Coffee Conversations- Nothing to do with you.

 

*If you’re new to Coffee Conversations, check out the introduction and first post of this series over here

I received this mail around a week ago:

“Hey, Hardik! I am 24-year-old girl living in Dayton, Ohio and I love reading your writing. They really inspire me! I wanted to have a conversation with you about how one can still be compassionate and kind in a scenario where the other person is shouting and is extremely angry and is criticizing you. I try hard but more often than not, I end up shouting and getting angry as well which really makes the scenes worse than they already are. What do you in a similar situation? Waiting for a reply! Thank you.”

This one is a tough cookie, eh?

We all often advice and are advised to be calm during a fight or an argument or a scenario which is getting unnecessarily heated up. But more often than not, we give and start shouting and howling ourselves which in all honesty makes the scenes worse than they already were.

I am working with a youth organization since years and when you do work with people with varied interests, there are bound to occur differences in opinions and I can remember so many occasions where situation could have been handled in a much better way than it was.

Also, when it comes to my parents, I believe that things would have been better with them, if instead of arguing rashly and fighting, I could have just been calm and patience in the situation.

So, yes. This is the arena where I myself have faltered a lot.

But, I am growing out of it. I am learning.

And for that, I follow one philosophy, one thing which helps me to stay calm and handle the situation in a so much better manner.

Whenever a situation gets worse– where people are blaming me, shouting or getting angry or all in all behaving in an extremely horrid manner, I deal with as if it has nothing to do with me.

Yes, that’s the key. And it has truth to it.

Let me give you an example:

Imagine XYZ is your boss. He comes to the office and started behaving rudely to you. He shouts on you, argues with you, throws files on your table and tells you lot of things. What is the general reaction? You’ll probably want to rip his head, which is fair. But think about it does it have anything to do with you? Most likely not. He must be having a bad day. Probably fought with his wife or lost some money in share-market or something of that sort.

You’re just the trigger. So if it has nothing to do with you, why you want to get into an aggressive mode?

You can be calm and compassionate and try to understand the entire situation. I am not saying that let him treat you badly. But you definitely also don’t want to start howling that would just make the things worse.

So be calm, think peacefully, form a proper statement to give him, probably ask him if everything is OKAY or not. Chances are he’ll cool down.

Whenever I travel in Local Trains, I see so many people shouting on each other and howling and abusing, all on a stranger. They’re just venting it out. It has nothing to do with the person. He was just a trigger.

This applies to almost all cases.

Even when it is directly related to you, it is not you.

It is generally the expectations.

So when people see that or feel that, you haven’t fulfilled their expectations, they go nuts and start shouting and howling. I am not saying, they’re wrong or something. But the fact is, it has nothing to do with you. It is do with them and their expectations.

So why are you taking it personally and losing your cool?

There will be cases where you know you aren’t at fault and there will be cases where you know you are wrong.

Deal both with compassion and kindness and sense of calmness.

Know that the opposite person’s screaming and losing the temper has nothing to do with you.

You, in most cases, act as a trigger.

So don’t lost your calm. Don’t lose your cool. Handle the situation with compassion and ease. With a cool mind. Apologize where necessary and be firm on your point in a calm manner when you feel you’re right.

But don’t get angry. Or abuse. Or howl. Or throw things. Or beat people down.

That is futile. It just worsens the situation and chances are you’ll regret it later.

Deal with such situations as if you’re an outsider. And in all honesty, you’re an outsider.

It has to with them. Their anxiety, their problems, their life. So deal with compassion, deal with niceness, deal with calmness.

And always remember, It has nothing to do with you.

*If you want to discuss anything. I will love to respond to it. Through mail or blog. You can mail me at hardik94nagar@gmail.com or send me a message over twitter.

* Before posting anything, ThatIndianMinimalist always takes prior permission from the person.

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The Power Of Solitude.

That Indian Minimalist

 

“It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts.”

– K.T. Jong

I’ll tell you a story.

Around three months ago, I was coming home from college.

My phone was switched off because of low battery.

And, it was hot afternoon and I was tired.

When I rang the bell of my home, no one opened. I waited for few minutes and I realized that no one is at home.

Ah, they must have gone out. I also realized that I don’t have the keys.

Fortunately, there was chair in the balcony.

Since I was exhausted, I settled myself over there.

And, I sat there. But there was no phone to connect with.

No Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, no Whatsapp, no calls.

And 5 minutes passed, 10 minutes passed and I started feeling uncomfortable. Really.

We’re not used to this, you know? We’re the hyper-connected generation. We have status to share and read, we have comments to be put up, we have instagram pictures to put and heart, we have jokes to share and we have people to chat with.

And here I was sitting alone on an afternoon with no such tools at disposal.

