Our World

This has been playing on my mind for quite some time now. But it was not refined enough to help me make sense of it. A week later, today, it still does not let me rest, so I’ve decided to write it down, hoping that it makes more sense.

On my road trip last week, just at the end of the monsoon season, I was filled with happiness just to look at the wild greenery that surrounded me everywhere I went. There were pretty sights of nature wherever I was going, the weather was pleasant, and my mind was at complete peace. As I was passing through one long winding valley road, which stretched almost 10 miles or so, I was especially struck by the beauty of the mountain range in the distance, the shimmering blue waters of the lake, and the bright white clouds in the equally bright blue sky.

I first began to feel gratitude towards life for allowing me to take pleasure in such beauty. Once that contemplation was over, I started clicking pictures, so that I could share them with my friends, who I knew would not visit that place anytime soon. (I was also told on the way by a local shopkeeper that this road was less frequented by travelers, and most tourists frequented the city road. So the probability of my friends taking the same route was almost zero.)

At that moment, a unique thought entered my mind. This road, these sights, the bright clouds overseeing the entire expanse of that green land, everything at that unique moment, was meant for my eyes alone. No, I’m not saying it was something special, or I’m special. There are millions of such places all over the world; what I realized was that, it was a moment given to me to contemplate beauty and what I did in that moment was all that mattered. My mind was temporarily elevated; my whole self was filled with bliss. For a brief time, I was learning something profound that could not be expressed in material terms.

That moment was a part of my life’s journey. And it was meant for me alone. It was one of the millions of experiences we have in our life, which is meant to teach us something. The quality of our life depends on how deeply we learn from what is given to us. It does not matter where you are at the moment. How intimately you interact with your environment is all that matters.

As the 13th century Persian poet and mystic, Rumi, says, ‘wherever you stand, be the soul of that place’. Never before did I understand those words better! In that unique moment, I was not only enjoying the beauty, but I was also a part of that beauty, in fact, I was beauty.

Now let me tell you something interesting. Let’s assume that none of my friends or family ever visits this place. So, that place was exclusively created for me. It was a part of a mini-world that was created only for my pleasure, or growth. In the same way, I realized, the earth is created for humans. There may or may not be any other Planet in the Universe for our existence. But we need not bother about that. All that we need to grow is already here surrounding us…Our mini-world on this earth.

Use that wisely to become a wise soul.

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Role Models

If you have had a good childhood, your role models would have first been glamorous dolls and later as you grew up, hard-working, self-made personalities.

What exactly are role models? They are a projection of our fulfilled expectations. We adore them because they define success for us. They resonate with our deepest desires. Sometimes they give purpose to our lives. (Otherwise most people wouldn’t know what to do with their lives!)

Well, I believe that we need not have any role models in life. Although I always appreciate and am awed by anyone who shows a religious attitude towards his work or vocation, I do not think I need to design my life according to those standards, only because they are highly valued and are very successful. I’ll tell you why.

We are all unique personalities, making this world a colorful place, giving a bit of our color to everyone we come across. Though I do not accept everything that Osho says, one of his lectures did make me look at our life from another perspective. He said just like a mango seed that has a blueprint of the entire tree hidden in itself, an infant is born with a blueprint according to which his life unfolds as he grows.

In other words, we need not seek affirmation for our actions by following a role model. We do not need any role models. We are complete in ourselves. What we lack is a faith to believe in ourselves. We cannot see our worth unless it promises some material benefit. That is the whole idea of looking up to a role model. It is an assurance that we will never fail. As teens we want to become a rockstar and as an adult we want to become a millionaire.

What this attitude does is that, you keep hopping from one ambition to another, without ever stopping to think about your real worth. You worth becomes directly proportional to your ability to be like your role model.

Now, a valid argument to this idea is that, children need to live by example and so, it is important to have good role models. However, how many times the role models we look up to, turn out to be defective; their life based on a faulty, groundless material ambition. (As humans, we are always going to be enmeshed in our vague insecurities and carry our shadow sides with us!)  Doesn’t that leave us incomplete and broken, rendering our life aimless in an instant?

