Posts Tagged With: Philosophy
Who amongst us has not worried at one time or another? Everyone worries – and it seems to be taking over our life and happiness. We all have times in our lives when we worry but where does it ever get us?
I am 34 years old and have ‘ramped up’ my worrying over the past few years. This ‘habit’ began with a very stressful job where I struggled to go above and beyond and still not receiving the due credit. And to add to this, my personal life went topsy-turvy too. My worry was crippling…the kind of worry where you can’t get out of bed in the morning but you haven’t slept all night due to worrying. Oh, my worries were real enough, I had good cause to worry!
Worry became the norm. And it was a norm that was destructive, energy sapping and ultimately incredibly dangerous. I was turning into a seasoned worrier, often having a hard time distinguishing between a real, legitimate worry, and a concocted, overblown one. I was afraid of having bad feelings–I was afraid that I would get so depressed I couldn’t stand it.
I had the added problem of worrying about my worrying which may seem laughable now but it is very frustrating as I don’t actually have anything to worry about IF I remember to just live in the present. All of my fears lie in the future
Most of us try to use to get rid of worry (try not to think about it, seek reassurance from others) and it backfires. “I don’t know something for sure then it must be bad” and we constantly jump to conclusions. Do we not?
I have realized that there is a difference between productive and unproductive worry. This is a relief because I don’t have to stop worrying and still be happy. I have realized that I might have some good reasons to feel sad or anxious at times–but I don’t need to worry to get rid of those feelings. People who worry are actually avoiding emotion.
We have choices in every moment that we can use to make ourself happy or miserable. It’s just that simple. But simple doesn’t mean easy-we have to practice over and over again because long-held ways of thinking and behaving don’t yield to change overnight.
There are some simple things in the course of life that change the way you view things. They are often referred to as an ‘epiphany’. Living one day at a time sounds like a great idea and I am doing so.
After all, worry is simply a waste of imagination!!
There is a story about a time the Buddha was out walking and Angulimala, a notorious serial killer, came upon him. Angulimala shouted for the Buddha to stop, but the Buddha kept walking slowly and calmly. Angulimala caught up with him and demanded to know why he hadn’t stopped. The Buddha replied, “Angulimala, I stopped a long time ago. It is you who have not stopped.” He went on to explain, “I stopped committing acts that cause suffering to other living beings. All living beings want to live. All fear death. We must nurture a heart of compassion and protect the lives of all beings.” Startled, Angulimala asked to know more. By the end of the conversation, Angulimala vowed never again to commit violent acts and decided to become a monk.
How could the Buddha remain so calm and relaxed when faced with a murderer? This is an extreme example, but each of us faces our fears in one way or another every day. Buddha was a human being, and he also knew fear. But because he spent each day practicing mindfulness and looking closely at his fear, when confronted with the unknown, he was able to face it calmly and peacefully. Ofcourse, I can practice mindfulness when asleep but I surely have learnt to acknowledge it now.
Most of us experience a life full of wonderful moments and difficult moments. But for many of us, even when we are most joyful, there is fear behind our joy. We fear that this moment will end, that we won’t get what we need, that we will lose what we love, or that we will not be safe. So even when we are surrounded by all the conditions for happiness, our joy is not complete.
We may think that if we ignore our fears, they’ll go away. But if we bury worries and anxieties in our consciousness, they continue to affect us and bring us more sorrow. We are very afraid of being powerless. But we have the power to look deeply at our fears, and then fear cannot control us. We can transform our fear. Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.
The first part of looking at our fear is just inviting it into our awareness without judgment. We should acknowledge gently that it is there. This brings a lot of relief already. Then, once our fear has calmed down, we can embrace it tenderly and look deeply into its roots, its sources. Understanding the origins of our anxieties and fears will help us let go of them.
Is our fear coming from something that is happening right now or is it an old fear, a fear from when we were small that we’ve kept inside? When we practice inviting all our fears up, we become aware that we are still alive, that we still have many things to treasure and enjoy. If we are not pushing down and managing our fear, we can enjoy the sunshine, the fog, the air, and the water. If we can look deep into our fear and have a clear vision of it, then we really can live a life that is worthwhile.
When things are tough, we tend to get discouraged and do less than we’ve done before. Wrong! This is the worst time to slow down. The best cure for discouragement is to double our effort, so as to calm our fears and motivate us to keep going.
Fearlessness is not only possible, it is the ultimate joy. When we touch non-fear, we are free. But we should not wait for the critical moment to arrive before we start to transform our fear and live mindfully. Nobody can give us fearlessness. Even if the Buddha sat next to us, he couldn’t give it to us. We have to practice it and realize it ourself. If we make a habit of mindfulness practice, when difficulties arise, we will already know what to do.
It takes a lot of hard work to succeed. It’s sad to see people today constantly chasing the next quick fix, the next scheme that promises them a million bucks in 30 days. Because it won’t happen. As the wise said, nothing worthwhile comes easy. If we want success in our life, we have got to work hard at it…we have got to be positive no matter what hits the fan, we have got to believe in ourself and what we are doing.