And I felt a different fear for the first time.

It was fear of being alone. It was fear of confronting your own thoughts and guilt. Fear of really reflecting on your actions, thoughts and life.

And, I realized that I never really do this. I never actually sit down and just spend some time with myself, in solitude. I never go for walks alone and just be with my thoughts.

And, I realized why. Because, it’s scary.

It was always easier for me, the moment I was left alone to take out the mobile and distract myself.

To send Hi to random groups and people, to see photos on Instagram, to take pictures, to share a status, to read facebook updates.

It’s easier. Much easier than just sitting in solitude. To confront your fears, doubts. To confront your life and thoughts. That’ll are tough. And really they are.

This post is not a technological rant of how Social Media is destroying and all that. Maybe it is or maybe it is not. Who am I to tell? I use it as much.

No, the point here is that in this hyper-connected world, we’re ignoring the power of solitude.

To curl up with a book and a good novel, to go alone on walks, to listen to music, to sit in front of sea and beaches and just stare into the horizon.

To really go deep into our thoughts and life. To reflect on our actions. To listen to the lone voice of intuition which gets subsided in the hyper-connectivity and chaos, we prefer.

To really think.

To really reflect, a space to create, a space to think, to unwind, to refuel.

To spend time with your own, to understand your actions and to ponder over thoughts.

And contrary to belief, solitude doesn’t equal lonely. No one is asking you to renunciate everything and become a monk. No one is even asking you to pack your bags and go to Everest.

No, don’t get me wrong. I love spending time with people, I love. Family and friends. And for that even strangers.

But we need to recharge on several occasions. We need to refuel.

And to your surprise, you might just become more positive and more real and understanding in your relations with people.

How will you have a healthy relationship with people if you don’t have it with yourself?

Disconnect with technology for sometime. Shut off your computer and Internet and phone.

Trust me, nothing would happen within the time that would collapse your life.

Just use some amount of time to communicate with yourself, to be alone and in solitude.

Go for a walk. Curl up with a novel. Sit by the beach. Sit by the sea. Meditate. Listen to Music. Contemplate your actions. Think about your learnings. Write. Paint. Sing. Dance.

But be in solitude. It might be scary at first. You’ll feel the urge to pick up your phone and start typing or send hi to the first person in contact list or see photos. Or update a status.

But don’t. Resist it. Stop it. Seriously, how will you hide things from yourself? Or rather for how long?

Confront the fears. Confront the demons. Confront the guilt.

Let it out in your thoughts. Let it vent. Let it get out of the system.

Listen to yourself. Be with yourself. The most inner of your being.

Do it everyday. Even for 5 minutes but do it. Just be with yourself.

You’ll feel more positive, you’ll feel more confident about yourself.

You’ll be able to create more. The deepest of ideas and thoughts will come out.

You’ll feel positive which in-turn would improve your life and your relations with others.

Win-win situation, I would say.

Oh, continuing the story.

I almost sat outside in the balcony for 3 hours, in solitude. And, I confronted a lot of things, lot of fears. And reflected a lot.

It was scary at first. But one of the most worthwhile three hours of my life. And they’ll remain so.

And those 3 hours created one of best things I have ever done, the little blog known as That Indian Minimalist.

Who knows what you might create?

Go now. Take some time out. A cup of coffee and a novel forms a good start, if you ask me.  Also, a walk around in the night.

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“You Will Remain Incomplete Until..”

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“Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes. working jobs we hate, so we can buy shit we don’t need.” 
― Chuck Palahniuk

 

Look around.

No just look.

Look on the internet, on the Television screen, in books, in papers, outside on road.

Look in the mirror.

You know what is common in everything?

Advertisements.

Brands and logos and taglines and fancy typography and jazzy arts.

Look at those fancy audio ads and visual ads on TV or the big billboard outside your house or in the ad box in newspaper.

You know what are they saying?

You know what every advertisement is saying?

They are saying- “You will remain incomplete until..”

Now fill in the blank with the product name.

You’ll remain incomplete until you’ve this phone.

You’ll remain incomplete until you wear this brand.

You’ll remain incomplete until you use this thing.

You’ll remain unhappy until you use this cream.

They even go to the lengths of telling that you are incomplete until you don’t wear a specific brand of inner-wear.

That’s not what I believe. That’s what advertisers would like you to believe.

That you’re incomplete.

So what’s the solution to this?

Obviously, buying the product and feeling complete, feeling adequate.

That’s what we do, right?

We got out and buy the product. And feel ‘complete’ for a while. Then a new products come along and again we’re showed how we’re still incomplete. Then, we want that product. And this cycle never ends. Never.

We let the stuff define us. And advertisers love it.

