Internal monologuing


Off late I’ve been obsessed with Alan Watts. His books and audio files are my go-to boredom cure.

I would not make the mistake of defining hin as a person, definitions limit us and others. But his writings are amaze! If you’re a fan of Buddhist-Hindu philosophies then he’s your man. Inspite of being an Indian millennial I have been brought up with western books, education and thinking. I view the world through the eyes of a westerner and even buddhist and hindu philosophies. Thankfully Watts is here to the rescue.
His way of explaining the Maya is mind blowing. 

The most recent thing I read today in the book, the Way of Zen, was about how we split our mind or imagine it to be split. 

We are constantly switching between doing something and imagining ourselves doing it. Like doing workout and imagining the workout. The latter causes a lot of stress, lethargy and just basic unwillingness to do the activity. 

That means we think we are split into the voice in our head which records the activities of the other which is the body and what the voice sees through the body. 

The voice is nothing without the body and is completely dependent on it. Yet we have made the split. The voice is the sane one and the body or the heart is the insane one. We think there’s a difference. 
Like the comics of today’s world which constantly portray a struggle between the heart and the brain. In reality there’s no struggle. Because there’s no split. The more we imagine there’s a split the more we feed this imaginary concept. Like our ego. I’ll get back to the ego thing later though.

He gives this example, 

Imagine if you’re reading and you simultaneously think I’m reading, you wouldn’t be actually reading while having that thought. This means our thoughts are a one way road. You can’t have multiple numbers of them at once. Just one at a time. As I’m typing this sentence if I think “oh I’m typing a sentence” I’ll have to stop typing. 
So the split that we imagine is nothing but a stream of thoughts coming one after the another from the same source our mind. But we try to play with the ‘source’ and think oh it is this part of my body or mind talking to this part of my body or mind. It’s really not. 
This internal monologuing we have going on about our ‘life’ as a documentary is nothing thoughts lined up on a stream of them. I know it feels like a traffic jam of thoughts and my head spins too every time I ‘think’ about it. But it is good to know it is not a wide lane and that I’ll never be over crowded with too many thoughts at once. Not even two thoughts at once. Each come one after the other, like our seconds on the clock or moments in life. It is only in our imagination we speed things up and the traffic jam on our mind then causes anxiety. 
I attempted to capture what I’ve read in the book today. But words don’t do justice to his genius or the genius of the Vedic gurus and Zen masters. Hope you have a thoughtless moment today and find peace.

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Moments of Past


Today I spotted some really old pictures in my PC. I went there with a purpose to find old funny videos and was not disappointed. 

Memories that are almost a decade old seemed to drag me down to nostalgia to such a great extent that I have forgotten what year it is now. Those pictures were nice and memorable but there were a few things that caught my eye. At times old pictures help you put so many things into perspective.

I used to consider myself fat when in reality I was extremely skinny. This was a result of standards for women’s beauty. And the fact that clothes almost always were tight inspite of being skinny. The only clothes that fit me well were long kurtas that were too lose for some reason.

I accidentally got my hair cut really short one of those years and I hated it back then. But now looking back at it I actually looked really good and should have enjoyed the cut.  
I just noticed one of the most important things in the pictures and that is stress. I began greying during my teenage years. There was stress at home due to rebellion and stress every where else as well. My face never looked really happy. I seemed to always be in deep thoughts or worried. Or holding on to something. I had a horrible posture and would squirm in most photos as if I did not belong there.

The whole stressed out look was a result of me holding onto the negative moments of life and wondering which one is the next. Me thinking that the moment that has transpired and is giving me stress is going to last forever. 
None of those things are true and this is something the present me has learnt or continues to learn. Life flows like a river. Holding on to a rock in between the river will only make the currents hit your face. Learn to let it go and flow. None of the moments in life last forever, life itself does not last forever.

This blog post may seem ridiculous months from now, just like some of the old selfies. But embrace the past as it were, and let it go. 🙂 The photos are really precious as they hold the most ridiculous moments. I although do think I’ve grown up to be a better and happier person than I was before and am grateful to the whole universe (which includes the people in my life) for it. 🙂 ❤ 
Just if I ever had time travel machine I’d go back to the past me and tell her nothing is forever, especially not the negative moments so let your worries go and flay your arms a little as you walk you awkward weirdo. 😛 But if I did do that it would be ironical. So I’d use my time machine for something more noble, like going to the future seeing if I’m making mistakes and rectifying them. Or probably just going and seeing what was the last and final episode of GoT. And threatening those in the present with the spoilers especially those who keep asking me to watch it. 
So let I not hold onto the past, 

Not even this moment,

Or this one,

As they all flow, one after another,

They all grow helping us better,

The future, the past and mainly the self.

