Just like any other individual, I have had my own highs and lows in life. If I analyze my phases, I can feel that most of what I have experienced can be attributed to my emotional dependency on people and the environment. Thus these internal fluctuations with regard to the good and the bad times always cause big turbulence, leading to mental havoc and wasteful thinking. From a very recent incident, I was able to recall the advice of my spiritual guide over a telephonic conversation with him, that I had forgotten amid the helter-skelter of my B-school life.
I just complained to him about people’s sympathetic and weird reactions to my auto-immune disorder which flared up on my skin at different parts in hundreds of minuscule patches uninvitedly a couple of months back. When I was finished with my rants, he asked me if it is affecting me physically or causing any harm, pain or injury. Since it just has to do with the outer skin, it actually makes no impact on my lifestyle, except the fact that I become a little conscious in my choice of clothing. On hearing this, he laughed off my problem and told me, that the problem is not with the disorder but with the way I am getting affected by people’s reactions to it. And, so he reminded me of the old advice he had given me way back in a different context that still holds true which goes like:-
“I shouldn’t be affected by what others think or say about me but what matters is what I think and say about them. ”
It might sound unconditional but it certainly changes the perception and our reactions towards people with whose opinions, we fluctuate. Stating my own experience, I no longer feel frustrated with people’s reactions but I have turned empathetic to understand their level of unawareness about the disorder. Sometimes, I feel the need to explain to them about my condition and how it will vanish soon, while most of the time, I take a silent and composed stand now, for I am actually not responsible to justify. My teacher very easily tells me to simply name the problem and leave it for people to google rather than explaining them the nuances of it. And, so at times, I listen to their fuss about it, their opinions and advice about it but don’t take it by heart. My anger for them has turned into pity and sympathy especially for those persons who judge others by external appearance. Now, I give them a smile and empathize with them for believing and falling for temporal things. Being mindful, I make sure that I create no negative thoughts but emit positive vibrations only for such people as ultimately it will affect my inner energies and I can heal soon both internally and externally. It is only through my teacher’s advice that I have been able to develop strong immunity against others’ comments and have been able to develop a positive outlook towards life. I need not mention but it actually makes me stronger and carefree.
The effect of speedy migration known as an Urbanization, Pluralization of beliefs, Power of internet and Globalized lifestyle has altered the worldviews of our centennials. Well, my statement may sound passive but flipping from the pages of millennials’ worldview I hope I may sound profound.
We (millennials) studied “Roti-Kapda-Makan (Food-Clothe-Shelter)” as the basic requirements for human survival whereas today (centennials) has altered that idea to “Paisa-Rutwa-Shakti (Money-Influence-Power)”. Today, we say, ‘If I have money, I can buy the best food, clothe and shelter – If I have influence, my lifestyle will be recognized among many – If I have power, my food, clothe and shelter is secured.’ But as a matter of reasoning, the popping questions here are, “what’s wrong to strive for the best life?” – “Is it bad to be an Elite/Affluent Influencer?”
Once Sir Abraham Lincoln said,
“We can Complain because rose bushes have thorns,
or Rejoice because thorn bushes have roses”.
This profound statement of Sir Abraham Lincoln perfectly displays the paradoxical nature that consists of every materialistic achievement we make. In response to the “how” of dealing with the paradoxical nature, God declares through the passages of the Holy Bible –
Oh, mortal man, I have created you in My own image, giving you the wisdom and knowledge to discern what is good and evil!
This day I set before you life and death, blessings and curses.
I have also given you the freedom to choose life by listening to me or to choose death by listening to your mortal instinct.
As I grew up with somewhat world desire for MONEY – INFLUENCE – AFFLUENCE, the day was about to dawn for me to drop my college bag and pick-up my office back-pack and to start to buckle my formal shoes every morning. Alike every fresher, I thought to catch up with him, who has always gone the extra mile guiding me for a godly moral life. As I went to meet my beloved Subash Uncle, I noticed a different smile on his face which was evident to say how joyful moment it was for him. Before leaving his home, he gave me some advice which has always been very evident for me. He said,
“Son, God willing one-day you might become the most successful person with many accolades but REMEMBER in the eyes of the LORD you are A SERVANT. Never take pride in what you’ve achieved. As God blesses us with the manifold of blessings, He has also the right to take it away whenever we turn unworthy to be the possessor of those divine blessings.”
Secondly, “the three greatest evil weapons that stand in our way of life are – ‘UNTAMED FLESHY DESIRES – ILLICIT ACQUIRING OF GOLD – HUNGER FOR GLORY’ (easiest way to remember these three – ‘3G’ GIRL-indicating opposite gender, GOLD & GLORY). All the temptations in the world are grounded to these 3 realities, once trapped to any of these will ruin our life, often there is no rescue from it.”
Generations come and generations go but, in each generation, the utmost desire of the human heart is always to get to the top. But alas, every time we witness an honest cry from the top confessing, “It was hard and compromising for me to reach here. But as I stand here, I FIND NOTHING!“
Alike the rich man in my second last article who cheated the whole world just to get to the top but alas, there on the top, he was unable to face his 5-year old son. Often, we quote, “end justifies the means” whereas profoundly thinking, “it is your means that decide how you will end”.
