Sunday, October 16, 2011

Die a little and live a lot more

Last weekend, I received a call from someone close to me. It concerned a Japanese colleague of his who was visiting my town on work. This person had failed to show up for a client meeting, the client had called his hotel, the hotel had looked him up in his room only to find out that the gentleman had collapsed. Upon rushing him to the hospital, it was known that he had a brain hemorrhage. This lone traveler, all alone in an alien land was in deep coma. The helplessness of the situation, the uncertainty of this life, the illusions of this reality we have created....this incident provokes and makes you contemplate life. We live a life obsessed about our own selves, accumulating and planning for tomorrow, worrying about the future. Obsessed about a self form that can be taken away from us at any minute. Worried about a future which we have little control over. We live this image that we create for ourselves, so much so that we sometimes forget to live. This self image has to die a little for one to live a lot more.

I recollect this story I heard growing up, the story of King Harishchandra from Indian Mythology. He was  known as a person steadfast in his principles and at one point, to honor his word, he had to relinquish his kingdom and sell himself to work as a guard at a cremation ground. This changed his life, transformed his reality and stripped him bare of his image of self. It killed his ego. The absence of self helped him tide through difficult times. Think about it, the image of self stops you from living fully? Are your present actions clouded by unnecessary constraints imposed by this image of self? Do you hurt when the results of your actions are not as expected? This "ROI" (return on investment)  based life is not the way to lasting happiness. One has to let go of the image that we have created for ourselves. The self has to die a little for one to live a lot more.

Steve Jobs said "Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true. Our time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice." Don't let the image of your self, shaped by you and conditioned by others come in the way of you leading a full life. Let that image of self die just a little every day, let the constraints imposed be removed just a little every day, let life be unshackled to achieve its true purpose. Listen to your inner voice, live the moment, be in the present moment. Die a little and live a lot more. Viva la Vida!!

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