Please don’t call me Spiritual.

What do you want to see in this? Common, I am just a 20-year-old guy. Half of you will discard this article by calling and labelling me as a wannabe hippie, some of you will laugh at me thinking how stupid it is for a 20-year-old to think about all this. Rest of you most probably will label me crazy or mental and swear to yourself that you’ll never talk with me.

They want me to write about discovery of spirituality. And, I was like WHAT? Wait, right there— what the hell just happened? That was my cue. Dammit. How come I never thought about it before? Am I spiritual? What is spirituality? And what is its discovery all about? I felt like my head will explode any second. There were too many questions popping, almost nil answers to any and the smell of Pav Bhaji—all of this happening simultaneously.

You help me now. Yes, you—the one who’s reading these words and wondering what is this stupid article all about. What comes in your mind when I say the word ‘spiritual’? That’s the key question. If you’re like me, you’ll think of something mystical in sense—something with rainbows, unicorns, lights, colours, flying fairies, powers or something extraordinary in sense, something out of this world.

But is spirituality really that? I happen to visit a meditation retreat a month ago. I won’t deny I was expecting something miraculous to happen. Maybe I will levitate and stuff? Or become all-pervasive? I expected something extraordinary or something out of normal. It was a beautiful experience and an ordinary one at that. Nothing extraordinary happened. I saw things as they’re. If it is pain, it is pain. If it is joy, it is joy. Will you call such an experience spiritual? Will you call me a spiritual person?

The need to label everyone and everything is what spirituality is not. And, it is ironical for sure. But, if you’re labelling something as spiritual or labelling someone as spiritual, it or he is anything but that. Spirituality is not a game of feeding ego, it is not something which you get into, make your ego feel good about itself and then get out.

Spirituality is about falling from the highest peak without a parachute, recognizing that you’re going to die and accepting that anyway.  As far as possible, one should never get in this path at all. Stay as far as possible from it because it is not mystical. It is painful. It is like an operation without anaesthesia. But if you’re already in it, there is no turning back. You’re in it. Your ego will fight and scream and cause you pain because you’re thinking beyond it now and it doesn’t appreciate that.

So, I’ll ask you again, what is spirituality? Spirituality is nothing and spirituality is everything.  Do me a favour—don’t label me as a spiritual person and don’t label yourself as a spiritual person.  It is not a designation; it is not something you use to strengthen your ego.  It is beyond the ego.

It just is.

What is, is.

10 Learnings From 10 Day Vipassana Course.

I just returned from a Vipassana meditation retreat few days back.

And such a gorgeous experience it was.

Vipassana means insight. It means seeing things as they really are. The meditation technique is the essence of the teaching of Buddha, re-founded again in India and the world by Siddhartha Gautam after it was lost amidst 2,500 years of civilization. (For more details– http://dhamma.org/)

There is noble silence throughout. Noble silence? Complete silence of body, speech and mind. You can’t talk. You can’t gesture. You can’t read. You can’t write.

You just meditate.

You’re on your own, quite literally.

Initially, I wished I could document my experience with a pen and paper, as and when it happened. But, Vipassana is not about that. It is about self discovery, it is about experiencing.

I’ll try to jot down things, I learnt. So that, you can know and probably, you might just go for this. You want to. Trust me.

1. Silence is golden. And scary. We talk too much, connect too much and live in amidst of deep noise. And then suddenly when you’re thrown into complete silence, it will be scary. But hands down, this will be the most beautiful part of the entire thing. That is if you follow.

2. Slow down. Nothing will happen. Your life will completely slow down there. You’ll be in the now. In the moment. I watched sunset and sunrise, every single day. And it was so gorgeous. Living in now is beautiful. We all need to slow down and live more in now rather than the past and the future. Just slow down.

3. Ego is the ultimate evil. Remember this. Our pride, our ego, our possessive nature, our deep attachment towards ourself  and things is the root cause of everything horrible that has ever happened to you. While doing Vipassana, at least on some levels, you’ll see through that. And it’ll hurt. But it’ll be worth it.

