Category Archives: Depression

Your life as a Zen Garden


Best-Zen-Garden-Wallpaper-on-Garden-Decor-zen-garden-wallpaper-iphone-I recently met a person who casually told me that she was in multiple relationships and hence is a bit stressed. I found it a bit strange for someone who I met for the first time said this to me in a formal business setting. Anyway, not wanting to be judgmental and  polite I didn’t make any comments or react to it in any particular manner. Honestly, it didn’t concern me much, its her personal life and it was fine with me. But she went on to explain her relationships a bit more to me in an effort to clarify her position and impress upon me that I or anyone for that mater should not judge her based on this casual comment she made.

This is how she explained:

Her father was a highly passionate gardener who specializes in building   nihon teien – Japanese Garden for his clients. Although a Zen Garden is mostly a Rock and Sand arrangement, he often combined the elements of a Japanese Garden with the Zen garden philosophies which was very popular with his clients.

But he did take the art and the philosophy of the Japanese/Zen garden to heart and made it the basic philosophy of his life in terms of his relationships and life in general. He raised her and her siblings with a strong belief that one should conduct their lives as a garden where they are their own gardeners. Especially, a garden of Zen, – a garden of tranquility, balance, aesthetics, space and peace. In this garden, you choose the elements that will make your life beautiful and all that you desire by you as a gardener, investing your time, passion, care and commitment. Thus, the Zen Garden of your life will be as follows:

The Japanese/Zen Garden. A pristine place of perfectly manicured trees, plants, clear path ways with perfectly located open space. The basic 4 rules to build such a beautiful place of tranquility and peace are

1) most trees and plants should be taken care of by constantly trimming them in perfect shapes and regularly watering them and nourishing them with the right amount of soil

2) some select trees and plants should be allowed to grow as per it’s natural beauty and shape

3) all paths should be clean without clutter and

4) each zen garden should have a space to sit and meditate.

5) Rocks should be strategically placed to support the garden.

Life. It’s similar to a Zen Garden where you are the gardener. Your relationships are like the trees. Each need to be trimmed and cared for as you want them to grow into your life. You shape them in your garden as opposed to them growing out of your bounds and liking. However, a select few of them can be allowed to grow to its own beauty such as a child or someone whose natural self just beautifies your life.

Always keep your thoughts and mind clear as the pathways and make it a point to provide for your personal space. A place to collect your self and your thoughts, meditate and calm down. In your life, similar to the rocks, there are a few relationships that will support you and hold you down to the ground when you need it most. You can always lean on them and use them for support. Pay a lot of importance to these rocks in your lives.

This will make your life a life of tranquility, beauty, peace and balance. Enjoy your own Zen Garden life!

 

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The “Anger” dilemma


 

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Jim gets an unpleasant call one day from his son Arnold: Dad I am at the ER at the Hospital, There has been an accident, but I am fine. Jim doesn’t bother to ask the details after listening to his sons voice, but rushes to the ER to find his son admitted with a severe burn on his face.

Arnolds chin, nose and a side of his face was burnt in a fire accident. Although he was in pain and severe agony, his shock from the incident wasn’t worn out. It appeared that he was still living through the moments of the unfortunate incident over and over again. The shock and emotional trauma seemed to be more agonizing for him than the physical ones.

After the initial shock and hurt, Jim managed to collect himself and sit beside his son and assure him that he will be fine soon. Once the doctor on duty came by and assured Jim that although Arnold suffered these burns he should recover soon and should be fine, Jim managed to step out for a bit to take a break from the ever busy and frantic sounds of nurses, equipments, monitors and patients.

Outside the ER he found Arnolds childhood friends sitting at the waiting area. Nick and Andrew were Arnold’s best friends since his nursery. Living in the same neighbourhood they practically grew up together. Hence, anticipating a breakdown of events that lead to this accident, Jim sat down beside them and asked them to walk him through the tragedy.

It all began when the three decided to have a BBQ that evening over a charcoal grill. After their initial efforts to ignite the coal using some paper and dry sticks failed, their interest shifted to setting the grill on fire with other things they could find in the garage. Once the fire started, Arnold took the lead in turning this project into a sort of a bonfire. He kept through things into the fire that could combust into a bigger fire balls. The more he instigated the fire, the bigger it became. And finally, out came the infamous lighter gas can. While Nick strolled away from this site and Andrew stepped inside to grab the meats, Arnold decided to throw the butane can into the fire in an effort to spite its fury and watch what happens.

The can exploded on his face. The fire ball was big enough to burn his face and throw him a few feet away. Andrew and Nick heard the sound and rushed to rescue Arnold and got him to the hospital.

Jim was shocked at the stupidity of his usually well behaved and academically smart son. He asked Andrew and Nick how come they didn’t stop or advice him against this. Nick said he got scared, warned Arnold and eventually stepped away from the fire. Andrew said he didn’t expect this from Arnold, but was there immediately out to douse the fire with water and later an extinguisher after he pulled Arnold away to safety. He managed to get Arnold into the car and to the hospital while the fire site was covered with smoke on the yard smelling really bad.

