Everything is temporary

Meditation Hall in Singapore Vipassana Camp, St. John's Island
Meditation Hall in Singapore Vipassana Camp, St. John’s Island

I have wanted to write about this incredible new journey in my life that I started about 2 years back, but every time I start, words fail me. Please bear with me if I divert or ramble a lot.

The experience that I want to capture in words is very difficult to explain to those who haven’t had similar experiences. Like seeing an ocean for the first time. How do you explain your experience to someone who has never an ocean before. To simplify extremely, I would just say, meditation is like a work out for mind. You have a target to achieve, like 50 crunches in a gym, and you need to reach that after trying continuously. The target keeps getting tougher and tougher as you get better at the exercises. The ultimate goal is to make the mind so strong that you are always in a meditative state irrespective of any other activity that you might be involved in.

The meditation technique that I am trying to learn is Vipassana as taught by SD Goenka. Why I started on this path was simply because I needed a very strong and powerful change in my attitude. It was just like someone joining a diet program if they are desperate to lose weight. There were a few things about myself that I was quite fed up of and wanted to get rid of them. For instance, losing my cool in the time of testing, being angry when someone does me wrong, being very emotional about things. There were times when I found myself extremely sad and at the same thing wondering why the hell am I so sad. I am one of those very few individuals in the world who have best of everything: health, education, rights, money, everything which people seek I have it already, and yet I can be so unhappy at times. If I am not happy now under current circumstances, then it is highly unlikely that I ever would be! And hence, I was looking for a complete overhaul.

It is very simply achieved by the art of ‘observing’. So there are four types of minds which are always on work: memory, conscious, reaction, feeling. A very crucial type of mind which is never worked/exercised and hence becomes very weak is ‘observing’ kind. In order to strengthen this mind, you need to exercise it to work. You learn to observe your own body. You are not allowed to imagine anything, or get inputs from any sensory organs such as those of sight, noise, touch, taste, smell. You are only required to observe each and every cell of your body using your mind. With some concentration and practice, it is quite easy to achieve a state when you can feel and observe all the nerve cells or blood vessels running under your skin. The higher goal is to be able to feel each and every molecule in your body.

We all understand that everything is temporary. It is because we see everything as changing. There are flowers which live for a day or less. An earthquake changes the whole landscape within a few seconds. The path of a river keeps changing every year. These changes are either very slow in time or very big in size to ignore. The changes which happen at a very small scale and at a very fast pace are not noticed by us. Like in high frequency trading, machines trade a thousand times within a second to earn a profit of say 1 dollar. The speed of each transaction is too fast for a human to comprehend. We can only see the cumulative results at the end of a time interval: a second or a minute. The universe is also changing at a speed which can’t be monitored by our conscious mind. However, the unconscious mind which does very fast processing can be trained to comprehend and witness that fast change. And that is where meditation comes in to the picture.

Although it is easy to believe in the fact that nothing is permanent, everything is always changing. But believing in something is not enough to bring about behavioral changes. For instance, there are many people who believe in equal rights say between homosexuals and heterosexuals. However, they would still cringe with disgust when they see two homosexuals display affection/love/intimacy in public view. Whereas, they might find a man and woman kissing passionately very natural and even liberating! Similarly, at the time when you are extremely sad or happy, it is very difficult to calm down with just a belief that tomorrow might not be the same. It is very much possible that tomorrow everything in your life takes an upside down turn and hence today’s emotions/feelings would no longer matter anymore. This is easy to understand but difficult to implement.

To actually bring about a behavioral change, the mind needs to be trained. And this is exactly what meditation does.

But it is a very long and very slow journey. I feel blessed to have started on this long path though.

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Things I wanna do before I turn 30

This time I didn’t make any new year resolutions or celebrations. But circumstances pushed me to dream harder. To make bigger plans. I don’t see much gay or fun in recent present so making long term plans. Less than five years are left before I turn 30, and there are few things I wanna do/have before the end of the golden years of youth!

– Make out at the top of a mountain, outside in rain and on a beach

– Have a honeymoon in Kashmir, and one in Austria; before that:

– Get Married

– Cook a proper 4 course delicious sumptous authentic Italian dinner 

– Get at least one article (or in worst case: a letter) published in good newspaper (not TOI, HT)

– Paint a wall of my house with graffiti; before that:

– Have a home where I live for at least 2 years at a stretch

– Be able to swim 1 km without stopping for breath or rest.

– Laugh as much as I laughed in last 25 years. Which means everyday I would have to laugh five times more. (sounds cheesy I know!)

