HOW DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO TREAT YOU?

The year 2018. It started briskly without any drama or charm or newness in it. When I returned back to Kolkata leaving my native place – Cuttack, there was a glimpse of sorrow in my eyes. Somehow, I was not feeling very great going back to my workplace. In fact, I just wanted to rest, rest and rest in every way at home in Cuttack.

But… those were just wishes which always remain as wishes only. I had to come back and start getting busier with my routine work again.

When someone suggested this topic and I thought it would be nice to write on this by retrospecting and introspecting about my own life in 2018 and what I hope for the year to come in 2019.

If I look back to the year 2017, I would say it was a very bad year for me in all respect – mentally, emotionally and physically. And compared to that previous year, I would say, 2018 was a better one though there was a new heartwrenching feeling deep in my heart, asking me to be more disciplined in my life in aspects of my life. Let me reflect a bit about it…

The lesson in 2018: I am extremely into social networks. Bad habit. I would say, a very bad habit for a person like me. That definitely made me neglect a few of my surroundings and my relationships that are much more important than online friends, articles and quotes etc. But when my wife started to get addicted to Whatsapp and I felt neglected I understood it. I was like – “What are you doing? All the time Whatsapp? Why?

But then God’s spirit poked my heart and whispered to me in His most convincing way of communicating  – “Don’t you know what the Bible says about your problem – ‘Treat others the same way you want them to treat you’. Don’t you think it is unreasonable to expect something from others that you yourself have never done for them before? How can you be so selfish and self-centred and think that you have all the rights to do whatever you want and others will always do what is right and good for you?

Those stirring awakening words from God were enough for me. I was enlightened right away about my fault and understood what I had been doing till that time of enlightenment and what I should be doing henceforth. Instead of telling and advising my wife about what to do and what not to do, I started to curb my ways of dealing with my life – I stopped extensive use of social network. I mean drastically I changed my style of using the social networking sites.

You may ask whether I see any benefit coming my way after I dealt with my bad habit… Yes, I saw a glimpse of benefit coming my way though not considerably. And how can everything be alright in a short span when I have been committing the same act for a longer period of time? Fair enough, isn’t it?

How about you, friends? Do you relate to my life lesson? Does this help you enough to aware you of your mistake or you need some more time and more stirring events to happen in your life for you to awake and act upon it?

I have learnt my lessons, you learn it too soon.

In 2019, I will be more disciplined and will be treating others the same way as I want them to treat me.

Stay Blessed!

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A LIFE OF DISCIPLINE

Someone asked me, ‘Are we born disciplined and some people become indisciplined in the course of life? Or, is it that we are born erratic and indisciplined and we need to be trained to be disciplined?’

Interesting query, isn’t it?

Well, we are not born erratic. However, we need to imbibe disciplinary traits that are largely shaped by our environment. Chaotic environments have in many cases resulted in disciplined people and highly disciplined environments have produced indisciplined people as well. So, there is no hard and fast pathway that would result in a disciplined person with a disciplined lifestyle.

However, nothing beats a disciplined lifestyle! A disciplined lifestyle emerges a winner at all times.

Irrespective of one’s birth or an environment, one needs to be disciplined.

In the previous articles of this week, we have dealt with discipline in assuming and managing various roles of life.

In this concluding article, I’ll talk about a life of overall discipline.

Physical Discipline

Do you wake up on time every day? Or do you need to hit the snooze button a couple of times before grumpily pulling yourself out of bed? Most of us – young or old, would have had such an experience!

Let me share one such day in my life. I needed to start for my coaching class at 7:30 A.M. When I opened my eyes in the morning, my table clock showed 7:10 A.M.! I generally wake up an hour and a half before the time I am to set out in order to leisurely space out my activities with time to spare. And now before me were just twenty minutes!

The first thing I did was tell myself not to frantic. Next, I thought for a few seconds which activities of my daily schedule I needed to do and which to skip out so as not to be late. Once I was clear about that, I proceeded to carry out the plan thought of. As a result, I was able to step out at 7:30 A.M. which was my time for all other days as well and the day went off smoothly.

