“Pray for Forgetfulness for if you tend to forget the good done by you to others and continue in your penance of compassion, the serpent of arrogance will never be able to poison your soul. You will be grounded with the weight of a jewel called Humility.”
I kept wandering in the pursuit of happiness that never had any definitey.
I was surrounded by the maddening chatter of desires that robbed me of my serenity.
I kept looking for flaws in others to prove my superiority.
I was an obnoxious, boisterous trumpet busy in singing laurels in self-praise, deprived of humility.
I invested myself to the extent of immersion in the worldly ties that costed me my sobriety.
I propelled higher in the skies of baseless egos and crude pride that I lost connection with the reality.
I was absorbed by the frivolous vanity of material charms that left me with insanity.
I let my greed take over my senses and I became nefarious and lost even my humanity leave aside divinity.
I was flowing with the directionless wind until I encountered – Failure, Old Age, Illness & Death – Teachers who teach everyone without disparity.
I soon yet quite lately realised that I was so far indulged in a mirage hunt that never existed even remotely.
I now stood as a silent spectator, witnessing the changing masks, perhaps the real faces – shedding down inhibitions and civility.
I was baffled at first, agitated, and finally struck by melancholy to see everything moving away from my proximity.
I crumbled down like a brittle wall and wailed hard that echoed within, digging up and unearthing the dormant soul resting under the debris of mistaken identity.
I was now bound to listen to the resonating call of my true companion that completely shook me first with remorse only to bring stability.
I realised the riches I amassed throughout never comforted me, contrary to that delight dwelled in a charity that has never been my priority.
I always had a safe distance from compassion while arrogance choreographed my relations that weathered away in the face of a calamity.
I, now a solitary reaper of venomous fruits of bitter seeds of my deeds quizzed my companion to suggest a way if any that leads to liberty.
I overheard as my companion whispered to my heart “seek forgiveness and salvation from the ever compassionate Almighty”.
I was again left in the lurch ” how shall I go about seeking the ultimate one and escape from the world and its duplicity.
I was startled when a voice echoed from within “shall I call you ignorant or address as innocent? Still searching out, paying no heed to the one residing in you since eternity”.
I stood sans commotion, letting the silence speak eloquently to and within me, taking the charge of my senses for the first time in a while now and soaking in the tranquillity.
I felt the warmth of my tears drenching my barren heart as his words are aiding cultivation of compassion & righteousness that would yield the crop of wisdom, the profit of salvation, making soul opulent, and lofty.
I latched onto the light of truth, dispelled the fog of ignorance that enveloped my being, the cluster that insidiously gripped me is losing its ground, a life that seemed enigmatic is now deriving it’s meaning while rediscovering its beauty!!!
Ever since I shifted to Bangalore, I chose not to keep a household help and preferred to do the chores myself so that I stay active at home. People often are taken aback and ask me how do I manage to do so much all by myself and I tell them that I want to maintain an active lifestyle and without going out for work, this will ensure my routine in the house doesn’t get lethargic. Doing the cleaning job myself ensures that all the nooks and crannies are clean and clear from unwanted dirt and dust.
Lately, like many others, I too have become the victim of pandemic stress. Yes, I must admit that on watching and reading the news videos and similar stuff, I ended up fuelling up the negative thoughts inside me. I even wasn’t sure if I could write up my article scheduled for today because I was feeling too low until I talked to Chiradeep, whom I messaged about my inability to write. While we discussed the increasing rate of depression in this COVID era, we also conversed on how we can immerse ourselves in doing positive things. It’s strange, yet funny at times when you know the exact cause of your worry and still keep thinking about it. The situation is similar to that web in one of those corners of your room. You know that you have to remove it with the broom, but you try to ignore it instead, only to realize that the spider has got enough time to build a bigger web. And, when it becomes too shabby, you just swipe it with a broom.
Our brain is now filled with numerous stuff- work, chores, kids (their health, online classes, screen time, entertainment, homework, etc), immunity of family, and a lot more. Above all this, we load our minds with all the negative stuff that we come across social media. And this needs to stop. We need to sweep away this adverse junk to make the head feel lighter and life easier. Apart from this, you have to trust. Trust in God. Believe in your prayers, asking Him to remove every dirt that you have in your minds. He is and will be there for you, forever.