Although Jim was very disturbed by his sons’ behaviour and poor judgement, he couldn’t help think that this becomes a much needed and valuable lesson for his son for the rest of his life.

Let us assume the FIRE in this story represents ANGER. And Arnold was playing with this fire contrary the several advices and blatant facts. The lessons from this incident are as follows:

  • Although Anger is necessary at time, it has to be within a controllable limit
  • Do not play with Anger if you are not willing to withstand the consequences
  • Don’t blame the fire for burning you, blame yourself for instigating the fire
  • If you instigate it and keep throwing things to spite it, the Anger may blow up on YOUR face
  • Smart people walk away from Anger
  • Good people douse the anger with whatever they can
  • The bruises from Anger will bear emotional scars for long
  • If you instigate anger, it is very likely you will be the ultimate victim
  • Once doused, the event will stink for a long time

In our world, Anger is seen as a bad behaviour displayed by the week and cowardly. The person who gets Angry is looked down upon.  There are dire consequences to face if one looses his or her cool due to anger. There are anger management lessons to control and manage anger. But there is very little said about the instigators. The Arnolds of the world and their plight as a victim often takes very little interest. Their stupidity and poor judgement of playing with Anger is often do not get criticised. In fact it is quite the contrary. They are the poor victims and the sympathy lies with them. While the stupidity, hate and displeasure is against the fire to the person who dared to express his or her displeasure with the natural human reaction called Anger.

Anger is certainly a negative behaviour with often severe bad consequences. In anger an individual easily tends to lose logic, and basic common sense. Rage and the need for vengeance takes over sensibilities, intelligence and tact. And it is a proven fact that people get angry for the most trivial and silliest reasons majority of the time.  A study conducted by the British Association of Anger Management a few years ago brought out some interesting statistics:

  • 45% of adults lose their temper at work
  • 33% are not in speaking terms with their neighbours due to anger
  • More than 80% of drivers have been involved in road rage incidents
  • 50% of people have reacted badly when faced with computer problems at work.
  • And (nor surprisingly) 1486 incidents of serious air rage reported by the Airlines.

Of course, the instigators are not interesting enough. The airline staff can continue to instigate and play with fire, annoying neighbours are do the same, and the tech support can always slow down your computer with the much necessary “Upgrade”.  If you react, you will need to control your anger and go to some anger management class while the Arnolds of the world can rake in the sympathies as victims.

So what is this Anger? Well, one popular website, WebMD describes it as: “..a very powerful emotion that can stem from feelings of frustration, hurt, annoyance, or disappointment. It is a normal human emotion that can range from slight irritation to strong rage.”

The website goes further to describe the consequences of suppressed anger as follows:

“Suppressed anger can be an underlying cause of anxiety and depression. Anger that is not appropriately expressed can disrupt relationships, affect thinking and behavior patterns, and create a variety of physical problems. Chronic (long-term) anger has been linked to health issues such as high blood pressure, heart problems, headaches, skin disorders, and digestive problems. In addition, anger can be linked to problems such as crime, emotional and physical abuse, and other violent behavior.”

Therefore, it is necessary to express our anger, but the key is the manner we choose to express it. As I have mentioned in my other earlier posts, our life is defined by our reactions to it. Hence it is imperative for us to carefully choose our reactions and what we choose to get angry over.

Over the years, unless instigated by constant probing, irritation, disrespect, emotional and personal punches to my ego, I have learned to control my reactions mostly. But I continue to burst out in rage when I lose control because of bottling up my frustration, hurt and annoyance. After all, it is a normal human emotion that I am trying to suppress. But what amuses me and seems to work often is what Nick and Andrew did in the story above. Walk away from the situation that angers you, or douse it with whatever I can. In most cases these are the things that helped me douse the anger:

  • Reason
  • Humour
  • Logic
  • Learning to be assertive
  • Agreeing to disagree
  • Disconnect from the discussion if it doesn’t concern me personally
  • Stop and try to understand the other persons perspective or reasons

And one of the most important thought process that has helped me manage my anger better is understanding and accepting the fact that we live in an imperfect world. Like ourselves, others tend to do mistakes too. Letting people do their share of mistakes and learning through their pitfalls is one of the grater services you can do to people.  Although it is at times at the expense of your time and emotions, the patience you can muster with some understanding will often go a long way. I am sure many of us can recollect a time when someone chose to overlook our short comings in life. Giving space to people to do mistakes and learn from it often helps them learn faster and more effectively than wasting your time and emotions of trying to advice, coach or instruct them on what is the right thing to do.

My experiences now are lot more subtle and often funny as opposed to anger and dismay. I let the speeding car that comes up and sticks to my bumper pass, only to find them stopped by a cop further down the road. When someone cuts me off on the road, I smile and let them be, and often find someone one else expend his rage and emotion at that inconsiderate driver. I choose to sit down and use the speaker phone mode when talking to customer service. I ask them very politely to explain to me why they think that their response is a reasonable one. Often they end up correcting themselves when you put them through the exercise. I try to walk away from people who are being unreasonable, and return to the discussion after giving them some time to mull over their argument and see reasons themselves. All one needs to do is state the facts and walk away. A reasonable person will often come around. And a smile often solves many things.

