DO YOU DO, WHAT YOU DON’T WANT TO DO?

Do you do, what you don’t want to do?

Yes, I DO! In this hybrid living, every morning one of the primary things I do is, cleaning the cache files of my smartphone but what about the cache files we knowingly store in our life on a daily basis by “doing, what we don’t want to do”? Like the cache files slowing our smartphones often the cache files of regrets in our life make us feel demeaned in our own eyes. And one of such regretful matters in my life is to discipline myself.

We make fantastic plans and then plans to execute them tomorrow, sometimes the tomorrows keeps rotating, and finally on the last day, we instruct our mind, “nothing to worry, chill a little more…”, you can do it at the second hour of the day. As the second hour dawns, our mind becomes confused and the clock seems running at 4x speed. Alas, at the nick of the moment, our mind ain’t work, we fail to fulfill our commitment, and of course, Mr. Guilt is ready to peep in.

Oops, I did, what I ought not to do! But whom shall I blame? Who is responsible for my failure?
The Bible responds to it this way,

“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

The problem of “doing, what we don’t want to do” isn’t always the circumstantial influence, rather it is because we are enticed by our own desires. Those desires are full of filth. As we entertain those desires in our life it gives birth to sin and when the sin is full-grown it gives birth to death. This death – the death of wisdom, the death of conscience, the death of morals, and the death of fearing God which is ultimately addressed as, “the eternal death of our soul.”


Does it mean, there is no remedy to our tendency of “doing, what we don’t want to do”?

The Bible responds,

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide you a way out so that you can endure it.”

Surprisingly, we experience the same! Whenever we sense there is a knock of temptation in our hearts, immediately we hear two voices within. The voice that says, “watching porn is adultery and brings the wrath of God on us” whereas another voice says, “come on, it’s just like watching any other movie. Everyone does it, why not you!” But ALAS, as we give ear to that evil voice within us, it returns and ditches us with guilt.

I realized every time we sense the knock, let’s train our brain to listen to the first voice – “the voice of God” and keep taming our sinful mortal human flesh. Let’s not be a slave of our the sinful heart rather let’s enslave our bodies, keeping it in our control so that we will not find ourselves disqualified after preaching to others.

A LITTLE MORE…

“It may look like I’m doing nothing but, in my head, I’m quite busy” – this is almost many of our stories these days. After all, who wants to be identified as a sluggish person!

Since office and school have become virtual there is no need to rush to the bus stop by 9 am. The miles away from the office are inches away from logging in to our computers. All that we are concern about is how the upper part of our body appears on the screen, on the lower part boxer is fine. Alongside the virtual background and screen beauty mode is on duty to make us look good.

You know, I just thought to watch one more 20-minute episode but sadly that a little more took past 4 AM. My alarm rang at 8 AM, I woke up and realized I still have 1hr 30min in hand! Then why not take a little more nap!

Oops, if Mom won’t have shouted at 9:30 AM, I would definitely miss to log in at the due time.

Sailing the same boat, it would be apparent for me to say,

Being habituated of doing ‘A LITTLE MORE’ of what we ought not to have done

is powerful enough to diminish our zeal to work;

distract us from our professional goals and

as an end product, it disrupts our identity.  

This “A LITTLE MORE…” is none lesser than addiction in our life which primarily affects our brain and as we keep entertaining it, it diminishes our enthusiasm to work. The virtual meetings become boring and the professional targets seem unrealistic. It basically, distracts us from attaining our professional life goals. And its end product is well expected! One day to be known as the most passionate employee of the company is now somewhere at the first position in the below performer list over a month.

Is there no way to overcome such an addiction in our life?

Well, the Bible responds to it perfectly.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.   

