Unearned Wisdom

There are things that I want to talk about and write about but I’m unable to bring myself to get some structure.  So finally I settled on putting structure to some thoughts I jotted down during a conversation I listened to recently. I thought about writing about a topic that Jordan Peterson mentioned during his conversation with Joe Rogan this past week. They were talking about Ayahuasca and the impact that psychedelics can have on individual perspectives. They veered into this topic after starting with something about religion. I don’t appreciate the conversations about religion myself but I appreciate Peterson’s opinions on quite a few other things things. In all honesty, I sometimes think he’s quite correct about religion as well. I just don’t want to take the correctness of his opinions, especially about religion, for granted. I want to arrive at them when I do by myself without a canvas painted by imploring opinions eloquently stated. As they eventually started talking about psychedelics, Jordan Peterson quoted Carl Jung. 

“Unearned Wisdom”

I am yet to unravel the context of this quote from Carl Jung myself but cursorily I understand that it was about the feeling of having become wiser following the use of psychedelics. This nicely encapsulates my opinions when a friend tells me about their experience with or the need to experience psychedelics like Ayahuasca. I think there is a yearning to understand the world and these substances feel like a shortcut to that understanding. I feel like many individuals are distressed today because of several reasons and alternatives seem like a way out. I know this not just from observing but also know from personal experience. At this very moment, I have a part of me that wants to go to the gym for the rest of me. I know that this is something I need to do in order to keep myself functioning to the best of my ability. Yet, I keep delaying the decision and even do something that is arguably more challenging intellectually than making the decision to go to the gym. I know that I am trying to take a shortcut. However, I know that while I have a tendency to take the easy way out I need to push myself in one way or another and hence I am extracting the effort to compose this little essay from that ‘diversion’ that my mind thinks it is taking. Yes, I know I’m talking about my brain’s thoughts in third person.

I am a curious person and I understand that sometimes my curiosity can get the better of me and hinder me from being productive. I know these things about me and when I decide to undertake a task I have to take these shortcomings into consideration. When I do this I am not answerable to anyone but myself. However, I am aware enough at the same time to know what I don’t know. I think the lack of this trait in combination with the inability to push oneself is what leads a large majority of people to despondency. That stagnation then forces individuals to look for alternatives to jump-start something exciting in life. Something that will either radically change the direction of things or bring some new flavors to life. Ayahuasca and other traditional psychedelics are the answer to this despondency. Is it the right answer? Not in my opinion but it is just one of the things that the universe throws at us when we are clamoring for ‘different’. 

The Road Within

There was a friend with whom I thought I’d have a long and old friendship. The kind where one looks back and hums songs of old before completing the tune. Unfortunately, that was not the end of that relationship and it was in some ways bitter to part on the paths we did but still not apart. This person at a time in that past put me in touch with another friend who wrote this poem. It was written from her heart during that time of life when we all go through a tumult. I did not want this poem to be forgotten in the annals of the dark web i.e. my email inbox and hence wanted to put it up on my blog. Here at least some fortunate web crawler will crawl, index, and store it in an indexed version for years and years to come. I don’t think this poem is worthy of grandiose claims of human ingenuity in literature but it’s a part of history that was mine, not my personal history but part of the history that was mine. Perhaps one day we meet and I can share this for her to reflect on the past that perhaps she would be proud of. So here goes…

The Road Within..

The road within

is the road I must travel now

my Master is calling

I must listen to her now..

The roads around me are very beautiful

But none as much as the road within,

All others may lead to happiness,

But only this one leads to bliss.

I had always feared it,

because it holds the reality,

Reality of the evils of my mind,

Guised under the garb of morality..

But my Master is now,

urging me to walk..

Walk if I cannot run

and crawl if I cannot walk

Because soon one day she said,

a time will come,

when no longer will I be a participant,

an observer i will become

An observer I will be

to the schemings of my mind

and laugh I will at it

At its fruitless attempts to misguide

Laugh I will in deliverance

laugh I will like a new born child

laugh I will at my new birth

like a caged bird let lose in the wild..

The road will become my home

like the brightest star I will shine

I will be one with myself

My consciousness will merge with the Divine…

This is the only road 

that I will travel alone 

There is no goal

there is no end

the joy is in the travel alone..