4. What happens hardly matters. How you react does. Throughout our life, things will happen. Good things, bad things,blissful things and horrible things. They don’t make you happy or sad– how you react does those things. If you can learn to control your reactions, you have just learnt life.

5. Trying to control events is futile. And a waste of time. I have written about it before and it just got reaffirmed– trying to control the events or what happens is a tiresome and a futile exercise. You won’t be able to control, you’ll react negatively and you’ve just created an endless cycle– a horrible, endless cycle.

6. What is, is. We either glorify too much or we underestimate. We have always been taught things that way. Learn to observe. To see things as they are. If it is a rock, it is a rock. If it is a flower, it is a flower. What is, is. This forms the crux of the technique– to see things as they’re. Not one scale up, not one scale down, just as they are.

7. Equanimity. Total and complete equanimity. We’ve been brought up in an environment, where you jump with joy if something good happens and generate an emotion of greed and whenever something horrible happens, we generate anger. As per the technique, this behaviour is the cause of all the pain. Be in the moment. Take it in. But with the essence of equanimity.

8. Changing, changing, changing. Everything arises and passes away. While doing Vipassana, you learn through experience that everything arises and passes away. It comes and goes. It comes and goes. Eternal process, that is. What point of clinging? Let go of your anger, resentment, fear, greed. They only cause suffering and they’re bound to pass.

9. Look within. Experience. Don’t just believe. Experience. Turn your attention from outside to inside. Everything is fine outside. The problem is you and your reactions. So, work within. And don’t just believe a thing. Know it. Through experience. Rest forms of knowledge might just come and pass away. This will stay.

10. Until you know yourself, you can’t do anything for others. If you do the technique right, you’ll experience the oneness with everyone. The universal oneness that is there in each and every being. And if you even get a hint of that, you’ll be kinder, more loving, more caring and more compassionate. Know yourself, first. Rest shall take care of itself.

Go there. Just go. Take ten days out, without excuses and go. You’ll love it, it might be scary at first and for certain other points. But it is worth, every moment of that thing.

Go there. Love. Be awesome.

And fly, for anyone’s sake. Get the hell out and fly.

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Minimalism- The Trap Of Security.

Minimalism and India, Minimalist, that indian minimalist, security, illusion

“If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking… is freedom. ” 
― Dwight D. Eisenhower

I left a course I was pursuing months back.

It was not something, I found interest in. Not something I had a heart for. Not something, I could do for life.

It was a hard decision to quit though and often met with judgements and lots of criticism and questions, till date.

I realized soon enough on why I was sticking to it.

It gave me a false sense of security. I felt secured. I could answer very proudly if someone asked me about my life.

I could wear masks and go on with my life without ever admitting that I really don’t like what I am doing.

But, the place was secured. Known to me. Known to my brain. I was acquainted to the misery. It was my friend. I made my peace with the unhappiness and over-time turned it into a shadow.

I got mails where people tell me they are unhappy with their lives, their jobs, their relationships– basically everything.

Simple question, I ask them and I ask you,  “What stops you from moving ahead? What stops you from moving forward?”

It is that sense of security. That false sense of security. That fear of losing the cover.

That is stopping you.

That is putting you in misery.

That is stopping you from blooming.

I say bloom. I say step out of the comfort. I say let life unfold.

What’s the point of sticking to misery when you can fly?

Why are you not flying?

Ask yourself.

Why are you still in that relationship which is making your life miserable?

Why are you still in the job you detest?

Why are you still studying something you hate?

What purpose does it serve?

I am not saying to be irrational and take decisions. I am saying a simple thing which is that security is an illusion.

How can you be secure in life?

What security you talk about?

For what purpose? Why? We wear masks and say yourself everyday that we’re secured. And, we make friends with misery. Make friends with unhappiness. And we keep dragging ourself till the end. Still in the illusion of security.

There is no security. We’re too depended on so many countless known and unknown factors to be secured.

Snap out of it. Freedom cannot go with the illusion that security is.

Stop being friends with misery just because it is known.

Come out, be more than that. What are you doing?

We both know you’re so beautiful. We both know you have so much potential. We both you’ve survived so much and have grown so strong. You are listening?

