An Open Mind…

A fellow blogger very wisely reiterated the reminder that…a mind not open to other’s thoughts and ideas is a great tragedy. This is I think one of life’s major challenges…one that is sadly gaining traction in the inability to give the other the benefit and respect of listening with an open mind to their beliefs…opinions…perspectives…Choices…because we have forgotten that…minds like  parachutes, work best when open…

I do believe that to operate from a paradigm of an open…receptive…unbiased…and compassionate mind is definitive on so many levels and enables one to give life a meaning that is not always possible otherwise. It is important to give significance to our lives by giving importance to and valuing the  lives of others…this is not always easy,  but then, very few things worth doing are! Morals of excellence are created by showing tolerance in personal spaces between ourselves…as also creating spaces in the political and religious discourse…using the power of the heart as well as the power and depth of the mind. To respond intelligently, with humility, tolerance and kindness…is justice, the firmest pillar of society….to wax indignant, harboring justifiable feelings of resentment…prejudice…superiority… is so much easier but lacks developing the incomparable potential that is an inherent part of human nature and  embedded in everyone’s soul like a shared DNA…

The Good Lord works in mysterious ways and this last week just as this was on my mind..I found myself in positions that needed all this and more on the table…I met a friend after a long time…the path and choices of her personal journey of growth has been one that has not always  been easy to understand…accept or wrap my mind around…it is still hard…but it has been her journey and one that now seems to have brought her a sense of inner peace…it gives me a warm sense of comfort for her…I also heard a scholar whose  erudition…knowledge…sagacity…is praiseworthy…just one I find hard to relate to…his impact on others is significant…even whilst I find it difficult to comprehend! What is apparent thereof is that the paths to personal evolvement…growth…understanding…learning… and the curve it takes, are not just varied but also sometimes incomprehensible to our understanding…that does not make them wrong…just different…the difference often being the ability not to jump to make harsh judgement calls for things…opinions…views…lifestyles…choices which are difficult to comprehend and relate to…because it is only together, with everyone contributing in the firm belief that we can make a difference…that we do…

 Voltaire said…I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to death your right to say it…that may sound a  bit dramatic…but what a lot of wisdom that line carries…

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Goodbyes…

Is it just me or are our children always saying Goodbye to fly off to distant shores! And again…is it just me or do we never get used to this? The tug at your heart at seeing them leave ‘home’ certainly never gets easier…I used to think and hope that it would get easier with time…it does not…you just learn to handle it better! In this ‘ Global Village’ we live in, this migrational trend is a commonplace scenario and in my part of the world, we are the first generation to experience the huge scale of this migratory phenomena in our ‘global village’ world…this is another ‘fact of life’ we have to get used to…it is not easy!

My first child got married and left home for the other side of the world almost eighteen years ago…seems a lifetime ago! I was overwhelmed by conflicting emotions and having my younger two still with me was a blessing! The beginnings of the ’empty nest’ syndrome had been initiated! Admittedly having children still at home made it easier…but easy is relative! When my second child left home, he was physically nearer and trips back home from college were more frequent…it was not easy…it was not getting easier! When my youngest left…the cycle of the ’empty nest’ syndrome was complete and I forced myself to constantly remember the words a dear friend had said to me ‘imagine how you would feel if you could not afford them these opportunities’! It was not easy…but I tried to keep this in mind and thanked the Good Lord for the blessing of Faith and the strength therein, amongst His innumerable other blessings! It was not always easy…it still isn’t!

Now, with their choices of residence in foreign climes…the children and theirs come and go…the joy of their comings is often equal to the heavy heart at their leaving! The realization that this pain is part and parcel of the fabric of motherhood has now been accepted…the conscious acknowledgement of the Good Lord’s generosity in all these ‘comings and goings’ is a constant! The prayer for their happiness…well being…safety…resilience…is ongoing…as is the prayer that their worlds are always blessed with good health, joy, peace and plenty…as well as the prayer that our collective memories of times spent together are always vivid with the colors of love and happiness so bright that irrespective of the layers of time, they will always come up blazingly vivid in their recollection of the ties of love and connectivity to family and ‘home’!

