The sense of an ending..

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How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts? And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge our account, to remind us that our life is not our life, merely the story we have told about our life. Told to others, but—mainly—to ourselves.

Julian Barnes

 

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“What did I know of life, I who had lived so carefully? Who had neither won nor lost, but just let life happen to him? Who had the usual ambitions and settled all too quickly for them not being realised? Who avoided being hurt and called it a capacity for survival?

Who paid his bills, stayed on good terms with everyone as far as possible, for whom ecstasy and despair soon became just words once read in novels? One whose self-rebukes never really inflicted pain?

 

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Well, there was all this to reflect upon, while I endured a special kind of remorse: a hurt inflicted at long last on one who always thought he knew how to avoid being hurt – and inflicted for precisely that reason.”      

Julian Barnes

 

What we know of life is sometimes just history handed out to us by our ancestors and predecessors. The ancestors being our own perceptions of the past and predecessors, our responses to external circumstances.

But there is a saying that history is that certainty produced at the juncture where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation. 

We have a very shallow observation skill when it comes to how we look at life. Take death for instance, till someone close to us passes away, we don’t aee death as a part and parcel of life. Death is distant to us till the time it comes in proximity to your near and dear ones.

We see life in terms of how we get affected by it. Whether it’s miracles that chance upon us or tragedies that befall us,   your experiences give a form to life. Experiences being subjective cannot generalise life as a blessing or a curse.

Did you know why remorse is a much worse feeling than shame or guilt ?

Barnes describes this feeling as too COMPLICATED, CURDLED & PRIMEVAL .

Nothing can be done about it. Period. Too much time has passed and sufficient damage has been done for any amends to be made. Life is like that sometimes when you look back and see that all that you did   cannot be changed nor repaired. You just have to let it go.

 

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Embark on those wistful hopes

“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.”

Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist

The problem isn’t with dreaming but to make an effort in realising those dreams. How many of us are willing to toil day and night in making our dreams come true ?

Don’t relegate yourself into being a virtuous man who contents himself with dreaming that which the wicked man does in actual life. Sigmund Freud says that in his The Interpretation of Dreams.

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Having a dream is just one aspect. But nurturing what doesn’t let you sleep is what makes a difference. Everyone’s got a dream but not all wanna transform that dream to reality.
Writers transform their dreams into words. It’s not easy to verbalize what you feel many a time. But if you can then it means you have got the flair for it.
A dream makes ‘you’. It’s the uniqueness of your dreams that sets you apart from others. Sometimes I wonder what I dream about. If a dream is something that keeps you awake at night then what is it that I dream about ?
What keeps me going ?

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A dream isn’t dependent on another person. So it can never be the thoughts relating to someone else. A dream is never about possession. So it isn’t about making money. A dream isn’t about fame. So it can never be about being a star in the eyes of others.
A dream is waking up each day and feeling cheerful about what the day has in store for you. Dreams are mundane. When you make dreams a rarity and something that seems far-fetched, it obviously is gonna remain that forever.

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For a dream to become an experience, treat it like the ordinary.

Take small steps towards your goals without focussing on the outcome and the accolades you would receive after accomplishing a feat.
Those small steps finally lead you to where you wanna be someday.

Don’t trivialise those small steps by considering them as tasks. Rather it’s those steps that are the biggest undertakings that would teach you what dreams are really about.
A dream doesn’t have to be being recognised by the world. Wanting to be acknowledged is natural but to dedicate your entire life towards something just because people would applaud you, isn’t a dream.
It becomes a parasite as it haunts you rather wanting to be pursued.

A dream could be just wanting to stay beside the woods in a secluded cabin all by yourself one day but does your lifestyle resemble even a bit of what you aspire to be in future ?
Are you addicted to chaos ? If you are, let it go. Aim for a more serene style of living where you spend your weekends all by yourself contemplating reading a book. The way you live today would someday lead you to where you wanna be.

You wanna be a public speaker who gives motivational speeches to millions in agony. Well, ask yourself, do you inspire others by merely conversing with them about their day-to-day situations. If you cannot provoke others into taking smalltime actions, how can you trigger the spark ‘to be in charge of your own life’, in millions of people.

A dream is a dominant idea within you but let it not remain as an idea. The idea has to turn into action someday. Start small. You gotta walk before you can run.
Take Stuart Little strides before you take giant leaps into anything in life.

“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”

T.E. Lawrence

Tame the untameable

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Living inside your head is like being captivated in a prison. You can’t get out of the bars even if you want to. You feel as if all the conversations happen in the head and are sorted out there.

H.P. Lovecraft says that we all live on a placid island of ignorance as we aren’t able to correlate all the ongoings in the mind.
This, he considers to be the most merciful thing of the human mind. The contents seem incoherent as one finds no relation between one thought and another.
Sometimes there is a relation yet it’s funny how you relate an objective situation or a fleeting thought to your personal life and feelings.

