Nature and Progress

More and more people believe that we are facing real issues due to our distance from nature – so much so that there’s even a word for that trauma.

As I was taking a walk today in the yard, thinking of this, I came across this flower lying on the path. I wondered whether we too, are like her, separated from the branches, roots and leaves, isolated from our true homes (ironic, given the present circumstances).

I used to be a person who loved to imagine the lives of those who came before us. I’m guilty also of glorifying those times as golden.

But as I felt the stone against my bare feet, the wind in my hair, the song of the leaves, I knew that I too was blessed.

Nature is never far away.

If you miss Her, you always have a choice to step out and reunite with Her.

And if that is not an option, simply close your eyes and listen to the breath like waves – rising and falling like the innumerable daughters of the ocean.

She is in you, as you are in Her.

And we are where we are meant to be, always.

Befriending procrastination

Surely, all of us are familiar with this famous black hole – the only one with a name that I can actually remember.

Procrastination is blamed for reducing productivity, negatively impacting mental health and for the one cardinal sin we should never commit – wasting time.

Unless you’re a master of your own mind and time (if you are, please, teach us all), there is at least one event concerning procrastination in everyone’s life that is either a funny anecdote or a story with a moral.

If you are familiar with my blog, you would know that I firmly believe in using all our traits – and I mean all of them. We are not one-dimensional beings made to forever laugh and smile and please those around us. We are human, and so-called negative impulses might be here to stay.

But perhaps procrastination is not such a bad thing after all.

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Where it starts

Farewell to anger — Palette Knife oil painting on canvas by Leonid Afremov

Anger is a constant and sometimes well-deserved companion in many of our lives, though it often serves as a double edged sword. Most often, we – the ones who unleashed said anger – end up being unhappy over that, which doesn’t help anyone.

While I have made many unsuccessful attempts to conquer this particular behavioral pattern, I’m now able to understand it better thanks to those failed undertakings.

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Beholding infinity

When I rediscovered my love for photography recently (on phone camera, please don’t judge) I found that just like before, I was fascinated by the silent demonstrations of life. The leaves of a plant with her proud face to the sky. The shadows falling on the wall as the sun set.

These quiet depictions of beauty, usually taken for granted, started to really grow on me. One of my favorite hobbies these days is to go out to my front yard and just stand there, my neck craned up, eyes taking in the beauty of the sky.

Cloudy days, sunsets, sunrises, even moon glow – how different were the personalities it exhibited.

Yesterday evening, I was sky watching as usual – the sky was an ocean of clouds. I could imagine why most religions in the world had a God who sat up in the clouds on his golden throne in paradise.

Every part of nature is magical and beautiful, but when we look up at the sky what exactly is it that we’re looking at – or more precisely – what are we seeking?

When we look up at the sky hoping for faith, for guidance, for light and rain, are we really looking up at a God-figure that we painted in our heads?

Or are we reaching out to the whole of life and humanity – who see the sky all the same – but in different forms in different parts of the world, quite similar to our spiritual quests. Seeing the same thing really, just in different ways.

Perhaps, somewhere deep within us is buried knowledge. Of remembrance and connection. That we are not one but all, and all in one.

In defence of the naughty children

That was a typical school day, and we were in the penultimate class hour.

There was no teacher to enforce discipline, so we first graders got to exercise our freedom of expression.

Simply put, a whole lot of noise.

I too was thoroughly enjoying said freedom of expression – given that I was insufferably talkative as a child and grabbed every opportunity to communicate – eventually leading my teachers to inform my parents in exasperation that even if they shifted me near to a quiet, composed child, I somehow transformed that child into a talkative one in no time.

And so it was that we were having the time of our lives when a teacher came along, and we all fell silent instantaneously. We braced ourselves for the rebukes that were sure to come.

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A Culture of Gratitude

ब्रह्मार्पणं ब्रह्म हविः ब्रह्माग्नौ ब्रह्मणा हुतम् ।
ब्रह्मैव तेन गन्तव्यं ब्रह्मकर्मसमाधिना ॥

Brahmarpanam brahma havir
Brahmagnau brahmana hutam
Brahmaiva tena gantavyam
Brahma-karma-samadhina

Many a time during my school days, this mantra (chant) used to sound in the background as we prepared to have lunch. It seemed especially long on the days when I knew my mother had packed something special – for there was not just the joy of having it, but also of sharing it with my friends. The true meaning of the chant – though it was duly provided in our school diary – was lost on me.

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Eight hours without electricity, and an important lesson

Sometimes luxury blinds you to all the treasures you possess. Sometimes, it makes you believe what you can do without, is exactly what you need the most.

If you allow it to take over and be your eyes and ears, the true you could end up not having a voice.

We live in great luxury today compared to the generations before, and the future holds promises of greater riches. While this is well deserved, for as a race we have persevered for these, perhaps we may need to stand back and reevaluate our options.

I, for my part, understood this when a few days back we had a blackout for 8 hours during the day. I was positively crazed.

I had work to do. People to talk to. Hear music that I’d heard a thousand times before. Random news feed to go through. Watch videos of shows that I’ve watched on replay so many times, they possibly couldn’t teach me anything new…

…Did you notice?

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Like a Jigsaw Puzzle

Goals.

The first time I heard that word, it was just another addition to my vocabulary.

As a child, I was fascinated with encountering new words and figuring out what they meant, so I’d ravenously go through every book I had to see what words I could meet that I had never known of before.

Later on though, I realized they had a lot of gravity.

Every famous person seemed to have them and stressed upon their importance. Life without goals is absolutely pointless – they were experts in different fields and yet, they all seemed to agree on this one thing.

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Brother vs. Buddy

In this day and age, we’re bound to hear the word ‘peer pressure’ do the rounds often. We’re speaking much against the crumbling institution of family, the fragile relationships between parents and their wards, and the general rebelliousness of the youth against anything their parents advise them.

It’s only natural in such a situation that I heard out many who told me that family was much stronger than friendship.

“Blood is thicker than water” was their favorite pearl of ancient wisdom.

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Beliefs and Beyond

q3

On a cursory glance, however, they do seem to be at odds.

Science believes in experimentation, thorough analysis and the purest logic, while religion seems to believe in everything that defies logic.

Science raises questions, while religion provides answers.

Science promotes inquiry while religion demands strict obedience. 

That’s how it seems to be, at least.

How often we look beyond the similarities of these two entities that so often find themselves on two ends of the battlefield, relentlessly egged on by their respective loyal supporters!

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