The solution put forth to this by many is to have a better role model, the definition of which evades them completely.

That is because, there is no better or worse role model. Each individual is learning to grow on his own path in his own way. Sure enough the seed that he carries within himself is one day going to bloom. In the process he may become a source of light to others; however in no way does it mean that others do not have the ability to shine on their own!

Need

This world needs you. This world, made up of little people with lofty ambitions, needs you as you are. You have come to this planet with a simple mission; and that is to be and live as you are.

What hinders us from perceiving this reality is our illusions about life and living. Let me tell you how I arrived at this beautiful conclusion. I was sitting all alone in my room, watching the beautiful sunset far away in the distance, absorbing the last golden rays, the vestiges of a beautiful day, feeling nostalgic and sad for unknown reasons. I would have been preoccupied further in the same way, when my smartphone suddenly beeped signaling the arrival of a chat message. When I took a look at my phone unwillingly, I saw a teary emoji and a message asking me for help. The warrior spirit took over me and forgetting myself for a moment, I began soothing my friend who was in distress. It was a silly reason over which she was unhappy, but her inability to have a clear perspective increased her confusion and dismay and left her with no sight of hope. All that she was seeking was a shoulder to cry upon, a willing ear to listen and a nurturing heart to care.

When I think about this incident, I have to admit that, the fact that my friend chose me in her hour of need defines my purpose in this life more clearly than anything else.

We all need people and things to make us feel sufficient and satisfied with our existence. In the same way, there are people and things that need us. You play an important as well as a trivial part in the life of all the people that you come across. As a child you delight your parents and guardians. As an adult you delight your friends and relatives. As a parent you support your children. As an employee you participate in a small but significant way in building the economy of your country. And believe me, if you are troublesome and wicked, you may be notorious and treated as an example of what not to be!

So, how can you feel worthless even for a moment? You must be thinking what my purpose was in writing this post. This post is for people who feel they are unwanted, unloved and who feel unsatisfied with their existence. I have met a lot of people who want to change their present state of life. They keep thinking that unless they achieve something, love someone, have something, be someone, they are not going to be satisfied. They look up to a ‘successful’ person and nurture an ambition to be like them. They compare themselves with others and feel miserable. They play with their own complexes and lose the game. And then they feel their existence is meaningless. A supreme illusion!

But then they forget, there are people who need them. They forget their purpose. I read about a recent divorce case of a celebrity which was making headlines for a few weeks on every TV channel and all the newspapers. Clearly, his commitment to his fans overrode all of his personal obligations. According to me, a celebrity has a noble purpose which is to put a smile on a million faces. The world needs them as much as it needs you. And that is because each is unique in his role and his purpose in serving the people around. And likewise every single thing that exists in this world has its purpose…Just like that one sunset which served its purpose by allowing me to wallow in melancholy…

 

Fallen

Every time I write a blog post I go away with a feeling that I have nothing more to say about life. But then there is this vast life spread out before us teaching us every moment every millisecond; and then I smile at my foolishness and feel pleasantly flattered as well because that is how I get a new blog post!

Well, today I’m here to reveal another of my recent discoveries…the first thought went unedited directly on my Facebook page, ‘Serendipity is a lie.’

Actually, this is not the first thought that came to my mind. I was thinking how often I’ve cursed myself over and over again about not being able to achieve something that I was led to believe that I really desired. How often I’ve been unhappy thinking that I didn’t try too hard to achieve what I really wanted; that maybe I was dumb or maybe I was lazy.

But tonight as soon as the thought entered my mind, my eyes also fell at the same time on the tender innocent face of my child. And as my emotions battled with my senses, my heart grew calm. My eyes were beholding the most beautiful sight at that moment…how could that make me unhappy? How could I curse myself for not having something else? Because whatever I chose so far has brought me to this beautiful serene moment in my life. If I’d chosen something else, would i have been more grateful and hopeful than what I was feeling at this moment?
My inability to see the beauty in front of me till that moment was the result of my clouded senses.

