TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE

This phrase originated in the 60s, I think, and reflected a need at the time for spiritual solace, a re-generation of the soul and spirit of those seeking a new beginning, and a new meaning to life. It even formed the basis of a song sung by John Denver in the 70s.

Declaring it in the first person, i.e., “Today is the first day of the rest of my life” has also become a bit of a slogan for people seeking a newer meaning to life. But in my experience, it rarely has the desired effect. Whilst the spirit is willing to change, rarely do the circumstances surrounding the individual change, simply with that declaration. Nor does his or her physical, mental or emotional baggage. If baggage weighs you down, just do not make a declaration that “Today is the first day of the rest of your life” to make yourself feel better.

Start looking for ways to dump the baggage. The baggage could be physical, like a bad job, or bad health, or it could be mental/emotional like a bad relationship, a broken heart or worry over the health of a loved one. This is the hardest part of trying to cope with life, and the hardest when trying to overcome. Maybe the best thing to do is to pick one piece of baggage, and work at dumping it. If nothing else, it is a start.

Again, this is easier said than done. If you are a caring, feeling person, and care about whatever it is that is weighing you down, then nothing is going to be easy. Does this mean you should not try? No it does not. I keep trying to lighten my baggage. But so far, I have had only partial success. I have not got rid of anything permanently, but lightened it in places where it was very heavy.

Tell me your experience, please. Do you think my approach is wrong? Or am I just a weak person who can never shed baggage?

Good luck with your own excess baggage.

 

 

SHE

She brought sunshine
She brought laughter
She brought love and
The memory of her, still
Brings joy.

The purity
Of her heart, her mind
Her eyes and her gaze
Pierce the soul, in a way
Without compare.
It bared my soul, my heart
My mind,
My everything.

When she left, she
Said she loved another, she
Broke my heart
Into so many pieces, I
Am still counting them
The hope remains that one day
She will forsake her new love, and
Come back
To me.

Her name mesmerises me,
Because it resembles rhythm,
The rhythm
Of  peace and Love, the promise of
A fresh start, the past
Washed away in her purity.

She poured her love
Over me, and
Hid the many cuts, the hurt
I gave her
In return
For her love, till
She no longer
Loved me.

 

Attachment and Detachment

In Hindu religion and philosophy, the suffix “….ananda” to someone’s name is awarded (one could ask, by whom) to a person who has reached the perfect state of “Ananda”. Hence Vivekananda, Parmananda, and other such “anandas” had or have reached the stage of perfect ananda. Makes sense? Absolutely!

This perfect stage involves amongst other things, a state of detachment from all things material and personal. Attachment to people, things, money and the like prevent us from reaching a state of perfection in mind and soul. I have seen close up a living example of a person who seems totally detached, and does not react to provocation, is slow to anger, and has an air of serenity that I cannot help but envy. This person practices meditation 7 days a week, and has an air of equanimity that you will rarely find in people. However, he claims that he is far from reaching such a stage. He still works part time, but just to keep me happy, and spends the rest of his time in either meditation or in service to his sect.

I, on the other hand, find it impossible to detach from relationships, whether it is to my work, or to people I feel close to. The mere fact that I feel close to some people, am passionate about my work, golf and writing (when I have time that is), I often commit to relationships with people unconditionally. Despite this so called un-conditionality, these relationships breed expectations, which arise both in me, and also in the person to whom I am attached. So detachment is not something I have either wanted, or considered desirable. Ananda also gives one a state of complete contentment, with no desires, and no negative emotions such as greed lust anger and the like.

When I ask myself whether I would like to achieve that idyllic stage, I do not have an answer. At times like this in my life, when I am beset by a troubled mind, and unresolved angst, I yearn for that detachment that would allow me to accept things as they are and not feel the stress and anxiety of life’s unresolved challenges. But then, I think of the relationships that give me joy, and the pursuits that give me joy (such as travel, writing and golf) and detachment from them seems senseless and pointless to me.

I do not know if this casts me as another mere mortal. But if it does, I am happy to be another mere mortal. The pursuit of the state of Ananda, while it seems a very desirable objective seems inconsistent with the material world. And I belong to the material world in every sense of the expression. But the strange thing is that this same very detached person that I described above told me one day that if he has seen anyone who does not need all the things that helped him achieve his present state of mind, it is me. He said there is an inner peace within me that people will find hard to penetrate. This left me baffled, because I do not feel that peace internally.

Detachment is a state of mind that would be very desirable. But is attachment a bad thing? Are expectations a bad thing? Attachment leads to expectations, and that is a bad thing? I do not know if anyone else has views about this. I would love to hear from anyone who reads this. Is love equal to attachment? Or is it so unconditional that it does not matter whether the person you love even knows that you love them? Or knows and does not care?

Do you have any views? Please let me know what you feel.

 

 

 

Where?

The eyes that once blazed
With anger, outrage,
With fierce intent, now
Lifeless, dull, listless
Expressionless, but
Kill.

The voice that rang with
Conviction, with
Passion, with
Clear tones and meaning, now
Silenced, no echo of
The former sounds
The former tones
The former strength.

The lithe body, the erect gait,
The speed, boundless in
Energy, strength and power, now
Slouch and shuffle
The human crutches that hold
The same body.

Nor time, nor age worked
On her,
A quiet fall, a stroke
of fate, of sheer
Bad luck
Laid her down
Changed her from substance
To a shell.

Where oh where,
Has she gone,
Where is the voice, the blazing eyes
The erect gait, the fierce
Demeanour
This is not
The mother I knew.
A complete stranger
Occupies
Her body.
Bhabi please come back!

 

HARD TO SAY GOODBYE

Some nine and a half years back, I had to say goodbye forever to my father. He was 90 years old, an intellectual, a scholar, ex-civil servant, ex-diplomat. It was then that I realized that watching a parent age, and eventually die in front of your eyes is one of the hardest things to go through. Having been a care-giver, and having gone through the stresses and strains of caring for someone, compelled me to seek professional counseling from a psychologist. I saw her for 2 years and ended the engagement well after he passed on.

Now, nine and a half years later, I am going through all this again with my 94 year old mother. Ninety four, you say? Well, that is a long life and a ripe old age to have lived, so why stress and why feel sad? Right?

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ON LOVE AND MARRIAGE

I have recently read, with interest, articles both by Scribblemarks (aka Mira Saraf), as well as Maggie, a fellow blogger, on the skewed facets of the institution of marriage in the context of today’s world. I have often wanted to write on this subject, but actually would like to start with the subject of what we blithely call love.

A caveat at first. I have been married to the same woman for 43 years. Although we have had our ups and downs, like all married couples do, I could never have wished for anyone else to have married, given that ours was a so called “Love Marriage”. In the Indian context that phrase itself implies something illicit and not normal. But then, who gives a rat’s ass. If it had not worked out between my wife and I, I would have only myself to blame for it.

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The Social Contract

The relationship between society, the state and the individual has been the subject of countless essays for centuries. Rousseau tried to set some rules to the subject of the relationship between State and Man over 250 years ago. His book caused great upheaval in Europe and first brought the concept of rights and responsibilities of a citizen. It was written however in the backdrop of an oppressive monarchy a few decades before the French Revolution, as well as the fact that women enjoyed no political and social rights.

Although the world has seen a sea change since Rousseau’s book created a furore in France, much of what he says is still true now. His iconic lines hold true even today:

“Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains.”

Continue reading “The Social Contract”