Posts Tagged With: making yourself happy

The power of a thought…

Something beautiful happened last weekend.

Sikander and I were driving back from Ahmedabad at night. On the expressway between Vadodara and Ahmedabad a lot of time it so happens that drivers lose patience and want to overtake from all sides and at all times even if you are driving at the same speed as them. We had one such person right behind us… he kept flashing his headlights even when there were trucks in the left lane and there was no way we could give him way just then.. but the flashing continued until we gave him way and then he continued this behaviour to the next car. Once it so happened that we were right behind the same car.

“Why don’t you also flash him? He will get a taste of his own medicine.”, I said to Sikander

What Sikander said next left me speechless…

S: “If Gandhiji was here, would he have done it?”

A: “No, he would not have taken offence in the first place and the question of tit-for-tat just doesn’t exist in the non-violence philosophy”

So we didn’t flash but the dialogue left me pondering. Ever since interacting with a lot of people living their lives on Gandhian principles, I have myself been trying to control my behaviour. I have been trying to not reply back, to not get annoyed in the first place. And I have always shared these thoughts with Sikander. I was amazed that while I’m still trying to unfold all the teachings from the books and the people I’ve met, his conscience actually processed it just by my sharing them with him.

Last week I had shared H.H. The Dalai Lama’s views on violence and non-violence (last week’s reading for awakin gathering) with him and shared how my whole understanding of violence was so limited! Even a good act with poor intention is violence. So often I have arguments with shop keepers over bills and things I feel are being done wrongly. Instead of just leaving the shop, I’m actually hell bent on making him understand that I’m right and as Sikander has rightly pointed out on many occasions, I do make the other person feel bad. I may never raise my voice, but my words are harsh. In the end it’s not him who is responsible but the shop owner who is not even available and will never really come to know of this conversation. The end result is the shop employee is feeling bad and I am feeling bad for being so mad at him because I know I was wrong as well… And I carry that negative emotion long after the encounter… I always come back with a head ache, a back ache or some real physical pain from such encounters… In the end the encounter left two people unhappy. Why?

I found this Dharma comic which so rightly describes the situation…

dharma comics

We are what we think and I am trying to change what I think. And I want to start by saying I’m sorry. I’m sorry for my behavior and I promise to myself to check it and let it go.

Categories: around us | Tags: , | Leave a comment

My work and my life

When I worked in Texas Instruments, I could switch off the work after leaving office. It was easy to forget office in office. Moreover what I did, did not influence or tried to dictate how I lived.

But working in development sector is different. To begin with its not easy to forget about work after 6pm. In most cases the work affects you as a person; when I go and meet children in orphanages and they cling to me when I am ready to leave asking me to promise that I will come back tomorrow; I cannot forget about it. I cannot let it not influence me as a person. I have always been humbled after visiting the homes. I have always been thankful for what I have and I have stopped complaining for what I do not have. In my day to day life, I have started to waste less, give more, bargain less, trust more. In a way I have let my work dictate my life. It has impacted my choices; I choose to buy from the local vegetable vendor, I choose to buy seasonal, I choose to buy cotton, I choose to buy fair trade, I choose to walk shorter distances.


Should it mean that I am wrong in wanting luxuries in life? Should it mean I feel guilty for wanting Nike shoes, Tommy jeans, BOSE speakers, for having a big car and a driver and etc etc?

Does it?

Should I be guilty?

Some of my colleagues from the NGO, I last worked at, were from the school of thought that yes, it is ‘ethically’ wrong to live a luxurious life when you are working in development sector. That when you see so many people suffering, how can you splurge. So in their opinion, a small car is a necessity but a big car is a luxury; a domestic help is a necessity but a driver is a luxury; shoes are necessity but a big brand is a luxury. They also during the discussion implied that they are a little wary of people who are working in development sector but sport a silk kurta and get down from a big car.

My question would then be where do you draw the line? Should it be between cycle and car or should it between small car and big car? I agree one shouldn’t flaunt luxuries, i respect those who live a minimalist life; but if wearing a branded shoe makes a difference to me, should I be judged for it? A friend told me that an unhappy person can never make another person happy so let me draw that line based on my ethics, don’t judge me; don’t question my intentions and dont mistrust me.

Categories: around us, development, Volunteer, work | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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