Something that I had heard ..

I’m pretty sure I heard this story from my most favourite monk, Ajahn Brahm at some point in life but I can’t really give you a reference in form of a link or his book or talk .. but I want to write something that draws on from what he had said ..

He said (as far as I remember) that once someone called someone a dog.. The person got very angry and felt really insulted and wanted to take revenge .. that how can this random person call me a dog ..

The very next minute, a strange realisation set in and he sat down to look at himself .. He didn’t have a tail, neither did he bark, didn’t even have 4 legs .. He wasn’t a dog, he was a human. So he started laughing and realised that it is not his problem or that he doesn’t have to think on how someone has called him a dog because he is not one.. It’s the other persons problem who just called him a dog .. the more he got into the depths of this realisation, the more he couldn’t stop laughing at being called a dog and in turn all that revenge and anger disappeared .. He just walked away from the whole situation saying .. May he be blessed with clarity of thoughts ..

Diving into this story, we are called so many things by so many people at so many instances and now if we start thinking about each one of them or even one of them as to he said be this to me and she said this about me.. it doesn’t really work .. One of the finest work that a human has is to talk and to express what he feels without the liability to hold that exact same expression and feeling forever ..

People grow. People change. So do their likes, dislikes, thoughts and feelings .. hence, for every thought of someone else towards you, you can’t be tying yourself down to either prove or disprove it .. Like everything else, you got to let it pass and work on your own self in whatever capacity and time that you are blessed with ..

Hence, next time on, when someone says something that’s insulting or abusive, rather than reacting with how dare he/she?! Pause, laugh and work on your inner light and make it shine bright ❤️

Reviewing – an art.

The statement – ‘we shall get back to you once we have reviewed’ used to freak me out at one point but I realised through my life in academia that reviews play a critical role in shaping the contents, sharpening the perspectives and in my case, correcting grammar and language.

I call it an ‘institutional impact’ where no reviews put me in dilemma. Whether it’s an amazon purchase or an app purchase or a Facebook page; reviews and ratings make me comfortable. I do understand that biases play a crucial role in these, however, the comfort of it, is something that I can’t deny.

Reviewing purchases are far different from reviewing a journal article because the scales and parameters of liking a product are entirely human than checking for scientific contribution or checking for an impact that a particular drug could potentially have on the masses. However, it can’t be denied that products or purchases or brand reviews drive customers in and out. These reviews are predominantly for the masses by the masses. Thus, like fire, bad words and bad reviews spread far and wide in a shorter span of time than one can ever imagine. Even when the fire is put out, the smoke lingers.

Words just like thoughts, once put out, keep ringing from time to time. Once these words are used to construct statements, regardless of them holding truth or lies, things go beyond mass comprehension. It’s these words that one then identifies the brand with, the products with and more often than not, the individual behind it.

I love the concept of adopting a thick skin and putting blinkers on, to just focus on what you want but when your work faces the masses directly, it should be a mutual responsibility. A responsibility of protecting each other’s dignity and that of nurturing each other, given the finite time and possibilities.

Naming, shaming, provoking and blaming rarely offer any solution. On the contrary, gratitude serves all, in different portions. Our time in this world is finite and with defined destinies to meet; words and thoughts could serve all of us better if we keep it clean.

Remember that muddy water that we used to play in as kids? We never slept in those muddy clothes for the fear of disease. If cleanliness in clothes and body is what we, as humans, seek then why should our thoughts and words be any different than these?

Hence, by all means, do review .. Review your purchases, films that you watch, things that you see, places that you visit .. review everything, share your opinions, provide judgements but do pause to clean.

An (open) letter ..

I have travelled and met people.. From slums to brothels to psychiatric wards of some hospitals .. to lavish rooftop parties in Hollywood to film sets, on few occasions ..to house parties to gym to my local train stations .. to meeting people through friends and family on random walks to online introductions .. The people that I have met or that I continue to meet all have the same story to share and to tell ..

Their constant battle through life embedded in hope.