Brain to man watching TV: 'Since you won't be needing me for a while, I'm going to run a few errands.'
Suddenly you’re thinking about your favourite movie and why you like it. From there on you start thinking about how you miss having the kind of life the protagonist enjoys in the film. How you wished you were lucky enough to be a crusader of a cause you believe like the heroine in the movie and you are successful in making an impact as well.
David Hume, In his A Treatise of Human Nature described the mind as a heap of different perceptions, which we endow with a simplicity and identity just to benefit our understanding of it.

“A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it.”

SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes gives the best advice as to how to declutter the mind which is always running on an overdrive.
Treat your mind like an orchard which when manured produces the most delicious fruits. A cultivated mind gives rise to pure and noble thoughts. Little bit of pruning could just be an exercise for it. Sometimes when the mind is out of focus, train yourself to just be in the moment and concentrate on the thing which you’re doing or the situation that you’re a part of no matter however boring it seems to you.
When you rein in those skittering thoughts and just cut it down to the ones on which you can act upon or aren’t that overwhelming, you wouldn’t find your mind coming in the way of your yet-to-be-done tasks.
Don’t let the mind be an imperious boss. Bring it down to serve you like a caterer. You’re the manager and have to supervise the way it thinks and behaves. If it’s directionless, teach it to follow one path that may serve you.

Hatred : a spontaneous emotion

“Every instinct that is found in any man is in all men. The strength of the emotion may not be so overpowering, the barriers against possession not so insurmountable, the urge to accomplish the desire less keen. With some, inhibitions and urges may be neutralized by other tendencies. But with every being the primal emotions are there. All men have an emotion to kill; when they strongly dislike some one they involuntarily wish he was dead. I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.”
Clarence Darrow, The Story of My Life

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Is it natural to hate and want someone dead ? Like you cant stand a person and you wished they never existed. I have been in that phase before and now have outgrown attachment to hatred, resentment. It only affects you mentally and not the other person. No one cares if you like them or not. They still are the same way. No one is obliged to change for you. Once you realise this, perhaps you would stop wanting to make people behave a certain way and give into your standard of being.

I have had really negative thoughts about few people. When I say negative, I mean really inhuman thoughts about them. I wished the worst thing should happen to them on this earth. Then I realised, all that monstrosity was within me and not them. It is my importance given to them that made them all the more annoying than they actually were.
What if I was indifferent to their existence ? Just treat them like passers-by instead of some antagonists in my life. Isn’t my way of looking at them causing me more irritation and making me despise them ?
That was what I told myself and of course it took hell lot of time.
Eventually I lost the energy to hate anyone. I still have strong likes and dislikes but just that I am able to bear more people in a cordial way. Not that I was ever rude on face to anyone unless they did something to me. But I was mentally cursing them if their mere presence was poisonous to my well-being.

I guess maybe that is called emotional maturity or maybe evolving to a better state of mind.
But I’m glad I had these wanting-to-kill-someone palpable sensations before as it cleansed my soul. Now if I look back, I find it so silly.
We all should admit the murderer in our hearts as no one is immune to crime.
The only thing that differentiates between us normal people and those commit crimes is a presence of mind with conscience.

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We all are butcherers at heart just pretending to be this noble soul who wants everyone’s good and upkeep.
Do yourself a favour. Face the real you and that actually makes you a better human being not by overlooking your natural primeval feelings. You can only become pure-hearted when you value the filth stored in your soul. You need yo get rid of it by actually being that ‘bad’ person for sometime and venting those emotions.

A rotating shaft makes my night..

When you switch on a ceiling fan, the stationary armature gets into action.

The whirring sound of the fan makes me feel so in-the-moment and peaceful. The peace that is usually elusive when I try to calm my mind comes upon me when I shift my focus to the revolving fan in my room as I lie down and watch it.
Staring at a revolving fan is quite meditative and kind of brings you to the present. You forget all your worries and anxieties. You and the fan share such a serene equation. It is actually better than you staring at a blank wall. I just noticed how the blades of a fan become so invisible when it rotates at the maximum and swiftest speed.
The blades however are visible in the picture below which I clicked a snap from where I was on the bed.

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The picture mode in camera captured the static.

When a propeller is in motion, the image of the blades (forming a uniform disk color ) is not resolved by the retina.
So it will certainly not be processed by your brain as the movement is too rapid.

I just read in quora.com that a rotating fan is in equilibrium between the electromagnetic torque from the motor and frictional torque from the air.

Atleast this electrical appliance has a balance unlike me. My mind keeps spinning and weaving thoughts while I fail to grasp them.

Life: ‘A handful of dust’

Leo Tolstoy, put forth his sensation of existential meaninglessness in an appropriate phrase known as ‘Life Arrest’.
If life was your home and if you were bound to it without knowing how to escape the senselessness and aimlessness that grows upon you, then it’s akin to house arrest.

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You would despise life as if you were grounded and want to know the meaning behind why you do what you do.
When meaning in life dissolves into dreary activities and you go on carrying on with doing whatever you do no matter whether you find sense in it or not. Then one day you feel a stoppage of life as if you don’t know how you’re going to live on and what you are going to do in future..
These moments of perplexity make you feel distasteful about life and suicidal as you see no sense in wanting to live. The ground on which you stand is crumbling and you figure out that there is nothing beneath to support yourself and stand on. That solid foundation has given away to ruins.
When the things you do like your work, raising a family, earning or pursuing your education abroad hold no interest value or bear no usefulness to you, you’re in the phase of existential neurosis.

