The way it is…

Think too much about it and, it hurts.
Talk too much about it and, it confuses.
Hear as much as you want, it falls short of real experience.

These senses are not really senses but filters.
You pick up what you choose.
You perceive never the complete truth.

So, just be a witness and then see…
Wonders are nearer than the seem.
Miracles need not be searched.
They will walk up to you instead.

Watch with full indulgence, with full involvement.
Let it take you where it wants to.
Life is not a calculated risk that we took,
It is not even ours say many a books.

Time is all we have, and witness is all we can be.
The mental charade, the learning and, teaching come of no use.
When it comes to life, living is our best bet!
That is the way it is…  Or the way I see it.

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Go with the flow?

Any number of time we here this quote,”go with the flow”, we tend to nod in agreement. And as usual this got me thinking and I got inspired enough to write about it. It seems like we are wired for positivity or wired to expect positive outcomes in life. It is not about how we feel at present, but mostly about how we wanna feel in the next moment. So a lot of our energy is either stuck in the past or it gets used up in imagining the future which takes our attention away from the flow of life.

My interpretation is that, our minds are naturally inclined to get stuck on things which represent everything but the present moment. So we end up getting stuck – inside our heads – hence we need the flow to guide us out of the mental-madness we so ignorantly create.

Go with the flow, is not a negative statement. It does not compel us to take life as it is. That is quite a useless way of looking at it. I mean, if it was in anyway negative or connoting leniency then, the quote would not have a word like go in it. I have had some people interpret this quote as suggesting to take a back seat. Firstly, how do you take a back seat when you are the only one on the wheels. Secondly, where do you ‘go’ if you are just an audience to your own life.

So the idea is not to just sit and watch life pass by. The idea is to take the current and go where ever ‘it’ is. The destination is the only thing undecided, but what is an adventure if the destination is already known, that is called traveling not venturing. Let’s go with the flow – I think being open minded, having least of expectations, and being involved with reality – is the real essence of the flow. Let the currents take you away but no one said you can not sail your way.

Courage is all it needs, faith can come in handy but to be honest faith in itself comes with a sense of expectation. Which makes me reiterate that, our minds are wired to expect and plan for the next moment, and faith takes the sense of responsibility away from us. It only when we are responsible that we can start talking about courage. And if there is courage, which is a consequence of a strong foundation, it is easy to stand strong. We can sail through storms simply by finding our flow.

Evolution – The Alchemist.

I read The Alchemist recently. I had heard a lot about it, but I always felt like it will be one of those “trying to be spiritual” books. I mean there is actual spirituality and then there is this new age spiritual movement. Coming from the land known for its spirituality, I have always found the western take on it quite decorative and/or very rudimentary.

In here almost everything is a personal practice that, we never reached a conclusion about religion, food, clothes, languages etc. Every 50 Km is a new world and yet we all are somehow one, that is where real effect of spirituality is visible. Not to mention this country achieved its freedom by many sacrifices and non-violence. Also the culture teaches us a general sense of sharing and over-sharing. All this without any “supposed” spiritual awakening. This is where it gets more in line with The protagonist, Santiago, from The Alchemist.

Santiago was not given any special classes, he did not have any additional help, instead he left everything that he knew to find out all that he could and honestly that is what a spiritual person ought to be or that is what I have heard. Not that you have to renounce the world, but it would be helpful to renounce what you think is the world and start afresh because, what we think and what we know versus the reality is nothing but a huge gap. And this gap can be filled by numerous philosophies, but at the end of the day only truth wins, seeking which is equally tricky as it is next to impossible unless we widen our horizons in every sense of the word. And that is evolution.

There is a mention in the book about the heart of the world which I feel is definitely a symbolic way of suggesting the oneness that we all share with everything around us. It puts forth an idea that there is no separate universe and you, but universe alone working through you. We are as much a part of it as much we think we are individuals. Then there is a mention of how even the inanimate is a part of this ‘heart of the universe/world’ which reiterates that it is all one and the same. It could just be my interpretation but I found it very wonderful because, if everything is one and the same then everything is evolving. From coal to a diamond from monkey to a human… Sort of looks the same design to me.

I find this especially fascinating because what the Alchemist is saying resonates with the knowledge of many a yogis; many masters have talked about the oneness and evolution of human consciousness in their own way but always in the same context. They refer to it as the true-self also known as consciousness in English.

