Tag Archives: #liveinthenow

What Am I Going To Do With My Life?

I just finished watching, ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ on Netflix, based on a novel by Walter Tevis. To summarize, it’s about an orphan who is a chess prodigy and how she battles the demons of her mother’s death and wins at chess – dealing with drugs, addiction, loneliness.

It is quite thrilling for a movie about chess. It took all of my will power to restrain myself my googling the ending or moving the cursor forward. What caught my attention was the statement by her adorable friend Jolene who says, ‘Girl, you have been the best at what you do for so long that you do not even know what it is like for the rest for us.’

And I also recall a video from Brene Brown where she says that in today’s world all of us want to be the best. And in a room full of people – if you apply the law of averages it is not possible. All of us cannot be the best, and this means only some of us will be the best and not that rest of us are not the best. This is where society’s fixation on the top three or five has skewed the entire world.

I want to speak to the person who first introduced the concept of first and attached so much importance to it that is outright silly or illogical. My litmus test these days is to ask myself, ‘What would an alien say?’ And if an alien did come to earth, sat through all the games – regional, quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals – and saw that people only spoke about the person who came first – what would his response be.

He would be flabbergasted – it’s like preparing for a hundred-mile walk and only talking about the last step across the winning line. He would probably laugh saying that we have missed the point of the race or the walk or the competition or even LIFE. We focus only on 1% of the life which society shines a light on – what about the 99% which is us. Sadly for most of us, we never get to discover what is essential for us. Most of us go through the life trying to live the life we believe we chose BUT believe it or not society – our unconsciousness had a big role to play in it.

Don’t believe me – then tell me one thing in your life that you would do even if you were penniless. If you can think of one – good, I commend you for maintaining sanity in the mad world. Let me ask you this – would you still do that one thing if no one was watching?

That is the litmus test – what matters most to you? The journey or the end or both. And to find out what ONLY YOU are best at – let life flow through you – be life and then the question – what am I going to do with my life DOES NOT MATTER.

Will you be one with life and let it flow through you?

You can find it – NOW

Meditation, Spiritual, Journey, Self, Isha, Tolle, Yoga, Consciousness, Presence – these have become buzzwords today. Almost everybody I know is aware of these things even if they are not actively practising. There is an aura or mystery around the whole spiritual journey which feels to be very remote from our day to day lives. For an ordinary householder who has a family to feed, a job to go to this seems irrelevant or impractical. And also to some unattainable unless you are going to sacrifice everything in your life or become a monk.

The reality is – that is not the case. It does not matter who you are – your race, wealth, family, gender – none of it matters. Each one of us can achieve inner peace NOW.

Imagine a drop of water longing to be an ocean. It keeps saying that it is stuck in a river, and there is no way it can experience the vastness of the sea or feel its unfathomable depths. What we forget is that the very essence of the drop of water or an ocean or a river is H2O. If the drop of water realizes that – then the vastness/depth of the ocean will not matter as much. Now, I am aware that this sounds very esoteric so I will switch to other examples.

Have you ever watched a beautiful sunrise, or a rainbow or a lovely tree or a flower? Have you ever watched a beautiful bride and cried? Have you ever looked at a baby or a young child and felt indescribable joy? If, the answer to any of this is yes – then you have already experienced inner peace within you. It might have been for a tiny fraction of second, but you have. Eckhart Tolle says that without these kinds of spaces, we would go mad.

Or, let’s say you have wanted something a car, promotion, a bigger house and you get it. At that moment for a brief second, you are happy because at that moment you are fulfilled.

And you know why we cry or feel so much joy and peace – because at that moment we have no thought. We experience the situation for it is – nothing is lacking or added. The moment as it is perfect. And to be honest, that is all there is – the present moment, NOW. If we can increase the span of time, we feel that space of ‘no-thing’ or no thought we will live in joy.

You can actively, consciously become aware of such moments, or you can induce them as needed. Please take a look at anything around you, be your dog, house plant or leaf anything and look at it without labelling it, or interpreting it. You will experience no-thought for a microsecond which will turn into seconds, minutes, hours – and an entire lifetime. And you will notice that when you genuinely look/see/hear or experience something in this manner, it will become more beautiful, melodious.

If it weren’t possible, we wouldn’t be discussing it. A part of us wants the inner joy and peace – that is why we do what we do.

How will you find space today?

Growing Old

Incident 1: I turned thirty years old, and I remember talking to my dad who is a realist in all sense. I told him, “Can you believe it I am thirty years old?” And his response was, “Yes, and in another ten years you will be forty and another ten you will be fifty.”

Incident 2: I was serving at Vipassana and had a conversation with one of the other younger servers. She asked, “Who is your favorite Bollywood actor. I answered, “Aamir Khan.” Her response was, “He is good, but he is old.”

Incident 3: We had a get-together at my place, and the conversation turned to boyfriends, crushes, etc. One of the girls was narrating how she loved somebody, and he lacked the courage to bring it up to his family. A few others chimed in with their experiences. And during that conversation, I realized that how long ago since I had one of such experiences – it was a long time ago.

I am sure you have got the gist of the topic by now – growing old. It happens to all of us, and it is inevitable. But we still live life like it is never going to happen to us until it happens. When you are young, it is understandable – now when somebody looks at my photos and comments – “Boy, you look so young here.” I suppress the urge to say, “It will happen to you in the next few years.” They don’t know because they haven’t crossed that stage yet.

But once the realization hits you, there is no reason not to accept it and live life fully because you have the experience. The question, “What would your younger-self advise older self ten years from now?” is relevant here. What are the things you did before that you can change now because you know it’s not worth it or it doesn’t matter or make sure you cherish it as it does matter?

Living life entirely does put things in perspective. All the heartbreaks, the anxiety of getting an interview, getting into school was a tiny blip compared to the lessons I learned, memories I made in that process. In London Business School, a few of us got a lot of rejections for various companies. What I remember about that is the overnight conversations on the run-down couch with cups of chai in our St. Johnswood flat. The case studies were a real mystery to me but what I remember is the pasta dish my friend used to make when we were supposed to studying. I also remember the pangs of loneliness when my relationships did not work out, but it taught me some of the hardest lessons in life – patience, things happen when the time is right, something are just not meant to be. There are a lot more nuggets that my conscious mind remembers, and I am 200% sure that there are a lot more than my subconscious mind knows.

We do have the advantage of hindsight in some fashion – but the key is to be aware of now. If you are not fully aware of now, then you will not be able to take advantage of it and reap the benefits later on.