Category Archives: truth

7 laws to live your life by

We humans, are the product of 13.4 years of evolution. We have been gifted with consciousness of the world and of our own selves. Beginning today we are living the rest of our lives. Here are 7 laws of life which will make our lives more enjoyable and productive.

We don’t get second chances: This is an obvious truth which we know but don’t ponder upon. This life of ours is short and we don’t get second chances. It is imperative that we utilize our time in the best possible way. We should not fritter away our time in useless pursuits, petty bickering and idleness. We need to make certain that we make every day count starting right now. So be mindful of the fact that “You only live once!”

Drop excess baggage: This is an extension of the earlier truth. Our lives our short and there is no second chance. To live our lives well we need to drop excess baggage from our minds. We need to drop our animosities, petty jealousies and hatred we may have. We need to forgive, forget and move on. There is a need to move lightly through life and not expend energy in wasteful activities as mentioned above. We could utilize our energies and efforts in more fruitful activities.

Wake up to the world: Is your life too mechanical? Do you feel that you are on auto-pilot in life? Are you bored with this fast paced life? Who is to blame for this situation? Clearly there is nobody else to blame but you. This world of ours provides so many opportunities for doing creative and new things. If you think your life is boring and lifeless then you really need to wake up and open your eyes to the beauty of the world. Take a vacation, go places, make short trips to exotic places. Do some bird watching. Spend some time in the beach. Do something, in fact do anything. There is so much to see and experience in this world of ours.

Make fitness your watchword: To live life fully we need to be both physically and mentally fit. Make sure that you pay adequate attention to your physical health. You could either hit the gym daily or do something as simple as a brisk walk at least 4 times a week. Eat healthy food. Focus on being physically fit.

Besides physical fitness one also needs to concentrate on mental fitness. Think good clean thoughts. Avoid hatred, anger and envy. Read good books. Exercise your brain by learning some thing new. It could be a musical instrument, painting or writing a blog. Exercising your brain is important to avoid later issues in life.

Settle for common sense: When in doubt settle for common sense. Many times we take hasty , emotional decisions and then regret later. Other times we are caught in an analysis paralysis oscillating between extremes. In all situations temper your decision with a dollop of common sense.

Love the job you do: This may seem contradictory to the common refrain of ‘doing the job you love’. Since many of us will not have the luxury of choosing to pursue our passions we will need to learn to love our day jobs. Be creative about your day job. It will not be as boring as it appears if you take interest in the bigger picture of your daily job.

You are the not center of the universe: Often we go about our lives as though the universe was centered on ourselves. In reality there is whole universe outside of us. Instead of thinking about your life, your problems and your ambitions, try to look at the world through the eyes of others. See what difference you can make to the lives of the less privileged. Do some social work. You are not the center of the universe!

The above are laws are not something new. They have always been around and we know it, yet seem to be oblivious of them. Ponder on them and make a difference to your life.

You are what you dream. You are what you envision. Think big!

Go about creating the future you want 1 day at a time!

Travel lightly in life!

travelerPeace in life is a continuum and cannot simply be isolated instances of freedom from discord. But peace in life is a mirage. We never seem to attain it and are usually burdened with worries, anxieties, fears, animosities and the like.

To get anywhere even close to peace and happiness in life the first thing we need to do is to travel light in life.  Here are some prescriptive processes that will take you closer to peace in life. As mentioned above they are prescriptive and they are processes and will need to be followed in your journey through life

Let go of animosity and hatred: This is the cardinal principle of living lightly and is embodied in Lord Jesus Christ’s immortal words “Love thy enemy”. One needn’t be religious to understand the brilliance in the above statement. Letting go of hatred is simply “smart mental energy management”. Harboring hatred and venom for another can sap your energy and strength. So simply let go and better still forgive and forget.

Strive for mental poise: Here is another no-brainer and is the utterance of Lord Krishna in the Gita “A true yogi is one who is unruffled by praise or criticism”.  You don’t have to be a yogi to realize the truth in the above statement. Praise usually makes us excited and giddy headed. Our head could swell with exaggerated pride. This is often very tiring. Similarly criticism can make us feel crushed and hurt. This is another mental energy sapper. So we need to be able to consciously brush off both praise and criticism,

Take on problems head-on: As I mentioned in my earlier post “Life sucks … big time”. All of us are given a unique set of problems to handle in life. There are no exceptions. So handle your problems head-on. Don’t put away the issues you face in life. It is your problem and your responsibility to get it solved. So get cracking and start to work towards possible solutions.

Don’t procrastinate: This is another important step to travel lightly in life. Having a large to-do-list is bad. In fact go ahead and banish the to-do list from your life.  Whatever you need to do for yourself, your family or in your profession get started and have them completed. In my opinion a ‘to-do’ list is really a ‘to-nag’ list. The tasks in your list have the dirty habit of lurking in the recesses of your mind and robbing you of your peace.

So get started. The first step is always the best step.

Let go of hatred, practice mental poise, take your problems on your chin and avoid procrastination.

Unclutter your mind.

Travel light in life!

Zooming out in space-time from within you …

earthHere’s a simple thought experiment-journey which you could take.

