Our State

Sometimes the state of the world, the country, the state, the individual etc seems to be disturbing and alarming. Where there are talks about tolerance, acceptance, love, compassion, forgiveness but really it’s just surface level. How do we commit to real change, real transformation? How do I learn to be truly tolerant? How do I truly imbibe compassion? How can I truly forgive someone, or more so the situation?

This type of transformation only comes when we understand who we are and what we are. If I believe I am this body which includes the mind, then whatever my body dictates that will be the outcome. Is there a way out of this? Is there a way beyond this? The Sages have talked about being the Atman, the Self or the soul and how do we come to this realization? Again, not simply knowing it as knowledge but truly feeling that one is the Atman? This comes by being aware, moment to moment, as much as possible that one is the Atman, the Self. As we become established in each moment of awareness, the more we find that tolerance, acceptance, love, compassion, forgiveness does not need to be cultivated. They are always within us. We just have to discover it.

How can we discover this? By being honest to ourselves, being honest to others, being honest in every relationship we have. When we let go the facade of being something, which is difficult for many. Unfortunately, social media has fooled us into thinking that our lives is what is on the screen infront of us. We think that how we show others on social media, this is what we are. But this is far from the Truth, I noticed this with myself hence I knew I had to change. When really life is how I relate to everyone around me. If I ignore them then I am in ignorance. If I honor them, respect them because I am the Atman and they are the Atman, the relationship is honorable, it is respectful, it is full of integrity.

Toxic Positivity

Can positivity ever be considered negative? Simple answer is YES! I know, wait a second, let’s understand what I have just answered. Am I saying that it can be negative to be positive? Yes, I am exactly saying that. What are my reasons? Well, let’s dwell on this.

Have you ever faced a time in your life where you feel sad? Or you are going through a traumatic time with an illness? Or you feel trapped in a relationship? Just had a break up? Lost your job and been out of work for months? Got bad grades? You decide to tell somebody about it because you want to be listened to, you want to be heard. What is the response? You may have had the following responses:

  • There must be something good in your life?
  • Don’t worry, you will get better, be positive.
  • Be positive, at least you are in a relationship.
  • Look, there are more guys/girls out there.
  • Don’t worry, you will find a new job, stay positive and keep applying.
  • You can ace the next exam, be positive and keep working hard.

I know that I have said the above to people in the past and it is only recently, that I realized that maybe I am not being helpful to people when I say such things. Okay, I may not be in the ‘stay positive’ or ‘positive vibes only’ crowd but I am guilty for sometimes saying something uplifting when someone only wants to talk. They just want me to listen to them deeply, without judging, without thinking about what to say, just being absolutely present with them.

The most powerful responses I have ever received have come from people who stay quiet for a good, few minutes and then they offer some advice or sometimes they just give me a hug. Sometimes, that is all we need or someone else needs. We don’t have to coat our every advice with positive statements or affirmations, we can sometimes just state things as they are and deal with it as it is. We can advice according to the situation and work out together how best to deal with the situation.

The toxic positivity crowd has grown with social media. We now have social media personalities who spew out how positivity is everything and if you aren’t having a good life, it is because you are not positive enough. They talk big but life shows that it delivers flatly. Trust me, I have read my fair share of self-help books, followed self-help gurus on social media, followed their advice somewhat and realized I haven’t been helped at all. Everything I am doing is based on my circumstances and my analysis of my circumstances. I take time to look at what I am going through and meditate on what the best response is. Yes, it may not be the approach of anyone that wants fast results but sometimes, being slow and steady helps us to address the problem or issue fully. It is best if you allow that feeling of positivity to arise within you naturally.

Sometimes, we are told that we aren’t grateful enough and that gratitude is the best attitude. But if I am feeling stressed, I am not going to be grateful for anything else. Am I to be grateful for my stress? How does that make any sense? So this is what it goes back to, we have to face what we are dealing with and really look into it. See the root of it and observe the root of it. We need to spend time on what disturbs us, and then we can direct our minds to find ways out of it. We need to allow each thought, positive or negative, to flower completely, to travel with the thought so it can express itself completely. If we end up cutting that thought short, we may be repressing emotions or thoughts that may lead to a greater sadness or depression later on.

Tomorrow, you may listen to some positive thought and it helps you tremendously. And a few days later, you face a situation and to overcome it, you use that same positive thought and it doesn’t help anymore. Don’t ever put yourself down if that positive thought isn’t working. Whatever you are going through has become bigger than that positive thought. Life gives us situations so that we evolve, so we see the deeper truths of life and if we mask it with positivity, it is still a veil. Therefore, find new ways of dealing with issues or problems, most of all, try to understand the problem.

What I want to emphasize is that if you feel sad, I am here to look at the sadness with you. If you are happy, I am here to look at the happiness with you. Whatever you are feeling, whatever you are going through, I am here to go through it with you.

