Evening at Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, May 2015
and so does everything around... the situation, the people, the perspective, the needs.... and we too change.... the wise and courageous seek change.. because only change is constant!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

66. Dil- e- Nadan…..

Body and Mind are woven together. We assume it to be a single unit. Until the twins work smoothly, we don’t notice their separate and sometimes pulling apart existence. Small disagreements within them are managed by habit, samskara, rationality, manners, culture. However the serious disagreements between body and mind cause devastating results.

To a certain extent, Pleasure and Pain on physical, material plane is easy to understand. It has logic, reason which is easy to follow. A tea lover naturally would be happy to get a cup of tea and pained in its absence. Look at our life closely and we will know that on many occasions, the pleasure-pain duo crosses physical realm and enters into subtle and invisible arena. Naturally it is beyond any logic.

Sometimes the mind pops up in its naked form, and the display is not always agreeable. Because we are trained to behave in a certain way, we mostly behave in a socially accepted way. It does not mean that we have really accepted the way. The mind rebels, the body rebels. But from experience we know the limit of rebellion. Beyond that we sing the set tunes. I understand this ‘come back’ lifestyle; because fighting everyday requires energy and commitment. Better to reserve the energy for the right moment and the right cause. This too is a very much taught principle.

I remember an incidence which taught me lessons about my mind, lessons about importance of training mind and lessons about not assuming myself with so much of certainty. I realized that at times I can be something which I never thought of and never want to be.

I was in the midst of Vipassna training. It is 12 day course, which presents various tools and techniques to know ourselves. For 10 full days, you are not supposed to talk a single word. You do not read, you do not write, you do not exercise. You do not follow any religious rules and norms. You just follow the instructions of the teacher and meditate. From 4.30 in the morning to 9.00 in the night, you are expected to meditate. In nutshell, you work on your body and mind, observe their responses and don’t react to it. It is the way Gautama the Buddha meditated.

I was in one such training course. I have found the training very beneficial, so I follow all the rules. There is a huge meditation hall. More than 300 people can sit together in that hall. I was given a seat in the first row. I was sitting there. After a small break, when the session was to restart, other people were coming in. One woman was just walking in front of me. I suddenly thought, “If now I stretch my leg, she will definitely fall down. It will be a fun.”

I do not know why I thought so. I did not know the woman so there was no cause to have any ill-feeling towards her. For so many years, I have assumed that I am incapable of causing unnecessary pain to others. Even my enemies (I don’t have any enemy is my assumption!) would not imagine me doing this. I am supposed to be honest, sincere, helpful, selfless, committed, hard working, peaceful person. I mean that is my general image outside. And here I was: thinking about troubling a person who has not at all troubled me.

Why such a horrible thought? What was I trying to achieve? Form where did it come?
I did not understand then. Nor do I understand it today.

I admit that some people have harassed me without any apparent cause. May be for them if there is a feeling of revenge deep in my mind, I can at least understand the logic. I can deal with the ugliness because there is some cause to be ugly, there is some provocation. Generally I control such ugliness because I overcome it logically, rationally. I decide not to react, not to respond. I control myself and take pride in the act of self-control. I ignore such people and do not allow them to affect my life. It is comparatively easy.

But in this case without any external stimulus, my mind was in its full ugliness. It was without any external provocation, and so it was more serious. It was rooted in me, and not outside. It emerged from within. I guess habit and manners are good enough to deal with external world. But for dealing with inner world, one needs to master instincts – the most illogical idea.

I know that I have to deal with this Dil-e-Nadan in a much more subtle way, in a friendly but firm manner. Others may not understand the loopholes in my mind, but I understand. Working with others for a change is easy; transforming oneself is an act of much deeper conflict.

But as the saying goes, recognition is half the solution. May be my mind has indeed helped me by showing its wickedness.

Dil –e- Nadan has its unique way of working with me for my transformation. I appreciate it and I enjoy it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

65. Re-Charging

Sometimes I feel very tired. I am aware that it is more mental than physical state.

