Monday, 30 November 2015

The man who has no inner-life is a slave to his surroundings. – Henri Frederic Amiel

“Watch your thoughts; for they become words.
Watch your words; for they become actions.
Watch your actions; for they become habits.
Watch your habits; for they become character.
Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny.”

Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson, Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, supermarket magnate Frank Outlaw, spiritual teacher Gautama Buddha, and the father of Margaret Thatcher have all been credited with versions of the above quote. It clearly and analytically infers to how our thoughts ultimately lead to our destiny. The thoughts formulate from a realm inside each of us, and that realm is the inner-life of a person.

What is inner-life?

There are two aspects in the life of a person - the Outer life and the Inner life. The outer life is that with which you see, listen, observe and process everything around you.  Inner life is that which helps you decide.  It is that voice that tells you what to do and what not to do.  It is that which defines who you are and who you will be.  It is that nag you feel when you know you have done wrong.  It is that which encourages you to help a needy person.  It is that gut feeling which makes you feel, “This is it!”.  It is the distinguishing line between man and animal.

According to The Alchemy of Happiness by Hazrat Inayat Khan, to be without inner life is like being without an arm or a leg or an eye or an ear.  It is a part of one’s being and the purest form of knowledge.  However intellectual or learned a person may be, his mind will never be clear, if his knowledge is based only upon his outer surroundings.  The outer life is subject to change and destruction.  Such wisdom has limitations.  Any amount of material wealth and knowledge is useless to a man if he has no inner life.  The knowledge of inner life is the essence of life.  It is like nutrition to the soul as it nourishes it and helps it grow.  Just like all the beauty products of the world are in vain without the inner health of the body, that is, without right food to nourish the body, the knowledge of outer life is pointless without the knowledge of inner life and self.

The man who has no inner-life is a slave to his surroundings

This simple line is what the businessmen and the advertising companies take advantage of.  How else can anyone successfully sell to you what you do not really need?  They create the needs that you did not know existed.  They tell you what you have is not good enough and that they have better to offer you, and you are convinced into buying it. 

Your family, friends, the society and the whole world around you are influencing you.  Teenagers and youth are unable to think or decide on their own and give in to peer-pressure.  The pressure of society compel you into hurried thoughtless decisions.  Like man makes animal as his slave to get his work done, man becomes a slave to his surroundings with no self thinking. He loses control over his self.
“He who knows not and knows not he knows not: he is a fool - shun him. He who knows not and knows he knows not: he is simple - teach him. He who knows and knows not he knows: he is asleep - wake him. He who knows and knows he knows: he is wise - follow him.”- Confucius

He who knows and is conscious of his knowledge, has a strong inner-life.  He who has knowledge and is not aware of his abilities needs to be awakened regarding it.  He who does not know but knows of his ignorance can be taught.  But he who does not know anything and is unaware of his ignorance, is foolish and nothing can become of him.

Mastering inner-life

All that we are is the result of what we have thought – Buddha.

Rhonda Byrne in her book, The Secret, teaches us through different philosophers, meta-physicians, psychologists and visionaries, how the inner life is what makes us who we are.  With the right choice of thoughts, we can carve ourselves and we become the masterpiece of our own lives.  The same thoughts have the power of healing, and the power to fulfill your dreams.  When the voice and the vision on the inside become more profound and more clear and louder than the opinions on the outside, one can master his life.   Byrne claims it to be the ultimate Secret - the answer to all that has been, all that is, and all that will ever be.

My 80-year-old grandmother was operated on for hip-fracture.  The doctors had not guaranteed 100% success owing to her age and the uncertainty of the aged body to cooperate to treatment.  Not only did she recover, but with her spirit and enthusiasm, she started walking a month before the doctor had suggested.  This could only happen because of her will and positivity. 

The most important and most beautiful words are those which you speak to yourself.  When you are alone, you talk with a person within you.  Look into the mirror and fall in love with the person you see.

Enjoy your own company, because if you don’t, why would anyone else? Treat yourself how you wish others to treat you and spend time with yourself.  In the midst of all this, you will learn about yourself and grow.  Develop the attitude of gratitude and visualize to materialize.  You will figure out what inspires you, you will curate your own dreams, your own beliefs, your own stunning clarity.  You connect with your own self.  Regardless of what has happened to you in your life, regardless of how young or old you think you might be, the moment you begin to think properly, there is a power within you that is greater than the world.  It will feed you, it will clothe you, it will guide you, protect you, direct you and sustain your very existence.


Thursday, 26 November 2015

Why so Serious?

Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens,
Brown paper packages tied up with strings,
These are a few of my favourite things.