I actually hold the phone hanging in my hands instead of pressing it against my ears when someone starts giving it for a long time. 😛
But advice with understanding and with much care always gets instilled in the hearts of people. That’s how one particular advice got implanted in my heart in such a manner that I have never forgotten it in my life though I confess that, I have failed to obey it all the time.
I have written articles, telling about this specific advice many times, I have given the same advice to many of those who seek counsel from me, and I have used it as an illustration while giving sermons in the church.
Why I am telling all these? Yeah, I just wanted to prove that this is the advice that has stuck with me for a long time and will remain with me till my death.
Now without any delay, let’s talk about the advice I am so serious about…
I know it very well that when I speak rashly, it feels exactly like the piercing of a sword, but when I use my tongue wisely, I bring healing to the hearts of the people listening to me -yet, I am very rash with my words. I am very good at juggling with them – yet, I know it can be used either ways. I can comfort a hurting soul with my words; I can motivate and inspire others with my words… And at the same time, I can scold, hurt and kill someone using the same tongue of mine.
My former boss had observed this character of mine so well that before he left our organization, he made me sit with him and spoke gently with this piece of advice – “Chiradeep, always think ten times before you utter any words, because once the words are out, you can’t take them back.”
It is imprinted within my heart. These words always ring in my ears and keep reminding me whenever I fail to oblige to these precious words of him.
In conclusion, I want to quote one Bible verse that always encourages and strengthens me to hold onto the advice of my former boss and that verse is –
The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
Friends! Do we keep this in mind, whether our words are healing or killing someone’s spirit?
Keep reading as you ponder upon this small thought…
Giving . . . donating . . . contributing . . . for most people there is nothing new about it. People give in some way or the other. Some give money, some donate clothes and utilities, some offer to volunteer for causes, some organize free kitchens and so on.
Giving is a noble deed. Barring a few, all practice and encourage giving towards needy causes. At times, the intention to give is quite selfish. Think of the old clothes that you give off to charity, to make space for new ones in your wardrobe. Or, the leftover food that you give to the maid or the beggar so as not to waste food. Or, even the money that you offer for religious or charitable purposes with the aim of earning blessings from the Almighty. Or, donating to orphanages or calamity-hit areas to publicize your charitable act. Philanthropy and charity are booming business sectors today. All these acts, though helpful for the recipients, are self-centered in nature.
I learnt a lesson on giving from a grey-haired eighty-year old lady. She was the Consultant of the school I worked in a couple of years back. Speaking about giving she once said, “We all give. No doubt about it. But, most of us give when we have more to spare. From our plentiful resources, we give a few. It doesn’t affect us in any way. Rather it gives us the satisfaction that we participated in a noble act. This type of giving is easy, provided one has the heart to give. However, how many of us give when we ourselves are in need? You would say whether God would expect us to give when we don’t have for ourselves. But I tell you, if you can give when it pinches you, that is true giving.”
These words have stayed with me from the time I heard them. I have thought about the veracity of these words and realised how right she was. I break it down to this – when we have only enough for ourselves and we see someone who needs just that much, it would take a leap of faith on our parts to give our portions away trusting that our Heavenly Provider would not keep us in want.
Giving is not just about tangible resources. Even when we are required to spare time to visit somebody who is in need while twenty four hours seem to fall short for our personal responsibilities or to shower love on somebody when our own hearts are craving for love and affection or to understand someone’s viewpoint when we ourselves are looking for someone who would understand us – these are acts of giving when it pinches. And trust me, it is easier to give tangible resources, but difficult when it comes to imparting intangible valuables like time, love, affection, understanding, kindness, tolerance and all you can think of in this genre.
The wise words I heard that day have redefined my attitude towards giving.
Let us first understand – why life is an exam?
Is it really an Exam?
Who is judging you?
Do you have any say on this?
It is true that life is challenging, but we all have different challenges to deal with. I might not be dealing with what you have, neither you will be dealing with what I have to. We all have varying hurdles to live through our daily routine.
We all tend to overlook into others lives, and make our life much more challenging by complaining about what we lack, ignoring what we already possess.
So why do we fail in the exam called life? Ever thought on the same?
There are several reasons, why we fail in life :
- We all are scared of failing.
- We listen more to others than our innermost desires.
- We compare ourselves with the better, assuming that we are just nothing.
- We just want to be a copy of others, than being different.
Being Scared of Failing
If we try, then only we can decide, whether it is fun or not. Without even trying, assuming things to be difficult is the first step of failure. Take life as a challenge that is when you will cherish every moment of it. Wade off the fear of failing and prepare yourself to experience a new you.
Have you ever seen a baby stopping to try to walk, upon falling several times?
It is simply because, the baby is not scared to walk, even when it might fall a couple of times. Success is not an easy thing to achieve. Growing up, most of us have lost that inquisitiveness in life.
Turning Deaf to the innermost feelings
Taking advice from the wrong is going to lead you into much more trouble. We all tend to take advice from people who do not have a single knowledge of what we do. And finally, even when our heart desires a lot, we just break away from those innermost feelings.
