Wednesday, June 23, 2021

You are one amongst them (Us)

हम भी ऊन्ही जैसे तुच्च है

हम भी ऊन्ही जैसे ऊच्च है

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Is there anything that is Un-Selfish ?

The human self seems to be so strong an attachment, that it is impossible to do anything which has no motive of gain for "The Self". I observed my thoughts and my actions over some period of time and I noticed that almost every time it was to seek something that was profitable for the Self. I did something because I anticipated some gain for me, I wanted to help some people because I thought that was a noble way of living and thus make me a noble person, I wanted to be respected, I wanted to enhance my image of a nice person, I wanted to enhance my image of an honest person. I did something, because I was following "my ideals".  

When it came to my affinity for doing something in the social service sector, was not entirely to help the people who were in need, but also to gain some satisfaction of doing something worthy. So it was not pure. It was contaminated with the desire to satisfy the self.

The only thing that came close to being unselfish, was playing the role of a parent to my (this word mine is again selfish :-) ) daughter. I don't do things because I want to be good father,  I do because I think it will help her. I don't expect anything in return. 

As long as you are attached, you will not be able to do anything well. To have purity in one's thoughts and actions, one needs to be detached from the rewards and expectations. To make good judgements, one needs to be detached.

I recently saw the movie "Invictus", in which Nelson Mandela says "The day I am afraid to do that is the day I am no longer fit to lead." 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

About the movie "The Village"

I happened to watch this movie called "The Village" by Manoj Night Shyamalan a long time ago. The plot had a lasting impact on me. 

The basic plot is like this (as far as I can recall): A bunch of adults unhappy with the way things were going on around the society, setup a commune in a forest and raise their families together, in order to keep the members not influenced/effected by the bad things in the outside world. They try by all means to keep the younger folks not get into the outside world, as they fear that their small commune would be influenced/corrupted by the bad things in the outer world. They keep their contact to the minimum with the outside world. 

But a few of the young folks are adventurous and inquisitive and want to explore the world outside their commune. And no amount of rules or emotions (like fear) can stop them from venturing out. 

In the end the elders have to give in. 

Many a times I felt myself in a similar situation. When I find some bad things in the world, I think what can I do. I am limited by my capacity to change the world, but being part of a society I find it difficult to make the compromises to my values. Then the thought emerges how about we find a group of like-minded people and live in a commune, the way it is shown in the movie. Then at least the number of internal conflicts would be far less. But the problem is that you slowly start to preserve the commune and want the next generation to live by your rules/values. Now you have created a society that others (the next generation) find difficult to be part of.

They don't share your experiences and your world view. Let them find what resonates with them. Let them be free. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Solving a problem : Why vs How

Sometimes when we get stuck in a problem we can take two approaches. 

Try to find out "why" that problem has happened, go to the root cause of the problem and address that root cause. Sometimes this takes a lot of time and you might get stuck digging deep into the root cause. 

There's another approach that I read somewhere is about the "How". You don't have to know the root cause of the problem. As there are different solutions for a given problem, one can ask : How can I solve this problem differently? Is there any other way of overcoming this. 

I find this useful in some situations when I get stuck on the approach of Why. This gives a fresh perspective and results in progress. Sometimes you don't need to address the root cause. 

 An example: The problem of procrastinating. Why do I procrastinate vs How can I stop procrastinating.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

The external is the reflection of the internal

It seems so true. The way we perceive the world is through our senses/mind/experiences/ideals. There is a lot of relativity there. When one is happy the outside world looks beautiful/hopeful, but when is down the whole world seems ugly/meaningless. Our state of mind seems to dictate our perception. Two different people with different personalities view the same thing differently. 

It's like a bunch of blind men, each feeling (for lack of a better word) a different part of an elephant and describing an elephant as what they feel. (And often coming to the conclusion that their definition of the elephant is correct). 

So if you want to see a positive world, you need to change your internal mental state accordingly. As many people in the past have told, if you want to fix the world, first fix yourselves.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Being in the present

Although "Being in the present" is prescribed as the source of happiness, it's very hard to follow that. Maybe meditation helps, but I am not sure as I haven't given it a try. 

Another approach that is often suggested is to be totally involved in the activity that you are currently doing, whether it's simple things like bathing, cooking, listening to music, working etc. But the monkey mind keeps hopping onto from one thought to the next and gets distracted very easily. I have failed at this miserably. I don't know if I have tried enough though. 

But I do observe that my daughter very often gets deeply involved in the activity that she is currently doing. Sometimes she gets so involved for a couple of hours in doing one thing that she isn't thinking of anything else during that time. 

As a kid, she doesn't have a good sense of time. She doesn't have to take care of common chores or do something based on a given schedule. Although she has an end-goal for that activity, she does not have a timeline associated with it i.e that she does not think that I need to get this activity done by this time. And she enjoys doing it. Maybe all these things help her remain focused at what she is doing. There is not a big WHY/REASON for doing that activity. She has nowhere to go. She enjoys the journey more than the destination. She just does it.

I am pretty sure most kids are like that. And I was probably like that when I was a kid. As we grow up we have tasks to do, run per schedules and live by some external assessments and then now there is social media, which make you live a life of pursuit, distractions, anxiety. Maybe as UG Krishnamurthy says, thought is the cause for all this, a thought of a better state, a thought which compares/evaluates/judges/reasons.... But without thought there is no life. 

Friday, October 09, 2020

I am 20

Recently saw this documentary on Youtube, in which someone interviewed people in the year 1967, (across the country) who were born around the day of independence Aug 15, 1947. And that's why the name of the documentary is : I am 20. It's nice documentary to look (without judging) what these people thought of India and its future and also their personal ambitions. If you observe you will still find many people in India (or in any other country) still having similar thoughts. So, inspite of being shot ~ 50 years ago, it still feels relevant.

It's hard not to get impressed with one person who is very optimistic about the future of India and energized to be part of the Indian experiment. He appears to be very matured for his age and also so eloquent in conveying his thoughts.

Going through the comments led me to this article Midnight's Grown-ups. Someone did watch the video and was so impressed by it that they went on a search to track the people in that video. It's an interesting read. Apparently that likable/energetic chap settled out of India, and although the author was able to track him, he couldn't talk to him.

Coincidently, I came to know about Shailesh Gandhi while volunteering with AID

The conversation of Shailesh with her daughter, that he recalls was quite interesting to me:-

I quoted one of the young girls in “I Am 20”. “What do you want me to do for the country? I think I do enough by being an honest citizen, by doing my job to the best of my ability, by working eight hours a day.” Shouldn’t that be enough?

Gandhi mulled over this. “You know, my daughter talks the same language.” She left for America a decade ago, and on the eve of her departure, Gandhi told her, “Your life is yours, of course, but I hope that, after a few years, you’ll come back.”

“I want to live an honest, decent life,” she said, “and I think it’s difficult to do that here.”

“Many things are wrong in India,” he replied. “They need to change. But we need to change them.”

“But you’ve wanted to do that, and I don’t think you’ve been very successful,” his daughter said. “I don’t want to do that.”

Gandhi recounted this conversation to me. “She’s settled there now, with a husband and a child. But my feeling still is that it’s up to us citizens. Look, I love my wife and child not because they’re the best people in the world, but simply because they’re my wife and my child. If you feel that bond, then you say you’re responsible.” His voice cracked and shook. “Why should I believe in India? Because it’s mine.”