Break that relation. You say, you see security. But what about misery? What about unhappiness? What about dependency? What about freedom? Come out, you.  Be more. Since when you need other person to be happy? Be love.

Leave that job, you hate. Not instantly, plan and figure out. But know that, false sense of security is no reason to let go of dreams. Yes, we need money. To live. To eat. To survive. So okay, do that but at-least cultivate passion. Be love. Someday, you’ll come out it. I promise. But, accept it first. What security you talk about?

Step right out the comfort. Give yourself time. What’s the hurry? Let your being rejuvenate and figure out what it wishes.

As for the security, that will remain an illusion. Don’t let yourself fall for that. Go and dare. What will people say? They say many things. They’ll say one more thing. The important question, what will you answer yourself at the end of your life? Have you given it a thought?

Prison is a prison. Decorate it with colours and flowers and watch television with popcorn, it’ll still remain a prison.

And you may not agree but I say this, be insecure. Let yourself be insecure. Let yourself be searching and seeking and finding and loving. You ought to be insecure, how else will they know about your throbbing heart? Your mind will decay with all the security. Let it grow. Don’t make it stagnant.

Are we so dead? No, live. Live with the pain and suffering. And all that is beautiful and ugly. Just live. I promise, it is good.

Do whatever. Take that trip. Leave that course. Fall in love. Leave that job. Paint and sing. Dance and write. Draw and love. Do whatever. But do it. Don’t get into the dogma of security. For fuck’s sake, stand from the rut. Move that body. And create. See the universe? It’s so gorgeous. Go out and serenade it with your love.

Next time someone says, you’re insecure. Say you’re. We’ll are. Who’s not I ask you that? What’s this mask of security everybody wants to wear?

As for security, leave that for those who’re in grave. They earned that after a meaningful life.

As for you.

You go and fucking fly. And live. And breathe. And dance. And sing.

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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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* Also bookmark the permalink on StumbleUpon and other sites. I would really appreciate it. Keep commenting. Thank you! Love.

On Not Being a Control Freak.

 

President_Gerald_Ford_meets_with_his_Cabinet_June_25_-_1975

 

“How would your life be different if…You stopped worrying about things you can’t control and started focusing on the things you can? Let today be the day…You free yourself from fruitless worry, seize the day and take effective action on things you can change.” 
― Steve Maraboli

I receive mails.  About how people are unhappy with parents, friends, relationships, life and some also mentioned God. And when I read those mails, there is a common pattern in most of them.

All the people, they want to control.

Control people. Control situations. Control things. Control life.

Truth? You can’t.

How often we set goals? And how often we fail?

How often we plan it all nicely and how often we realize that in all truth that the future is in all honesty completely unpredictable.

You don’t even know what will happen tomorrow and ironically, we try to control years in line.

Working in a youth organization with youth leaders gave me a tremendous experience. I have seen so many of them trying to control the people hierarchy wise below them.

How will we control people? We can hardly control our own mind. How do we think, we can control other people?

The world is chaotic and complex. And, we seek to control it on every occasion. We want to control our surroundings and people and future and situations and what not.

And that’s the root of all the misery.

We want to control, we want everything to be according to our egoistic expectations and when it turns out different, we are saddened and hurt. When people don’t behave in the way, we want them to, we get angry and whimsical.

I ask you. Why will they behave in the way you want? They’ll behave in the way they want.

Sure, you can try to understand them. Help them. Be with them. Probably, give them some words as guidance and help. Or put-forth your view too. But that’s probably the end of it.

You can’t control their thinking. You can’t control their being.

And what is this fuss about trying to control the future? We can be cautious about or be prepared but you can’t control.

How will you control a thing which doesn’t exist?

I say, let go. Let go of things, you can’t control. Let go of the desire to control. Live more freely.

Have you seen a bird? A bird flies. Most of the times without destination– it flies and sings and dances and mates and eats and prey, it does all of it. It either goes with the flow or deals with the wind, as and when it comes. It doesn’t try to control the wind, it can’t. It doesn’t try to control the other birds in the sky or the sky itself.