There are many things in life that is not worth the trouble of draining your emotions.  Many things in life tend to fix themselves. You need not be the one to take on the responsibility to fix everything that you find wrong. Do whatever you reasonably can to make things better. Unreasonable angry people will eventually learn and find ways to cool down. If they do not they will face the consequences like Arnold.

Life is too short to live as an angry teacher. But it is more gratifying to live it as an eager student.


No problem can stand the assault of sustained thinking


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“Every problem contains within itself the seeds of its own solution.” ~Stanley Arnold

Problems! Dont we all have them? Relationship problem, financial problem, technical problem, political problem, etc. The list could possibly never end.  We face problems from the day we begin to breathe. Even the most basic aspects of life begins as a problem. Unable to talk, walk, express moods, communicate, eat, were all once problems. But we didn’t see these as problems. Even in our infant stages of life without adult thinking abilities, we are naturally wired to resolve them. We try, and try again until we over come these “problems”. Perhaps it is our most basic instincts and nature to see each of these problems as challenges and approach them relentlessly as opportunities to grow. Many of us as kids often take the same approach towards over coming many of our challenges too.  We will stay up all night, fight sleep and often skip meals to repeat all the stages till we overcome all the stages until we beat it and finish that video game. And once beat that game what do we do? We go get the next tougher game to beat.

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems. – Mohandas K. Gandhi

This wonderful attitude and behaviour pattern surprisingly fades as we grow older. We lose the vigor and the attitude we take towards solving the problems we face. Certainly, the problems do become a bit more complex in life. But sadly our attitude and approach becomes lot weaker. We learn to take on more stress, worry more, procrastinate, escape from problems or find excuses. But what would life be like if we didn’t do these and continues to approach every problem in our adult life as opportunities to solve them? We would invent or develop “solutions”! Solutions to enable people to carry over 10,000 songs in a tiny chip, solutions to fly over 200 people on a 710,000 lbs of aircraft across the atlantic, solutions to over come our common or complex problems in life. The key is how we approach these “problems” in life.

“Cubixrule” is a term I came up with for the process I use to solve many things that I consider a problem. It is rather an unconventional way to approach a problem where I learned to see them as an opportunity to find or develop a solution rather than worry about it endlessly and let it consume my life and health.

The term “Cubixrule” itself was inspired from Rubik’s Cube, which I was introduced to by my older brother when I was about 11 years old. It was the hottest things in the world then. Everyone was talking about the complexities of this puzzle and were racing to figure out a solution. After several weeks I had developed a solution on my own. Ever since I learned to solve it by myself by developing a few short series of algorithms, I began to apply the belief that if I could solve such a complex puzzle, I must be able to solve many other problems as well.

Many years later, my older brother once again got me another puzzle. This time it was another puzzle developed by the same inventor Rubik again. This one was called Rubik’s clock. Along with this puzzle, my brother gave me a copy of a Time magazine in which there was a small article about this new puzzle and how the inventor himself was seeking a physical solution still. The computer suggested a few million possible solutions to this puzzle, but an actual physical solution was not developed yet. Unlike the cube this puzzle was a disc with nice clock faces on either side. The objective was to turn the four dials on the side of this puzzle and get all the nine clock hands to the 12’0 clock position on both sides.

Three and a half days later, I had solved the puzzle and had developed a 17 step solution to solve the puzzle in less than 30 seconds. Once again I applied the “Cubixrule”. By this time, I had formed a definition for this word in my mind. It was a few positive fact based statements to define the thought process to solve a given problem.

Cubixrule – is a thought process where it is believed that: “Every problem has a solution. It is only a problem until a solution is developed by someone. Therefore, every problem is nothing more than an undeveloped solution. And the challenge to be the first one to develop the solution is an opportunity to lead the world to a new higher level”

I have since often reverted to “Cubixrule” when ever I have been pushed against the wall by a problem or stressful issue in life. My mind begins to think of various possible solutions that I can possibly come up with in a short period of time. And strangely after mulling over this phase for some time, I often stumble upon the “Eureka” moment often in the middle of the night or in my dream. This eureka moment is when I come up with a solution that was earlier considered to be unthinkable, unimaginable, impossible, or often simply plain stupid. And it arrives with a sense of confidence, and vigor that never dies until I have tried it and made it work.

“Focus 90% of your time on solutions and only 10% of your time on problems.” ~Anthony J. D’Angelo

But “Cubixrule” has its challenges too. Because it involves a level of unconventional thought process, sense of immense confidence in self and determination to come up with a solution that was undeveloped ever before, it may be considered to be stupid by the world around us. Historically, when someone spends their time on doing something that is popularly considered to be as impossible, it has always been considered to be a waste, an effort in vain, and often stupid. And the challenge is not to give in to this pressure. Never!  There may be several trials, errors and failures in Cubixrule. But being persistent, logical, analytical, and realistic is a must if you are determined to succeed. It is also important to always see every failure as a lesson to learn from and build on its teachings. Always remind yourself that the problem on hand is just an undeveloped solution.