Though I happened to manage my day without any chaos, if I think of a possible reason for the above mentioned morning drama, it points to a late night sleep. I had been studying till about 2 o’ clock resulting in an incomplete sleep cycle.

“Early to bed early to rise
Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”

This is an age-old wise saying with proven results!

Eating healthy, sleeping adequately and on time, exercising regularly are few among the many physical disciplines that help to keep one’s personal and social life in place.

Emotional Discipline

Emotional discipline doesn’t necessarily refer to bottling up one’s emotions. Rather, it refers to regulating and managing one’s emotions for the benefit of one’s own self and that of others. Again, it doesn’t refer to manipulation of one’s own or others’ emotions. It refers to awareness and control of one’s emotions – be it an angry outburst or crying or laughing.

Spiritual Discipline

Another less thought of area. Knowing our Creator, building a personal relationship with Him and building on that relationship is vital to human beings. Yet, it is one area that is most neglected.

On the day that I have mentioned above, that I woke up late, of the twenty minutes with me, I chose to spend ten minutes in speaking to God and hearing from Him, i.e., to pray and read my Bible and the remaining ten minutes to brush, have a bath and get ready to step out. For me, it was and still is important to have an audience with God before having an audience with the world.

Discipline doesn’t seem easy or interesting to imbibe. However, once mastered, its value is realised. Some people are self-aware and learn to be disciplined, while some have to be made to realize the importance of discipline.

It is easier to bend a plant towards the sun while it is still tender. Disciplinary attributes are best taught and learned in childhood for their effects to be seen in adult life. However, it is never too late to inculcate discipline. One can make use of reminders, help-mates and self-checks to ensure that one’s chaotic life is smoothened.

Be disciplined, be calm and at peace!

RECONCILIATION – THE NEED OF THE HOUR: MAKE AMENDS AND CONTINUE IN LOVE

Looking around me, all I can see brokenness everywhere. When I see my friends, my family members and how all of them are going through difficult times my heart sinks down. And in that background writing an article on reconcilliation seems very articfial. But being called to be peaceloving person and a peacemaker, I am always up for reconciliation even when I don’t see a glimpse of hope in a strained relationship.

Let’s get back to the topic.

When psychologist Ryan Howes was asked in a given situation whether a person can forgive and reconcile, his response was – “You can still forgive. Reconciliation is a separate issue“. And he was absolutely right.

He also quotes famous author Lewis Benedictus Smedes who said in his book ‘Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve’ that – “It takes one person to forgive, it takes two people to be reunited.”

All the last SIX factors of reconciliation that we all read till now in this current week can be carried out one sidedly by a person who feels the need of reconciling with his/her loved one but the last factor needs TWO persons to join hands and move ahead to stay reconciled. And history says at this point, many go back to ground zero losing the battle of reconciliation or restoring a broken relationship.

Let’s analyse the phrase ‘making amends‘. The synonym for making amends is Restitution. The legal meaning of restitution isan order given by a judge to a convicted criminal to make amends for the crime where the judges often order people to pay restitution for the damage they cause. But to mend a broken relationship there’s no need of judiciary system but a system of heart and of love which inspire partners, family members, friends to make amends, restitute and cling to each other thereby, reconciling.

The system of love is as the Bible defines it, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

The above concept of love is completely different from what the world teaches us today. Restitution or making amends is not possible unless we have this kind of love. The new law of a reconciled relationship demands me to make amends with my loved one by being patient with him or her which I lacked a lot previously; by being compassionate to my loved one which I failed often in the past; I have to make amends by not being envious, not being boastful or proud or dishonour or be selfish. I have to make amends with my loved one by compensating something which I lacked previously.

