The incorrigible guy next door

Why change is an incorrigible monster?

Spontaneity is the key to change.

Change is rapid yet slow and steady. We don’t anticipate few changes, they just happen. Be ready for drastic changes and try to be spontaneous in reacting to them. Practice spontaneity in the due course of unexpected events.

Rehearse a neutral or adaptable response to any unseen change. Usually our responses only escalate the already overwhelming situation and don’t add any value to solving the crisis.

Try rehearsing a response that can assuage any situation without deteriorating it or negating the possibilities for solutions. Don’t respond to change by showing disappointment rather see the hidden virtue in each situation. This is especially relevant change in our expectations with respect to what makes us happy in long run.

Imagine you always had this dream of studying abroad and you don’t have the necessary fund. You find it expensive. Maybe you can study within the same city you live in.

During the course of your study realize you would have wasted lots of money just for a change of environment when you can benefit by studying the same syllabus from your native country. Study content is more or less the same with slight differences in case studies. These days you can attend a Harvard University Lecture in Youtube itself.

Learning doesn’t always have to be beyond your comfort zone. Why waste money on tuition fee and accommodation fees ? We pay so much just for a change of lifestyle and an expectation of a foreign education producing a considerable change in our personality.

Inevitable constant

You know something funny, you can rely on change yet you find it unreliable simply because you weren’t ready for it.

William Ernest Henley in the poem ‘Invictus’ says

‘I thank whatever Gods maybe

For my unconquerable soul.”

Learn to surrender to change not fight with it

Find ways to grow which won’t have happened if not for the change

The reason we feel vulnerable to change is that we love being stagnant. Why don’t you find ways to grow which won’t have happened if not for the change?

The study of creative adjustments

It takes courage to take an honest look at one’s life, discover what’s no longer working and then change it. In spite of illness, in spite of even the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past, the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change.

Change needs courage. Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. It takes consistent efforts to change yourself for the better and always remember enthusiasm helps. Not a fleeting enthusiasm but one that is the essence of immortality contained within you.

Growth doesn’t happen in a jiffy but is more of an erratic forward movement. You take two steps forward and one step back. Remember that and be very gentle with yourself.

Growth that comes with change is never easy as sometimes you might feel like you’re not making consistent progress. Nothing wrong in making mistakes or back-sliding. That’s normal, though; don’t beat yourself up about it.

How do I look at change?

You would stop taking things for granted in life as you know nothing lasts forever. Life likes to reinvent itself too. It hates routine. It finds the mundane boring and craves excitement. It sees you as a pawn in its game sometimes you have alternatives, sometimes you are left with no choice.

Shift in perspective

There is a paradigm shift in one’s outlook and you tend to live more for the moment than think about what is durable as you realize everything has an expiry date including yourself. The way you are as a person, the way you label things….Change makes you grow and evolve no matter how difficult it looks in the beginning.

Inner transformation takes place over a period of time as you start getting accustomed to change. There is this story about a man whose arm gets stuck beneath a huge boulder while he is on a solo hiking expedition. He ends up amputating his arm ultimately as he is unable to free himself otherwise. He waits for 127 hours to find a solution then decides that either he dies in suffocation without food or water with his arm falling prey underneath that boulder or he can survive if he is willing to let go of one arm. He actually realizes that it is not all that difficult to be without an arm, what matters is that he saved himself.

How do you adapt to change? It is by making a choice. If a man can flow with change in a near death experience like above, why can’t we accept seemingly non-threatening changes in our life ? If it weren’t for change, we would all be stagnant in our lives, there would be no room for self-improvement and development.

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Random thoughts

Focus on improving yourself than looking for faults around you. When you look for flaws in others, it’s because you can’t change what’s lacking in you.

Wouldn’t you rather try to understand yourself than aiming at correcting the other person ?

Imagination vs Fantasy

Imagination is produced by voluntary consciousness of the will (Atma). It is the expressive power of the Nous cum soul and a directed by the will to create things and bring into action.

It is rooted in reality still connects to the future ( shooting an arrow to the future while your grounded in the present).

It is connect to higher goals and aspirations and known as Antahkarana that acts like the bridge between concrete and abstract worlds. It’s not an abstract thought experiment but it is the expression of the higher self and provides an impetus to create. always interlinked with action.

What transforms thoughts to action ? Imagination.

Fantasy is born out of emotional images and desire mind and does not obey the WILL (Atma).

It is disconnected from reality. It does not serve your higher needs and can become a mental cancer if kept unchecked. Fantasy is imagining a tree without harvesting the resources and nourishing the soil.

