Do you remember the last time you enjoyed something so thoroughly that you lost track of time? That something you were fidgeting with, that act of doing, which sucked you in totally, was so short lived that you couldn’t even grasp the magic of it. You failed to see it’s importance because you were not forcing yourself to do it, you simply chose to do it with genuine interest. That intention changed everything. It brought meaning to the work you did, and that made it enjoyable.
Today this search for meaning continues in different ways. It has become more of a reaction to the kinds of mechanical lives we have built for ourselves. Once things get too tedious and boring, we start seeking more in what we do and in our life. Sometimes we substitute and compensate for our otherwise monotonous lives by participating in short-lived moments of excitement and sometimes we go deeper and begin finding something with far more substance, that can be sustained and which adds meaning to our lives.
Either way, whatever careers we have chosen and however our lives have turned out to be, when we choose to do something, whether we are doing it the hundredth time and out of obligation or the first time driven solely by joy, we bring something to it.
We add that magical ingredient, that thing we often called meaning, to the task we are doing.
Otherwise how else could we find the most random and simplest task so joyful and uplifting and the most complex and intricate of tasks so tedious and tiresome and even vice versa at times.
We are the source of the kinds of rewards we derive from doing any activity. When we recognize that we can channelize in and summon more of creativity, joy, enthusiasm and meaning to the task we are doing. This kind of action adds meaning to it and this choice taken repetitively and consistently throughout our lives, wherever we are and whatever we are engaged in, adds meaning to our lives.
That does leaves things open ended as now we know that we can do absolutely everything and anything with joy and excitement and derive so much fulfilment from it. So the question then becomes, ‘What are we then actually supposed to be doing in our lives? Or rather, ‘What should we dedicate most of the time of our lives to?’
I think one important conclusion or lesson that can be obtained from this understanding is that whatever tasks we do and whatever interactions we have through the day, can be improved and made better by simply making the choice to do them simply with the intention to give ourselves fully.
That doesn’t mean to be imposing and forceful, but to be open, accepting, and receptive to the other side and do it without any expectations and with the simple intention of doing it.
When we live this way we do not really need a purpose or passion. Our life itself becomes our purpose and living it becomes our passion.
And to further address the openness that we have in front of us – the openness of choice, to be able to do absolutely anything and everything with as much interest as everything else that we do. What we can do is we can rely on our inner compass.
We can consult with our own abilities and track down persistently what we find the most engaging and we can work in that direction.
This may seem like an advice that contradict my previous statement that we can do and be absolutely anything. We can but it’s not so easy to develop ourselves in order to be that able. It’s possible and widely accessible though in today’s time and age. But beyond the openness, there is a subjective reality that each one will have certain capacities which are far more stronger than other ones. These dominant traits could be the ones that would determine their inclinations towards certain things and if these things are pursued that could turn into their passions.
So this is in fact a win-win situation. Life is so generous to us, that we can choose to do absolutely anything and everything and live blissfully. But like always, there is a caveat* here too.
Just like our skills which we learn and attain, there are inner conditions that determine the optimal outcomes of whatever we undertake, be it a conversation we have with others or an article that we are working on. The outcome is not only a reflection of our skill (of holding a conversation or writing) but it is more of a reflection of our inner conditions. The better the inner conditions (let’s call it internal health) the more efficient we become and the more brightly our skills shine forth.
To take a simple example:
when we are put in unexpected situations which we do not like to do or are unprepared for, immediately our eagerness and excitement is replaced by dissatisfaction and stress.
So it is not about the situations and circumstances but how prepared we are to deal with it, which is the problem. That much is clear from the above example and it also points to the fact that we are not so healthy internally and we haven’t put in the needed work to be healthy either, not even half the amount of efforts we put behind our physical health. This inner condition and the inner work I am alluding to is nothing but our connection with who we are and what we do and how much we have strengthened that connection over the years. We could easily measure our inner health based on certain outer factors like – our consistency in our work, our relationship with others, our view of the world (esp of our neighbours), our understanding of our role in all of this.
The point of this all being, we cannot and should not blame people or situations or our circumstances for what they are. The only thing we are accountable are our own actions. And if anything is causing us stress then it is our own actions or persistent inaction towards that which is affecting us.
So before we talk about world problems, propose solutions, or begin changing the way society works, let us work on ourselves. Let us take the responsibility for who we are today and what we have become. And only then will we be able to see the world clearly and actually do something constructive in order to be of genuine service to it.
So let us break our own self made prison, before we go out and try to tear down and rip apart the bars grounded by the society.
When consider any external force or entity as a prison and as something that shackles our spirit and keeps us entangled, we merely give it more power. The only thing we will ever have control over is our own selves and what we create within our own minds. All the prisons are born there but so are all the wonderlands. And these prisons once we let them take root turn into what we see today as modern day manifestations of social prisons – ideas, beliefs, and systems that hinder our growth by imprisoning us within ourselves.
And this is how we break prisons. We start digging in the place where they were first built. Once we dig deeper, give more attention to that place and nurture the soil that laid the foundations for such creations, then we can start building kingdoms in their places. That’s when our journey of freedom will truly begin when we start bringing in all that we possess in the tiniest and the most insignificant of things we do. That is when ripples of positivity will touch everything around us and bring forth the most significant of changes we can imagine.
P.S. This post is expanded on the first blogpost I wrote on this blog. The post is titled – The World As We Are Made To See. And it was written by me almost 2 years ago, at a point when I was really concerned by the way things around us were turning out, our society, our values, our educational system. Now, after these years I still remain concerned, but my concerns don’t weigh me down as much, since I have started taking actions instead of simply
ranting voicing out what is wrong. And this is the theme of the above post where I try to elaborate how any social change begins with individual change.
P.S.S. This post is part of the January blogathon hosted by #kowthas and today’s prompt is “Dig into your archives, Pick a favorite post and Expand on it.” linked here.
P.S.S.S. I joined this blogathon 5 days late, as on that day I was introduced to it via a friends tweet (bel0w). But I am going to see it through the rest of the days of the month, attempting each blog post challenge every day and I will even try to write the first 4 days of post in between whenever I find the time.
— LifeInTechnicolour (@chandnimoudgil) January 5, 2016