Haven't we all forgotten the importance of living? Real Living! Where we can enjoy each moments of our life and take the good and the bad in it's own stride. Aren't we all, too much into trivial matters and petty thinking and driven by insatiable greed? We are whizzing past life in hurried pursuits! And we have in the process, lost out in the holistic meaning of life!! In the pursuit of the unattainable, driven by an acquisitive attitude we loose out in the meaning of real living and do not enjoy and cherish what we have with in our grasp.
It is always a different world order that we are looking for be it politically, socially or economically. But never the one we exist in. The grass seems to be greener always on the other side. Like what Lin Yutang says "The world is pretty much like an a la carte restaurant where every body thinks the food the next table has ordered is so much more delicious and inviting than his own." In the process we lose out in the real joy of eating and enjoying our own palate. We keep on looking over the shoulders and wondering how the other person must be savoring his dishes, how much more he must be enjoying.
In the pursuit of the ideal, man forgets that the ideal is always unreachable and unattainable. It is nothing but a situation that beckons and lures from distance but when it is attained and becomes a reality, that reality has it's own troubles and problems to overcome. When the ideal becomes a reality it looses its charm. It is just like the horizon once you reach it; it changes. There is always another horizon beyond the horizon. So the ideal is something that changes with the acquisition of it. And then, one aspires for another ideal. Every situation in life is a package deal of good and the bad. And however much one tries to filter out the bad, it always trickles in.
To aspire is not bad but to drive those aspirations to take the form of greed is certainly detrimental, to be more precise not conducive to mental health and joyous living. Greed brings in too much of strife in our life and is the cause of many ills our society faces today. It makes us into mechanized and driven humans running after goals without any compassion in our hearts. See what greed for power did to Hitler! It made him into a heartless monster to the point that he could not even comprehend his own well being in the end. I wonder how much of life he enjoyed within the bunker of his, feeling safe from the world. Well ultimately nobody had to kill him, he committed suicide and it was all his own doings which took him to that point. That was an extreme case but don't we all see our very own Hitlers in real life. People driven by one form of greed or another that they don't even stop to see and grasp the beauty of a flower blooming or a bird chirping. They are forever busy manipulating and maneuvering situations to their advantage. Well they loose out on the day-to-day joys of living. I wonder how many people have really noticed the beautiful Jacaranda trees in full bloom in the city of Shillong at the moment. Did anyone stop, to look at them? The color is soothing and its beauty brings in a sense of tranquility. A relief from the daily strives and endeavors of life. It works as a soothing balm but only when we are observant and alive to our surroundings. Or perhaps when we make the time or take out time, from our daily busy-ness of life to observe it.
I have seen people having enough money or perhaps more than they require for their next two or three generations and yet they do not stop at that. They keep on going, acquiring more with a single-minded dedication of having more. They are so busy and preoccupied, that they can't enjoy the luxuries of their home, forever globe trotting from one city to another. The pleasures of having home-made food, they do not know what flowers are blooming in their garden, they cannot experience their child's first smile, the first word he uttered or how he tumbled after he took his first step. These are simple source of pleasures of life, which gives immense joy but such joys are to be experienced to be felt. Like plain simple leisure sometimes' lying outside on a cold winter morning with soothing winter sun on your back. Counting the stars on a warm summer night and a wish following a shooting star. Seeing a bird perched on a branch, giving a love call to it's mate, or just throwing pebbles in a still lake and seeing the waves created in rings spreading out and disappearing' into the stillness of the lake. Somewhere on the horizon the clouds collecting on a hot summer afternoon and there is hope that the rains would come. Or after dull and dreary three four days of continuous rain, mud and slush, the sun peeps out from behind the clouds and a beautiful rainbow reflects the glory and the color of the sun. These are the simple joys of living which we miss out on in the hectic busy city life, where we are made more busy by our acquisitive desires rather then needs. Where square elongated structures blocks our views of nature, where instead of the stars at night we are counting down to 9 pm when "Kaun Banega Crorepati" would be aired. It only helps to hype our blood pressure more and is unhealthy for the heart, rather than the soothing soft breeze which flicks our hair around' or a sight of a shooting star that gives hope or rainbow which promises a brighter day ahead. They do not give us false promises' just hope and a sense of good feeling that lingers on, in our being, soothing our nerves.