Some struggle to get the ingredients to make a decent meal, and some struggle to digest a meal because of their health.. Some sell their bodies to strangers for peanuts and some carry those peanuts home so that their family can live .. Some think of killing others and some think of killing their own .. Some strive to live by the book and some think of flushing the pages down some gutter hole. Some talk of judgements that the world throws at them and some talk of love that they lack .. Some point a finger at the world and some don’t even raise their hand.

I have stopped saying that every battle is unique; now that I have seen diverse backgrounds.. They all emerge from the constant lack of love and acceptance that make a human grow and at times, frown.

There is always a finite supply of human medals that are given to humans for their work.. There is also a finite supply of energy in humans that they can put to life to work. Achievements and materials, then, can’t define your character and neither can they declare you a success or a failure .. The life, that you are blessed with, is far far greater.

Beautiful things take time to grow .. the stronger the roots, the better they hold .. If that be true for the strongest trees then why isn’t it true for us, human beings?

If I could tell all of you, who come back to me for positivity, that life is unfair and it shall always be .. The rule of thumb is then to simply transform yourself into a channel of possibilities.

Remember, battles can go on forever, decisions might take time to show .. But if you can accept and love yourself first, before anyone else, you stand a brilliant chance to shine and to glow.

So then, before reminding yourself of what vision and version this world holds of you; pause and remind yourself of what you really mean to you.

❤️

Strength and courage

I don’t really know why I am writing this but here it is..

Off late, a lot of people are telling me on how the world and it’s people make individuals question their choices, opinions, looks and basically existence in every possible way.

Things like, oh, you still don’t have a job? What are you going to do? Or are you sure about leaving him? What will you do without him? Your life is anyway very hard or Are you sure you want to be with her? I think you can do better or Have you really decided not to have children? You will regret this later in life or Are you sure you want to wear this to the party? I think you should change .. and it further goes into an endless loop of what the world thinks.

Not that I haven’t been on the receiving end of such statements myself but over the years, I have learned that life, is meant to be lived not to be compared or to be awarded but to be lived. Things flow just as emotions and over a period of time, pain, focus and priorities change axis. This happens to everyone.

The trick to survive through any transitional phase without being questioned by the society is one of the worst things to expect.. Hence, huge blinkers will surely help to pass through the transitions without much emotions. At the end of the phase, once settlement starts kicking in, people mostly retire or give up pointing their fingers at you or stop poking you because you would have passed their judgement barriers.

With open questions like ‘have you really thought this through’ or like ‘do you know how hard it is going to get’ .. the best answer often is to be honest and admit that you don’t know but that you shall see whatever comes your way just as them. By involving them in that uncertainty, maybe you can get hold of some tricks or earn some self peace.

But the problem is when you start asking their questions to your own self .. That’s when you let everyone win the battle against you and are ultimately left on your own in the battleground. This part, right before you adopt their questions, pause and breathe deeply .. If you still want to ask their questions to your own self, your answer should be .. I am strong enough to fight my battles; my strength and my courage are the my two most important keys.

Facing the fear.

There was a time when I thought and wished if all problems disappeared somehow without me having to deal with any of them. There was also a time when I felt that running away from everyone and everything that was unpleasant, challenged me and made me feel like an idiot was the way forward in life. In the process of running away and turning my back at everything that wasn’t in sync with me, I found myself in a big dark patch of life. In a patch where nothing could touch me but everything felt nice momentarily. Also, in that patch, I no longer knew who I was and where I wanted to go.

Like when things work in moments, the art of collecting those moments to make a life is when living and knowledge play a crucial role but if I have been keeping myself away from all criticisms and shielding myself from the negatives, then what knowledge would I have gathered? None, I believe. Hence, I never knew how to turn moments into life because by and large, while I ran very hard from everything that bothered me momentarily, I also found places to hide momentarily. Neither the run led me to a destination and nor did I know what the journey I was on.

