time in your hands, fixed number of breaths that you take. And you see, right now, right here I am eating away your time; those breaths that you are using from the limited collection that you have, have my name on it. And sadly, you will never have them back. Had I not thought of writing this, you would have some extra time in your life. So, I am one reason that’s independent of you and yet I am changing your life, even in a minute way.
But that’s not where my story ends. This is the most basic: me eating up your time (in a good or bad way). But suppose I post a link here that interests you and you click on it that directs you somewhere and so on, or maybe I use a wor
d that appeals to you such that you search it or, I write something that turns you on, or maybe kills your mood. In any case, I will be responsible for the thing that ensues although you won’t notice it. One thing leads to another and the process goes on. Tell me that it’s impossible to happen? Is it?
So the bottom-line is that I am a part of your life, although the tiniest part, and if I can have such influence think about what other bigger causes can do to you or in other words, take your breath away :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

I write

I write to live deliberately, to syringe the fluid of feelings into the empty holes of my heart. Not emotions; emotions are evil, but feelings. Feelings help me to remember that I am still alive, still a focus of unbound energy, still capable of running a futile run.
I write to be stronger; to let flow my body and mind through a chimney and come out clean and light, able to be blown away. Yes, I want to be blown away; too tired now for a wild goose chase. Blown away higher and higher till height becomes a cliché and where only roses shine and suns bloom. I write to feel that moment, not momentarily but like moments attached to the tips of infinite pins ingrained into my body.
I write to give a name to the past, to tell her that you are not forgotten sweetheart; you can never be because you are present in the spaces of my body where there are no spaces. You are in the blood flowing through my veins and in the air that I breathe. Writing makes my past, thorns of mistakes and my future, petals of blessed opportunities.
Yes, I write to make myself feel better, to satiate my obsession of seeing myself in good light. I help my brother and obey my parents because I am selfish, that way I score points with God, by doing good deeds. I don’t want to be the last one in line to heaven. And for that I have to be the nastiest self-centered brat you can ever find and precisely for that, I write.