How can it? it sounds silly even with the thought of it.

We’re pretty much like the birds. Our culture of being overly aggressive and goal-orientated has made many of us into bots. We fix a target and start moving and we try to control everything in such a way that the outcomes remains the same.

But can we truly control?

I say let go of the need to control.

Flow with life for once. Truly live it, with all that is beauty and all that is ugly. How will you know beauty without the ugly? Accept both. Live openly. Love openly.

Drop expectations. What’s the point to it? It only makes us miserable. Let the life unfold like a beautiful book.

For once and all stop the try to control people, that leads to judging. How about just understanding and helping? Without the desire to mould them as we want, like some statue. They’re human and chaotic. That’s what makes them beautiful. Accept them as they’re.

How about letting go of ranting or feeling miserable about things you can’t control? When you come in a position to change, then change. Till then observe and understand and love. What’s the point of this futile exercise?

Plan but not way ahead. Step slowly, guided by the moment– the values of today, the passion of today and then take a step, slowly with a deep breath and a sense of belonging. Live in the moment, with the moment. Truly live.

Don’t try to change the situation. Change your reaction. Ever played a game of cards? You can’t change the cards once they’re dealt, that’s not within your control. How you play them, that’s in your control. So just play. Play for playing.

And many might not agree with it. And, that’s fine. We’re tailored in a way to look only ahead and not now. To try to control the future. To try to control every single bit.

Many will say, “Not plan for my career? What about money? What about this and what about that?” I say, plan. But plan for the moment. Not future. Plan guided by now, what you’re feeling now, what is your intuition now. Not future. Future will come when it has to, anyway.

Try this for once. Live freely. Break the chains of control. And fly like a bird and swim like fish.

Since when did bird started caring about the sky or who is flying? It doesn’t. It is in the moment, living the beauty that flying is.

A fish will just swim. It has no need to control the sea or other fish. It’ll dance and sing and swim, it’ll mate and eat. And deals with the flow as it comes.

Free yourself. Fly and swim. And sing and dance. For once, instead of trying to control everything, try merging and accepting and just flowing.

And that’ll be the most freeing thing ever.

Fly. Flow. Dance.

*If you liked this post please follow this blog via mail or for your WordPress reader. I would love the inspiration.

* Also bookmark the permalink on StumbleUpon and other sites. I would really appreciate it. Keep commenting. Thank you! Love.

Coffee Conversations- Love moves on as well.

 

Coffee Conversation- That Indian Minimalist.
I am blessed. No really.

It has been beautiful almost 4 months of this blog. I started it with an aim to create value. And, I am glad that on so many levels, it is doing exactly that.

I have been receiving mails lately of how the blog is creating impact in people’s life. And, I am overwhelmed and humbled by it.

But the best part is that, I have also been receiving queries and doubts where people want to have a conversation about their life with me. And, I absolutely love it.

However, sometimes I know the question they’ve asked is something which many people face trouble with.

And from now on, whenever I come across such a question, it’ll be formed under the new series– Coffee Conversations.

Why this name? For two reasons.

One that I believe that I am having a conversation. As how friends will. Not a therapy session. Not a consulting session. But a friend conversing with another.

Two that I love coffee and I always prefer writing with a cup of it.

I received this question the past week:

“Hey, Hardik. I read your post on letting go of shitty relationships. It indeed did inspired me to let go many people in my life. But I am in a relationship and it is going terrible. We fight regularly, we don’t talk for days. I have a feeling that it is not right any more. I have tried to fix it so many times. But it keeps getting worse and is really draining me down. But, I am afraid to break up and let go of him because we’ve been relationship for long. How can it go off-track? I always thought that once you love someone, it stays that way. Why am I not feeling it any more? Am I at fault? Would love your views on it! ”

And, I started thinking on it.

We often have a hard time letting of shitty relations.

But, it is easier to let go of probably people you’ve met in recent time and know them as acquaintance or a casual friend.

But what about say your partner or your best friend from years?

What about a relation wherein both the people have given years of trust and love?

And what about a relation which was seemingly formed and thrived because two person ‘love’ each other?