These are the simple things of which Frauline Maria sings about to the von Trapp children to cheer them up (in the movie Sound of Music).  It is her way of telling them to find happiness in the little things in your daily life when you are sad.  We always fail to notice these little things which actually make us feel good.  People walk around tight lipped and knitted brows, deep in thought.  Every person is sad, angry or worried about something.  Everyone is stressed out!

As J.K. Rowling puts it allegorically in her Harry Potter books, the creatures called dementors. Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, and they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them. Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling; every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself - soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life.  They can be repelled by the spell Expecto patronum produced by thinking happy thoughts.  A patronus is produced which shields you and keeps the dementors at bay.

We all have faced the dementor in our lives.  It makes us sad, gets us immobilized and leaves us distraught.  That dementor in muggle(non-magical people) world is called DEPRESSION.  It plagues more people than you think.  Irrespective of where you are from, what religion you belong or whether you are rich, poor, male, female, a celebrity or an ordinary person.  Every other person has faced it at some point or the other in life.  While some are able to fend off this deadly dementor, some fall prey.  But people are not really open to talking about it.  They are embarrassed to say they are sad and unable to deal with it mostly because it is not acceptable for a person to be sad!  The reasons may seem silly.

“Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone.”  A hungry man is given food, a thirsty man is given water, and a sick man is given medicine, but a sad man is rebuked for being sad.  It is easier to say I have a fever than to say I am depressed. If you came complaining of fever, what if I told you, “There are people suffering from TB, diabetes and cancer and you worry about a silly fever? Get real! Move on! ”.  Shall we ignore it? How would you feel? What we do is treat the fever till you recover.   Be it bacteria or the virus or the weather that got you down, you accept that you are ill and take treatment.

Likewise, a depressed persons need treatment till they feel better.  They need to be nursed.  More often than not, the only nursing a depressed person needs is to be loved, to be told that who they are makes a difference.  The patience, support and care of a loved one do great healing.  So be it a failed relationship, failure in exams, not fairing as good as your friends or family problems, that got you depressed, it is necessary that you be treated.

More than anything they need to be accepted and validated for the way they feel.  They need to realize that it is all right to feel that way at times, however it is not the ultimate feeling.  Rebukes like, “Why do you think like that?  How can you feel so ungrateful? Can’t you see the bright side? Get over it already!”, may not be accepted in the right spirit by every depressed person.  Maybe the brighter side needs to be shown and made felt by them in this phase, in order to come out of it.
Poor relationships, peer pressure, lack of friends and loneliness and the inability to handle such pressures may be the common causative factors of depression in youngsters today.  Not everyone is emotionally immune!  They do not consider sharing with parents for the sole reason that they do not feel understood.  They cannot be blamed for it.  Most parents are not really helping with the kid-these-days attitude.  They blame the generations of today for knowing no hardships, growing up in luxury and not being tolerant to change, problems and when things do not work the way they expected.  You cannot blame the parents either.  They have seen their share of hard times and survived through it just fine and they feel the youngsters have everything they could ask for, but still complain.  While they may be right, voicing it out to depressed young minds would only push them away from them and close them up into a shell.  This gap in communication creates a deadlock to the depressed person who then looks for alternative means to relief, and these means may not always be helpful.

Healing depression

“Breathe. You’re going to be okay.  Breathe and remember that you have been in this place before.  You’ve been this uncomfortable and anxious and scared, and you have survived.  Breathe and know that you can survive this too.  These feelings can’t break you and they will pass.  Maybe not immediately, but sometime soon, they are going to fade and when they do, you’ll look back at this moment and laugh for having doubted your resilience.  I know it feels unbearable right now, but keep breathing again and again.  This will pass and I promise it will pass.”
-          - Daniell Koepke

It is simple to note that depression is just a state of mind just like any other feeling, say happiness or anger.  But allowing it to overpower you can worsen it.  It is important to remind oneself that it is temporary and that mind has the power to resist it.  It is perfectly normal to feel that way at times, and you need to accept that first, rather than being sad about being sad.  It is okay to cry too.  Meet a close friend and vent out or write about it, but get it all out.  And once that is done, one has to bring himself/herself to resist sad thoughts and find a means of distraction.  You may feel the urge to lie and obsess our your sorrows.  But you need to make gradual attempts to keep away from those things that make you sad, be it thoughts, things or people.  Despite the fact that you lose absolute interest in your hobbies, likes and everything else, you need to find those things that make you happy.  Say music, it always lifts your spirits. Watch cute and happy videos of animals and babies. Watch your favourite movies or sitcoms.  Try to engage in a hobby.  Go for a walk or workout.  Keep your mind busy with other things. 

Eating chocolate after a dementor attack always makes you feel better!  Think happy and say Expecto patronum!

When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I am feeling sad,
I simply remember my favourite things, and then I don’t feel, so bad!