Don’t you think that is the worst part of being in a challenge?
If you want to make life challenging, challenge the people around you who are stuck in monotony and show them how life can be happier with a choice that glows your heart.
Comparison- The slow poison on life
Even though we all know that we have varied things, aims, desires, dreams, passion, lifestyle everything including habits, we still tend to compare.
Yes, Comparison kills the joy of life.
One may have, a luxurious life but may not be completely happy. At the same time, a poor one may not have the luxury but has a peaceful life. It is all about how you take things. Identifying what you actually need and what makes you sufficient is important.
The moment you realise that you are different from others and you chose to be different, then it is a grand success.
We all even must have encountered several instances wherein parents compare children with other children and forget that their own child possesses something unique. In such cases, the child loses its self-confidence and even fails at many things. Little do they realise that comparing the child to another one, is killing the joy in their life.
Let them be what they want.
We all are Copycats
We all just try to be a copy of the one near us or known to us. We never try to even change a little bit, because we assume that , something that is being called perfect among us is an epitome to be followed.
Being different is a challenge.
Life throws different challenges to all, and we all try to copy, forgetting that we all have different question papers to solve.
As I was saying,
Life is an interesting challenge to endure. Making every moment challenging is even much more fun. The moment we push ourselves outside the glass wall of others’ expectations, we are going to make life interesting.
At least at one point of life, choose to take up a challenge. It might change your perspective of life.
The human race has come a long way ahead – from times of eating raw fruits, vegetables and herbs to cooking them in pots, pans and OTGs; from killing and eating raw flesh of animals and birds to having gala barbeques; from using fire for light to electric lights of various kinds; from steam ships to cruises and jetliners; from epidemics that wiped out generations to regular vaccinations that augured longevity; from pay phone booths to smart phones in every hand; and the list is endless. Innovations and discoveries have made the world geographically more accessible, historically more conquerable and economically more viable.
All of this could happen because man chose not to let his grey matter and white matter degenerate into pathological atrophy. Of course, the early man didn’t have a clue of the enormous capacity for wisdom that had been bestowed on him till he gathered knowledge and harnessed it! And lo! Today we are a generation hungry to learn more, innovate more, develop more and reach the hither-to-thought-of unreachable territories. To balance the craze for increased exploits of knowledge and keep the rage of the aspirational mind tamed, there are numerous schools of meditation and positivism that promise to keep desires under checks.
While on one hand we see the boons of human knowledge, on the other, we are greeted with the banes of it. Wild experimentations wiping out humans and animals, weapons of war that were once invented merely out of curiosity, nuclear weapon stashes and cyber crimes in every corner of the world greet each generation with renewed vigour.
The mind rattles with the thought as to how the hands of some are created to construct while those of some others are created to devour. Actually no, the hands are not to be blamed.
Forget about inventions, innovations and discoveries for a while. Just peep outside for a moment and cast a glance at the nature around you. You may witness the greenery of the flora and fauna around or the starry sky or the cool moon or the raging sun or a tiny ant or a wriggly worm or the countless grains of sand beneath your feet. If you are cut off from all exposure to nature, you sure have your own body to look at and think about. These all are the marvels displays of God’s wisdom in the canvas of the cosmos. And because man has been created in God’s likeness, he is endowed with innate wisdom. That is what makes man have an insatiable desire to invent, innovate, discover and create.
The Bible says –
“Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.”
But, what happens when wisdom is thwarted and knowledge is wasted?
Heard of the Blue Whale Challenge, the Choking Challenge, the Ghost Pepper Challenge, the Car Surfing Challenge and the like? While most of us would term them as insane, we also need to acknowledge that there are minds that have worked in developing them. These games sure are fascinating. Before people know they find themselves hooked onto these and some have even lost their precious lives in such dare devil tasks. No, I’m not even talking of heinous murder conspiracies. We are in a digital world today that gives us as much access to knowledge as it exposes us to the ills of the ever-expanding realm of knowledge.
Wisdom is to be utilised for good and knowledge ought not be misutilised for mayhem and destruction.
Coming further down to wasting wisdom/knowledge in everyday lives, have you ever paused to think before rendering the valuable service of ‘sharing your knowledge’ with people? If you haven’t, do it the next time your stomach churns and your tongue itches to advise or suggest something to someone. Pause and consider the following:
Is it desired by the person/s or am I merely bragging my knowledge?
Is my advice presentable or am I uttering mere burdensome/demeaning/demotivating words?
Is this the right place for rendering such advice?
Is the timing right or can it wait?
Will my advice help the person/s or make him/her sink even deeper?
If people are not interested, do not dump knowledge on them. It is wise to stay silent. This phenomenon is mostly observed between parents and teenaged children. Years of experience tempts parents to unload them all on children so that they do not suffer or commit the same mistakes, etc. However, with all the good intentions parents need to exercise restraint and not ‘lecture’ (in the words of children) children day-in and day-out. Find out ways of reaching out to them in their heart-language. Use your wisdom!
“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge.”
– Charles Spurgeon
Acquire knowledge. Use it wisely.