Only problem- consumption is an unquenchable thirst. Really, we all have been through this. Haven’t we?

We always want more. We keep on creating desires for more stuff. We keep on feeling inferior or superior to other people on the basis of who owns what.

We keep on feeling ‘incomplete’.

These advertisers will always be there. And so will their tricks.

And they’ll always want you to believe that you’re incomplete, that you’re inadequate, that somehow owning their product will fulfil you.

But, can I tell you something?

You’re already complete.

You’re already adequate.

Realize that you’re already perfect.

You don’t need stuff to know your worth. You don’t need brand’s approval to know that you’re a good human.

Your stuff don’t define who you’re. You actions will, your kindness will, how you’re as a person that’ll but not your stuff.

Never your stuff.

Unless you allow your stuff to define you, they can’t and they won’t.

It is you.

It has always been you.

You- the person.

You- the human.

You- the individual.

Let yourself be defined by your actions, by your growth, by your kindness and compassion, by your will to learn.

And, when you do, you feel complete in real sense.

You’re not stuff. You’re not cars and brands. You’re not creams and sunscreens. You’re not mobiles and PSPs.

Stuff doesn’t make you happy. Not long term, for sure.

Never did, never will.

You make you happy.

Go now and be more.

Fly, fucking fly.

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Minimalism- What makes you ‘cool’?

Spring-Party

“How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

― Abraham Lincoln

One of my biggest flaws has to be pretension.

Really. I am still working on it, really hard.

I have improved though. A lot, considering how I was few months back.

I do admit that I was in a race to impress. And that was probably just because I wanted to look ‘cool’

I wanted a cool hairstyle and cool clothes and cool gadgets and you know just be cool.

I wanted to be the person who has most friends on Facebook with maximum likes on his DP and retweets and followers on twitter and hearts on Instagram.

I wanted to be the person who would have the coolest house and cars.

To have fancy decorations in my house and perfect furnitures and Rolex watches, not just one but many.

Because let’s face it, that’s how you get respect.

And that’s how you’re cool.

By your looks, cars, mansions and by your gadgets and stuff.

And what you need for that?

You need money, bwoy.

So, I never asked if that’s what I really want to do with my life. I just set my highest goal as becoming ‘cool’ and decided that earning huge chunks of money is the only way to do that.

So that I can purchase emotions, ask respect and add a layer of pretension to my self and look cool.

4 months later, I laugh on myself.

But I really wanted this for my life a few month back, just so that I can look cool.

There are few things which changed the entire definition of cool for and I realized being cool is not really being cool.

1) I came across authentic people

I stumbled upon Minimalism and through that I came across to personalities who do none of the stuff I mentioned above. But they inspire beyond words.

People like Leo, people like Joshua and Ryan, people like Joshua Becker, people like Colin.

These people have only one thing to them: they are authentic. They admit when they fail. They don’t pretend. And they’re perfectly happy with who they’re, with the flaws.  Honest and genuine.

They live unconventional life.

And they really inspired me. And millions others.

And that’s when I asked myself, who is really cool?

2) I realized ‘coolness’ is based on perspective 

Really. What is cool for me now was extremely uncool for me, few months back. It just took few months and change of perception. That’s it.

So there is no right or wrong about it. No objectivity. It is perspective based.

You can feel a small hut is cool or a big sprawling mansion is. Who knows?

So I urge you to not judge anyone. But I also urge you to not follow blindly what you think is cool based on other’s opinion.

Because it might turn out to be different.

That’s it in entirety.

3) Being cool doesn’t equate to being respected

If you respect me because of my clothes or gadgets or cars and other exterior stuff: likes on facebook and hearts on instagram and followers on twitter.

You respect the idea of me and not me.

I am not my stuff or things or something.

I am far much more.

And you don’t really care about that.

If that’s what you are ‘being cool’ for: not going to happen, mate.

4) Your people don’t give a fuck

Your real people- your real friends- don’t give a fuck about you being cool.

Really, I have people, my people and with them I do all sorts of stuff.

I send them crappy texts, I send them horrible voice-notes, I send them pictures of me with weird and ugly expressions.

And guess what? They are there.  Because they know me from inside and they know who I really am and they respect that fact.

Hell, I might run around in jockey someday on the streets and they still will be there.

For them, it is about who you’re. Not your stuff, not what you do but who you’re.

5) You start losing your authentic self

I was never into parties. Not that it is inherently bad to go partying, I just don’t like it.

I was never into EDM sort of music. Again, not that it is inherently bad. It’s just that it is not my type of music.

Same with clothes and many gadgets.

But in the start, I used to pretend to like many such things anyway because I thought that’s what will make me look cool.

And I started to lose pretty much all who I really was in-order to be who I am not.