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” ~Albert Einstein

It is true when they say that: “Only the ordinary people do the most extraordinary of things”. Every scientist, politician, visionary, inventor, discoverer, musician who gave our world many wonderful things and knowledge were once considered to be ordinary. Each and every one of them faced their hardships, critics, ridicule, depression, stress and obstacles and overcame them by their own respective versions of “Cubixrule”. They each did the extraordinary. The saw the undeveloped solution and set to develop one themselves and eventually proved their world wrong.  If one digs a little deeper into any of the major inventions, processes, solutions that we enjoy today and how they were developed, we will soon learn that each one of them faced and over came their problems by seeking out the respective solutions.

How you think about a problem is more important than the problem itself – so always think positively. – Norman Vincent Peale

Likewise, we are all such ordinary people who can certainly do extraordinary things. Many of us many not realize that we have been doing many such things since our childhood. If we were people who fear failure or what people will say or think we would have never learned to walk as a child, we would have never learned to speak, learn, express our feelings, study, face the world, have relationships, grow up and succeed. But we did and continue to do such things all the time. We each faced our share of respective challenges and over came them after a few falls, failures, trials and errors. Some hurdles in life may be small and some very tough, but nevertheless, we  use our internal positive will and energy to over come them. We can move further to solve many such problems in our lives and accomplish many extraordinary things. All we got to do is to see each problem we face with our version of “CUBIXRULE” based on our objectives, will, and the desire to solve it. Be it a financial problem, a relationship, a work related, mechanical, or any problem that life throws our way, the attitude, will, and the determined approach we apply will eventually help solve it. The art is to look at the “problem” as an “opportunity” or a challenge to use all our skills, experience and intelligence to find a solution and solve it!

So, what is your problem?


Life is not being who you are…..Constructive Dissatisfaction!


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It is commonly said that we need to be who we truly are. This is of course said in the context that we need not to be what others want us to be or spend a life trying to be someone who we aren’t.  But does being who we are good enough? Is that a right goal for an individual living in a fast, progressive and competitive world?

 

We aren’t perfect people and most of us are far from being what we truly can become. We have several flaws in our habits, choices, behaviours and decisions. Some of us strive to do good and change while many spend a great deal of their lives with the desire to change but without any significant steps taken towards becoming better. A very good friend of mine once pointed out to me that one seizes to progress when they begin to believe that they are right about everything and have the best of opinions. That is absolutely true because one thing that is constant about our lives is “change”. And if we refuse change and accept the fact that we constantly need to keep learning and adapting to the knowledge we gain all through our lives.  If we do not keep learning and keep progressing we invariably get clouded with stagnant opinions, old bad habits, repeating out mistakes, addressing the same drudgery and never making any serious gains in our life. In other words we live a reactive life and fall victims to what life throws at us.

 

But there are those who change the world, do great things within their own little worlds or do great things that leaves a major impact on several others.  These are individuals who think beyond being who they are. They are constructively dissatisfied with themselves. They want to do better, change for the better themselves, they want better things in life, better family conditions, better jobs, better earning potentials, and progress. They fight the status quo, they feel the need to go beyond who they are and live to their fullest potential. These are not people who play the blame game. They take responsibility of their own lives and set out to do something with it. For many of them life is not about work, family, rest time, TV time, Beer time, and socializing time. They make time to do things differently. They take the time out of their lives to think, put the hard work required to change, self improve, learn, and progress. Some of them dream bigger, work harder, think smarter, make sacrifices, and move ahead from changing one aspect of their life at a time to another all through tier life.

 

Life isn’t fair or easy. No one ever has claimed to be so. From the richest to the poorest have their problems and moments of happiness. They each face their set of challenges and shattered dreams.  Many feel trapped with unhappy relationships, stagnant careers, hard working conditions, bills and day to day living. But there are those who do things to fix the unhappy relationships with open and constructive discussions, change careers or take on a diploma or other courses to get better jobs, look for easier jobs, manage their finances better, and progress. They do not accept their conditions. They take life by its horns and make the necessary changes. These are the people who make progress and life happier and accomplished lives.

 

The key to such progress towards a better life begins with constructive dissatisfaction. And this begins with self. Some honest introspection about our choices, character, progress, life and potential often leads to a certain level of realization for self improvement. We often see and judge ourselves by what our potential is, but others see and judge us for what our actions and accomplishments are.  Often there is a huge disparity between the two. If we truly are progressive people who love to live a successful and happier life, we need to bring these two sides of our lives closer. We need to bring our potential and dreams to meet with our actions and behaviours. There is always room for improvement, there is always a better way to do things. The need is to do it. We need to take the trouble to make things better from the inside out. Just dreams, desires, wishes and will always get us the same challenges, excuses, and same conditions of living.  We need to get off the couch and stop finding reasons and excuses for our troubles and dissatisfactions.