Evolution in this story, in my opinion and understanding, is being referred to as the process of refinement or purification. They keep referring to a purpose or a personal legend and that every human has to go through it, which again makes me draw a connection to karma and having to fulfil your bit and to be free of this bondage is called nirvana or moksha.

These are mere words. But what is nirvana if not Santiago’s oneness with everything which he could achieve only by following his own personal legend and making all those sacrifices. It looked like he was losing it all just to be beaten at the end, but in his heart he knew the truth and he clearly saw it all come to a full circle. So it is about how clear and how pure we become in terms of seeing the reality that determines the quality of this journey called life.

The treasure that Santiago searched was right where he always was but it was not his until he evolved. It was his evolution that gave him clarity and he could finally see it. His experiences shaped him and that allowed him to find his love. It was his willingness to venture out in search of something he believed in only to find out that it was all a lie. But he kept going that is the best part of the story. It is all a lie until you live it, and when you do, you will find things and experiences never imagined before… The ways of life as I would like to call it. Let it help you evolve!

 

Consumer or consumed?

I was having one of those days where I got stuck with a random thought and could not really get out of my head until I started paying attention to all that I was missing on; life around me.

We do, really, get stuck in a mental-scape and forget that life happens outside the boundaries of our so called inner-world. An appropriate word would be inner-chatter. We get consumed in our thoughts and not all of them are good, and many are just useless or irrelevant.

But that day I had an epiphany, consumption is a human problem. We either consume a lot or get consumed, there is no moderation. Look at the planet, look at human history, look at us as a species today – needs and wants can be categorised as consumption. As humans we do not just want more, we want to keep stocks as well.

For instance every other animal lives in its surrounding without modifying it much. And when hunger strikes, they hunt otherwise they just sleep or play. But as humans, modification of the natural has gone too far, it has reached a point where coal is seen as lesser than a diamond while we know that, one is an actual source of energy and the other just a stone. This is where we are not really doing any justice to the title of most intelligent species on earth.

Having been so indulged in every aspect of life, we are over consuming everything; food, drinks, substances, drugs, technology, information, thoughts, emotions, feelings. Consuming or getting consumed that is where we are.

It is true that all of the aforementioned is readily available now which makes it a little difficult to avoid it completely. But the habit of consumption is not new. And there is an advantage if we just get a little more aware of our consumption. Moving from an automatic mode to a discretionary mode. Choose. I use this word a lot, I do not know how much I am able to use it properly, but I am trying. Life is made of choices and butterfly effect or not, but it goes a long way when we make small changes – ripple effect.

So if you question, what can I possibly do to change anything in the world? Let’s just remember that individuals make up he world and if you can not do anything overt or big then just take a small step and decrease some sort of consumption. It would do wonders for you and definitely for the planet.

Proper food intake; good health. Less drinks, substances, drugs, need I explain? Less technology? Yes, use it and do not let it take over (AI takeover :p ). Less information; yes please, or consume and process it well. Balanced thoughts, emotions, feelings – let them consume you but choose until when. None of it is to be avoided because consumption is natural, but it needs more of our attention. Let’s be conscious of it.

The anxiety.

It is commonly seen that as long as things go our way, we are pretty balanced and easy going, but the instant something turns upside down, not many are capable of handling it. This is not really a problem, but is definitely a hurdle and a hassle if you compare your efficiency with others. Not all are equally capable and that is fine.

As kids we never knew anxiety. Kids are so care-free and some even care-less but that works for them. It is not that they are not aware of their feelings. On the contrary they are more in tuned with how and what they feel that they do not even take seconds to express it.

It is expression of our feelings that slows down or gradually and sometimes drastically decreases as we step into adolescence. If you look back at your younger-self (ten years ago), the first thing you would notice is how clue-less, anxious your younger self seems to you now. But understand this, you would say that ten years from now about your current version. This is what they meant by history repeats itself.

We do kind of stay the same but we keep psyching ourselves up and eventually fall prey to a false idea that we changed. Change is so external these days like changing places, food habits, religion, people we associate with etc. etc. We even change our way of thinking and it works to some extent but the result is not stable. We can’t think ourselves into a changed person, we can only be a new person.

Sure, conditioning is where it all  begins and change of thought patterns brings a huge change, but it is only experience that can really change someone, for it is your past experiences that have moulded you and now you can use this same tool to mould a newer-self by opening up to all kinds of experiences.

