Monthly Archives: April 2021

Are We Lying To Ourselves?

Have you ever been in a situation where you did something without remembering you just did that? Take a shower without realizing it or driving home from the office or travelling on a tube and may be missed your stop. Your mind was so engrossed in something that you forget what you are ‘actually’ doing. 

Has it ever happened that your body reacts to something which is not accurate because it sees/hears/tastes or touches something? I remember standing on the escalator in Warren Street tube station, watching the ads on the sides of the walls. One of the ads was about a hamburger, and my mouth started salivating even though I was a budding Vegan).

We have six sense doors – smell, sight, sound, taste, touch and our thoughts. And our body is blind without these. Our body gets a sense of what is going on in the outside world only through these sense doors. 

Let’s connect the dots. Your mind has a strong habit, also called conditioning, of never being in the present moment. It lives mainly in the past or the future. For the most part, you are playing out the movie that the thoughts in your head are displaying. And if your mind is one of the sense doors, then your body starts to react to it as if it were real.

For example, you missed your tube in the morning, or you had a fight with your boss – and on your way home, you replay that incident in your head. Your physical body is sitting in the tube, but it reacts as if you are fighting your boss now. But, at the same time, a part of you knows that you are sitting in the tube – because you cannot deny it. Your feet on the floor, your bum is uncomfortable on the cushion.

What happens to a piece of string when pulled in two different directions? Or when you apply pressure on metal in different positions. They will break or become brittle and will not be able to perform the essential functions. This is what we do to our bodies all day long. We are somewhere, but we trick our body into thinking we are somewhere else. We may be in the car, but we are thinking about how nice our childhood was or how bad our childhood was. You may be eating your dinner, but you are thinking about your last vacation. No wonder stress is one of the significant issues on the planet earth today.

Merriam Webster dictionary defines hypocrisy as a feigning to be what one is not or believe what one does notbehaviour that contradicts what one claims to believe or feel. In this sense, are we all not hypocrites – doing something but accepting something else is real. And we go through our lives without really living. And even worse, our poor bodies have no idea what is going on. One Minute they are excited about getting the promotion, and the next, they are worried about the rise. Can you imagine what it does to your body? What happened to the body being a temple?

How are you treating your body?

Do Ducks need to go to Ivy League? And Humans?

A few weeks ago, we saw Mr and Mrs Duck looking for suitable accommodation for producing ducklings. They looked far and wide, from our sidewalk to the pond few blocks away. And our dog Aki was always excited to play with the ducks.

And then we did not see them, so we assumed they had settled on a place. A few days ago, when Adam was taking Aki for a walk, he sniffed in the bush right in front of our house, and a duck came out of it. Adam looked inside the bush, and to his surprise, he saw a concerned duck sitting on her eggs.

I was curious, so I decided to take a look. And if I did not know that there was a duck in the bush – there is no way I would have known that the duck was in the bush. From the outside, all I could see was the bush. Even when I looked inside, I had to really look to see the duck as she was camouflaged so well. Hopefully, we will get to see the little ducklings come out into the world.

It made me wonder, though – ducks do not go to schools to learn how to find a nesting place. They do not go to ivy league schools to get a fancy degree. Yet, the places they find are THE BEST. This is true for birds and their nests – be it rain or wind, the nest stays put. It is inbuilt in them. Nature and everything in nature has an innate quality that guides them – they have an inbuilt compass.

Now that leads us to the question – what is inbuilt in us? As we are also part of nature right. We are not separate from the rest of the planet. This is where it gets tricky – because, for most of us, we have lost touch with ourselves even to understand what is innate to us. Let’s spend a little bit of time on this.

The one thing that differentiates us from other beings is our Mind – which creates a self-image. Humans are the only creatures on the planet who have a relationship with themselves. I am happy. I am sad. I am so good. I hate myself. I love myself. I am bored. It’s like we are two people – I and Myself. Isn’t that weird? My dog does not go around thinking about him – he does not have a relationship with himself – Thank God!

If we are not even sure who we are – I or myself then how we can get in touch with what is innate in us? It is like the ocean and the ripples on the ocean. If we think we are the ripples all the time, how will we discover the oceanic depths?

The next question is how do we do get in touch with the deeper dimension in us. Awareness is the first step – recognizing that the voice in the head is not YOU. It is pretending to be you so that it can stay alive.

Are you ready to go beyond thought to who you really are?

