EMPTY!

Image courtesy: erix!
I see around me and EMPTY is the one word staring right back at my face! We have made amazing progress in science, technology, wealth, standard of living (well, for most). But I am yet to meet a person who is not empty from within. There is an inner vacuum, that more money or more possessions, simply refuses to fill. With each passing year, I meet lesser and lesser people, who are not technically ‘brain dead’! Someone who still have some part of their brains, that breathes and thinks outside their current occupation.
I see people are becoming walking corpses. Wake up, go to work, come back from work, eat, drink, sleep. And then repeat the whole drab routine day after day, week after week. We want to believe that we are so busy that we don’t have time for stupid little things like ‘living life’! I deliberately used the word ‘stupid’ here, because that is exactly how most people try to make me feel when I tell them to enjoy themselves a bit. I just fail to understand (as a matter of fact, I never understood this) why are we so afraid of happiness?
And I just have one thing to say to them — “loosen up”. And here’s what can be done, to bring in a sense of sanity, to an otherwise crazy life.

  1. Breathe. That is indeed the most basic thing to do. But have you ever taken a moment to notice, how you breathe? If you noticed it just now, there is a 90% chance that it is shallow. And without even realizing, we breathe shallow throughout the day and sometimes even during sleep. Try this sometime (It works wonders for me every single time I use it): Sit on a chair or a couch with your back straight, but comfortable (no need to take an uncomfortably rigid posture here!). Close your eyes and take a deep breath (I mean really deep – e.g. inhale continuously for about 3 seconds); Hold your breath for a second and then slowly exhale. Try this for 2 whole minutes by the watch for starters. Somewhere around halfway through, you would feel a cool sensation around your throat (I normally do, so I guess it works the same way for others too). After you are done, suddenly your mind is cleared of clutter and you are thinking clearly. Try it and let me know how it felt!
  2. Don’t feel afraid. Are you afraid of happiness? Don’t be. Because it is yours for the taking. It is just that we mistake it to be available as a commodity or as a by product of a commodity. And then we buy stuff expecting to be happy, but after the initial euphoria of acquiring it, the feel-good fades away. And sooner than you know, what you bought is an old object that you possess! Instead look for things that really make you happy. Is it simply a cup of hot chocolate, enjoyed sitting by the window? Maybe. Or is it simply watching your child play? Why not? But who is stopping you from doing all this, but yourself? If you need to stop something, it is to stop stopping yourself. Just let go. If that is too much, at least let go once in a while.
  3. Be real. Are you living life by your own standards? are you? Or has it been dictated to you? It is tough to live the life of a faker. Someone who is living, not by his own rules, but trying hard to live up to expectations of others. That is a perfect recipe for disaster. Now when I say live by your own rules, it certainly does not mean break the law of the land. But it does mean you create your own value system, based on your beliefs, morals and thought process. And stay true to yourself. As I grew up from a strappy young boy to a man, this is one lesson I learnt well. And I must admit that it has been a great load off my shoulders. The bottom line is to be honest to yourself. And deep down inside we always feel ‘good’ or ‘not good’ about doing something. Look for that feeling because more often that you’d like to believe, that feeling is right. Let your instinct be your guiding force.
  4. Find a Friend and be a friend. “Friend” here is not someone with whom you’d like to ‘network’ for some future gain. Friend here is the simple old school thing of someone with whom you get to be yourself and enjoy. You may have an IM tool overflowing with friend list. But can you pick 5 people with whom, you could trust your life? In today’s day and age, trust is a rare and fast diminishing commodity. But it is certainly not something difficult to cultivate. And before you try to find a friend, make an effort to be one. When you are friendly to people without an ulterior motive, people do notice. And it is certainly appreciated and reciprocated in good measure. The saddest thing in the world would be to make a friendless exit.
  5. Be there. How many times have you got the feeling “Man! I need to be somewhere else!”? Sound familiar? Well most of the time we dabble with that thought stalking our heads, that we need to be elsewhere. And the fun part is that when we do get there, once again we are thinking about being elsewhere. It would be far more comforting, to actually be where you want to be. I know it is not all that simplistic to decide where we want to be. But the point that I am trying to make is, decide before you get into a situation, as to whether you need to be there. If the answer is no, then avoid it. If it is yes, then be there, not merely physically, but also mentally. That will certainly ease the stress on your brain, to an extent.

Actually, this list could go on and on, but admittedly all of life’s problems cannot be solved by a blog post! And surely these suggestions are more of common sense – one that I figured along the way and have used them and want to share it with whoever cares to improve his/her life. This is one beautiful life that we have and we are all trying to somehow ‘figure it out’ in our own unique ways. Sometimes we grapple with it, sometimes worry ourselves silly over it. But the fact is, we need to stop once in a while to reflect on how life has been. And then relax.
I look forward to your comments about this and how you like to live your life.

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