As I dwelt upon this thought, I realized that our senses which are constantly bombarded with falsity that surrounds us, are gradually and completely taking us away from our deepest desires, our happiness. Our inability to process large amount of sensory data, hangs up our system, makes us believe we are insufficient and forever pushes us into darkness.

And how does serendipity relate here? Why is serendipity a lie?

That is because like the fallen angels, we are lost…We await a serendipitous event to make us aware of the Beauty of life… And depending on the type of data you deal with, your true nature is forever lost to you. You are unable to see anything beyond the veneer of forced reality. And then maybe serendipity may not be a serendipity at all..’

Beauty and fortune never forsake us; we try to find them in the wrong places…

The Life Purpose

What is the purpose of my life?

Every time I face a difficult situation, this question makes its way to my head, making me believe for a while that I’m indeed an existentialist. But before long, I argue myself out of it in an agreeable fashion. This time the conclusion I’ve reached is so fascinating that I’ve decided to share it with my readers. Read on…what if I am able to help you fix this problem called life? Maybe I’ve found an answer which you would only be too glad to understand and analyze!

Well, this question first came to me when I was an adolescent. I even tried to share it with one of my literature professors, but he just smiled and shrugged, thinking that an ambivalent attitude would be the best way to get out of the dilemma. He was a poor man who had received a scholarship and a gold medal at the end of his university years. Once I watched him long enough from a train, when he was standing just on the opposite side, on a platform, looking at the ground near his feet, contemplating hard. What was he thinking about? I do not want to define the feelings that I experienced at this sight. It is enough to say that, that image of my professor has stayed in my mind forever. The reason I bring him here is because, what he conveyed to me was, in spite of all the odds he had decided to look at the brighter side of his life, and somehow he had turned that into a life purpose.

Yes, that is what I’ve been taught by everybody ever since I have faced any difficulties.

Now as an exercise, let’s erase all that we have been taught. Let’s unlearn what has been drilled into our heads since childhood. No, I’m not going to tell you how bad the world is. I don’t want to talk about the entity called soul. Neither will I dive into Karma theory. I won’t even bring in quantum mechanics.

What I’ve discovered when I unlearned all these theories and facts about life and living is that our life indeed has a purpose and it makes me smile because just a decade ago I was so full of doubts about it and wished I was never born. I looked for answers everywhere.

I looked at the people around me who told me earning a lot of money was the true purpose of life and I tried doing that. But I soon realized I was not ambitious for material things. Then there were others who said that work is worship, and I took a job to dedicate myself to some purpose. But, it got tiring after a while and still I do not have a clue why I was doing it. A quick resignation followed. Then I went to the temples to understand what religion has to offer. Other than faith it had nothing to offer and alas I could not pray. So I turned to books to seek answers and I found many interesting people and guides there who had interesting theories that stimulated the mind and for a while I wanted to trust them and adopt their ways. But then, again, the wisdom they shared was too difficult to imitate and adopt. So then I turned to spirituality which took me on a journey to seek my soul. But again it was an arduous journey. I soon learned that I couldn’t eliminate the petty desires of my senses.

So, did that mean at the end, I had not found any purpose? Any concrete evidence of what I was supposed to do with my life?

No.

The answer that I was seeking was beautifully hidden in the question itself. The word ‘LIFE’ which I considered as a noun was in fact a verb. The purpose of life was life itself. To live and experience life. To see it ripen and embrace the nature from which it had risen for a brief time. To see it falling down, getting charred, and then rising like a phoenix, innumerable times. To see it rolling a stone up the mountain like a Sisyphus forever and ever. To see it condemned to Hell like Satan. To experience the anguish of being banished from the Garden of Eden again and again. But to also enjoy the brief period of bliss before the Fall.

The only logical question that arises here is about death.