 

We need to be constantly constructively dissatisfied if we truly desire to change our lives and become better individuals and live a happier and accomplished life. Ask yourself what are you dissatisfied about today and get up and take action towards changing it today. There is no magical Monday to begin a change. There is no “let me start that diet on Monday”. There is no Monday to begin a positive change. Great ideas and inspiration comes at the darkest times and way past mid night. And the action begins that morning or that very moment. There aren’t any magical prayers or miracles that will help change your situation either. If there was one, everyone would be aware of it and will all be having a great life. There is just one thing that will change your situation: the old fashioned and worn out wisdom of simple “hard work”. So stop being who you are and set out to become who you can be!


Inspiration from Adversity


A few months ago I had watched Conan O Brian being interviewed by Piers Morgan on his show.  Although known for his antics and humor I like Conan for his inspirational quotes and experiences that he shares with his viewers or an audience he is asked to address. His popular address to the class of 2000 at Harvard, his 2011 Dartmouth College commencement address, or just his personal experiences and challenges have all been an inspirational and wisdom filled lessons.

Similarly, reading up several successful peoples biographies have often been a major source of inspiration to me as it has been for several others who seek to learn for other peoples experiences and struggles. As we anxiously seek to read up and learn about peoples success and learn their secrets to their individual fame and fortune, we often end up turning the last few pages of the book with a profound sense of wisdom gained and with an understanding and awe of the person for having the courage and perseverance to overcome their share of adversities and at times impossible challenges to achieve their successes. At times we also learn how their adversities changed the course of their lives to success in the form of new opportunities.

Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. ~Garth Brooks

From such knowledge we collectively learn one single and strong fact about life; that even the greatest of them all never had it easy or without problems. The road to any success for all of them have always been paved with several obstacles, hurt, pain, agony, delays,  misfortune, mistakes, blunders, and countless lessons. But with them also came, wisdom, courage, perseverance, valuable experience and amazing successes. And from learning these facts, it invariably begs the question, how ignorant or arrogant are we if we expect our success without such adversities? What makes us so special for us to expect our lives to be easier and pave our path to success with bed of roses?  Weather we expect success in our individual jobs, marriage, relationships, business, good health, sports, education, finances, parenting, or any chosen goals in life, it is almost certain that we will have to face and overcome our share of challenges.

When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Facing our challenges is very similar to how a mere stone is turned into a precious diamond. From a dirty stone in mud a diamond goes through a strenuous process of cutting, bruiting, grinding, polishing, and further cutting until all its facets are carved out to dazzle everyone.  Liked wise, our share of grinding, cutting, and hardships brings out our courage, wisdom, wit, will, perseverance and determination that enables us to dazzle others by our eventual success.

You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you. ~Walt Disney

People who succeed in their lives often learn and reinvent themselves by bring about the changes that are necessary to help then achieve their ambitions and desires. They are quick to identify their faults, self improve, struggle, and get out of their comfort zone towards attaining their dreams. For they quickly learn that they will get the same results by doing the same things over and over again, and that they need to change their ways to behaviour to drive the changes they seek towards success. They do not fear committing mistakes, they do not avoid challenges or risks, they do not choose to escape from their troubles, but they stand and face them courageously, they develop solutions to their problems, they face their adversities by staring back into its eye. Greatness comes from standing up and doing the right thing regardless of the difficulties in life, they never sacrifice their morals, values, principles and righteousness. They instead draw strength from them, they differentiate themselves from others by upholding such characteristics, and they believe in their self and never give up. From the prophets (who are considered to be the chosen ones by the creator), to several kings, scientists, leaders, sportsmen and women, experts, celebrities or businessmen, inventors or politicians, each have to go their share of challenges to succeed. There is no easy path to success.  It is almost imperative and essential to gain the wisdom and experience for everyone to not only succeeded, but to be able to handle their success and manage it with humility and greatness.

If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere. ~Frank A. Clark

Alternatively those who choose to escape hardships, run away from their troubles, choose the easier options to avoid stress or risks, do not accept to make sacrifices, choose not to change for the better and take pleasure from their status quo as oppose to challenge it, often find themselves in the same place facing the same troubles time and over again. The same monotony, the familiar problems, the sweet self sympathy, and the embraced bitterness and negativity consume their lives. Every challenge remains a problem as opposed to being an opportunity to develop a solution.  Every adversity is a reason to wallow in self sympathy and depression as opposed to face it and overcome them.  The reasons to their problems become excuses and although they remain undeserving due to their lack of positive action, they become consumed by their growing false sense of self entitlement.