Then one fine day, my tired senses retaliated. I had nothing left in me but the desires to just be. That’s when I took the biggest test of all. I had to face my fears and there was no way out. Every single thing that I felt was unpleasant, I had to reason it out as to why and amicably detach. In the process, I realised hardly anything was and is unpleasant. It’s just the state of mind that I was in at the time of dealing with that person or the thing. The more negative I was on the inside, the more bitter my circumstances were on the outside. The more expectations I had on the inside, the harder no-treats zone I bumped into on the outside. The more I thought I could sail through easily; the vastness of the water made it awkward with the massive winds.

I paused and wondered.

In the process to just be, one of the key component was to know that the option to run away doesn’t exist. The way forward is to face the fears, nurture the pain, embrace the learnings and move ahead in strength.

Running is always easy. Ignoring is even cooler. But if one has to embrace knowledge than both running and ignoring need to be embedded in the knowledge of ethos not just based on feelings related to the state of mind.

Judgements. Social Media.

I became friends with one of the neighbours on Facebook and the first thing the neighbour asked my mother was whether everything was fine about my relationship? She could not find photos of me and my partner on my wall posts hence it was a ‘but obvious’ thing to ask out of concern.

It then drew me to the fact that how much of judgement of who you are goes around due to your social media posts? The answer is A LOT. I remember I have been asked about my relationship status by another old school friend of mine when I added him to my friends list. He then gave me a free piece of advice to put more and more photos of me with my partner so that the world gets to know how happy we are together and to make a statement that everything is fine as far as my relationship status is concerned.

I don’t have a problem with people promoting their love on social media and neither do I have an issue with people like me not talking about my love on social media. I do not base my opinions on someone’s personal space based on their social media shares and neither do I judge them for they don’t share.

I thought perhaps I missed the biggest point as to why social media gained prominence in the first place. I always thought it was to connect and to share, not to promote my life and especially open up my personal space to the outer world. I should be allowed to breathe in my own little space when I can because I won’t be able to share anything if I am clouded by judgements on what I should do and shouldn’t do to be branded as ‘normal’ by the society.

This then brought me to a fairly interesting idea that are we humans in general like this? Are we literally drawn into the pain of others rather than their no-pain zones of life? Is it because showing sympathy comes more naturally than empathy? I don’t have these answers but I like the questions nevertheless.

 

The Image. Dominates?

It should be fine to hold onto your own opinions and rights in presence of opposition and conflict. However, seems that these days people love to be right and correct all the time and their way to deal with conflict is to erase, to ban and block them. Erase, ban and block not the conflict or the opinion but the individual.

My question then is what do you block eventually? Do you block the negatives because of the fear that it could perhaps damage your image? or do you ban the negatives that are not in line with your own hidden agenda of accumulating praises because it can influence the flow of accolades negatively?

It should be all right to be able to defend your position given the negatives that your opinions draws because at the end of the day, opinions are not facts. One single fact can give rise to either a strong positive opinion or a strong negative opinion and can also have no opinion whatsoever. And none of those opinions have any impact on the underlying fact. Hence, where is the need to ban, to erase or to block?

With the rise in the tendency to block, ban and wiping out voices that do not match our own, we are spreading everything but love and are tempting more and more voices to be in line with us. What gives us the right to believe in the fact that even our own voice is not a conditioned one?

This then leads us to believe that each time you block an opposing voice, you are indirectly pushing masses towards the same conditions as you, both in terms of thoughts and actions. In other words, in order to protect the image that you have of you or the image that you would like others to hold of you, you are willing to choose the option of wiping out voices and opinions than addressing them.

Although, this is one of the growing trends in the world that we live in. Wipe out, block and ban rather than address the contradiction with humility and in knowledge. Either way, our own human history tells us that wiping out has never helped humanity in any form or feature; whereas sharing and debating has.

I don’t think we are at a point where we need to be right. We are surely at a point where we need to show more compassion and love the indifference that is thrown at our opinions and at our being because that is the only way we can grow and perhaps even slide away the image masks that we swear at in person but still wear in all seasons.