I have just returned after a week long travel to Indore, Bairasiya and Bhopal. I was there to facilitate two workshops on ‘Women Development’ which included Gender sensitization. For last many years I am conducting these workshops, in different states, at different locations, for different persons. When I look back at it, it seems that neither I am growing nor others are learning. It is like ‘teaching’ ‘a, b, c, d….’ to different groups. It is a mechanical, repetitive work without much scope for innovation and creativity. It is not only physically draining but psychologically frustrating because nothing seems to be happening. It does not seem to make any difference to anyone except me.

Whatever I do out of compulsion is mostly boring and lacks vitality. If I stick to an idea without introspection, without adding value to it, it becomes frustrating. This type of workshop is clearly becoming one such situation.

After the first workshop I was completely drained and decided to give up the theme for few months. Sometimes there is more wisdom in giving up ideas, than sticking to it.

Next day, I visit a field area. The field office is very well kept – lot of useful display and demonstration material. The team enthusiastically shows me those and shares lot of experiences of how it is used. It is beautiful. Then we travel 20 kilometers to reach a village, where a meeting is organized. On the way, the vehicle stops at the roadside because a group of 20 people wants to meet us. So, like a political leader I get down. They welcome us – brief us about the work of the village committee. They are enthusiastic, want to work together. They invite us for next visit. I appreciate their work; wish them well for the future work.

We reach village Kala Pipala. The crowd of hundred women and men is eagerly waiting for us. They have arranged for a loudspeaker so that the meeting proceeding should reach to those who are not present in the meeting. The Bhajani Mandali is singing. They invite me to light the lamp and worship the image of Goddess Saraswati. I follow the instructions of a local lady.

Then the women come forward – with their purdah and sing a song. Bhajani Mandal youths sing with the harmonium and dholak. After one song, the chief singer asks me whether I would like to listen to another song. Their first song is so energetic that I say ‘Yes’ without thinking much about the time. Just as they are starting, I ask them to include women in their songs. I mean - the song invites ‘brothers of village to join development work’ – I ask them to also invite ‘sisters of village to join development work’. To my surprise the group understands my feelings. They immediately modify their next song. I am delighted. Ah! Everything is not wasted after all!

Then I am asked to address the meeting. I do not really know what to say. I congratulate the villagers for the good work they are doing. I congratulate women and men for working together for village development. It is a new work – just nine months old. Their enthusiasm may wane when the benefit sharing starts. The conflict generally starts when the initial enthusiasm does not bring in equitable results. I do not want to discourage them, but I do want to share my concern. I tell them the old story of a king and his subjects. The story has many ‘values’ which I do not approve of, but people like stories, they are generally effective.

The kingdom is facing famine. Someone asks the king to bath the village God with milk. This will please the God and rain will arrive. The king asks his subjects to bring a small pot of milk. Everybody brings water instead of milk thinking that others will anyway bring milk. Ultimately there is not a drop of milk, just water.

The villagers all are smiling. Their eyes are shining. Many are nodding. Some are mischievously looking at some other person in the group. They can relate to the story, which means I have hit the right cord. They get the moral of the story right. Everybody should contribute to good work. It takes a lot to create good work, and just a moment of laziness, jealousy, inactiveness can destroy the good work. After the formal function is over, an old lady approaches me. She pats me for telling a good story. She is very happy with me. Her smile is a reward, which I value. An appreciation from someone who is wise is indeed valuable. I know there is no artificiality in that response. It is spontaneous. For a moment, I am happy with myself.

This series of incidences kindles life in my tired mind. I realize that what I am telling to people applies to me too. People here have tougher life; their battle is lot more fierce than mine. They hardly get rewards, theirs is a thankless job. Still they work. A moment of laziness, a wave of inactivity, momentary loss of interest on my part would destroy what I have created. I cannot afford to take a break now. For that matter I can never take a break. I cannot have the luxury of leaving the things unfinished. I have to complete what I have begun. By leaving in between, I won’t betray only myself, but would betray all those who supported me directly or indirectly. I am aware that whatever would be the result, I have to continue working.

