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Posts Tagged ‘Freedom’

I lived in a ‘hole’ once,

And the nicest hole it was.

At least that is what I thought,

Until something made me pause.

My hole looked big and pretty,

When I crouched inside it.

But when I stretched my arms wide,

I could barely fit.

It was not a problem of course,

For all ‘holes’ were like that.

‘That is how we are supposed to live’,

Everyone living in a ‘hole’ told me that.

One night I saw in a dream,

A bird! Soaring high! Spreading its wings!

Blissful, bold and free,

Majestic as the kings.

I woke up in my hole, stirred.

And forcefully shut the dream out.

‘It is what people do’, I thought,

‘They love their holes throughout.’

But alas, the dream had been dreamt!

Back into my mind it flew,

“You think your ‘hole’ holds you firm?” it said,

“It’s not the hole, it’s you!”

No longer did I want to waste

My days in this ‘tiny’ hole,

Blinded by what others do,

No wings! No joy! No heights to soar!

The treaded path of the ‘holed’ ones

Made them empty, blocked their vision.

Blowing kisses to my dream,

I surmised, made a decision.

I want the ‘whole’, not a ‘hole’

Why refuse to see beyond?

To stretch! To seek within!

To reach out to the magic wand!

The transforming wand is within

But leave the ‘hole’, you must!

See the ‘whole’, be the ‘whole’,

Shine like a gem! Why go for dust?

I  once read a quote that said, “Be willing to surrender what you are for what you can become!”

Change is exciting. And yet, it is fearful  for many. Fearing the unknown, we refuse to change. We close our eyes to the ‘wings’ change will give us to make us better.

I implore you to contemplate on your present and your past to make way for a better future.

If you think you cannot, you won’t! So think you can, and you will!

— Nivedita Shori

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Every child’s first education begins with his surroundings. With time, as one grows, the intellect also grows, habits change, personality develops and circumstances alter; but the habit of getting influenced by the surroundings does not change.  It often remains the same, even when we see it working against one’s benefit.

The society in which we live always keeps on influencing us. Each individual acts in accordance with what others do.

It is common belief that what most of the people are doing is always right. The norm established by the majority is upheld by the society and considered ‘the right thing to do’. An individual’s will, his choice has no importance.  It almost loses its very entity.  It is as if the society has forgotten that it is the individuals who form it— the society.  So the will of an individual should be respected in a healthy society.

When trying to settle in a new country, I found many well- wishers already settled there.  They were sincere and serious to render me all the help they could.  It was heartening.  They advised me to have certain things in the first instance to make my place in the society.  It was their ‘have to’ culture just for survival.  So in all its sincerity, I found the society exerting many pressures on me:

  • to find a ‘survival job’— no matter how hard or irrelevant — as soon as possible, instead of using the ‘settlement funds’,
  • to buy a car and cell-phone at the earliest, considered essential to find and accept over-time at work,
  • not to think of going back to my home-country, India for at least five years, to save as much as I could, and 
  • not to spend even a single penny on my intellectual and spiritual growth and so on.

Hence, leading a comfortable and quality-life was considered ‘unhealthy’ practice, especially for newcomers to the country.  As I have mentioned earlier, even after we grow up we still do not leave our tendency to get influenced. I was no exception and got taken by the flow.  I was dissatisfied, unhappy, tense and tired but everyone around me was quite satisfied as I was doing exactly what others had done when they had come to the country and I was expected to do the same. It was a ‘have to’ situation according to the society I lived in and I would ‘have to’ conform with its ‘norms’.

            This ‘have to’ was the governing force and I was also in the race. It was a well-established path which took me towards ‘well-established’ discontentment. I call this discontentment ‘well-established’ because all those who were following this path had been engulfed by it from all sides. But that was considered ‘okay’ because that was the only reality they knew and understood.

There were many times when I used to think that man had done wonders in technology by setting foot on moon, by exploring Mars and by making supersonic jets. How could the same human brain not be able to figure out that this ‘have to’ culture is not only slowly strangling the contentment and happiness in his own life but it is also a great hurdle in the very process of thinking as it eats up all the time a man can have at his disposal. 

Having been taught that the purpose of money is to serve you and not the other way around, my sincerity and dedication towards this ‘have to’ approach began to fade and one day I decided to come out of its influence. The same day I realized that the mere thought of living a life free from the shackles of what I ‘have to’ do, liberated me from many worries which I had wrapped around myself unnecessarily. It was definitely not easy to bring it into practice. The day people came to know that I had stopped doing what I was advised to, I almost became a criminal in their eyes. They all got upset, unhappy and worried about me without even noticing that I was more cheerful, happy and contented.

After coming out of that ambitious cycle I realized that people have succumbed to leading a tough and  unhealthy life. Even though it is making their lives miserable, they refuse to step out of this race. I have heard and seen examples of such people going into depression, falling prey to several physical and mental ailments and even ending their lives due to the pressure of being like others.

This ‘have to’ practice is present everywhere, in every country, in every culture, in every society and in every family. It is so deep-rooted that it has become second nature to us, just a way of life. It has become impossible for us to think of any other way to lead ourselves. We have become habitual to leading a life of puppets from the moment we get up from our bed until we sleep. Why be a puppet? Why shouldn’t we lead a life which we and only we think is best for us? By doing so we might be helping not only ourselves but also others who do not have the courage to come out of their shells and think differently. It is the only way we can truly live a quality life, a life full of peace, prosperity and happiness.  Most importantly, it is how we can live our life by ourselves.

— Prashant Shori

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