Such a relation becomes difficult to let go. To move out from. I’ve been working in a youth organization since years and have seen many people discussing to me about their relations.

How the relation and person is affecting them negatively but they still can’t let go of it.

And I often ask, “Why?”

And they say because they love the person.

And I ask, “Really? Then what’s the problem?”

And they say, “But it doesn’t feel like that any more.”

I have been there.

A lot of times.  And it is tough.

The idea we have of love is seemingly different from what it really is.

We see it as something eternal. Something which lasts forever and probably as something which can never change.

From my own experience and from the people, I’ve seen.

I don’t think that’s the case.

If you think deeply, love or hate or jealousy or for that matter any other emotion has hardly anything to do with you.

It is generally about what you do and what you have.

So, if I have been in a relation since long, the other person is with me because he finds value when he is with me.

In form of trust and love, care and fun. An ear to listen and probably someone who’ll be there with him at any cost.

He knows what I contribute to the relation. So, he stays with me.

But people change and grow. And circumstances too. So chances might be there that, they grow apart.

So it might happen that after a year or two, I might not find the same value in the relationship, I see now.

And, I might grow out of it. Am I being immoral? No. Am I being wrong? I guess not.

Any relation takes efforts. Both the person have to contribute towards each other, they have found value in being with each other. That’s what love is. To find value and to give value.

It is depended on each other.

If someday, you stop finding value, you’ll feel like growing out of it.

If someday, the other person stops giving value, you’ll feel what we generally say, “it doesn’t feel right.”

But we generally still cling to the relations. Out of feeling that how can we not love any longer? Or how can we grow apart? Or did this thing change?

But, the cold truth–Things change. People grow. Value diminishes.

And even after that, if we keep clinging, it only causes misery. It will cause pain, a continuous one.

Don’t get me wrong. I value the emotion. The feeling of love. And the importance of relations. And, I urge you to contribute and give value and feel special.

Human relations are probably the most beautiful thing that can happen to you. A true human relationship,that is.

But also learn to acknowledge when it is not working out any longer.

Acknowledge when you’re not moving in the same direction any longer.

Acknowledge when you’re growing differently.

And, as per me, there is nothing wrong about it, if done honestly and genuinely and with good intention.

How many school friends are you still that much close? Answer probably would be no-one or few at maximum.

Why not? Do you hate them now? No, you don’t hate them.

But times changed. Thinking changed. And you both grew in life differently and in different circumstances.

You can’t hate or blame your school friend for that. Neither can you hate or blame yourself.

So, my thoughts are tough to accept. Tougher to practise.

And you might not agree. And that’s completely fine.

Work on your relations. Give it a chance to thrive again. But what’s the point of any relation if it is causing you misery?

Isn’t the entire point of human relations to make your life more beautiful?

In my life, I have let many people go. Close people. Really close.

There were no fights. There were no abuses. There was no hate.

We accepted that it is not working any longer. We bid goodbye with good memories. And we freed ourselves.

Although it was painful. It was tough. It did hurt.

But it was a right decision.

People change. Relations change. And love will also change.

Work on it. Give it a chance. Talk and discuss. But when you see nothing is working and the relation is just making you more miserable. Give it up. There’s nothing wrong in it.

Every relation has problems. Fights. Arguments. Everything.

Give your best to make it right. Talk to the person. Let your heart out. Who knows it might just be a misunderstanding or an old anger issue?

Be sure of your feelings. Understand why you’re feeling this way.

And then take a step.

But when the misery moments are more than beautiful moments.

I guess, you should rethink then, right?

And you have responsibilities towards yourself.

Give love to yourself.

And in the end, everything changes.

Everything moves on. Love moves on as well.

Don’t be miserable when you can fly. Fly. Fucking fly.


*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.

*If you liked this post please follow this blog via mail or for your WordPress reader. I would love the inspiration.

* Also bookmark the permalink on StumbleUpon and other sites. I would really appreciate it. Keep commenting. Thank you! Love.

Living Without the Mask.

Masked people that Indian Minimalist

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” 
― Jim Morrison

I met a friend recently.

