After an hour or two of the daily evening walk, I tell myself that I should go back home and read. But sometimes, I want to keep walking with my friend. I want to sleep at 4 am after Netflixing zombie movies back to back. I want to wake up late and then write and let the day design its own schedule.
But during those zombie movies, I keep looking at the watch. The MacBook throws the battery low warning but I don’t plug in the charger as I want the computer to sleep its natural course. And then we can sleep too. But then we stay awake some more and talk about our lives.
As every hour passes by, I realize that my waking up time is getting shifted by one hour and that I had to sleep early and start the next day with a fresh run in the morning. But I continue the conversation as that was what I wanted to do in that moment.
And the next day, when I start writing at 11, I brood over the valuable time that I lost by getting up late.
Why can’t we do what we want to do when we want to do?
Why do we think about the future — the most uncertain and unpredictable — and not about now?
What do we want out of life?
Why do we wait for Sundays to lunch with our family?
Why do we make a house and live in it and go to the office and come back to do the same all over again?
How do we choose between ambition and happiness?
In today’s noisy world, choosing what to care about is important.
Our brain neurons still keep sending messages even when we want to stop thinking. Sometimes, it is impossible to control our thoughts.
We hang out with our friends on a Wednesday evening or a Saturday night. We listen to music or Netflix or drink — to take our mind off things we do not want to think about, anymore.
Imagine — if we could be in that chill phase all the time. If we could block the redundant noise.
We think about two kinds of things:
- The ones that are important
- And the ones that are not
Unimportant things cloud our mind like the winter fog. Except that they never clear out even when the sun shines out our window.
Here is some of the fog that we can lift.
Benjamin Franklin needs no introduction.
We all have heard about him but I am not sure how much we really know about his life and activities.
A thinker, inventor, scientist, publisher, writer, diplomat, advisory, soldier, founder of hospitals and libraries, designer of bills, member of the assembly, and more.
You might have skimmed through these words without actually reading them.
I do the same when I read about someone great on Wikipedia — they always seem to have accomplished so much in different areas.
But when you read about their personal life, sometimes their autobiography, you understand that they were also humans like us. You start relating to them.
Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography was one such read.
His disciplines and manners — if practiced — can really shake up the current world and our restless generations.
I went to Chile in July 2016.
Going to South America was the best decision of my life. That vibrant continent added an additional layer in my personality. It was like discovering rosemary suddenly.
I learned so much in those nine months that I would not have in many years in my home country — India.
I started speaking a new language — Spanish, made friends from all over the world, taught English, lived with complete strangers from different continents, ended up loving them, experienced the Latin American culture closely, traveled to places that I had no idea existed, and met people who continue to love me.
The Spanish accent in Orange is the New Black was the initial pull but there is a difference between the fictional world and the real one. In fiction, everything looks glamorous. In reality, it is not.
Except that it was.
South America gave me a new energy and a new outlook.
I did not know all of this when I left. Then why did I leave?
Some people I have been reading about,
some thoughts that I take to my shower,
some videos that I have been watching,
and some activities that I have been appreciating.
What is mindfulness? What can we learn from Buddha’s mindfulness to live a better modern day, practical life?
The meditation, Yoga, and spirituality guru Osho said that when you are not thinking about the past or future or now contains all the time and there is no then — when a cuckoo calling, a train passing, a dog barking, is all you hear — when this is all and there is no that — when the world here is your whole reality and there is no there — you are in the state of sammasati or mindfulness.
You are absolutely present. Then you reflect and engage in reality without any distraction or expectation.
Mindfulness or awareness is to know what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Why do we need a purposeful, meaningful life?
We are born, we start breathing, do a few things like school, college, job, and then die. Each one of us — hopefully — adds something to the world, we all evolve, become smarter, and this repeats.
In the end, we do not come out alive then why does everything — a broken relationship, a lay off, a fight at work, a stomach ache, a smartwatch — matter so much? What is it all adding up to? Evolution?
It is adding up to life — to these moments that the life is collectively composed of.
Why is it important to have a purpose, meaning to our life? So that all these moments together are a melodious song and not a cacophonous cry.