And that’s pretty terrible thing to happen. So avoid.

Be authentic to who you’re. Because trust me, that is all really that is cool about you.

I won’t lie. I still sometimes slip and go back in the trap. I do, I am all human and I am all mistakes.

But with the difference that I immediately get aware and snap out of it. I try at least.

The question is to not ask what other people think makes you cool. The question to ponder is what makes you cool.

So tell me now-

What makes you cool?

Other awesome reads-

1) The Tyranny of Cool– This awesome New York Times article.

2) Ending the Tyranny of Cool– The Minimalist

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Minimalism- What’s up with all the buying?

‘There must be more to life than having everything!’

~Maurice Sendak

Six months back from now, I was a hoarder.

Hoarder of clothes. Hoarder of things, I don’t need.

Hoarder of emotions relating to buy things which I couldn’t buy.

I was a purchase freak. I admit to it.

I used to buy clothes. Buy unnecessary food. Spend so much money at unnecessary places and for unnecessary things.

It was all too much, when I look back now.

My regular pocket-money used to get over too soon. I had no saving. I used to ask advance from my parents almost too soon.

And, on some occasions, I remember picking money from Dad’s pocket.

When I look back, it’ll seem I was a slave. And perhaps, I was. I won’t deny.

I started to find happiness in stuff. I became attached to the idea that more stuff means, more happiness.

More food means, more happiness.

It almost became my like my therapy to avoid the void of emptiness.

So I started to fill that void with stuff. More stuff. And much more stuff.

I started desiring more stuff. And things. And more money.

And it was terrible.

It was a vicious cycle.

I got money. I spent money. I got more money. I spent more money.

It became a therapy for me.

To purchase things. To spend on clothes. To spend on gadgets. To spend on unnecessary eating out. And such unnecessary things.

And then I stumbled upon the idea of Minimalism. And it struck a chord with me.

And I decided, I’ll do this.

I decided, I won’t be buying for months now. Not unnecessarily at least.

That would be mean no random clothes shopping. No gadgets. Movies. New games. Excessive rickshaw travelling. Spending overly on restaurants and food.

It all had to be stopped. Really.

And it was terribly hard. I remember in the first month, I became cranky. And angry. And anxious. And sad.

Sounds extreme. But that’s how it was.

I felt like a drug addict. Really. For the first time in my life, I felt this much anxiety.

Whenever I used to come across a new gadget or fancy restaurant or food items or clothes, I used to get all sweaty. Worked up.

And I almost gave in many times to the urge of buying. That impulse rush.

And, soon, I realized the problem.

The problem was that I was trying to buy emotions.

You heard it right. Buying emotions. 

Whenever I used to buy clothes, I attached the emotion of comfort and emotion of being happy to purchasing clothes. I used to feel a momentarily rush. And, I became addicted to that rush and forgot that’s not real happiness. Or comfort.

Whenever I used to buy excessive food or overly expensive food, I attached the emotion of happiness and security and comfort to it. I was trying to buy the emotions.

The problem however was that emotions can’t be bought. Things can be. Emotions can’t be.

I realized this soon enough. And I was stunned. In shock. I never imagined what I have done to my mental process.

I started to associate emotions with hoarding. Emotions with purchasing. Emotions with consumerism.

So for me, more clothes was more comfort. More food was more happiness. More gadgets were more security and more fun. More shopping was more love.

But the reality is different. Such emotions wore off soon. They don’t stay for long and soon again, I’ll be anxious. That’ll again force me to buy more things.

This cycle would have never ended. Never, ever. 

That’s why, my first month was so difficult. There was no quick fix available to my mind. There was no purchase to be made.

It became better. And, I started to find real emotions seeping in.

I found comfort in a good friendship and good chat not clothes.

I found happiness in a good time spend with friends, a good cup of coffee over reading a book and being volunteer for the community.

I found security through genuine relations I have in my life and not through excessive eating.

It became better. It became good. It become awesome.

And, now I am healthier, happier and better than I ever was.

I am not saying there is inherently wrong with consumerism or buying things.

I am not even saying that, I don’t buy things now and have gone all sanyaasi.

All I am saying is that don’t try to buy emotions. Really. You can’t. You never were able to and you never will be.

You might feel a rush of pleasure after a shopping spree but it’ll wore off soon. What then? You’ll want to do another shopping spree. You’ll want to buy more things and stuff.

There is no end to it. 

And really. The idea of tying your self-worth to materials is something scary.

Imagine your happiness, security, comfort and all emotions being tied materials. To purchasing. To owing. To buying.

It is a scary, scary thought.

Don’t be a slave.

Come out.

We’re more than what we own. We’re more than where we eat or what we eat.

We’re more than what we wear.

We’re more than all these.

