Even though I haven’t written for the last two weeks, I’ve seen a flurry of activity on my website with new readers liking my posts and new followers subscribing to the blog. Thank you for all the support and kind words – it truly keeps me going :).
Two weeks after observing my mind and emotions, it became easier to feel inspired. The next eight days were marked with celebrations, rejoicing in others’ happiness, and a commitment to give back. So here’s the third edition of 32 Things I’ve Learned:
- I’ve learned to rejoice in other people’s good fortune. Sure, we are happy for the people in our lives when we hear of a happy development. But are the “best wishes” really our “BEST” or is it just the right thing to say? Do we congratulate them whole-heartedly on accomplishments without feeling competitive or threatened? In celebrating a very good friend’s wedding and a close friend’s pregnancy news, I made sure that I actually took a moment to sincerely be happy and excited for them just by thinking of all the wonderful things life has in store for them. I took a moment to pray for their well-being and happiness by making a sincere wish that they get only the best that life has to offer.
- I’ve learned that true friends give what they can because they truly care. Most of us enter into a relationship, a friendship, a partnership in order to get something, to feel good about ourselves. At this friend’s wedding, I realized that friendship is about giving unconditionally. This friend nurtured me, supported me and gave me confidence when I’d lost it all. And from all the speeches at his reception I realized that he was a giver because he was surrounded by true friends who gave him all they could!
- I’ve learned the difference between constructive and destructive doubts. After being part of a Sangha (i.e. a spiritual collective) for over a year, I doubted if it was for me. I felt as if my spiritual path had derailed. But a wise soul in the Sangha pointed out what I was going through was constructive scepticism that wonders about the risks and pitfalls of a chosen path. Destructive doubtfulness stems from the negative thinking that single-pointedly dwells on the issues and problems if only hoping to fail.
- I’ve learned to find peace in wishing for the happiness of others. Ever realized that our mind is constantly looking for ways to fulfil our wishes? In reality, our mind’s strong attachment to fulfilling our wishes prevents us from finding happiness and inner peace. But when we focus our mind towards fulfilling the wishes of others or be concerned with the suffering of others, we instantly find inner peace and happiness.
- I’ve learned to believe that everyone deserves a chance at life no matter their circumstance. In principle, most of us agree that people living with mental and/or addiction challenges should have an opportunity to live a normal life. Yet, every time we are around them, a vision of a violent person attacking random strangers pops in our head when, in reality, most people with mental illness are non-violent. I recently started volunteering with a social impact organization that provides financing to people living with mental illness and/or addictions who are interested in being self-employed. And after meeting some of these young people that display such a positive attitude towards life, I believe they are no less deserving of financial independence than those that aren’t mentally challenged.
- I’ve learned there is a child-like innocence in all of us. September 20th was one of the most important Hindu festivals – Ganesh Chaturthi (i.e. the birthday of Lord Ganesha or the infamous elephant-headed God of Hindus). While scouring the internet for an image of the adorable deity to post on my Facebook page, I came across one that displays the quintessential elements of the deity – innocence and wisdom. The main quality of Lord Ganesha is innocence, the innocence of a child wholly devoted and obedient to his Mother – Parvati. Innocence should not be confused with immaturity or naivety; innocence is being completely aware and dynamic without any interference of the mind. If you want to learn it, spend an hour with a child!
- I’ve learned to be part of the solution instead of the problem. So I jumped on the iPhone 5 bandwagon. But before I could enjoy my new toy, I couldn’t help but notice the negativity around the flaws of the new iPhone . The one that baffled my mind was the constant chatter about the iOS6 maps. How about making an effort to “Report a Problem” instead of bashing the team that may have launched the feature pre-maturely and without adequate testing? Needless to say, a lot of us would be lost without our gadgets. Then why is it difficult for us to give thanks to those who put the product in our hands? On a lighter note: check out this episode of Tech Talk for a little tech-related humiliation 😛
- I’ve learned that size doesn’t matter, attitude does. A friend of mine, who owns a year-old 100 pound Doberman, brought home a three-week old Bengal kitten. When I went to play with the kitten I realized how terrified she was of the big dog running around. But what inspired me most was her attitude. She tip-toed around the perimeter of the living room instead of staying in a corner – careful but brave. At one time, she even stood beside the 100 pounder and looked up to him – courage in the face of adversity. She came up to her owner to get some warmth for nap-time – needy but self-sufficient. Look around you, everything small or big has a story to inspire you with.
Most of us have pure hearts, mean well and don’t intend to hurt any one else. If we constantly remind ourselves of this simple human behaviour, I am confident that we will find it within us to have meaningful relationships with everyone we interact with.