8 Lessons I Learnt In 2017
New Year Resolutions From The Ashes of Past Mistakes
Your duty is to be and not to be this or that. ‘I am that I am’ sums up the whole truth. The method is summed up in the words ‘Be still’. What does stillness mean? It means destroy yourself. Because any form or shape is the cause for trouble. Give up the notion that ‘I am so and so’. All that is required to realize the Self is to be still. What can be easier than that? — Ramana Maharshi
Unabashedly, the only activity saving me from absolute destruction is introspection. As far as I can remember, I am my own biggest critic. That’s the way it is meant to be. There isn’t a single day when I don’t deviate from the path to the one true religion — humanity. What preserves my sanity is self awareness.
Finding your own soul requires the stillness of tranquil waters.
As the year draws to a close, the dead of the night is not silent enough to calm the storm inside me. That’s because I have committed ten mistakes that represent my personal learnings from 2017.
Perhaps, some of you are guilty of the same mistakes. If so, please allow me to put into words the conversations with an inescapable conscience. This essay captures 8 lessons I learnt and relearnt in 2017.
The Quest For Inequity
Inequality breeds inequality. Each year, I am guilty of being jealous. Humans have an intrinsic affinity towards inequity. I do not run after wealth. I run after inequity. Once I acquire wealth, my next ambition is power. Moving ahead, I will focus my efforts on absolute power. If that isn’t enough, my quest will be to become almighty. Thus, the never ending quest to achieve superiority keeps my world spinning. Of course, the movement is in the wrong direction. Therefore, it is not surprising that the darkness I see around the world today is the very same darkness occupying my heart. All I need to do is shine a light inwards.
When I see the near haplessness of millions of people residing on the wrong side of the inequity spectrum, I realize it is because I try to find ways I can prove myself superior to others. Truth be told, any flaw I find in others gives me immense pleasure but it also corrodes my humanity. I am aware of this creeping rot that besieges me. However, the truth is I don’t make enough efforts to develop antibodies to combat this virus. I will try harder next year remembering that knowing is half the battle won.
Hoarding The Wrong Commodities
I am a perennial hoarder. I am not talking about hoarding material possessions like money, gold, bitcoins or premium luxury goods. I am guilty of dreaming about hoarding wealth as well.
However, I am talking about hoarding unconditional love, empathy, smiles and selflessness. How hard is it to provide things with unlimited supply and things that multiply by sharing. Yet, I am guilty of not smiling at absolute strangers, not doing my fair share of charity and not opening a one way reservoir of unconditional love.
Ironically, I am guilty of hoarding the most inexpensive commodities. If this is not miserly, I don’t know what is.
A Maniacal Obsession With Inaction
When my friends are engaged in a an animated discussion on politics, I quietly sneak back into a corner. Not because I don’t have anything to say but because I don’t have the guts to become a politician.
I am a voracious reader. At times, when I attempt to share my knowledge with others, I am accused of spouting information that will never be acted upon. A charge, I whole heartedly agree, I am guilty of.
Ironically, a lot of people I know are guilty of a maniacal obsession with doing nothing even when the world is burning. They prefer to sit in a cosy corner blaming the political system when the ones that need to change it are in love with inaction. I am also guilty of this sin.
If I don’t have the guts to act upon my convictions, I have no right to discuss politics. Period.
Disengaging The Animal Brain
I find that the Amygdala or the part of my brain responsible for a fight or flight response is never disengaged. As a result, I don’t see two eyes, one nose, two ears or hear a beating heart inside. Instead, I focus on the myriad of man made differences.
My objective for next year is to see humans as humans. Nothing more, nothing less. Every day, I intend to focus on the fact that each human being is incomparable because each human is unquestionably unique in a way ordained by nature. Going against the grain is going against your very own basic nature. Innocence is an absence of the wrong vision. A vision that looks at the world with colored eyes. In reality, the world is a confluence of colors that are fused together to form the purity of white light. White is not the absence of color. Rather, it is the absence of darkness and the fusion of all colors. Next year, I intend to engage my human brain more than my animal instincts.
The Hardest Thing To Change
Personally, the hardest thing for me to change is my own mindset. My mind is deeply rooted and conditioned by my past and present experiences. As a result, it is almost impossible for me to live with an unconditioned mind.
I judge first and listen later. Is it any surprise then that the world is a little impatient with me as well. My attention span is so short that I find it hard to empathize. However, I learnt of a possible solution. I will try to live someone’s life for a day to overcome my apparent deficit of empathy.
Never Looking Inwards
Jalaluddin Rumi searched for god everywhere. However, he writes he found god inside himself.
The moral of the story is that change starts with myself. If I subdue the darkness inside, the world will be brighter outside. My endeavor, next year, is to constantly look inwards to change the world outside. In doing so, I will attempt to abandon my obsession with negative news and media.
I feel the intense need to live without technology. Happiness is not a hostage to wealth. Rather, our mind is hostage to abstractions. Notably, an abstraction that money buys happiness. It is a means to an end and nothing more.
However, I don’t need to stare at a computer screen every second of my life. Yet, I am guilty of doing so. In the process, becoming the very same automaton I am trying to imbibe Intelligence into.
Next year, I intend to follow a regimen of detoxification. An escape from social media, technology and really anything electronic by living like a hermit for at-least 15 days.
Very often, the demon in a horror movie survives to engage the audience in a sequel. I am aware of the negativity and outrage at the demons that plague humanity. However, I feel extremely optimistic that we will avert and completely reverse the destruction of society if we act now.
Next year, I will be searching inside for answers. I hope my words will prompt you to do the same. If you do decide to look inside, do so with one singular objective- to be the change you want to see in the world. As I hope I will.