Much of your pain is self-chosen. ~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, 1923

So, if you are tired of your troublesome life and the adversities you face, or have resolved to giving up on turning your life around and giving in to failure, then ask yourself what are you doing to overcome your share of adversities? None of us are any different from the other in our abilities and will to change. The difference is in our minds and choices. Everyman was just an ordinary person until they overcame their challenges to do something extraordinary and succeed. No great person or successful person has escaped life lessons and constant need to face their share of challenges and overcome them by learning new facts about life over and over again.  We live only once and life is too short in today’s fast paced and rapidly changing world. Everything we do daily changes our course and destiny. Where do you choose to be? It is your choice and nothing can stop you from getting where you want to go in our life.  When we learn to compare our troubles with those several others who face physical disabilites, health challenges, famine, war, loss of loved ones, etc, we will quickly find shame in voicing our adversities. Remember that to become a greater fighter or a tennis player, it is important to choose an opponent to practice who is better and stronger then yourself to become good. Hence learn to see your adversities as your challenging sparring partner.

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism. ~Norman Vincent Peale


Conscience is your Compass


 

 

Fear is the tax that conscience pays to guilt. ~ George Sewel

I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death. Leonardo da Vinci

The strange thing about us human beings is that we often spend a lot of time and energy searching for ideas, and answers which often are found within ourselves. Many blame the world and everything they can and some often find their answers within. One of the most important answer we often seem to seek is: if we are doing the right thing? Or is what we are doing good for us? And as many accomplished and successful people have pointed out based on their own experiences: “listen to your inner voice or gut feeling”. Somehow this inner voice seems to know all the right answers and helps guide you often to the right things in life. And when we do something wrong it begins to eat us up from inside with guilt. But this inner voice is only heard if one pays attention and takes the effort to query or listen to it. And it only works if you take the necessary positive actions to do the right thing. This magical phenomenon that all of us have been gifted with is almost like a divine compass called Conscience. This is also often referred to as the inner God, or the God within us. Like all the greatest gifts that we have, Conscience is also another intangible and immeasurable possession like love, feelings, thinking etc.

Conscience is often found as a feeling of remorse when a human being commits actions that go against his or her moral values and beliefs. Conscience is like an aptitude, intuition or judgment of our thoughts and behaviours that distinguishes right from wrong. And us humans are asked to invoke this conscience universally through all religious belief systems and by means of any basic intellectual norms.

The word “conscience” is derived from the Latin word conscientia, meaning “privity of knowledge” or “with-knowledge”. The English word implies internal awareness of a moral standard in the mind concerning the quality of one’s motives, as well as a consciousness of our own actions. Conscience may be defined as the practical reason employed when applying moral convictions to a situation The many philosophers, or saints often ask to invoke our conscience to develop it, as they themselves do through daily contemplation or meditation combined with selfless service to others. Such developed state of conscience helps create a strong sense of intuitive insight or revelation to many. This helps a person to use their intellect towards positive and humane causes, pursue further knowledge, be self critical with the focus of self improvement and on a general level apply fair justice in his or her life.

The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience. Mohandas Gandhi

Yet we, the most developed and gifted species choose to live by killing our own conscience. Our pride, ego, anger and prejudice help us do things against our very own conscience until it is too late. The sad fact is that while one does things that go against their own moral values or beliefs, the conscience keep telling them that it is wrong. Once we do things against our conscience and fail, our conscience begins to hurt us with the feeling of severe guilt. But instead of taking the necessary positive steps to undo the damage many still continue to stifle this inner voice with rage and anger or drown it in intoxication. We the intelligent, civilized and knowledgeable species choose such.

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson

It is plain common sense that many of our personal and worlds’ ills are result of actions in rage and blind fury. The things we say to hurt others, the things we do to hurt others and ourselves, the greed we posses, the prejudice we hold, the disrespect we show are some of the things we do often against our conscience. The violent killings, the communal riots, steeling, damaging things, wars, or theft are all things that people do against their basic human moral values and beliefs. The greatest crimes against humanity are often over the deliberate killing of our own conscience. The person who commits the atrocity and the person who witnesses it and chooses to close their door on the facts and reality are both guilty of killing their own conscience.

Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it. Albert Einstein

But this gift of conscience is a wonderful thing. It is the conscience that makes the individual set out to accomplish great feats and do the impossible, it makes people charitable, invokes the wealthy to become philanthropists, invokes love, compassion, and righteousness. It makes us become better people, do greater things in life, and helps us succeed.

All credibility, all good conscience, all evidence of truth come only from the senses. Friedrich Nietzsche

Development of Conscience:

Most people live with a self conceived idea and parameters of morality. It may be okay to lie a little but not to deceive or they may be comfortable to speak just to the advantages of doing something but choose to hide the negatives. But in general terms there is limit to who they choose to do and what they do not based on their moral values and comfort. These limits they choose change though time based on their individual experiences, social pressures and norms, or communal rituals and belief systems. But the conscience within eventually brings about a sense of balance as an individual evolves. But until such time the turmoil one can endure often affects their success and happiness in life.

When freedom does not have a purpose, when it does not wish to know anything about the rule of law engraved in the hearts of men and women, when it does not listen to the voice of conscience, it turns against humanity and society. Pope John Paul II

So, how can one develop sound and balanced approach towards nurturing their conscience and morality to live a happy, content, and successful and guilt free life?

