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.

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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.

An Intelligible Title

The amount of noise in the system seems to be at an all-time high right now. I wonder if this is just an externalization of what is going on inside my brain or the world is really in a bad shape right now. Almost everyone around me physically and virtually seems to be doing and thinking about things incorrectly. Unfortunately, the time is limited for everyone. The ultimate question is how does one make the most of this limited time?

What does approximately 900 hours of meditation teach one? I don’t know if there is some hidden meaning that will be unravelled after a given amount of time but I’m sure when I get to a point when the feeling won’t be one of sudden realization. Similar to the feeling after any hard endeavor there is a feeling of realization to which one can’t pin-point to and say that “here, this is when things started to make sense“. I think that my takeaway is going to be nothing special but something understood already like this that things eventually pass and that this too shall pass. At the very least I can say that now when I sit down to practice I sometimes instantaneously shift into a frame of mind which disassociates me from my physical presence. This seems mystical but it is not. It is probably most similar to how I feel when I am in a state of extreme pain, sadness or joy.

Looking at the internet and talking to friends and family it seems like people are lost and everyone is grasping at whatever seams seem to give them a semblance of meaning. Some find meaning in family, others follow people they admire for their lifestyles, their business, or some other aspect of their life. Net-net people are not sure about what their life should mean and they are grasping at things that help them give their lives some meaning.

I think first-principles can help in this case but one can quickly turn nihilistic if you look at things too objectively. I think you have to consciously pepper in some amount of emotion while being very conscious and cognizant that you’ve done that. One has to be mindful about how they look at things, events, occurrences, and situations around themselves. At any moment life will spin out of control. Those things that you hold very personal and close to your heart will disappear and shatter, what will all these things mean then? These might be the things that you expect are the things that are closest to your heart or you might not have realized that they were important to you. Is your brain as noisy as well?

80 days later

This is for you. It’s never easy and it takes effort. The easy part is to make up your mind. Executing and consistency is the hard part. Laurels are not won on the stage or during the performance in front of hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands. They are earned in the early mornings, the times where you take a step and question yourself about whatever it is that you are doing and then proceed, either by deluding yourself in some vision of the future or by convincing yourself that every other option is pointless, in the times when your face is marred with defeat but you decide to dust it off and get back at it.

Life isn’t a big fancy movie but it’s got ups and downs just like any adventure. In all of that action, resolve is paramount. Results come by virtue of staying at things, consistency and repetition are key. Repeated movement around the sun, around the objectives, and around whatever propels us forward. Forward towards whatever is next. I have been doing daily meditation for 80 days now and can tell there’s a difference from when I first started. To drop whatever is going on and proceed with an effort to realize something. The realization that this body is floating in a sea of things that are taking place irrespective, is not small. However, it is the action of consistency that makes you realize the importance of the little things amidst what seems like a futile journey.

I will write more about the process sometime as well but for now this is just a check-in.

The Frequency Decreases… Yet Again!

No, I’ve been meditating for 66 days continuously now. If anything I can say that it has been having some or maybe no difference at all in my daily life. However, the one change I can definitely tell is that I don’t have any expectations from the practice. In fact, this post is written for the very purpose that I am not going to unravel some great mystery about the universe by this practice. However, I am going to continue to practice every day. I think the expectations one has from life, relationships within that life, and then the outcomes from those expectations are serious detractors in life. The frequency of posting here definitely has decreased and I will attribute that to work getting started all over again.

This post does however mark the merger of my own personal notes and the blog that I am now maintaining as my physical journal. My body of work which will remain after me. Hopefully, someone going through the same trials and tribulations will be able to use this as a reference and not make the same mistakes or perhaps use the steps I took to make it a wonderful life. For me, it was a poem that shaped many of my ideologies since I was young. Not all but some.

“A moment there my buoyant heart hung slack,

And then the glad, barbaric blood came back

Singing a livelier tune; and in my pulse

Beat the great wave that surges and exults …

Why I was there and whither I must go I did not care.

Enough for me to know

The same unresting struggle and the glowing

Beauty of spendthrift-hours, bravely showing

Life, an adventure perilous and gay;

And Death, a long and vivid holiday.”

‘Swimmers’ by Louis Untermeyer

In other news, I have a few drafts that are pending publication here on this blog but I am encouraged to write and write more often. I think I will now write with a sense of urgency because I know that all this privilege I have been afforded should not be wasted. In a related story about making life better each day, I am now almost back to regular running. I did feel something funny in my ankle today but hopefully, the little kinks will unravel as I get more time stamping the tender grounds. Aerobic in Zone 2 is the fad of the day. Perhaps I can get 8 kilometers in each day.