I get a new perspective regarding what work is all about. I am re-charged. Thanks to Kala Pipla women and men.

Friday, November 13, 2009

64. Inverter

Please, do not misunderstand me.

But I like darkness. The deep darkness that occasionally envelopes me is a treat not only for eyes but also for permanently rushing mind. I have not installed any power backup instruments at home. When there is power cut in the night, I just relax and enjoy the darkness.

Many of our likings are rooted in our childhood. Though I was born in a town, I was brought up in a very small village. In the first ten to twelve years of my life, I did not know what electricity was. I still vividly remember the magic moment, when I first came across it. It was the ultimate luxury then. I fear with the climate change and power cuts, it will become a luxury again in my old age.

When you are not surrounded by shining lights, you learn to find fun in darkness. No doubt there were ghost stories. The fear of snakes and scorpions made life miserable. One could not read and write after the Sunset. The kerosene was limited and one could not study during night. Actually one never thought of doing anything important after the Sunset – of course dinner and sleep were the exceptions.

In the night the only bus came to our village. All villagers gathered at the bus stand, and waited for the arrival of the bus. Hardly anyone came from outside. But the village gathered as if each one had a guest arriving by that bus. The road passed through small hills. So, the headlights of the bus were visible from miles. They were there, and they were invisible. I still remember that ‘hide and seek’ game of the headlights. I always wondered whether the headlights were seen first or whether I heard the sound of the bus engine first. I still do not know who travels faster – light or sound? The confusion is deep rooted in me.

In the summer, the front-yard was cleaned and watered in the evening. I was always enchanted by the innumerable stars in the sky. The moon in the early morning was so majestic that I did not sleep in the nights – just to watch that moon. And nobody labeled this as ‘insomnia’ then. Early morning also brought the cold wind, and the first ray of the Sun was indeed life giving.

Monsoon nights were special. The lightening added spice to the environment. The rain tunes differed at various stages. The frogs started singing. The rushing water played around.

Evenings generally came slowly and silently. Everything became quiet. As if the whole world around went to sleep. The toils of the life were forgotten. It was like going back to a world where there were no problems, no stress, just joy and dreams.

I liked the surrounding darkness. I actually waited for it. It was the time, I could talk to myself. It was the time; I did not have to face others. It was the time, I could be alone. It was the time I could dream. It was the time I forgot to ask myself purpose of life. To be left alone was a boon. To experience wind, moon and stars was luxury. To face the fear was an important training. I loved it to the core. There was the knowledge that darkness does not last long, after every night there is a Sunrise….. which was influential in shaping my life.

For middle school education, I shifted to a small city. There was electricity, but it was very tender in nature. I mean with a little shower, with a wave of wind, it used to stop functioning. And even in that small town, many nights were spent in full darkness. The kind of darkness: where one cannot see even oneself. I had plenty of it in life. I actually grew with that kind of darkness around me. But it was always comfortable to have the presence of darkness. It created coolness, happiness, it filled the vacuum, and it was always so peaceful.

Recently the cyclone ‘Fiana’ just touched my city. For one night, there was no power. But I could not get that enveloping darkness around me. Couple of my neighbours have ‘inverter’ installed in their house. The cancer center adjacent to my apartment, naturally immediately turns on generator. The headlights of vehicles on the highway bring a piece of light in my house. I do not get darkness around me. I was just feeling aghast about the generators and invertors.

But then I realized generator and inverters too have their value. It is necessary that we store some positive energy when it is available and use it when there is no light, no hope. I understand that for everyone darkness cannot mean peace and opportunity to be introvert – due to some experiences people may have fear about the darkness.

I agree that those who want light have the right to get it. I am aware that unfortunately most of them do not have opportunity to get it. I understand that we need a real inverter to change this situation.

