Sunday, November 11, 2012

Zen in the art of living

The biggest problem we face as humans is that we get those things in life which we think we should. Well, that could be a huge problem, or a wonderful possibility. Think about it, really. Take a pause and think. Whatever you are today is simply because you chose to be this. Well, I understand when people say that I've been forced to do this but even then you chose what was best for you. Or what you thought was best for you. Is it better to hurt my father and standup for what I want to do or is it better to keep him happy, after all he's given me so much. Either way, good or the bad that it eventually turned out into, you chose it. Every moment in life, you have two possibilities in front of you, to do it or not to do it. Not infinite but just two. When you choose one option, you are confronted by the same question again the next moment. And a sum of all those decisions defines who are.

People are guilty of their crimes not because they realise what they've done but because feeling miserable is the best option they have. By repenting for their mistakes, they are cleansing themselves, erasing their bad karma. Which is a good thing by itself but its just that you don't want a lot of moments in life that you repent for. When people are obsessed with something, they want it as badly as they've ever wanted anything, be it a kid for a toy or a woman who wants to be a writer or a young man trying to live broke, if they truly, badly want it, if that one single thought permeates everything else their life is about, they'll get it. They'll find ways to get it. And Paulo Coelho is dead on in The Alchemist when he says, "If you truly want something, the entire universe conspires into getting it to you."

Well, that's a brilliant line, but the entire universe? Why would the entire universe come down to give you what you want? Because the entire universe is just you. Everything you see, you feel, you think, you taste is adulterated stuff. You let your prejudices and expectations, experiences and ideas affect it. And so, similarly, if you badly want something, you'll find ways to do it. I don't like my work but I'm compelled to do it because of my family situations. Bullshit, you are doing it because you are lazy to be doing something in earnest or too scared to find out what you want to do in life. I like her but my father will never agree. If you want her badly enough and if you don't want your father hurt, you sit down, talk, convince, coax, threaten. Whatever. I always believed that great love stories are the ones that end on a tragic note. What I failed to understand that ending on a tragic note did not make it a great love story. The love story failed because either of them didn't believe in their love, because they found it comfortable to down drinks than fight and face the consequences. You don't have to choose between people. If you have uttermost confidence in yourself and the belief in your vision, people'll respect you and eventually agree with you.

It's your life, if you don't respect it, if you don't stand by your decisions, if you are not confident enough of your abilities and aspirations, nobody's going to give a shit. Period. But its definitely not as easy to implement as it is to say. Do you think so? Remember when you were 8 years old and you wanted something bad. You asked for it, begged, pleaded but your parents said no. You promised them that you'd be a goddamned topper in the next exam just to get it. Did you top? If you are like me, chances are, you didn't. Because I couldn't maintain the same level of enthusiasm, energy and intensity when I first asked for it, neither did I completely believe in my abilities to be the topper nor did I work hard towards it. And all that is because I simply didn't care. Because I never fell in love with whatever I had asked for, it was just an infatuation and it blew away at the prospect of hard work.

But there have been a few moments, like you must have had too, when the passion for whatever I wanted totally flooded everything else, the longing so extreme that nothing else seemed to matter. Like when you are trying to figure out that tune looping in your head. Or when the writer's name is at the tip of your tongue but you just can't get it out. The effort which we put into it is tremendous; extraordinary; annoying at times. But we love doing it because we can see the satisfaction in bringing something out form the depths of memory, because it pleases us to know that we are capable of drilling deep in and persisting to get what we want. And I believe it also makes us proud because we've earned it. The destination might be a first rank, or an elusive tune or learning how to drive. It does not matter. The goal is just a motivating factor. We love the struggle we've put in because it takes our 100%. Because it demands our utmost attention, the force of our entire capabilities and it gives us a purpose. The destination does not matter, its the journey that exhilarates us.

And there's one more thing I want to talk about today. Its our fascination with imperfections. How many times have we heard the phrase, "Imperfections make us human". Maybe its true and pretty useful for somebody who's getting increasingly frustrated with not being able to attain perfection in whatever he is doing. But that does not mean we should stop at being imperfect. A beginner and an expert, both are imperfect, albeit in their own way. The way we strive, the path we choose to become perfect makes us who we are. So, I think it's high time we quit giving excuses. Procrastination, lack of inspiration, excuses of being busy or sheer indifference to our commitment are just various ways of saying we don't want what we think we want badly enough. Whenever we hear an inspiring talk, or read a story of an amputee who runs faster than a normal man, we are invigorated. We recast ourselves as the David against the Goliath of life's problems. But soon we are back in our rut. Not because we are lazy or incapable. And sometimes not even because we don't want something badly enough. But because we don't want to listen to ourselves, our heart or soul or spirit or whatever you want to call it. Its important to listen to the voice coming from deep down within because it best knows what we want. How can we know if its the true voice and not yet another fantasy? By working towards it. By paying heed to every wish that's coming from within and working towards it, by investing into it all that we have and by enjoying every moment for whatever it is.

You want something, go get it. Everything else is an excuse.

1 comment:

Deekshith said...

fascinating observations and elucidated portrayal. All in love. A brilliant piece after a long time.