We’re not defined by these.

Don’t try to define ourselves by these.

There will be only loser. That is us.

Come out the shackles of excessive consumerism. It does you no good.

Get free from the cage. And be more.

Fly. Fucking fly.

Other reads- 

SHOPPING OR FINDING MEANING- The Minimalists

Breaking Free From Consumerist Chains- ZenHabits

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Minimalism- 8 Things I realized in the past month.

“One thing: you have to walk, and create the way by your walking; you will not find a ready-made path. It is not so cheap, to reach to the ultimate realization of truth. You will have to create the path by walking yourself; the path is not ready-made, lying there and waiting for you. It is just like the sky: the birds fly, but they don’t leave any footprints. You cannot follow them; there are no footprints left behind.”
― Osho

Revelations.

It has been few days past a month since this blog came into existence.

That means over a month of following Minimalism. Over a month of buying consciously. Over a month of focusing on things I love. Over a month of eliminating the superfluous. Over a month of focusing on being a better person.

Over a month of living: real, hard and consciously.

Here are the things, I learnt in this past over 1 month of this blog and following minimalism:

  • Life beyond the Auto Pilot Mode:
    If there is one thing I absolutely adore about this lifestyle is that it helped me to live more consciously. To question every decision I take. To question why I think the way I do. To not do things just because.To live beyond that “Just Because it happens this way” I rejected that lifestyle.Probably you should also try?

    It is hard but so worth it. You see the truth behind everything. And more importantly, you start to know your true self. Till the time, I was living on Auto-Pilot mode. I was doing things which other felt like I should do ideally. Or the things which society thinks, I should do ideally.Break off the “ideally”. Do something because you want to. Do something because you feel like. Question everything that is to question. And decide everything on your own.

    Take control, mate. Remember it is your life?

     

  • Things that has happened, is happening or will happen is something that you’ve chosen:
    You’re what you’re because of choices you made. You’re what you were because of the choices you made. You will be what you will be because of the choices you will make. Life is a choice.Sure there are external factors and sure they affect but in the end all that matters and all that has a major impact is how you react to those external forces. That will define your life. That will define you. Nothing else. That. The choice you make.The things you choose. The emotions you choose. The people you choose. The situations you choose to react on. Choice.

    Do you comprehend? Realize it and realize it now. Your life is a choice. Big fucking choice. Choose carefully.

  • No longer trying to buy emotions:
    If there is one lesson which completely shocked me was this.I was in a no buying phase. This whole January, I kept my purchase only in the essentials. And in that too, I questioned everything I bought.Once you start questioning your purchase. Everything on which you spend money. Everything which you buy. Everything which you wish to buy. Everything.Once I did that, I realized something drastic and shattering.I used to try to purchase emotions and feelings.I didn’t want to buy or rent things. I wanted to buy and rent emotions and feelings. I wanted to buy security, comfort, approval. I wanted to buy joy. I wanted to buy satisfaction. I wanted to buy happiness. Unfortunately, they are not available for sale or rent.

    I stopped doing that. Now, I just buy things as tool. Not as a source of happiness and approval. So, I need less. I want less. And yet, ironically, I feel fuller than ever before. Win-win, amigo.

  • The most important person is you:
    As narcissistic and clichéd it may sound, it is true. The most important person in your life is you. Your top priority should be you. Everything you do, you should be doing keeping in mind the effect it will have on you.Everything, every person, every relation is because of you. If you fall, they all fall.If you are not happy, there is no point to any of them.Being compassionate and loving towards your own self is possibly the most underrated skill. Develop it.Your rest of the life and everything you’ll be and you’ll do, depends on that single person which is YOU.
  • The Incomplete Circle of Relationships:
    I had a friend in 9th Standard. A close friend at that time and then we had a fall-out, as most high school friendships does. We had a spat. And it is only in this month I realized that somewhere that incomplete thing is bothering me.I have her yet in my mind. So, Imessaged her. I said sorry. My circle is complete.  And it feels great. Just complete your circles.With everyone. Either forgive or ask for forgiveness.

    Give a fucking closure to it. Give it.

    All the times when you say, ” I don’t what is bothering me” more often than not, it is these incomplete circles.

    Incomplete relations.

    Give them a closure.

    Do it.

    You’ll thank yourself later.

     

  • People will see you as you see yourself: They are mirrors:
    People’s opinion change as soon as you change your outlook towards yourself. It is a law of causation at work.If you change your opinions and your thinking and your outlook about yourself, people eventually will automatically start seeing you in that light.They will resist at first, asking you why are you changing. We’re genetically programmed to be reluctant to change.But in the end, they see you as you see yourself.

    They reflect on you. Mere reflection.

    Try that if you don’t believe. I have experienced it. I am sure, you’ll too.