There are several theories based on studies of set groups. But it takes some honest self criticism and the will to self develop to come up with some key objectives:

1) One needs to see the need to self develop and the need to adhere to balanced and just moral values and conduct. This in turn helps develop their inner conscience on sound principles which will allow them to do what is right and make them feel bad when they go against it.

2) Fair judgement on balanced opinions and values. This can be practiced by not immediately reacting to any given situation. Exercising calm and some thinking can always help take a positive approach towards issues at hand. This becomes crucial to control haste and anger where patience and understanding would be more valuable.

3) Respect and Equality for one and all. This would avoid people holding prejudice and tame ones ego. People who do not practice this often continue to live a life of arrogance, and self indulgence at the cost of other people’s happiness, self respect and peace. But they also live a life of continuous fight against their inner guilt and general level of discontent about everything in life.

Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, something is out of tune. Carl Jung

Life is too short to waste time over petty behaviours and toiling in guilt. Many of our ills and unhappiness are out of our own choices and actions in life which are often against out very one divine gift called conscience. By awakening and living in tune with our own conscience we can build better lives for ourselves, make more progress, co exist happily with one and other, live happier and become successful based on moral and clear thinking without the fear of guilt.

Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire, called conscience. George Washington


To live a life of GRATITUDE……


For each new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends, For everything Thy goodness sends. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I wake up with a sever head ache often. Lying on the bed and staring at the ray of morning sun light on the wall that breaks through the curtains into my room, I reluctantly think of my sad life briefly and curse every moment of it. Why do these things happen to me? what did I do wrong to deserve this?, why cant anyone understand me or just simply reciprocate my honesty and genuine love with theirs? What does it take for people to be nice and honest?…… this bloody job I go to go to this morning… ah! I hate this life, I hate it vehemently and I hate everythign about it!

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.  ~Epictetus

These were the things I used to think almost every single morning after my divorce a few years ago. These feelings and thoughts were often compounded by the drudgery of day to day living with my bitter self and extremely critical and cynical outlook towards life. And I loved it! It soothed my soul with self pity. I could cuddle my thoughts and my love and pain for self and sleep away in my tears until the next time the sun breaks through those bloody curtains in my room. A lifestyle as my beloved brother so eloquently puts it: “wallowing like a hippo in a swamp”. A despicable life of absolute ungratefulness, total disregard to the people who still love me, support me, care about me, and disrespect to my work, my colleagues, their collective support and understanding and all the wonderful things I am gifted with in my life.

After the daily ritual of waking up with such extreme negativity I choose to conveniently forget the wonderful shower I have under the 10 inch Rain shower head that I had installed, sit in my super gorgeous Audi A6, listen to the soothing music on my Sirius Sat Radio, and glide to the prestigious company that I work for. I treat myself to a fancy lunch with my colleagues, return home in the evening and visit my brothers house and share a few million laughs with my ever entertaining and extremely funny nephews, get smothered in love, affection, concern from my family, then continue to meet with my friends and enjoy a few drinks and share a few more laughs and get back to my dungeon late at night. Dungeon: that is exactly where I lived. A nice 3 bedroom brightly lit house filled with old bad memories and my lonely self. And then I continue to wallow like a hippo in a swamp.

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues. — Cicero

Oh yes. I did many other things I could to divert my attention and try to appreciate the pain and sorrow of others. I sponsored a child, gave away money as much as I could with all the generosity I could muster. I helped everyone as usual without any regard for self and my own need for rest, money, security etc. All and anything I could do to help others as I always do and even more now. Volunteer at the local shelter for the homeless, donate food to the food bank, and be as charitable as I possibly can be.

Feeling grateful or appreciative of someone or something in your life actually attracts more of the things that you appreciate and value into your life. — Christiane Northrup

But what I never did was be grateful for what I have and the amazing life I could live where I could do all these wonderful things for other, become useful for self and others, and the endless love, support and the joy I enjoy from my family and friends. The concept of Thankfulness and Gratitude didn’t exist in my swamp! Not a single bit! Yeah, yeah! They told me everything I knew already. Be positive, look at the tragedies other people have gone through and still continue to be positive in life, take up a hobby, appreciate life so on and so forth. But they haven’t been hurt like I have. They haven’t experienced my pain. How world they know? They were never betrayed, they weren’t emotionally abused, looted, pillaged and lived through what I called a “Shakespearean “betrayal! Ha! Advice is cheap! Save your breadth, do not teach me the things I already know, but just simply keep giving me love and sympathy. That is all I needed now. And I continued to become a bitter person every day and morphed into this obese sloth that always had something negative or cynical to say about almost everyone or anything that I came across. Look at that idiot how he is driving his car, stupid waitress, ruthless boss, unjust and over demanding customers, lazy goal keeper, bloody airline staff, and thus the list continued.