Here are some primary tips as a way-out strategy that I have discovered for myself. Hope it may be helpful for you –

  • Since our spirit is willing to overcome the addiction but our flesh is weak, let us seek God’s help every time for He is the Creator of our body, mind, and soul.
  • Start practicing to say “NO” to that “A LITTLE MORE…”. Every time our addiction prompts us to sleep or watch the Web Series “A little more…”, let us train our brain saying, “No, I will not do this!”
  • There is the possibility of failure at the beginning yet let us discipline our body and bring it into subjection by waking up early for a walk or exercise.
  • Redo our daily routine. We will fail several times to follow it yet we can notice a change in us if we keep practicing that routine for another 21days (3 Weeks)
  • Dress like going office. Even before our systems let us sit as if we are sitting in our office. Let us drop off those Boxers and Bumchums and put on official trousers.
  • Leave working like sitting on the bed and keeping the laptop on laps. Use table and chair to sit and work.
  • Every night before going to sleep let us note our tasks for tomorrow morning and follow it thoroughly.
  • Avoid as much usage of cellphones and stop downloading movies and web series on computers. Let us use our laptops only for official purposes.   
  • Eat less heavy food. Let us stay hydrated by drinking enough water and avoid eating junk foods.   

A little attempt to kick out “a little more…” can make our life better. Because the Bible says,

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest —

and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.

A LITTLE COURAGE TO BE HONEST

Musafir Ali (a recognized poet) meets Aslam Baig (a recognized wrestler) on the train from Bhopal to Delhi. They were sharing the same compartment. As they see each other, immediately Musafir Ali recognizes Aslam Baig yet he behaves as if it’s their first meet. As the journey is long and somehow both of them started to swap their professional and personal life stories. Meanwhile Musafir shows the ring of famous poet Gulam Nabi Azad which he gifted Musafir after watching Musafir’s performance. In response, Aslam shares the memory of his beautiful, gold-plated, and costly alarm pocket watch “Khusbakht”. For Aslam, Khusbakht was like his wife, it brought him fortunes but unfortunately decades back in a train journey someone stole Khusbakht and as result, Aslam started losing his fortunes. After their conversation, both of them goes to sleep but throughout the night Musafir was unable to sleep properly because a couple of decades back it was Musafir (previously known as Raju Shahwani) who had stolen Khusbakht from Aslam Baig and it was that of his guilt of stealing Khusbakht which was hunting him at present. As it dawns and the train stops at the outer of Delhi station, Musafir decides to quietly put Khusbakht in Aslam’s handbag in his absence, unfortunately, Aslam catches Musafir red-handed. Confessing his sin Musfair leaves the train at Delhi station but Aslam comes running after Musfair and handovers him Khusbakht asking him to hand over Khusbakht to the storekeeper at the Rooh-Saaf store on the next day at 3 pm. Accordingly, Musfair goes to the Rooh-Saaf store the next day to handovers Khusbakht. In response, the storekeeper asks Musafir the name for the record and Musafir mentions his name but the storekeeper says, ‘no mister, I need the name of the person from whom you have stolen Khusbakht’ but being embarrassed Musafir hesitates to mention Aslam Baig’s name. Angrily, the storekeeper asks Musafir to get out of the store and leave his coat of fake honor. Yet to hide his sin Musafir questions the storekeeper, “Why did people visit his store to return the stolen things instead of selling them?” And the storekeeper responds, SELF-RESPECT! Self-respect always bites our conscience. Whatever sins a man may commit he is, after all, a child of God and unless he confesses his sin, his soul remains blemished.” Realizing his sinful state, Musafir takes courage to confess Aslam Baig’s name. Then the storekeeper shows him the beautiful ring of poet Gulam Nabi Azad which Aslam Baig handover the storekeeper the before day soon after leaving the train. The storekeeper also mentions Aslam is one of his regular customers and shows many other pieces of stuffs and wrestling awards that Aslam had stolen before. Because like Musafir, Aslam was also suffering from Kleptomania disorder. The next day, Musafir comes back to the Rooh-Saaf store with a bag full of tiny pieces of stuffs which he had stolen from different people since his childhood.

