THE WORLD OF TRUTH

Meghna was wearing her clothes while listening to Vinod go on and on about the corruption in the country and false promises of the politicians while he was reading the newspaper. She wasn’t interested in participating in the conversation, Meghna and Vinod had just spent a beautiful night together after a lot of acute planning – she just wanted to enjoy the after-effects of it.

Vinod went on and on – “When will the world change, why can’t people just stop telling lies and be straight about who they are? Look what is happening in politics, Bollywood, cricket – there is lying and cheating everywhere.”

Just then Vinod’s phone rang and both of them just froze at their spot, just the look on his face told Meghna that it was Vinod’s wife (Prerna) calling.

Vinod’s tone changed now – “Hi Prerna darling! Of course I missed you, this important business trip made me travel otherwise I would have never left you and gone even for few hours. I had a great presentation last night, will be back home by evening, love you a lot.”

CHASTITY IN THE LAND OF LUST

Understanding Lust:

I have seen people using lust and love as similar meaning words on many occasions. But the meanings of these two words are completely different.

Unlike love, lust is extremely self-centered, it never allows a person to see anyone else but himself or herself, it lets a person focus someone’s physical body than their inner beauty and it lets a person to have physical intimacy than establishing a deep emotional bonding with another.

Let me explain how lust can affect a person…

Have you ever seen a drunkard blabbering on a road tottering from this side to that side of it? Yes, we all must have witnessed it many times on the streets.

Do people take him seriously whatever he says in that fully drunk state? No, because we all know it very well that the drunkard is not in his own control.

Lust is a state something of that kind. It is an experience of intense carnal urges and unbridled sexual craving. Lust is not an emotion, but it involves the experience of fleshly enjoyment with anticipation of sexual pleasure.

Mary C. Lamia, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, and psychoanalyst says, “Lust provides a rare window through which you can view your vulnerabilities as you are swept away by your imagination.”

But the condition is, only if we can realise about our vulnerabilities then we can learn from it for a future reference otherwise we move towards destruction gradually.

Depth of Lust:

We all know, how different companies produce different products for their customers according to what they wished in their minds. In the same way, the media produces different films and series basing on the mindsets and desires of people of this world today.

Would you believe that the psychological disorders which I had studied while doing a counselling degree are now slowly being accepted as sexual preferences or choices?

Let me explain…

BDSM which has been unknown to most of the people previously has become popular among many today. I feel very scared to even think about it even.

I watched a series recently on the same subject and was amazed how it ended. A married woman who loves her husband a lot. The husband is a very good man and loves his wife as well. They didn’t have any problems whatsoever. But the woman always feels very lonely staying all the time at home when her husband is at work. She eventually meets a man on a chatting site who insists her to meet him at his place. She doesn’t agree initially but thought of giving a try as she is attracted to what the man used to write about sexual submission and dominance. And finally, she visits him and submits to his dominance. She suffers from a psychological issue later on and to help her out, her husband comes to know about her secret life. The story ends with the husband releasing his wife to that man. Message of the story was – Lust won over the chastity of marriage.

Examples like the above, are many, I can’t list them out all here.

Famous psychiatrist and author Judith Orloff, M.D. rightly says, “As a psychiatrist, I’ve seen how intense sexual attraction is notorious for obliterating common sense and intuition in the most sensible people.”

Crimes Led By Lust:

Lust is an intense mental state which leads a person to commit heinous and soul stirring crimes.

The Bible mentions a good king who fell for a beautiful woman, slept with her and to marry her, he murdered her husband craftily.

We are aware of the crimes against women and children in the forms of sexual abuses, molestations, rapes caused by lust.

Have you ever heard about ‘Lust Murder’? Wikipedia explains, “A lust murder is a homicide in which the offender searches for erotic satisfaction by killing someone”. I was shaken literally when I read this sentence.

Apart from strong sexual urges, lust can also depict intense cravings for food, money and power as well which ultimately leads to various small and big crimes happening daily around us. Lust of money leads people to rob things from others. Lust of food makes people sick and obese. Lust of power creates disparity in the country and war situations around the world.

Chastity against lust:

In this context of lust, talking about Chastity seems meaningless and impossible. Isn’t it? It looks like Chastity has been swallowed up by the lust of human beings in this world. But we all are aware of the consequences; lust can only lead us to destruction.

The Bible stirs our minds with few thought-provoking questions –

“Can a man take fire in his bosom
And his clothes not be burned?
Or can a man walk on hot coals
And his feet not be scorched?”

We know the answer very well. Lust is like fire, like burning hot coals that can burn our chest, our body if we embrace onto it. It can burn our feet if we walk on its path.