To live a life of gratitude is to open our eyes to the countless ways in which we are supported by the world around us. Such a life provides less space for our suffering because our attention is more balanced. We are more often occupied with noticing what we are given, thanking those who have helped us, and repaying the world in some concrete way for what we are receiving. — Gregg Krech

Then one fine day, I woke up just simply tired! TIRED! Tired of being me, and what I had become. No, I didn’t have any life altering experience, no incident of intense inspiration, no epiphany, no bolt of lightning! Just simply woke up totally tired of being a despicable negative slob. I dragged myself to the mirror in the washroom. Took a good look at myself. And there I found this animal I never knew. Jouls hanging like a bulldog, a big pot belly, man boobs, unkept 70’s style long hair, a permanent frown, bags under my eyes, and just horribly haggard. And I couldn’t help think of this whole world around me and how they continued to still respect me, tolerate me, love me, and support this monster I had become. This negative, ugly, bitter and ungrateful monster, that I myself would never want to do anything with.

I soon began to realize a few very important things as I continued to ponder on what I had in my life as opposed to wallowing on what I didn’t have. I am an intelligent person with great wisdom. I am free and without any serious responsibility but for my own self. I have sufficient time on my hands. I am educated, smart and well informed. People value my opinions, seek my advice often, some look at to me for guidance or inspiration. I am nothing short of a perfectly able person with the ability to think on my own and free to choose how I want to live. And yet I chose to live the way I did. There was nothing holding me back to achieve what ever I wanted or desired for. And if there were any obstacles on my chosen path, like they always do, I could certainly come up with something to overcome them or avoid them based on my skills, intelligence and choice. But in order for me to help choose to make this very necessary charge towards a positive life I needed to do one thing first. I had to realize and deeply understand the amazing things I am truly blessed with. I needed to learn to appreciate the things and people around me with absolute honesty and humility. I had to learn to be grateful!

What if you gave someone a gift, and they neglected to thank you for it–would you be likely to give them another? Life is the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, you must truly appreciate what you already have. — Ralph Marston

Since then, my life has been pretty good. I laugh at the silliness of the drivers in rage, I have learned to be more patient with the waitress, understanding of my bosses challenges and limitations, more empathetic of my customers situations, cheer on the goal keeper for at least trying his best to stop the puck,  request for the window seat as opposed to rudely demand at the check in counter, and understand their challenges too and do not expect to get a window seat and be pleasantly surprised when I get one. Life became easier, and suddenly I begin to notice nicer people, kinder people, more smiles and tolerance. With this came the can do attitude, the courage, the art of working towards solutions as opposed to worry about problems, and above all making better choices and taking full responsibility for my choices and the resulting outcome.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. — Marcel Proust

I believe that all of us are too busy in our respective lives lost in our work, sorrows, pains, relationships and momentary self gratification my accruing materialistic things. We are too busy satisfying our bosses, our friends or loved ones, or just pampering our own self, our inflated egos, our sorrows and complexes. And being lost in this fast changing indulgence of momentary experiences of small satisfactions we often neglect the very core things, people, and experience that nurtures, feeds and holds our soul. These are often the experiences and things that mater the most in our lives, which we unfortunately only realize after having lost them.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.  ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

So, take some time from your life to think about those people who hold you, understand you, support you, and care about you. Take some time to list the wonderful things that you have in your life for a change. Take the time to count your blessings. And think how your life would be without these people, and things. And when you will naturally experience the appreciation of these people and things, get up and go express your gratitude. Express your gratitude just in words but by your actions, deeds and the way you honor them by taking care of your life. And there beings your first step towards living a truly happier and satisfying life.

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.  ~William Arthur Ward

A few things you can do to become a more thankful being and appreciate life more.

  • Count your blessings, the things you have and the people who are always there for you (in person, morally, emotionally etc)
  • Enjoy what you have and do not cry over the things what you don’t. But also work towards getting the things you desire. They will not come to you by being bitter. Work towards it, earn it.
  • Exercise your choices in life and choose to be positive and better. Not negative and bitter.
  • Be generous and help others. By sharing their problems that you can help diminish will help you appreciate the problems that you do not have. Offer to help others if and when you can.
  • Be charitable. Support those who are less fortunate.
  • Thank others as much as you can. Express and show your appreciation for the things they do for you. Send a thank you note, give a hug, phone them and let them know you appreciate their presence in your life.
  • Practice some self criticism in an effort to self improve always. Learn to look at your life as an opportunity to do something positive as opposed to wasting it away in worries, anger, bitterness and hatred.
  • Turn your negativity to positive behaviour and inspire others to do so.
  • Earn others respect and love by developing a fine character and behaviour.
  • At times, take a break, stop, breadth and soak in the abundance of natural surrounding you are blessed with that you can enjoy.
  • Appreciate life, and the good health you have. It will evetually fade away and your end will be very near. Trst me this does happen too fast.
  • Make efforts to bring joy and happiness to everyone you touch in your this short life. You live only once and for a very short time. Let people remember you for your good rather than your bad.

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