I believe we should look at our thoughts and our emotions as they are and deal with them as they are. Yes, some thoughts will be painful to look into but sometimes it is that looking, that observing that helps us to drop that thought. This is what has helped me in my life.

Motivational quotes and sayings may be nice to look at and nice to hear but do they transform us? Do they really make you get up to conquer the world? How about we aim more locally and look to conquer our minds. This can only be done, if we spend time and go through the process with our undivided attention.

Social Media – Controlling the Influence

three person holding smartphones
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

It has been one month since I have deleted the social media apps off my iPhone. This is after reading a book called Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport and it offered some amazing insights on how social media has really taken over our lives. After reading it, I decided to do a 30 day detox off from social media mainly Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. I must admit that I found a few things that are both obvious but exciting at the same time.

  1. I found that I had a lot more time on my hands. Those endless, cyclical movements of scrolling up and down, left and right consumed quite a lot of my time. At least 60% of it according to my Screen Time function on my iPhone.
  2. I had more meaningful conversations with people because I was kind of forced to speak on the phone to people. Every since social media, I must admit that the willingness to speak on the phone had waned over the years for me. Now, it has revived itself.
  3. I have had more time to meditate, contemplate and really observe my thoughts. This meant that I was really able to absorb into an interesting thought or I was able to reach a thought-free mind for longer periods than before. I was able to observe sounds and sights with a little bit more awe and wonder than usual.
  4. I had more time to read and gain real knowledge and insight. This helped me to learn new things and broaden my mind in understanding and embracing new concepts.
  5. I was able to understand my own feelings and truly get to know them. I know this sounds a little strange but the noise of social media can really drown out whatever you are feeling and what can happen is those feelings become trapped and they grow with more intensity. This only causes us to feel more upset. However, this social media detox, I was able to deal with my feelings right there and then.

Overall, I don’t know if I will ever download the apps again. I tried for the first time today and I deleted the apps off my iPhone again. Maybe I will use social media on my computer rather than my iPhone like the good old days. 

Anyway, maybe give yourself a 7 day social media detox. Honestly, it may be worth it.

Temptation – A Positive Approach

temptation_to_no_avail_be46Temptation is annoying. Damn annoying and the annoying thing about this is the fact that you are in control of your temptations. What is it that triggers the temptation? What then fuels this temptation? Obviously, thought always gives energy to temptation or to anything that we wish to remove ourselves from.

Being on a vegan diet is difficult as it is. I recently went into Waitrose (I am not middle class) and they do quite a bit for us vegan peeps. They had these ginger – chocolately biscuit bites and they are pretty yum. However, I have put them in the freezer and I want one. I could give in to temptation as I salivate about them now or prove determination over temptation. Today, I wanted to avoid sweet things and wanted a healthy day. Trust me, when chocolate is scarce already then all you can think about is chocolate.

Temptation happens in all parts of life. The temptation to look at an attractive woman or come across an amazing and beautiful woman on instagram or facebook, especially the ones you know and you have that desire to pursue that temptation and then reality sticks its nose in it and it is all over. You start thinking of reasons why it cannot and should not work. You think of the last time she rejected you and stopped talking to you and mentioning how hot she looks may literally be the last nail in the coffin to any possibility of ‘something’ later. What is this ‘something’ beats me.

When I am meditating, I feel like putting my attention and awareness on the occasional itch on my arm. The itch that never occurs otherwise but suddenly finds it amusing to happen now. You can’t take the intensity of the meditation and 5 seconds feels like 5 hours. How can one be still? The temptation to move gets stronger and stronger. However, your determination wins, your willpower is victorious because no way will you let anything stop you from your goal.

The times when someone ignores you and you just want to tell them that it isn’t cool. They have posted on Facebook, Instagram or whatever. Nowadays, snapchat easily shows someone opening your post thing and they don’t reply to it. Sad times! However, why should people reply? That is attention seeking. My existence isn’t worth the response of every single person. It is mad and I don’t respond to everyone’s and that is because I think my life is the best! Madness I tell you!

Temptation is crazy and yet, it is what makes you grow. Be happy that you are tempted because it shows that you can make your willpower stronger and stronger. It is a gym session for your willpower. Temptation can be made positive if you want it to. And if temptation wins then so what. Sometimes, eating that ginger biscuit chocolate bite thing may make you happy. Telling that one woman that you have secretly been attracted to her can be the beginning of a blossoming relationship. Scratching that itch may help you get back to meditation and moving may make your bottom feel less numb! Also, telling those people not to ignore you may create a conversation that will eventually change your life. I know it does sound incredibly ideal but let’s be real, whatever was once ideal has become a reality. I remember being a kid and thinking about cameras on mobile phones being revolutionary! So things can be done.

Whatever it is that tempts you right now and you see a spark of positivity in it then go for it. If it doesn’t work out then fair enough, their loss aswell as yours!

Love and blessings,
Rahul