This Is A Robbery in the NOW

March 18th, 1990 – St Patrick’s day in Boston, 13 priceless art pieces go missing (Robbed) from the Isabella Stewart Gardner’s Museum. Fast forward almost thirty-one years later – paintings are still missing. The empty frames are still hung in the museum expecting the art pieces to show up someday.

This is the premise of the docuseries ‘This is a Robbery’ from Netflix. Watching the four-episode series felt like the slow unveiling of an intriguing painting. For example, one of the stolen paintings was Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee. The Storm on the Sea of Galilee is the only seascape ever painted by Rembrandt. It depicts Jesus calming the waves of the sea, saving the lives of the fourteen men aboard the vessel. Of these fourteen men, Rembrandt included a self-portrait of himself in the boat, next to Jesus and his twelve disciples.

There is a lot of items that happen in the series – reporters who find informers, get clues; Museum guards who are suspects, hippies; Mafia people who get murdered and some are still suspects; Museum staff like director, boards and their corporate politics; even two passersby who were the only witness; FBI, Boston police who are trying their best – But no paintings.

Often, you hear the characters say – that if this happened today, things would be different. In those days catching a mafia don was more critical than finding art. In those days, climate control in the museum was more critical than security. Those days the protocols around missing evidence were not as advanced. Isn’t that true always? Hindsight is always 20-20. 

What caught my eye in this whole series were the following things. 

Happy New Year 2020 with Glasses isolated on yellow background

First, it is not easy to see the accurate picture – you have to see multiple sides of the story before you even get a sense of what is going on.

Second, art is sacred to the people who understand it. The passion and zeal in people’s eyes when they talk about the painting strikes a resonant chord in your true being.

Third, corporations or big companies can only play at being nimble. There is something inherently faulty with the way they work. Museum knew that their security was vulnerable and that the mobs were casing it – but still, it didn’t click.

Last but not least – everything is temporary. Imagine your photo album. Right now, you look at it and see two people on a canoe. It is your white water rafting trip. A few years down, your grandkids know that photo as their grandparent’s canoe trip. A few years down the line, it is just a photo of two people doing what was cool years ago. It makes you wonder what is life all about. What I was ok at ten years ago – I am a lot better today. And something I was excellent at years ago – not so much now. What matters is the moment – ‘the NOW’ when you are doing it. 

How in the world did this blog end here from the Robbery – I do not know. But, I guess this is what looking at an authentic piece of art feels like.

What are you doing in the NOW?

Oops – I Made A Mistake!

As some of you may know, I took a new role [Read a bit about it in this blog]. I changed my profession. And being the kind of person I am, I read a book called ‘The First 90 Days’ as I transitioned into my job. One of the exercises is to evaluate how complex the move is, and my change was difficult at all levels – new area, a new profession, a new team and a lot happening in the role. 

In the past, I have made moves with unrealistic expectations of myself being a superstar the day I started. This time I thought I had set my expectations correctly – of learning for a year and give myself grace. Setting expectations did not prepare me for the actual thing – ‘You cannot tell how it is until you experience it.’ And it’s been such a long time since I had made a change. I forgot what it was like to struggle, feel like you are underwater some if not most of the times, realize that you just don’t something even if it is required for you to know. And worst of all, I did not consider I will make mistakes – things will happen that shouldn’t have. 

And I acknowledge my emotional maturity just because I can say – I am struggling, or I made a mistake publicly. It is ok to be vulnerable. Do not get me wrong – this experience, however painful it is right now, is precisely what I wanted when I took the new role. But it does not make it any easier as I go through the experiences. 

What am I learning from this situation? It feels like a time of change and upheaval in my life. I need these experiences to realize how much I have grown. Remind myself that the universe does not give me anything that I cannot handle. It will require me to dig deeper into my inner reserves of courage, patience and growth (more than now). Maybe it will teach me the much-needed lesson of humility. And strengthen my practice of looking at the entire picture. For every challenging experience I have – I have pleasant experiences. Connection with people, bonding with my team, the little aha as I learn something, feeling that you are using all parts of your brain. The feeling of quiet satisfaction when I realize I am fully capable of what the situation requires of me, newness, fresh perspectives, no judgements – not feeling bored. It has made me realize the importance of laughter – not to take life too seriously.

And most importantly, an opportunity to revisit what is essential in my life. Every painful situation is a way out of suffering. It is a reminder to ground myself even deeper in the NOW. This is the time to put into practice all that life has prepared you for. The question to ask is not what I want from my life but what life wants of me. Be the conduit for life.