Chastity is also a state or practice of refraining from extramarital, or especially from all, sexual intercourse. Basically, chastity means sexual purity.

So, as human we can live in one or other way – live a life of purity or lead an impure life. We can’t stay in a 50-50 condition because, a tiny bit of impurity soils and spoils everything. Yes, I understand that we as human are not perfect, we have weaknesses but there have to have a constant striving within us for perfection – moving from impurity to purity. When we stay stagnant at a point, we stay impurity of lust.

In short, I want to mention a few helpful points for our striving towards Chastity in the land of lust. They are as under:

Guarding my eyes: The Bible says, ““I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman”. There’s a tendency in us to look at another person of the opposite sex with lust but when we prayerfully practice it not to do so, one day we see the result ourselves. Practice makes a man perfect. But there has to have goal setting and willingness to strive for a life of purity.

Guarding my mind: The Bible says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”The Bible verse doesn’t contradict the natural instinct of human beings getting attracted to the physical bodies of people of the opposite gender. In fact, that is how we are made! But, lust in the mind creates a craving for adultery in action – “a thought of having physical or sexual relationship with the woman I am looking at.”The eyes look at the woman, sends the message back and there’s a thought evolves in the mind instructing the eyes to look at the woman again and again. But when we guard our mind by constant striving, we can help stopping the lustful thought process and ultimately, we can hope for a positive result one day.

Guarding my steps: I always need to know whom I am following, what I am following. Am I feeding myself with filthy stuffs or feeding myself with good things? I can’t expect to be pure if I keep watching pornography. I can’t expect to be compassionate if I rear hatred in my heart. I can’t strive for chastity if I keep looking at this woman or that.

The Bible says,Don’t imitate the behavior and patterns of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” If I want to change the mindset of my community and the people around me then I have to first change myself. That is possible if I do what is right. I can do what is right if I know and understand what is right. If I follow what people are doing then I will surely be faltering sooner or later. I need to know where and how I am walking in my life.

Friends! Preaching is easy, practicing is very hard, and living it, is all the more difficult. It is a challenge for all of us to maintain Chastity in the midst of a lustful world but it is not impossible and also beneficial for us. Let’s keep guarding our eyes, our minds, and our steps.

Stay Blessed!

​HANDLING EMOTIONALLY DRAINING SITUATIONS

Just as I sit to write this article, there was a potential stimulus to cause an emotional tension within me. A colleague had posted an obscene video in my workplace WhatsApp group. I had seen the hazy image and realized that it had inappropriate content. So, I decided not to download / view it. With peace still reigning in my mind, I continued with my other daily chores. Meanwhile, other colleagues began viewing it and were enraged at the person who had posted such a video in what is meant to be an official forum. And, as you would expect there was fiery exchange of words in the group. The colleague who had posted the video, pleaded innocence saying that it got posted by mistake. Some colleagues left the group. And the saga is still continuing as I write this article.

My purpose of sharing the above incident is to give a peek into how even small actions or words can pose as strains or stressors in our lives and drain us. Imagine beginning a day with such a video! Now, I trace my steps back and put myself in the place where I first saw the video in the group. What would have happened had I not seen the hazy image and would have decided to view it? Firstly, I would have been emotionally disturbed (as I gather from the comments of others in the group that it was highly sexually explicit). Next, I would have harboured a very negative impression about the person who posted it. Ultimately, it would have disturbed my mental peace. It would have continued to linger in my mind for several days and so on the responses would have continued.

That’s about me. However, there would be people who would have enjoyed such a video. There are people who sure begin their day with such content and spend most of their leisure time viewing such content. For them it is not emotionally draining, rather it is emotionally pleasurable – a stress-reliever.

It is then very clear that what is emotionally draining for one, may not be so for others. To give examples – one person may love shopping, while for another it may be physically and emotionally draining. One person may feel cooking to be a good stress-buster, whereas for another it may be a strainer.

And yes, not only do work, sickness, death of a loved one, divorce, disappointment, failure and the like, emotionally drain a person, but also events like a wedding, celebrating a festival, visiting a friend, a kitty party can be equally draining.

Richard Lazarus, a psychologist who has done commendable work in the area of ‘stress and strain’ is of the opinion that there are two ways to cause emotional strain in a person – exposure to certain stimuli present in the environment and the response of the individual to it. Some of the common hassles that drain people emotionally all over the world are – issues of appearance (weight, height and looks), health of family members, rising price of common goods, too many things to do in a short time, tax payments, misplacing or losing things, children’s education, a non-responsive spouse, loss of employment, a dip in the business, a house full of guests, truant/rebellious children, personal disorganization, frequent job transfers, shifting houses frequently, etc.

