Friday, April 13, 2012

The ignored Zen Habit

I will miss this place - my college.

It might have not been the best of institutions. Yet, I did not want to go to a 'top 10' institution in the first place. It might have not seen me cheerful for most of the time. But I never planned to be unusually cheerful in the first place. 

I could, like most of us are tempted to, rant on how this place taught me so much about life and how I met a variety of characters and learnt about people and their ways here. But I think such declarations are stupid. If you have had a lot of lessons and growth in recent times, it does not mean that you had some special chance to get wise or been through exceptionally eventful or testing times. You have simply been alive. 

Try talking to some ten people and ask them how life was in the past few years. They might say it was good or bad but they will all unanimously rant about how they learnt a lot and realized a lot of truths about living. "I have changed a lot as a person, you know", they add with self-assumed seriousness. Belief about personal progress is one of the many ways of the mind to guard its self.

It might seem like the world has few people who are really content. Everybody seems to be dealing with personal crises. At surface glance, it is east to think that we are, by nature, an unhappy, stressed out lot. News such as 'Elevating divorce rates' or 'deteriorating quality of family' or 'increasing in flow to counselor's offices' will reinforce this belief.  But you know what I believe? We are the most narcissistic species. We simply love ourselves too much for our own good. 

We glorify our miseries and we glorify our victories. At the end of the day, few of us will let ourselves down in front of others. Even the man who complains that he is a complete failure will have a justification of why he became a failure. And now that he has exposed his woes to you, he expects attention. Try blaming him for something and he will come out in a surprising retort in self-defense. 

If all of us had the skills, there would be a library of autobiographies of every individual who had lived here. It surprised me today that Leo Babauta, the man behind a site such as zenhabits would have a page like this. It came across to me as quite boastful. I might be wrong. But I would expect someone who could write posts like how to forget productivity and just live to consider every moment as an accomplishment. Or rather, every mile covered as a memory to be grateful for. I always thought that the best person in this world will hardly use the word 'I'. 

Is it wrong to be proud? No, nothing is wrong. Be proud, be vain, be perverted, be a porn addict, be a compulsive eater, be a lazy couch potato. Nothing is wrong here, of course as long as you do not snatch away another's human being's rightful joys and peace of mind. Yet, consciousness evolves. While it is not wrong to be selfish about a toy while you were seven, it would seem odd to fight over a toy when you are 34.  You might ask what is wrong. Nothing. But it is just that, I expect your consciousness to be a bit more evolved. 

Making public lists of accomplishments seems odd to me, in a person whom I expect to have evolved consciousness. Or perhaps he has not reached that level yet. That is okay. He is a source of joy to many people around the world and I respect him for that. 


CHIBI said...

Me being the first person to comment on this post seems very ironical.. I am absolutely the opposite for being modest. I have actually made public lists of accomplishments.. I am not going to deny it, Recognition is the biggest driving force for a human.everyone wants/needs to be recognized.

without an I, there's no We. we, is a tough word to use, as you sort of take decisions for others as well, it may be appreciated or blamed. so i don't think there's anyone in the world who can do it..

as you said, we love ourselves too much individually , it's hard to say, 'we' or 'Us'.

by the way, if there was not something to be achieved, you would not be in the college, which you miss in the start of blog.. :D

The Visitor said...

Sindu, these days your posts are more or less complete; you place your observations and deductions in a logical way. You have evolved as a writer.

But sometimes I do miss the incompleteness of the older posts, when I could butt in with my 'insightful' comments. ;)

Throughout this post I found myself just nodding in agreement. :(


Anonymous said...

I just now read that post you'd mentioned; seems like I've lived life in reverse to what he's done. :)


Sinduja said...

@CHIBI: Without an I, there is no We? Hmmm.. I think all the I within should translate into 'We'. Me being in coll is not so much to achieve as it is to not to sink into oblivion.

P.S - Pl share the link to your public list ;)

@V: Ah, don't say that V. For some reason, that comment makes me very sad.

I went back to the list after your mention. You lived it in reverse order? Hmmm....*hand on chin, pondering*

Anonymous said...

... lived it in reverse order.

I meant that, I turned from organized to unorganized. The result of 'acceptance'. :)

PS: You have progressed as a writer, so why feel sad?

Sinduja said... Like thatu. I thought you first wrote a book and then, after a while, learnt to wake up early and so on. Ha ha.

I seemed like a farewell. Like the teacher saying, "okay, you have learnt the trade well. Now go on...I don't think I am needed anymore." Yeah, some kind of movie scene playing in the head!

Sinduja said...

Meant to say, "As for your comment, it seemed like a farewell...."

Srinidhi said...

For me respect comes from humility. perhaps that is stupid. but thats how I can respect people. :)

sid said...

:) It's been long since i've read something as insightful as this. But as much as i want to add something here, i find it very difficult to. The search for humility in others and even defining it well for myself in the first place has been never ending.

Yet, the one thing that strikes is that maybe its the same 'is he/she humble or good enough' filter that turns me to become judgemental over time, placing a sense of importance on the self that becomes unnecessary.

The search still continues. Just that after this post, its now a journey filled with a little more wisdom :)

PS - To add some psychological perspective, thought you'd find this interesting!

Mr. Anon said...

Oh man, aren't you quite self righteous!! I have read quite a few of your posts!! On one hand, you are denouncing those who think they are/have matured. On the other, you speak like you are more matured than them. And hey, look at the number of 'I' in your posts.

P.S: I know basically all bloggers are narcissitic. Just an opinion. Don't take it up too seriously!

Siddarth said...

The world's changing. Music's changing.

Even drugs are changing.

For idealistic people its - evolved consciousness..ama aman!

Sinduja said...

@Srinidhi: Totally. Wouldn't have expected anything else from you.