She left a text saying that she really wanted to talk.

We got to talking and soon she told me about how she is not really happy with the way, her life is going.

She is not liking it and she doesn’t feel the ownership of her life.

If it was me probably 3 months back, I would’ve judged and told her a rant of how people are like this and that.

But no, I don’t do that any longer. At least, I try not to.

So, I just listened.

And, I could get what she said. I could connect.

Because, I remember facing the same. And, there was a common problem over here.

Living with Masks.

Living in Indian Society, or for that matter any society, is tough.

You’ve countless opinions, suggestions, views bombarded on you, almost every minute.

Countless theories on what works and what doesn’t.  On what is right and what is wrong.

I remember being told so many things at so many times by so many people.

It is tremendously overwhelming.

Easy solution?

What I did and sometimes, to a fault, still do.

Wear a mask.

Feeling sad but don’t want to show? There’s a happy-go-lucky mask for that.

People tell that strong people don’t cry? There’s a Strong faced mask for that.

People don’t like something about me? There’s a pretension mask for that.

Look inside you. There are masks all over the place. Thousands of them, countless of them.

For each time, we got scared.

For each time, we were afraid.

For each time, we feared what people would say.

For each time, we wanted to follow the unconventional path.

For each and every time to replace a genuine emotion.

We took some mask, wore it and hide the real us.

I have been doing it since the longest time.

It’s easy and it helps us to hide amongst the crowd of thousands other people who wear masks everyday and go on with their life.

And the effect is that mask gets embedded so deeply within, you start taking it as your own self. The real you.

But that’s not the real you. It’s not. Your mind knows it, your soul knows it and somewhere deep down you do too.

So the important question comes out: how long and far can you pretend?

You can probably wear the mask in front of me and fool me. Probably fool your family, friends. Even probably fool the entire society.

Can you fool yourself?

I urge you to live without the mask.

Yes, it is a more vulnerable way of living. Yes, it is scary at first. Yes, it is stepping into unknown. And yes, chances are people will get uncomfortable because genuine emotions generally rattle those who wear masks.

But, you know what? It will be OK.

Be your real self.

If you’re sad, you’re sad. Acknowledging it will probably help you identify the root cause and work on it.

If you’re happy, you’re happy. Acknowledge it. Ravel in the joy. Amplify it and share it.

If you don’t like something, tell it. Be honest. Be genuine. Yes, don’t condescend or judge or look down or insult. But be honest. You don’t need to lie to yourself and the other person.

It is OK to have a different opinion. It is OK to have different personality. And it is OK to do something which certain section of people don’t approve.

Unless you’re not harming the interest of other people, you’re good to go.

You don’t need people’s approval for everything. You don’t.They might talk. Let them. They’ll anyway.

Who are you living for? Be genuine to your core. To your being.

It is OK to be miserable sometimes.

It is OK to not agree with most people agree with.

It is OK to not follow what majority feels should be followed.

Don’t put a mask. Don’t hide your real self. You’re beautiful, why would you do such a thing? Yes, probably you’re flawed. And probably, you’ve done mistakes.

But who hasn’t?

We’ll are flawed. We’ll are imperfect. That’s how you identify a human.

Be your real self. And wear that.

Keep learning. Admit your failings. Take a stand. Apologize if it is a wrong stand. Make mistakes. Grow out of your comfort zone. Accept your flaws. Be kind. Be compassionate. Don’t judge. Elevate people. Help people. Love people. Take the course you always wanted do. Quit the job if you hate it. Take that vacation. Write that book. Paint that masterpiece.Tell someone what you always wanted to. Be genuine. Be real. Be confident. Be love.

Let the individual that you’re shine. And shine gloriously.

Live without the mask.

Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it is a bit tough.

But it is worth it.

Continuing the story.

We talked a lot that day. And, it seemed that she genuinely wants to be her real self. To grow out of the masks. To come out of what would people say syndrome.

And, we made a rough sketch for her. A timeline, a sort of plan. Something through which she can shed the masks.

And, I learnt a lot too.

Probably, I still have scope of being more genuine and more real.

I’ll keep working on it.