How then do we handle such emotionally stressful and draining events?

We all have certain triggers in our lives that drain us to the core…so much so that, all we need later is to be left alone for a while. However, since the triggers are different for different people there cannot be a one-size-fits-all remedy. A few general measures that can be taken –

  1. Stay away from the company of people whom you have identified to be stressors in your life. But what do you do, if your spouse/your children fall into that category? Identify what triggers them. Talk them into handling those situations better and show them reason as to how they can make theirs and others lives better by managing those little triggers in their lives.
  2.  Avoid situations that drain you. But what if your workplace stains you? Quitting your job is not the solution (unless of course it is too intolerable). What if your workplace is your stress-buster and your home is where you feel drained out? Leaving home is never an option. Effective management of people and chores at home would lessen the pressure.
  3. Take care of your health. Your health is God’s gift to you. Choose to eat healthy foods, drink healthy fluids, sleep enough and exercise well. A healthy body ensures a healthy mind. Too much toxins in the body and lack of sleep generate irritation and frustration easily.
  4. Spend time alone in the lap of nature. Gazing at the starry sky, listening to the chirping of birds, watching butterflies flutter from flower to flower, lying down on a grassy lawn are wonderful stress busters. If there is absolutely no way in which you can escape to such places periodically, take to gardening. If you don’t have a patch of land, buy some potted plants and care for them daily. You’ll soon notice the difference.
  5. Be alone with God – Pray. The Bible says, “Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you.” No matter what is the draining factor in your life, take it to God. It may be something big and impossible or it may be a petty matter, God can and will help you manage it better if you take it to Him.
  6. Don’t escape emotionally draining situations; find ways of handling them. Avoidance is never the answer. That’s because, how many times can you avoid such a situation? And what would you do each time it recurs? So, a better strategy is to find out ways to tackle such situations.

The above list is not exhaustive, but the space surely is. As we deal with emotionally draining situations, it is also wise to identify in what ways do our words or actions drain others. Intentionally or otherwise are we causing stress in others’ lives? Let’s be mindful and make the necessary amends.

BFF – BEST FRIENDS FOREVER OR BITCHY FAKE FRIENDS?

“What’s your plan for valentine’s day? How are you planning to celebrate? Do we meet? What can we do?” I asked my friends.

It was almost a decade ago since we planned about the 14th of February. Even though we weren’t into some committed couple relationships, we were committed to each other as BFF’s. We tried to celebrate all important days of the year together, as a family. We were a group of 5 friends, 2 guys and 3 girls. We pretty much shared everything that could be shared. We were inseparable. Somehow, that year, this very date, I wanted to celebrate valentine’s day together. I persuaded everyone to go to some place to have lunch together. Everyone eventually agreed, except my best friend. She was and still is one of a kind. I lost all my wits and soon after my cool, just to make her come. Eventually it happened.

That reminds me of times, when I found myself in a position, where they would come to me with stuffs, and I tried to find a middle way to solve stuffs. I never liked doing that. I found myself taking all decisions, for us and somehow they all agreed, except my best friend, Anu.

Years went by, I left town for higher studies, their complains turned into small issues, small issues took the shape of big fights, causing them to tear apart. Far away, all I could do was, nothing. Still, I tried to pull them all in, maintain the group. I tried to talk to each one of them, and they could not just understand what went wrong and wanted out. Then they started blaming me for asking them to do things, as they wanted to do something different. I had to stop. Numerous things broke us and I am glad we all were strong enough to evolve and reign. This was the only picture that I had, it was my point of view. But, others had theirs. The views which I found out years later.

Good thing was, Anu was still my best friend. She tried to get us together, even when no one talked to her. I felt she did it for me and my heart was filled with love. I always lived in an imaginary love-friendship mansion with her, which was brutally demolished by the wrecking ball of truth. I always wondered, “Everything has fallen in place, we all have the old friendship going then why no one wants to reconcile with Anu?” I never asked anyone or her but this question killed me.

It was for me to figure out and eventually I did. One day, it so happened that, i met one of our friend. He explained to me, what went wrong. He told me how Anu used to manipulate things. She had always wanted to be the attraction of the group, the leader. She wanted everyone to love her and go to her asking for help. She also poisoned their ears about me with things, I would never think of. The get together she had arranged was because she wanted to get back on with her friendship with them, as they were blaming me for the everything. After I heard all these, I was shattered and devastated. How could she? She is my best friend. How? I could barely digest the new fed information. I felt it’s better to talk it out.