Passage of Time…

Days…weeks…months…sometimes they all seem to merge into one another and at others…they never seem to end…or so it seems to us! The truth here is not quite so simple, because what really influences us in this passage of time, is our personal and biased perception of what we are passing through…that is what colors our viewpoints and choices…however, the moment we switch off our innate…biased …perceived views and notions…our preconceived ideas…a whole different aspect of looking at things opens up…or at least a more credible way of viewing the other facet…

The words of truth are often paradoxical…truthful words are not always beautiful just as beautiful words are not always truthful….so too is the fact that good words are not always persuasive and persuasive words not always good…a favorite quote to cover all one’s flanks comes to mind…Do I contradict myself? Very well then…I do…I am large and full of multitudes…but the fact is that everything is not always what you think it is and when we sometimes encounter that…we are taken aback…sometimes quite surprisingly and positively but, because we think we have a position to maintain, we quickly put our biased blinkers back on…

Human understanding is often inconsistent with true understanding…constant effort is necessary to keep knowledge square with the march of time. The paradoxes of life bring us to points when we start to understand just a little more…apparent loss may be real gain…cruelty may be real mercy…returning good for evil may really be justice and not generosity…as well as the realization that sometimes justice is easy, doing right not always so…the real test is being  humane enough to reel in the negative…and begin the journey to a more compassionate awareness…through it all, recognizing the Good Lord’s hand and wisdom which transcends all human calculations…

In the Good Lord’s name…

“I am convinced about the veracity of my opinions, but I do consider it likely that they may turn out to be incorrect. Likewise, I am convinced about the incorrectness of the views different from mine, but I do concede the possibility that they may turn out to be correct.” – Imam Shafa’i

In the wake of so much distilling of religious thoughts…so much misrepresentation of belief systems…so much misdirected and misguided action and adherence…it is noteworthy to ponder the above as also, be pro-active oneself, in the dissemination and understanding of life as a whole…with special attention to belief systems.

As in all systems of belief…conduct…posture…interaction…relationships…responsibility, humility as a vital human element cannot be underscored or undermined in it’s most basic factor…the human aspect. Belief systems across the board give this the importance and place it deserves…requires and demands. It is only when we give in to man made injunctions and laws, based on misguided interpretations…given wind by traditions based on traditional practices…without thought or research into it’s veracity or divine background…fanned by popular and mindless rhetoric that we get situations and scenarios that are harmful…tragic…unbelievably sad and undeniably reactive. The sadness is, that this is all done in the Good Lord’s name…whereas the need of the hour is knowledge of the Divine based on compassion…love…wisdom…tolerance…understanding…dialogue…submission to a higher authority, as also a deeper…pervasive…intelligent…responsible and more humane attitude and behavior…in the Good Lord’s name…

Japan…

The tragedy that has struck Japan is heartbreaking…the aftershocks…are quite  literally being felt…not only by those living there…but emotionally by everyone across the globe. The terrifying images broadcast worldwide are just that…terrifying in their recording of the harsh…cruel…pitiless nature of natural calamities…It is at times like these above all, that our faith and belief is tested and we have to believe and understand that God is in everything and everywhere…

When things crumble in our world, we try to hold fast to whatever we can in the search for a signature of sense…how comforting it would be if things made sense and we could just slot everything into neat little boxes and compartments…but that is not how life is…it is in these acts of the divine in the play of life that we have to find meaning. It is at times such as these that our moments become more precious…that our choices change…the meaning of our choices evolve…on personal levels and on national and international response levels…