How could the fact, that we die, also retain the meaning and purpose of life? What is the life purpose of a body which has been mutilated, raped, abused? What about mental illness, what about cancer, hunger, famine, poverty, incarceration? How do these experiences give meaning to life? Why do we experience such intense and extreme realities, if we can call them so?

So, as we say, youll never know until it happens to you. The people who suffer such extreme realities, are here to experience life as it has been given to them. And when we learn to take an experience for its own sake, we actually learn something consequential from it. Some of us somehow need to experience that variation of our existence. It is an experience ‘meant’ for some of us to lead us on some other path. It is an experience not ordained, but perpetrated by the desires of an uncivilized, discontented race of human beings.

And there is nothing pessimistic about it. Just like there is nothing optimistic about gaining fame! We are not here to argue if experiences are good or bad, but just that these are the experiences that have to be experienced.

So each life has a unique purpose. And that is to experience the unique journey of life that has been charted for you. Your experiences are going to be unique and all your own. These are the real treasures of your existence. And no amount of experiences borrowed from others, ‘wise or otherwise’, is going to make the journey any easier or difficult for you.

Existence

Every kind of expression is a way of purging ourselves of some irresistible emotion. We as creatures are meant to experience and express. These two are the only events that we actually repeat in varying degrees throughout life.

Birth is our ultimate expression and death the ultimate experience. And the entire life is an accumulation of different experiences, which apparently we believe are good or bad for us as per our state of matter.

Our self-worth is based on the quality of experiences that we have, which again are based on illusions. That is why trying to construct a positive or a negative meaning out of our life is a totally meaningless activity. The life is only meant to be lived and watched mindlessly like a movie. But just like the movie, life surprises us with twists and turns and thus elicits every kind of feeling..

Recently I watched the movie Lucy in which Luc Besson says that our ultimate aim is to share our knowledge with others. But what struck me was the music towards the climax. The notes elicited nostalgia, which made me quite uncomfortable. If it was done deliberately, it just meant that we really do not enjoy going beyond the human limitations, whatever good, bad, great, they are supposed to be. In other words, we want our life to be much more than it actually is, we want to leave a legacy of our existence. We just want it to be worth living.

But then, just because life is apparently meaningless, doesn’t it make us free? Free from the consequences of our action? Of course by first showing us that greed, ambition and revenge mean nothing at all?

So, in a way, this meaninglessness is necessary, because ultimately, it teaches us to proceed towards our dissolution in a more peaceful state than we actually do, when we attach ourselves with the objects and creatures of this world.

Birdman explained, a little late.. (Better late than never)

Well, I should have written this post almost a year ago, when the film was released. However, considering the artistic elements and the heavy philosophy with which the film is loaded, you simply do not get to understand the film without reading enough books or alternatively without having experienced the anguish of an artist.

Today, somehow I felt that I could try to put in words, the impression that this film has left on me.

When I watched Riggan Thomson talking to his alter ego, a quote by Martin Amis at once came to my mind: ‘Every writer hopes or boldly assumes that his life is in some sense exemplary, that the particular will turn out to be universal.’

Therefore, the presence of an alter ego is nothing but a bold assumption that Riggan has always been exemplary. And so, when he jumps off the building and begins to fly, this assumption strengthens its hold as the alter ego reiterates that Riggan is ‘above them all’. This simply meant that Riggan is so confident about his theatrical genius that he no longer cares about the outcome. Irrespective of how the audience views his performance, Riggan believes that he is a great actor and that faith is what he needs after all.

The virtue of ignorance is unexpected because you are unexpectedly led onto the path of enlightenment. In order to enlighten yourself, you first need to understand your ignorance!

So once Riggan realizes (after a great deal of suffering) that he is ‘above them all’, pulling a stunt becomes easier, because, after all he is now completely sure about his genius.

If the story is interpreted this way up to this point, the ending is hardly surprising. The image of Sam as she looks up, her face breaking into a beaming smile left me with an unexplainable optimism which was the only clue that suggested that the film indeed had an inspiring message. The ending somehow lifted the fog that was threatening to drown Riggan throughout the film. And I just couldn’t see how a suicide could even be considered as a solution here.

