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The Hydra Headed Freak
|by Shernaz Wadia|
'Is what feels right necessarily right?'
It began as a simple query, one I was sure I would be able to answer with a bit of introspection; but soon my mind, impaled on the horn of dilemma, was hurled into the abyss of confusion.
Confusion ' a mental state characterized by a lack of clear thought and behavior. The dictionary meaning of the word makes it sound so simple. Something that clarity of thought followed by appropriate behavior, would dissipate in no time. Wow! Is it so uncomplicated as that?
Ignorance is the root cause of this bewilderment so let us chop off its head with the axe of knowledge and give it a decent burial. Or so I thought. That thought itself was a fallacy, the product of a misconception. Chopped off ignorance, but whoa what's this? Doubt, the head glares back at me! A close relative? But wasn't knowledge supposed to be the nemesis of doubts? No ways, it mocks. Want to get rid of me stab me with the knife of self-confidence. Be sure of yourself. Knowledge ' don't you know what M. C. Richards has said? 'Let no one be deluded that knowledge of the road can substitute for putting one foot in front of another'. That much for bookish knowledge then. Find the answer in your treasure trove of experience.
This is the first time I am bogged under the weight of this problem. There is no relevant personal experience I can use as a frame of reference. What do I do? Will philosophy have an answer? Will psychology have a solution? Metaphysics? Religion? Morals? Do I turn to self-management coaches or some mind-management gurus? Do I find a Master and beg of him to solve this riddle? Perhaps a friend would know. Deepak Chopra's books?
No, this is not a revelation that unraveled the inexorable tangles of my mind. These are the words of Swami Vivekananda.
So go deep within your self, I heard myself saying. Forget books and gurus. True to his advise I begin my inward journey.
A feeble voice begins to drift up and gets stronger as I listen attentively to it. 'When in doubt follow your heart.' Aha! So what feels right is right! But what is this rumble coming up to drown out the first voice?
'Is this feels-right situation for the good of others or does it bring joy only to you? If it is right then why did you bring up the question in the first place?'
Another voice piped up 'Don't you have an obligation to your self? You have a right to happiness too.' ' At the cost of other people's happiness?'
'Your life is your own to live as you please and what others feel is their problem. If they do not understand you the fault lies with them. Don't stand on an ethical seesaw. You owe it to yourself I tell you. If you believe in yourself, everything is right.'
'Give a thought to those you love and care for. You cannot be selfish.'
' Is wanting to be happy selfishness?'
' Blah, blah, blah.'
I banged the book shut and silenced the babble of my inner teachers. Wait, teachers as in more than one? Isn't there but one inner teacher who knows everything and whose word cannot be doubted? Then why were there two teachers clamoring for attention inside me? Or was it a Janus (instead of Perseus) evoked to deal with the Gorgon of my mind?
Just as I was about to retreat from an unresolved battle before it escalated into a full-fledged war another head sneered at me.
Psst, it hissed, so are you happy now? Have you found the solution? Hee, hee.
I could not recognize this one.
I looked and was flabbergasted! My original question was ensconced deep within the myriad heads that stung and spewed venom on my effort to find an answer. In my ignorant desperation I had conjured a hydra headed freak that took on the form of an ominous question mark!
Oh boy, now I need more than an axe or a stiletto. I need a huge custom-made Swiss army knife! Or better yet an all-in-one weapon that destroys the whole enmeshed monstrosity at one blow.
Does anyone have an answer? Is what feels right necessarily right?
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