Yes, you are rightly thinking, this is a story of the legendary Scriptwriter and Filmmaker Mr. Satyajit Ray which is filmed in the recent web series “Ray”.

How analogical is the story to each of our inner states! Isn’t it?

In the Bible, it is beautifully penned, “Our human heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. No human can understand it. It is like a whitewashed tomb which looks beautiful from outside but inside it is filled with rotten stinky bones.”

My inside isn’t visible to others but I can see it. Its sinful state haunts me day and night. I blame people outside for my peace lessness whereas the reason is within me and it needs to be treated at the earliest. “If we won’t treat our sin today, our sin might become our graveyard tomorrow”. For the treatment, all we need is “A LITTLE COURAGE TO BE HONEST. Honest to drop our coat of fake honor like Musafir Ali.” “A LITTLE COURAGE TO BE HONEST. Honest to go for Rooh-Saaf, confession of sin makes us guilt-free.” A LITTLE COURAGE TO BE HONEST. Honest to self and unto others.

In my case, I remember, years back I was invited to an NPO voluntary board as an Asst. Secretary. While we were organizing an event, we had to outsource our work. As we the board members decided to outsource our work, we gave tender for music arrangements to one of our team members. But before signing the tender approval, I asked the Music Arranger to handover all the Music tracks to the Secretary soon after the event since the NPO has paid for it and the NPO is the sole owner of it. Being the youngest member of the team and as well among the Board Members, I was quite sure the Music Arranger will surely retaliate and that might also affect our personal relationship. Even to the extent, of his retaliation I must be embarrassed before the seniors but keeping eye on the mandate of being a voluntary NPO Board Member, I need to be honest in each of my decisions. As I took courage and went honest in my decision, he retaliated, and being an elder person went a little bossy on me. His response made me feel bad and embarrassed. But the end product was remarkable – “the sin got exposed & till date it was the last tender for him from that particular NPO board.”

A little courage, to be honest, keeps us guilt-free and is strong enough to expose the sin.

WHEN THE RISK TAKES THE VULNERABLE ON RIDE

Every time I think to show up my vulnerability, I get confused about finding the right person to open up to. If I am allowed to draw the picture it would be,

Walking in my dark dingy tunnel, I screamed for a help

but in the profound silence of the tunnel

all I could hear my own scream screaming me back.

In order to get rid of the pain, as I kept walking ahead

I saw a light shining at the end of the tunnel

asking me to keep walking since there is someone out there

to hold my hands and lead to my unknown.”

The honesty of vulnerability is showing interest to seek help from outside. In my vulnerability I always look up for help from 4 kind of people –

  1. A CONFIDANTE: Venting out your inner aches is always referred to as the initial pipeline for healing. Someone primarily shows up his/her vulnerability to a person with whom one shares a secret or private matter, trusting them not to repeat it to others. It helps the vulnerable to find the relaxation of his inner wounds.
  2. AN EMPATHIZER: The prime reason a victim always finds himself in loneliness is that there is none to relate to his pain. The touch of someone who can understand or be sensitive to another’s feelings or ideas makes the vulnerable feel safe and important.
  3. A PROPONENT: Vulnerable is often lonely, victimized, and morally low they open up their vulnerability so that there would be a voice among many to advocate their case. Make them guilt-free and rescue their selfhood.
  4. A PATHFINDER: The vulnerable’ whereabouts is always at stake. They are confused about where to go from there. For a person to tread to a better version of life is always necessary. Their vulnerability tells they ask the person of experiential relevance to hold their hand and lead them ahead.  