Few years ago, I waited for opportunity to knock (like a chrysalis in a cocoon). I did not realize that I needed to hear “No” to get opportunity to open the door. We need to get sufficiently accustomed to hearing “No” so that we can move on to the next conversation with ease and enough curiosity to make necessary changes to get to “Yes”.
We spend a lot of time worried about what is happening to us. We focus a lot of attention on when things might happen. We ask a lot of questions about where we will end up. Often in life, the what, when and where are not going to turn out the way we want them to turn out. We don’t always get to choose those things, but we do get to choose the why. We may not get to choose what our future is going to be, but at any given time we do get to choose why we are living the way we do.
I am not saying that I make impossible possible but sometimes I feel like I can walk into the lion’s den with a string of raw meat hanging from my neck and come out a winner. But as we are warned, life is not easy. It’s not for people who give up, who listen to their fears, or who will not give their all.
Remember life from this moment is still a blank page…
During initial years of my career, like any young people, I desperately wanted to carve my own niche and acquire competence. In the course of doing that, I fell into stalled thinking about living up to others’ expectations and achieving perfection. What a misconception!! Success is not that easy to come by and success is never a freebee.
I am a real person with fears, hopes and dreams, and have experienced set-backs, failures and successes just as you have. I have realized that I needed to change, in order to be the kind of person I want to be – one who didn’t succeed by running down my competitors. I like healthy competition and despite my managers telling me that corporate culture functions in a certain way and has a pre-defined protocol (which I fail to understand till date), I believe that there are consequences for behaviors, that those who behave in an unethical manner, don’t last long in their careers. It’s about personal integrity in environments that practically beg you to bend your principles. Life is a compromise and we must make choices and take the responsibilities that come with choices.
Most of us learn the hard way, which is sometimes the best way to learn, as wisdom is gained and we work towards bettering ourselves, and enriching others. I have been down certain roads but was willing in being true to myself. I was inspired to let go of the past and getting on with what’s present in my life as trying to fix myself kept me stuck in the places I wanted to be free of, but getting into the moment set me free. Being in the moment and becoming aware of my own mechanical behaviours held the possibility to transform my life. I learnt that transformation allowed for different possibilities in my life that I thought were never possible before.
We should appreciate ourselves and not allow others to beat us down. Humility is about having a realistic self-image — not beating ourselves up for not being good enough and not settling for mediocrity. We should decide what areas are most important to us and make realistic goals to strive for and what areas can wait until a different phase in life.
We should be ready and be able to handle different situations – by accepting what’s happening and following our own feelings and intuition. At times, I have tried to do the perfect thing – and the results it had and the mixed feelings and failures it produced later had me laughing about myself sometimes – to love parts of my life I didn’t accept before and to search for my own way. The fact, that taking myself not too seriously but to focus on what I was doing, was one aspect that shifted my point of view to begin to see my own life in a different light.
We need to be ready to take a long, hard look at themselves and be honest about the choices we have made in our lives. Afterall, we DON’T have to be perfect,we learn from mistakes and grow from them,we learn our strengths and weaknesses because NO ONE is good at everything and is that EVER true! We don’t have to be a clone of the next person – we can be ourselves and benefit our lives and society. We need to keep trying and not give up because we WILL find our place in the world.
Reality check: I will soon be moving to a new city for a new job – I am still scared and unsure about the future, but I am not afraid to start at the bottom.
“I don’t believe in taking right decisions. I take decisions and then make them right” ~ Mr. Ratan Tata
Most of us add value to our organizations (companies, teams, families) not by virtue of our technical competencies, but rather by our ability to relate to and with other human beings. That relating is primarily through conversation. A routine conversation can become crucial in an instant (just ask any parent of teenagers). In the workplace there are plenty of risky conversations: asking for a raise, holding a peer accountable, challenging an idea proposed by the boss.
Do you remember the last time you had a conversation that didn’t end up well? Five minutes into it the shouting and finger pointing exploded like fireworks on the 4th of July. Let’s face it, whether we like it or not, we have these types of conversations with our business partners, distributors and even loved ones from time to time. What really triggers a conversation to go arie? And, what can we do to avoid this in the future?
We all face situations in life where things are tense and saying the right things is crucial. As opposed to a casual discussion, crucial conversations happen between two or more people when opinions vary, stakes are high, and emotions run strong. Whether you are approaching a boss who is breaking his or her own policies, critiquing a colleague’s work, or talking to a team member who isn’t keeping commitments, keeping the conversation productive can be very difficult.