As a child, I used to be afraid of the dark and I’m sure many of you were too! If any time the power supply got disrupted and I was alone in the room, I would let out an involuntary shriek of fear. As soon as I saw someone light a candle (accompanied by reassuring words), I would heave a sigh a relief!
Darkness caused a loss of confidence in me. What if some eerie insect crept towards me? What if a phantom appeared from behind? So many what ifs used to hit the mind for that brief span between the electricity supply going off and the candle or lamp being lit…
With the glow of light a feeling of confidence used to gush in – the relief that all is well and under control!
When we check into an airport, we confidently walk towards the security check counters and then head towards the waiting area to board the aircraft, having the confidence that we would reach our destination within a matter of hours. Seldom do we doubt and fear the unfortunate eventuality of the plane not reaching our destination, despite being aware of many things that might go wrong. We place our faith on the pilot, the crew, the technical settings and the law of aerodynamics. That gives us the confidence to sit back and work on our laptops, read books, fiddle with the photos and videos in our mobiles or simply browse through the airlines magazine and enjoy the meals served up in the air.
Why go to bigger things when we can think of things near us? I believe you are sitting on a chair/sofa or reclining on your bed/couch while reading this article. How many times did you check whether the furniture was strong enough to bear your weight? Of course, you would have surely checked thoroughly before buying the piece! But, not each time you decide to sit or lie down on it. You simply know that it will support you and not crumble down suddenly, even though sometimes, it actually may.
Confidence! That’s something we cannot survive without. All of us need to have a minimum amount of confidence to live and function as normal healthy human beings – in the things around, the people around and in ourselves. That’s what keeps us going.
Three strongholds against confidence
The three tall towers that threaten to stifle the confidence in a person are Fear, Failure and Ridicule.
Fear of the unknown, fear of people, fear of consequences, fear of rejection, fear of harm (on self or others), fear of haunting old memories, fear of places, fear of sickness, fear of death, fear of war, fear of abuse, fear of failure, fear of ridicule are some of the common fears that rob us of our confidence.
Replace the fears of the world with the Fear of God.
While these fears are not completely unnatural, they often take away our peace of mind and the resulting confidence that emanates from it. But, the fear of the Almighty God gives us the confidence to walk in the right way, to look at all our fears squarely in the face and overcome them. No fear can stalk you if you seek refuge in the Strong Tower, i.e., in God Himself. The living words of wisdom say –
In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence,
And his children will have refuge.
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,
That one may avoid the snares of death. (THE BIBLE)
Failure to meet expectations, failure in relationships, failure to climb up the career ladder, failure to pay off debts, failure in examinations, failure to conceive a baby, failure to stand up against what is right, failure to manage resources are some of the common failures that swindle our confidence.
Replace failures of the world with Victory in God.
While these failures cannot be escaped from, they can be dealt with. Our failures need not make us lose our confidence. In fact, adversity leads us to recognize that if we place our confidence in the Unshakable Rock, i.e., in God, He will never fail us. People may fail you, circumstances may not support you but God will never forsake you. He will ensure that you are victorious. The eternal words of wisdom say –
Some boast in chariots and some in horses,
But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.
They have bowed down and fallen,
But we have risen and stood upright. (THE BIBLE)
Ridicule owing to looks (height, weight, colour, structure), accent of speech, family background, poor performance, low status, inability to deliver when required or being differently-abled (physically or mentally).
Replace ridicule of the world with the sure hope of being Exalted by God.
Ridicule breaks the heart and causes us to question ourselves. It distorts our self-image and damages our self-esteem. We find ourselves climbing down the confidence ladder. But, when you look up to the Infallible Deliverer, i.e., God, He will raise you up and strengthen you despite the weaknesses in you which make you a victim of ridicule. The priceless words of wisdom say –
For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (THE BIBLE)
I learnt very early in life to place my confidence in God alone – not even in myself. And that has helped me to stand tall amidst the fears, failures and ridicules that threaten to unsettle me from time to time. Not that I never slip, but when I do, I know that I will fall into the hands of God – very much like the child thrown up in the air who laughs heartily with the assurance that his/her father’s hands are waiting to catch him/her. That’s confidence!
“Somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace”.
-Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love.
