One thing I have of late come to notice is how positive we have all turned as a species in the past one year; so positive that I am now beginning to feel like a proton with limbs.
Like in the wake of every other human tragedy, this phase too has turned us into some kind of spiritual incarnations. There is a sudden surge in sanguine thoughts with motivational material pounding and overwhelming us, sometimes to the point of exhaustion.
While it is all good, I am left wondering if we indeed have changed for the better with the emotional props? Have we put our concerns to rest and have our postures sobered down? Or have we only changed the veneer— seeming and sounding to have evolved over the year, but continuing to harbour the same old conflicts inside?
This is a good time for us to take stock of where we stand in terms of our true intents and aspects, what we have lost or gained through the turbulence and where we are headed from here. The biggest challenge we would all face as we come out of this crisis, whenever that might be, is answering what our new priorities in life are and how we shall recalibrate ourselves to the new realities. That is where all the transformational stuff that we are currently swamped with will be put to test.
How much of the life lessons we consume over various media do we incorporate into our daily lives? Are we merely reading them, acknowledging the wisdom only superficially? Which of the stories will we remember? Which of the insightful quotes and lines will hold us in good stead in the long run?
Often, these personal development posts blink at us momentarily before we scroll the screen or flip the page. They only give us a flicker of good sense, vanishing before we can imbibe them into our lives. We smile indulgently, nod our head in agreement and move on, which is true of any motivational material that we may come across unless we are keen and diligent. We generally don’t internalize them or make them part of our creed. As a result of which, we get a false sense of having transformed into positive and happy individuals, while in actuality, we remain the same limited, unfulfilled people that we had been.
Like the ancient mariners, we are left with water everywhere with not a drop to drink and quench our inner thirst. So how do we tap into the sea of wisdom and knowledge that is so abundantly available now and put them to effective use?
First, by not calling them ‘quotes’ and ‘stories’. The words, for all the good connotations they carry, have become too banal to be taken seriously. These are not mere quotes or stories. They are experiential insights given out by people who probably have understood things more deeply than us, or at least have seen them from a different altitude and angle.
Second, by taking the time to pause, and if possible, to write down the crux of the matter and contemplate on it till its essence soaks into our skin. Reading can only improve knowledge. It is contemplation that brings wisdom.
Third, by not feeding the mind with an excess of the good stuff. Even the best of supplements should be administered moderately or else, there will be reversal. The mind will suffer from goodness fatigue and down its shutters to any positive cues in future.
And last, by knowing the difference between personal opinion and profound insight. It is easy to mistake the former for the latter.
The paradox of human lives is that the more we desire change, the more we want things to remain the same. Caught in this contradiction, we often hoodwink ourselves into thinking that we are constantly evolving in spirit, while firmly resting in the comfort of our old, self-defeating tendencies.
Till we understand this irony and make a conscious effort to bring changes into our lives from the core, all the positive posts and messages that flood our inboxes will remain ill-fitting quotes on the hanger.