But somehow I miss the deep darkness. I tend to blame inverters.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

63. If I Were a Baby Again…

If I were a Baby Again…
I would not write a blog and crave for hits, comments, and votes. I would seek love and attention from all, though.
I would not work to earn money. I would do things just for the joy and fun I get from it.
I would not have to follow manners just to please people around. I would be my own self, not bothering about others’ opinion about me.
I would not have to pretend that I am good, unselfish, and helpful and so on. I would accept myself as I am because I won’t know the art of comparing and competition.
I would not have to carry on an artificial smile. I will have a natural one.
I would not have to control hunger, emotions, thought processes. I would be the Queen of my world, does not matter if I am the only single person in that world.
I would not have to observe religious rules and regulations. I would be in communion with the God, if IT has no objections to have me.
I would not have to exhibit my knowledge. I can carry on my ignorance happily.
I would not be ashamed of tears, failures. I would fall again and again and learn through those experiences.
I would not be frightened about anyone or anything. I would treat all as my equal.. and may have some fight for fun.
I would not have to be responsible. I would be naturally attached to everything around.
I would not have to worry about sugar and blood pressure. I would consume anything I want, anytime I want.
I would not rush for shelter. I would enjoy sun, moon, rain, sky.. everything around me.
I would not crave to have crowds around me. I would be able to entertain myself alone with the world around.
I would not be frightened of death. I would not know what life is then and would always be experimenting and trying to grasp as if everything is anew.

Well, I realize that though I am supposed to be an adult, I am still a baby.. I would like to remain a baby forever.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

62. Idea Matters

No, it has nothing to do with Idea Cellular!

Some people present more ideas – not because they are more intelligent or smarter than others. In the organized sector, those who have more access to information by virtue of education, authority, designation, and power etc. apparently seem to be more creative. May be, they are more articulate and they have enough platforms. But in most of the cases they do not have original ideas; they pick it up from others, frankly speaking from their subordinates.

The other day, our group was upset because what one person presented as ‘his idea’ was originally discussed by our group with him prior to his presentation. Initially, I too was irritated. It is not a matter of credit, but matter of decency. Such small moments have the power to expose and underline one’s character. We decided, and wisely so, to leave the issue. To us, implementation of that particular idea was more important than the issue of credit.

After the first emotional turbulence was over, I was thinking about how this particular idea came to my mind. Then I remembered to have read a book – from where the idea originated. The book might be based on individual creative idea or some collective exploration; I do not know exactly what the process was. One of my senior colleagues had discussed similar thoughts with me about almost a decade ago. I have been discussing this thought with many people over the years, and they must have directly or indirectly contributed to the evolution of the idea. The idea must have taken clearer shape with each such conversation, each such interaction.

So, what I thought as ‘my idea’ was not purely mine. It belonged to others; only I had become too possessive about it. Why should I get hurt about someone not acknowledging the thought process of my group? Can’t two different people have the same idea at the same time? History presents lot of such incidences. Some are lucky enough to put idea at right time and right place, some never get the opportunity. But in the end they must be happy to realize that their idea after all was ‘workable’.

I use many ideas in day to day life, about which I never think of thanking anybody or giving credit to anyone. For example, at the moment I am using the computer; do I know how many people invested into making of the PC? Do I really thank my English teacher? I used online typing tutorials to increase my typing speed, do I thank them? Do I know the name of the person who produced this computer table? Do I know any name that developed MS office? I am not aware of the efforts of the team who developed ‘blogging’ and do not know which team is maintaining this blog.

My whole life is based on ideas presented and developed by others… why should I be upset if someone is using ‘my’ idea – which I confess is not completely my idea?

It is time we learn to appreciate the idea. If possible, appreciate the person behind the idea, but personal worship, personal credit does not matter. No idea is static, it keeps on changing. The real tribute to idea is to practice it and to contribute to its evolution.

Because we cannot thank all those who brought light to us, we too should not expect any gains, any returns.

The Idea Matters.