Learn from it, but always let the moments go,

This one,

And this one.

Passing thoughts – Photons


#ThoughtsThatWakeMeUp

Also hunger wakes me up.

I have been watching (and dozing off) to this Neil DeGrasse Tyson series called Inexplicable Universe. 

He said how photons don’t change according to time. They rather capture the images and bring it to us with light. So the image of the stars we see at night is basically multiple photons coming towards us to show what they look like and when you look inside the telescope at Proxima B (my favourite planet after Earth) the photons are 4 light years old and new ones are on its way. (Maybe I’ve got this all wrong.)

Even the sun or the moon we see are a few seconds behind. And whatever we see in light on earth is a few micro milliseconds seconds behind. It is the photons that are taking imagery and sending it to our eyes and then our brain registers as ‘yes, this is a tea cup’.

This means a couple of things:

1. Everything is Maya (or illusion)?. The world we live in is legit a series of images that pass by our eyes. ‘Is this a movie’ people often ask and it very well could be. 

2. The actions we do or way we live is also captured in photons. 

I wonder where are these photons going or how do they get destroyed. They must have a lifespan. The images I see in real life like – someone’s birthday party and store the images from photons (or are the photons themselves in my head?) will be attempted to transfer to someone else’s head who was not present at the party. This would be similar to sending photos on an email. 

I apologize for the lack of scientific jargon in the language. And also lack of complete scientific knowledge. I hope to learn something fascinating everyday. Do correct me if I’ve got this all wrong.

Attachment


I went to visit one of my aunts and was bored within ten minutes in her house. This was mainly because I forgot to carry the most essential thing when you go for a sleepover – a book. 

I borrowed a book called “Wandering in the Himalayas” by Tapovan Prasad. He was one of the Hindu saints of the past. 

There are many highlights of this book and many many complex parts which I did not understand.

My puny little consumer-oriented mind could not appreciate or comprehend some aspects of the book.

As opposed to the current widespread Hindu fanaticism, this book is very straightforward and admits that even philosophies have their imperfections. 

The part on Attachment got a lot of my attention. Anything we grow attached to, has the capacity to define our moods and also the way we live. Attachment towards any object/people/idea makes those object/people/idea rule over us. We become slaves to our phones, people and ideologies.

In this world, where we are constantly trying to ‘define’ ourselves, we need to realise that the definition ultimately becomes a prison that we voluntarily put ourselves in. 

This prison ultimately eats us up. We cannot live up to the definition that we try to squeeze ourselves in. Is it not enough that the world tries to attach definitions to you, that you yourself feel the need to do it?

Attachment breeds fear. To leave this attachment cycle will be a task. I wish not to preach this to anyone. I am absolutely unqualified. This is only for myself to follow. To realise the flaws of attachment to rewards and actions. To grow more self less.

Peace out!

A walk of wonderment


As I continued my evening walk, I wondered how aware are the trees, animals and microogranisms around me. I wonder whether they know something that we don’t. As we probably do know something that they don’t. 

Even though we are all filled by the same entity/energy/stuff i.e. life! I wondered if the tree is aware of my existence as I am aware of its existence. Whether it knows how I and others around it look like, as we do know how it looks like. Awareness of each other must be equal? 

An animal on the other hand is quite aware of us. But do they notice or understand this world that humans continue to create/destroy to suit their needs. 

I looked at a big giant tree and wondered how aware is it about the place it is at right now. Does it know that it is standing in IC colony Borivali? Does it know that it probably has several cousins in Dadar? Does it even know this place is named Borivali by us humans?

Then I realised these are all simply ideas. Borivali, Dadar, Santacruz etc. Switch their names and it makes absolutely no difference! (Except for post offices and your online orders will go haywire. So it is not a good idea practically.) 

But overall what difference does it make to the actual product that is this city? We simply fill it with structures that are an extension of nothing but ideas. And to get deeper I realised I myself am nothing but an idea that exists at the mercy of space-time. An Indian by birth, female, tamilian, mumbaikar. But all of these are nothing but ideas. It is basically life looking through these ideas to understand a different perspective of life. 

That is the only difference between the stray dog, tree and me. We are all life looking at the world of ideas through our own lens of ideas. Idea-ception, if I may. I rather mustn’t. But, I just did. 

These ideas separate us and unite us. But the concept/soul/life beneath all these ideas is truly what is ‘us’: you, me and everything else.

This helped me shatter my ego, and expanded my life goal searching from something that is not narrow, and is not just there as a goal to feed the ego. Cause ego is also just an idea/lens/barrier by which we observe the world.