  • Avoiding judgmental behavior is tough. But try. It is worth it:
    I soon realize that I judge people too much. Too often and without knowing much. It probably satiate my some kind of emotional need. I am yet to figure what.But I also realized that this kind of judgmental behavior is crucially wrong and not only to them but to myself.I am filling my head with lots of garbage. I am judging someone without even knowing what the person is going through which would mean that the premise and the base itself is flawed.

    Try not judging. It is difficult. But to an extent, possible. Instead try to understand why person is doing what they are doing. What is it that is forcing them to do that.

    Ask questions. You’ll do yourself a big favor.Don’t judge, my friend. At least try not to. Consciously. Love, mate.

  • I and my emotions are two separate things:
    I have a whole other post dedicated to this topic. Yes but in gist, I realized this thing. You and your emotions are not one. You’re not always angry or agitated or irritated or a complete arse.That would mean that these factors, these emotions are external to you.So that means, you’ve choice. You can choose. Embrace the positive and discard the negative.When anger comes, watch it, observe it and let it pass unprocessed and not judged. It will go away. Quicker than you think. So let it pass.

    Do remember. Emotions are a matter of choice. You choose whether to react or not.

    Decide wisely.

This journey, till now, has been real gorgeous. And you people are extremely brilliant. Thank you for supporting this blog and my views with so much love and support.

I have found some amazing content. Learnt brilliant things and made few friends. All in this one little month.

Again, thank you.

But this is just the beginning. This first month. There are many lessons to learn. And many things to realize.

Keep reading.

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Minimalism- Needs and Wants.

“The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,” and so it goes away. Puzzling.”
― Robert M. Pirsig

Needs

Last week, I discussed about how to begin with Minimalism. It starts with de-cluttering your thoughts and knowing your own self. To know. To accept. Then to let go or to react.

If you’ve haven’t read it yet, do so. I am waiting. *Tick Tick*

Done? Awesome. Now, since the day, I have published that particular post, people have asked me that, “I have realized that I require change. I accept all those things. But what next? What do I do to actually embark upon the journey of Minimalism?”

That’s an awesomely valid question.

Because as it happens that often, we’re confused about what to do next once we know that we wish to embark upon a journey. That’s fair.

In this journey of Minimalism, you categorize next.

To categorize. Needs and Wants.

So as it always happens on That Indian Minimalist- sit on a chair, make a cup of coffee, relax and give me 8 minutes. Let me guide you through the next. What I require in return is that you just don’t read it and feel inspired but actually do. Do. Take action. Change your lives. Do me that favor.

What are needs?

Needs. The essential. Clothing, food, water, shelter. Needs. But funnily, today we need much more than the essentials. We say, I need this and I need that. So, what do you need? A car, a x-box or a chocolate fudge? What?

Just list it down.

All your needs. Remember, as soon as, you make something (or someone) into a need. You’re dependent on it (or them). Remember.

So what do you need to live a life? To what thing (or person) you’re ready to give that status of needing? Do you think about it consciously? Ever? Think. Now is the time. 

What are wants?

Wants. Something (Or someone) you want. What do you want? A house, a car? A bigger house or a bigger car? A meaningful life perhaps? Or a hamburger? What is it that you want? Remember- wants are crucial. Both short term and long term.They play a significant role in making you happy. But also remember- if you over-indulge in them, you’ll be anxious and quite opposite of happy.

List them down.

All your wants. Each and every single of them. Realize your wants decide your state of mind. Happy or sad? Content or anxious? And how much do you want exactly? And what do you want exactly? And why do you want it exactly? Realize. Honestly and brutally.

Categorize. In needs and wants. What do you need?

Do you remember when last time a want became a need?

You converted a want into a need. You increased your dependency over. Now you believe that you cannot live without. Few years ago, you wanted a smartphone. Now, you need it. Few years ago, you wanted the internet. Now, you need it. Few years ago, you wanted a bigger house and bigger car. Now, you need them.

Do you really need it? Or have you given into the want? Or societal perceptions? Or status? Or just to fill the void of unhappiness? Or perhaps you believe getting more stuff or needing more things will keep you happy.

Remember that time, don’t you?

Do you really need the things that you believe you need?

Do you really need what you believe you need? Do you? Only you can decide. Need is a heavy term. Did you think before giving something (or someone) that status. Are you happy with your needs? Do you feel fulfilled? Are you sure those are your needs and not wants? Are you?

Think. You might need- you might not. But consciously, think. I ask you to. Need is a dependent term. Think consciously of who or what you give that status to.

Do you remember when you gave into a want?

We all have been here. We all. Remember the last time, you couldn’t resist giving into something? You had that itching, that itching of guilt. But the temptation was stronger. Much stronger.