I told her about it. She was furious. She said, “What?? I didn’t say you are the culprit, they said and I just agreed. I called them there because they said they didn’t like you and wanted to be my friend.” She went silent after that. I went blank. Was that a reason to reconcile? “I trusted, loved and adored you, but you betrayed me?” is all I thought. What changed?? Do I really deserve it? Was I losing two of my friends? Was it necessary after all these years? I apologized to them both individually, saying; “I haven’t done anything knowingly, but I have hurted you guys, in many ways that I could ever think of and I am sorry. I still want you all in my life, as it was you guys, who were my life. And I am really sorry.”

Today, when I look back, I see my mistakes and I have definitely learned a lot. I am very close with all my friends, all of them. Leaving alone my best friend, Anu. Guilt got the best of her. Even though I am not a great person, but I really try hard to be a good friend. Friendship means a lot to me and I value it. Lying, cheating, backstabbing does not only break the wonderfully built relation but also destroys the essence of it. I realised, “It is better to have enemies who slaps you than to have a friend who stabs you from behind.” It is very easy for a stranger to become your best friend just as easy for a best friend to become a stranger.

I hope this valentine’s day everyone could/should cherish, celebrate and keep the love and friendship of their lives. Keep them all close to your hearts, for eternity. HAPPY VALENTINE’s DAY.

CHEATING – AN URGE OR AN OPTION

A Case Study

I have been in an unhappy marriage for five years now. My husband has been cheating on me since one year. Initially he did try to hide his transgressions by lying about his whereabouts. Our altercations hit high charts and eventually he admitted to cheating on me.

Why and how did this happen? Where did I go wrong? Will our marriage ever work?

I have been contemplating over these questions ever since, trying to rationalize my husband’s indiscretions. Being a student of science my first approach to any problem that knocks, is to go for a root cause analysis. And look what it reveals!

My husband might have been dishonest for a year, but I have been disingenuous since the commencement of our marriage. I have always pretended to relinquish his behavior and prevaricate through the situations. Our arguments have been the result of frustrations due to lack of communication.

So what are the primary reasons for lying and cheating in a relationship? If lying is fabricating the truth, cheating is deceiving the essence of the relationship and straying away. We all try to escape from boredom and lingering circumstances. Are fibbing and infidelity the actual solutions to this issue?

Most people fail to understand that being dishonest and committing adultery are just one of the options to escape situations. How about engaging in fruitful activities or actually addressing the matter with your significant other.

Digging deeper does unveil factors like lack of experience in a committed relationship could be one of the reasons for being mendacious. Sometimes the partner doesn’t understand the consequences of being deceptive. A feeling of insecurity owing to age, money, smartness or physical attributes is also linked to cheating. In such cases seeking external validation becomes more important than confronting the matter at hand. Another reason could be unrealistic whims and fancies of a partner that might lead to dissatisfaction, resulting in unfaithful behavior. Also succumbing to limerence and impulsive attractions leads to oversight of a meaningful connection.

As we skim through the reasons of indiscretions, we can find zillions of them. Regardless of the actual causes of cheating, there are always options available on grabs, like couple counselling, taking up hobbies and an honest discussion with your partner. 

I hope the articles which are going to be published subsequently throughout the week might throw some more light on the various reasons of lying and cheating in relationships. But to conclude, always remember that you always have a choice to not lie and cheat, than to compromise your integrity and give up on a meant to be relationship.

IS MY LOVING YOU, APPROVED BY YOUR SPOUSE OR PARENTS OR SOCIETY?

Oh boy! I was in the impression that this topic would be an easy one… But it’s not so… Now, I realised why the writers like Pradita and Kuljeet felt safe to run away from the battlefield 😛 . Even most of my writer friends kind of deviated from the main subject. I might twist it a bit as well… 😉

Sometimes, I wonder how acceptable my relationships with different individuals of opposite gender are, though the relationships are not of lovers!!! I call someone my sister, I call someone else my daughter but the question is how my wife feels about it… How do the spouses or parents of my “sisters” or “daughters” react to all these… And if all these relationships are without the cap of “sister” and “daughter” but just “friends” then there would be more questions raised and more eyebrows will be squinted against it. Now, if I think the other way around then what will be my reactions to such loving relationships of my wife or my close relatives with someone from the opposite gender…

Why do we feel that way? What is the reason behind our negative reactions or feelings towards such beautiful relationships?

I will come back to this later… Let me get into the more feasible examples around us where we shun love as taboo.