Japan has planned for such disasters…has prepared their populace for such…has developed and deployed technologies to limit damage caused by earthquakes and tsunamis…but nothing quite prepares you for…this…because there are limits to what even the best of human preparation can do in the face of…nature! After having said that, the national response in Japan has been awe-inspiring…it is in such scenarios that the acts and reactions of a people are definitively brought to the fore…primarily through what the national consciousness has been taught…their education and respect for discipline and order…for positive reconstructive energy and actions…we are what we stand for…what we endeavor towards…what we believe in…

The search and hunger to find meaning in our lives is an ongoing process…there is a deep craving for meaningful spirituality and faith. In the face of this natural calamity of epic proportion with all the compassionate responses of kind…of prayers for strength and fortitude…we have to bring more of the Divine into the expression of our responses…we have to be more of that reflection of divinity… Our Faith is our highest gift and in these trying times it will be tested…The Good Lord gives us the power to choose…once again…

Gen Y….

A comment by a very dear and loved young one of mine, about a style and sport icon, started me thinking on the ways this new generation connects the dots…and how refreshingly and compassionately different it is to my generation’s. I think it is still a bit of a shock to the system when you realize anew…that we are now in the most part…the eldest generation around…and when the generation gap is talked about…it is us ‘they’ are referring to…we need to get used to this…I need to get used to it…and stop letting it jolt me every time!

With things like…you are only as old as you look…feel…act…the unnatural emphasis on the Botox phenomena and dressing trends incongruous with age…the oft repeated and enjoyed phrases…the 60’s are the new 50’s…50’s are the new 40’s…or that age is only mind over matter…we do tend to sometimes forget that we are…once again with feeling…in the most part…the eldest generation around…

In another post…The joy of children’s successes…I wrote that I feel this generation is one worthy of much praise for their handling of their own personal spaces. I do think they do so in the most part…with an endearing lack of pretension that is most creditable. Their likes and life choices are governed by a strong sense of justice and humanity…their search in learning and working spheres based on individualism…their disowning of an artificial, make believe style of living, dress, attitudes and perception of the other…their unbiased judging of others choices…their concepts of things that really don’t matter…an ownership of their life…space…choices is one to be admired for it’s confident truthfulness…a truthfulness to be appreciated, because the truth is often paradoxical and not always pretty…and also because I feel my generation has often not been a worthy one as far as role models are concerned…

This post is dedicated to these young ones who are learning most ably to rejoice in the way things are…with confidence…compassion…kindness…truthfulness and for taking ownership of their choices with modesty…courage and an almost nonchalant awareness that when you realize that nothing is lacking the whole world belongs to you…

Acts of commission and omission…

An act of Commission, is the doing of an act that causes harm, an action by a person that perpetrates an offence. Commission is performing an act that results in some harm. Omission is not performing an act that is usually done or expected to be performed .

Think of it as omit vs commit. It is often thought, that one is more liable for omission. However, is doing something, unless it is blatantly wrong, not as answerable when it results from acts of commission rather than acts of omission? This is pure pedantic and there is no denying that both are equally damaging and hurtful…specially so in our personal lives, choices and decisions…since they involve issues dealing with responsibility …care…integrity…liability…sensitivity…honesty…conscientiousness…concern…love…family…

Social and personal choices of commission, involve words or actions that actually affect other people…personal choices in matters of family…disclosure of personal data or information…acts that move consciences…moral acts based on intentions and volition…cynicism and anger posturing as virtue and religiosity…

Similarly, acts of omission, involve actions or words affecting others on a physical level too, such as withholding a loving word…the pat on the back…that vital word of encouragement…a desperately needed hug of reassurance…acts, words, withheld, not just by outwards deeds, but by an inner activity of the mind…refusal to say the right thing…the lack of grace and humility to accept an inner cacophony of self righteous posturing…

It is the rising above this…in spite of oneself, that is true virtue and devotion…leaving the ego on the back seat…which is one of the Good Lord’s cardinal laws…the most arduous battle of them all…understanding of these acts as conscious and voluntary…ownership of one’s actions…acceptance of some higher law that we must submit to… As always, the prayer for His grace, is the answer…

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