Later, you gave yourself reasoning. But in your conscience, you knew, you gave in. You fell weak. Such decisions accumulate over time and they suck your happiness. Because, you know the want is not good for you. You’re aware. But you still gave in. You did.

Do you remember when you converted countless likes into a want and then the need?

We all like things. That car, that house, that dress, that stereo, that pen, that pencil. We like it. But, we don’t buy them. Or indulge in them. Because, we realize that they don’t add much value in the life.

We say to ourselves, “I like that dress, a lot. But I don’t need clothes at this time.”

But many times, we do indulge. We do. We make simple likes- first our want and then our needs. This transformation, unless, completely worth the value will eat you up.

Stop making liking into wants and then further into needs. Why will you do that? Resist the temptations. Resist them. For good.

Needs and wants- both are crucial. You obviously need things and you’ll want things as well. They both are essential to live a content and happy life. But the problem starts when you start to need more, start to want more and make every want your need.

Probably, you must be thinking by now. Isn’t it too difficult?

It is.

But it is not a magic lamp, that will instantly make you happy. Or content. Or make your life meaningful.

This is a flower in a beautiful garden. It takes time. After efforts from the gardener, in terms of water, fertilizers and weeding and little help from the universe- it blossoms. And its fragrance lingers everywhere. Not only, it is beautiful itself but if you go near it, it will make you happy with its fragrance and beauty.

You’ll feel happy eventually. You’ll feel content. You’ll grow. And soon like the flower, you’ll start to blossom. And you too will start making people around you feel special and happy.

Minimalism is a tough journey.

It is simple.

But most things that are simple to look at are tough to implement. So is it.

But it is worth it. Everything. And nothing worth having ever comes easy.

What do you feel about needs and wants?

Let me know via comments.

*Part of the series, “The Minimalist Thursdays”- Check out the previous entry here.

Minimalism and The Beauty of Mindfulness

“In a true you-and-I relationship, we are present mindfully, non-intrusively, the way we are present with things in nature. We do not tell a birch tree it should be more like an elm. We face it with no agenda, only an appreciation that becomes participation: ‘I love looking at this birch’ becomes ‘I am this birch’ and then ‘I and this birch are opening to a mystery that transcends and holds us both.” 
― David Richo

Mindfulness

To just be. Being aware. Being mindful. Being present, in the present. 

Is it difficult?

Yes.

Is it worth the effort?

Definitely.

I was going to college few days back in a Mumbai local. Peak hours. Crowded and rushed. People abusing each other, looking at each other with those angry and irritated eyes. Some singing. Some talking. Some sleeping.

Regular stuff, actually. I have been travelling in such rush since three years now, I have grown use to the culture. I never shouted or abused, as far as I can remember. But I remember that I used to get irritated and anxious. To cover those emotions, I used to day-dream about big bungalows and/or my own Merc. Jobs. Career. That girl I admire. That girl who admires me. And different other things. About past and future. Or when I am with friends, we discuss things. Again about past and future. And people.

Or worse, I had my smart phone. I would play games. Chat with people. And explore every single thing innately possible in that device.

And, without my realization, my stops use to come. And voila. Journey ended. Almost 1 hour of each day, many times more, use to go in this.

This is the same with almost all people. And also same with other things too.

When you’re with someone or when you’re alone or when you’re doing something. Travelling, reading, writing, talking, walking, eating or even sleeping. You think about everything. You think about past and future. About that person who told you something. The food you ate. The food you’ll eat. The differences you have with that someone. The praises. The criticisms. Everything. You’re everywhere. Except in the moment.

Cut forward to day before, I was coming back in local. But this time I had minimalism with me. I knew mindfulness and I was trying to adopt mindfulness. I just sat down on one of the seats. I had no friends with me. I didn’t take out my smartphone. I just tried to be. To be in the moment. In that rushed crowded train.

It did felt stupid at first. But not after I observe something. Right in front of me there were two people- one child and her mother. They were playing together. Laughing. Smiling. The mother was tickling her. He was trying to evade. Both had bliss, complete bliss on their faces. A genuine smile. A soulful smile.

I realized how over the years, I have grown slowly apart from one relation which is pure till the end- Mother and child. I did. And somewhere, we all have.

I observed much more. People who were tired of life. Some who had that worn out look on their faces. Some in deep contemplation.Most staring deep away in their cells. But hardly anyone in the moment. The Present.

My station came. I got down. But with a smile. A serene smile. This time the journey was different. One with a meaning. I bought a chocolate and went home. And ate that chocolate with my mother. We spend hours talking. And I saw her happy. Genuinely happy. Maybe after days.

