What do I talk about when I talk about balance?

One of my starting posts on this blog site was about Balance.

As I write this blog, I want to reflect on balance once more. What do I talk about when I talk about balance? Rather, imagining balance once more.

To summarise my previous blog, if you don’t feel like clicking on the link above or here, I wrote about emotions felt as a result of imbalance. I then, presented 2 ways of dealing with this imbalance to find balance. 1) Solution oriented approach 2) Getting at the root causes approach. I then added a bit of wisdom from one of my favourite characters uncle Iroh. Wish he was my real uncle lol 😆

Here’s another one of my favourites

I could just post all the Uncle Iroh’s pins and end this blog. But let me reflect on balance 🤔

Hope and strength is what you give yourself in dark times. That is the true meaning of strength. This is another one of Uncle Iroh’s quotes. I wanted to expand on hope.

What is hope? If I take no action towards my goals, can I hope to reach them?

If I refuse to change my habits or set ways, can I still hope for a better future?

True hope is having done the work, put in the effort and then hoping for the best. But the temporal nature of this life is such that, amidst this true hope, we can fall victim to other vices that can create imbalance within us.

An example, I write this blog for my self-development, reflections and sharing it so that, others who can relate to my thoughts can perhaps find benefit from it. But then, I start getting big headed and start thinking that I am wise and start boasting about my work and knowledge. This results in arrogance and the kind of arrogance whose roots can grab hold of the thinking, ‘that I am better than others’.

I prefer relating examples to myself because I don’t want to mention anybody else. It’s simple to use myself as an example, it’s also an antidote to keep a check on myself. It’s also a way to keep humble and knowing whether any of these vices taint my mind and/or heart.

While not with this blog, I have surely tried to get ahead of myself in other endeavours. Not thinking of myself better than others, but rather over exaggerating my skills in my own mind. This is also arrogance. Arrogance that makes me forget gratitude. Arrogance that makes me break my rules. Arrogance that causes me to praise myself and think how good I am because of my recent streak, processes and actions. Failing to acknowledge the real cause of my skills and failure to remain humble. Forgetting that all the skills, wisdom, intelligence, good habits that I have gained at all points is attributed to God alone. What I am trying to say is that ‘True Hope’ is having hope in the ‘Divine Decree’, on the condition that I do my best, put in the effort and then hope to not fall into the traps of my ego and whims. Hope to fall in love with the repeatable process to make it my instinct. Hope to improve so I can systematise it. Or better yet, another one of uncle Iroh’s quotes would fit well here.

Get help from others in areas where you are weak. Doing this over and over, you can start to see some of your blind spots. You can start to see your learnt behaviours and patterns.

I am going to pivot away from all the talk and reflection and finish this by saying, what can help me the most is being comfortable with uncertainty. It is indeed difficult to be patient over something that you don’t have knowledge of, or control. And what helps to be comfortable is meditation. It works well so long as I am not neglecting others areas and aspects of life. It is difficult to move forward keeping everything in balance. Especially when balance is frail in the first place 😅…. even then balance, contentment, equanimity can be achieved via staying and living in the present.

ps. I got the idea for the title from Haruki Murakami’s memoir ‘What I talk about when I talk about running.’

Resilience

I have not written a blog for a while. Mostly because a lot has been going on in my personal life.

Today as I write this, I want to re-imagine resilience.

Life is such that there will be sharp corners which are hard to maneuver. It’s like I have been driving a race car but I never stopped at the pit stop to service it. Therefore the drag, the friction and the accumulated wear that has piled onto the car is making it difficult to keep traction on the road. Add to that, force experienced sitting on the driving seat.

What do I take away from this? It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to stop at a service station. Just like a race car, our body experiences accumulated stress that can really take a toll when it triggers. What do you do to address this accumulated stress?

When things are really difficult, this is also a good practice that works well for me. What do you not do when things are really difficult? What can you do to slow down to be grateful for the journey so far. This is easier said than done, when it is difficult to let go of the past. Or there are experiences and mistakes from the past, that continue to impact your present.

Believe it or not, writing is a medium for me to stay in the present. It’s hard to turn off the past, when things are difficult. So, I give myself reasons why I should continue to forge on. I give myself reasons why I shouldn’t give up? It’s not that I make up these reasons, these reasons are simply a list of my faults and virtues in the present moment. I list all my virtues and faults that I have or that I think I have. It’s not an easy task to see the goodness within yourself when things are difficult. So, I start with faults and then list out the virtues. The way my mind works, helps me to complete an exercise or task once I start on it. So, I start with the difficult things. This is true in many other aspects too where I always try learn the more difficult stuff first and then fall back onto basics once I realise that I am not at the level required to be learning the advanced stuff. It’s a bad habit of mine I guess. A result of high expectations and ambitions, that result in disappointment and failure and a self-created emotional roller coaster.

Back to the topic of resilience, when things are so difficult, what other things help me? From my experiences, exercise of any sort is one of the best things that can help stay in the present, along with meditation and healthy eating.

What if you can’t afford to eat healthy? This will impact your exercise routine too. I am thinking of this because despite there being so much abundance of resources, many people experience scarcity on a daily basis.

A scarcity mindset only adds to the accumulated stress and the view one takes of different life experiences whether in the present, past or unfolding future events. What can you do to combat this mindset? For different people there will be different ways. I say this, because we all have our belief systems wired into us. You can leverage these belief systems to your advantage if you understand your own system. Or rewire those belief systems, if you think your current ones are rooted in scarcity and a fixed mindset that doesn’t accept changes easily.

With this continuing pandemic, and the many around the world that are suffering under oppression. I hope that you read this and think it, mull it over if you ever come to a point of no return. When you feel so hopeless and much despair that the only thing you think of is, how not to exist!

