Stop becoming and start being

What have we done to our lives?
We have become so mechanized. So robotic. We are trying to constantly ensure our incomes go up, our families are provided for and yet we are not even bothered if we are happy? In fact, our unhappiness has become so much a part of us that we have stopped knowing that we are unhappy. We imagine that running the household, driving the kids to school and back, preparing reports and presentations, taking the annual vacation, IS Life! Is that really so?
Step off this treadmill. For a second. Take a brief moment. Focus on a flower in your neighborhood, in your garden, in a vase in your home. Just find a flower this morning. Look at it intently. Examine every aspect of its creation __ the color, the shape, the texture. Feel its pollen with your fingertips. Smell it. And ask yourself, how often have you stopped, even paused, to look in the direction of this flower? How you have chosen to ignore this flower represents the way you live your Life. You are doing everything else except living, my friend. When you are in front of the mirror, getting ready to rush to work, you have time to examine that pimple on your forehead, the dark circles beneath the eyes, or to certify the quality of your shave. But you don’t have time to look into your own eyes and ask yourself how are you?
As people we are becoming more and more efficient. There’s an App, an application, for everything on our smart-phones. From music to medical tests to running our schedules to buying stuff. Our phones can get us anything and everything we want. Despite all this efficiency, why are we still so lost? What are we searching for? What are we trying to complete in us?  Ask anyone__yourself to begin with__as to what will make them happy, and you would hear people express it differently of course, but most will say that they would like to live a different Life from what they are leading currently. Then why is it that nobody is willing to make that change in the way they live?
Remember: to go back to being who you are really are, you must stop becoming something. Our entire efficiency race is about becoming: successful, rich and, eventually, happy__as if it were some destination. How would your Life be, if you just focus on being happy, being rich, being the way you are __ with WHATEVERyou have? Have you ever tried that? To find your Self, you must stop running this rat race, and make the journey within. Pause. And dive within. Listen to what, Osho, the Master has to tell you this morning: “Constantly remember that you are not here in Life to become a commodity; you are not here to become an utility, that is below dignity; you are not here just to become more and more efficient — you are here to be more and more alive; you are here to be more and more intelligent; you are here to be more and more happy, ecstatically happy.”
 
And that you will surely be, my friend, when you stop becoming and start being! 

Transition from becoming to being to build a better world

While trying to become someone, devote some attention to being who you are!

The other day I met a cabbie who seemed over-qualified. His English was impeccable and he looked every bit out of place being a cabbie – including the fact that he didn’t know his way around the city! I chatted him up and soon discovered that he was a civil engineer. What was he doing then, driving a cab? He told me that his family wanted him to be an engineer, while he wanted to be an entrepreneur – running a cab service and owning a fleet of cars. He said that having completed his engineering degree to please and placate his family, he had now struck out on his own, driving a cab, so that he could learn the “tricks of the trade” live – and on the job!

My conversation with the cabbie got me thinking.

Haven’t we often been asked what we want to be? And haven’t we asked young teenagers or adults graduating from schools and colleges, what they want to be? Pilot, engineer, doctor, scientist, writer, photographer, actor, journalist, lawyer, we hear these myriad aspirations being voiced. And sure enough, we ourselves in our early, formative years, have talked of being this or that. But never do we hear someone say, I want to be humble, I want to be patient, I want to be understanding, I want to be giving, I want to be loving. In fact, we never do. Despite the fact that, you, me, all of us, are born humble, patient, understanding, generous and loving. To validate this perspective, just look at a child, less than 5 years old, and convince yourself. Have we ever wondered why is it that we stop being who we are, and instead work hard to become someone else? The reason is simple. We relate to and therefore champion the act of becoming more than the state of being. All our lives, and therefore, all our childrens’ lives are concentrated on becoming this or that.

A caring human being is more scarce, more urgently needed in today’s global context than a brilliant student or an awe-inspiring professional. And to be a caring human being, you__and I__just need to be human. Humility, love, generosity, patience and understanding are wired in our creation, naturally. To let those dimensions of our personas to surface, we must stop wanting to becoming something and just be. From becoming to being, if we make the transition, we would have changed our world.


See Life for what it is and not as you are!


Everything’s so perfect about our lives. We just don’t see it because we insist on seeing Life not as it is but as we are!