So, according to me, Riggan is really up there once again ‘above them all’ saying that the outcome of the play, the success, still doesn’t affect me. I know who I am and that is all I want to know! I am already ‘above them all’. The alter ego will always exist (magnificent and always inviting attention), but now it does not need to scream out its presence, as you make peace with your reality. And the reality is that, ‘Life is a tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.’

The reason why we do not see Riggan flying is because the looker-on really would not understand what being above would mean unless he tastes the unexpected virtue of ignorance.

It just meant Riggan is above us all, and consequently, above judgment.

Maybe, Sam was ‘special’ and so she was already on a journey towards self-understanding and therefore only she is qualified enough to see and judge her father.

And just like Paul about whom we debate whether or not he saw Jesus, we can debate whether or not Sam saw Riggan flying. In both cases we have to be content with what they saw, heard and interpreted.

Life as we know it

I learned about absurdism when I was in college, when I was nineteen years old. In a way, I was too young or inexperienced to understand why absurdist questions troubled some men – literary men. I was studying so that I could become educated and get myself a well paying job once I finished my education. There was meaning in what I was doing or hoping for my future. And so I understood absurdism in a very narrow-minded way. I concluded that since we are all going to die eventually, achievement is a fruitless exercise. I considered absurdism as a preoccupation with death.

But I never believed that there was no purpose to my life. After all there was a purpose why I was learning literature. But for a young adult who has been well provided for and who comprehends the privilege of a college education, the concept of existentialism is hardly going to make sense. And once I completed my graduation, and started making my mark on the world, I realized that the world is a ripe place waiting for me to savour its delights. Everywhere I looked there were objects and people who gratified my senses. Fascinated with what I saw, felt and devoured, I was convinced that life not only had a purpose but much more to offer generously to anybody who stood before it with open arms.

But then, all of a sudden, a shattering experience left an eternal emptiness in my heart which no amount of love or care could refill. And that is when I became so preoccupied with my suffering, so much, that the world became a dismal place. No amount of optimistic advice was capable of bringing me out of my despair and wretchedness. And as I deliberated upon this preoccupation with suffering, I realized that I was also unhappy about the fact that I cannot allow the world to make me happy – the same world which just a while ago stood before me with a beatific smile. No matter how much I tried, I could not fill the vacuum that was left by that experience. When I thought I’d reconciled myself to that pain, I realized it was nothing but an attempt to fill the ditch with loose earth, which gave in the moment the lightest memory of that incident stepped on it.

What was I going to do, but live with it!

This effort to struggle with the pain and anguish gradually led me to believe that there was indeed no meaning to my life. The meaninglessness stemmed from the fact that I was unable to reconcile with my pain. Had I never experienced such anguish, I’d have continued existing blissfully without a thought to absurdism.

There were limited options I could try, to continue to exist and try to rekindle the love and delight for the wide world once again. The most appealing one was to commit ‘philosophical suicide’ that is, to seek God and find a lofty purpose in the anguish I suffered. And as I started healing myself by reworking on my brain center, a new thought occurred to me. What if I encounter such pain all over again? How will I adjust to a world or this nature who grants happiness and suffering at brief intervals? I’d lost my naiveté, a belief in a utopian world, because it could not safeguard me from despair. The only comfort I could derive for myself was from an idea called God which existed outside the material world.

When I further deliberated upon the metaphysical codes, I realized that a belief in the idea of a God invalidates existence in human form. The material world is mere illusion, or we experience an illusion of matter as the scientists now call it. Then, this corroborates the absurdist claim that the attempt to find meaning in life is futile.

And this meaningless scramble will not come to light unless one experiences suffering.

Therefore, the whole purpose of our life is to learn scientifically as well as metaphysically, through extreme suffering, that this existence is non-existent!

The question is once again: Why?

At Ease

Let’s see where I can take this from here. I know I cannot take it too far. But life has to be fair. It has to give you a fair chance. Or else god would be just an idea. Do I want to speak about god yet? No I don’t think so. So let’s continue with some chatter for now.