BUT ALAS…

In my search of them, a voice from my past experience had always instructed – it is wise enough to get a background check of the person to whom I will show my vulnerability. Well, if I am asked to give a reason for my behavior. Honestly, it would be “the risk factor that is involved”. The risk of

  1. Being EXPOSED: How can a man measure the intent of another man? While outsourcing our project we are always concerned about the secrecy of our project information. Often, we sarcastically quote some of our outsourcing partner office’ as “Public Square”, we share them some information and the other day it becomes the talk of the town. That’s why the Bible warns, “A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers”
  2. Being RIDICULED: It won’t be wrong to say, we live in the most technologically connected age yet we always feel disconnected. Research says, “On social media, people mostly feel more disconnected even though they have hundreds of friends and followers on their channel.” It happens because “a 6 always looks like a 9 from the opposite end and a 9 always looks like a 6 from the opposite end”. This means we often connect with the vulnerable with a personal perception in mind. To become a perfect empathizer the Bible recommends, “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other. For encouraging and building each other is Godly work.”
  3. Being CRITICISED: Criticism always seems negative because of its use on the fallacy of context. Often, the talk is not WHO RAPED HER but WHY THAT PARTICULAR GIRL IS WAS RAPED, definitely, she wears shorts and has allured the man. The fear of being outcasted, criticized, and becoming a public disgrace has always squared the vulnerable exactly when he decides to open up his vulnerability to someone. Whereas the Bible teaches, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”
  4. Being TAKEN FOR A RIDE: Human heart is extremely deceitful and is beyond measure. Probably, that’s why his world is framed with I, ME, & MINE. He gave him the power of attorney to lead the organization in his absence but when the owner return, he found the servant has built his own organization. The risk of being taken for a ride has always pulled me back from being vulnerable. The Bible counsels, “Take the pain to do what is right both in the eyes of the LORD and in the eyes of man.”     

Time and again when these risks involved in being vulnerable takes me on a ride, with sorrow I warn myself the quote of the Australian Singer Nicholas Edward Cave –

“If you’re gonna dine with them, cannibals,

Sooner or later, darling, you’re gonna get eaten…”

WHY DID THE VULNERABLE CHOOSE YOU?

According to the Clinical Social Worker and American Researcher Dr. Casandra Brene Brown,

What we know matters BUT WHO WE ARE matters more.”

Being a people person naturally many people get the ease to open up themselves and have shown their vulnerability. All most all the time, those sensitive conversations opening line is, “I TRUST YOU”, at times they say verbally and at the other time, I found it in their hypersensitive tones. Well, does it make me feel encouraged? Yes, but alongside I always felt more responsible and had always uttered a silent prayer – “God, help me not to break this man’s trust?

At the end of every conversation, their thank you note starts with the line “thank you very much for listening to my story” or some of them say, “sorry, I took so much of your time”. Does it mean did I favour them? No, rather giving all ear to their stories has always made me feel favoured by them since there might many like me yet they chose to tap me.    

A vulnerable person always shows their love in their vulnerability

Primarily, it is the honesty that we look in love. Vulnerability also looks for honesty. Years back, I was invited to speak at a three days conference and I was accommodated at my ushering family’s place. One evening one of the daughters-in-law of the family opened up and shared with me her story of being abused by her husband. Even she requested me to counsel her husband. But I denied her with reason.I was worried if I counsel her husband, there might be a chaotic situation happening after my leaving, even to the greater and possible extent her husband might doubt her character since she disclosed her marital relationship secrets to a completely new person to him. And lo, in her response to the reason for my denial, she confirmed my fear. She said, “Brother, you are right! Exactly this happened a couple of years back. I asked one mentor person to counsel my husband and it turned worse experience. Since the person was new to my husband, it hurt the sentiments of my husband and after the mentor person leaving, I was verbally abused and was thrashed by my husband.”

As they have shown their love in their vulnerability,

you show them honesty and wisdom in your whereof.  