Many couples gather strength to reconcile and complete all 6 factors but they step back when they are asked to compensate their wrong, make amends and continue in love. Many times, I myself have lost the battles of making amends with my loved ones, with my wife and continue in love further. I pretend that I am happy and in love yet, I feel empty and deceived. There are many I know that are suffering with pretension and live their lives… They somehow live together but their hearts stay far apart from each other. They try to make amends and reconcile truthfully but they fail.

Friends! Trust me, it is not at all easy. Fogiving and moving ahead seems much easier than making amends and staying in love after reconciling a broken relationship. But the source of love, the creator God always helps us to understand LOVE and its effectiveness in any of our earthly relationships.

At the end, I can just give a simple advice of making a list of the things that can help us to make amends and try one after the other daily, trusting the Almighty and prayerfully staying in love in a reconciled relationship.

Stay blessed!

WHO IS THE WISE ONE?

No soul is happy with what they
have or with what they are served,
greed and ego minaciously make this
bag of bones worthless and undeserved.

No soul is tranquil with the love they have
or with the care they spread,
lust and loathe meticulously craft their
filthy claws in their heads.

No soul is apologetic enough to
accept their faults or to show concerns,
false pride and arrogance tenaciously
covers their eyes with thick curtains.

No soul is bold enough to hold the truth
or to stand up for what they believe in,
society and culture ingloriously tie their
tongue and turn a blind eye for every sin.

What will it take to be happy, tranquil and peacefully in love?
What will it take to accept the unadulterated truth?
What will it take to be brave and not bother about the manipulative minacious lies of the society?

The answers to all these lie hidden deep within those souls,
Yet, only a man of understanding draws them out
Of the thoughts of a person’s heart
Which are like deep waters.

WHO IS BEHIND YOU?

(Captured by Chiradeep Patra)

This is one of my favourite picture which I captured on 11th July 2014 at 6:25 PM.

What fascinates me about this picture is that the half-erected building looks so shabby and ugly but the beautiful background behind it makes the whole imagery so fabulous to look at.

Similarly, when we have someone behind us with aura, riches, prosperity and power we have everything even if we are weak and ugly in our life.

Who can be someone behind us like that?

He is only God who can be behind us. He can be our background for us to look amazing even when our life looks ugly, prosper even when we go through suffering, stay happy even when we are sad and in pain.  

Keep thinking and keep reading…

Stay Blessed!!!

“HOW ARE YOU” – DO I MEAN IT?

Last week Pogo (my Pug) peed on our doormat and my Mom slipped on it. She got a swelling and a slight crack on her right leg. The doctor advised her to wear a rigid splint the whole day and remove it before going to bed. Yesterday night when she was removing the splint, Pogo was watching her. He immediately started licking my Mom’s right leg, that too particularly the swollen part. After the incident, we noticed a stark difference in his behaviour and especially with my Mom, he behaves very soberly.

It might seem unrealistic and funny as he is a mere animal! Let me share you a couple of happenings of my life with humans recently to see the difference and the message I derived out of it.

In the recent past, I went through some unpleasant days of my life. I was feeling very low and discouraged. During such moments a couple of my friends asked me – HOW ARE YOU?

To one, I hesitated and in a very subtle way I portrayed ‘I am fine’. But immediately, my friend caught me and started checking with one of my contacts and also on my social media pages just to know what is exactly happening in my life.

To another one who is very close to me with bit hesitation, I shared about my bad condition. But the response was very casual or taken for granted kind of.

Did you notice the difference?

I would like to quote Payal’s (Candles Online writer) comment on it – “Humans are losing the sense of sensitizing the pain in others life. We have gone busy in grappling the materialistic and temporary gains.

Indeed it is like the condition of a leprous leg, unable to sense the pain and need for medication. The more I ignore the condition, the more the germ spreads and the more the ability of sensitivity is lost.

WHOM SHALL I BLAME FOR SUCH  AA CONDITIO OF MY LIFE?

WHY CAN’T I SENSE THE PAIN IN OTHERS?

Human is the epitome of God’s creation and is given the ability to understand the pain of others. Through understanding the pain of others and comforting them we project God’s image as that’s how we are created.