I’m not desperate. For once you know the truth, you cannot be desperate anymore. You just wait eternally for the big bang to happen again and again. I wish I had something worthy to say to make you fall at ease with your sunken self!

But I can no longer comfort. I’m disgusted. I need to think if one can comfort when one is disgusted.Why do I want to be at ease all the time? I cannot stand one petty discomfort in my life. I’m becoming a lazy worm every moment. But this does not fall in tune with the survival instinct. To survive, I must get up everyday, feel good about myself and say positive things to the world so that they applaud me! And then?
I guess, then return home, feeling like a winner! But how long can one dupe oneself?

Life is really a lost game.

Does one ever wonder why crows were made? They are the most useless, brainless, ugly, rat eating species of birds on earth. Their very sight is displeasing to the eyes. But still, we live beside them, ignoring them, never questioning their existence!

I wonder how this is related to what I was saying. I know you must be wondering too. But this was just a diversion. At the moment some disgusting crows are cawing loudly on a bark outside my window as I write. And one of them is a baby, with the most digusting vocal chord!

So you see how discomforting is life actually when you are acutely sensitive to the things around you. Meditation and spiritual activities are always on the rise. So a few of you might quickly think that meditation heals a wounded soul.
No it does not. In fact it worsens the wounds and leaves you to fend for yourself.

It is just another form of intoxication.

Human beings have nothing positive to offer to one another.
Sharing and harmony are non existent utopian ideas. Utopia is our guilt. We feel gilty of being born as human beings. We know our sins. We are ashamed of our sins and we try to correct them through utopia.

Do you really think feeling guilty is enough?

Oh,let me not ramble any more. Let me be the lazy worm and look for some fresh prey. I’m hungry! Life is good (the famous line of LG) when I just have to eat, drink and be merry.

I know it works for you too.

So ignore your frustrations and try to find some suitable explanations for them.

Let’s all be at ease forever.

Inner Voice

This piece is titled Inner Voice…the reason..it’s not me who is writing..but deep something within me, my head, my heart, my mind propels me to convey this to an unknown person or people out there, who might be waiting to receive such a message from an unknown entity…I have no idea what I would be writing..neither do I know how I started writing..maybe some elements of nature interacted with the matter that I’m made of… Funny and incredulous as it sounds, this is what I’m led to believe these days. It wasn’t long ago that the very idea of a God or a cReator created ripples of laughter and amusement in my hollow mind… it may still be hollow!! Or a Hologram.

I still haven’t figured out how people make sense of the world they live in…Like all species we love looking for easy explanations that would make us lie back in the womb comfortably. Wasnt classical physics all about this?? It still is.

But somehow people have begun realizing (and I still dont know what percentage of them) that the myths that could afford explanations and help derive meaning in life, are no longer enough.. they are completely invalidated.. New explanations are beginning to crop up to help us explain our meaning and purpose in life. “Life” a cliche! And now we call it quantum mechanics. I dont claim to have understood it either.

But it is not a term or a myth to be understood, but felt… So after all these years of learning and scientific analysis, we know that there is nothing scientific about anything, rather its metaphysical! And nobody knows why and how the pyramids were built!! Theories and theories… running pages and pages long..

Suddenly it becomes very difficult to lie back and think about these changing realities. Human beings are an amazing species. They have been granted with the wonderful defense mechanisms that take them through life comfortably. I wonder how defence mechanisms were derived! Maybe, like all other things, we should now look at it as another term for mental retardation. Thus the idea of describing an alternate reality is yet another defense mechanism to define the unknown.

New explanation for our purpose in life is also our need to help us define our purpose in life. Why? Why do we need the feel to etch something worthwhile for us for the time we are here?? Why do we need constantly to look for meanings? Why is contentment so hard to come by? We need to know nothing. We need to feel. And once we start feeling we would be led by our intuition to the truth. As Gautam Buddha says, Desire is the root of all evil.

The desire to know the truth is evil.