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Though many perspire in work, few find aspiration. That’s what Benjamin Wolfman remarked when people who are employed are hard working yet find nothing to look forward to in their jobs.
Why is meaninglessness equated to illness ? Anything that inhibits fullness and growth is same as being sick.
What is neurosis ? It isn’t some clinically definable condition rather it’s the suffering of a soul which hasn’t dawned upon meaning.

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Even in concentration camps those who survived were the ones who saw meaning in life or had a sense of purpose. The ones unlikely to survive lacked that essence to continue with their lives. When you lack a guideline to steer your life, you got to create it instead of looking for it or wanting it to capture you.
We human beings constitute ourselves, our world and the situation in which we enter into. So what if there is no grand design in the universe ? An individual can create his own sense of purpose to aspire towards something that sparks his soul.

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Cosmic meaning says that human life is governed by some incomprehensible pattern though overall coherent.
Terrestrial meaning is easier to find as it’s more practical and needs an immediate sense of self and direction in life. It depends on one’s inspiration and goals one has to apply to oneself.
An environmentalist feels like he ought find a solution to climate change and make it feasible. He places his faith in carbon sequestration (capturing Carbon Dioxide for long-term storage) and creates awareness about it.
He is guided by the purpose to capture carbon dioxide before it releases into the atmosphere from human activities after being produced and then transport it to deep underground such as depleted coal mines.

Imagined self-image

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You would have often heard this term known as the ‘looking glass’ within the context of ‘self’. It’s a magnifying glass, metaphorically , it enlarges your ‘self’ making you zoom in on your flaws and quirks and zoom out on your perks.

The self develops in three distinctive phases according to the Looking glass self theory by Charles Horton Cooley :

  • We imagine how we present ourselves to others.

  • We imagine how others evaluate us.

  • We develop some sort of feeling about ourselves based upon our perception of what we think others have of us.

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The ‘self,’ then, emerges from one’s individual imagination of what we think others think of us. One critical element to this is that we may perceive someone’s impression of us incorrectly. We see ourselves through the eyes of other people, even to the extent of incorporating their views of us into our own self-concept.

Our perceptions are colored by what others think of us and how they form impressions about us. Very often, as a child you might have berated yourself for lack of popularity, simply because others saw you as just a random person than an influential peer.

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An interaction doesn’t stop at the end of a conversation and after you bid goodbye to your friend/acquaintance/relative etc.. The actual interaction begins in the mind after the real one is over.
What was that I said to him ? Hope he didn’t take me wrong. Wish I hadn’t said it.. An endless array of questions over bygone rendezvous keep cropping up and you have no control.

How do you get over the looking glass self ? You can’t as no man is an island. You can’t give up interacting with others. Any amount of socialising will cause some interruptions in one’s self-perception. If someone says something against your beliefs, it causes some disturbance to your way of thinking or you feel threatened in an intellectual sense.

Yet you allow the looking glass self to help you better your sense of self rather than playing havoc with it. You don’t allow anybody’s opinions to diminish your sense of self but at the same time you use it strengthen your own beliefs especially when they form the ‘whole’ and core of you.

The opinions of others exist not to validate them and demean you. It’s just their way of thinking and not to put you down. Just because someone has a different approach towards your situation doesn’t mean you have to change yourself.
As long as you take others’ evaluation of you as a constructive feedback or just another way of seeing things, you won’t allow them to distort how you see yourself.

No doubt some level of discomfort will bubble inside you when someone imparts their knowledge onto you. Some just wanna show off their wittiness on you but that shouldn’t affect you or stop you from living your life. You can also imbibe someone else’s critique persona and try to project it as a more assertive repartee the next time someone contradicts your perceptions.

Assume a colleague of yours feels you’re too punctual to work, adhering too courteously to deadlines and you have got no life except work, since you’re always on time and leave no work unfinished. You feel this as more like a taunt rather than appreciation or awe.

The next time you engage in such a conversation with him, tell him how much work means to you and that other things are secondary.
Work enlivens you rather than partying with friends, letting hangover take you arriving late to the office.

Wayne Dyer says that what other people think of you is none of your business but sometimes if you make it none of your business, they go on and on. You gotta give back in a polite and ‘I seriously mean it’ vibe.

Other people dish out negative opinions which more or so reflect their own limiting beliefs about life. When you hear your friend saying, creativity has no value in a robotic world, it’s because maybe your pal isn’t that innovative and prefers machinated tasks. That doesn’t make him less worthy yet it’s his limitation that made him say such a thing in the first place.

You can develop the skill to recognize and ignore these. You don’t have to disagree with them on the spot if it doesn’t feel comfortable to do so. But put the mental blinkers on, and try visualizing how you’d go about creating a favourable outcome the next time when you feel intimidated by someone.