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October 2019

Inside Bill's Brain

-Karthik Gurumurthy

I just finished watching the Netflix series “Inside Bill’s Brain" and I love how it ended with a quote from Mary Gates and it is worth sharing the same:

“Each one of us has to start out with developing his or her own definition of success. And when we have these specific expectations of ourselves, it’s more likely we will live up to them. And ultimately, it’s not what you get or even what you give; it’s what you become.”

The "Present" Moment

-Karthik Gurumurthy

As I sit after gardening my  plants, letting my thoughts unhinge themselves from the everyday concerns and bring the mind to a pause—the kind where the only thing that gets my undivided attention are the things that I can see before me.

As I do this, I’m reminded of the times when I’d obsess about things fixed firmly in the past, or perhaps those dangling somewhere in the future—things that I’d often get impatient about, with a looming sense of uncertainty nagging me for days. There’d be days of harping on how things could have been, and days of endlessly chasing future goals that would never come at my calling but only in their own sweet time, teasing me, frustrating me, making me wait for when the time would be right. I still recall those long tedious years of waiting without an end in sight.

Eventually, though, life teaches you a thing or two, and that completely changes the way you look at your own self and the life, that you’ve been leading thus far.

Today, I can say, hand on heart, how much I’m deeply and utterly grateful to the Universe for the life lessons that would come to unsettle me then, for, without them, I’d still be fumbling and lost, possibly still caught in transit from one heartbreak to another!

It’s taken me years to find my way through the mess that life had been turning to, and although I’ve no hesitation to admit that I’m still a work-in-progress, I must say this, for the records, that it was my fight and I had to battle it out all by myself, despite being surrounded by loved ones, and through it all, making mistakes, falling, hurting and breaking apart and when there’d be no other option left, to pull myself out of the mess, up again, ready to take another blow.

It’s easy to see the light when you’re out of the tunnel, but when you’re caught in the tangled mess, lost in the ebb and flow of hope and darkness, it’s hard to tell if you’ll ever come out alive through the other end. Everything happens for a reason and when the time is right. That, dear reader, turned out to be my first lesson.

The other lesson was the realization that I was letting my days slip by, unaccounted, guided by my focus on things and people that were getting in the way of my personal growth and learning. This realization came at a price, but, once I knew it, I knew I had to transform and it had to be there and then. My brush with mindfulness coincided with the reading of Eckhart Tolle’s book on the power of ‘NOW’ and I felt enlightened to feel the worth of the present moment as if it was all finally beginning to make sense. It taught me, how, at the end of the day, all we truly have is the present moment. The here and the now.

The past is nothing but a repository of our memories, which our brains play with, thrives in and even sometimes, modifies to suit our needs. Reflecting on the past most certainly does teach us a thing or two. And that is often how we’ve learnt our lessons in life. But, the past itself cannot be changed, no matter how hard we try. So is the future— invisible and out of reach, as far as we know.

What we call Creative Visualization, wherein we visualize the future, depends on the things that we do today.

The basis of what we yearn to achieve and where we wish to reach in the future demands a firm foundation built of what we do in the here and now. It can only be shaped by the things we do on a daily basis, and the decisions we make in the present moment. In the process of learning this fact alone, one has learnt to acknowledge how the present continues to evolve from the past whilst the latter forms the basis of our future!

Having those tiny goals that need to be fulfilled every single day is a beautiful thing. Whilst it’s lovely to be looking forward to the day when we reach our larger goal, we often tend to forget to enjoy the journey in the present. A large part of our frustration stems from the fact that we most often undermine the worth of the beauty of these special moments that are right before us—be it the little things that make us laugh with our friends or loved ones, the joy of getting something done right at the first attempt, enjoying a good book that almost comes to feel like a good friend when we are done with the last chapter, the thrill of watching a sunrise or a sunset or perhaps recovering from a sick day spent in bed and waking up refreshed and recharged to face another busy day, or even simply just being ourselves. Being who we are. Just being ourselves—imperfect, vulnerable and real.

Could one ever put a price on the value of these things? I bet not. And yet, how often we mope and fret over those distant goals that are beyond our reach, forgetting the real treasures we have before us in this very moment?

Some food for thought, for you and me, as we try to make sense of our lives during these very trying times!

Leaving you with these beautiful lines by Eckhart Tolle who sums it up so succinctly and clearly:

“So give up waiting as a state of mind. When you catch yourself slipping into waiting…snap out of it. Come into the present moment. Just be, and enjoy being. If you are present, there is never any need for you to wait for anything.”