But is that what we do? NO. We tend to cave in after a few down-falls. And for the rest of our lives we get stuck with fear, and the anxiety of repeating that experience. Anxiety is real, fear is real, feelings are valid. But do we have to give thoughts so much power that it can mess up our mind, mood, physiology etc.? No, thoughts or any other forms of triggers are just triggers. Triggers are real, your reactions are real, but this association of triggers and reaction can be broken with new experiences.

“What if the new experiences are worse than before?”
If you are someone who asked this, then you need to stop it. As you can see this is the root of all anxiety. And if you are gonna have negative thoughts then just label them as negative and let go. Do not let these thoughts consume you.

And not to undermine anyone’s problems but what is inside the head is not the reality, the past, the projection of the past into the future, is not real. It is like self-inflicted pain. The anxiety vanishes when we focus and centre ourselves in this truth. Only this moment is real and only this moment can be changed. Repeat this to yourself, Only this moment is real and only this moment can be changed. And if nothing needs to changed then just let it be. That is how I keep the anxiety at bay.

Patience.

When it comes to qualities, I think, patience is something most commonly over looked. Mostly, any action that is loud and/or flashy catches our attention, but the in-action of an action which sounds like an oxymoron, and yet is an actual thing, speaks louder than actions.

How can you be inactive during an action? PATIENCE! You are not just waiting for things to happen, you are not just sitting around for the leaves to turn, you have done what you saw as your part and now you let go. To an on-looker this looks like laziness, to some one passing by it looks like negligence, but it is only you who knows that it is not out of helplessness but out of discretion that you choose to take a step back.

This idea of always being in action is sort of strange if you really look at it. Specially because no two flowers bloom at the same time, literally, nothing happens simultaneously for everyone, but the sad part is that judgement never stops. And this is what brings in the unsettling feeling and whoops there goes your patience.

It is not our patience that wears off, it is the pace of the other that bothers us. If it were not for comparison and competition… No one would be a loser, everyone would be a winner. Unfortunately, that is not the reality we live in. Race is real and worse its a rat race.

The only thing we can do is focus on the purpose, if you are clear in your head and you can see what others can not, the only thing best for you is to hold on to it, but be wary that in the end victory is not guaranteed. So the whole point is to lose the fear of losing, and be satisfied with having lost after trying.

Patience is not just in-action, it is clarity of purpose and a readiness for outcomes so that even when you lose, you actually win. Like being that child who does not care about the game’s result, just the fun of it. And speaking form experience, patience gets you free-time that could be used to have some fun.

It’s a waiting game.

For the world was mesmerising
Every experience was new.
Confusion was the norm.
Had to look everywhere,
For nothing was known.

Now we have arrived
A place of astounding dimensions
Direction, even if lost
The destination is set.
One step, two step and the extension.

They seem to know,
But I still can’t see…
What is even the reality?
Somebody’s loss is someone’s victory?
That does not make sense to me.

Racing through everyone,
Everything.
A little too fast? A little too late?
For some like me,
It is a waiting game.

All I seek is clarity.
What is the use of certainty?
I took the journey for the window seat.
Yes, I’m caught up in all the scenery.
That is where I find all the mysteries.

Walking through everyone,
Everything.
A little too slow? A little too quick?
It is a waiting game.
Hopefully, it does the trick.

From vicarious to real.

There is always a first time for everyone. We are all on different levels of experiences in life and that makes it a little hard to comprehend when some one says, “you know” because lets be honest many a times we do not really “know”, we just think that we know because we tend to live vicariously.

But somethings just can not be put into words and had it been possible to transfer every experience that easily then, we could have all just watched a movie or read a book and be done with it all, but no we are not done with it. We are either motivated or demotivated to live that experience once we imagine it.

The thing is that, amidst all the drama that we are surrounded by, we are only looking for meaning. Not necessarily purpose just meaning. And connection is the closest we get to the kind of meaning or completeness we are seeking.

Personally, connection has been an easy thing for me to establish. I do not make friends quickly but eventually, quality over quantity I guess. And there have been times when I had to just break ties because we physically moved away. And as a 90s kid, I had and have off-line friends more than the on-line kind. Which brings me to the point of the matter and my recent experience with an old connection/friend. Story time.

When I say old friend, I mean just 8 years of friendship but as young adults that is a long time. The whole story and the answer to whose fault is it that the friendship is over comes down to this one stupid move (not mine 😛). I am not for blame game though.

What stupid move? Lack of communication? Oh, no there was plenty of communication perhaps, even more than there should have been. So, a fight? Not really, but yes a disagreement turned into an argument and “the friend” decided to just block me on social medium. And later unblocked. Does sound childish but what the heck!