@Sid: "Is he/she humble or good enough' filter that turns me to become judgemental over time, placing a sense of importance on the self that becomes unnecessary." - That is great insight Sid. I think the key is we should not do it consciously - the filtering process. And also acknowledge that we too, will have that trait at some point or the other.

Sinduja said...

@Anon: Ha ha.. yeah, I was wondering why this had not come up yet.

We all perceive things, right? You perceive me to be hypocritical. I might perceive someone to be immature and still act mature. You might not subscribe to my perceptions - that is okay. It is your right.

I have never said I have evolved consciousness. But with whatever small amounts it has evolved, it makes some observations and I feel good when I let it out through writing. Whether to take away from it or not is a matter of individual opinion.

Thanks for your input Anon. And yes, writers are , by rule, narcissistic. But I think that is forgivable because many of these narcissistic minds have produced the greatest works of art.

P.S - Is it Vidhul? :)

Sinduja said...

@sidharth: Hmmm... I didn't exactly get you. If you are agreeing on the point of evolved consciousness, thanks! :)

CHIBI said...

@sindu : well.. for me to translate into we, shouldn't the two minds sync at first ? i dont think any two people will agree on everything.. even Identical twins dont..!

for I within, it's just like the cartoons, where you have the angel and devil on each side trying to advise you from their perspective.. I would love to have them both united.. :P

hmm.. about my personal accomplishments.. i had posted it long back when i started blogging and took it down later, because i got comments from some good friends and i quote "i was intensely Narcissistic and self centered between two mirrors."
I can publish them again.. not a big deal.. as it's not many great accomplishments.. hardly 10. :D

Sinduja said...

@Chibi: Even if our mind does not sync with others, learning to see all minds as one is the beginning of 'we', I think.

:) The angel and devil unity - yeah, it would such a boon if that happens.

As for the quote, was it from one of your friends? Don't mind them. Don't mind us. Put it up. Self-pride, like I said, is not a bad thing at all. If it helps you be happy, why not?

karthick r said...

Too serious. ChaoticM - Where are the sly posts?
Write on no? *Neyar Viruppam* :)
~ cheers.!

Sinduja said...

Haiyo rama.. what a bad timing for your comment! Ippo dhaan I finished writing a mother post to this :D

Ok Karthick,Please kindly skip my latest post. P.S - It was really not meant as a rebuke to this comment. God promise!

Neyar Viruppam will def be processed in the mean time.

Sinduja said...

Update - I decided not to publish it. Yeah, too serious la. Hmmm. wokay.

Anonymous said...

Don't not publish posts on account of us. We want, we want...


Sinduja said...

"We want, we want" ah.. umm, only 'V' want. Cha... see what happened - intellectuals like you came here and I started writing 'too serious' posts. :D. Okay, that was just an excuse but yeah, genre change needed la? Hmmm.

Peerless said...

Thinking aloud...
We carry ourselves with us in whatever we do and where ever we go. Hence we are never devoid of our self and the repercussions of the events cause happiness and the opposite of it.

To be free from sorrow, also means to be free from happiness. Can a evolved consciousness enable it. What do you term by evolved consciousness? And whats the need for it to evolve...

Borrowing few strings from Darwins evolution, the biological evolution strives for the selfish intent of the gene and not even the carrier.

I personally feel liberated and at peak efficiency when we dont worry about the self. But that state is attainable only when we start some where with an intent to evolve:).. I guess I am able to convey how confused/puzzled my thoughts are related to this.

I liked and go by your theory of right and wrong much like our Velu Naikars "Yarukum thontharuvu ellana ethuvum thapillai.." (Yarukum includes even the doer.)

One final word[rather my hypotheses for which I dont have proof yet].. Its neither 1 or 0 for ever, its the ability to decide when to turn ON and when to turn OFF decides the "evolution" in consciousness. "Nithanam.."? or the circuit with enough time and wirings to make a decision considering all permutations(I mean the neural wirings)..thats evolution I say.

I liked your thoughts which induced me to think aloud.

PS:For some reason blogger doesnt let me comment... My earlier comment got vanished by magic:(

Sinduja said...

"To be free from sorrow, also means to be free from happiness." - Wow, that is really profound and brilliant Deepak! Totally agree with that. Perhaps that is what I meant with evolved consciousness. In certain cultures, they call it 'enlightenment'. It is not about the 'need' to evolve, it is just that it WILL evolve. Inevitably I think that is where humanity is heading and this, I say not so much in religious terms as in scientific one - at least, I strongly believe so.

I agree. The intention should first come to progress. As for the Velu Naikar phrase, you got me startled with the line - Yarukum involves even the doer. Hmmm. But how will the doer understand that something he is doing is wrong? It is difficult to convince him that. He has to understand it himself.

Your 1 and 0 concept really strikes a chord with me. I like the way you try thinking with a rational bent of mind. Rare. Keep writing! :)

I am really sorry about your missing comment. It must have been hard indeed to type it all over again. Thank you! Do try copying the comment before publishing it the next time...blogger is getting very unpredictable these days!

Mr. Anon said...

"Whether to take away from it or not" sounds too self righteous/assumptive again, other than that I agree with you to a fair extent.

Greatest works of art is quite a subject of perception. But yeah, whatever gives you writers a push to write!

P.S: Nope. You just can't accept Anon can you? You want to figure things out, assure yourself that you are knowing! LOL! :P

Sinduja said...

@Anon: :D Ha ha.

You make me angry. But you also make me smile. Thanks for writing in, Anon. Really.

Mr. Anon said...

@Sindu, Guess one psychologist to another budding one! See ya around!TC!

P.S: You need not force yourself to make me read your future posts, when the hatred/anger is more :) I am not always this hypocritical! :D