But more than that, I realized I was happy. I was aware of my being. I was mindful. I was present in that moment. I felt the love. The bond. Genuine and one of the most beautiful bond. Ever.

I am not saying, what happen to me in that local will happen to you. I am not saying it won’t. It might happen. Something more might. Something beautiful. Sometime breathe-taking. Something invincible and extraordinary. Just because you’re there. In the present. Aware of everything. And mindful.

Who can change the past or control the future?

There is only one thing who have in abundance and you can control- now. The present.

Do one thing at a time. Slow and deliberate. By being aware of what you’re doing. Be in the present. Be in now. Just be. Don’t think about what will happen when the present is not there. Don’t think of what was when the present was not there. It doesn’t matter. Now is what matters. Now. Here. Only now.

So,next time, when you’re with a person- friend, family, relative or a stranger. Be with them. Keep your cell-phone aside. Keep your thoughts of past and the future aside. Just be. With them. Listen intently. Make them feel you care for their words, their thoughts. Make them feel you’re there. Laugh. Smile. And more. By being there. Mindful and present.

Next time, when you’re doing something- writing, eating, reading, listening, working, travelling, learning or whatever. Be in that phase. Just focus on that. Single-task. Your past can wait. Your future can wait. So can your smartphone. Not only it’ll make you more productive and more efficient. You’ll feel good. You’ll feel accomplished. You’ll be fully aware. And in present. That’s the key, to be in present. To be mindful. To be aware. Of surroundings and nature. And people.

Don’t get in the dogma of always planning ahead. Or of always thinking of the past. And re-analyzing. They are crucial. But not when they conflict with the present. You’ll ruin your mind. Your soul.

Be mindful of what you’re doing. Be aware. Be in the moment. And you’ll truly live. With happiness and bliss.

Appreciate the present. Be with the present. And participate in the present.

Be aware. Be mindful. Be.

Do comment your thoughts on the topic of mindfulness. How important you feel it is?

Happy reading folks!

P.S.- The image you see at the top of the post, is the productivity template. To ensure that you extract utmost value from each post, I’ll mention the key takeaways and the estimated time required to read that particular post. This idea is inspired from Chris of A Year Of Productivity.Also the gorgeous header you see on the home page was made by Riya of The Shutter Story. Really appreciate their help in making this blog more awesome!

Minimalism and Clothing- less but best.

I was discussing about Minimalism with my friend recently. And I was explaining him how I plan to practice minimalism and become a minimalist. The question he asked me after “What the hell is this?” and “Do you need me to lend you some money?”  was, “Is there a particular clothing style for it?”

Now, considering that we Indians are obsessed with having fancy wardrobes and different clothes for every occasion, there ever is and ever will be. That was a question in waiting. My mother also asked me if this Minimalism is some kind of festival and if it will require “different” wardrobe.

I donated dozens of clothes recently. Now, my wardrobe only has what I love wearing. I got to see that lovely smiles on the face of those kids and I also got to de-own and now everything in my wardrobe is my favorite.

So what does a Minimalist wear- Simply what he loves, each and every day.

I avoid logos and brand tags for several reasons. Yet I do have some stuff with logos. I soon plan to eliminate them completely.

So after donating, I don’t have many clothes left. I have a minimal wardrobe. And despite the usual societal perception, having a minimal wardrobe is beautiful. I get to wear what I love everyday. I am incredibly comfortable and confident in what I wear.

Throughout the past few months, I have been experimenting with my wardrobe with an aim to find out my personal niche in clothing. What I will love the most and what will be my favorite. I have come to realization that I feel the most beautiful and confident when I am wearing a simple, plain kurta and a jeans.

I have no sentimental value to my clothes. And, I don’t need to take ample time to decide what to wear as everything in my wardrobe is my favorite. And I feel amazingly comfortable and confident in each one of them. Isn’t that the whole point of clothing?

Somehow societal perceptions has convinced us that more clothes means more happiness, more popularity and more worth. But is it that way?

Do we need clothes to know our worth?

Think about it.

Who do we need clothing for? To make us feel better and confident or the society?

Think about it.

Is it fine that often we’re judged more on our clothing than our self worth?

Think about it.

Ask yourself next time, you’re buying new clothes of some brand. Whom are you buying it for? Yourself or society? You’ll realize more often than not the answer is the latter.

Again, it is a matter of choice. That is why, I love this concept. All it helps you doing is to consciously think about the choices you make. I did think and I realized the mesmerizing effect of owning less. But living more. And living with nothing but the best.

Impress with your character. Not your clothes. Not what you wear but who you’re.

Simplify. Buy less. Own less.De-clutter your clothes. Give them away. Donate. Trash. Avoid sales. Avoid Discounts. Difference between needs and wants. Avoid logos. Live with less. But live with best.