Imagination makes you an artist as you are always creative and constructive. Steve Jobs created fonts for Mackintosh as he was a visionary not someone who used fantasy as a tool of escapism. Similarly Einstein imagined himself travelling at the speed of light before he came up with theory of relativity. Imagination is what helps you live in a productive way else life becomes mechanical and mundane and allows you to bring your essence to whatever you wish to leave as a legacy behind you.

A poet described enlightenment as seeing the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower and hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour. Now that is an outcome of imagination. As long as you are getting closer to the values you aspire, you are being imaginative.

Why memory builds you ?

Memory is a mental faculty that helps you relive past psychic states and locate those experiences at a specific time and period in your life.

Plato said we are the souls and we often forget that referring to our ability to connect to our higher self and the concept of theophany (celestial wedding)

Ruskin Bond said that trees are the guardians of his conscience whenever he looks back at his childhood and reminisces that golden age. Memory is like the soil which needs to be nourished and a womb of experiences that you can relate to your inner journey at any given time. Psychological experiences in our life help us carry their essence and also tell us to relook at incidences in a new light instead of getting stuck with things that limit our growth.

Let’s not be on an overdrive all the time trying to forcefully remember things, let the synthesizing of memories happen on their own. Memories aren’t disconnected or isolated from your ongoing journey. For instance, I recalled the first time I overcame the fear of public speaking by reciting the poem of Matilda at the Bangalore School of Speech and Drama, I kind of thought of the experience as such a creative way to get over self-consciousness when you speak to an audience. Before that I never even took part in any debates or extempore, but it was this one year course which revamped my fear of expressing myself. As a child I have been very reserved and inert, all of a sudden there was this girl who would go on blabbering, how did that happen ?

Awaken your inner teacher at any given moment of life and find ways to release yourself from past pain and keep those memories that have a pleasant and inspiring impact on you. My grandmother’s death made me realize life is precious and I look for the qualities she embodied in my friends, in a way compassion and caring and warmth is what I look for most in relationships.

Someone’s death can be a way of cultivating and forging better bond with people and that life is connected, no one really goes away in essence, it is for us to value people and life, something like death exists. When you miss someone, be an impactful presence in someone’s life so that you can channelize your own painful memory into a good one for somebody else.

Every experience is a mesh of things interconnected and interrelated concepts and ideas and memory is a source of your identity and personality. Relive every day and cherish each moment as it’s gonna add to your basket of experiences. Memory can also make you realise the significance of Knowing Thyself at each level of consciousness even the sub-levels like Pranic sub level of your personality. Key is to see what affects your current perceptions, if it’s an uplifting energy flow then you need to keep only such things around you and drive away all negativity.

Your self is created by memories and your memories are created by mental habits.

Think Elastic

Elastic thinking is needed in a world which has got so caught up in a whirlwind and where analytics take precedence over idea generation. It’s all about flexing your mind when it’s necessary to thrive in a world where the ability to adapt is more important than ever before.

Default mode

Who said we don’t think when we aren’t really thinking ? Leonardo da Vinci was lost in thought while working on his artwork The Last Supper. He would suddenly quit for a while. But the clergyman who was paying him did not really like his hiatuses. The prior of the church entreated Leonardo with persistence to complete with work since it appeared weird to him that the artist passed half a day at a time in his own world.

He would have preferred Vinci like the labourers hoeing in the garden, never to have laid down his brush. Leonardo talked to him extensively about art and persuaded the clergy guy to see that greatest geniuses sometimes accomplish more when they work less.

Mary Shelley didn’t author Frankenstein without that relaxed state of mind which produces an outline of the story that one always seeks but appears elusive. Her night’s musings paid off when her unbidden imagination possessed and guided her. She saw with shut eyes but with acute mental vision, a pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. Well that was a scene she happened to visualise for her book.

Very often we feel we waste time by being immersed in our thoughts all day long but little do we know it in those moments that a heavy outpour of creativity happens.

Where does philosophy begin?

A clear perception of one’s own ruling principle, well that’s a good place from where you can start paving the road to walk the philosophical path as per Epictetus.

For instance, for many time is what rules their life. They believe time is precious and don’t see it as just a ticking of the hands of a clock. They would wanna be productive every minute of their lives if possible. For some others, Time is just a catastrophe, perpetual and irreversible.

Here time is the guiding principle behind their actions.

You might feel intimidated as to how should you begin. Is it books ? Or by attending lectures ? Should you sell your worldly possessions ?

None of these things are needed. Epictetus says start from your guiding reason and question your emotions and beliefs that you usually take for granted. An animal becomes self-aware the moment it sees its reflection in the mirror. That mirror image creates self-awareness even in an animal. But we humans possess more than just the faculty to see ourselves in the mirror and be astonished by a doppelgänger. We have the ability to analyze our mind. Once you become aware of that, you will feel yourself come alive. In Socrates’ words you will live a life really worthy of living.