Within-us

In our daily lives we live in a world that is centered around our own world. We are always concerned with what happens with ourselves, how the world affects what we do or, on what we want etc. It is always our dreams, our ambitions, our hopes, our anxieties, our fears. We are so caught up worrying about all things that directly or indirectly deal with us. We are eagerly anticipating that promotion, coveting our neighbor’s new house and so caught up in jealousies and rivalries. This is the first view “Within us”

Now lets step out a bit

Without-us

If for a moment we could disembody ourselves and step out from within our confines and look at the world outside of us, in which we are one of the many. Then what would we see? We would see many people each with their wishes, anxieties, worries, hopes and ambitions. We will see a lot more jealousies and a lot more rivalries.

Zooming out in space-time, a little more …

If we could zoom out now in space-time a little more this is what we would see.  To zoom out in space, you would have to mentally move your observation to a higher point where you can view let’s say a small city. To zoom out in time, I would like you to assume that each second now represents a day in human history. So now your view would represent all the people in a city whose life is in fast forward.  You will realize that the hopes, wishes, ambitions, joys, failures and success happen and then disappear. Everything in everybody’s life is short-lived.

As you view the mass of humanity you will see joy, tears, anger all come and go in time which moves faster.

Zooming out further in space-time

Now move out so that you can see the whole humanity on earth. Assume that each second in your observation represents a year in human life. Now the joys, fears, sorrows will lose significance. Some people will rise and some people will fall. Some will succeed where others would fail. But even this will pass.

Assume you are looking at the earth from the stars and every second represents a decade in human life. All we will notice is people getting older. Success or failure, happiness or grief will be meaningless.

Finally, all that I wanted to convey in this post is that our lives in this world are really finite. Our expectations of success or glory or our anxiety of failure mean nothing in the long run. We come into this world, live, and then pass on.  This life of ours is finite and we need to look at everything in this world through that view point.

The many faces of truth

All of us get introduced to Truth during our early years. We are told that honesty and truth is the best policy. Truth in this context is to tell reality as it happened. It is quite understandable why this is so. The fragile fabric of society would just crumble if we did not speak truth and people prevaricated as a habit. There would be a lot of ambiguity in our day to day affairs and we would never know what really transpired.

But as we grow up we learn that there are more shades of grey to truth than appears to us at first sight. In my opinion it more important to be tactful in life than be truthful. It does not make sense to be brutally honest about something. We could state the same thing in much more gentler terms with a greater regard to sense and sensibility.

In one of India’s ancient epics, the Mahabharata, there is a story about a band of robbers questioning a sage whether he had seen a witness to their crime running away. The sage who was more worried about speaking the truth (satya) tells the robbers about the whereabouts of the witness. The robbers appropriately apprehend the witness and exterminate him. The Mahabharata goes on to say that the sage eventually suffered hell (naraga) for causing the death of an individual when he might have couched the truth in terms that would not have given any information away.

While truth is important, I think truth takes a second place in comparison to kindness or compassion. In my opinion it is more important to kind than to be correct and truthful.

Truth needs to be looked at from the perspective what is more appropriate in any given situation. We cannot just say nor do things because it is so but we also need to look at the overall effect of the act.

While truth is important in the overall scheme of thing, ones actions should be directed towards the greatest good towards the greatest number. In this context truth will have to be weighed against other virtues of kindness, compassion and tolerance.

Virtue – Defying definition

Virtue denotes moral excellence according to the dictionary meaning. But can virtue be defined? We normally consider acts of honesty, kindness, humility, compassion as virtue. But on closer observation we find that virtues cannot be so easily defined.

In fact nothing is more nebulous than virtue. Every act that we perform cannot be viewed in isolation. We need to take a holistic view of the act – the situation, the circumstances, the cause and the consequences of the act before classifying the act as being morally excellent or not.

A naive definition of truth is generally understood to be a simple statement of a fact. This is what we as kids learn. However as we grow older we learn that sometimes we need tact rather than direct statement of facts – hence we sugar coat the truth. Other times we may have to tell a white lie where we withhold a certain part of the fact when we know that mere telling of the fact can cause greater harm than good. This brings to mind the anecdote in which a sage on being asked by bandits with murderous intentions whether he saw a man flee in a particular direction simply states the fact, resulting in the man being caught and killed. The sage could have told a white lie in this situation. In these situations truth which is pure and the highest virtue cannot be the simple statement of fact.

Another situation that can be considered is when a corporate needs to retrench a part of the workforce. For the employees affected by this move it does appear cruel. But in the eyes of the CEO such a move is necessary for long term health of the organization. In these situations again virtue cannot be easily defined. On the one hand it resulted in people losing jobs and earning capacity at least temporarily, while on the other hand it prevents further decay in the organization.

Was Robin Hood, who stole from the rich, to give to the poor justified in his act? While it may appear that Robin Hood was stealing on the other hand he was using the stolen wealth to help the poor. With this view can virtue be defined as an act in which the ends are noble, though the means are not? Or does virtue necessitate that both the means and the ends be morally justifiable.

The reality is virtue is relative in many ways and really needs to be viewed in totality. We can think of virtue as any act that provides the greatest good for the greatest number or the greatest good for the greatest time. In many ways the Hindu concept of dharma is closest to this view.

In fact at the highest realm of virtue, one virtue is really indistinguishable from another, Hence if we look at virtue as an act that produces the most beneficial consequence then truth, kindness, non-violence and compassion all merge together becoming virtually distinguishable.

Hence virtue at the highest level cannot be easily defined and is in reality an amalgam of many virtues.