The free flow of meaning between two or more people find a way to get all relevant information from themselves and others out in the open and make it safe for everyone to add their meaning to the shared pool. These people try hard to ensure that all ideas find their way into the forum; and as this “pool of shared meaning” grows, it helps people by exposing them to more accurate and relevant information so they can make better
You’ll “Learn to Look” for “silence” and “violence” (clam up or blow up) behaviors that are deadly to relationships. You’ll discover “Make It Safe”
skills that enable you and others to navigate through the most risky subjects. You’ll learn to “Master Your Stories” by distinguishing more clearly between observations and conclusions, facts and assumptions. You’ll learn skills that make it possible to listen with a level of empathy you never thought possible.
One of the reasons a conversation turns from normal to well, difficult, is because either party forgets the purpose of the conversation or conflict is avoided at all costs. Things are “smoothed over” or ignored completely. The reality is that the payback is just delayed and there are negative consequences. Those discussions we dread and often sidestep because we anticipate they will be confrontational. And then on the occasions when we can’t avoid them, crucial conversations are the encounters that tighten our stomachs, put our egos on the line, and threaten personal and professional relationships.
More positively, crucial conversations could open opportunities for us to share our feelings and opinions without fear of reprisal in a truly safe
environment. We avoid getting forced into false either-or choices and remain alert for unstated alternatives or possibilities. Well….well…!!!
There is so much humanity, so much grace and good humor, so much strength and wisdom. I am thankful and be grateful for:
- The difference it made sometimes when someone just reached into the heart of our experience and named it, and sat there with us in it.
- That moment. For the chance each of us has to offer that moment to others through our listening and our respect, and the chance to make what we choose of that moment when it’s our turn.
- Throwing off this big blanket, that heavy swathing that collects around us as we move through the week of obligations. And we wake the wildness in us, stretch, shake, perambulate, whatever gets it moving, and wonder if it is time.
- The opportunity to be uncomfortable. In the strange and lonely corners of discomfort is where we find those moments of beautiful sadness when life pulsates vibrantly around us and within us, opening our heart to accept the raw and the brutal equivocally with the selfless and kind.
- For second chances. Deserved or undeserved, but truly given without reservation. Given to me and to others, but most importantly, the one I gave to myself.
- When life beat me into submission, because that is how I learnt to fight with compassion instead of fury. I am not broken, I am bendable, and I can survive anything. Damaged goods are the best kind there are, ain’t it?
- Strong, healthy friendships with wonderful people met personally, professionally and virtually who showed me the way back into the sunlight. The friends who never fail to ask the hard questions. Who show up to worry and to carry the worry and to blow it all off.
- My own tenacious spirit, which has gotten me through this difficult year. It feels like a miracle, and I’m living it every single day.
- Being lucky enough to discover depths and layers of love I’d never even imagined, love that almost hurts.
- Holding stake in my own happiness. Sure, things bite shit sometimes. But there are arms in the world that want me, and two of them are my own. That’s plenty.
- These days I can cry tears that are more honest than ever before, that my heart is not aching in vain, that I know that I am doing right by me.
- The strength to know tomorrow is another chance—the ability to understand that many others won’t have my tomorrow.
- The confidence to be alone, and not lonely. I am grateful for the way life takes you to the place farthest from what you dreamt for yourself, and that you can make a life for yourself, there.
- My grandfather, the bitter-sweet legacy he left and the love he lived.
- My parents because of their steady values and clean living, I have what I now recognize as a wholeness of spirit. It turns out the random-seeming gift of a happy childhood is not to be underestimated. The most amazing part is that they gave me this without any obligation.
- My brother, who is engineering his clever way to great things
- My adorable dog Whisky, who greeted me gleefully, rifled through the trash, and reminded me to find joy in all things.
I am grateful for words…I am grateful beyond words every single second of every day.
Happy Thanksgiving to all !!!
I love all four seasons but there is something melancoly about the autumn. It is a mood, of solitude and pulling emotions into yourself. For me and it is a color of moss green, soft and velvety even though the leaves are brilliant and crisp I feel like wearing moss green colors and being in the woods. And there is a sharpness in the air that awakens the senses that big changes are going to be happening. Its almost magical!!
We often think about time…how it passes, how we are making use of it and how we can be even more happier and others around us. We also presume that you have got your life pretty much the way you want it, you just need to tweak it a bit. I always want my life to be the best it can be and to enjoy happiness along the way despite knowing all the jerks and grouches out there who might pounce twist my ideas.
I enjoy the moment I am in, living life as it happens. Meditation for me is out of question but I simply pause and immerse myself in both momentous and trivial events as they occur. I sometimes struggle with “acting the way I want to feel”, getting irritated with repeated distractions and getting annoyed with happiness leeches that seem to be in plentiful supply. Things that make others happy won’t necessarily make me happy, and that sometimes, I just have to let go of a notion that I “should” be doing something in order to be happy. I can’t make someone else happy, but I can change my own attitude and make myself happy.
The world I live in is beautiful – because I chose to notice its beauty, and because I chose to create much of that loveliness. Anytime is a perfect time to turn over a new leaf, start a new plan, and approach family life with a new perspective…’cos “If not now, when?”