Obviously at some point I had to make way home. So the thought ride ended. But I swear it was wonderful while it lasted.

Have a wonderful night/day, lovelies!

 

Free will, yay or nay?


I took my usual long walk today. A required workout according to my physiotherapist for my recovery. It is clearly helping recover a lot more than just my gait. 

As I took my walk I wondered, why do planets, stars and other cosmic stuff not have stress like us humans? Aren’t we also made of the same components (but in different proportions) as they are? So why must our life be any different from theirs? 

A star shines its way through its life before it bursts into a supernova. It does what it is supposed to do naturally, and is clearly doing it without any complaints. Why can’t I have the same thing? Do what I’m supposed to do naturally without any complaints and then enter death like it is just another natural chapter of my life. Why must I not have a well-defined path like that? 

Well, this is side note for the reader’s interest and the future me’s interest if she ever comes across this again. Einstein did believe in determinism. He believed that none of us have free will. The following are roughly written quotes of his idea on free will.

If a moon is given the same consciousness as man, it will believe that it revolves around the earth on its own free will. But as we know that is not the case. It does so because it bound by earth due to gravity. So the idea that the moon would even think like that is laughable.

Similarly, if an intelligent being were to look down upon us it would laugh at our idea or notion of free will. (Addition: The intelligent being would want to tell us that we are bound by the actions we take as they are a consequence of an action taken in the past.)

Overall, I am not sure I really understand what he meant. I looked up Arthur Schopenhauer, the philosopher from whom Einstein borrows this idea, and his essays on this. Arthur took me to Vedas. And I come from the land of Vedas so I should have known better than that. Should know to look for answers within my own country.

But, I must say I quite enjoyed the ride. 

Comfortable old age


I have watched enough old people, or older people to realise that life is better when there’s a calm routine and when it is closer to death.

Trust me it is. I should probably give more context.

I was over stressing about what my life goal should be all this while and I have finally found it. My life’s goal is to have a comfortable old age, post retirement life. A life where I live in a nice white-walled, colourful furniture, bedroom with a balcony. A balcony laden with plants of most kinds and some easy chairs and a table. The room covered with a lot of useful furniture only. Books and a yoga mat or so (if I can still sit down). And probably a single bed if I am to ‘die alone’. I don’t know how rest of the house looks, but I’d reckon it looks wonderful.

My old age routine should be:

Waking up at 5am in the morning and some yoga. Having some coffee green tea whatever warm beverage I fancy at that time. Getting breakfast and walking down to the nearest groceries or wherever for time pass. (I don’t know maybe it is grocery day. I’m old it doesn’t matter.)

Probably meeting a bookclub once a week for lunch. And then usually through lunch and dinner spending my time reading and reading. Of course meeting friends and family whenever and wherever. But mainly enjoying a life of calm. No news matter much, so avoiding it or minimising its consumption. Internet can honestly go to hell by then. Especially the social media part.

A lot of people want to travel when they’re old. I doubt I’d like that. I’m a creature of habit, and travelling at that age would just mean not being able to water my plants on time or catching up on some show I’m watching. I’d travel, but just enough to let myself enjoy outside world.

I am still young and of course I want to participate in the world. Be an active member in making things happen. But, I honestly only want to participate as much as it is needed for me to finally recluse myself out of this world at the right age and just return to my sanctuary and do whatever I want to do, without being called passive or anything else.

That is my goal. To make life awesome for the old-me happy. As she will be facing death, and I hope she faces it with a contented smile, so if there’s a rebirth then death must not send her back. Why? Because it should know that she has basically found a way to be happy in this ever consuming, constantly wanting, always hunting world. And that in itself is an argument enough to not send me back.

Or just plainly to have lesser worries in my old age. Something like that.

 

 

 

 

 

Free will


Last night I read how Einstein never believed in ‘free will’. Instead he was a determinist. He believed that whatever actions we take up are usually a consequence of a previous action. He quotes Arthur Schopenhauer, “Man can do what he will, but cannot will what he wills.”

So we can have the will to live, but cannot determine our birth. So our will to live is our decision, but to have that will we need to be alive and that was not in our hands — our parents had to meet and then same for them and same for every single living being here.

I went on to read Arthur’s essay on it, translated of course. And I found out Arthur lays his ideas down with the help of ‘Brahmin’ (I suppose he means Hindu) and Buddhist philosophies. Also from Christianity. But let us not get vague about it just yet. Maybe we can explain or understand the concept of free will (existing or not) without the burden of religious sentiment.