Let’s say, we went to Victoria Memorial (the renowned Monument of Kolkata) and saw a girl and a boy sitting on a bench and talking to each other… Just talking, let me highlight that…

What is the first thought comes to our minds? “How come these people get so much time to waste here?” “Oh today’s teens, they are getting spoiled day by day…” “How can their parents allow such things?” “Pity on their parents…” “They are such a nuisance in this campus.” And our negative thought processes or the curses for them are endless.

But the reality might be different. Those two teens might be discussing that, ‘this is not the right time for a relationship, we can concentrate on studies, we can’t meet like this behind our parents, we will be truthful to each other and protect each others from everything… We will keep our sexuality till our marriage…’ and so on…

I heard you thinking, “Unbelievable! That may be a rarest of cases…” Fine, I agree with you… but let’s think positive and react positively. What’s the harm in judging and reacting positively? And moreover, why is no one bothered to make amends when love is lost in a marriage, but quick to point out fingers to a male and female walking together without marriage?

Mind it, I am not encouraging premarital sex or trying to overlook the teen issues at all. That is not love but lust; I am dead against it myself… But, I want to raise a question against our thought processes, our narrow mindsets and our views or misconception about the purity of a beautiful emotion called ‘Love’. I want to proclaim the need of love in our lives individually as well as in regards to our families and societies at large.

The question still remains unanswered about the reason behind our negative reactions or feelings towards such beautiful relationships.

The ‘tendency to sin’ is the reason behind all this… It is because of the presence of sin within us which makes us feel that our spouse is exposed to vulnerability; our children are at risk of the lust with a covering of love… It is our tendency to sin (which means we can also fall into the same kind of temptation) makes us insecure about others as well even if they are safe and sound in the warmth of pure love. And thus, they feel it as not proper… they consider it as unacceptable… they termed it as societal taboo.

The presence of sin gives birth to two things… One, it distorts the meaning of love and confuses it with romance and lust which are just the fragments of Love. Secondly, it narrows down our mindsets and we judge without thinking even once.

In contrast to the above, the presence of love has a different effect on our minds and hearts. The Bible says,

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

Fear comes when we commit sin, sin of fornication…sin of adultery. Sin makes us feel afraid of consequence and punishment. But love drives out fear and makes us feel comfort in its warmth.

Remember,

“We are born as helpless infants, dependent on our parent to fulfill our needs. Love, then, becomes need fulfillment and we seek this same love out as adults,” explains psychologist Dr. Beverly Palmer, author of “Love Demystified: Strategies for a Successful Love Life.”

OVERLOOKING NAKED TRUTHS…

“My pocket can afford it…”

With the advent of 21st century we have entered into the Global market of availability, everything can be home delivered. It’s just a mile away from us… all that is required is – ‘Can your pocket afford it?’

Oh, I thought it’s Christmas light!
No Problem, how much I need to pay Mr. Cop?

My son’s rash driving broke your Sabji (vegetable) trolley!
No Problem, How much money do you want?

I am conceived!
No Problem, What’s your cost?

“Compare money to Repair” has become the trend of our day.

In a couple of lectures Dr. Ravi Zacharias quotes this story:

“A rich business man boards his flight and sat beside a beautiful lady. In a short while they started introducing each other. After sometime the rich man asked the lady, I want you for tonight….what’s your cost? I can pay you 100 dollars.

The lady stared at him and kept quite. As the flight was about to land, the lady said, “It will be my pleasure to be with you tonight, but I don’t want 100 dollars, I am okay with 10 dollars. The rich man with high tone said, “What do you think about me? Do you know who I am?”

The lady smiled and replied, “Cool down man… We know who we are!

We are just haggling over the price!”

In the craze of “money matters” we are over-looking a NAKED TRUTH – People look at us the same way we look at them. There’s no difference!

The Bible says,
“A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”

“Let’s have the last night tonight…”

I love to spend late evening hours with couple of my good friends over phone calls or chat and often our discussions are based on the topic that pours-out our hearts. We counsel – analyze – comment and exchange ideas. In recent times we were continuously puzzled by some of the real life stories. Most of them gave us the foot note – “Let’s have the last night tonight…”

Relationships have become wardrobe room stories – “I have lost weight; it no longer fits on me. Let me exchange with another one…”

Where do we find 1000 excuses that just make us feel good and look good?
How a beloved can become an unknown person with the dawn of a new day?
In the craze of “feel good and look good” we are over-looking a NAKED TRUTH – There’s a Pay day Someday. None gets free lunch!

The Bible says,
“For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden things,
whether it is good or evil.”

Let’s take the crux of both of the Bible verses as our footnote –

“How do we live TODAY?”

Keep thinking…