Are you worried I left her to suffer? Sadly, and practically, yes to the near future because since then she didn’t have any human to whom her husband can listen and repent. I have certain limits to help her. But to her goodness, I did refer her a greater Guiding Light, who is Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent – God. Out of many of my personal experiences, I suggested her for endurance instead of giving up her marital vow and take things into prayer, seeking God to intervene in her situation because somewhat that she was lacking in her life. From an Atheist point of view, I might sound like a slacker. But being a theist, undoubtedly that is the greatest possible reference where a vulnerable can take refuge and strength. Since Jesus promised,

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

WHOSE STRUGGLE IS BIGGER?

She came to our family as our daughter-in-law in her early twenties. Being an Indian village girl, she was very kind, loving, hospitable, shy, submissive, traditional, and naïve in nature. For her, our family was her entire world. But who knew that her happiness of marriage won’t last long? She lost her husband just after 7years of her marriage. Being the elder and only daughter-in-law of the family, she had to take responsibility of her aged mother & father-in-law and her two baby girls (one 3years old & one 5months old). She had to deal with all these when she was just a 26-year-old, typical Indian village girl. Words will always fall sort to explain the pain & struggle she went through. Often all our encouraging words and comforts were just momentary. We were just able to wipe her moist eyes but undoubtedly none of us was there with her in those uncountable dark nights when she soaked her pillow with tears. But hats-off to her courage and maturity, the way she dusted and rose up from each of her pain is incredible. Dealing alone with her struggle she reflected the crown of glory she wore. She bagged it all and we witnessed.

In the beginning probably, some of such perspectives in mind the LORD God said, “it is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” So, the LORD caused to the man to fall into a deep sleep and took out one of the man’s ribs and made the woman. And the man exclaimed, “this is the bone from my bone and flesh from my flesh!”

As growing kids, one of the sincerest prayers my Dad always taught us – “God, give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the bread of my portion. Otherwise, I may have too much and deny You, saying, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, profaning the name of my God. If you want strength in your struggle, learn from those who are in the worst situation than yours.” Well, such a prayer was contrary to my ambitious teen mind at that time.

At comfort zone, some good advice often sound sanctimonious.

We only realize when being squared by suffering.

One night while on the way back from that cousin’s place the LORD God was loud & clear questioning in my heart, “ARE YOUR STRUGGLES BIGGER THAN HER?”

That’s the reason, Jesus (the God of the Bible) said,

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

WHO I AM – WHY I AM ADMIRED?

One of the absolutes of human life is, each human being is intrinsically designed and holds a definite purpose. This definite purpose designs their life patterns. It also becomes the compass of their ethical and moral belief system. Probably that’s instigated, the American Author, Educator, & Activist Parker Palmer to pen,

“Before I can tell my life WHAT I WANT to do with it,

I must listen to my life telling me WHO I AM”

Recently I was asked by one of my board members to help him with technical assistance in a 2days seminar. I was able to help him on the first day but on the second day I had to go on my family vacation, so much prior to the session, I compiled all the information, made the presentation in a couple of formats, and handed him in a thumb drive. But alas, due to some technical glitch he was unable to make the presentation. The next day when we met, he said, “yesterday, if Avinash would be that Avinash whom I admire, I won’t have failed.” Going further he appreciated one of my leadership traits which inspired me to reason his words rather than complaining him of dicing the blame-game. He said, “to succeed in your work, you always come with a three-fold strategy. If one strategy falls apart, there are two more strategies to succeed. That’s why I admire you. He was right! That’s what I ignored, I didn’t use my other two options and as a result, he failed to resolve the technical glitch.

To understand “Being WHO I AM” and “WHY I AM ADMIRED”, I had an imaginative visit to a Potter’s workshop. I found too many pots there, each of them was of different designs, different shapes, different prices. I enquired about the difference and all that the Potter pointed me was “each clay pots are designed for a particular purpose. It is for that purpose people admire them, for that purpose I designed them differently, for that purpose they are of different shapes, and for that purpose they are priced differently.

The Bible says,

“You are like the clay in the potter’s hands, and I am the potter.”  – this is the message of the Lord.