So far I do agree with Einstein. Many physicists dismiss the absence of free will. They believe on a subatomic level it can never be told where the electron is right now. Therefore most of universe is uncertain and unpredictable. But even if you cannot tell where the electron is placed, you atleast are aware of the electron existing. Just as you cannot tell how much energy is there in the universe — we at least know it is constant, cannot be destroyed or created. Therefore if universe cannot create new energy or destroy the existing one, then it must all be guided by specific laws. Therefore not only do our actions have consequences, but our actions themselves are a consequence of previous actions.

Now I am not a physicist, so I can’t really explain it from a physicists perspective. But what I believe is we humans confuse ‘ulterior motives’ as ‘free will’. If we all have the free will then why do we not consciously chose to improve the planet every single day and reverse climate change? It is cause we are busy fulfilling our ulterior motives. Ulterior motives mainly involve gratifying our senses — all five of them. So our ‘act’ of fulfilling those senses is a form of free will right? I am free to eat as many burgers as I want, free to travel to as many countries, free to choose my career, free to build a building, free to bake a cake and many many other activities.

I am ‘free’ to do all that. But those actions will finally benefit only my senses. That means we are slaves to our senses and not the masters of it. So how can it be free will? My requirement to be aesthetically pleasing forces me to buy clothes that are expensive. My need to feed my ‘hunger’ for a mansion or a comfortable life forces me to work hours and pursue a career that will leave no work life balance. Therefore ultimately I am not free, I am a slave to my senses — my ulterior motives.

What about those who do things they love? Not everyone in a corporate building must be a prisoner of her/his senses. There are artists, entrepreneurs, etc who do what they love. Are they prisoners of their senses?

Maybe not. Or maybe they are. They did not consciously choose what they love, it comes to them as passion. Does it not? An artist can work in a corporate or vice-versa, but it will always feel artificial. Then how is it free will? Free will should let you ‘choose’ what you want to be. So an artist should be able to transition into a corporate machine and vice versa. But, as we know it is not possible. There is a driving force that lets us know whether it feels compatible with the work environment or whether it does not.

The chances of free will existing is slim. We do not get to decide how we look, or age. We can perform actions like eating healthy, plastic surgery in order to get the consequence that is favourable for us. This is where Arthur and I drift apart in thought.

He believes the underlying thought of Hindu and Buddhist belief —” that happens which must happen.” I don’t know if the universe is a wound up clock where what you do years from now is predictable easily if we follow the laws and observe it all closely. Because that leads a sense of meaningless-ness within me.

Einstein says if a moon is given a consciousness it will be believe that it revolves around the earth by free will — and we all know that is not the case. So therefore if a higher more intelligent entity looks down upon the planet — it would laugh at the fact that humans believe they have free will. For the entity our actions may look like a pattern that is easily predictable.

Not sure if I agree with Einstein on that one yet. But, if we do not have the will to choose our will — that should not shun our hopes. Instead we should narrow our focus down to doing what we can with will. Too many wills in this article.

So far this thought journey has been quite wonderful. I am now going hunt for some more literature on this!

Patchwork


To get good clothes in Bombay and expect them not to tear or have something happen to it is too much to ask for. Especially if you travel by a local train. 

I had gotten a comfy formal black pant and it tore the very next day because of some nail sticking out of a rickshaw. It was sad as the tear was too small. Today I finally took a piece of black cloth and sewed it under the tear. 

The thread I used was white though as I did not have any black ones at home. In fact not even any other colour. Just white. This was because we do not have a sewing kit at home and the tiny one I bought many months ago for 20 rupees only had white thread in it. I had gotten it to sew a button on another top. This is my first patch work and it is probably shoddy work. But it is a reminder for myself and for others maybe that everything is repairable if we put our mind to it. And the place that is repaired sort of becomes more attractive than the rest. Just like how imperfection is beautiful.
Or maybe just maybe this patchwork (and this blogpost about it) is living proof of how much free time I have. Either way, it is fun! 
Here’s an image of the work

Contemplation


This past week has been a week full of realisations and breakthroughs. So I am going to bombard my blog with them as time passes by. But for today just the following.

A lot of times philosophy (not of any specific branch but the very idea of thinking on life) is dismissed as waste of time.

What is fascinating is that humans, then, still continue to call themselves as the most intelligent beings on this planet. Well, I have my doubts about that for a lot of reasons! But mainly this one. Animals, birds and other living beings like us consume, mate, multiply, sleep, and do all the basic activities. Then there should genuinely not be any form of commendability towards someone in case they find a way to consume more (by having more access to the means). 

Sustenance is basic need, beyond that is contemplation – to wonder and to want to understand. Other living beings do not have the capacity to do that, so they stick with the only thing they know. Survival. 

We can do that, yet we choose not to. This makes us a being that has a lower strata than an animal. 

It is like an Eagle knows it can fly but chooses to walk.