One of the life-changing experiences of Indian cricketer Mr Sidhu was a meetin with Mother Teresa. When he went to meet Mother Teresa and donate Rs. 10,000/- for charity, he saw Mother Teresa cleaning the wounds of a couple  of people with leprosy on their death bed. The room was stinking so much of their rotten flesh that Mr Sidhu had to run out and puke. After that when Mr Sidhu handed over the money, Mother Teresa said to him, Son, I do not need your money, I need your time.

Do we have time for others? The answer is, NO.

But why do we actually become opposite to how we were created? Where is the root of that leprosy? I think it is inside of us, inside of me?

The Bible says, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick…”

What is that sickness?

Sin is the sickness of our heart. It is the bitterness, anger, arrogance, pride, clamour, evil speaking, malice and lust. These are little foxes who take birth in our heart and causes us to sin in a greater manner – Murder, Rape, Loot, Corruption, False Witnessing and many more.

Let us deal with these little foxes today!

Sickness cannot be called as sickness without Healing. When there is Sin, there is also Holiness. It is the LORD who is Holy, and as long as He exists we have the hope of becoming holy and  being healed again from the sickness of  the heart.

God has given us just two principles;

“Love the Lord God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind

Love people as you love yourself.”

IF I DON’T, THEN WHO WILL?

In this world that is constantly trying to make us believe in all the wrong, it’s very difficult to put our head up high and do what we actually feel is right.

But, if I am just following what everyone else is doing even though they are doing something wrong, then probably I am just a faceless body amongst these masses.

Every other person wants to feel accepted or is trying to fit-in either in their college, office or any other social gathering and I’m also one among them. But as a person, I will not compromise on my values and ethics just to appease somebody or for the fear of being left out. What is the point of being in a democracy and being privileged enough to have umpteen rights to express myself freely when all I  do is be a sheep in the mob?

There’s one particular incident that I’d like to share, where a worker at our place had decided to get her daughter married right after her 12th. She wanted to study more and he was unwilling to do so. I stood by her and explained the worker that he should let her study. He wasn’t ready to listen. I had to literally threaten him saying I’ll approach the police if he doesn’t let her study. My parents also involved and supported me to help him understand this. Fortunately, he understood this though out of pressure but now his daughter is studying happily and fulfilling her dreams.

There was this other incident, it’s not something major but it’s important to get through these little situations too. So, during my undergraduate, there was a senior who was the head of our batch. There were some registrations going on in the college and there was a huge queue. My friend and I just cut through the line only to inquire about how long the process would take before we could utter anything, the head senior held my friend’s hand and pushed her away. That led to an injury on her hand. The teacher who was doing the registration had witnessed all of this but still did not choose to take any action and asked me to leave. I told her about the injury and how the senior ill-treated us, she ended the discussion by saying maybe it was because she is frustrated with work. It was not the first time that the senior had done something like this, she had indulged in a lot of unnecessary fights earlier too and as usual, they were ignored. If I wouldn’t do anything now, it would have continued forever. I approached the principal the very next day and made sure she realised her mistakes. I didn’t want her to be punished but she should at least realise her faults and not unnecessarily manhandle somebody.

It is not always easy to voice yourself and fight for what is right. There are situations when I doubt my own decisions when insecurities creep in and I become unsure of whether I am doing the right thing or not. In these moments, I think of the reasons I started fighting for it in the first place. At times I feel like everything might just fall apart and maybe I should stop doing what I am doing but I know if I don’t stand firmly by my own decision, no one will.

There’s this one quote I read somewhere that had hit me hard and gave me all the courage I hold today;

“Stand up to hypocrisy. If you don’t, the hypocrites will teach. Stand up to ignorance, because if you don’t, the ignorant will run free to spread ignorance like a disease. Stand up for truth. If you don’t, then there is no truth to your existence. If you don’t stand up for all that is right, then understand that you are part of the reason why there is so much wrong in the world.”

If you don’t, then who will?