New Place, Same Society

I wish I could say that things seem easier now. I am in this new apartment where I am paying more and it seems to be in a much nicer place. Imagine, I can even feel the burden of framing that previous sentence. I talk about the rent as the first thing and then I state how it seems to be something. Not that it is but rather it seems. Honestly I feel this lingering burden of something over me. It’s not the credit card debt I ratcheted up. Thanks to the trips before moving into this place. The trips that were required for the move and those that were not. It seems more emotional. It seems much of it is caused by worry for people close to me and not. Or perhaps it feels like I don’t want to be here in some subconscious part of me. If I said there were lingering presences here, that would just seem ridiculous. Not many things have happened since I came here besides the escalating war, the social consciousness going crazier by the day and then there’s Kanye, who destroyed his empire, at least financially it seems so right now.

It was a tragedy what happened with Kanye. When I got the notification that he appeared on Lex Fridman a part of me was elated just like any other consumer of content on the internet. Just like the millions of viewers of Youtube. A relatively simple reaction to a new notification, sometimes maybe any notification. Then slowly I started thinking about other things. One for e.g., was would I finally be able to communicate with people significant in my life what a genius this guy was/is? Then I thought, okay, finally a conversation that will perhaps transcend the general nonsense on media. Then I started watching it and Lex’s awkward start to the video made it feel either an exceptional conversation or a conversation that began with a sense of urgency to get right into it. Without getting into the finer details of the episode I’ll just leave it here to say that the episode was a train wreck. Not because of what he said but because of how it would be perceived. This conversation was a knife edge that was serrated and blunt. Perhaps of one that was unused and will never be used ever again.

“Fools be saying that he ruined his empire in a few days”. Unfortunately or fortunately for some I think that’s true, they are fools indeed. Perhaps it will be interesting to see what the history books don’t write about this person. His art in real life was something to see being made. I was fortunate to see a documentary that documented him doing his work. Were all his views correct? Maybe not according to the current society. Were all his lyrics admirable? Was all his art where I found the calling for my heart? Perhaps not but he had genius during my time. I among many others witnessed his rise and I won’t say his fall. He is too eccentric to be judged by this society. He doesn’t fall in its framework of laurels or failures. They’re still figuring out what hit them. I needed help figuring out what hit me. And that’s where Casey Neistat came into the picture.

I wanted to make some sense or maybe just find my bearings in this scenario. Casey being a creator I’ve followed for long was helpful. He’s eccentric in his own right. He’s Jewish and understands how the media works as well. So, his views would make sense. To my surprise, which honestly shouldn’t have been one, he had interacted with Ye. Not in the way one would consider an interaction because he hasn’t created anything or even collaborated on anything. He had only interacted with him as a human being a couple of times in a corridor, here and there and listened to him speak up close about his ideas. He admired him and appreciated Ye as a creator. Not anymore. He had seen what all Ye said about the Jews and he didn’t take well to it. As many did and perhaps should. His explanation was that Ye was dog whistling people. I didn’t clearly know what that means and perhaps don’t even now but here’s what I understood. He was giving people the permission to openly hate and in a way condoned hate speech by doing what he was because he was a prolific personality. I can see that. As much of his genius I see, I also see that he is provocative. He has talked about being provocative and he has been provocative. The time he was being provocative as well but I think he broke the social contract.

Everyone enters into a social contract the moment they leave their parents. Their parents handle the contract before that. In a way they bear the brunt or fruits of the person’s external engagement until the person leaves their nest. The time they spend at home is the time they undergo a sort of “training”. They understand what is, can be, should be, and can’t be. Sometimes they learn what can be and what isn’t and they set out to change things. At any rate, they understand what the social contract means. Some set out to change the contract because they are not satisfied with what was handed to them. This is when Legends are born or where dreams are created or simply complexes created and harbored. Or at least that’s how I think is the way that it goes. I can’t speak about Ye in entirety but he learned to chase greatness early. He did not sign the contract he was handed at birth. No one except his Mama knew that. She saw him break rules early. Others were yet to witness what Ye was to bring to the table.

