|Our environment is but a reflection of our selves|
I have had the good fortune of learning a lot about what we are really made of in the last few years. When I wonder why I didn’t hear these vital, yet difficult messages earlier in life, I realize that it was the din of busy-ness, the haze of material pursuit and selfishness, and the worship of short-term pleasure that had kept me from hearing them. Here are four simple shifts that you can make in your life even as you are reading this post that will allow you to open up to the message that your life has for you.
Every single one of us are programmed to survive. This is what sets us apart from a subroutine in a computer program. However, this survival instinct is often misinterpreted in the modern world as selfishness. Many of us are conditioned to continuously take all that we can from life. Any act of giving has to be linked with consideration of what you will get in return. The first step towards discovering who you are is to set up an incline where the universe will be able to tell you who you are. This starts with becoming a giving person. Give without any expectations. Put your selfish considerations aside. As you try to do this, you will not only hear back from the universe, but will also see exactly what you are made of.
Most of us are taught to give a patient hearing to others. Along with that, it is also important to listen to our selves. Having a dialog with yourself need not necessarily qualify you for a role in the next sequel to Fight Club, but it will put you in touch with what your heart desires and what your true feelings are. Being able to dialog with yourself also helps clarify a whole lot of misconceptions. In the process, you will discover what your deepest driving desires and motives are.
We look at ourselves all the time, but are rarely able to see our self. Learn to see past the superficial external self, the body, the appearance, the glitter and the bauble, and see into your true self, your spirit, your heart, your soul. Look at your ambitions, aspirations, motivations, at your fears and your insecurities, and at your love and your hatred. We all contain a multitude of selves within us, from the highest state of enlightenment to the basest of instinctual desires. None of these can be written off as good or bad by themselves, since they can only be interpreted in the context of circumstances and surroundings. This is what you are made of.
The greatest crisis that the modern individual faces is that of isolation and individualism. We have been led to believe that the true merit of a human being lies in his individualism. Yet, this very uniqueness of each one of us sometimes leads us away from the realization that we are part of a much greater whole, one that is mystic, and driven by laws that are universal and absolute, a greater whole that is not easy to comprehend with our finite linear thinking. Open your eyes to the fact that you belong - to a family, to a community, to society, to mankind, to the planet and the galaxy, to the universe, and to entities and concepts larger than and beyond it.
Yes, it is definitely worrisome that society and families are not available to guide people to find answers to important questions about life, and that people have to search the internet for answers. Yet, it is also extremely heartening that these questions are still being asked in an age where upright and simple living has been reduced to a struggle against the system. As a civilization, we need to evolve with the times, and use the tools of technology to enhance our selves. In many ways, the village that it takes is now being replaced by online social networks since we no longer have the space or the luxury of taking a village to raise and nurture young minds. As we venture into new ways of answering age-old questions, we need to exercise caution.
A questioning mind is also one that is ready to meet an answer. It is easy to corrupt and poison the seeking mind with negative influences. Keep in mind that the internet is an unregulated medium (are you listening, Justice Katju?) and not all that you find in a search may be valid, useful or even safe, makes it all the more worrisome. I will leave you, not with a word of caution, but with lines from the ancient wisdom of the Upanishads that have been with me from my teens. I searched for it on Google to ensure that I got it right.
“ You are what your deepest desire is./ As your desire is, so is your intention. / As your intention is, so is your will. / As your will is, so is your deed. / As your deed is, so is your destiny.”