Philosophers and thinkers have wrecked their brains trying to understand life, looking for mysteries and answers. But what is life really all about? Isn't it living out our minutes and seconds everyday, day after day? Retrospect and you will see it is just that. So why not make the most of it, never forgetting to cherish and enjoy what we have with in our reach and at the same time thriving to make it better in our today and with in our means. Never stretching it to the point that we snap. Anything that is stretched far beyond it's capacity to, has to snap and break. The higher we try to go, remember that a peak always comes from where it will be a longer way downhill. And what does really matter in life is that ultimately mortality has a way to humble us. And perhaps we created a soul to satisfy our own urge of immortality. The theories of what happens beyond death are certainly debatable. We have been handed down the ages, a lot of concepts, but then they are still debatable. The only thing we are sure of is our life on this earth. This is a palpable truth. And what we make of it, is in our hands. Live it with love or hate with optimism or pessimism'. Our choice. And as the saying goes, "So shall u reap as u sow" to a greater extent we will receive what we give to life.
I know a person who is embroiled in a court case for the last fifteen years or so, over a piece of property with his neighbor. One day after listening to him I just asked him one question, "What do you think would be the outcome of the case? Do you expect to get what you want?" and his answer and was, "No". Taken aback a bit, I question him, "Why then?" He said that he just wanted to trouble him. The irony of ironies was that, he never realized in the bargain he was troubled too, running from pillar to post, lawyer to court, spending his hard earned money, over a trivial matter of just wanting to trouble another person. He is driven so much by the hatred for his neighbor who also happens to be his relative that he does not realize what he is doing to himself.
I have seen people driven by greed, lust, and hatred to the point that they are forever entangled in litigations and hostility. And the point of dispute could be as ridiculous as perhaps a disputed piece of only a foot of land or a boundary wall, which has encroached a few inches inside. But they would not mind spending hundred times more then the worth of the object they are fighting for. And forget the amount of strife, discord and hostility that they harbor within themselves and around them. Perhaps letting go and moving on would have served them better. But do they realize that? Does it matter on the deathbed an inch more or an inch less? Does it? How much do we take with ourselves? How ironical!
Problems are a part of our life. We cannot filter out bad times. But it is our choice what we let the problems do to us. We tend to react strongly only to things which effects us negatively. Perhaps that is very humane too. We also have the tendency to downplay our blessing. And what happens is that we concentrate too much on the negative, generating negativity in us. And this is what brings us unhappiness. We cannot control the times but we can certainly control our reactions to it. It has been said that it is not the situation that matters but our reaction to it does. So it is up to us, how we let it affect us' make us bitter or better, weak or strong. Our choice. It needs nothing but a positive frame of mind that sees much beyond the pain and the suffering caused by the problems. Problems leave us wiser and stronger and they do have a brighter side to it. Like gold that burns in fire to come out pure to get it's color and brightness.
Just the other day I asked my Lawyer friend, "What do u think life is all about?" and his answer was "Moments lived in awareness". To which I added, "Moments lived in Conscious awareness". His answer struck me like a bolt of lightening and is the reason I wrote this article, it had me thinking. He was to the point and accurate and that is exactly what each one of us don't do. We whiz past life in busy-ness and hurried pursuits, we see but we don't grasp, we sense but we don't feel.
Have we ever stopped and just enjoyed the beauty of the world that surrounds us. Ever paused to listen to the sound of silence, the rustling of the leaves, the whispering of the pine trees. Or the drops of rain, falling from the heavens without bothering that our clothes would get soiled and wet. Have we ever watched the grace of the milkman as he walked up the hill with the milk cans hanging from either side of his shoulders? The smile of a beggar on the roadside pavement' Have we really observed nature of which, we are such an integral part? The rhythm of life that beats all around us coexists in all living organisms; they are pulsating with life, with beauty, with knowledge and with lessons to be learned, observing them will only help us to understand and enjoy life better.
If each one of us just realized one fact' one stark fact, that Perhaps we live but once. And in the wider scheme of things we are just one of the living organisms on this planet. We have to live in harmony with nature. Co-existence with the life force around us is the key word. May be then we can find the answers to a lot of our problems that we face today especially problems concerning our ecological balance and over drive of commercialization. Our problems started when we stopped being in harmony with nature and lost touch with our natural instincts. We are no more in tune with our deeper self and the universe. Pause for a moment' listen to the sound of silence, let time stand still for few seconds, observe the world in all it's bareness, perhaps in those few moments the symphony of life can be experienced. Follow the instincts the answers are all there within us. And if we learn to be consciously aware of the moments that we live and take into consideration the collective well being of 'life' itself, we would know the meaning of joyful living, and understand what living in harmony with the world, is all about.