I feel I only learned about the preordained contract a few weeks ago. Or maybe I’ve been learning about the contract for sometime now. I hope I am able to do something with this one wild and precious life.

A Deliberate Post

I’ve started to migrate. No it doesn’t feel too great. But this post today isn’t about that. It’s about structure, meditation and relationships. Aren’t those things related? Structure is important and helps to provide flow to the story. Setting up a context makes it easier for the reader but it also helps the author to gather content and give shape to the story.


Talking about structure let’s start with Notion. I didn’t realise this before but as I’m getting used to Notion templates and the interface (it has been languishing on different computers for some time now) it might be helpful to craft a story and easier to write content for the blog.

Now that I’m coming back to this draft I realise that something about the environment around me is pushing me to use structure and become better at writing. That said, this post will lack structure. So will twenty or so posts after this one. But you will see improvement.

Not an advertisement and not sponsored either!

Meditation

My Waking Up app tells me that I’ve been meditating for 300+ days now. Even if that’s not accurate I know that on average I’ve meditated for 9+ minutes everyday for the past eight months. How has that changed me? It probably has not. At least not in a perceivable way. However, I can tell that I am looking at things differently. Even if folks around me don’t see a change. This will sound ridiculous. In fact if i heard what I’m about to write I would ridicule it immediately but I need to say it nonetheless. I can feel the universe around me is working with me on this. The book I’m reading, the energy I’m feeling, and the passages that are coming my way. What now? On to 20 minutes a day. It’s not a goal or a target but something feels right about it as I say it or think about it.

Meditating in a relationship about the relationship

Relationships

If I think about this two things come to mind. One, I could write a book about this topic or two, I don’t have anything to say about this topic. Very contradictory! Or maybe that is how all great topics are in reality. We have so much to say about them that we usually get overwhelmed when we begin to think about them.

This passage was primarily prompted because of a picture. The picture illustrated happiness. It prompted memories and left me with a bitter taste. I could have said so much and done things differently but relationships are not straightforward. A mother loves her children dearly but is human after all. A father can stake his reputation and health on his family. Children love their parents in a pure way beyond anything they have known in life, perhaps their first loves.

The wrath of a mother’s anger can leave devastation in its wake. It can bruise. A bruise that sometimes can take a lifetime to heal. A father gets involved in interests that prove to be damaging to the family. Children eventually leave their nest and find their next ‘true love’. So, yes, and image can tell a story worth a thousand words. That story though isn’t the only interpretation and the story perhaps can be told in a thousand ways.

The Chat, Challenges and Changes

This post was supposed to come to you and my blog from an airport. Things have been hectic but there are signs of growth. I have been back home or the past 72 days now and it’s been great mostly. When I say mostly I am including things that are not part of the home. Things like worry about the work visa, prospective work, etc.

Now I’m getting back to this draft after about two weeks and I desperately feel like I have to get something out. Things have started to tend towards the mean again. I think that’s what happens at home or when you’re surrounded by people that make you feel comfortable. You start to become comfortable and you tend to stop pushing yourself, both mentally and physically. I am not blaming anyone I myself because I have not held myself to account. If I don’t take control today I will consider myself to be slacking but this post is an effort for me to get moving forward. I am almost about the complete the second book in a month so there’s that. Personally, I’ve slacked but I’ll give myself this one chance.

Things are not easy in a family with children that are grown adults. Things are not easy in a family that has a fractured core. Things are not easy in a(ny) family. It’s a unit where people get together for some reasons they feel they understand when they are younger and then again they start to feel the same when they grow older. Sometimes these things are pressures, while other times they are desires but at the end of it all it is all the consequence of Life trying to prosper through us. Everyone attaches a different meaning to aspects of their life without realising they are just a vessel for Life. Perhaps people that involve themselves with the trivialities of religion understand this better because for them the entity is not Life it’s a God. In popular culture this is the Force. If you are conducive to the propagation of Life you are assisted with direction and guidance, otherwise you have to trudge through the misery and suffering that is life. When living within a unit that is a family combine all of the above to consider individual ambitions, fears, concerns, and emotions. It is not easy.