So there, you see, one move. One mindless move was the end of it all. There are certain etiquettes to maintaining healthy relationships and as foolish as it is to break your phone in anger or throw profanities at someone (or lose your sh*t as they call it), there is always an understanding of one person “having lost it” which automatically shifts the responsibility of being calm on to the other party.

But with an action so passive and yet so loud like blocking a good old friend in all your senses and awareness sends a clear message across – the relationship is not at all valued. It is not only difficult to find an appropriate response here, but it is also quite helpless a situation and not to mention the lack of closure is insurmountable. What do I do? Where do we go after this? Even if you come back around what will stop you the next time? 

Like they say if it is meant to be, it will be otherwise not and that’s that. Things have ended before in one or the other way but this was a first and was certainly something that I had only lived vicariously. How does one just leave and then expect to be welcomed again. But that is for other time.

That dim feeling.

Thoughts are such a beautiful aspect of being a human. I wonder if other beings can have thoughts. They might not have discernment but in my opinion if animals can feel things they can at least think about basic things. Instinct in itself manifests as a thought and as humans we are offered a choice to whether act on that thought or not, and that seems like a distinguishing characteristic.

It comes so naturally to animals and birds to just act on their instincts they do not care about anything more than their needs. But our free-will allows us to have a thought after the first thought. They call it intellect and it does this beautiful job of freaking our wits out with confusion. I guess this is why school’s encourage students to question often – just because we can and because we should. Think and question!

On one hand, it is a beautiful and powerful tool to be able to pause (think) before we act. But there exists a very fine balance between thinking and over-thinking, just like a few other things in life, how much is too much? When does thinking become over-thinking?

Experientially speaking, It is possible to be mentally exhausted and still be perfectly fine. A good night’s sleep should fix you up. But if you wake up the next day with a hang-over of lingering thoughts; when you have a dim feeling of uneasiness the entire day or night, it is at this point when one must stop. This easily qualifies as losing the balance.

Just like any other part of our body brain utilises the fuel of the body, energy from the food, but at a much faster rate. You do not have to wait until the physical signs appear and you lose some of your body weight just because you have been expending more than you should.

As fascinating as our thoughts and mental faculties are, burning out this system is an actual possibility. Do not let it get that far. Two things are very clear one, thoughts are a mental response to an external stimuli or an internal one (old memories or imagination).  And the most empowering aspect of this capability of re-living the past and/or making-up the future is that we choose to carry out these mental actions.

We choose to condition ourselves with what we like or dislike, we mask what we want to hide and show only what we want to show, even with all this practice when it comes to controlling our negative thoughts – negativity –  we lose the battle like a novice.

I mean it is our mental space, good or bad, we have been day-dreaming all of it. Why lose creativity now? It is better to immerse yourself in your story – one with a happy ending instead of tragic. Use these exclusive capabilities for yourself and for others. The moment you feel a dim feeling hovering upon you, remember it is time to sail into a new direction.

The destination awaits you.

Almost always there are two options in any situation I think they are called “fight or flight”. I get the basis behind using the word fight because it has its origins in  biology and psychology that, the adrenaline rush upon encountering certain situations could either make you fight the situation… Or run away from it, albeit an extreme word it is an appropriate one.

Consider this, strategies are for those who have time. First you need time and then you need a goal and once you are able to set a purpose you must set a path towards it. This works well when you are certain of ‘where to go’ and ‘what to do’ but you will be left with one task that is, to find or to plan ‘how to do it’. This is strategy. The more you use it the quicker you become because it is all about decisions.

Decisions come with repercussions and this is both a benefit of decision-making and the limitation of it. Whether we fight or flight, we end up somewhere. Those who choose none might seem like abnormal to others but will end up somewhere as well. So why decide, why strategise, why bother at all? Only to take it under control.

Simple as that we are innately control freaks. But some one said you can only control the outside to an extent. So we became controlled-control-freaks. Funny, right? And this controlling takes time and work. So, should we just let it be and go with the flow? Why not! But be prepared to be unprepared.

Control puts us to ease yet ends up putting us in stress. Gosh… what do we do? Perhaps remember that by decisions and strategies we only set the course, the purpose/the goal/the destination stays where its is. We might just arrive a little late, might hit a few road blocks, might get stuck in the traffic, it might be too foggy to tread on, might be boring or tiring or simply exciting, but know one thing – Do it or don’t do it, the destination awaits you. This or that it all works either in your favour or someone else’s favour that is all.