And for you, next time when someone asks you that how are you or how have you been.

Answer it more genuinely than a fine.

Tell them, how you really are feeling.

Get fucking out of the standard mask templates of “I am doing fine”

Go now. Be awesome.

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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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Beyond the Tyranny of Judging People.

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“I think that my job is to observe people and the world, and not to judge them. I always hope to position myself away from so-called conclusions. I would like to leave everything wide open to all the possibilities in the world.”
― Haruki Murakami

 

I wrote about Being Slave of Money around a month ago.

(To get the most grip of the post, it would be better if you read that post first and then continue reading this)

There I wrote about my cousin brother who is running madly behind the idea of money and is possibly leaving behind all the possible essential things behind- like relationships, being happy, being content or just living. And how is miserable. And cocky. And arrogant.

That was a month ago.

And after following the concept of Minimalism for almost another month and after failing in keeping up with it many times  or so, I realized that I was wrong.

Wrong not in the idea of that post, wrong not in the intention behind the post, wrong not behind the thought of the post. I still believe that no-one should blindly run behind money.

But I was wrong because I judged. 

Is judging itself bad? No, not really. But it is definitely a symptom of something that can be harmful.

I am saying ‘harmful’ and not ‘bad’, because rather than judging it to be good or bad, I prefer to observe it.

I realized that I am very ignorant of my brother is going through.

I realized that in a way I am stating that I am superior to him which I am not, I am being extremely self-centric.

I realized that I don’t understand the situation completely. I never can because I am not him.

I also realized that I am setting expectations from people. Unrealistic expectations.

I am not being curious as to why the other person is behaving the way he is, I am just judging him and dismissing him.

Also, I realized that I am not really helping him. And, I cannot help him too because I have already judged and dismissed him.

And I am kind of frustrated and unhappy with the way the other person is behaved.

It also affected the relationship with him because once you judge, you generally see the person in only that light.

I am unable to help, unable to take what the other person has to offer to me as a person. Among many such other harms.

And now, just replace my example with the countless time you’ve done the same with some other person. Fill it with spouse, lover, brother, parents, friends, strangers. Anyone.

You’ll notice the same pattern, mostly.

The question emerges-

How do you let go of Judging people?

The first thing to do will to be aware of that you’re judging.

Just be aware that you’re doing it.

Don’t judge yourself for it, don’t get angry on yourself.

Just know that you’re doing, that you’re judging.

That you’re indulging in an activity which is harmful, for others and for you.

This takes practice. This takes extra awareness. To know that you’re judging. To see it as a flag of something harmful.

There are symptoms which will tell you that you’re judging- if you’re complaining about someone, gossiping about them, dismissing them as a person.

Identify the symbols and know you’re judging. Recognize them.

After recognizing, try to understand why you judged in first place. Why? Be curious. Ask questions like-

How much do I know about the person?

Can you guess what other person is really going through?

Are you setting an expectation which is unrealistic?

Can you fit in other person’s shoes?

Can you imagine a time when you went through similar times?

Ask these questions.

Then ask yourself: How can I help?

At many times, people need someone to listen, someone who accepts them without judging.

Someone who can sit beside them and look in their eyes and talk with them. And appreciate them for who they’re.

Sometimes, they need more: advice, guide or a hug.

But I’ve realized something that you can’t help them from the place of judgement. It is only when you accept them. Appreciate them. Be empathetic towards them can you really help them. Be curious about them. Not before.

I realized that I’ve judged my brother soon.

I went to meet him one day and talked with him.

It took him a while to open up as himself.

But he did and he told me things.

Things like how he recently had a break up, things like how he has a will to support his parents, things like how he is tired of being obese and not having true friends. Things like how he goes to parties just so that he find some people who will accept him.

I just listened. Intently, curiously and with empathy.

And after days, I saw him happy.

As it turned out, all he needed was someone to listen and appreciate for who is and what he is.

And I felt happier in the process.  

Try it next time. You’ll change lives.

Not only of others but of your own. 

Other Awesome Reads-

A Simple Method to Avoid Being Judgemental– Zen Habits

 

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