An attempt to paint a picture, in a very familiar setting he is oblivious to his own actions and she is too engaged in her own thought process oblivious to the impact it has on her own actions. She over-thinks it while he forgets to think about it. ‘It’ can be anything. To understand how lost we all are takes some amount of thinking, bandwidth and planning to have the spare intellect to think about thinking. I am aware that I am indebted to my family for where I am but then I have come to realise that I too have made some decisions by myself along the way. Not too many but some that have had some impact on outcomes. I was born into privilege. I have the privilege of thinking about thinking because some of the burden of survival was taken away from me followed by a lot of other burdens, which are perhaps not as tribal. This allowed me to thrive (i.e., spend time on thinking among other things). However despite all the privilege that I was born into, I cannot be oblivious about the shortcomings of others for whatever reasons they were ingrained into them.

The “beauty” of the hill station that is Shimla

Travel back home even before I was home was not easy. Balaji has a lot of hope in Indians if not in India. My trip back and specifically the part that started after I collected my bags at the luggage belt on arrival at IGI shed some light on and reminded me why my extremely bearish on the individuals within this country. The individuals in this country are doing great things no doubt but there is a dearth of a need to struggle. I don’t know if struggle is important to succeed but many who are in the limelight right now are not necessarily a product of the struggle in the sense that a large part of India understands struggle. The large part of India being the segment of the population that lives under a $1/day. I’m not from that segment of society either and I don’t want this to come across as sour grapes. I don’t think my story is complete yet. A large part of India is struggling and doesn’t have the most basic infrastructure that many smaller nations boast about. Yes, a large country comes with its own challenges but even a large number of people in this nation seem oblivious of its challenges.

It’s not a prerogative of the individuals to keep abreast of the challenges in their society. One individual can only investigate and/or be aware of so much in the 24 hours they spend in one day. There is a dearth of leadership in our country. Individuals reeling under the burden of a failing leadership cannot be blamed completely. For the past 75 years we have had a fragmented society or Disjointed States of India as they were originally intended. Perhaps leadership of a such a vibrant collection of states is a challenge in itself. Keeping aside the corruption and the general tendency of laxity in people (that may have arisen due to geographical benefits) there is a variance in culture of the peoples. Different cultures, languages, styles of living has rendered a variation unlike many other around the world.

Diversity is a great thing… Here are the ethnic diversity scores of a few countries (Source: worldatlas.com)

However, looking at the number of challenges all the way from the unit of the family to society at large is not easy and doesn’t occupy my mindspace all the time. This was just an attempt to quantify the emotion about the fact that life is a struggle. Among other things I’ve wondered how meditation fits into all this. It fits well and has helped me as I’ve practiced (consistently) over the past six months. I don’t think it matters which app or practice you follow but the action to practice is what is important. I’ve started to realise that I’m present in some thing that is way larger and encompasses a space beyond me and my epoch, whatever name one wants to give it but that also means that my actions are consequential for a very small part of the universe around me. It does by no means imply that I am relegated of responsibility. Quite the contrary, the responsibility to observe my actions as causes and then my reactions to other things is more important if I have a need to understand how this works.

On another note and in a very contorted and abstracted way feeling hurt by some of the closest people feels … hurtful. The poison and the pain are disproportionate not because of the actions of the other person but because of the level of expectations that one builds up. There are times when some of these closest people are selfish not consciously but out of a need for self preservation. In such a state their definitions of what is right and wrong gets contorted and they lose the ability to evaluate their decisions. It happens to me and the best of us. This is just human. Meditation might make you realise this sense of loss of control when the person is in the moment but I think it only takes a significant amount of practice to overcome these human instincts. Add to this the fact that sometimes these people may not have the best intellectual capabilities and then it only pushes these issues and their resulting arguments and disagreements more downhill. Perhaps, more compassion and that’s the lesson I need to derive.

Things I need to be grateful for:

  • the awareness to avoid the feeling of victimhood
  • the good that has been bestowed upon me by people that were in my life when I was born and the people I got to know along the way
  • the amount of goodness in everyday that is serendipitous

Much has changed and much needs to be written about but this draft needs to go out now. Signing out of this disjointed post to do something more irrelevant but hey I salvaged the day despite all the hurdles.