– Get into a settled career path (for next 20-25 yrs)

– Own a beautiful evening gown. Wear it at least once.

– Own at least 4 comfortable beautiful pieces of footwear to go with my entire wardrobe.

– Go to some place new with my parents for a family vacation.

– Go on at least 5 one week long treks. One in each year. Hopefully one in Alpine ranges.

Thats all. While writing I couldn’t help thinking of Bucket List (or Dasvidaniya for hindi people). I guess I can’t help living life at the rim. But listing out all these tasks did fill me with lot of enthusiasm which is lacking in life these days.

Christmas Gift!

My laptop is working, and working well. I know its a two year old model, with only 256MB ram, but hey, I got it pretty cheap! Just had to set up a desktop and prolly would have to buy a 19” LCD monitor. But what I got in return – a laptop of my own, which means I have my new best friend available 24X7! Which will store all that I would want to keep in it, all my old data once again just a click away, my songs, my pics, my old term papers, everything within my reach. Whats more, I can get cosy inside a blanket and type day and night! Hehehe… I know some people take all this for granted, but it is still a week before I start taking it for granted! Till then, I would enjoy the new toy! Found this ppt I have always loved today in my ol’ data, hope you like it: Zoom in you life

As we live it..

<Background music> Woh Kagaz ki kashti woh baarish ka pani.. muhalle ki sabse purani nishani… woh budhiya jisse bachhe kehte the nani.. woh nani ki baaton mein pariyon ka dera.. woh chehre ki zhuriyon mein sadiyon ka dera.. bhulaye nahi bhool sakta hai koi..

<Ambience> Quiet neighbourhood. Only a faint voice coming from adjacent room of someone talking over the phone.

<Actions – 1 hour back> 1..2..3..5..6..7 Salsa steps.. lots of laughing, twisting, twirling, stepping on feet.. A walk in the green

<Actions – 2 hour back> The hullabaloo of a local market. The faint n strong smells. The scented sticks burning in a mandir. So many kinds of flowers. Pretty flowers. The freshy popped corns. In different flavors. The colourful displays in front of shops. Different faces. Everyone in a search of something or someone. Grocery, fruits n vegs bags in my hands.

<Actions -1 day back> Discussion on the relevance of losing one’s virginity before marriage – with anyone or someone special, sex n arranged marriages .. on a dinner table with friends. One of us hushing from time to time as we are in a posh resturant where families are eating. The tabooed topics.

<Actions – 4 days back> 10 odd people in a room. Some of them call each other friends, some reportee/manager. All call themselves a team. All manage to dance together on random beats. Exchanging looks. A team meeting. Sending sms to the person across the table. Winking and making the other person smile. That understanding look. I know you are sleepy, I know you are bored. I know the pain. The look which you exchange when a manager farts (I meant in terms of poorest pathetic joke ever!). The look which says you are concentrating so well that you would come up with the most brilliant idea – only the idea never arrives fully! The look which really says leave me alone, so many meetings are not really knowledge exchange platform but utter wastage of time!

<Action – 5 days back> A peaceful dinner while watching friends. Awesome cholle, chawal, n masala bread. A heated discussion on the merits n demerits of growing Indian economy. The limited knowledge – built by impressions from here and there. The growth rate which is dependent on GDP is increasing which is a good sign. What about the poor becoming poorer? The middle layer is slowly slowly diminishing and the upward movement is more than the lower. There are only two economic structures which people can think of – capitalism/socialism? And ofcourse, its an established truth that socialism is a failure. The very concept is stupid. Hence, we are left with no other option but capitalism. It promotes “competition”. Which is a good and necessary thing.

<Action – 10 days back> Raindrops sliding slowly against the window. A Santro window. And love is all that I need.. And I found it there in your heart.. It isn’t too hard to see ..We’re in heaven. Four friends rocking to the music coming from the new car speakers. The wet roads we slide through, the parks we pass by, the moments we capture to cherish lifelong. Without saying much, without doing much. Only being there. With each other. A smile on my face, of satisfaction. Feels like home.

<Action – 4 months back> Goodbye-ing a friend, who I know would be all alone for a long time to come, in a strange land, in new settings, with old people in new masks. Probably she has already understood life is to be lived alone. Hopefully she would understand happiness is nothing but a state of mind. Like love.

<background music – an year back> beeti na bitayi raina.. bheegi hui aankhiyon ne laakh bujhayein raina..

<Action- an year back> Writing blog.. trying to make out of things about this n that happening here n there… questioning about events happening in the world, in my world… about people around me…

<A blub lights!> Ah! Nothing lasts forever (As Bryan Adams says correctly) and nothing really changes…