Just reflect on how you perceive Life on a daily basis. It is always about you. About your needs. Your wants. Your worries. Your anxieties. Your fears. And you fear, sometimes, about losing everything, because you are attached to them. So, on a daily basis, your Life revolves around you. Right from your maid not showing up to work (more prevalent in an Indian context!) to your commute to work being affected by a lousy traffic snarl to your meetings running behind schedule to your child having to be driven to the evening’s game to your report having to be readied for your customer __ everything, absolutely, everything about your Life is about you! And when you look at Life so myopically, the imperfections loom large in front of your eyes. Things are amazingly dysfunctional. Maids are thankless, so you believe. Traffic management in our cities is getting from bad to worse. You find the work-Life balance too hard to maintain and sometimes want to quit working but without the double income, the family cannot afford all the small luxuries it presently has! Arrrrrrrrrrrggggghhhh! And damn those reports. You wonder whether your customer hardly reads them __ but they want it because they are the ones who pay your bills! It is such a hard job living in this harsh, mad world!

There’s a way out of this tyranny. You just need to zoom out. Take your attention away from yourself for a while. And see Life as it is. You will then discover that you are having a hard time living, because you are trying hard to simply earn a living. You are making an effort. And there’s imperfection in every effort. Instead allow yourself to flow with Life. Look at nature. It just exists despite the scars on the mountain faces and the undulating depths of lakes and oceans. Or despite the stark contrasts of seasons. Or the waning and waxing moon leaving more nights dark than aglow. Nature doesn’t protest. But you and I do it all the time. We complain about what we have to do or what we don’t have. We protest. We resist. Therefore we see a whole Life of imperfection. Because the focus is on becoming something, than on simply being.

There is a Zen story that I once read in a book by Osho, the Master:

A Zen Master was making a painting, and he had his chief disciple sit by his side to tell him when the painting was perfect. The disciple was worried and the Master was also worried. Because the disciple had never seen the Master do anything imperfect. But that day things started going wrong. The Master tried, and the more he tried, the more it was a mess.

In Japan or in China, the whole art of calligraphy is done on rice-paper, on a certain paper, a very sensitive paper, very fragile. If you hesitate a little, for centuries it can be known where the calligrapher hesitated — because more ink spreads into the rice-paper and makes it a mess. It is very difficult to deceive on rice-paper. You have to go on flowing; you are not to hesitate. Even for a single moment. split moment, if you hesitate — what to do? — missed, already missed. And one who has a keen eye will immediately say, “It is not a Zen painting at all” — because a Zen painting has to be a spontaneous painting, flowing.

The Master tried and tried and the more he tried — he started perspiring. And the disciple was sitting there and shaking his head again and again negatively: ‘No, this is not perfect.’ And more and more mistakes were being made by the Master.

Then the ink was running out so the Master said, “You go out and prepare more ink.” While the disciple was outside preparing the ink, the Master did his masterpiece. When he came in he said, “Master, but this is perfect! What happened?”

The Master laughed; he said, “I became aware of one thing: your presence. The very idea that somebody is there to appreciate or to condemn, to say no or yes, disturbed my inner tranquility. Now I will never be disturbed. I have come to know that I was trying to make it perfect and that was the only reason for its not being perfect.”
 

So beautiful. In our trying to become something, like the Zen Master, we obsess with ourselves. And the myriad dimensions of our lives. Because we are attached to things and people in our lives and in trying to be very good at earning a living, providing, in trying to make our lives perfect, we don’t live at all. That’s why we don’t see the beauty of Life, of our lives, and we miss all that is flowing around us. We miss the perfection in Life’s ways, its timing of our lives’ events, our experiences, our learnings, our inner growth and our joys__which always emerge from our deepest sorrows! In Life, with Life, it is always__and only__what it is. So, stop expecting your Life to be any different from what it is now. And flow with it. Over time, Life will change. Your Life will change. And when you look back, you will find that had it not been for what you have gone through, you will not be the person who you are today and you will not have got to where you are too! So, don’t see Life for the way you are, but for what it is. Then, only then, will the Life that is waiting for you will unveil itself! Only then, as the Buddha said so famously, you will look up at the sky and laugh __ because everything, everything about this world and your Life, is so perfect!