According to what I believe and many monotheistic religions and other religions will likely share a similar view. Death is inevitable. If there is certainty of one thing, it is death. I also believe that death is predestined. This is a sensitive topic as I can think of a counter argument for it too. But let me write it out, why kill yourself? If you believe that you would die regardless, at your appointed time and place? One could argue that it was predestined perhaps for one to kill themselves. But if you believe that, you forfeit the choice that you have been granted. You forfeit your freewill. You choose to give up and not make a harder choice which is to live on. True resilience in this situation will be to have patience, perseverance to continue through the midst of storm, thunder and the burdens of life.

True meaning of life is found in responsibilities, purpose, striving to achieve one’s goals.

So, in summary, resilience means to continue forward even when you are experiencing a lot of drag, other forces hindering you. When you experience this, it should only increase your faith, that you were born for a purpose and reason. You were born to achieve great things. Let the journey unfold because life is abundant. It may not seem so in the moment but, I promise you, good days will come, if you continue stepping forward. Push past your pain. Baby steps will do, you can’t fly with broken wings. Not yet!

ps. Writing helps me live in the present. It’s one of the mediums. Gosh! I missed writing. Although, since introducing this new habit a few years back, I have been writing in various other places. This blog has its own special place.

What does resilience mean to you? Share your thoughts.

Books worth visiting again

The physical heart, which houses the spiritual heart, beats about 100,000 times a day, pumping two gallons of blood per minute and over 100 gallons per hour. If one were to attempt to carry 100 gallons of water (whose density is lighter than blood) from one place to another, it would be an exhausting task. Yet the human heart does this every hour of every day for an entire lifetime without respite. The vascular system transporting life-giving blood is over 60,000 miles long – more than two times the circumference of the earth. So when we conceive of our blood being pumped throughout our bodies, know that this means that it travels through 60,000 miles of a closed vascular system that connects all the parts of the body – all the vital organs and living tissues – to this incredible heart.- Purification of the heart Translated by Hamza Yusuf.

Have you ever tried carrying 2 packs of water crates (6 × 2L) from the shop to your house? One pack in each hand? That’s not even close to 100 gallons of water and yet the human heart pumps ~ 2880 litres of blood 24/7 as long as there is life and soul in us. Isn’t this more than a miracle?

Anyhow I just found this fact about the heart amazing. The modern science has also gathered evidence that heart has its own neurons capable of feelings and perhaps thoughts. Ancient Chinese tradition and Judaism, Christianity and Islam all pay special attention to the state of one’s heart.

I have previously talked quite a lot about spiritual heart. I am reading this book again and this time I would like to share things I learn. This will help me perhaps better remember them.

Humans by nature are forgetful. We forget what we learn. Humans by nature are an ocean of emotions. Not all emotions we express are helpful in our pursuits. Reading this book before helped me tame my anger outbursts with the help of continuing practice of martial arts.

I am at that stage once more where I am falling back into my old self. Impulses and urges are over powering and over riding my rational self. For example losing my temper to someone who is screaming at me when I know they are just reflecting their own insecurities and low self-esteem. My retaliation brings me down to that same level.

In other pursuits not being able to exercise patience and just sitting on my hands has been proving difficult lately. I have disregarded my set of rules and principles. I have broken them only to slide down the ladder. It’s feels like I fell off the mountain that I was climbing. Funny how my subconscious and unconscious minds warned me of this beforehand.

Well at least, I am back to being my spontaneous self again. Blogging really helps put out all thoughts flowing through my mind. Although I may not always put them exactly how they are in my mind. That’s my introverted nature. Still when I read I am able to tell what exactly was on my mind. I was talking about dreams when referring to the unconscious and subconscious minds.

Anyway…. I can keep blabbering and I will forget why I started writing this blog.

I started writing it to explore the different diseases that plague the spiritual heart. This pursuit of cleansing one’s heart is an every day work. Complacency and laziness will put you back where you started. There is no finish line. It’s a constant work in progress. Or maybe I am saying that because my heart is not pure or maybe even if it was… it wouldn’t make sense if I were to say that about myself. No one knows what’s in the hearts except God.

I can only continue to work to polish it and if I fall off track, I have to pick myself back up. Get back on track…

Follow the light. Light guides and darkness leaves you wandering.

So here are the few common ailments of spiritual heart that I’d personally like to reflect on and in doing so hopefully remove these blemishes from my heart and self. Removing any of these blemishes is a difficult task. What I learnt from the book is that, protection from these blemishes is more powerful. Heavenly protection… I will still struggle enough so that perhaps, through Mercy some divine protection comes my way too.

Negative thoughts– the critic in my head. The little voice- doubt, fear and anxiety.

Anger– losing my composure and calmness for any reason

Heedlessness– not acting upon learnt knowledge. It can be applied to all fields. If you acquire some expertise or skills in any arts, it becomes imperative that you practise it diligently with focused attention. Otherwise you fall into heedlessness.

Boasting & Arrogance– I don’t think that I have these traits but you can never dismiss stuff like this because that’s exactly when it creeps back in. And even maybe if I didn’t write about it, that might have been boasting and arrogance in itself.

Obliviousness to Blessings– Being ungrateful. Gratitude is a must… there is always more to be grateful for in life. A lot of the times I forget to do it.

Envy, Rancour, Hatred- I am putting all these together because their roots are same. One amplifies the other and they feed off of each other. It’s easy to possess these traits. Just start comparing your life to others on Instagram and Facebook lol 😆 You will surely feel one of those at least. Or read the comment section on political posts 🤣

There are many other symptoms and ailments detailed in the book that plague the heart. I am going to work on these few and take time to reflect. Work on my habits and whether those habits help me with these goals.

Get back into deep meditation that should surely help. Help cleanse the heart and help live in the present moment.