I had never, in my dreams, thought of penning down this experience of my life. But you know how God surprises you with those precious opportunities you never thought you could get? So I hope people will be kind and patient while reading this chapter of my life.
Glimpses of hope – this topic of Candles Online drives me back to the lane of my life where I was accompanied with a beloved friend of mine called “Depression”. I am sure every person reading this article has had a friend similar to mine, which proves that I am no extraordinary rather a normal person like all of you.
I do not remember the exact date but I can freshly remember the exact feeling. It was a Friday night, I was home alone, sitting on the floor of my bedroom and weeping unconditionally. Feet turned cold, wet cheeks, trembling hands and rapid thoughts crossing my mind leaving me numb on the floor. I heard a voice inside my head, asking me, “What makes you cry?” to which, “I have no clue” was my answer. Soon after that I patted my eyes and pressed them as hard as I could to stop my tears. I wanted to stop crying, but all my efforts went in vain. The worst kind of sadness in the one which cannot be explained!
The worst part of this phase was that I couldn’t do any Root Cause Analysis of the situation. Because everything in my life was running quite smoothly. Good grades, strong friendship, love of my Parents, I had it all. But my beloved friend “depression” made my condition worse day by day. Sleep just wasn’t sleep anymore. It became an escape place for me. It was strange how I could totally be a normal person in the crowd but would end up cold and numb on the floor once I would be home alone.
I wanted to talk about it, I wanted to yell and scream, but all I could do was weep alone and tell myself that one day, everything’s going to be just fine. I remember hugging myself and mumbling “you are not alone”.
Finally, unable to handle it alone, I conveyed about this relationship with beloved depression to my father. I call it my beloved friend, because depression has taught me many life lessons just like a true friend does. I was surprised to know that he had the same experience too. Though he did not end up weeping on the floor like me, but his emotions matched mine. That is when he told me, “beta, we are humans, and we break down sometimes which is completely normal.” I am fortunate to have such an understanding father. He even explained that only physical illness does not require treatment, but assistance is required even when our mind gets sick. He was ready to find a counselor for me too, though it wasn’t required later on. May God bless every child with a father like mine!
He further reminded me that whenever you feel you are in unbearable pain, think about people who are not as fortunate as you. Think about the soldiers in our border, think about their family, which lives in the hope of meeting them soon, either alive, or with their body wrapped up in our Tricolour Flag. Think about them and absorb some strength from their courageous heart!
So from the very next moment, that is what I did. God has a beautiful way of giving you life lessons and the best part is, you don’t have to look so far, because your ‘Glimpses of Hope’ are somewhere around you, waiting for you to notice them.
Firstly, I paid a close attention to the Man in my life who managed his family so well, kept his loved ones happy with all the strength in the world even after being physically impaired. No storm could stop him and he would always stand up as the Superhero of his family without the Superman’s cape! He became my first glimpse of hope.
Secondly, I saw the struggle of a girl, who was of my age and I addressed her as my sister, who supported her family and helped her father clear all his debts, by killing her dreams and working for her family instead. She would stand as the ‘Tiger’ of her family whenever required and shield them from all the troubles. She would smile and hug me with inspiration even after going through all the dark times alone. She became my second glimpse of hope.
Thirdly, I envied the strength of my friend who would keep her emotions intact, even after facing all the conspiracies of her own relatives against her family. I envied how firmly she would still trust and inspire people even after her faith had been played and broken by her own blood relations. Instantly she was added to my list of “Hope”.
Fourthly, I aspired to become like a friend of mine, who literally had been through hell and back, struggled through the taunting and discourteous behaviour of the society but still carried a ray of hope in her soul and faith of humanity in her heart. She still chose to express her smile to the world which once made her life miserable. She then became my ‘Glimpse of Hope’.
Lastly, I feel so fortunate to have read a book called “Eat Pray Love”, by Elizabeth Gilbert. This book brought me closer to God. It showed me a path of peace during the darkest tunnels of my life. This book created another Ray of Hope in my heart.
Though I have not written the names of people in the list of my “Glimpses of Hope” expressively in the article but I am pretty sure that they will recognise themselves while reading it. Lastly, I would like to thank all my readers for investing their precious time and reading this piece of writing. I believe that you will look around and find your ‘glimpses of hope’ soon, because the word H.O.P.E. itself says, Hold On Pain Ends!